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Barcelona 24 Hour Track Race

15/12/2012

On Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th of December, Vicky Hart took part in the Barcelona 24 Hour Track Race and set a new club record in the process. Vicky reported on her Spanish trip as follows...

"The 24 hour race is the flagship event of the two-day running festival that takes place each December. This year was the 9th successful hosting of the event and there was a great buzz of excitement leading up to the festival with some of the world’s premiere ultra-runners on the entry lists for the various races to be held over the weekend. Top billing went to Brit Lizzy Hawker who holds the current women’s World Record Holder for a 24 hour road race. However she was unable to come to the event so this left the women’s field in the 24 hour race wide open with the potential for a great battle between the Spanish and Scandinavian contingents.

There were a number of Brits entered into the different races so it meant there was always plenty of support to keep runners going and Vicky’s brother Robert acted as her support crew.

The race started at 12 noon on Saturday the 15th and the basic concept was to run as far as you can around laps of the athletic track until the final horn sounds at 12 noon on Sunday. The distance is recorded by special electronic chips worn on the runner’s shoes which record every lap that is run, and the winner is the person who has run the furthest at the end of the 24 hours. To break up the monotony a little, the race changes direction every 3 hours.

Often in these types of races runners set off too fast and suffer for it later on when their legs are too tired to keep going. Vicky was aware of this so set off at a deliberately steady pace with a specific target for the first 6 hours.  Because of this she found herself being lapped regularly by other runners but she knew she had to be patient and run her own race. This paid off in the 2nd 6 hours as she gradually started passing people who had been passing her earlier. Vicky felt strong and was running comfortably taking a 1 lap walk break every 30 minutes to refresh her legs.

All 24 Hour Race runners were also given an official classification for the first 12 hours of the race as well as their final 24 hour result. Vicky’s official 12 Hour classification of 106.115km would have given her 5th place overall in the 12 hour race had she chosen to do that race.

Despite her legs still feeling strong, Vicky started to suffer with stomach issues and other medical problems from around 2am and was unable to eat or drink for the next 7 hours. Despite this and determined to still reach her target, Vicky continued in the race, even though it was now at a much slower pace. As she ticked off each hour she managed to still improve her position in the race as everyone was suffering having been running for such a long time.

When dawn broke with only a few hours left in the race, Vicky knew she would achieve her target with an hour to spare and so she was able to ‘enjoy’ the final hours of the race and soak up the fantastic early morning atmosphere.

When the final horn was sounded and each runner dropped their marker which would indicate their final distance, huge cheers and applause broke out around the stadium and all the runners and supporters congratulated and hugged each other. Every runner was exhausted and in varying amounts of pain, but they all shared a special bond at having gone through such a gruelling experience together.

Vicky was relieved to have run a new PB, recording a distance of 164.125km which was 2.312km further than her previous best. She was also delighted and surprised to discover she had finished so far up the field as 5th lady and 34th overall out of 91 runners. Some of the other Brits were also rewarded for their efforts at the race, with Matthew Moroz finishing 3rd, Robbie Britton 4th and John Pares 6th and all three now selected to run for Great Britain at the 24 Hour World Championships for 2013."

Since Vicky was already holder of the club record for 24 hours, further congratulations are due to her for increasing the mark to her new personal best distance.

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