The following reports were filed by H&HRR members after each event over the last few years. They are basic and don't pull any punches; often we are complimentary, but sometimes not - Race Directors who dislike criticism should give this page a wide berth. If you are searching for eloquent pros on your favourite event read Runner's World, but if you want to know if the showers work, the chances of having your kit stolen, or the possibility of getting into a ruck with an ex World Champion Heavyweight boxer read on...
The event which is organised by BA is to raise money for charity, a field of approx 900 were treated to a welcoming speech by BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh who pledged that he would give £1 for every finisher in front and £2 for those behind.
After an organised warm up the race got under way, it is a downhill start followed by a sharp curve, once you have successfully negotiated that the race settles down around the lake before a steep hill between 3 and 4K. I was quite concerned when having gone through the first k quite quickly I heard a marshal shout "come on Superman" and steeling a glance behind I saw this masked figure in full outfit. This spurred me on for the rest of the race, At the finish we were presented with our medals by GB runner Marlon Devonish and Nancy Dell'Olio.
Our times were:
Gary Nisbet - 19.49
Jack Nisbet - 20.12
Peter Furness - 20.36
We all finished in the top 30
BA put on a really nice event, apart from the race there is live music on a stage, a number of stalls ( while I was running Kay bought some BA crockery) and some food stalls, we had a vegetarian curry after the race.
The race caters for all, with good quality club runners, the top of the field were well under 20m , fun runners and walkers. (Peter Furness)
9th March 2008
After 3 days of not running due to a painful left knee, I decided that I would take the chance and do the Silverstone Half marathon as a warm-up for the on coming London Marathon. I left home early taking 1 ½ hrs to get to Silverstone, arriving at 09:40. With the race starting at 12:00 I got an hour’s sleep in the car before heading over to the start of the race.
This is one of the biggest half marathons in the country, but Silverstone is so big you have plenty of space to change, with free water and Lucozade before the race. I bumped into Jaz from the running club and met Brian Tillier who used to run with the club over 10 years ago – he has had a few years off – but started running again in the last couple of years, running last years London and is in this years as well.
The race had nearly 5 thousand people in it, running around the race track and support roads, you could see the runners streaking out in-front and behind. The race was well marshalled and had mile markers at every mile. There were 4 water stations and 2 Lucozade stations. The weather was just right except for the wind, with the twisting course, every corner either slowed you down with the wind in your face – or made the running easy with the wind behind you.
The race went well, I started off at a reasonable pace, and managed to keep the pace going through the course, towards the end people started to slow down and I managed to overtake about 10 people in the last mile, coming In with a time of 1:27:37 which I was very pleased with.
On checking the result web site I found my position was 118 out of 5000 and came in 4th in my age category 45-50 years old. Just missing out on a trophy!!! It looks like I will have to try again when I am 50 years old. (Jack Nisbet)
Sunday 2nd Mar 08
I never would have thought that sun-cream might be a consideration for this race (trail shoes - definitely, extra t-shirt - maybe, long trousers – ok, for the wimps!), but it really was warm this year!
Definitely the mildest Trail Run I’ve ever participated in; there was a bit of wind (strangely, always against us, even though it’s two laps and we must have changed direction) but it was unseasonably warm.
There didn’t seem to be as many entrants as in previous years, perhaps everyone was at the Reading Half, or enjoying a Mother’s Day breakfast rather than trundling around Bushy Park. Talking of breakfast – Ian’s review of the refreshments was that they were rather over-priced (again) and he’s enjoyed better at other events!
I’ve always enjoyed this race and loyally run it every year but, I must admit, I might try something different in 2009. I quite fancy the Brooklands 10k and, if they’re on the same day again next year, then I might give that a try. Much as I enjoy trying to spot the Bushy Park deer (no sign of them again this year!), it would be nice to participate in an event with some fellow HHRR runners. (Michelle Sampson 36:50)
This was the first triathlon that I had ever done, and when I heard about it I thought that it was going to be the easiest chance I would ever get to try a triathlon so I thought I'd give it a go. It was a sprint triathlon which was a 500m swim, 15km cycle and a 5km run. The way it was set-up was that it was done in a leisure complex, so the swim was in a pool; the run and the cycle were on machines in the gym. I hadn't done any training for the swim or cycle; I was just hoping my base fitness would get me through. How wrong I was the swim was really painful, after 4 of the 20 lengths my arms were dead so I just swam with my legs, and then I took a little rest on the cycling machine just pushing along slowly to regain my strength, finishing off with the run which wasn't too bad. It was just a case of pushing until I finished. All in all a very good event, good value for money and a suitable entry into anyone wishing to try a triathlon.
Sunday 9th December 2007
I was there today, in the pouring rain!
Sunday 4th November 2007
This has to be the best place to run a first Half Marathon
race. what a beautiful place. I knew Marlow from the 5 earlier in the year
but this half exceeded that by miles! OK excuse the pun but the scenic
setting of this fabulous town and the surrounding villages was sensational.
Add to this the glorious autumn sunshine and it was near perfect.
Sunday 14th October 2007
I think I must’ve been a Straggler in a previous running life – I just love their events!!! I started the year with the Bushey Park Trail Run, then there was the Wedding Day 7k, one of my few summer races, and now I’ve just completed the Cabbage Patch 10 miler.
All 3 events are always well-organised, with lots of friendly marshals and, although not exclusively within Bushey Park like the other two, the Cabbage Patch still has a lot of traffic-free sections.
It was great to see some ‘new’ faces this year, even if Sue was running for her home Club rather than us! Quite a good turnout for HHRR, and the ladies section outnumbered the men for a change. That must be a first for us?!!?
The injured Joneses put in a good performance - Ryan set a new PB to lead the Club home in 1:09, despite his damaged ribs, and Mel wasn’t far behind in spite of her injured leg. I finished just 6 seconds slower than my PB, but about 5 mins quicker than I was hoping after my recent holiday.
I had to dash off for my birthday lunch, so I didn’t collect everyone’s actual finishing times, but here’s the official results. (Priya and Julie, I hope I’ve got your details right as I couldn’t find you listed under HHRR!)
Official finishing times:
Ryan Jones 1:09:04 (221st overall)
Martin Keegan 1:18:07 (540th overall)
Michelle Sampson 1:25:03 (810th overall)
Brian Skinner 1:25:46 (835th overall)
Mel Jones 1:29:02 (944th overall)
Priya Kudhail 1:39:17 (1245th overall)
Julie Ward 1:48:11 (1373rd overall)
Sue Ford 1:48:13 (1374th overall, running for her first claim club, Werrington Joggers)
84th Mens Team (out of 113)
Sunday 7th October 2007
Back at the start of the summer, Ian’s brother suggested we enter this race. I must’ve been in a particularly enthusiastic mood as I went straight home and entered (so enthusiastic, in fact, that my race number was 3!) He didn’t and, by the time I’d reached the 1k marker, I was starting to think he had the right idea!
I really didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t seen a map or even a description of the course but, in hindsight, I think that’s probably just as well! I was almost sick by the time I reached the top of the first hill just after 1k and the entire course was up and down hill. They were like mountains! Give me a nice flat London route any day!
It’s actually a good course – not really PB material, but great training. As well as the ‘main’ 10k, there’s also a 5k event and a 1k fun run for the kids. The 10k is an out and back route along a country lane, through a bit of a village, onto a field and back the same way. Two water stations and friendly marshals. As you approach the halfway point you can see the leaders on their way back, so it’s nice to know you’re not too far behind! (The 5k and 1k courses start the same way but turn back earlier.)
Disappointingly for Ian, breakfast finished at 10am, so he only managed to get a cup of coffee before the race and then we went for lunch in a local pub, so he can’t really provide his usual review of the refreshments! They were still trying to light the post-race barbecue as we left but, as there were goodie bags, medals and t-shirts to all finishers, you could enjoy the juice and cereal bar if you didn’t want to wait for a burger!
Unfortunately, they don’t record the official results, so I had to rely on Ian’s Dad who told me I was 16th lady. They have published approximate times and finishing order on the website, it looks like I was 17th lady, 83rd overall out of 233 finishers.
As for Ian’s brother, he and Ian entered the 1k with his 3 year old daughter! She put in a great effort, so I may have some competition from at least one of the Trapmore’s next year, although it might not be one of the boys!
Friday 27th July 2007
I finally saw the deer, and lots of them! I also spotted Sonia O’Sullivan (even if I did think she was a man – oops!)
As always, this was a well-organised, enjoyable event. The weather was about as perfect as it could be for a summer evening run, it was cooler than previous years and I think that showed in our finishing times. I knocked about 2 minutes off my PB, something I probably couldn’t have managed in the heat!
It’s great to be away from the traffic and it can be a nice evening out – there’s a barbecue (Ian recommends the home-made burgers!), bar and, of course, the fish and chip shop for afterwards! The weather really was good to us this year and the rain held off until we had finished running and we had to take shelter in the fish and chip shop!
Although there were 493 finishers, only 3 of them were from HHRR, I don’t know if it’s the ‘odd’ distance, or perhaps the thought of giving up a Friday night’s drinking, that puts people off, but I’d definitely recommend this race for next year. There’s a prize for the most entrants from one Club, any takers for 2008, or am I being too optimistic?!?!?
Sunday 1st July 2007
Lulled into a false sense of security by the unseasonably wet weather (and the fact that it was still raining minutes before the start), I set off a little too fast and was soon struggling in the heat!
However, having subjected myself to a drinking ban and a curfew at Bill’s party the previous night, I was determined to finish in my target time of 70 minutes! I suffered in the heat and, although it was lovely to have some sunshine for the post-race barbecue, I really wish it had stayed cool and wet for the race itself!
This is actually quite a nice course – a lap of the cricket field to start, followed by a length of busy main road, but then much of the race is along towpaths and pleasantly traffic-free. I hadn’t seen a map of the course, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. I found myself in Kingston town centre at one point, outside Hampton Court Palace at another – it was quite an adventure! (Especially when it nearly became a contact sport as a car pulled out of a side road and almost took three of us out towards the end of the race!)
The main reason I entered this race was that Ian has traced his family back to 18th century Thames Ditton. He jumped at the chance to let me suffer an 8-mile run whilst he sought out local historians, but I’d recommend it even if you’re not into the Trapmore family tree! This was an enjoyable event, only half an hour or so from home, and it would be nice to see a few more HHRR runners there next year.
For those of you who like to keep up with Ian’s quest for the perfect burger – he limited himself to just one whilst I was running (and more when I’d finished, of course!). There’s a licensed bar, snacks and a barbecue at the Cricket Club and the local Junior School held its Summer Fete in the afternoon so we managed to squeeze in a cream tea as well! (Michelle)
Wednesday 13th June 2007
Another bottle of BA wine for Jacqui’s collection, as Sharon, Jacqui and I won the 2nd team prize at this year’s Speedbirds!
Sharon led the team home in 22 mins 20 secs, a couple of minutes quicker than last year, to take 1st Vet and 3rd place overall.
I finished 7th in 23.50, 3rd Senior Lady, with Jacqui achieving her target in 30 minutes exactly.
An impressive performance from Sharon’s daughter, Jade, saw her finish in 6th place overall, taking the 1st Junior prize in a time of 23.26.
As always, this was an enjoyable (apart from the humidity!), well-organised event. Lots of very friendly marshals, although one told me off for smiling too much – apparently I should use the energy for running!
It’s a good course – quite challenging as there are a couple of tough hills, including a very steep one just before the half-way point, but really suitable for all ages and abilities. It’s also totally traffic-free, apart from the 2 male runners who strayed onto the course and nearly got trampled in a sprint finish!
This is a lovely local event. I’m always surprised that it’s such a small turnout – usually only around 20 entrants – but perhaps that’s because of the early start time. Although I found it very tough at the time, I decided that I enjoyed it once I’d had some refreshments (Mars bars and Roses chocolates were handed round, along with the usual water and squash).
All in all, a great evening, I just wish the rain had arrived a couple of hours earlier as it really was very hot out there!
Sunday 10th June 2007
Michelle’s Ugley! That’s the title that Ian suggested for my report on the Henham 10k, in aid of Henham and Ugley School.
I’m actually proud to say that I won the Ugley contest! Well, I was first lady in the 16-35 category and, despite the heat, I managed a time just 30 seconds slower than my PB, sixth lady overall.
This was a great event, quite a challenging run as the majority of the course was cross-country, so the ground was fairly hilly and quite uneven in places. The course was described as ‘undulating’ – someone commented that he thought the hill just before 7k would never end! The note on the 7k marker promised no more hills though, which was a definite relief!
It was a very warm day (not my favourite weather for running, as most of you know!) and much of the course was across open fields, so I tried to enjoy the shadier parts as much as possible. A very nice man at 9k offered to spray us with lovely cold water – I think it came from the village pond but, by that point, I was so hot I really didn’t care!
A great day out for all ages – the race was followed by a BBQ on the school field and drinks and other snacks were also available. The refreshments got full marks from Ian as he enjoyed a burger whilst I was running, and was even able to help me celebrate with a nice cold shandy after the race!
I must just mention the children’s race – they completed the full 10k and there were some great performances from all age groups. One to watch out for in the Under-11s category – the winning boy finished in 43 minutes!
I’d recommend this event to anyone who finds themselves in the Bishops Stortford area in 2009 – they’re planning to hold it every 2 years, alternating with Stansted, so I might give that a try next year.
Sunday 13th May 2007
Local events are always popular and this one is a particular favourite with HHRR. Unfortunately, it clashed with a number of other races again this year and this, combined with the wet weather, meant there was a slightly lower turnout than usual.
However, this didn’t stop Peter Furness returning from injury to complete his 10th consecutive Concorde and add another commemorative horse-brass to his collection. The Men’s team took third place in the team event and the Club’s only female entrant this year, Michelle Sampson, also made the most of the unexpected weather to set a new PB.
Mick McGuigan - 43:17
Clive Bonner – 43:54
Tony Kent – 45:14
Peter Furness – 45:20
Keith Morris – 45:24
Michelle Sampson – 47:54
Brian Skinner – 49:56
Tom Waugh – 50:12
Friday 6th April 2007
This was the 54th running of the Easter 10 which has taken place over a number of different courses down the year’s, by my reckoning it was the 4th different course I have run.
This years race was based around the Maidenhead Business Park with three laps in total around the park together with countryside paths and roads in the surrounding area.
Overall I felt the venue had a lot going for it with spectators being able to see the runners on a number of occasions, car parking near the start and finish and ample room for the race headquarters, but there were a shortage of toilets.
We had a good turnout with most of our runners being pleased with their performances, Sharon ran a PB and promptly announced she was going to race a 10k the next day, Tony Kent ran much faster than he predicted but was still concerned that someone had out sprinted him to the line, Michelle was pleased with her performance which, is probably more then other runners were with her support group who were seen to be openly eating bacon rolls in front of there faces just before the start, whilst Jacqui was concerned that a recently moved relative had spotted her effort on a particularly difficult part of the course.
Our final race placings:
Peter Furness 183
Tony Kent 315
Sharon Netteton 322
John Shaw 577
Brian Skinner 578
Michelle Sampson 591
Jacqui Howell 910
Nicola Dowling 925
Sunday 18th March 2007
The Silverstone Half Marathon is known by a few names – the Adidas Half, London Half and the warm up to the London Marathon – but, after this year, I think it should be renamed the ‘Four Seasons’! Or, as Ian suggested, ‘Shiverstone’!
There was a strong, biting wind from the moment we arrived. In fact, I was so cold that my toes were numb and I couldn’t feel them properly until about 4 miles into the race! We also experienced glorious summer sunshine, a few flakes of snow, rain, sleet, and the worst hailstones that I have ever been hit by!!!
However, this shouldn’t detract from the event itself. Very well-organised, excellent facilities, free Lucozade and Vittel before, during and after the race, an excellent goody-bag (t-shirt and medal, more Lucozade and Vittel, snacks and Vaseline) and, at one point, a longer queue for the men’s toilets than the ladies! It was almost worth the entry fee just to see that!!! Mum and Ian tested one of the many refreshment vans, but they complained that the wind was so strong that their coffees were cold by the time they’d finished their bacon rolls!
My only, small, complaint is that it took nearly an hour to get out of the car park – almost as long as it took the first man to run the whole race! However, as I finished at a time when there were around 6 finishers per second, I was bound to meet some of them on the way out.
The course itself starts with a 3 mile lap around the racetrack and this is repeated in the opposite direction at the end. It’s quite nice knowing that you’ll see the spectators again so soon and the 3 mile sections don’t seem so bad. (It’s just the 7 mile loop in between that makes it a bit more difficult!) However, thoughts of the lovely picnic lunch that was waiting for me and the curry I’d be enjoying that evening kept me going. I was also looking forward to being able to tell everyone that I’d raced against Nigel Mansell at Silverstone!
It’s a fantastic feeling to be part of such a massive event - over 6000 finishers, not as many as previous years, but still a huge turnout. So many runners, some raising money for charity, a few famous names, plus people like me who were just proud to take part and happy with a new PB. I briefly saw Mel and Ryan – another good performance from them and we all beat Nigel Mansell!
All in all, a good day out – it was a shame about the wind, but don’t let that put you off – ‘Shiverstone’ is definitely one to try and, although it didn’t exactly warm me up, it did make me think about London…one day!
