24 HOURS IN TootinG...

This is a review of #Bone (David not Daz nor Darren - more of this to follow) 2018 run at the legendary Tooting Bec 24 hr event.

To many in the (UK) ultra scene the Tooting Bec 24 Hour event is considered to be one of the real highlights of the calendar. Why? Well because it’s steeped in history - it’s one of the oldest running events and importantly it has attracted almost all of the great UK ultra runners over the past 40 years. Some of the more recent victories (James Stewart/Norbert Mihalik/Marco Consani) have all been in the region of 160+ miles - this is MASSIVE!

My more modest targets were split into two goals:

  • Beat my PB of 131 miles set in 2017 Belfast World Champs

  • Get a Spartathlon AQ (auto-qualifier) by going over 135 miles.

The race itself started with some light drizzle and the forecast was for some “heavier” rain!!!. I had on a winter coat and for the first hour went on a little faster than planned - probably to keep warm. This was my first ever race around a running track and I didn’t know what to fully expect. My friend and all round wise-girl Debbie Martin-Consani (who was crewing Marco and singing to the runners) herself a #teamGB 24hr athlete had written a brilliant blog post about the unique and quirky nature of running around a running track for (hopefully) 24 hours.

One of things I wondered was whether it would be a 24 hour “chat-fest”. It’s possible that the downright unpleasant wet conditions didn’t make it all that heartwarming but there didn’t appear to be a prolific amount of “happy chat” going on. What I did observe was that there were those runners that looked rather professional - they had crew that were drilled to share “split times” - to hand out specific drinks and food and they mostly looked competitive and steely. They didn’t appear to be in the need for conversation and they certainly were flying around the track at a pace that frankly made them look like they were there to beat a 100 mile PB and then step off the track - rather than be there for 24 hours.