The Whole Hog – Wantisden Valley, Rendlesham

The trouble with ‘adventure’ races is that they claim to be ‘the toughest’, ‘the most brutal yet’, the wettest’ etc …. Well, bring on your Under Armour (other tight fitting clothes are available); it was time for The Whole Hog: the coldest water, the muddiest bogs and the toughest challenge you’ll take on this year! Apparently.

This was the scenic Wantisden Valley near Woodbridge for “7 miles of gruelling terrain, scattered with 30+ obstacles to create a fun and fear filled race that you won’t forget”.

Two events; at 11am approx 200 individuals head off. At 1pm it’s the team event on a course worsened by the earlier starters. There was a lot of water, and it really did stink; we churned up the foot deep, black silt and hauled out of the water using ropes many, many times. The running between was fine, in dry, sandy terrain. Only once were we fully under water and swimming’s not easy in off road shoes!

Mark Harrod, a surprise late entrant claimed the first vet (40) prize, and 3rd overall; pipped at the line because he used the rope getting over the last barrier! And Martyn Clarke was a few minutes back in 6th place, for second vet (40) and cursing the big scratch on the end of his nose, and his Harriers colleague for entering late!

It’s not the toughest, muddiest etc … but it’s really well organised and has plenty of route markers and terrific marshals. It’s not dangerous either; no fire, electric cables or 30 foot drops. It’s the bruises, scratches and nettle stings that mean you don’t forget, and the huge pigs we passed were a bit scary! Lots of prizes, beer, toe socks and a delicious hog roast at the end.