Up until this point, I hadn’t worried or been fearful of an event. I had watched two Hurricane Heat 12 Hour (HH12HR) events start and end and every time they looked absolutely brutal! Whether that be the PT at the start and people dropping out because it was so intense or seeing a group a lot smaller carrying a massive tractor tire almost 13 hours after they started, back towards the festival area. Whatever it was that had me on edge, got shifted to the side as 6pm fast approached and it was go time; time for me to finally take on one of my biggest goals of 2018, the HH12HR!
As usual the start was a tense kit check. These were the items we needed:
- Para cord
- 2 glow sticks
- Head torch & spare batteries
- Black top
- Hi vis PT belt
- Water and food
- Ruck big enough to carry all of the items
- Large roll of duct tape
- 25lbs of additional weight (excluding all items listed)
- 2 carabiners
- Plastic washing up bowl (big enough for your ruck to fit in)
- A wire saw
This list was a lot heftier then the Hurricane Heat I did at Aston Down and came with even more speculation (even though I knew there would be wood cutting involved!).
PT aka this part hurts…a lot
One last group shot before the ‘funishment’ began! I knew from watching this part a few times before that this was going to be a challenge. Squats with our rucks (25lbs plus water plus kit) held above our heads, planks (whilst balancing your legs on the shoulders of the person behind you), a whole manner of stressful positions! Probably the part that was most memorable (or the part that everyone would most like to forget) was needing to crawl a few hundred meters towards the Krypteia, whilst holding the ankles of the person in front of you. My knees were battered from here and we were hardly 1 hour and a half in.
There were 2 main sections where we really needed to pull together as a team. Firstly we started with a tiring task of dragging pre cut tree branches up to the top of a pretty steep hill and creating tipis for the Marston Lodge wildlife. This was pretty long and the fact that the bladder in my ruck was empty, up and down this hill for a couple of hours with no water wasn’t easy.
Next was where our wire saws came into play; Pretty huge logs lay in a heap on the ground. We all knew what was coming here; time to get out our wire saws! Probably the most arduous task of the evening simply because it felt like the saws were going no where! Until a few members of the group pulled out the chain version of the wire saws; this went through the wood rapidly and helped us cut those logs down to size! The fun didn’t stop there. I found the next section really tough. We had to grab a log each and carry it along a route lit up with glow sticks. No matter what I did, I could not get that log comfortable! I’m not sure how far we had to walk but I lost my attitude here throwing the log down in a bit of a rage a few times. Finally getting to the end of this task, we needed to create some wooden tri-pods…all for presentation I guess, and the pretty heavy challenge.
After this passed, it seemed like this is where things were about to step up a level. Time for some time hacks!
Time Hack 1: The Crawl
THIS WAS BRUTAL! You could only bear crawl the entire distance whilst dragging your ruck inside your box. Sounds ok until you get to the breeze block you need to add to the box and drag that with you too! We were all fighting against the time but had no indication of how long we had. Nerve racking is an understatement. I have never been so exhausted laying or crawling on the floor in my life. Once around a loop we got to drop the breeze block and continue around the field towards the end! My knees were in pieces and everything hurt. As I looked back o realised that I wasn’t the last person but by no means the fastest. I was close to breaking point here for sure. The main thing that kept me going was someone shouting ‘Come on Mike!’. This is what I needed and it came at the perfect moment. We shouted encouragement as soon as each other started slowing down. When we finally saw the Krypteia and head him shout ‘times running out, hurry up!’ We both managed to find energy out of nowhere to charge to the finish! I’m not sure about the distance we crawled but it was horrendous; Knees were pretty much non-exhistant after that! As this was a time hack, 4 people were cut from the event and to be fair, hats off to them for getting through the section before finishing.
Time Hack 2: The Sandbag/Sled
How about seeing me COMPLETELY lose my attitude? Well this is where it happened. The task was to run a section of the course with our rucks in our boxes (no straps on the bags could be used!) towards the sandbag carry. Add the 50lbs bag to our already wet ruck containing 25lbs plus all our kit. So when you drop an already fragile washing up bowl or plastic box containing almost 100lbs of weight…it shatters…into what can no longer be called a box! Honestly I thought I was done here. The people running the event had spread out and it seemed like this was going to be a culling, so close to the end of the event!
