In short: Hellrunner up North is back to it's best this year In full: Having done this race for the past 4 years, this was without doubt the best yet. Cold, very muddy, extremely wet, hills of hell, bog of doom, and the new lake crossing make this a truly memorable race. The atmosphere was brilliant, people helping each other on hard sections and having a laugh as well. Doing it dressed as a Squirrel certainly made it harder, but very happy with my time, more people should do this in fancy dress! i will be back next year 100%. I think this is my favourite race of all time Date of review: November 14, 2012
In short: I've never felt such a carnival atmosphere at the start of a race and sense of achievement at the end...but not to be underestimated! In full: Having competed in 11 half marathons I felt this would be quite easy...how wrong can you be! Without question the hardest run I've ever done. Actually ended up visiting the ambulance at one point but still completed it.
Could have done without the lake bit which took 25 mins for us to get through as other's have said.
All in all I've never felt such a carnival atmosphere at the start of a race and sense of achievement at the end...but not to be underestimated! Date of review: November 6, 2012
In short: Awesome! In full: This was my first event of any kind, and I loved every minute of it... It was everything I had expected and so much more, it was a test of mind body and soul. After the first half I was wondering if the Hell bit was just a marketing gimmick - in fact I heard a lady say that she wasnt muddy enough. How wrong I was, it got very interesting indeed! The lake was a surprise but as other reviews have said, you didnt have to stand in it if you ddidnt want to, but the untrodden route was the risk you took - it was chest deep in parts! yes it was freezing, and yes you couldnt feel anything below the waist, but come on, head down dig in and you soon warm up again. You signed up for a tough trail run in November! I will be definitely be doing it next year, and many other inbetween - suggestions welcome! Wouldnt of minded a brew at the end though, or did I miss that? Date of review: November 5, 2012
In short: nails In full: First timer on this type of event and I loved it. Never been so cold, filthy, tired and chuffed after a 'run'. An absolute challenge...hills, trails, mud, hills, water, hills, mud, slips, water, trips, mud, hills, cuts, bruises, cramp, water, mud, swearing, smiles, laughs and a sense of proper achievement at the end. Organisation was pretty spot on. The goody bag, tshirt and medal were cracking (as a ‘larger’ runner, this is the first tech T that fitted, they actually had XXL sizes!!!) Only a couple of suggestions to make…. I will echo some concerns at the 200\300 meter water crossing. Although I was happy to try and push on through, the number of people bunched and static meant it still took me nearly 20 minutes to get to the other side. Would have made sense to stagger people going in or offer a shorter alternative for those that struggled. Also, could do with an additional tent (near the baggage drop?) for changing after the run. Considering most parking was at least a 10 minute walk away I was starting to shut down….had to change in the mens porta-loo as I would have really struggled to make the car. Other than that a quite brilliant event. Now, I did say I loved it…..but enough to do it next year?....we’ll see.
In short: Awesome In full: Really was a superb race, very well organised and a fantastic atmosphere. This was my first time doing Hellrunner, so can't compare to other years, but I have to take my hat off to the organisers, the route was brilliant they had used all the toughest bits of the forest, hills you needed to scramble up, streams to run through, the thickest stinkyest bogs to get stuck in a lake to cross, everyone was knackered, you would really struggle to find a training route that good. I can understand what people were saying about the lake, it was freezing; 2000+ people crossed it, so I think any danger was only perceived and a bit of mild panic added to the atmosphere; it was a nice feature that I hope stays for future years, it is supposed to be hell after all :)
In short: Cold, wet, and utterly brilliant In full: This was my first hell runner and I'm almost certain I'll be taking part again next year.
For the first 2 or 3 miles we had the chance to admire the views of the countryside while winding uphill on pretty even terrain. There was a queue right from the start (I was a few hundred from the front) and at times people were walking rather than jogging, but after a while the crowd thinned out and I had a chance to stretch my legs a bit.
After passing the start line again (and seeing eager Second-Wavers waiting to get going) I was wondering what all the fuss was about... but I had been lured into a false sense of security because from that point on things became gradually more gruelling. I can't remember at what point I thought "why am I doing this?", possibly scrambling up the hills of hell but most certainly by the time I reached the lake. This was the one aspect which I thought could actually be dangerous. I was one of the majority who stayed on the underwater ridge to keep the water at around waist height (for me anyway) and I must have been in there for at least 15 minutes, at times not moving at all. In short it was bloody freezing! After that my legs felt like they were packing in, but after a few minutes of jogging they warmed up again and my toes went from completely numb to feeling like I had a couple of radiators in my shoes before settling on mild throbbing.
The final bog of doom wouldn't be that challenging by itself but I was so knackered by the time I reached it it was as much as I could do to remain vertical. After limping around the last loop of the fun run track I managed a "sprint" finish, and had never been so happy in my life to be handed a milkshake.
My shoes are still in a bin bag and after 3 showers my feet have retained a brownish hue, but the sense of achievement has lingered. Overall it was very well organised. I agree with some of the other comments regarding safety in the lake. If anyone got into serious trouble they would have had help for sure, but that help would have come from a few dozen borderline-hypothermia cases rather than fresh and warm stewards. If they can sort that aspect out I think it'll be just about perfect. If such an ordeal can ever be called perfect.
For the record, 33 hours after finishing I'm still knackered! Date of review: November 4, 2012
In short: Great event, but some extra organising needed In full: First time I have tackled anything like this. Great challenge and fun in the most part, but there were some issues.
Queuing to tackle bogs was a real problem, but not as big a problem as standing in waist deep, freezing cold water for 20 minutes. It ruined my whole race and many others.
As soon as I got out I couldn't feel my legs and they were completely cramped up. I managed another half mile or so and then my calf went completely and I had to stop. Was attended to by brilliant medical staff and was able to walk the last couple of miles to the finish.
After the water there were people who seemed to be being treated for hypothermic symptoms and when I was with the medical staff they were getting reports through and didn't seem happy with the situation.
It ruined my race and many others. Before that point it was really fun and challenging.
Steep, almost sheer ascents up muddy inclines were very intimidating, but great fun to tackle and trying to haul yourself out of thick bog was a nice change to your standard run.
I would do it again, but I would hope the water issue would be dealt with. I know its hell runners, but nobody should be standing in waist deep water in November for 20 minutes or more. Date of review: November 4, 2012