Heaven & Hell Hero Story

Heaven & Hell Hero Story

Precious lessons from 'the toughest race in Africa'.
"Grateful for health, good friends, adventure spirit, this country and races like these to test and challenge us to the next level!"

Coach Christiaan shares some practical tips from the grueling Heaven and Hell race. Self-navigating, a distance of 92km’s with 8 000m elevation gain! He finished in first place as the only male, with a time of 23:53.

“The name says it all, heavenly views from the top, but absolute hell to get there!” 

Race format
The race is a figure of eight with the aid station in the middle of an 8km and 14km loop. One loop is 22km with a 2000m ascent. It made nutrition planning straight forward as you know exactly what you can expect. Our blood pressure and oxygen saturation were taken every 14km. According to my Garmin, my oxygen saturation were on 89% average throughout the race.

Why did I sign up
I asked myself this question over and over, and I only got the answer at the end when I persevered. It becomes extremely difficult to think straight when you are sleep deprived, ran for 18 hours non-stop and you have to do another 22km, 6 hour lap with 2 000m ascent to finish something. I’ve learned that hours feels like minutes, the impossible is possible, and that our mind is the strongest tool we have!

Hydration strategy
Effective hydration planning resulted in me avoiding the usual headache.

  • Per lap in the evening: 4.2L
  • Per lap in the day: 5.2L
  • Includes Cytogen, electrolytes, water and juices at transitions.

Transition crate / race box must-have’s:
Make sure to have a variety! The list starts with my biggest cravings:

  • Salty whole foods

Soup, marmite sandwiches, avocado, biltong.

  • Proteins

L-Glutamine, Biogen plat-based protein bars, alternative bars for some change of flavor.

  • Calories

Cytogen: we pre-mixed 9L and it was finished on lap 2.
(With 200cal per 600ml, it is almost sufficient calorie intake if you don’t feel like eating. I drank 6L of Cytogen alone and another 6L of electrolytes, giving me excellent hydration and consistent energy).

  • Treats and miscellaneous

Salt and vinegar Pringles, coffee, extra pair of shoes, dry socks, ice, towel, toothbrush, battery bank with charging cables, sunblock, music, table & chairs.