In short: Hardest HR ever - Just what it should be - sorts the though from those that think they are. In full: Done all three locations now in mankini (south twice) and in all honesty this one was THE BEST. I like events that provide a challenge. I like events that create a divide between those that just want fun with a little stress, and those that want a REAL test of their metal. This was one of those runs. I completely understand the fine ballance the organisers must strike to get the numbers signed up for cost value, and then the dilemma of scaring people away. This year, Up North got it right. We were blessed with terrible weather the night BEFORE the event which set the terrain conditions on the day. It would have been quite a different thing if the weather on the day had been as it was in the afternoon! The distance was perfect (not too short to make it easy, and not too long given the effort needed to get through). I appreciate the concerns of others regarding the water hazards but as tough as they were, they certainly tested those who entered them. The first one (up to the hip in mud) - bit of a wait as the majority wanted to take a safer path. I plunged right in and then had to haul myself on the belly to get out. The second one (200m of various depths of pitch water). Much longer wait here due to single file. Fair comment regarding health and safety. I felt confident however, that everyone in the water would have helped anyone in distress (as some did). Having a boat out there might have been proved too risky (tipped over - used excessivley as a simple get out) - let alone having someone IN the water to help out. This, I think, was a calculated risk, and relied on US, THE RUNNERS, to self police / manage. The final water of significance - The bog of doom was quality. I felt like a gladiator being cheered on by the baying crowd. The mud was hip depth, tough to get out of and just what was needed to put a final coat of muck over you. Can you imagine the number of "wardrobe malfunctions" I had in my mankini? What the hell! It's all in the name of fun. I loved the hills - they took thought and effort and teamwork to climb. All I heard was the moans of people looking up behind me. Can't think what the problem was!! LOL. The whole route kept me guessing, afforded great views and plenty of mixed terrain. The organisation was slick and smooth. The marshals were very good, the spectators were the best yet. Great goddie bag, quality tech T-shirt. The medal and goodie bag presentation was fast and helped prevent further cold related issues. The hose down was a good though but WOW was it cold! A MASIVE thank you to the uniform staff that helped, the medical staff, the marshals, the organisers, the road users who were patient and the other users of the forest. Suggestions - 1) Perhaps, for all events - a free handout or signage to spectators showing the locations of the "hazard" for ease of finding. 2) Later start for the second wave, as they were soon on us and were held up - difficult I know but I felt for the lead runners. 3) Free hot drink at the end for runners. Conclusion = KEEP IT THIS TOUGH.
In short: Cold, tough race could have been trouble for some In full: 3rd year Ive done the Hell run. Some plus points to start. Parking facilities were increased. Hills of Hell seemed to have increased for the better. Good fun scrambling. Started near the back so very muddy but not a problem. Problems though with queue for the first bog (bang goes personal best!) though everyone passed through ok. Next water/bog was bad. Standing in freezing water for 20-25mins. Should have been marshalled at the front to send people through at a decent rate. Many people with crippling cramp, slowed things down even further. Couldn't feel anything below the waist after that. Ambulance crews dealt with several people suffering. Appreciated Marshall handing out thermal sheets about a mile before the finish line. Final bog not a problem; straight through. Thanks for the spectators hanging on for us stragglers and encouraging the final 1/4 mile.Down side again; the venders had run out of hot drinks and closed the stalls with lots of people still finishing. Date of review: November 4, 2012
In short: Challenging and a little bit scary in places In full: I'm still buzzing from this run. I loved the challenges of the hills, tracks and yes, the water! The spectators at the end were great, the commentator was entertaining and I liked the touch of the fire service hosing us down at the end. Although the lake/bog stretch was long and my feet were like ice when I got out, and being an earlier finisher, I didn't have to wait behind anyone, I do sympathise with those that were stuck in it for a long period of time. But it IS an adventure type race and people can overtake. A down side was that I did not see any marshals or life guards on the lake section, which was very lax on the side of safety. The rescue people at the final bogs of doom would have better employed in the lake. But overall, I loved it Date of review: November 4, 2012
In short: did this race back in 2007, this was definately a longer, harder and colder course, the additional Lake was a surprise, it did take 15 minutes to finally get through it due to the queues, however it thought it was a brilliant race and will be back Date of review: November 4, 2012
In short: Hard going but a great race In full: This was my first Hell Up North. I'd been told how hard it was but after the first few miles I was wondering what all the fuss was about.
