BVR at the Elstead Marathon

Record BVR Numbers at Local Elstead Race

Friday 30th June 2017 saw the annual 105th Elstead Marathon take place, and for BVR a massive club presence.

It was my first experience of the “marathon”, having heard from my fellow BVR’s that it was a wonderful community supported event, along with running through the river Wey before the finish – how could turn down the opportunity!

Weather conditions were perfect on Friday and arrival at the green the BVR presence was obvious, by far the largest club represented, a sea of blue and yellow!  Rumour has it there were approximately 60 of us out flying the flag! Go BVR!

I wasn’t exactly feeling it waiting on the race to start, comments such as this is definitely just a social fun evening run not a race may have been stated! However, once we started and the initial crowd opened up, l somehow ended up running much faster than l anticipated!

I had been warned to expect all terrains and for sure it was here, road, forest trail, sandy heath land, grass and water all awaited! There were a few bumps but nothing really that constituted a real hill and a few congestion points making passing fellow runners a tad tricky.

I’d been dreading the river crossing lm not a fan of water, but it was well manned with many hands to help pull you out (John Hogg and Alex Radford were the two faces l can recall – thanks chaps much needed!).  Steve Low was there with trigger fingers snapping out inglorious moments in the river too – thanks Steve some great shots.

My only negative was the field of potholes immediately before the river, hidden furrows which caused me to slow to a fast walk.

And the bling, a sweet medal stating l had run a marathon – not a bad for a Friday evening! It was then back to the Woolpack for an obligatory shandy and some dam fine chips.

A great club outing, fully recommended and the cherry one cake being our very own Nicky McKenzie getting 1st lady, well done Nicky and well deserved.  Well done Team BVR – 105th Elstead Marathon a successful club attended event.

Find out how you can join Blackwater Valley Runners

More about the Elstead Marathon

BVR at the Winterfold Forest MABAC

Sunday 2nd April and it’s time to go to the forest … Winterfold Forest that is. Winterfold Forest is in the heart of the beautiful Surrey Hills and as the name suggests … well it’s not a flat run but it is a stunning place to run.


So team BVR come out in number …12 of us and all adorned in our club kit – what a great sight. Some of us decided to walk the course before the run started – I’m not sure if I’d recommend this or not … I was quite tired after walking it but it is a good way of getting to know the course and what’s to come….


So what was it like? Well we were running on good condition trail paths and there was actually quite a bit of tarmac too. Mostly the paths were quite wide so no need to worry about bottlenecking or such things. Marshalls were at regular points on the course so you never had to worry about going off course … and a cheer or two was welcomed as we went around. There were a few hills (that’s the elevation profile below). I have to say it makes it look quite bad … yes it was by no means a flat course … but we weren’t climbing Mount Everest either! BVR were also in fine voice at the top of that last hill which really couldn’t help but make you smile … then up a bit further to more cheers at the finish.


Now this (in my opinion) is one of the tougher of the MABAC’s but that did not deter our members as four of our twelve were joining the BVR team at their first ever MABAC – well done to Ian, Cyra, Bryony and and James and I hope this hasn’t deterred you from joining us at another one!

So how did we get on …. ?? Full results can be found at

As a team we were 3rd today and our overall position in the league is below. Sorry I couldn’t get the image to be any clearer but if you scroll down the page on the link above you can find a clearer version.




How do the points work? Well the first six men and the first three women in the BVR team earn points for their position and the rest of us will earn the BVR team 5 points for completing the course. I think we can definitely improve our position in the league so why not join the BVR team by coming along to one or two or more this year.

Each running club in the MABAC league organise one run in the year and the BVR one is next month on the 21st May … we will need help setting up the course but we also need runners as with other MABAC events so why not come along … you don’t need to pre-register … just turn up … details of the next one can be found on our facebook event or on the MABAC website.

Hope to see you at the next one…..

BVR Ladies take on Lake District Fells

A cold and misty weekend in January saw a team of three BVR ladies take on a gruelling Fell Running and Navigating weekend in the Lake District. Club members Tracy Dolman, Karen Jones and Maria Drummond climbed a staggering 1000m in one day whilst learning fell navigation techniques and developing mountain running skills.  Here’s a couple of short videos of their achievement.



