On Sunday I took part in The Nuts Challenge (www.thenutschallenge.co.uk) – in my opinion one of the best obstacle races out there at the moment. For those of you reading this who have yet to become a Nutter, here is a quick overview of the event:
The Nuts Challenge is a 7km military assault course located in Dorking near London. The organisers put on two OCR events each year – one in March and one in August / September where you have the option of doing between 1 and 4 laps. The course is packed with obstacles: with around 100 in total, I reckon it must have one of the highest obstacle / distance ratios in the UK!
I participated in the first Nuts Challenge in September 2012 – setting a course record for 4 laps with the time 3 hours and 24 minutes. I returned for the March 2013 version of the race but the combination of freezing temperatures, bad choice of clothing and a body that appears to be relatively prone to hypothermia I was a DNF’er after 3.5 laps (after having a couple of snoozes in ‘warm’ places whilst on my final lap the marshals decided it was best for me to go to the warming tent…).
Unlike in March, I felt great throughout the weekend’s Nuts Challenge! With the benefit of roughly knowing the course I managed to pace myself well with my first two laps being slower than my second two. Pacing yourself is definitely a big part of this race; the majority of people have a much slower last lap than first.
127 people attempted 4 laps of the course with about 40% making the cut-off (you had to start your 4th lap by 2pm – 4 hours after the initial start) and finishing the race. Judging by the results list there were just over 2,500 starters over the two days that the event was held, reflecting the popularity and reputation that The Nuts Challenge has gained over the past couple of years.
When you look at my result it is worth mentioning that this is a challenge as opposed to a race. That being said the goal is still to go as fast as possible (you are after all timed) but I would rather say ‘I got the fastest time’ as apposed to ‘I won’. I completed this year’s Nuts Challenge in 2 hours 51 minutes roughly 40 minutes faster than the second fastest time. To get beneath 3 hours was a massive achievement for me and it will be interesting to see if I can beat that time next year!
Altogether it was a great weekend and The Nuts Challenge is definitely one of those races challenges I always seem to return to. I will certainly be back to attempt the March edition, though perhaps with a wetsuit in hand. It really is a great course and I would love to be given the chance to try and complete as many laps as possible in 24 hours like other events held in the US…