Welcome to the July 2017 newsletter. Lots of loveliness for you to look through this month.
Coaches Corner by Head Coach Liz Cooper
Welcome to the July 2017 newsletter. Lots of loveliness for you to look through this month.
Coaches Corner by Head Coach Liz Cooper
Welcome to the July 2017 newsletter.
Coaches Corner by Head Coach Liz Cooper
What does the Rate of Perceived Effort mean?
Rate of Perceived Effort (RPE), have you ever heard your coaches talk about this during a training session but thought that you don’t fully understand what it means?
Here is the definition from The American College of Sports Medicine:
“The RPE scale is a psycho-physiological scale, meaning it calls on the mind and body to rate one’s perception of effort…The RPE scale measures feelings of effort, strain discomfort, and/or fatigue experienced during both aerobic and resistance training.”
Gunnar Borg’s original RPE scale uses 15 points from 6 to 20, with 6 equal to rest and 20 equal to exhaustion. Borg subsequently devised a 10-point scale. Point 10 equates to maximal intensity — being chased by a big hungry dog for instance.
Borg’s 10-point scale:
|RPE 1–2: Very easy; you can converse with no effort|
|RPE 3: Easy; you can converse with almost no effort|
|RPE 4: Moderately easy; you can converse comfortably with little effort|
|RPE 5: Moderate; conversation requires some effort|
|RPE 6: Moderately hard; conversation requires quite a bit of effort|
|RPE 7: Difficult; conversation requires a lot of effort|
|RPE 8: Very difficult; conversation requires maximum effort|
|RPE 9–10: Peak effort; no-talking zone|
Training at specific paces is fine if your runs are flat, the weather conditions good, the terrain is firm. However, this is not always the case as we have the pleasure of fairly hilly terrain! So if you are running up hill, off road or in poor weather conditions your RPE will be greater.
5k Race Pace – RPE 8
For many road runners, 5k is the shortest race. It is a very hard pace to sustain, it is the fastest speed you can maintain for 5k or 3.1 miles. The body is producing lactate faster than it can use it or clear it. Running at this speed is uncomfortable, and talking is virtually impossible.
10k Race Pace – RPE 7
Not quite as fast as 5k, but a little quicker than half marathon pace. It is slightly faster than lactate turnpoint pace and is still very uncomfortable, especially after running for 6 miles or 10k.
Threshold Pace – RPE 6
For many new runners (and even those with some experience), threshold pace is the hardest to understand; not least because it is also often called tempo pace. We know what it feels like to race a 10k or half marathon, but we don’t have those associations to relate to threshold pace. Threshold — more specifically anaerobic threshold — is so-called because it describes the intensity at which the physiological changes occur at lactate turnpoint, whereas tempo is a name for a running pace (and not necessarily the same one). Lactate turnpoint is only really determined in the lab. It is the point at which lactate accumulates in the muscles faster than it can be cleared from the blood. It is however a crucial pace, because if we can increase the speed at which it occurs we will be able to run faster. Indeed, training at and around threshold pace develops the body’s ability to do just that Threshold pace is often described as the maximum pace you can sustain for an hour. For many runners it will be slower than 10k but faster than half marathon pace. Elite runners will run a half marathon near threshold, whereas a 60-minute 10k runner will be running their 10k at around threshold pace.
Marathon pace – RPE 4
In a marathon, the perceived effort in the first few miles will feel very different to the last few miles when that same pace can seem impossible; and sometimes proves to be. So, our RPE relates to how that running intensity feels whilst running per se, and not during the latter stages of a marathon.
Long runs and recovery runs – RPE 2
Long runs should be about building your endurance. If you run them too fast, your training will suffer because you will not be fresh enough to carry out the other important training sessions. The training effect from long runs occurs at surprisingly low effort levels. Use your long run pace as a pace not to exceed during your long runs. There are exceptions here because it is often useful to start a long run very easy and then pick the pace up to run the last few miles faster, perhaps at marathon pace to get used to running at marathon pace when highly fatigued. Recovery runs are an important component of training. For a recovery run to be effective, it must be easy. A recovery run should be run no faster than your marathon pace, and usually much slower.
There are plenty of training pace calculators available online if you are still unsure as to what pace you should be aiming for.
South Downs Marathon – Jun 2017 – by Jon Herbert
I look back on the South Downs Marathon with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it was well organized, challenging, with beautiful scenery, and a rather nice medal. On the other hand it was a living hell.
Admittedly, this was down to the conditions on the day rather than the course itself. I don’t run well in hot conditions, but despite it being forecast to be the hottest day of the year I still decided to go ahead. I had a hydration pack and no particular target time – what could go wrong?
The South Downs Marathon is a point to point route from Slindon College to Queen Elizabeth Park. Most of the route follows the South Downs Way and will be familiar to those who have done the relay. The total climb is about 2,900 feet so don’t expect a PB.
Included in the price is bus travel from QE Park to Slindon before the race, so you can leave your car at the finish. I made a school boy error on the way there, and put “QE Park” into the satnav rather than the postcode. Luckily I just made it round to the start in time and caught the last bus at 7:45.
The event includes Marathon, Relay, Half Marathon and fun run options. Both the marathon and the relay start off from Slindon College so it was quite busy there. It was all well organised though, with plentiful toilets, teas and coffees, and a bag lorry to cart your stuff to the finish. Unusually for a trail marathon, there was even chip timing.
At the start there is a lap of the field and you are soon onto a track leading up the hill. It was quite a long climb, but was through shady woods so it wasn’t too bad. The day was already heating up though so I was wary of exerting myself too much. The next section was fairly flat, followed by a nice downhill to Littleton Farm. Next though was a long steep climb in full sun. Most people were walking on this section but it was still very hot. There was then another flattish section before dropping down to Hill Barn, which was the half way point. I’d picked up time on the descent and was still under 2 hours at this point.
The climb back up to the wonderfully names Devil’s Bumps finished me off though. I can honestly say that I have never felt as hot in my life as I did on the second half of the race. I had always intended to walk the big hills, but increasingly I was walking the little ones as well, and not very quickly either. I was still OK on the flats and downhills though so at least I was making some progress.
By the time I reached the hill up to Harting Down I was really struggling. It was about 32°C and I was starting to feel faint. Thankfully, I got over the top without passing out and made it to the drinks station. I drank half the bottle and poured the rest over a scarf which I wore round my head for the next mile or so. Thankfully there were no photographers on that stretch.
After the hill into QE Park I hit the long shady downhill and raced towards the finish. Sadly, unlike in the SDWR the finish is not at the end of the downhill section but under the A3 and across a shade less field. I stumbled across the line in 4:34. The helpers at the finish took one look at me and told me to have a drink and a rest before trying to remember my shirt size.
The support in the race was very good. There were six well stocked drinks stations and the route was always well marked. I would do it again but not in those conditions.
Gӧteborgsvarvet, 20th May 2017 by Benny Coxhill
That is the Gothenburg Half Marathon to you and me.
Gill Berglund warned me it would be hot. How could she know in advance? She said it was always hot. She was right, of course, at least to start with.
It seemed a good excuse for a holiday and the west coast of Sweden is beautiful, so Sue and I booked up for the race and a long weekend away. My mum is from Kungӓlv a few miles further north and it was a good chance to meet up with Swedish relatives we had not seen for years.
It’s a bit bigger than most races, billed as the biggest half marathon in the world. 60,000 runners and 200,000 supporters turn up in Gothenburg and there are other races – trail runs and relays – during the week. We were advised to get to the start in the park at Slotteskogen early as later in the day some buses and trams stop running in order to make way for the runners. The race number and entry form were enough to get you free public transport from Thursday onwards, to allow you to get to registration in advance and to the race on the day.
We didn’t all start at once. It took three hours to get everyone past the start line. I had signed up rather late and I was in the second to last of the 31 start groups. The groups started at roughly 6 minute intervals, so there are some tactics if you want to use the gaps and not get caught in the crowd: you either work your way to the start of the pen or you linger at the back before crossing the timing mats and let the rest of your group get a head start before setting off just before the following group. I tried the former but after a while I still got caught in the mass of people. It’s not a race for a PB unless you get into one of the earlier seeded groups.
Somehow in amongst all those people a bunch of my relatives managed to find me before I set off and Sue went with them to hold my keys and head for the restaurant. They followed my progress on the app and managed to find me near the end too.
It is has a great party atmosphere. There were nearly 50 bands and DJs on the way round and spectators were still cheering even though they had been at it for hours. For a flat coastal town there are quite a few hills, mainly the two bridges on the route. There are lots of landmarks with the cranes around the re-developed port area and the Gӧteplatsen square at the end of Avenyn, the big boulevard filled with restaurants.
I’m proud to say that I came 14,003rd. Well it was out of 60,000. 1:54:58. There was a nice blue wavy medal, shown here in a typical Swedish context.
But beware the sudden temperature drop. In the morning as predicted it was a sweltering 24o but during the afternoon it dropped right down and when we caught the bus back with nothing but shorts and T shirts we were shivering.
As I said, we stayed in Kungalv just outside of Gothenburg. When we got back the party was just starting there with an American classic car “cruising night”. Hundreds of them were jamming the streets so we spent the evening watching that. Apparently this happens a lot in Sweden. I’d like to try driving one of those along Hurstpierpoint High Street.
So if you fancy a trip north for a run I’d recommend Gothenburg. The exchange rate isn’t too harsh at the moment. But book early to avoid disappointment and a start group at the back and prepare for the heat.
Jersey Half-Marathon (11 June 2017) by Dave Oldfield
I had already planned a short break in Jersey to do the parkrun event there but, when I found out the same weekend happened to be the Jersey Half-Marathon I decided, even though I was someway off full fitness, it was too good an opportunity to miss.
This was a point-to-point race, starting inland and finishing in the capital St. Helier, so ensuring a net downhill overall. The majority was either on-road or on good paths providing the opportunity for a fairly fast time. The weather was warm but it wasn’t quite as sunny as the other days I was on Jersey and the wind was relatively light. Chip timing was provided and there were 600 runners with a fairly wide range of abilities (the winner finished in around 1:12, while a number took in excess of 3 hours).
Although I was a fairly late entry, it was clear there were some pre-race administration issues, including problems picking up race packs, postal delays and some communication issues, which included the Race Director texting all runners at gone 11 p.m. the night before the race to ask if anyone not running could return their numbers/chips – not ideal race preparation! However, on the day all the key things went well, including the coach pick-up to the start, the bag-drop back to the finish, good signage on the course, enough water stations, and plentiful and supportive marshals at all the important points.
When the race started, it hadn’t been particularly clear exactly where the start line was, as initially we were all walked down a fairly narrow lane away from race control. I had ended up rather near the back of the pack and then suddenly, without any real warning, we were off. Chip timing normally means it doesn’t matter too much but a combination of an easy, gently downhill first couple of miles and the narrow lane, meant there was quite a bit of dodging in and out before we all eventually settled into our regular running pace. I had started with someone I had met at parkrun the previous day who was targeting two hours which I felt would be a good target for me too. As always I started a bit too fast and my running partner dropped back a little after a mile or so.
After the easy first few miles we reached the coast and following a sneaky uphill run around a rather large rock, we settled in for a four mile stretch alongside the biggest beach on the Island. Unfortunately, the road was just set back from the beach so I didn’t get to enjoy the view as much as I had hoped, and I actually found running on the dead flat quite demanding. I shouldn’t have worried as, at about the half-way point, the course began a quite steep uphill section away from the coast, which I found even harder, and at about that point my running partner came past me. However, I knew I was several minutes ahead of schedule and that the course from about mile 9 onwards was another gentle downhill section followed by a little over three mile run along the main promenade into St Helier, so I pushed on, keeping my running partner within view.
Unfortunately, the downhill did mean my knee problems started to resurface so by the time we hit the promenade I was suffering quite a bit. I tried to remember I was just a parkrun from the finish. It’s a sweeping bay into St. Helier meaning you can actually see the finish area from three miles out and it became quite a mental battle to keep going when every time I looked up the finish area seemed no closer! My running partner was struggling too and had slowed down, and I checked he was all right as I passed him with a couple of miles to go. Pushing on to the finish I was glad to make it well inside my two hour target and to receive my Jersey Island-shaped medal. The picture gives a fair indication of the effort involved in getting to the finish!
I was also glad to welcome my running partner into the finish a minute or so later.
I would definitely recommend the Jersey Half. Certainly my fellow competitors were a friendly lot. Honestly I cannot remember a race where I spoke to quite so many people during the run itself. Wearing my BHR vest meant I got chatting to many of the other visiting runners, including a couple of Bedford who were originally from Brighton, and a guy wearing a Forest of Dean vest who had previously lived in Lindfield! And the local runners were keen to offer me advice as to the course ahead, how much further to the top of the hill, where the next water station was etc.
My only real gripe was I later heard that they had run out of medals for the later finishers. I have heard this is becoming an increasing problem, with race organisers not wanting to order/pay for too many medals in advance, but for a Half charging as much as £40 for entry, it is a real shame that those runners who perhaps most deserve a reward, miss out receiving a medal on the day!
Track & Field Corner by John Palmer
After having nothing to say last issue (no the team didn’t get rid of me!), I thought I’d highlight the forthcoming Open meetings this time round.
You will probably be aware that Track & Field is not really what we do but some of you may not realise there are Open meetings if you fancy a race on the track at anything from 100 to 3000m (or thereabouts for juniors). If you’d like to know more you can check out my previous articles & reports in October 2016 & April 2017.
The nearest Open meetings to us are at Crawley’s K2 stadium and they have two remaining this year, both of which can be entered on the day.
Wednesday evening 26th July has a Graded Open Meeting. For this you should provide them with a previous time for your chosen event so they can place you in the appropriate grade race. I assume they can cope if you don’t have one. Speaking to one of the marshals on my last appearance I was told that they take your word for it and there is some flexibility so that I could, for example, ask to be well beaten by grown-ups rather than be placed with the U13s whose times I’m closer to! The meeting timetable can be found here.
Bank holiday Monday 28th August has the Tom Lintern Medal meeting. Not graded this time, they just group runners by age & gender if an event has to be split into multiple races. Being a daytime meeting this has a fuller programme of events, details of which can be found here. If you decide early enough you can pre-enter these events and save a bit of money, go here.
If you’re thinking of joining the small band of BHR folk attempting these events then let us know on the BHR Facebook or group e-mail. I’m looking forward to the current trickle of interest snowballing!
parkrun tourism by Dave Oldfield
Anyone who has had the misfortune to get chatting to me for more than about 10 minutes probably already knows I’m a bit of a parkrun bore. It’s not so bad with people who run but I have seen the glazed expression on many a non-runners face when they have been unlucky enough to get stuck next to me at a drinks party!
Many of you will know of parkrun tourism, going to parkruns other than your “home” event, and I have done this for many years on the occasional family holiday etc. or popping down to visit one of our other local courses in Brighton, Worthing etc. Towards the end of last year I decided, as much as I love our Clair parkrun in Haywards Heath, I would like to see a few more different events. I had heard of parkrun “alphabeteers”, essentially a group of tourists who spend their time trying to visit parkruns which start with each letter of the alphabet, so I decided to give this a go. There seems to be few fixed rules, the main one is that you take the first letter from the official parkrun name, so, for example, you could only count Clair parkrun as a “C” not an “H” for Haywards Heath.
So, I have spent the first part of 2017, filling in the gaps of my alphabet list and, at the same time managing to visit a different parkrun almost every week. I have virtually completed the list, with my only remaining letters being the impossible “X” and “Z” (there is officially no X parkruns in the world, and the closest thing to a Z is Żary in Poland – I have a visit planned very soon). I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting different parkruns. It’s always fun to run new courses and most events have been incredibly welcoming to visitors. And I never cease to find it interesting how each event is ever so slightly unique while, essentially, providing exactly the same, free, Saturday morning timed 5k run.
Rather than bore you with a long list of parkruns, I thought I would just say a few words on the more “tricky” letters, as these are the less common ones.
I is for Ipswich. Ipswich and Inverness are the only two UK parkruns starting with I – so actually Ipswich isn’t that far away! Unfortunately, I can’t say much about this event as the week after I ran it, they changed locations back to their Summer course. The Winter course I ran was tough (all up and down but on good paths) and my understanding is their Summer course is no easier.
J is for Jersey. This is the only UK option for J. I had been told this was a good parkrun and it didn’t disappoint. A fairly flat, fast run around a cycle track followed by an out & back on an old railway line. They are very welcoming to tourists. There are lots of flights from Gatwick, some at quite reasonable prices, especially if you can book in advance. I made my trip into a short break but I think, in theory at least, it is possible to get an early morning flight (BA or EasyJet) on a Saturday morning due in at 8.15 a.m., catch a bus direct from the airport (10 mins, £2 each way), do parkrun at 9 a.m., have the rest of the day on the Island and catch a late flight home that same evening!
