Thunder at the Thunder Run #allin24hrs

A mixture of Doncaster AC, Danum Harriers and 3 unattached runners made up 2 mixed teams of 6.

From Thunder Run 2013
It’s quite a simple concept, complete as many laps as possible in 24 hours. The route is quite challenging with narrow woodland paths, some good hills and some grass fields, each lap is just over 6 miles. The whole event is chip timed and you must run with a baton to be handed over to your next runner. Teams can be solo, pairs all the way up to 8. About 120 runners ran it solo.

We all knew the weather forecast was not great but we were not bothered, as we all know, serious club runners will run whatever the weather.

Some of us arrived on Friday and we established an area for our teams to set up tents and park up caravans. Just to give you an idea of the scale of the event something like 2402 runners took part and at all times, 558 runners were on the course. Plus support teams that probably meant well over 2000 tents, this is not actually a camp site apart from during this event.  The weather on Friday was great and the atmosphere was fantastic.

After a descent night’s sleep we woke up to a lovely morning and by 11:00 all the team was set up and ready to go.

Our teams were:

We’ve Got Problems (as this was the team I was in its written from that perspective):

Martin James, Steve Kellett, Louise Gill, Richard Chandler, Jay Buxton and Chris Newman.

Team Of Surprisingly Slow Enthusiastic Runners:

Tony O’Connor, Mark Hudson, Dave Esler, Chris Hogg, Matthew Bickerdyke and Rose James

Its worth mentioning that Dave Esler, Chris Hogg and Matthew Bickerdyke are not club runners which makes their achievement even more incredible.

By the time I got to the start already several hundreds were in the starting area and it was baking hot with no shade. I was worried about the heat and only one drinks station but I had drunk loads of sports drinks and water. At 12 noon we were off, I started about 5 rows back. I knew that at about 0.5k the paths would get narrow and hilly and a massive bottle neck would form so I was determined to beat this which went ok.  It was that hot some of us ran with a water bottle.

Everything was going to plan for both teams until about 7pm when a fantastic thunder storm erupted which lasted for about half an hour, with this came the rain.  This thunder storm was so close it was making the hair on the back of our necks stand up! Completely torrential rain continued all night (think Biblical and Arks) and I think we all agreed formed the worst conditions any of us had ever run in. With less than 4 hours between legs we had to get dry, clean, eat and sleep. All in wet tents, everything was wet.  It is impossible to describe how bad it was.

As the night progressed the paths became mud baths, if you ran too fast down a hill with a corner at the bottom you were in trouble. Even overtaking was incredibly dangerous with a high chance of falling. Every other step you would slip and try to recover your balance.  Where the race was on fields they became energy sapping (and shoe sucking) bogs which towards then end of the night became lakes above bogs. All the mud started to wash away around tree roots making for hundreds of tripping hazards on the lap. If a no win no fee claim company had been on site they would have had a busy night.

Unfortunately Louise became injured during her third leg and sensibly retired.

After my fourth leg I gave up, I ran an hour for 6 miles, I could not go any faster, visibility was very poor and I felt injured all over. This is a terrible thing to do in a team event. It meant that Steve had an even shorter recovery before he had to go again. Whilst in my warm comfy sleeping bag I heard Chris taking about the team position (which had been messed up as Jay’s chip had not been working) when Louise got this put right we found we were in 9th place and it was very close between 8th, 9th and 10th place.  No chance could we give up, Chris suggested he would run 42 miles if he had to. So I got dressed again in my soggy running kit and did a 5th lap (and fell down).  Jay had also been on the verge of giving up but he also did a 5th lap.

Everyone was pulling good times which meant that Steve got a 6th lap in, none of us could have run the 6th lap so Steve gets my vote as No 1 runner in our team. Chris gets my vote as motivator.  Richard just carried on without any thought of giving up.

“This is an event like no other. The course is hilly, technical and draining; doing it once is hard, racing it for 24 hours is ridiculous! However, it’s an amazing event. I’ve never known such a gathering of like-minded people. The support around the course, regardless of time or weather, is enthusiastic and continuous around the clock. Even though you might be in your own bubble of discomfort and fatigue, you know the person next to you is feeling exactly the same – it gives the event camaraderie I’ve never experienced anywhere else.

Adidas TR24 is a team event. You race your heart out for the people with you, knowing that they will hurt and give everything they have too, just to try and get you as far up that leaderboard as possible. We were the first team of 6, the 8 teams in front of us all had 8 runners.

Will we back next year? Maybe not. It takes a lot out of you right in the middle of racing season.

Did the lads hate me at 6am for suggesting a team of 6? Probably!

Would we race as a team again? Without a doubt”. Louise Gill

Thanks to Louise for organising it again (I have borrowed some of this report from Louise).

Team Placings (253 Teams)

We’ve Got Problems – we managed to get 29 laps in and this finished in 9th place. For teams of 6 runners we finished 1st!

Team Of Surprisingly Slow Enthusiastic Runners – managed to get 16 laps in and this finished in 222nd place.  The results are incorrect, this team actually did 17 laps and might have finished in about 206th place if this was rectified.

Loads of teams from South Yorkshire take part, well done to all of them.

Full results here.

Times for We’ve Got Problems

2328 Martin James 1 00:42:40
2330 Steve Kellett 2 00:44:04
2331 Louise Gill 3 00:49:15
2329 Richard Chandler 4 00:45:01
2327 Jay Buxton 5 00:45:01
2326 Chris Newman 6 00:45:56
2328 Martin James 7 00:44:10
2330 Steve Kellett 8 00:44:49
2331 Louise Gill 9 00:48:12
2329 Richard Chandler 10 00:45:50
2327 Jay Buxton 11 00:45:42
2326 Chris Newman 12 00:47:05
2328 Martin James 13 00:48:05
2330 Steve Kellett 14 00:48:03
2331 Louise Gill 15 00:58:16
2329 Richard Chandler 16 00:51:42
2327 Jay Buxton 17 00:59:22
2326 Chris Newman 18 00:53:08
2328 Martin James 19 01:00:03
2330 Steve Kellett 20 00:53:53
2329 Richard Chandler 21 00:55:15
2327 Jay Buxton 22 00:57:39
2326 Chris Newman 23 00:53:31
2330 Steve Kellett 24 00:54:41
2329 Richard Chandler 25 00:57:16
2328 Martin James 26 00:53:52
2327 Jay Buxton 27 00:54:42
2326 Chris Newman 28 00:56:14
2330 Steve Kellett 29 00:55:33

Times for Team Of Surprisingly Slow Enthusiastic Runners (Either Mark went for fish and chips on lap 7 or the chip timing went wrong, it is possible Mark ate his chip as confusion does set in)

2594 Tony O’Conner 1 00:57:37
2591 Mark Hudson 2 01:05:20
2593 Dave Esler 3 00:49:57
2592 Chris Hogg 4 01:04:24
2595 Matthew Bickerdyke 5 00:56:03
2596 Rose James 6 00:56:44
2591 Mark Hudson 7 02:00:57
2593 Dave Esler 8 00:55:11
2592 Chris Hogg 9 01:09:42
2595 Matthew Bickerdyke 10 01:11:28
2596 Rose James 11 01:11:28
2594 Tony O’Conner 12 01:17:38
2591 Mark Hudson 13 01:17:10
2593 Dave Esler 14 01:29:19
2592 Chris Hogg 15 01:25:41
2595 Matthew Bickerdyke 16 01:29:33