Race report from Hull 24hr – 12/13 July 2008

Posted on July 25, 2008 by

Submitted by Chris Carver



Not sure where to start with this report. I suppose a good place would be October last year. After the 24 hour race at Tooting Bec (London) I took an eight day rest as usual and then began training again with an interval session – what an idiot I must’ve been. The next day I felt a twinge in my right achilles but it wasn’t bad so I continued my training as normal. Over the next six weeks or so the ache grew more or less constant but this crackpot just carried on simply because I had a 50 mile trail race to complete at the start of December.

At the end of November I promised myself that I’d get my ankle checked out after the 50 miler. I did and it turned out to be achilles tendinosis (a non inflammatory, degenerative condition of the tendon). I knew then that to heal it would take at least eight weeks of no running at all. I was also shown how to perform eccentric achilles stretches on a step and with increasing weights in a ruck sack. By the end of January I was doing 6 sets of 25 with 10kg on my back – twice a day.

Over the Christmas period I began reading all I could find about the injury and also began a training program of general strength and conditioning exercises (sit ups, press ups, etc). In January I bought myself an exercise bike and began using that as often as possible.

Eventually, in mid February, I began interspersing running with walking (five mins of each for a total of 40 mins at first). At the beginning of March came my first continuous and cautious run – 35 mins. All the while the strength training and cycling was increasing in both quantity and quality. I was aware that things were progressing very well indeed, I was also aware of the need to keep holding back.

Gradually the training progressed and I was able to add the usual long runs, fartlek, tempo runs and the occasional race over distances from 5k to 10k. I was still applying ice after every training session though, and would continue to do so until mid June.

By this time I was confident of doing well in my next 24 hr race, as long as I could get a sensible and detailed race plan together and execute it well. The one spanner in the works was that John Pares [UK number one in 2006 and 2007] had entered. I knew that if he ran to his best he would win but I also expected to be much closer to him than in our two previous meetings. My plans for race weekend were also better than last year, mainly because I had a comfortable hotel room before and after the race instead of a tent – surely a good night’s sleep would make a difference – thanks for this must go to my sponsor, Carl Walsh of The Divan Centre in Leeds (http://www.thedivancentre.co.uk/).

On arrival at the track the first thing that was said to me was: “we’re expecting great things of you this year, Chris”. Wow, I thought, what’s that all about. The only thing I could think of by way of reply was “why, hasn’t John Pares arrived yet ?” I was then told that he wouldn’t be taking part after all. It’s hard to describe my thoughts as I walked over to my crew with my race number in my hand. I was aware that there were one or two other runners who were very good too, such as Les Hill from Dumfries.

In the last five minutes before race time my thoughts drifted back six months to all long weeks with no running at all – I was exceptionally happy to be here doing what I enjoy best, taking part in a 24 hr race.

HOUR 1 Set off and immediately found myself in first place, not something I’m used to – and it felt strange. Managed almost every lap on target and immediately began drinking 200ml Lucozade Sport (with added Nuun) every 20 minutes – slightly different to previously when I’ve had a drink every 30 mins. Target: 7.1 miles / actual: 7.2 miles (2nd place).

HOUR 2 This is where my basic race plan starts. After the first hour I walk 10 minutes and run 50 for as long as possible – hopefully until the end of the race. I’ve been told by Otley AC clubmates that this must take immense discipline, I find it no problem at all though. Ate three dried apricots during the hour. Target: 13.4 miles / actual: 13.6 miles (5th place).

HOUR 3 Still feeling good but Michael Stiff was flying past with alarming regularity. I remembered from last year that he did the same but came to an abrupt halt a long time before the 24 hours were finished. Ate an energy gel. Target: 19.7 miles / actual: 19.8 miles (5th place).

HOUR 4 Just when I thought we were going to be lucky with the weather we had a heavy rain shower. All week the forecast had been for light rain during the race. At the completion of fifty laps (approx 3h 45) I remember looking at my watch and thinking how quickly time had passed. Ate 140g of rice pudding. Target: 25.9 miles / actual: 26.3 miles (5th place).

