Run-TSP: Intense Running For Casual People

It's 5:00am, Matt straps the GoPro across his chest, does some last minute stretches and waits for the call from the previous relay runner to say they're done. He's about to set off on his third 30min leg within the first 12 hours of this grueling 31.5 hour challenge. His friend is joining this sunrise leg for moral support. The timer starts and they're off… "so, how you been mate?" "oh not too bad can't complain, yourself?".

This gem of footage shows the contradictory nature of the TSP DIY and West Coast Runners in general. International competition, but catch up with your mate. Casual, but make it intense.

Founders Kelvin, Michael and Tom had been thinking about starting a Liverpool running crew for a while. Partly to have a running community, partly to validate the growing obsession with short shorts. The TSP DIY challenge was the catalyst to stopping thinking and start doing. The Speed Project is usually a race from LA to Vegas; no rules, no spectators, just an endurance foot race across mostly desert. In 2020, unsurprisingly, the usual plans had to change. So TSP DIY was born. Create your own relay run, anywhere in the world, any team size. Start at 4AM PDT on September 5, run for 31.5 hours (the record for completing the original race); highest mileage wins.

In Liverpool, WCR decided their version would be 15 runners doing loops of Sefton Park in the day time and loops of the city centre and Georgian Quarter at night, with the final afternoon ending on 2 straight hours of 200m relay sprints. In the park runners jogged down leafy paths with families, dogs, a few fascinated toddlers. At night they flew down deserted streets, past smoking areas, delivery drivers, and drunk people stumbling with chips. The nature of the competition meant there was no track, no set course, so routes could change with the runners preference. Cyclist accompanied a lot of the night and early morning sprints. Sometimes to help with directions, sometimes to hype, (sometimes definitely not to hype thankyouverymuch) and sometimes to blast out trance classics. And it wasn’t just runners who got sucked in. The event captured the imaginations of those who couldn’t (/wouldnt) run. Photographers took stunning action shots, bakers baked, the overnight support crew danced and cheered and went a bit weird, and a local videographer captured all the chaos in a documentary film, 31:Fifteen.

I think it's fair to say the team felt like underdogs at the start of this race, not sure where they would place and hoping they would reach their target of raising £2000 for Action Tutoring. They ended up as the UKs fastest freestyle team and raised over £5,000. A result that meant there were already plans for the next race in the mix before the injuries had a chance to recover.

So here it is, Street Summit: (Liverpool South). Another casual-but-make-it-intense jaunt into the night for an unsanctioned 10km road race, open to 20 runners with a cash prize, cold beer and a natter at the finish line.

“So, how you been mate...?”

Words: Roisin Hanlon (@roisin_writes)
Images: Oli Harman (@oliharman

©2021 West Coast Runners

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©2021 West Coast Runners