It has been a while now since the Mizuno endure24 race and I have finished recovering and trying all the goodies they gave us so I thought I should write up my event, so grab yourself a cuppa some cake and a seat and settle in for a bit of a read.
My Endure24 weekend started at precisely 07:36 Friday morning, when I was awoken by team captain Keith Elshaw phoning to confirm the meeting time later that morning. I decided I better get up and double check I had everything even though I had been ready all week as I love these types of events and going away for the weekend. Before I knew it Kev and Nikki had come round to pick up their trailer tent from my drive and we both hooked up and made our way to the meeting point.
After a quick drive up the motorway to Reading we followed the Endure24 sign posts the event. After being pointed to our camping area by the Mizuno team we made base camp and set ourselves up. Next up ‘Mizuno Rob’ (as he was named by Ange) came round with goodie bags stuffed with lots of nice kit, they had gone to so much trouble the bags were hand selected depending whether you were male or female. Which was lucky as I don’t think I would have looked good in those tight shorts! After a few refreshments and a little preview of the course the team prayed for rain before turning in for the night.
Race day started with me making my way out the van to switch the gas back on so I could kick start the day with a coffee. Little had I realised I had completely blanked our BOSH leader Scott talking to Keith as I had not put my contacts in! What a great way to introduce myself to the guy who had gotten us this great gig. After coffee and contacts were in, introductions were made by all the BOSHERS from both teams and we all settled down in the Mizuno VIP deck chairs to watch other teams arrive and setup. The weather had started to look a bit gloomy but there was little time to worry about that as I had to get myself prepared as the start was not far away. After donning my new orange/red mizuno BOSH t-shirt I made my way to the start the rain decided to descend on us and a smile crept across my face. I kissed the misses goodbye like I always do before a run and headed to the middle of the start pack.
After the usual starter speech and a 7min delay due to clearing the course and sorting a stuck camper the buzzer sounded and we were off. Before I made it out the start run I was elbowed in the hip by a short gent around 55 in a yellow shirt as he pushed passed, as I was wondering what the hell that was about I seemed to get mugged by about another 3 people passing me! I decided I had had enough of being over taken and decided to make my way to the edge of the path and get a move on. After a bit of space had opened up and I got into a rhythm I overtook people and got overtaken by a few too. A mile and a half in I came across a burly chap playing music out loud as he ran, as I got closer I could hear it was Cheryl Cole – Fight for this life, he defiantly looked more of an AC/DC fan but I just smiled and carried on. At about 3 miles I came across Scott and gave him a ‘Go on Bosher’ cheer and we carried on round the course together not far apart hurling banter at one another. On the last mile we were joined by a tall chap who was fast downhill but slow hill, so we swopped positions back and forth for a while till we got to the switch backs that went along the camping area to the finish. It was at this point Mr Tall came blasting past with the comment ‘is this a race now?’ followed with ‘I used to be a winger’ to which I replied ‘well what happened?’ Scott and I got no reply to my question but we looked at each other and thought there is no way we are letting him beat us. We kept close to him and bided our time till we got to the finish straight. Scott and I both gave it all we had and both beat him over the timing mats much to our amusement. I then had to find Nikki in the crowds of people waiting for runners to come in. I found Nikki and she took the band and headed out. If there is one criticism of the course it is that the hand over area needs to be better marshalled but this was the same at the thunder run 24 hour race.
Now the first leg was over I headed off to the shower trailers to clean all the mud and sweat from myself. As I turned the handle on the shower and jumped out the way i muttered ‘please don’t be could, please don’t be cold’ luckily they were nice and hot and powerful. I just hoped they would stay that way for the whole weekend. Now I was clean and refreshed I could relax and have the hog roast and glass of pimms that Mizuno had put on for the VIP guests. I must say it was amazing and it went down a treat. I spent the rest of my time relaxing and cheering on other runner while I waited for my next turn to run. For my first run I had worn my Salomon speedcross 3 but due to their narrow toe box they had given me a blister, I knew this might happen so I had brought my brand new Salomon fell raiser. I know it’s not best to wear a brand new pair of trainers on a race but I couldn’t wear the speedcross again.
