Monday, 14 December 2015

A Guest Post from Tina Death - NUCLEAR RACE

Facebook - I’d been tagged, "anyone up for this?"  A fun day, in aid of the Danny Green fund, a little boy who’d died from a brain tumour.  Of course I was up for it, it’s for charity.  I replied, "yes I’m in."  [from Everdayfolk - When I received this guest post, I wasn't familiar with this charity, but having looked it up, and the condition Posterior Fossa Syndrome, I want to give a big thumbs up and thanks to Tina for doing her bit for these children, thumbs up thank you] 
I was committed now, for what, I had no idea, it didn’t matter, every penny is going to help suffering children.

Immediately, I tagged my friend Jane, she didn’t know at the time but she was in too, I made sure.
A few days later details of the event were posted.  12th September, noted in my diary. Suitable for all fitness levels. Great, I’m not fit.  Course consists of obstacles and lots of mud.  Mud!  I can’t do mud, I can’t even walk on wet grass.  A direct message arrived; having t-shirts made for the race, what size are you?  I panicked.  Did she say race?  Race!  I haven’t run in years. I’m fifty four, I can’t run. I didn’t even own a pair of trainers.
One week before the ‘race’ I decided I’d best go and buy some trainers.  The cheapest ones I could find, well I’ll never wear them again.

(some of the younger ones)
Jane and Tina
‘D’ day arrived and everyone had gathered in the car park at the Nuclear Race Centre; twenty-two acres nestled amongst woodlands and farmlands in Kelvedon, Brentwood.  We were a group of thirteen, most were young and fit looking in their tight Lycra.  Even at this point I had no idea what challenges were ahead. 

Lisa and Tracy - volunteers
There were three event leaders; Tracy, Lisa and Scott and they informed us that we had to register and sign a disclaimer form.  I signed my life away and I don’t mind telling you at this point I was extremely nervous.  

After a quick safety talk we were told we had to warm-up.  Stretching, I thought.  Wrong. We had to jog around a course that snaked through the woods following our team leader.  
Three leaders had been assigned to our group, front, middle and back who kept cheering us on.  I couldn’t even complete the warm-up without stopping. Jog, walk, jog, walk, already I was puffed out, and felt so unfit and totally out of my depth and we hadn’t even started yet.
I will not bore you with details of every obstacle as there were thirty in-all.  This is just a snap-shot of my experience. 
Jane exiting the tyre challenger
Tina mid human wringer
Deep in the woods we were stopped by a wall of lorry tyres, about twenty across, two high and threaded onto a large pole.  Each tyre varied slightly in size.
I thought we’d have to climb over them, wrong we had to scramble through them, like a human wringer. No problem.  I watched others disappear into the world of rubber.  It was my turn.  Gritting my teeth and with my head down I pushed myself through expecting to see daylight.  How wrong was I, it was dark, tight and immediately I began to panic.
The tyres were five deep, I tried desperately to pull myself through but as the tyres varied in size I kept getting stuck, my breathing quickened and the stench of rubber that clogged my nose was overpowering.  Over and over I kept telling myself to calm down.  I could hear everyone on the other side laughing and calling out words of encouragement.  I began to use my feet, pushing myself forward but every time I pushed down the tyres moved it was slow going but eventually I saw daylight.  My head was free, I smiled calling out to Jane for help.  This for me was the worst challenge being trapped is and has always been one of my worst nightmares.   
The next few challenges were mainly climbing up and over rope nets and were I suppose more about coordination and technique, I found these to be awkward but not difficult.
After we’d finished this section of challenges we had to jog through the woods until we came to a freshly ploughed field then continue to the other side.  To say I was out of breath was an understatement by this time my body was hurting.   

We arrived at our first water challenge and had a small lecture about mud.  The mud being our worst enemy as it was prone to sucking your trainers off.

We were led to a steep dirt bank at a guess about fifteen feet high, with no vegetation to grip.  This on its own was difficult, my legs killed, I’d used muscles I’d forgot I had and was relieved to see hands reaching down to help pull me up.  So a big thank you and thumbs up to those hands thumbs up.

On the other side of the hill there were several wooden boards’ side-by-side, about ten inches wide that stretched out over a lake.  We had to walk the plank.  I froze as I saw everyone jump off the end and disappear.  Slowly, I walked to the end and looked down I can only describe what I saw as a floating mattress.  We had to jump onto it then into the lake.
This was it, I was about to jump into the brown muddy water and wade across to two lines of floating steel barrels.  I was nervous, I hate water, I can swim I just don’t like it.   
Without hesitating further I jumped down and straight into the lake.  It was freezing.  I had to catch my breath before wading over to the drums.  
The challenge, to dive underneath the barrels.  The first one was ok, as I came up everyone was applauding me, shouts of, "well done Tina," echoed around the lake.  It made me smile.  It made me feel good about myself so thanks and thumbs up thumbs up to everyone who encouraged me.  It worked.  I dived under the second row of barrels but as I went to stand I lost my footing and fell head first swallowing a large amount of stinky, muddy water ending in a coughing fit but help was at hand from Jane and people I didn’t even know, one person helped me to my feet whilst the other patted my back. Thanks again thumbs up.
Composed and very grateful I made my way over towards the wall of tyres, where some were already climbing up and over.  It seemed to take me forever.  Mud with the consistency of clay was like quick-sand. With every step I sunk down to my knees, this is where we had to make sure we didn’t lose our trainers, I gripped my toes as tight as I could but with nothing to hold onto every step was arduous, I didn’t want to lose my footing, the water at this stage was thigh high, my strength began to wane as I had to use my body weight to pull my feet out of the ever sucking mud, over and over.

