Saturn Run to Infinity and Beyond 2 – 19th May 2024

by Paul Campbell

I found out about these events through previous Crook-Eds, and thought it ticked plenty of boxes, including being close to home, and not breaking the bank to enter.

For anyone who hasn’t ran one of these, its essentially a 4.4 mile lap, and participants do as many or as few as they like, within a cut-off time.
I thought it would be a good test of fitness and distance for the Great North Run having been injured for most of 2023, and when I signed up the initial goal was 2 laps, 3 at push. Things changed when I managed to run 13.1 miles at Easter, then changed again when I contracted Covid last week which wiped me out. The option to defer would cost £18, so I thought let’s just turn up, do 1 lap and see what happens.

The only other Crook member on the day was Lianne, who also had an illness to contend with, but fortunately it didn’t stop her from running – well done. I did however get wrong off her for not wearing my Crook vest which I was keeping clean for Adult Sports Day, aka NEMAA, the day after.

Fortunately, the weather wasn’t as hot & sunny as forecast, although I had whacked the sun lotion on just in case, before parking up near Shincliffe and walking a cold mile to the registration near the Rowing Club.

The route started near the parkrun finish line, heading anticlockwise to the Cricket Club, through the woods to Maiden Castle, over the no-longer noisy bridge, then onto the gravel paths of the parkrun before a U-turn, back towards Durham Old Gardens then returning on the parkrun path towards Shincliffe, before heading back towards the start.

There were a few little inclines along the way, but the most treacherous part was running through the busy Cricket Club carpark twice each lap, not ideal but as far as I know no accidents occurred.

Lianne was able to dig in and complete a lap, passing each other with a “Crook, Crook, Crook” shout. After each lap there was the option of grabbing a drink or snack, taking a breather, or just carrying straight on to the next lap.

I was aiming for 9 minute miles, which I just about managed thanks to a few quicker ones which offset the slower later miles. At mile 3 I got chatting to a lady from Peterlee who was on a running streak of around 4 years, and it made the time & miles pass by much easier. We parted company after lap 3 as I headed off stubbornly for lap 4, struggling with a pain in the knee from around mile 11 and the previous weeks illness. This made it my longest ever run, having never gone beyond the half marathon distance. Not quite “Infinity & Beyond” but I was more than happy!

According to the results, 177 runners completed the event, the longest distance being 42.5 miles in 7h35. Strava didn’t quite match the published distance, but the Crook results were:

Lianne 1 lap 4.4 miles 53:10 (Strava 4.48 miles)
Paul 4 laps 17.5 miles 2:41:37 (Strava 17.75 miles)

If I was to do another, I might consider doing it as a backyard-style event – do a lap, rest & refuel then go again on the hour to try to cover more miles, but for this one I just wanted to get done and get home for the football. It was a friendly, relatively low-key event, plenty of re-fuelling options during the event plus pop, chocs & crisps afterwards. I came home starving, shattered and in pain but proudly wearing my medal, to which my daughter remarked “that looks a bit childish, have you been to a kids party”