Sincere thanks are due to Ken Fancett and Jill Green for being interviewed, and to Peter Zuidema for penning an excellent race report. We are also grateful to Andrew Farquharson, Sue Clements and Dan Coffey for their kind letters.
Click the link below for:
Race Report by Peter Zuidema (Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, Netherlands)
In the weekend of 9 & 10 October I ran the 24 hours at the Tooting Bec Track in London.
For me this race is different from my previous 24's. First because it is on a 400 meter track. Also because in my preparation I did only 1 ultramarathon (100km) and 2 marathons, although I trained a lot of times with my athletic club on the track. Also I practised several times to run on a (very) slow pace.
I arrive in London Luton on Friday, where I meet Tarit. Together we go to the pension of Ann D. We have a long sleep; a good rest is an important preparation for the 24 hours.
The next day we arrive in time at the track where we are welcomed by Ongkar and the others from the British centres. Just like all the races from the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, the food and drinks are marvellous. I only have to add some private stuff like fruit, seaweed, supplements and... Ojas (sports drink). Tarit and I get one table for our stuff. This is a little protection for the compassion-showers which are on their way to visit us.
The start is at 12.00 hrs, 15 degrees Celsius, but a windchill makes it colder, true autumn weather. I start with 2 min 30 laps and I speak a bit with the other runners. There are 30 runners, among them good runners like Don R., Dan C., Hillary W. and Helga B. Every 400 meters I wave to my counter and every 5 laps I eat or drink something. There is water, energy, tea, soup, potatoes, cookies,
fruit, hot meal in the evening and porridge in the morning, everything. I start in the middle at nr.16, after 6 hours nr.12 with 54 km. (I prefer the km, because it is on a track with 400 meter laps, so 2.5 laps is 1 km.)
I still feel great, the start is a little effort, I can keep this pace for hours! There is still a strong wind, but luckily no rain.
Inwardly I sing some songs to entertain my mind. At 6.45 p.m.the daylight has ended and from now we run in the lighting of the track.
The temperature is dropping to 10 degrees Celsius, so I change my clothes (white trousers, purple sweater over my thermo-shirt and a cap to protect my head). The changing is a nice challenge for my counter, but luckily she recognizes me.
At midnight I have moved up to a 5th place with 104 km, but now the difficult hours are ahead, together with a fresh windchill. I love
to run in the peace of the night; I will not sleep (unless I face some difficulties). I encourage the other runners and I greet the
counters and the spectators, merely coaches, every 2 min 45.
The last days I read the book Chi-Running by the ultrarunner Danny D. A lot of advice in the book I can already take. It is important
to land on the middle of the foot and not on the toe side, this to avoid the shin splint, my personal plague. I keep my shoulders low
and I relax my hands, so they don't get cold.
At 3.00 a.m., after 130 km, I decide to make a break for massage. The medical massages the legs, she treats 2 blisters (the only
blisters for the whole race). I have to change shoes, I have a wider pair with me. Of course this is an occasion to change the clothes
again. After a break it is hard to go running, but after some minutes you can return to the old pace. I love to run a long time at
a regular pace. In this balance I can move myself into a higher kind of running consciousness.
After 18 hours I have covered 149 km and I am third. At 6.45 a.m. we get a warm welcome from our beloved friend the sun. The morning freshness always gives some extra energy and some extra speed. After
19 hours and 13 minutes I cross the 100 mile line officially registered by the referee from the England Athletic Association. It is time for the last break. I have some cramps in the stomach, effect of the wind. After some walking I can pace to 175 km at 9.00 a.m. 200 km is possible? No, now the stomach is protesting and I am out of energy; walking time. But I am happy because I have been able to run for 21 hours in this wind. I am also happy that the rain has not come, a real blessing. At 180 km my counter congratulates me with 450 laps, but in my opinion I have done a lesser number, so I ask for a check. The next lap she tells me that I have 451 laps, (this is even checked by somebody else). My answer is: "I am happy."
At the board I can see that the number 4 is far behind and the number 2 is far ahead, so my third place looks fixed.
With the help of water and Ojas (the rest I cannot take anymore) I am able to find some energy to go running again, even 2 min 30 laps, but I know I can keep this pace only for a while.
After 24 hours I finish with 195 km and 345 meters, bronze. Second is Eoin K. from Ireland with 198.5 km, winner is Ken F. with 214.8 km. Fastest woman is Jill G. with 169.3 km. Tarit has 162.5 km, but he is coming back from an injury and he slept during the night.
When I look back at the race, it is a great experience. For me the track is not too short, I never had the feeling that my mind wanted
to explode! The ground feels better to run and there is a strong energy field. You are always in the sight of the counter and you
know that the foodstation is close. I also feel the profit from my training at the track. The only thing with the track is that the
corners are going slightly down, which I still can feel in my quadriceps in the days after the race.
But the most important for me is that it is a blessing to be able to run in this atmosphere.
I am running around the clock.
My Lord Supreme has aroused my sleeping lock.
24 hours I have been running.
Challenging my capacity-world and transcending.
My power-friend sun, my beauty-friend moon,
My friends planets, stars and skies.
Here on earth there in Heaven my soul-bird and I fly.
Once again the Sri Chinmoy movement organised and ran a superb 24 hour race. I really appreciated the hard work the lap counters put in, getting regular updates really does help. The food was marvelous; at one point I simply couldn't eat any more and yet more appetising dishes continued to appear. I shall recommend this race to my colleagues and sing it s praises. Please extend my appreciation and thanks to everyone who kindly gave their time and energy to make the event a success.
Thank you for sending me the results of the Sri Chinmoy 24 hour race. It was an enjoyable experiance.
You organise these races so well and this enablesthe runner to concentrate on running. The physiotherapy treatment was a bonus. I made good use of that service, and received some excellent tips.
I hope to compete again next year.
Please accept my grateful thanks for another splendid 24 hour race which again achieved the highest standards both of organisation and practical help. To everyone who was there and contributed to such a successful outcome a very big "Thank You".
I write on behalf of all runners that your Race is always looked forward to with great keeness. One feels proud to have been allowed to take part; indeed in years to come just to say "I was there!" Just let everyone know that our thanks are with you all.