Written by Samuel Bolton - https://samuelsultrarunning.wordpress.com

I suppose this is more of a breakdown of my thoughts on the race and a way of helping me remember some of the more eventful bits rather than a full race report. I hope you find it useful.

DSC_4162

I try to run races that have some significance to me in terms of where I’ve lived, the beauty of the course or their uniqueness. The ST24 definitely fitted the last category.

Race ethos

The idea of the ST24, from what I understand, is that you physically deplete yourself so much you stop thinking about the everyday occurrences in your life and start to think about what really matters to you. The use of a running track is no accident. In meditation you’re taught to focus on signal objects such as a pin head or your own breath, this race used a 400 metre track.

I also like the fact that there is no plastic goodie bag of crap and advertising at the end.

Planning

Run 3 laps and walk 1. That way it would hopefully stop me from going off too fast but also having something to concentrate on to break up the monotony. Concentrating on the 3/1 tactic became my pin.

5 hours for the 1st 25 miles, 5 ½ hours for the 2nd, 6 hours for the 3rd and 7 ½ for last. 100 miles in 24 hours.

I’d attempted to run 100 miles once before at the White Rose Ultra but dropped out at 83 miles as it passed my house. Afterwards, I had a terrible feeling of failure and beat myself up for a bit about not being strong enough mentally to have finished. “It’s all learning though”, I told myself and “sometimes you need to fail to succeed”. I’ve learnt a massive amount about racing 100 miles from the WRU 100 and crewing for Nick Thompson on some of the Centurion races……grit in your shoe, you have ups & downs, food makes you tired and you come through it, sort hot spots straight away, eat and drink constantly, you feel better when the sun comes up, start slow and get slower…..

Crew

What crew? Lucky me and my friend James applied and were accepted together. Every other runner seemed to have a gazebo, tent, sleeping bag, table, flag of their country etc. We stuffed a carrier bag of food and clothes under the cover of an industrial grass roller to keep it from getting wet. We crewed for ourselves and later, thankfully James crewed for me. Russ Beasley was also a big help and a lady who gave me some sudacrem which almost certainly saved my race at that point.

The race

DSC_4104

The ST24 ultra in some ways reminded me of going to an all-night dance club abroad.  You randomly end up talking to someone from Belarus for hours, sweat so much that when you go to the toilet you slide off the seat, you drink your body weight in water and dance (run) all night. People finally spill out into the day light, a distant memory of the person that entered the club smelling great and with their best gear on. You go back to someone’s house party to carry on but by this time everyone is more tired and less coherent. Some people pop pills, some have cups of tea, others pass out in the corner, only to get a second wind later. For anyone who has run this race or something similar, you’ll know what I mean.

The plan

I made sure I ate and drank something every 4th lap. My friend Nick told me that ultra running is really just an eating and drinking competition and in some ways he’s right. At points in the race you know you really need to eat or you’ll start to go downhill and you’re body and mind will start to rebel.

I ate and drank whilst I was walking. I’d learnt that you can lose a lot of time at aid stations. Over the whole 24 hours I only sat down once to change my socks and twice to go to the toilet.

Now this seems crazy, but this is truthfully what I ate and drank. Every mile (4×400 meters =1600 metres/1 mile) I was very methodical and had a cup of either water, coconut water, coke, electrolytes, energy drink, ginger ale, tea and/or crisps, a banana, apple, pretzels, twiglets, peanuts, soup and baked beans. I’d say that’s easily 100+ portions of food and/or drink.

IMG_9304

I didn’t eat the sandwiches. This was the races only fail. Who puts butter on a jam sandwich and even worse, who puts butter on a peanut butter sandwich! I think even Sri Chomney would have vetoed that.

The people

The lap counting system is kind of flawed but kind of brilliant. Instead of having a tag on your leg that records a lap every time you go past, they have a volunteer allocated to about 4 people who you shout to or they shout at you every time you pass the start/finish line. These volunteers are brilliant. Imagine trying to keep your concentration to count 4 different runners as they go past you every minute or so for hours on end.

IMG_9244

I have to say the counters were one of my highlights. They were so positive all the way through. My third counter did a 7+ hours stint from about 9pm until way past 4am, giving big whoops and yells every time I passed. When she rotated, I nearly cried. I don’t know what it was like for them, but for me it felt like you shared a real concentrated experience. I’m so sorry I can’t remember everyone’s name but I’m almost certain I wouldn’t have got past 100 miles if it wasn’t for their joy and selfless encouragement.

That’s one of the great things about a track ultra, you share the whole experience with every runner and every crew member. On a regular ultra, if you’re like me, you might see the leaders at the start and picking up the trophy at the end. On a track ultra you see the whole race unfold in front of you, from the runners that go off way too fast and blow up, to the ones that take it steady and slowly move up through the field.

Transcendence?

