NUCLEAR FALLOUT– Donna Jenner-Hall

Nakedness is frowned on by some. Having only ever done 2 Nuclear events in the past, both of which were supporting the Blesma wave and run for fun, I knew I was up for a tough race by starting in the first wave.

The grey, cold, dreary morning was not remotely welcoming when I crawled out of bed at 0630hrs. The temptation to crawl back under the covers after I’d peered out the window was hard to resist but I took myself downstairs and it wasn’t long before the excitement kicked in. Bag packed and ready to go the night before meant I just had my morning dose of coffee and breakfast to sort, and I was out the door. (You’ll be pleased to know I got dressed first. Nakedness is frowned upon by some.)

The journey was problem free, parking easy as pi, registration very clear and very straightforward. The rain was not a pleasant addition to the already cold start. You could say it put a bit of a dampener on it (boom boom) but that’s just not true, the atmosphere was buzzing, the event village was fantastic, literally something there for everyone. They make it a family event, not just a runner’s race.

So, bag dropped and shout outs a plenty for the first wave to enter the warm up area and start zone and before we know it we’re off! It seemed like a mad panic rush to get down the first hill, into the water, up the other side of the ditch and back in the water again before scrambling up the hill where the pack starts to thin out a bit. A few nice easy climb through’s and I’m settling into my own pace.

Having run Nuclear before I had a vague idea of what was to come, or so I thought! WRONG. A completely different mix up, obstacles had moved, new ones had appeared, routes had change, the general brilliance of the whole shebang remained.

In my opinion, this race has it all. Some of the familiar suspects are there such as walls, a frames, tyre scrambles, mud slides, tyre wall, rope swings, pulley, slackline, cargo nets, carries, drags and oh mud, there’s lots of mud. The rain this day just made it all the more fun. Now, if you’ve never experienced a Nuclear Race before then you definitely need to. The more innovative obstacles like: para plunge (zip line), helix, spinning monkeys, death slide, atlas stones, weaver, pole traverse, fireman’s floating pole, the chain drag, dragons back, ninja rings….. I could go on and on. Some of these obstacles you’ll have NEVER seen anywhere else.

The huge fire added enormous clout to the adrenaline surrounding the death slide and zip line area. Again, I was caught out here as I thought I knew the route but nope, proven wrong again as I was sent out of this zone and would come back later to complete the rest.

What I particularly like about this race is the innovative obstacles which just seem to get better and better each time, and each time I’ve returned here I overcome an old fear and maybe gain a new one. The Nuclear obstacles definitely pack a punch.

Wild forest gym, quite rightly placed within the woods, was a great insight as to what they have, it’s now on my to-do list to visit them in the future too.

Fave part for me?? That hot orange from the Pit Stop out on course! Man oh man did that go down well? Totally unexpected so it was the best surprise ever for me. Favourite obstacle? It has to be the zip line. Nuclear team and finish line - I was looking forward to that final GONG!! Muddy hugs and medal at the ready, the welcoming committee were full of smiles to bring us all home.

A quick dunk in the sheep dip then that lovely warm shower to look forward to meant I was reasonably presentable for public viewing once I’d got dressed in the ever so welcome heated changing rooms. T-shirt collected and tea (in my case a cup of hot water for my cuppa soup) and I was all but done.

TI wandered back out to welcome others over the line then took off to review the village and start area for the waves that continued to sprawl out over the land. Still all high spirits, things going well, happy finishers, slightly nervous newcomers and excited ready to goers. I wandered down to watch some competitors battle their fears of heights, climbs, jumps before I decided to call it a day. The mood and buzz about the day seemed to be constant throughout.

So, commenting on the practical side of things:
Toilets – plenty of them and conveniently placed.
Shelter in the event village – a sweet touch when seeking cover from the elements.
Bag drop - a long queue but moved quickly and efficiently.
Warm up – just what I needed and totally sufficient.Merchandise and food vendors – something for most peoples tastes.
Marshals – what a brilliant team we seem to be wracking up here in the UK. Despite the weather and temperature, I genuinely felt that they all wanted to be there and were enjoying what they do. Sometimes all you need is a smile or a little bit of encouragement and they had that by the bundle load so well done you lovely lot. Thank you for making the day what it was.

To all the rest of the team working away for months and months behind the scenes I thank you. It’s clearly apparent how much hard work goes into make Nuclear races what it is. James Parish. Well done on producing such a brilliant event. Your team have done you proud.

I’ve been trying to think of a negative or constructive comment I can feed back to you but the only moan I picked up on was the waiting for the road crossing. Something which just has to be that way though and certainly not important enough to deter anyone from returning.

Hats off to you all. Well done.


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