Contributed by Marie Boyd, AURA Member

The Boundiful 3/6/12/24 Hour Ultra and Relay Endurance Run is held in the USA in an orchard near Hemet, California and this year it was held on November 3. There was a one mile USATF certified loop, dirt road, 50’ gain and loss per lap with accurate timing by Lambert Timmermans, Negative Split racing, and Jean Ho his trusty sidekick.

Over 100 runners gathered in the orchard.

Heat climbed into the 90s F (30s C) in the afternoon with many runners feeling the double whammy of heat exhaustion and blisters due in part to the fine dust and hot conditions.

Race management catered to all our whims and delusions of grandeur.

Many porta-loos dotted the course, clean, lit, equipped with hand sanitiser and good quality toilet paper, making a huge difference to our comfort. The aid station ran all day and night, offering an assorted variety of snacks, drinks, ice, and encouragement. No timing straps on our ankles, just a coded strip behind our bib – another huge improvement as these are responsible for many ankle injuries and discomfort.

We camped between rows of grapefruit trees, enjoying some daytime shade. The course had enough variety with its turns and interesting short stretches, with a wonderful long gradual downhill through a shady lane of trees to the finish line.

My plan called for a 20-minute break every four hours, with various walk/run combinations on the ups and downs. Every hour, I took a water-filled bottle using electrolyte fluids, fruit juices and water on ice, thus ensuring sufficient fluid intake. In the heat, my appetite lags, but I have enough fat storage to last me for about five years, so I didn’t worry about powering down 200 to 300 calories per hour.

As I am now in the ‘geezer’ age group, my expectations were adjusted accordingly. Long gone are the days of 100+ miles in a 24-hour event, and I was planning on 60 to 65 miles as my goal. Hitting 33 miles in 12 hours was perfect, and with the night hours and cooler temperatures, I picked up the pace and running intervals. I hadn’t felt this energised during the night hours for many years, and was amazed at my complete lack of fatigue, muscle soreness, stomach issues, and blisters.

As the last hour approached, and verifying that no partial lap credit was being given, I planned a leisurely two-lap stroll, enjoying the pre-dawn stillness and lightning sky. With 19 minutes left, I was encouraged to go for ‘one more lap’ and would be given credit for it, even if over the 24-hour mark.

Not my usual style, but I picked up the pace, and with just two minutes left on the clock, found a huge finishing sprint to finish with 65 miles in 23:59:30.

Happy indeed, and today I am still processing just how nicely this event unfolded for me. As a confidence builder for ATY 6 Day, I couldn’t ask for more.

Congratulations to all finishers, and commiserations to those whose day just went downhill unexpectedly. Race management is to be commended on a great event, wonderful goody bag, and those wonderful bottles of wine. Must return.

Pictured: Marie Boyd participating in the Boundiful 24hr event in California, USA. Photograph – Supplied.