Q is for Queen Elizabeth Park (Hampshire). This is the only UK Q parkrun other than one in Belfast. By far the toughest parkrun I have done, although I went on Christmas Day 2016 so that might be part of the reason. Certainly in the Winter, the mixed paths can be tricky with two laps (one short, one long) and there is a particularly nasty section with a full 1km uphill without a break, hard even by Clair Park standards. I remember not feeling great that morning and just being pleased that I had managed to complete the whole course without walking! Very friendly but I don’t know what the café is like because it was closed for Christmas Day!
U is for Upton Court Park (near Slough). This was officially the only U in the UK (until the recent Upton House near Poole started). It was a reasonable drive on an early Saturday morning, situated close to the M25/M4 junction. The recommended parking is probably a good 5-10 mins jog from the start area so worth bearing this in mind. It’s a fairly flat course, two laps, some path and some grass (but firm footing when I was there). In good conditions this could be a fast course. It’s based at a Rugby Club with teas & coffees and a nice-looking bacon roll available from the Clubhouse.
V is for Valentines (NE London). With the only other V being in Scotland, this again was my only real choice. It actually wasn’t a bad journey by train and tube. Valentines is a huge park not far out from central London with lots of things to do and see and with a very interesting history. It’s worth spending a bit more time looking around if you can. It’s run on lovely, wide, flat paths (two laps) with potential for a fast time. The volunteers were very friendly and I found the whole atmosphere noticeably more chilled than your average parkrun. Nice café within 50m of the finish.
Y is for Yeovil. Yeovil or York are the only Y choices in the UK. Yeovil is one of the parkruns based in the grounds of a NT property. Beautiful surroundings and well worth a visit if you are a NT member. Two laps (one short, one long around most of the perimeter of the grounds), virtually all on grass, some parts undulating and with one rather tough hilly section right near the end (this is not immediately obvious at the start and means it’s worth holding a little something back for the hard final 1k). On re-reading this I may not be selling it to you but I would definitely recommend it, if for nothing else than the start, middle and finish on the rather glorious, wide “Avenue” in front of the main house (as well as the nice tea-shop on site).
Having completed my UK alphabet, I’ll return to Clair parkrun more often than recently but I will definitely be continuing some parkrun tourism into the future. At the time of writing I have done nearly 40 different parkruns and I hope to be well over 50 before the end of the year. I have also now done my first overseas parkrun (apparently Jersey and IOW don’t count as overseas), on a recent trip to Palermo by visiting Uditore parkrun for their 100th event – I have to say it was the highlight of my stay and the local Event Director and runners went out of their way to be welcoming. At some level I had thought I might be a special guest and I wore my 100 parkrun T-shirt and took some cake along to help them celebrate. However, I was rather outdone by a Russian couple who brought Russian chocolates and treats, and another guy from the UK who had done over 300 events and was at the end of a three-week parkrun tour of Italy! And the Event Directors wife had made what looked and tasted like just about the best (and biggest) parkrun cake I have ever seen, certainly much nicer than my offerings!
I’m quite sure Uditore won’t be my last overseas parkrun visit.
If you have been inspired to try some tourism, there is an unofficial parkrun tourist Facebook group – once you have attended 20 different parkruns you can apply to become a member and can order a Cow cowl (“a distinctive black, white and yellow not-buff which members of the most events table are welcome to buy to allow themselves to be spotted by other tourists at home or away. Completely unofficial. Features no parkrun branding whatsoever at all”).
I have tended to do most of my parkrun tourism on my own but if anyone else at BHR fancies joining me on some early Saturday morning travels, please do let me know.
parkrun corner by Theresa Chalk
Some stats to ease you in gently. On the 14th September 2013 Clair park run had 47 participants. The least amount to date. On 15th April 2017 there were 201. Participants, the most recorded to date.
Out of approx 289 participating groups/club (I say approx as I’m bound to have lost count finger pointing) BHR have 204 registered to parkrun and at Clair amassed 3085 entries. We are closely followed by HHH who have 150 registered and have participated 3076 times.
Of BHR runners we have 24 in the 50 club and 13 in the 100 club. We also have 5 juniors in the 10 club. This could change before you read this. Neil Dawson has done his 100th and Chania HS has her 50th. Congrats on these achievements and in the some distant future you will be attired in a lovely new top displaying your number.
On a larger scale, in 2017 so far 52.9% of new walkers, joggers and runners welcomed to UK park run events for the first time have been female.
Now stats are over, we can move on to a topic that has got many people talking. Many have agreed and many disagree for all sorts of reasons. I for one welcome the change. Tail runner has been re named to tail walker. This will hopefully encourage more people of all ages and abilities to take up park running. Hopefully it will take out the fear for many and those who have felt it was out of their reach will now partake. So if you know people who are worried they are not quick enough you can tell them we have a walker at the back of the pack.
Eileen Adlam who is at around park run attendance 231(does she ever sleep) is catching Dave Oldfield who is around 242. Dave has tackled, well not tackled but gave himself a little challenge and added variety to enrich his park run experience. He has written it down for our pleasure and enjoyment to read.. May this inspire you too, to come up with variety to spice up your parkrunning.
A massive thank you to all of the contributors. Have fun folks.
Neil and the newsletter team.
Welcome to the May newsletter. It’s epic.
Are you overtraining? by Sue Baillie
We love our running it gives us a healthy body and mind, but too much of a good thing can be harmful. Every runner needs to follow the principle of progression. If you don’t, you may find yourself unmotivated to reach your goals, overtrained, and even injured.
To prevent overtraining, avoid the three too’s: too much, too soon, too fast.
Things to look out for;
Message from Head Coach, Liz Cooper
Due to Wednesday WSFRL races, there will be no Development or Performance sessions. 6:30pm Beginners’ & Improvers’ Sessions will take place as normal. The dates on the WSFRL race are as below
Summer Track Sessions
We have arranged Monday Night Summer Track Sessions for:
As normal, these sessions will take place at Lewes Leisure Centre, meeting at 7:45pm for an 8:00pm start.
There are no more Wednesday night track sessions in the summer but they will resume in September.
Rotterdam Marathon– 9th Apr 2017 – (By Alice Tellett)
In April I continued my quest to complete 10 marathons before I’m 30. After a year of doing UK races I fancied heading overseas for a European marathon, so I choose the Rotterdam Marathon.
My other half and I left the UK on the Saturday and flew to Amsterdam. One tip when doing a mass marathon abroad is that airlines do hike up their prices the weekend of the event, so try to cheat the system by flying to (and staying in) a nearby city and using public transport to get to your marathon destination. On arrival in Rotterdam we headed to the expo to pick up my number and locate the start, ready for the following day. The expo itself was located right next to the start in an exhibition centre. For a marathon with 40,000 participants I have say I was a little disappointed with the expo, there were very few pop-up shops and even fewer free samples. However, it did have an excitable atmosphere to it and the classic backdrop for posing with your race number.
As many BHR runners woke on the Sunday morning to deal with a stressful journey to Brighton marathon, I rolled out of bed, jumped onto a double decker train to Rotterdam Central that arrived and left right on time, and dropped me off a two minute walk from the start. Easy peasy!
The race started at 10am, which was not ideal when temperatures were due to reach 24 degrees by mid-day. As usually for large marathons we had designated pens for the start. I did try to sneak into the pen in front of mine, but was swiftly escorted back to my assigned pen, naughty me.
I was extremely impressed by the organisation of the start. The pens themselves were roomy and not overcrowded, and each pen had its own individual start time. Each pen was split into two on a dual carriageway and individually brought to the start line, we then had to wait for 5 minutes after the last person of the previous pen had crossed the start line before our starting gun was blasted. By this time I had made my way right to the front of my pen and for a millisecond I led the race, what a great buzz. This great organisation at the start ensured there was absolutely no bottleneck and made the start of the race really stress free.
Once the race had started we quickly headed straight to the Erasmusburg Bridge to cross the river, the bridge was absolutely jam packed with spectators and had an incredible atmosphere, and looked stunning teamed with the perfect blue sky. Once over the bridge we headed south. The course is a figure of eight, with a long fat bottom that takes up the first 25km. Once over the bridge the course was pretty quiet, which gave you time to settle into a nice rhythm. The field remained split across a dual carriageway until about 8km, giving it plenty of time to spread out before you joined together. I was really impressed by the water, which was given out every 5km or so. The water was provided in cup, which had a sponge lid with a hole in, so you don’t tip too much into your mouth and once you were done you had a handy sponge to cool down your body. There were sponge stations at least every 10km and spectators providing us with regular refreshing hosepipe showers. All of these were great on a really hot day.
Just before 10km the course looped back on itself, by this time I was having the race of my life and absolutely loving it. The crowds of spectators suddenly picked up again and filled me with adrenaline. I saw my other half and gave him a smile and a wave and caught sight of the 3h45mins pacer not too far ahead of me and vowed to keep him in sight.
The course then led us to the side of the canal, which also had a slight breeze to help keep us cool. It then headed into another loop allowing me to give my other half another wave. I clocked the half marathon in 1hr 53 mins and was really pleased with my pacing so far. After half way we reached the river that we crossed at the beginning and followed its banks for several miles. Eventually we ran on the Erasmusburg Bridge to cross the river once again. The atmosphere when we crossed the bridge the second time was comparable to that I experienced when I crossed Tower Bridge in the London Marathon, overwhelming brilliant. There were even more spectators than when we passed the first time and everyone was cheering you along, I feel so lucky to be part of something so unique.
Once over the bridge we headed north towards Kralingse Park, this bit of the race did involve us running parallel, but in the opposite direction, to those heading to the finish. Even though I’ve done this in races many times before, it somehow affected my mood and I started to slump. I saw my favourite spectator again and then decided to look at my watch, and realised my pace had dropped a little, causing my mood and my pace to slump even further. In hindsight I think dehydration and heat exhaustion were finally hitting but at the time all I wanted was for the race to be over. This was a shame as I then headed into probably the most scenic part of the race around a lovely country park with a lake in the centre. My husband, who was tracking me with the reliable race app, noticed my pace had dropped and found another stop to cheer me along as I came out of the park. Once I’d seen him I gave myself a little bit of a pep talk, told myself I was about to finish my 9th marathon, my 3rd in the space of 11 months , I had been training for this for months and I would not forgive myself if I did not complete it. This did lift my mood but unfortunately not my pace.
I carried on running as the race neared the end and entered into a concrete jungle, the crowds thickened and my mood picked up further. At about 2km from the end the 4hour pacer overtook me, I pushed myself as much as I could to keep up with him but my lungs and legs fought back. The finish came into sight and despite losing my battle with the four hour pacer I had a smile on my face, it had overall been a great race and I was proud of myself for completing it. I crossed the line with my hands in the air.
Upon finishing I was handed a great piece of bling, lots of water and, for the ladies only, a rose! At this point it hit me just how dehydrated I was, I literally wanted to drink a river. I was reunited with my husband who had found a gorgeous fountain to dip my feet in to cool down and celebrate my achievement.
My official time was 4hrs00mins14secs, but I clocked a distance of 26.5 miles. Strava clocked the marathon distance as 3hrs58mins43secs! Which time you count is up to you, I know which one I will! Neither is a PB but was pretty darn close on a very hot day.
I would highly recommend Rotterdam Marathon to anybody else. It was by far the best organised marathon I have ever done and the cost of race and travel was reasonable. Although it was not the most scenic, the atmosphere created by the spectators more than made up for this. Finally it was flat and fast and would have had great PB potential on a cooler day.
I’m getting dangerously close to my 30th birthday now which means that my 10th marathon is just around the corner, so I‘ll hopefully join you again next month to tell you all about the Dorchester Marathon, which I am running at the end of May.
Clarendon Marathon – Oct 2016 (By Steve Roberts)
I completed this event last October. It caught my eye because it’s a rare running & walking marathon & given my lack of training & a little uncertainty about how my back would feel about running 26.2 miles after a long layoff. The race route is from Winchester to Salisbury along the historic Clarendon Way. It’s 90% off road with a little bit of country lane here & there. It’s a fairly level route with the odd ‘undulation’ every so often. Organised by a very enthusiastic guy named “JJ” Heath-Caldwell from the Rotary Club, it’s a long-established event that’s been running for nearly 20 years.
I quite enjoyed this race & would certainly recommend it in terms of organisation & a lovely route. The thing I didn’t like so much was that they have multiple start times for different paces of slower walker, faster walker, walker/runner & runner. There is also a half marathon event that starts from the half way mark of the course & also a team relay event. Effectively there are about 6 events in 1! A lot of the Clarendon Way is along quite narrow footpaths through woodland or enclosed paths along field edges. This means that as the race progresses you are either trying to get past slower people or getting overtaken by faster folk on narrow paths. It wasn’t a major problems but it did hamper things having to get past people or stepping aside to let others past at various narrow stretches.
I took a walk/run approach to the Clarendon, walking the up hills & jogging the flats & down hills. As said I hadn’t done a lot of training & hadn’t done any speed work so my jog pace a slow one. I hooked up with a guy called Ross from Salisbury who had walked the event a couple of times before & was trying out a bit more running. He was a friendly guy & our pace was quite similar – we got round in 5.02 (we really did push on for the last couple of miles but we couldn’t manage to get under 5!). I was happy with that though – I had jog/walked pretty evenly & fuelled well & wasn’t in a heap come the finish! Entry was £30 as I remember (£35 if you enter closer to race day), which these days isn’t too horrific in my book. I might do it again another time with more of a running approach, starting later there may be less likelihood of getting in peoples way!
I caught the complimentary bus all the way back to Winchester to my car & headed back to Sussex.
Cranleigh 21 – Mar 2017 – (By Steve Roberts)
This event in late March up in Surrey is a well-established pre-spring marathon race, giving you the opportunity to get probably your longest training run in under race conditions & to test out your pacing, fuelling & hydration strategies for your main event. I’ve done this event a few times now & this year didn’t seem so full as in other years – in the past, spring was seen as the marathon season with London & latterly Brighton being the main big distance events in the South East. As we all know there is a marathon somewhere virtually every weekend these days so Cranleigh’s relevance is perhaps not so great. That said it is a good event & I really like it – it’s a nice country lane route, not dissimilar to Barns Green, its well organised & for me I’ve always done quite well there, giving me a good indication of my marathon prep.
In addition to the 21 mile route there is also a 15 mile option. The course is made up of a 9 mile loop & either 1 or 2 6 mile loops depending on your choice of overall distance.
I went to Cranleigh in the dubious (J) company of Matt Cawthra & Ollie Dewdney. Matt also ran the 21 mile route & Ollie did the 15 mile one. We all got round well despite me finding Matt lying in a heap by the time I finished – these young dudes can’t cut it! I would always recommend this race if you are marathon training for an event in April or maybe early March – it’s a good ‘un!
Capital Challenge – 1st Apr 2017 – (By Steve Roberts)
This was a very special event for me, Helen, Nicola, Paula & Rich. We heard about it through the infamously covered ‘Strider’ magazine, the half yearly publication of the Long Distance Walking Association (LDWA). It was a brand new event, covering a self-navigated 28 mile route through & around the middle of London – walking only so we left our split shorts & running vests at home in favour of rucksacks & waterproofs. There were only 100 places available so we were really lucky to all get a place.
The event started near the Tate Modern on the side of the Thames in a trendy café/gallery space & then went up past Downing Street & Whitehall & round through St James’ Park, Hyde Park, Primrose Hill, Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath, through Haringey, Hackney & finally onto Stratford. The route was amazing, there are so many green spaces in the middle of London & the views from Parliament Hill over the capital were amazing. The changing scenery from royal parks, through secluded little mews, to the old canals, crossing leafy North London through Hackney Marshes & onto the Olympic Park site was just amazing!
Walking such a long way isn’t for everyone, we were on our feet for 9 hours & we were all a bit stiff & sore come the finish but they had piles of cakes & good coffee & we had a lovely day. The train journey home was a bit of a nightmare but that’s another story!
The Wonderland Caucus Run – 22nd Apr 2017 – (By Helen Pratt)
A lovely run along the seawall at Samphire Hoe, under the White Cliffs of Dover. Dressed as a character out of Alice in Wonderland … fantastic, I thought. And to top it all the bling was enormous.
The Wonderland Caucus run is a Saxon, Norman and Vikings event. This year it was held on Saturday 22nd April, the day before London marathon.
It is a 6 hour challenge event. The distance is 3.75 miles out and back. All you had to do was run 1 lap to get the medal or decide on any other distance within the 6 hours. The last lap had to be started within the 6 hours. 7 laps = marathon, 8+ an ultra.
