All the latest news & views from the HellRunner team

Social media opportunity!

TrailPlus, organisers of the iconic HellRunner series, are seeking someone to ensure our social media activity engages and converses with our audience, in a devilishly smart and responsive way.

It won’t be a full-time job, but we will be seeking someone’s full-time commitment.

If you have the most up-to-date knowledge of social media trends and digital marketing, love running and the great outdoors and ‘get’ HellRunner, we would like to hear from you.

You’ll almost certainly be working within the world of social media and can demonstrate some level of skill, talent and success. And of course, you can talk the language of runners, gym-monkies and the mud-loving challenge community.

It seems too harsh of us to expect that you can convince us in a tweet comprising merely 140 characters. But we’ll give you up to 140 words to persuade us to talk with your further about what exactly we are seeking and where you might fit in.

Like the entry to the Bog of Doom. Don’t dilly-dally. Just get stuck in! Email us at and make an impression.

Win a pair of Brooks Pure Grit 4 running shoes!

Brooks Hell Down South is deemed the toughest running event in the UK. As the original in the HellRunner series, this is an absolute must-do on the bucket list, and it’s with year-on-year requests to make the course even tougher, we’ve done just that for 2016. It’s a strong way to start the year and challenge yourself from the offset.

Enter Brooks Hell Down South by Thursday 17 December and you could win a pair of Brooks Pure Grit 4 running shoes – an ideal HellRunner shoe.

The Pure Grit 4 blend the secure grip of climbing shoes with the comfort of lightweight running shoes, so while feedback from the terrain is increased, so is protection from any tricky elements. Aggressive hex lugs on the outsole provide maximum grip, and the ballistic rock shield protects your foot from trail hazards. A toe guard provides protection and added traction for steeper trails like the Hills of Hell. Meanwhile, the lightweight upper dries out quickly, so you’re not being weighed down by your shoes after the Bog of Doom!

Simply enter here and you’ll automatically be entered into the draw.

To be in with the chance of winning, you must enter before midnight on 17 December.

When I was in hot water…

Last week we asked the HellRunner community about times that they’ve been in ‘hot water’ while on a run. The three lucky winners would not only win a Hot Jerry, but have their stories shared on the HellRunner website. So without further ado, here are the winners and their stories!

TJ Tyrie – “I went for a run in the morning to see the sunrise and nearly drowned!”

So it was 5.51am on a Sunday in Thailand, after rummaging around for a throat sweet and a vitamin tablet to add to my water, I got dressed and headed to the beach to have a run and catch the sunrise.
To my dismay, I discovered that the sun actually rose on the other side of the island. I didn’t see much of a show that day and decided that I will take a run over to the north side to catch it on Monday. The sounds from the wildlife alone were worth waking for though.

While shifting between a sprint and a jog on the sand I was enjoying the view out to sea and I decided to jog out to an ‘island’ only visible in low tides which was in front of the beach. While standing on the low tide peninsula, I looked to my right at the amazing scenery of green leafed trees which were so picturesque I wanted to get closer. Between them and I was a channel of flowing water which was heading for the beach front and slowly filling it up, thus making this ‘island’ I stood on.

Wearing basic trainers as I was on holiday, I decided that instead of running the long way around I would cross what looked like no more than knee high water, no problem. I began the walk and it feel great! Warm water, the nature, the isolation… the only other souls in sight were a young boy sweeping the table tops with a straw broom back the at the resort, some 200 metres away at least.

Even if I wanted to scream and my girlfriend was awake, no one could hear me scream from the mini island. As I got about just under half way across, I noticed the bottom off my knee high shorts get wet, and it rose about 5 inches more. This didn’t concern me as my shorts will dry in no time out here. What did begin to concern me was that my feet began to stick to the sea floor. I guess you could call it a clay like substance, I called it quicksand. It was increasingly harder to lift one foot in front of the other. With every step I sank deeper, up to my ankles and counting, my mind was frantic with worry, it was safe to say panic had set in.

