Endure 24 – fast becoming my favourite running weekend of the year

A year or so ago I blogged about my first time at Endure 24 and the feeling remains the same. Great event with great people with the addition this year of my wife and kids who came out for the actual race bit.

The Friday was the traditional arrive on site and put up our tents and about a million more down Hedge End Alley! I can definetely say our tents went up ok but as the enthusiasm waned I’m not sure I’d have wanted to sleep in the latter ones!!!

As you can see our tent putting up ability needs some work!

Anyway, once up, we had nothing else to do but have a few beers whilst we waited for people to arrive! We had to wait a long time so we got quite um, relaxed!

As you can tell, I was not alone in relaxing on the Friday. We obviously then finished the evening with some wine and port as we are classy runners!!!! I must just say though, the group I was in, which some might call mischief makers, were brilliant and I’m not sure I’ve laughed so much. I also apologise profusely for falling on a team members tent (she wasn’t in our team so it was OK), it can’t have been pleasant!!!

The organisers also laid on a big screen for the football which was well received.

Anyway, Saturday morning came round too quickly and with some sore heads we started getting ourselves organised. I can’t say there was a great deal of activity…

Can’t say that’s the most flattering photo of me…..

Anyway, the race kicked off with everyone’s lead runners setting off at the mass start with Karen leading from the front for us in her fancy dress outfit (it might actually have been a proper outfit but it made us giggle!!!) sorry Karen…

For those new to Endure, in essence it’s a relay over 24 hours with each person taking it in turns including through the night. Lots of hanging around but actually that’s a challenge in its own right in terms of getting back, fuelling and getting back out on the course. Some photos below which better demonstrate what happens over the time period

Personally I royally screwed up my race (it didn’t affect the weekend too much for my but still). First lap was really really tough. Hungover, hot and humid weather were not a great combination – see below

My second lap was a bit quicker and my third in the night was awesome. Not sure why but I love night running, I just find it quite liberating! Plus you have tunes being played form a v-dub half way round

However I had to abandon starting my lap 4 as started feeling unwell and was sick. Not sure what caused this, there was a bug going round but I think it was a combination of pushing so hard on the first 3 laps in the heat and just generally being knackered before getting to the event. Anyway, couple of hours sleep and then went back out there to get my fourth lap done (I’d come with the aim of doing 4 laps /20 miles after 3 laps last year). Interestingly though my times. Per lap were considerably quicker than last year. Fastest time last year was a 57min lap, this year was 52mins. 3rd lap last year was 1:07, this year 4th lap was 59mins so pleased with progress but still way off the pace of the proper runners.

Some other highlights:

My wife came to endure and joined one of the Hedgies teams. She loved the running bit as the course suited her but not sure the event itself was for her. She did a double lap in the night and generally smashed it:

The solo runners and pairs. Wow just wow. We had Donna and Rob camped near us who were just awesome, how they kept on going throughout the day and night was a massive inspiration. Absolutely heroes. Alongside them, Keith, Carlo and Becky were similarly great and are all absolute machines!!!

The Hedgie Spirit – They’re everywhere!!!! What awesome support! On my last lap I cam across Jenna so we ran together a bit before meeting the Maltese warrior Roberta – a compulsory selfie was taken before I had to leave as they started talking about girly things (I think to make me run off!)

My team – Anyone for Port

They are just great and I couldn’t imagine doing the event with anoyone else however they would probably rather someone a bit quicker…)

Karen – tenacious and properly goes for it! Brought her new boyfriend along – very very brave!

Rich – like that hangdog character in the cartoons but has just come off a 100mile centurion event – another hero!

Anna – my wife for the weekend. Asking me to sniff her pits in case she smelt was a highlight!

Mark – Led the quickest lap standings before his Achilles stop working so well! So mentally strong and seemed permanently sat in his deck chair between laps!

Mike – Great team player. Awesome runner who hurt his knee after his second or third lap. Rather than sulking about it (what I would have done), stayed up and helped everyone and generally was a great team player. To be fair not sure Jo (his better half) would have let him sulk.

Matt – an honorary member of our team. Obviously a great runner but heart of gold and so so so funny! The highlight was him sleeping in sleeping bag in the social area overnight because he didn’t want to miss out! He also made many comments that whenever I remember them I have to smile!

Finally, Sarah Bonkers Butler! An absolute animal of a runner! Gave me the best sweaty hugs when I finished my lap and then went out on our potentially last lap to try and get in before 12 so we could do one more. She sprinted that lap, she’s already done 5 laps, been up for 2 days and still drove his arms and legs like a maniac to get in before 12. She went past us at the last bend before the straight and we were screaming support as it was so tight to 12. We then heard the hooter and didn’t know if she’d got there in time or not. As we walked up we saw her crying and we knew she’d missed it by a second.  She was brilliant and tough as nails + I’m not sure Rich was not too worried about running another lap. She is officially my endure Hero for 2016

So as always a great weekend, lots of laughter, a bit of running and great people! See you next year


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