As we all know, the lure of the great outdoors is strong – especially when you spend your week at a desk.
But is that lure strong enough to run not a half marathon, not even a marathon, but for 24 hours straight? Last month, some of the Simply Business team took it upon themselves to find out.
The Endure 24 race is run across a five-mile loop in Wasing Park Estate, near Reading, over - you guessed it - the course of 24 hours. It’s not for the faint of heart – this race is known as an ‘ultra’, the ultimate test of a runner’s stamina. Originally popularised in the ‘80s, but now enjoying a resurgence, ultra running officially refers to any distance over a marathon, but can be stretched to 50 or even 100 miles.
Endure 24 is a handy entry point into ultra running. Whether you run a mile in five or fifteen minutes, everyone is welcome, and the race organisers actively try to attract those who are new to the sport.
Deborah Holland, Simply Business Commercial Director, says that the company’s entry began as idle pub chatter.
“We entered Endure 24 as a result of a conversation over a glass of wine with Tim Grant from insurance group Covea,” she says. “But unlike most pub challenges, this one actually came to fruition.”
To meet the challenge, ultra runners come well prepared. But, when they arrived, it seemed that Deborah and her team had rather underestimated the mountain they had to climb.
“We had the minimum number of runners, pretty inadequate head torches, and an extremely naïve refueling strategy – Haribo, crisps, and bacon sandwiches,” she says.
But the Simply Business team battled on through, and despite not having all the food groups covered, they were pleased with their placing. “We managed to come 40th out of 159 teams,” Deborah says. “We were delighted with this, particularly as we had a great team spirit throughout, and everyone really pulled their weight on a particularly challenging course.”
This year, Simply Business and Covea were running to raise funds for Child Action Nepal, a charity that provides homes for orphaned Nepalese children. It’s an important cause, particularly in the wake of the recent devastating earthquake.”
But this wasn’t just a one off. While you might not want to run a 24 hour race too frequently, the team are set on an even higher placing in 2016. “We’re already planning next year’s event,” Deborah says, “entering two teams with our friends from Covea.”
Maybe Haribo and bacon sandwiches are the secret to success after all.
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