The event started at 08:30 so an early start was needed. The traffic was kind but not the weather. Having left sunshine at home the clouds grew darker and darker and by the time of arrival at Samphire Hoe, Dover, it was raining – that horrid ‘wet’ fine rain.
Parking and registration was easy. Having picked up my number and lap card it was time to go.
The course had a mix of undulating trail and a flat sea wall with the White Cliffs of Dover towering above. It had a sting towards the end of each lap. A shortish but sharp steep hill, a need to walk hill …and that was 7 of these for the marathon.
The event was great. The weather initially was not. Wind and rain blowing in our faces on each lap until the turn around then it felt calm and dry. This continued for about 3 laps before the weather calmed.
All you had to do was work out how many laps you wanted to do and get your head around it. Each time a lap was completed your lap card was punched to keep track on what had been done.
There was also a well-stocked aid station at the end of each lap. Cake, crisps, biscuits, sweets, drinks – vegan and non-vegan.
Once refuelled it was time to do it all again, and again and again until enough was enough or the desired distance gained.
At the finish you ring the bell, a massive medal is hung around your neck and an out of this world goody bag given to you. This year had a ‘C’ theme, cake, crisps, Cheddars, Carlsberg or coke.
The SNV events are very friendly events and the best thing about the laps is everyone cheers you on and encourages each other as the laps increase as you pass them lap after lap.
Milton Keynes Half Marathon (50th anniversary) – 1st May 2017 – (By Oli Jones)
An early start on bank holiday Monday for this one, I was up at 5am. I had a quick cup of tea and a bowl of cereal before I left home at 6am. I had booked parking for this event for a small amount so I already knew I had a place for the car.
I arrived just before 8am and parked the car, only a five minute walk from the stadium. Met a couple of the locals who guided me to the stadium from the car park, very friendly. One of the reasons I chose this event was because of the course and the stadium finish, plus the medal was pretty good.
The start neared and we all got into our timed zones just outside the stadium. A fairly hotish day and I managed to sneak into an earlier one to avoid slight congestion at the start. Off we went at 10 am or thereabouts, a slightly staggered start as they let the elite/corporate relay teams off first.
The first 2 miles is road as you follow Saxon Street towards the main town area. Lots of people out supporting as you make your way to the town. You then made your way to Saxon Gate and Midsummer Boulevard, which was 3 miles in. You had a water station to quench your thirst, as usual I was carrying my Tailwind bottle with me so I didn’t stop.
You then crossed over to Silbury Boulevard and then back along the same route till about mile 5. You then turned left along Golden Drive and headed out towards ‘Woughton on the Green’ and ‘Ouzel Valley’ park and onto the six mile mark. This is where I caught up with William Whitehead or (Bill) as he likes to be known, he was going well at that point. We had a quick chat and I wished him well and pushed on, just up ahead at about 7 miles was where it split for the Half/Full marathon course.
I headed off right onto the half marathon course and back through the lovely Ouzel Valley park. A lovely park with paths and great scenery and lots of people out cheering you on as you wound your way over the river and along the outskirts of the park. This took you all the way to mile 10, then you ran through ‘Woughton Park’, and back towards the town. On the homeward path now and you wound your way back to the stadium through some of the roads you had started on. A great finish as you go down the stadium tunnel and do one lap of the football pitch and then over the finish.
I enjoyed the event and course, loved the bling and t-shirt. I would do it again but next time I would travel up the day before I think as the two hour drive before the race was a bit draining for me.
Centurion Grand Slam 100 – Possibly my most epic race to date: Thames Path – Apr 2017 – (By Philippe Ecaille)
This was my 3rd 100-mile race since 2015 and this year I thought I should aim for the goal of running all 4 Centurion races and collect a giant buckle at the end for posterity. This is the first race and I can’t quite still believe what happened this weekend but this is going to be near impossible beating it for excitements for a long time.
Once again, I was lucky to be able to assemble my regular support crew – Neil & Nick – and the recent addition of Francesca. We’ve known each other long enough to be able to be together for a whole weekend and be bold if need be; they’re awesome too! To start the ball rolling, we met in Burgess Hill for a beer and a curry to plan the logistics. This was a quick affair and off we went away waiting for the weekend to start. It was going to be rather simple – On Saturday morning I run to Henley (51 miles) where Neil takes me through the first leg to Wallingford (77 miles) and Nick gives me the final push to Oxford on Sunday (100 miles).
How was I approaching this race personally? I was knackered and spent the week going to bed super early – it was easy since I don’t a TV anymore. I was mentally tired too with a new role at work, moving house, packing, etc. Finally, I tried a different approach with the usual carb load and didn’t stuff my face as much I used to; I liked it and I think it made a positive difference. I was not so confident with the 1,900ft of climb – I would have preferred 19,000ft instead.
Miles 1 to 22 – Richmond to Wraysbury
I have my routine for races and I don’t deviate from it. Once the kit check is done, I talked to a few familiar faces, find a little spot at the back where I can wait for the debrief followed by the sound of the klaxon.
I always use a heart rate monitor simply because it is so easy going off like it’s a 5K and regretting it soon after. This is where things started to go wrong – right from the start, I couldn’t get my heart rate down to a normal level and had to walk to bring it back all the way down. I spend 5 hours near max heart rate (160 bpm), the weather is getting hotter, it is flat and very quickly the chimp sits on my shoulder and tells me that it is not such a good idea and I may as well give up. It made sense; Neil, Nick & Francesca haven’t left Sussex so I could call them and just say don’t bother coming over as I’m catching the next train home.
If you’re not familiar with the chimp paradox, I really recommend the website or the book. Essentially, it’s a mind management model to help you understand and manage your thoughts and emotions. We all have a chimp (mine is called Louis) who thinks and acts for us without our permission using our emotions.
Anyway, with only 2 checkpoints to mile 22, I spend time sorting out my thoughts and put some music on to distract me from Louis’ constant nagging. I also sweat bucket loads and my running vest is crusted with salt. I take my salt tablet religiously every hour. I also have some food and try to convince myself that everything will be fine but I know deep down it’s going south quickly. I finally arrive at CP2, I am an hour ahead of cut-off. I am knackered and I still can’t quite believe I average 12’43 min/mile. That’s the nail in the coffin I need to realise today isn’t my day. There’s another problem, my wonderful crew is most likely on their way now – too late to cancel them and I must death walk/jog 30 more miles.
Miles 23 to 51 – Wraysbury to Henley
There are 4 checkpoints until Henley. 28 miles to plan my DNF, plenty of time to think of all the details. I will arrive at Henley, tell everyone I am sorry they came all the way here but I am going to pull out. We’ll go to Streatley first to pick up my drop bag and then onto Oxford for my finish bag. By then, I calculated that we won’t see the winner but we’ll see proper runners. I am also thinking we could go for a curry once I had a shower. Once home, I plan to drop from all 100 mile races because there’s no point. Louis is feeling a lot happier with that scenario and my average heart rate finally goes down to 135 bpm, that’s not hard since I’m averaging 16’45 min/mile. I don’t care! I now have a plan!
I can’t quite believe it but it’s about to get worse. I can’t stay awake – I am literary falling asleep as soon as I close my eyes. Something is not right and I think I know why: I need to vomit. I’ve just left CP3 at mile 30 and really regret not having a sleep so I make a promise to Louis that I will go for a 20-min sleep at CP4. It doesn’t matter anymore since I’ve got my DNF in the bag. I spend time looking at amazing houses, saying hello to swans, geese and ducks – CP4 will come eventually.
CP4 is here and I introduced myself: my number is 136 and I am going to sleep for 20 min – I don’t need anything. I end up sleeping 10 min and whilst trying to get up I get the cramp of my life in my left calf. I ask for flat coke in both my soft flasks and ignore food – nothing will go in anyway. As I leave CP4, the vomit comet is finally here – I see jelly babies, a lot of fruits, some salt tablets I just took, a copious amount of water and coke to wash it off. I look up and see 4 people on a boat having a drink looking at me. I apologise, turn 180 degrees and give them a different view this time. I apologise again and they are very understanding, they don’t have much of a choice.
It doesn’t matter much now, I plod to the next CP at mile 45, it’s getting dark and I put my head torch on. I chat to someone who’s dropping and wished it was me. I leave CP5 and within minutes I return whatever I managed to ingest. It’s time to stop now, 5 more miles and I can relax.
Miles 52 to 77 – Henley to Wallingford
I can finally see Henley in the distance, I shuffle along the Thames in the dark and enjoy the brightness of my head torch. I hear a couple walking their dogs with a flimsy torch say how they need to get a decent one like mine. I have been going on for 13 hours and its 11pm, quite surprised by the level of activities at that time of the evening.
The checkpoint is at the other end of Henley, I read that in another blog. Going through town, I see people are doing normal stuff and I wonder at what point I decided that normal stuff wasn’t enough for me. I’ve had this urge to drink a pint of soda & lime with lots of ice cubes all afternoon; I am so tempted to go into a pub and order one but more pressing things are needed right now. I am genuinely excited meeting up with my team; Louis, my chimp, has been serenading to me all day what a crap effort this has been and a DNF was the logical thing to do.
It’s been 13 hours and 4 minutes since I left Richmond and I only managed to cover 52 miles. I have arrived at CP6! Halle-bloody-lujah! I give everyone a big sweaty hug before sitting in a camping chair. I am being looked after like I just arrived in A&E with a missing limb; I get a new top to put on, my cheat sticks (walking poles), a protein shake, a cup of tea, etc. I explained that I want to quit and worry that the protein shake is going to come back up as quick as it went down; I do ask where is the best place to aim for if it happens.
Neil is all dressed up to go for a run, I don’t think he has any intention of changing into normal clothes. He tells me that he’s worked the distances, times and pace I need to go at for a buckle. I quietly laugh inside thinking “you must be joking”. I then remind myself that I cannot DNF unless there is a life-threatening reason or I haven’t made the cut-off time; so, if I can put a foot in front of the other, I shall do that. Seeing everyone has perked me up and I can’t say I feel energised but I certainly feel a lot more positive I can at least get as far as Reading (58 miles). I have less than an hour in the bank ahead of cut-off at Henley. I can’t afford sitting on my arse any longer and everyone is urging me to get on with it. I won’t DNF at Henley then and the race is back on! Let’s go to Reading!
There is something amazing running the night shift – I simply love it. Neil is getting me to run again, I can’t quite believe it but I am moving again. Louis has finally gone to bed and my head is clear of any negative thoughts; I think I can make it to Reading before cut-off. I let Neil in the driving seat and obey any orders coming my way; eat, take a salt tablet, run, walk, jump in the river – I am not questioning anything and just get on with it.
I am already thinking ahead of CP7, this can only be a good thing. I know the route from Reading to Streatley (mile 77) since I did it on the A100 in Nick’s company. I know it’s the most boring section, totally uninspiring and glad I may be able to do it in the dark.
We finally arrive at CP7 – Reading, Neil’s plan has worked wonders and I am glad to be climbing up the set of stairs. There’s a comfy sofa and nobody is using it – why? I go into the room and see people waiting for the van to be taken to the finish I guess. Seeing them looking a lot better than I am and sitting there waiting for a lift makes feel like a bionic man. I get some magic gel applied on my left calf and the pain from the cramp I got ages ago disappears. Neil is running a tight ship with precise timing and pace – he clearly knows more than I do and once again I decide to follow orders all the way to Streatley. Since Henley, I decided to just go with the flow and see how far I can go – all the issues I had in the first half could resurrect and that would be me finished but I would be happy to say that I gave it a good shot.
There is only one more CP before we get to Streatley, 13 miles to cover once again in the dark. I am still feeling good and doing exactly as I’m being told. I think I can make it there and if everything goes to Neil’s plan I can contemplate reaching Wallingford (77 miles) and pick Nick from there, relieving Neil from his awesome effort. It will be bright and less than 30 miles left to go, however, right now, I need to get these crazy dreams out of my head and move forward as it’s only mile 58.
I’ve booked a room at the Bull Inn in Streatley for Nick & Francesca. It just happens that Neil and I are going through Streatley – yes! We made it in 19h08’, I am stunned to make it as far as this but all credit to Neil, his pacing has been second to none, just perfection. It’s also daylight and I am contemplating the end of the race and even dream of the buckle. I have a drop bag here but don’t bother with it at all and just have a tea and jelly babies. Time to move on, we must meet up with Nick & Francesca in 6 miles. Slight hiccup in the plan as we make a mistake coming out of checkpoint and we’re lost for about 6 min. I think we were talking and just being excited to get as far as we did. Neil is on a mission to find the correct route and flies off into the distance, I switch on the navigation on the Suunto watch and see where we went wrong. I thought for a minute that was the end of it there.
Business as usual for me and I follow the orders excited to meet Nick & Francesca. Talking about them, we see them flying by in their little car to Wallingford. I know what I must do now and I am determined to get there. It’s only fair I try my hardest to give Nick a chance at the last 23 miles. I also know that for my previous 100 miles race I have struggled with the last 25 miles but I am feeling strong; I think the 6 days in Norway pulling a 40kg pulk through the snow has improved my general fitness and soon I’ll be able to validate this assumption.
Mile 78 to 100 – Wallingford to Oxford
I have been on this part of the Thames before when I did Trot 50 but I can’t remember much of it, however, from time to time, I recognise a few sections and roughly know where we’re going. We’re coming to Wallingford checkpoint (77 miles) and still running – can’t quite believe how but I’m not going to complain. We go through the usual admin and we’re so excited to meet up with everyone that we’re told to keep quiet as it’s only 7am.
Time to move, Nick & Francesca are just down the road and we have 23 miles to go. Before I have time to engage my legs we’re in sight of them both – these are exciting times! I simply can’t believe I made it this far. I am having a protein shake again, this has helped me I think and will make sure I try it again on the SDW100 to see if this will now become part of my routine. I also munch through pineapples – I just can’t get enough of pineapple and watermelon on races.
Now this is going to sound weird but I have little recollection of what went on for the next 20 miles. I remember more sections from Trot 50 and I must admit this is not the most scenic part of the race. I decide to carry on with following orders from Nick and whenever she says we should run to a tree or a bush, I oblige. I know it’s not quite in the bag just yet but I let myself dream going through the finish.
The terrain is quite uneven and technical. I make sure I look where I put my feet. We also take time to say hello to the animals and birds especially the ones with little ones – they are just gorgeous!
We meet the team two more times and I remember Neil giving Nick instructions at what pace I should be moving – I must admit I am blown away by the science they both apply to get me to the finish.
Arriving at Abingdon checkpoint (91 miles), I am still 45 minutes ahead of cut-off. I have been going for 24 hours and 45 minutes and I am still feeling strong; I now think the week in Norway has paid off and the end is near, just 9 miles to go, 3 parkruns! This is the last time we see Neil & Francesca as the next checkpoint is not permitted to crew. I allow myself to think it’s in the bag.
I think we spend a fair amount of time plodding to the finish, talking to fellow runners as we overtake them, I must say some of them are not looking good and I even wonder if they’ll make it to the finish. I am not sure what the finish looks like, we plod along the Thames with people going about their Sunday when we are there, it’s my last left turn before going through the blue arch! We made it! TP100, you nearly killed me but we did it!
We go through the usual pictures with Stuart and congratulate each other’s. Without any shadow of a doubt, this was the hardest one so far.
This buckle goes to my crew; they were absolute legends and got me through to the finish. You know that you will have some tough times in long distance events, it’s not a question of if but when and how often. I have never experienced anything like TP100 so far and it’s been a lesson I will take with me for the next one and how my life has unfolded over the last 2 years: I know that however tough it gets, you carry on, surround yourself with great friends and eventually everything will be all right.
parkun corner with Theresa Chalk
This month has seen Clair Park celebrate its 200th run. There were plenty of participants and cake. Not sure what there was more of. Today was the day we went backwards. We wore our tops backwards. Fortunately we were not required to eat cake backwards or it could have got quite messy. The course route was back to front, or the other way round, whichever way you want to look at it, and slightly longer than usual to prevent people going all out for a PB and the possibility of carnage on the course. Helen P made two incredible cakes with park run logo which was demolished I’m sure far quicker than it took her to bake and make. We even took a photo of us backwards just to really get into the spirit.
If they have not been mentioned before we had a few milestones reached.
Jamie Goodhead 100 runs
Jean Lyle 100 runs
Jonathon Lelliott 50 runs
Hugh Stevenage 50 runs
Gary Foley 50
Andrew Ground 50 runs
And myself 50 runs
We have some parkrun posts to peruse from our tourists. A fab PB write up from James Sorbie, a historic trip for Steve Bird and a beautiful nature reserve from Cath Beckett.
