Halstead Road Runners returned to the Spitfire Scramble 24 hour race this weekend at Hornchurch Country Park. The event tests runners’ speed, endurance and teamwork in the only event of its kind in the London area.
Due to the growing popularity of the race, the organisers had moved the event village to a larger field but the course remained the same albeit starting and finishing from a different point. This meant the long winding Ingrebourne Hill, the highest point in the course which has spectacular views over the London skyline at dusk, now featured at the 5 mile point in the 5.7 mile multi-terrain course. Once runners have descended the hill they shortly reach the camping field where they handover to the next runner in their team. Each team must have one runner on the course at all times and runners must complete a full circuit before handing over to a team mate.
The race has now become a regular fixture in the Road Runners’ calendar with any vacant places due to injury quickly becoming filled. This year the Club fielded 4 teams of 8 runners. These were HRR Men 1, HRR Men 2, HRR Ladies and HRR Mixed.
The race started at 12 noon on Saturday in rather damp conditions. The weather remained very humid over the 24 hours including surprisingly sauna like conditions in the early hours of Sunday morning.
It was an extremely successful weekend for Halstead. This is the first year that the club has fielded a Ladies only team and they finished a fantastic 2nd in their category. The men did equally as well with HRR Men 1 also taking 2nd place on the podium in their category with HRR Men 2 team 5th.
Despite lack of sleep every single runner, across the 4 teams, gave it their all with impressive consistent pacing evident in some cases. The weekend wasn’t just about the running with cake and Prosecco for long standing club member Chris Hill’s 60th birthday.
Nathan Roulson, who has organised the club’s attendance in the event over the last 3 years, said “The Spitfire Scramble is as much about preparation between laps as it is about the running, and as runners become mentally and physically fatigued through the night they need each other’s support to rouse and motivate them. All 4 teams did this very well and it paid off with great results. Three or four laps in this format is harder than a marathon and for most squad members this was the toughest challenge they have ever undertaken. It’s incredible for our small running club to achieve such great results and is a testament to our club spirit. This extends to the other competitors – everyone is cheering everyone at Spitfire. This and the unique nature of the challenge make it my favourite running event by far. Halstead will be back again next year”.