Sometimes you choose races and sometimes races choose you. Great examples of this are my next two races: Great North Run and Escape from Meriden.
The Great North Run on Sept 11th is one of those iconic races, never good for a PB but for me it is a “tick it off your running bucket list” kind of race. 57,000 people can make a great atmosphere but I can imagine it will be terrible for running it. Too many people to be able to keep a nice pace especially for the first few miles, but it’s a race about fun and charity and I’ll be going up there just to have some fun. It’s also one of the races that non runners have heard of. 🙂
On the other hand, Escape from Meriden, 19th November, flashed up on my Facebook feed and immediately I had to book it. This is a race as far from GNR as it is possible to go and fits more with my style of running. So what is it?
Escape from Meriden is a simple ultra race, Meriden is the traditional centre of England by the way, 100 runners start the race and have 24 hours to get as far away as possible. There is no route, no plan, no aid stations, in fact there is nothing at all. There is bling though and what you get depends on how far you manage to escape in the 24 hours.
Meriden to my house is 104 miles so even if I didn’t make it all the way there at least I would know that every step would be taking me closer. All you mathematicians out there very quickly worked out that if I ran 0.8 miles more it would be 4 marathons. 🙂 4 marathons in 24 hours? Why not?
Of course with this race being different, it comes with its own obstacles; no aid stations so food has to be bought along the route, the same goes for water. Everything you need has to be carried, there’s nothing in the rules about not being allowed a crew but I can’t imagine any of my friends coming out for a 24 hour crew as none of them are runners. One major thought: If I have to stop through injury there’s no backup at all. I bet all my friends and family turn their phones off that night. 🙂
24 hours on your own.
Not many people ever do that by choice, you have to be extremely at peace with yourself to want to be on your own for that length of time or extremely pissed off at the world.
24 hours running on your own.
Very few people want to do that. It’s a physical thing but it’s also a mental thing. The desire to stop can become overwhelming and you need a reason to continue. Running that kind of distance can hurt, I know that all too well and there’s not much you can do to stop it hurting. Sucking it up is part and parcel of Ultra running.
2 races in 3 months, totally different but the same really, I mean it’s just running. 🙂