Ryan Jones 1:38:13
Michelle Sampson 1:55:40
Mel Jones 1:57:46
Sunday 11th March
Sunday 25th February
I’m beginning to think that the Bushy Park deer are simply a myth – another year, another trail run and, once again, no sign of them!
As always, the Stragglers organised a great event. A slightly smaller turnout than usual (hardly any queues for the toilets though!), perhaps the weather put people off, or it might have been the mud. Not quite as bad as the Perivale cross country course, but I heard a few people saying that they wished they had worn trail shoes. I did, and it really helped, as I was able to go through the puddles rather than round them!
Ian provided his usual review of the refreshment facilities – very nice, but he thought they were a bit pricey (so pricey, in fact, that he had a sausage roll and then went back for a bacon one just to be sure!)
I don’t know what happened to the clock – it’s quite nice to check your official time as you go past on the first lap and, of course, at the finish – perhaps the deer ran off with it because it wasn’t there when I ran past! My watch told me it was another PB for this course though (35.29), and the official results list me as 8th lady (3rd in my actual category), so I’m happy with that.(Michelle Sampson)
Sunday 21 St January 2007
This was my first race of the year and I was really looking forward to running this new race for 2007. Organised by Mike Gratton and his 2:09 events team, at the world famous Lakeside Centre at Frimley - Home of the World Darts Championships. The race was described as a different type of event and of an unusual distance.
With the first half of the run being on a hilly road through wooded countryside, and at halfway the route takes a sharp left, to joins the Basingstoke canal and then heading back to the finish line at the Lakeside centre.
The location was ideal as a multi terrain race, and was different than just a normal road race. The course was well marshalled with beautiful scenery and it was great to get away from the traffic.
The only draw back to the race apart from the cold weather and strong winds, was that due to the heavy winds a few days before the race which blew down trees and blocked the towpath. The course was diverted off the towpath up a country lane and then back onto the towpath, turning the race into a 8.5 mile race instead of the advertised 12 km. But most of the runners just saw it as extra miles for the build up to the London Marathon.
My finishing place was 201 in just over 400 runners. I received a nice big shiny gold medal and bottle of water at the finish line. well worth a good morning's exercise, once I got my hands on that medal. (Peter Ford)
Over 400 runners gathered on the first morning of the New Year for the 25th running of the years first race.
A dry but windy morning greeted the competitors with loose water on parts of the three lap circuit.
In the conditions I was pleased with my time of 42.18 which was faster then a year ago so the Xmas excesses obviously did not take too much of a toll.
All finishers received an insulated mug to mark the 25th anniversary with an inscription that said 3 laps, 10K, 1 mug, I think that says it all.
Sunday November 2006
This is a very well organised half Marathon which finishes at the athletics stadium in Stevenage which is also the race headquarters. At precisely 10.30 all the runners were marched from the stadium to the start about half a mile away by a lone piper (I thought for a minute I had entered a race north of the border) The course is two laps mainly on the cycle tracks around the town and through a couple of park areas and is very undulating in nature which whilst there are no large hills start to take their toll by the end of the race which finishes with a lap inside the stadium.
The official times were as follows:
1.31.58 - Peter Furness
1.47.53 - Sharon Nettleton
1.57.11 Brian Skinner
2.00.20 Grary Fiddes ( Gary's actual time was 1.59..) (Peter Furness)
Sunday 22nd October 2006
The sun certainly did not shine in Portsmouth for this one, the race started at 10.30 and so did the rain which swung between heavy and torrential, there was also the added bonus of a heavy wind in your face as you turned onto the seafront for the last two miles.
Having said that this is a good race, the course is flat, it is interesting to run with the seafront, Portsmouth old town and the historic dockyard and is well supported. The crowds were not deterred by the rain and there were a number of bands on route to help you on your way, one was cheerfully singing its raining as I ran past.
The race is getting more popular each year with this year a field of 18,000 set off in three waves to help with congestion.
Martin Keegan and myself both stated in the first wave.
Given the conditions I was pleased with my time of 68.12 which placed me 282nd. Martin also did well running another PB of 75mins.
Sunday 15th October 2006
On Sunday 15th October I took part in the first ever running of the SIS Poppy Hill 10k, Which was run from the Sandhurst Military academy, Camberley.
The route was described as a Undulating circuit on well drained dirt tracks through pine forests, with a nice open area noted for its flowers and wildlife.
Well with the Great north run just under my belt and even more weight lost, I was well up for the challenge. There's me thinking its just a 10K it will be OK, I have done Hundreds of these over the years, How wrong was I. This 10k race was one of the most hardest and toughest races of this distance I have ever done. The dirt tracks the race organiser describes was little more than a gully made by the tracks of the tanks from the military base. As for the part "noted for its flowers" the race organiser should of said "grass up to your Waist" and "over hanging trees to the floor" all dropping leaves and conkers over the muddy course.
Well any way I finished in a proud 55mins 20 sec to claim my medal. The race had nearly 200 entries with the winning time of 35mins 39secs for first man and 46mins 45sec for first female. Despite all this I am sure I will go back next year. (Peter Ford)
Sunday 15th October 2006
There was a good turn out from the club for this perennial favourite which was run in good conditions for a fast time. This race also attracts a high quality field with both Mens and Womens races being won by Kenyans in 48.37 and 55.58 respectively. Sonia O' Sullivan was the first Vet Lady in 58.39.
Our official times and placings in a field of 1395 finishers were as follows:
161 Peter Furness 1.06.30
283 Mick McGuigan 1.11.36
408 Martin Keegan 1.15.35
576 Ryan Jones 1.19.54
832 Brian Skinner 1.26.29
895 Michelle Sampson 1.27.44
912 Mel Jones 1.28.17
1124 Maggie Newman 1.36.09
1170 Tony Newman 137.52
There were PB's for Mick McGuigan and Martin Keegan, Mick's achievement was pretty good considering that he only returned from his Rugby clubs 50th anniversary bash at 3.00 in the morning.
Everybody else seamed well pleased with their times, Ryan and Michelle both advised that were inside the times they were aiming for and I ran my quickest 10 for five years.
Maggie was pretty pleased to finish at all as in trying to look back to see Tony she struck a concrete bollard with her arm just missing contact with her head (Peter Furness)
Sunday 8th October 2006
The Sunday morning started with an early start from the Centre, first of the days events occurred at the gates to the car park where we were met by Micky Ewins, our running Guru, personal trainer and mentor to some of our members, he was suffering from a chest infection and was unable to travel with us. However, we set of in good spirits in the mini bus courtesy of Chris Hart and made good time to Southend. The start of the event was somewhat chaotic as 1800 plus runners had to make it through a restricted access to the start area, the “Gun” went off before many runners could sort themselves out in any running order. The course was out and back along the seafront, the weather was very favourable. There was plenty of support out on the course, very friendly marshals, and we had the opportunity of seeing the leaders stretching out the field on their return leg.
Unfortunately, the occasion was marred by an medical emergency in the finishing area which caused a back log of runners who could not cross the line, many leaving the area without going through the funnels, or even collecting their T shirts, therefore, making the official race results suspect.
Order of finishing and published results:
Michelle Sampson 0:52:35
Paul Evans 0:55:59
Margaret Newman 0:59:09
Tony Newman 1:03:23
Bill Hart 1:07:07
Pam Swadling 1:10:09
Just to let you all know that I am still alive from my recent visit to Newcastle for the great north run. I finished in 1 hour 41 mins 12 sec in the finishing position of 2133 from a field of 50,000 plus runners. After all the years I have been running this race I still think Wow what a buzz from the start till the end. The locals were fantastic oggy oggy and all the children handing out jelly babies and slapping ya hand. I wanna give a big shout to the geezer who stood on the bus shelter and hosed us down with water from his house. Also a big thank you to Mary who supported me. Who struggled to get on the metro to South Shields to see me with yet another medal of which I am really proud. (Peter Ford)
World Airline Road Race 5k - Amsterdam - 23rd September 2006
The race stared and finished in the 1928 Olympic Stadium. After 300 metres on the track we went out onto the paths and canal side that adjoin the Stadium. As you would expect in Amsterdam the course was very flat.
This resulted in me running a PB for 5K of 19.01 which meant I finished 7th in the non airline category and 33rd overall. Kay ran 35.39 which she was pleased with as it was a slow start for her as being in the middle of the pack it toll a time to exit the stadium and she did run with her camera to take pics on route
Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile - 30th September 2006
This was run between 80th and 60th Avenue along Fifth Avenue which runs along Central Park. There were different Age Group races which were set off all morning and I ran in the 40 -49 group which included the 35 - 49 Category. After a flat start the 2nd quarter was uphill followed by a downhill stretch before levelling out at the finish. There was an enthusiastic crowd cheering all the way down, it might be only a mile but it was hard work to run virtually flat out the whole way.
I finished in a time of 5.23 to finish 25th in my age category and 245th in the whole event. It was a well supported event with over 3000 competitors running in all the races.
Norway Run 1.7 miles - 1st October 2006
This was one of three races that were run in Central Park in honour of Greta Weitz the multiple New York marathon winner. The other being a half Marathon ( Greta's Gallop) and a kids race ( the troll stroll). Greta herself was at the start and participated in the awards ceremony, where she also received a huge birthday cake!
As with the 5th Avenue Mile the race was organised by the New York Road Runners, the race was run within Central Park starting on the East Drive and finishing on the west side near the Tavern on the Green which is where the Marathon in Nov will finish.
The race started in damp conditions and had a torrential downpour during it. Central Park is not flat and there were many undulations on the course, I ran a time of 10.17 which resulted in me winning the 45-49 age category and finishing 26th overall. Kay finished in - 18.17.
The down side was that we had to wait for 2 hours until the end of the half marathon before the awards ceremony but the organisers had put on a breakfast of bagels and waffles for all the finishers.
I found that a lot of people ran in both events over the week end with vests on display from not just New York clubs but all over the US.
In the official results both Kay and I were listed as running for Middlesex! (Peter Furness)
A good contingent from the club turned out and in our current heatwave all were glad that whilst the race was run in very humid conditions the sun was mercifully behind clouds for the duration of the race.
For those who have not done the race the course gives the opportunity for fast times with the first half run on road and the second half along the Thames Towpath with only three left turns on the whole course. This led to some good performances from Graham Kent who posted a time under 40 minutes which qualified him for a gold medal that goes to the first 100 home, and there was also a PB from Mel Jones and Ryan Jones who is making his way back from injury posted his 2nd fastest 10K
Hot sunny conditions made this race hard work and I was quite happy to find a little breeze on the last stretch right next to the Regatta course.
A small club turn out of only three runners this year braved the Mediterranean conditions which resulted in Keith Morris deciding to run topless ( I do not know if this helped other runners around him to faster times then they otherwise expected!)
Tom Waugh was going at a consistent rate until a calf strain at 9K resulted in a slower then usual time.
Runnres who had done this event in previous years will be pleased to note that the congestion at the finish had been sorted out and there were no delays in crossing the line
Seven club runners competed in this leg of the Club championship which took place in cloudy and humid conditions.This race had a narrow start before the first section along the towpath so if you are looking for a quick time a good start is imperative. Ryan and Mel in their first race back after injury lined up on the pavement and achieve a quick start from this position which enabled Ryan to achieve a faster time then he had predicted pre race.
Martin Keegan was also pleased whit his time which saw him achieve a new PB.
It may be the hills, or it could be the two weeks of Greek beer and sunshine that I enjoyed before this race, but I found this particularly challenging! This is a good course – traffic-free and quite scenic, compared to most – but Bracknell Forest has more than it’s fair share of ‘undulations’! To be fair, there are probably an equal number of down hill sections, but the steep, two-stage hill before mile 3 is just cruel!!! Oh, and what happened to the 4 mile marker? I’m not the only one who noticed its absence as Ian heard people commenting on it at the finish. Still thinking I’d only run about 3.5 miles, I didn’t quite believe the marshal who told me only half a mile to go (well, they are known to try and encourage us by underestimating how far we have left to run!), but it must have been true. Suddenly, I was jumping over tree roots and hurtling down the steep section towards the finish and then it was all over! I didn’t realise quite how much I rely on distance markers, but it’s quite disorientating when one is missing!I think the finisher’s ‘momento’ was some sort of wallet/handy bag thing, but being faced with a choice (red or blue?) as I crossed the finish line was just too much for me. (I don’t know about anyone else, but I struggle to put a sentence together after a race, let alone choose a colour!) Apart from the missing mile marker, the race was well organised and there were plenty of marshals and toilets. Ian was disappointed by the lack of refreshment facilities for spectators and only managed to buy a packet of sweets at the swimming pool across the road - they can be sure of at least one customer if they keep the coffee shop open next year! A tough course, a great venue and, although I’m still not sure what the momento was, I thoroughly enjoyed my Mars bar at the finish, maybe even enough to give this another go next year! (Oh, and in case you’re wondering – I did manage a bit of ‘Rhodes running’ while I was away, it just didn’t feel like it on Wednesday night!!!) Time: 46.27 (Michelle Sampson)
The Half Marathon is run in conjunction with the Marathon and also a Children’s Fun Run.
As seams to be the case with a lot of international Marathons there was a Friendship Run over 3k on the day before. This was a pleasant run around the waterside at False Creek before retuning to the Plaza of Nations area where breakfast was provided.
Race day was wet and cool for the start at 7.00 am outside BC Place which is the big indoor sports arena in Vancouver. The race makes good use of this facility as once you are finished you are ushered inside to collect your goody bag and medal and meet your supporters. On a wet day it meant that those not running could wait in the dry and also spot your finish on the huge video screen in the stadium.
The first few miles of the race were gently undulating as you ran through the outskirts of the city before returning through the Waterfront area and then onto Stanley Park which is a large parkland area on the bay. The race programme had described the climb up to Prospect Point in the park as the equivalent of Boston’s Heartbreak Hill and they were not kidding. It comes at about 8 miles and goes on for over a mile steadily climbing, with supporters on the roadside shouting to you as you climb that “You have got this hill now” towards the end it seamed the other way round. Once you are over the top you descend out of the park before running along the shoreline at English Bay before heading back to BC Place.
Apart from the first few miles it is a scenic course though I was surprised by the number of undulations which mean that it is not a particularly fast course.
As I ran to the finish the PA announcer stated that at aged 48 I was the first UK runner home.
I was pleased with my time of 1.30 .30 on this course and it placed me 91st overall in a field of approx 7000 and 8th in my vet group.
Overall I was impressed with the organisation and the course and with the outdoor lifestyle and many trails Vancouver is a good city to both race or just run in. (Peter Furness)
Thirteen was lucky for Jack as he led the Road Runners home, finishing in 13th place overall in this year’s Concorde 10k.
As a Club, we were on excellent form - both the men's and ladies teams took 2nd prize and a couple of us set PBs. The younger Nisbets look set to follow in their father’s footsteps – both entered the Fun Run, with Gary taking first place.
Being such a local event, this race is usually well-supported and this year was no exception. It was great to see such a good turnout, in terms of Club runners and spectators - we had a real mix of old and new members and a few faces we haven’t seen for a while.
As always, a well-organised event – plenty of marshals, a couple of water stations and an opportunity to sneak a look into the fire station on the way past, what more could we ask for?!?! (Michelle Sampson)
Jack Nisbet – 38.35
Peter Furness – 40.30
Mick McGuigan– 40.45
Martin Keegan – 45.24
Tom Waugh – 47.22
Ian Smith – 48.34
Tony Kent – 49.30
Brian Skinner – 49.38
Michelle Sampson – 50.57
Jill Carney – 55.00
Maggie Newman – 55.31
Tony Newman – 59.33
Jacqui Howell– 62.23
Wednesday 3rd May 2006
As we took our places on the start line, pondering on why we had chosen to spend what felt like the hottest evening of the year so far running up and down hills, I joked to Jacqui and Jill ‘At least it’s a night out’.
An hour or so later, armed with our team prize of a bottle of wine each and having eaten our fair share of the chocolates kindly provided by the organisers, we actually had the perfect ingredients for a girls’ night in!
As for the race itself - this is a great, traffic-free course although, as I remarked to Jac and Colin (Aldous) afterwards – even the flat bits are hilly! The toilets are probably the cleanest I have ever seen at a race and, as there were only about 20 runners, no queues!
All in all, a challenging course but definitely worth a go if you ever wondered about the meaning of the word undulating – try this race and you will understand exactly what it means!
Jacqui Howell – 30.12
Jill Carney – 25.15
Michelle Sampson – 24.52
Overall team result – 3rd place!
Sunday 7th May 2006
This event normally regarded as low key, organized by the Dolphin Pub for it’s regulars, found it’s entries swelled to double its past number to 113 runners. From the start the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed, however, the organisation was superb, with an abundance of marshals and even two water stations on the course. The course was mainly off road taking in Little Britain Lakes and the Grand Union canal. The presentation was of course held in the Pub, where the hosts provide an excellent buffet. Well done to the organisers, who probably are happy for the event to continue at low key, it is definitely one to try.
The Battle for the lead was keenly contested in the early stages, however, Jack Nisbet broke away in the final quarter to claim his fourth win of the event in 40:23. Tom Waugh was our second club member home in 49:05, with Michelle Sampson finishing in 51:53 taking the second lady overall. Paul Evans 53:01, Maggie Newman 56:48, Tony Newman 60:06, Jacqui Howell 63:04, Bill Hart 64:02 and Pam Swadling 67:16.
