For once it wasn’t me running. It was the husband’s turn to have a go at running a 24hr race solo. I was promoted from ‘runner’ to ‘support crew’. Decided would attempt a Stepford Wife style support system but with wellies and noodles instead of heels and freshly-baked cookies.
|Step ford Wife (Source)|
4:30pm: As was going to be Best-Support-Crew-Wife ever I drove the car which I’d packed full of games for the hotel and snacks for the road. Even decided to allow husband to share snacks. However did give him a 2-turnarounds-max and 2-miles-from-home-radius for going back to the house to retrieve forgotten items.
5:30pm: Drive going smoothly despite small argument over last chocolate bar and there wasn’t even any sulking (I got the chocolate bar).
7:30pm: Discovered had somehow been conned into driving to Plymouth which is practically Cornwall and involves 145 miles on the M5. Stop at services and order husband out of car to bulk buy energy drinks. He comes back with one drink. Resist urge to sulk as am on Best-Support-Crew-Wife duty.
8:30pm: SatNav directs us to a dodgy looking housing estate in Plymouth on what appears to be an episode of Shameless. Husband gets shirty and threatens to take over driving. I get shirty and threaten to kick him out of car on dodgy looking housing estate. Compromise by locking all the car doors (to stop people getting in rather than us getting out) and navigating using map.
9:00pm: Finally get to hotel and discover have picked up wrong package and have brought parcel containing the cat’s new scratching post instead of the parcel containing the games. And the snacks are in the car.
9:01pm: Decide Best-Support-Crew-Wife doesn’t apply until race day and give up and go to bed.
8:00am: As hotel is only 5 miles from race venue can have a lie in until it’s time to put on support kit and wellies. Perfect. Prepare Husband-Solo-Runner coffee and breakfast.
10:00am: Husband has locked himself in bathroom. Suspect is nervous. Will leave him in there and practise Supportive-wife-style-smiling for Support Crew Duties.
10:15am: Getting a bit concerned as registration closes in 45 minutes and husband is still locked in bathroom. Practise more smiling and soothing “don’t be nervous” voice.
10:30am: Forget about Stepford-wife style role and bang on bathroom door. Is not nerves. Husband-Solo-Runner had forgotten about time and was playing computer games on phone. Smile slips somewhat and resists urge to clobber Husband-Solo-Runner around head with welly.
10:52am: Finally get to race venue after mad dash drive through Plymouth. Under speed limit of course. Park car in field after finding brilliant spot by finish arch and close enough to loos for middle of night trips but not close enough to smell them. Am natural at this support crew stuff.
10:53am: Send Husband-Solo-Runner off to register and collect race number.
10:54am: Put up tent and gazebo all on my own. Blow up air mattresses and arrange food and kit. Am obviously AMAZING support crew. Suspect will get promoted soon to Queen of Solo Support Crews.
10:55am: Husband-Solo-Runner sits in car scoffing food and playing on phone.
10:56am: I make coffee and make sure everything is perfect.
11:00am: Race briefing.
11:55am: Husband-Solo-Runner goes and stands on start with everyone else. I go and find a spot to cheer and take photos. This will probably be the only time in 24 hour race Husband-Solo-Runner will be smiling. I don’t tell him this.
11:59am: Husband-Solo-Runner runs up to me in a panic "I forgot to charge my Garmin and it won’t turn on..." Start to say “You complete tw-...” Then remember am supposed to be Awesome Support Crew and stop sentence and give him my brand new Suunto to use instead. Resist urge to clobber him around head with welly.
12:30pm: Went and clapped him at the 2.5 mile point. Went and clapped him at the 4 mile point.
1:25pm: Lap 2: Went and clapped Husband-Solo-Runner at the 2.5 mile point. Went and clapped him at the 4 mile point.
2pm: Went and got snacks on ready for Husband-solo-runner. Made coffee. Prepared fresh socks. Did whole Stepford Wife thing but in running gear and wellies. Am AMAZING at being support crew! Suspect may win trophy for being best Support Crew ever. Make a note to email race organisers about making this A Thing.
2:15pm: Have revelation about what would improve 24 hour races even further: beer tent. Had hopeful explore of campsite. No beer tent. Make a note to email race organisers about making this Another Thing.
2:30pm: Ran lap 3 with Husband-Solo-Runner in attempt to encourage and support up close. And to take mind off lack of beer tent. Amazingly beautiful run course. Fricking massive hills though but had excuse to walk up hills as had to make sure Husband-Solo-Runner goes slowly. Even ran down hills slowly which is just plain wrong. Ran with Husband-Solo-Runner and let him dictate speed despite wanting to run fast and enjoy hills. Am obviously amazing support crew.
4:00pm: Husband-Solo-Runner went round on another lap so went and did some loud cheering and clapping for the Solo Runners. They looked a bit bemused. They’d only done about 15 miles at this point and had hardly made a dent in their snacks. However am sure they appreciated the effort INSIDE.
4:10pm: Throat bit sore from all the enthusiastic cheering. Had a chat to Alice of Cirencester and saw Linda and Steve of Yeovil Town Road Runners.
4:15pm: Went and had a nice sit down. I could get used to this sitting.
Had a bit of flapjack. This is the life. Sitting, eating snacks and reading in the sunshine. Tried some of the crispy cakes.
Read a bit of book. More snacking. Bored of book.
Went on Facebook. Read ALL of Facebook. Mmmm flapjack. Mmm crispy cakes.
Went on twitter. Read ALL of twitter. Mmmm cake.
Bored. I wonder what these nuts taste like.
Will read twitter again.
Unable to find more flapjack and realise I have eaten ALL of the flapjacks (1 entire box) and ALL of the crispy cakes (1 entire box). And all of the nuts.