BVR at the Bacchus Half Marathon

Running the Bacchus Half Marathon is all about having fun. The day arrives we are all doing our last minute preparations, have we got the right costume, oh yes my friends this half marathon is not about running envy this is all about costume envy. Have we made enough effort, there are flamingos, space people, cheer leaders, film characters, references to the god of wine Bacchus, confident men in morph suits, the list is endless.  Our chosen theme this year ‘the 80’s’, fluorescent colours in abundance.


Walking up to the start line Rocky blaring from the speakers, we are ready, last minute photos waving at complete strangers smiles all round. Approaching the start with Thunderbirds are Go, the countdown begins, off we go.  We start running through the vines, twisting in and out, 1.5 miles covered and we are coming to a stop, a pinch point maybe too many people wanting to get through but no we get closer and the marshal is shouting runners to the left, drinkers to the right, guess where we were going. The entertainment was the local morris dancers the drink was Surrey Gold, loads of water downed and we were off, our first hill. Not bad we made it walking is the new running right? Quick tour of Dorking, nice beep beeps from motorists, everyone is happy. Now this is where things are starting to go wrong. The ghetto blaster has stopped, a disaster, oh sorry I didn’t say one of the team was a rapper and had spent hours compiling a rappers delight played through a blue tooth speaker attached to an inflatable ghetto blaster, and the playlist had completely disappeared. Random music selected we were back in the game.

Wine stops available at 4 and 6 miles plenty of water and food for energy, a young couple were the entertainment at mile 6 they were encouraged to sing 1000 miles which of course we all joined in the chorus.  Was that preparation for the hill that followed, well no, it was a slow uphill killer that went on and on, we were pleasantly distracted by a herd of bemused belted gallaways. Onwards and upwards, approaching mile 7 we knew a stop was coming up, the entertainment was great a rock band who strangely were playing 1000 miles, runners with more energy were dancing away and sparkling wine was on offer, sadly this was a low point as when we got near the table the bar was dry. No point hanging around any longer we started up the worse hill on the course, how long does this go on for, thankfully parts of it were in the shade. On top of Ranmore Common we were met by the team mascot Archie who was so excited to see us all and Richard was pleased we had made it this far. We were entertained by a steel band, no wine on this water stop but there were plenty of sweeties, the lovely ladies were making up sweetie bags as well. Off we go it is pretty much all downhill now(ish).

Next stop 10 miles we had some lovely rosé and if we wanted to hang around a concert by the local bell ringers. Moving on we are so close to the finish only a Parkrun to go. All downhill now definitely, last stop included cheese which tasted so good, might have only been cheddar but it was fabulous. Last bit through the woods, bemused walkers coming from the other direction cheering us on, we were almost there. Oh no, what about the ghetto blaster, got to have it playing us home. Quick blue tooth link to my phone and we were running back to ‘Ain’t no stopping us now’, we all linked arms and over the finish line we go, smiles galore. A weighty medal was handed out with a technical t-shirt, more food and water with lovely fresh pineapple and melon to help rehydrate.

Bags retrieved we went in search of the support crew, food and drink tickets in hand we were off in search of hog roast and wine, now time to relax. No one was in a hurry to move, all wanting to enjoy the sunshine and talk about the run. Richard popped a bottle of Prosecco the best way to celebrate another great run, happy days.

If you are looking for a half marathon pb this is not the run for you, however, if you want to dress up drink wine and generally have a good time this is definitely worth having a look at, although be warned it sells out about 2 months before the day so it is not a last minute run decision.


BVR runners – Karen Jones, Gayle Gunner and Sarah Bradbury

Support Crew – Richard and Archie Jones

BVR Does Hart4Relay

So … waking up to blue skies and the sun already shining it looked like it was going to be a glorious summers day … so what better to do … lets go to a not so empty field just outside Fleet ….

The first thing that strikes you about this place is that you are two minutes from the M3 and all the busiest that brings but yet you feel like you are in the middle of a farmers field away from all of that.