Monday 1st May 2006
The Henley May Day 5 mile run was held in cool, overcast conditions ideal for running. Thankfully the heavy overnight rain had ceased as five HHRR lined up for the start in Regatta Meadows. This event is pretty basic, no clock, no timings and no finishing positions or results available. What you do get is an enjoyable run out through the country lanes to Remenham, through the meadows to Hambledon Lock and back along the River Thames pathway to the finish near Henley Bridge. The first runner home from the HHRR contingent was Peter Furness, finishing strongly in 31:55, Peter was rewarded with an 8th place finish. Next home was Margaret Newman, showing no after effects from her run in the London Marathon, Maggie cruised home in 43:51 leaving husband Tony ( 45:00 ) in her wake. Bill Hart was next home in 49:49 closely followed by Pam Swadling in 51:00
Monday 14th April 2006
Although Graham managed to turn up the heat in terms of finishing times, the weather had other ideas. Good Friday dawned grey and wet, very wet – we were soaked before we even started running!
In spite of the rain, we had a good turnout – six HHRR members completed the race and we had a few supporters too. I brought my ‘usual’ groupies and I spotted Eileen, braving the weather, near the water station.
As always, the Maidenhead Easter 10 was a good race and my new PB gave me a great excuse to eat extra Easter eggs over the weekend! I spoke to a lady at the finish who said ‘never again’ but, as this was her sixth attempt, I think that shows how popular this race really is. I’m sure she’ll be back next year as, I hope, we will .
Sunday 2nd April 2006
This is a well organised low key Half Marathon around the country lanes and rural villages of Oxfordshire. The race starts and finishes in the town of Grove with the race headquarters being the local school.
On a blustery day five runners from our club including Graham Kent in his debut race for the club were amongst the 491 who completed the race in conditions that varied from bright sunshine to heavy rain.
I enjoy running this course as there is very little traffic and the course is fairly flat with only gentle undulations.
The official finishing times for our contingent were:
Peter Furness 1.30.53
Graham Kent 1.31.01
Sam Shimakage 1.47.02
Brian Skinner 1.54.51
Tom Waugh 1.54.53
Sunday 19th March 2006
There is only one way to describe this years race, WINDY, which resulted in times down on other years on a course that in more gentler conditions gives the opportunity for fast times.This years event was also designated as the AAA Half Marathon Championship which meant there were some good quality club runners at the top end of a 5100 field.The race was started by Sir Steve Redgrave who raised the chequered flag at the top of the start gantry on the pit straight before joining the race after everyone had started.
The race takes in one lap of the Grand Prix circuit before taking you round the many perimeter and infield roads before re entering the circuit proper for a closing lap the reverse way to the original lap. Both Jack and I felt that the wind would be in our favour in the closing part but unfortunately it appeared to have veered which meant the best part of the last two miles seamed into the teeth of a sharp north easterly wind. For me it meant that a time of 1.30 at 10 miles finally ended up in the 1.32,s though our final placings would appear to show that everyone suffered in the closing stages
Jack Nisbet 118th - 1.25.17
Peter Furness 346th 1.32.37
I felt that the organisation of the race was very good with good marshalling and well administered baggage and refreshment areas. With the race starting on the wide expanses of the circuit it also offers plenty of space for everyone to clear the start area quickly.
I would certainly like to have another crack at this race though hopefully it would be a day less suited to ocean sailing
Sunday 5th March 2006
This was the 6th time that I have entered this race and the field seams to get bigger each year. The race sold out two months before the race. And is starting to attract large numbers of entrants from this country, I certainly heard more English being spoken in the pack then on other years.
It was a bright sunny but crisp morning when over 20,000 runners gathered on the esplanade outside the Chateau of Vincennes. I had qualified for a Preferential number and place on the start line by virtue of running a sub 1.35 half in the last year which meant that from my start position it only took approx 30 secs to cross the line. Kay who was watching reported that it took 20 mins for all runners to clear the start line. The race is well supported with large crowds near the start and finish and around the main squares that we ran through at Bastille and Hotel De Ville; I also counted 15 bands on route some playing well known tunes, others that were unrecognisable to me.
The race organisation is good and there is plenty of fruit of various types awaiting you when you finish back outside the Chateau,
I was pleased with my time of 1.32.29 which is my fastest of the three years that the race has been run over this course which with its many turns and subtle change of gradients would not be particularly quick, however that did not stop the Ethiopian winner finishing in 1.00.45.9 (Peter Furness)
Sunday 26th February 2006
A cold Sunday morning in February once again found me on the start line of the Bushy Park Trail Run. I was joined by Elaine this year and I finally spotted the elusive deer!
As always, the event was well organised with plenty of marshals, but very few toilets. The usual shortage of facilities led me to the Gents – not a great experience and the men didn’t seem too happy about it either!!!
The marshals remained cheerful in spite of the freezing cold and, although I didn’t have the energy to thank them at the time, their encouragement helped me to battle through the icy wind. Ian came along to check the food out as usual and tells me that the bacon rolls were almost worth braving the cold for!
As I collected my first finisher’s medal of the year, I was pleased to note that I also managed to set my first PB of 2006. Just the incentive I need to up my training and aim for more of both this year! (Michelle Sampson)
28th December 2006
Jack Nisbet & Martin Keegan braved the elements to compete in the challenging course at Aston Hall. This popular event still attracts a field of 481 runners, even with the change from the usual weekend to midweek format. The photo gallery attached to web site shows an impressive shot of Jack leading the pack over a heavily frost covered ground, but where was the hat? There was another fine shot of Jack working hard running up the infamous steps. Jack finished in 46th position with a time of 45:29min/sec, Martin finished in 145th position in 51.34min/sec.
This is a well organised friendly race put on by Serpentine Running club in Hyde Park. The course which is just under 3 laps around the footpaths in the park is reasonably flat except for one small climb to wards the end of each lap.
On a cold dull morning nearly 500 runners had put any Xmas or New Years excesses to one side to be on the start line, where a lot of the talk was around who had got into London and what training was planned. The organisers try and put on an event for all the family with a 3k fun run after the main event. In my first race for 3 months I was looking for a steady run at sub 7 mile pace so was pleased with a time of 42.22 to finish about 80th. The luminous yellow T shirt I received at the finish means it is an event I am not likely to for get for a while.
Sunday 6th November 2005
Gary Fiddes and Tom Waugh braved the Cold, Rain & Wind to run the Stevenage half marathon. The elements, and two lap undulating course, though Tom claims it was hilly, proved to be quite a challange. Tom not being very impressed with his medal offered it to his 6 year old grand daughter, who promptly asked him to peel off the silver paper so she could eat it.
Sunday 9th October2005
Mel & I did the
"Save the Rhino" 10k last Sunday - my 1st and Mels 2nd. I've only just been able
to do 10k without my leg hurting, and Mels groin has only just recovered. The
course was "undulating". Anyway - excuses aside...
2nd October 2005
A very enjoyable day was had by all mainly thanks to Brian Matthews’ organisation, and Chris Hart providing and driving the Mini bus. The event was supported by 1772 finishers, boosted by 200 entries on the day which unfortunately, despite a new electronic tagging system, led to some difficulty in producing the results on the day.
Martin Keegan led the club runners home with an impressive time of 44:22 in 341 position overall. Brian Skinner was second in 49:23. Tom Waugh was close behind in 50:55, despite starting well back of the field. Tony Newman surprised most with an improved time of 51:44, certainly impressed his adopted trainer Micky Ewins. Paul Evans was pleased with his 54:15. Maggie Newman must be highly delighted with her time of 54:21 to finish 4th in her age category, with Pam Swadling 11th in 66:20.
All times are obtained from the official website, so allowances may be made for time to cross the starting line.
Some other interesting statistics:- 1st Male 70+ = 44:41, 2nd Male 70+ = 45:38, 3rd Male 70+ = 50:41.
25 September 2005
10th September 2005
I took part in the Helvellyn Triathlon on Saturday
10th September, the day before I did a little recky of the“ steep bit “ cycle
route. It was a bit of a shock when I turned the corner leaving Ambleside and
immediately the road turned into a 1 in 3 hill, that continued in varying
degrees of steepness for 1 ½ miles before being relatively flat for 1 mile –
then it got even steeper until reaching the top or Kirkstone pass. This was
enough so I didn’t check any more of it out.
Elmbridge 10k 2005
Dysart Dash 10k
24 April 2005
Nice evening for a race on Harmondsworth Moor. A bit of a rush after work for a 6.30pm start. There were loos and drinks available and car park. Prompt start at the starter clock with about 22 women. It was off road, winding, undulating trail with marshals at every turn and in my case a supporters group of Peter, Jac, Keith and his twin girls (much appreciated guys). Like during the time trial I was on my own most of the race and thanked the marshals for waiting for me as I was last and I enjoyed sprinting in with Keith’s twins, Lucy and Katie. Gotta a medal. Do it again? A bit out of my league. 32.59. (Kay Tarrant)
20 March 2005
For as long as I can remember I have avoided the Fleet Pre London Half Marathon simply because of it’s name; "Pre London" suggested opportunistic organisers and a congested event full of fancy dress runners. I only entered this year because of it’s Club Championship status and was very dubious before the start. So it came as some surprise when I crossed the finish line that my first thought should be what a terrific race.
Well planned and organised the race easily copes with it’s 2,600 limit. As far as I could tell it was held entirely over closed roads with very good marshals and police support. The undulating route takes in a couple of laps of Fleet before heading out into pretty countryside with the occasional village but the best feature must be the tremendous support in the built up areas.
If you haven’t run this race before you definitely should… and if you have - why didn’t you tell me? (Ian Robinson)
13 March 2005
This is not the most scenic race, unless you like tarmac…, however it is very flat and open with no problem with traffic. The course does have some sharp bends and unless you start at the front you could get held up by the large number of runners taking part.
At the front of the race the times were pretty fast, with the winner coming in at 01:05:23, I was a little slower in 01:23:48 – this was my best for 2 years And managed to come 100th out of 5874 runners, finishing 9th in the 40-45 age group. encounter the full “ London Marathon “ (Jack Nisbet)
6 March 2005
Having picked up an injury the previous week, I travelled to Paris not sure that I would do the race. I think subconsciously I thought I would not as on the metro when we had got there I realised I had left my running watch at home. Having got my number at registration on Friday I thought I would go to the start warm up and then decide whether to run, if not I could hand my chip back. However on the way to the start I realised that my number along with my vest was still in the hotel. I went to the late registration and with my limited French spoke to a lady who thought I wanted to enter the race, as it had been closed for over a month she thought I was mad!
Eventually someone else understood me and I was given another number which corresponded to the sub 1.35 pen but told that as it did not match my chip I was unlikely to get a race picture. I did not have the heart to tell him I was not bothered about a sub 1.35 and the picture at the finish seemed along way off. By the time this had all been completed it was 5 mins to start time so I thought I had better start rather then doing a warm up and possibly returning the number and chip straight back to him. After all the trouble he had gone to, this would not have improved the entente cordiale.
I made my way to the start and found that thousands must have been lined up hours, as I could just about make out the start banner. At least I was going to have a gentle start. The Mayor of Paris started the race as snow began to fall at 10.00 and I jogged over the start line over 8 mins later. Luckily for me the injury loosened up and I managed to jog round in 1.51 with the weather also improving in the second part of the race as the snow disappeared and the sun came out
This was the fifth time I have done this race and it gets more popular every year, it reminded me of the Great North with many bands around the course and lots of support. As we passed the Hotel de Ville (town hall for the non French speakers), they had a big sign up for Paris 2012 and there were also many flags on lamp posts with the same message. On two occasions we ran under fireman's ladders full of firemen encouraging the masses (Michelle you really will have to do this race!). It really is a good race to do, the course is fast, the atmosphere is good with all standards running and the medal is not bad too, hopefully I will be back next year with a more normal pre race build up. (Peter Furness)
Bushey Park Trail Race
27 February 2005
Sunday dawned bright and sunny but, as we ran the first few hundred yards of the 2005 Bushey Park Trail Run, the snow began to fall. It was an extremely cold 4.8 miles although, I have to say, nothing compared to the last Chiltern League cross country of the season where I was battered by hailstones and knee deep in mud! Slightly more scenic than some of the cross country courses (and definitely flatter!), a great race for anyone who likes to escape the traffic occasionally. There are usually a few deer to be seen around the course, but perhaps the snowflakes put them off as I didn’t spot any at all this year.
For those who are interested in the facilities – quite a queue for the Ladies, but my other half informs me that the refreshments more than compensated!!! The snow stopped falling almost immediately, but the deer never did materialise. I received a great medal (one of the few I’ve seen with female runners on!) and an extra Cabbage Patch t-shirt from last year’s event. I would definitely recommend this race and hope to see some orange and blue vests making a comeback with the deer next year! (Michelle Sampson)
Guildford Half Marathon
27 February 2005
I've always found Guildford bland and anodyne and two laps of its suburbs did nothing to change my mind. Maybe the bone chilling weather took its toll, but this race didn’t exactly set the world on fire. The course is basically OK with a formidable hill, which features twice due to the two-lap format, but there wasn’t that much to see on the way round – after starting near the college the route heads towards the quaintly named Burpham through dreary streets and then comes back over anonymous roads before doing it all over again.
Perhaps it was a good thing that only 400 or so braved the icy blast at the muddy start line because if many more had turned up the finish would have been chaos. I finished 138th and the funnel was already backing up due to queue for the goody bags. It transpired that each competitor had to stop and write their name and number on a piece of paper before receiving their T-shirt and medal; unfortunately none of the pens seemed to work so there was nothing for it but to wait patiently for the one blunt pencil.
Having paid way over the odds for an entry on the day I was expecting a modicum of cheer and got it with an eight-minute improvement over last week’s time at Brighton. I just hope the distance was more accurate than those dodgy mile markers! (Ian Robinson)
Sussex Beacon Half Marathon
20 February 2005
Can you keep a secret? The title of this race obscures the fact that it is in all but name the Brighton Half Marathon. It starts and finishes on the Promenade near the East Pier and follows the sea front for all but a very short section. Mostly flat with a short climb up the cliffs above the Marina, this is a truly spectacular race with good support and excellent organisation.
The 2000 or so that lined up for the start were blessed with blue skies and piercing sunshine, but cursed by a temperature of 2°C and a stiff breeze that really made you appreciate what wind chill means. Thankfully the race set off in good time and after the initial very slow shuffle under the gantry the pace picked up enough to thaw extremities as we headed west into the wind. At the turnaround between 3 and 4 miles the wind shifted behind us allowing the warmth of the sun to permeate through the thermals. This continued until the turn at 10 miles and from then on it was a cold, hard drag back along the cliff top and down to the finish – a real sting in the tail.
Those that follow the Bulletin Board will already know that I unwisely decided to enter this race on the Friday before it took place. Recovering from injury I had only run 19 miles in 2005 including a DNF in the cross-country the week before. In the pre-race team photo with Gary Fiddes, Peter Furness and Martin Keegan you can see the horror in my eyes. However my fear wasn't justified - I finished the race, admittedly slowly, suffering nothing worse than sore legs. On receiving my medal I thanked my lucky star and the Chiropractor in equal measure. (Ian Robinson)
February 6 2005
Where was the rest of the club….. I thought as this was a club championship race there was going to be a few club members at the race, although the lack of Mat Wilkins did allow me to take it a bit easier. This was my first half since August last year and that one had been quite flat, although I had done this race before, I was a little surprised at the number of hills and steepness of some of them, although it did allow me to run quite fast down hill and crawl up……
The organisation was good, with 3 drink stations and one sponge station. We had some free isotonic drink at the end of the race and quite a nice T Shirt. Once again this was quite a hard race and with yesterdays X Country in my legs I was happy to finish in 1:26:28 , in position 122 out of a total field of 1734. (Jack Nisbet)
January 30 2005
Peter Furness and I set out for the first race of the 2005 Club Championship at about 07:45 and arrived at about 08:30 despite me deciding to head up the M1 by taking the wrong turn off the motorway!
The race HQ is a local school with ample parking and we were greeted by an argument over parking between a very loud marshal and a chap with a disabled son in a wheelchair. The very loud marshal was bellowing that he had been in the guards for 18 years, by the look of him he had been smoking Guards for 18 years ! (for those of a tender age these used to be cigarette - do they still make them ?)
The changing area was a very large sports hall, more than adequate for the number of runners, there is no secure baggage area but everyone just left their bags in the hall. We bumped into Matt Johns who informed us he was away for 2 weeks training in warmer climbs in Australia, however as his wife was there he mentioned something about work as well !
The race start has some very narrow bollards, a bit like the bottle neck at Concorde and then continues on a very narrow track for half a mile before heading out onto the 'roads', well pavements actually as the marshals made sure we didn't stray onto the road, this caused a bit of a hold up as the pavements were very narrow. Once this small loop is completed the route heads back through those bollards. This is a very flat course with only a few inclines but nothing approaching a hill and is run mainly on park type trails. The race is very well marshalled and with I think only 2 water stations A very pleasant route after pounding the mean streets of down - town Hayes.
