Every year, my university holds a 12 hour relay. Teams compete against one another to run the most laps between 10:00 in the morning and 22:00 in the evening, switching runners every lap. Last year I took part a bit haphazardly, running 13 laps way harder than I had wanted to.

This year, I felt like taking part with a larger contribution and not letting myself get caught up as much as last year, lasting longer, running more.


Since the beginning of February, I have been aiming to run 65 km per week consistently, with a down week every fourth week. This has largely worked out, though I had to make some adjustments for sore throats and a fever in March. Two weeks before this race, I also decided to take some days off because my right knee had been bothering me. No pain or anything, just… noticeable at times. Taking the days off did not necessarily change much to that feeling so I went back to running and just keeping an eye on it. I tried to do tempos, but must admit I have not been as vigilant in ensuring I do those as maybe I should have. Especially if something feels a bit odd, I’ll just abandon trying the harder work in view of keeping it safe.

The goal for this spring is the 20 km door Brussels at the end of May. While it has been “the goal”, I must admit I am not tackling the problem as religiously as I might have in the past. I am just trying to ensure I can run often and in a healthy manner. If I can squeeze in some work that benefits such a race: great. Otherwise, no harm done. I only decided I would do it around the start of April too. So it is “the spring goal”, but it is a soft goal indeed.

Course Details

The start was still the same as last year, turning into a very brief downhill on packed earth with roots sticking out that you half jump between. This was extra dangerous in the evening, when it gets dark and harder to actually see the roots. Next came a small change compared to last year. Rather than run the first half on stone slabs, the course was kept just to the left of them: in the grass. This made for slightly more difficult running. After this bit, everything was the same as the year before. You briefly enter the track to run on its short side, then exit again with a sharp double turn, then run on stone to the area where you started. All in all a lap is just a bit short of 600 metre.

Goals and Strategy

I had no goals going into this besides ensuring I could run for longer than last year, while not damaging myself as much in the process. Both of these goals are met by one simple thing: running a bit slower. Last year I let myself get dragged into sprinting a bit too often and I figured I would only be spending an hour at the race. This year I wanted to stay several hours, so I could not let that happen.


I had to teach in the afternoon, so had to wait till after that before I could join my team. I joined them around 16:00, running my first lap shortly thereafter. I used the laps button on my watch to keep track of both the laps I did and the time I spent resting. Due to having to switch the relay stick from person to person, this did mean I pressed the lap button always a bit before getting the stick (and thus before running) and pressed it again after handing off the stick. This added a little bit of recorded time to every lap I actually ran.

I spent the first hour running a lap, letting two other people running a lap, and repeating it. Laps were taking around 2:15-2:25 which makes them, as far as I can tell, a little bit faster than my LT pace. Having double the rest of the time I ran was useful.

Lap Time Wait till next
1 2:24 5:09
2 2:21 5:30
3 2:15 5:28
4 2:19 7:48
5 2:17 5:40
6 2:23 5:34
7 2:19 4:53
8 2:21 4:51

After doing nine laps like that, we briefly had some more people. It was past 17h00, so I imagine people had finished their class and had come on over afterwards. After that ninth lap I had 17 minutes of rest and after the tenth lap that got up to 20 minutes. This was then negated by running a few in a row with only one person in between. After that I managed to somewhat get back to my run one, rest two schedule for a bit.

Lap Time Wait till next
9 2:21 17:11
10 2:22 20:24
11 2:20 2:32
12 2:19 2:12
13 2:24 5:32
14 2:21 11:14
15 2:18 15:24
16 2:20 5:50
17 2:24 5:26
18 2:24 5:16

About three hours and 19 laps into things, I started to feel a bit depleted. My body was running out of energy. I ate some bananas that my team had provided and took two longer rests (10 minutes and 20 minutes). As for water, I had been sipping a little bit between laps ran. Eating and resting seemed to help: I got back to the 1:2 schedule until after lap 24. At that point, I believe there were suddenly quite some people to run a lap and I had to queue behind them. That rest ended up taking close to 30 minutes. Their interest seemed short lived, I was back to a 1:3 or 1:4 schedule afterwards.

By that point, we had reached the final 1h30. I started feeling the tendon on the bottom of my left foot. This worried me a bit. I think I must have badly hit one of the roots in the first bit of the lap. At the same time the battery of my watch was getting dangerously low. The combination of the two made me think of calling it a day. After 29 laps and over 5 hours, I stopped the watch and took a breather. There were about 40 minutes left in the race.

Lap Time Wait till next
19 2:26 9:58
20 2:31 20:01
21 2:18 5:20
22 2:25 4:59
23 2:23 5:04
24 2:33 27:29
25 2:28 5:51
26 2:27 11:03
27 2:30 6:56
28 2:21 8:14

After 27 minutes of waiting around, I decided I wanted to do another lap. That one was saved in its own activity. Finally, a friend and I decided to do the final lap of our team all out. That one too has its own activity. In this lap we went at it together, but I dropped him in the final 200m. Either way, the event was over.

Lap Time Wait till next
29 2:34 25:41
30 2:27 8:52
31 2:09  


Most of my 31 laps are in one activity. At some point I stopped and saved that one because my battery was running low. My final two laps thus have their separate activities: one and two.

Official results (without addition of some entertainment laps) are as follows

Rank Team Laps
1 Mesacosa 326
2 Solvay 314
3 GK 311
4 Biotecho 304
5 PK 300
6 WK 268
7 VSKM 260
8 VRG 258
9 KEPS 247
10 PPK 245
11 Pers 235
12 LWK 154

We never were close to a podium, but had fun.


Next up is making sure I survive till the 20 km door Brussels which falls 18 days after this one. This week is my last high week, from next week on I will be taking it a bit easier and taper towards the 20 km. Still not sure what my goal should be for that one.

After that, I will likely focus back on just the base building, specifically on increasing my weekly distance some. Though before I do that, I will have to read up a bit on the usefulness of running more than one hour in one go. If I recall, Jack Daniels explicitly advised against that except for specific endurance workouts. That might be the main limiting factor for me still: not fast enough to keep adding distance in a way that makes sense. So maybe I need to do some more speedwork-related things in hopes of getting my base speed up.