Some people really do have a knack for packing light.
Cat had somehow fit her entire weekends belongings into a small rucksack. That’s clothes, shoes, snacks. I just about managed to squeeze everything into a wheely suitcase, a decision I would regret when all escalators in Euston were broken down on the way home and it down a 400 step spiral staircase.
Rhianon’s lovely boyfriend Graham (who had very kindly agreed to chauffeur all our food and belongings (inc. Rhianon) up the night before) met us at the station and drove us down to the start at Catton Park. This was no London Enduro, Adidas meant business. Hundreds of tents sprawled out across the hillside and all around us.
Being a jammy sort I had once again fallen on my feet with a brilliant team.
Sarah: Resident doctor in training who had joined us all the way from Newcastle
Cat: Ultra running supremo, who planned to live on a diet of powdered noodles in preparation for running across Atacama in October
Laura: Baker of the worlds finest banana bread and chief laminator
and finally, the wonderful
Rhianon: Without whom we wouldn’t have procured possibly the best camping spot in the whole place, despite the campsite being completely full when they arrived, like some sort of camp pitching wizard. Rhianon also bought the Tiger Tail which I was very grateful for the entire 24 hours.
(I had tried to fit my foam roller in the suitcase but it just wouldn’t go in with all the towels)
Step 1: Tent up
Step 2: Relax
Thunder Run was exactly the same format as Enduro, but with an added 6 hours of sun on each side. Kick off at 12pm and race through to 12pm the next day. The weather was gorgeous, but boiling.
At the start, big ey
Running around the same 10km course five times you get to know it very well, by the time my 5th lap came round I could probably have navigated with my eyes shut. The course takes you through the campsite, up some hills, through some fields, down some hills, into the woods. Just after half way a table appeared like a mirage, angel volunteers bearing water soaked sponges provided much needed relief from the beaming sun.
Laura bossing ‘Short hill by the end’
The route through woods 1 and 2 (as they had been christened) involved nimbly dodging tree roots before popping out at the very top of Catton Park, with the last 2km down the hill and through the campsite to the finish and passing off the snappy bracelet to Sarah.
and repeat x 5.
Cat letting the noodles go down.
The only bit of shade was inside the tent, I spent about 6 hours hiding in various corners on Saturday daytime (and stretching, lots of stretching).
Despite it being a big event, I don’t think the atmosphere could have been any friendlier. The lovely folk next door to us leant us mallets and later would give us hot water for tea. On my last lap a huge blister popped on my right foot. It. Was. Agony. I hobbled into the campsite section of the course, clambered over the barrier and up to a group enjoying their breakfast.
‘Hi I’m really sorry do you have a blister plaster?’
Now under normal circumstances, someone comes barging into your camp demanding plasters at 7am you wouldn’t welcome them with open arms. Luckily this was Thunder Run and Team Darcey Fitness, the most thoroughly lovely bunch you would ever have the pleasure of meeting. They sat me down in a chair, fetched the first aid kit, helped peel off my shoe and sock and totally patched up my mangled foot.
Whilst I was having my foot tended one of the guys told me they were on for third place in the mixed 6-8 teams, thats 3rd out of 244 teams. They were planning to send out some fast runners to clinch it but it was going to be tight. I wished them luck and trotted off to complete my fifth lap and 50th km. I checked when the results came in and they got 3rd place! WELL DONE YOU ABSOLUTE BUNCH OF STARS.
All the girls on our team were brilliant, I had such a good time and everyone really looked out for each other. There isn’t four people I would rather spend the night lying sardines style with in a tent, whilst occasionally popping out to run 10km. A huge thank you Cat, Sarah, Laura and Rhianon as well as to Graham + Graham’s Mum and Dad for being generally fantastic (and bringing cake + prosecco).
Plus we ended up running 23 laps and coming 7th overall! Not bad for 24 hours work.