So there were already gazebo’s set up a plenty and as the morning hours passed more gazebo’s were erected …. Oh and that was just for the BVR camp! Looks impressive … must be time for a photo ….

Warm up done and at 10.25 we were called to the start … so those setting off first got behind the starting line and the rest of us … that’s the rest of our six teams … and support crew … all went to cheer them on their way so with Paula Fudge being given the microphone they were off .. and off they went … fast!

So the course, unsurprisingly was mostly trail. The starting area sent you on a very slight incline and then right along some bumps across a field, then down a country track. This is all rather pleasant … then came another slight incline … no this isn’t too bad … keep on pushing along … and then through the woods … what is this? Am I going backwards … no still going forward that’s okay … oh and there’s the top … phew … ooh, followed by another hill … ahh that’s okay, this ones not too steep and at the top again and down a nice path. Oh, and there’s a nice marshal cheering me on and turn the corner … ouch … this would be the hill everyone was talking about at the start (and I’m at the bottom looking up …. a long way) … plod plod plod and there’s the top. Phew! Now for a bit of sand and some nice long flat runs through the woods … haven’t I been here before (you come to the same point from two different directions) … and then comes the down hill … just don’t fall flat on my face… this is a very long downhill back to the race village and round the corner and there’s the finish line. Right I’ve crossed the finish line … oh my god … who put the exchange area so far away? Right I’m there! …. and breathe!

So as I mentioned earlier …. we managed to enter six teams … everyone gave their all on every run and there were some great times achieved on something that was not exactly a flat course. However, would I describe it as hilly? Well, that brought about some debate so I think I will leave that for the people listed below to comment on. Besides that the atmosphere was fantastic and there was a real sense of team spirit that quite frankly I am not talented enough to find the words to describe … for everyone there … thank you for creating this wonderful atmosphere.

Throughout the four hours and beyond the cheering of BVR for their running teams could be heard and it was a sight to behold to see everyone crowded after the finish line to cheer those still giving their all out on the course home for the final lap.

The event itself was a little bigger than we expected with 115 teams taking part (28 male teams, 60 mixed teams, 27 female teams). So how did our teams fair?


Our fastest team – the BVR Black Group, Simon, Scott, Steve and Alex went out fast … and after the first few laps were in second, at one stage they dropped to fourth but somehow managed to pull that back with the superhuman efforts and finished back in second place overall and second male team. They completed 16 laps. Well done guys … I could see how much effort went into that and it was great to hear again the BVR cheers when we got to see you collect your prizes. How was the beer?

Next came the BVR Leg Ends, Paddy, Kev, Alan and Mick completing 13 laps, came 40th overall and were the 19th male team.

Blackwater Valley Runners Team 3, Andrea, Nicky, John and Maria completed 12 laps and came 66th overall and were the 26th mixed team.

Blackwater Valley Runners Team 2, Chris, Tracy, Melvyn and Amanda and Blackwater Valley Runners Team 3, Linda, Richard, Mary and Karen both completed 11 laps and team 2 were the winning team completing their laps 23 seconds quicker.

BVR Lovelies, Emma, Lucy, Cath & Linda came 83rd overall and were the 11th female team.

And of course …. no amazing achievement can pass without the obligatory celebration! So, then came the prosecco and the beer and the ……

Thank you to those that brought it with you … it was a lovely way to finish.

Well done all … it was a great day … and a great team to be part of.

So what’s next … well our next BVR Points Championship event with be the Farnham Half Marathon, Marathon & Family Walk. More information can be found at

If you don’t fancy that distance why not join us at the Alice Holt Races the following weekend on the 17th. There is a 10K, 5K and a 3K or 1K for the smaller runners in our families. More information can be found at

So come and join us for a run in September on the 11th September.

Who wants to do a Jigsaw?

Not the type that you have in pieces on the floor at home, but the 10k run type, but the run around the aerodrome at Dunsfold famous for the Top Gear race track type! The is a perfect race for a PB. It doesn’t get flatter, it is on tarmac and if the weather is nice then whoosh!!!

