The Nuts Challenge 05/03/2017

I am going to start this review a bit different that previous ones. I am really proud to say that Mudd Matters will be celebrating our 1st Anniversary on the 17th of this month. We’ve been all over the country visiting and reviewing races and products and ran over 100 races between us so it’s fair to say that we know a thing or two about Obstacle Course Racing. I am not saying that we are the best of the best but we are able to offer a great all round perspective on races, from kid’s races, fun runner races, through to the competitive side of things.

Over the last year we have met a huge amount of people and I’ve come to the decision (through feedback) that I’m going to take a more personal approach on the reviews. Our reviews will still have structure to them but be more…personal.

For those of you who don’t know how we work; we have one person (either Steven or I) who takes part in a race, the other person either becomes a marshal for the event or has free reign of the course so that they can review the quality of obstacles and get more of an insider’s point of view. We then usually have another runner (chosen at random through our Facebook page) who will run the same race at a different distance. At the end of the race we then get that runners’ perspective, speak to other people who have taken part in the race, the race director and collaborate to form an all around, thorough review for you guys.

Snapshot

The Nuts Challenge is set in the beautiful countryside in Dorking, Surrey. They offer a laps race; 1, 2, 3 or 4 (if you’re crazy enough). The laps are about 7 – 8k each but are seriously not to be laughed as it is very obstacle heavy.

Prices start at £55.99 for 1 lap and rise to £67.99 for 4 laps. Very reasonably priced for what you get.

What do you get? The race, a pretty cool tech tee, a medal which changes for each race they put on through the year, chip timing and a nice hot drink to warm you up at the end.

Terrain: 

The terrain was very varied but due to the horrendous weather conditions parts of the course felt like I was doing an impression of Bambi on ice. The mud was everywhere. I personally love mud but some types of mud are a nightmare to try and run on. There was plenty of this type of mud which made it really hard to try and get warm on any open running sections.

There were a few hills, especially in the woodland area where they very ‘kindly’ added a sandbag carry and later on the course, a ‘delightful’ tyre carry. By the time most people had come to this point (about 6k in) they were exhausted and I saw plenty of people losing hope when their tyre decided to roll back down the hill they’d so painfully carried up it.

Plenty of water! Most of the water wasn’t deep but was freezing cold. Runners’ commented on how torturous it was thinking they’d just finished with the water sections, only to turn a corner and have to get back in it. There was a large water section which involved a number of technical obstacles and wading through a lake.

Obstacles:

They had a great range of natural and manmade obstacles which were suitable for all abilities. I was really glad to see that they had an easier and harder lane for runners to choose from, depending on what they felt comfortable with.

I was running 1 lap with a lovely Mud Queen (it was her 1st ever race) and we were happy to take the easier options where as the likes of Steven (who did 3 laps) enjoyed the fact that the harder lanes meant that they were kept clear for competitive runners.

I found that there was a really good mix of fun, challenging and technical obstacles and that the obstacles were built really well. The only point I’d make here is that people doing just one or two laps didn’t need to do the ‘Nutcracker’ section which involved monkey bars and more technically demanding obstacles. I felt that there wasn’t enough upper body work on the 1 lap.

Runners who took on 2+ laps said that they were happy that the obstacles were varied so they didn’t kill your legs, then more legs and more legs, but gave them a break between muscle groups, whilst still being physically demanding. Steven said that after the second lap even a small gate was a struggle because the course really sucked everything from you. (Which was clear to see when he’d finished his 3rd lap and cried for about 15 minutes after).

An obstacle that I found difficult was in the water section and basically involved getting across a lake over some floating rubber rings. I got half way and fell in but was super happy that I’d made it across the floating platforms before the rings as I’d failed them on a previous race.

All of the marshals on the course were great and offered help and encouragement to everyone.

You made it! Now what?!

I was so happy to finish and I don’t know one person who wasn’t. What an achievement! It was an absolutely gruelling course and a large percentage of people actually DNF (did not finish). I spoke to one runner who signed up for 3 laps but after half way through lap 1 called it a day. Another runner signed up for 4 laps, completed one and shook the hand of everyone else who completed a lap.

I crossed that finish line with a smile on my face and loved the medal. It’s well made, weighty and a clean, crisp finish. I am really glad that they do a different medal for each event – it makes it that bit more special.

I was met by some bubbly marshals who handed me a hot drink and took of my gloves as I was so cold then off I went to get changed. The changing rooms were terrible. This isn’t necessarily down to the event organisers, they were in a heated marquee but the floor had become well… somewhat of a swamp. The showers didn’t work at all but I think we were all just happy that it was heated.

The event village was really small but had the essentials. A few food stalls (about £4.00 for a burger) well stocked toilets and a sports massage tent.

PROS: 

Value for money

Varied terrain

Suitable for all abilities

Good mix of obstacles

CONS:

Showers didn’t work

Changing room floor became a swamp

Overall Opinion:

The Nuts Challenge was great fun. If you’re looking for a race that offers you everything then this one is worth the money. It caters for all fitness levels and has a really good mix of obstacles and terrain.

Personally, this was my favourite race so far and comes highly recommended by myself and the majority of runners.

The only thing that let’s this down slightly is the changing rooms could use a little bit of work and maybe to introduce a few more upper body obstacles on the 1 – 2 laps.

Overall rating: 9/10 

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