Angie came flying in much quicker than she said predicted and handed over to me. As I set off down the path I knew I had made the right decision on footwear. The course was starting to churn up a bit now with the mud underfoot making way to stones underneath and a few holes appearing, but at least it wasn’t raining now. As I plodded my way round the course loving every step, I chatted to some runner and cheered the solo guys. Everyone was in such good spirits and enjoying themselves as much as I was it just made me realise how brilliant the event was. I once again handed to Nikki who was easier to find as the crowds around the handover had thinned out due to people getting the hang of the event and how to sort there timings and not hanging around the handover point.
Once again it was off to the showers to clean up and enjoy the warm water that was still running. This was thanks to the team of guys that were there all the time making sure they were working and that also the toilets were emptied and kept clean. Next the misses and I headed to the catering tent for dinner. A wide variety was available but I went carb loading with pasta and meatballs that were very nice. The misses had jacket potato and chilli, which I had half of which was also good. Next I headed to bed to try and get a few hours before it was my turn again.
I was awoken but a large bang on the caravan right where my head was. I woke with such a start I though Steve had knocked through it! I don’t think Steve realised how thin caravan walls are, I was defiantly awake now. I had slept in my clean running clothes just in case I needed to get ready in a rush. I slowly got myself together and went outside to wait for Angie to come round. Once again Ange had been much quicker than she predicted and the next thing I knew was a very bright torch that looked like motorbike headlamp was steaming towards me shouting my name. I quickly threw of my jumper that also ripped off my head torch; I grabbed the handover band and made my way into the night putting my new head torch on and trying to start my gps watch. After finally getting my head torch on and only blinding myself a few times I turned my attention to sorting the watch. When it finally found the only satellite that must have been up there that night I tried to reset and save the last run. The watch only beeped and refused to work, after some more frantic jabs of the button it decided snap and not do anything, great! Best get on and do some running I thought to myself. I always love a night run as it adds a new element and heightens the senses, at one point I thought I could hear the predator chasing me! But I told myself it was just crickets.
I was lucky to use one of the new Silva trail head torches given to the team for the event. I found the torch gave plenty of light that floods the area directly in front of you but for me it didn’t project far enough in front of you so could see what was coming and pick a route when travelling at speed. It was comfortable and light to wear and had a bit of rubber along the inside of the band to stop it slipping which I thought was a good idea. The only down side but found the light would light my nose and be a little in my eyes. The head torch got the seal of approval from Kermit the frog as he crossed my path and used the light to see his way to the lake. I guessed he was on his way back from the pub and about to get a bollocking for being out late. I finished my night run with no other exciting moment’s just ladies telling me to go careful as I when shooting past. I handing over to Kev who was doing a lap for his wife Nikki had unfortunately pulled her hamstring.
Once again I headed off to the showers that where still warm but unfortunately had no lighting. Luckily the misses came with me to scrub my back so she used the head torch and I was able to wash all the mud off. Then it was back to bed for a few hours sleep. I awoke around 07:30 and made my way out the van to see how the team was fairing up after their night runs. Unfortunately the weather and the course conditions had taken its toll on the team that had already started the event either coming back from injury, operations, illness or marathons the previous weekend. We calculated that we could at least fit 2 more laps in after everyone had done there 3. I said I was up for an extra one which ended up being an extra 2 due to our injury crisis. I must say I plodded my way round the last 2 laps with very heavy feet, cheering on all the solo runners and congratulating their efforts that were to say at the very least, inspirational. Another inspiration came when Jess Grey from the other BOSH team came charging past me on her 40th mile of the event and me only on my 25th Shouting ‘come on BOSHer’. I tried to keep up but she was ballistic and I soon faded. Once all teams where back it was presentation time and the first placed time of 5 went to the amazing BOSH team who won by about 25 min. So it was back to the van to pack up and head home from what I would say is the best event I have ever been to. From start to finish we were looked after by the mizuno team and the event ran very smoothly.
I must say a well done to all in my team that put in a stunning performance against all that was thrown at them.
All I have left to say is a big thank you to Fiona Buglar and Scott Goodwin for sorting this event for us and also a massive thank you to all of the Mizuno team, marshals and competitors that made the event so amazing.