Category Archives: Social Events

What makes Hell & Back as a group so magical

Up until I completed my second Hell & back race with a group, I hadn’t realised how powerful team building was. Crossing that finish line with my co-workers whom I consider as my friends at this stage, was magical. It took the whole Hell & Back experience to another level. We get along really well and we are close at the office but this event brought us even closer. During the toughest challenges and obstacles, we all stuck together as a team. We helped each other, waited for one another even when it was getting cold especially after we all got soaking wet☺ .It really brought us together and showed us what we were truly made of.

Although my first Race was very special to me since I had never done such a tough obstacles race before, the second one will always have a special place in my heart. The Hell & Back Titan is shorter in distance -7km, compared to the Apollo which was 12 km. Both races are difficult regardless of the distance. The organisers introduced new obstacles this time and made sure we were well entertained the whole way through ☺


One of the new obstacles was the sack race which brought us way back to the time we were kids. We all had a grin on our faces when we were hopping and laughing in our sacks. It’s only a short distance but it can be quite intense. I was out of breath afterwards. Thank God I wasn’t the only one. After seeing the child’s game we weren’t expecting it to be so difficult. Everyone was taken by surprise and felt how tough it actually was. ☺


One of our favourite moments is when Xav ended up stuck in the mud for about 10 minutes, to be fair at that stage we were all exhausted. It took 4 strong men to help him out of the swamp☺ When asking him if he was fine, as we started getting worried, he replied with his famous Xav quote ’’Well guys, I am stuck’’. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures to illustrate this memorable moment however the thought of it will always be stuck in my mind. That is definitely one of the funniest memories and the best mental picture I will keep forever.


Aliénor de Bernard, from Team Accenture shares her experience of the Hell & Back Titan:

 The Hell &Back was an amazing experience altogether. I had certainly foreseen the physical exertion and knew we were going to have fun (yes, we are big kids rolling in the mud). Still, I had underestimated the team spirit that bound us for four hours. Sure, we had said we would help each other, but we really stuck together as one through hell, which is why we all made it back with huge banana smiles across our faces. It was all about pushing, waiting, helping, pulling, dragging and motivating. And all these “little” things only made the whole experience even better for me, tripling the amount of fun I had as I didn’t miss a single slip/fall/splash of my teammates. I’ll definitely do it again, once my body is not so painful anymore!”

Alienor really summed up the feelings we all had during the event and after crossing the finish line. She also pointed out a very important feature:  “the team building ‘’ spirit.


“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

The term “team building” has become a buzzword in recent years, and has many meanings. In terms of corporate development, team-building exercises are important not only for the immediate experience of the activities performed by the team, but also for the group, communication and bonding skills that result. Team-building programmes provide realistic experiences that empower individuals to contribute to common goals. The success of most organisations depends on individuals’ ability to build effective teams.

The main goals of team-building are to improve productivity and motivation. Taking employees out of the office helps groups break down political and personal barriers, eliminate distractions, and have fun. The benefits of team-building programmes are so significant that many corporations have incorporated teambuilding strategies into their standard training curriculum.


I have always been an advocate of teamwork and have established my career among international companies which all had great teams.  I have always felt stronger being part of a team rather than working on my own although I could handle doing most of my job on my own.

Katerina McKINNON, is a lovely and beautiful person who used to be an Accenture employee in the past. Although she has left the company a couple of months ago, she also came with her beloved fiancé Julien to be a part of the Team Accenture. They both really enjoyed the whole experience.

’Hell & Back was the toughest thing I had ever done. I had to face some of my worst fears and I am happy to say I have succeeded in doing so! I don’t regret this one bit, & am very grateful to Arlette for convincing me to do it. Plus, my team was the best, everyone helped each other out and we had such a great laugh altogether. I am very proud of myself and more importantly proud of everyone in my team! ‘’


The sense of pride crossing the finish line can’t be over said or even described. We all wore our really cool Hell & Back tee shirts after the event. Every time you wear it you get that feeling you are like a superhero. I wish I could be the photographer who has the privilege to capture the expression on each participant’s face at the finish line. Each individual overcame the courage to put themselves through hell and challenged themselves beyond what they thought could be possible.



That reminds me of that unique quote from the Bad Boys movie ‘’We ride together, We die together, Bad Boys for life’’


Another thing I really love about Hell & Back is the high quality pictures posted on their Facebook page. I always look forward to seeing these show up on their feed. Hats off to the organisers who provide us with kick ass pictures which are also free of charge. That adds an extra something to the overall experience. I am used to being charged extra for professional pictures after completing a race.

There is something special about Hell & back which makes me want to sign up straight after for the next one. I have become an action junkie! The adrenaline rush gets me so excited that I forget the bruises, the muscle pains and the mud. This is exactly why I have signed up for the next Hell & Back @ night on 22nd October. I am delighted that my two friends Donovan and Daniele will be joining me. It’s part of my plan to do something scary every month. Doing the Hell & Back again yes, but this time in the dark, with all those crazy obstacles getting in my way. What could be scarier than that?


I want to say a huge thank you to all my friends and colleagues who came along. You guys made that event so extra special. Thank you once more to the organisers from Hell & Back who are always so supportive, answering all my questions.



My very first Hell & Back race

Neale Donald Walsch: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Hell & Back has always been in my mind the past 3 years. Few of my friends who completed it told me they were blown away by this race. I used to envy them and wish I was fit enough to do this type of race. I remember thinking it was too scary and too difficult for me at the time.

