Saturday 4th June marked the second annual Grantham Running club canalathon. In this event a group of 6 runners set off from Nottingham at 8am running the entire length of the canal back to Grantham, a distance of 34 miles. They were joined by more and more members at various points along the canal before finishing as one large group many hours later.
Many of the runners ran further than they had before or used it as a chance to get to know other sections of the canal they may not have seen and also run with clubmates they may not normally get the chance to run with. The club also used this year’s run as a fundraiser for the Canal and Rivers Trust who maintain the paths so often used by club members throughout the year.
Having passed the City Ground and joined the canal properly, the temperatures rose higher and higher for the six hardy runners, providing an extra challenge on top of the prospect of being on their feet for well over 6 hours. What made this more impressive is that for Balint Beni, Dale Towning and Sarah High, this would be their longest run ever. The other 3 (Ben Mason, Kate Marshall, Caroline Davis) all would have to use their experience of marathons and ultra marathons to get themselves back home to Grantham without suffering badly in the heat.
The 6 made good progress and supported each other the way only GRC members do before being joined later by a gang of runners in Redmile. At this point 6 became 16 and this extra company boosted the spirits of those that had been going for more than 3 and a half hours and were starting to wilt in the heat. With spirits boosted they continued towards Harby where the original 6 runners swelled to 25. At this point Ben was struggling but Balint came to his aid with some sodium tablets to give him the strength to finish the remaining four miles.
Just under an hour later the runners had all made it home to Grantham where they were able to stretch, rehydrate and share stories from being out for a very long time in the blazing sun. Already some were already contemplating trying to run a bit further next summer or even taking on the whole 34 miles themselves.
Grantham running club raised £164 for the Canal and Rivers Trust and are also very grateful for Science in Sport (SIS) who provided the running club with free energy gels.