Tag Archives: Nuclear races

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

After…

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

Nuclear Races Special Ops Mission 1:Operation Darkness (Virtual 5km)

The day after the Hastings Half Marathon a group of 7 of us met up, after a RPCC training session, to take part in Nuclear Races Virtual 5km run. We could have picked any time in March to complete this run, but for some reason this was the only day we managed to get together, so with heavy and painful legs (at least on my part)  we gathered in the park just before 8pm with our head-torches at the ready to take a turn around the park.

The Brief

The mission was to run a 5k anywhere, in the dark, during March, taking on 5 obstacles of your own choosing on route. We had signed up on line and paid our £10’s to take part, which gets us a medal and buff through the post once we email in confirmation of completing the mission, the email to include a screen shot of your tracked run, and a picture on at least one of your chosen obstacles.

Our Run

We set out at a gentle jog and soon came across a fallen tree, which we gleefully clambered over – obstacle 1 completed.

Hanging around on a Tree
Hanging around on a Tree

This was quickly followed by a crawl under a tree trunk, obviously stopping to pose for a quick picture, after all, it was in the rules! – Obstacle 2 completed.

Under the tree.
Under the tree.

We then took a run and a short while later we came to one of the children’s play areas, where we climbed up onto a large fake log lined up and jumped off. Obstacle 3 – Completed.

Getting ready to jump
Getting ready to jump

We were having a fantastic time running in the dark, round the reservoirs towards the back end of the park, before finding a bridge over a slippery trickle of water, over the fence we jumped and then crawled under the bridge. Obstacle 4 – Completed.

Crawling under a bridge
Crawling under a bridge

We had another stretch of running back down into the main part of the park, when we came to another, deeper stream and bridge. We couldn’t resist hopping the railing and going in, followed by a clamber up a grassy bank on the other side which was an obstacle in itself. Obstacle 5 – Done.

Wading through a stream under another bridge
Wading through a stream under another bridge

We continued our run around our 5k route, and although we didn’t strictly need to do any more obstacles, when we came to a tall brick wall outside of a set of public toilets we couldn’t resist giving each other  a bunk up and climbing over it. Obstacle 6 – Done.

Me on top of the wall
Me on top of the wall

Following on from the wall we ran round the last stretch of the park, and heading back towards the cafe were we met. As we came to a second children’s play area we took the opportunity to clamber up onto the large climbing frame to get one last photo. Obstacle 7 – Done.

A selfie in the climbing frame
A selfie in the climbing frame

This just left us the last little stretch of running. We gave it a bit of a sprint up a little hill by the side of the play area, then cruised back to the cafe. We had covered the distance, messed around making up obstacles, had a bit of a recovery run following the Hastings Half and earned ourselves a bit of bling in the process whilst having a wonderful time.

5k Run in the Park, completed
5k Run in the Park, completed