Endurance events are becoming more and more popular, I should know. 4 years ago I thought I would have a go at a sprint triathlon. Fast forward to now and I am in training to do 7 Iron Distance Triathlons in 7 Consecutive Days in the summer of next year – #7days7irons. It would seem that not only do I crave endurance events but that it is an addiction.
So to satisfy the addiction I am constantly looking for new challenges. Therefore, when I saw a promotion for a 24 hour endurance run I jumped at the chance of taking part.
The EnduRun24 is a 24 hour run around 10k lap. The emphasis is on how far you can run rather than how long. How many times can you run around the lap? A great concept.
Set in and around Newcastle Racecourse, competitors put up tents in a central ‘base camp’ which is also the start and finish area. I got to the event about 3 hours before the start and there was some upbeat music being pumped through speakers and already entrants were setting up camp. The atmosphere was great, a little tense but everyone was talking to each other so it was relaxed too.
The event was mainly promoted as a relay race in that teams were encouraged to enter to run laps in turns. The winning team would be the one that had run the most laps. Quite brilliantly the organisers allowed for solo runners and pairs to enter also. You compete against your own category. I entered as one of 11 solo runners and rather than feeling alone many other runners from teams were very chatty and helpful. The atmosphere and general feeling throughout the whole 24 hours was special. There is something very comforting about being able to warmly converse with mutually interested strangers in the middle of the night. When you’ve just got back to base camp after doing a 10k lap in almost complete darkness and there are other runners asking about your welfare and happy to stand and chat then you know you’re with some good folk in a great situation.
The course itself was mixed. The first half was a small part Tarmac and largely grassy, boggy fields with a couple of slow hills. The grass was quite long and wet and the muddy sections were deep and claggy. Thereafter there was a section of a mile or so that was full of pebbles, small rocks and more mud. It was on this section that I broke my toe after about 15k. It was unfortunate and it was my own fault; I stood on the pointy edge of a part buried brick. I saw it and ran over it before I could stop myself. That is another story. Read Running 90km with Broken Toes
The next part of the course, my favourite section, was in the trees and was a chicane of roots and muddy troughs which is bound to keep you on your toes and wake you up when your feeling a little lethargic. This is the part of the course that will have you leaping, jumping and stretching. After this is a section of further boggy field – more long wet grass – where the course zig zags through it. I’m sure I’m not the only one that would say this is more mentally draining than physically so. It does end though, I promise, and it finishes at another stretch of rough path where a short sharp uphill takes you round to the last 1 mile stretch (it’s 8 furlongs, do it next year and you’ll see what I mean). It’s one of those miles that seems to go on for 2! You can see the finish line and eventually you will get there, I assure you. This last mile is a great opportunity to increase your pace after an often slightly slower course.
There are marshalls, organisers and medics aplenty and everyone is willing to talk both on and off the track. You’re never far from being able to get advice or being pointed in the right direction.
If you are thinking of starting to run in 2014 or looking to increase the amount of running that you’re doing or even if there’s a group of you wanting to try something new and have a bit of a laugh at the same time, you really must enter the EnduRun24 in 2015. I assume there will be one.
This should be a definite on the running calendar in the North East. I’ll be doing it again. I think there were about 130 participants this year. I would be very surprised if it wasn’t at least double next year. Will you be there?