With that in mind, the kids and Mrs R fully embraced last week's No Finish Line. The concept of the race is that a 1.3km track is coned off around Monaco port. The race begins at 2pm on a Saturday - this year on the 16th of November, and the track is open 24hrs per day until the following Sunday - 24th November. 8 days in total. There are a hardcore group of around 50 runners that are on the circuit and are in some respects semi professional runners on the 24hr and multiday "circuit" The top 4 or 5 tend to manage about 900-1000km in the week - each. There is also a 24hr race on the last Saturday from 9am until 10am. Every year for the last 5 or so a group of friends and I have got together under the name Pussy Footing Around and entered the race, with the aim of beating previous year's totals. In 2012 I managed 317km, and the team was 15th overall. This year I was going for top 50 personally (out of nearly 10,000 entrants) and I wanted top 10 for the team. I recruited the usual suspects and we even got a t shirt sponsor - the Skin Society Monaco, and I coopted them to pay for some booze in order that we could have our own 24hr party on the Friday night, but also putting in some laps. We had done the same thing in previous years with devastating effect on the opposition.
The plus side of the whole event is that for every km run, several local businesses underwrite with Euro 1 donated directly to charity. The event was targeting to raise Eur300,000.
Unfortunately, the week got off to a bad start - firstly I had #3's 8th birthday party. We painted bowling pins and had McDonalds. It was nice but I didn't even get off the mark. Then we had a 50th birthday party in the evening, so after tidying up from 12x 8 year old girls, we got dolled up and went out. #1 & 2 put in a decent couple of hours, however, and with others managed to get the team off to a good start.
Sunday morning arrived, and after a late night at the birthday party we went off to church. A quick lunch and we finally managed to get on track for around 2pm. I ran a full marathon - slowly, and socially, chatting to various friends and acquaintances. The dogs were also coerced into doing a few laps. Mrs R joined for a 10km, and then took #3 home, but I stayed on track with #1 & 2 for a long time. It was really nice to spend some time with #1 actually. Life has become very busy with various activities - hers and mine, and her boyfriend / homework / hormones all conspiring to keep us apart and arguing when together. This week helped - in a small way - to change that.
Monday morning and I woke at 4.30am - did some of my overnight work that tends to back up, and then scootered down to the track. I ran 21km which was nice because it was entirely empty, and then I returned home for brekkie and cold bath. I went to work in tracksuit and sports gear and in the evening, I took Jack down to the track for a cheeky 10km walk, returning home on the bus with #1 and a nice chat.
Tuesday - another spanner in the works. Overnight we had had a big storm - the back end of a cyclone, and as the waves were coming over the docks the race had been suspended. This was infuriating as I would have done another 20km or so given I was there at 5am, and yet I did not manage any at all and only 4km in the evening. So a whitewash. My rivals however had managed to lap a few times as the track reopened at 7am!
Wednesday and Thursday followed the same pattern as Monday and I was able to bring up the ton fairly easily, although was well behind the previous year, but the team as a whole was doing really well - 18th place overall and we still had the Friday 24hrs to come.
Friday morning arrived and I had to meet Dom with my truck and the Skin Society wagon at 5am to drive down to the port - reserve our parking spaces next to the track, and fill the truck with supplies.
I carried on lapping as did most - and I spent the next 10km chatting to the vicar - also on our team. Was a hoot, although it was still cold, overcast and trying to rain. I got to 84km and stopped for a sausage sandwich and cup of tea - all cooked on a little primus stove. Was great fun and the kids have not stopped talking about it - a bit like camping although with even less sleep. I then walked as much and as fast as I could until lunch time. The kids were both back on track, although Mrs R was slow to show up! The track got busier with more and more coming to do laps. At 12 we all bailed to a local restaurant for a steak and a glass of wine. Very civilised. I then went back on track with #2's lunch - she was so focussed she ate on the go! I was pretty tired and had actually fallen asleep at the table but the minute I got up I was able to keep going again - jogging very slowly and walking round with various people including the kids. The atmosphere at the track became very party like - Zumba dancing, and a live country and western band. The track was packed and became very difficult to move, although we kept going until 6.30pm before calling it a day with a ceremonial lap of the circuit - all in our matching t shirts. I went home, had a cold bath and some food, walked the dogs (who had slept all day), and as you know went back for more the next day. I had covered 111km but as team we put on 2600km from 6.30pm friday night until 2pm Sunday afternoon. Phenominal.
After the 24hr session, having slept until 7am or so, #2 got up and dragged herself off to the track. She then carried on going non stop until 2pm - the finish. She managed to hold off her competitor but it was touch and go - the other girl turned up and we identified her, and I took #2 to just behind the other girl and told her to keep her in sight. In the end the other girl buckled mentally and went home which enabled #2 to relax and have a hot dog although she carried on going to the bitter end!
It was a similar story for #1. She also won her age group. Jack came 3rd in his category behind 2 huskies. Jack and I walked around, jogged a little, but mostly walked on Sunday morning for 4.5hrs and racked up another approx 20km - 265km in the week. I was 69th overall and 16th in my age group - out of 1251. There were 9021 entrants overall. I had obviously missed a couple of days because of #3's birthday and the storm, so potentially could have been more, but there is always next year.
It was not always plain sailing and was very tiring, but it was great fun nonetheless and the kids showed impressive dedication to the team and the race itself. It was a shame that there were no prizes for the kids (or dogs) but there is always next year...and we aim to be sponsored next year! Watch this space.......