Tag Archives: endurance relay

Fear of Thunder

23 Jul Tamsyn running at Thunder Run

Every year, we travel up to Derbyshire for Thunder Run, which is a 24 hour race that involves doing 10km cross country laps. It’s a really fun and sociable event.

We usually travel up on Thursday and stay in a nearby hotel overnight, so that we can set up camp first thing on Friday morning. This year, we set up camp quite early as usual before heading back to the hotel, so that we were able to tuck into a hot breakfast. We then washed and dressed to go into town to have a look around. The weather was forecast to be a bit wet, so when Stu and I saw wellies on sale in a camping store, we decided to buy them. This turned out to be our best decision of the weekend!

In the evening there was a hot chocolate run for children. Just before we headed down there, it started raining. I had assumed that the run would just be 100m or so, or that there would be several races for different age groups… unfortunately, I was wrong – it was 2k (1k out and back), which made for tough going for my tiny runner:

Baby M running

M did the best that she could, but her legs are a bit short for dealing with the rough grass, so she had to have a bit of help! At the end, she was given a medal and certificate.

This was the first year that the headline sponsor was Continental, not Adidas, and we wondered whether it would make a difference. We collected our team t-shirts. They were a lovely shade of green and were Adidas ones again. I love the colour, but will admit that the design isn’t the best one that Thunder Run has had.

I was in a team of 6: Stu, Pete, Mark, Nicole, Kim and I. Unfortunately, Rikki and Kate (who had both been in the team in previous years) were unable to make it. We planned out our laps and it worked out that I should get a reasonable break overnight, which I was pleased about as I knew that I would have broken sleep with M.

It was cold and rained heavily on Friday night, so M ended up squeezed into the double sleeping bag with Stu and I, which didn’t make for the most comfortable sleeping conditions. I was so grateful that I had packed a hot water bottle and that we had got into bed before it got really cold.

The event started at midday. I was the second runner to go, so I started at about 1pm. It was quite wet and I was glad that I had packed appropriate clothing and shoes. I took it steady and finished in just over 1 hour. I was annoyed that I didn’t sneak in under an hour.

My second lap was at about 7pm, so I had plenty of time in between laps to sit down, read, and chat with others. Yet again, Rob was doing the 24 hour event solo, but this time he had a partner in the form of Dave. We were watching out for the two soloists, so that we could cheer them on on each lap.

The course has enough variety to be enjoyable. There are quite a few hills, but there are also some flat open spaces and some technical wooded sections… and of course the whole course feels different in the dark.

Thunder Run course map

It started raining quite heavily after my second lap on Saturday evening. Stuart did a double lap and then found that the other team members had decided not to risk running because the course had turned into a mud bath. It then took a while for people to get going again the next day. I showered and started packing up our kit when the opportunity to run again came around. I dithered as I really wanted to run more, but I knew that I had to put Stu and M first, so I turned down the chance. It was a little disappointing as I had hoped to equal or beat last year’s total of 50km.

Tamsyn running at Thunder Run

© Peter Lewis

I’ll be back again next year for more!

Thunder Run 2015

28 Jul

Last weekend, Stuart and I took part in Thunder Run, a 24 hour running relay that takes place in Derbyshire. It’s the 4th time that we’ve taken part in this event, so we knew what to expect. Liz, Suzanne and Jenny also ran (as members of two Run Camp teams). Stuart has previously run with some competitive male 5 teams, whereas I’ve usually been in mixed teams of 6-8. This time, we were in a mixed ability team of 7.

Thunder Run selfie with Liz

Thunder Run selfie with Liz

The race started at midday on Saturday, and we decided to send Stuart out first as he was our fastest runner. Unfortunately, it had rained heavily almost all day on Friday and although it was dry on Saturday, the course was horrendous. My team was camped at about the 9.5km point, so Stu was able to shout to me that I needed to wear trail shoes as he ran past. I quickly swapped my fairly sturdy trainers for trail shoes and headed to the handover.