After dropping everything (and throwing my toys out of the pram) I thought I’m either going to punk out of this or march towards the end of the time hack; pass or fail! I ran up the steep hill with the box/ruck and sandbag separately as I figured this would be less complicated and ultimately quicker. When at the top of the hill, it was easy to slide down with everything looking like an avalanche of determination! My box now resembled a flat pack and had no corners or shape left. I used my para-cord to tie the remains of my box to my bag so I didn’t DNF for not having my box.
After finally dropping the sandbag we had to dash towards the sled pull and place our rucks in and complete the obstacle 3 times! Luckily for me, I always find the sled pull relatively easy. 3 or 4 strong pulls got the job done; Then taking it back to the start of obstacle. After the last pull I could see the people who had already finished the time hack waiting and cheering in the distance. With the Krypteia uttering “Hurry up” I found an unknown source of energy and dashed towards the end of the second time hack. I MADE IT!
After the final timehack, a massive sense of relief came over me. Not because the event was over, but I now knew that I was definitely going to finish! The timehack worries were gone and now all that was left was to grit my teeth and get through the rest of the event. The sun was coming up and the Krypteia took us on a walk (which basically took us round in circles with our boxes between our legs or above our heads) towards an area where we were going to do a spot of yoga.
Being cynical as I had already been through a hell of a lot with this event, I was surprised that we did exactly what was said on the tin…yoga. Now I’ll tell you that yoga is hard enough for me without being dehydrated and unable to bend without cramping. But this definitely calmed everyone down as we knew we were nearing the end! Waddling back towards the festival area we slowly made our way to the buzz and excitement of a new Spartan day. With everyone quickly needing to tie paracord to the person in front and behind them we slowly (but surely) made our way under the barbed wire crawl. Yes I was kicked in the face a few times and yes I’m sure I gave whoever was behind me the same treatment, but by that time we were all too shattered to even feel anything.
When we finally were told to put our rucks on the floor and stand in a circle (can I hear a massive sigh of relief) the Krypteia had one last surprise for us all. Collecting all of the rubbish we had left along the way (mainly pieces of my obliterated box) we owed 5 burpees for each piece…so about 100 needed to be done! We jazzed it up by doing burpees in time with some music (if I ever hear ‘Push It’ by Salt & Pepper, I will now do a burpee every time I hear the words ‘Push It’). I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed burpees as much as I did then and probably more so because I expected to do more then 100! Rucks on, we waddled towards the shirt stand where the Krypteia finally announced the end of the event! 13 hours in and it was over. We collected our dog tags, TRIFECTA wedge and finishers shirt!
I knew coming into the HH12HR it was going to be difficult. Not at one point did I underestimate how tough it would actually be and I was right in not doing so. It was the hardest thing I have endured to date. Physically it was hard as the constant weight on your body from you ruck combined with whatever you needed to carry was a chore! Mentally it was even harder. I wanted to quit during both time hacks but literally screaming (internally) to myself to suck it up, embrace the tough and keep going! Even when I thought I might miss the time hack, pride kept me going just so I would finish the section!
Putting all of the pain and hardship aside, you will never take part in an event which brings a team this close. For the majority of the HH12HR you all have one common goal and that is to get the job done. At the start you are a bunch of people about to take on a tough task; By the end of the 12 or so hours, you are now a family. There are parts where giving up is the easiest option but someone is always there to give you that kick up the ass you need to keep you going. That is where the camaraderie comes into play. I couldn’t have asked for a better team or a better bunch of people to share such an achievement with.
Given the chance, I would do it all over again. It might sound insane, but you rarely have the opportunity to push yourself to your absolute limit and walk away saying you have overcame such hardship. Its a massive character builder and can only have a positive influence on you. I would recommend that if you enjoyed the Hurricane Heat and are yearning for more of a challenge, then definitely give the HH12HR a try. It’s not for everyone, but if you think you are one of the people it is for, the only thing stopping you from signing up is you!
Have you ever completed the Hurricane Heat 12 Hour? Have you done the Hurricane Heat and are considering the 12 Hour? Are you thinking of taking the next step in the Spartan Race series with an endurance TRIFECTA? Remember to use code ‘URBANSPARTAN’ for 25% off of all U.K. open heat Sprint, Super or Beast races and Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!