A compilation of comments and observations from Endure24 2016:
7am pick up from The Green, the ladies travelled by car, and Becky and Jesal were deposited in a field near Aldermaston which was already full of crazies, to set up camp. Paul and Stephen were duly collected from Reading Station and the team was complete. We looked like poor kids on a school trip with our tiny tents, groundsheet and not much else whilst others had camper vans, massive tents, BBQ’s, flags, etc. Following a low key race briefing at 11.30 our opener (Stephen) set off at noon. The purpose was to run as many laps (5 miles off road) as possible in 24 hours, each team member taking it in turns. Stephen, embarking on his first Eagles event (despite being a member for 2.5 years ...where have you been?!) had a congested first lap whilst everyone sorted themselves out. It was also extremely hot as anyone who did Osterley 10k will recall. The race included people running solo, in teams of 2, 3-5 and 6-8. We all completed our first laps trying not race - knowing we had 5/6 more to do in the next 24 hours! Change of kit and most importantly socks is highly recommended after each lap. As dusk fell and the stars came out laps in the dark stretched ahead of us. Tired runners, incredible support, solo competitors (in some cases on a run of over 100 miles - hats off to you), chats about the Eagles, about clubs from all over the country and laps completed.
I found the 01:30am lap the toughest with that nauseous feeling you get from waking in the middle of the night to go on holiday all the way round - I was glad when that one was over but am cross I walked up part of Heartbreak Hill having run up it on the other 5 laps). We managed a disturbed 30 minutes of sleep each. The trudge back to the tent (approx. half a mile), passing blurry eyed runners, illumination supplied by head torches like glow worms in the darkness. Dawn brought rain but also the energy came back when we realised we were over 18 hours in. Teams started to talk of injury. We expected similar but in the main were pretty healthy apart from Becky turning her ankle at the start of a lap and completing it like the trooper we know she is. Paul (The Statistician) calculated we could complete 29 laps comfortably and this was agreed hours before the finish which thankfully left no-one under pressure and we could all just enjoy the occasion. Jesal brought the team home and the organisers allowed teams to cross the line with their final runner.
This event is for everyone. We competed this year with a team of five, an age range of 37 years and a 5 mile time of roughly 40-60 mins. It's a team race that is all about having fun, pushing through with a tough mental attitude and above all a sense of humour. We all had a great time and I highly recommend it.
Endure 24 is an unforgettable event. When I signed up for this new challenge all those months ago it never occurred to me that I would be running 25 miles over a 24 hour period with limited sleep! The location in Wasing Park was beautiful and the woods called the Far Away Forest and Single Track Heaven were magical at night. Seeing and hearing the hippie van called the VDUB Bar just after 5K really prepared you for the long haul up the aptly named Heartbreak Hill whether you were running or walking. I've always enjoyed running as part of a team with the Eagles at XC but being part of a team of only 5 was special. We all relied heavily on each other for running the 5 mile laps, waking up in time, making the tea (especially Paul) or just having a good time. I'm still paying the price for running so far with inadequate training but I don't regret it one bit. Might even fancy doing it again another year if I feel crazy enough!
It was fab and I really enjoyed the experience. It was hard at times - especially the one time when I didn't feel like waking up and doing my lap & had Stephen, Paul and Becky in a bind around what to do. The key thing I learnt (besides mental toughness) was the importance of pacing. I found that keeping a steady pace pretty much gave me the best experience and really good lap times as well. So definitely one to highlight – pace, pace, pace is the key
Also Paul makes a really good cup of tea :) and Stephen was the perfect gentleman giving me his tent while I was giving him one of my laps in return :( :(
The solo runners were very inspirational especially the 85 year old.
Oh and last one from me - The marathon stick is my new best friend. Also it is probably a good idea to take the day off work for those attempting it next year & also take a day of rest - unlike me who did not take a day off and also went to the gym.
Great weekend so much happened I’m not sure where to start. The highlights were:
Sitting watching the football after my 3rd run; sun was starting to set, I was sat with a burger and beer, felt so relaxed and good yet I had already run 15miles!
Night running, was such good fun, I was buzzing, loved it, very surreal, and not as bad as I thought. I also loved the fairy lights going through the woods, though for me some of them were flashing, so was a bit trippy but just so much fun.
The atmosphere out on the course all weekend, but especially during the last 2hours, everyone out there pushing it and also out enjoying it all at the same time. Everything about the course was great, from Little Steep, Far Away Forest, the Clif Bar Cafe, the VDub bar with the 'hippy guy', Heartbreak Hill (I walked every time apart from 1st run) and the flowing finish and run around the campsite always had support on (even at 1am).