I tried to walk faster but that made it worse, my trainers were the sort which had no laces, budget ones. The suction from the bottom of my shoes and the sea bed put my sat nav window sucker device to shame. I was hoping that perhaps the boy was watching and could help, or maybe I’ll make it? I tried until I could no longer move, I was pulling my feet up with all my might to lift one foot but that just made the other foot sink deeper as I shifted my body weight. Abort, abort, code red…

I decided that the shoes had officially had it and I left them to Davy Jones, another item for his locker. My feet were definitely better at moving when I left the shoes behind but I was not out of the woods yet, I managed to quick heel it across and was relived to find myself on the other side of the bank with the trees and craggy sharp rocks. Now the only problem is getting back to shore. There was an option of rocks, more sucking mud, or hard clay with sharp tree roots sticking up out the ground. Wait, what’s hanging off my foot? Oh that’s alright, it’s only the plaster which was covering the coral slice on the bottom of my foot which happened two days ago, that’s staring to sting now!

I thought Thai holidays were long days of lying in a hammock drinking cocktails while butlers brought you freshly cooked food. I seemed to be turning it into a death-defying real-life adventure. I was wandering the cruel terrain, shoeless and bleeding. Either Mother Nature hates me, or, all my mud runs and electric shock obstacle courses have turned me into an adrenaline junkie who turns even a relaxed romantic Thai holiday into a no-hold’s-barred fight to the death.

Chris Murray – “I had a nice run/limp home with blood running down my leg and into my sock.”

I’ve always kept and eye out for dogs while on a run, however, a few months ago I was out on my local trails when I spied a Collie a few yards off.

I slowed down and began to walk while it sniffed about. When I thought I was far enough away not to be chased, I started running again only to be ambushed by his pal in the trees who, by the time it took me realise what was going on, had a firm grip on the back of my leg.

A lot of cursing and exaggerated threats towards the dog’s owners ensued, who had now caught up and put it on a lead. This however, was all well and good but, I was still six miles away from home! Needless to say I had a nice run/limp home with blood running down my leg and into my sock.

Jay Bizzle – “My pack was soaked and my phone broken.”

I went out for a long fell run last winter in the the freezing cold to clear my head as I’d had a heavy one the night before.

At about 10k in I decided to get a drink from my pack, but rather tragically, I hadn’t put the lid back on properly after filling it up.

Not only was the bottle empty, but my pack was soaked and my phone broken! I felt absolutely horrendous by the time I found someplace to get a drink – ironically a pub! I was so annoyed I rang the other half to come get me so I could cut the run short and sulk for the rest of the day.

Hell Down South Training Plan

With just nine weeks to go until Hell Down South, our OCR experts at HellRunner HQ have put together a nine week beginner’s training plan to help you prepare for Hell! Download your training plan by clicking here.

Robbers on the run!

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HellRunner first-timer Laura Bell reviews Hell in the Chilts.

Having never entered a ‘Hellrunner’ before, I mistakenly watched many videos online. I was petrified! There were (approx) 16 runners from our club, On the Run, all dressed up as cops and robbers – we were a sight but spirits were high (or was that the amaretto?) and I felt eager to get started.


As a new venue for HellRunner, the field of runners was intimate and so accessing the race and parking was quick and easy. We were right in the action and as the fog cleared, the sun came out and the nerves eased. The race village was well equipped with Clif Bar tasters, hot food and drinks and the bag drop all together. Before long the voice came over the speakers to tell us the junior race had finished and it was time to make our way to the start line.

GO! Bang on 10am the race started and we were off! Mile one consisted of two shallow water crossings and then off we all went over the fields and into the woods. Hilly doesn’t come close. I’m sure we went UP more than we went DOWN! A little concerned that the advertised one water station wouldn’t be enough, I was pleasantly surprised to receive water at miles one, three, five and nine a – welcome race amendment in the heat. The route was breathtakingly scenic and, when you lifted your head to look around, you were treated to some amazing views of the Dashwood Estate and the Buckinghamshire countryside.

The marshalls were awesome (a lot of them being our own club members) and went above and beyond their duties by collecting bits of stray fancy dress outfits, and even fending off some very angry hornets the earlier runners had unfortunately disturbed.

At mile nine, the Brooks Angels were fab! Their loud music and smiles were well received, along with their free Clif Bloks! Finally, The Bog of Doom loomed and I realised the course had been mud free (phew) and I’d almost made it to the end of my first HellRunner. I stepped into the water and waded through the reeds – I was actually enjoying myself! At last, I hauled myself out of the end, grabbed the hand of a fellow robber and sprinted to the finish line with a massive smile on my face. I’d done it!

