'What's going on?' said a bemused resident, out walking his dog on the afternoon of 9th October.

'It's a 24 Hour Race.' I replied and realising that this meant nothing to the dog walker, I tried to condense the 24 hour event into a 24 second summary.

'What they're running like this for 24 hours? Well I'll come back tomorrow morning and cheer 'em on.' And off he went across the common with spaniel in tow. We never did see him next morning.

When you try to describe the 24 hour event I usually suggest that one comes along and experiences it. Not by running it, although that's an excellent way to experience it, but by just joining in the many activities like helping the runners, lap scoring, assisting with the refreshments, keeping the scoreboard up to date etc. For those who come and partake, very quickly realise that the world of ultra-marathons is really quite special and very enjoyable.

Such was the case at Tooting Bec this year when 30 runners moved off at noon on Saturday and finally stopped at noon on Sunday. As race director I had to be sure that everything was covered to enable the runners to do their best. The weeks before the race are often more hectic for me than the race itself. Making sure that everything is in place ~ sufficient lap counters, physios, timekeepers, refreshment providers, a counting shed etc. Judging from the comments and letters we have received from the runners after the race the race was clearly successful. All the helpers said how great the experience was.

So what's next? Well next year the race has been recommended as the National Championship for 24 hours and also as a trial for the selection of the 24 hour Bristol Team for the World 24 Hour Championships in 2006.

Provisionally the race is set for 8/9th October 2005 and hopefully at Tooting Bec.

Ongkar Smith

Race Director U.K.

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Self Transcendence 24 Hour Track Race London

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