Find out what Endure 24 is all about and how the three Abingdon AC teams got on this year.

The AAC Endure 24 team

What is this crazy event?

Endure 24 is a relay race that starts at 12 pm on Saturday and continues non-stop for the next 24hrs. The end of the race being signalled by the 12 pm klaxon on Sunday. Teams camp in the huge field next to the race village.

Why would you do it?

If you think that this isn't something that you could do, think again! It's a great event that might push you outside your comfort zone but will leave you with a great sense of achievement and a bag full of smelly running kit.

If you're still not convinced, I'll now pass you over to our runners to tell you about their experiences of this fabulous event, in their own words.

The first-timers

Jen Swarbrick

Endure 24 - a fantastic way to get to know your fellow club members and realise you're part of a big happy family of weirdos. What a fab weekend.

Kathy Clarke

Three days on and this first-timer is still on a high from Endure 24! The course was great fun and I loved every chance to get out there and run it - even at 2 am. The Abingdon team spirit was brilliant, and the quality of the home-baked goods even better (special mention must go to Jen's brownies and Nicky's millionaire's flapjack).

It may not have quite been the weekend in the sunshine without the kids that Jo and I thought we were signing up for all those months ago (although at least when my kids were there they did a grand job of trying to adopt alternative parents from within the group and left me alone...) but the rain and the mud didn't spoil it one bit and couldn't put a dampener on what was a great weekend as part of a simply lovely team.

Andy Phelps

I've been running for many years and never experienced anything like Endure 24.

What an event. Made special by the great organisation and team spirit of the AAC members present.

Join in, be flexible and read Caroline's hints and tips before you go not when you get there!

Jo Fellows

As an Endure24 first timer, the event surpassed my expectations in so many ways. It was such good fun!

The feeling of camaraderie within Camp AAC and also amongst complete strangers on the course was very motivating. I found myself sharing words of encouragement with Endure-ers on their third lap and their twentieth lap, both walkers and super fast runners, fellow first-timers and those taking part in their seventh Endure event - just brilliant.

I can’t say that the weekend has changed my views on camping - it’s still not for me. But will I be attempting to sleep in a tent again for Endure 2020...? Absolutely!

Lisa Gilholm

The event was well organised both from an AAC and overall event management perspective, including flushing loos, showers and yummy hot food. The atmosphere on the AAC camp was very sociable and relaxed, there was certainly no pressure to run a set amount of laps within set times, you did what you wanted to do as the emphasis was to enjoy yourself and have fun, which is exactly what I did.

Jonny Nash

I now realise that I was lured to do Endure 24 under false pretences, mainly due to false facts provided by Helen.

False Fact #1: You’ll only need to run three maybe four laps.
WRONG! I ended up doing five laps, two of which were done as a “double” from 3 am to 5 am on Sunday morning. And this particularly chilly run was only enhanced by the totally inadequate clothing choice of my Oxford Half t-shirt. But I have been able to console myself with the thought that Stuart did seven laps for the team (which makes him the awesome-est Awesome Team member in my opinion) and Julian did 20 laps (I have no idea how that is even possible).

False Fact #2: Camping in the Summer is warm.
WRONG! I can’t remember the last time I went to bed wearing my PJs, socks, tracksuit trousers, a sweatshirt and a coat even though I was inside a sleeping bag. And even then this was only just sufficient to maintain my core temperature. I just had to accept my extremities were never going to get warm. But at least the frequent rain meant I didn’t have to shower all weekend.

False Fact #3: The course is mildly undulating.
WRONG! This is like saying Ben Nevis is quite a big hill. Never before have my legs been ruined within the first kilometre of a race. And my love of Heartbreak Hill only grew as the river of mud and the lack of traction increased with each lap.

So what did I think of my first time at Endure 24? It was BRILLIANT. I enjoyed all your company (yes, even Tim’s), I loved racing as a team (especially doing the team finish at the end), I loved the course every time I went around it (especially all the mud) and I even enjoyed the camping (although I must say this is the first time I have experienced having my assets frozen in the middle of Summer). I look forward to doing it again with all of you next year.

