Tag Archives: 12km

Nuclear Fallout 2015

Choosing What to Run

Another weekend, another road trip, up to Essex to run Nuclear Fallout for some of us, and the first independent UK OCR championship for others. I had taken my time deciding what to do about this race, I had signed up for Fallout very early in the year with my Nuclear season pass, then later qualified for the UK champs and I had thought about swapping to just run the championships, or running the championships then going out and running fallout later in the day, but in the end I decided to keep my entry as it was as when it comes down to it, I’m not really a competitive racer, in fact I’m basically a glorified fun runner in slightly better trainers, and I knew there was no way I could complete the course with an intact wrist band even if I was fast enough to push for a top place (which I’m not) so I stuck to running the 12km Fallout course, and on the day I asked my friend Lucy Warburton if she fancied a running buddy and we set off  together for a leisurely lap of the course.

Waiting to start in good company, with Vince about to run the UK champs and Linda up to support
Waiting to start in good company, with Vince about to run the UK champs and Linda up to support

The Race

I’m sure I have said this before, but Nuclear really know how to put on a race. It remains a favourite for me time after time after time. We set off in the rain at 10.30, it was wet, it was muddy, and it was cold. We headed straight into a ditch and then set off running along slippery muddy farmland, more than once Lucy and I talked about how glad we were for our Inov8s as we watched people slide around all over the place in normal trainers. We kept a pace that was steady, but fast enough to keep us warm, as we took on walls and muddy ditches, climbed up tyre walls and attempted inclined monkey bars and hang tough rings.

At the gorilla bars  we both swung off straight away and headed into the muddy penalty ditches, before coming to the endless feeling stretch of cargo nets, where we tried to keep with another group of racers to make it easier, but getting utterly covered in sticky mud none the less.

When we got to the section with the Aquaphobia obstacle we were shoved up the muddy bank by a helpful man behind us (nothing like an OCR to get groped and grope back in return), then we were up, over the slippery planks, and made the jump down onto the mats and into the cold cold water. Up and down more slippery muddy banks, on our bums, trying to use a rope to slow ourselves down but gravity doing its job and sending us ever so elegantly into the water again, up and over another tyre wall then across the inflatable nuclear pontoons

As we moved on round the course we started to notice more and more people pulling off to the side cold or hypothermic, and there were several racers still running whilst wrapped in foil blankets, the cold conditions were obviously starting to get to people, we were holding up OK though and enjoying the race. We soon came to a new obstacle called Risk Taker, which involved a short jump from a plank onto a cargo net, which although not a long way, took a lot of psyching up (for me at least) to make the leap, once on the net you had to climb down and underneath over some water to a bank on the other side, both Lucy and I were really chuffed and proud to have completed this obstacle.

Scaling the net - I'm in this picture honest ;)
Scaling the net – I’m in this picture honest 😉

Eventually we made it to the part we had both been waiting for, the zip line and death slide. First you had to wade/swim out in cold water to collect your rope for the zip wire, then come back and up onto the obstacle where you whiz out over the lake, then it was over some netting suspended in yet more cold water and then up onto the slide. On one side of the slide Nuclear have added an extension called the kicker, shooting you off the end and giving you more air time before hitting the lake. Having both done the slide before Lucy and I decided to brave it and took to the side of the slide with the new addition, we counted to 3 and slid off the top together, shot down the steep slide and were airborne in seconds, shooting into the air off the end of the slide before coming down hard into the lake, I hit the water with the flat of my back and it felt like my entire body had been slapped hard, it was so painful, I hit the bottom of the lake before surfacing, and squealing with equal parts pain and delight, it might have hurt like hell, but boy was it fun.

My best death slide photo yet!
My best death slide photo yet!

As we neared the end we were starting to feel the cold, but I was still loving the race. As I ran it occurred to me that this was why I do it, why I run races like this, shear fun and enjoyment of a really well put together course, challenging myself and spending time with like minded friends. Nuclear races restores any faith lost, removes any doubts about why I continue to spend my weekends in this way, and reminds me of why I still love this hobby.

As we came into the event village for the final time, we had to take on the 3/4 pipe, where Lucy and I were fortunate enough to be hauled over the top by the lovely Matt Stewart who was marshalling the obstacle, and the weaver, which we failed to weave but did clamber over the top, we then grabbed hands and sprinted the short distance left to the finish line, got our final photo then dived into the warm showers.

Sadly out of focus finishers pic with Lucy
Sadly out of focus finishers pic with Lucy


Once I was finished I headed up to the Muddy Race tent where I had left my bag to get changed and catch up with a few people, then headed down to the bar tent where they were doing the presentations for the UK championship winners. My good friend Vince had run the championship course, which was an extended version of what I had run, with lots of additional challenging obstacles for them to complete, and I listened with interest to Vince telling me about the course which sounded pretty brutal.

