Foray into Ultra Distance

Pre race team photo

Pre race team photo

I am still working on my thesis so minimal bread based posts, but I did take this weekend off for a race. Perhaps the only race planned for this summer, but what a race.

The 12 Labours of Hercules was unlike anything I have ever attempted before. Based on this weekend it won’t be the last time.

The format of the race is 12 stages, each out and back to the HQ, at increasing distances from 1 to 12 miles, thus totalling 78 miles. With a 24h time limit we could tackle the stages in almost any order we wanted, though some were recommended at specific times due to navigation. A number of the stages also had challenges associated with them – fetching things or the such.

So as a soft southerner I literally had no idea what to expect from 78 miles in the peak district. We were registered as a team of five (Amy, Sarah, Helen, Chris and myself), but agreed to double up on the stages, so we were each expecting to run around a marathon in terms of distance. Knowing everyone in the group could manage a 4 h marathon I was half expecting it to take around the 12 h mark, finishing at 10 pm. A revision of that time estimate by someone with more local knowledge brought the estimated finish time to 3:30 am. So when we finally finished at 8:15am we were a little bit behind schedule.

Personally I managed about 33 miles, with about 2,200 m of ascent, half an hours sleep. Fortunately no real blisters, but lots of sore muscles.

In terms of the event, I can honestly say I have never been to such a well organised race. The preparation, and personal involvement of the organisers, went so above and beyond my expectations. Did I mention there was a 24h buffet, of hot and cold food with a constant supply of tea and coffee. Somehow this was all provided for less than the cost of a local 10km road race – even then they still managed to raise some money for charity.

I literally do not have enough words of appreciation for Richard, Wendy and everyone else organising the event. They did such an amazing job, and helped us have so much fun. Our team was amazing and I really can’t wait to do it again.

As a whole it put triathlons to shame. So this may not have been a foray, but rather the start of a new hobby. I met some amazing people, who have really opened my eyes to what ‘normal’ people are possible of achieving.

Thank you everyone.


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