Muddy Races – Blast & Blackout

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By Helen Carrington, 22nd September 2015

Nuclear Blast And Blackout Review – One Day, Two Epic Race

Nuclear Races have long been a must do event for me, so on a weekend heavy with other races it was still an easy choice for me to make when I decided to run both Nuclear Blast and Nuclear Blackout and I was not disappointed.

The format for both the day race (Blast) and the night race (Blackout) is the same, you have 2 hours from your start time to complete as many laps of the 5km course as you can (or want to). I lined up at 1pm for Blast, listened to the race briefing, jumped around in the warm up and then, with a bang, two jets of flames shot up into the air and we were off, down a gentle slope, over some low plastic covered hay bails, down a steep bank, into some woodland and through a container.

The course contained walls with a slight overhang, mud, The Back Scratcher: a net suspended over some tarpaulin with water being sprayed over the top of it which you have to lay underneath and pull yourself through on your back using the net, mud, ditches to jump across or clamber through, mud, a tall wooden slatted wall, mud, The Rack: hay bails to climb up, with bars the other side to slide down then into a muddy ditch and more mud.

There were some nice sections of running, through fields, woodland, and through some of the thickest, slipperiest mud known to man, that got harder and harder to navigate as the day wound on!”

There was a short slide into cold water, and once you had waded or swam across to the far bank and hauled yourself out over the slippery mud it was round a corner and over the floating inflatable pontoons. I watched a few people trying to take these at a run, falling back into the water, I opted for a slower crawl over them which saved me a dip in the lake.

There were some nice sections of running, through fields, through woodland, and through some of the thickest, slipperiest mud known to man, that got harder and harder to navigate as the day wound on. A cargo net crawl got you smothered in mud, and then after a run up a hill there was a heavy concrete block to hoist into the air using a rope, which was really difficult with muddy hands that left the rope slick and wet with mud, I’m not ashamed to say I needed help from a fellow racer to get my block off the floor, despite usually finding these obstacles manageable.

Other obstacles included monkey bars, a hang tough, some hilly sections that were so slick with mud that even with the ropes it was difficult to get up the slippery banks, a ¾ pipe to run up and over, a rope climb and two new additions of the weaver, a set of bars to weave over and under, and the sternum checker, a wooden log that you need to get over the top of, jumping from a lower log, which got scarier as the day went on and it got muddier.

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After a bit of food, of which there was lots of choice  in the event village, and a rest it was getting on for 7pm and time for Blackout. The sun was beginning to set, the atmosphere was buzzing, a live band had started playing, and after another briefing and warm up the fire exploded into the air again and it was time for round 2. The first lap was exactly the same as the day race, but with night falling quickly, navigating by the light of your head-torch made a new unique challenge. It was a beautiful night, the sky was red with sunset, and the moon and stars came out, and if you looked behind and around you the sight of hundreds of head-torches looked amazing.

This event was brilliant, from start to finish.

The second lap of Blackout then took a different turn, where after the hay bails, ditch and trees at the start you were diverted into the Nuclear Bunker. It’s dark, a bit eerie, and as you wound your way through it there was a large bang and fire shot up into the air making you jump, then its up, up, up lot’s of winding stairs and back out onto the course, where there were some low walls to hurdle, and then it was over the large container instead of through it, before eventually winding back onto the main course and coming to the overhang walls.

By the time I had finished my two laps of the night course I was exhausted, and again so happy to see those warm showers and be given my nuclear mug containing hot tea.

This event was brilliant, from start to finish. They had a great event village, what I saw of the rookie kids race looked fantastic and really muddy for any mini-racers in the family. If you like OCR and love mud but haven’t tried a Nuclear race yet, I would urge you to put one on your calendar, you won’t regret it.