Wednesday, 3 August, 2011
Last weekend I ran further in 24 hours than I have ever run before. Myself and MR’s Ben Lusk joined forces with four readers to take on the gruelling challenge in Catton Park, Derbyshire and managed 28 laps in the 24 hours of the 10km course. It was hot, hilly and hard going, but as an event, the TR24 has a uniquely appealing atmosphere. It’s like a music festival crossed with a marathon, the main difference being that when night falls, we didn’t repair to bed to sleep off the booze. We ran through the dark, each taking turns to don headlamps and keep our lap counter ticking over through the wee small hours. Having never done a proper trail run, let alone a night-time trail run, it was a thrilling experience and one I would recommend to everyone. By the end of the 24 hours, we were all utterly exhausted but elated to have finished and proud of our 28 laps. You can read the full report on the weekend in the next issue of Men’s Running, on sale on August 25.There’s no time to dwell on the satisfaction at having run 50km for me. Another ludicrous challenge awaits. In October I’ll be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon dressed as the Royal Parks Foundation’s official mascot, Chester the Squirrel. When the idea was suggested I thought, ‘Why not?’ On everyone’s running bucket list, doing a race in fancy dress is an absolute must, so this is my chance. It was only when I tried the suit on I realised this was not exactly going to be a cakewalk. Chester has a huge tail slightly offset, which pulls me to one side when I run. The top half of the suit is like wearing a fur coat and the huge head wobbles and has quite low visibility. The saving grace is the small fan in the nose cone! I’ve recently been to Matt Roberts’ gym in Chelsea to have a gait assessment in the suit and see how it affects my usual style. I’ll update you on the results of that when I get them but for the time being training must commence in Chester. So if you see a giant squirrel plodding the towpaths between Hammersmith and Chiswick Bridge any time soon, don’t forget to wave - and think yourself lucky you’re not the one inside!.