So, how did we do ? Peter ran 1:09:48 after predicting 1:11 at the start, I ran a new PB (3 years old) of 1:18:34 after thinking before the race I would be pleased with 1:23. But the performance of the day came from Matt knocking a whopping 17 mins of his best time last year. This is a good race and I will be back next year. (Gary Fiddes)
January 1 2005:
10K: An international field of 439 runners had woken up early enough to be on the start line by 11.00am. This was my first race for 3 months and I had no greater aim than finishing injury free, which I did, in a time of 43.34. This was the sixth time I had run this race and I think that the organisation and goodie bag at the finish has got better each year. If you fancy a run on New Year's Day this is one to blow the cobwebs away. (Peter Furness).
3K: The rain kept off which was good. There had been a minute's silence before the 10K for the victims of the earthquake. The 3K kicked off at noon as I reluctantly hand my coat to Peter. Peter told me the guy leading the race on his bike was Hugh Jones, winner of the 1984 London marathon. He had led the 10k field as well. There were plenty of marshals offering encouragement one wore a gorilla's mask. I like the finish at the bandstand, it is less slippery than the grass funnel. I was a bit slower this year finishing in 18.43 but I didn't have the incentive of chasing my nephew this time. (Kay Tarrant)
Bedford Half Marathon
12 December 2004
I usually associate half-marathons as part of my training for the London Marathon in spring - such as Watford. So running the Bedford half-marathon in mid-December was something new for me! I was especially looking forward to this run considering that it will be part of the Club Championship for 2005.
I arrived in the village of Wootton (5 minutes outside Bedford) on a cold, grey, still December day with only 10 minutes to go before the scheduled start time of 11am - I anticipated parking problems and having a long walk/run to the start line. I should not have been so worried; there were ample marshals who guided me to school fields where there was plenty of space. A few minutes jog got me to the start line where there was a large field of about 1,000 runners gathered.
I only had to wait a few minutes before the hooter sounded and the race began promptly on time. For the first mile, it seemed as though everyone was overtaking me! My time at the first mile marker was 7.15 which was too fast - so I was glad not to have tried to follow all the runners going past me! The course followed country lanes through the Bedfordshire countryside and did not touch any major roads apart from one ½ mile section around the fourth mile. By mile four, I had settled into my running and began to go past a few runners instead of being overtaken myself! I was averaging 7.30 min/mile and was not feeling too bad at this point!
There was a long hill to climb at around 7 miles - very tough work, but the scenery was great and the only sounds to hear were that of the runners as we grunted our way to the top of that hill! By this point, I was still doing 7.30 miles, and got to mile 10 in 75.25. I was very tired at this stage and thought that I may have gone out too aggressively - but the 11th mile was downhill and that was very welcome! Marshals all around the course were superb - friendly and encouraging. I wish I could have thanked them more around the course, but the effort for the last few miles meant that I just focused on the next section of road.........
I finished in 1.38:00, my best time for 2004! Needless to say, I was very pleased - and a nice T-shirt at the end as a reward for my efforts! The Bedford half is a hillier version of the Wantage (Black Horse) half in April. I decided not to hang around and got out of the car park before the rush - and reading some of the messages on the RW forum, I'm glad that I did - apparently there were delays getting out. But all-in-all, an excellently organised event, great course and I for one hope to be back next year! Well done Gary for making this part of the Club Championship!!!!!! (Rafat Ahmad)
Great South Run
10 October 2004
Having completed the Great North Run two weeks earlier I was at the other end of the Country to do the Southern version of the BUPA Great Run Series. A field of 15, 000 was split into three waves at the start, starting 10 mins apart. This seemed to work allowing runners a much quicker get away - it only took me 9 seconds to get past the start.
the race starts on the coast at Southsea before going through the Historic dockyard passing HMS Victory and then through Old Portsmouth before rejoining the Sea front to run towards Hayling Island before turning for home to finish near Southsea Pier. The course is flat but the wind made the stretch between 5 and 8 Miles hard work. The last 2 miles along the front with a following wind and a large crowd offering support were as enjoyable as the closing stages of a race can be.
All in all it is a good race to do and if you fail to get an entry to the Great North, this is a good substitute which allows you to have a go at a PB or just run for fun (Peter Furness)
Mortimer 10K, 4k Fun Run and 5 mile walk
26 September 2004
Gary and I took part in this small village race over the weekend with support from the rest of the family (Denise and Linda ). The event was very well organised with the walkers starting off first, followed by the under 16’s fun run at 10:55 and the main 10K at 11:00. This meant that there were quite a few people on the road at the same time, but with 3 different loops for the event it did not cause a problem with congestion, and it meant there was plenty going on for the spectators.
This was Gary’s first real race with 90 starters, a tee shirt and a medal at the end. At the start he had been told not to go off too fast, so he took it easy – he was keeping something back for the last ½ mile but there were no “K” markers for the fun run so he did not know when to start running faster, because of this he finished with his usual sprint for the line – finishing quite fresh in 13 position in a time of 17:46.
The main event had about 200 starters, with more locals than usual for a 10K. The course was rural with a few undulations and a gradual clime just before 7K for about ¾ of a mile. The event was well marshalled with one drink station. I was happy with my time 39:10 finishing somewhere around 20th position and if nothing clashes will probably go back next year. (Jack Nisbet)
Windsor 8K (Ladies Only)
25 September 2004
I left Windsor station to be greeted with the arrival of the Trooping of the Colour and strolled up the Long walk for the 12.00 start. Three fell runners from Yorkshire were checking out the course for the Half Marathon the next day. They didn't know about today's race and I informed them it was for women only. One runner carried my bag and all gave me donations for the Isle of Wight charity race for next year
The race was chipped and started and finished on the The Long walk looping around the Copper Horse. Nice conditions with the misty rain, and a water station at 4.5K. The event had a changing tent, refreshments, luggage storage and photo's were taken. I received a medal, water and grapefruit drink. It was my first 8K, finishing in 54.03 with a throbbing bunion. I would do it again for the view (Kay Tarrant)
WARR 5K - Prague
19 September 2004
This years World Airlines Road Race took place in Prague, on a historic course that started and finished in the Old Town Square before crossing the Vitava River. The race was run in conjunction with The Martoni Grand Prix 10K which attracted a top quality field with the race being won by a Kenyan in 27.38. After watching the 10K both Kay and myself ran the 5K, the 1.30pm start meant that it was quite hot out on the course. There was great crowd support both from the airline teams and the Czechs who had stayed to watch another race. I ran 19.14 and Kay 33.14 it might have been along way for a 5K but the beer was cheap! (Peter Furness)
Cardiff KRUF 10K
September 5 2004
Having crossed the finishing line at such sporting landmarks as Wembley Stadium, the Ajax Stadium in Amsterdam not mention the illustrious Griffin Park home of Brentford FC. Pam and I decided to add another to the list and paid a visit to the Welsh Capital to run the City of Cardiff 10K which boasts a finishing line within the Millennium Stadium. The race starts outside the stadium and heads into the city with a double loop around the civic buildings before heading out towards Bute Park. It was the hottest September day on record for Cardiff and everyone was glad to get into the park to take advantage of the shade. We ran around the park and then alongside the River Taff before exiting it at the gates of the Millennium Stadium. The final yards of the race being a lap of the pitch within the impressive stadium.
Despite a great course with PB potential, given the right conditions, and a fantastic venue with superb facilities the event was a bit of a disappointment to say the least. The organisation was absolutely pathetic, we were left standing in the heat on the start line for 10 minutes after the scheduled start time, the reason being that the late entry desk which was due to close an hour before was still taking entries. There were complaints from the late entrants and also from those who entered on line that despite paying full entrance fees they would not be getting the race T shirt that postal entrants had received. As there was no medal or goodie bags for anyone, they had paid £10 just to run around the streets.
We also discovered that although the venue was a state of the art 70,000 seat capacity stadium, with more toilets than any race organiser could ever wish for, there were no baggage facilities. When questioned on this matter the race organiser told us that they have been aware of the problem for a few years now but just haven't got round to sorting it. He then told all of the runners to be aware of the heat and to take on water at both of the drink stations, unfortunately one of the drink stations we were told about didn't exist. The Race started before the roads were closed causing major chaos for the front runners in the 2000+ field, and marshalling was almost non existent.
All in all a great course with a fantastic venue let down by poor organisation, we will think twice before going back to this event. (Brian Matthews)
4 September 2004
A very low key event, starting just off the green in the centre of the village. The race begins on a narrow gravel path leading to some of the most expensive houses in the village (up to £1.8 Million). The start hides the fact that the first 2 miles are up hill. You then go cross country – along tree lined tracks, across ploughed fields and through farms, all with lovely views over the local countryside. The route also incorporates 10 stiles to slow you down. I finished in 41:46 claiming 15th place out of 181 starters, which shows just how tough the race was A very enjoyable but hard race - one for cross-country enthusiasts to enjoy……(Jack Nisbet)
8 August 2004
Pam and I made our annual trip to Aylesbury to run in the Bearbrook 10k. If you have read my previous reports you will know that this event is of the highest standard and runs like a well oiled machine. There is very little that Bearbrook Joggers could do to improve the event or so we thought. The race is run on what usually turns out to be the hottest Sunday of the year, and this year was no exception with the temperature getting up into the high eighties. To their credit the organisers have realised this and to improve matters this year the start was bought forward by half an hour, and an additional drinks station had also been provided. This years event saw a record entry of over 450 runners, unfortunately a few were overcome by the excessive heat and were forced to drop out. Not much that the organisers could do about this, everyone was advised to take on fluids before and during the race, fortunately the medical back up was superb. Finishing times were in general some 2 - 3 mins slower than most competitors would have expected, not really surprising in these conditions. Perhaps next year the organisers could conjure up a little rain !! (Brian Matthews)
24 July 2004
I finished the smallest marathon I have ever run at Hornindal, Norway in 3:55. There were only 48 people, including 3 from Holland, 1 from France, and 1 from U.K. It was a very beautiful course with lots of water falls, paths covered with green moss and tall trees and at 514m deep, Hornindal Lake is the deepest lake in Europe. The drawback of small race is that there are very few spectators, only families of runners and sheep, which do not cheer me up….I was surprised that the starter used an actual gun for shooting, but it was very good marathon with flat course and friendly runners. (Sam Shimakage)
30 June 2004
Jacqui and I decided to swap our usual Wednesday night run around the streets of Hayes, for this 5 mile race through the woods near Broadmoor. I’m not sure which is scarier, but Crowthorne Woods are certainly hillier and harder on the legs! With such a large, traffic-free area at their disposal, we were disappointed that the Finch Coasters chose a route consisting of 2 and a bit loops around the same course. The steep hill about half-way round was a struggle the first time but, by the time we reached it a second time, it was only a ‘kindly’ spectator telling me it would be downhill from then on that kept me going! He lied!!! A number of people at the finish were heard to comment that it was closer to 6 than 5 miles. It certainly felt like it but, in spite of the ‘undulating’ course, we both enjoyed this challenging, interesting and scenic course. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, they didn’t lock us up in Broadmoor for the night. Maybe we are just too crazy?!?!?! (Michelle Sampson)
20 June 2004
Most runners dream of winning races, but if you are anything like me then that is all it is; a dream, however in the case of my daughter Lucy, winning races is not a dream but the norm. It started in March this year when she won the Runnymede Schools U12 Cross Country Championship at St Annes Heath School. Following this Lucy was chosen to represent her school in the long distance (600 Metres !!!) run in the Runnymede District Sports at Walton Athletic Stadium. Once again approximately 15 schools in Runnymede sent along their best runners for the event and once again Lucy won by taking the race on at the bell and finishing approximately 10 meters ahead of the second place girl.
This lead us on to the third and final race on Sunday 20th June 2004 which was the Surrey Youth Games at Guildford Sports Centre where Lucy was representing Runnymede against 12 other boroughs in Surrey (Dorking, Woking & Guildford etc). There were three separate under 12 girls 600 metre races with the overall result being decided by times. Lucy took part in the second race which she won in a very similar fashion to the District Sports event by taking the lead on at the bell and finishing well clear of the second place girl. Then at the end of all three races, it was declared that Lucy was the overall winner with a time of 1:53:9. As someone who is used to finishing in the middle of races, I have no idea where Lucy gets her running talent from, it is clearly not her old man. Maybe its the Dustman or the Milkman !! (Keith Morris - with apologies to Carol!)
Marwell Zoo 10K
25 April 2004
This 10K race starts and finishes within the confines of Marwell Zoo just south of Winchester and is extremely well organised and marshalled by Eastleigh Runners. For the cost of £7 you not only get a race entry, but a day pass for the Zoo as well. Reduced rate tickets are also available for non competitors, providing they are booked along with the race entry. As the Zoo is open to the public, both parking and toilet facilities are excellent. You get to see lots of animals, white rhinos, monkeys, giraffes, zebra, buffalo and tigers, all within the first kilometre, You might even get to bring some form of exotic dung home on the soles of your trainers, what you probably will not get is a PB.
This is a hard course, for "undulating" in the race literature read "hilly", the first and last 200 metres are uphill on a gradient that would not be out of place on the north face of the Eiger. After a lap of the Zoo grounds the route heads out along some very pleasant country lanes, even though they are mostly of the uphill variety, before returning to the Zoo. The two drink stations en route were very welcome on what was the hottest Sunday of the year so far.
We had a great time and would recommend this event wholeheartedly to anyone wanting a day out for all the family. If you fancy going next year, enter early, as the race is becoming a victim of it's own success. More people than anticipated entered on the day this year leaving the race director very happy with a field of 1200 runners, but unfortunately the size of the field was not catered for and many of the slower runners did not get their finishers medal as they had run out. Surely next year a limit will be set and adhered to, so that this problem will not arise again. (Brian Matthews)
Third 10K @ CH
4 April 2004
As the name suggests this was the 3rd running of the Christ's Hospital 10K in Horsham, West Sussex. The event which is extremely well organised and marshalled by Mel's Milers, uses the Blue Coat School as its headquarters. If you immediately think of this place being similar to the local primary or comprehensive think again. This is a private school of some stature, the impressive Georgian buildings being more akin to the likes of Hampton Court Palace. You have to be very brainy or extremely rich to be educated in this place.
The race which is slightly over the 10K distance is run on a traffic free course and is best described as multi-terrain being 95% off road. The race started in the quadrangle and followed paths around the school grounds before joining the Downslink footpath. The footpath used to be a railway line, but has now been resurfaced in many places, however the previous day's rain left behind plenty of mud and puddles. At the end of the footpath is Southwater Country Park and a lap of its lake was encountered before we were directed back along the footpath to the finish at Blue Coat School.
A very pleasant run which everyone seemed to enjoy was further enhanced by the marshals, a friendly bunch if ever there was one, who all had a smile and encouraging words for every competitor. Well done Mel's Milers for putting on a nice friendly event. (Brian Matthews)
White Horse Half Marathon
4 April 2004
At the risk of sounding old, it was 10 years ago that I last travelled north of Wantage to the Vale of the White Horse for this race. Youthful and impulsive I was in a sulk after a bad Hillingdon Half the week before and wanted to prove a point, which I managed to do by setting a PB that remained valid for the next decade. So it was appropriate that for my 50th Half I should return to the scene and attempt to set a new PB, proving that the passage of years had yet to take it's toll...
In 1994 the race was a well kept secret passed on by word of mouth and only then in a hushed whisper, attracting less than 300 local runners. This time around the limit of 500 was under threat. The reason for the increase in numbers in this rather remote event is - apart from first-rate organisation, facilities and atmosphere - that the secret has got out; the course is pancake flat. The only climb is the bridge over the railway, the rest of the course consists of traffic free country lanes which rarely deviate from the horizontal.
It's a definite PB course and the only factor that could possibly hamper a serious attempt is the open terrain which offers little shelter from wind. And from my perspective that's the sad part of this tale. Whilst barely perceptible at the start, possibly because it was behind us, a blustery wind became all too conspicuous at the half way point as we turned into it and from there on it was akin to swimming against a fast tide. My PB attempt foundered in the wind and was finally sunk in a squall at 10 miles. Still I shan't grumble, my final time - two minutes over my goal - is still my best since 1995. Who knows, if conditions had been different...
To summarise; Peter Furness cruised home in 1:32, I finished red faced in 1:33, Rafat Ahmed surprised himself with 1:38 and Gary was satisfied with 1:42. Meanwhile up at the sharp end Chris Bradfield of Datchet Dashers won in 1:12, more than 3 minutes ahead of the field - demonstrating the obvious benefit of training alongside me, no doubt! (Ian Robinson)
Gade Valley Harriers 20 Mile Training Run
28 March 2004
Officially this is a training run, not a race, but in practice it was difficult to differentiate the two. All the important elements; Marshals, mile markers and drinks stations were there, while the lack of a finisher’s memento was compensated for by a tough, scenic and timely 20 miler. At £5 on the day with free tea and cakes thrown in, this event has joined my list of perennial Favourites. However the organisers do like to spring the odd surprise…
"The good news is; we have included a Jelly Baby station at 18 miles. The bad news is; the course has been re-routed and is now 20.8 miles." was how the assembled masses were informed they were now running in the Gade Valley 21. Still I suppose it would be churlish to grumble about gaining the best part of an extra mile for free.
It would be unfair to give an account of the run without a health warning so be advised that Hemel Hempstead isn’t exactly flat. This bit of Hertfordshire has its fair share of hills, mainly of the long gentle variety, however at 3 miles a spectacular example of the steep upward type made its presence very obvious. Once at the summit you enter an area of rather pretty countryside interspersed with plenty of the aforementioned slopey bits.
