What a great event ! The atmosphere is so relaxed it puts you at ease.. no nerves just fun & run. There is no pressure for PB’s etc.. its all about countryside & enjoyment. There are options for Solo running or teams.. we both chose to run solo with different personal targets.
The sun was shining hard and beating down on us, the route started with a very steep downhill in a field full of cow pats (!!) avoiding them wasn’t so easy. Through farmers fields, through a beautiful country village (check point 1 is in a pub car park, which quite a few runners took advantage of) along rubble paths etc.. what a scenic route.. but hard underfoot. Even in the farmers fields that we were running through the soil was hard and lumpy, the gravel parts were loose and the uneven stones caused uncomfortable steps.
The first lap was worrying.. the sun was so strong it was really draining. The last section was a steep uphill gravel section before onto the field where the ‘chip mat’ recorded our laps. Lots of fluids were required to combat the sun. It was tough, but enjoyable at the same time. Some just did lap after lap after lap without a break, others stopped between laps. Our chief cook & bartender for the weekend Darren was on hand to help us each time we completed a lap, not having to worry about preparing food & drinks between laps allowed us to just focus on what we were there for. When (eventually!) the sun went down it was still 17 degrees.. the ‘knights’ joined in to support the night runners and the head torches came out.
We had 2 DAC Knights, Barry & Sam Prowse, who took it in turns joining us on the laps through the night. By now the cow pats just looked like shadows, you only knew it wasn’t when you smelt it after you’d run through it (L). Some shadows looked like cats going into the bushes, and a bin bag looked just like a duck in our way. The dark created us to see some weird things (in our minds)! A scary moment was when some geese launched out across the water to the side & we didn’t see them coming.
There was a good feeling when running in the dark with a friend and having that companiable silence. The knights were a god send.. it was weird running in the pitch black and all we could see was head torches here & there, During the dark there were much fewer runners.. when running solo in the night it can be lonely, time drags when no one is around, the banter at checkpoints lifted the spirits, By morning many more had stopped running, only the ‘hardcore’ were still out running… (Becky HB!)
People who never get blisters, had blisters.. it was a very tough underfoot course, but the beautiful scenery made it worth it. When daylight broke it was a sign that it was nearly over! The teams were trying to get a few more laps in at the last minute hoping it would push them into 1st place for the teams.. and other solo runners were still going… Eventually the 24 hour time limit came and most people had battle scars..
It ended with an awards ceremony where many runners limping up to the front to get their bling.
There was a great piece of bling each and every runners (solo & team members) as well as knights who ran with people through the night.
This was a very well organised event and one I’m sure many more DAC people would enjoy.