From James Sorbie
After years of waiting for a girl to make the first move, I was delighted at the end of April when my wife, Hannah asked me to attend a prom with her. Perhaps a little trepidatious about my ability to dance, I popped on my best dinner suit and got in the car at a surprisingly early time of 8am. Chatting to Hannah in the car on the way it soon became clear that we were heading to Hove Promenade for a parkrun and I began to regret my decision to wear shoes with a Cuban heel. Still, I’d heard it was a flat course and I had been having quite a purple patch in my running of late so I gave it a punt anyway.
Many club members have already been to this one so I’m sure I’ll expose nothing revelatory about this flat out and back (and back and out again) course. I’d been told several times to run it because of its flatness, but having struggled on flat courses before I’d firmly corrected anyone suggesting that flat equated to easy. But then I ran a 5k personal best and now it’s me that looks like I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Clocking 18:30 as my confirmed time, I knocked a whopping(!) three seconds off my previous 5k PB which I had set at Cannon Hill near Birmingham (shameless plug, but if you’re ever near Edgbaston, do check it out, it’s a fantastically fast and beautiful parkrun). I still maintain 5k courses with some undulations make for faster times because they are more varied and forgiving on your joints, but now I have to prove it!
Finally, I arrived home brimming with excitement about my time, which I’d already modestly plastered all over Facebook. It was shortly afterwards I ascertained that I’d run with my pyjama top on under my running top. So folks, if you cut away all the useless information I’ve provided in this review, you can at least glean some sage advice. You can do well at parkrun in your pyjamas, but imagine how much quicker you’d be if you got dressed properly.
From Steve Bird
Towards the end of April we were due down in Portsmouth for a family wedding so decided to make a long weekend of it.
When we go away for the weekend I’ve got into the habit of checking the Parkrun website before booking accommodation. We decided on an airbnb in Southsea which was a great location, just under a mile from the Historic Dockyards and Gunwharf quays and a 5 minute walk from the Esplanade.
Saturday morning arrived and I headed out along Southsea Esplanade, past Southsea Castle to the start which was at Speakers Corner by Rocksby’s Cafe.
We start just after 9, the course heads east along the esplanade, passing under the canopy of South Parade Pier, turning shortly after the Royal Marine Barracks and returning via the same route.
I love running by the sea, it’s great for my wellbeing as I find it really really easy to switch off looking out at the water. It’s a fast and flat course (as it’s an out and back route on the coast you do end up running into the wind at some point), would recommend giving it a try if you get the chance.
From Cath Beckett
We turned up at Maidenhead parkrun to a very quiet car park having followed the sat nav, and walked around a bit before finding a helpful Marshall setting up some cones to separate the out and back section of the course! Following his instructions we found our way to the meeting point on the rugby pitches. We had the usual new runner briefing and park run tourist shout out. This was Rosie’s 50th parkrun, and she got a big cheer!
The course was 2 predominantly flat laps through the pretty Braywick Nature Reserve, and up a very short, steep hill towards the end. The initial pace was fast, making it a good course for a PB! About 300 runners took part. The marshals were friendly and encouraging, and Malcolm, who had marshalled at every one of the 110 Maidenhead parkruns, even had his own corner named after him with a special sign!
Definitely a good one to do if you are in the area.
That’s it for this month. A huge thank you to everyone for taking the time to write about the experiences and to offer their advice.
Please let us have your reports for next month.
Neil and the newsletter team.
Welcome to the April newsletter. Nothing more to say that it’s brilliant. Loads of race reports, advice from Sue, Track and Field Corner from John and parkrun update from Theresa.
Coaches Corner by Sue Baillie
Running drills are exercises that help you improve your running performance,
there are many benefits from doing drills, elite athletes will be doing them on a regular basis, so maybe they’ll help us too.
Why Do Running Drills?
Drills have many benefits:
1 Improve running technique
2 Enhanced awareness of body movement
3 Postural & muscular control through range of movement
4 Co-ordination during run-related movement patterns
5 Improve the fatigue resistance of the muscles that maintain good posture – in particular hip and pelvis stability.
6 Improve strength and impact tolerance of the foot and lower leg.
These need to be done regularly but they can be included into your warm up before a training session or as part of a conditioning-specific session.
Perform the drills on a good surface – either a running track, gym-type floor or grass that is firm and smooth.
Concentrate on maintaining good, relaxed posture throughout all the drills. Keep your chest up, your back straight and engage your abdominal muscles to keep your hips stable. You want your hips to stay facing forwards and not move up and down on each side as your legs move.
Drills improve your ability to maintain proprioceptive control of the foot and lower limb as well developing achilles tendon strength. They also help reduce injury risk by building up your tolerance of impact in preparation for faster running or increased mileage. They also help maximise the utilisation of elastic energy during running.
Also build up the number of foot contacts gradually so that your lower legs and feet have time to adapt and strengthen. You can also gradually build up how ‘explosively’ you do these drills.
Start off doing two repeats of each drill per session over about 20 metres and work your way up to doing four repeats of each drill over a slightly longer distance (up to about 40 metres).
Over the coming months the coaches will be introducing and fine-tuning a selection of drills, have fun, enjoy and reap the rewards.
Happy running, Sue x
Surrey Half Marathon – 12th March 2017 (By Marie Carey)
In my quest to take part in some new (for me) events during 2017, 12th March saw me heading over to Woking for the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon.
There were no parking facilities at the venue, so we parked in the town centre and then had a 10/15 min walk to the start which was at the leisure centre. There was a small race village with various stalls, a baggage drop facility and plenty of portaloos.
The starting pen was clearly marked by flags indicating predicted finish times and there were Xempo pacers covering sub 1:30 to 2:30.
We got underway at 9am which coincided with the heavens opening (it then continued to drizzle for the remainder of the race), and set off along the route which was described as “fast and flat” (the course record is 62mins) and incorporated a big loop along country roads around Woking and Guildford, with the exception of a 3ish mile out-and-back section which commenced at the 4 mile point. The entire route was fully closed to vehicles. Whilst I can’t agree with the “flat” description – I would say that it was undulating, and there were definitely no big hills.
There was plenty of support along the way. The marshals were very encouraging and the water stations were well manned. All in all, a very organised, friendly event with excellent potential to chase a PB should you so wish. The race bling was quite impressive too. It was also nice to be part of an event where a world record was set – Tony Morrison finished in a time of 2:23 which was very impressive given that he carried a Smeg fridge on his back for the entire 13.1 miles.
Mel’s Milers 10k – 26th March 2017 (By Marie Carey)
The fifteenth staging of this annual event took place on 26th March.
This is a very small, friendly event (approx. 350 participants) and caters for all abilities. Starting and finishing in the avenue next to the quadrangle of Christ’s Hospital school, nr Horsham, the race is on mixed terrain which is mostly off-road, taking in a lap of the school grounds before heading off to Southwater along the Downslink, through the Country Park (where the flat course becomes a bit undulating), and back along the Downslink.
A lovely local event to support which is only £12 (affiliated) to enter and includes a finisher’s medal. Each year, a donation is made to a charity from the proceeds of the race. The 2017 charity was Ovarian Cancer Action.
Crawley Athletic Club Track & Field Pre-Season Open Meeting– 25th March 2017
(By John Palmer)
Back in August James Sorbie and I caught the end of the Track & Field season for our first attempt and our looking forward to another go led us to jump in for this pre-season. As a result of my extensive marketing campaign within the club, this time we were joined by, um, no-one else. But we did have a supporter this time, with Hannah Sorbie enduring our performances having been lured by a Toby Carvery and all you can watch Cinema with James afterwards.
The Open Meetings have a full track and field program for all ages from U11 upwards and anyone can turn up on the day or save a bit of time & money by registering in advance.
I arrived at K2 in plenty of time for James’ 1500m and luckily find possibly the last available car-park space. I think Hannah had similar problems so this has to be kept in mind, K2’s a busy leisure centre with other events going on as well. You do get the advantage of a fully equipped sports centre though, with changing facilities and refreshments available.
It’s a short walk through to the track area, up to the registration office at the end of the stand opposite the start line and a quick check for changes to the timetable. As I’ve pre-registered I get my number for the day in return for giving my name. If you haven’t registered then bring your EA Number and some cash.
It’s a nice sunny day in the grandstand so we all sit there a while before James goes to warm-up for his 1500m by disappearing into Tilgate Forest leaving me & Hannah to watch a few hurdle races. It’s difficult to judge the warm up as the timetable only gives you the start of the window for your race. The actual number of races depends on who turns up, so having reported to the start line at the prescribed time James has to keep himself active while three other age / gender categories go before him. He’s placed in a mixed category race, men & women from U17 upwards. And another good race is run, with a Senior Men category victory in a time of 04:59.39, a bit slower than last year due to a very strong gusty headwind in places.
A victorious James Sorbie crosses the finish line with no other Senior Males in sight.
So onto my 80m, an unusual distance but it’s only pre-season so I suppose a full 100m is too much to cope with! My warm-up plan has gone awry, I started as planned just after James had finished but hadn’t taken into account the ‘windows’ and that just because he was later than we expected it doesn’t mean the whole event is running late. So I have a bit of a warm-up and gather at the start line to warm-up some more and play with the starting blocks that I’ve forgotten to revise what to do with! After a few different category races the senior men are called forward (no Vets breakdown in this one), and my number gets a special call as I didn’t hear! Seven of us line up having drawn lanes and an uneventful 12.16 seconds later I cross the finish line in 7th place.
A bit more spectating and it’s getting cold in the stand so we head off to the sunny grassy bank opposite, handily placed by the start lines (they’re staggered by lane) for my 300m, another odd pre-season distance. A bit more warming up, gather at the start and we’re split into races with me third off in a 4 man race with 2 other vets and an U20 disabled category runner who is offered the choice of lanes with the rest of us drawing lots. So a bit more warming up while watching the other races and then we’re off with me drawn in lane 2. Hitting the first bend I’m buffeted by the same wind that affected James and by the home straight the thighs are burning and I’ve been left behind by two of the runners with just the V55 behind me. I get the feeling he’s closing but hold him off for 3rd place in 49.22 seconds.
And so we’re done and my goal is to lose some weight and gain some fitness before the end of the season! I would recommend these meetings if you fancy a go at Track (or Field). You need to keep your wits about you with all the events going on and the variable timetable, but I would think that’s the nature of an open event with the individual race composition not known till the day. I wish they’d show me as a V50M though, they have my date of birth and do for some runners.
Track & Field Corner by John Palmer
Well I’ve got to do something now the Cross Country season’s over!
Welcome to the first Track & Field Corner, a feature likely to be even less popular than the Cross Country Corner it replaces.
With Track & Field now becoming ‘official’ with a Stuart Condie e-mail inviting us all to Crawley K2 for Haywards Heath Harriers’ Open Meeting, I thought I’d share what myself & James Sorbie have worked out on our two visits to the Crawley Athletic Club meetings (the latest of which is reported on elsewhere in this issue):
We are all encouraged to enter the following, particularly the feature event of 1 mile at 7.55pm, although there are other track & field events from 6pm. See Stuart’s e-mail of 2nd April or ask him or me for details:
EVENING OPEN TRACK & FIELD MEETING
THURSDAY 4TH MAY 2017
AT THE CRAWLEY ‘K2’ STADIUM, Pease Pottage Hill, Crawley, RH11 9BQ
And you might like to join James Sorbie & I in considering these Crawley AC meetings (www.crawleyac.org.uk):
Sneaking into this issue, Kim Gow shares the joy that can be had at the back of the 1500m field while James Sorbie is smashing his PB down to 4:52.37 in a ‘cannot believe it!!!!! I have never been so pleased with a run!’ sort of way!
Don’t miss out on an ideal opportunity to give the mile a go at the HHH event on 4th May 2017!
Crawley AC 60th Anniversary Open Meeting – 8th Apr 2017 (By Kim Gow)
So, I had been thinking about one of these races for a few weeks now and buoyed up by my 5K run at the Olympic park last week I decided to go for this.
I had emailed both John Palmer and James Sorbie beforehand so I would know another friendly face there. I had entered the same race several times before, although that was probably about 10 years ago.
The race was due to start at 12.45 and I arrived at 12pm. Having driven round the car park twice I thought about going home when a space became free and I nipped in –it must be fate!!
James and Hannah were very encouraging as were the people signing you on. So we all, 10 of us lined up along the start. 10 that is, both male and female from 17 years up to me!
The start is at the top of the back straight and when the gun went everyone else was immediately at the other end of the track leaving my thinking ‘What have I done?’. I thought just concentrate on your own time, don’t try to keep up with anyone, so even when others streaked past me lapping me I concentrated on my watch. I made it to a round of applause from the supporters in the stand in 7.19. I was pretty chuffed with that time.
There was such a lot of genuine support. A lady from Arena stayed to congratulate me as did a lovely young girl who told me she wanted to be like me when she was older. That nearly made me cry!
So if you fancy it I would say give it a try!
Moyleman Marathon – 12th March 2017 (By Oliver Day)
This was to be my second trail marathon in a week, having completed the Steyning Stinger on the previous Sunday. I was quite anxious in the build up to both of these as the weather forecast in the lead in was predicting wet and windy conditions. The main issue was would I be warm enough and this lead to a panic thermal base layer purchase which arrived too late for Stinger. Even the night before the forecast was still showing rain. The big day arrived and the rain did not materialise. In fact it was warm for the time of year and the thermal was swapped for normal base layer and a BHR top.
The Moyleman, like the Stinger, is a tough marathon. It feature 5 climbs in what seems like increasing toughness, totalling about 850 meters of climbing, which compares neatly with the Stinger’s 830 meters. The race starts at Wallands School in Lewes and heads west along the South Downs until it joins the South Downs Way (SDW) just after Black Cap. There the route turns south and heads back down hill to Housedean Farm and across the A27 at the 5 mile mark. The second climb is a doable slog up Newmarket Hill, a quick admiring of the view and then down to Falmer Bottom as the course traces around Castle Hill. The route takes a turn to run along Balsdean Bottom before a steep climb and then re-joining the SDW. Its then mainly downhill to the 13 mile half way point at Southease. Many supporters gather here as it’s the changeover for the relay runners. This is a good option if you like the route but would be put off by a whole marathon.
I found the second half tough. As you pull out of Southease it is a long slog up to Firle Beacon, following the SDW, and on to Bo-Peep car park. It’s a great place to be up on the top, the weather was staying good and the view good. At Bo-Peep, it’s a left turn and downhill off the downs. We now turn and head back to Lewes via Glynde. It’s a 6 mile push now with the legs getting tired and the thought of only one more climb until the finish. I knew that at the finish, in the Harvey’s Brewery yard, was a nice pint of Sussex waiting for me – nicely sponsored by the Brewery. I could fail now – just one more hill, just one more and then Mount Caburn comes into view. I struggled up this one, slowing to walking pace, but trying not to stop completely. Near the top Philippe Ecaille was there cheering runners on. This gave me a much needed boost enabling me to run with a second wind to the top, then down the gulley and back up to the Golf course before the final descent into Lewes High Street. The crowds were out and this provided for a welcome finish into Harvey’s Brewery Yard.
The ‘medal’ is an inscribed Moyleman beer glass, filled briefly with water and then with the pint of Sussex which I had been thinking about to keep me going until the end. Finishers also get a token for a much needed and very well made pizza. It’s a small race, less than 150 marathon runners and similar doing the half-marathon relay.
This was the third official running of the Moyleman, held each year in memory of local runner Chris Moyle, who sadly passed away at the age of only 42. I was joined by 4 other BHRs, Paul Sargent, Mark Nicholls, Jamie Goodhead and Di Delderfield. It’s a great route and a lovely run, which I’m sure more BHRs will join me competing in next year.
Lydd 20– 12th March 2017 (By Alice Tellett)
I quite like to do a 20 mile race as part of training for a marathon and with the death of the Spitfire 20 this year I had to look a little further afield this time. I stumbled upon the Lydd 20 miler, just 4 weeks before my spring marathon, perfect timing.
Lydd is a small seaside village located just beyond Camber Sands in Kent. I moved to the south of England from Norwich about 3 years ago and I have slowly come to accept that this part of the country is a tad hilly and if I’m going to run here I’d best leave the flat terrain of Norfolk behind and get used to running up and down hills. Well fear not! Because about 1hr30 drive to the east there is countryside that is flatter than Suffolk with lovely views on a sunny day. And here you will find the quaint village of Lydd.
