Crawley 6 12 & 24hr track race. My Race report My A qualifying Standard expires later this year and with the world 24hr championships in France this October I had targeted 2 24hr events. Crawley & Belfast to maintain my qualifying standard for eligibility to be selected to represent Ireland 🇮🇪 Should the opportunity arise.. 🤔So the goal was to run a B standard or better in Crawley. When that became questionable with a toe issue I decided it was best to withdraw and focus my energy on Belfast 24hr which incorporates the national championships. 🏃Race Location Crawley UK Firstly Crawley is located very near Gatwick airport in the UK so easy to access & when u arrive the no 10 bus 🚌 goes from the airport to Crawley Centre & the no 2 brings u to the door of the K2 sports complex. Accommodation plenty of choices. So very accessible with great transport links.. 🏃Race Director Normally Pam Storey but this year she handed over duties to Charlotte Jalley as Pam was also taking on the role of guide runner to Paul Watts. There was 2 visually impaired runners taking part. Pam has 144 marathons & 61 Ultras so we were in experienced hands. 🏃Pam Storey founded this race back in 2006 🏃 A 24hr Endurance race is not for everyone and is an extreme test of both mental and physical strength where so much can and will go wrong, it’s all about running your own race executing your plan and dealing with the obstacles and low points as they arise, it helps to have someone crewing for u but is not always the case. Unlike other races were the winner is the person that covers the distance in the fastest time this is all about covering the most distance in a set time.. it’s as much a physical as a mental challenge & It’s hard to remain so focused for 24hrs & the one thing that’s guaranteed is anything can happen and usually does.. it can be nice to exchange a few words with crew and fellow runners at times where as other times I just like to just zone out and concentrate on the job at hand. These races really only get going in the 2nd half and leader boards certainly can change a lot. This 24hr was ran on a 400meter track others are run in parks etc like Belfast were the loop is approximately 1mile around Victoria park. 🏃 The Weather in Crawley some light rain, hailstone a little wind & even sunshine all of which were easily managed by day as we could see the showers approaching and get a jacket on etc. But the night brought extreme Cold that took a lot of us by surprise as even supplies were freezing on exposed tables trackside. In the night hrs we had the benefit of floodlights but a freezing cold haze descended on the runners and I could see frost visible on fellow runners hats.. Add the cold to tiredness and it may have felt a lot worse than it was🤔 it was a kind of cold that penetrated to the bone and took the best part of the next day to warm back up from.. When I ran in Siberia earlier this year I wore less clothing and was warmer! A 24hr it’s all about pacing so you are trying to do everything as efficiently as possible and in -2.c you are not generating a lot of heat running a slower pace so extra layers were needed.. Thankfully the race had lots of hot soup & pasta.. 🏃The Race Race Options you can enter 6hr 12hr or 24hr Basically run as many laps as you can in your given time.. Different people adopt different approaches to this from fast starts to walking breaks latter to trying not to stop unless going to the loo... The 24hr and 6hr started together at 12 midday and the 12hr started at 8pm.. 🏃Usual race briefing safety points and questions. First aid crew pointers etc and then it was down to business. I guess I was watching from the inside how the 24hr race was going to unfold.. 🏃This was my 4th 24hr race and first time doing so on a track, so a shorter lap softer surface than I am used to.. 400 meter laps this would have pros & cons I guess.. The rule was to let the faster runners run in lane 1 so step into lane 2 when they came around.. For the most part this was followed were practical.. But by the time the 12hr runners joined the race they certainly had the speed and agility to weave around us more tired 24hr runners and most of the time they weaved around us regardless. 🏃Pam provided a table chairs and a small tent which I was most greatful for the use of. Audrey & myself packed and brought our own supplies so this was a great help for setting up my food station. It’s always good to stick with a tried and tested nutrition plan. I have been using Kinetica since 2014 so knew I had that box ticked, I would also add various other items over the duration like chocolate sweets porridge fruit etc. 🏃We also shared the table tent etc with Alister Higgins a Scottish runner living in Ireland (Alister is a real talent and only recently represented Scotland 🏴 at the Anglo Celtic Plate 100km Race. Audrey has now crewed me on 3 of my 4 24hr events the exception being the European Championships & in between managed to squeeze in a masters in sports Psychology while juggling everything else. She does a great job at crewing. 