FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(Updated 5th June 2014)
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WHAT IS HELL & BACK?
HELL & BACK is an off-road adventure event, featuring man-made obstacles and naturally occurring challenges over a variety of terrain, in the private Belmont Estate in Bray, Co. Wicklow.
WHY IS IT DIFFERENT?
HELL & BACK is not just a hill run / mountain run / assault course / road race / hill walk / adventure race, but a combination of the best parts of all these pursuits! The time it takes for you to complete the course is not important - making it thru' the challenge in one piece is!!!
We have a large archive of videos from our previous events in our Video Gallery, where you can appreciate the scale of all our obstacles, including The Pond, Satan's Pit, The Swamp, Shock of Horrors, Barbed Wire Crawl & many more. Check them out and see what you are getting yourself in for!
WHAT IS THE COURSE LIKE?
Tough!!! The video above should give you a good idea of what's involved - you WILL get wet, mucky, sore, cold..... and a lot more!
WHY SHOULD I DO IT?
If you love a challenge and want to take part in an event that you will be proud to finish, then HELL & BACK is for you! You will also have the opportunity to meet others who share the same sense of adventure as you!
And most importantly you will be able to boast to your friends about making it thru' HELL & BACK!
IS THERE A MASS START?
No, there will be a number of wave starts. There will be between 250-500 HELLRAISERS (participants) in each wave. Wave start times are announced about two weeks prior to the event.
CAN I CHOOSE MY START TIME?
Yes, when you are registering, you will be asked which wave you want to start in.
CAN I CHANGE MY START TIME?
If you give us enough time (at least 3 weeks before the event), we will do what we can to facilitate you on the Official Start List. Please note though that there are a limited number of places in each wave and they are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
If you miss your designated start time you may start in a later wave, but you CANNOT start in an earlier wave than the one you've been assigned to. Waves are colour-coded, your bib number colour matches your wave colour.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
A light breathable top and shorts, leggings or tights. You will get wet more than once so wicking material is highly recommended. Skin tight leggings are recommended but not mandatory. Gaiters and waterproof trousers are not allowed.
Off-road runners that are well worn-in are the ideal footwear. You will be running through lots of mud so don't buy a new pair of trainers especially for the event as they will get very dirty! For safety reasons, we do not allow walking boots, football boots with any kind of studs, or cross-country spikes. (You will be climbing and crawling in close proximity to other participants and nobody likes getting a stud in the face!)
Duct tape on shoes is not permitted as our venue is a working farm. We suggest runners are tied tightly in a triple-knot.
WHAT ABOUT BLISTERS, HOT SPOTS & FRICTION RASHES?
Do not use any new gear for this event and be sure to have all your clothing and footwear well tested and worn in advance. Use Vaseline or zinc oxide tape to protect any places you have gotten blisters or friction damage in the past. If you are not sure how to tape your feet, find an expert (i.e.: physio) who does - you will be thankful after the event!
WILL I GET WET?
Yes, as well The Pond, there is a River crossing, but no deeper than about 4 foot (just above your waist). There are no swimming sections on the course.
WILL I GET COLD?
Part of the HELL & BACK challenge is overcoming the elements, as well as the obstacles! We have designed the course so that while you will get wet, you should be constantly on the move so you shouldn't get too cold! Resist the temptation to layer-up too much as layers will only weigh you down!
WILL I NEED HELP AT SOME CHALLENGES?
All challenges are designed for individuals who will be tired already so help is not needed. If one competitor wants to help another, no problem. We will also have marshals at the more difficult sections of the course who are available to give a helping hand (and lots of motivation!) if required.
IS THERE ROPE WORK?
While there are no abseiling or technical climbing sections, there will be some nets and ropes for you to pull yourself up, over and through! These include exciting challenges such as the The Swamp, The Devils Rope Ladder, The Pyramid, Ten Foot Tessie and lots more..... So it is recommended that you incorporate some upper-body strength work into your training program in advance of the event.
ARE THERE TIMEOUTS ON THE COURSE?
No. Most competitors will take a rest at some point but it is not mandatory.
SHOULD I CARRY WATER?