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The goodie bag was very good, containing many things such as a pot noodle, crisps, antibacterial hand gel (needed!), Clif Bar, mini shower gel, teapig and other freebies! The medal was weighty and the technical t-shirt lovely. The professional race photos that emerged a few days later were also very good – an all-round success!

All in all I had an amazing day and, despite being beaten by almost all of the hills, I went home with a smile on my face (and some very smelly clothing!)

Mum runs Hell Up North for sick son

Wading chest high through the Bog of Boom is not how most people would choose to celebrate their 40th birthday but for Karen Dunning, from Halewood in Liverpool, that’s just what she did, and with her friends too.

On 17th October, Hell Up North took place at Delamere Forest in Cheshire, the hellish pursuit saw thousands of brave souls tackle mother-nature in an all natural half marathon. As well as giving Karen the chance to celebrate her birthday in a truly unique fashion, the event was an opportunity for the mother of two to fundraise for a charity and campaign close to her heart, The Anaphylaxis Campaign.

Karen’s seven-year-old son, Isaac, was born with the life threatening condition Anaphylaxis, an extreme and severe allergic reaction that affects the whole body, as well as causing Isaac to suffer eczema, asthma and a kidney condition.

Amazingly, Karen convinced 30 of her friends to join her and run the UK’s toughest half marathon side by side. Before the event, Karen said;

“My birthday is one day after Hell up North so it felt fitting to sign up with a group of friends and do something completely crazy. I have raised thousands of pounds for various charities over the years but this time I wanted to support Anaphylaxis Campaign for my boy, Isaac.”

“We are all training as much as possible throughout our busy day-to-day lives with our own fitness programme. On top of our own training I am encouraging as many as possible to get involved in group training on a Sunday evening and practice running up and down hills.”

Having completed a variety of swim-a-thons and running events in the past, Karen is no stranger to a challenge but she has decided to up her game by entering Brooks HellRunner Hell up North.

Carey Ledford, Membership and Community Fundraising Manager for the Anaphylaxis Campaign said;

“We’re so grateful to Karen for fundraising for us by running ‘Hell up North’. Severe allergies can cause great anxiety and stress for individuals and their loved ones and spreading awareness and raising funds is vital for us to continue helping them. We wish Karen the best of luck and would also like to wish her a happy birthday for the following day. It should be a great challenge for her and we hope she enjoys it.”

For more information about Anaphylaxis Campaign please visit

HellRunner supports refugee crisis appeal

TrailPlus – creators of HellRunner – is supporting the British Red Cross Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal. At this Saturday’s Hell Up North, TrailPlus is giving away Brooks tech tee shirts, alongside vintage HellRunner finishers’ tee shirts, and is asking runners to make a minimum donation of just £5.00 per tee shirt. 100% of the donations will be handed over to the British Red Cross Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal.

Surplus stocks will be brought to Delamere Forest on Saturday to encourage runners to make a donation in exchange for one or more of these tees. If you’re running in the event, don’t forget to bring some pennies along to support this much-needed cause.

From a broken back to Hell Up North


After a tragic fall from a balcony left her with a broken back, 42-year-old Zoe Dixon from Weaverham in Cheshire was told she would never run again. To mark her third year since the accident she prepares to take on the UK’s toughest Half Marathon, otherwise known as Brooks HellRunner Hell up North.

It was during the early hours that the mum-of-two fell from the first floor balcony of her holiday accommodation. Zoe has no recollection of the incident happening but vividly remembers waking up the following morning in hospital with a broken back and shoulder, three broken ribs, a punctured lung and head injuries to boot.

Now, three years on Zoe looks back to the accident and talks to us about her amazing journey back into running;

“I have always been one for walking long distances and would exercise regularly so the accident really did knock me back. One of the hardest parts was to be told I would never run again. I had a five vertebrae metal fusion and was told I needed time to recover but with my son’s birthday only a few days away I was determined to get out of hospital.”

As well as plenty of rest, Zoe was informed by her physiotherapist to walk as much as possible. Zoe began walking up and down the drive, something that left her mentally and physically drained but, as she was to find out, it was a step on the road to recovery.

