Endure 24

This time last week I was 8 hours into my first 24 hour race, Endure 24, at Wasing Park near Reading. It sure was an experience. Running a 5 mile trail loop through woods, fields, by a lake and with hills that were short, steady inclines initially but felt much longer and steeper as the hours passed and I kept moving forward with the aim of hitting my 80 mile target….



I was so overcome with relief at the finish that I forgot to record a final video clip! I was too busy smiling, having hit the 80 mile target in 23 hours 20 minutes.



Reflections on the race:

This was my 3rd ultra marathon as a runner (5th including 2 as a volunteer supporting the runners) and with every race I feel more and more part of the amazing, supportive, friendly ultra running community. As a relative newbie ultra runner with just 2 x 50 milers under my belt before Endure 24 I am struck by the accessibility of the experienced and top level runners alike. It really is like being part of a family and to share the experience with other runners I have got to know through Twitter and who have since become friends is truly a pleasure. Hat tip to you all, especially Kevin Matthews, Dan Park, Nici Griffin, Ashley Hurd, Janine Lewis, Paul Ali, Paul Katsiva-Cordoroy, Matt Buck, Justin Horrocks, and Gary Kiernan.

Running through the night is not as bad as I thought. Then again, that may be because I had already run the course several times before it got dark and the race was held the weekend after the Longest Day, meaning less than 6 hours of darkness. I imagine the experience may be a little bit different at a race such as the Winter 100…

Maybe being injured, not running for 4 weeks (a few mountain bike rides to keep the fitness from falling off a cliff) and running less than 30 miles (a total of 6 runs in the 2 weeks before the race) is it the end of the world and rest is actually quite good preparation! I went into the race hoping that I would not face a repeat of my last race, where my ITB troubled me for the last 40 miles. I had been working on my ITB since with rest, foam roller fun (also know as #foamrollaaarrrggghhh time) and some ITB rehab exercises using a resistance band. It seemed to work and I was delighted that I managed to do 80 miles, especially as the furthest I had run since the NDW50 was a 10 mile trail run.

My mental strength is good but can be better. I kept going even when my feet were starting to cause me issues and discomfort later in the race. I did not let the mud get me down. I stayed positive. I was worried about my injury flaring up again and as a result I did not push as hard as I could on the last few laps, where I resorted to a hike with purpose to keep moving forward. Looking bank now I think I had more to give and could have continued run/walking for a few more laps.

If I can manage 80 miles through mud like this in 24 hours then I can run 100 miles along the South Downs Way in June 2015. I have maintained a positive attitude to my planned 100 mile debut since I decided this time last year that I would run it in 2015. Now I believe even more.

I need to have a strategy for keeping my feet in good condition. The “put trail socks and trail shoes on and hope” approach I used this time did not work. The hours of running through puddles and thick, sloppy mud meant I had very wet, dirty feet and as I decided not to change socks during the race or prepare my feet with Vaseline, tape or anything else beforehand I paid the price. Blood blisters under both big toenails – they will grow back – and some other blisters is the end result.



Next up is the Royal Parks Foundation Ultra in October. 50km (31 miles) around London. I had better get training again soon. Just the small matter of sorting the toes out first….

I will be back. I am still smiling.

I ran 80 miles. Yes. Me!


4 thoughts on “Endure 24

  1. Well done Graham. Sorry it rained for you. I did the first two but not this year’s. Year 1: No sooner had we started than I ran back to my tent, put some vaseline and talc and tape on my feet. Later on I had some gait analysis, bought some trainers, ate a burger, had a massage, gave a massage,slept for 7 hours and did 50 miles.

    Year 2: The organisers said they would be putting a table out for us to put our stuff on. I thought “I’ll be more organised and try not to slop about so much”. I hoped to do 70 miles and in the run up ran to work and back a few times a week (approx 10 miles each way). More than I’d done in year one. Got so tired after 60 miles I only did another five miles. I COULD have slipped past the start and got that final five under my belt but my hip flexors just weren’t up to it.

    Because of that initial gait analysis and sale of the Mizuno trainers to me in year 1 I always buy shoes a whole size bigger than I actually need. If it was raining I’d wear sealskinz socks and sprinkle them with talc inside. I wore them for the Thames Trot this year with Injinjie toe socks underneath. Unfortunately my Hoka Mafate wore a hole through both socks on my right foot but Keith at the Ultramarathon Running Store got me a refund on the Hokas as I felt there was a “nodule” inside the right shoe as I’ve never worn through a pair of Sealskinz before.

    I wish I’d worn my Adidas Kanadia to the Thames Trot as they have more traction than the Hoka and it proved muddier more than paved. Because of all the flooding we had this year and the history the Thames Trot has of being diverted onto roads I’d gone for the padding rather than the grip. I think that’s how I incurred an injury called a “Baker’s Cyst” – possibly by slipping in the mud. Barely run since 😦

    • Thanks Teri. Hope you are back running soon. I’m waiting for my worst toe to heal before I get out and run again. Going stir crazy now…

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