Spitfire Scramble 2015

After coming back from Florida Mr JAEG had a 24 endurance race to attend.  It was held locally in a beautiful country park that was once a Second World War RAF airbase.  The relay consisted of solos, duos or teams running laps of nearly 6 miles (10KM) over a 24 hour period.

“The Spitfire Scramble is a 24-hour multi-terrain relay or solo race. You can run on your own or in teams of two to eight runners. As you run through the night, the event will put your speed, endurance, torch batteries and teamwork to the test in the only event of its kind in the London area.”

Spitfire Scramble started in 2014 and we got wind of it through the running club.  Mr JAEG was invited to be on one of the teams and so the fun began.

The race started at noon on Saturday 15th August and would run onto the Sunday.  Participants were encouraged to camp and there was a great camping site set up with decent toilets and food stalls.  Saturday started bright sunny and clear, blue skies welcomed us as we made our way onto camp, not really ideal running weather but perfect for camping.

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Happy campers

The tents made it look like a strange music festival with no music (not right away) and lots of runners.  The atmosphere was brilliant and everyone was really encouraging everyone else.  The running club had 2 teams of 8, a ladies duo and a solo runner taking part.  I felt daunted by it all and impressed with the runners taking part.

There was a minutes silence to remember those who lost their life defending this country the race is in support of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund so a fitting start.  After that minute the bell rang and the first relay was off.

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Once the race was underway I went to get some food shopping in for the troops, dropped that at camp and went to check on the cats.

I came back a few hours later to a carnival atmosphere, Mr JAEG had completed his first lap and was absolutely buzzing.

I decided to check out the route with a friend, an idea was forming slowly and I wanted to see where I was going with it.

We walked up to the highest point of the race, Ingrebourne Hill, the views at the top were brilliant, you could see into London and Kent and we sat there for a while watching the runners face past enjoying the view.

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London at dusk

We were joined by the local horses who also appeared to be enjoying the peace and sunshine at the top of this hill.

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As day turned to night we walked back down to camp to give encouragement to those setting out to run their lap and to discuss how the run had gone for those who had completed their first lap.

Tent lights were switched on and the midges came out, it was time to go back home and let Mr JAEG run his lap in the dark.

The next morning was more dull, cloudy and cooler perfect for running.  I made my way back to camp after a disastrous nights sleep due to worry, I hoped that no legs were broken in the night.  As it was there were 2 people who had injuries, 1 pulled up due to a hip pain and the other just needed a break before embarking on another lap.

I discovered that Mr JAEG had just got back from his early morning lap and was planning to run the final lap of the race with the  rest of his team (he is a dynamo).  After making coffee and tidying up after the runners I waved them off for their final lap.

Whilst they were out the spitfire flew over several times, a beautiful sight for sure.  I just love all these old planes, trains and buses.  I was really moved (as were others) as it flew overhead signalling the end of the race the noise was special and you knew just by being there it was a fantastic tribute to those who fought from RAF Hornchurch 70 years ago and I took a moment to remember my Granddad.

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My pictures just do not do the Spitfire justice.

The race ended and all who took part clapped each other on their backs and packed away, some wearing their medals.  At this point I realised that my idea from Saturday would become reality as I opened my mouth and said the words “I am doing this next year”.  Cripes thats it, I need to really be dedicated to my running I thought.

Since that weekend I have put my name down and arranged for a team to join me.  Lets hope I enjoy it as much as the guys did this year.

I would recommend it for runners and if your pace is a more gentle walk I would recommend the park for lovely Sunday walks.

For more information:

Spitfire Scramble

RAF Hornchurch history

Hornchurch Country Park 

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