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Dan Stinton is bundled onto a bus, blindfolded, and driven to the middle of nowhere in order to experience The Drop, a navigation-testing race like no other


I can feel the sun shining on the back of my neck as nervous chatter slowly spreads throughout the bus. I see glimmers of light through the edge of my goggles but the eye piece is slathered in green paint so any chance of seeing where we’re going is impossible. As the bus twists and turns round various corners, trying to remember the route seems a pointless exercise so I give up. My thoughts turn to counting up how many calories I’ve eaten recently. It’s only a few days after Christmas and one thing is for certain: this is the biggest carb-load I’ve ever done.

This is Team OA’s The Drop. A very different type of race with no maps, compass, phone, GPS watches or money allowed. Competitors are bundled into a bus in the centre of Huddersfield, with all banned items secured in an emergency bag, and driven either five, 10 or 15 miles (as the crow flies) from the town. The aim is, simply, to make your way back to Event HQ using your own two legs. I have no knowledge of Huddersfield, or anywhere close, so I stick with the 10-mile option, hoping that I’ll be able to either ask someone, follow road signs or have a zenlike experience of just knowing the way.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Men's Running - Mar-17
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About Men's Running

When I first started at MR – a fresh-faced graduate with fully functioning knees – I ran to keep fit. Did I do it? Yes. Did I enjoy it? No. Fast-forward two years and things are a little different... 2016 saw me run my first marathon, my first ultra and – the natural progression – my first 24-hour track race. People talk of the running bug, but this was a full-scale pandemic. In the months that followed, though, I got lazy. The thought of running elicited a vacant stare, a memory of plodding round a 400m track at three in the morning, and the muttered words, “You weren’t there, man.” So, resolved to refind my running mojo in 2017, I signed up to a race, the Brixton 10K (p94), in the hope that it would spark me back to life. And, along with providing depressing confirmation of just how much slower I’ve got, it certainly did that; the post-race feeling reminding me just why I fell in love with running in the first place. For many, though, running’s true benefit lies not in racing but in the adventures it brings. In our lead feature this issue (p46), photographer James Carnegie leads us on a whistle-stop tour of Northern Ireland to prove that, with just a little planning, a day is all you need to run some of the finest routes the UK has to offer. You may not find me scrambling up the Mourne Mountains any time soon, but you will find me running again. Here’s to getting back on track in 2017.