We watched, cheered and clapped along as the podium winners for each category were announced. It’s wonderful and humbling to get to see these phenomenal athletes pick up their well deserved trophies. I always think it’s such a privilege to even be in the same place as some of these guys, let alone be able to say that I know some of them and could call them a friend!

Once the presentations were done we took on the last challenge of the day, getting the car out of the increasingly muddy car park, and headed for home, where I took the longest shower in history to try and warm up, having been shivering non-stop for about the past 5 hours! I came away from this day absolutely buzzing, Nuclear had done it again, a race to be proud of.

Just hanging out with the elites, as you do (including superstar winner Conor Hancock and 3rd place Ross Brackley)
Just hanging out with the elites, as you do! (including superstar winner Conor Hancock and 3rd place Ross Brackley)


Nuclear Rush 2015

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.

Bob and I before the race
Bob and I before the race

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.

Laura and I at the end of the Zip lines
Laura and I at the end of the Zip lines

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.

Laura and I with Mark
Laura and I with Mark

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.

Messing around after Rush
Messing around after Rush

Return to Dirty Dozen – Dirty Dozen and Dash April 2015

The first Dirty Dozen weekend of the year dawned bright and breezy, the sun was out, but there was a chill in the air as we got ourselves ready to race. As usual a large number of RPCC people made the trip to the Hop Farm in Kent to run either the 12k or 6k race, or for some of us, both.

Getting ready to start with some of the usual suspects. Photo credit: Tony Jarvis Photography
Getting ready to start with some of the usual suspects: Photo Credit: Tony Jarvis Photography


 Dirty Dozen – 12km

We gathered near the start line just before 10am, the atmosphere was buzzing, MC Mark Leinster, getting us all to link arms, jump up and down and shout, this was followed by a warm up run by Bootcamp Revolution, which I completed with my normal gusto, (in other words dancing around and not really doing what I was told) then it was time for Doug “The Beard” Spence to be introduced, count us down and we were off. Starting with a run which took us across some fields and before long we were headed through some trees, mud and into the first of many river wades. This was followed by some high mounds of mud to clamber over.

Clambering over the muddy mounds
Clambering over the muddy mounds

Next came a stretch of running, winding up and down hills until you came to a large wooden box to climb up, over the top and back down the other side before heading down a hill and into “Bitch Ditch” a series of muddy water pools with heaps of slippery mud to try and climb over before you went down the other side back into another murky pit of muddy water.

Coming down one of the banks with a grin
Coming down one of the banks with a grin, Photo Credit: Epic Action Imagery

Once you had negotiated the ditches it was on to the first barbed wire crawl, as usual over some hard and bruising ground. Up until this point I had been running by myself, and I started to wonder why I was bothering, in the back of my mind were the big walls I would be facing at the end, and remembering how demoralised I was when I did the 18km by myself back in September, so I just stopped running! I waited at the end of the barbed wire crawl until I was caught up by my friends Dom Wright, Vince James, Kevin Coda and Ella Roberts. I then continued the race with them.

Once I had joined up with the others I started having much more fun, we weren’t racing for a time or position, we were just there having a laugh and it was wonderful. We hit another river wade, it was energy sapping and felt like it went on forever, every time you climbed out a quick turn and you would be back in again. We did however take the time to pose for a few (hundred) photos!

Taking things seriously with Vince, Dom, Ella and Kev
Taking things seriously with Vince, Dom, Ella and Kev

Once we had finally clambered out of the river and had a bit of a jog, we were under a second set of barbed wire, taking it seriously as always we yet again stopped for a few photos.

Isn't this how everyone does a barbed wire crawl?
Isn’t this how everyone does a barbed wire crawl?

Over some box hurdles next and a bit of a running stretch, where we jogged along at a comfortable pace and had a natter, found ourselves in yet more streams to wade through, then eventually found ourselves at the “screwball scramble.” A very wobbly cargo net strung up between the trees. This is my least favourite dirty dozen obstacle, high up and feeling unstable, the others talked me down and after a couple of hugs we were on our way again, back into more water.

Next was a really long log carry, my log was a manageable weight however and it was without much difficulty that we got round this section, and ran on to find ourselves confronted with the hangover walls. With a boost I was up and over with no problems, but Kev took a knee to the face when he stopped to help another racer. Another jog then took us onto the tyre drag. This was another long section, through uneven ground, water and mud.