There will be 2 water stations on the circuit, located at 5.km and 9km. Due to the demands of the course you will need your hands free for various obstacles so, unless you have a hands-free water device, we don't recommend carrying your own water. We will be providing complementary bottles of Vit Hit & cups of tea at the finish line to help you warm up afterwards!
CAN I LISTEN TO MY I-POD?
No, you will lose or break it!
WHAT IS THE CUT OFF TIME?
For health and safety reasons, you have 3 hours to get around the course. The cut off time is 3 hours after the last wave and we reserve the right to remove competitors from the event.
CAN I TAKE PART IF I AM UNDER 16?
No, for insurance purposes, you must be over 16 years of age to take part.
IS THERE A CHARITY ELEMENT TO HELL & BACK?
Yes, click here for more info. We encourage and help our participants to raise money for charity but it is NOT a requirement for taking part in the event.
WILL THERE BE ELECTRONIC TIMING USED?
HELL & BACK is an event with NO TIMING CHIPS.
As it is a “challenge” rather than a “race”, your primary focus should not be the time – instead you should concentrate on completing the course, helping your fellow participants through and doing your best. Also, because every HELL & BACK course changes per event, you cannot compare times to previous challenges.
Obviously you can bring your own watch and take your own time - though due to the nature of HELL & BACK, where you crawl, drag and pull yourself through lots of different types of terrain, you will need a very robust watch for it to survive the course!
We will though have a Race Clock at the start and finish line so for those of you looking to get your individual time, you can easily calculate this yourself.
So your goal in taking part is to complete Ireland's Toughest Mental & Physical Endurance Challenge in one piece - the time you do it in is irrelevant!
DO I NEED TO NAVIGATE?
No, the course will be clearly marked and marshaled by our event staff and distance markers.
WHAT TRAINING SHOULD I DO?
There is no easy way through HELL & BACK but training definitely helps. We have outlined a few brief tips below but don't forget to check out our training page for more information and advise from previous HELL & BACK participants and bloggers;http://www.hellandback.ie/Training.html
Leg work is probably the most important so you should do some running sessions once a week, building yourself up to 12K on roads. Once you are comfortable with a 12K run, try doing it cross country introducing some hills where you will experience uneven surfaces. A forest track is ideal to test your progress but an urban environment is fine as long as you vary your pace/distance/gradient.
On top of that, you should also do a few upper body weight sessions, as you will have to get over the walls, pull yourself through mud and water trenches and all sorts of other challenges and obstacles! Due to the nature of the event though, everyone helps each other out so there will be lots of people, as well as marshals, available to hoist you over the different obstacles if you are struggling!
For the record, the average person running the course does it in about 1 hr 30 mins (fastest about 50 mins, slowest about 3 hrs).
WHAT'S THE BEST PART OF THE EVENT?
This challenge is located in one of Ireland's most scenic parts of the country - a private 1,200 acre estate located in Bray, Co Wicklow. The course will constantly throw up different challenges along the way. You will get a very personal sense of achievement after making it through HELL & BACK.
CAN I DO THIS?
If you think you can, then of course you can!
CAN I VIEW PHOTOS OF PREVIOUS EVENTS
Yes, check out over 4,000 photos from previous HELL & BACK events on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/hellandbackchallenge
Click on the map below for the fully interactive HELL & BACK Apollo Course Map. This will give you a good idea of the challenge that lies ahead of you!
IS THERE SOMEWHERE I CAN STAY?
Our event partners The Martello Hotel located on the sea-front in the heart of Bray are offering an excellent package for HELL & BACK participants. Check out their website for more information.
EVENT PACK FAQs
WHAT IS IN MY EVENT PACK?
You will receive your bib number and exclusive finishers technical t-shirt.
WHERE DO I PICK UP MY EVENT PACK?
Event packs must be collected ahead of the HELL & BACK event in the stores of our event partner 53 Degrees North in Blanchardstown, Carrickmines or Cork. Packs will only be available in the week prior to the event. You choose which store you want to collect from when registering.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME TO COLLECT MY EVENT PACK?
You must have photo ID + a printed copy of the Registration Confirmation Email that you received when you registered for the event. To help prevent delays, please also have your participant number on hand if required.
CAN I PICK UP MY PACK AT THE EVENT VENUE ON THE DAY?
