Paul Bolton was taking part in Endure 24 Reading

Paul Bolton had many miles ahead of him when he entered the fray at the Endure 24 Reading

Billed as the UK’s biggest 24 hour relay race, the Endure 24 event at Wasing Park, Reading, certainly attracts its fair share of runners from all across the spectrum. The aim of the game is to complete as many laps of the 8km loop as you can within the 24 hour time limit. It can be done in teams of five or teams of eight, as a pair, or if you’re brave (or crazy) enough, as a solo!

One of the newer members of the Bournemouth AC road runners fraternity, Paul Bolton, was doing it as part of a team of five and together, they made up Team Thin Blue Lines.

It was a lovely scenic route, incorporating a trail through Wasing Wood and taking in the 15th century Church of St Nicholas. It was a fairly undulating course which included a very tough climb they call ‘Heartbreak Hill’ and after going up that a fair few times, you’re going to know about it!!

The baking hot conditions made the challenge even greater for participants and ensured they had a gruelling 24 hours ahead of them when the event kicked off.

The start of the Endure 24 Reading event

Spiderman and the rest of the runners are on the start line for the Endure 24 Reading

Paul’s teammate Andrew Humphreys was on duty for the first lap and he raced round in just under 35 minutes before handing the reigns over to Paul. Knowing he had a long way to go and many miles to put in, Paul couldn’t afford to go out too hard and had to try to conserve some energy for later on in the race.

Completing his first lap in 46:03, Paul’s average pace for the five miles was 9:07. It was still warm when his next lap came around at 5:15pm and there was no breeze to cool him down. This time he got round in 50:05 before handing over the Lawrence Dreifuss who was next to go.

By the time he set out on his third lap, it had cooled down a bit and Paul ran well to complete the lap in 46:43. After that, it was time to get some food and fuel himself for his next departure. That came around at 1:25am so at that point, it was on with the head torch and out into the deep dark woods.

It can be quite unnerving running at that time of night but Paul handled it well, completing the lap in 49:50. He’d now managed four laps, covering 20 miles. Next time he was out, it was close to 6 in the morning.

Paul Bolton at Endure 24 Reading

There conditions were hot which made it an even tougher task for Paul and his team

The sun was already up and it was beginning to get warm. Paul had done well to keep consistency between his laps though and he clocked a time of 48:48 for this one.

It had been a monumental effort from Paul but there was still time for him to get one more lap in before the 24 hours was up. Starting that one at 10:14, it was his sixth lap and his legs were feeling stiff at first.

After going up the first hill though, they freed up and he was able to make it round okay, clocking a very impressive time of 46:46, which wasn’t really far off what he did for his very first lap.

It was an impressive showing of endurance from Paul and he’d covered 30 miles over the duration of the event, which was quite an achievement. Team Thin Blue Lines managed a total of 29 laps between them which was enough to see them finish in 8th position out of 32 teams in their category. They came 23rd out of 294 male teams across the various categories and were 88th out of 753 teams overall.

It was a stellar effort from Paul and his teammates and one that they will no doubt reflect on with pride and some wonderful memories to treasure once the recollection of the pain and suffering they went through begins to fade.