While it rained in Burgess Hill on the 12th March 2017, glorious cool sunshine arrived in Kent. I arrived at the race HQ at about 9:30 for a 10 am start. The parking is on the village green, which was well signposted, and marshalled, then there is about a 5 minute walk to the start, also well signposted. The race itself consists of a half marathon and a 20 miler and both races set off together for the same start line. The race was started by Ben Smith (of 401 marathons).
The start is on quite a tight bent and with well over a 1,000 people trying to get round it quite quickly it did result in a slight bottleneck at the start. Right after we started I spotted another BHR runner, then I realised it was the speedy Jon Boxall and realised I would not be seeing him again! The race quickly goes onto flat windy village roads, which are not closed but extremely quiet and separated by fields. The bends in the road also mean you can see ahead of you in the race, which I liked.
Both races are out-and-backs and the 20 mile course is the same as the half marathon until about 6 miles when they went straight and we took a sharp turn right. This did mean also that the half marathon leaders started to run towards you from 5 miles onwards, which kept you occupied as the countryside began to feel a little samey.
The turn at 6 miles, away from the half marathoners did provide a bit of relieve from this though. The 6-10 mile section goes into a more wooded area, with a few sharp bends and through a tiny village which means you can’t see ahead of you as much. At about 8 miles in the leaders started to zoom towards us again, but this did allow me to give Jon a wave. Just before the 10 mile mark the road leaves a village and is boarded by two high banks, then after a few sharp turns you reach the 180 degree turn around point marked with a marshal and a cone. And you are off back the way you came. I clocked a half marathon time of 1hr 51 mins and still felt really strong so knew I was heading for a good time.
At 14 miles we re-joined the half marathon route, which did mean we caught up a few of the people at the back of this race, but as the road was so wide it did not cause any problems. The miles are well marked with sign posts and from 15 miles onwards they started to count down from 5 miles to go. I do like an out-and-back as it nice to be able to visualise what you have left to go, which I think helps in keeping up the morale and momentum of a longer race such as a 20 miler.
I did falter a little in the last few miles and the miles started to really drag but the determination of achieving a PB plus the flat terrain and the odd cheer kept me going and I arrived home in 2hr 46 mins, a PB of 8 mins for this distance, very pleased with that and a great confidence boost for the marathon ahead.
At the end you are greeted with a great medal, water, and a table offering a selection of chocolate bars and a nice village green to collapse on before the long drive home.
I would highly recommend this race to those training for a spring marathon next year who are prepared to drive a little further afield.
The water stations were well located, amply stocked and nicely spread out. There was only water on offer and in cups but it was a pretty low key event. The route itself was well marked and had cheering marshals and spectators dotted throughout the race. And of course it is a flat and fast course which is PB hungry.
Vitality Reading Half Marathon – 19th March 2017 (By Keith Brown)
Having family in Reading made my second visit to this race very easy and as a town I know well it definitely appealed to me. This is a big race with over 17,000 runners participating in The Green Park Challenge (a 3k race before the main event) and the Half Marathon itself.
The race village is based at the Madjeski Stadium, the home of Reading FC, and the start is at Green Park which is a new complex of office buildings and houses immediately behind the stadium. Whilst lining up in the Blue start pen I was very surprised to see another Burgess Hill Runner donning full kit. Neil Grigg wished me luck but was making his way much further up the starting area.
The race itself is pretty much flat but there are a few sneaky hills around mile three and eight but on the whole a very flat course that runs through residential streets, the town centre, under the Oracle shopping centre and even down the A33 the main road from the M4.
What makes this race so special and the best I have done is the support out on the course. The town really embrace this race and come out in their thousands to cheer from all vantage points. At the university and through the town centre and the Oracle the crowds were incredible. The last mile and half down the wide A33 is an adrenaline busting experience with the stadium getting nearer and nearer.
With 1/3 of mile to go you leave the A33, run up the approach road, around the stadium and then enter in one corner finishing with a sprint around half of the ground finishing in front of the tunnel with thousands of spectators watching on. An amazing experience and very exciting.
I completed the race in 2:00:22 which was just under a minute faster than last year but had a real pain in my left foot for the days before and during the race which may have affected my time.
All in all a fantastic race and one I recommend to anyone.
The link to all of the stats is below:
Thanks for reading.
Fleet Half Marathon – 19th March 2017 (By Oli Jones)
The main reason I chose to do the Fleet half marathon is because I have family there and could combine it with a family trip to see my aunt and cousin’s. I drove down on the Saturday afternoon / evening, thankfully the traffic was not too bad despite some speed restrictions on the M3. I spent a nice time on Saturday with my family and got an early night ready for the morning. The Course is centred around Calthorpe Park in the centre of Fleet town. You start just outside the park and finish inside the park.
The claxon went and of we go, quite a small race of only 3,000 ish runners all set off. The first 2 miles took you round the outside of the park and through the main high street, the support was good and people cheering everyone on. You then went off through Fleet’s residential area for a mile or two then came back through the high street where more people had gathered to cheer you on as well as some music playing.
Mile 5 took you out past the station and onward over the M3, I remember quite a stiff breeze as we went across the bridge. Onwards to mile 6 which took you through some nice country lanes through to mile 9 ish where more crowds were gathered near a local pub called ‘The Barley Mow’. A nice gathering and some people handing out jelly babies (which is always good). Then onto the last four miles which wound its way back to town past the leisure centre and to the finish in the park.
I liked the race and the course. Lots of support and I would definitely do it again if I got the chance.
Sussex Road Relay, Christ’s Hospital (By Joe Beesley)
A beautiful spring day greeted a bumper entry for Burgess Hill Runners at the Sussex road relays event held in the grounds of Christ’s Hospital.
The relay was of a 2 mile and 93 yard course with every (bar one) team completing three laps, with the senior men’s team the outlier, completing 6 laps. The course is a lightly undulating, path and road course, predominantly in the grounds of Christ’s Hospital and utilising a bit of the estate that Barns Green veterans will be familiar with (about mile 3 if memory serves).
A small section of the course uses a nearby piece of road, which was quiet and only had one or two cars passing. The event is a nice afternoon out and there are also some rather serious and seriously fast athletes competing, I’m unsure if the rumour of Charlie Grice racing for Brighton Phoenix was an April fool or not. So, if you like your races really short, sharp and with a great team atmosphere, then this is surely an event you should try next year, I mean, you get to run with a time chipped baton and everything (ours was pink).
The race at a glance:
Distance: 2 miles 93 yards
Shoe type: Road
Scenery: Stunning (there’s a bit of waiting, so ‘ave a look about)
Jog Shop Jog 20 – 25th March 2017 (By Jonathan Herbert)
These days some races feel the need to boast of their toughness, but 25 years ago, when gravel voiced Jog Shop owner, Sam Lambourne, and friends, decided to turn their training route into an official event, there were no such thinking. The Jog Shop Jog has long been on my to-do list, but despite my liking for trail races I had never entered, partly due to the intimidating profile, and the mythology around the event – the North Face, The Big W, Death Valley, and the Snake.
The race is extremely low-key, the start being a pop-up gazebo and a fold out table set up in the Asda car park at the marina. Worryingly my fellow runners all looked quite serious, with windproof tops and hydration packs, making me a little self-conscious in my club t-shirt. The sun was shining though and the wind wasn’t too strong as about 70 of us made our way to the starting line. It wasn’t immediately clear where the starting line was, but Sam soon directed us to a seemingly random point in the car park and we were off.
We followed a zig zag path to the cliff top and then followed this to Rottingdean, where we dropped down to the Undercliff path for a while. At Saltdean Lido we turned inland, and after some confusion we reached the base of the Downs near the Saltdean United ground. Here we hit the first hill, a long steady climb. Still full of energy and enthusiasm, I latched on to a trio of runners and followed them to the top, before setting off at pace across the Downs. After a short descent we reached the first named section – the North Face. This wasn’t as bad as expected – steep but short, and whilst I resorted to some tactical walking I could have run it if I wanted. Two of the trio loitered at the drinks station whilst two of us set off again at pace. Thankfully I had to stop to do my laces as it was becoming apparent that I couldn’t do the whole race at that pace. Soon we reached the Yellow Brick Road – a concrete path, more uphill than I was expected, and I was glad to be taking it a bit more slowly.
Once that was done we hit the Big W, which was where it got serious. There was a long steep descent on a concrete path which levelled out briefly before a long climb back to the top. The people ahead of me were walking so I followed suit, starting running again once the gradient eased. Soon we descended again, less steeply this time and on a more normal path. At the bottom was a sharp turn by a drinks station before a steep rocky climb back up. I like to think that I stopped to chat with the stewards, but in reality I just stood there a bit stunned whilst they fed me jelly babies. There was no pretence about “tactical” walking now – this was a hard slog and my calves were starting to protest. Once it eased off I was running again, this time down to Death Valley.
Initial impressions were that this was a real misnomer. After an initial descent it became more of a gentle slope, ideal for fast running. As we went past the remains of Balsdean (bombed for target practice in the war), I was really hammering it. With hindsight this was unwise as at the end of the valley I reached the Snake, and found that my legs had died.
In normal circumstances the Snake would be fine – a 2-mile long, winding gradual hill – but at that stage it was a real effort. As I turned the corner into the rising wind it actually stopped me in my tracks briefly. I managed to persevere though and slogged my way up to the top, to be rewarded with more jelly babies. The wind was either much stronger on top, or I was much weaker as it was an effort to not get blown sideways.
Shortly after though, we reached a long, straight downhill road leading to Rottingdean. The big question was whether I would be stupid enough to make the same mistake twice. Of course I was – I hammered down the road as fast as my battered legs would carry me. At the bottom of the road was the only actual road crossing on the route. A steward was helpfully present to stop people throwing themselves in front of traffic, and ensure that they crossed on the zebra crossing. Across the road though was the last steep hill, leading sharply up to the Rottingdean windmill. I made my way up, hands on knees, and very nearly hands and knees. After that the route dropped back down to the clifftop path, but my legs were gone. All I could do was put my head down and grind out the last couple of miles. Inevitably the two people I had left behind at the North Face jogged past me but I couldn’t keep up with them this time.
I finally descended the zig zag path to the car park, finishing in 3 hours. It had been a fantastic event. Challenging but with some of the best scenery I have experienced and I would certainly recommend it.
parkrun corner by Theresa Chalk
This last month has seen so many of you taking part in marathons and ultras that I decided (exception of Malcolm S) I would leave you alone and not ask for your parkrun memories this month. I considered asking Dave Oldfield to do a regular contribution as most weekends he is popping up around the country at different venues. He has amassed 28 to date of writing this. But given his duties at Junior parkrun week in week out I will leave him alone too. Unless Dave you have been to a spectacular one you would love us all to know about.
So read a bit about our local junior parkrun.
Dave O heads up the core team at Haywards Heath Junior parkrun at Victoria park, Sunday mornings at 9am. For those who are unaware this is a 2k route for 4-14 year olds. They can be accompanied by an adult. Remembering this is a run not a race so you can walk if you want to. And while your having fun the juniors can earn wristbands as they participate. (who doesnâ€™t love a wristband)
11 junior parkruns = Blue band (half marathon distance)
21 junior parkruns = Green band (marathon distance)
50 junior parkruns = Orange band (ultra distance)
100 junior park runs is a certificate award only. Certificates can be printed off once you have completed your distance.
The wristbands are awarded during the announcements . The kids are so smiley and proud when their name is called out.
This is a lovely park with wide open areas. Plenty of adults around to encourage the children. Approx 90 a week participate. Its very friendly and include a nice fun warm up and hand clapping spelling out of parkrun to get you into the spirit.
At present we have 15 BHR juniors who do the Junior parkruns. Well done to you all : Adam Beckett, Jonathan Beckett, Niamh Bennett, Seb Bennett, David Burke, Lily Grace Craigs, Alfie Geere, Lola Geere, Adam Lawson, Thomas Lawson, Henry Monnery, Lola Monnery, Emily Paulsen, Henry Potts, and Will Potts.
And although this has been all about the juniors this month I can’t help but mention Ann Savage who did her first sub 9 min mile while we were at Hove Prom parkrun. She was truly incredulous and beaming.
As Keith says, thank you for reading. It’s great to see so many people putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) this month to make this an excellent bumper edition.
As always, don’t be shy. We’d love to read your experiences, so that we can enjoy them with you and learn from your stories.
Take care, The Newsletter Team.
Greetings to you all,
We hope that you enjoy the March newsletter. Words of wisdom from our Head Coach, Race Reports, the parkrun FA Cup, lovely parkrun news, a bit of Cross Country and a recovery drink recipe are all heading your way.
Coaches Corner by Sue Baillie
Stride length & cadence
The two variables affecting running speed is stride length (SL) & stride rate/cadence (SR). There’s been some debate & research over the last ten years and the here are the conclusions I’ve collated.
It seems athletes favour either longer strides or increased cadence. It maybe due to differences in the nervous system or power generation. Powerful athletes may rely on generating a large amount of force thru’ their stride and become stride length dependent. Or runners that rely on the nervous system’s ability to rapidly turns the legs over become reliant on stride frequency.
In conclusion SL is related more to increased force production & SF is associated with faster leg turn over and neural activation.
So to enhance performance we can individualise training. Stride length dependent athletes might need to do more turnover workout/neuromuscular work to improve their SR and therefore speed. If we can run sub-maximally with our natural strategy and then be able to switch strategies when fatigued you can change the muscle fibres that are recruited slightly, and thereby changing how they work (powerful as in a long swing stride or rapidly as in a short swing stride).
The 180 steps/minute is just a guideline, even elite runners vary off this number a little. Increasing your cadence if it’s a lot less than 180, helps because;
1) to eliminate over striding.
2) to give you another weapon in your running arsenal.
For example nearing the end of a race if you change to a faster turnover rate you recruit fresh muscle fibres capable of producing a sprint finish. But this takes practice, adding weekly doses of speed training, teaches the nervous system to fire and apply force in a quicker amount of time. Speed work teaches the body to push off against the ground more powerfully in a short period of time.
If you want to increase your stride length do not reach forward this may lead to over striding and produce a breaking force. Better to lengthen it out the back side. Use your gluteus & hamstrings to create propulsion.
Several ways to do this:
Avoid Over Striding
Over striding is sometimes seen in runners with low cadence, it not only can slow you down (breaking force) but puts undue stress on your joints increasing risk of injury. If you’re prone to this, the easiest and most efficient way to cut down on over-striding is to increase your cadence. Tools to help achieve this;
Albert Park parkrun, Melbourne, Australia by Jon Lavis from November
Any holiday these days for most runners seems to involve checking out the local parkrun if available. Our family holiday to Australia this year was no exception. My brother-in-law, a Melbourne resident, is a regular at Albert Park parkrun. Those Formula 1 fans amongst you will immediately realise that this is also the venue for the Australian Grand Prix, although apart from the Pit Lane complex the track is unrecognisable in its normal state.
We all know that the parkrun format is pretty much identical at every venue. Australian parkruns differ only in that they start at 8am. I am not sure why other than Australians seem to be early risers with most of their recreational activities taking place in the early morning before work.
So our first Saturday in Melbourne saw us up bright and early and on our way to Albert Park, a 30 min drive which by Australian standards is just down the street! Parking was straightforward and a 2-minute walk to the start saw us at the meeting point at the side of the lake. The Albert Park parkrun course is a simple as they come… the path around the lake is just under 5k, so with a small overlap at the start the course is one lap of the lake and unless you find a kerb virtually zero elevation.
There were a fair number of runners at the meeting point and the Race Directors briefing took the normal format. I was expecting to be one of a few tourists, however this turned out to be far from the case, with the RD asking for a show of hands from visitors from within the State, then from within Australia, and then from the UK and then the rest of the world! I estimate out of the 266 runners at least 100 were tourists, the family standing next to us being from Portsmouth!
My run was pretty uneventful; the course was very easy to navigate with marshals positioned at a couple of the footpath junctions and outside the occasional boat house to prevent you colliding with a launching crew. The turn at the top of the lake brought a view of the City skyscrapers which never seemed to get any closer on the way back, those familiar, with the run into the Brighton Marathon Finish and Brighton Pier will understand what I mean! I was pretty pleased with my time, nothing special and not unlike my normal times.
I summary we experienced the normal parkrun welcome and it was fun to run somewhere different. I would recommend anyone visiting Melbourne to give it a go, don’t forget the 8am start!
Zurich Maratón de Sevilla – 17th Feb 2017
(By Darren Chilcott)
I pretended that I decided to enter this race on the recommendation of my coach (James Elson at Centurion Running) as part of a longer term plan as he said it was a good, flat course with PB potential in what was likely to be favourable weather for marathon running. Yeah, right, that as well 🙂 In reality, I’ve always wanted to explore Seville and very much fancied a few days away escaping the grim UK weather and sampling some nice rioja and tapas. As it turned out, and this is a hearty recommendation, Seville is pretty much perfect on both counts – it’s just a shame a series of niggling injuries since the summer have prevented me from training at anything like the level I’d hoped, with only a couple of long runs (18m the longest) since my last race in July.
