24 Hour Race - 10k off road lap
This was to be my third time taking part in Equinox, first time completely unsupported. Having had mixed weather previously and having read about how wet it had been last year, I decided to upgrade my camping gear and I invested in a larger tent with enough room to stand and hang wet gear. In the event I needn’t have worried, the bigger problem for me was that it was way too sunny and hot!
I eventually got my tent pitched, after having to ask neighbouring campers to help and got all my gear set out ready, and got to bed in the hope of maximising sleep before the race started at midday the next day. I had pitched my tent as close to the start/finish as possible to allow me to return to it during the race without adding too much extra mileage… this also meant I was very close to the arena and the music and noise that went on late, however, this was a small price to pay for the convenience the during the race.
The race started with the sun blazing down and the midday temperature soaring – I struggled through the first lap forcing myself to take it steady and all the time thinking I should pack up and go home. At the end of the lap I filled up my drink and headed back out again battling with the heat, part way through the lap I lay down on the grass under a tree to try to cool down a bit. By 30km I decided I would give up, so I lay down and went to sleep. 3 hours later I woke up and decided that, as I couldn’t get my tent down to go home (I was blocked in by other campers) I would get back out and carry on until I’d done 70km, then I would call it a day as that seemed like it would have been worth turning out for.
The temperature started to drop as night fell and after 70km I decided I would do ‘just one more lap’, then again next time round… as I approached 90km I decided that I would definitely do another lap as this would equal the 100km I had done on my last two attempts at this race… then I decided I would do another so that I had beaten my previous… during this lap there was a sudden heavy downpour and I arrived back at the start/finish soaked, but thinking I had plenty of time for another lap and as my PT Phil never goes for odd numbers, I changed my t-shirt, put on my waterproof and headed out on my 12th and final lap.
After a very difficult start to the race, I was very pleased to have beaten my previous attempts and completed 120km (74.6miles).
Marianne Heading discovered winter endurance racing in 2007, while working as a volunteer for the Yukon Arctic Ultra. This experience inspired her to take up running and go back to the Yukon as a competitor. Since 2007 she has been back to the YAU multiple times, completing both the 100 and 300mile races, in 2011 she became the first European female to complete the 300mile YAU and in 2019 won the 300mile MYUA. Events are not a very regular feature, but other races include the Semi-Raid Reunion, Roveaneimi150, ITI350, Karwendelmarsch and closer to home the Four Inns, the Druids Challenge, Equinox24, run to the castle, Hardmoors55. Being outdoors and enjoying the countryside and wildlife are a higher priority than being fast... luckily! Training runs and walks are often prolonged by a break to watch wildlife and take in the surroundings!