The weather was perfect 8’C overcast, a lovely day for running. There was just one small part of the weather that was difficult. A 40 mph wind.. BOOM! Taking a look at the windsock first thing in the morning showed where the wind was going. It was going straight down the runway perfectly, however we were running into it continuously for 2km which also got repeated at the start of lap 2.

Your report writer wasn’t running this week due to injury so was volunteering and managing the turn around point at halfway. I was stood there with a gale blowing in my face for the entire time, shouting encouragement at the runners. Not that they could hear me from more than 3 feet away due to the wind.

So the run began at 10:30 and they started “running” into the wind, running being a term for moving the legs as fast as they can and being blown back. At the far end of the runway they turn out of the wind and start the run round the outside of the airfield back to the start point. At this point suddenly people were running really quickly. The tail wind has its effect and people come round the perimeter really quickly. At 17 minutes the first runner comes through halfway turns round and goes off into the wind again. Simon Copper is in the top few at this point and Steve Low is not far behind. The look on everyones face as they turn into the wind was memorable and many people didn’t want to go down the 2km runway again.

Round everyone goes for a second lap and the last km of the race has a massive tailwind as they come home to the end. Everyone is absolutely roaring home incredibly quickly. The winner comes down the finish straight a long way ahead of everyone. Just over a minute behind is Simon Cooper in 3rd with a time of 37:35, brilliant especially considering the conditions. A couple of minutes later and 5 places is Steve Low in 39:40. Outstanding by both of you well done.

The third official BVR runner was Lisa Simpson in 51:51 brilliant result in awful weather. I just want to mention my son.. Nicholas Radford who ran his first 10k ever in 43:52, (that’s enough proud dad moment) was the 3rd team member home but doesn’t count.

Just behind Lisa they all came in thick and fast, Vanessa also broke 52 minutes with Sadie Hamblin just the other side of 52. Mary broke 54 minutes, Sarah Jennings 55 minutes and Linda Radford and Karen Morgan 56 minutes. Incredible runs by all in a “light breeze”

Ruth Chaplin and Gemma Robinson fought hard and ran well for 56:56 and 58:34 respectively. Then Amanda Bailey sprinted for the line and worked really hard to break an hour by just 6 seconds. Just behind Amanda were Ave Turner and Sara Vale. I’d just like to congratulate you all on a remarkable run and achievement by all. Brilliant stuff.

The original aim of the run was to go out there and achieve PB’s as it was sold as a very flat and very fast course, however the wind had other ideas. Well let’s just say it tried to have other ideas because BVR are a hardy group of runners. Stand up and be saluted Vanessa Cracknell, Sarah Jennings, Linda Radford, Karen Morgan, Ave Turner. All of you achieved a PB on a day when it wasn’t going to happen. You’re all just plain nuts!

And what happened to our marshall… wind swept and slicked back hair from staring into the wind for 2 hrs. Who’s back again next year? Oh and the first points update for 2016 will be out in the next day or so.

2016 Marathon Training

A number of you have been asking about the support on offer for anyone running a marathon next Spring and, in particular, the support available to those running their first marathon.  Well, relax – we’ve got it covered! As well as the regular club run on a Wednesday evening we’ll be setting up a Sunday long run group to help you as you make your way up to the magic 26.2 mile target. The Sunday runs will build up slowly and will be specifically designed to help those who are working towards the target of a marathon. Where possible we’ll aim to replicate the conditions of the marathon  – running on road, avoiding hills and so on – and the emphasis will be on distance rather than speed so don’t worry about getting left behind! Generally the runs will start from the club at 9:00am but we may bring that forward as we start to do longer runs. Details will be on Facebook each week as well as in the weekly Newsletter but feel free to speak to Andy, Paddy or Lawrence if you have any questions.

In addition to the Wednesday and Sunday runs Lawrence, the club coach, puts on training sessions on a Tuesday and these are a great way to help you improve form, speed and endurance.  Details are on the Facebook page and in the newsletter but Lawrence is happy for anyone to contact him if they want to talk through training plans, nutrition tips etc.