Despite the undulations, murky conditions and body clocks that steadfastly refused to recognise the 09:30 BST start time in favour of 08:30 GMT, this was a good run by anyone’s standards. Peter Furness, Rafat Ahmed and I all recorded negative splits - largely due to the climb at 3 miles and the corresponding freefall at 18 miles, but it did give a huge boost in confidence for the Marathon.
Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey was there too - he may be a big lad but he can’t half run. I saw him disappearing into the distance in the early stages along the canal and didn't see him again until I finally staggered back to the event HQ where he was enthusiastically getting stuck into the famous Gade Valley Harriers tea and cakes - high praise indeed! (Ian Robinson)
21 March 2004
Cranleigh is the archetypal no frills race. It doesn't offer big prizes, razzmatazz or aerobic warm ups. The pre-race instructions are simple; turn up ready to run and lock up your valuables in the car. As a result entry fees are low, the start isn't congested and the field is mercifully devoid of Pantomime horses, Fairies and assorted fun runners.
Having run Cranleigh five times before I wasn't expecting too many surprises. The race retained its usual format of a 9 mile loop followed by two 6 mile laps, giving the option of calling it a day at 15 miles. Saturday's high winds had moderated to a healthy breeze, and whilst the heavy cloud scudding above delivered a couple of showers the temperature was warm enough not to notice.
Prior to the start, Peter Furness, Gary Fiddes, Rafat Ahmad and I decided to stick together an run the full distance at 08:00 mile pace. Unfortunately this never happened as we clocked 07:27 for the first mile and despite hauling on the brakes went through 5 miles in 38:33 and 10 miles in 1:17:13. Rafat managed to hold back his enthusiasm and stuck to the original plan, whilst Gary began to fade around 8 miles. Peter who was in two minds whether to pull out at 15 took off at 12 miles, leaving me to contemplate what damage the early pace had done.
Peter Finished in 2:44, I trailed in just over a minute later, followed by Rafat, whose steady pace saw him pass Gary at 9 miles. Jac Aldous reports she ran a good steady 15 before the high winds took their toll, finishing in 2:51. (Ian Robinson)
Surrey Schools U12 Cross Country Championships
10 March 2004
I know that this is something that not many of us have to worry about, but whilst winning a race is great at the time it does bring extra pressure on the individual concerned as they are then expected to win the next race which is not always easy. This is exactly the position that Lucy Morris found herself in at the Surrey Schools under 12 Cross Country Championships held at St Anne’s Heath Junior School on 10th March 2004. Lucy won the previous U11 event in 2003 and was therefore under pressure from her friends at school to do the same again this year. The field was made up of approximately 90 under 12 girls who were representing 18 junior schools in the Surrey area. The race started in the style you would expect of such a race, with all the girls charging off as fast as they could and at least three girls fell over in the first hundred yards. Lucy stayed on her feet and was soon in second place following the first placed girl very closely.
The field disappeared into the woods emerging five minutes later with Lucy still in second place with about 800 metres to go. By the look on her face the first placed girl was clearly trying as hard as she could, but Lucy was running with a smile on her face waving to the crowd. So in true coach fashion I told her to stop enjoying herself and start trying harder. Lucy responded by taking the lead, opening up a significant gap which continued to increase with every stride until the finish line when she was a good 100 metres in front of the second placed girl. I know I have said this before but I have no idea where she gets it from it is clearly not me. Lucy’s twin sister Katie was also representing her school in the race and finished in a creditable position in the top half of the field. (Keith Morris)
Herbert's Hole 10k Cross Country Challenge
16 November 2003
It was cold, it was wet, it was dirty, it was Herbert's Hole. This is the manner in which I usually start my report of this 10.5k Cross Country event. On Sunday 16th November our annual pilgrimage to deepest, darkest Chesham took place. It was a beautiful autumn morning, sunny with a cool breeze. The fine late autumn weather in the weeks leading up to the race meant that the course was a mere shadow of its usual self. No puddles, no mud and firm ground underfoot had the die hard X-Country runners thoroughly disappointed.
Pam is still unable to run, so I was the only HHRR member to participate (Nick where were you ?). I thoroughly enjoyed my run, although the sense of achievement was somewhat diminished by the good running conditions. I completed the course in 58 mins and was rewarded with the much coveted Herbert's Hole t-shirt. Perhaps next year the weather will not be so kind and Herbert's Hole will be run in the traditional conditions that we have come to expect. You never know but I might be able to get some use out of the umbrella from the Stowmarket Striders event last week. (Brian Matthews)
Stowmarket Striders Scenic Seven
9 November 2003
Pam Swadling and myself traveled to Stowmarket for this seven mile run around the Suffolk countryside. The information sent to us by the race organisers, left a bit to be desired, the directions to the race H.Q. being a bit sketchy, to say the least. Despite leaving home early enough to make the long journey and to prepare for the run I struggled to make the start line on time. Thankfully the Remembrance Day 2 minute silence was observed allowing me to catch my breath before the off. The course was of an out and back section with a large loop similar to the one at Wargrave. The course was described as " mainly flat with a few undulations " in other words undulating with a couple of stiff climbs. It was a very pleasant run, out through a small village and then through country lanes before returning via the same route through the village and finishing at the well equipped sports centre. It was a chilly overcast morning with a cold wind blowing, and the route, scenic as it was, would have benefited from some warm sunshine. I did not have a great run, in fact it was a bit of a struggle to get round in 56 minutes, Pam was advised by the physio not to run for a few weeks and did not take part. A new first with regard to the race memento, not a medal, not a T shirt, not even a mug, all race finishers were presented with an UMBRELLA. Perhaps they are expecting bad weather next year. (Brian Matthews)
Stevenage Half Marathon
2 November 2003
New York...Stevenage ? No contest! On waking up at 7am I thought the sky looked overcast and by the time I started my loan journey (again) to Stevenage it was raining quite hard. By the time I had covered the short Journey of 40 miles and an hour in duration I arrived at the Leisure centre and the heavens had opened !! I witnessed two guys wrestling with the start banner and the banner was winning hands down !!
Apart from this, this is a fantastic course on cycle tracks and totally traffic free - they said its a PB course but its quite undulating in many places as the tracks go under various roads and obviously back up again - but I can see the potential is there. I got various comments on the vest including one from a marshal who said it won the "vest of the day"
I wasn't hoping to break any records today and just as well as my kit must have weighed a further few pounds as I was soaked through after a mile ! I just wanted to get the miles in, in a race atmosphere and to do a different race instead of the same races every year. Oh and by the way the medal was really good. Will I be back... you bet and can I dare suggest this would be a good club championship event ?
My time ? I am not letting on as it was slightly embarrassing... lets put it this way, I have a smidgen of work to do before next April...now where's that diet book ? This is Gary Fiddes H&HRR...soaked to the skin and freezing reporting from Stevenage.
19 October 2003
On a cold , bright and chilly autumn morning, Paul Evans, Pam Swadling and myself headed west along the M40 for our Sunday run. Not for us a "Cabbage Patch " we were destined for a more upmarket location, namely Blenheim Palace. The Blenheim 10K is run within the grounds of this stately home thanks to the kind permission of its occupant the Duke of Marlborough. As we drove into the grounds the Palace was resplendent in the autumn sunshine as was the Grand Bridge across the near by lake.
The circular route around the grounds is described as undulating, in fact it's " bloody hilly ", a cold biting gale force wind didn't help matters too much either. This year the race attracted a record entry of over 1,000 runners, this caused a few problems as the organisers, the Woodstock Rotary Club, were not fully prepared. The dozen or so Portaloos were totally inadequate, as was the finishing funnel, at one time runners were unable to cross the finishing line as the finishing funnel had overflowed back out onto the course. The course itself, although hard, was very pleasant with spectacular views of the Palace and lake and although it was on single track roads this did not cause to much of a problem after the first kilometre. Paul and Pam finished in 51 and 64 minutes respectively, I struggled around and just failed to beat the 50 minute barrier. Would we go again, the answer is probably yes. (Brian Matthews)
5 October 2003
It may have been sunny but this was the first cold day of Autumn, made doubly worse by a biting wind which made it feel like January, however 13 Road Runners and 6 Striders & Strollers ensured it was the best Club turnout this year.
The race has a good local reputation and despite the arctic feel attracted more than 1,600 to an overgrown cinder track just off the seafront. We arrived early and managed to commandeer a section of the grandstand, which served as windbreak, changing area and baggage store and was later to provide a great view of the finish line.
As expected with such a large field, the start was a little congested but surprisingly didn't cause any serious delays. After a few hundred yards the route turned right onto the seafront, then it was 5K along the Promenade before doubling back to the finish on the cinder track. Somebody told me it's a flat course but it definitely felt uphill to halfway. My judgment may have been swayed by the wind, which was directly in our faces on the way out making it hard going.
Matt Wilkins' 39:07 was the fastest Club performance of the day, but was overshadowed by yet another PB by Jac Aldous who now only needs a 10M to get the full set this year. All credit must go to the Striders & Strollers who did a magnificent job of propping up the back end of the race, finishing with great enthusiasm. The site of orange and blue quarters is guaranteed to strike fear in the hearts of Essex Marshals for many a year to come!
This was supposed to be a family day out, so after a couple of pints we felt positively obliged to walk the length of the pier in the vain hope that the view of Canvey Island and the Isle of Grain would improve - it didn't. The walk didn't do much for the jellied eels either. (Ian Robinson)
5 October 2003
Whilst the majority of Club members packed their buckets and spades and headed for a day out at "Sarfend" - yours truly was at the real nuts and bolts end of British road running on a crisp fresh September morning - The Wimbledon Hercules 10.
The race starts at the Wimbledon Track and there are changing rooms which are basic but adequate - car parking is only a couple of hundred yards away so I stowed my bag in the car as the baggage facility was not up too much. The race begins with two laps of the track before heading out on the roads, the course consists of three laps and a fair hill on each one but then again it does have its downhills as well. There was one water station, so three opportunities in all to grab a drink. Each lap also goes right past the All England club, which I had never seen before and is a bit lavish for a game that the Brits are really bad at !!
Not the best of courses, although it does go by some nice leafy lanes, but it must have its attractions as this was its 48th year of running. The race finishes with a lap of the track and the medal was quite good too. However, I really enjoyed this race with about 300 other participants, although low key it was good to support a smaller grass roots event and I would like to go back next year to smash my terrible time of 1:26:57. I even think this may make a good club championship event given the lack of 10 milers in it at present. All in all I recorded 36 miles for the round trip to this race so it is local. (Gary Fiddes)
28 September 2003
With the starting gun, runners released white balloons which flew high into the blue bright sky. The course is wide and flat, and there was no congestion even though there was 30,000 runners. I run London marathon this spring, and now I understand why Londoners need congestion charges........
I did not notice any uphill at all but found a good down hill at 30K point which makes me understand why Paul Tergat set the world record (2:04:55). My first half was 103 minutes and second half was 111 minutes and I enjoyed free massage and free beer after the race. (Sam Shimakage)
Windsor Half Marathon
28 September 2003
I last ran this race in 1994 – my then first half marathon having joined a running club and part of my planning for the London marathon in 1995. All I remember from that day was that Windsor Great Park – although beautiful – is very hilly. Well nine years later I know the park a lot better and the changed route which is partially a 2 lapper is still pretty hilly but a good course with a lot of supporters out on the route, despite the rain showers. As for facilities and organisation, they still leave a lot to be desired. It’s an expensive race to enter with nightmarish car parking arrangements (I parked 2 miles away and walked!), apparently better baggage facilities this year (we chose just to leave our bags under a tree and not get involved). Too few toilets and a horrendous start arrangement. Placing barriers down both sides and only letting people join from the back with no indication of expected finish times meant that many of the slow runners were at the front of the 4000+ competitors and many fast club runners were hemmed in at the back.
For all that the sun went in on cue and the light drizzle made for pleasant running conditions. I am probably biased as I ran a PB by 2 minutes and 1 second (1.40.39). My first at this distance since 1998 so I was a well happy bunny at the finish! I won’t give my fellow Hayes runner's time as I suspect he would rather forget the event as a result of lack of recent training. Enough said if I mention that I beat him by 4 minutes when he is normally at least 10 minutes ahead of me at this distance. It was still a shame only two of us from Hayes ran what is basically a local race, albeit the poor organisation over the years has served to put most people off. (Jac Aldous)
As one of the aforementioned runners hemmed in at the back, I can confirm the start of the race was a nightmare. One straight mile of tarmac up the long walk some 16 feet wide and caged, turned into human obstacle course by fun runners who, to be fair, knew no better than to start at the front. Despite being no more than 50 metres from the start it took nearly 2 minutes before I was able to shuffle across the line and then another 8 to reach the first mile mark. Once past the Copper Horse the congestion eased and the benefits of a truly picturesque traffic free course could be appreciated. Unfortunately I was inexplicably suffering a bad 'un and rapidly forgot my surroundings as the world fell in on me. (Ian Robinson)
27 September 2003
The World Airlines Road Racer welcomed over 3000 airline personnel, family & friends from over 80 airlines around the world for the 22nd annual road race, this year held at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, Florida. Peter Furness and Kay Tarrant were there.
Peter reports; This was the first year that I have only run the 5K race, I felt that in very humid conditions to try and run a 10 and a 5 with 45 minutes break would have killed me! I was right, the course was very flat and was run round the paths of Disney's World Wide sports location with a lap of the running track thrown in at just after 2 miles, but probably because I set off too fast in the first mile, it felt to me that I was running up hill for all of the last mile. I crossed the line in 20.01 which I was initially disappointed with given the terrain, and was surprised at the evening prize giving that this had given me third place in the non -airline category and had earned me a bronze medal.
Kay reports; This year was the first time the race was chipped. A volunteer offered to put mine on my shoe. Did I have a preference which shoe?! There was a 'tear off' number on the vest Number & that went on my luggage. Before the 9.00am start, the National anthem was played & away we went in the mid 80's & about 70% humidity. The route was flat with one drink station and mile markers. Someone from B.A. told me "C'mon Hayes" as I wore club vest. I was 456th out of 645 with a time of 31.47. I had forgotten about the chip until someone called me to remove it, I wondered why they were sitting there in line in the finishers funnel. I chose a lovely elderly man to put the medal around my neck
As with all WARR races there was a good atmosphere and we were both cheered on by the British Airways runners who had done the 10K earlier, the prize giving evening which was themed around a beach party also saw some interesting costumes worn by some of the prize winners! (Kay Tarrant & Peter Furness)
Great North Run
21 September 2003
Needless to say Tony & Margaret Newman’s anniversary celebrations went well, we all had a great time eating, drinking and dancing in a Greek restaurant the night before the race. Actually we were all sozzled on the Saturday afternoon, after watching the GNR elite mile races and the Junior GNR, we adjourned to our favourite North East watering hole, namely Flynn's Bar on the Newcastle quayside. Luckily we arrived just in time for HAPPY HOUR !! We then found out that HAPPY HOUR went on from 2:30pm to 8:00pm, and that there was a " BUY ONE GET ONE FREE " offer for the duration of HAPPY HOUR. We left Flynn's Bar in a very happy frame of mind several hours later.
Peter Ford and Mark Tannian led the HHRR contingent home on race day. Tony, Margaret, Paul, Pam and myself decided to stay together and complete the race at the pace of the slowest runner. It took us just over 2½ hours and we were closely followed by Corinna and Liz. Greg and Bernice Newman both ran the race as well and they thoroughly enjoyed the event finishing some way in front of us. The atmosphere on race day was unbelievable, 47,000 runners is a truly awe inspiring sight and a logistical nightmare, it took us over 20 minutes to cross the start line. A great weekend, a great race, a MUST DO for every runner. (Brain Matthews)
Robin Hood Marathon and Half Marathon
14 September 2003
This was my 8th running of the above event. This year I decided to stick with the half marathon due to a lack of opportunity to train properly for the full. Having encouraged others to do this race for years I am pleased that three new people joined me and all agreed that it is a great event, well organised and well marshalled with a great atmosphere. Unseasonal hot weather this year made the race a little on the warm side but ensured the rest of the weekend was very pleasant.
Nottingham is an interesting city – even if a little hilly to run around in the early stages of the half marathon. Staying up for Sunday evening to relax in the afternoon and partake of a leisurely pint (or two) in the evening whilst swapping race stories is definitely the best way to approach this event. A visit to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub is part of the cultural tour of the weekend. I am pleased to see messages on the board already suggesting a return visit next year and would also encourage others to also join in the trip north. (Jac Aldous)
6 September 2003
It had rained overnight so I took a bin liner incase it rained again but it
didn't. I put Peter's bag in the baggage area for him as he had to head
off for the half marathon and then I went to see him on route. The 10K
started later but I did manage to see Peter before I walked to the start
("departs", in French) around the market stalls & punters to
reach the back of the start pen and weave forward. Most of the
competitors wore the T Shirts we received in our goodie bags, Club vest for
Nice route, on the flat & through the city centre, around the Parc de la Citadelle & around the edge of the Braderie to the finish (Arrivees, in French). There was one water station and one sponge station. The last kilometre was madness. The Braderie (all the world and his wife were having like a giant car boot sale in the streets & this is allowed for 48hrs the weekend of the Lille races) was in full flow with no stewards or barriers. I was calling "Pardon, pardon"!!! trying to get through. On top of that the Baby Marathon was on the go so I was navigating the parent and toddler race as well. I was sorry I hit someone crossing my path sprinting to the finish but I was determined to beat my record & I did. 1:04.24. (Kay Tarrant) Kay was too modest to mention this performance represented a 4 minute improvement over her previous 10K best
Lille Half Marathon
6 September 2003
The half Marathon is one of three main races that are run on the Saturday Morning of what must be Lille's busiest weekend of the year. We wondered why we had difficulty booking a hotel, and discovered why when we arrived, this weekend is also the Braderie, when the city is turned into a cross between a giant boot sale and market. It has to be seen to believed as just about everyone is out on the streets buying or selling.
