The Nuts Challenge

As March arrived I knew I had three races to run, originally I had planned to do two, one at the beginning and one at the end but the trail run that was cancelled in February got moved to mid March so three it was!

Race Description

First up this month was The Nuts Challenge, a 7km race with over 100 obstacles to navigate, This was going to be tough… really tough!

This was the first race this year I would be running with a large number of people from the group I train with in Hastings (RP Combat Conditioning – If you are in Hastings you should check them out) and there was a great atmosphere before we started, despite many of the RPCC crew being stuck in the queue to get in and missing our start time – note to any potential new OCR runners, always arrive with plenty of time!

I was about to give some of my new kit a proper test, My Inov8 Mudclaw 300s were about to have their first race, along with my Inov8 mudsocks, x-raceware shorts and new darkfin gloves. I also had on a Nike base layer under my RPCC vest and Nike running leggings.

Some of the RPCC crew getting ready for the off
Some of the RPCC crew getting ready for the off
Myself with some of my RPCC "family"  (From left to right, Viki Stapley, Ella Roberts, Myself, Rachel Poile)
Myself with some of my RPCC “family”
(From left to right, Viki Stapley, Ella Roberts, Myself, Rachel Poile)

The Race

This race was very well organised, but it was hard to hear the announcements at the start line from inside the nice warm registration tent, and we had a bit of a muddled start. We messed around a bit in the warm up as we didn’t realise it was ours and we were at the back of the pack setting off as a result.

I set off with my friend Viki but this lacklustre start meant that we got held up on some of the obstacles at the start, and it was a little frustrating when there was a large group of people who were a bit afraid of getting in the first lot of cold water! Not really a big deal as we were running for the fun not the glory.

The obstacles on this race were challenging, although we had tried out some of them previously having had a training day on part of the Nuts course a couple of weeks before. There was a lot of running though very cold streams clambering over tire walls and pulling ourselves up nets.

Wading through a cold stream  (picture courtesy of Tim Lovett from Obstacle Kit Ltd)
Wading through a cold stream
(picture courtesy of Tim Lovett from Obstacle Kit Ltd)

My first real challenge came with the fireman’s pole. When we did the training day I stood paralysed with fear at the top for quite a considerable chunk of time being talked down by Rich Pringle from RPCC. This time though, I gritted my teeth and just went for it, The sense of achievement was enormous.

Then came a rope swing over more cold water, a crawl under barbedwire through some mud, and a roll over a couple of nets.

Myself and Viki Stapley rolling around on a Saturday morning! (Picture courtesy of Tim Lovett from Obstacle Kit Ltd)
Myself and Viki Stapley rolling around on a Saturday morning!
(Picture courtesy of Tim Lovett from Obstacle Kit Ltd)

Many, many more obstacles were still to come, the ones that stand out in my memory are a tire carry up a steep, muddy hill, then straight back down it, followed by a lot more ups and downs. This part of the course is where my Inov8 Mudclaw 300s really came into their own. The aggressive grip on these shoes saw me able to climb up these hill easily even as I watched other racers slide back down them.

By around the 3km mark I was running on my own again having lost my friend on one of the longer stretches of running, but I was having a great time.

The last few obstacles saw me battling my fear of heights again over a couple  more cargo nets and then crawling underneath one or two, which got me more covered in mud than I have ever been in my life.

A few wobbly pontoons across a lake, and a crawl over some inflatables (which I promptly fell off, leaving me to swim) and a massive load of hay-bails piled high came towards the end. Luckily obstacle racing is such a friendly sport, and a man sat on top of the bails helping his team mate also gave me a hand to haul my tired body over the top.

I have missed out so many obstacles here, but I can’t honestly get them all straight in my head there were so many.

This was a fantastic race, and for people wanting more of a challenge you can opt to do 2, 3 or even 4 laps.

Across the line and grabbed my medal and then hurried to get out of my wet clothes. I was done!

My Finishers Medal
My Finishers Medal

Final results for me in this race were 1h41mins, 154th over all and 35th Female

As a final note, all the kit mentioned at the start of this blog was fantastic and really did there jobs.