I think every runner must have a different experience. My most depleted run was crewing on the Thames Path 100. My runner had pushed on and finished and I was left to stumble back as elderly ladies passed me with a walking stick. The last 3 miles took me 2 hours that day, but they were the 2 miles I remember the most fondly. That feeling of total exhaustion but total satisfaction, of a long time goal completed.  Helping a friend finish a 100 miler.

This time it was different. This was more a sense of lessons learnt. At the WRU100 I gave up at 83 miles because I didn’t know any different. I was tired, very tired and I hadn’t yet felt the massive disappointment of not finishing a 100 mile race.  I had that knowledge of disappointment pushing me on and also knowing that you need to break 24 hours in 1hr sections. Just treat it an hour at a time and forget the total time, otherwise the thought of it will eat you up and you’ll quit.

Hallucinating? Lots of people say they do on ultras.  At times in the night I thought I saw my wife but quickly realised it was just a person with a similar shape and form. Was this hallucinating? I don’t know?

I do know for the last two hours I purposely didn’t listen to music, switched off strava and tried to just focus on my running. All I could think about was finishing over 100 miles, my wife, kids and how great everyone had been. Is this transcendence or is this still my selfishness?

I passed 100 miles with about ½ an hour to spare and spent the last ½ hour of the race watching everyone potter or even sprint round the track trying to reach their individual goals.

My 10k race splits 

Overall resultsDSC_5541

I did finish the race with real sense of calm and satisfaction. I’d banished the demons of not getting past 100 miles at the WRU before. I was absolutely knackered, I was so happy to have finished the bloody thing and I was chuffed to have shared and witnessed such an experience with so many committed and genuinely lovely people.

Thanks

A huge thank you goes to Shankara and all the volunteers, especially the 4 that counted me through, I’m so sorry I can’t remember your names but you were an absolute highlight. I’ve made a promise to myself that I’ll come back and volunteer myself.

James Young, Roz Glover, Artur Venis, Russ Beasley and all the other runners and crew for helping me through the run with your positive words and actions.

Nick Thompson and Andy Lang, you seduced me into ultra running and I owe you a lot.

Nige , Andy W, Jeff and the whole Meltham AC family….you rock.

Caz, George, William and family. I love you.

Kit

Shoes: I wore Nike Pegasus 28 trail which in hindsight were a little too hard for the track and my feet were quite swollen by the end of it. I should have worn my Hoka One One Clifton 2, but I was worried they would be too bouncy and coupled with a bouncy track, may end up blowing up my knees.

Socks: I wore Teko Super Cushion Marathon Socks which were great. I did get some blisters but I think that was down to swapping to an old pair of cushioned walking socks from Trespass after about 11 hours as I couldn’t find my 2nd pair of Teko’s.

Chaffing: I’d go Sudacrem over Vaseline every time and put plasters on your nipples, especially if it’s raining.

Clothes: Change into a warmer top before it gets dark and put on a warmer hat. I saw a lot of people go downhill over night. You need full waterproof jacket and trousers too. Plus a change of everying.  Trust me, you can’t bring too many items of clothing.

Food: Keep eating and drinking constantly. Have a food plan and stick to it.

Music: Keeping the Rave Alive – DJ Kutski

Running: Have a broken down race plan, ideally broken into manageable segments but don’t make it too complicated and don’t stress if it goes off course. You have lots of time, especially at the end of the race. If it really comes to it and you’re really struggling, have a sleep for a couple of hours, set 2 alarms and ask someone to wake you up. Believe me, loads of people did it this year. Some finished top 5.

People: Try to talk to people. They will become your allies and potential race saviours. If not, you might be theirs.

You: Enjoy it and try to take it all in.

Track biodiversity

“Parakeets, they’ve got Parakeets! I’m glad I saw them now rather than the end when I thought I was hallucinating.”

The track is surrounded by trees and so blocks the wind. I spent most of the early laps identifying them. I can confirm there is a mix of oak, ash, sycamore, hawthorn, holly and other native broad-leaved species.

Over a 24 hour period, I also witnessed a group of mushrooms growing from basic mycelium to full fruiting bodies!

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next

South Downs Way 100 - Martin Bell

South Downs Way 100 - Martin Bell

Written by Martin Bell - https://thedeterminedrunner.wordpress.com Well where to start? Chris, John & myself were all to make the journey down south from Aviemore to take on our 1st 100 miler in...

Read more

2018 Hardmoors 60 and Subsequent Finding…

2018 Hardmoors 60 and Subsequent Findings

Written by James Campbell - https://jamescampbell78.wordpress.com Background My 2018 Hardmoors 60 Race Report is conspicuous by its absence from these pages. Usually, it’s a case of “James runs a race, race report appears...

Read more

2018 Hardmoors 110

2018 Hardmoors 110

Written by James Campbell - https://jamescampbell78.wordpress.com I came into the third race of the Hardmoors Superslam feeling really strong, which in a way is a good thing since it involved running further...