My first 10km was fairly difficult as much of the course is on a camber and the mud was extremely slippery. Also, as Stu had run quite a quick lap, I had set out fairly early and there were lots of runners who were faster than me who needed to overtake. I decided to take it steady as I wanted to be able to do several more laps and also didn’t want to risk injury.

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I quite enjoyed my first lap, even though it was warm. I found that the mud made it extremely slippery and my glutes had to work hard to keep me upright, which meant that I felt stiff afterwards. Fortunately, Stu and I had several hours to recover, so we went in search of Darren. Darren told us that he knew where Nadine and Sam were – the Big Red Party Bus. D was correct – Sam was there sharing some bubbles with Nadine!

Embrace reunion

Embrace Sports reunion (L-R: Nadine, Sam, Stuart and me) ©Darren Hann

Darren selfie

Darren’s selfie ©Darren Hann

We spent a long time chatting before heading back to our tent. Becky was out running, so I decided to go and get something to eat. Unfortunately, I completely mistimed it. I hadn’t realised exactly what time Becky went out for her run and I also thought that Stu was going to do a double lap. It took ages for my jacket potato for cheese and beans to be served and I arrived back with it, just as a Becky ran past. This meant that it was time for Stu to run and he pointed out that he was only scheduled to run a single lap. Doh! I wouldn’t normally eat so much 45 minutes before a long run!

My strategy was to do a double lap as long run training for Ironman Dublin 70.3. I realised that I should be able to do the first lap in daylight, but that I would need to pick up my head torch for the second lap. I got it out with a head band and put it by my chair at the side of the course. Soon afterwards, Stu ran past, so I headed out for my second lap of the weekend.

Fortunately, the course had dried out a lot and the slippery mud was merely sticky by the time I started running (about 8:30pm). It was also a lot cooler, so although I didn’t run any faster than I did for my first lap, I found it a lot easier. The sun started to set by the time that I headed down off the ridge at about 8km. I knew I would be fine getting back to 9.5km where our tent was, but that it wouldn’t be long before I needed a head torch.

I got to the tent, but my head torch and headband had gone. I started looking for them and Stu told me to carry on and that he would bring them to the finish. I felt really annoyed as I had left them there ready so that I wouldn’t waste time grabbing them; Stu had thought he was being helpful by putting them away in the tent.

I grabbed my stuff from Stu in the finishing straight and then continued on.

It was nice to run past Darren’s camp area although I heard some of his friends comment that I was running past “again?!” I was starting to feel a bit fatigued, but a runner cheered me up as he went past. I was wearing an unusual adidas running t-shirt (which is half yellow and half turquoise) with a pair of turquoise running shorts. The runner called out, “Well done, little minion!” It made me laugh as I hadn’t realised what my outfit looked like:


The course includes a lot of hills as well as some technical sections in amongst the trees. I found that the constant turning really made my hips and ankles ache, and I really slowed down in the dark. I was so grateful when I passed the team again and was able to shout to Rikki to meet me at the finish.

As soon as I got back to the tent, I got my kit ready for the morning and then went to bed. In previous years, I have been very cold, but this year we brought a hot water bottle, so it was quite cosy.

My fourth and final lap was at 6:15am. I managed to lie down for a few hours overnight, but hadn’t had a lot of sleep. Quite a few people were grumbling about how cold it was, but I much prefer running when it’s cold and managed to pick up the pace a bit. It wasn’t much, but I was feeling really good.

There was an opportunity for me to do a 5th lap, but I had already showered by that stage and was busy packing up our tent. (I also didn’t want to hold up our minibus driver, who had taken part as a solo runner and completed 12 laps).

It was really good to see my friend Pete who was marshalling at the 5.5km water station on almost all of my laps. If it weren’t for great volunteers like Pete, events like this wouldn’t be able to take place. Thank you, Pete.

Overall, it was a really fun weekend, with Stu and I each completing 4 tough 10k laps.

TR24 tshirt IMG_5969