It’s said the triathlon was invented as a sport when three sailors, one a strong swimmer, another a strong runner and a third, a strong cyclist, devised a race in which they would all evenly compete against each other.
Hyrox is also a multi-sport race but unlike triathlon it has three times as many sports – nine to triathlon’s three. Unlike triathlon it was designed to be a multi-sport rather than a result of a drunken naval bet. Though it would make a great story if it had started after nine people got into an argument over who was best.
But what are the events? And how does it compare to triathlon?
Last month, TwinBikeRun entered the Glasgow edition of Hydrox and this is my report.
What is Hyrox?
It’s a multi-sport event which takes place indoors in an arena. The sports are:
50m Sled Push (102kg – 202kg*)
50m Sled Pull (78kg – 153kg*)
80m Burpee Broad Jump
1km Row (on Concept2 Rower)
200m Kettle Bells Farmers Carry (16kg – 32kg*)
100m Sandbag Lunges (10kg – 30kg*)
100 / 75* reps Wall Balls (4kg – 9kg*)
* weights (and reps for wall balls) vary by category
(And, which, if you’re counting, is 16 events, however as you run eight time I’ve included it as one sport when I said there were nine sports to race.)
What was registration like?
Very straightforward. You’re sent a QR code in advance. Registration only took a few minutes and you’re given a chip timer, an athlete band and band for your bag to store in the bag drop. Spectators can also register and pay to enter too. Though at £11.50 your spectators may want you to put on a show to justify the high cost!
How do you get ready?
The course was set up in one of the halls of the Scottish Exhibition Centre. It was easy to access and everything was signposted – except for the changing rooms, as there wasn’t any!
This is your first challenge: where to change when there’s no changing room. I asked a steward and he pointed me to the largest toilet, which was fine, if unconventional. I didn’t expect my first challenge of Hyrox would be to change from jeans to shorts in a toilet cubicle.
How’s the start?
Before you start there’s a warm up area with exercise bikes and machines and weights to replicate every event. This was useful as I’d not practiced any of the events beforehand. I was worried that I would struggle on the sled push and pull. I thought I might even struggle to move it, never mind complete it. But, having a practice, I realised that while it was tough, it wasn’t going to be impossible. It gave me some confidence that I wasn’t starting something I wouldn’t be able to finish.
10 minutes before your start time you get access to the start pen. Loud music and inspirational videos play on TV screens. A number of men take their t-shirts off and strip to the waist. Why? I have no idea. But, Hyrox does seem to attract a large minority of competitors who race in just their shorts. I think they don’t have a full kit because they struggled in the loo to get changed. That can be the only explanation…
A 10 minute countdown ends and we’re off!
What’s it like for spectators?
Mrs TwinBikeRun had a pram with her and was able to get around most of the stations very easily. There was a couple that were difficult to access because of the way they were set out in the arena but most were easy to access and easy to see me. I thought it was great that she was always able to get a spot beside us but she said there was no secret to that: she said: “Who else would want to stand beside you?”
And she was right, the stations are spaced out so that not only does every competitor have their own space, but so do the spectators as each spectator is only watching one person too.
What’s the event like?
I’ll cover that next week. Let’s just say that there’s a reason Hercules stopped at 12 tasks. He was knackered. But while we had nine sports, there were 16 tasks and even Hercules would have had second thoughts of completing that many.
Part 2 next week