The whole weekend of the Heb is remarkable – the boat trip, the location, the excitement – plus it’s a great reason to visit these magnificent places. It’s all the little things that make it such as fabulous event: the attention to detail, visiting the most spectacular parts of the island, the campsite and camaraderie, and the route which embraces the island. “
Name: Jan Rogers Age: 57I’m a wayward triathlete looking for adventure. I like to race, although I use that term loosely. It’s about pushing myself and I’m only ever racing against myself – but I like to do it around other like-minded people.
I’ve done quite a few adventure events including ITERA, GL3D, and Dragon’s Back Race. I’ve also done a lot of the Durty events including Celtman in 2014 which is an all-time favourite! Last year we did the 24/7 which was an absolute blast. If I lived closer to Scotland, I would do all the Durty events because I know they will be a great. I generally coerce friends to join me either as a team or to race individually, it’s more about sharing the memories with good friends.
The Heb has been on the bucket list for a very long time but I just couldn’t get the timings right. The original Heb has a lot of history – I seem to remember a lady winning outright many years ago. Since then I have been inspired to do it. This year it got bumped as a priority. A friend of mine was keen so we just entered.
The whole weekend of the Heb is remarkable – the boat trip, the location, the excitement – plus it’s a great reason to visit these magnificent places. It’s all the little things that make it such as fabulous event: the attention to detail, visiting the most spectacular parts of the island, the campsite and camaraderie, and the route which embraces the island.
The view from the top of the mountain on day 1 was just special and well worth the effort. Someone told me that on the boat over, they said if it’s clear just do it, so I took their advice. And the sea surrounding Vallay was just so blue. I just kept looking at it. It was unbelievably stunning, I had to keep reminding myself I was still in the UK. It’s also very windy on the Island so never pay attention to the weather forecast as its always different. There is not a midge in sight and even if you only get one sunset on the island it will definitely be worth it.
The most difficult thing about The Heb was the beach section on the second day – not because it wasn’t amazing, it was, it really was, but I was on my own in this section having picked up a couple of additional checkpoints. It was windy and stunning and I really wanted to share it with others.
If anyone is thinking about entering, I’d say just do it! Don’t think about it too much – it all unfolds at the start and it’s nowhere near as complicated as it looks. The logistics and route planning were all made simple. I think anyone can do it. I guess you do need a base fitness to ride the bike sections but my friend and I were at different levels of fitness and what was great was that we kept meeting along the way so the front and the back could be riding together and it always felt like everyone was part of the race. The great thing is you can do as much or as little of the race as you can cope with.
I generally maintain a high level of training for triathlon and ultra running so I didn’t do any specific training. I focused a little bit on strength and ankle stability knowing the terrain would include heather bashing. To prepare for The Heb I’d recommend practicing pedalling. There is a constant headwind with little freewheeling. In all seriousness, don’t over cook the 1st day because you still have the second day to go and unless you want to win it’s highly likely you will have to drop a checkpoint so don’t be afraid to do so. Listen to what others say on the boat over – I learnt a lot from others that had done it previously.
The affinity with other competitors starts on the boat on the way over. There’s lots of chit chat about the event which continues throughout the weekend. People help each other along the course sharing routes and hints and tips, and even food. My friend passed her spare food to someone who was struggling. No one is afraid to ask and everyone wants to help. Everyone is there for the same reason which is to have a great weekend.
The great thing about The Heb and a Durty Event generally is that I like the fact that I’m accountable for my decisions. It’s not a nanny state and Durty Events makes that clear and that each athlete is self-sufficient throughout the day. It’s great that wherever possible the local community benefits from a race location and Durty Events use local resources. Its not just about getting around a course but embracing the environment. These events are not easy courses, everyone can be challenged and the organisers absolutely understand what is needed at both ends of the spectrum.
What you get with a Durty event is an all-round good event: great organisation, great value for money, amazing places and routes, a challenge whereby you are accountable, a great ethos and bonding with the local community whereby they also really embrace the race.