On the 17th September, Equinox24 returned to the grounds of Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire. The 24-hour takes place around the beautiful grounds of the estate on a mixed terrain loop of 10k and played host to huge numbers of runners over the weekend.
Competitors have 24 hours to cover as many laps as possible, as part of a team, solo or in pairs. For those of a more sensible disposition there are also the stand-alone day and night-time 10k races over the same course.
The main event kicked off just before noon with a minute’s applause to honour Her Majesty the Queen. The after the countdown, the daytime 10k and 24 hour race runners all set off to loud cheers as they ran through the camp before setting out on the main course. The route wound its way around a large field full of ruts which claimed many an ankle before a slight respite on tarmac before a long drag uphill, taking runners to the very top of the village of Woolsthorpe. They then began to descend a very steep hill where skis might have been more appropriate, only to then be faced with ‘That Hill’, the notoriously precipitous climb where crawling is a legitimate approach.
Once runners reach the summit, they then had the chance to gallop as fast as they dare over the uneven ground to get back to the finish line which involved nearly a full lap of the camp where the support from fellow runners was amazing.
In the day 10k, the first GRC runner to cross the line was Gav Meadows in an impressive 45:06, putting him just outside the podium in 4th place. He was especially pleased as the course was ‘brutal”, but he was 45 seconds faster than his last try in 2018.
Next back for GRC was Paul Davis in a time of 51:44, putting him in 24th place in a field of 212, improving on his time and position from 2021 by a huge margin.
Sylv Hull and Zoe Wragg also ran the daytime 10k but made the mistake of starting too far back in the pack so spent the first mile weaving round walkers. However, once they got free, they both enjoyed their races, spending most of the time within a whisker of one another. First timer Zoe had no idea what to expect but loved seeing other club mates out on the course and was very pleased with her time of 56:36, especially given the steep inclines and terrain. She commented that ‘That Hill’ was even worse than advertised.
Sylv was thrilled to get a course PB and a time of 56:03. She and Zoe were 10th and 12th females respectively, both their highest positions ever in a race.
GRC also fielded two solo runners who set out to test their mental and physical fitness. Andrew MacAllister put in a real shift to complete an amazing 15 laps, putting him 2nd in his age category and 28th out of 291 solo runners.
Jason Walker was looking to do as much as he could after coming back from injury and produced a brilliant 9 laps.
The club had one small team, Nathan’s Runners and Walkers who run in memory of a much-missed club member. Martin Carter was first out in the mass start and went on to run 4 consistent laps. Sarah High was next and provided the team not only with 4 very speedy laps, but the fastest time up ‘That Hill’.
Penny Hodges ran a fantastically swift lap but unfortunately had to pull up injured during her second lap so retired. Dale Towning stormed round to get a huge course PB and was honoured to run in memory of Nathan Walker. He also ran a double lap to get the team up the rankings.
CJ Walker applied her usual grit and determination to run two laps but sadly also had to pull up injured. Overall the team ran 15 laps between them, coming 58th out of 91 teams. Not shabby at all given the injuries.
The night 10k kicked off at 8pm, necessitating the use of head torches which could be seen twinkling along the route from miles away. Sam Dodwell was first across the finish for GRC in a fantastic time of 44:10, earning him a place on the podium for second, a trophy and goody bag which included the glow in the dark medal. Russell Maksymiw ran a fantastic race, storming round in 47:23, obtaining a new course PB and 5th place overall which he was thrilled with.
Paul Davis in his second race in 8 hours came over the line in 55:58, putting him at 28th out of 221.
Sylv Hull was next in 56:20 having enjoyed the cold conditions and the experience of running in the dark. Not long after was Zoe Wragg in 58:34, another great run. Sylv and Zoe crossed the finish line as 7th and 11th female respectively.
Next back for GRC were new members Debbs Jones and Emma Clackson, who are recent graduates of the club’s Beginning To Run scheme. To say they picked a challenging debut race would be an understatement, contending with dark, hills and rough ground. Both absolutely rose to the challenge with Debbs putting in a time of 1:03:55 (17th female out of 105) and Emma crossing the line in 1:12:40, both fantastic times.
Catherine Wallace also competed in the night 10k, on her journey back to fitness and put in a great time of 1:12:43 and 40th female.
The event had an amazing atmosphere and being on the doorstep meant that friends and family including clubmates could come and spend the day supporting and making the most of the excellent food available (plus the bus bar). The donuts were a particular highlight and runners were treated to free event photos.