I apologise. As Squadron Leader, I have been slacking.
The Spitfire Scramble is a 24 hour relay race in Hornchurch. It was set up by Danny Coyle, former editor of Men’s Running magazine and offers Londoners an alternative to the popular Thunder Run.
I’d casually suggested that maybe one day, UK Fitness Bloggers should enter a 24 hour race. One thing led to another and all of a sudden, I had a team ready and willing to run. Unfortunately, a few runners were plagued with injuries along the way but for the great adventure, I was accompanied by Mollie, Cassie, Corey, Sabine, Alma, Kat and Andrew, our honourary princess for the weekend!
The adventure started Friday, when Cassie, Rich and Hal kindly drove over to pick me up. It had started raining, so I made sure to grab my waterproof cape, thoughtfully provided by Happy Rainy Days. More on this to come in a later post.
Trespass provided me with a tent for the weekend and I was assured by Cassie that it was easy to assemble. I mostly stood around, drinking beer and shining a torch, also provided by Trespass. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo off it in the excitement, so here’s the stock photo:
This is a two person tent and retails for £27.99. Although I wouldn’t have wanted to have shared it with someone else (I like my space), it was roomier than expected, with plenty of room for me and my stuff. And I had a LOT of stuff. The porch was a bonus as it was somewhere to leave my muddy shoes. It was also lightweight and easy to pack up again for the journey home – thanks Trespass!
I haven’t camped for a really long time, so I was worried about being comfortable. I’d bought myself a self-inflating mattress that didn’t inflate, so after a few beers, Rich kindly blew it up for me and it was time for bed. I was surprisingly warm in just a night shirt and my sleeping bag (no socks!), but I had to use ear plugs after tuning in to a snoring individual. Then my mattress deflated. I lay awake all night. Finally the morning came and I got up and dressed, ready for a visit to Harrow Lodge parkrun with Alma. Andrew turned up as we were ready to depart and joined us. I adopted a walk-run strategy on purpose, to make sure I didn’t tire myself out and got round in a nice, sedate 34:45. A very pretty parkrun and further report to come.
Back at the campsite, everyone had arrived and was mingling. We said hello to the incredible Jools, who went on to complete 13 5.9 mile laps in under 20 hours as a solo effort. As the first runner to go, I got myself ready and it was time for the briefing.
Aren’t the headbands fabulous? These were thanks to Corey and did an amazing job soaking up sweat and keeping the hair out of my eyes.
It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that the sun beat down as I went out for my first lap. Despite the sun cream, I felt my skin tightening and confirmation of burning came when a friendly marshal yelled at me “you’re really sunburned, love!” The route was lovely, a very pretty combination of trails, fields and some tarmac. I am very much a city runner and prefer running on tarmac. I don’t have proper trail shoes and I’m clumsy. So this, combined with the heat and knowing I had more to do, led to me scheduling in a minute walk break every couple of km to keep fresh. I got chatting to the organiser of the London Marathon wheelchair race for a bit which was pleasant and enjoyed the incredible views of London as we hit the summit. Despite being marshaled however, I managed to go the wrong way. Luckily, a marshal sent me back but I did end up running an extra bit. Oops.
In my defence, someone had knocked into an arrow and it was pointing the wrong way.
I absolutely loved the section from 5 miles on. A traily downhill, flattened out to tarmac before leading back to the campsite where you ran round the outside of the park to the cheers of your teammates. I felt great coming in to the finish as I ran to pass over to Cassie. Lap one completed in 1:09ish, with an extra bit. Sorry Cassie for handing the sun over to you for part of your run!
And that leads to the end of part 1 in our adventures in running…check back tomorrow for part 2!