HOUR 5 Ate 140g of custard. Target: 32.0 miles / actual: 32.8 miles (2nd place).

HOUR 6 Ate one quarter of a Fry’s Turkish Delight. Target: 38.1 miles / actual: 38.7 miles (2nd place).

HOUR 7 Ate one jaffa cake. Target: 44.1 miles / actual: 44.9 miles (2nd place).

HOUR 8 Took two paracetamol because of pain in left shoulder. I later learned it was sunburn – between the spells of thick cloud the sun had been quite strong, apparently. Ate 140g of rice pudding. Target: 50.0 miles / actual: 50.7 miles (2nd place).

HOUR 9 Michael Stiff seemed to be flagging now and when I asked him how he was doing he replied that he was seriously thinking of pulling out after 10 hours. Ate an energy gel. Target: 55.9 miles / actual: 56.9 miles (2nd place).

HOUR 10 Had a quick conversation with Les Hill round about this time. Les represents Scotland in 100k races so I was expecting a good run from him (he also regularly beats me by 90 mins in the local 50 mile trail race mentioned earlier). He was pleased with how he was doing and was in good company as one of his crew members was none other than ultra world record holder Caroline Hunter-Rowe. Applied more vaseline under arms. Ate 140g of custard. Target: 61.7 miles / actual: 62.8 miles (2nd place).

HOUR 11 Ate an energy gel. Target: 67.4 miles / actual: 68.5 miles (2nd place).

HOUR 12 Ate one quarter of a Fry’s Turkish Delight. Target: 73.1 miles / actual: 74.3 miles (2nd place).

HOUR 13 Looking at the leaderboard I now figured it was going to a battle between myself and Stuart McClay. We both seemed to be running quite a bit quicker than everyone else and were a few miles ahead. Ate one quarter of a Fry’s Turkish Delight. Target: 78.7 miles / actual: 80.0 miles (2nd place).

HOUR 14 Realised that Stuart McClay was taking his walking breaks at a different point in the hour to me and it became difficult to judge how things would progress. Put on long sleeved top and applied more vaseline on nipples. Ate 140g of rice pudding. Target: 84.2 miles / actual: 85.5 miles (1st place).

HOUR 15 Began to notice that my toilet visits were becoming increasingly frequent so I decided to drink 150ml every 20 mins instead of 200ml. Ate an energy gel. Target: 89.7 miles / actual: 90.9 miles (1st place).

HOUR 16 During this hour I found myself actually racing with Stuart McClay. For about 30 mins we were haring around the track covering each lap in slightly less than 2:20. I knew this was a bit too fast for me at this stage and was relieved when his walking breaks gradually became longer and longer. Ate 140g of custard. Target: 95.1 miles / actual: 96.6 miles (1st place).

HOUR 17 Ate an energy gel. Target: 100.5 miles / actual: 102.4 miles (1st place).

HOUR 18 Pleased to be still walking 10 mins and running 50. Ate one jaffa cake. Target: 105.8 miles / actual: 107.8 miles (1st place).

HOUR 19 Ate one quarter of a Fry’s Turkish Delight. Later I had a piece of crystallised ginger to combat a slightly upset tummy. Target: 111.4 miles / actual: 113.3 miles (1st place).

HOUR 20 Dawn was breaking and I put on a pair of cotton gloves as it was becoming very cold now. I later learned that it had been the coldest July night Hull had ever seen. Had to apply more vaseline to crotch. Ate 100g Bramley Apple Sauce. Target: 116.3 miles / actual: 118.5 miles (1st place).

HOUR 21 At the start of this hour Stuart McClay retired. I was both surprised and relieved at the same time. I knew he had spent almost half of the previous two hours walking but when running he was definitely faster than me. I decided that for the last four hours, with the race almost won, I would walk 10 mins and run 20. Put more vaseline on top of foot, under the laces. Ate 125g banana & rice pudding baby food. Target: 121.5 miles / actual: 123.2 miles (1st place).

