Where: The Wrekin, Shropshire
£: Entry is £20 per team or individual. Entrants are encouraged to collect sponsorship for the nominated local charity, Arthurs Next Steps. Spectators are welcome but will need to bring their own refreshments. There are still a few spaces left for competitors, and further details are available at www.wellingtonunderthewrekin.co.uk.
What is it?
Around this time two hundred years ago, barrels of beer would have been hauled up The Wrekin, Shropshire’s landmark hill, to oil the rowdy Wakes celebrations at the top. Paying tribute to those Georgian revellers is the Great Wrekin Barrel Race, an annual sporting challenge that sees the Midlands’ strongest battling to get full, nine gallon beer barrels up the hill in the quickest possible time. It’s a much less drunken affair than the Wakes of old, and ale connoisseurs will be pleased to know the barrels are filled with water so as not to waste good beer!
The grueling path is about 1.5 miles long and rises some 1,000ft (300m). There are four classes; the most popular is the Classic team event where four people carry a full barrel competing against the current record of 21 minutes and 40 seconds. For those who fancy going it alone there is the ominously titled Lunatic Challenge, for a single person to carry a full barrel up The Wrekin – the record is 30 minutes and 38 seconds, set by Tom Portman from The Cock Hotel, Wellington, last year.
There is also a Women’s Challenge for a team of four women to carry an empty barrel to the top of the hill (record 18 minutes 26 seconds) and finally the Fancy Dress Challenge where any mix of sexes take part for fun with an empty barrel and wearing fancy dress. There are prizes and trophies for the various classes as well as certificates of participation for all with a record of their time from bottom to top.
More info: The event starts at 11am from the old Rifle Range off Wrekin Course (just minutes from Junction 7 of the M54) with the finish line at Heaven Gate near the hill’s summit. For more information about things to see and do in the area visit www.visitironbridge.co.uk.