I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into when I signed up for the Hell on the Humber, or as we affectionately call it, ‘ell on’t umber in these parts. Although I’d heard about it, I never thought I’d find someone crazy enough to take part.
For those unfamiliar, the concept is straightforward: run laps of the Humber Bridge (2 miles out, 2 miles back) for 6, 12, 24, or 36 hours. Even for someone like me, notorious for getting lost, this race was foolproof.
Running laps might sound like a version of hell (as the name suggests), testing your mental strength as you seemingly go nowhere and the scenery remains unchanged.
I’ve tackled similar endurance events before, and call me crazy, but I enjoy them. They usually have a laid-back atmosphere, allowing you to complete a lap, take a break for a drink or snack, chat, and then head out for another lap without feeling pressured. This race was no different.
The goal was to run for 6 hours, with the flexibility to cover as many laps as you wanted, with a minimum requirement of one lap every 3 hours to be considered a finisher.
Before the Race
Finding information about the event online was a bit challenging. While there’s supposedly a Facebook group with all the details, I don’t use Facebook, so I went in with little knowledge. Thankfully, I caught the crucial information about the race day being Saturday to Sunday, not Friday as stated on Eventbrite, saving me from a 6-hour run after a day of work.
Evening races come with their own set of challenges, like when to eat dinner. Well, I can confirm that having pasta around 4 pm works wonders.I arrived at the race with no expectations but was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome. After a quick race brief, we were off.
Start line: a cone. Turnaround point: a cone. Finish line: a cone. After completing a lap, you had to log your race number at the tent. Simple. The fully stocked snack table (sausage rolls, yum yums, crisps, and Haribo) was a bonus—priorities, you know.
I’ve emphasised it, but given my recent injury, my focus was on spending 6 hours on my feet rather than the distance covered.
During the Race
Running at night was a delight, with the weather still warm but much cooler than daytime. The changing daylight added a unique touch to each lap. Later laps allowed me to test the head torch I received at the Running Awards.
The course featured familiar faces (like my friend Nick, tackling the 24-hour option) and new acquaintances. Despite the strict earphone ban, chatting with fellow runners made the experience enjoyable. The course, though not flat, provided a varied challenge with inclines at either end of the bridge, which felt steeper with each lap.
Six hours flew by, and as I recorded that final lap at 1 am, I was handed a t-shirt and medal.
Considering my uncertainty beforehand, I surprisingly enjoyed the experience. It’s an excellent race for pushing your distance limits and testing how far you can go. Hats off to Nick for completing 24 hours and to Sam for his 12-hour effort—truly impressive!
I would recommend it. If I were at full fitness, I’d set a goal of 28 miles… perhaps next year.
*Apologies for the bad-quality photos in this post – it was the middle of the night.
Water stations: There was tea/coffee but you must bring your own cup.
Parking: Yes, although the car park closes at 9.30pm
Baggage Facilities: None, parking onsite. If you are running 12/24/36 hours you can pitch a tent to store your stuff / get changed / sleep in.
Post-Race Goodies: T-shirt /medal