It is a charity event where people can pay 10 euros to hire a chip (unless entered in the 8 days or 24 hours) and run, jog or walk as often as they like day or night during the week. The circuit becomes very busy in the lunch hour and early evening so at times it is very difficult to get round but you have to deal with that as best you can.
A French chum, David Le Forestier, who lives in Monaco had offerred to sponsor me 1 euro for every kilometre so I was hoping to complete at least 200km during the 6 days.
My friends Alan Young and Tim Rainey were already there when I arrived, busy crewing for William Sichel from Orkney who is ranked no 2 in the world for multi day events. They were already showing signs of sleep deprivation! Also there when I arrived was Eleanor Robinson, crewing for Richard Brown.
There were several runners taking part that I had met in previous years (this was my third time here) and quite a few new faces.Last years lady winner from Australia, Sarah Barnett was running and doing very well with a bit of help from Alan when William was sleeping!
Three British ladies were coming at the weekend to take part in the 24 hour race, Sandra Brown (Richards wife), Kathy Crilley (100 Km Association stalwart) and Lindsay Stewart ( a friend from the West Midlands).
My plan was at some point during the event (depending on the weather) was to do 48 hours without sleep to try and better my distance from Cologne (125.542kms or 78 miles).After doing a 7 lap recce of the circuit (not quite a mile round) on Monday evening I had dinner and retired to bed.
I decided to start my 48 hour attempt at 9-30am on Tuesday morning after a good nights sleep in my shared portacabin.I was to speed walk for the duration but jog if I needed to get past the numerous people who were walking to raise money for the local charity.I prepared my own refreshments as Alan and Tim were really busy looking after William who, by now, had taken the lead. We had a nice evening meal at 7-00pm and I then set off to go through until breakfast time hopefully without sleep.
HSH Prince Albert arrived at midnight for a run around with the race director and a couple of his staff. I tried to keep up with the group but without success however I did get a chance to have a chat with him after his run. A very nice friendly guy who, as his mother was American (the actress Grace Kelly) speaks good English.
After they had gone home there were only about 10 people going round during the night so I used my MP3 with some good music and kept going until about 6-00am when I became (unusually) very tired and needed some sleep. It was at this time that I had to admit that 48 hours without sleep is too much of a challenge for me. (I knew you couldn’t do it said Eleanor!)
After a 6 hour break I decided to carry on to see if I could achieve another 24 hours back to back. This I managed to do so I was more than happy about that.
My total distance for the 48 hour period was 138 kms considerably more than Cologne so that was acceptable.
The rest of the week was spent walking around enjoying myself, chatting with David (my sponsor) and meeting some of his friends and generally supporting the runners in the 8 day race. I also met some very nice ex pats and American ladies, some who were walking their doggies who were also wearing ‘chips’. There were also many people with pushchairs and school children. I met my little friend from previous years, Hugo Hakkinen. The name may be familiar to Formula One fans as his dad was 3 times world champion. A very nice young lad as were his school chums.
The 24 hour runners arrived on Friday evening and started thier race at 8-00am on Saturday morning. It was a joy to see Sandra, Kathy and Lindsay in action and I walked several laps with Lindsay when she was struggling with back problems.
All too soon the whole event was finished and HSH Prince Albert arrived with his wife HSH Princess Charlene for the presentation ceremony. Before this took place though we all paraded around part of the circuit following the Royals and a group of children representing the charity Children and Future.
Well the presentation ceremony was very exiting with prizes going to several British competitors.
Results were as follows:-
1st male William Sichel 1002.290 kms. Approx. 621 miles
William was also the first person in the 12 year history of NFL to run 1000kms.
1st lady Sarah Barnett 913.045 kms. Approx. 567 miles
Richard Brown was 15th with 670.024 kms. Approx. 416 miles
Pam Storey 256.751 kms. Approx. 159 miles.
1st man Ludger Boewer (Italy) 218.307 kms. Approx. 135 miles.
1st lady Maria Fossati (Italy) 190.847 kms. Approx 118 miles.
2nd lady Sandra Brown 180.578 kms. Approx. 112 miles.
Kathy Crilley 145.576 kms. Approx. 90 miles.
Lindsay Stewart 123.141 kms. Approx. 76 miles.