Royston House Sports and Social Club went to Hell and Back.

Having seen it online, Damien McQuade, Royston House Sports and Social Clubs Chairperson wanted to do this kind of outdoor challenge for a few years but wanted to do it with company.  With the formation of the new workplace club he found some willing victims to share the experience!

Tickets cost between €51 and €75 per person, ours ended up costing us approximately £41.  This included entry to the event and your goody bag with an “I made it thru Hell and Back” T-Shirt for everyone who completed the course, not forgetting the free face painting if desired.

As we arrived and made the long walk through the grounds of Killruddery Estate we passed a few of the obstacles and spectators.  The pond, The 10” Wall, the downhill slide at the end and the starting pen with its ice bath starting line.  There was a tangible energy of “what are we doing here” mingled with an excitement to get started.  After a little stretching and a little waiting it was time for our wave of Hell raisers to begin.  We jumped the 5” fence into the holding pen and then the adrenaline started to kick in.  A ten minute warm up finished with the hell and back hell raisers oath and we were set to go.  It’s a challenge not a race, hell yeah; no one gets left behind, hell yeah and so on. 5,4,3,2,1 and we’re off…over hay bails and into freezing water; a duck under the tyre barrier and out the other side.  An uphill jog and we had started our journey to hell and back.

Whether it was waist deep in mud or shoulder deep in water, the challenges rarely let up.  Getting to the half way mark at the top of the hill and having a view over the Bray coast while still in one piece was a pretty good feeling.  The elation of diving downhill on the slip and slide obstacle before passing through the finish line was fantastic.  Cuts, grazes, bruises and being caked in mud didn’t feel as bad at the end as it looked from the starting line.  It was great to put ourselves through the physical and mental challenges of the day and show ourselves just what we were made of.  The hot shower before the homeward journey was also a highlight of the day for us all.

A few dodgy slips and falls and a broken hand later, the day wasn’t short of ‘is it over yet’ moments.  Though the craic and the energy of the day was great.  The electric shock challenges for those of us unfortunate enough to get shocked were not nice and I wouldn’t rush to experience that again.  Conor’s broken hand had to be the low light of the day but he braved on to the finish line all the same.

We’re already talking about the Hell and Back challenge in January!  It’s a longer course and set in more difficult weather conditions but having learned a few things from our cuts and bruises, like the need for ‘under armour’ to protect our knees and elbows, we’ll be all the more set to concur the course and ensure everyone brave enough to join us is informed of what to expect.

It was an all round thanks to Damien for the suggestion and a feeling of accomplishment as we toasted the triumph of making it through Hell and Back.