Over the coming weeks we will also be putting on a Marathon Q&A session at the club, so look out for that too.

The Sloggers have it

Anyone ever wandered why this race is called the Surrey slog? No…. It is also known as the “Holmbury Half”. I know which name I prefer and I know which one is more true, but you can decide which is better for yourself.

A dangerous dozen BVR nutters runners decided to take on the Holmbury Half marathon on 19th July. The run consists of a quick lap of a school, a bit of trail running and then a sprint down a big hill to the finish back in the school. What could possibly go wrong?

And then we begin in blazing sunshine and blue sky at exactly 10am. Round the school we all go, quite fast as we want a good position at the bottlenecked stile at around 1km. Some of us go round the stile, some of us over and then the race is on and the first thing we all do is slow down as the first of the 5 hills takes hold. It’s not too bad around 3/4 mile but we’re already regretting going off quite so fast round the school.

Over the top and then its downhill for well over a mile. You could almost forget about the first hill at this point but then we come to the really steep downhill. 100m of steep downhill on uneven loose stones, two choices, throw yourself down it or tiptoe. then we come to the second hill and up we go again… why did i just run that downhill so fast? Should have eased back more oops. Oh well we’re here now. Up we go, but this is taking longer than the first one but eventually we’re there up number two, well that’s 4.5 miles done. And off we fly down the next hill, of course feels easy and we don’t want it to end.

Up number three and now we are seeing arrows on the hills the other way. We have to run back down this later. It’s really beginning to hurt now. We’re thinking why do I put myself through this. Can I run up this? I might have to walk a bit. Come on keep going. Over the top finally at 7 miles and down down down again. Holmbury itself is next big climb, long climb, come on Holmbury we’re ready for you. And so it begins, the long drag up up up. We round a corner, must be nearly there .. Gutted not yet, round another corner is it easing off? Finally, the legs are burning but I’m up the top and wow the view is good, but no time for that 4 miles still to go. Round the compass and back down. 1 whole mile of perfect downhill gradient running, steep enough to help keep you moving but not too steep you have to hold back. Down we go and past drinks and then see the 11 mile point.

From 12 miles we know its all down hill. Into the forest for the last time and start the climb, oh this is long, it hurts, it hurts, no more but still it goes up. We’re tired, had enough, don’t want to play anymore, want to give up and then in front of you is the 12 mile sign. The last mile is almost all downhill. Pushing on and then the drop begins. Suddenly the energy comes back and you can run down this hill, fly down these hills, across the car park and down the last narrow path. Heading for home, but there is one last sting, 600m from the finish is one final short steep uphill. We’re over, round the stile and then lets go, there’s the finish line. We’ve beaten the Surrey Slog. Woop woop. Although I think the reality is that the Surrey Slog has beaten us, chewed us up and spat us out. Its almost 600m of climb, a little less than the Farnham Pilgrim full marathon but an achievement to get round it!

Now we can celebrate although oh my word we’re tired and beaten both mentally and physically. The grass is the perfect place to sit and we do for a while whilst we drink Dave’s recovery drink, strawberry Nesquik.  It’s been roastingly hot, the lack of tree cover didn’t help in places, but we have conquered and earned our medal.


The BVR mob did a grand job with all runners completing it. Congratulations to all that were there. So how did everyone do? Brilliant that’s how! Scott Kennedy came home in 6th in about 90 minutes, Steve Low in 8th in about 95 minutes and Alex Radford sprinted for the last 400m to be 2 seconds inside 1hr 40. Well done to them but two BVR ladies completed the race and both with outstanding performances. Lisa Simpson deserves a standing ovation. It’s her first ever half marathon and she completed it in about 2:07! Lisa, they only get easier from there, promise. Talk about picking a tough one. Our other lady, Linda Radford ran the course 3 minutes faster than last year… another race, another PB…. Nothing seems to stop her.

But beyond that we also came back with a couple of bottles of wine. Steve Low won the veterans over 50 category (yet again). Well done Steve brilliant again and John Taylor won the over 70 category, another brilliant run!