Read more

2018 Hardmoors 30 Race Report

2018 Hardmoors 30 Race Report

Written by James Campbell - https://jamescampbell78.wordpress.com It’s genuinely scary how quickly this race seems to have come around.  It feels like only a couple of weeks ago that I was embarking on...

Read more

Robin Hood 100 - 2018 ‘The Road To Spart…

Robin Hood 100 - 2018 ‘The Road To Sparta’

Written by Andy Day I’ve done a few of Hobo Pace events before & I’ve got to know the organiser Ronnie. He’s a genuine guy with a clear passion for running...

Read more

361˚ Sensation 3 Shoe Review

361˚ Sensation 3 Shoe Review

Written by Sim Benson www.jenandsimbenson.co.uk Price: £119.99 Weight per shoe: men’s UK11 335g women’s UK6.5 265g Find out more www.361europe.com/en Overview: The Sensation 3 is designed as a high mileage trainer with a good blend...

Read more

Don’t Stop Me Now: My Grand Slam Finish …

Don’t Stop Me Now: My Grand Slam Finish at Wasatch

Written by Katrin Silva - http://runkat.com “Hug me. Time to get comfortable getting uncomfortable.” My favorite aid station sign, and sound advice for finishing Wasatch The Wasatch 100 is the last race of...

Read more

La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw

La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw

Written by Richard Stillion - https://richyla.wordpress.com Pure Outdoors Events 1st September 2018 http://www.pureoutdoorsevents.co.uk/index.php/the-grand-tour-of-skiddaw Race Director Gaynor Prior Event HQ Chris Preston Event Manager Clare Shannon Race Winners: Andy Swift 6.35.40 and Sabrina Verjee 8.07.00 1976 – the drought year!  That was...

Read more

a long mARCh

a long mARCh

Written by Richard Stillion - https://richyla.wordpress.com Mud Crew Arc of Attrition http://mudcrew.co.uk/event/the-arc-of-attrition/ RD Andrew Ferguson 1st Female   Maryann Devally 32.26.32 1st Male       Steven Wyatt 23.44.18 *Some photos were taken in situ, some in more clement weather. Short version:  Up.  Down. Bog...

Read more

Mozart 100 - Ross Hay

Mozart 100 - Ross Hay

Written by Ross Hay Last weekend at 5am in the morning I was at the start line of the Mozart 100. How did I end up here for my longest race...

Read more

Liverpool to Leeds Canal Race – 130 mile…

Liverpool to Leeds Canal Race – 130 miles – 2018 and thoughts on the Canalslam

Written by Phil Bradburn - https://untrainingultrarunner.com This was the final race in the Canal Slam series – which includes the legendary Grand Union Canal race and the Kennet & Avon Canal Race – which are both...

Read more

The 2018 Kennet and Avon Canal Race 145 …

The 2018 Kennet and Avon Canal Race 145 miles

Written by Phil Bradburn - https://untrainingultrarunner.com With 7 weeks between Grand Union Canal Race and the second race in the Canalslam series – Kennet and Avon Canal Race – it was always...

Read more

Race Report: Jurassic Coast 100 Miler

Race Report: Jurassic Coast 100 Miler

Written by Jamie Chaffey - https://mountaintrailrunning.com The Jurassic Coast 100 follows the historic clifftop trails along England’s southwest coast. I’m in the process of accumulating points to eventually enter the UTMB one year...

Read more

SOUTH DOWNS WAY 100 – RACE REPORT

SOUTH DOWNS WAY 100 – RACE REPORT

Written by Luke Latimer - https://jurarunner.com I was expecting to find you hunched over your poles, headphones in, grinding through the dark miles with gritted teeth. Are you sure you’ve just run 85...

Read more

Spartathlon 2018

Spartathlon 2018

Written by Will Rivera - https://willrivera-ultra.tumblr.com “Pushing your body past what you thought it was capable of is easy; the hard part is pushing yourself even further … past what your mind...

Read more

The Arc of Attrition 2018

The Arc of Attrition 2018

Written by Jean Baptiste Rouvelin - http://jbrouvelin.blogspot.com Kit checked and got my number Well, where to start.  The Arc of Attrition is a point to point race which forms an arc following the South...

Read more

Love and Hate on the Lavaredo Ultra Trai…

Love and Hate on the Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Written by Tom Wright - http://life.tomwright.me.uk No medal, no finishers photo but I did complete the Lavaredo Ultra Trail. No really I did… I have my coveted bin bag to prove it!  (Note Lavaredo has a...

Read more

MB90k 2018

MB90k 2018

Written by Paul Baldwin - http://pbracereports.blogspot.com Let’s start with the finish I finished the 90km du Mont Blanc in 22 hours and 29 minutes, ranking 564th out of 1,142 entrants (49th percentile), and...

Read more

Share This

Follow Us