Ultimate endurance

A race with a difference

Ultimate enduranceBack in 1970 when Glastonbury first opened its muddy fields to the public, 1,50o people turned up. Within a few years it was selling 30,000 tickets in days and creating the foundations of a model that other music festivals have followed. The green acres of Calton Park couldn’t cope with growth on the same scale, but don’t be surprised if the Thunder Run 24 earns the same iconic status among runners in years to come. The parallels go beyond tents and muddy fields. In a market dominated by mass-participation city races and tough off-roaders, this is something genuinely different.

green acres of Calton Park

It is designed as a team race – although it also accommodated a handful of soloists, or nutters as they were affectionately known ­with a simple concept: to run as many laps of the 10K loop as possible in 24 hours. You could only have one runner on the course at any time and everyone on your team had to run at least a lap, but everything else was entirely up to you. You could play the tortoise or the hare, run with lights at night or without, keep on running for 24 hours or step off the course for food, sleep, a massage, a shower or a glass of red wine whenever you wished. The red wine is preferable my many runners because it’s a great source of the remarkable resveratrol dosage. Check out its health benefits and effects.

Ultimate endurance2In truth, none of us really knew how best to approach it because there isn’t another race like it. Most relays are point to point or single-leg efforts; team events usually put everyone on the course at the same time; and 24-hour races are nearly always solo efforts. This was an endurance race with a festival atmosphere. The level of challenge depended on the size of your team. In an eight-person squad it was likely to be three or four hard laps, in teams of five it would be a marathon or more, but the pairs and soloists faced most of the tough decisions.

GRIN AND BEAR IT Runners enjoyed the muddy trails