Running a-muck in gruelling race to hell and back
IT was dubbed Ireland's toughest 10km challenge -- and who was going to argue with them.
More than 1,300 hardy souls squelched their way through mounds of tyres, over wooden walls and forded chest-high rivers as they all went to 'Hell and Back' in the name of some adventurous fun.
The aptly named race in Killruddery Estate at the base of the Little Sugarloaf Mountain in Co Wicklow was designed by an Elite Army Ranger to test the mettle of participants.
"A run is just a run. This is nothing like a run," Lisa Cunningham, one of the organisers from sports event firm, Alive Outside, said.
"We did one in October, a 10km with 11 obstacles. The feedback we got was it wasn't Ireland's toughest 10km race so we hired an elite Army Ranger."
They then put the new revamped 12 obstacle course to the test with some Army recruits to ensure it would put adventure enthusiasts through their paces.
Among those willing to brave chest-high water in the name of fun was nutritionist Eva Orsmond from RTE health show 'Operation Transformation'.
Organisers revelled in ensuring an optimum level of punishment with the jokingly named 'Satan's Pit' -- a mound of tyres and two wooden walls at the 6.5km mark.
The course sent competitors through ponds, forests and up the Sugarloaf Mountain.
Just over 1,300 people took part in the sold-out event at a cost of €42 each.
Many took part to raise money for charity, with tongue-in-cheek teams including 'Three Ladies And a Tramp' and 'Three Bank-ers And a Decent Bloke'.
Meanwhile, organiser Lisa Cunningham pledged that 'Hell and Back' three was coming and "will be worse".
Further information is available on www.hellandback.ie.