A number of club members recently took part in ‘Endure 24 Leeds’, a 24-hour running challenge at Bramham Park. We had a team, a pair and three soloists entered, and their achievements were fantastic!

The weekend was one of the warmest of the year which made running the five-mile circuits much tougher than they might otherwise have been. Part of the course meandered through some woodland areas giving much needed shade, but it was mostly very exposed to the blazing sun. Even the after-dark laps could not be described as cool, and the humidity was pretty unpleasant.

Head Coach, Chris Lees, is extremely proud of everyone who took part. He said, “This event is an extraordinary challenge even for seasoned athletes. It requires enormous mental strength, not just physical ability.”

Our team of six – Bridget Wilson, Jane Wilkinson, Dave Oldacres, Polly Oldacres, Becky Williams and Gemma Wardle – surpassed their own expectations and managed 100 miles (20 laps) between them, maintaining one person out running continuously for 23 hours. Chris Lees ran as a soloist with the aim of running/walking alongside other HARC members to give them much-appreciated support. They all ran the last 100 metres together to cross the finish line for the final time as a team.

Team captain, Bridget, said, “This was something I thought I would never take part in. Well, I joined a team of six from our club. The heat was brutal but what a brilliant weekend! There was so much support from everyone. I’m definitely signing up for next year!”

Caroline Pounder and Michael Hollinshead tackled the challenge as a pair. Caroline was recovering from injury so was thrilled to complete three laps, with Michael storming through seven to bring their total to an impressive 50 miles.

Now to our soloists, Nick Wilson and Joanne Sinnott. Wow! The difficult weather conditions were amplified for these amazing runners who set out to achieve 100 miles each. Nick completed a staggering 70 miles and crossed the finish line hand in hand with his wife, Bridget. In his own words, Nick now has “unfinished business” and will return next year to grab that exclusive ‘100 miler’ t-shirt. Jo smashed out 17 laps, that’s 85 miles – absolutely incredible! When she crossed the finish line (barefoot!), Jo’s watch was reading 85.9 miles, so she continued to walk around the event village to make it up to 86! She too, will be returning next year to join the ‘100 miler’ club. She said, “This was an epic event, highlighting the meaning of teamwork. As a soloist, having the support of the club, whilst they took on their own team challenge, enabled me to get through a hot, humid, gruelling 24 hours, completing 17 laps and 86 miles. Would I do it again? I’m already signed up for next year!”

Many thanks go to everyone who sent lovely supportive messages to our runners, and a special thank you to Ruth Hancock, Victoria Maidwell and Katy Bamber who came down to boost morale with cowbell-ringing, cheering and treats!

Congratulations to all involved!

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