Crawley 24 race 13th-14th April 2019

It was touch and go whether I was going to travel the 160 miles from Worcester to Crawley for the start of the Crawley 24 hour race. The instep of my left foot had been sore for at least three weeks. It appeared soon after the Liverpool Hope University 6 hour race (8th March) and despite rest and taking it easy it was still a potential game stopper. In the end, having looked forward to the Crawley track race for many months, I decided it was an event worth attending; I thought I would manage at least three or four hours on the track and that and the event itself would make the journey worthwhile.

On the Thursday at about 2.30am I stepped outside to check the early morning temperature. It was pleasantly warm and stars were visible in the sky. On the Friday evening I drove down to Crawley to the hotel I had booked, ten minutes away from the K2 Stadium. In some ways I did a lot better than anticipated because I completed 12 hours before withdrawing. On the other hand, after about 5 and a half hours of jog/walking I was reduced to a continuous walk because the injury in the left foot started to reappear. By 12 hours the foot was so sore I was having difficulty even walking. I went to the first aid tent but they weren’t able to help. Somewhat suprisingly, the weather was really cold: earlier in the day there had been hailstones and by now there was a layer of ice on my tent. I was wearing more or less all the clothes I had brought with me but was still feeling cold. The perception of the time passing was interesting both while I was on the track and after I’d withdrawn. Whilst on the track the time seemed to be taking forever to move (like a watched pot never boils); literally, minutes seemed to be taking a very long time to pass. At 12 hours I became conscious that there was still another 12 hours to go in the 24 hour race, which momentarily looked like an impenetrable wall. Somehow the night passed and at 6am the remaining 24 hour runners were still jogging/running/walking with apparent ease round the track, lap after lap. Those competing in the 12 hour race were also on the track; one of these looked like she was sprinting and had been doing this for the last 10 hours, and now had only two hours to go. A highlight of the event was the hot food available during the night: the leek and potato soup, the macaroni cheese, and also the porridge later on, were very welcome. I also had an extended pleasant conversation with Pam Storey as we walked around the track.

According to my Garmin watch I completed 43 miles in the 12 hours. Although disappointing because I had walked at least half of this, my original intention was 40 miles in 10 hours and to stay under 18 mins per mile. According to my Garmin watch my average pace by 12 hours was 16.5 mins per mile. In other words, I was still on target for my goal of 80 miles within 24 hours but killjoy was very much present in the form of the sore left foot. Pam Storey had explained the history of organising the event and sponsorship. Hopefully, there will be another Crawley track race next year.

Crawley 6/12/24 hour track race home page