No, really. I'm posting this directly after a BLAMT race. It became easymode once I got the combination of ST and two Nailed Fists. As easymode as BLAMT ever gets, anyway.
Getting that first ST out really, really hurts though. The idea is to take it slow and pick up a ranged weapon ASAP. Zombies can be melee kited for 0 damage taken, just run away before its animation finishes playing. Sand spitters can't, more's the pity. Once you get a wand/bow, it's free xp and items. Otherwise, BM race though it is, ST is alright to use even on the beach, just don't go overboard.
It's pretty well impossible to beat Hillock as melee, I tried like 3 times and another 2 using ST. Wand and bow kiting both work - rangers and witches have a natural advantage in that they start that way, if you want to just rush Hillock. Hillock involves a bit more running in circles than I like, but it's better than dying.
After the race, I pulled the CSV and played with it a little, so we have stats!
#1 in class: scion/duelist/ranger level 12, witch 11, shadow/marauder/templar 9
#20: ranger 9, scion 7, witch 4 (this one was ranked #585 overall including dead characters)
9 duelists, 10 shadows, 16 marauders and 9 templars made it to level 3 and above (clearly that #1 duelist was an anomaly)
1132 characters made it to level 3 and above before dying; some of those didn't die.
I was going to post a witty comment here, but I think the numbers speak for themselves.