Well what a weekend, and what a delay in posting this race report!
Back in June I ran Endure 24 in a team of 6, with the lovely Datchet Dashers. There was 30 of us running plus extra supporters, big, small and hairy! Datchet enter a team every year, with teams, solos and pairs. We have some very organised people, and the lovely David and Aly assured me they’d look after me, even pitching my tent before I arrived. I needed this organisation, I needed a lot of convincing ….
- I hadn’t been camping since Brownies, which I don’t remember liking.
- I don’t like running at night.
- I’m not good when I’m tired.
- I’m not a huge fan of laps.
Basically not a good mix for entering a 24 hour running race, with camping, on a 5 mile loop. But I did it anyway, because you know me, pushing boundaries.
The race starts at lunchtime and I set off for one of our first laps as I wanted to get as many in as possible as training for Round The Rock Jersey, It was a beautiful sunny day and I enjoyed the run, the 5 mile loop was actually pretty interesting with road, mud, hills, entertainment and nice chats passing other Dashers and some of the solo runners. Yes, nutters running for 24 hours, solid!
There’s no aid station for teams, just one for the solo runners, who also get to pitch their tents on the side of the course for naps and snacks. Very important. The Solo aid station gives out water to all runners, great when it got super hot, not so great at night, when it closed. Luckily we had some amazingly prepared campers back at Dashers base and ALOT of snacks.
At about a third of the way around the lap there is a camper van that plays music and gives out shots of energy drink, a great distraction and a welcoming site on each lap. Not so good when they shut overnight, but then my friend here may have gone mad from listening the beach boys soundtrack on repeat.
One of my favourite laps was running with this champ. Lee! Lee was suffering with an injury but still came and walked some laps with us and was a crucial member of the team back at base, making me foam roll!
Lee also took these amazing photos of the night lap. I didn’t hate it as much as I thought, I took it slow, wore my head torch and a tutu and chatted to everyone I could and then went to bed.
I forgot a pillow. I forgot ear plugs. I forgot an eye mask. I am terrible at camping. I did not sleep. I got up four hours later, ran another lap and inhaled two oats so simple sachets and a pint of coffee, not my best moment.
Would I do it again? Probably not, I like running, but I didn’t love having to keep stopping and wasting time. I might do it again if I went mad and decided to do 24 hours, but I’d rather do one of Centurion‘s 100 mile races and try to get in in 24 hours. The organisation was good, the medal excellent and the portable toilets (can’t say the normal name, because the brand came after me) were cleaned more regularly than I could have wished.
I’m glad I ran Endure 24 and I have stronger relationships with my team because of it, but I won’t be signing up for another anytime soon.
Have you run a relay race with camping? What did you think?