My race started at 9.00 and by then stallholders were already on the sides of the course, many had been there from the night before. The half marathon like all the other races starts and finishes near the Town Hall and is a two lap race through the city and around the parkland that borders the canal and the military Citadel. The course is flat and attracts a good quality international field, in the half the first 11 home were Africans with the first European in 12th place being Italian. The first Kenyan won in 1hr 52 secs whilst I ran 1.29.
The race is well supported in the sense that the roadside is thronged by either stallholders or people already in the local bars getting set for the two day festivities. As soon as I had finished I watched Kay start and finish her race, having met her at the end of her race I was amazed to find that the roads themselves which were only minutes earlier a race course were now themselves full of stalls.
All in all I would recommend a visit, the atmosphere through the weekend is good, the race offers a good chance of a PB and you never know you may pick up a bargain as well! (Peter Furness)
17 August 2003
The Saga Louts annual trip to Belgium took place on the weekend of the 17th August, once again we were there to participate in the Middlekerke Races. Our favourite watering holes, namely the Don Quixote Bar and The Green Cafe were revisited and we were warmly welcomed by the respective proprietors. I think that they must have forgotten our previous visits, otherwise they probably would not have let us in.
Due to building works at the sports hall which acted as both race headquarters and the start and finish area, new courses were devised for this years event. These consisted of out and back laps along the seafront promenade, 1 lap for the 5k, 2 laps for the 10k, 2 5 mile laps for the newly devised Veterans only 10 miles and 1x 5k lap and 2x 5 mile laps for the half marathon. It sounds complicated but was well marshalled and I did not hear of anyone taking the wrong route, it was also very spectator friendly. The weather was kind to us this year with the race being ran in cool, damp conditions although it was still rather humid.
We had a great weekend and enjoyed the races immensely, however our enjoyment turned to disappointment when on arriving back home I logged onto the website to access our results. They were an absolute shambles, I have e-mailed the race organisers to express our disgust. Pam Swadling was officially 7 minutes slower than her actual time, I was over 2 minutes quicker than mine, Bill Hart did not apparently run at all and worst of all, Paul Evans who finished in front of me was adjudged to be almost 3 minutes slower than his finishing time. Paul was credited 4th overall in the MV60 category, however had his correct running time been registered he would have taken 1st place by over a minute. An unsatisfactory ending to what was an enjoyable weekend, all that I can say is WELL DONE PAUL, YOU WERE ROBBED. (Brian Matthews)
Postscript: We have now been accredited with our correct times and Bill Hart has now been included. To save their embarrassment, the organisers have not placed people in age categories, stating that they were either male or female veterans or in the open category. This has still not given Paul Evans the first Male Vet 60 title which, according to his now corrected time, he obviously won. In fact his situation is now worse as they have placed him in the Male under 40 category. It seems that you just cannot win in some events no matter what you do.
16 August 2003
10K Race: The race is organised by the Tywyn Rotary club and has developed from one race into a series of races throughout the day. The 10k race is actually 10.59K and as I discovered at registration, I would need to run in under 53mins to beat the train. A series of the little steam trains that make up the Talyllyn Steam Railway deposited runners to the starts of the various morning. My carriage was made up of a mixture of local runners and those who had travelled from all over Britain to run, but we all agreed as we enjoyed the ride that the terrain we were travelling through would not make for easy running.
On arriving at Dolgoch Quarry we were marshalled down a steep hill to a roadside field, worryingly this was the start of the race and after a few seconds of running we had to climb this hill which resembled the side of the Alps! As we chatted at the start regulars at the event told me the first part of the race is the worst, they were right!
The race is started by three large whistles from the train high above us and the ascent of the steep hill is followed by a very steep downhill path with an s bend ( braver runners then me came down at a much faster rate), we then passed Dolgoch Falls before a steep climb up stone steps. By the time I got close to the railway line I found the train ahead of me. The race then continued through narrow track where passing is difficult before easing out into more level fields albeit with a stream and ford to cross. I passed the train when it was stopped at a station, it was full of spectators who were shouting encouragement. The last mile and a half were on roads and as I crossed the bridge over the railway by Tywyn Station, I looked down to see that the train had not yet arrived. I now had about 400 metres to run to the adjoining field where the race finish was and I was now running scared dreading to hear the whistle that would signify that the train had arrived when I was so close. In the end I crossed the line with about 25 seconds to spare, one of my companions in the train travelling to the start from Teignmouth AC had just finished in front and we both congratulated each other in beating the train.
It is a great event to do, the course is interesting, the steam train staff all join in to add to the spirit of the event and there is a large refreshment and beer tent at the finish. The biggest field is still for the afternoon long race which starts outside Tywyn station simultaneously as a train pulls out before returning after 14 plus miles, if fit I would like to return and try that next year. (Peter Furness)
3.5 Mile Race: The Talyllyn Railway is narrow gauge and opened in 1865 and runs inland from Tywyn to Nany Gwernol about 14 miles. I was only running 3.5 miles as it is multi terrain. The competitors were mainly children. We left the station in carriages accompanied by two guards as they were going to deposit us 3.5 miles down the track, crossing the track to reach the start point, a farmers field. A man was holding a horse on a rein incase the claxon frightened him. We all sat down as nothing was happening, except the horse getting anxious. The man with the claxon was waiting for a message on his mobile phone that the train whistle had commenced the 5.5 miles further down the track and we would be set off at the same time. At last we were able to go and it was straight uphill funneling through the field gate turning right into a rough track rutted either side through car wheels. We reached a ford to splash through or step on the large stones as I did. The kids had all raced ahead. There was only one opportunity to take a photo of the train & runners, I carried a disposable camera to capture the moment as the runners skirted the track. Only a few supporters were on board and we all waved to each other. I will run the 5.5 mile race next year now I know terrain. I did enjoy encouraging the little ones, one boy threw a cup of water all over his head and I gave him half of mine to drink as he hadn't drunk anything, I told them to move over as the 10k runners were now thundering past us to beat the train. I beat it by 8 minutes but I only ran 3.5 mile in 37 minutes. I managed to see Peter finish his 10K a few minutes later, he looked rough but I later found out he beat the train by 30 seconds. We received a smaller version medal than the 10k competitors. (Kay Tarrant)
Harry Hawkes Eight
6 July 2003
After what already seems to have been a long season of road races this was just what the doctor ordered; a nicely laid back race over a flat course in pleasant surroundings. Better still, the unusual distance meant that times were irrelevant - most of us would have achieved a PB by just jogging round.
It also has to be said that Thames Ditton Cricket Club stage a pretty good race. Toilets may have been at a premium but no riots ensued, the organisation was adequate and the Marshals performed remarkably well for cricketers. But the best feature is the course which takes in both side of the Thames between the bridges at Hampton Court and Richmond, managing to avoid traffic for the majority of the way. Three drinks stations and a garden hose made sure we didn't get too hot and several groups of very well mannered kids did a good job of cheering us on the way round.
The final stage was most unusual. A travelling fair had set up on the green just by the start/finish area resulting in the last 200 metres of the race snaking between sideshow stalls, Carousels and Ferris Wheels, which was another first for most of us.
There were around 500 entrants for the event and all were made honorary members of the Cricket Club for the day in order to gain access to the bar - it was a nice touch which summed up the spirit of the event. Long may it continue. (Ian Robinson)
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Hillingdon Half Marathon - this was the race that started me running in 1988. I was so smitten with the high profile town centre road race that I even tried to join Hillingdon AC - but that’s another story. Since then I’ve tried to take part every year and have only missed a couple due to injury and Foot and Mouth (not mine I hasten to add).
More recently the race has undergone significant change; moving venue from the Civic Centre to Brunel University, adopting a two new lap format, giving up it’s traditional pre-London slot and somewhere in the process losing half it's competitors. Support for this year’s race was disappointing with only 358 recorded finishers and just a handful of clubs represented, giving the event a low key atmosphere.
June isn’t the best month to stage a Half Marathon and the rather puzzling 11:00 am start ensured the entire race was run in sweltering conditions which few appreciated. I didn’t enjoy the heat at all and despite taking on water at all four water stations ended up dehydrated and disappointed with my time.
The low turnout did have unexpected consequences with our men’s team taking second place and Jac Aldous second LV35. A few years back this would have been quite an achievement for the Club but this year it came as little more than a pleasant surprise. (Ian Robinson)
11 June 2003
I had not taken part in this race previously but everyone warned me it was tough. Maybe I was just feeling good but other than a couple of steep digs at around 3 miles the rest of the course seemed to me to be entirely downhill. The only bit I did not like was the very steep downhill directly into the setting sun! A well organised event - it was just a shame there were only three of us there to run plus one spectator. The downside of the delayed start was that I got eaten alive by midges! (Jac Aldous)
My enduring memory of this race will be the wicked 45° (I exaggerate) uphill at 3 miles, rutted tracks complete with exposed tree roots and Pine Cones! All conspired to make this a testing little course but I can't deny I that enjoyed it. The last mile was a terrific downhill dash which I clocked at 6:15 but I suspect quite a few were even faster. (Ian Robinson)
18 May 2003
Having been unhappy with my London time, I looked around for another marathon whilst I still had the training in my legs. Runners World had indicated that the Copenhagen Marathon offered an 8 out of 10 PB opportunity, so I thought this was the one for me. When we arrived we found that the hotel we had booked was only 5 minutes from the start which meant that it was only a leisurely stroll to the start and a small stagger at the finish!
The race starts and finishes in Vester Voldgade near the Town Hall and is basically two loops, The first loop took us out into the suburbs before heading back into town at the 16 k mark, Kay was waiting there to hand me a Lucozade sport drink ( a chance for her to put into practice the skills she learnt at the 23 mile drinks station in London) The second half of the race runs through the historic city, along the canals and finally along the harbour esplanade. Kay gave me another drink at 29K outside the football stadium, which by that time I really needed.
It is a race that offers PB opportunities as it is flat throughout and even though the race was held in sunny cloudless conditions the air temp in Copenhagen makes it not unpleasant to run in. It is also one of the most courteous races I have run in with runners quick to point out to the rest of the pack obstructions in the way, this fitted in with my overall view of the locals who we found polite and friendly throughout our stay.
The race atmosphere is more laid back then some other city centre Marathons though the course is scenic especially in the 2nd half and is well supported with bands also dotted around the course. I tired in the closing stages but was pleased that I achieved a PB time of 3.16 and felt that I deserved my first pint of Carlsberg of the week end after the race, I had been looking forward to it over the last few miles and it does taste better then at home. If you are looking for an alternative spring marathon, I would recommend this race for its fast pleasant course and a good weekend away. (Peter Furness)
Henley May Day Run
5 May 2003
Michelle Sampson, Pam Swadling, Bill Hart and myself travelled to Henley to take part in the annual May Day run. The race itself is a no frills event. No results or timings are given, if you want to know them the organisers suggest you bring a watch and get a friend to count the finishers. Never the less this is a very pleasant run, the first couple of miles are along a gently undulating country lane to the village of Aston. Here there is a drink station at the Flower Pot public house. The next 1 1/2 miles are run on grass tracks through the meadows next to the River Thames, passing Hambledon Lock. The final miles are on tarmac towpath, this stretch of the river is that used for the Henley Regatta. The towpath takes you back to Henley Bridge past the Leander Club, where Sir Steven Redgrave is a member, to the finish line in the Regatta Meadow
Michelle continues to improve in every race she runs at the moment, today she finished comfortably in 45:16. Bill Hart running his first race for many a day was next home in 50:40, closely followed by Pam in 51:20. I finished in 39:40, some 3 minutes slower than last year, I put it down to the fierce head wind encountered by us all as we ran the last 2 - 3 miles along the river bank. In truth it was probably due to the excessive amounts of food and alcohol consumed at my birthday celebrations over the weekend. I should know better, I am old enough to know better, but some people never learn. (Brian Matthews)
4 May 2003
The Neolithic Marathon is an excursion over the Salisbury Plain and contains a mixture of rugged slopes and rutted tank tracks, a nature trail, military testing ground and STONES. The route is breath taking in its vistas and very tough going. For this reason the Wiltshire Trust has seen fit to give competitors a wide range of options to choose from. Essentially this is a charity race and there are 3 main events on the day. A walking event, a half marathon and a full marathon.
In the walking event walkers are encouraged to bring along mans best friend and set off at their leisure from either the marathon start or the half marathon start. The marathon starts from Avebury a town surrounded by huge stones, and is probably where Astrix & Oblix ran the first Druid marathon thousands of years ago and commemorated this event by leaving behind a ring of stones at Stone Henge.
The runners congregated in the village cemetery some pausing for reflection, others were quite content on preparing themselves by sitting on the grave stones and casually eating sandwiches. After a prompt 10am start a tiny field of around 400 took off in single file along a footpath and skipped over mud, cow pats, dog doodoo and anything else the walkers left behind and headed up the grassed slopes of Silbury Hill. To make things even more exciting I was greeted with a strong head wind just to add a little character which not only slowed my progress but froze my warm accustomed body.
Corinna was fortunate to be given the grand military tour by a resident sergeant and started with the rest of the half marathoners " Lazy Buggers" at Charleston Clumps in the Tidworth military testing area.
Due to the lack of sweet drinks my race was over by the 20 mile mark and fortunately a fellow struggler from down under came to my rescue with some energy bars, I maintained the pace to the overrated STONES at the finish but my ego was shattered when I had to give Corinna the keys of my car and passed out while she drove me home. We were however treated to a tank drive pass and the Coolest Muffin since the Gade Valley Training Run. (Mark Tannian)
27 April 2003
Sunday saw a rainy drive up to Stratford-upon-Avon, thank goodness Mark Tannian & I were all kitted out for the weather, bar the peak cap. The race started at 1pm outside The Swan Theatre. To our delight the sun stayed out, no threats of showers during the entire race. As we did our first lap on the streets of the town, we were required to wave at the mayor, who was dressed in a lovely old gown, quite apt......
The marathon was twice the half marathon distance. This proved quite challenging with the long soft gradients, (many of them), just 2 weeks after the London Marathon. I was fortunate enough have Mark keep me company until Mile 8 where he picked up his pace for some good old old Comrades Training. From Mile 8 I picked up the pace a little and continued on, through the little lanes between agricultural fields. We then headed towards the River Avon and ran alongside that for the last 2 or so miles and on to the finishing line.
This was a well organised race with loads of friendly Marshals and the support was fantastic. I would recommend this race. I finished the half marathon in 2h08mins. Mark Tannian completed the Marathon in 3h49mins - the first 8 miles were the warm up for the second half. (Corinna Taylor)
St Albans Ladies Only 10K
27 April 2003
"Thars gold in them thar hills" the saying goes, our ladies team certainly struck gold in the ladies only St. Albans 10k with four of our five entrants setting new PB's.
The course described as undulating turned out to be a "bit of a beast", with quite a few severe uphill sections. A strong blustery wind did not help matters either, making our ladies achievements even more remarkable. The race was well organised and extremely well marshalled with good parking and changing facilities, the only downside being that the start was some half a mile away from them. There was a record entry of some 200 runners this year, it was a county championship event, but I feel that a certain lady going by the name of Radcliffe had much to do with the increase in numbers.
Our girls were led home by Helen Wright in a new best of 55:06, next home was Julie Howard in a PB time of 55:44. Michelle Sampson just got the better of Jacqui Howell by a few seconds, finishing in 56:28 and 56:32 respectively, both setting new PB's. Pam Swadling finished strongly in 61:53 to round off a good team performance. With PB's in excess of 2 or 3 minutes it will be interesting to see what the girls can achieve on a flat course with more favourable conditions. I have no doubt that some of our male members will be anxiously looking over their shoulders at the Concorde 10k in a few weeks time. (Brian Matthews)
Bracknell Half Marathon
27 April 2003
The Bracknell Half Marathon has three notable hills. The first at five miles is a gentle incline, the second at eight miles is a leg sapping three-stage killer and the last at thirteen miles is a 45 degree heartbreaker. Whoever devised the course has a sick sense of humour.
Having got that out of my system, I can report that the race is better than its much maligned reputation which caused most Club members to give this championship event a wide berth. The venue at South Hill Arts Centre has plenty of parking and provides an attractive backdrop for the finish. The route is almost entirely over cycle paths and both the Marshals and drinks stations plentiful. True, it is fairly subterranean due to the number of underpasses used and hardly scenic as one cycle path looks pretty much like another, but it did make a pleasant change to running alongside traffic. 800 turned up to run, the Mayor started the race and even helped present the finishers medals, which if you are motivated by such things, was certainly better than average.
