Hell and Back

Yesterday my son took part in the Hell and back race in the grounds of Killruddery house co. Wicklow. It's a 12k adventure course with 28 different obstacles for the competitors to overcome. These obstacles include an ice cold water bath, pits of mud, paintball snipers, electric wires, swamps and even a few hay bales!

Hell and back sign

Before taking on the course the competitors enter a warm up area by crawling down a dark plastic tunnel.

The entrance to the warm up area
The pre race warm up

Once the warm up is over the competitors take a dunk into an ice cold water bath before tacking the first main obstacle which is called hell on Earth. It's a series of mud pits which requires some team work to safely clamber up the steep and slippery muddy slopes.

The pits of mud
A little help from friends
The first obstacle

After traversing the series of muddy pits and jumping over a few hay bales the competitors take off into the woods and on up the slopes of a distant hill.

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I couldn't be bother to run up the hill after them so instead I went to sample some of the food on offer in the tents beside the finish line. I had a look at some paella which looked tasty but in the end I went for a bit of pig on a spit in a bap!

pig on a spit

After refueling on roast hog and coke I set off to find a good vantage point for some of the obstacles that the competitors would face as they neared the home straight.

This obstacle involved following a guide rope through chest deep mud before finally reaching a wooden climbing frame to escape from the swamp.

crossing the swamp
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This obstacle was a bunch of car tyres hanging by ropes from a wooden frame. It was fine for the competitors with a small build but pretty tough for the larger bodies to fit through!

Tyres obstacle

There's quite a bit of running across fields and trekking up and down hills - it is a 12km course after all. Some people enjoyed the running and others just strolled along taking their time.

Crossing the fields

Here competitors follow a guide rope along a muddy stream through freezing cold water.

Crossing the river
Reaching the river bank

This is the famous electric shock obstacle. Electric current runs through the white wires hanging from the roof and competitors have to take the pain as they run through it. To make matters worse a couple of guys seem to poke them with sticks for good measure as well!

The electric fence

One of the final obstacles is the 10 foot wall. Here Team work seems to be the only way for most people to get over the wall. Although a few hardy competitors who arrived ahead of the main groups were able to scale the 10 foot wall single handed!

The ten foot wall

The final obstacle is a steep ramp called Mount Olympus where competitors have to run up most of the way and hope that someone sticks out a hand and gives them a little lift to get to the summit.

Mount olympus

On the far side is a slide that leads to the finish line. A couple of the kids got to blast the competitors with some water guns to keep themselves amused!

The final slide

Then it's on to the finish line and home for a nice hot shower.

The finish line