Two years on from the accident Zoe was going for 13-mile walks every weekend and was determined that she would run again. She added;

“After completing the ‘Couch to 5k’ programme I decided to attend a parkrun every Saturday until I was able to run 5k under 30 minutes. I am now a member of local running club Razzers Runners and after completing another mud run earlier this year I jumped at the chance to challenge myself further in Hell up North. I will run with my younger brother, Mark.”

This will be Zoe’s toughest challenge to date but she is determined to complete the UK’s toughest Half Marathon for a personal achievement as well as to raise money for Forever Angels; a charity created by her sister Amy Hathaway to support orphaned, abandoned, sick and poverty stricken children in Tanzania.

Amy Hathaway, Founder of Forever Angels and sister to Zoe, said:

“I’m touched that Zoe will be taking part in the hellish run for our charity. I set up the charity in 2006 and since have cared for over 270 babies, all made possible through generous donations from people like Zoe. As we continue to grow and help even more severely malnourished infants, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone, including Zoe, for their support and kind donations.”

Brooks HellRunner Hell up North is the second event in the infamously all natural, three-strong Brooks HellRunner series which has been running for 12 years. The event will take place on Saturday 17th October at Delamere Forest.

For more information about Forever Angels, visit

Zoe’s JustGiving page can be found here:

Perfect your taper

If you’re running Hell Up North on 17 October, it’s important to approach the next two weeks strategically. Over the last few months, you will have built up your distance each week and worked hard to develop your strength, but now it’s time to control the level of training you’re doing, so that you’re on your best form for race day. Follow these tips to get your taper spot on.

  1. Rest

After countless Sundays running distances of up to 12 miles, it can feel very restricting and frustrating spending your weekends resting. However, the importance of rest to give your body time to grow, repair and recover can’t be underestimated.

If you’re worried you’ve not put in enough miles in your training, sadly, cramming in an extra long run over the next two weekends will be futile, as it’s impossible to gain any additional fitness in this time. Hence, you’re better off sticking with some shorter runs to save yourself from injury, but keep your legs ticking over.

And if you have been sticking to your schedule, don’t worry about losing your fitness in this time. When you train over a long period of time, you gradually build up a level of fitness that won’t be lost as you decrease your training in the last few weeks.

  1. Maintain a minimum level of running

You’ll be pleased (or maybe not) to know that ‘rest’ doesn’t just mean spending every day with your feet up. Doing a certain degree of training is important to maintaining your current fitness level. Working out how much to do during your taper depends on the level of running you’ve been doing – the more miles you’ve done, the longer your taper. For someone that has been doing three runs per week, we’d recommend sticking to your usual training schedule in the penultimate week but, importantly, cutting your long down to no more than half the race distance. So for Hell Up North, don’t run any further than six and a half miles. In the final week, aim for two to three shorter runs of between 20-40 minutes. Throw some speed into the mix too with 5 x 200m reps at 10K or 5K pace to keep your legs feeling lively!

  1. Get to bed early

Try to get to bed that little bit earlier, aiming for seven to nine hours a night. It sounds simple, but sleep is particularly important for boosting your recovery and also maintaining a strong immune system. Growth hormones are secreted as you sleep, which are important to your muscle recovery and repair. The lower your levels, the slower your recovery. A lack of sleep likewise comprises our immune system’s ability to fight off illnesses, and given running can lower the body’s immune defences, sleep couldn’t be more important in the run up to race day.

  1. Eat well 

Keep your immune system strong by adding an extra portion or two of vitamin-rich fruit and vegetables into your daily diet. In the final week, give slightly more emphasis to carbohydrates to top up your energy stores for the big race – particularly the evening before. For your pre-HellRunner meal, choose a meal high in carbohydrate to boost the body’s muscle glycogen stores and avoid foods high in fat and protein.

  1. Get ready!

Finalise your plan! To take the stress out of race day, get your HellRunner kit laid out the night before, get your number pinned on and the postcode (CW8 2JD) in your sat nav. Make sure you have your travel route planned the week before to ensure you get to the race on time! For travel details visit:

WATCH: Hell in the Chilts 2015

Think your tough enough for HellRunner? Watch one man’s experience of Hell in the Chilts 2015, and we’ll let you make your own mind up…

Thanks for the awesome video Joel Hackett.