Then we hit our first obstacle, a short, muddy bog. That was just a mild introduction. Near-vertical climbs and long steep descents soon followed, lots more mud then, the lake.
That was pretty hard core - waist deep with much deeper patches - I slipped up to my neck a couple of times. It took ages to get through it, probably 15 minutes and that's a long time to be in deep water so it was hard going. However, it only took so long as everyone was following the person in front to try to get an idea of what was ahead - there were loads of people charging past through untested ground, anyone could have done the same to get out quicker.
Once out the other side my feet were like ice but a few minutes of running soon warmed them up again.
The bog of doom at the end was brutal too, really deep muddy holes some of which were pretty hard to get out of. Here was my only real complaint - the tapes holding the spectators back had been trampled down so they all moved forward and were pretty in your face, stood right next to the bogs, you almost had to push past them.
Overall though it was hard going but great fun with a real feeling of accomplishment to finish. People should definitely be aware though that it is hard going, very cold and wet, steep climbs and descents and neck deep water and mud. The weather was pretty sunny too, if it were cold and wet it would have been ten times worse. Plus I'm still grimy two showers later. Date of review: November 4, 2012
In short: Just keeps getting better! In full: This was my 4th time running Hell up North and it just keeps getting better. Loved the longer course this year and the lake was a cruel but worthy addition. Thanks to all the marshalls and other volunteers who had to stand in the freezing cold for much longer than us, you were brilliant. Bring it on - more of the same next year please!! Date of review: November 4, 2012
In short: Very hard, and cold, and painfull In full: Been reading the other reviews on this and not all fair. This run is titled the Hell Run. probaly a clue to what to expect! The lake was so so cold, I started screaming. You didnt have to que for anything. Yes there was que's but you can run around them and take a Harder route, deeper, steeper ways! at one point I was swiming to overtake! I was only in the water a few mins, if you want you can walk so and follow the person in front and stay there for 30 mins, no thanks! The bogs of doom where fun. People lined the sides chearing you on. If you did the run you mite remember me in the army morph suit! Date of review: November 4, 2012
In short: A run of mud, water and lovely trail. In full: Love this event and have done it before but the lake bit was too much. If we had just crossed it and got out, fine. But to stand in it for 30 minutes up to my chest in some palces was horrible. I was wearing a chest camera and was worried about ruining it. Luckily I was running with 5 other ladies as some of them were properly scared. A nice bloke (Tom) near us helped us and let one of us hang on to him. This part was quite dangerous and could have ended really badly for some people. I have no problems with wet, muddy conditions Muddier the better), jumped through all the bogs with joy, but this bit was really bad. It would put me off doing this race again. Having said that we had a great time, loved the bog of doom. Hated the wave 2 runners pushing past us all on narrow slippy sections, very rude some of them (not all of them). Would like to try down south or in the middle. Date of review: November 4, 2012
In short: Great until mile 10 In full: The first six miles of this race were great. I was almost wondering why I had been so worried about doing it. Beautiful forest paths, mud, a glorious autumn day. Around mile 6.5 there was the first swamp and a bug queue for it but that wasn't oo much of an issue. Lots of people there to help at the top of the bank. The in got much harder after this with a few steep muddy banks, streams, mud galore and steep descents. Still all great fun. Then came mile ten and the lake.. A big queue to get in and then we were stood in the freezing cold water up to our waists and not moving. I checked my watch later and we were actually in that lake for 25 minutes. My feet and toes were throbbing with pain and I was worried about hypothermia. A very kind man helped me across by testing the way as one step to the right and I was up to my chest. We had taken the path through the middle of the lake so we were a good bit away from any bank and not a marshal in sight. Two lady marshals were at the other end - I don't know what they would've done if there was an emergency as they did not look strong enough to pull anybody out of that lake. It would have been left up to the other runners to deal with any emergency situation which is irresponsible on the part of the organisers. The last two miles I just wanted it to end. I was up for a challenge but I didn't expect to be taking a stupid risk with my life (that's how serious the situation could have been). No, I wouldn't do thy race again purely because of that lake. Date of review: November 4, 2012