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10 Reasons Why A 24 Hour Run Event Is Cool

24-hour-runAfter recently finishing an eight hour run event, it got me thinking about this unique format and the cool features that come along with it.

First, what is an 24/12/8 hour endurance run?

These timed events are basically, run/walk/crawl as far as you want within the allotted time. The courses are generally flat with relatively short loops of two-ish miles or less. The running surfaces can vary from dirt, grass, pavement, concrete, or even a track.

There is no true finish line that says you are done. The fastest and the slowest runner will be working it to the best of their ability for the same amount of time.

With the above in mind, here are 10 reasons why timed running events are pretty damn cool.

  1. No DNF – You will never DNF at a 24/12 hour run event. You run one hour and call it a day. Your result will be the distance you traveled within that one hour. End of story.
  2. Sit and chill – Feeling like poo and want to sit. Go ahead and put your feet up. You aren’t forced to cover 50 or 100 miles before your day ends. There are no cut-off times chasing you throughout the day.
  3. Rub shoulders with everyone –  The short loops and significant amount of time provides opportunities to chat and hang with runners of all abilities throughout the day.
  4. Rarely completely alone – The short loops will often have you running/walking with others, moving up on someone, or being passed. If you are feeling good this isn’t such a big deal but if you are in that dark place, it can be nice to have people around. It is also nice to know you aren’t the only idiot running at 3 am.
  5. Minimal gear – The loopiness allows you the opportunity to haul little to no gear. Just run baby! But don’t forget to eat and drink.
  6. Happy feet – The running surface is usually friendly to running. No roots, boulders, or stream crossings to worry about. The biggest challenge will be the time on your feet.
  7. Safe environment – When running 24 hours into the night, it can be comforting having people always around and the nice short loop is convenient if you want to catch a few Z’s in your Lazy Boy you hauled with or grab a jacket when the snow starts falling.
  8. Experiment – The short loops provide an opportunity to try-out various nutrition, clothing, or gear options that you may use in an ultramarathon that doesn’t provide the ease of swapping out.
  9. Family friendly – If you have friends or family that actually want to support and watch you run in circles, there isn’t much better of an event to do it at. Plus, family can leave and come back at a random time later in the day and it will never be long before they see you again assuming you haven’t taken a nap next to a tree at the far end of the course.
  10. Help – If it gets ugly for you, help is never far away.

Have you ran in a timed event? What was your experience?

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David –

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

6 Responses to “10 Reasons Why A 24 Hour Run Event Is Cool”

  1. on 06 Oct 2009 at 3:30 pm Mike Krejci

    Great post, David. I agree completely. There is no other ultra where you can actually run the race and still get to see the competition take place for the leaders. I really enjoyed seeing that at the Run from the Ducks a few weeks ago.

  2. on 06 Oct 2009 at 8:53 pm David Hanenburg

    Hey Mike – Great point! Being able to watch the front runners go after it, is a special treat. Toss in motivating and inspiring as well.

  3. on 07 Oct 2009 at 1:23 pm Blaine Moore

    I haven’t done a race like this yet, but it’s on my list of things to do. They look like a lot of fun.

  4. on 07 Oct 2009 at 6:48 pm David Hanenburg

    Hey Blaine – I definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys long course running. It has a nice family vibe.

  5. on 21 Jan 2010 at 3:21 pm Jay Hall

    I did the 48 Hour Run on the track at SMU in the mid 80’s. It started on Friday after Thanksgiving at 9:00 AM and ended on Sunday morning. My goal was to qualify for Western States by running 50 miles, I believe, in under 12 hours. That wasn’t too difficult on the track but right after that, I had a mental let down that lasted through the evening.
    I liked your comment about taking a break whenever you feel like it – I laid down at midnight in the Field House for short nap and didn’t wake up until 7 am! I ended up doing 136 miles.
    A few things struck me – it was a crazy thing to do but what I found crazier were the volunteeers out there counting laps in rain and cold at 2 am!
    Toward the end, a group of us hung around together and walked the curves and ran the straightaways. I could barely lift my toes off the ground, my ankle muscles and ligaments were so tired and sore. You reversed directions every hour at the beginning of turn one so we looked forward to with much anticipation the fact that we got to walk two turns in a row every two hours when we started going counter-clockwise.

  6. on 22 Jan 2010 at 10:01 am David Hanenburg

    Jay – That is a serious power nap. 🙂 I am sure your body didn’t complain about that. 136 miles…48 hours. What an experience and yes, what amazing volunteers. The cold and rain had to be a huge mental and physical challenge for 48 hours.