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©John Talbot

Endure 24: what keeps runners coming back for more?

by Caroline44
Monday 12th June 2017
Tags  Endure 24   |   Mizuno   |   24 hour racing
So here I am, my 4th ‘morning after’ an Endure 24. I am tired, stiff, blistered and a bit discombobulated.  Last year, I said never again.  So how come I am here again, forlornly prolonging the dream by sneaking onto Facebook every 5 minutes to read the messages from fellow survivors?  
Here are my thoughts on 2017 specifically and on what keeps us coming back for more.
2017 – Highs and lows
1. The First Few Hours – Heat and Headwind.  A tough start to this year’s event, as the heat saps my energy levels and the wind pushes me backwards.  The first hill has definitely got longer, although Heartbreak Hill didn’t seem quite so bad – possibly because it was shaded and sheltered from the wind!  Happy time through the field with many children offering high 5’s and great support from on-lookers. 
2. The Dark Bit – Nature’s Shower. Oh my goodness where did that rain come from?  I always love the night laps.  I strap on my light up fairy wings and embrace the fact that I can’t see the hills coming.  This year I could see even less than normal, as my headlight beam bounced off the rain drops and left me running in a bit of a haze.  Nevertheless, there was that calm solidarity among runners that makes this the best of times again.

Endure night

3. The Final Few Hours – Legs of Lead and Feet of Fire.  Everyone is tired, blistered and bouncing between euphoria and exhaustion.  Apart from those few team runners that go flying by with grace and speed. How do they do that?  Never mind, this is a personal crusade and everyone is a winner. Fact.
4, The Finish Line – There’s Something in my Eye.  I wait by the finish for the final runner in my team, with a tear in my eye as I see so many people finish their challenge with joy in their hearts and blisters on their feet.
So what keeps us coming back?
We will all have our own reasons (insanity being high on the list), but here are my top 5:
1. The Organisers – this event just keeps getting better.  Each year they take feedback and work hard to make it better.  This year appeared to be flawless – from the well-marked route to clean and plentiful toilets. I didn’t have to queue once.  No mean feat when you consider there were +2000 runners.
2. The Marshals – happy, helpful, and encouraging – even in the small hours. They were all marvellous.
3. The Route – it is the right side of challenging.  I hate the first hill - it’s horrid on cold stiff legs.  But I like the meandering middle bit with the “good excuse to walk section” (a.k.a. Heartbreak Hill) and I love the twisty narrow bit through the forest.  

Endure day

4. The Camaraderie – this is simply one of the friendliest events out there.  There is a powerful respect among all runners and supporters.  Everyone is taking on a personal challenge– whether it is winning the solo event with an eye watering 24 laps or hitting a team target of 24 laps – we all rock and we all love one another. Although you might not want to stand too close to us after 24 hours of sweaty running.
5. The Memories – like watching a favourite film, there’s a familiar glow as you encounter  the Far Away forest, Heartbreak Hill, the Vdub Bar, the massage tent and the fairies.
So who’s signing up for next year?

All images by John Talbot (Endure 24 veteran)

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