Having decided to stretch the visit to 5 days we arrived in Seville on Thursday evening and after a 20 minute cab ride were soon settled into our lovely city centre hotel. Race check in on Friday morning was at an Expo centre (similar to ExCel) out of town – registration was very quick and efficient and there were some of the usual range of kit and race stands to browse around. I also bumped into another of the Centurion runners who warned me not to end up, like he had, in a Flamenco Bar at 3am in the morning as it may not be great race prep. We spent Saturday wandering around the city – it’s a gorgeous place – wide streets, fantastic architecture, plenty of shopping and a river running through the centre. With hindsight I may have spent a bit too long on my feet on Friday and Saturday but it was such a lovely place with so much to see it was difficult not to.
The weather was perfect (for sightseeing) on Friday and Saturday – bright, sunny and reaching the low 20s. My racing in any kind of heat has always been poor, so I wasn’t quite as pleased as I otherwise might have been. I needn’t have worried – I woke at 6am on Sunday and as I made my way to the start/finish at Estadio Olímpico de La Cartuja, the stadium that was built for the World Athletics Championships in 1999, I was delighted to find it was cold, windy and drizzling with rain. Very like the last few months at home in fact. The mainly Spanish entrants were not so pleased – multiple layers, ponchos and (yes James) bin bags were the local choices of pre-race kit as everyone sheltered on the stadium concourses.
The field of around 14,000 runners were ushered into the usual timed starting pens on a closed section of dual carriageway outside the stadium for the 8.30am start – there was a great atmosphere amongst the runners as we waited and soon we were off. The Seville course is a mixture – there are some fairly uninteresting bits, plenty of long, straight, flat sections and virtually no hills at all – Strava showed the total elevation at less than 500ft.
The course really comes into its own from around the 20m mark as you start to get back into the heart of the City, particular highlights for me being the loop around the absolutely stunning Plaza De Espana, through El Parque Maria Luisa (complete with wild parrots) and then through the narrowing main streets of the City Centre as the crowds get larger and larger (and louder and louder). At times there was a real narrowing of the course as the crowds encroached (there are no barriers) – not dangerously so, just excitedly. It made for a great atmosphere over the difficult final miles.
You leave the main city streets with about 2 miles to go, where things quieten down a bit as you re-cross the river and head back to the stadium, before entering through the main tunnel and on to the running track to complete almost a full lap through to the race finish. Several thousand spectators were in the stadium at this point which means the last 300 yards will probably be everyone’s quickest.
………..some of the race route sights including the Plaza de Espana
As a race for me personally it was firmly in the ‘OK’ bracket. It wasn’t what I was hoping for when I registered about 9 months ago, but after the interrupted training I’ll take a 3.57. As usual, I tactically made a bit of a balls of it, running the first half at an aspirational full-race pace I was never going to maintain, so (yet another) lesson for me there (and another bo**ocking from James).
After finishing and collecting a decent medal and my lovely blue plastic sheet (modelled below) I wandered back to the (super-efficient) baggage area, collected my stuff and met up with Debbie. The 40 min stroll back into town (past those still finishing) was a lovely way to loosen the legs up again, and was of course interrupted by a proper refuelling stop at one of the many hundreds of excellent (and stupidly cheap by our prices) tapas bars that dominate Seville.
Would I recommend this race? 100% yes. Very well organised, flat, fast, traffic-free route, well supported, loads of aid stations in a wonderful, inexpensive city where the weather is likely to be pretty good for running. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Thorpe Park Half Marathon – 26th Feb 2017
(By Helen Pratt)
On Sunday 26th February 2017 about 11 Burgess Hill Runners decided the thrill of a theme park would be a great venue for a half marathon. Destination: Thorpe Park.
It was a new event put on by ‘Run Through’, the people who also do the Hampton Court Palace half and the Wimbledon Common half.
We eventually arrived with little time to spare, having been caught up in the traffic getting into the park.
Having done the pre-race necessities we excitedly got into the pens. They were marked in times but as we were quite late getting into them we didn’t notice.
Soon we were off. We were all excited about running through Thorpe Park but it wasn’t long into the run we realised the closest we were getting to the park was the car park and service road.
The course was good once we were out onto the roads. We ran along the quiet country roads in the surrounding area. We ran through Egham, Thorpe village, Virginia Waters and Lyne, crossing over the M25 and M3 to the sounds of horns from the cars and lorries.
Unfortunately we were expecting a flat course so the undulations and 2 bigger hills were a bit of a surprise as were the many cars on the ‘closed ‘roads.
Eventually we got back to the park, well the service road and car park and the finish line. The medal, T-shirts and goodies.
Despite the run not being quite as expected it was a great event and in future years these things will be sorted.
Oh and not to forget the bling. We can all say we proudly gained a fantastic broken medal. The bottom had to be cut and filed off due to them being made before permission was not given to use the Thorpe Park logo.
XC Sayers Common – My First Cross Country Race – 11th Feb 2017
(By Oli Jones)
I got home from work and had about an hour to myself before I had to leave to go to Sayers Common for the XC race. I managed to get in a quick slice of toast with peanut butter and a cup of tea. John had informed me that the race had been cut down to 5K instead of the normal 5 mile race because of bad weather, it would be 5 laps of a 1k course. I was expecting a lot of mud!
I got to Sayers Common at about 14:20, this gave me enough time to go and register and pick up my number and meet up with my team mates. The team consisted of John Palmer (who was not running but took the photos and organised things), John Boxall, Neil Grigg, Andy Sayers, Ian Jones , James Collins and myself. I had time for a quick warm up, about ten minutes. I had been warned by my team that the runners will just go speeding off and not to worry about it.
My team mates were right and at the start whistle almost everyone went off into the distance, I must have been second or third from the back at this point. I gradually got used to the surface and got myself into some sort of pace, I managed to get past a couple of people on the first lap which helped my confidence. The surface was gradually getting worse as each lap went on and I managed to keep my footing.
Laps three and four were my most productive I feel as I managed to step up my pace a little and get past quite a few more people, still slipping and sliding a bit I managed to hold on to my place until the end despite being lapped a few times by the front runners going at a bonkers pace.
I finished in 96th place in the end , which I was very happy with and somehow managed to get a 5k personal best of 22.47.
I really enjoyed doing the XC race and would do one again if I get the chance. A good atmosphere and well organised event.
Steyning Stinger by Chania Hemsley-Smith
Will i do it again…. definitely half or full…tba, but will have to get a better running jacket…!!
parkrun FA Cup by Oliver Day
Today (Saturday 11th March) was the day that our parkrun FA Cup Final was competed between Steve Roberts and Hugh Stevenage. This email is for mainly intended for those who haven’t been following the event today on Facebook.
The competition started at the end of last year with 18 runners putting themselves forward to take part. These 18 runners competed through three rounds and a semi-final with Steve and Hugh surviving to reach the final. Their initial timings for the start of the competition were Steve 27:57 and Hugh 29:48, with a time gap of 1:51.
Both Steve and Hugh ran exceptionally well today. However, Hugh’s tactics which consisted of sticking to Steve’s shoulder for as long as possible paid off. The result – Hugh managed to close the 1:51 time gap to 10 seconds and consequently won the final. Well done to Hugh.
Their times today were; Steve 23:42 and Hugh’s 23:52, both setting personal bests and improving them by over 4 minutes and 5 minutes respectively.
Thank you to the 18 original runners who made this event possible; Stuart Condie, Alice Tellett, Sally Symes, David Leen, Jamie Goodhead, Eileen Adlam, Kim Gow, Mark Craigs, Jay Wadey, Oliver Day, Catherine Kempton, Dave Oldfield, Trevor Symes, Steve Roberts, John Palmer, Theresa Chalk, Malcolm Slater and Hugh Stevenage.
Feedback about this event has been very good, so if you are interested in the next competition then keep a look out for announcements later in the year.
parkrun Corner March 2017 by Theresa Chalk
This month I have to mention a couple of youngsters in the JM10 category. Jonathon Beckett who ran the course in an incredible 22.32. I’m always in awe of the adults who run this fast and even faster but when a junior achieves this , to me its mind blowing. And how come these juniors run and make it look so easy. I don’t even hear them huffing and a puffing. Jonathon has now completed 20 runs at Clair park and 4 junior park runs.
Then we come to little Seb Bennett. In January he ran Clair in 40.04 then in February he did 35.59. Such little legs running such a long long way. I had the fortune to be near him as he ran with a very smooth talking and encouraging coach by the name of Mr Gary Foley. It was a pleasure to hear an adult supporting a junior in a way that was encouraging without being forceful or pushy. Seb has done 3 Clair Parkruns and 4 Junior park runs.
Well done both boys. We are proud of you.
Onto Parkrun reviews, I got in a bit of a muddly twist and brain fog and banged to get two reports on Preston Park run. Both good reviews and both make a good read. The first is from Marie Carey and the second from Dougie Cooper.
Well worth a visit and only a 15/20min drive from Burgess Hill is Preston Park parkrun. There is plenty of free parking, public toilets and a nice cafe for your well deserved post-run coffee.
All on tarmac paths which are wide and allow plenty of space once you have negotiated the first section which can be quite congested with an average attendance of 400+ runners (so make sure you position yourself near the front at the start if you’re after a quick time). There are also bollards to be aware of at this point. The course is mainly flat with one, short uphill (which you run up 3 times), and a longer, gentle downhill.
Overall, a fast course with potential for a PB, and a very friendly event where it is not uncommon for the faster runners to then become barcode scanners once they’ve finished.
Preston Park parkrun is just about to reach its 200th running (11/3/17), it is a large and well established event with, recently, anywhere between 300 and 450 runners. Despite the size, they are friendly and you can usually see a handful of BHR faces. There is a huge range of ability taking part, from the very fast to walkers (at least the last couple of times I went). Certainly there will be quite a few finishers in the 40mins plus range.
The run starts from the cafe/pavillion in the middle of the park, with toilets and refreshments. The course is all on good quality wide paths and is mostly flat, just three short fairly gentle climbs at the end of each lap. There are however three sharp turns around a cone, as the course runs out and back along the bottom of the park each lap, but even so this could be your chance for a PB.
Get there by 8.50 and there is easy parking on The Ride (off Preston Drove, inside the park, next to the cycle track).
Thank you for giving us those reports and if your trying to avoid hills, (completely understandable) give Preston Park a go.
ICE ( in case of emergency)
Statistics as from January for Clair Park run show that the number of Runs are 681 and of those 571 have ICE. A percentage of 83.8. Volunteers are 69 with 55 having ICE. Percentage 79.7. Go on your personal parkrun profile and check your Emergency Contact details are complete. Lets get Clair Parks percentage up.
Lastly. Want to own one of these?
Volunteer 25 times and you will be one proud owner. At parkrun we need marshals, time keepers, barcode scanners, number checkers. If none of these appeal and you like to run then Tail runner is just for you.
Meanwhile lets continue to enjoy our park runs, keep healthy in body and mind.
Cross Country Corner with John Palmer
And so we come to the last Cross Country Corner of the season. Unless of course the club agree to funding me on a trip to Uganda to take the flag & tent just in case any of you turn up for the World Championships.
Testing conditions of mud and the odd snow flurry greeted us at the final race of the league season at Hickstead, with reduced distance events going ahead on an altered course in order to persuade the Hickstead people not to cancel. A strong men’s A Team turnout ensured survival in Division 2, Rosie Becket kept the juniors involved but the Worthing Half decimated the women’s team. A depleted men’s B Team welcomed Oli Jones along for the first time and you can read his report elsewhere in this issue. My photos can be found here with the results being:
Rosie Becket demonstrates that Cross Country can be fun while James Collins powers his way round in his last Cross Country League Race in BHR Colours.
So what are we going to do now that the season is over?
Well as mentioned in my very first article, I do like to compare the cross country league to the fun run season. So start preparing for next October by turning out throughout the year, you can’t miss Jay’s calls to action! Men, women, Juniors, we need more of you all next season. And if you are considering it, don’t let other runners put you off by telling you you’re not good enough. If for example you are of Alice Tellett’s standard and someone tells you that, then politely tell them they may be wrong (and by that I mean punch them in the face!) [note to editor: if you think anyone will take that seriously please feel free to remove]. Feel free to talk to me, Stuart Condie, James Sorbie or any of the regulars throughout the year if you are interested, we’ll give you guidance on whether it would suit you.
Thanks for reading, thanks to those who ran, I’m sure all the newcomers found it worthwhile. I look forward to seeing a few more next season. And on that note I‘ll leave you with a final thought:
RECOVERY DRINK by Martin Skeats
To help recovery after a heavy session it’s best to re-hydrate, then take in protein for muscle rebuilding and sugar to refill the glycogen stores.
If you can, eating some food within the first 30-60 minutes is best. The ratio of 1 protein to 4 carb is currently the most recommended balance for the meal.
However, it’s not always possible to get a meal so having an alternative is useful. There are plenty of recovery bars and drinks around, these are useful but expensive.
British Athletics have a nutritionist who has designed a recovery drink that BA promote as providing a balanced recovery product. Based on milk products ,any type, and milk shake powder, the recipe uses Nesquick as it has added vitamin and minerals required by your body following a hard run.
I use this recipe after long runs and very hard training sessions.
One pint of milk, any type (I use skimmed cows milk)
50 grams of Nesquick
50 grams of Marvel skimmed milk powder, vegetarian and vegan alternatives are available.
Mix the powders together then add the milk and shake
A big thank you to all of the contributors. We really appreciate it.
Take care, Neil and the newsletter team.
Welcome to the first newsletter of 2017. We had a month off in January, as nothing much was happening. We hope that you enjoy it.
Coaches Corner with Sue Baillie
Blood Donation and Running
The more oxygen-rich blood available to your muscles, the faster and longer you can keep running!
So, If you do make the decision to donate blood, are there some things you should know before you go back to full training?
First some facts;
A recent study looked at the short-term effects of donating blood. Participants rode to exhaustion on a stationary bike before giving blood, & repeated the test two hours, two days, and seven days after the donation.
They analysed both time to exhaustion and maximum oxygen consumption and found VO2 max dropped by 15% and time to exhaustion decreased by 19% during the exercise test two hours after a blood donation.
VO2 max was still 7% lower than pre-donation levels at two and seven days post-donation.
Also in 2011 a study, suggested that VO2 max returns to normal (pre-test level) three weeks after the date of the donation.
When you give blood, specialised cells in the kidneys sense that the level of oxygen in the blood has decreased (due to the loss of red cells) and start secreting a protein that passes through the bloodstream until it reaches the bone marrow (which produces stem cells – the building blocks that the body uses to make the different blood cells – red cells, white cells and platelets).
This protein sends a message to the stem cells telling more of them to develop into red blood cells, rather than white cells or platelets, about 2 million new red cells are made every second, so it doesn’t take long to build up stores of them again.
There is an important link between your red cells and your health because its the red-coloured haemoglobin that carries the oxygen around your body to your muscles. This Haemoglobin contains iron, some of which is lost with each donation. So to compensate, iron absorption increases and your body utilises more of its stored iron. Iron deficiency can result in reduced haemoglobin levels, and eventually, if not treated, in iron deficiency called anaemia. This deficiency can make you feel fatigued, which will be exaggerated by exercise.
After a donation, most people’s haemoglobin levels are back to normal after 6 to 12 weeks.
Therefore you can see, blood donation will lead to a notable short-term drop in performance, but will return to normal after about three weeks, with the worst of the fatigue coming in that first week.
So if you’re a blood donor give yourself some days R&R and don’t plan a race for a couple of weeks if you’re chasing a PB.
Look after yourselves,
Sue B X
Cross Country Corner by John Palmer
A bright but chilly day saw Stanmer Park reappear on the Sussex Cross Country League calendar on 3rd December and despite some injuries & event clashes we had a junior runner, a totally changed ladies team and two men’s teams taking part including newcomer Rich Neal. Based on a bit of running around taking photos it looks like a nice course and I’m hoping it will stay on the schedule for me to have a go next year. My photos can be found here with the results being:
By the time you read this the final league race of the season will have taken place at Hickstead. A report and news will appear next month.
On 21st January the Sussex Masters Cross Country Championship took place in Lancing with a good turn out from BHR in the men’s M50 & M60 events, run together over 5 miles:
So that just leaves the National, UK & World Championships to look forward to this season, if anyone fancies the challenge!:
Tadworth 10 – 8th Jan 2017 by Oli Jones
It was Sunday 8th January 2017. It was a bleak grey day and looked like it had the potential to rain at any point but I had a race to run.
