Tag Archives: Thunder Run

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 weekend

25 Jul

I’ve been so busy recently that I haven’t been able to fit in as many activities as I’d like to, so sending my bike off for repairs with The Bike Guy meant that I had to ride to work on my road bike. I’ve not used it enough recently, so getting a ride in on a sunny day made me happy 🙂

Post-work road bike ride

Post-work road bike ride

I had hoped to take part in a local cross country race on Wednesday, but a series of medical appointments that over ran meant that I didn’t make it 😦

However, this weekend, Stu and I headed up to Derbyshire Thunder Run – a 24 hour team relay on a tough 10km cross-country race. This is one of the highlight’s in my running calendar as it combines running with camping with friends. We drove up to Derbyshire on Thursday and checked into a hotel for the night as the Thunder Run campsite doesn’t open until Friday. This gave us a bit of time to go out for a walk and enjoy a meal with Kim, Rob, Rikki and our other team mates.

We got up early on Friday and headed to the campsite, so that we could get a good spot close to the course. We pitched our tents as quickly as possible (although I’m sure my tent gets harder to pitch every year!) Some of our team-mates (Pete, Kate, Andy, Mike and Steve) weren’t going to join us until later in the day, so we left a bit of space for their tents. We then headed back to the hotel just after 9am to eat breakfast and shower.

The start of our Thunder Run camp

The start of our Thunder Run camp

As Thunder Run doesn’t start until midday on Saturday, we had plenty of time to spare, so after we checked out of the hotel, we decided to explore the National Memorial Arboretum. It’s a stunning location and the memorials are very moving.


National Memorial Arboretum

National Memorial Arboretum

There was also a children’s play area, so some of our team mates couldn’t resist having a go.

Rikki testing his balance

Rikki testing his balance

This obstacle was just too hard for Rikki

This obstacle was just too hard for Rikki

We stopped off at the local Morrisons to pick up supplies for the weekend and then headed back to the campsite.

The stalls had started to open, so I rushed over to the Buff stand with Rikki. Rikki is a Buff-afficionado who has been known to ‘double buff’ in cold weather (one on his head and one round his neck). Last year he missed out on the limited edition Thunder Run buff, so he didn’t want that to happen again. I had a look at the buff, but the colours didn’t appeal to me, so I decided to save my money this year.

Thunder Run buff 2016

Thunder Run buff 2016

In the evening, we had a barbecue – quorn sausages for me and burgers and sausages for the others. We had camped further down the campsite than last year, so were unaffected by the noise of the generators, but the campers next to us not only had a lot of children with them but they also seemed determined to drink as much alcohol as possible, so we were glad when the 11pm quiet time came around.

We usually try out a local parkrun on Saturday morning, but I’m trying not to over do it at the moment, so we decided to go open water swimming instead. We had intended to swim at Barton Marina with Derby Tri Club, but because of water quality issues, swimming is temporarily suspended there. A quick google found that we were only a few miles from Meynell Valley Hunters Tri Club’s home lake in Hilton, so we headed off there instead.

Hilton lake Hilton lake

The lake has basic facilities (a burger van in the parking area and a shipping container for the admin tea to use), but the sun was shining and the lake looked beautiful. It was 21C in the water and the swimming loop was 550m. I’ve not been OWS without my wetsuit so far this year, so this was a pleasant introduction. I did a few laps before getting out and watching Stu for a bit. He has quite a distinctive swimming style and it amused me to see his bare arms whizzing past all of the others who were wearing wetsuits.

We then headed back to Catton Park for the start of Thunder Run at midday, but were too slow to make it into the team photo 😦

Thunder Run 2016 team mates

Thunder Run 2016 team mates

Marafun (the organisers of Southampton and Winchester Half Marathons) kindly gave us some t-shirts. Kelly’s Heroes Rebooted had the red-sleeved tops; Brontophobics (my team) had the turquoise-sleeved tops.

Start of Thunder Run 2016

Start of Thunder Run 2016

It was incredibly hot, so I was glad that I was 4th in the line up for my team. I started my first lap at 3:30pm and decided that I would take a bottle of water with me, but this was a bad decision. I never usually run with water, so it just annoyed me and I ended up abandoning the bottle at the 5.5km drinks station. Luckily, Stu had bought me a ‘Secret Training’ bottle, which entitled me to free refills. There were a range of falvours on offer, including watermelon and blackcurrant & elderflower, both of which I liked. I didn’t like the lemon and lime flavour as it was too strong. I also didn’t love the mango flavour.

