Hit & Run is an event played in several incarnations of the television series Gladiators. In this event, a contender must run across the Suspension Bridge as many times as possible, avoiding the four demolition balls being swung by Gladiators on platforms adjacent to the bridge.
One contender faces four Gladiators (two per side of the bridge) and must traverse the bridge as many times as possible within the time limit. The contender receives 2 points for each crossing provided they touch the back post of the bridge.
The Gladiators have to swing their demolition balls at the contender with the aim of knocking the contender off. The game ends when either the time limit expires or when the contender is knocked off the bridge.
Contenders may not touch the demolition balls by hand, intentional or otherwise. Kicking the balls is disallowed unless it is with the aim of returning a ball which has lost its momentum to a Gladiator. Consistent pausing and ducking by the contender is frowned upon and may lead to disqualification. Crawling is also not allowed. Gladiators are allowed to hold back from swinging their demolition balls to allow for tactical play. Gladiators are not allowed to aim their demolition ball at the bridge to unsteady the contender. If a Gladiator does not exert enough force on their demolition ball and it does not return to its owner, then the Gladiator forfeits the match unless the contender retuns the ball to them. The production crew do not return 'dead' demolition balls to the Gladiators.
A contender may not return to the platform after leaving or stay on the platform for too long. If a contender does not touch the back post of the bridge, then the points for that run are not rewarded. The only time this rule was overuled was when a contender instead returned a demolition ball that had got stuck on the platform to its Gladiator.
In the 2008 revivals, the American and UK bridge is longer and more steeped at the ends. The event is also played over water with each Gladiator having their own platform. In Australia, two Gladiators share a platform, as per the original event set up in the 1990s.
In America and the UK, the event lasts 60 seconds as opposed to 30 seconds in Australia.
In South Africa, the event was named 'Demolition Run' the original name for the event.
The event was also played in the Swedish and Danish versions of the show.
Years active: 2008-
The origins of the Hit & Run concept date back to the first series of American Gladiators in which part of the Eliminator involved running across a balance beam whilst Gladiators swung medicine balls at the contenders. This may well have provided the inspiration to UK producers to create an event around this concept.
Hit & Run was introduced in the first series of the 2008 revival despite the fact that the event had never previously been played domestically in the original run. Due to the small size of the pool beneath the bridge, crash mats were laid out along the edge of the pool should the contender fall near the end of the bridge. These were removed from series 2 when the pool was made larger.
Years active: 1994-1998, 2008-
Hit & Run was first road tested during the 1994 Wembley live shows under the name 'Demolition run'. The event was 60 seconds in length but this was reduced to 30 seconds for the televised series.
After failing to be a hit with viewers and the studio audience, the event was rarely played from the 1995 series onwards, often being used to accommodate injured Gladiators.
It was therefore a cause of surprise when the event was introduced for the American and later UK 2008 revivals ahead of other events. For the 2008 revival, the bridge was spanned over water, with contenders falling into it should they be knocked off.
In the 1997 celebrity special, female Gladiator Rio played this event along with three male Gladiators. The first time male and female Gladiators had played together in competition. For that episode, the Hang Tough theme 'Hey rock & Roll' by Showaddywaddy was played for Hit & Run.
Hit & Run was modified for the junior Gladiators series Train 2 Win. In this modification, the Gladiator and their team one at a time had to run across a narrow pathway holding a sponge ball. 2 points were awarded for every ball placed in the basket at the end. The opposing Gladiator and there were stood on one side of the pathway swinging demolition balls. If the 'playing' team member was knocked out of the pathway they had to go to the back of the queue and start again.
Years active: 1995-1997, 2008-
Hit & Run was the first event to be played in the televised Australian series. For the 2008 revival, the Gladiators platforms were moved nearer to the bridge to make the event more difficult for the contenders.