🏃This was 1 of 2 opportunities to extend my Irish Qualifying standard. So I had a plan to follow & hoped to have learned lessons from previous performances. The early stages of my race all went well holding my pace back and not getting caught up with faster runners.. Some of which remember are 6hr runners This is always the first obstacle to overcome never pace yourself off anyone else as they could knock out a few quick miles and then be spent our simply be using it as a training run for something else & leave after a few hours.. I even saw someone put in a fast lap to make up for a loo break so again everyone has there own way of doing things.. lap after lap I focused on maintaining pace and slowing things down to my desired pace.. While getting in some nutrition to keep things going.. There was a few runners that were running far to fast in my opinion but u never know this could be just a plan and things could settle or derail.. To often they derail.. 🏃 Physically I was strong and Knew I was capable of running both the A and B Standard. But about 13 & 1/2 hours or so I experienced a stabbing like pain in my foot.. A blister I didn’t know I had just popped.. immediately I stopped and stepped out a lane so as not to obstruct others & hobbled back to my table.. Audrey could see I had stopped running for the first time in the race and I shouted up to get first aid ready.. My thoughts were get this sorted with as quickly as possible and get back on the track.. (leaving the track is not an issue u just rejoin at the same point & clearly time away is time lost running) So we drained, cleaned, dressed the blister & I got back on the track.. A cautious walk to see how it was before trying to run.. Not to good so walked most of that lap & went back to my table to reassess my foot.. let’s see could I do a better job of dressing it? Back out only to repeat the pattern & come back after another 2 or 3 laps of failed attempts to run on it.. So now 3rd pit stop draining, redressing & padding the blister. I even put 2 socks on the foot, changed shoes and altered my running style to offload pressure.. I was struggling to run any distance & I was now reduced to a walk and feeling the pain.. Now making very little headway I had to weigh up my options. 1. continue and walk for the remaining hours & if I was lucky i might jog a few laps.🤔 But this was going to compound any issues and result in a longer recovery and the B Standard was ebbing away all the while. Option 2 look at the positives of which there were many & Call it a day knowing I could recover quickly if I stopped. My watch had a little over 90miles done I could of stayed and rounded up to the 100 but this would be pointless. The Decision stop Start the recovery and focus on Belfast. At the time I stopped I was 3rd male and ironically Alister was 2nd and also stopped Around this time just Showing anything can happen in such a race. 🏃Recovery started immediately Qilta socks and calf sleeves Compression tights Increase fluids etc to keep hydrated Monday a few sessions in the Compression boots Air Relax Europe Tuesday pool session lots of stretching in the water and a few easy lengths then back to work Wednesday the plan is to tape my toe and see can I do a very light run? legs are good it’s just the toe maybe the issue.. So will have to address this for Belfast.. Roll on The Energia 24 hr in Belfast which will see some amazing athletes take up the challenge. Congratulations to all that took part in Crawley at the weekend. Some great performance across all races. Great to see a friend of mine Nathan Flear bounce back from a few below par performances this year to having a good run to win the 12hr. Also well done Sinéad Kane & her 3 Guide runners Philip Bourke Louis Byrne John O Regan on a fantastic performance in Crawley were the lads guided Sinéad to the female B standard. 👍
Amszing. Just bad luck for you. Hopefully Belfast will be smoothly
I’d just love to know how the hell you remember the whole race 🙈 I can’t remember the last mile when running not to mention 90 of them a few days later😂, and once the pain leaves my legs I say actually that was so bad 😂😂 when deep down I know at points it was like hell 🥴.
Well done again Alex, you’re an absolute legend and one of the reason why I keep on running and challenging myself. Keep up the hard work and best of luck in Belfast look forward to the race report 🏃🏻♂️🏃🏻♂️🏃🏻♂️🏃🏻♂️🏃🏻♂️🙇🙇🙇
Fantastic race report best of luck in Belfast you legend 🏃🏽♂️💪🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
Wow great report Alex, best of luck in Belfast. This is the fb page I mentioned before of the Australian podiatrist who works at Ultra events. She has lots of tips in her videos and has been very helpful when I've emailed her with queries on how to deal with situations
Great report Alex and details for anyone looking to do this event next year!