Pentathlon GB, the governing body of Modern Pentathlon, is launching the UK’s first permanent sprint obstacle course based at the University of Bath, enabling both athletes and the public to challenge themselves on a world-class course.
The new facility, due to open early 2024, will showcase eight obstacles, which are currently used in International Junior Pentathlon competitions and include steps, a big wheel, a 1.5m climbing wall, rings, a balance beam, wheels, monkey bars and a finish wall. The obstacles are designed to test an athlete’s power, balance, agility, coordination and strength.
Supported by UK Sport and the Union of Modern Pentathlon (UIPM), the introduction of the obstacle competition course builds on Pentathlon GB’s partnership with the University of Bath to create a centre of excellence for the sport, and will uniquely enable athletes to access training environments for five pentathlon sports, including running, fencing, laser shooting, obstacles and swimming, all on one site.
Stephen Baddeley, Director of Sport, University of Bath, said: “The University of Bath is delighted to support our longstanding partner, Pentathlon GB, as it embraces the exciting sport of obstacle racing. The permanent obstacle course will not only assist their performance athletes, but provide an exciting new sport for our local community too.”
Trafford Wilson, CEO, Pentathlon GB, said: “The installation of a dedicated obstacle course follows the successful 2023 World Championships held at the University of Bath in August, where Pentathlon GB, in partnership with British Obstacle Sports volunteers, set up a temporary ‘come an try’ obstacle course. This provided the perfect opportunity for hundreds of people of all ages and abilities to experience obstacle course racing for the first time.
“The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with lots of people who were new to the sport giving it a go! Obstacle Course Racing is fun, inclusive, challenging and suitable for all. We are keen that this new ‘home of obstacle racing’ is used by both our elite athletes and local people and visiting groups.”
Over the coming months, Pentathlon GB will be reaching out to schools, clubs and community groups to encourage obstacle centre bookings. Any profits raised through the facility will be funnelled back directly into pentathlon to enable more people, especially the young, to engage in the sport.
Dr Kate Baker, Director of Performance at UK Sport, said: “UK Sport is pleased to have supported this world-class training facility, which will best prepare Great Britain athletes in this exciting new discipline within modern pentathlon as they build towards the future, as well as inspire and unite the local community.
“We wouldn’t be able to continue to invest in athletes without the incredible support we continue to receive from National Lottery players who power Olympic and Paralympic sport in this country.”
Wilson added: “Pentathlon GB is enormously excited by this new opportunity and hopes to see more obstacle course partnerships follow as we set out to enhance and develop our multi-discipline sport across the UK and build on its very proud Olympic history.”