As for the negatives; too many sharp turns and the aforementioned hills mean this will never be a PB race. The 09:00 start wasn’t too popular, especially when the alarm clock went off at 06:45, and I doubt few were that happy with their finish times either. The race's status in the Club championship must surely be questioned, but sometimes it can be enough to just enjoy a testing and well organised race. (Ian Robinson)
Newport to Ryde 7
20 April 2003
This is a one of the oldest races in the country having been first run in 1933 and is unusual in that it is held over a point to point course. We assembled at Ryde Bus station and were coached to the start at Newport. After registering in the Methodist church the race started outside the Guildhall with the Police stopping the traffic in the centre of Newport for us to start. Following the start our kit and supporters were coached back to the finish.
The race attracts a small field made up almost entirely of club runners, which is no surprise given the difficulty of the course. As we travelled to the start I came to the realisation that there did not appear to be a flat piece of road between Newport and Ryde. I also got some idea of the quality of the field as they compared their London times, some of which were pretty impressive. My conclusions were proved correct as immediately after the start we headed uphill for the first mile and then raced up and down all the way to Ryde. Despite the difficulty which was increased by a head wind most of the way, the race is enjoyable both for the challenge and the stunning views of both countryside and the Solent along the way. I was pleased with my time of 48.56, 6 days after London which meant I finished 25th and 13th vet some 7 min behind the winner. For those who want a challenging race over the Easter, this would be the one
Ryde Harriers also stage a multi terrain 3 hill race on Easter Monday for those who still want more hills. I choose to sit this one out on the front at Ryde enjoying the sunshine and an ice cream! (Peter Furness
18 April 2003
This was the first time I had run the race at it's new venue and to tell the truth wasn't really looking forward to the 9:30 am start - I liked White Waltham and was a big fan of the lazy 1:00 pm start. Despite being just 5 days after London and on a Friday, nearly 1,000 entries suggests that the changes have done nothing to diminish the popularity of the event. On arrival at Woolley Hall and seeing the grounds of the House laid out in in brilliant sunlight with the temperature warming nicely I began to see why - it was a truly spectacular venue, far better than the previous location.
Once in the grounds a lack of signs made locating trivial things like the start line a challenge and there was a problem in hearing the starter's instructions which led to a 5 minute delay, but to be fair the organisation was good enough and the facilities excellent. The new course is spectator friendly (which was handy as all my family were there), looping back past the House at 2 miles for an extra cheer. I'm told that after our fleeting appearance most spectators simply sprawled out on the grass and made the most of the sunshine.
Having just about recovered from the effects of last week's Marathon, I new I was on for a good time but didn't dare contemplate what actually happened. All too conscious that I ran 1:25:22 at Tadworth in January, the plan was simply to creep under 1:20:00. However after three miles at 6:55 pace and still feeling strong I decided to go for broke. I did suffer between 7 and 9 miles before finding the finishing kick that had eluded me for almost a decade to finish in 1:12:13 a V40 PB and best 10 miler since 1994. So all in all not a bad race, and to cap it all those nice people at Maidenhead AC had washed my car while I was running. (Ian Robinson)
Arundel Park 10K
6 April 2003
Jacquie Howell, Pam Swadling and myself travelled south to Arundel to take part in this multi-terrain event. Any race that starts and finishes at a pub has got to be worth a go and has a definite plus to it in my book. We therefore lined up outside the picturesque Black Rabbit pub on the banks of the River Arun unaware of what lay ahead.
The first 1/2 mile was run on a tarmac road, we were then diverted into the grounds of the Duke of Norfolk's estate. The next 4k can only be described as an arduous if not torturous climb up to the top of the South Downs, on chalk paths or tractor tracks. Our reward on reaching the summit was a spectacular view across the South Downs, well worth the effort alone. The next 3k was run mainly on grass tracks along the crest of the downs, being high up the wind was blowing strongly. What goes up must come down as they say, the final 2k was a helter skelter, eyeballs out descent on chalk tracks and finally some tarmac road to the finish line outside the Black Rabbit pub.
This is a really tough run, I could not believe that some runners were using it as their final preparation for next week's London Marathon. The danger of twisting an ankle or falling over and injuring oneself would be too much of a price to pay for me. All in all this was a very well organised and marshalled event with the course well marked out. We all enjoyed our morning's sport, for the record Jacquie finished in 59 mins, Pam in 61mins and I was well pleased with a 49 minute clocking on a testing course. If you are into off-road this is a recommended event, with the south coast towns of Worthing and Littlehampton nearby it makes for a great day out. (Brian Matthews)
30 March 2003
The Woking Ten-Ten is a unique event combining a 10 mile and a 10k race, both races have separate starts but share a combined finish line. The 10 mile race starts, you've guessed it, 10 minutes before the 10k. This results in the bizarre circumstances of the 10k runners overtaking the slower 10 mile runners, and then the mid-pack 10k runners are then overtaken by the leading 10 mile runners. The gently undulating course is therefore quite busy no matter which race you are in or at what pace you are running.
The races are very well organised and marshalled by Woking AC, toilet facilities are good and parking is excellent. The club was represented by Corinna Taylor in the 10 mile event and by Pam Swadling and myself in the 10k. Pam and I did not have the best starts to the race with me being some 100 yards away from the start line as the gun went off, Pam was still locked inside a Portaloo. Never the less we picked our way through the slower runners and settled in to the race. I caught up with Corinna at the 8 k mark, she looked comfortable and was enjoying her run. I pushed on and finished in 45:24, Pam had a good run finishing in 59:25, while Corinna finished the 10 miler comfortably in a sprightly 88:02.
As I approached the finish line I was greeted by an old acquaintance, namely Mike Gratton. Mike was spectating today, cheering people on, a far cry from his heady day's some 21 years ago almost to the day, when he was cheered on by thousands of people on the streets of London when winning the London Marathon. (Brian Matthews)
23 March 2003
One week on from Cranleigh and the London Marathon bandwagon was in Sussex. There were a lot of familiar faces from last week but sadly none from the club, save for my own two boys who preferred to play football on the seafront for the duration of the event. Not only were the competitors familiar, last week's weather came along too, although the 10:00 start meant that temperatures were a shade warmer - enough to discard my thermal top at the end of the first lap.
Wearing supports on both lower legs this was "make your mind up time" as far as next month's marathon was concerned; had either the Achilles or Soleus broke down it would have been curtains for this year. I have a real problem with multiple laps and wasn't looking forward to four loops of suburban Worthing but as luck would have it I tucked in with a group from Sutton Runners and got through 15 miles in pretty good mental and physical order. The final 5 were torrid as expected having missed a big chunk of Winter training, but I did manage to finish in 2:56:32 without any pain in the lower legs, although the rest of me was on the point of collapse!
Whilst there is nothing wrong with the course it inevitably gets a little boring by the fourth lap and I couldn't help notice the paving slabs were in a poor state over some sections presenting plenty of trip hazards to negotiate. However, two drinks stations per lap and highly competent marshalling allowed us to concentrate purely on the running making for a great training race. (Ian Robinson)
Compton Downland Challenge
22 March 2003
This was the 8th 40 & 20 Mile Compton Downland Challenge, a tough, scenic course over the Berkshire and Oxford Downs. With the training for London going so well, I decided to try something different for my 20 mile run before the BIG DAY! With the weather holding up for the last 2 weeks or so, we couldn't have asked for more glorious sunshine. While I had the company of Mark Tannian (as well as some much needed encouragement...) throughout my race, he continued on to complete the full 40 miles.
Before we set out, Mark caught site of a few people that he had met at previous races. One gentlemen with a group of ladies told us that they were wondering if the "Picnic Man" was going to be here this year, and true to that, Mark was there, sporting a smaller bag than last year. This year however, we were armed with jelly babies, chocolate, digestives and a small bottle of water from Check Point No. 2.
The race was stunning, the people were wonderful and the organisers did everything they could to make the Check Points as welcoming as possible (we take this opportunity to thank the Marshals). At one point I thought I wouldn't make it to the top of the hills without copious amounts of water beforehand, however, we managed to restore strength when we did eventually get the Check Points. By the time we reached the Ridgeway, the views were stunning and the heat haze on the horizon provided many "Kodak Moments", had we had the cameras with us. We ran past pig pens, with PIGLETS, through beautiful little country lanes with wonderful pubs.
Anyway, having mustered up some strength I managed to pick up the pace in the last half a mile or so and finished the race feeling nearly fantastic. Having completed my first ever 20 miler (...and I couldn't have been the only one....) I was a little disappointed to be given a plastic sports bottle as my finishers "goody", I thought I had done something fantastic and deserved a little something that said 20MILES. Anyhow, I will be back next year if I can, what a wonderful experience. (Corinna Taylor)
Reading Half Marathon
9 March 2003
Well, I would like to report on the race but I didn’t do it - applied for it - yes, turned up and got changed - yes, Run - No. After last year’s pathetic organisation I swore never again, but on hearing that Sweatshop was organising things I decided to give it a go. What happened this year? It couldn’t be worse surely - but it was.
I was up at 6 o'clock and at the race HQ at 8, baggage area was great and after being urged by the announcer to get to the baggage area early, was on the start line at 9:10 for the 9.30 start. Well, 9.30 came and went, 9.40 came and went 10.00 came and went. Various excuses were offered firstly about un-marshalled stations, then the roads not being safe. In the end I could not be bothered, I was really looking forward to this and was really motivated and primed to go at 9.30 - but lost all enthusiasm especially when the announcer tried pathetic Christmas cracker jokes to hide his embarrassment. The most annoying thing is last year’s delay was blamed on people turning up late, well, we were there - cant blame us this time?
It was a pathetic shambles. They got it wrong 12 months ago and have learnt nothing. I for one will not bother again. The announcer stated this race was a 'premium' half marathon. - I'm glad he believes it. I won’t be back EVER again and I suggest anyone thinking of doing it not to bother. (Garry Fiddes)
Petersfield Half Marathon
9 March 2003
I always like a race on the south coast. Unfortunately, Petersfield isn't on the coast, even by my arbitrary geography. Situated in the South Downs the race is held over a tough undulating course which can be described as challenging. With participation in this year's London Marathon still in the balance I entered the event fully aware of the terrain (for once) to test if the Achilles and Soleus were truly mended or just kidding. I finished slowly but still on two functioning legs so I guess it was job done. (Ian Robinson)
Bushey Park Trail Race
23 February 2003
Our Ladies Section was well represented at The Stragglers Bushey Park Trail Race. On a fine, bright morning, Jacqui Howell, Pam Swadling and Michelle Sampson lined up for the start of the two lap, 4.8 mile course around Bushey Park. The conditions this year were perfect, the previous weeks fine weather leaving the paths and trails firm and dry. Jacqui Howell led the girls home in a time of 40:41, closely followed by Michelle Sampson in 40:46. Pam Swadling had a good run, taking over 5 minutes off of last years time, finishing in 42:50. The girls all enjoyed their run around the scenic park, to round off the morning both Pam and Michelle were awarded spot prizes. I finished in 36th position overall in a time of 32:22. All in all a very nice morning at a very sociable event, the children's races, held before the main race were very well supported, as was the Tea and Bacon Roll facility. (Brian Matthews)
Wokingham Half Marathon
9 February 2003
A long walk to the venue, chaotic baggage storage and a congested start marred an otherwise good race. The first two factors were excusable; parking on the grass was suspended due to the weather leaving the organisers little option but to direct competitors to alternative (distant) car parks, whilst early rain resulted an inconsiderate minority using the baggage tent as a changing room/shelter. The congested start was caused by a full entry of 1,600 runners funneling through very narrow lanes for the first few hundred yards, suggesting the race has become a victim of its own popularity.
However, once the start was finally cleared the reason for the popularity of the race became obvious; fast, flat, traffic free country roads, good marshalling and plenty of drinks stations. The rain stopped early on and it wasn't particularly cold resulting in ideal conditions for a PB - assuming you didn't lose two minutes at the start! (Ian Robinson)
Postscript: I've been asked by a certain Mrs Aldous to point out that she caught and passed me at 2 miles, finishing 2 minutes ahead of me - however as she was brazenly wearing a Datchet Dashers vest I refuse to recognise the result!
26 January 2003
On the face of it, a 15 mile race on Canvey Island had all the makings of an ideal pre-London Marathon warm up. I had visions of effortlessly cruising past caravan sites on flat tarmac to the delicate strains of Dr Feelgood… However, if I had bothered to read the race instructions I would have spotted the telltale warning "spikes are unsuitable due to the road section". If I had read the full Runner’s World listing I would have noticed it was a multi-terrain event. But had I done so I probably wouldn’t have gone and would then have missed a glorious romp.
The race started at Canvey Island Rugby Club in a paddy field referred to as the pitch. After a lap the route joined the sea wall path complete with brimming pot holes, which I (fool that I was) tried jump, zigzag around and generally avoid. Then it got interesting. Around the 6 mile mark we crossed the Causeway before climbing a steep hill where the route markers notably changed from "Benfleet 15" to "Benfleet Cross-Country". For the next 9 miles it was slippery mud, boggy marshland, ditches full of ankle deep water, gulleys full of knee deep water, rutted tracks and more mud. My road shoes were patently not up to the job as I spent just as much time going sideways as forwards.
Inevitably I fell into one of the ditches and only after being dragged out did it finally dawn on me that this was fun. It was like wearing red wellies on a rainy day – but nobody was telling me to stop splashing in the puddles. From there on I literally ploughed my own furrow through the mire, and I must have been smiling as I had mud on my teeth when I finished.
There was precious little flat tarmac, I didn’t see a caravan and Dr Feelgood must have been out of town, but I’m not complaining. The natives were friendly, the organisation better than average and the enjoyment immeasurable. I hope to return next year but will be sure to bring my red wellies and a sense of humour. (Ian Robinson)
5 January 2003
It’s a fairly safe bet that whoever named the Epsom Downs never ran the Tadworth 10. For if they had, this part of Surrey would surely now be known as the Epsom Ups. I first ran this race back in 1995 and retain a vague memory of starting on the racecourse near the Grandstand before tackling a big hill. I finished in 1:16 and simply wrote "testing two lapper" in my log together with a minor grumble about the disposable ballpoint pen race memento.
This year, despite the day starting crisp and sunny in Uxbridge, the Epsom Ups were shrouded in a thick blanket of fog. Car parking was chaotic as everyone tried to cram into the one visible entrance, failing to see the empty car park across the road. A sign for the toilets pointed rather unconvincingly out into the fog, which was pretty apt as three steps in any direction ensured total privacy.
The race started on tarmac before crossing a patch of grass which I believe was the racecourse, but could equally have been the central reservation of the M25 such was the lack of visibility. Then came the hill, which according to the markers is the best part of 1 mile long. The road surface has deteriorated over the years and is now very potholed and covered in mud, making it a challenge just to keep running. When finally at the top some joker warned it would be twice as big the second time round, and do you know; it was. Once up the hill the remainder of the course was like a roller-coaster; either up or down but mostly up and never level.
Having been awarded the guaranteed place in this year’s London Marathon, I was determined not to let the Club down at the first test and dug deep. As I crested the last hill, still in touch with the leader the finally sun broke through…No let’s be honest. Minutes before the start I spotted a blue Renault Megan Cabriolet in the car park and convinced myself a certain Mrs Aldous must be lurking out there somewhere in the mist. Fear of being passed by my old adversary spurred me onwards and upwards (mostly upwards). And here’s the killer; sore, cold and tired I staggered back to the car park only to spot the Cabriolet being driven away by a man complete with flat cap and Golden Retriever.
This year’s log shows my finish time as 1:25 together with the comment "testing two lapper" and a minor grumble about being awarded a cotton vest as race memento. Sometimes it’s good to be consistent. (Ian Robinson)
Marlow Half Marathon
3 November 2002
Clive Bonner and I competed in the last Championship event of the year at Marlow. Which was in effect the play off for the Championship. Clive had a virtually unassailable lead in the championship, should he be able to get round the course.
Having heard all the rumours before the race that it was to say the least hilly I decided to go off fairly conservatively, in the hope that I would get stronger (and possibly quicker) towards the end. However, the main problem seemed to be passing people. Some of the roads near the start are pretty narrow and lots of the starters seemed to want to run two, three or even four abreast. This meant it took me nearly a mile to really get going. Bearing in mind the first mile is straight uphill 8 minutes was still disappointing!!
From then on it was a case of working hard up hills and then trying to stay on your feet down the other sides. The roads had wet leaves on them which hindered going down them. I was over taken a few times by people that seemed to be out of control on the way down!! The worst part of the race was the hill at 8 miles which seems to go on for the remaining 5 miles. Clive mentioned afterwards that he was forced to walk up it after the previous two weeks in Florida, which was not spent warm weather training!!
Once the hill was out of the way it was just a case of getting back to running some sort of pace. I'm not sure what Clive's was but mine seemed pretty slow!! Even the last mile which is all down hill doesn't come with much relief after all those hills. Still an enjoyable day out which was rounded off by seeing Ulrika ka ka Jonsson on the way back to the car.
