Endure 24 – Solo!

Claire Hougham’s write up of her incredible Endure 24 race weekend.

Endure 24

The run up to my taking part as a solo runner in this year’s Endure 24 had not been smooth.  I’d entered the 2020 event in 2019 shortly after finishing treatment for cancer, after all what says “I’m ready to take on the world again” than running in circles for 24 hours. 

Forward to early 2020 and my doctors and I decided on further surgery as a risk reducing strategy. So in February, before the world really knew what a pandemic was, I deferred my place to 2021.  Turns out I really didn’t miss much in 2020.  

Fast forward to 2021 and the whole world knows what a pandemic is, and I really didn’t think Endure would go ahead. And then the email arrived saying it was definitely, definitely going ahead. Trucking bells, I said to myself, best crack on with some training then. 

Training started ok. Then I got sick with what I’ve termed the “world’s worst respiratory infection ever” 12 days 12 boxes of tissues (I kid you not) and a missed opportunity to make a fortune on a certain type of phone line. 5 weeks with no running and now there’s only a month to go until Endure. 

Having missed the deferral date, it was going to be a long walk. My training plan went in the bin as it was upsetting me to see what I should have been doing, and I started a run streak. At least a mile a day from 29 May to 28 June, 2 races (Solstice Saunter and Eccup 10) and a week of taper mainly eating all the food. 

My plan for Endure was simple. Come out not having killed myself and being able to walk. I knew I would be walking a lot, but I’d hoped to cover a minimum of 6 laps. In a perfect world I’d have liked to have got to 10.  The plan was to do 2 laps come off have a rest, hydrate and eat, repeat until 9pm ish, get some sleep then start again around sunrise. 

In the end I finished on 8 laps of 8k.  Due to covid restrictions solo runners started first with my wave going at 11 so it wasn’t 24 hrs, but 25 hrs (thanks covid). On the Saturday I ran/walked the first 4 laps and walked a 5th lap. Turns out I can walk nearly as fast as I can run. 

Then nature intervened, it got a bit apocalyptical and the event was halted. I decided to get some sleep and not go out on course again until daylight. 

Sunday arrived calmer and brighter. After a good breakfast I walked a further 3 laps by which point my feet were beginning to complain. 

8 laps in total is hard to comprehend. You think differently when it’s laps, you don’t think of the miles each lap entails, just the number of laps you’ve completed.  

I couldn’t have done it without the support at the event of Lou, Caroline, Lizzie and Rigby who kept me fed and watered, in coffee and marmite peanut butter. 

Also Julie, Clare, Manesha, Richard, Anne and Noel for going on slow training runs with me or just being there when I needed them. 

I know Lizzie posted loads of photos during the weekend and everyone’s comments were relayed to me throughout the weekend. Thank you all for your support. 

Imagine what might be possible if I “actually” did some training.