Zest's Victoria joined the mud fest that is the Brooks Hell Runner adventure race at Longmoor military base
Check out this scene of pure evil, obscured by beautiful Hampshire countryside. At the Brooks Hell Runner 12-mile adventure race, it’s not the speediest that earn glory but the soggiest...
If you've not done an adventure race before, you may be interested to know what it's all about. This particular race sees men, women - and mythical creatures in varying degrees of fancy dress – hurl themselves into waist-high pools of mud, surge through ice-cold ravines, and in The Bog of Doom you are lucky to keep your head above… well, more mud!
You can tell the first-timers from the seasoned pros (yes, surprisingly, there are repeat performers): the latter throw themselves down sheer drops and negotiate the slippery-hill scrambles without hesitation.
The gasps, wincing faces – and frequent expletives echoing through the woodlands – come from the newbies who face (yep, you guessed it) hell at every corner. On Sunday I was one of those newbies, and am therefore qualified to assure you that this is one aptly named race.
Being a little injured (I still have a rather deep hole in my leg that is refusing to heal, thanks to an epic fail at the Killarney Adventure Race last month), I set out with the intention of taking it easy... Yeah, right!
Adventure racing is about throwing away your techy gadgets and pro gear, losing your inhibitions and relishing the ultimate feeling of freedom as you pit yourself against the terrain and the elements. At Brooks Hell Runner, the conditions make this a given.
At the start line I feel incomplete without my app set to count down the race, mile by mile. And how will I beat boredom without my motivational playlist?
I manage to skip around the first few ‘puddles’ while setting a gentle pace, and estimate I’ve hit the two-mile mark. By three miles I am drenched; six miles in and I'm powering my way up vertical hill climbs. By now there is no going back. Injuries and all, I am committed to this race.
The screams of my fellow competitors turn to laughter as racers become overwhelmed at their own stupidity and the sheer farce of it all.
My legs start to burn like Hell at eight miles as I find myself crying out ‘downhill, please!’ By 11 miles, this race feels like eternity and I’m on go-slow as deep sand dunes halt the race pace.
I’m numb by the home straight, which allows me to soar over the line with a glorious sprint finish.
I gratefully receive my medal, T-shirt and a goodie bag. Among the protein bars and energy drinks I find a leaflet advertising Hell Up North. In my head I'm already there. It was hell, but I loved it.
No more pounding the pavements with my iPod. Forget marathons, show me the mountains!
Posted: 14/11/2012 at 16:39
So true Lisa. Have to done any other races which you'd recommend? I'm looking for my next challenge!!!
Posted: 16/11/2012 at 16:18
Like us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Other Hearst Magazines UK sites