What did you do last weekend? Me? I spent from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon camping in my local park. It sounds strange and it felt strange! This is the park I run in with my dog, where I walk the dog and where I have spent many hours and I should also mention it is only a ten minute walk from my house. So why would I camp there? I was part of team Scrambled Legs, which consisted of 8 amazing women taking part in a 24 hour multi-terrain relay run called Spitfire Scramble.
You can also take part running on your own or in teams of two to eight runners. It is described as the only event of its kind in the London area and just so happens to practically be on my door step so I thought it would be rude not to take part.
By Friday night our camp was set up and like true athletes our cool box had a very odd selection of food and more alcohol than was necessary. The atmosphere was amazing and we were lucky that we were camped right next door to many friends at Havering Tri who were also taking part with a whopping 32 members in various teams including my husband.
We decided last minute that perhaps we should have a kit though as we would be completing around 3 laps each we would not run in them and whilst trying to look for something we decided if we couldn’t get what we wanted we would do the opposite and find something so wonderfully tacky that is was in fact fabulous and so we all headed to the race briefing Saturday morning amidst perfectly matching running clubs in club vests wearing the most amazingly hideous Disney tshirts. I think it was safe to say we stood out a tad and I even joked it would be funny if we placed looking like such a bunch of misfits.
We had arranged our teams order of running following one order to enable everyone to have time to rest in between laps. We should have realised that rest in a field of people camping whilst taking part in a 24 hour relay run was never going to work out well so sleep was minimal. First off was Danielle and as everyone gathered at the start to see everyone head off that became the hub for people to gather as you waited for your teammate to come in and pass the next person the wrist band to go off on their lap and so on and so on. It was such a great atmosphere as the runners returned and our Danielle was sixth over the line with a sprint finish and first woman so we were off to a good start.
As the day continued so did the heat and the gnats. It is safe to say we all caught the sun and all got bitten to death regardless of how much sun cream and bug spray we applied.
One by one we all completed our first lap and it was safe to say it is not the easiest route – they say undulating though in the heat the slight inclines felt tougher than I’m sure they actually are. As I say I run on a regular basis in that park and I think I’ve always run faster than I did at the weekend. It is multi terrain though I would say more is trail than on path and with my main event of the year being this weekend (with Helen and Laura who also took part in this run) I was making sure my tactic of slow and steady was in place (that’s pretty much my run style/speed anyway) being careful not to lose my footing at any point and finish with an injury. That being said I wither and die in the heat so whilst I was not overly impressed with any of my times I am not sure I had any more in my legs to go faster as much as I willed them to.
Had I ever run in the night? In the pitch black? No! Was I a little worried and nervous? Hell yes! Three of us had walked the route on Friday night and I had the benefit of knowing the park so one lap and I knew where I was heading but you do go through a farmers field and as the crops are now over a meter high I did liken it to something out of a horror film. On my night lap my amazing friend Helen had her hybrid bike and rode the whole loop behind me, which was a god send and much appreciated.
By the time I finished my lap, stopped by the porta loos and got changed it was almost 4am and I was just in time to see my husband finish his night lap and so this pic gives an idea of how dark it gets – our 4am selfie.
So in our group one lady ran two laps, everyone else ran three and three of the team ran four laps – seriously impressive and such a team effort it was the best feeling. What could have been better? The fact that we came third out of the all women’s teams! You know I said wouldn’t it be funny if we placed looking like such a bunch of misfits? Well we did and so not only had we earned our medal but we also each got a cup. Not too shabby for this fat girl trying to get fit!
Would we all do it again next year? We’ve already said yes! You are tired, fatigued, sweaty, worn out but do so with amazing people having the best time makes it all worth it.
We did earn our team name though and yesterday I think we all found that our legs were well and truly scrambled!
All in all an amazing event, well impressed with the organisation and atmosphere all weekend and left with the best feeling. More impressed that when I walked my dog yesterday the park was immaculate and you would never had even guessed there had been an event so well done to the organisers and volunteers and also the marshals on the route.
Have I talked you into it for 2017? Do it! You know you want to……