Erica Woosey-Griffin

Endure 24 2019 gave me back my love of running after two years of frustration and injury. Inspiring to see everyone running, walking and struggling through the mud. Left me with huge respect for my fellow club mates. Also, someone needs to get on the silent zip technology.

The old-timers

Caroline 'Superhuman' Hutchings (our organiser supreme)

I have my usual satisfaction (and slight sunburn) glow from bringing another group of AAC members together for the weekend of the year! Glad everyone seems to have enjoyed the crazy Glastonbury for runners!

Julian Moore (running as a solo this year)

Nothing better than being in a team of eight to give you time to chew the fat on Saturday afternoon with a bunch of AAC runners.

Steve Wade

I found it hard work (5/8 km are uphill!) but a very encouraging with lots of support from other runners, some good banter and some longer conversations on the way around (perhaps I should have been running faster!). I won't tell you about the compost toilet on Lap 3 Night Run but the dawn 4 am run was remarkably peaceful despite no sleep.

Helen Nash

I’ll just say that in spite of running my first lap in pouring rain and having to walk my last with violent stomach cramps (and recurrence of injury I thought was healed), chemical toilets, a cold shower (no hot water at 1am – I wasn’t so cheerful then, Tim!) and being totally unable to get warm at night even wearing so many clothes I could barely zip up my sleeping bag…when people at work asked about my weekend I told them I’d had a brilliant time.Ÿ˜Š

That was down to the amazing event itself, but even more down to you guys. SO much laughing (some of it might have been hysteria) and so much support – even the painful slow walking was brightened by the support of other runners and lovely chats with a couple of inspirational solos. And yes, even though I HATE camping, I will be back.

Sam Blacker

The first I heard of this event was when Laura tried to persuade me to take part. I flatly refused because I don't do camping or running off-road in the dark. I finally relented and signed up last year, organised brilliantly, challenging and loved the night run. Comradeship is amazing, not just from our club members but from everyone taking part.

Did it again this year and learnt I can run in the mud and camp in the rain and still enjoy this event, the leaky tent didn't even spoil it. I did get a big dose of tent envy though! It really is a great way to get to know more club members, everyone is so supportive and encouraging and there's no pressure to do more than you want.

This non-camper will be buying a new tent ready for next years Endure 24. A rather addictive event.

Mark Lewy

Mark has written this handy list.

  • You don't need to be a camper: you can usually scrounge a tent off another club member, there are a reasonable number of food choices if you don't self cater, and there are proper loos and showers.
  • In spite of the wet weather, the course was in pretty good shape. I'd bring both trail and road shoes, anyway.
  • It's not flat! I think the worst bit is the initial 1 km, Heartbreak hill (at 5km) is shorter and sharper.
  • Tortoise or hare doesn't matter, do what you are most comfortable with.
  • Don't leave it too late to get Pizza!

And finally, this from Tim Foxall ...

For me, nothing quite encapsulates the spirit of AAC as well as a 4 am miscalculation of the 24hr clock in a mess tent less watertight than a colander.

Thanks to:

Caroline for organising matters on our behalves;
Jo and Kathy for putting up with my very early morning grumpiness;
Those who helped with our tent erection;
Steve for whipping Sandar into shape in the kitchen to produce cheese scones;
Jen for ace flapjack preparation;
Erica for reminding me what 80’s fitness attire looked like;
Julian and James for making me feel completely inadequate in the running department;
Sam for having a hilariously leaky tent;
Helen and Jonny for being unnecessarily cheerful irrespective of the prevailing climatic conditions;
Andy for proving that even when you think your legs won’t make it, they will;
Stuart for introducing me to Squirrel Nut Butter;
My team generally for completely dismissing the idea of double laps;
Everyone for being generally thoroughly good sports; and finally
Nicky for putting up with my very strong views on most things, including camping, tents, temporary toilets, mobile showers, mud, the rain, the cold, the sun and vegetation pizzas.

We'll be back

We will be returning to Wasing Park in Reading for Endure 24 in 2020. Watch this space ...

Photos from the event