Secret Training

My 2nd lap was at 11:45pm, which was a lot cooler. I’ve got a good head torch, but was extremely careful (i.e. slow!) in the technical tree section as I didn’t want to fall or twist an ankle like my friend Liz did last year. I really enjoyed the night time lap, although I was glad to be able to get into bed. I hoped that I would get to sleep quickly, but despite it being a warm night, my feet felt very cold. I was so glad when Stu got into bed as he’s a great foot-warmer!

My next lap was at 7am, but I didn’t get much sleep as I Stu and Rikki were running at completely different times from me and so they had to come and go from the tent. It was cooler than my previous day-time lap, but was still warmer than I like running in and also my ankles were starting to ache. I wasn’t as quick as I’d hoped to be, but no-one minded.

I then agreed to do a 4th and final lap at 9:30am with Michela. It was really hot by that time, so again it was a slow lap. We got back just in time for Aaron to go out for a final lap.

End of Thunder Run 2016

(L-R: Pete, Kim, Kate, Tamsyn & Rikki – Aaron and Michela were getting drinks!)

We then had to pack our belongings and take down the tent as well as collect our medals. My ankles were really sore and tired by this point, so I was grateful to be able to remove my trainers and put on my Oofos recovery flipflops. They are so soft and comfortable.

I can strongly recommend this event. Stu and I have taken part every year for the last 5 years. It has grown massively in that time, but is still as friendly as the first time we took part.

Thunder Run t-shirt, race number and medal

Thunder Run t-shirt, race number and medal





2014 race awards

18 Dec
For this post, I’ve linked up with Montana at Pretty Lil Mudder  and a few other fab fitness bloggers – be sure to check out their posts. Here are my 2014 race awards… drum roll, please…
Most Scenic Course
For me this award has to go to Lanhydrock parkrun It’s in a beautiful location, but as the course profile shows, it’s not an easy route:
Lanhydrock parkrun course profile
The event takes place on a National Trust property, which is a stunning old country house. This photo of the gatehouse shows just how magnficent it is.
Most Challenging Course
This was a difficult award to decide on. The profile of Lanhydrock parkrun made it a runner up, but overall, I decided to present it to Adidas Thunder Run. This event is a 24 hour relay on a 10k cross country course. It has lots of different sections: uphill, downhill, short grass, compact ground, mud. The weather conditions were also quite warm.  I ended up running 50k as part of a 7-person relay team.
Best Expo
This was a tough choice as the only races that tend to have expos in the UK are marathons, and I only ran one this year (Brighton). In the end, I decided to award it to the Triathlon Show with Primera Tri Expo as runner up.
 IMG_1966 IMG_1965 IMG_1964
Best Post-Race Food/Beverages
Braishfield 5 mile beer race – beer, cake and water – what more can I say?
Best Swag
This was another tough category to judge. The goodie bag at Brighton Marathon was good, but the prize has to go to Good Fri Tri, where finishers were not only given a medal, some dried fruit, a drink and their choice of free gift (mug and coaster; bike bottle or buff), but also a lovely Cadbury’s Easter egg 🙂
Good Fri Tri finishers

Stuart and I before collecting our Easter eggs

Most Unique Medal
I loved the ribbon on my Brighton Marathon medal, but probably the one that I liked most was from Eastleigh triathlon:
TryTri have custom medals for every race 🙂
Favorite Race Shirt (tech tee or reg)
I’ve not received many tshirts from races this year. I quite liked the Wiggle Spring Sportive tshirt, but the one that I’ve worn the most is the  Gu Energy Classic tshirt from Bustinskin. It’s a wicking cotton tshirt that was produced in both men’s and women’s sizes 🙂
GU tshirt
Favorite Overall Race
I really enjoyed taking part in Weymouth Half. An advantage of taking part in triathlons is that the order of the disciplines is the same as my confidence levels. I started the day feeling nervous, but my confidence soared when I was on the bike and although my run didn’t go quite as I’d hoped, the crowds were brilliant. The whole event was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.
Tamsyn running in Weymouth

It was such a relief to see the finish arch © Katherine Anteney

Best Course Support (aid stations, volunteers, people cheering you on, etc)
I loved the crowd support at Weymouth Half… but there wasn’t a huge amount of support out on the bike course. I’m awarding this one to Brighton Marathon as I desperately needed the crowd support during this race and it didn’t let me down!
14 miles © Emily Smith

14 miles © Emily Smith

Race You Are Most Proud of Yourself for Completing
This has to be Weymouth Half – as someone who couldn’t swim 18 months before the race, it has taken a lot of hard work and determination to get to a stage where I could take part in this race. I also had various health battles this year, so I was proud to make the start line and even prouder to finish!
Lap 3 © Marathon-photos

Lap 3 © Marathon-photos

I’d recommend checking out which races my fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassadors have presented their awards to:
Which events that you took part in this year would you give prizes to?