On November 12th I took part in my very first Nuclear Race Fallout in Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Base. This was the last race of the season in the Nuclear line up and was apparently the muddiest and coldest of them all. I was taking part with a few people who had only taken part in one OCR so far so this was a good chance to take it a bit easy and enjoy the course. Little did I know taking it easy wasn’t really an option!
So first things first, I knew this was going to be a very cold and wet (and eventually very muddy) obstacle race. Keeping my body temperature up was paramount. This was the first time I wore an under armour skin to keep me warm underneath a technical t-shirt. This would allow me to dry off quickly after coming out of very cold water. No cotton on this race! Apart from that I wasn’t worried about the 6km I was running and I would take the obstacles as they came.
The day was already very rainy and cold. So there was no doubt we were going to get soaked. The event village was bustling with food stalls and tents for shelter from the rain. A first I had seen in a race was a race map laying out the course so you could see what was in store. Queues were rapid and there wasn’t much waiting around for both registration and bag drop. There was more crowding around the fire bins for people trying to stay warm.
There were two distances competitors could run in. There was a 6k (which to the shock of some turned out to be 7k) and for the more daring, 12k. Regardless of the distance you take part in, you get to experience the signature obstacles so you don’t completely miss out. Especially with the fact there are 60+ obstacles on the shorter version compared to 100+ on the longer distance. Waves were released every 20 minuets of about 100 people. After a quick warm up (where it really started to bucket down with rain) we were off!
With every race that I had taken part in before The Nuclear Race, it would be a good while before I got covered in mud. Literally within 10 mins I was waist high in a muddy ditch that I needed to clamber out of!! Instantly covered. That’s set the tone for the rest of the event! Ditches and extremely muddy fields were everywhere! This automatically gave this race an added edge of difficulty due to the extra weight carried, but also that extra edge of childhood fun! We can’t deny it people.
Some of the most epic things about this race were the obstacles. They were amazing! The normal obstacles included were high walls, fireman carries and balance beams over very cold and muddy water. Two obstacles in particular were out of this world! Firstly you had the ‘Death Slide’. When at the top you look down at the what must have been minus 2•c water! As you slide down there was no time to get ready for what was about to be the shock of my life. The water was FREEZING! As we all scrambled to find our bearings and escape the water, pure exhilaration (or fear of hypothermia) hits hard. There were wardens and life guards watching over the area for added safety and a very warm fire in close by to get your temperature back. One of the best things I’ve done hands down.
Another amazing section was the ‘Zipwire’. I had never done one before so excited was an understatement. After you secure your rope to the contraption connected to the wire your off! The speed that you fly over the water is brilliant and it also equalled quite the abdominal workout to keep your feet out of the water. After watching a few people hit the wall on the other end because they didn’t slow down, I wisely dipped my feet just before the end. What a great way over a freezing cold lake!
After bearing the mud, cold and water for either the 6k or 12k, each participant is awarded with a brilliant Nuclear Races technical t-shirt and one of the coolest medals i’ve now got in my collection.
While still quite challenging, this was an incredibly enjoyable race. The amount of mud itself was an obstacle and with the amount of challenges to tackle along the way, it is truly one of the most diverse races you could take part in. I thought that the course was designed brilliantly and even though it was freezing cold, the event staff made a massive effort to keep your spirits high and most importantly, keep you warm. Checkpoints are placed at key places (especially after the Death Slide!) which kept all competitors going.
With this being one of the best obstacle course races I have taken part in, I’m definitely competing in all three race types next year to collect the main prize, the Giant Mudallion Medal. With this said, it is a race that anyone who enjoys OCR’s needs to try! I can guarantee you will not be disappointed. Nuclear Races, I salute you!