Well I was tagged in a Facebook post by a friend that a team needed someone to fill in the team so I decided to go for it. In preparation for the event I was in fine form and I was really looking forward to it, I targeted 3-4 laps at Endure 24 there 5 mile laps.
The week of the race I did 2 steady sessions, but I was just tempted to do only 15 miles at Endure 24. I started getting my stuff sorted on Monday evening.
- Running x2 shirt, x2 shorts, x2 trainers, 1 watch, 1x leggings.
- X20 Crate of beer
- sweets, gels.
- Wash kit/ towel
- Head torch, 2x arm light, 2x leg lights. Batteries.
Everyone in the team was getting special individual shirts made so I decided to indulge mine said “James” “We run! Marathons up north for fun”, I was so excited about it all the week leading up to it.
The day before the race I got the 8:26 am train to Doncaster it was early getting to Doncaster the journey was good but my next train which I got to London was late leaving the station, When I got to London Kings Cross, I then had to get a tube from Kings Cross St Pancras underground tube to Paddington underground station. I’d been dreading it since I decided to do the race, the journey was not as bad as I was expecting, then I had to get a train from London Paddington to Reading, after that I then got picked up from Reading train station by one of my team mates.
Then when I got to the site the camp was already set up by some of my team I got a guard of honour from my teammates, my teammates were epic, nice and fantastic. The place was good the event village was ok but expected more. I also saw a lot of people off the Facebook running groups I’m on and I talked to them for a long time and got a few pictures.
I talked to my team mates / group mates a bit and a lot of other people who I know. I walked a little bit of the course on Friday night, the atmosphere was good in the camp the team was good on the night.
I got my t-shirt what I had made, event t-shirt, event chip also the event goodies, I had a few drinks whilst talking to my team mates, learnt a lot about my team mates. We played a quiz and listened to music.
On the Saturday morning I got woken up by some noisy people and it had started raining. I had a nice breakfast whilst talking to people until the event started.
The event started I was taking pictures, I was really excited for my turn to start. I met a lot more people off Facebook. I started my 1st lap just after 2pm the course was good but there was a hill just up the road then at the top of it was on to trail it had plenty of twists turns, ups and downs with lots of good views as you go along the course you go to 5km there were a water station and just up about 100 meters there was a VW camper van with energy shots then 10 meters on your left there is a massive Hill called “Heart Break Hill” it was hard, everyone I saw walked up it then from there it’s downhill after more turns you come out 50 meters from the entrance to the hill then it’s a lot more twists turns and then you get to a heavily wooded section which was downhill with a few turns, then you come out the forest where there’s a few undulating cross country sections where it’s very tight and enough room for one person on the course, then come out on to the campsite you run around some of the site then soon after that you get across the finish line I got the 5 miles in 1:03:14.
The course was good, after that I talked to a lot of my friends and then went to the start and cross the finish line, I then decided to take pictures, watching the race and at about mid Saturday evening the inflatable start finish gantry collapsed on some competitors part of it still had air in but part of it didn’t, allowing a gap for runners to run under after a few minutes two men from the race organisers were holding it up so runners could run over a majority of the start finish mat, about 10 minutes or a little longer the organisers were putting air back into the inflatable gantry and all was fixed. My second lap was at 8:10 pm, I got to the changeover point and a bit later I started my 2nd lap it was not dark yet but as it had passed 8pm head torches had to be used. I started off on a more steady pace from my last lap and about 1mile in I was going good still enjoying the route and also the company of other runners was good and the lakes and ponds were good views on the route I got to “Heart Break Hill” and I was on for a course PB I finished the lap in 1:03:05 a 9 second course PB, I very much enjoyed my semi dark lap.
Just after my 2nd lap I went to see one of my friends who I’d been looking for, talked to them for a bit then I went back to camp and then had my tea which consisted of chilli con carne, salad, cheese and a bread cake. It hit the spot as I’d been looking forward to it for a few hours. I stuck around camp for a little while then I went off to talk to some of my friends for 1:30 hrs then went to bed.
I was supposed to be on at 5:00 am but was woken up at 3:35am to be told “you’re on at 4:34 am”. I set off about 25 minutes early to the changeover point. I changed over it was still dark so it was another head torch lap. I set off I knew it was going to be slow within the 1st mile I was just wanting to get around not bothered about my time but still enjoying it, it was a tough lap I was struggling up until 1km to go when I ran with one of my friends I improved my pace over the last 1km by 6mins a mile I did lap 3 in 1:14:42.
I went back to the communal tent to sit and have some rest and relaxation. A little later on I had my breakfast of a bacon sandwich and a chocolate cookie which I really needed for a boost. It was a bit cold so I was tempted to go back to bed but I couldn’t see the point. I set off to get to the changeover I set off so I could do my 4th lap, my lap started 5mins later than expected but within the first few hundred meters I could tell it felt better than I did on the third lap, in the 1st km I was on pace for a course PB but decided to take it easy as the course was different every lap like this one was more wet under foot on some downhill sections you had to be sensible, I talked to a few people on my way around as I’d done on my previous laps, about a mile from the end someone from one of the other teams I was with caught me up so I ended up running with them and finished with them, I did it in 1:05:10 which I was happy with, I was happy with majority of my pace at Endure 24 besides the 3rd lap.
After I finish my 4th lap I gave the band onto a fellow teammate. I got a few drinks of water and then exchanged my chip for my medal, then went back to camp put my tent away and packed my stuff and got a cheese sandwich and a can of well-earned fosters lager. Then went to watch everyone else finish, then said goodbye to everyone and set off to the train station.
The overall journey to and from there was ok but the long journey’s were worth the time and effort to uptake, the race weekend was good I would recommend it to anyone, it was my first time trail running I enjoyed it the course was good, hilly at points and fun. The support there was good, the medal, t-shirt, goodies were impressive. I got to put many names to faces and finally it was so amazing being able to meet so many people. I definitely want to do more of these types of events in the future. There’s a high chance that I’ll do it again next year. I was happy with majority of my times which were consistent happy with 20 miles.
It was also hard with not much sleep. Overall the weather over the weekend was sunny, muggy with a little bit of cold and rainy spells, but not much rain at the race which was good.