Starting at the 5k end of the scale: Paula Walker was again the only Harrier to take part in the Langley Park Race on Wednesday 10th June. This was the second of the 5-race series, with Paula finishing in 30.27.
At Wycombe Rye Luke Martin (JM10) continued to show his supremacy in the Martin family rivalry beating Dad Glen (VM40-44). Both managed new PBs of 20.59 and 22.28, but apparently the gap between them only looks to be growing. Joining the Martins were: Guy Johnson (VM55-59)- 22.12; Ben Durston (VM35-39) – 23.13 and Philip Lewis (VM70-74) – 32.06.
At Cassiobury Park Martin Allen (VM50-54) was in action, and getting himself a new PB of 24.49 for his efforts! [A small plug on Martin’s behalf for the upcoming Penn 7, taking place this Sunday, 21st June, full details to be found here] In Tring Park Mark Fry (VM50-54) and Trevor Brawn did very well to finish in 26.15 and 27.33, respectively, and with another PB time for Trevor!
When it comes to 24-hour endurance madness, the Endure 24 event at the Wasing Park Estate (nr Reading) was a pretty fine example. Running from midday on Saturday 13th to midday on Sunday 14th June, this event saw solo runners, pairs, teams of 5-6 and teams of 6-8 completing as many laps of a 5-mile trail loop as they could within the 24-hour period. Chiltern Harriers AC’s Ali Young was ‘woman enough’ to take on the solo challenge. Despite finding it a very tough ask, especially during the second half of the event, Ali managed the absolutely fantastic achievement of retaining her title in the event. She ran 23 laps (115 miles), doing so in an hour quicker than last year. Dragging Ali round was the Chiltern Harriers mixed 6-8 team: Trevor Lee Poole, Paul Mailey, Kirstie Elliott, Ellie Bates, Pip Harris, Dave Howells, Neil Brown and Tom Powell (who stepped in as a last-minute sub, despite having completed the Comrades Marathon a mere fortnight before!). The team put in very consistent lap times, maintaining form throughout the darkness hours and the hard last hours of the race. Trevor Lee Poole definitely ‘took one for the team’, agreeing to do a double lap towards the end in order to maintain the team’s excellent positioning. He was followed by ‘secret weapon’ Tom Powell , who then came on with fresh legs to throw in a fast lap and give Chiltern an advantage. Dave Howells had the honour of running the final glory lap. The plan that the rest of the team would then join him for a final 100m was somewhat laid aside when it became apparent that Dave was pretty determined to catch the runner in front of him! The team finished 6th in their category out of a total of 169 teams, and 12th overall – undoubtedly a great result. We managed a total of 38 laps (190 miles between us).
For anyone who has never done anything like this before, but likes running, I would definitely recommend the Endure 24 event. It is well-organised and great fun. The Chiltern Harriers AC ‘base camp’ (complete with sufficient tents / camper vans to sleep about 20 people) was a great place to spend 24 hours. The achievements of some of the solo runners were truly inspiring, with the whole crowd and all the participants really getting behind them to cheer them on. The fancy dress was amazing, not to mention the team names – a team of 'Seven Snow Whites & Maybe A Dwarf' were a particular favourite. At some point near the beginning of the race, a commentator said over the PA: “At some point, probably about 20 hours in, you’re going to find yourself running next to Darth Vader and wonder whether you are actually running next to Darth Vader, or whether you’re just 20 hours in to an 24 hour endurance race.” – that pretty much sums it up, I would say.