Roy's Nuclear Rush!
Nuclear Races located at Brentwood Essex is a big player in the world of OCR and is mainly down south with many runners committed to travel down multiple times a year and for good reason. These are great events. Nuclear hosts a few of these throughout the year, such as Blast, Blackout, Fallout, Rush and the summer party to name a few. This was my first proper OCR back since 2019 and this one had been moved a few times, usually held in May, so I was thankful it actually went ahead (with added covid precautions). The Rush weekend was held over two days, so you had a choice between days, distance (7km, 12km or as many laps within 8.5 hours known as oblivion). There were also smaller junior courses and competitive waves on offer. It also happened to be the 10th anniversary race. The first thing to note, the event was very easy to find, located in a well signposted part of the countryside known as the 'Secret Nuclear Bunker'. There were also additional roadside signage navigating you to a good parking area with plenty of spaces with carpark marshals (free parking too). Registration, including the covid checks, was very quick and easy, I sailed through, mainly because of the good precomms from the race organisers beforehand. I knew exactly how the process would flow on arrival which gave me time to have everything ready. Once in, the event village was a good size with all the usual food stalls, changing areas, course viewing points and a bonus Tractor ride shuttle for the spectators to get to the far side of the course. On to the race, when your wave time was called, you moved into the starting area which was spaced out and marked out in rows to maintain distance between runners, we received a safety briefing, light warmup and then set off in 90 second intervals. I was on the 12km option but strategically made an error in my starting position and ended up setting off at the rear of my allotted wave and although the torrential rain beating down and my eagerness to get going, it actually wasn't a bad thing setting off at the back as all the pressure was off to keep up with the faster runners and I gained a confidence boost when catching and overtaking runners who set off ahead of me (plus it was all chip timed, so didn't really matter). Considering this was a July course, it happened to be the muddiest I had ever raced and now being thankful for those winter BDL club races and the experience in running on a slippy course. The route was almost complete mud all the way, it was great in my opinion but I suspect being on the second day of the racing weekend added to the ground being churned up more for me.
Apart from the mud, there were plenty of obstacles evenly spaced out, a mixture of natural, synthetic, water and technical obstacles to challenge you throughout a varied terrain and a good variety to work different muscle groups. The technical obstacles normally require grip strength, balance and coordination but was made harder due to the ongoing rain, I ended up slipping off these into a good bit of water at the bottom more often than not. Other obstacles included; weighted carries, axe throw (this was new for me), crawling under and through various tunnels, climbing over walls, cargo nets, mud hills and other structures, many water obstacles including slides, swims and zip lines. There must have been at least 90 obstacles of some degree.
Every obstacle had a marshall who was more than happy to instruct you the best way to get across, I even learned a few extra tips and tricks thanks to them. I was also impressed with the finish, you cross the line, receive your medal, get your finisher picture taken, chip timer removed, straight into a warm shower, into the baggage claim and into the changing tent, fantastic bit of forward thinking from the organisers (I do love a production line). Overall obstacle racing is about fun and challenging yourself, this course had it all. It was well organised, well marshalled, you got an event t-shirt, a bit of bling, free photos and chip timed results. excellent value here :-) A big thank you to Sarah for being my support crew and my personal event photographer on the day :-)
I am happy to chat to anyone about OCR's, what is involved, training and good local events as well.
More info about Nuclear Races: https://nuclear-races.co.uk/