Little could imagine the fate awaiting the Plum Plodders this year as they embarked again on to the challenge of the Catton Park’s 24 hours of crazy.
The build up to this event was just a good as previous years and again the teams were filled with members wanting to pop their 24hr cherry. As well the new ones our returning members who vowed never to do it again in 2016 where just as keen. The health links between amnesia and running needs further investigation and plum funding.
Friday is camp setup day, let me set the picture at the front of the queue is Our Chairman Trevor. He had parked up and waited the night before and was keen to mark out the plums spot. Just like the American land run of 1893 its a race to mark out and fly your flag Trevor was like a Gazelle at 8am and with help marked out what looked like hectares for the plums to nest in. Over the course of the day tents, caravans, mobile homes, transit vans all descended on to the plum plot, purple tape, purple flags and hoodies marked our growing Kingdom.
Now I don’t know who first mentioned the weather forecast for the weekend but very quickly it was muttered through the camp that it may rain a little on the Saturday. This didn’t dampen anyone spirits and with the Morrison Clubbing Marquee opened for drinks we all enjoyed a drink or two together, oh and it did start to rained a little but this didn’t stop us all singing “we’re goin solo” for Roodie, Chief of things most crazy.
Saturday morning team leaders were pulling their squads together and the atmosphere was electric. The night rain had made the conversations mostly about everyone moving to trail shoes, running orders and plums googling what the first sign of trench foot looked like. The morning does really fly by and before you know it 12 O’clock comes the first runners are at the start line. Our first casualty of the day was Mike Wilson. The race had not even started but a car decided to drive into him, thankfully after some treatment and bandages he was ok. The car a complete write off.
The great thing about doing the Thunder Run is every person and every team has their own goals and challenges to achieve. Solos, pair, teams of 5, teams of 8 all have a plan at the start and they work together through out the 24 hours to ensure everyone is ok, everyone is supported and that means yes of course it competitive but really we are all rooting for plums as the collective.
The course is for me a thing of beauty it has everything…. a Hill, then a hill in a wood, then a downward hill leading to a sloppy hill with a zig zaggy run with a hill at the end. Add some rain and mud you have a real cocktail of everything a plum plodder needs oh and of course when it gets dark it like a whole new run again, as I said beautiful.
As the Saturday moved into the evening the rain got heavier and the ground got muddier and the real fun began running times took a back seat and it was about getting through the mud. This became even tougher during the evening as darkness fell, many teams decided to break for while from running which was a sensible decision. As Sunday morning’s sun broke the atmosphere at the Plum camp was just as electric as the previous morning yes it was wet I mean really wet and the course was a mud bath in places but it did really create a new type of Thunder Run experience and the plums embraced it. I mean look at the photos teams even had time and energy to braid hair, wear tut tuts, photo bomb with umbrellas and snooze in their tents.
So we will all remember and talk of the “Wet” Thunder Run of 2017. It was dry at the end though and spirits ran high so high in fact that the interest in 2018’s is already buzzing. We may even have Sian change her mind and want to do it again, who knows. Now this write up has many stories and experiences missing and it not a “what happens on TR24 stays on TR24” its not simply so much happens. You go through every emotion and really build upon the community foundations of the Pershore Plum Plodders. When you made that half cut on Pinot Grigio decision on a Saturday night to join a team for TR24 little do you know what is in store.
I think anyone that has done this will remember the high feeling of missing something the days after the event and reliving it in photos and chat you realise what a fantastic running experience it was.
If you haven’t tried it 2018 is your year, If you have tried it 2018 is still your year, if you said you would never do it again I bet your name is already down for 2018!!!!
Up the Plums!