The Whole Hog, organised by Eight Point Two events is probably one of my favourite alternative running events of the year.
It takes place in October at Wantisden Valley, situated in the Suffolk countryside. Kicking off with an individual race, this is then followed by a team race where groups of three make their way through the 7 miles of mud, fields, woods, water and obstacles.
I’ve taken part in the Whole Hog three times now, each time in a team of three and enjoy this type of obstacle race, one that doesn’t have the time pressures of road racing.
My team for this year was assembled quite late in the day and included myself, Ryan Ostler and Pete Smith. We didn’t have any expectations with regard to time but decided to head out, give it our all and see how it went.
The course had changed just slightly this year, setting off in the opposite direction and incorporating a loop at the very start of the race that went around the complex before heading towards mud hills, water and cargo nets. I can only assume that this was to ensure that the main pack of runners were spread out before hitting the first obstacle and it certainly seemed to work. We managed to get quite a good start and immediately found ourselves up at the front of the pack.
After the first set of obstacles and a mile run, we found ourselves leading at the front of the pack, which was a bit of a novelty. We weren’t sure if we’d keep the lead, but it was quite cool and unexpected to be entering the obstacles first each time.
We kept going, helping each other through water, ditches and up and over logs, planks and other obstacles. After a long stretch of water and cargo nets, see the cover photo for an insight into this, there was quite a stretch of running through some fields. We managed to open up the lead, with the competition somewhere behind, we carried on up hills, jumping off planks into muddy pools of water and into the final straight. Up and over various sets of haybales, we couldn’t see the other teams and continued to push forward, taking first place, much to our astonishment!
Rewarded with mugs of coffee, hot chocolate and various Nathan, Kilian Jornet and Clif energy goodies, we had a great day at the Whole Hog. We’ll definitely be back next year.
Here’s the route on Strava;