Tackling a muddy course at the new Catton 12 Backyard UltraImage: courtesy of Tim Sharman

Catton 12 Backyard Ultra a true test of clockwatching

An unusual event for these unusual times.

At 9am on Saturday 8 May runners were on the start line at the new Catton 12 Backyard Ultra where the aim was to complete a 6.7km lap on the hour, every hour. The expression ‘clocking on’ assumed a whole new meaning...

Organised by PVS Events Ltd it was held at the same venue used for the hugely popular Conti Thunder Run 24 HR. The road map out of lockdown and subsequent lifting of restrictions meant this 12 hour race could go ahead and excitement started to grow as May 8 approached. 

The Met Office forecast was for heavy rain on the day and the Great British weather duly obliged, turning the course into a wet and muddy test for everyone. Runners were racing against time on a mixture of surfaces that included grassy fields, gravel tracks and technical sections through the woods along with hills and fast descents. 

The aim was to complete 12 laps equalling 80km or 50 miles in 12 hours. Having a strategy was important as well as the fitness and stamina required for this gruelling event. Run a lap under in under an hour and be ready to begin the next one an hour later whilst factoring in time for a change shoes/clothing, grab something to eat/drink and quick patching up of any blisters or other similar issues was a logistical and physical challenge. Take longer than an hour and be eliminated from the race. 

There were outstanding performances despite the tough conditions notably from women’s winner Michelle Buckle who is preparing for the Dragon’s Back Race this September in memory of her mother. She battled through and kicked for home on the last lap to take first place for the ladies. 

There were trophies made from sustainable timber for the top three men and women and bright green technical t-shirts and medals for all finishers. 

Many of the finishers are looking forward to next year’s event. Mud or no mud...

Image courtesy of Tim Sharman. 

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