The Running Roadtrip is quite an unusual concept in racing, involving just a bit of planning, teamwork, and if you’re up for it, international travel. Set up by Michael Midgely, of Team Nuts (the home team of the Nuts Challenge in Dorking), it promises to be a great way to loose the chains of organised adventure racing in favour of a mad dash around countries or counties. If you’re lucky, you can come away with a pretty grand cash prize, but even if you don’t win, what a great way to get on the road with your mates and see what the world has to offer the adventurous runner.
What inspired you to create the Running Roadtrip?
The idea came to me back in 2016. I had just signed up for the RedBull 400 in Germany and thought, this is a long way to go for a very short race so I decided to see where I could add other runs in during the trip. My original plan was to drive, make a few days of it, and take in some spectacular views.
It only took a couple of hours of research before I went into overdrive. What about making this more than just a road trip? Why not put a time limit on it and make it a team event? The only way to be sure that this wasn’t just a crazy idea was to test it out!
I found enough crazy volunteers to test the concept from Team Nuts, so on my test run, I was joined by Mark Richardson, James Ball and Ian Parker.
I regularly do the 3 Peaks 24 hour Challenge and have two trips planned for this year already so am familiar with the practicalities of 24 hours of no sleep whilst being active.
Usually, there is so much pressure when entering events to make sure you’re hitting peak performance and avoiding injury on the lead up, but as this can be done any time, you can work around your schedule and race calendar. If you plan well, just drop everything, get out and do it when it suits you!
Have you already had a lot of uptake on the international version? What’s the record so far?
Uptake is slow at the minute but that was expected this time of year, once we are into Spring and people start looking for new challenges on free weekends I am certain that will improve.
The record for the International version currently sits at 9 although the leader board is clear for this year. We had plenty of time for the 10th run but had issues moving our slot at Eurotunnel so didn’t quite make it. I could have kicked myself afterwards as I had planned everything to the minute. The evening before we began we decided to bring the start time forward by 2 hours, expecting to be able to jump on an earlier crossing back to the UK. If we had kept to the original plan we would have made 10!
What can people gain from taking part?
There is so much to get out of it! How often do you get to run shoulder to shoulder with your teammates and spend this amount of quality time together? I love a road trip, and when it involves seeing incredible places too, it makes for a very special experience.
Because the runs are split in to 5km chunks, it is achievable for most, and those pushing new personal boundaries may also achieve their first Ultra distance over 24 hours if they get 10 legs in.
One of my personal highlights was running alongside the river in Maastricht (Netherlands) as the bars were kicking out in the early hours. Four runners certainly drew attention (and initially friendly abuse and jeering from one group). When we stopped to explain that this was our 8th country that we were 900 Km from our start destination in Italy, they were left slack jawed. This just confirmed what an incredible challenge and experience it was.
What does the entry fee get you?
An incredible medal that Running Imp have done a great job on! If you are entering the international event there is also the chance to win £500 for your team if you top the leader board, so a percentage of all costs go towards that.
Could we get ahead by entering foreign embassies and running up and down their corridors?
I have been very specific with the rules for this very reason and added this definition “The term Country means the physical geographical country within its own border. Sovereign soil or properties such as Embassies are not permitted within the challenge”. [Well, that’s us told!]
Where do you see the Running Roadtrip going from here?
I have a few plans on hold, including a US State / County version, but we need to see how this first concept does.
We have proven that it can be done, all that remains to be seen if there is an appetite for it.
Although these events can be done on any day, there is also great scope for community days to be set up where there is a set date, and all of the Strava and Facebook live streaming etc. can be fed to once place. This will really build the excitement, having multiple teams doing their challenges simultaneously, and being able to keep tabs on the other teams.
Have you got any top tips or tricks to tempt people into competing in the counties version? What’s the best plan of attack for a successful mission, do you think?
The counties version is a great test, but with both planning is key! It also depend what your goal is.
You may want to be competitive and go for the highest number. If so, plan your route to make sure each run is flat or has lots of descent. Try and keep your run to rest ratio balanced, give yourselves time to fuel between runs and also be prepared to adapt. While in Belgium we had to stop on the motorway for fuel so we ran a 5k in a service station lorry car park to save time.
It’s not just about being fast runners, as there is so much more to take into consideration throughout 24hrs. My test group criterion was a 30-minute 5km pace for the group initially, with room for that pace to slow over time.
If you are doing it for an experience with friends then pick a number of runs that your group is happy with, choose some incredible locations that you have been meaning to get to, give yourselves time to eat and rest as you go along and enjoy a great experience together.
Well, we’re intrigued! For more information on both the country and county versions of the Running Roadtrip, head to therunningroadtrip.com. If you’re up to the challenge, sign up (but don’t forget to check our cool 20% discount on the members page).