Recently, Newport & District Running Club’s Daniel Miles took on the Joust 24hr race. He was kind enough to send us this report of his experience:
After entering a 100 mile race in 2020 and seeing this postponed due to Covid that year and in 2021, I was poised to finally toe the line at the end of May 2022. Unfortunately, Covid once again put paid to my plans, and I fell ill a week before the race. Luckily, I was able to find a replacement race 4 weeks later; The Joust 24 Hour Race, which takes place on Top Barn Farm just north of Worcester.
The premise of the race was that, starting at 10am on Saturday 25 June, participants had up to 24 hours to complete as many laps of the course as possible. Partial laps do not count. The exact distance of each lap wasn’t revealed in advance as the route changes based on activity on the farm, but it was 5.34 miles of mixed terrain; farm tracks, roads and fields, meaning 19 laps would be required to complete 100 miles.
I set up a tent with supplies at the start / finish of each lap, and set off. The first few laps were fairly straightforward, although the afternoon heat put a limit on my pace. Luckily, the farmer was watering his crops in mid afternoon, so the sprinkler system gave a nice shower once a lap for 3 laps. Along the way, I was able to chat to other runners. Some were there with the same aim as me, whilst others were completing a 12 hour race, and some were taking part in relay teams.
As dusk began to fall, head torches came out, the 12 hour runners finished and the temperature dropped. I had been very well crewed in daylight by my wife, Heather. However, at 7 months pregnant, she needed a good night’s sleep at a nearby hotel. This meant I had to restock my vest myself every couple of laps, filling up on snacks and drinks. These were by far the slowest pit stops!
The most challenging part of the race came between 1am and 4am, as the darkness and lack of sleep began to take its toll. I found myself shouting at myself, doing breathing exercises and shining my torch in my eyes to stay alert. The other runners on the course were invaluable in keeping me moving forward. Fortunately, my run/walk strategy meant I was able to mostly still be running until about 75 miles, when the running sections became more and more difficult, and ultimately I moved to walking entirely.
As dawn broke, so did the realisation that I actually had enough time to meet my goal, as long as I could keep my legs moving (by no means a guarantee!). My wife’s reappearance in the early morning gave me a much needed boost, and I was able to keep a decent walking pace going as I walked the final two laps.
I crossed the finish line at 9:33am on the Sunday morning, having completed 19 laps and 101.5 miles to claim my medal and 100 mile belt buckle! An unexpected bonus came in the presentation following the race, where I discovered I had won a trophy as 2nd male. The few steps to the front to collect my prize proved to be the most challenging!