I got in the car and setup my Satnav and off we went up to Epsom race course. The journey was pretty easy and smooth, didn’t realise there were so many speed camera’s up near the race course, luckily the Satnav alerted me to them.
Got to the race course in plenty of time to go and pick up my number and get changed. The start was out on the race course, you walk through the tunnel under the course to get there.
The race started at 11:30 and off we went across the race course. A dirt track went across the race course, after the race course there is a nice little open section of path and a few trees as you head down towards Ebbisham Lane and the long climb up the hill.
The climb was long and gradual and pretty muddy at this time of year but I found the going okay and didn’t really hinder too much.
Once you got to the top you found yourself in Walton on the Hill, as you run through Walton village there is a nice duck pond to distract you for a moment with families out feeding the ducks and cheering you on.
You then ran through the outskirts of Tadworth town through some residential areas with big downhill section.
Down Epsom lane and then turned back into the countryside to start the climb back up to the race course. It was a bit slippery under foot as you approached the course from this side but manageable.
Two laps of the course and that was the Tadworth 10. I enjoyed the race and I don’t mind the hills or the mud, I chatted to a chap who did it last year and he said it was torrential rain and windy so maybe I got good weather. Well marshalled and water stations as well.
I would do the race again, I know there was no bling but at the end of the day if you enjoy hills and mud and the 10 mile distance I think you will enjoy this event.
Dark Star River Marathon – 29th Jan 2017 by Steve Bird
It seemed really odd tapering mid-January. Having read and heard the stories of mud and rain I was relived to look out the window at 6am Sunday morning to see no rain.
This was my first full trail marathon so I was feeling slightly nervous, however, it was such a relaxed and friendly atmosphere I needn’t have worried. It was really good to catch up with the other BHR runners beforehand, it always helps seeing some familiar faces.
This is a 28.2 mile trail marathon organised by Sussex Trail Events, starting and finishing at the Sea Scout hut in Shoreham. The course takes you up one side of the River Adur before joining the Downslink (for approx. 4 miles). You pass the Dark Star Brewery at Partridge Green before reaching the half way point at West Grinstead. Then you simply retrace your steps along the Downslink before heading back down the other side of the Adur.
It was a small field with 177 runners taking part. With the race brief over we all wandered towards the start, there’s no start corrals or different colour race numbers it’s simply left up to each runner to position themselves at the start sensibly and it worked brilliantly.
We were soon heading down the wobbly path with Shoreham Airport on our right, we then crossed the footbridge and continued along the Adur. The scenery was brilliant, I love road races but often find I don’t take the time to look at my surroundings.
After 10 miles of meandering along we turned left onto the Downslink heading towards West Grinstead and the half way turn. The aid stations were brilliant, everyone was really friendly. Rather than a cup of water / energy drink there was what is best described as a buffet selection including pretzels, sausage rolls, roast potatoes, bananas, watermelon, jaffa cakes, jelly babies. The half way point is also run by BHR runners and it was brilliant to see everyone, they were so supportive and it provided a massive boost as we headed back on the return leg.
There always seemed to other runners nearby during the first half and the multiple stiles you had to go over seemed easier than I was expecting. As I approached 20 miles things were going to plan, I’d been running with Sharona for a while which helped to keep the pace and momentum going. All of a sudden I heard the words “I think we’ve missed the turn”, we’d been happily chatting away and following some runners in front of us. We then realised we were approaching Henfield so we headed back hoping we’d not gone too far wrong.
I started to get some cramp and was to struggling as I had no idea how long we had to the finish. I find long distance runs a real mental challenge and like doing maths in my head to keep me going. The field was now a lot more spread out along the route and the stiles became a lot harder with 22 odd miles in your legs (there were some I’m sure Olympic gymnasts would have struggled with).
My run had turned into a battle to stop my calves cramping and I’d walked a fair bit which helped, the views were a real benefit at this point. James and I then met at the second last aid station and decided to complete the course together, after 3 or 4 miles of being on my own this was very welcome. We set off chatting and before we knew it we’d reached the final drink station and were back on the wobbly path next to the Airport. As we reached the end of the path we were met by Hannah who was quite simply brilliant. Simon had also caught us up so the three of us headed towards the finish line together. Hannah talked and encouraged us, letting us know how far we had to go which at that point was just what was needed.
Having spent 2016 chasing times on the roads, my 2017 plan is to focus on trail running and my first experience was brilliant. This event was everything I hoped it would be, I found it really tough but enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.
My main take away is the brilliant memory I’ll have of finishing the course with James and Simon with Hannah shouting encouragement to get us over the line together.
It was a good learning experience too – 1) Don’t assume those in front know where they are going, 2) Times really don’t matter so long as you enjoy yourself, 3) I don’t like stiles!!
Country to Capital 2017 by Neil Dawson
It was dark outside, the frost was hard and it was eerie being out at that time in the morning when everyone else was still in bed.
The four of us took a taxi to the start in Wendover. Given the state of Southern Rail, we really couldn’t rely on them getting us there on time.
The HQ for the race is in the Shoulder of Mutton pub opposite the railway station in Wendover. It was perfect. We were there early, so got a table and chairs to sit down for an hour to get ready. They were selling tea and coffee and hot food. Most importantly, the pub was really warm. It soon filled up, especially when the crammed train arrived with the last of the runners to register. The last runners were very quick to register and we were off pretty much on time. Registration was quick, smooth and pretty impressive, given the time constraints after the arrival of the train.
The race is chip timed and you have to attach the chip to your wrist and touch the electronic timing pad at each check point to register yourself.
I really should have paid more attention to the race instructions. We signed up for it on the recommendation of Philippe, as a great way to properly kick off the training for 2017. What I didn’t realise was that the route is not marked at all and it is totally self navigated. The race organisers supplied everyone with a map booklet, but with my new found middle aged short-sightedness, it was useless, as I had no chance reading it. There was a lovely Irish chap in the pub who had done the race before and was a similar pace to me, so I decided to keep him in sight through the trickiest sections to navigate.
So, at about 9.40, we were off. Hats, gloves and long bottoms were in order, given the freezing conditions.
This is the profile for the first 56k of the race. It looks a bit hilly, but there is nothing to be worried about and as soon as you hit the tow path, it is totally flat right to the finish.
The first half of the race is lovely. You go through fields, country lanes and bridal ways. Initially it was all frozen, which made is so easier to run on. We were advised to start a little more quickly than usual, as there are queues at the 6 or 7 gates and stiles, but we didn’t and lost probably 15 minutes waiting our turn.
After the lovely countryside, you get the tow path for almost all of the second half of the race. I don’t know why, but I had some kind of romantic idea of what the tow path would be like. I was thinking lovely house boats, nice views of the countryside and maybe some wildlife. What we got was mainly skanky house boats, industrial estates, blocks of flats, more empty cans of lager and bottles of vodka than you can imagine and rubbish in the water. This added to the fact that this section was dull. As flat as a pancake and slippery in quite a lot of places.
The nicest views that we had were when we first joined the tow path.
We were really pleased to see the sign saying 13.5 miles to Paddington (where the finish is), which meant that we were leaving the Grand Union canal towards central London.
So, a half marathon later, with the sun almost gone, I got home in 8 hours 16 minutes.
I’m really surprised by that. I was expecting it to be a lot nearer to 9 hours, but if I hadn’t been held up at the gate/stiles at the start and if I hadn’t taken a detour, my finishing time may have started with a 7.
The learning curve continues and I keep getting things better. The packing of my back pack was much better. I had a small dry bag of spare clothes and another of food. I had smaller bags of food that fitted into the front pockets of my vest, rather than having to reach into the back pockets to get food. I also had the salt tablets and zero tabs in a more accessible place. Anything to make life easier.
Now, the weather forecast was for sunshine and low temperatures and a little back wind. What we actually got was cloud, then drizzle, then rain, then snow. When it started to rain, I stopped to put the correct clothing on and then repacked properly afterwards.
The tailwind certainly worked. I had a whole sachet in small Salomon flasks and sipped at them periodically.
There is certainly a question over footwear for this race. There is an argument for both trail and road shoes. I ran in road shoes and was slipping and sliding through certain sections. I benefited at the end with the extra cushioning.
So, the race itself. I’ve got mixed emotions. I’m glad I did it and would recommend doing it as part of a training programme. I wouldn’t do it again though. I now know that I don’t like self navigation events. I thought that the aid stations were basic, but maybe I’m spoiled by the offerings at the Centurion, STE and White Star events. It would be really nice to have hot drinks at a couple of the aid stations at this time of the year as well. The veggie sausages at one of the aid stations were a really good touch. There was no shelter at the aid stations and nowhere to sit. In an ultra it is good to be able to sit down to change clothes and tend to any foot issues. The only option was wet walls or a very soggy floor. The other thing I don’t understand is being told at the penultimate aid station that there was 13 miles to go. Evidently that was not the case as we had passed the 13.5 miles to Paddington sign some time back. It was a lot closer to 10 miles. If you’re working to a goal time or just knackered, this could really hit your morale. The volunteers were all fantastic, smiley (in some horrid weather) and helpful. We can never say thank you enough to these people who make these events happen.
Finally, you get a lovely long sleeved non-technical t-shirt and a really nice medal.
parkrun over the New Year 2016/2017 and my 200th! By Claire Giles
As you all know I am a parkrun addict – so it’s no surprise that I ran three parkruns over the New Year period. I carefully timed by milestone parkrun #200th – on New Years Day at my homerun at Brighton & Hove – Hove Park.
So New Years Eve, was a foggy drive down to Hove Park – looking forward to the weekend of parkrunning! Only time when you can get two times on the same day woo hoo! As I got down to parkrun HQ, was lovely to see friends – missed you all. John RD and Pete Vol Co had things under control as usual. It was great for me as I haven’t been able to run for a few weeks due to being RD and working, so was good to run – plus I know this weekend is a treat as I have my 200th back at Hove Park on New Years Day! So thank you to my fellow core team who have volunteered this weekend so I can run all three. Was so lovely just running in the park, hearing the plods, the breathing, the chats, the encouragement going on from the vols and me with my thoughts for the weekend and year ahead. Running is a great way to focus on the job in hand, plus it gathers your thoughts and put things clearly in your mind. Saw Liz cheering from my running club BHR, which was lovely. As I came into the finish boom! Run Save… As I took my token and made my way to be scanned, it was a bit damp in the air, but lucky it didn’t rain. I saw Lily, Becky and Helen from BHR, asked them how did they find it as I know it was Lily and Becky’s first time at the park – the obligatory pics taken!
New Years day double bubble parkrun treat, wet, and dry. As I made my way to Hove Prom for the first of the double, it was a wet ole start to the New Year. I parked up, and made my way to the start/cafe area. Saw Rick and Graham – Happy New Year and a lovely weather hey!! Then I saw Paula running towards me – happy new year – she had been running from the Pier – she said she has seen people coming out of the club! The weather wasn’t kind this morning on the coast – rain and windy – come on parkrun weather fairy. As we all make our way to the start, the RD Mark makes the announcements and kicks off the first parkrun – boom! Was so good to run on New Years Day, start the year the way we mean to go on! I felt fresh this morning, and excited to be running today – can’t think why!;) It is nice to be running alongside the sea, even if it was wet! Shingles, runners and thoughts.. Running down to the first turn saying thanks to the marshal. As I am running I get chatting to a few people, saying see you in Hove Park after. So I’ve just turned ready to come into the finish, nearly there, can see the cafe… volunteers are cheering! – boom! Run save… I take my token and one of the vols asks my name for their checker. I get scanned – yay 199th parkrun!
I find the troops parkrun round 2 – back at the ranch – sorry Hove Prom it is drier here up the road! I made my way down to HQ, and Brian was making his way towards me – I said great timing! Said Happy New Year to the team – Pete I believe felt a little delicate and said Happy New Year Claire – not too loud mind! Oopsy. I spotted a pink balloon! Ah thanks to the crazy gang for my balloon celebrating my 200th parkrun today Think I spoke too soon, as it did start to rain! We made our way to the start.. Pete made the announcements 321 Go!! Boom!! And we are off … So running with the balloon and after a parkrun already was good, it’s my 200th . As we run up just passed the tennis court, a runner fell over, we did stop and Brian said take this (pacer pole) and he went back and I carried on with balloon in one hand, pole in the other. I held the pole down as I wasn’t pacing. As I got to the start I shouted out about the runner. People did stay with him to make sure he is okay. The atmosphere was fab even if we are wet! – it’s so lovely to see you all, and being part of the parkrun bubble. It is great to be able to run this twice in a morning – be proud of your achievements. As I got to just past the tennis courts a few runners behind me asked if I was the 30 min pacer, I said no, they said ah that’s okay as you’re going to quickly! I explained what happened and then Brian caught me up, and I handed him back his pacer pole. On target! Then we came into the last bit, Brian giving me some encouragement and saying what time etc. As I saw the finish line – I only could manage a little sprint – boom! Run save! Yay 200th parkrun complete. So again for all your stat junkies Brighton and Hove NYE 390 and NYD 418 – total 808 Hove Prom NYE 154 NYD 338 – total 492 Preston Park NYE 372 Bev NYE 42 Total 1714 across all parkruns. So New Years Day 2016 we had – Prom 262 Hove Park 376 – total 638, Hove Prom NYD 338 Hove Park NYD 418 – total 756, so we had an extra 118 runners on New Years Day this year. Amazing – see it’s the parkrun love. Packing parkrun away, and we ended on post run fizz and cake to celebrate New Year and my milestone. Great way to start 2017.
parkrun corner with Theresa Chalk
Moving nicely into 2017, I’m sure many of you are planning your running calendar filling it with lots of events. Hopping around the country trying out new races, different distances and chasing unusual bling.
The great thing about parkrun, no matter where in this country it is, it is always on Saturday morning at 9am. You just cannot forget. Ingrained in the brain.
So if you have never done one, take yourself along and try one out. parkrun web site will have all the info you need. And many of us at BHR have participated so ask around. There will be encouragement in abundance.
As always, a shout for help. Come along, be a marshal, bar code scanner and one of the other interesting jobs that need doing. You’ll never be asked to do something you’re worried about. Unless it’s me, then I’m always looking to encourage people to RD. It’s a role that means you can legitimately tell people what to do and gives you a great deal of satisfaction.
It’s good to have reports of parkruns far and wide and this month we have three. Steve Roberts with Bevendean and Jill Bennett with Upton court and Barking.
From Steve Roberts
‘I went along to Bevendean Down parkrun on Saturday 14th January with Kim Gow. Bevendean Down is one of the most recent Brighton/Hove parkruns & is probably the least known event on Saturday mornings. It’s consequently a very small event. However, it’s perfectly formed I’d say. There is a very friendly crew running the event & the course is off-road throughout & on the Downs really as opposed to being in a local park.
So, to the course…it’s a tough one! 2 & a bit laps of Bevendean Down, running clockwise with couple of steady climbs followed by a significant hill before a big sweeping downhill. You definitely need to pace yourself but once you completed the second lap hill climbs you know it’s downhill to the finish!
Parking might be a bit of an issue as you have to park on street in Bevendean but it wasn’t a problem at all for Kim & I. The organisers helpfully put arrows up from the “Bevy” pub to the start. There’s also good direction information on the parkrun website.
Apparently great coffee & cake & even a cooked breakfast is on offer at the “Bevy” afterwards but we had to shoot so didn’t check out these delights.
In conclusion Bevendean is a great parkrun in need of support. It’s tough & picturesque with great views of Brighton & as said brilliantly supported by its dedicated little crew. I’ll be back!’
And from Jill
‘Whilst enjoying a rare child free weekend away in a luxurious hotel in the historic town of old Windsor, the obvious choice is breakfast at 7am before a 10 mins drive to the nearest parkrun.
Upton court Parkrun is described as a grass course with gravel paths which may accumulate muddy puddles when wet; I wish I had read that before the off as I would have left my road shoes at home.
On this a slightly damp winters morning a few areas of the lovely flat course where very slippy indeed. I am sure during the summer months this is an enjoyable two lap course with views of Windsor castle. You are asked to use a car park on the opposite side of the park but the jog to the start provided an opportunity for a warm up.
