Last year, I was looking through the Obstacle Course Race World Championships (OCRWC) qualification criteria and came across The Nuts Challenge. I remember the title of the run catching my attention but wondering really how nuts it would be…..I guess that I was soon to find out..

It was clear after some initial research that it was going to be a tough challenge. After seeing the snowy pictures from last year, I was really hoping that 2019’s Winter Nuts challenge would not be filled with ice, snow and the freezing of one’s nuts. 



When signing up, you’re soon introduced to the ‘Nuttie Scale,’ a fun way of deciding on which challenge is right for your ability level. Ranging from ‘More Nuts,’ one 7km loop to ‘Limitless Nuts,’ an unlimited amount of 7km loops within the time limit, there’s certainly something for everyone. As a first timer, I wanted to push myself to the limit so I decided to sign up for ‘Complete Nuts,’ which is 3 loops of the 7km course.

One week before the race, I received my event pack in the post, which consisted of my number, a fun tattoo to be applied for the event, my race chip and some QR stickers for photography identification. I was really impressed with the pack and it was clearly labelled to make it really easy for the race day. Shortly before that, I received the email info pack, which highlighted all of the essential information for the day such as parking location, clothing recommendations and expectations.

The night before the event, I was feeling extremely excited and ready (but slightly scared about the weather). With no course map prior to the event, I was eagerly ready to see what the Winter Nuts Challenge had in store for me!


The Village

Parking was really easy to find and with friendly marshals, I popped myself straight into a convenient disabled space near the entrance to the village. Upon arrival, it was pretty clear where I was to go and I headed straight into a tent where I was able to double-check some points that I wasn’t sure on. I was directed towards the start line, where I was able to pick up my bib for OCRWC qualification. The Nuts Challenge had a really fantastic system in place whereby those trying to qualify were given a coloured bib, depending on the number of laps. With 100% obstacle completion needed to qualify, if an individual was unable to complete an obstacle, their bib would be removed and they would not be recorded at the finish line.

With a pre-designated start time, it was clear where and participants needed to go to start their race. After a quick briefing, we were off!

The Course

After a km-or-so of running, we soon hit our first section of obstacles. With loads of water crossings and natural obstacles, I was never bored. Throughout the course, there were marshals everywhere! You would often think you’re alone in the forest and suddenly, there’d be an awesome marshal there to cheer you on and keep you going. They were all fantastic at remembering your face and giving encouraging words when you felt tired. At the obstacles, they were fantastic at giving direction so you knew exactly what was required at each point. The obstacles themselves were really well-made and challenging yet achievable (especially for those of us who are vertically challenged).

Within the technical section, there was an option to bypass a lot of the obstacles by completing ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ With an opportunity to bypass obstacles and therefore save time, I competed the obstacle and therefore overtook a lot of other participants.


The rest of the course was essentially what it said in the title - NUTS! In some areas, incredibly technical with mud so slippery, you were more like skiing instead of running. With multiple river crossings and water points, the final stretch to the end of the lap was finished with a swim through the lake a hop over a pontoon section. When you’re already feeling cold, who doesn’t love a dip in some freezing water!?

At the end of each lap, there was a section for items to be stored so you could fuel up for your second/third/tenth lap. Within the whole course, it was clear where you needed to run and if in doubt, you could simply ask the multitude of willing volunteers!

I’m very proud that I kept my bib on course with 100% obstacle completion.

Overall Impressions

The Nuts Challenge was awarded Mudstacle’s ‘Best Value’ and ‘Toughest Event’ in 2018 and when you’ve run a Nuts event, it’s clear as to why! With the exception of a small improvement that could be made to the finishers shirt, I don’t have anything negative to say about the event. I think the Nuts Challenge has taken its place as my new favourite OCR due to its level of varied obstacles, challenging terrain and conditions as well as the overall organisation of the event. With prices starting from around £50, I’d certainly recommend The Nuts Challenge to anyone!

written by

Jamie Gane

Teacher of Mathematics from Basingstoke

Age group: 25-29

track & field trail obstacle race