Saturday, 22 July 2017

24h Conti Thunder Run 2017

Grantham Running Club members braved the rain to take part in TR24 at Catton Park, South Derbyshire. The festival type 10km off-road relay event runs continuous from 12:00 on Saturday through to 12:00 the following day. With three mixed gender teams of 8 and a team of 5 with the addition of 3 solo runners the club sent its largest contingent ever.

This year’s event started in glorious sunshine but that was soon to change as the rain started shortly after and continued for 16hrs turning the undulating cross country course into a ‘mud bath’. The course by 12:00 on Sunday was virtually un-runnable but that didn’t deter the GRC members who had continued in their pursuit.

Solo Gordon getting a close-up
Three members decided to tackle the whole 24hrs solo with Gav Meadows and Paul Davis each completing in excess of 100km in the muddy conditions. As a late entrant Paul did not have time to fully prepare for a race for which he is ideally suited but he kicked off with three rapid laps before taking a short break followed by single lap later then dark lap before retiring for the evening, his five Sunday morning laps made up an eleven lap total placed him 21st Solo Male. Another strong contender in the Solo Male category was Gav and although running well just did not feel that he could give this race his usual 100%. He spun off five laps in a row on Saturday afternoon before taking a break and returning on Sunday morning to complete his planned ten placing him 33rd. The final Solo Male was Gordon Geach who completed two laps on the Saturday afternoon and one on the Sunday morning to finish 68th.

There were no penalties for bib number not visible
Pasky flies the flag
Despite the torrential conditions, the fastest team of 9 named ‘Grantham RC Blood, Sweat & Beers’ ran an incredible 28 laps placing them in 8th place of 226 teams. Team captain Andrew Pask selected the fastest runner available to join him as they targeted the highest position possible. He had a strong starting trio with Richard, Arthur and Andy all going sub 40 in recent 10k’s. His other choices were compromised with Scott only returning from holiday 24 hours before the race, Dean being ill, Rushie injured and Chris Limmer having to take it easy after a few weeks out. Richard led them out trying to get a lap done before the mass start cut up the course too badly this put Arthur into space which he made the most off, setting the fastest lap of the team with a 43:27, the only person to break 44:00. Andy managed to keep the team well up on the leader board where they stay all the way through not only due to coping well with the changing condition but not having any weak members. As the conditions became worse underfoot Scott had to loan his shoes to other runners to keep them upright! As the underfoot condition became impossible on Sunday morning there was actually some relief that there would be no 29th lap for the team as they had ran out of people fit enough to run it
Richard Payne 1 45:25 9 53:16 18 1:07:28 25 51:56
Arthur Short 2 43:27 11 47:02 19 57:40 26 59:17
Andy Atter 3 44:27 13 47:04 20 55:49 27 51:17
Andrew Pask 4 45:34 14 49:16 21 53:15 28 59:53
Scott Jones 5 44:15 10 47:17

Penny Hodges 6 49:27 15 1:02:45 22 1:06:34

Paul Rushie 7 47:00 16 :53:40 23 58:55

Dean Riggall 8 46:00 17 52:26 24 52:32

Chris Limmer 12 44:51

Next for the 8’s was team ‘2 Slow 2 Win but 2 Suborn 2 Quit’ completing 24 laps in 44th place.
(insert captain's report)

Andrew Macallister 1 56:23 8 55:10 17 1:07:47 24 1:08:27
Warren Stark 2 53:37 9 1:09:51

John Bainbridge 3 56:01 11 1:05:34 18 1:11:11

Liam Vincent 4 53:29 12 1:05:24 19 1:02:35

Sj Willis 5 51:40 13 1:01:00 20 1:05:04

Martin Carter 6 54:57 14 1:04:58 21 1:06:17

Helen Brown 7 56:42 15 1:03:24 22 1:05:28

Sarah High 10 59:58 16 1:17:11 23 1:14:11

Victoria on her first lap
Followed by ‘GRC #DBS’ with 20 laps in 138th. This team was made up of eight members, four of whom were new to this type of event while only one member had run this event previously. With the first few laps completed in the dry the team spirit wasn't dampened by the rain that then started,  and running passed the campsite gave a great lift in morale. Sam had the fastest lap for the team just as the rain started. Rick quoted "I've no idea how the hills work here, but there seems to be more up than down!!" 
The team ran consistently well through the night and the rain, despite Louise and Victoria having torch malfunctions. Sara and Rachael continued to run well as they returned from injuries.Lizzie had the honour of running the final lap of 20 for the team. As the sun finally decided to show running into the finish area brandishing the GRC flag.

Whilst Ros was packing up she tried to drum up support to gather a team for another 24 hour event later in the year.
Rick Dobbs 1 1:07:52 9 1:06:06 17 1:21:14
Rosalind Sadler 2 1:07:33 10 1:12:17 18 1:27:40
Sam Bainbridge 3 57:11 11 1:05:55 19 1:18:54
Lizzie Potter 4 1:04:53 12 1:18:08 20 1:27:33
Louise Fenton 5 1:03:50 13 1:24:16

Victoria Dexter 6 1:07:00 14 1:30:41

Rachel Smith 7 1:00:34 15 1:06:36

Sarah Pask 8 1:25:40 16 1:43:12

The GRC mixed team of 5 ‘Grantham Bling Quintet’ also produced a strong performance finishing 8th of 99 teams with a relentless 26 place.

Ben snaking along the track
The team of five presents the biggest mental and physical challenge of all the team sizes as the fastest way to run it is in single laps which means you have to get loose five or six times and you have the shortest break between laps. The lead runner was Matt targeted with getting the team into a gap while at the same time holding back enough energy for future laps which he did actually going faster on his second lap than his first. He was to eventually complete six laps on his debut. Next off was Catherine Payne clocking the fastest lap by a female in the club on her first lap who like the rest of the team did five laps, down on last year’s seven when the weather was kinder. An ankle injury hampered Robert while Mark’s good built up to the race was to an extent nullified by a chest cold that prevented him getting the absolute maximum out of himself. Struggling with a back injury Ben wasn’t able to make his stamina count as he normally would. Taking into account the injuries the team punched above their weight and were only two minutes away from sixth place.

Matt Williamson 1 47:11 6 46:34 11 48:33 16 51:37 21 51:03 26 54:56
Catherine Payne 2 47:55 7 49:59 12 54:06 17 1:00:37 22 58:18

Robert Mcardle 3 51:16 8 54:42 13 1:04:20 18 1:13:36 23 1:08:39

Mark Hillson 4 49:57 9 50:42 14 53:13 19 55:29 24 57:06

Ben Mason 5 51:34 10 55:28 15 1:01:34 20 1:06:43 25 1:14:27

‘Despite the insane state of the course, the atmosphere was incredible. With whole families coming along to support, the mood in the camp remained positive in tough conditions. The noise as members ran past the camp was at times deafening with drums and loud speakers all aimed at giving runners a much needed boost. I’m already thinking of next year.’ quoted Andrew Pask.

Despite the extremely challenging conditions, the team building event was deemed an outstanding success for the club with everyone leaving with a strong sense of achievement and thinking about 2018 already.

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