We arrived at the rugby club starting point to find the core team in a muddle as the king pin with the keys was unable to attend. The greatest concern being the lack of the usual bacon sandwiches at the end. After a short brief on the start line we were off. It’s a small event with a normal field of around 90 people which proved to be a good opportunity for us to gain higher than usual ranking positions. A lovely course and definitely one to be repeated in the summer. Four Saturdays prior to this on New Year’s Eve, in the less idyllic setting of the urban suburb of Barking we found ourselves on another parkrun start line. Similar in participant size, Barking parkrun covers a two lap course around an incredibly flat park. We were warned about a hill though being seasoned Clair parkers we didn’t find it. The locals were incredibly friendly even the local geese community welcomed us with a formation flight along the slightly polluted lake. With no club house a large tarpaulin was provided as a bag drop area and left over mince pies on the finish line. We were made feel very welcome along with other tourists despite the threat of a new course record and no marshals to guide them round. The resident character here was most certainly Harmander Singh from Sikhs in the city. He chatted to us on the finish line, proudly sharing his record of consecutive VLM’s, training a 105yr old Sikh, guide running and pacing at London. Great guy! We topped off our visit and rewarded ourselves with a plate of pie and mash. Now that’s an experience. Happy parkrun tourism x’
Moving on now to Oliver Days parkrun FA cup update.
The tournament kicked off (or should that be run off) with an email in November, to which 18 Burgess Hill Runners tentatively replied showing an interest in taking part. Those 18 runners were then drawn to compete against another runner and Round 1 of the 9 pairings was started. During December the pairings went out and run their chosen parkruns, at a mixture of 6 different venues, in the best time that they could manage on the day and the starting 18 was whittled down to 9.
Round 2 was drawn at the beginning of January, where the winning 9 from the first round, plus a runner up, were drawn in to 5 pairings. These 5 pairings competed their parkruns at 4 different venues in times ranging from 19 minutes to 34 minutes.
Since the beginning of January, both Round 2 and Round 3 have been completed and the original 18 runners have now reduced to 4 semi-finalists. The semi-finalists are Dave Oldfield Vs Steve Roberts and Hugh Stevenage Vs Sally Symes. They are due to run at Brighton & Hove parkrun and Tilgate parkrun respectively and when completed the winners will progress to the final.
Well done to the original 18 for taking part in what a simple but difficult to explain competition; Stuart Condie, Eileen Adlam, Theresa Chalk, Alice Tellett, Mark Craigs, Jamie Goodhead, Oliver Day, Jay Wadey, Trevor Symes, Steve Roberts, Sally Symes, Catherine Kempton, Kim Gow, David Leen, Dave Oldfield, John Palmer, Malcolm Slater and Hugh Stevenage. And good luck to; Dave, Steve, Hugh and Sally, with your imminent semi-finals.
Onto our local parkrun at Clair park,
We have four ladies who have recently achieved their 50th milestone. Caz Wadey, Jill Bennett, Kirsty Armstrong and Nick Dawson. Well deserved. And a long time coming when so many more of your weeks are spent in a volunteer position.
Now possibly by the next newsletter Dave Woodhouse and Nigel Cruttenden may have completed a whopping 100 runs. Will keep you posted.
I know to that Lynette Brown has been chomping at the bit, getting her parkruns times down at Clair, week after week. She never gave up and has made it finally in the sub 30 bracket. Maybe there something to be said for wearing great design leggings.
Now, if you have Steyning Stinger looming, remember our local parkrun at Clair park in Haywards Heath. The hills there maybe hilly and repetitive but it’s great for the body and the mind.
Until next time, keep warm, stay injury free and keep up the running.
England Athletics Portal by Andrew Baillie
Following is details of how to access your England Athletics information.
If you’re a member of the club, then you are affiliated to the EA, and information about you is stored on their database. The information is filled in by our wonderful membership secretary Dave, which he gets from your membership forms.
If you want to find out what is there, edit it, then follow these instructions:
Click on this link:
You will need to know your Unique Reference Number – this is found on your EA England Membership card. If you’ve lost that, you can find it here:-
All you need is your name, and date of birth to obtain your licence (URN) number.
Once you have your URN, you can log in. If it is your first time, you’ll need to click on the “forgot password” link. Fill in the URN in the space provided, then submit.
You will receive a link on a mail in your inbox from EA, click on this, create yourself a password, and then log in, using the password you’ve just created. If it’s your first time of logging in, you will be guided through some detail updates – some can be left blank if you wish – and you eventually get to your profile.
Down the left side are sections that can be clicked on, reviewed, and in some cases edited.
There is also an FAQ link at the bottom of the page, help, and the usual other links.
Please take a look; it’s a helpful resource.
A big thank you to all of the contributors. Please volunteer your race reports or thoughts on running. This newsletter is only as good as the reports and articles that are submitted. There are lots of really good races coming up, so we have lots to write about.
Thanks and take care, The Newsletter Team.
Greetings to you beautiful athletes.
It’s the December newsletter. Lots of really good stuff here.
We all hope that you have enjoyed the resurrected newsletter and hope that you will continue to contribute during 2017.
Wishing you all a happy read, a great Christmas, a wonderful New Year and may 2017 bring you everything you wish while wearing trainers and lycra.
Coaches Corner with Sue Baillie
What Causes Stress Fractures?
Believe it or not, stress fractures are actually not that unlike most other common running injuries. While bone is of course fundamentally different in structure to muscle and tendon, it is just like all tissues in as much as that our bones too experience a great deal of stress and strain as we run. Appreciating what causes stress fractures is the beginning of being able to recover quickly and return to running.
Bone can break-down and fracture under repetitive stress, in much the same way as muscles strain and tear when overloaded. Metatarsal stress fractures, tibial stress fractures and stress fractures of the hip are not at all uncommon in runners.
Running is of course a high impact activity. However, the human body is well suited to absorb the demands of training and racing, while everything is in balance. When there is a flaw in the system, or a mistakes are made in training, the injuries such as stress fractures, sometimes also known as hairline fractures, can unfortunately occur.
In recent years, Stress Fracture diagnoses have expanded to include the sub-category of ‘stress reactions‘, essentially a Bone Strain which may not show up on an X-ray.
Think of stress fractures and stress reactions as a bony equivalent to the scale of severity used to describe muscular strains.
The symptoms for both are similar: Pain during your activity that is gone at rest, swelling and pain that is mostly spot specific, but might radiate.
EXTERNAL CONTRIBUTING FACTORS
Of course, it’s very quick to blame the ‘wrong shoes’ or biomechanical issues. We have to also remember that sudden changes in training load are probably the most common factor in runners sustaining stress fractures, e.g. training intensity, volume, terrain, footwear, diet or even sleep can all be important factors in what causes stress fractures.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that there have been no big changes in your training. Your running gear and diet hasn’t changed. Also that you have no family history of osteoporosis or bone density issues.
What does that leave us in terms of potential causes?
DECREASED SHOCK ABSORPTION
While the minimal-or-maximal running shoe debate rages on, the reality is that our muscles remain our primary shock absorbers. If you run with an efficient running stride, your muscles can dissipate much of the impact with each stride. This particularly occurs during the early part of stance phase in running gait.
That said, even before your foot hits the pavement, muscles are working to decelerate the swing forward of your leg. This happens in preparation for contact with the ground. When your foot strikes the ground, other muscles go to work to absorb the impact.
At the ankle, the muscles along the front of our shin contract to keep our ankle from collapsing. The quads contract to keep our knee from buckling under our weight just like the Glutes do at the hip. If form is compromised (usually with fatigue) the impact forces tend to increase with each stride. At this point, with poor running form, more impact is transmitted through our bones.
If you let your form slip, shock will be less efficiently absorbed and the chance of something breaking-down will increase. As far as bony injuries are concerned, stress fractures are often the result.
In order to walk normally, you need to be able to extend your hip. You also need to be able to fully straighten your knee and move forward over your ankle and foot. This is equally true when it comes to running where those mobility requirements are even greater to allow for adequate shock absorption and stability. For a sport like running, cumulative fatigue and insufficient recovery can exacerbate this problem.
Like mobility, there are minimum strength requirements we must meet to be able to walk and run efficiently. Not only do we need the strength and stability to repeatedly hop from one leg to the other (which is basically what running boils-down to), we also need to propel ourselves forward.
To make it more complex, we need to do that on varying terrain, at varying speeds, for hours on end. No matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of work. Add in cumulative fatigue and insufficient recovery and it’s easy for imbalances to start building. This can create compensatory movement patterns, sometimes resulting in adverse loads on areas of bone which aren’t able to cope with the stress.
As endurance athletes, our muscles are constantly in a cycle of breaking down and rebuilding to adapt to our training and racing demands, this is a good thing, it’s how training adaptation works.
Poor recovery can result in over training. Let’s also not forget, most of us aren’t full-time athletes. Not only do we need to recover from our sport, but we also need to recover from the stresses of our day-to-day life.
Improper recovery will lead to a compounding of any one of the issues discussed above. Developing an effective recovery strategy will help you keep running successfully for years to come!
Article edited from Kinetic Revolution, Oct 6, 2016 by Leigh Boyle
Dublin Marathon by Sue Lyle
Dublin Marathon October 2016
Having not done a road marathon in 2016 and forgetting to sign up for London Good for Age in time I was looking for an autumn one that could hopefully get me the necessary time. Dublin seemed a good option. Not too far away, easy to enter, no ballot, and it had good feed back. Also, my husband’s late wife’s mother ( Patsy aged 91) lived there, and despite sending her Christmas cards for the last 28 years we had never met.
Having been to Jan’s talk on marathon running I realised that, as usual, I was totally under prepared. I had not followed a training plan, I have never stretched or done strength training before during or after a run and the only massages I have ever had have been a few days after marathons when I have been in agony. Too late to start now, the marathon was three weeks away. I did give up alcohol for the month before the date but I didn’t lose any weight as I had expected to do.
I went straight to the expo from the airport on Friday evening which was a long bus ride but at least I had my number. The expo was a very low key affair with a few stalls but very enthusiastic volunteers.
Saturday was spent exploring Dublin which was a great city with a vibrant feel. The only problem was I couldn’t try the Guinness yet.
At last race day arrived. It was about a mile walk from the hotel and the instructions said get there an hour before, so I duly set off at 8 am. Arriving at the start it was deserted with just a handful of volunteers. We were guided to different starting pens around the streets of Dublin . I have never seen so many loos! There were no queues even at the line right by the start. The start was in waves which meant there was no bunching up and you could start at the speed you wanted. I was in the second wave at 9.10. Off we went with great support from the crowd through the centre of Dublin, and up to Phoenix park where the zoo keepers cheered us on in animal costumes. Up to the top of the park, then a long cruise down. The route continued undulating through the outskirts of Dublin before heading back into the centre. The support was great but not overpowering, there were quieter stretches which I like. At 17 miles we passed the apartment where Patsy lived and I realised I would be back there later for a late lunch. It was tempting just to turn up early.
I had been told it was down hill from mile 23 and it probably was but there still seemed to be the odd incline. At last the finish line. A nice medal and a long sleeved technical t shirt that actually fits awaited. I got a Good for Age Time and a pb so I was very happy. I don’t know what Patsy thought. I arrived on a high and having been teetotal downed a few drinks to rehydrate.
Never mind, I did write a thank you letter. Needless to say I was in pain afterwards and had an emergency massage.
Next time, Jan, I will try and take your advice. Of course I would recommend this race. If you want a city marathon but not too much hype this is for you. Who knows you could even get a pb.
Lancing Cross-Country by Joe Beesley
Perfect cross country conditions (perfect as in sopping wet and cold) greeted a large field of eclectic Sussex athletes of all ages, there to test themselves against the slippery inclines and declines of Lancing.
The course is a testing looped course, featuring two initial shorter loops of the field adjacent the leisure centre and two longer loops up into the hills, returning back down again.
The long loop inclines seem to roll at a competitor in waves, making it feel almost endless, however, there are no enduring sharp spikes in the undulation so as long as you pace yourself, you can make each climb in relative comfort.
The downhill is where most will want to open up their stride and really let gravity take over and recover after almost a mile of uphill effort.
The course is well marshaled and the event is well supported, many over-hanging tree branches that might interfere with your head room have been tagged with a streak of hi viz paint, along with any pesky tree roots, rocks and any other underfoot nasties that might want nibble at ankles.
The weather conditions and visibility sadly didn’t allow for any enjoyment of the views, however, I’m sure on a clear day every competitor would have got their reward at the top of the two main inclines.
Distance: 5 miles.
Profile: Undulating to hilly.
Format: 2 x short and 2 x long loops.
Terrain: Fields, firm paths and localised woods.
Cost: A fiver.
Shoe type: Trail/off road (spikes not necessary).
Cross Country Corder by John Palmer
Proper cross country weather arrived in time for Lancing to welcome our newcomers to race two of the Sussex Cross Country League season. I’m delighted to say that despite a few regulars being unavailable due to injury or pending babies (congratulations to Jon & Sarah Boxall), we had a great turn out, fielding a junior runner, a complete Women’s team and 2-and-a half men’s teams.
Joe Beesley’s race report appears in this issue, the provisional results being:
Well done to the newcomers Rosie, Joe, Nigel and Jon (who I think was actually returning after a number of years). As I was unable to run myself you can get an idea of what you missed from my photo album here.
By the time you read this, Race 3, at Stanmer Park, will have happened. A report and news will appear next month. The league now goes quiet until February so watch out for details in January when we will be paying a bit more attention to the juniors now we have at least one out there!
In the meantime you may like to consider the following January events, watch out for advance entry information when details are confirmed (the next Newsletter may be too late!):
That’s all for now, Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!
parkrun corner with Thereza Chalk
Hove Prom parkrun has now been added to the list of club championship events for next year, so here is a first hand account of what is Hove Prom parkrun by Keith Brown:
I have completed a total of 9 runs on this course out of my current total of 53
parkruns. I enjoy it as it is a unique and different course that offers an opportunity to develop a different style and confidence for running. All of my 9 runs have been within 24:00 and 24:40 with my PB being 24:00. There are normally always pacers at this run who are from one of the Brighton Athletic Clubs and this is really helpful to achieving a PB. Parking is easy in The Drive, opposite the council headquarters, on a Saturday morning and costs only £1 for an hour. The course starts on the seafront adjacent to the Lawns Café which is just to the left of The Drive as you reach the seafront. From the start you head west towards the King Alfred Leisure Centre for about 1/2km before a 360 degree turn and a long run east towards the new i360 observation tower for 1 ½km before another 360 degree turn and west for another 1/2km back to the start. Then you repeat this again for a second time finishing back where you start. There is no elevation at all and you will always be running with the breeze (that is always present) on you back for the majority of the run. What I like about this course is that it is very wide and spacious for many runners and as a result, and unlike other parkruns, you get your own space almost immediately from the off. This is a very fast course that enables runners to experience pushing themselves hard due to the ;at course. The finish is a fun fat sprint from the last turn. It can be breezy and cold down there so bear that in mind when dressing for the run.
There are a very committed band of regular volunteers as I have seen the same faces on nearly all of my visits. In particular a gentleman who takes photos of all of the runners and I have found my picture on their Facebook page on numerous occasions. These are great photos that usually have stunning scenery in the background.
The café at the finish serves great bacon sandwiches and nice coffee if it isn’t too cold to sit outside. If you haven’t tried this run yet I would recommend it and suggest you try it. I’m happy to help with any further information or join you on a run if I am available.
Good luck everyone.
Here is a section on the parkrun FA Cup which is being organised by Oliver Day.
The parkrun FA Cup is a tournament style running competition where individual runners pit themselves against other runners in a knock-out competition. Just like the FA Cup, there are several rounds, depending on the number of entrants, which then lead to the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final. Unlike the FA Cup every runner has a real chance of winning this competition. This is because the winner of each round is the runner who performs best compared to their own parkrun time. Which might not be the fastest person on the day. As an example, if the fastest runner is 20 seconds slower than their best parkrun time and the slowest runner is 10 seconds slower than their best parkrun time, then the slowest runner is the winner of that draw as they are the one who has closed the gap on the day.
The competition uses each entrants personal best parkrun time from their previous runs at Clair parkrun. This time becomes the benchmark time for which each round’s time difference is measured.
The competition also makes use of the FA Cup home or away venue, whereby competing runners choose to compete at home (Clair parkrun) or another local parkrun venue chosen for them from the nearest six parkrun venues – Tilgate, Horsham ect.
The competition is for everyone to have a go – fast or slow, young or old, it’s all about your timed run on the day so everyone has a great chance to proceed and win the competition. It also gives you a reason to visit other local parkruns and to organise lift share and parkrun date with your competing runner, so a great way to get to know other Burgess Hill Runners.
Being in the final weeks of 2016 we have a few stats:
30 BHR have a mile stone tee shirt for participation runs
Gayle Tyler is 5 away from her 50th. Lucy Tyrrell is 5 away from her 100th. Jay Wadey is 3 away from his 100th. although no tee shirt Claire Giles is 3 away from her 200th parkrun.
A reminder that Clair parkrun is happening on the 24th and 25th December. Fancy dress welcome.