The newest and most exciting competitive race on UK soil has its inaugural event tomorrow at Nuclear Races.
We’re expecting to see some of the best UK athletes go head to head tomorrow (especially since they’re all setting off in one big wave per gender). We’ll be there covering the best of the action, but in the meantime, let’s look at the ones to watch in what will be a fast paced and riotous race.
Let's hear it for the boys:
Well, it wouldn’t be a one-to-watch article without Tristan Steed. Totally dominant at the top of the Mudstacle League right now, he has taken every race comfortably in his stride. We see no reason for him to come out anywhere but on the podium tomorrow.
Absolute favourite Conor Hancock is also racing, and his sheer power alone will put him in the running for a podium. Conor is suited to the terrain and types of obstacles that we see at Nuclear, and he does well in the cold (we’ve seen him crack sheet ice with his head), so he’ll be a formidable contender out there.
Of course, the Jasons are not to be ignored. Jason Brunnock is an absolute powerhouse that doesn’t let anything phase him, and though he’s not been racing in the Autumn League, he was at number 3 in spring. Will a well-rested Jason, after a great performance at the worlds, jostle his way on to the podium? Let’s just see.
Jason Burgess is another that we cannot discount. A steady, but pacey runner who, whilst in the masters category, usually leaves younger competitors for dust, is going to be tough to beat.
A cheeky little wildcard would be Ross MacDonald. If he’s fit and he gets off to a good start, he might just push for the whole race, and when he does, it’s always a good show. He’s been off and on with injury, but we never discount this little rascal.
Okay, Ladies, now let's get in formation:
The ladies’ race is bound to be an interesting battle to the bitter end. Natasha Mansell has retired through injury, leaving her position at first in the league very vulnerable, and believe me, there are plenty of contenders ready to claw their way to a very good standing indeed.
Just 21 points behind Natasha is Becky Rendell, a consistently good performer, who does not let a bit of cold weather put her off, as illustrated by her killer performances at Nuts. As a member of Nuclear Phoenix, Becky is on home turf, and she works hard. An inspiration to watch on the course, our money is on this girl.
Of course Andrea Berquez is not going to let her just get away with it. A very solid performer and a focused racer, Andrea will fight to the very end for a top spot in this race. She’s not attended many autumn league races, but don’t let that fool you - she’s a springtime champion that’s been training hard.
Laura Heywood, another strong competitor, even in the cold. She has fought Becky for position until the bitter end, and it’s that ‘never give up’ attitude that will get her through almost anything. A joy to watch when racing, she always maintains a smile, but underneath it is steely determination. She was a little bit injured at worlds, but perhaps some TLC and rest will have her primed and ready for this race.
Don’t let the humble demeanour of Josie Nye allow you to take down your guard. This lady has come on leaps and bounds, and is quietly clambering up the league tables. She’s strong in winter races; she put in a killer performance at Winter Nuts this year. Underestimate her at your peril.
Steph Johnston was the highest scoring British lady at the OCR World Championships. That was an incredibly tough course over some difficult terrain, so this puts her in an incredible position for taking some prisoners on the Nuclear course. Absolutely one to watch your back for.
Kate Stilwell is another who put in a storming performance in the Spring league, but has been tucked away thus far in the Autumn league. She is an excellent competitor and we expect to see her vying for a good spot. We’re also very interested to see the fight that Nicki Johnson puts up. Another Nuclear Phoenix on home turf, currently enjoying third place in the league, we’d be in remiss to let her slip through the net. None of these ladies will give in without a good scrap.
Who are your favourites for tomorrow? We have a team on the ground following the action – where do you think we should be looking for the first Nuclear Challenge Cup champion?