Humanity at large
For the past 4 years I have run in this race, but due to injury (which will be a whole another post about my reflections and tribulations on this – coming up shortly) I could not run, but instead I helped out as one of the lap counters.
In a way I have come full circle. My fascination into ultra running started when I joined the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centres and was invited to be a lap counter during the 2004 Race. At the time, although I was an enthusiastic runner, I just could not comprehend why anyone would want to run for 24 hours, let alone around a 400m track!
However, through each successive year I came to fully understand the need to go beyond that which you think you are capable of. I like to think I’m an exponent of this now, but, I’m still learning.
So, it was great to be back in the lap counting seat and I had the great pleasure of lap counting amongst one of my three runners, the legendary Geoff Oliver for the first ten hours. I was back again at the race at 5:00am to lap count another three different runners who all achieved over 100 miles.
There were some amazing performances and the Race was full of every emotion you can think of. Full Race Report and photo gallery can be viewed here: Race Report and Photos
Marco Consani (154 miles; 248km) and Fionna Cameron (134 miles; 216km) finished first and second respectively and it was their first 24 hour race – absolutely remarkable.
Marco kindly commented:
I am so glad that when I decided to do my first 24 hour event that I decided to run this one. This event is fantastic and so well organised. Shankara and her team looked after all of the runners before, during and after to make sure we all had good runs. No wonder people keep coming back for more.
I couldn’t recommend the Tooting 24 enough to anyone wanting a go at 24 hour racing.
Ann Bath (aged 65, finished with 102 miles; 164km) commented:
An absolute honour to be part of such an awesome race this year, my 3rd time at Tooting and the support from everyone just never ceases to amaze me. From the lap counters, aid station helpers, officials, and the supporters of other runners cheering you on too!. It just gives you such strength to do achieve your absolute best possible, and it helps hugely through any bad patches. It was my first 24 hour 3 years ago and I would encourage anyone to not be scared of attempting it, and age means nothing, it is the mind that has to be even stronger than your legs!
It was great to see my friend, Abichal complete 85 miles (136km). The photo shows him on the final minutes of the Race. Everyone tends to have the biggest smiles at the end – a mixture of bliss, happiness and relief.
It is amazing how such an arduous task such as completing a 24 hour race can bring so much joy and happiness to so many people – runners (of course, especially at the end), lap counters, helpers, supporters and family and friends. It was a privilege to be at the race again to witness this.
With God’s grace I hope I can run in the race next year.
It always seems impossible until it’s done. Nelson Mandela