I can’t wait to be looking back in a few years time thinking ‘yeah, I was a part of the first one!’. I think the Longest Day Run has surpassed even my expectations this weekend as twitter has just exploded with it and I’ve had such a blast trying to keep up with as many runs as I possibly could.
The concept of the run, masterminded by Simon Walkden, is such a simple one – how far can you run in 24 hours. The original idea was noon-to-noon on Saturday-Sunday, but the beauty of the fluid idea was that really any 24 hour period would count.
So just a month ago I had some pretty huge plans for this weekend (well, by my standards at least) to run 24 miles in each 12 hour section of the run. But, as has been documented here, my knee soon put an end to that plan, and when 3 miles was so much pain just 10 days ago I was concerned I may not be doing anything at all! Strangely though, I’d felt a little better this week. So I set out today hoping for something like 5-6miles without too much pain.
I set off as much on the stroke of midday as I possibly could without much of a plan in my head other than to stay fairly close to home, just in case. I had no music on my run today (or water, or gels), so I had plenty of time to think. I spent much of the first mile thinking about those who were also running, and those that couldn’t. Despite a half marathon a few weeks ago, it turns out that event creator Simon has been running on a femur with a stress fracture and finally got the diagnoses this week which ruled him out of any running. Whilst I (and many others) donated my first mile to Simon I thought about the truely amazing event he had come up with, and the support he had been offering all day to runners as he monitored all the goings-on of the Longest Day Run athletes and kept everyone up to date. Without someone in that role I wonder if the day would have been so exciting?!
Anyway, so I also spent a little time thinking about all the other people running at the same time for the same reason, but mostly on our own. I was trotting along at my own pace, on my own route, with no other runner near me, but I had a real sense of community and togetherness whilst I was out. It was pretty special.
I also thought about how lucky I am that our cat is an indoor cat as I passed a poor smooshed moggy who had been pulled to the side of the road on a car floor mat. As I noticed that it transpired that I missed my turn and decided to just carry on up the hill a little further from home. It’s a bit of a drag of a hill, but I was only meant to be taking it easy so I thought ‘to hell with it’ and just motored up it at my own pace, still feeling pretty strong. As I came down the other side, something compelled me to take off across the grass and head along one of the side routes, adding further distance to the run as I went round the outside of Reigate. At this point I hit the 3 mile point, and became aware that it was at about this point 10 days ago that I’d started having trouble. But nothing materialised so I kept plodding on – actually with quite nice consistent miles.
I decided to help the learner driver who no one was allowing out of the next junction, by using the crossing to back all the traffic up and allow her to finally pull out. She’d been there about 5 minutes!! A little while later I also thought about how I never want to own a suzuki vitara. A little fender bender had resulted in a completely battered front end, and just a small dent for the back of the car in front.
As I headed down to the priory park I was still feeling amazingly good with just a few hundred meters of slight pain in what I guess was an ITB connection point, though this seemed to dissipate as quick as it came on. It was lovely to see so many families enjoying the park by the time I got there to do my loop of the pond. Though I got there just in time to get stuck behind two silly girls pootling along on bikes ringing their bells at anything that moved.
Just at the end of the sixth mile I paused to perform a quad stretch on the right leg to try and ease out my knee a little – though it was still going strong. Certainly stronger than the rest of me was, as I had had no water whilst it was warmer than I had expected, and I had gone so much further than I thought I might. In fact, I think I sped up a little over the final mile, I felt I was going so well. This excludes a slight pause at the shop where I had to purchase a pint of milk, and I used my change to buy the only sweet I could afford in the shop – a Chomp.
20p these things cost now. It is also not easy to eat a sticky, chewy, toffee based chocolate treat whilst running. But it was kind of fun as I ran home with a pint of milk in hand trying to devour the claggy chocolatey goodness. I don’t think it’ll be on my list of mid-race goodies ever again!!
I had kind of hoped the 7 miles would come up before my hill, but it didn’t so I headed up to home to finish, but not before running two doors past my house to make sure that I rounded out the 7 miles.
I was ecstatic with how my knee felt, and treated it to a good old stretch afterwards.
Over the course of the afternoon/evening though, some soreness did creep in making moving a little uncomfortable. However, it was truly incredible keeping up to date with everyone on twitter doing their own individual challenges.
Johnny has completed four runs for a total 35 miles
Andrew knocked out an incredible 52.5 miles in the howling wind and rain yesterday, and has just headed out for another 10 today to round it up to 100km in total. This man is a machine.
Janine, who was aiming for a 24hour treadmill challenge (whilst wearing a duck costume) managed 60miles in 20 hours before her body put a stop to it.
and Matt woke at 2am to complete a marathon in the dark. Sadly the weather meant he didn’t even get to enjoy a beautiful sunrise though.
At the other end of the scale (but no less amazing and inspiring) Simon went out on his bike to support his son on his longest run at 2.5 miles, and Dan, towards the end of an insane 60 hour working week, took his young son out for an amazing 2 miles as well!
The total number of people signed up is at around the 300 people mark, and the stories that are coming out of this weekend are phenomenal. You can see the leader board here, though remember it’s about personal achievement, not just who has the highest number. And for immense levels of inspiration do a search for #LDRun on twitter and see the runs, and the support that is coming in from an amazing community.
I’m hoping that I might make it out for a token mile before my 24 hours is up at midday today – But I am not going to risk doing any serious damage to my knee.
Well done to everyone who has, and continues to take part in the longest day run this weekend. You have all been such incredible inspiration