Centurions, Sandra Brown, Kathy Crilley (both Surrey WC) and Andrew Titley (Isle of Man) all travelled to Bourges for the 19th edition of this classic race.
Writes Kathy Crilley C933:
Bourges 24 H is an extremelty well organised race and overseas athletes are very much welcomed and looked after. The organisers, try as they may, cannot do very much about the weather! However, this year it was dry (as opposed to the 12 hours of rain in 2015). But it was very cold... rumour had it that the temperature dropped below freezing. And I can well believe that. No wonder my rice pudding was a bit solid!
Given that this was the first race in 2016 and the Fench 24 hour championships follow in 4 weeks time, the entry list was quite impressive. However there were a few familiar faces missing.
The French Athletic Federation (FFA) and the Committe de Marche (CDM) decreed that all Russian athletes are banned from competing in France in line with the IAAF ruling:
"the participation of Russian athletes to our competitions of Grand Fond (Charly s/ Marne, Bourges, Château-Thierry and Paris-Alsace).
Prohibited from all competitions in France: Tatiana Maslova, Irina Poutinseva, Dmitriy Osipov, Evgeniy Shmalyuk; Allowed to participate in France: Olga Borisova, Vera Miroshnichenko, Alexei Rodionov and Vacheslav Fursov.
Note that as Olga Borisova is a member of the walking cub of Neuilly s/Marne she is deemed to be a Fench athlete.
Whatever the politics - it was nevertheless, hotly contested race!!!
As ever, the first few hours saw a good number of walkers racing hard. More seasoned walkers started at the back of the pack and moved up the field gradually. Needless to say this inlcuded Sandra Brown who eventually took the lead amongst the ladies.
Andrew Titley got off to a cracking start and maintained his position (thanks to the superb support by daughter Lucy).
Myself? well I was aiming for the classification distance of 140km - which I am pleased to say I managed with a few kilometres to spare.