With a name like Hellrunner, we shouldn’t have been surprised that this event was going to be anything other than a hellish test of endurance, and it didn’t disappoint.
There wasn’t a dull section of the whole course but the final 2-3 miles were particularly gruelling – those hills, wow. Up and down, up and down, some of the inclines were basically a scramble on hands and knees, let alone walking or running up. Although the nice thing was that you are running through woodland so you can’t see the vast and intimidating route unfolding in front of you. You just get your head down and deal with the challenges as they come.
We’re told that it is was unusually warm for the event, with Tough-Guy style ice water a regular challenge, but we seemed to get away with that. As Hellrunner is an all out run though, he temperature on the day is only an issue before and after the race. With the exception of the water dunks, we were always moving so never felt cold, with just a race shirt and base layer on.
With the hills being such a big factor, footwear is key – not just for traction going up the steep muddy slopes, but more so for getting down them on your feet rather than on your arse! Our whole team were equipped with the trusty VJ Sport iRock 2‘s, and the deep grip was given a proper test, without decent trail shoes this would be a very different race. There are a lot of road runners on the course noticeably struggling at every incline.
Parking was easy, apparently they main car park shuts after 9am so need to make sure you get there early to avoid a long walk.
Overall – really impressed with the unique terrain and the clever routes, the atmosphere and friendliness of all the participants that we encountered was spot on. And it was really encouraging to see a lot of traditional road runners taking part, whilst not a full blown OCR (there are no man made obstacles) Hellrunner is certainly the kind of event that bridges the gap between road running and OCR, hopefully a lot of people caught the OCR bug off the back of this.
One slight gripe – Marshalls could really do with radios, we helped an injured runner at one point but when we came across a Marshall to alert them he had no way to co-ordinate any assistance, he had to abandon his post to go and get her and help her off the course.
Other than that, all positive. OCR Kit race team will certainly be back next year.
Big virtual high five to all our runners: Sharon Avery, Alex Gooderham, Anthony Mostran, Ty Flavell, and myself. And a special mention for Luke De-Ben with a storming 8th place finish and Ashley Archdeacon with a very impressive 75th. Great work gents!