It’s nearly a year since I ran Endure24 Leeds 2018. Here’s what I wrote about it at the time…

I’d entered the Endure24 running event near Leeds for the 2nd year running as a team of 5. The idea of the race/ event/ sadistic torture, call it what you like, is that, like a relay, one person runs around the 5 mile trail route, passing the baton (wrist band) onto the next person in their team….and you keep doing that for 24 hours; from noon Saturday to noon Sunday. I love this kind of arrangement. I’m not a distance runner, but I can recover enough between the rests whilst my team mates do their laps, so I’m ready to go again in a few hours time.

Prep? What Prep?

I never prepare for these type of events, it’s just a bit of fun and I know from past experiences that I’m strong enough to do 6 laps (30 miles) within the 24 hours. I felt this year, that I was stronger, so I had in my mind that I would like to do 7 laps (35 miles). I’d started climbing outdoors late last summer, and with a winter of indoor climbing followed by full days out at the crag this year, I was physically stronger as well as used to long days out and feeling tired. My running had been ok too, nothing major to report, just ticking along. Come ‘race’ day, I was ready and very excited.

I’m always excited at the beginning of a race; then the nerves kick in a little closer to the start and then it’s just excitement again. There were  2 teams in our ‘camp’ this year; a Tigger Happy Mixed Pair and Trigger Happy (which I was part of) – a small mixed team of 5. I joined the motley crew as a sub last year through a colleague where I met a great bunch of lads so I was looking forward to seeing them again this year.

  • All t hefood was eaten during Endure24 Leeds 2018

Too much food?

I arrived at Bramham Park on a gloriously sunny Saturday morning. I found everyone and set up. I’d calculated (roughly) how many calories I’d be using up and brought food accordingly – although 30C heat doesn’t bid too well for perishables so there were a few pots of noodles, sweets, bananas, dried meat and bagels (jam and peanut butter of course!). NB. I ate everything in the picture and I bought a jacket spud and chilli. Sub NB. I did not drink the champagne!

White boards are an essential bit of kit

For anyone doing this kind of event, whiteboards are great. They keep everything in order and you know what time you’re approx. running next.  You can keep a tally, write motivational quotes (if you’re into that kind of thing) or write a checklist of things to do at each lap.

  • Some of the team at the start of Endure24 Leeds
  • Dawn at Endure24 over the campsite

12 noon Saturday

Saturday 12 noon was approaching. It was a festival atmosphere with flags flying, everyone psyched. The horn blew. It was going to be another 24 hours before we would hear it again to announce the end of the race. I didn’t really want to think about it. I just wanted to think about completing my next lap. I was 2nd in the rota and off after Tom, who had predicted ~34-35 mins per lap. He was bang on with 34:32. I was off….

The heat was unbearable…

I hated it….

How could it be soooo hot?…

I can’t get my heart rate down….

Am I nearly finished yet?….

Final hill….

Final straight.

First lap done. It was horrid. 20 mins later……

Next 20 hours

Heart rate is down, I’ve walked back to camp, had a drink, had some food. The temperature in the high 20Cs, but I lay in the tent and didn’t move much for the next 2 hours. I got up, ate and drank something, moved around and stretched, got ready for my next lap. And that’s pretty much how it went. It just become a routine. It was nice during the darkness, it was cooler but I were still sweaty when I got back into my silk liner in my sleeping bag.

My fifth and sixth laps were slower, I could feel my hip seizing up (which is what happened last time), but I was still running and didn’t feel the need to stop. I was hoping that that would be my last lap, but we still had another 6 hours of racing to go! I wasn’t getting out of it that easily.  The team had all agreed at the beginning that we wouldn’t duck out, we’ve just keep going, even if it meant slowing down a lot or walking. As it was, people didn’t slow down last much!

Sunday morning

It was 9am Sunday, this was going to be my last lap. I was happy. I was just going to see how it was going to go. I started moving, 400m in, no soreness, 1 mile, I was in a shuffling style a little, but I felt ok. What was happening? Was it the adrenalin because I knew this was my last lap, did I have enough recovery? Had I eaten the right things and was hydrated? Whatever the answer, I kept going and slipped in at just under 44 mins. I had predicted a 50 minute lap.

12 noon Sunday

Those extra few minutes, fitted the plan perfectly. The horn sounded at 12 noon Sunday to finish. If you reached the line before 12 noon, you could send another runner out. Tom got to the line with 2 minutes to spare, we sent our last runner out (Jon) who came back with a hero’s welcome (especially after he forgot to change into his running trainers and ran around in his loafers!). We battled for 10th place (out of 61) and we did it! We had great teamwork and morale. The support was amazing and I’d managed to clock my most ever mileage at one of these events.

It’s awe inspiring watching people put themselves through so much suffering. The leading male clocked up 125 miles with the leading female at 110 miles. Our 10th place came up with 35 laps (175 miles).

Gemma Scougal with her medal of the end of Endure24 Leeds 2018
Trigger Happy Mixed Team at the end of Endure24 Leeds 2018

Immediately afterwards…..

The drive home is always interesting after these. This was certainly by far the worst. I only had a 35 minute drive, but I’m not sure I’d be wanting to do it that sleep deprived again. Once home, I collapsed on the bean bag in the garden with a bowl of ice cream and stale jam and peanut butter bagel and had a nap. After a few hours, I caught up on social media and treated myself to a gin and tonic and another lounge on the bean bag. By that time, even though my eyes were tired, my head was awake and buzzing. Time to get cleaned up. I hadn’t had a shower or brush my teeth since Saturday morning and I felt a minger. I laid on the bed at around 8pm after having bbq’d sausages cooked for me. The next thing I remember, my other half is nudging me to get ready for bed….and another 8 hours sleep.

So what next?……

Another snooze at lunch time on the grass at work and I was pretty much recovered. As for my body, I was surprised. I could walk down the stairs fairly easily and I even ran the 3 miles to work from the car garage after dropping it off a service. How has my body have recovered so quickly? Wasn’t I trying enough? Am I stronger than before so even though I’m not an endurance runner, if I get enough recovery in between I can keep going without getting injured? How far could I run? So many questions with only one solution….solo entry next year. Entries open tomorrow!

Nearly a year later, I’ve entered Endure24 as a solo. I’m totally unprepared, I’ve got a niggle in my knee, I’m away for most of the month either with holidays or work. Mmm, I guess I could just walk for 24 hours?

If you want to keep track of my running at Endure24 Leeds 2019 (29th-30th June), please ‘like’ WildWays facebook page and follow me on Instagram where I’ll be posting/ my support team will be posting regular updates throughout the event.

If you’re preparing for an endurance run or walk, then please check out my Challenge Walks and Trek Training Walks that are perfect for practicing a full day out on your feet. You could also hire me as for Private Guiding to tailor something specifically for you.