Add to those people Andy Ratcliffe just inside 1:50, Roger Bearn around 2:00 and Mark Millington also around 2:00, having their first crack at the race and Patrick Lines, Dave Porter and John Orrell having yet another go at this race. You all did a great effort and did our club proud.

I mustn’t forget our marshalling team that was there John Hogg (referee), Val Hogg, Ave Turner, and Charlie Walsh (who enjoyed the power of the car park far too much!), our timekeeper who was a star Amanda Bailey as well as Steve / Dave and John H setting out the course the day before. Thanks all, we appreciated you all being there too.

Overall its a great race and a good bit of fun, but it is unlike any other event of the year. We all highly recommend it to anyone for a go next year. Most of us will be back for another go. Will you join us for the challenge?


Elstead Marathon – It’s only a Race?

The first sunny Friday in July …… 3rd July 2015. After 103 years of the Elstead Marathon, Blackwater Valley Runners once again decided to grace the event with our presence, the blue and yellow t-shirts would once again be worn in solidarity!

This event is always tough “it’s a marathon” well actually just over 5 miles, but always a very entertaining 5 miles.

Elstead Marathon starts in an alleyway beside the Woolpack pub, goes straight onto tarmac roads for about 1 mile, first obstacle car wing mirrors and parked cars, dodging these can be tricky, this year an added hosepipe to dampen us down! This leads onto the Elstead Common, where runners meet the second obstacle – horse poop (you know the No 1 club rule “if it smells – don’t run through it!”) skilfully most experienced runners missed! As you pass the moat after another mile the first signs of “normal people” supporters cheering, across the road into obstacle number three – badly rutted track, at the end of this is a much needed water stop, it always seems hot on this race.

Once refreshed you are back on your way to Hankley Common towards obstacle number four – a hill -not a big one, but seems to catch your breath out?! Down the other side you reach the sand for the fifth obstacle, keep to the right? Seems a hard surface! Suddenly this changes into deep sand! Go to the left? and changes again! This soon leads onto the bumpy track which has been worn away by 20ft puddles, luckily dry this year, these craters go up and down like a rollercoaster this goes on for ages, suddenly you are going towards a field…a nice grass field? NO a pampas grass field of lumps and bumps, go too fast and you keel over, slow down and you are overtaken by a daredevil not concerned for his or her future running career, once over the barbed wire 12 inch tripwire, you are onto the weir gates, you can hear the crowds cheering people on, or is it in! You are a couple of seconds away from a public soaking … splash! Straight into the river Wey to cheers from the baying crowds, not wanting to look too silly you go over to a very steep slippery mud bank, EVERYONE is watching you!!! Eventually you get a grip with people screaming around you to hurry up!! Once up the bank it’s along the last 300 metres to the finish on the green (I was overtaken with 100 metres to go and accepted my defeat …. however I saw this runner slow down as she headed towards the line … my thoughts changed “I am wearing BVR colours”, “I can do this!” … head down, I sped past my target.. YES VICTORY!!!!, I spent the next two minutes saying sorry to the runner, “it’s only a race”, I had been in her position ☺ it hurts!).


But at the end of the day ….it’s not just a race it’s “the Elstead Marathon”.
103 years of history have made this race interesting, challenging for all, with a great supporting atmosphere. Many a race director could learn from this old race! We followed the race in the traditional way and went to the pub, another happy memory with BVR.

Scott Kennedy obviously did not find it as hard as myself in an amazing 3rd place, Alex Radford 20th, Andy Ratcliffe 50th place.
A great turnout of 35+ Blackwater Valley Runners, three years ago there was just four of us doing this race!

Endure24, Keep on Running!

On Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June 2015 team “Blackwater Valley Runners 1” took on the Endure24 challenge. In principal it sounds simple, run as far as you can as a team in 24hrs. Many of the team trundled down to a field in Aldermaston where they spent the night on Friday, putting up tents, drinking beer and discussing tactics that we would be employing over the next two days. The team was Steve Bailey, Steve Low, Tracy Dolman, John Taylor, Alex Radford, Linda Radford, Charley Walsh, Alan Freestone and Amanda Bailey and Melvyn Dolman supporting us magnificently. By 10:00 on the Saturday morning we’re all together camped and set up ready for the fun to begin. Conditions were initially overcast and quite drizzly in spite of the forecasts appearing to say otherwise. At 12:00 midday our first runner Alex enters the pen with over 400 other runners and it begins. A 24hr race with a sprint to the first corner of the course!

