This weekend, Wonder Woman Workshops travelled up to Reading to take part in a challenge that can only be labelled as absolutely insane, a 24 hour relay running challenge called Endure24.
Endure24 is a 24 hour race whose route consists of a 5 mile trail loop through a (very humid) forest. Some take this loop as an ultra-distance, going round consistently until the 24 hours is up; and some, in our case, choose to tackle the event in a team, with one member consistently running for the 24 hour period. Daisy, our resident WWWUK blogger has written all about her experience…
15 brave and slightly insane members of Wonder Woman Workshop headed to the venue for the 12am start time on the Saturday. Andy had gone on before the rest of us and set up an incredible base camp, nicknamed Cave Chaos, to house us and provide much needed comfort in between runs. Because so many of us had come to run, we were split into two teams, meaning that we would be able to get in a decent amount of laps as an individual and that during those dark hours during the night, we would have a friend to run with.
Steve and Matty took the first lap, powering round in an incredible time of 35:37 and bringing back stories of a mildly hilly course; next went Charlotte and Lizzie, followed by Suz and Helen. With each pair that came back, the reported hills and the humidity of running became all the more ominous, and after a quick change over with Matty (already on his second lap), I was off.
The hills hit pretty much immediately with a steady incline as soon as you’d passed the cheering crowds and started to move into the forest. The route undulated before hitting a steady hill around the 3km hill, flattening out for the next two kilometres before the mother of all hills just after the 5km mark. After that it was a steady decline and before I knew it, I could hear the yelling of the team on the edge of the course (encouraging me to take a sweet from the children rounding the course, meaning I lost my concentration and tripped in the process). Rounding the final straight I moved through my own timing mat and across the next one to mark the next runner, handing the relay band to Kirsty.
Because of there being a large number in our teams, it meant that we all got a decent amount of rest between runs (barring Matty who was determined to break the 25 mile barrier and go into the ultra-distance). As my next run was scheduled at around midnight, I had a decent amount of time to relax, grab some food and enjoy everyone’s company. Helen absolutely smashed her second lap with a PB of 40:18 under the careful eye of Matty who became resident running coach for the weekend. Suz discovered that she’d missed her calling as a face-painter which made the rule of running one lap in fancy dress (unless you were Nicky, who had a new and fabulous outfit for every lap – but her best outfit had to be Jessie from Toy Story 2, with Steve as Woody), all the easier. Luigi became a tiger, Jannet was Spiderman, my fairy costume was made even better with some pretty designs, Carli glammed up with a blonde wig and stylish dress, Andy in a Hawaiian shirt and Helen was also a fairy.
My second lap rolled around and I had Suz (or as her costume indicated, Cruella De Vil) as a running partner. We must’ve looked a sight in full costume and head-torches as we navigated our way around the absolutely pitch black course. This lap felt miles better than the first and it was nice to have some company on the way round, made particularly more amusing by Suz’s shouts of ‘I’m Cruella, I kill puppies!’ before we knew it, we’d handed over to Kirsty and Ez – meaning we could catch a couple of hours sleep before our next run at 5:30am.
Once we’d made it to half way, the twelve hour mark, time seemed to whizz by; filled with snatches of sleep, and the sun slowly creeping up. My third and final lap with Suz rolled round at 5:30 am, mercifully cooler and a time to take in the gorgeous scenery along the course.
With our run over we had time for a quick shower, some food and to cheer on our remaining team members smash out their remaining loops. Special shout outs go to Matty who completed and incredible 7 laps (35 miles), and Andy who ran 4, six months after a serious Achilles tendon injury.
It was an absolutely incredible and tiring weekend but a great deal of fun. Thanks to all the drivers, everyone who brought food (especially Lizzie who baked some amazing cakes) and of course, Andy for setting up a brilliant base camp for everyone.
See you all next year!!