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Endure 24 2016: a tale of legends and fairy wings

by Caroline
Wednesday 15th June 2016
Tags  Mizuno   |   Endure 24
In a nutshell:  3,000 runners undertaking a 24 hour solo or team relay race (choose you preferred form of masochism) on a 5 mile off road course encompassing fields,  gravelled forest tracks and some steep bits.  Very well organised with friendly marshals, a hippie ‘shot’ bar and some fairies that appear at night.  The team option has become a ‘must do event’ for the local running clubs and the solo category has spawned many heroic results, from the eye-watering 27 laps completed by the top male solo to the partially blind and deaf lady who completed 2 laps with her guide dog.
Do this run if you like:  endless camaraderie, undulating mixed terrain, running in the deep dark woods, having a sports massage in a field at 2am, fairies.
Do NOT do this run if you like: flat roads, sleeping.
This was my third year of competing in a team of 8 and I must admit that I find the running itself a bit tedious.  But this is a personal thing – I just don’t enjoy running multi lap events. So why do I do it? Because, I simply love the atmosphere of this event.  There is a real sense of community, as runners of all ages, abilities and dress code (soldiers, pirates, fireman, super-heroes, to name a few) endeavour to do as many laps as possible.   In the central village, there is a much loved massage tent as well as a food tent, both of which operate throughout the duration of the run. This year there was even a big outdoor screen for some football event (don’t ask, I have no idea). 

Endure teams

The changeover area can get fraught in the first few hours, but it is also a source of much mirth as exhausted runners search for absent team mates to take over the running gauntlet.  This problem gets particularly acute in the early hours of the morning, when some runners clearly decide to stay in their warm tents rather than relieve their team mates. Be warned - choose your team mates wisely if contemplating this event! 

Endure wings

This year the entertainment also extended into the camping field, where you could have fun guessing the timing of the next squeal as the hot showers suddenly went cold.  Other jollities for my team included “gin sampling”, competitive Dorito eating and donning a pair of light-up fairy wings for the night-time laps.  The wings brought many positive comments from fellow runners as we went round.  And possibly freaked out a couple of the solo runners who may have thought they were hallucinating. Sorry about that.

Endure heroes

And finally, I love this event for the inspiring stories of individual challenges met.  This year saw the return of Peter (age 86) who clocked up 40 miles, while fellow octogenarian Geoff finished on an impressive 35 miles.  There was also a lady who didn’t let a knee replacement stop her and set herself a Nordic walking challenge, as well as a former soldier who donned his boots and Bergen for charity, because 24 hours of running was simply not hard enough.  This is the stuff that legends are made of and I applaud you all. 

team finish

Ultimately, this event is what you make it – it can be a solo test of physical and mental resilience; a bit of a lark with like-minded team mates; or a heady mixture of both.  But whether you love running in circles or not, I would recommend you try this event out.  But be quick – it sells out very quickly indeed.  

Photos by Andrew Casey

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