There was this one time… at band camp…. doh, I mean joust camp. What am I talking about? Well I am talking about Ultra Running Limited’s epic Joust event that took place this weekend (see the banner above). Joust is hard core, Joust is a 24 hour race, a test of endurance, grit, determination and some would say sheer stupidity, but reading the individual facebook posts after the event, it is truly loved by everyone who takes part. Amazingly organised, people return year after year, seasoned and new individual ultra runners alike, duos and teams of 5 – 8 people, to battle the mental and physical fight and achieve the unbelievable.
What constitutes an ultra?
Ultra running is the sport of long distance running, also known as ultramarathoning. How far is “a long distance”? The standard definition is anything past the marathon, or 26.2 miles, the shortest standard distance that is considered an ultra is the 50 kilometre distance, or 31.07 miles. Other standard distances are the 50 mile, 100 mile, 100 km and a series of events that last for specified time periods such as 6 hour, 12 hour, 24 hour, 48 hour and 6 days.
What makes an ultra runner?
Well you don’t have to be fast, in fact slow is better, (although I don’t think Lee Simms of the Ghost Runners team, who came second, understands that concept as he banged out the fastest lap in 31.18 minutes). It’s actually healthier for you than a marathon due to the often varied, soft terrain versus flat, brutal tarmac that batters your joints, although, as you get tired, even experienced runners are human and prone to injury. The course is often not all that forgiving after hour upon hour of running and you have to take into account stiles, mud (the great British weather is not always kind) and the strong winds that all begin to take their toll. Like I said, this kind of challenge is a race for the ‘big boys and gals’.
You need to regularly refuel so can eat lots, walking is actually encouraged and trekking poles too. You will meet some lovely like-minded friends for life, but mentally you will have to be stronger than you ever anticipated, you’ll chafe, suffer stomach trouble, lose toe nails and maybe even hallucinate. You’ll experience pain that would make grown men cry, emotional highs and lows, but, like any sporting experience if you are an addictive personality, you will buzz with elation on completion and then promptly become hooked and plan the next one immediately afterwards.
About the event
So what is this race all about? The Buff Joust 24hr is a medieval themed 24hr off road race suitable for teams and solo runners. Camping is situated around the race start location at Top Barn Camp Site and it takes place each year, usually on the first weekend in September. The race is run over a circa 4.8 mile loop following parts of the Severn Way along the river until Grimley then returning back to the camp site through a mixture of fields, footpaths and very quiet lanes. The course is well marked and marshalled, easily navigable and relatively flat.
Kitted out with a ‘pavilion’ and a tournament village, facilities are exceptional. There are games for the children (and little adults alike), onsite catering, excellent toilets and showers (this is not always the case). A resident physio Alfie from “Brand New Muscle” was doing a brilliant job and payment was on a donation only basis.
This is why it is exceptionally supported by local clubs. No less that 31 Black Pear Joggers, (18 Solos, 3 pairs (1st mixed pair), 1 team) 14 Malvern Joggers (2 teams), 9 Pershore Plums (1 solo (first lady overall), 1 team) and, for the first time Hereford Ghost Runners, Mick Ward’s and my second club, entered a team who smashed it and came in second.
New this year were the ‘Night Knights’, introduced as an inspired safety precaution so participants are not alone and running in the dark. They were a rip roaring success and massive thanks go to Trevor Clarke (Pershore Plums Plodders), Mark Dillon (Malvern Joggers & Black Pear), Ian Walwyn (Malvern Joggers), Dave Harris, Sven Rouse (Black Pear Joggers) and Andy James (Tailwind) . Making its debut was also the original Team Sky motorhome used by numerous top cyclists on the Tour De France including Bradley (Wiggo) Wiggins & Chris (Froomie) Froome that Steve has acquired to host his events from. Something else I picked up on whilst on my one and only lap of the course were people running with spray cans. At first I thought we had some graffiti artists amongst our midst, but then I realised that Steve was ensuring that all markings and signposts were freshly sprayed on the route after the rain. It is this kind of attention to detail that make Ultra Running Limited’s events so popular.
