In short: Fun, cold, hard as hell In full: Well organised before the start. Plenty of people helping out, and lots of space to mill around and wait.
Two starting waves - half an hour apart - which was a good idea. The first wave started 10 minutes late, and that impacted the second wave - and I think the second wave started around 15 minutes late eventually because the first wave got in the way of the proposed starting route of the second wave.
12 to 13 mile course.
The first mile or two were essentially just cross-country; up and down fields and hills, wonderful scenery, past the odd (angry) cow, and fairly easy terrain.
After we looped back over the the starting line, the run took an interesting turn into a forest. We didn't emerge from the trees until the very end of the race. Slippery, steep muddy hills became commonplace; and lots of people were falling about everywhere. Some parts were single-file, but only for short stretches.
Very nice atmosphere.
After around 7 miles or so came 'the bog'. As others have said, it was a waist/chest high mud/sludge/ice mixture which was unavoidable. Pretty fun getting through it, very sticky, but well manned - and music pumping through speakers to help you get out! Nice touch.
Lots of people mentioning they were freezing by this stage; some very numb looking feet, and people began to ask if there was a drinks station anywhere on the course. There was one - at around mile 6 I think - with people giving out water. Much appreciated.
The course carried on climbing and falling over very steep hills - two stretches of uphill terrain were nigh on vertical. Very challenging and unique obstacle - a couple of people had quite nasty falls after they slipped, but the worst injuries were only to pride.
The next challenge - at around mile 8 I think - was a stream - basically 40 feet or so through a knee-high water. People started to grumble at this stage due to the extreme cold. The November afternoon gave us wonderfully still and sunny weather - but the thermometer must have maxed out at around 4 degrees in the shade, which left a lot of people very uncomfortable. Can't complain to the organisers on this - people knew what they were in for!
The final few miles were typically woody and tough - but then came a long stretch of the course in chest-high water. What made it extremely annoying was the queue; we were stood in water for what felt like about 10 minutes waiting for people in front to move. One lady comforted her friend as she tried to stave off the cold with a sad bout of icy tears.
Seemed pretty dangerous to have everyone stood around in such cold, deep water for so long; maybe a small amount of marshalling would have gone a long way on this part; but I suppose it is Hellrunner, so maybe that's not the point.
Extremely satisfying to finish, amazing feeling of accomplishment afterwards.
A very unique course, back down south I go for 2013 though; I'm too soft to come back for more next year! Date of review: November 3, 2012
In short: Best one yet In full: This years event was perfect.Yes the water was cold but so what you don't have to stand in line it is a race after all .Best bogs of doom and have they increased the number of hills of hell?I hope this course stays as it is for next year.First class Date of review: November 3, 2012
In full: It was great untill the wait in freezing water for what seemed like a life time. Made me feel very ill and thought I was going to collapse. Didn't seem to have as many marshalls as last few years and I was concerned for us all in that pond. Maybe bringing the run forward a month or two would be of great benefit. Date of review: November 3, 2012
In short: 5th time and last time In full: This is the 5th time i have done hell runner, and the last. It was harder than the last couple of years which was fine. The problem was the freezing cold pond lake thing. I believe that it was about 1/2 mile long but i spent over 20 mins just stood in it up to my chest (as i am short) due to the log jams and queue. There were lots of people collapsed at the start and end and i literally could not feel my feet for the rest of the run (which i did run because i thought i would get hypothermia if i didnt warm myself up). I then could not stop shivering for over 2 hours afterwards. A challenge is one thing, but it actually felt dangerous because we were stood still for so long. Every year i say never again, but this time i mean it!! Date of review: November 3, 2012
In short: 6th time doing it and this year was horrible, but not in a good way. In full: I've always enjoyed the challenge of hell up north, and have competed in every single one since its inception. There was nothing hideously wrong with this years race but the addition of a 0.5 mile extra bog of doom at 10miles was not very well thought out. It took 15 minutes to get through, by which point many of us were dangerously cold. I know that the whole point of the race is that it should be hard (as hell) but it's always felt to be well thought out. This was one obstacle that ruined my day for me. Having said that, organisation was good, race atmosphere was, as ever, good and it's a great race to experience. Maybe I'm just bitter because I still haven't warmed up, 6 hours after finishing! Date of review: November 3, 2012