A brief description of the course. Across the start line and turn left onto a road for a couple of hundred metres before a climb up the first hill. The course then gently rolls up and down on trail paths for just under 3 km before a short steep and slippery downhill before a right slippery turn back uphill. Soon after this we have a long straight chalk path and we weave our way downhill to the 5km point. The food stop and course drinks station. Usually a sign of relief or respite, some lovely water. At Endure24 it means, the big nasty hill is round the corner… get ready for it. So up a sharp hill for 700m and just over the top we hit the 6km point and we wind our way back down hill through the forest with a few switchbacks to the 7km point. Down a little more and through a final forest and we can hear the music again blaring out. Still 600m to go though as we enter the campsite as we weave our way through the tents and eventually the final bend is there. Cross the finish line 5 miles complete (8km) and 1 lap down. Now all that is left is hand a wristband over to the next person and off they go and time for a well earned rest.

Doesn’t that sound immensely simple, run a lap next person goes up, hand over wristband, previous person rests and eats. Well this is where Endure24 starts to bite back. Well before 6pm we all have 1 lap on the board and are feeling rather pleased with ourselves, but disaster strikes, one of our team is sick. A replanning takes place and we all go out an hour earlier than planned. So nighttime descends, by 8pm we are running with torches through the forest and ploughing our way through the darkness. It’s a really cool effect running at night with just your own light to guide you, but the holes in the ground look a little bigger, the slopes a little steeper but we’re a team and we’re doing everything we can to get round for the next person. We’re 16 laps done shortly after 11pm and suddenly we appear on the leaderboard in 47th position overall with Frimley Flyers 12 seconds behind us. Through the night we press on, all of our changeovers perfection, even at 3am our next runner is waiting for the changeover anxious to go round again. While waiting in the pen we hear shouts of “NIGEL!!!” “NIGEL!!” but there is no Nigel, he is still in bed or not made it over, so the whole pen starts shouting for him, but he never comes.

The sun comes up and the news from the team is brilliant, our sick person has recovered and we are still racing along, still working hard. Tracy does the sunrise shift as the world lightens up and we are on the home straight. 530am she hands over for leg number 24. We go back, we eat again all getting ready for our last run each. Everyone knows there is one more each, but if we run well we can get 33 laps in. The pressure is on but we rise to the challenge, runner after runner comes in with a great time and a herculean effort. Linda does leg 25, Steve L 26. Anotehr great handover to Alan for 27, Charley does 28, Steve Bailey rattles out 29. We need 4 more to make our target, less than 3  hrs to get the last runner out. John completes number 30, Tracy completes 31 and its 10:59. At 11:35am the last change goes to Charley and she can take as long as she wants. The team has done it, achieved 33 laps.

Charley comes round the final corner and the entire team join her on the course for the final 50 metres. We’ve done it. We’ve survived Endure24, we haven’t survived it, we’ve beaten it. It’s gone as close to perfect as it could be.

When the smoke settles and the results come in it’s confirmed 33 laps in 24 hrs 26 minutes and 26 seconds. 165 miles, 2 miles more than the distance from London to Manchester as the crow flies and we are 39th overall. Overall being 159 teams. We have beaten three-quarters of the entire field.

It sounds totally crazy and totally barmy the whole event and yes it probably is, but it’s a special event full of ups and downs, drama and laughter including many more things there isn’t space for in this report. It’s over FOR NOW, but go and ask any of the team if they would do it again……….

And finally Andy Murphy ran for the Sands team and did 7 laps (35 miles) personally as they completed 34 laps in 24 hrs, 40 minutes and 10 seconds. Overall they were 12th out of 29 teams. Another awesome performance, well done Sir! We seemed to bump into you everytime you went out!