It only seems like yesterday where I thought it would be a good idea to send a bunch of runners around Bedfordshire with the aim of them getting to the finish at the same time. Now here I am with a list of 52 entrants trying to figure out how to keep everyone alive in two weeks.
I hope you are looking forward to this! First of all thank you for signing up. This is the first time I've organised a race like this and I believe there is no other race like this. For years I've been twiddling my thumbs asking "why is there not a race where everyone finishes around the same time and can go to the pub together?" Maybe there is a very good reason which no one has told me about yet! If there is then you will find out 🙂
So please bear in mind that you are guinea pigs here! Thank you for being brave enough to sign up
Below is an email with some key information along with a link to your start times. Entries are now closed
There will be another email a few days before the event with final details and anything I have forgotten here.
Thank you all for providing the information for me to make a guess as to what time you should start. The info provided was ..... variable. Some of you have given me a life story of race results, injuries, epic trials and tribulations and included details of heart rates and which member of Love Island you'd most like to snog. Others have just given me their shoe size. When you get your start time you may find it on the "harsh" side for the reasons below.
My general thinking on start times is that I'd rather overestimate your ability than underestimate. For two reasons,
It makes it logistically easier. I don't want people getting to checkpoints too early or before they are set up! It's fine if you finish late. 4 is not a cut-off, we'll be there a lot longer than 4 so if you finish later we'll still be cheering.
We all have a habit of underselling ourselves. In my experience this is (mostly) accidental but the spirit of the race is that everyone has a similar chance of winning, in fact the slower runners should have a better chance as taking 15 minutes off a 6 hour pb is probably more likely than taking 15 minutes off a 4 hour pb. The person who races in at about 3.45 having had the race of their lives will be greeted with rapturous applause and adulation for smashing their time. The person who finishes at 2 having said "I'll take about 6 hours" but was actually going to run 4 all along may well be met with boos and projectiles of rotten fruit. And may be forced to do extra laps of the park. Naked.
Also I have decided not to set off anyone before 9am (7 hour handicap). This is really just to keep the first bunch together rather than 1 person at 8, 2 at 8.15, 1 at 8.30 etc.
Please please take this undertaking seriously. 50k is a LONG way to run. It's fine if it's the longest you've run before, I know plenty who have done the same. However please remember that this is not the London Marathon. There is not a water station and a nice lady from St John's Ambulance every 25 meters. If you are struggling you may well be in the middle of a field being circled by buzzards. So please take care.
Some of you have said you will run with others in your entry info. This is fine so long as you don't ditch them and race ahead! I believe I've captured this in the start times but if I've not then let me know.
The route and checkpoints
I've recently run the route a couple of times. It looks good and I didn't get lost once! Hopefully that bodes well for you lot but in my 20 years of hanging around people who run I know some of you seem to get lost exiting a phone box. Please just keep your wits about you when on the trails.
There are three checkpoints. You will be given running numbers to wear on your back (so the people chasing you know you are not some pointless recreational jogger from Bedford). The beauty of this race format is that the first to set out will be number 1, Then 2, then 3 then ... to 100. So in theory the volunteers at the checkpoints will just be counting you off, 1,2,3,4 .... and we will know fairly quickly if someone has got lost. Obviously at the end you will all be finishing simultaneously*
The course will NOT be marked by me. There will be no big arrows or signs or tape to follow. You will have a route description and a map to follow. You are almost always on 1 of three trails that are generally well marked. The John Bunyan Trail, The Greensands Ridge and the Cycle Way 51. The only time you are not on one of these is right near the start/finish.
The checkpoints will have only the basics. Water, coke, squash, nuts, jelly babies, fruit bars. They will be out of the boot of a car so don't expect a huge fanfare.
*If this actually happens it will be carnage
Stuff you need to bring
Before the start of the race there will be a race briefing (I will do about 4 of these about an hour apart) and you will be asked to sign a waiver and give details of an emergency contact.
You will be required to carry a mobile phone with the two numbers of the organisers and the means to carry a litre of water. On a warm day you may be a couple of hours or more between checkpoints.
You need to bring your own bottles/cups.
It depends on the weather, obviously if it's raining or rain is due I recommend some sort of waterproof jacket. Some basic food/gels would be recommended too.
You will be issued with a map and a written instruction sheet. A GPX file can be downloaded here. Note that this file is not accurate for the mile through Sandy.
Box End Park
There will be plenty of parking at Box End Park. Once you are here head straight towards the lake and someone will show you where to go
Some important points
Any medical emergencies the number to dial is 999
If you go off course please try to retrace your steps until you find a part of recognisable trail
If you decide to drop out then please do so at a checkpoint. Please don't rely on an immediate journey back to HQ You may have to wait until the checkpoint closes or get a taxi
Please don't litter!
There is an airshow at Shuttleworth on the same day. I've been assured that they are not going to close the footpaths that are on the route. You may even get to enjoy a free air show!
Any questions then please let me know. I will email again a few days before the race for any last minute things. That's all for now and looking forward to seeing you all in two weeks!