Endurance is the name of the game

So this week’s race report is a bit different, I’m at the Spitfire scramble so thought I’d write the report as we go. Lesson number one learnt on Friday afternoon; if Paul Hollidge asks you to put a tent up for him say no! Two hours after Claudia and I arrived its sort of up, hey ho, the healthy breeze not helping matters.

This is a well organised event, small but perfectly formed…..music of all tastes is being played which is creating a great atmosphere. Calls for tomorrow’s Parkrun have gone out for a so-called warm up before the 24 hours starts I don’t think there’ll be any takers from our tents. Anyway teas brewed and pizza is calling.

It’s early on Saturday and the camp is awake, breakfast is on its way. It’s a cooler day which is great but it’s quite windy. We’ve just heard that unfortunately Ben has broken down en route so there are adjustments to the run plan to make. Debs Cubberley is our first runner and has started with John Bush (JB) who is running solo! The massage tent isn’t even up yet but Claudia Keitch and Caroline Searle have booked a slot for this evening. Paul our second runner is warming up, a routine that is likely to stop later as the warm up will be the first mile of the route.

That’s one lap down, its hot but the course is really good and the breeze is a godsend on the way round. I’ve passed onto Caroline who completes her first lap in about 55 minutes. so far we have all complained that we have gone too fast. Mr Bush has done two laps so far and is trying to decide his strategy, the consensus is to do more in the evening when its not so hot. Chicken noodles with curry sauce goes down really well as I try to eat between laps. It’s just before four and the Spitfire flies over as promised, wow what a sight!

Claudia’s off for her second lap to complete that round for our team, the sun is going down and thankfully its getting cooler. The massagers are busier than ever as people try to get some life back into their legs. JB completed his third leg and gets told not to push it, we all know he will though. Eating is the biggest issue what, when and how much,  its also quite hard to drink enough to get hydrated without feeling too full. Everyone is looking forward to a cool night run, its past 7:30 so head torches are on.

Sleep deprivation and toxic toilets, its Sunday morning and they are the main topics of conversation. We’ve done four laps each and Debs is out for her fifth and final lap. We are now in the team of 3 to 5 mixed category but unsure of our position in the competition but no-one really cares. Paul throws the timing off by registering a sharp final lap of 47 minutes so I have a quick run to the start line for my final lap. I’m done, the last lap was hard but I’ve passed onto Caroline who is in good spirits after getting some comments from fellow runners on her fourth lap that she is showing some good form.

Claudia has a lap to go and will strap up some big blisters to complete it. We’re estimating twenty-five laps between us which we’re more than happy with. The finish is in sight, 24 laps in and Claudia is off on the 25th. John has completed his six solo laps a mere 36 miles under his belt – well done JB. So the results are in,  we’ve finished third in our mixed 3-5 runner category which we are all very chuffed with.
Spitfire[And the Spitfire bronze goes to Claudia Keitch, Caroline Searle, Scott Young, Debs Cubberley and Paul Hollidge]

Now we’ve just run about 30 miles each but there are other mad runners at our club as you know none more so than Paul “I love a marathon” Blackwell. This week he’s managed just the four marathons starting on Thursday he completed the Olympic run challenge, Friday saw him take on the Formula One marathon, Saturday the Darnley marathon and Sunday the Punk Run marathon competing the 4 in 4 days and his 84th marathon! Paul also got presented with his 500 miles plaque from SVN events…..

[Paul Blackwell and this weeks medal haul]

Saturday also saw Meera Rajoo-Oakley join the insane tackling the Stour Valley Path (SVP) 100. The SVP is one of the longest trails in the UK running from Newmarket to Brantham with 95% of the path being trail. Although advertised as 100 it’s actually a mammoth 102km or 63.4m in “old money”. Rajoo-Oakley completed this in 13 hours 42 minutes and 15 seconds and was still running at the end!

On the slightly less extreme end of the scale the Parkrunners were doing their thing again on Saturday. Harwich being the location of choice to get those quick times in with both Rich Moor and Rebecca Conran posting personal best times. Moor bagged a Silver standard finishing in 19:49 and Conran a Bronze with her time of 24:40 – well done both of you. Malcolm Jarvis (21:01), Kevin James (22:44), Katy O’Leary (26:15), Sandra James (33:18) and Claire Reynolds (36:42) all enjoyed the relatively flat 5k out and back coastal course. Only one blue vest was in the park in Colchester to tackle the Castle park hill Martin Owen competing the route there in 26:20.

Finally our Parkrun tourists this week were Liz and Matt Jones who visited Preston Parkrun in Hove Brighton. Matt completing the course in what he describes as a disappointing 22:08 and Liz finishing in 28:50.

That’s it time for another early night!