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Endure 24

Well, we’re halfway through the year.  How did that happen?  Blink and you miss it!  Easingwold Running Club has been as active as ever.  Last time, I promised you that I’d let you in on what happens throughout the year, but can I hold that thought for now?  I started to write this piece on Friday, travelling down to Reading, then thought to myself, hang on, let’s go off-piste and write it on the train on the way home on Sunday afternoon?  Wishful thinking as you’ll soon find out.

So, here I am on the train, heading home to hopefully a warm welcome, a hot shower (or 3) and some serious shuteye.  For the record, that’s all I managed on Sunday.  Eyes struggling to stay open, can’t stop eating and my mind is well, not quite as engaged as usual.  So, here we are, Tuesday night and I’m back in the land of the living.

‘Endure24’ has come and gone.  I thought I’d now tell you about how that went.  Many folk at our running club test themselves with feats of endurance in the world of running, which you’ll hear about in future reports.  Some have also participated in the same event in previous years.  This was my first.  Roll back to October last year.  A family friend’s meetup in North Wales and I’m encouraged (bribed or hounded some might say) by a good friend of 20 years, Cristina, to join her at Endure24 (in Reading – not Leeds… I mean, that would be too easy).  Our other halves, Greg and Roxana wisely steer clear!  I signed up thinking, phhhffff, it’s ages away, it’ll never arrive!  Turns out, it did.  At this point, I guess I was feeling generous in spirit, having forced her hand to run a debut Parkrun in Ruthin that Saturday morning.  Exchanging 5k for well, who knows how many kilometers… what was I thinking?

Endure24 for those who are not aware, is a 24-hour running festival of sorts.  The last time I was in Reading for a festival was 1999 (when rock ruled the roost), my approach to diet and hydration was a little different.  Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined, and a little-known band called Coldplay got the ball rolling at 11am in small tent somewhere on site.  Anyway, I digress.  Starting at midday on Saturday and carrying on all the way through to midday on the Sunday, it’s simple, go and run, (eventually staggering aimlessly on empty during the final laps), as many 8km loops as you can.  The venue, Wasing Park near Reading.  A beautiful setting, mainly through undulating woodland makes it a little more palatable.  The big difference between a race and Endure, is that it’s up to you.  Do as little or as much as you like.  As you’re on the move a lot, refueling and hydration is key, which I took full advantage of!  Every time an 8k loop was completed, there was opportunity to rest and recuperate.  Cristina and I ran as Solo’s.  Others ran in teams of various sizes, taking turns to complete the loop. 3,000 people in total, all just as mad as the next one!

Thinking back as I sit here in comfort, it truly was a great experience.  The event was super-organised, every single volunteer / marshal / medic (which we used) was incredibly encouraging, and the camaraderie and support from all other participants and the folk who came along to cheer friends and family along was a life-saver.  The results were as follows.  Cristina completed 132k (17 laps), I completed (as I couldn’t resist sneaking back to the tent for a short sleep – pathetic I know) 104k or 65 miles (13 laps).  The event finished, I packed up, (no time for a shower) and was duly dropped off at the local railway station to make my way home via 4 trains, fortunately all of them on time.

Well, there we go.  If you want to find out more about these events, how about visiting and reading up?  There’s so much more to it than I can do justice here.  Next time, as promised, we’ll look at a typical year in the running club, how each week is structured and what the club can offer for you, no matter where you are on your own quest.

Until then, take care and enjoy the early summer, when it decides to show up!

Rich Freeman, Publicity Secretary

Photo: Cristina and Rich during the early stages of Endure24

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