A 24 hour ultra distance running event will be held in Crawley over April 1 and 2 weekend.
Race director Pam Storey told the Obby that she has been organising an annual ultra distance run at K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley since 2006.
In that time, the events have raised more than £10,000 for Advance International Ministries, a charity based in Pound Hill which helps children in Uganda.
“I started the event as a six or 12 hour challenge,” she said.
“Runners cover as much distance as possible in the time. It’s a mental challenge as much as physical - I think the people that do these events will tell you that it’s about 80 per cent in the head.
“It’s been six hour and 12 hour since 2006. This year, for the first time, we’re doing a 24 hours as well.”
Also new for this year is a chip timing system, which will automatically record the number of laps each runner has completed.
When the organisers first discussed the new event, their target was to get 24 runners for the 24 hours. In the end, they had 31 entries for the 24 hour challenge, with 17 in the six hour event, and 20 signing up for the 12 hour run.
The numbers may be a little low because of the timing of the event.
“Unfortunately, the World Championships for the 24 hours is taking place in Belfast, at the beginning of July,” she said. “Having said that, I think we’ll get some really interesting runners coming to take part.”
Pam said ultra distance races were quite popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but were overshadowed in the 1980s, when marathons experienced a sudden surge in popularity.
Now, she would like to see them making a comeback.
Registrations for the races are now closed, but organisers hope to get some spectators there to give the participants some encouragement, and to decide if the event is something they’d like to try in future. They would also like more volunteers to help supply food and drinks to the runners.
The Freedom Leisure British Ultrafest six and 24 hour events will begin at noon on April 1, while the 12 hour race will begin at 8pm.
For more information visit: http://www.britishultrafest.com/
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