Eight Point Two


Wantisden Valley 2008 Whole Hog
December 16, 2009, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Whole Hog 2008 Series | Tags:

I’m pleased to report that this year’s event certainly had a few surprises for the 240 competitors who took part in the race.

The three course planners, myself (Ian Loombe), Ian Bliss and Stuart Anderson decided that we wanted to have a theme for this years event – this soon became obvious as Ian Bliss and I drew upon our old experiences in the Royal Marines. During training in the Marines you have to run a water based obstacle course called the Endurance Course. 2 miles of water filled tunnels followed by a 4 mile run back to camp – the ‘highlight’ of this being a duck under a water filled pipe. With all of this in mind we went about recreating the horror of the endurance course for the 2008 Hog Run. Hopefully the competitors weren’t disappointed with our creation!

Almost 12km was covered over track field and bog. The start was the normal thinning out exercise which we have to do to avoid large bottlenecks. Consequently competitors started with a quick gallop through the sandy hummocks and then bashed there way through the undergrowth to emerge with a 1km run to the first real obstacle. The ”tunnel of love’, as we nicknamed it, was an 8m long tunnel filled with mud (and whoever knows what). The tunnel was darkened by placing sheets over each end just to add to the experience.

One of the highlights of the day, for me, was in approaching the tunnel and listening to the howls of disgust from the competitors as they waded through.

Out of this tunnel led to another km of field running which then led to another quick crawl and, shortly after, the torpedo tube climb.

Another 1 ½ km of running through beautiful woodland led to one of the main event areas – a quick crawl under a JCB followed by a rope climb out of the bomb hole soon led to another 20m crawl shortly followed by one of the highlights of the day (for the spectators). The torpedo tubes were needed to cross a small stretch of lake but this was just a ploy because soon the runners were in the water up to their necks! The piglet option was a wade across the lake followed by an up and over on the pontoons – the full hog experience was to take a deep breath and duck under the pontoons which was certainly good for clearing your head!

Out of the lake and a short jog led to another deceptive stream crossing – earlier in the week Ian Bliss and I had ran the course to test it out (and yes – we do test everything to make sure its not too hideous) and had been surprised by this crossing. I had guessed it to be about knee deep – but soon found out that was just where the mud started and below it was another 3 feet of bog. I nearly lost one of my trainers but managed to squeeze it out before it was sucked off!

From this area another few km’s of running led to a short wall climb followed by another 3 river crossings – again much neck deep wallowing was required to escape from this area. A swift trot through the maize fields led to the final obstacle – a complex 3D rope maze. From here it was just a short jaunt over the finishing line for Hog roasts and beer.

It was a great day and a big thank you to all of the competitors and also to the many marshals’ who helped out. Thanks to you all – I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. The date for 2009 has already been confirmed for the 1st November and we are aiming to incorporate Bentwaters Park for that event so watch this space!

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