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Crawley 24 hour Track Race 2022 - Ultrarunning

By: Sinead Kane

Last Saturday/Sunday I competed in the Crawley 24 hour track race. Pam Storey organised a fantastic event once again. Well done Pam and to all the officials.

Getting to the start line was a mental and physical challenge. I had represented Ireland the weekend previous at the ACP - Anglo Celtic Plate 100k in Scotland. After ACP, I couldn't decide whether to go to the 24 hour race in the UK. It was a week where the mental battle was ongoing in trying to decide whether to go. I didnt book my flights until Thursday night. On Friday, at the airport, I changed my mind again and kept telling myself not to go to the plane. Many people told me last week you won't be recovered. They were right, I wasnt recovered. I was feeling tired and a recovery run that week felt very difficult on my legs. Going into the race the aim was 200k if I could manage it. The bonus would be 205k as that would be a PB from my 204.6km. But I didnt want to feel disappointment so the plan was to just aim for 200k and give it my all to get that. Getting to 200k would put my name in the mix for consideration for the 24 hour European Championships. I had a distance of 197km from last September which is the International C Standard which is good. But not good enough if many names in the mix.

I arrived at the track on Saturday not knowing how the day would go and would it work with my guide runners. Most of them I had never met and only had brief contact with them.

Special thanks has to go to Adam and John who came and crewed for me for the entire race. Adam set up base. Thank you so much Adam. I will be forever grateful giving up your time to come help me. The day started with Jen guiding me. Jen guided me last September and we got on well together and we are similar height and so it just worked.

Many guides followed after Jen who all did a great job. All of them understood my needs. Example, there were times where I had to say to them I cant talk as I am trying to conserve my energy and they understood. Thank you Jen, Erin, Hannah, Amanda, Warren and Susan, Jenny, David, Paul, Alan. From midnight to midday Adam, Nathan and Matt took over the night shift. They did an incredible job to be there in the freezing temps.

Sometimes we have to take a chance on ourselves. Have courage to take on something even when odds stacked against you. Embrace the fear. Embrace failure. Have courage to try. Find that small spark of hope within to get you moving. Once in motion it is easier to keep moving forward.

Well done to fellow Irish ultrarunners - Nichola and Joanne who also competed in the 24 hour race and Lorraine McMahon who competed in the 12 hour race. Also nice to see Keith Russell who guided me a few weeks ago. Keith was there to crew for Joanne during the night.

If I never do another 24 hour race then I feel I can say I am proud of what I have done. I feel I am no longer Sinead the girl who runs with guides. Instead, people will look at my results.

Only 11 Irish Women EVER have gone over 200km in a 24hour race. I am ranked 8th of all time.

Crawley 24 hour race complete - 09/10 April 2022 - distance 209.7km - 2nd female - 4th overall.5 PB's in the past 3 months 50k, 6 hour, 100k, 100mile and now 24 hour pb.

The running adventure continues. But time to relax now for a while.

Photos by John O'Regan

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