With the heatwave we’re currently experiencing what better way to spend a weekend than doing a 24 hour running relay!
This weekend I took part in the Spitfire Scramble in my local country park. The event starts at 12pm Saturday and ends 12pm Sunday and consists of 5.6 mile laps. Although 5.6 miles doesn’t sound like much, anyone who has done it will tell you the course is not easy! It’s undulating and the night laps can be quite scary!
I entered with 7 team mates but it can be run solo, as a duo, or in teams of 4. My team, Scrambled Legs, are very easy going and we go to have fun. There is no pressure to get a certain time on Laps and the support you get is amazing!
My first lap was at 3.30pm and it was already a scorcher. I set off with my headphones on enjoying the scenery of the country park. It’s also nice that members of the public are cheering you as you go round, although initially they just be thinking what are we doing! There are a few big hills on the course which are never easy but in 30 degree heat they are very exhausting.
This year they changed part of the course to include running through the campsite half way through the course. This can be daunting as you always want to look like you’re breezing through it so people don’t realise the struggle! You also get the feeling of ‘so close but yet so far’ to the finish line but I dug deep and carried on towards the big hill. Once at the top it’s only a kilometre to the finish line which is a satisfying feeling! I ran back to the finish line through the campsite to hand over the snap band to my next team mate. My time was 58.12 which I was happy with given the heat!
There is then a lot of waiting around until the next lap. This would be at midnight for me. I’m not a fan of night running through a park and neither is my bestie Lisa who would be running after me. We had an idea to run both laps together so we wouldn’t be on our own. I run with Lisa a lot so we both feel comfortable with each other’s pace and if it turns into a run/walk were quite happy.
We set off for the lap and we’re quite pleased with our pace but with each step we knew we would be having to do this again in roughly an hours time. Ok so it was midnight so it was dark but our head torches didn’t give us much reassurance- it’s very eerie running around a countrypark at that time of night I can tell you!
We got back from our lap in 1 hour 12 and went straight into our next lap. This was was mentally and physically challenging! We can only describe it as feeling drunk! I think dehydration had kicked in so we called this the walking lap! It was gone 1am and it was now cold! All we could think about was getting back to base camp and getting a few hours sleep! Every step seemed to feel painful. There were blisters, chaffing, cramps and general muscle acheyness. We finished in 1:30 and was relived the night naps were over. We also agreed that doing 2 back to back was probably the most stupidest ideas we’ve had!
Despite the pain, tiredness and weather - would I sign up again? Of course! The encouragement from other runners and spending the weekend with friends is amazing!
I just need a few days to recover then training will be resumed!
About the author: Emma Vincent is a personal trainer and Sundried ambassador.