Nuclear Oblivion

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My 2nd ever marathon and it was proving to be harder than my first. Which I didn’t think was possible, considering it was The Eliminator Race…

Nuclear Oblivion was 3 laps of the 12km Rush course and 1 lap of the 6km course. We had to run it in that order and were given a 7.5 hour time limit to complete it. With around 80+ obstacles per lap we were faced with a grueling 300+ obstacle race with some of the stickiest and energy sapping mud you could find. This was not a race to be taken lightly, and this proved evident with many people either not making the cut off time for their last lap or dropping out due to physically not being able to do it.

Myself and friend Richard Palmer, both eagerly awaiting the start of Oblivion.

I hadn’t ran much a few weeks prior to Oblivion but I had been working on my strength training a lot in the gym, I figured If was to be doing the monkey bars, rings, zip wire and other various body weight obstacles several times then I wanted to make sure I was completing them each lap and not having to take the forfeit. This made dividends and I managed to complete every obstacle on every lap without fail.

Arriving on site at around 8:15am i collected my race pack, met up with a few friends and dropped my bag off at the transition zone where I kept spare clothing such as my long sleeved merino wool base layer and short sleeved 2XU compression top, along with many packets of jaffa cakes and jelly babies for energy.

The race started at 9:30am, along with the 12km and 6km Onslaught wave. Knowing I wasn’t going to be shooting off the line like I usually do i positioned myself a bit further back and watched as the 12 and 6km racers shot off into the distance.

Properly pacing myself was so important and it was hard to resist chasing after the lead, but I knew if wanted to complete Oblivion within the time limit and in a good position I had to play it tactically.

The first lap was of course my fastest having fresh legs and not having to worry about congestion at the obstacles, well not yet anyway.
People were overtaking me from left, right and centre from the start and as much as i wanted to chase them down I had to keep reminding myself I was running 42km, not 4.2km.

I took two gels with me out on course and the plan was to have 1 every 6km, grabbing more as i finished each lap, this plan started off well but after the zip wire just before the death slide, James Parrish the Race Director was near by and asked if i wanted a medal hanger, he told me to jump in the water and collect a yellow rubber duck. So of course I did just that and earned myself a Nuclear medal hanger, all i had to do was keep hold of a smaller, pocket sized rubber duck and hand it in to the Nuclear shop to claim my prize, i shoved it in my back pocket with my gels and zipped it up tight making sure i didn’t lose it. From this moment on i was too worried about opening it again and dropping the duck, because without this duck i wouldn’t get my medal hanger! I survived off 1 gel until i made it back to the transition zone where I scoffed jelly babies and jaffa cakes. (thinking back to it now i don’t know why i didn’t take the duck out after my 1st lap. Suppose it acted as my lucky charm for the remainder of the race)

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I had gotten very cold after the death slide and running through the shaded woods towards the end made it worse, so i changed into my merino wool whilst holding 5 jelly babies in my mouth then proceeded on to my 2nd lap.
Still feeling good and strong I knew i had paced my 1st lap well and was happy with the way things were going, i made sure i stopped at every water station to keep me hydrated, even when i wasn’t thirsty i took the water on board. Something i hadn’t done during my 1st lap.

Now knowing what the course was like and what obstacles i would face along the way, i had a better understanding of pacing myself and knew when to speed up or hold back depending if i thought an obstacle would be congested or not. I felt faster on my 2nd lap, although i did get horribly cold again after the monkey bars where we then had to crawl under 5 lots of tight cargo nets through very wet and stony mud. Then a short while later it was back into the shaded woods where i felt that nasty chill, luckily though the sun made an appearance and as soon as i got out of the woods and in the open i warmed up and decided to keep my merino wool on for my 3rd lap.

Photo courtesy of Tom Nash, in which i had the cheek of cropping his pretty little face out.

This is where things started to get shaky…
The queues started to rack up and the mud was getting even muddier (that definitely makes sense). As an oblivion runner though I was allowed to yell (politely) “Oblivion runner coming through”, this worked 9.5/10 with the 0.5 being the 1 man asking “whats an oblivion?” I quickly explained as i passed him and his response was, “you’re a nutter!”. I couldn’t argue with that.

Anyway, it was now taking me longer to complete each obstacle what with the congestion and becoming increasingly tired, still completing each obstacle without fail just at a slower pace, but if slow and steady meant not having to take the forfeit then slow and steady it was.
Time seemed to go by quite quickly really and before i knew it i was zooming down that death slide again, this seems to be the only obstacle i remember, maybe because it was also where the Mudstacle party was happening and there was also a table full of jelly babies which i rather enjoyed. Coming out of the water and through the mud swamp that’s Ebeneezer then across the rope traverse, i found myself very hungry, i could see the Mudstacle gang and in particular a Mr James Ruckley, who was just about to tuck into a burger. I screamed his name a couple times followed by the word “FOOD!!” He ran over to me and gave me his burger followed by a lucozade, I munched away at the burger and took multiple swigs of the lucozade before i reached the Gorilla bars…

James paced me and kept me going for the remainder of my 3rd lap and for the entire length of my 4th (6km). Despite now being in a bit of a state with cramp and mud in all the wrong places, that last 6km was one of the most painful yet enjoyable runs I’ve done. I have to say a huge thank you to James who kept me going and encouraged me the entire race, not just the last lap. Even though i took his only burger and ate just over half of it before chucking it because i’d covered it in Nuclear mud, he stuck by me and was not going to let me fail. Mate, i owe you a burger.

I eventually finished in 6 hours, 59 minutes and 51 seconds which put me 4th male and 6th overall. I was also one of few who did it in under 7 hours (just).

Nuclear never disappoint and again they put on an outstanding event that lived up to everything i expected and more. Although you really need to experience a Nuclear Race yourself to really appreciate just how much effort goes in to it all.

By Alex Money For full Blog click here 

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