Entrance to the HaO festival area is free and open to the public. Cheering on participants and taking pictures in the festival and spectator viewing areas are highly encouraged. Please note that spectators will not be allowed on the course, however they will be able to view select obstacles from specific areas. Outside food and drink is prohibited, but there will be plenty of options available for purchase. For safety purposes, only registered participants, event staff and approved media will be allowed on the course
What age do you need to be? Do you have options for younger people?
Yes we have options for almost everyone.
If you are 18 or over you can take part in the main 10km HaO event on the Saturday.
If you are 16 or 17 years old you can also take part in the main 10km HaO event but only if you have a chaperone (18 or older) participating also, this a one to one ratio.
If you are aged between 11 and 17 you can enter our 'teen OAK' event which is a 5km course on the Sunday.
If you are aged between 6 and 10 you can enter our 'mini OAK' event on the Sunday, this is a 2km course specifically designed for your little ones in mind. As an adult you have the option of jogging along (free for adult) with your 'mini'.
What does the competitive wave entail?
The competitive wave is the first to start out. This allows those participants interested in pushing themselves a free course to give it their all. This does not mean you hack down the person next to you. If you end up in this wave you don’t have to go flat out, you dictate your own pace.
Am I fit enough?
The course is 10km long with obstacles situated throughout. You will be required to crawl, jump, run, grip, pull and push. You can go at your own pace when completing the course but if you are finding it too hard, slow up or too easy, speed up. Each obstacle poses its own distinct challenge on your body so it is best to have all round fitness. Participants should have a decent aerobic/cardio base with basic lower and upper body strength. If you see something that you do not want to do, don’t do it.
How long will it take?
From entering the event site to leaving should be no more than five hours. We recommend arriving 75 minutes prior to your wave start time. The course should take no more than two hours to complete but some participants will take longer. Remember it is not a race but a challenge. A wash down area will be available to remove excess mud and you will be able to change into something more comfortable.
Can I get a refund?
No. We do not issue refunds, regardless of circumstance, nor do we issue partial refunds, as per company policy and the terms & conditions agreed by each participant during registration. More information here.
Can I choose a preferred start time?
Yes. When you are registering, you will be asked your preferred start time. This may change prior to the event but we will contact you beforehand if this does.
How do I train for the event?
Everybody who registers will have a different level of fitness including beginners and veterans. The key is to get a programme that suits you as an individual and fits in with your lifestyle and ability. We at HaO are big fans of road and trail running, circuit sessions and body weight exercise. As you are reading this online, you should be able to search Google - just enter ‘Obstacle Course Race training programmes’, browse through the options and pick one. There is no point starting to train a week before the event so remember to leave plenty of time to prepare.
Is there a charity element to HaO?
Yes - for 2017 Hard as OAK will be officially partnered with Foyle Search & Rescue and we are proud to announce that we are supporting this great local charity.
This is not to say you cannot pick a cause of your own and would actively encourage you to take part for a charity or club. Most charities have funding packs and will happily post them out to you if you contact them.
Will I get cold?
Part of the HaO challenge is overcoming the conditions as well as the obstacles. You will get wet and muddy although we have designed the course to keep you constantly on the move so you shouldn't get too cold.
What is the deadline for registration?
The event has a limited number of tickets which will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Depending on demand, tickets may be available right up to the event. We would encourage you to register as early as possible to get the best possible price please remember no ticket = no entry.
What clothes should I wear?
You will be getting wet, muddy and sweaty so wear something you don't mind trashing. Avoid cotton as it will stay wet, weigh you down and won’t help your body regulate temperature. The less you wear, the less will get muddy and wet. We recommend a good quality, long-armed base layer or compression top. This will wick water from your body, is light, protects elbows and forearms when crawling and minimises snagging. An optional top layer will add protection against the elements. Compression leggings do the same on the lower half with optional shorts and half finger gloves. On your feet, no high heels, flip flops or studded shoes, go for shoes with grip - trail runners are ideal.
If I organise a team of 10+ can I get a discount?
Yes, there are group discounts available if you have 10 or more. Please see our Groups page for more information.
FAQs - During HaO
Where can I get first aid?
HaO personnel will be in attendance around the course. In the event that first aid is required, please notify the closest marshal. There will be a first aid station at the start/finish line.
Where can I leave my valuables?
At the event we will have a free secure valuables drop for your personal valuables (car keys/wallet/mobile). Your valuables must fit into a small freezer zip bag. Once your bag is numbered, you will be issued with a corresponding wrist band. Please note, no wristband = no valuables.
Are there showers?
There will be a wash down area for you as you finish the course. This is open air so don’t be expecting spa-like facilities! Please note you cannot bring shampoos or gels into the wash down area as it is water only.
Where can I leave my kit bag?
We have male and female changing areas where you can leave your kit bag. Your bag should have a dry change of clothes and towel for when you finish. Do not leave anything valuable in the changing area. All bags are left at the owner's risk. You may also leave your bag in your transport vehicle - car parking is 300m from the main festival area.
Is there a cut off time?
For health and safety reasons you have 3 hours after the last wave starts to complete the course. HaO reserve the right to remove participants from the course after this time limit.
Where can I park? Is there a fee? What about min-buses and coaches?
We have our own event parking on-site, 300m from the festival start/finish area. Parking costs £5 per car which will be collected on the day. This is to encourage car pooling and reduce our environmental impact.
For vehicles carrying 20+ people there will be a set down area and parking clearly signposted off-site. Mini buses park for free.
Do you take photos of participants during the event?
Yes, we take thousands of photos at HaO and will post them all on our Facebook page in the days afterwards. Our photographers will do their very best to capture you but we cannot guarantee it.
Do I have to wear a wrist band?
Each wave start time is numbered / colour coded and you will receive a corresponding wristband when you register. At the finish line you will be presented with a reward in exchange for the wristband. No wristband = no goodies so make sure your wristband is securely fastened before the event starts.
Can I skip an obstacle?
HaO is all about having fun and challenging yourself so if you think a particular obstacle isn’t going to do this for you, don’t do it. However, if you are skipping an obstacle to improve your time, then the only person you are cheating is yourself. We encourage all participants to complete as many of the obstacles as possible. You never know, you may surprise yourself!
Are there changing facilities?
Yes, there are separate male and female changing areas available before and after the event. We strongly recommended you bring a towel and complete change of warm, dry clothes with you because you may be cold and wet and have a distance to travel back to your car. At each of our events, there will also be a wash down area to rinse off the muck before changing into clean clothes.
Will there be food available?
Yes, food vendors will be on-site, selling food and drink on the day.