Endure 24 Race Report

 Jen

Jen

Here is a great Race Report by one of our athletes, Jen about her experiences in the Endure 24 hour running race. Enjoy!  

Endure is advertised as ‘Glastonbury for Runners’. Having never been to Glastonbury I’m not sure how the constant sweat levels compare, but it certainly had an amazing party atmosphere, which was incomparable to any race I’d done before.

Running solo for this long was a first, I had no fixed expectations. My longest ultra before this was 40miles. I had no idea what would happen to my body after this, but I was more than ready to find out! I had an outline plan of laps/breaks/eating which I had discussed with Coach Neil. I was happy to adjust as needed.

My outline plan was to run each lap in 1hour, have a small snack each lap, and a longer break plus a meal every 3-4laps. I ran the first four laps with friends who were also competing. I had a quick unscheduled return to my tent after 2 laps to change trainers. I’d set off in light trail shoes, but the race organisers had laid lots of hardcore down which was much too hard underfoot. I ran the rest of the 24hrs in cushioned road shoes. My feet were certainly very grateful for the early call on this.

In regards to the weather, it was very hot and muggy, lightheaded nausea became a bit of a problem. I found little sips of water and savoury snacks worked best for me. The course ran through scenic forestry, with a few nasty hills along the way! I quickly worked out where to walk and when to run, but even the shade of the trees didn’t lower the temperature.

After the first 4 laps (20miles) I had a meal break and a complete kit change as I was soaked with sweat. I ran/walked the hills for a further 3 laps. It was still incredibly muggy, so they were a bit slower. I stopped for another meal break. A jacket potato has never tasted so good! I then did another 3 laps finishing just before 1.00am. I now had 50miles in the bag. I experienced some serious chaffing on this last lap, so I took a longer break to sort myself out. I had lots of messages of support on fb which gave me a morale boost, and so I took the chance to read and update everyone.

I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself setting back out at 2.00am as I was a bit sore, and whilst walking was fine, running definitely aggravated it. Luckily I have a fast walk! I readjusted my plan to account for slower laps. I had prepared an awesome playlist for the night, and putting that on made me feel more positive. I loved the night laps. The temperature was so much cooler, and somehow even ‘heartbreak hill’ didn’t seem so steep in the dark, (as I couldn’t see it.) By 6.00am I had covered another 3 laps, but I returned to my tent feeling really tired. I had some breakfast, then had a decision to make because my legs and muscles all felt surprisingly fine, but I was so tired. I decided to try and nap for an hour, then I would still have plenty of time to get another 3 laps in before the cut off, as long as I could be back out on the course before 8.00am. I laid everything out ready, and fell asleep almost immediately I lay on my airbed! I’ve never had a problem sleeping in a tent.

I woke feeling positive. I put on fresh kit, and headed out for a further 3 laps. I knew I could do this, and that 80miles would be a very respectable total mileage. At no point did I ever want to give up. (I did, however, think many times ‘I’m not doing this ever again’.) It was just a matter of readjusting the plan and the goal to fit what I was capable of doing, as circumstances changed. I laughed, I smiled, I enjoyed banter and chat with other runners and marshals, and I looked deep inside myself…and surprised myself. I got a bit emotional as I set off on my last lap. I was doing this. 80miles was mine! I certainly had tears as I approached the finish line with so many strangers shouting and cheering.

42weeks of training. All the early mornings/ the dark/the rain/ the double runs. All were worth it.

I endured.