NO! You must collect your Event Pack from one of the 53 Degrees North stores prior to HELL & BACK as there will be no facility to collect the packs at the event. Please note the Carrickmines store will be open at 7.30 on both event days to facilitate pack collection. You MUST collect your pack from your assigned store!
CAN I PICK UP THE EVENT PACK FOR ALL MEMBERS OF MY TEAM?
Yes. One team member can pick up the Event Pack for the full team. There will be four envelopes stapled together with the bib numbers of each person individually marked on each envelope. You must have Photo ID + your Confirmation Email printed with you to collect the pack.
CAN I PICK UP THE EVENT PACK OF OTHER PARTICIPANTS?
Yes, however you can now only pick up the Event Pack of ONE OTHER PERSON, so a maximum of two Event Packs per person. You must have photo ID + the Registration Confirmation Email for both packs printed with you. To help prevent delays, please also have your participant number and those of any other participant with you.
WHAT IS ON THE START LIST?
On the Official Start List, you can find your participant number, collection point you've selected for your Starter Pack and your starting time for the day.
HELL & BACK Start List can be found here: HELL & BACK NEWS
This list will be posted on our website (plus Facebook & Twitter) 2 weeks before the event so you have all you need to know about the big event at that stage.
ON THE DAY FAQs
WHERE DO I PARK?
For events in Bray, all parking is off-site. We have two allocated car parks, one in the old DELL site on Boghall Road, Bray and the other in IDA on Southern Cross Road Bray.
- If you are starting in Waves 1-8, you will be parking in IDA Car Park on Southern Cross Road
- Bring your QR Code Email with you if you have Pre-Paid
- Pay €10 Cash on Gate if you haven't purchased Parking already
- If you are starting in Waves 9-14, you will be parking in DELL Car Park on Boghall Road
- Bring your QR Code Email with you if you have Pre-Paid
- Pay €10 Cash on Gate if you haven't purchased Parking already
In both cases, you will be getting a Shuttle Bus to Belmont Estate, approx 10 min journey. Therefore make sure you give yourself at least 90 mins before your allocated start time to park, get shuttle bus, leave keys in Secure Valuables Drop, warm up etc.
IF YOU HAVE PAID IN ADVANCE FOR PARKING, YOU SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED
YOUR UNIQUE QR CODE BY EMAIL. IF NOT, CALL US ON 01 2147355 ASAP!
CLICK ON ABOVE IMAGE FOR PDF
HOW DO I GET TO THE CAR PARKS?
There is no car access to Belmont Estate - you can only access the site via Shuttle Bus from DELL or IDA Car Parks. The Shuttle Buses will leave every few minutes when they are full.
To get to either car park, you are take “Bray South / Greystones / Enniskerry” exit 7 from the N11. After the slip road, take a right (3rd Exit - Greystones) at the Topaz roundabout. At the next roundabout, straight through past Shoreline Leisure Centre (on left).
The IDA Car Park is located on the right hand side just after the Shoreline Leisure Centre.
The DELL Car Park is further on - so continue to the end of the Southern Cross, take a left at the roundabout and then left at the traffic lights. The entrance is just 50 metres along on your left hand side.
IS THERE A CAR PARKING CHARGE?
Yes. Car Parking Passes are one of a number of initiatives we have implemented to help alleviate traffic congestion, and thus the impact on the environment, in and around HELL & BACK.
Our aim is to reduce the number of cars accessing the H&B venue, by encouraging car pooling and the use of public transport, where possible.
Research after previous events showed that many people taking part did not drive but were nonetheless charged for parking. Therefore we took car parking out of the registration fee, which reduced the cost for many people, and are now only charging those who require a car parking spot.
The cost is €10 per car.
WHAT ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSPORT?
To fit with our green agenda, we also run a shuttle bus service from Bray DART station to Belmont Estate for those who prefer not to drive.
Click on the link below for the list of times the bus will leave Bray DART station - plus the return journey after you have finished up.
You can buy a Shuttle Bus Pass from the driver on the day for €5 cash. For further details check in the News section on H&B Website.
WHERE CAN I LEAVE MY VALUABLES?
WHERE CAN I BUY A CAR PARKING PASS?
