Endure24 - billed as epic, brutal and relentless, is a 24 hour endurance event whereby participants attempt as many 5 mile laps as they can within the time frame. You can enter as solo, pairs or in a team of 3-8 people.
Last year I was part of a team of 6 at the Leeds event but this year I tried my hand as a solo runner.
I so want to hate this race and write it off as a bad run, yet now that I’ve had time to reflect I can’t help but look back on those 24 hours with fondness. I’m smiling in most of the race pics so perhaps it wasn’t all as dreadful as I remember it! 😂
Firstly, let’s talk laps. When it comes to endurance running, there aren’t many things that aren’t ‘my thing’ but laps are definitely NOT MY THING! So going into this event, I already had concerns with boredom but also knew that I now have a good arsenal of mental tricks and hacks so it wasn’t too much of an issue.
Not being this years ‘A race’, my only plan was to practice night running and nutrition in preparation for UTMB CCC later this summer. All very good and obviously valuable to my end game but the problem with this is that I need a goal and without one I’m like a lost lamb!
The conditions were at best ‘okay’ for the first couple of hours but a huge downpour of rain churned up the 5 mile course pretty quickly and it was a mud fest for the duration. I’d taken a handful of trail shoes to choose from but wore the Salomon Speedcross 5 throughout the race and they really came into their own in those conditions.
This was mentally one of the toughest races I’ve done. Running lap after lap was monotonous but to add to this, the course soon became a mud fest after a downpour of rain just 2 hours into the 24 hour race. Then my glutes tightened up at just 15 miles in and by 25 miles, running was agony! They later eased off and caused no further issues so no idea what happened there.
Next, the toes on my left foot blistered up (I have an ongoing issue on this side so this has become the norm for me) and after 50 miles I went to the medic tent where they told me there was an infection and they couldn’t believe I was walking, let alone running. They strongly advised that I took the weight off my feet for a few hours and re-assess in the morning. Admittedly the hobble back to my tent was reasonably excruciating so I had to admit defeat.. for the time being. My plan to run through the night was out of the window for which I was truly gutted about. Still, I had hope for another shot at it after a few hours of rest.
So all in all, up to the first 50 miles, I hadn’t had a great time out there but I wasn’t ready to quit. I knew the rest of me was strong and so after some rest, I pulled up my big girl pants and got back out there for another three laps. It was only after talking to another solo runner in the morning and he said he was aiming for 100km so I decided that’s what I was going to do too.
Finally! .. for the first time in 20 hours I had a specific goal and with something solid to focus on, I knew I could get the job done.
Amongst the blur of fatigue, mud and sore feet, there is one thing I can recall with such clarity and that’s the camaraderie among every single runner out there. The solo runners are shown so much respect from fellow competitors. I ran with so many people and had so many lovely chats with perfect strangers as well as my friends. Ultimately, everyone out there was trying to achieve the same thing - running for 24 hours!
Total distance was 65 miles / 104km .. not even close to what I know I’m capable of in that time frame but still something to be proud of given the circumstances.
Epic, brutal, relentless indeed. Well played Endure24!