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3 years ago, I was a complete different person physically and mentally. First of all, I was overweight: 114kg at my heaviest (250.8 LBS) which would bring limitations when it comes to any type of cardio. I was feeling comfortable in my relationship and was a pure weightlifter competitor. Although my physical strength was really solid, any type of cardio would make me out of breath. My health was even at jeopardy at some stage.

Deep down, a part of me was dying to go back to running which was my passion 20 years ago. In my 20’s I was super fit, under 65kg (143 LBS) body weight and fearless.

 A week before the Hell & Back race held on 25th June 2016, I finally got the courage to sign up. While watching this inspirational video, I thought it was time to get out of my comfort zone and do something which scares me:

Fit and ready mentally to do one of the toughest race I have ever completed on Saturday 25th June, here I am standing in front of Kilruddery Estate in Bray. Since March 2015, I have been working on my fitness and improved my health, as a results I lost 55 lbs and feeling fit enough to run any races. Nothing is going to stop me from now. My biggest barrier for not doing what I love was the weight. Since I have gone on this journey, I have learned to love myself again and chase my dreams.

As Eleanor Roosevelt ‘ says ‘’Do one thing every day that scares you.”



I had another good motivation to do the Hell & Back that day since France was playing Ireland during the Euro soccer tournament. Being French and living in Ireland for nearly 11 years, I always support both teams. It’s always heart breaking to watch my 2 teams playing each other. Hell & Back was my way to escape the game and have fun.

A big thank you to Sophie and her team mate who invited to join their group since I was on my own. It made the al experience more enjoyable.

The first obstacles set the tone: huge wheel barrel in cold water to go over, they call it ‘’ Ice Baths’’ and a wall to jump over. I thought I could handle jumping over the wall by myself at the look of it. Thank God some of the participants helped me climbing over it. That’s the best thing about Hell & Back, everyone helps each other, we are all in this together. It’s not about beating a personal time or competing rather having fun, challenging ourselves but more importantly the comradery is incredible. I have never seen so many people helping each other and being so supportive to one another


My favourite Obstacles were:

‘’ Buplex slide to hell slide’’ sliding is so much fun and requires not effort at all. It’s a nice break after going over so many obstacles which can be at times demanding.

‘’ The river’’ Anytime I could get a bit of the mud of me and be in water I was happy. Even if the water was cold it didn’t bother me it felt home. The strange thing is that I normally hate walking on the mud

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‘’Mud bath’’ reverse crawling above cold water and holding on to some rope was great fun.

The toughest ones:

‘’Monkey bars’’, which are very similar to exercise you would see in the army. It’s purely bodyweight strength which is something I have never been good at. I managed to hold myself couple of meters and then fall into the water. I kept going as usual not a big deal.  

‘’Highway to hell’’ it’s one of the few times where you need to have a bit of fitness but walking does it too

‘’ the swamp’’ mud mud and more mud up to the ears, very impressive!

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Despite the pain of going through some tough obstacles it was an incredible experience. I have to congratulate the organizers because they have created a unique event which will remain one of my most memorable race to date. I loved it so much that I have motivated friends and work colleague to sign up for the Hell & Back Titan on Saturday September 10th. 31 of us are excited and ready to take on the Hell & Back by storm.  Team Accenture is going to kill it  



Article published in Bray People to help me in my quest to the European games

Article in Bray People

GREYSTONES resident Arlette Bomahou is looking for help from the community to send her as a volunteer to the European Games in Baku – Azerbaijan.

Arlette Bomahou with a selection of her powerlifting awardsFrench native Arlette has two World championship titles and two European championship titles in powerlifting and wants to volunteer at the games next June.

She is very strong and powerful however revealed that, despite her strength, she occasionally has to ask someone for help opening a jar!

Nonetheless her deadlift is a record-breaking 175kg.

The 39-year-old trains at Crossfit Strength and Performance on Dargan Street in Bray with coach Alan Sherry.

She returns from France this Friday after spending Christmas with her family and will be back training then, at least four times a week for up to three hours each session.

She is also a full time student in digital and social media marketing in Blackrock Further Education Institute.

Arlette took to weight training ten years ago however it’s only in the past 18 months that she has focused on power lifting.

‘When I was a teenager I was very good in sport but didn’t take it seriously,’ she said.

‘I was practising athletics and basketball. My dream was to be air hostess and live in the States. Michael Jordan and Carl Lewis were my ultimate heroes.’

Her passion for sport and foreign languages took her to Amsterdam where she lived for nearly six years.

‘I worked for Nike and loved it then I decided to move to Ireland to discover a new country and culture. After nine years living in Ireland, I am still enjoying it and hope to raise a family here.’

There will be 17 days of competition in Baku next summer and international volunteers must pay for their own accommodation and trip at €4,000.

Arlette has a crowdfunding project to cover the cost.

To make a contribution go to and search for arlettemaotiebamahou.

Opening of new home of National Council of Ireland

The Beauty and The Bar

Opening of new home of National Council of Ireland with Minister of Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the mighty Anthea McTeirnan . Anthea delivered a very entertaining and funny speech. NCWI figths of women’s equality and any area of the social life.


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Opening of new home of National Council of Ireland

Opening of new home of National Council of Ireland with Minister of Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the mighty Anthea McTeirnan . Anthea delivered a very entertaining and funny speech. NCWI figths of women’s equality and any area of the social life.