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24 hour Challenge People

I should point out that Heidi, Ruth and Faye were doing warm up moves here, they don’t actually run like that

There are some people who, when faced with a pandemic, like to come up with little challenges for themselves. Heidi is one such person. She’d come across something called the Little Dog Front Yard Challenge, where runners ran one mile every hour, until there was just one runner still going. This went on for quite some time (read about it here).

Over the past couple of weeks, she’d mentioned the idea of a 24-hour version to Ruth, Faye and me. We all live locally and have been enjoying running 5k time trials over the past few months, but we were craving something a bit different and this sounded like fun. Luckily for us, Heidi had to go to work on Monday morning, removing the risk of this morphing into a ‘last one standing’ event.

Little did everyone know that the riskiest thing about this whole challenge was that Heidi had ample opportunity during those 24 hours in which to concoct further challenges…

Ready to go! Scroll down to see if we look this fresh later on…

The Challenge:

Starting at 2pm on Friday (on what just happened to be one of the hottest days of the year so far), we ran one mile every hour. We varied our direction out from base camp and back, setting off right at the start of each new hour. We all set off together on each one. Our final, 24th run would be at 1pm on Saturday. To make it a marathon distance in total, we tagged an extra mile and a bit onto the first two runs. To a runner, this is perfectly logical.

THANKS!!!

The short write-up is that it was an incredible experience. The four of us are still buzzing from it. We want to say an enormous and heartfelt thank you to every single person who offered us support, which we experienced in so many ways. People gave their time, sent us messages of encouragement (which we would read out to each other as the challenge went on), shared and retweeted, donated, and joined us in person. It all meant a lot.

If you like lots pictures of runners who are trying to fit into a selfie whilst remaining socially distanced, this is the blog for you. The photos sum up the sense of community and support that we felt over the weekend. They feature everyone who joined us for a mile – whether running, or on bikes and scooters, whether in the heat of the day, dodging the thunderstorm or in the middle of the night. They tell the story far better than I can.

They also feature the many delicious homemade treats that people had taken the time to make and bring over to us. Our eyes would light up whenever someone approached carrying a tinfoil-covered plate. The kindness and calories helped to keep us going.

Some of these photos were taken by those who came to support and run with us – thank you! Consider this is your photo credit as my memory of remembering who took each one is a little hazy.

Everyone who joined us for a mile (or more!):

Mick T (the unforgettable thunderstorm mile)

Caroline (including the midnight shift)

Martin (first and last miles, plus 2am & 3am)

Leila (bringer of delicious treats, also got herself a mile pb)

Mats (who was unwittingly cycling past and changed his plans to join us for a couple of miles)

Austin, Eaden and Darragh (marvellous running all round)

Annabel (excellent pace setting and enthusiasm on both scooter and bike)

Louisa (lovely to meet you, hope to run with you again when I’m more awake)

Deb and Dave Mullen (clocking up 3 runs between them and bringing cake. And eggs.)

Ian (offering support from the perspective of someone who knows what it’s like to run through the night, albeit without breaks)

Cathy & Abigail (more cracking running from our strong contingent of local runners)

David P (whose two miles with us bookended his longer run)

Lara (also bagging herself a mile pb on a rather bumpy lap around a meadow)

James (who kept us going in the latter stages, and generously allowed us to set up base camp on his front lawn)

People who dropped in to support/bring delicious snacks:

Sally (amazing flapjack & brownies)

Hannah (gorgeous choc chip cookies plus expert camerawork in documenting our death shuffle)

Natalie & David (so lovely of you to come by)

Alex (whose injury prevented her from being part of this one, but still came by on her bike to support)

Charlotte (who we hope to recruit in future years)

Craig & Daniel (thank you for going to get that tent for us that we never used…)

Cal (whose offer of bringing coffees from my favourite local café Corner Cup gave us a treat to work towards!)

Kathy (Leeds’ premier professional run supporter)

Stephen (who planned his long bike ride to include a visit to us)

Nicole (lovely to chat to you, apologies if I was a bit spaced out by then)

Nic (sterling support in the heat of the day)

Jane (who just happened to be cycling by and wins best emergency stop on a bike)

Debbie and Bob the Dog (it just wouldn’t have been the same without you!)

Have I missed anyone? Sincere apologies if I have, as we really did appreciate everyone who stopped to say hello. An honourable mention to the Bramhope Running Train, a group of local runners which was the source of many runners, supporters, donators and cheery messages to get us through. (The ‘train’ sets off at some ungodly hour of the morning, collecting runners on foot from various meeting points and blasting round some local miles, usually involving a massive hill or two. Any guesses who is the driving force behind it?).

Which brings me to…Heidi, Ruth and Faye! What an amazing bunch. For a weekend like this, it really helps to be surrounded by people who keep you motivated, take care of each other, and keep each other laughing (including slightly delirious giggling fits at 3am). It was an absolute joy to be in your company and to share this whole experience with you. I’ve a feeling there’ll be much more to come! Thank you for asking me to join you, and for your enthusiasm in spreading the word about The Running Charity.

Which brings me to…

The Running Charity

I was keen to take the opportunity to spread the word about TRC and what it does, raising some funds for them along the way if possible.

The Running Charity raises funds to transform the lives of 16-25 year olds who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, through running. You can find out more at their website (here) and about the Leeds hub in these previous blog posts (here and here).

Everything about this weekend perfectly encapsulates what TRC is about. Friendship, challenge, community, support, loads of fun and life experiences that won’t ever be forgotten. From conversations with those who came along to run and support, I got the feeling that this really resonated. Our lives are all the richer for having running in them, and this is something we want to share with the young people the charity supports.

When I told our young people in Leeds about this challenge, a couple of them said they were going to go out and do their own mile in solidarity. Currently, we are keeping our contact with them going via zoom and meeting up one to one. I can’t wait to see what they will go on to achieve once we are all able to run together again, and get them along to parkrun and races. The running is one small part of it, but can be the catalyst for such big changes over time.

Heidi, Ruth and Faye were keen to get behind The Running Charity too, and in doing so have helped to spread the word far wider, and help raise more than I ever expected. The total currently stands at over £1600. We’ve been blown away by the donations coming in. Thank you so much.

You can find the link to the donation page here.

Afterwards, I discovered that we weren’t the only ones fundraising for TRC that weekend. Paul Raine completed 2.6 miles, 26 times in 26 hours (his total of 67.6 miles being double any distance he’s run before). Incredible, Paul! Just please, no one tell Heidi…

Liz x

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