The Nuts challenge review
Since I came into OCR many many years ago, every 2 years I have to dig out my passport, jump into the UKOCR van and make the pilgrimage to the Nuts challenge, 2020 is one of those years
First stop though is Watford gap services to pick up some sunglasses as its always sunny down south and also to hand over my northern passport and get my temporary southern visa stamped.
I only do Nuts every 2 years due to having a 500 mile round trip to make and also hotel rooms etc it can be a little expensive, The event itself at £60 for 4 laps, 400+ obstacles I think is a bit of a bargain though
2020 I took down 2 friends with me, Jamie as already done nuts with me a few years ago when we did 3 laps and Robert had never made the pilgrimage so I was keen to get his thoughts as a first timer
Arriving in the early hours of Saturday morning we parked our car on the hard standing car park and made the way to the event village, this year due to flooding, nuts had moved the event village and this meant a good 1k trek over muddy fields and woods to the relocated event village in the main nuts challenge training camp area
The event village was set up well, a great seating area for spectators and participants, some great food stalls, lots of obstacles in the event village for runners and spectators to view all in all a good event village - I do have one little area though that I think nuts missed out on here - the finish line, the finish line was not in the events village it was down a track in a field and this meant that when runners finished there was not that big lift from spectators cheering runners in that there usually is at nuts events
Registration was a simple affair and we received our timing chip, wrist band and a new style of t shirt from nuts, a more relaxed casual top rather than the usual sub laminated tech style - I like a casual top myself
The course itself is a true test of character and fitness, and I was keen to see what had changed in the 24 months I have not been there, the course started off with a good mud running section with a few strategically placed logs to to hop over, first big obstacle was one of nuts bread and butter ones, a huge high net climb that you seemed to soar 6 or 7 meters into the sky, a few more obstacles quickly followed before it was more mud running, after about a km of running the first water sections came, it started with ankle deep wades, then waist deep wades followed by chest deep ones, then it was the leap of faith ( or dive - see robs dive in the video).
1km in and the whole body is wet - now this is where a good course designer earns his money, and nuts course designer did just that because he gave you a good running section, this means that your body warms back up it counteracts the chances of hypothermia - well done nuts
But just as the body is warming back up its time to get wet again with a nice cold stream wade and what I believe is one of the most evil tyre carries I have ever done it lasts about 100m but it goes up one of the muddiest hills there is and as the race progresses it gets more and more slippy
This is followed by Nuts big slide, hard and fast down a slippy slide before crashing into the freezing water
This is followed by more water hazards, pontoons, rubbers rings, and water jump and swim but again the course designer gives you another good running sections to recover, next is one of my favourite sections at nuts and one of the oldest, I agues sits there version of tough mudders mud mile, deep ditches that you jump in and climb back out, the difference between these and tough mudder is at nuts the mud is clay and sticky and not only is it muddy its also full of water
This led us back to the events village and the technical section, Stairway to heaven, rings and optional lane rig followed by the nutcracker and infinity jump.
So far so good nuts is not disappointing in any way, a little more running and stream wading follows before what I believe is one of the best but simplest obstacles there is, the metal tubes, set at a 60 degree angle you almost have to completely submerge in the stream to get into it and then you have to drag your body up and using a rope and your arms and because you are wet, you struggle to get any purchase and so its just pure upper body strength to get to the top.
This is followed by more normal nuts assault course obstacles, rope swing, walls, crawls and all in mud and water - then its more mud running before you come out into an open field which is a good running section till you reach the finish line and then its time to decide is you quit or go for more laps
If you quit you got your nuts medal
The design of the medal is Cool with a helping hands theme and doubles as a bottle opener but its a little small
I want to say a big shout out to the volunteers on the course, they did an amazing job, standing out in the cold for over 8 hours in some instances, their enthusiasm never waned, they cheered each and every runner on, guys and girls you where amazing,
I also want to say thanks to Total sports and supplements for encouraging me to wear the ATAK compression top under my rash vest - it worked a treat on keeping the cold out,
Comfyballs my number one choice of running underwear,