As always the marshals did a sterling job and each year are generously rewarded for their time, effort, voices, and support skills with either a hoodie or a technical race t-shirt and a free entry into one of Steve’s plentiful events. (ultrarunningltd.co.uk). This is better recompense than any other event I have EVER marshalled at believe me. Steve has set the bar quite high for others to follow. This year all ages were represented and Claire and Dave Shacklock’s daughter, Ella, did a superb job on her water station with mum, earning her very own hoodie as recompense. Even the dogs got in on the act, although they weren’t very good at keeping awake on the night shift. Big thanks go to: Carolyne Sanders, Kelvin Lee, Tracy Kennish, Maxine Rhodes, Ian & Becky Walker, Cliff Wood, Hazel Sherrington, Emily Seward, Emily Seyler, Claire Shacklock, Jo Evans, Clare Haynes, Adam Grant, Anne Worrallo, Ruth Sutton, Adam Pollock, Ben Dillon, Terry Stokes, Paul Wootten, Helen Stanley, Scott Morrall and Sara Holloway.
Two people that did manage to stay awake the entire time were Kay Parry and Neil Humpage. It was lovely to catch up with the previous BPJ and Malvern jogger duo who have moved out of the area, but are now running the chip timing service that Steven Worrallo hires out.
There were a total of 144 partcipants representing 9 clubs. The total number of laps covered was 1160 and, with the agreed course distance at 4.95 miles, that
equals a grand total of 5,742 miles. There were a total of 56 solo runners, 6 pairs and 12 teams of between 3 and 8 people.
Last but by no means least… the winners
The overall winner this year, achieving a phenomenal 121.7 miles and a record 25 laps (previous course best was 22 laps) for any soloist was Richard Cranswick. Richard, known as the chicken runner in his ultra community, manages his own ultra running event company called ‘Social Ultra’ and recently organised and completed jogle. He sustained his sheer determination and focus for the full 24 hours, storming the 100 mile point by 7am and blowing everyone out of the water. This was definitely a course record, but all due respect to second placed Matthew Blackburn who was only one lap behind so also smashed it with 24 laps in just shy of 23 hours and 4 minutes.
Female winner was Alison Carr, Pershore Plum Plodder extraordinaire, who appeared to practically effortlessly skip around the course an amazing 20 times, on her first ever ultra event. A local lass and a regular park runner with her daughter, Alison has proven what she is capable of and is a future force to be reckoned with.
Men’s pairs was won by JLP (John Lewis Partnership) Running Club (James Carey and Carl Horton). Mixed Pairs by Team name: ‘Black Pear Joggers’ (Dawn and Nick Drabble) and the women’s team by ‘Cleeve ladies’. Incredible performances by Team name: ‘Burnden Road Runners 1’ in the mixed team 3 – 5 category who did an immense 34 laps in the 24 hour period and ‘BPJ Old gits’ in the 6-8 Team category who did a colossal 37 laps.
Special mentions go to Harry Mcalinden, who travelled all the way from Jersey for the privilege of running 21 laps and bagsied himself the first male veteran prize and Luan Wall, who is a glutton for punishment as this is her third time of running, was second lady, completing 19 laps and smashing out a personal best of over 91 miles.
BPJ performances were incredible this year
All praise to Neil Herron and Cindy Richards who were the longest and furthest running Black Pear Jogger man and woman respectively. Neil managed 19 laps equating to 95 miles and Cindy did a mahoosive 90 miles and was 3rd lady overall, receiving a well-deserved prize for her hard work. An outstanding performance by Ewelina Skolomowska too, who, after only 8 weeks of giving birth to the beautiful baby Kasper, chucked out an impressive 15 laps which is 75 miles.
Here are all the BPJ results:
|2||BPJs Dan and Dave||Dan Cale & Dave Bessant||21||23:27:18|
|4||Trotters Independent Runners||Jason Green and Gary Burke||13||22:51:31|
|1||Black Pear Joggers||Dawn and Nick Drabble||21||22:17:14|
|1||BPJ Old Gits||Chris Attwood, Neil Devereux, Nick Adams, Matt Fitzgerald, Scott Collison, Matt Davis and Clive Andrews||37||23:48:46|
N.B. At time of printing the names above had not been verified so do please advise if you are not on here and should be or are on here and shouldn’t be. Thanks.
However, never forget, something a couple of ultra runners have said to me now, running is running is running. If you are runner, you are ultimately just a runner and the only thing that differentiates us is how far we choose to run. Ultra runners are incredibly humble, it is merely a passion like any other and is embedded in their heart, their soul and their sole…..sorry, couldn’t help but end on a joke.
This year’s full results can be found at: http://my2.raceresult.com/58045/?lang
For more information on Joust visit: http://www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk/thejoust24hr.html or contact Steven Worrallo at Ultra Running Limited 01299 250834 http://www.ultrarunningltd.co.uk/
Provisional dates for next years are 2nd / 3rd September 2017
To hire Chip Timing Services contact http://www.chiptimingservices.co.uk
Photo credits: Trevor Clark, Listerking Photography, Kay Parry and Mick Ward.