Friday 1st September – Sunday 3rd September
Becky had a bone to pick with her Ultra PB. Thunder Run was to her a wash out and she had to settle a score and beat her distance. The Joust appeared! After contacting Laura and Beki, she booked on to the run and started planning away the camping list. Unfortunately Beki had to pull out due to ill health and the cheerleader Gemma volunteered to come along. Unbeknown to Gemma, she was about to reach her own PB this weekend too! In fact all three of them did.
Friday 1st September,
We set off to Worcester and arrived around 6pm, giving us enough time before the gates closed at 9pm to set up camp. Luckily it had been a dry sunny day so it was still light and we got camp together pretty quickly. Becky jumped straight onto the BBQing and beasty burgers appeared! Champion!
An early night was certainly in order, kind of need a bit of kip before a long event!
Saturday 2nd September
Today was the day! Waking up at the crack of dawn to a beautiful misty, sunny morning felt amazing with this view.
… after the coldest night of the year so far haha.
Breakfast and brew was sorted, proper bacon and the biggest sausage sandwiches ever! Becky knows were to get decent protein!
We all got ready for a run. Becky had everything organised so that when she needed something we could grab it quickly and she could head on her way. She knew that she did not want to stop nor have a nap and to keep going. 14 laps was the goal, even without seeing the route!
The route is kept a secret as no map is published due to the route being a mixture of the Severn Way public footpaths and Top Barn Farms private land (though those who have been before know it as it doesn’t change.)
12noon was kick off time and Becky headed out. When she arrived back after completing her first lap; the words ‘it has hills, gates and stiles’ brought the worst dread! The plan was that Becky was to crack on and Laura and Gemma to head out on the second lap with her for a ‘sighting’ lap before it got dark.
It was a scorcher today, very hot and even hotter out running. Luckily the course was a complete mixture of terrains so you were not bored along the route and could set personal aims along the way. There was plenty of shade just when you needed it and the added help of the water stations being strategically placed.
Throughout the on going race, as Becky arrived at the finish/start line, we grabbed trainers, drinks and the odd bits of food to keep her going. Early on Becky needed to start strapping her toes as the first down hill was starting to take it’s toll on her poor toes.
Laura and Gemma throughout the race headed out with Becky to support her on laps. As knights we headed out with other runners and even dogs!
Sunday 3rd September
The temperature was dropping fast after a beautiful sunny Saturday. A misty lap or two before a another clothes change, Becky headed out on the coldest lap yet.
With driving duties, bronchitis and poor sleep (due to the cold night) Laura headed to bed for a couple of hours whilst Gemma and Becky headed out for another couple of laps in the dark, mist and cold!
Laura woke at sun rise and cracked the kettle on after checking the live results on the Ultra Running website to see where Becky was at and texting to see what she needed before she arrived back at base camp.
A quick change and a little bit of motivation, Laura and Becky headed out to crack out the reminder of the laps. Becky was suffering with her feet as her toes were definitely giving her some jip. Swapping shoes almost every lap had helped a little but the damage was done. Counting the laps down…. Almost counting the steps as they finished the final lap!
Becky had secured herself 6th Place which was one of the awarded positions!
Gemma demolished base camp, brewed up and was ready and waiting to pack up ready for the awards.
An Introduction to The Race
The Buff Joust 24hr is a medieval themed 24hr off road race suitable for teams and solo runners. Camping is situated around the race start location at Top Barn Camp Site. The run is over a circa 4.95 mile loop following parts of the Severn Way along the river until Grimley then returning back to the camp site through a mixture of fields, footpaths and very quiet lanes. There are gates (4), Stiles (3), a graveyard, farm animals and a pub along the course! With the pub being part way in, your whole crew can head out on a ‘sighting’ lap, have a tipple and a roast and finish the lap!
The course is well marked with yellow arrows, motivational quotes and glow in the dark orange spray paint, easily navigable and relatively flat… with a huge down hill at the start and the main short hill just before the finish straight.
There are toilets available on the camp site (proper ones! And showers) as well as a couple of portaloos along the course.
You can enter the race either as a solo runner, pairs, a team of 3-5, or a team of 6-8. There are prizes for each category for both male, female and mixed.
Water stations are available at the Start location, at the turning point of The Wagon Wheel at Grimley, and two further stations (farm shop and quarry) before you complete your loop. All of these stations have water, and be manned throughout the night and operate as control points with recording of times as each runner passes through – only two are manned in daylight hours.
This year there were around 60 solo runners and a handful of each sized groups as well as 10 knights running the course. This is a smaller scale Ultra than the very popular Thunder run but certainly had some fantastic facilities (including proper toilets, showers, catering marquee and amazing events staff that kept checking in on us.)
The Knights of Worcester – Also during the hours of darkness, the race benefits from several non-competitive runners who run continual loops of the course and they will happily join any competitor along the route purely on a support basis. Each Knight receives a Knights of Worcester tec t-shirt and a Knights of Worcester bespoke medal.
Laura and Gemma were both Knights of Worcester and found that this would be a great way for runners who are interested in ‘trying out’ an ultra and learning about what is involved. You can run/jog/walk as many or as little laps as you want as long as you are with a competitor.
Kiddies Joust – a 15K endurance challenge for Kids. Enter groups of children in teams of three members or more to run/walk/jog 15K over 3 hours. The Kiddies Joust is on Saturday afternoon only. Each team member can run/walk/jog as little or as much of the course as they like in order to reach the team target of 15K. For each lap run the kids collect a ‘lap band’. Once they have finished running just add up the lap bands to make sure they have run the target distance. The route for the Kiddies Joust is a 250m course set up in the second camping field which is very safe and everybody is clearly in view at all times*. Due to the Kiddies medals being the same quality as the main event (only smaller) it is imperative that places are booked early to ensure medal availability. * All children must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times whilst they take part.