When I got the go ahead from the boss man to book more races this year one of the first things I did was grab myself a Nuclear Races season pass. I loved every one of the Nuclear races I did last year and was really looking forward to running Rush again this year, then three weeks before the race I damaged my ankle and had to take time out of training, mostly because I was unable to even walk without a limp, so by race day I was feeling really unfit and my ankle was still not 100%. I wasn’t sitting this race out though so early on a Saturday morning I was picked up by my friend Bob and we travelled up to Essex.
The race was well organised as usual and had a good event village surrounding the start and finish lines. After hanging around for a while my friend Laura Dudley from Brocket Gear race team arrived and made my day by asking if we could run together for fun. I delightedly accepted her offer and we got ready to start.
As we were waiting on the start line listening to the race briefing and warm-up a guy was called up and proposed to his girlfriend, which was beautiful and a lovely start to the day, then there was a countdown and we were off into a ditch. I somehow missed the wooden slats set into the bank to help you up, but Laura was at the top to lend a hand. As we set off on the first set of running it quickly became clear that my ankle was not ready for racing, the uneven ground causing me trouble, I felt slower than a tortoise running through treacle!
The race had several of the obstacles I’ve met before and quite a few new ones, with over 80 to navigate across the 12k course. These included a long log carry, incorporating a stream wade, a rope climb that earned me a penalty drag of a heavy metal pipe as I failed to get up, something called “Essex Boyes” which was a lot of inflatable yellow balls with ropes above them to try and get across – or in our case fall off and have a penalty tyre carry – a few wall climbs, Irish table, a swim using a body board and the worlds longest gorilla bars.
At the bars I chose to go straight into the ditches that run alongside, I would normally give them my best shot, but falling off them onto my ankle didn’t seem like a very smart plan. In and out of the muddy ditches was then followed by several very muddy cargo net crawls. I also missed out the hang tough to avoid falling onto my damaged foot and got on with the forfeit tyre run.
The zip line across the lake followed by the death slide were awesome as always, and with a 3, 2, 1 we shot down into the lake below, a swim across to the ropes, into the smelly Ebenezer bog then over the traverse rope before off again into the trees.
We were having fun, singing and chatting, with a particularly wonderful rendition of “My Girl” which prompted the guys ahead of us to comment. Sadly I didn’t catch what they shouted to us, it was probably ” wow you two sound like angels” but could have been “who’s killing a cat” I guess we will never know!
Sometime after the slide though disaster struck when I caught my bad foot on a root and twisted it. For about 30 seconds I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to walk, but the pain eased a bit, and after going through some more cold water which had a numbing effect, I was able to trot along again, and I’m far to stubborn to give up!
I missed out the second set of monkey bars and hang tough rings again, as I dared not fall down, skipped out a few other bits that would require me to jump or potentially fall, but otherwise soldered on with the help of Laura. In and out of large tyres, over a big wall using a rope, up and down some steep banks with the help of ropes and a net, and down a fireman’s pole and we were finally nearing the end.
The final stretch had us going up and over some hay bails, then sliding down some metal pipes into a ditch before running up a final hill to the finish line. Laura and I grabbed hands and were cheered across the line by Mark Leinster, awesome muddy MC, a big group hug and we were handed our medals then posed for our finishers photos.
The finish was well organised, with water troughs provided as bath tubs to clean off the worst of the mud then a warm shower of water before coming to the bag drop, where you collected your bag straight away before being given a hot drink and t-shirt then directed straight into the warm changing area.
Laura had to run off to be a marshal straight after racing, so I found Bob who had finished long before me and we headed back down to the death slide for a burger at the Mudstacle after party, a beer, a chat and a few photos with friends and it was finally time to head home. Despite my injury I’d had another fantastic day out at Nuclear and I can’t wait to head back there in September for Nuclear Blast and Blackout.