During the registration process, you are asked if you would like to purchase a discounted Car Parking Pass. If you choose "yes", we will be sent a QR code by email which you should print and present to the Car Park Attendant when entering the pre-paid car park.
You will also be able to purchase a Car Parking Pass at the Gate for €10. Follow the road signs for the correct parking place.
There will be a secure area in Killruddery for personal valuables (car keys, wallets, phones) close to the Start / Finish Line. Please note that valuables must fit into a small freezer bag (limited space). You must have your Individual Bib Number with you in order to both leave and collect your valuables.
WHERE CAN I LEAVE MY BAG?
There will be an unattended Bag Drop area close to the Start / Finish Line. Participants leave their kit bags there at their own risk. It is a good idea to have a change of dry warm clothes and a towel for after your H&B experience! Valuables can be left in the secure valuables drop as advised above.^^^
ARE THERE CHANGING FACILITIES?
Yes, there will be separate male and female changing areas close to the Start / Finish Line.
It is important to bring a towel and complete change of warm, dry clothes with you for after the event because you will be cold and wet and have a distance to travel back to the car park ahead of you!
ARE THERE SHOWERS?
There will be a rinse down area close to the Start / Finish Line where you will be able to wash off any dirt and muck on you. This is also close to the Bag Drop and changing area so you will be able to clean up and then change into your dry clothes straight after the event. Again, remember that this is a working farm so do not expect luxury!
In our Bray events, Shoreline Leisure Centre is located on the Southern Cross Road. You can pay for a swim for a shower there, which is a good solution for those of you travelling a long distance home. Find out more info on their website.
SITE MAP FOR APOLLO 2014
TEAM CHALLENGE FAQs
HOW DOES THE TEAM CHALLENGE WORK?
- A team is made up of 4 people
- All 4 of you start together in the same wave
- Perfect for Corporate Team Building
- Excellent for Sports Team both to improve communication and team bonding, plus as a Club Fundraiser
- The Team Challenge is NOT a relay race - all 4 team members must complete the challenge
If you have 5 people looking to register, the cheapest way is to register 1 x Team of 4 and 1 x Individual. If you have 21 or more people looking to take part, call us on 01 2147355 and we will go through the discounted rates available to you.
WHAT IS ARE MY TEAM LOGIN DETAILS FOR?
When you register a team of 4 online, you will receive a username and password by email .You can then log into your Team Account up to 21 days before the event and make unlimited changes to your team members, their contact details etc.
So you don't need to know your 4 team members when registering. Also if someone gets injured in advance, you can simply log in and update with a replacement team member.
Unfortunately the log ins are disabled 21 days before HELL & BACK to allow us create a Participant List so you cannot make any changes to your team after this time.
CAN I GET A REFUND IF I CANNOT DO THE EVENT?
Applications for a refund must be made in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org within the following time frame:
We regret that you are not entitled to a refund if you pull out:
- Up to 6 weeks (30 working days) before Event = 50% of Registration Fee
- Within 6 weeks (30 working days) of Event = 0% of Registration Fee
- within 6 weeks (30 working dats) of Event;
- do not show up on the day of the event; or
- those who do not finish the course.
If you are part of a Team of 4, we are unable to issue you a partial refund if one member of your team cannot take part. If you are entitled a Refund under the above time frame, you have a number of options:
Refunds are not possible for non-participants.
- We refund the entire Team of 4 and you register the remaining team members again as individuals at the online web rate (space permitting).
- You recruit someone for the Team of 4 to replace the person who cannot take part. Post to our Facebook page as you may find a replacement there. Then simply log into your Team Manager account, using your username and password, and update the 4 members on your team. (Deadline for Team of 4 Member Changes is 3 weeks before the event.)
MORE INFO FAQs
BROCHURE & POSTER
Brochures & posters for our upcoming events can be obtained by email. Write to email@example.com if you would like some sent to you in the post.
WHO DO I CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION?
- In advance of the event, you can call us in the office on 01 2147355, Monday to Friday from 09:00 until 17:30.
- At the event itself, we will have an Information Point close to the Start / Finish Line, where you can ask any questions you have.
- All our marshals will also be able to help you out with queries – you wont be able to miss them with their green Alive Outside jackets!