The Freedom Leisure British Ultrafest 2017 Race Report
The Freedom Leisure British Ultrafest 2017 took place April 1st at the K2 Stadium in Crawley. This year’s event featured 24, 12 and 6 hour options with staggered starts. This event replaced the annual Crawley AIM 6 & 12 hour races this year. (All photos courtesy of Jon Lavis)
With perfect conditions the 24 hour race started at 12 noon at the Crawley track along with the 6 hour runners.
Sean Smith set the early pace for the men and Chloe Sellwood led for the first few hours when Nuala Smith took the lead which she maintained until the end. Tim Boone took the lead in the mens 6 hour only to be pipped in the final stages by Sam Butler in a close finish with the top three men less than 2 km apart.
The 8 o’clock evening start for the 12 hour brought new energy to the track just as it was getting dark and the warm afternoon temperatures were declining. Michael Masnik began strongly and drew the field along behind him and by the end of the first hour there was a lap separating each of the top runners. By the second hour however the top three were pulling away with Dan Lawson in second and Anders Frank in third.
Things remained like this until shortly before the 5 hour mark when Dan, who had entered nursing an injury decided it was wiser to stop and so Helen James slipped into third place overall. Fourth placed Tamas Szikszay began picking up the pace putting increasing pressure on Helen until he squeezed passed just before the 11 hour point to take the third spot,
The 24 hour event began with Brian Robb of Bitton Road Runners taking a slight lead and over the first few hours the lead changed several times with Paul Beechey, Ian Thomas and Andy Jordan all heading the leaderboard. Paul Beechey began to settle down and pull away, wresting the lead from Andy Jordan until the 9 hour point when Italian Antonio Tallarita made an impression in the leading group – catching and assuming the lead in the 11th hour.
While Charlotte Smith took an early lead in the Women’s race, it was Lotta Thorn and Wendy Shaw who began to assert themselves and it was Wendy who began following Antonio’s progress up the leaderboard making it to third place overall by hour 10. By the midway point Wendy had surged into second place overall. That earlier drive began to take its toll and gradually both Antonio and Wendy began to slow giving Andy Jordan who had been 4th and then third for hours, began to make ground on the two in front until just before 21.5 hours, Andy moved into second place.
With two hours to go and 5 laps behind Antonio, he dug deep covering some 23 laps in the 23rd hour blasting into a 4 lap lead with an hour to go. Wendy hung on for third place overall and Andy finished the job with just over 202 km, 125.72 miles.
With 14 runners hitting the 100 mile mark in the 24 hour, Race Director Pam Storey had every right to be happy with the overall performances in all the races. With great conditions, (though it did get very cool and misty at one point during the night) the dawn brought a fresh energy that lifted everyone until the final whistle.
The organisers would like to thank all the volunteers who so generously offered their time including Sharon Herbert, the Timekeeper. Glyn Raymen set the tone at the Aid table and Simon Shaylor helped out through the night after running the 6 hour!! Gil did a wonderful job on the scoreboard after setting up and of course the takedown – well done Gil. Many thanks to Alan Young, co-founder of the British Ultra Fest who is the course measurement official amongst other things. Thanks too to Wendy Edwards for her support.
Chris Brownlee the Groundsman was a great help and we offer our thanks to our sponsors, Freedom Leisure for making sure things went well and that the venue was made available to us on very helpful terms. Morrisons helped with the supplies for the Aid table – thank you. We also would like to thank again the RRC for their invaluable support and Howlett Design for their great design.
It was great to have Lindley Chambers and Maxine from www.challenge-running.co.uk who provided wisdom and advice and a healing hand in the First Aid tent.
Keith Godden at Ultramarathon Running Store has been very generous again and he continues to be an excellent source of gear for ultrarunners and we are very grateful for his continued support.
Julie Burrows and Graham Hahn from Whats My Time did a fantastic job. Keeping track of the runners laps is a big part of the event and the organisers were impressed by their efficiency – many thanks.
Many thanks to Will Roberts who stayed for the whole race and who put together a great Podcast for Beyond The Ultimate called A Day In The Life – The British Ultrafest 24hr.
Thanks to the all helpers and well wishers who contributed in some way and to the crews, the runners and of course to Pam Storey who dedicated a large part of the last 6 months to making sure the Freedom Leisure British Ultrafest 2017 event would be a success – these things are never guaranteed.
Top Places in the Freedom Leisure British Ultrafest 2017
Live updates supplied by Whats My Time
Full Results: Freedom Leisure British Ultrafest (Excel)
Photos by Mark Easton
Photos by Jon Lavis
Race website: Britishultrafest.com