Back in the Summer I was sat in the cafe at Macclesfield Tri having a brew with Viking and feeling on a high after a great performance. We were talking about the cross bay half marathon and I was saying that he should come up and do it next year, he agreed on the condition that I enter Hellrunner. What the hell I thought, it’ll be a laugh, I mean how bad can it be ??
Hellrunner took place yesterday and today I am suffering, my quads are screaming at me and I can’t walk upstairs properly, and my feet are covered in blisters, and my right achilles has no skin on it and is still bleeding now – about 30 hours after I finished.
Hellrunner to those sensible people that would just laugh at the notion, is a 12 mile adventure / trail running race featuring “The Hills of Hell” and the “Bog of Doom”, in Delamere Forest, Cheshire. I joined Viking and Min at the start with 1500 other slightly insane people. The first mile was the easiest part of the course and that was all uphill, then we headed into the forest.
The run through the forest consisted of ankle deep foul smelling mud, hurdling fallen trees, ducking under holly branches, and running through brambles and that was the best bits. It was mostly up and down steep, slippy gradients – the uphills caused my legs to ache but the descents were scary because if you lost your footing you only had trees to break your fall. About 4 miles in ( I think, there was no mile markers ) I just sank in an unseen peat bog down to my knees. I moved forward to get out and I was stuck fast, I was going nowhere. Luckily another guy stopped and he needed all his strength to pull me out. My shoes had stayed on, just….but they were now just caked in mud and soaked.
Over the next few miles we crossed knee deep muddy streams, and it one of them I got a twig stuck between my shoe and the bare skin of my achilles. Before I realised what had happened I’d lost my skin, but I couldn’t see the blood because the mud covered it. I was really starting to suffer and I was freezing. I passed a marshal and asked him how long to go he said just over a mile, my spirits were raised BUT what a mile it was.
The last mile saw me battle “The Bog of Doom”, anything else that had gone before was like strolling through a manicured meadow ! It was about 200m long and consisted of a raging torrent of waist to chest deep foul smelling, murky, freezing water. This combined with submerged jagged tree stumps and fast flowing debris made it very trecherous. By the time I reached dry land I could no longer feel anything from the waist down, and my hands were like blocks of ice.
I turned into the finishing field, and the sadistic so and so’s sent us back up the hill we started on, I could have cried !! I shuffled across the line in a knackered state in 1:55:58. I tried to wait to see Viking and Min finish but I was shivering so badly that Em was seriously worried for me and ordered me back to the car ( 1 mile walk away ) to get changed and to drink coffee to warm up. It took two showers and a bath for me to get clean and about 2 hours for me to stop shivering.
Would I do it again ? Nope, never !! I’ve proved to myself that I could do it, I’ve earned the T-shirt and I have no desire to put myself through that again. When James Bond said “Never Say Never again” he’d obviously never experienced Hellrunner. Well done to Viking and Min, and good Luck to them both when they do a similar event this sunday with the Sodbury Slog THE FOOLS !!
Me – finished in 438 in 1:55:58
Min – finished in 1170 in 2:30:33
Viking – finished in 1171 in 2:30:33
1446 people finished it : The full results are here