HOUR 22 The weather was beginning to warm up nicely so I took off my gloves. Came across Les Hill collapsed at the side of the track having treatment by the event doctor. I was pleased to later learn that he was OK. Ate an energy gel. Target: 126.6 miles / actual: 128.0 miles (1st place).

HOUR 23 Ate 140g Bramley Apple Sauce. Later I had a piece of crystallised ginger to combat a slightly upset tummy. Target: 131.7 miles / actual: ? (1st place).

HOUR 24 Spontaneously burst into tears when, with half an hour still to go, I realised I was going to reach my target of 220k. Same thing happened when I actually got there 10 mins later. Ate 125g banana & peach baby food and also one jaffa cake. Target: 136.7 miles / actual: 137.7 miles (1st place).

In an attempt to stave off the problems of Exercise Associated Collapse (EAC) I walked for the last 15 mins covering just over 3 laps. This didn’t work and I began to feel bad during the presentation ceremony and, when the doctor mentioned my shallow breathing, she couldn’t believe that I have half my right lung missing – removed 15 years ago because of cancer.

For more information about this condition see The Lore Of Running by Tim Noakes (4th edition, pp244 – 249).

Back at the hotel, after a rest of a couple of hours I needed the toilet. I only made it back to the bed because Fay and Keir (wife, son, much valued crew) carried me after hearing me collapse in the bathroom. Still got the bruise on the back of my head.

One week later and I feel very good indeed. Still over the moon from my performance and looking forward to my next 24 hr race – London in October – where I’ll be disappointed if I don’t reach 225k. Recovery seems to have been much quicker than normal, probably because I was wearing compression clothing for the first time in a race. Must get the EAC under control though and if anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

I hope the competitor who was taken to hospital is OK but I suppose he must be. His wife was also competing, she went to hospital with him but later came back and ran for a couple more hours – an amazingly courageous thing to do.



1 Chris Carver 221.643k (137.722miles) 1 Helen Horrobin 160.800k (99.915 miles)

2 Carl Sommer 202.388k (125.758miles) 2 Debbie Rooks 151.573k (94.183 miles)

3 Stuart McClay 191.200k (118.806 miles) 3 Penny Darmody 139.676k (86.791 miles)

4 Mark Cockbain 187.229k (116.338 miles) 4 Marie Caldwell 132.036k (82.043 miles)

5 Malcolm Knight 179.563k (111.575 miles) 5 Lorraine Fraser 131.904k (81.961 miles)

6 John Blair1 73.694k (107.928 miles) 6 Jane Riley 129.689k (80.585 miles)

7 Colin Jones 171.605k (106.630 miles) 7 Susan Denham-Smith 121.664k (75.598 miles)

8 Neil Gordon 170.043k (105.659 miles) 8 Pam Storey 114.349k (71.053 miles)

9 Stephen Hobbs 166.801k (103.645 miles) 9 Selina Da Silva 112.000k (69.593 miles)

10 Grant Jeans 166.561k (103.496 miles) 10 Helen Hunt 109.846k (69.255 miles)

11 Les Hill 165.200k (102.650 miles) 11 Janice Hudson 104.000k (64.622 miles)

12 Les Hudson 161.600k (100.413 miles) 12 Karen Townsend 42.400k (26.346 miles)

13 Stephen Coveney 154.076k (95.738 miles)

14 Colin Alderton 151.810k (94.330 miles)

15 Mark Bissel 149.157k (92.681 miles)

16 Tommie Du Preeze 138.366k (85.976 miles)

17 Samuel Black 138.156k (85.846 miles)

18 Jeremy Nottingham 132.027k (82.037 miles)

19 Gilbert John 131.966k (81.999 miles)

20 Andy Cook 129.600k (80.529 miles)

21 Ray McCurdy 118.685k (73.747 miles)

22 Steve Hunt 118.400k (73.570 miles)

23 Dave Holloway 116.367k (72.307 miles)

24 Geoff Crawforth 109.691k (68.158 miles)

25= Christopher Petch 102.400k (63.628 miles)

25= Michael Stiff 102.400k (63.628 miles)

27 Darren Darley 80.000k (49.709 miles)

28 Max Jones 23.200k (14.415 miles)