Dragging my tyre - I called him Steve
Dragging my tyre – I called him Steve

We finally got to give back our tyres and re-grouped then headed off for another little running section which took us past a rope traverse obstacle that we got directed around by “The Beard” himself, they were just closing it “for maintenance” so we ended up going straight into a section of cold, deep water and eventually to the “smoking barrels” A set of 4 rows of barrels floating on the water that required you to fully submerge yourself. Ella was feeling nervous about these so I took her hand, and positioned her between myself and Dom, counted her down 3, 2, 1 and together we took a deep breath and swam under the first set of barrels.

Coming out from under the barrels with Ella and Dom
Coming out from under the barrels with Ella and Dom


The same tactic took us under the other sets of barrels, before we then swam to the edge and clambered back out onto the bank, before getting out though Ella and I recreated a photo we had taken at Nuclear Blackout – although this time photobomed by Vince and Dom.

Posing in the water
Posing in the water

Shortly after the barrels was the sheep dip, three walls set into a pit of water, which again required full submersion, but these didn’t feel too bad after the barrels and the water was certainly warmer! After the sheep dip was the Tarzan bars, which I predictably failed, earning myself 20 burpees, Then we were off heading towards some of the big obstacles that Dirty Dozen is famous for.

The first of these was the containment II, a container with a wooden frame built around it to climb up, the catch being that the frame is built at an outwards angle to make it harder, this was followed by giant wooden A frame and then the irish table, a few leg-ups and we were all over the top. A run around the final field then took us to “Hang ’em Heigh” A tall wall that you climb with the help of a rope. Every other time I have done a DD race I have needed a bit of a push to help me up this, but I’m really proud to say that this time I did it alone.

Climbing up Hang 'em High
Climbing up Hang ’em High

A short trot later we came to the “Bladder Ladder” another very tall wooden structure, that we just had to sit at the top of and have another photo.

Suns out, Guns out!
Suns out, Guns out!

This left us with just a final run down to the last wall. This time they had added a little ledge at the bottom of the wall to make it easier to get over, and there was only this one big wall this time. I needn’t have worried so much at the start of the race. We were finally done and it was time to grab a quick drink, and our race goodies before getting ready to go again for the 6k race.

12km Run Completed
12km Run Completed. Photo Credit: Epic Action Imagery



Dirty Dash – 6km

This time I again teamed up with some more of my RPCC family, rejoined again by Vince James, along with my frequent training partner Linda Zeberga and Chris Williams. We were going to be taking this slowly, Linda having picked up an injury, Chris also having an incredibly sore ankle, and me with my usual niggles, but despite this, I was about to yet again have a whale of a time.

The race started out the same as the 12km, this time a bit slower and if possible ever more posing. The Bitch Ditch was harder this time, after being churned up by everyone running the 12km earlier in the day, even with superbly grippy shoes I had to be hauled out of the last ditch.

Stopping for a photo on Bitch Ditch
Stopping for a photo on Bitch Ditch Picture courtesy of Tony Jarvis Photography

Under the barbed wire and back into the rivers, not quite so endless this time, but much more muddy, it was more like wading through waist deep sludge rather than water. We spent a conciderable amount of time in here, as we kept stopping for photographs and messing around. Vince going for a full muddy splash, and me thinking it would be a good idea to try and get a piggy back, before knocking both myself and Vince into the mud.

Danger Deep Water
Danger Deep Water. Photo Credit: Tony Jarvis Photography

After wading through the river, under a few bridges, on one of which I managed to bang my head, it was time to clamber back out of the stream and continue on our way. The 6k route skipped out the second barbed wire crawl, tyres, logs and hangover walls, so before too long had passed we were back to deep water swim and  the smoking barrels.

Swimming across the water with Linda, Vince and Chris
Swimming across the water with Linda, Vince and Chris.

At the sheep dip we ran into David Beatty, and once we had posed for yet another photo it was back off to the Tarzan bars, which I fell off yet again, and then it was the home straight over the big walls.

Posing after the sheep dip
Posing after the sheep dip

Again the big walls posed little problem, a little leg up required on the Irish Table from Chris, but the wall with the rope was done on my own again, we predictably stopped for a photo on the bladder ladder and we were nearly done.

Posing again with Linda, Vince and Chris
Posing again with Linda, Vince and Chris

The little run towards the final wall was little more than a slow jog with everyones injuries, aches and pains playing up, and having run 18km, we still arranged it so we could get a picture of all four of us at the top of the final wall before crossing the final finish line.

On the final wall
On the final wall

We were finally done, and got our finishers photo with Doug Spence before going to get our race goodies and bags from the bag drop. There was quite a queue here so I’m glad I had my hubby around to hand me my dryrobe straight away, as there was the potential to get very cold had I left it in the bag drop, but other than this the day was brilliant. I don’t know that I’ve had so much fun at a race before. I can’t wait for my next one.

6km Finishers Photo
6km Finishers Photo