I made it to the wall of tyres and surprised myself that I managed to climb over only to jump back down into the muddy waters. Mud attacked my trainers, again.  

By this time my legs had gone, they were hurting bad and every step was a struggle.  Eventually, I managed to haul myself up onto the bank and collapsed.  I still had to face a twenty foot dirt bank with lengths of rope, the problem was I was smothered head to toe in mud and couldn’t get a grip with my hands or feet.  Not bothering with the rope I dug my fingers into the soil determined to reach the top.
As I was one of the last ones to complete the task there was no time for a breather, Tracy, Lisa and Scott had us on our way.
My body had had enough.  I told Tracy that I didn’t think I could do anymore, she was sympathetic and told me that the next few challenges were not as difficult; these were the fun ones:  Zip wire, death slide and a balancing challenge over another lake. 
"Is there any more mud?" I asked.  She smiled at me and said, "no.  There’s no more mud."
Still my body was saying no, but I knew in my heart of hearts if I were to give up I’d be really annoyed with myself. A failure. 
The tenacious side of me kicked in, I was not going to give up. I won’t give up. 
Tracy was right; the rest of the challenges were fun although the tight rope across the lake took all my concentration against jeers of laughter and threats of rope shaking it didn’t work.  I succeeded.  So thanks again to Tracy and Lisa for keeping me going
thumbs up
Finally, after two hours and forty five minutes I had completed the 3.5k Nuclear challenge.  Boy did I feel good, invigorated and very, very proud of myself but it was when the parents of Danny Green came over and thanked all of us that every aching muscle, every bruise, every cut that I’d sustained was truly worth it. So a thank you to Danny's parents, Lisa and Chris, for thanking us thumbs up. Also a special thanks to my dear friend Jane, not only for being a great sport, but for her encouragement and support throughout the challenge.  Thank you thumbs up thumbs up.
For me, the best bit was the burger at the end, a welcome treat.  It was delicious and devoured within minutes. And, I received a fantastic medal. 
Would I do it again?  Yes.

Am I going to do it again?  Yes.  May 2016, only this time I will have to train as this next challenge is 6.5k and it is a race.  
[from Everdayfolk - When the page is set up for donations, it will be added here]

If you’d like to see more pictures of my Nuclear experience you can see these at YouTube YouTube/NuclearJuiceDay - and I would like to add a big thanks to Helen thumbs up for all her hard work organising the event, t-shirts etc., it was great meeting other JP members, (Juice Plus is all about clean, healthy living.  If you'd like to find out more you can contact helen via facebook - - Helen Juice Plus Chaplin.  She'd love to hear from you). 

Also, if you are interested in taking up the Nuclear experience yourself go to you can find them and, finally, but most importantly, if you would like more information or to donate to the Danny Green fund please go to    

Tina Death is an aspiring author,
 she can be found on twitter @novelbird


  1. Wow! Fantastic Tina. Well done you :)

    1. Thanks Karen all for a good cause. And, I did feel good after even though I didn't look it!!

    2. Thanks Karen, all for a very good cause. I did feel good after even though I didn't look it.

  2. I am in awe of your achievement, Tina. Going through the tyres sounds terrifying! Well done :-) xx

    1. Thank you Teresa. It was for me but it's amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it, plus I had wonderful friends helping me.

  3. From the pictures it looks really funny - but reading closely, I'm not sure I fancy going through the wringer! Well done for doing it. I bet that burger (and drink?) tasted AMAZING! X

    1. Thanks Emily. The tyre challenge was awful let alone the stench of rubber. Unfortunately no drink. I made up for that in the evening.

  4. What a wonderful achievement and a great post. Love those action pics! Jane Isaac x

  5. Thanks Jane, it certainly was a bitter sweet experience.

  6. Bloody Norah! Squeezing through the car tyres 5 deep would have done for me without question. As a small child I used to have a (fever) nightmare about exactly this, waking up terrified, claustrophobic and screaming every time. It makes me shudder just to think of it. Many years later, a medic reckoned I was somehow re-living my birth - being squeezed through narrow circles. Maybe; certainly my Mum said it was "difficult". These kinds of challenges can throw that kind of shit at you unexpectedly, so you are a real heroine to get through it. Good for you....and again in May? Jeez.

  7. Brilliant, Tina! You're a far braver woman than me. Those tyres sound terrifying - one of my worst fears is of being trapped. And the smell of rubber... You deserve ten medals. Father Christmas had better be generous to you this year.
    Rebecca Holmes xx

    1. Ha ha thanks Rebecca much appreciated. Trust me I'm not brave! So long as I get a diary I'm happy :) xx

  8. Thank you so much Keith for taking the time to read and review, I know you are a busy man writing and running your bar (you lucky devil). The brain certainly sends out many messages when you feel trapped and it seems that this is most peoples nightmare...perhaps you have a point.
    Thanks again Keith, much appreciated :)

  9. Wow - I'm exhausted just reading this. Super impressed, though. You definitely earned that burger and the medal. Very well done. xx