Where: The Wrekin, Shropshire
£: Free to watch. Entry is £20 per team or individual and entrants are encouraged to collect sponsorship for the nominated local charity.
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. Pay tribute to those Georgian revellers with this year’s Great Wrekin Barrel Race, an annual sporting challenge that sees the Midlands’ strongest battle 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 (2.4Km) 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.
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 fun Fancy Dress Challenge where teams with any mix of men and women can take part with an empty barrel. 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.
The event starts from the old Rifle Range (just minutes from Junction 7 of the M54) with the finish line at Heaven Gate near the hill’s summit. Spectators are welcome but need to bring their own refreshments.
More info: www.wellingtonunderthewrekin.co.uk