A couple of weeks ago I took part in Endure 24. Initially I wasn’t planning on running but due to a couple of friends picking up injuries a space became available and I thought it would be good fun and a good way to get in decent mileage ahead of Zagori Marathon. I was in a team with Michalis, Forest Gump… I mean Dean, Heidi and Julia. Lorna was taking part too and she was in a team with Emily, Michele, Gif and Rebecca.
There was a stark contrast between the two teams, they had been having logistical meetings whereas members of our team turned up with only the inside part of a tent, not naming names cough Heidi and Julia cough haha. However there were similarities too, we had both drawn up “Handover plans”, see below:
Luckily the two teams were working together (I may say this now as they won their category! Ha). Lorna and Emily had travelled to the race village early on Friday to set up camp. Michalis gave me and Forest a lift there late on Friday night. When we turned up we got the barbeque going and had a feast to fuel us up for the challenge ahead. We all went on a tour of the race village to work out where the handover point was and what food etc was on offer. After this we headed to bed early as we knew we wouldn’t be getting much sleep after the race started at 12 o’clock on Saturday.
On the first lap for us was Dean Gump.
Emily was first for the girls and Alan was doing the first leg for his team of three (Anna and Joel, nike pacers). Dean got us off to a flying start, despite being dressed as Forest Gump, clocking around a 36 minute 8k.
Michalis was next and then it was my turn. Being competitive I wanted to set a couple of quick lap times whilst the legs were still relatively fresh (taking into account the big mileage in the Black Forest the previous week). I started with a lap of 29:56 that I was happy with considering the hilly trail route. I used Lornas gopro for a whole lap and I’m planning to post that at some point.
After a few laps the girl’s team were top of their category. They were all posting really great times consistently, that’s the most important thing at 24 team relay events. Having done the Adidas Thunder Run and Spitfire Scramble last year I had learnt that it was important to keep eating between laps and to keep moving. At Thunder Run I lied down too soon after a lap and seized up horribly.
The whole 24 hours is a bit of a blur, apart from your own laps you lose track of what everyones up to really. On my second lap I managed to keep close to my first time, I ran 29:57. The hills were taking their toll and on my third lap I had to settle for 30:30. After this my times dropped to closer to 38 minutes because I was tiring and because three of my last four laps were at night. My first night lap was at 1am after having about 30 minutes or so sleep. Lorna was due to run a double lap at about 3am and so we decided that it would be good if we could do a couple laps together. It helped having two headtorches however in hindsight I should have eaten some food after my 1am lap. Doing 24km at night with little food was a bad idea, I was knackered. Once the double lap was done though we had a bacon sarnie, it tasted so good! We then knew we didn’t have to run for a few hours so got some rest.
When trying to get some sleep we realised we got a bit of a bum deal. Around 6/7am everyone starts to get louder again and the sunlight shines through your tent pretty strongly. It’s quite annoying, you are trying to sleep and then all you hear is “Roger!!! (and other names) Where are you!?” at the handover point. Despite not sleeping much it was good to lie down and rest. It was also good to know that our next lap would be our last.
Lorna and I headed out on the last lap around 11am. Despite having already covered 48k in the last 23 hours we kept a good pace, we were soon on the finishing stretch.
The rest of our teams joined us to run in through the finish line and that was it, job done! The girls had absolutely smashed it, they finished a good few laps in front of the next team, I’m claiming an important pacing role in their victory ha.
See a lot of you soon