Shit. Can’t feed Husband-Solo-Runner on grass and empty noodle packets. Resist urge to clobber self around head with welly.
Remember we passed a Tesco on the way to site.
Realise can’t get car out of field due to runners.
Realise mad panic is probably due to huge amounts of sugar and remember am runner so can RUN to Tesco to get snacks.
Check on husband-solo-runner. Have 35 minutes until he is due back at tent. Get a sprint on.
Make it back to tent loaded up with food and snacks before Husband-Solo-Runner realises all food is missing. Phew. Is lucky am runner.
5:00pm: Is only 5hrs in and Husband-Solo-Runner is already refusing food. This is going to result in dramatics later on. Luckily it also means he hasn’t spotted the missing crispy cakes. Resist urge to clobber him around head with welly.
5:10pm: A man in a clown suit keeps honking his horn at me. Is this a hallucination brought on from eating ALL the cake?
6:00pm: As expected Husband-Solo-Runner is being all dramatic and complaining about feet. (And lack of crispy cakes). Forced Husband-Solo-Runner to eat noodles. He cheered up dramatically after eating food. Sent him out to run another lap.
6:45pm: Just had to use the line. “No. No more noodles until you’ve run another 5 miles. Here have a banana.” Am evil run crew. Decide have discovered amazing new Support Crew Distraction: Runger Games. Like the Hunger Games but with noodles and 5 mile runs.
8:00pm: Went out and ran 2 more laps with him with a headtorch. Actually physically ran behind him and PUSHED him up all the hills. Have secured place in history as best support ever. Apart from eating all the food.
10:30pm: 45 miles done. Decided Husband-Solo-Runner deserved a dirty burger but burger van out of burgers and refusing to sell us sausage inna bun as these were for breakfast time. Hurriedly bought Husband-Solo-Runner plate of chilli as he was eyeing up the tethered dog.
10:45pm: Husband-Solo-Runner refusing to run in the dark and went to bed. Resist urge to clobber him around head with welly. Am sure 24hr races supposed to last for 24hrs ... but am not complaining as comfy sleeping bag and air mattress. Plus have stolen The Warm Blanket. Decide is a good plan to sleep until morning. Make mental note to try not to snore so as to keep up role of Awesome Support Crew.
7:00am: Woken up by Husband-Solo-Runner leaving the tent. Waved sleepily at him from sleeping bag. Couldn’t face cheering. Too early. Too loud.
7:30am: Decided HAD to get up and be amazing support crew again. Sigh. Supporting is hard.
7:45am: Man in clown suit now dressed in chicken suit. Suspect is results of extreme sleep deprivation.
8AM: HAD CAKE AND ENERGY DRINK FOR BREAKFAST! WILL FIND HUSBAND-SOLO-RUNNER AND ENCOURAGE HIM BY RUNNING REALLY FAST IN CIRCLES! CHEERING! AND RUNNING! AND CHEERING!
RAN WITH HUSBAND-SOLO-RUNNER!! PUSHED HIM UP SOME HILLS!
DECIDED WOULD DO HILL REPS USING MASSIVE HILLS ON COURSE. USED TREE AT BOTTOM OF HILL AND EXTREMELY SLOW MOVING HUSBAND-SOLO-RUNNER AS TARGET FOR THE ENDS OF THE REPS. DECIDED THAT HUSBAND-SOLO-RUNNER SECRETLY ENJOYED BEING PART OF A TEAM AND ME DOING HILL REPS AROUND HIM WAS ACTUALLY VERY ENCOURAGING AND NOT ACTUALLY “REALLY F**KING ANNOYING!” LIKE HE SAID.
9:00am: Sugar crash. Do not want to walk up any more hills. Husband-Solo-Runner is being grumpy. Not sure why he’s being so grumpy. Not as if he has a tummy ache from all of the flapjacks he didn’t eat yesterday. Huff.
10:00am: Husband-Solo-Runner also refusing my help pushing him up hills in daylight. Apparently “Is embarrassing and all the other solos will laugh.” Huff. I’m not the one walking like have had a brown accident in shorts.
11:00am: Husband-Solo-Runner adamant he does not want to do 65 miles but suspect he secretly would like to do more than target. Try to get him to run down the hills but he is not keen. He had a go after I threatened to withhold noodles but his evil-disjointed-scarecrow style of having-run-60-miles is scary. Relieved when he stops running to do his usual ‘Brown Accident’ style walking.
11:59am: The race finishing horn blows when we are about 12ft from the finishing line. The look of relief on Husband-Solo-Runner s face when he realised he wouldn’t be allowed to run another lap is somewhere between Oh-My-God-They’re-Giving-Out-Free-Beer and I’ve-Eaten-All-The-Chilli-But-I-Have-Loo-Roll. He is relieved, ecstatic to have hit 60 mile target and thankful to be allowed to stop.
12:30pm: A successful weekend. Husband-Solo-Runner has hit his target, I got to eat all the food and we found a brilliant new event that we’ll definitely be returning to. Wonder if I can persuade Husband-Solo-Runner to push ME up all the hills next year?
Hope 24 is a 24hr event run on 5 mile loops around a country estate. Big hills, gorgeous trail route and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. £45 entry, camping is free and the money raised from the event goes to a charity so it's all for a good cause.
You can enter here.
I’ve been unexpectedly nominated for a Running Award for bet blog! I’d love a free sausage roll and possibly a snaffled glass of fizz. Would you mind giving me a chance by voting for this blog here: http://therunningawards.com/vote/24/29#vote
Publications & Online -> Blog -> Dreaming of Footpaths