Over the weekend of 18/19 July, Team Mind took part in the Ultra 12 in Pangbourne, near Reading. A team of Mind charity supporters ran in the team event, whilst one particularly exuberant supporter took on the full 12 hour event.
The guys at Race Solutions put on a number of relay events on foot and wheels and this is another to add to their high quality offering. The entire team had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Unlike many relay events, Ultra 12 ran through the night and only through the night – from 7pm to 7am. A bit backwards, you might think, as surely daylight hours would suit people more? Not for us. Runners are weird folk and this quirk was one of the things that attracted us to take part.
Team relays are becoming big business on the running calendar, but most are 24 hours in length. Ultra 12 is a great opportunity for those slightly daunted by a full 24 hour run or relay, and really fills a gap in the market.
Down to the nitty gritty – the event itself. Set in Pangbourne, a beautiful area of Berkshire, the course was rolling countryside. It was a beautiful 5 mile loop that wasn’t too daunting, where you can take in some wonderful scenery – trees, rolling countryside, a lake and other exhausted runners. We didn’t know what to expect from the event because it was in its first year, but as it happens, we needn’t have worried. Head torches at the ready, there was an expectation of loneliness, twisted ankles and the potential of getting lost. There were lots of really enthusiastic marshalls at important turn points, although the first dark lap for each team member was a little daunting. A few more of the neon posts would have been great. The campsite was well lit where it needed to be and there were always other runners about to encourage; both on the course and in the camp site.
We really enjoyed the laid back atmosphere. The campsite was great, easy to access, and had all the facilities we needed. We particularly loved the fire pit that really brought the runners together – especially when it got cold! There was lots of space and we never felt cramped. That’s a big selling point of Ultra 12 – it’s not too big. Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t the Thunder Run. It is much more homely with a reassuring feeling of participation being the main thing – we weren’t there to win! Catering and toilets for Team Mind were the most important things. We wanted bacon and we wanted toilet paper – and we got both! 5.30am brings with it exhaustion and the potential to be grumpy. But that didn’t happen because the catering was 24 hours. The toilets were constantly cleaned and never too busy. They only ran out of paper right at the end!
We hope Ultra 12 doesn’t get too big. They should keep their niche of being under the radar and all about the friendliness. For the record, Team Mind came 9th and Rachel, the solo runner, came 16th. Not that we were bothered one bit – we just loved taking part, having a laugh and representing the charity. We’ll be back!