Nuclear Races’ “Oblivion” is an 8.5 hour ultra where participants complete as many laps of the “12km” Nuclear Races “Rush” course. Having taken on Europe’s Toughest Mudder two years in a row, I wanted a different challenge – and being based in the day rather than through the night was a distinct attraction!
This post isn’t really about how you should set yourself up for your first endurance race (have a look at this post which may be of interest), but what first-timers should know about Nuclear Races Oblivion race.
- Vest & bling
First of all, the bling is awesome – you are required to complete at least two laps to obtain the Nuclear Races Oblivion medal (it’s the size of a saucer!) whilst one lap completion will receive the Nuclear Races Rush medal. You also receive a personalised vest which is mandatory to wear throughout the race to identify you an an Oblivion runner whilst you’re on course.
The race is advertised at 12km, but like the vast majority of obstacle races, this wasn’t the case. I was clocking it at around 13.5km – plus penalty looks for failing obstacles. The two laps I completed clocked in at 27km. Over 2/3/4 laps this could be an additional 5km in total.
- 100+ obstacles
Actually, I think their actual count was 150+ obstacles per lap. This is relentless, and they don’t count each individual hurdle as an obstacle! The variety is huge, walls, rigs, water slides (7 awesome ones!), trenches, carries, ropes. A lot of upper body strength obstacles, a lot of fun ones, but very few “fillers”. My personal “worst” was Ebeneezer (very sticky mud pit) whilst the most “fun” would be the Death Slides.
- World Qualifying, must complete and penalties
Nuclear Races Oblivion is a OCR World Championship qualifying race. To qualify you must complete 3 laps and all obstacles (or penalties) or if you complete 4 laps within the time, you qualify in the “elite” field.
Of the 150+ obstacles, 13 were deemed to require penalties should you fail it. Penalties included a bit of a run along with another obstacle or carry. These were also supposed to take longer than the original obstacle. If the obstacle or penalty was failed, the participant gave in their band to the course marshal. Of course “fun runners” do not have to complete (or even attempt) obstacles if they didn’t want to.
- Pit Area and Transition Zone
8.5 hours of running and obstacles takes a fair amount of calories. Oblivion runners had their own “pit/transition area” between the start and finish of the course as well as a small fuel station at around half way. Both set up to allow runners to “feed up” and maintain the energy levels. Oblivion runners were allowed their own pit crew as well as a tent in the pit to help them between laps. You were also allowed to leave your nutrition with the race organisers who took it to the mid-way fuel station. Tip – mid-way fueling is as important as in the pit. Think very carefully about what you leave there (for the record, I have mini cans of coke, gels, chocolate and flapjacks).
- Your vest is the golden ticket
Time is of the essence if you are looking to complete 3 or 4 laps. Fortunately marshals and “rush” participants are briefed to give Oblivion runners “right of way” on obstacles (just be courteous) so that you don’t get stuck in queues and can move on as quickly as possible.
- Under-estimate it Nuclear Oblivion at your peril!
I “lost” my band in the first lap and only completed two laps. I had “just” enough time to go out for a third, but I was pretty tired and beaten up after two laps, that I didn’t want to go out for a third and miss the cut off. For any endurance runner, 40ish km within the 8.5 hour time limit (if youre going for three laps) is fine, the trail is good and relatively flat. However, the sheer relentlessness of obstacles throughout the course is energy sapping.
That’s it. I hope you find the 7 tips above useful. I am most likley going back again in 2020 for aim for three – now I have a much better idea of what the course is all about (it had changed a lot since I went in 2016) I can be better prepared for it.
Nuclear Races is a permanent course with various races throughout the year. For more information follow the link – https://nuclear-races.co.uk If you are after an “oblivion” place, be sure to book early as there are limit places available.