We're pretty darn excited here at Mudstacle HQ. The Nuts Challenge is always a highlight of the obstacle racing calendar and we can't wait to see what this weekend brings. For anyone who hasn't run the Nuts course before, you are going to have the most amazing time - I guarantee it.
More than any other event, Nuts has the potential to take you by surprise. Weather conditions make the course unique every time you run it. As long as you're prepared for anything and are willing to wear a smile, everything will be dandy. To help you prepare for the course and have a better experience, have a quick read through our Top 10 Last Minute Tips:
1) Secure your shoes REALLY well - The course is wetter than it has ever been and, once a few thousand people have trudged through, it's likely to be 7km of churned up sticky mud that will be hungry for shoes. Tie your laces as tightly as is comfortable, do a double knot and then tuck the loose ends underneath your tightened laces.
2) Dress for the cold and wet - Temperatures will be between 6 and 10 degrees over the weekend - toasty by winter obstacle racing standards - but BEWARE! You will be soaking wet for most of the course and with the wind it will feel very cold. Rule number 1 - DON'T WEAR COTTON - you will freeze in it. Stick to man made fabrics and technical base layers (the kind of thing you'd wear skiing is good). Merino wool is perfect if you have any of that. If you're running multiple laps, definitely consider wearing multiple layers and maybe incorporate a neoprene top if you have one.
3) Pad your knees and elbows - This isn't essential, but if you don't do it prepare to get the odd graze or torn bit of clothing. Neoprene supports are ideal.
4) Take a look at a few technique tips - You don't need to practice any of the obstacle beforehand but it's good to think about your techniques. Have a look at our tips for: rope swings, cargo net climbs, tyre wall, over and through tyres, fireman's pole.
5) Be prepared for a muddy car park - The organisers have sectioned off a dry field so there shouldn't be too many problems but please be understanding. They're battling with some really difficult conditions. Try to car share as much as possible and avoid getting angry if there are slight delays or if anyone gets stuck. They are very well prepared with a lot of 4x4s on hand to help out where needed and will work through any problems as swiftly as they can.
6) Be awesome to marshals - I love marshals and especially the ones at Nuts. They have helped me to get through some pretty dark times! They are all there for you - whether you need help, advice or just somebody to smile and wave at. Again, they'll be battling with challenging conditions this weekend (awesome conditions to race in... less awesome to deal with from an organiser's point of view). So always be nice and you will be blessed with good juju.
7) Secure your timing chip and don't forget to give it back - When you arrive on site you'll be given a timing chip and zip ties to fasten them to your shoes - make sure you do that well. I've lost chips before and it's really annoying because it's difficult or sometimes impossible to get your time registered. The zip ties should do the trick though. Make sure you give them back once you cross the line - there will be marshals ready to cut them off your feet.
8) Take provisions if you're running multiple laps - If you're running more than one lap you'll be able to leave food and drink in the transition area. Take a distinctive bag so that you can recognise your stuff quickly. Take energy snacks, bananas and something to drink (my personal favourite is a thermos flask of hot energy drink). If you're doing three or four laps make sure you force something down - you're going to need it!
9) Get warm and dry ASAP afterwards - When you finish the race you're going to lose heat quickly. Make use of the bag drop area so that your clothes and a large towel are easily accessible. Head there as soon as you can after you cross the line (you can stand around and natter later). Don't worry about the mud, you can have a shower when you get home. Strip your wet clothes off as soon as possible, wipe off the worst of the muck with your towel and then get lots of warm clothes on. Once you've done that, go and buy yourself a hot cup of sweet tea - it will taste like heaven (even if you don't normally take sugar).
10) If you're competing don't cut corners - Most people on the one lap event are out to have fun - so enjoy the experience and push your boundaries as far as you can, you'll feel amazing afterwards if you do. If you can't manage anything on the course don't worry - try and beat it next time. However, if you are competing in multiple laps (especially on the Sunday) please play fair. Make sure you complete ALL obstacles. If you skip anything you will be subject to a 30 second stop-and-go time penalty, which will be enforced by the marshals (remember - always be awesome to marshals).
I hope that's useful and I'm sure you're going to have an amazing time regardless. Come and swing by the Mudstacle stand to say hi. There will be a few bargains to be had!
If you aren't currently a Mudstacle Member, we have a special discount for Nuts Challenge runners here. If you register for that, you'll get insured to take part in the event (and others like it for a whole year) and you'll get plenty of other goodies.