The Nuts Challenge is a 7km assault course where competitors have the option of 1, 2, 3 or 4 laps. I’ve always opted for the Tough Nuts (28km) option and currently hold the course record for the September (and much warmer) edition. However, for the March version of the race I DNF’d last year after 3.5 laps; too cold to continue safely, I was beaten by the course…
Although it was not as cold as last year, the conditions on the day were grim! It was the muddiest / slipperiest course I have ever ran on, requiring a massive amount of energy just to move forward – let alone haul yourself up and down steep banks and hills. This showed in the final finishing times with mine being nearly an hour longer than last Septembers Race. Needless to say: without the added grip of my inov8’s I would probably have been an hour longer still. The wind also had a part to play, with already wet clothes being deep chilled in exposed areas of the course.
I have learnt a great deal since last year and would like to think the added experience is what helped me through. I was better prepared clothing wise, as well as listening to my body during the race and adapting to try and combat fatigue and hypothermia. With that being said it was still a battle; by the fourth lap I was pretty empty and glad to finally finish, get a cup of tea, and snuggle into my DryRobe to warm up.
Fourth and final lap…
This year the Nuts Challenge definitely felt like a race and I found myself asking for updates on my position surprisingly often. In previous years I have won by an hour and a half or 40 minutes so to have someone only a minute behind me for the first lap certainly changed my attitude! At one point in the race I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, but someone telling me a slightly mis-calculated lead time forced me to suck it up and get moving quicker. As it turned out I was a lot further in the lead than the person originally thought.
Fastest lap times from the weekend’s version of the race. The 4 lappers / Tough Nuts set the majority of the fastest lap times with the quickest set by Sam from RPCC Elite and myself.
Anyone who completes 4 laps in winter should be immensely proud, especially if it was your first time on the course. A special mention will have to go to team mates Ross Macdonald and Clare Miller as well as Sam Cherry and James Appleton who set immensely quick times over four laps even though they were virgins to the course and format. I don’t think I could have matched their performance without my knowledge of the course and experience of racing there previously. Since my first Nuts Challenge in 2012, I have completed 15.5 laps of the course and needed every bit of that experience to get round safely on Sunday…
My lap times with a total time of 3:47:59.
Team inov-8 OCR (which I am privileged to be a member of) had a fantastic launch weekend. With the performances we put in I really think we have set the bar high for other teams to match. Our next event will be Rock Solid Race in Exeter on the 15th March. Stay tuned!
Newly formed team inov-8 OCR