Upon securing a place at Endure 24 I decided to do a little research on the race, something I failed to do with The Grizzly with spectacular results, and after typing in the word ‘Endure’ into the laptop I was given a list of definitions that included:
1) To continue to exist
2) To support adverse force or influence of any kind
3) To suffer without yielding
4) To suffer patiently
Having read the above and looking at the course profile I wasn’t entirely sure I’d done the right thing by entering, yet having just completed Endure 24 I have to say it’s at the very top of my ‘must-do’ race list. I absolutely loved it!
There are a number of reasons why I loved this race so much including;
The course – it was the perfect distance for me to push myself around in a reasonable time for an unfit 40 something; it was hilly with a couple of steep uphills and equally challenging steep downhills; it was technically challenging with lots of twists and turns through the forest with countless exposed tree roots to run (trip) over; and it was entirely traffic free and very picturesque.
The festival atmosphere – Endure is marketed as Glastonbury for runners, and it certainly felt that way. Within the race village could be found the food tent and the caravan bar, deckchairs and bales of hay to lounge on, the DJ set and the huge colourful flags, and the best bit for me – the inflatable Mizuno shop! I just had to purchase another pair.
It’s family friendly – I was unsure whether to take my two rug rats, Rufus aged 11 and India aged 8, but I’m so pleased I did as they had a wild time. Not only did they enjoy the camping, something we don’t often do, they loved being surrounded by other fun loving children including the Rice boys, the Potters, and Bowles Jr. What they enjoyed most was the independence the weekend gave them; they knew daddy was a little busy to parent them like he normally would, I knew the race community was a safe one, and so they had the freedom to enjoy their surroundings without me constantly nagging about their whereabouts.
The team spirit – I was lucky enough to skipper a hard working team of runners that included Kate, Zerrin, John, Jim, Dave, Alan, and Erol. Before the event I asked everyone what their expected lap time was, and based on this I set a plan that everyone could complete 4 laps within the 24-hours. One or two team members had some concerns as they’ve never ran this distance before, and/or they didn’t much fancy running in the dark, but everyone dug deep and got on with the task to ensure we as a team met our target of 160-miles. Throughout the weekend, whether it was day or night, hot and sunny, or dark and wet, everyone took their turn without complaint when the time arrived – and no one forgot to wake the next runner! Something that not all teams can say
It was great running Zerrin in as a team on her last lap, a fitting end to an excellent team event.
The final reason why I loved this race so much was the camaraderie amongst the SJ family. From the pre-race arrival team who secured an excellent spot and worked tirelessly throughout Friday to get tents erected for other runners, the evening jolly where beers, wine, and a few tales were shared (who remembers spreadsheet gate?), to the sharing of food, water, tent pegs, pink giraffes and dry socks that occurred without question. As an longstanding SJer who has dipped in and out of the club over the years it was great to feel the SJ hug around me and my family this weekend; all three of us thank you for making the weekend so enjoyable.
A truly wonderful and memorable weekend that simply has to be repeated next year.