Friday, 6 August 2010

And now for something completely different.....

Thunder Run 24hr - Basically an off-road 24 hr event with teams of solos runners, pairs, fives or eights (mixed & un-mixed) running in 10 Km laps.

Got to Catton Park about 6ish on Friday. At that stage not many runners / campers had arrived so found Mr SJ & Stringy (captains of the Willy Wonkas & The Oompa Loompas) & Chris straight away and pitched up the tent - just about managed it before the rain started. Had a look around & saw the familiar faces of Elaine & Colin, then Leila, Martin & Mark. The Fetch village was growing. Wandered over to the marquee tents - food tent (c/w with chandeliers), Adidas were there (strange that) & massage areas just being set up but the starting / finishing areas looking good thou. A bit of food & an early night was in order.

Woke early but decided that staying in the sleeping bag was a good plan but eventually poked my head out of the tent....Runners arriving all the of the time and the field filling up. Watching tents being put up gave us cheap entertainment.

Kick off was at 2.00pm with a race briefing just before. It turned out that last year`s numbers around 160 off - this year it was approx 1,100 runners (I have to say except for the 1st lap it didn`t look packed). The Captains went out first - well it was only fair and then it was down to the umm err highly planned running order. The Oompa Loompa`s running order was Stringy, Vixx, Becky, me & Richard - I couldn`t wait for my go...24 hrs to be at a race without running & watching others run is a long time esp for me but soon enough it was my turn.

Resisted the urge of rushing off at the start and kept it steady - I really didn`t know how many laps I would be doing or the actual course. It was an interesting course with a mixture of grass, tight trails, twisting wooded section complete with tree roots, stony tracks & not forgetting the inclines & grassy meadows & down-slopes - with basically meant we were in for a fun time esp at night :-) Also I may of picked up on the fact that the event was sponsored by Adidas with parts of the course named like Kandida Climb, Adistar Descent or Supernova Stretch. There was a water station at half way just before a slope so instead of gulping the drink down I carried it - which cause a bit of laugh with the FETCH point & one of the solos runners who kept swopping positions with me asked if I was going to carry it all the way round (the empty cup came in handy at the end).

First lap completed in just over 52 mins and pass the baton * unto Richard ( * the `baton` was a basically a rubber wrist band) - smiles all round. I had planned to eat straight away - like within minutes of finishing, then washed & changed & maybe even a quick nap. Let’s just say it didn`t happen like that - note to self need to be more disciplined next time. After the shower I had a massage which helped to sort out any 1st lap niggles which I`d seemed to have picked up. Couldn`t wait to go out again. Back at base camp it was quite odd - runners coming and going, eating not eating, putting race numbers on taking them off....all a bit odd. A bit like the runners out on the course - each one having their own agenda & race plans.

Next lap would be in the dark - head torches on at 8.20pm - the best bit. Again kept it steady not looking at the garmin, not looking for a time. Back in safely in 56mins which I was pleased with. Niggles all gone. The second transitional period was better – a bit of food and even managed a kip of about 90 mins.

I was back out in the `swop over` zone in plenty of time for my 3rd lap - I saw a couple of incoming runners who had no-one to hand the baton over to (one runner got very upset with his team mate after having to wait....for 6 minutes - which oddly enough turned into at least 8 minutes by the time he had finished shouting at his next runner - not a morning person I guess). The sun was just sneaking through the early morning clouds. Hearing the birds start to sing was a great feeling going round the course. Just sneaked a better time of 55 mins.

Back to base camp - for food. Was this breakfast, evening meal or what???? Managed to have another 90 mins of sleep & showered & changed ready for the next lap. Time was just ticking away too quickly now.

Back out for lap 4 - just about getting used to the course. So enjoyed the rise up around 7 Km - views are the top were just great. All downhill from there (well not really but it gave you that impression). The support in last Km was great. During this 4th Lap I did wonder if I would be going out again - who knows.. I just made sure I came in as quickly as I could. Came in with my 2nd fastest time of just over 53 mins which was good & constant. Pleased I didn`t walk any of the course in any of the laps.

I didn`t go out again and the team did 21 laps in 23:56:05 which was a great performance.

Packed up the tents and went over to watch the prize giving – some truly remarkable performances - In fact everyone did a fantastic job I do mean that from the runners & walkers who did a couple of laps to the long ultra runners fighting over silverware (special mention to the Willy Wonkas & Monty`s Shooting Stars in the mixed 5`s - great running). This was a truly great running weekend. Great for meeting Fetchies – missed saying hello to a few thou :-)

I just loved the spirit of this event and the sheer enthusiasm of the race organiser. I`ve been luckily enough to have been to some really good events and this is right up there with the best of them. Many, many thanks.

My splits;

1M - 9:23/m - 10:52/m - 10:37/m - 9:36/m
2M - 8:32/m - 9:49/m - 9:00/m - 8:45/m
3M - 8:52/m - 9:50/m - 9:29/m - 9:05/m
4M - 10:06/m - 11:13/m - 9:28/m - 10:01/m
5M - 8:43/m - 9:10/m - 9:23/m - 9:06/m
0.82M - 6.46/m (8.15/m)- 0.69M - 5.38/m (8:09/m) - 0.96M - 7.55/m (8:15/m) - 0.81M - 6:46/m (8:21/m)

Lap times;

52 mins 22 sec (Sat 5.30pm)
56 mins 30 sec (Sat 10.30pm)
55 mins 52 sec (Sun 04.30pm)
53 mins 19 sec (Sun 10.30am)

I know I have said I`ll be hitting the ball long next year and I like the idea of running in `timed` events but surely, and even looking at the male solo results, this is a bit far..............but who knows what can happen in 12 months....

Next up – Nothing entered for August but a few enter on the day events ear-marked, a bit of downtime maybe even a holiday before building things up for the Great North Run & the JW Ultra next month.