Thursday, 3 November 2011

Visit for 24 hours while you're at it!

Just back from the local school/ hockey club's playing fields which combined provide a  stressless, cushioned surface for a nice relaxed easy pace run.    If anything it was too "easy" ; as averaging 9.30  over 4 miles,  I was well over that  recommended  for the Masters Competitor  (Bob Glover's Competitive Runner's handbook)  10k race pace plus 2 minutes  but I suppose that rule can apply to any runner whatever their 10K time.
  The loop down there is just less than a mile and  4 loops prove just enough after the speed session  on the canal yesterday.   I must admit it begins to get a tad tiresome passing the same discarded drinks bottles every 9.5 minutes. 
  So what kind  of strength of mind  and fortitude do you have to run for 24 hours around a ONE KILOMETRE CIRCUIT?
In my 50 years of competition I've raced from 100 metres (once!) to 10,000 metres on the track, from a mile to marathons on the road, short fell races, long fell races e.g the 3 Peaks and all aspects of cross country BUT I have no experience of ultra running. 
 I mention this because I caught up with a great programme on CHANNEL 4 ON DEMAND which covered all the events at the recent COMMONWEALTH  MOUNTAIN & ULTRA DISTANCE championships over in North Wales.  

 Local runner, CHRIS CARVER, is a familiar face at races in his OTLEY A.C. vest but the programme gave an opportunity for us to see him in his speciality event  racing for  24 hours (!) as part of the winning England team.   Lizzy Hawker (England)  (pictured above) fresh from sprinting around the Jungfrau marathon in a brief 4:27 just 13 days prior was overall winner  covering 247+ kilometres with Chris in 8th place overall  with 220+ kms.
That's 220 laps of a 1K circuit laid out in Llandudno.  Incredible!
 And I thought I was doing well to run 25 laps of a mile circuit non stop!
Lizzy has a road marathon best of 2:47 but obviously flat 26.2 events are not challenging enough as she would appear to consider tough altitude marathons the very least she'll get out of bed for.  Her other events have been over 56K, 87K and 2 mountain circuits of 100KMs. Amazing!
  The film shows the great battle she had with runner up JOHN PARES of WALES who described the 24 hour race as...

      "not so much a race as an eating competition with some running involved"
That's if you consider  over 150 miles in 24 hours insignificant, but we know what he means.
 Once recovered Chris will no doubt return to "normal" club races from 5K upwards but will  no doubt
quietly resume preparations for his annual trial over 24 hours with some epic weekly runs amd mileage.
You can follow his blog....
  The programme went on to cover the  Commonwealth Mountain Races and the Ultra Trail event which again proved very interesting with Wales being rewarded for their hosting the events with 1/2/3 in the trail race.  Shame though that the young athletes didn't feature more with just a short clip of local starlet Georgia Malir finishing her race on her England debut.  But overall well worth watching.


  1. Lizzy Hawker was incredible and still looked "fresh" afterwards unlike some who had to be helped onto the podium to receive their prize. How they ran the same 1k that many times beats me, I guess you have to get your mind in the right place. It was so refreshing to see ultra and fell racing on the telly. Nice post Terry!

  2. Thanks for this post Terry. It was indeed an amazing event to be a part of and next year the plan is for a spring 24hr race (or similar), the World Championships in September and then maybe the Barcelona 24hr in December.