Wednesday 26 July 2017

Thunder Run 2017 by Jackie Price


When your facebook messenger is backed up with 10,000 messages about head-torches, tent arrangementsburgers, bop it, whether sun cream or wellies are required and a surge of Tim’s spreadsheets, then it can only mean one thing – Thunder Run ishere!


27 of us made the journey to Catton Park for Thunder Run 2017.  Linda had been ruled out of the first team due to a late injury but she came as drinking/support crew and luckily for her, she didn’t have to endure the mud bath that was this course. Stu MJ roped in his colleague Jenni, her twin sister Sarah and Sarah’s boyfriend Stu for the weekend


As always, the first to arrive and secure our pitch was Tim. He secured our usual spot on car park B and the Mass Debate Tent was erected in the centre of our pitch. Thankfully Rob, as always, provided every possible piece of camping equipment required and made sure we were all well catered for. 


Everyone pitched their tents around the main tent, or in Jon’s case he threw it up and cracked on with the beers! Our tent was pitched on an ants nest so quickly relocated. Phil SG arrived with a child sized tent that resembled a dogs kennel (and with Stuart MJ was convinced led to an underground lair), couldn’t withstand the rain and meant he had to sleep in his car.


In no time the tents were up and the beers were going down nicely. It was soon time to go and register and find out what colour t-shirts we had this year. There was a sizing issue with the woman’s t-shirts that meant they were at least 2 sizes too small and most certainly did not keep the girls guns under wraps very well. Jenni and Sarah were certainly not the only twins in our teams!


We made our usual trip to the A&T ASBO topless bus for an obligatory beer and for Rachel to do some retail therapy in the shops. We then made our way back to our pitch. The beers and fizz were flowing nicely with Tim’s special custom made TR playlist (featuring mainly Tim’s songs and David Guetta’s lesser known brother David Gutter) playing and it was all very civilised – but not for long. The heavens opened so it was an indoors BBQ, more beers and fizz and then it was cards against humanity time and from there it all quickly plummeted downhillThe lesson learned here is that you need to exercise caution when playing this game because you might innocently answer one of the questions and then have your winning answer as your nick name for the rest of the weekend! 


Some of the gang headed down to the start line entertainment whilst the rest of us just drank the tent dry. Party Dave was out in full force and the Ironmen amongst us showed their endurance skills went beyond swimming, biking and running. Everyone was getting a bit worse for wear and then we had a visit from a fellow runner who was most perturbed that we were still partying when he had to run in the morning “Are you all idiots?” bellowed through the tent and when Ian’s response was for him to “reveal yourself this led to a very amusing altercation that resulted in him going off threatening that he was complaining to security. The ASBO boys were left partying and then eventually crashed out about 2am with Dave taking all the chairs out and Ian falling into his tent onto Phil R’s head


There were some sore heads the next morning with Mike, Ian and Dave certainlypaying the price. I think Mike may still have a hangover now!


Chris S had ordered our custom made vests and t-shirts in A&T colours and these were very popular and looked great.


For some (Jon, Brendan, Pete and Tom) 24 hours of running was simply not enough so they headed out for the local park run first thing Saturday morning. 


Clare went missing and was located in the tent trapped in her wellies. Thankfully, Phil R was able to assist with removal, whilst we were just crying laughing on the floor.


Sue and Dave made sausage and bacon for everyone’s breakfast and then Dave’s beloved white board come out for team running orders, tactics and inspirational messages for Tim.


Next it was time for the annual log photo shoot in our new TR t-shirts. Rob (assisted by Ethan) was this years photographer and thanks to the woman’s t-shirts this looked more like an FHM cover than a group of runners. A few of us then did Dave’s annual walk over the course before heading for the start.


Timbo was all set for his epic challenge and Stuart MJ hit the start line for Team Hobo in his kilt, Phil SG got going for Team Hob Nob in his hot pants and Dave was first for Team Hobble in his signature lycra bad boys. This trio were quite a sight!


Tim (for the first time in his life) was last over the start line and then we all started to rack up the tough 10k laps of this course for the next 24 hours.


Tom F was fresh from ironman and did 2 super-fast laps for the Hobo’s before heading off for a week in Benidorm. Some of the first timers seemed totally shell shocked by the course (and Pete’s reaction to it comprised mainly of words beginning with f). Everyone soon got into it with Sarah having to make an emergency purchase of some new trail shoes that certainly didn’t look new for very long.


The sun was shining and we were able to gate crash a front row seat to cheer on Tim and all the runners, chill and catch up on the Love Island gossip and whether Jamie and Louise Redknapp were going to split because of Strictly or whether they could work it out. Clare started much deliberation as to what the shelter for a car on the drive is called and warned us never to mess with her mum!


At 3pm the rain started and then it did not stop until Sunday morning!!!! It was a 24 hour whirlwind of running, rain, mud, mud and more mud! Powered by pot noodles,Lucozade, Kay’s cakes, costco flap jacks and brews, we all did our laps as the rain and runners churned up the ground to an atrocious mess. “Unrunnable”, “ridiculous”“brutal” and “an absolute joke” were some of the descriptions that I heard whilst waiting in the run queue and these were certainly accurate! The night laps were like something from Blair Witch meets Marls Pitt, but still a firm favourite with everyone.The last few laps were bonkers but make this event what it is and everyone give it their best shot and seemed to embrace the slippery mud bath. The support on the course is just amazing. We had hoped to give Tim a new message of inspiration each lap but after 2 we gave up on this as the rain was just washing them away.


Chris W and Stu MJ finished their laps at 2am and then partied on and completely demolished a full bottle of tequila. 


Tim tackled the course solo and was an unstoppable force and showed the gruellerwho was boss. He clocked up an amazing 15 x 10k laps (94 miles!!) in 23 hours 28 minutes with the odd break for brews, pizzas, change of trainers and copious amounts of Vaseline. He came in at an amazing 5th place after a sprint finish that meant we missed him coming through the finish line.


Hobo, Hob Nob and Hobble all clocked an amazing 23 laps (With Sue, Claire M, Clare J, Pete, Jon and Dave doing 4 each).


Hobo (Stu MJ, Tom, Sue, Jackie, Jon, Chris W, Stu R and Pete) came 47th with a time of 22:59:39

Hobble (Dave, Claire M, Ian, Clare U, Neil, Rob, Eddie and Jenni) came 50th with a time of 23:46: 27

Hob Nob (Phil SG, Phil R, Rachel, Chris S, Mike, Brendan, Tracey and Sarah) came 51st with a time of 23:51:15


After all the drinking and running (past tents) was done it was time for showers, clearing up and the skipping of Jon’s tent and contents, before heading homeward bound.


Thunder Run 2017 was, as always, an amazing experience. We certainly know how to put the fun into thunder run and it is a miracle we have survived another year without getting banned. Same time next year?

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