Thursday, 4 August 2011

#TR24 - It`s like a mini Glastonbury * but instead of rain we ran.

Thunder Run 24 - if you don`t know is a 24 hour off-road 10Km relay race in teams 1 - 8, which started at noon on Saturday.

I had been promoted to the "Willy Wonka" team - they had taken 2nd place (with 28 laps) in last year`s event so the pressure was on esp as the standard would un-doubtable be higher this year.

Getting there early on Friday evening was again a good move, even with the M25 the plan was to get there around 5.00pm. I left at 2.00pm and managed the M25 without problems - all was going well until 4.15pm (yes after I let them know my ETA). Got stuck at the M40 / M42 junction - let`s just say I like it`s the M1 & cross country route next year. I arrive at 7.00pm. I say hello to Mick, Simon & poor Shielsy who all arrive around lunch time. Shielsy had already fallen fowl of the uneven ground / tent guy rope & was out of action for the weekend - gutted for her. As is standard they watched as I put up the my tent but decided to help with the newly acquired gazebo (tip - gazebo is a must bring item). We settled in for the evening & watched the campsite fill up - I chatted to a few folks including B-Lass & MXHornet (a soloist).

In the morning I did what I said I would do at 9.00am - instead of going to the nearby parkrun I put my feet up, sat in the early morning sun had breakfast & drank coffee. As more team mates arrived we watched them struggle with their tents. As time moved towards noon you could feel the excitement build. Soon enough we moved to the start / finish area - my goodness there were loads of runners - Patrick (RD) has certainly got his wish for wanted to go bigger than before. Simon used his captain`s card well & decided to run in the 1st leg, I was batting in 5th spot so I would not be out for hours (well 3 hrs 15 mins to be precise). I would be running after Jamie & handed over to Simon. Last year I completed 4 laps - 52:22, 56:30, 55:52 & 53:18 & even thou I was in faster team I expected to run laps in similar times but more laps. Soon enough Jamie arrived back and my weekend had started. I had forgotten how undulating the course was but it was nice to see the small course changes. Soon enough I was on the ridge at 7.5Km, homeward bound, then turning the last corner and into the home stretch & handing the `baton` to Simon. Lap one completed in 52:24 (2 seconds slower - gutted).

I think one of the keys with this type of relay is to use the time well - eat first, then clean up & then rest & then finally get ready for the next lap. As we chatted we saw runners going in & going out - soon enough it was time to get ready again. Lap two was just before 7:30pm. Again the plan was to keep to a similar time - I did feel kind of jealous of the solo runners & from my running in the 12hr Lightning Run I knew how they felt when a speedy runner in 5`s or 8`s went past - total respect to them. I completed lap No. 2 in 53:04 with Simon & his head torch on and waiting - night running now.

One thing I guess you would miss if you ran as a solo or in pairs is the post lap chat - we had good group - Willy Wonks & the Thunder Crackers. Hilary had kindly stepped in to take Shielsy place (end up completing an amazing 3 laps). As the clock move round it was my turn to don the head torch (& rear light) I went out for lap 3 just before midnight. Two things I noticed during the night lap was the amount of dust being kicked up by other runners in the wooded area (kind of like driving though fog & switched the main beam on) and the other was that because you could not see the undualating course it felt flatter. I managed to avoid being caught out by the tree routes in the `technical` area & finished in 57:11 - 18.6 miles that day I wonder what would `Race Day` bring.

I did my normal routine, eat, shower, rest - note I didn`t say sleep as I think at best I got my head down for about 45 mins - sleep must count if over 60 mins. I tried to work out when my lap would be - It was the `good morning` lap where it starts in darkness & by the end the sun is up & the tireness was gone - I handed over to Simon at around 5:30am - lap time of 55:04. Jamie had run well but decided to call it a day - he had put in some quick times and helped the team into a strong position.

It was time for breakfast , a wash & a catch up on who had done what during the night. We were doing well - around 8th to 10th place depending when you looked - Chris had picked up the pace. At his stage of the game it was all about counting down the laps - working out the running order. Soon enough I was heading back out for my 5th Lap - felt tough but seeing the solo runners still out there pushed you on. Once again I was handing over to Simon - lap time 55:45.

We had decided on our final lap was to do a team lap. Simon had completed his lap in a similar time to my lap & we tried to get him to do a double - strangely enough without success so Wendy, Chris & Myself headed out. We walked the incline but even by doing that we picked up Jamie at the 8Km in good time. Around the corner & up the last incline where Simon was - we got into formation and with our flag held high we went through the finish line together - out last (& my 6th) lap was around the 01:07:39 mark. We had completed 26 laps & ended up 10th in the mixed 5`s.

6 x 10Km in 52:24, 53:04, 57:11, 55:04, 55:45, 1:07:39

(For the record - 1st came in with 33 Laps, 2nd = 33 Laps, 3rd = 32 Laps)

Will I be there next year for the hat-trick? The answer is YES, and yes I do like the idea of `A team of one`

For a better description of the weekend & some fancy music (& thanks to 26.2 RRC)

Edit - Here`s another -

Edit (& an important one) - I will never play cards or gamble against MrSJ & Jovi Runner....played the `injured` card so well - 6 laps each & well done to Mandie doing a double lap. 

* Thanks to Shielsy for the Glastonbury idea :-) 

Garmin route of our team lap

Oh I manage a little recovery race last night - Yateley 10Km in a reasonable time of.......49:49 - which is the same time as last month`s Yateley 10Km AND Sam`s 10Km Run - what are the chances of hitting the same time in 3 races??

Next up - Is a trip to buy 3 lottery tickets - not really but off for some warm weather training & then the Burnham Beaches Half on the 21st August (so glad my 10Km season has ended)

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