Following the success of such events as Tough Mudder and Hell and Back, a new All-Terrain fitness challenege, aimed at tormenting people psychologically as well as physically, calling itself Hardy Hoors, has arrived just in time to get a slice of that New Years fitness resolution cheesecake. We spoke to Liam “The Burn” Byrne about what sets his event apart from the rest.
The Potato: What inspired you to create Hardy Hoors?
Liam Byrne: “Well my background is in fitness, having won All-Ireland Cross Country medals for three years in a row at the Community games in Mosney in the mid-nineties.
In recent years I’ve noticed the growing popularity of All-Terrain obstacle based challenges and said to myself, well, I’ve got 30 acres of worthless marshland that my Da left me when he died and a few fluorescent bibs knocking around… why not make a few shekels?”
TP: What sets Hardy Hoors apart from its competitors?
LB: “The hardship, definitely.Tough Mudder, Hell and Back… they all boast about being the toughest, most physically and mentally challenging cross-terrain event available to customers today; Hardy Hoors beats them hands down. Where they promote team efforts and camaraderie among competitors, we actively encourage dirty tactics and cheating.
The kind of people who compete in Tough Mudder are those who are looking for an extreme physical challenge albeit one with a light-hearted streak, whereas Hardy Hoors is a genuinely spiteful event designed to break the spirits of all who take part and therefore caters to those on the more disillusioned. nihilistic side of the Leisure Fitness spectrum… borderline sociopaths, self-harmers, that sort of people.”
TP: Tell us a little about what people can expect from the course.
LB: “Every all-terrain challenge mixes Cross Country running with gruelling obstacles, and in this respect Hardy Hoors is no different. We’ve got a 10k run across some really shitty land; one half is a hip deep bog, the other half is a hill covered in briars. We’ve got the mud pits and the 12ft walls, the rope bridges and the electric fence hurdles.
Where we step everything up a notch is towards the end of the race, on what we call the Murder Mile. On this dreaded stretch, competitors are subjected to not only extreme terrain, but harsh psychological abuse as well.
As part of the application process, anyone entering Hardy Hoors must submit their full Social Networking details, names and contact details for ex-partners, their boss, people who used to knock the shit out of them at school, and so on. Our trained staff use this information to create a tailor-made profile of torment to subject each runner to as they attempt to crawl across a field covered in broken glass and jump through skips filled with nettles. Some of the stuff we subject the runners to… it get’s pretty dark, let me tell you that.
It’s during this last segment that contenders are most encouraged to fuck over their fellow man, and we leave several weapons scattered across the field to help them do this; bicycle chains, hurleys, bits of pipe, things like that.
Most competitors have said the combination of crushing physical exertion, degrading sexual insults and cut-throat skulduggery really awakens some primordial basic instinct buried deep inside which helps them to drag their worthless carcasses over the finish line where they are rewarded with a Hardy Hoor certificate and a bottle of Club Energize.
Of course, not everyone can claim the title of Hardy Hoor; the Murder Mile is a cruel mistress which not many have tamed. The dropout rate on this stretch of the course is 75%; it’s crippled more people than rear-end collisions and has been mentioned in at least two suicide notes.”
TP: Why do you think these challenging events are becoming more popular?
LB: “Physical fitness has always been a huge industry, but lately we’ve seen a tide turning against treadmills and running tracks. People are bored; they don’t want to be hamsters running on wheels, they want to go native, go wild. All Terrain challenges allow participants to get feral in a controlled environment; although the conditions that they run through are challenging and uncomfortable, they’re never put into any mortal danger.
They give people the rush of battle without the risk of gunfire, and I think that appeals greatly to those caught in a nine-to-five job who just want a chance to be their own personal hero on their one day off… to go back in to work on Monday and just feel like they’ve accomplished something, like they are more than just another cog in a cursed machine. Failing that, it could just be down to an upswing in the number of saps who just want something cool looking as their profile picture for their Facebook.”