We met Hell head on and survived!!!

We met Hell head on and survived!!!

(Thats me on the far right by the way)

So we did it, Harrison's uncle Ben, my mates Matt Enock and Gareth Baynham and myself completed and survived the ‘HellRunner’!!!!

The short story is that we came up against and ran the 'hills of hell' and the 'bog of doom’ (which actually turned out to 4 bogs and a lake!!) but we all loved every minute of it!

Click Here to see the photos to prove it - but if you want to know more please read on...........

The HellRunner website stated that the run offers trail running at its toughest and most enjoyable and I have to say they are spot on, it really was both. According to some regulars this year was also one of the hardest yet, and according to the organizers, the wettest ever!

Getting up early at 6.30am, I looked out of the window and everything was white with frost. Not what I'd hoped for as that obviously meant it was freezing outside but although extremely cold to start with, as the sun come out as we made our way there, the weather was in fact perfect running conditions once we warmed up.

Getting up early gave enough time to eat loads of porridge, have a strong coffee and get ready before Ben came round to set off. We met the other lads on the way and got to Longmoor Army Training Camp near Aldershot.....yes a camp where the army train soldiers....and to prove it as I stepped out of the car there was a bullet in the mud (which I actually brought home for Reece as a kind of memento for him)!!!!!. 

The first challenge of the day was the car park itself, which was more of a mud bath after the rain we've recently had.......what would this mean the course would be like we all thought?

We had a walk to the start area which actually led us past some of the course and the infamous 'bog of doom'!! It certainly added to our nervous excitement although knowing how cold it probably was, more than a little dread too!

We made our final preparations at which point Ben pulled out on his 'Anatomy Man' mask and outfit on which looked brilliant and rather in keeping with the hellish theme of the day. The mask didn’t stay on for long although did seem to reappear every time there was an official camera man handy!! You can see the photos for evidence.

So 10.30 came and we lined up with the other thousand plus runners and theatmosphere was amazing, one where everyone was looking at each other thinking 'what the hell are we doing here'!

A version of Hell on stilts started the race off with smoke and sirens and we started to run with no real idea of what was actually in store. 

What came next was running the toughest terrain, wading through 3 or 4 icy cold bogs as well as a lake, all where the water came up our chest, climbing up and sliding down mile after mile of massive muddy sheer face hills and if that wasn't enough, then having to run up and down a series of sand dunes for the last 3 miles to completely finish us off. I didn't feel too bad for most of the run but a combination of the distance and icy water meant I ran the last 2 miles or so with cramp in both calf's.....but it certainly didn't stop me.

There was one last icy bog (of course, why not chuck another one in?!?!?) to wade though and then the finishing line was in sight. 

Matt and I ran over the finish line together in 1 hour 47 minutes to finish in the top 450 out of 1300 competitors who completed the course (several others didn’t), Ben in 1 hour 52 minutes and Gareth in 2 hours 13 minutes, which we were all delighted to achieve. In fairness to Gareth and he’ll admit it himself, he could have done better but with absolutely no training for the past 2 months due to illness, commitments and other than drinking London Pride and smoking Marlborough Lights, that alone is a pretty impressive achievement.

Ben was delighted though. He had only started running in January of this year, having not done any form of fitness previously apart from a slightly quicker walk to the bar at closing time. This was his first competitive run so to complete 10 miles is a feat in itself, for those to be 10 miles of what I've just explained is well done Bruv!!

It really was extremely tough, the toughest thing we have all ever done by far but it was also the most amazing experience, giving us all an incredible sense of achievement. As I'm writing this on the Wednesday after running on Sunday, my calf’s are still in pain after the cramps I suffered! But when else do you get the chance to jump into muddy bogs like that??

But more importantly lets not forget that Ben and I did it to raise money for Harrison and we are so very grateful for all the very kind and generous donations so many of you have made.

I'm delighted to say that at this point we have raised in the region of £1,700 which is just incredible and will make such a difference to Harrison as and when he requires new essential equipment and care.

And without wishing to be greedy, I do feel it would be amazing to now try and reach a magic target of £2,000 so fingers crossed and with everyone’s help, this can be achieved.

If you're unable to donate please don't worry, I hope you enjoy the photos and my blog as so many have wanted to know more about the day, but if you are able to add a small amount to our figure, thank you so much.

Donations can be made via PayPal through this site (link on the right hand side of this page) or alternatively I can send you the trust back account details for online transfer or indeed my address for a cheque.

So, to conclude, through the pain it seems that we are now all totally hooked to these sorts of crazy trial races and are looking for others to compete in already - so Harrison has turned us all into madmen!!

On behalf of Harrisons Trust Fund and I, thank you all for your support and generosity, it really does mean so much.

Jon xx