We ended with a nice goody bag each, which contained a T-Shirt, some food and a Bic biro which I shall treasure!! I finished in 43rd place in 1.28.53 and Clive finished 187th in 1.39.08. If I do the race again next year I will make sure I do plenty of hill training before hand!! (Matt Wilkins)
6th October 2002
The World Airlines Road Race was held in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur under the title of "The Heat Is On"
We had a total team of three, to represent HHRR in the non-airline category. The weekend started for us on Friday when Peter Furness & Kat Tarrant arrived early morning, I had arrived a day earlier. After checking into the Hotel we all went to register and to get our race info. This years goodie bag was very good containing T-shirt, bottle of water, can of excel (isotonic drink,) gold plated book mark from Malaysia tourism, and best of all some Anchor beer and a hat, all in a canvas bag.
Saturday night was the time to meet the other WARRiors at the T-shirt swap party while being very well entertained with various cultural shows. The food laid on was excellent ranging from meat skewers, various finger foods and very nice noodle soup, fresh fruits for desert. All very plentiful and free!
Sunday morning was to be an early start as the 10K was starting at 7:30. The race facilities were based around Merdeka square. Arrived at 6:30 still dark but very warm and humid to keep the runners cool there were large fans with water being sprayed through them. By the start the sun was rising, so was the temperature! High 20’s.
The course was a 2-lap affair. The 1st k was a steady climb then a short steep drop towards the lake gardens. Then the shock from just before the 2k point it went up (similar gradient as the lookout at Stockley Park) past 3k still climbing, then at last down again past Masjid Negara (national Mosque) and left back to the start/finish line. During the second lap the runners had to pick up a ribbon as no ribbon at the finish meant no time. We were very honoured to be allowed to finish on the square its self, as it’s not often anybody is permitted to go onto it.
Peter finished in a time of 47.26 (10th non-airline 45th overall) I followed in a time of 47.47 (11th non-airline 48th overall.) Talking to people later they all seemed to be about 7 minutes slower than normal. The winning time was 34.38 with 280 finishers
With a short rest and a wringing out of the vest the 5k started at 9:00 the temperature was now getting into the low 30’s another lap as before. I finished in a time of 24.22 (4th non-airline 84th overall) Peter ran a 25.06 (8th non-airline 100th overall) Kay Tarrant ran an excellent time of 38.34 (25th non-airline 73rd lady and 492nd overall) with 751 finishers.
Sunday night was the Gala awards banquet in the Mahkota Ballroom that was very grand. Everybody who went was given a mug to celebrate the night and 30 years of Malaysia Airlines. The banquet was a 7 course extravaganza and with the Anchor girls on hand to bring you beers it was a good night which went on to the early morning with lots of entertainment. Although it is a long way to go for a race the whole event was one not to be missed. (Colin Aldous)
6 October 2002
This was the third of a series of three events held over the year and organised by the Virgin Active club at Stockley Park. The race is not intended to be high profile and has a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere making it an ideal introduction for first timers. The course will be familiar to anyone who knows our own time trial route, however it is run in the opposite direction and cuts out some of the more outlying paths. Just like our time trial it is fairly easy to go astray, and one or two competitors did manage to miss a turn and run a few extra yards but no one complained.
Our own first timer Miguel Fernandez ran slightly more than the planned three miles but still managed to win convincingly in 19:47. Unfortunately for Miguel none of the spectators had made it back to the finish to witness his moment of glory but it didn't stop him grinning for the next hour. Jac Aldous won the Ladies race in 23:27 making it three wins out of three for the year. By a quirk of fate she was also the second finisher overall. (Ian Robinson)
Loch Ness Marathon
29th of September 2002
The 700 runners had to travel by bus to the start of the race which is situated in a nature reserve on the southern end of the Loch. We were escorted by police and we must have looked like hardened convicts on the way to a detention centre. The organisers tried to get everyone to warm up before the start with morning exercises, I sat at the back with a few puzzled South Africans and drank a cup of coffee, a much more sensible way of warming up for a long distance event I thought. Just before the start we were treated to a pipe band and a clan of Robert Bruce in traditional war gear, dressed in war paint, wearing kilts and holding forks ...
It was a chilly morning and smoke was bellowing out of the farmstead chimney pots, and I was happy to get on my way. I was exhilarated to be running in such grand country side the hills covered in heather, and valleys filled with rushing streams. I started cautiously and now sporting a South African flyer on my back was the object of much discussion, did you fly over for the race?, and do you live in Cape Town, was the common question, and of course do you run the Comrades. Now this question I enjoyed, you always find Comrades followers in the marathons over here, I ended up running the first half of the race explaining the Comrades saga to a Surrey runner who had been training for three years to do the Comrades.
The race joined the Loch after about 10 miles, followed a narrow road on the south ridge, it was undulating!!, and carved its way through the pines. The Loch was 500 feet below and a truly a beautiful sight, we could see the castle at Drumadrochit and in the distance a solitary piper. I then started getting confident and picked up my pace, bad timing as the hills were just about to start.
I caught up with a South African girl who was surrounded by interested Scotsmen. I soon became interested too!, and she immediately picked up the pace, well soon we were alone, and I was starting to get ahead of myself and was quickly paying the price, the race whilst admittedly not a mountain race, it was certainly challenging and my new South African team mate now turned to me and thanked me for pulling her, she was about to do her best time, who was pulling who? I thought! Anyway I was very blown at the finish and felt in true male spirit I had helped the weaker sex!! (3hrs 29min).
Unfortunately Nessie didn't rear her head despite the news earlier in the week of a sighting. (Mark Tannian)
Stragglers Wedding Day Race
26 July 2002
A field of 500 runners plus a few "bandits" lined up for the 22nd running of the Wedding Day Race in sweltering conditions. The race was sold out several days in advance, late entrants could not get a running number for love or money, hence the "bandits". At 6:30pm, an hour before the start time, the temperature in Bushey Park was still up in the eighties. The prospect of fast times was forgotten as runners sought out every last inch of shade before the 7:30pm start. Many were reflecting on the time passed since the first running of this race 22 years ago, when it marked the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Due to the high number of entrants, the course was changed this year, the narrow path at the back of the park being deemed unsuitable. Not a major change in the distance to be run, probably increasing it to almost 4.5 miles. The race was very well organised and is also a great social occasion, with many people staying on after the race for a picnic or BBQ. A highly recommended event, though due to it's increasing popularity, an early entry is advised.
For the record I finished in 33:00 minutes, Brian Skinner clocked 37:11 and Pam Swadling ran 47:08. Peter Ford ran as one of the many "bandits", he was some distance in front of me, I would estimate his time being somewhere around the 32 minute mark
21 July 2002
The day started early (well for me anyway as I did not know 7am on a Sunday existed)! By 8:30am there were swarms of people at the bag drop off site, large queues for the toilets and keen individuals making there way to the start. The race commenced 20 minutes late and it took me another 9 minutes before I reached the start as 12,500 runners headed off down towards Pall Mall. The weather was perfect and the atmosphere great! It felt like a mini version of the London Marathon (not that I would know) although less runners, less spectators and fewer people dressed in strange costumes.......oh yes and far less to run :-) Having not run 10km before I was aiming for under the hour and was really pleased with a final time of 55 minutes and 31 seconds.
All in all the event was well organised and the only badly organised part of the race was the water stops. They were supposed to have three, one at 5km, one at 7km and one at the end. At the 5km stop they were not filling the cups fast enough so you had to wait or pour your own, by the time I got to the 7km water stop they had run out and at the end you had to walk about 5 minutes back to the bag pick up point before any water was offered to you. The race next year will be on 13 July and I would highly recommend it although it is expensive to enter unless you run for a charity. (Nichola Green)
Nichola's report got it it right, it was a great event but there were a few things that need to be put right in future years. The drink stations were under manned for an event of this size, so was the medal hand out. The medals were just left on a table in their thousands, it was simply a case of help yourself, Peter Ford would have had a field day. No timing, no results, when 12,500 runners pay a £15 entry fee I feel that the hiring of the Champion Chip timing system would have been affordable. The Mizuno Technical T-shirt that we paid £15 for didn't show up either, in its place we were given a Champion Sport cotton T-shirt with the sponsors logos printed on it. Technical it weren't - the words rip and off spring to mind. The big question is, " will we run it again next year?", the answer is probably yes, but I will give the T-shirt a miss. (Brian Matthews)
St Anne's Heath Junior School Under 10's 600 Metres Race
12th July 2002
Anyway the sun was shining and lots of expectant parents were there to cheer on willing offspring. Ten runners lined up for the race and Hayes & Harlington Road Runners were represented by Lucy Morris in Lane 1 and her twin sister Katie in Lane 6 both under strict instructions from their Coach (Daddy !!) not to go to fast at the beginning.
The race started and within the first 5 seconds it was clear that Lucy was going to totally ignore her coaches instructions as she went charging straight to the front, a more conservative Katie followed instructions and settled nicely into 7th place. These places were maintained for the first half of the race and then Katie started to implement her race strategy by gradually moving through the field to be in 3rd place by the bell, Lucy on the other hand was proving her Coach to be totally wrong by continuing to pull away from 2nd placed girl, which soon became Katie as she continued her march up the field. These positions were maintained until the finishing line with Lucy leading from start to finish (ala Paula Radcliffe) winning by a good 40 Metres and Katie finishing 2nd 10 Metres in front of 3rd place, this was all too much for Mummy who immediately broke down in tears.
So the final result was 1st & 2nd Place for Hayes & Harlington Road Runners and a very healthy looking future for the rapidly expanding Ladies section Could it be that the Morris Sisters will be to running what the Williams sisters are to Tennis ?? (Keith Morris)
7 May 2002
A very good race especially for motor racing enthusiasts and an ideal race for fast times, being traffic free and having a large running area with plenty of time and space to corner without changing stride. The popularity of the race can be judged by the field of over 1000 entrants on a Tuesday evening in the middle of Northamptonshire. When we arrived Greg Newman was attempting to get the huge Mizuno inflatable blown up leaving no one in doubt as to the identity of the race sponsors.
We were joined on the grid by the Williams F1 test driver (minus car) who had been testing there. The race which encompasses virtually two full laps of the Grand Prix circuit was run in ideal conditions with the open expanses of road making overtaking and cornering much easier for us then the normal occupants of the circuit. We completed the course without any need for pit stops in the following (Peter Furness)
Sunday 7 April 2002
GRIM by name and GRIM by nature such was Nike's 8 mile extreme terrain cross country event. The event took place on M.o.D. land near to Aldershot, they test Army vehicles that end up in the Arctic on this land, and the terrain was interesting to say the least.
The dry and sunny weather in the week preceding the race meant that the start of the race was on firm, dry and sandy ground. Thoughts of an easy run were dispelled when after 200 yards of running we came across the first hazard. This was a very large puddle of freezing cold knee deep water, some fifty yards long, with large boulders hidden below the surface. Similar obstacles were met several times in the first couple of miles of running. We then encountered a hilly section, the terrain here was quite good underfoot. The highlight of this section was undoubtedly a thirty yard long ditch which contained the deepest, stickiest, foul smelling mud that I have ever encountered.
The next section was on a three-day event course, much better ground underfoot, still lots of deep, muddy water though. After clambering over the fences and into the ditches you realise why the course was designed for animals with four legs. Another section of deep, muddy cross country terrain bought us back to the finish area, but there was still a sting in the tail to overcome. This involved more large puddles and camouflage netting.
Nike had recruited some of the kindest men the Army have to offer to aid and abet us around the course, a few people ended up with an ear bashing en-route but everyone finished safely. I completed the course in 1hr 12 mins and thoroughly enjoyed myself. They are going to run it again next year, so if you have sado-masochistic tendencies, why not join me and give it a go. I dare you. (Brian Matthews)
Wednesday 3 April 2002
A low key friendly event organised by the British Airways Athletics Club and run over a figure of eight flat course starting, finishing and passing through the island under the M4 by the entrance to Cranford Park ( the finish area of the Concorde 10K). The event which is free to enter, attracts runners of all standards with competitors set off in time blocks. The warm evening had brought in a larger field than last year and for a small event the organisers did a good job with Marshals at key points and the Km points marked. Jac was pleased with her performance as she crossed the line ahead of Colin, remarking that this was a first! (Peter Furness)
Weston Super Mare Tough Ten & 4 mile
10 February 2002
Having run the tough ten some years ago and said never again (I don't like mud) I reluctantly agreed to do the 4 mile race along the prom this year. It turned out to involve a wet causeway and a very soggy beach, however, it was fun despite very wet feet and a short course as the motorbike in the lead must have left the beach too soon. A time of 23.48 for 4 miles is testimony to it being nearer to 3 miles finishing 5th lady. (Jac Aldous)
I used the 4 mile race as a planned warm up, but pushed a bit to finish 3rd overall in a time of 18.24. A quick change of race number and 40 minutes before setting off on the 10 mile race course which was much the same as the last time I ran it but now starting on the beach. The hill was as steep as I remembered it and after the recent rain pretty muddy. The causeway was too dry to wash the mud off. I ran 6.30 quicker than last time in 1997, finishing 71st out of 1050 starters in 1.10.59. Thanks for the excellent facilities provided by Weston College and all the Marshals and officials. (Colin Aldous)
27 January 2002
The Dolphin Dash is a non-competitive fun run, organised by the "regulars" and run from The Dolphin public house in Uxbridge. The scheduled route is mainly on the canal towpath and footpaths around Little Britain Lake, taking in a short stretch of road along Iver Lane. This year, as in the previous year, torrential rain in the days prior to the race caused the organisers to alter the course as the pathways that were to be used were to muddy and were deemed to be unsafe. An extended route along the canal towpath was hastily measured so as to maintain the full 10k distance.
Although this is a non-competitive event, there has to be a winner and fortunately this year it turned out to be our own Jack Nisbet in a time just over 39 min. Jack was closely followed home by Peter Furness in 2nd place, I was a further 4 min behind in 5th position. This is a real "grassroots" event with a minimum of marshalling and administration, as yet the finishing times and positions of Tony & Margaret Newman, Paul Evans and Pam Swadling are not known.
The race took place in appalling conditions, we all completed the race soaking wet and splattered with mud, but we had all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. After the event we received two invitations, the first was to attend the prize giving ceremony in the pub which had opened early, the second was to join one of the other competitors who had a novel way of cleaning off the mud. He crossed the finishing line, then promptly did an about turn and jumped fully clothed into the canal. Needless to say we accepted the first invitation but politely declined the second. A thoroughly enjoyable event, we look forward to participating again next year. (Brian Matthews)
13 January 2002
A well supported and marshalled race over a very hilly course. The last K and a half until you get back to the running track is all uphill which means that by the time you hit the track you have nothing left in the tank (well at least that's my excuse anyway). The sponsors had cars available for any man under 28.30 and female under 33.00 which attracted a fair smattering of Kenyans. We think that Esther Kiplagat took the women's car. Sadly our times did not have us in the running for this. Colin 40.24, Pete 42.20, Jac 53.17 (Peter Furness)
Feltham Community College 10K
28 October 2001
The race was marred by the lead group of runners (unfortunately including me) being directed incorrectly, which I estimate resulted in me running nearer 12K rather then 10.
This was a great shame for the organisers who at the start were saying that they were amazed with the turn out this year, having had only 20 runners last year, over 170 many of them from local clubs were present at the start this time. Obviously their leafleting at other races and publicising in running mags had paid off. Unfortunately there were a limited number of Marshals and this caused the problem for the first groups who were told to continue on the right side of the road after the 3K mark, when we came to a junction in the road we continued on the right but in fact we learnt later there had been an arrow on the other pavement which would have told us to turn left
Aside from these problems with better marshalling this would be a good race to run, the facilities at the Feltham Community centre are good and the course itself is fast and flat and would give an opportunity for fast times. (Peter Furness)
Lucerne WARR 10K & 5K
21 October 2001
The races which started from outside the transport museum and ran along the lake shore in Lucerne were run in very wet conditions, there was also a surprise in store for the 10K competitors when a very flat out and back course turned into a steep climb at the midway point. It was also felt that the 10K course was a bit long, even allowing for the fact that I had a cold I was surprised with the slowness of my time and Colin Aldous felt he had run quicker then the clock showed. the competition in the non Airline category was harder then in the previous two years with the first three places in the 10K seemingly being filled by local runners. Jac Aldous kept up the Club's streak of taking home a trophy when she finished 3rd in the non airline category of the 10K. As in other years there was a great atmosphere throughout the weekend, the Saturday night pasta party and t shirt party was well attended, our limited edition design T shirt with the club logo on the sleeve was well received with someone offering 2 of their shirts for one of ours. We will have to get working for next years event in Kuala Lumpur. Full results can be found on the at the WARR website (Peter Furness)
And for the 5K: I did not relish going out in the rain for the 9.30am start situated in front of the Swiss Museum of Transport and Communication. 785 entrants ran along the shores of lake Lucerne with the mountains on one side which couldn't be seen through low cloud and rain. There was some fun to be had when I saw the club vest colours of Colin, Peter and Jac, returning from their loop. I clapped hands with them as we passed and continued to the 2.5k turnaround/water station. The jubilee race ended underneath the wings of a Swissair Convair CV-990 'Coronado Aircraft'. It was a slippery finishing area and then we were herded up a ramp to collect our finishers cow bell. (Kay Tarrant)
1 October 2001
My run that weekend didn't quite go to plan. After a late bout of flu on the Thursday I was not able to recover strength in time for the race. But this being such a unique opportunity I didn't want to miss it. I got up at 4am, drove to Westminster and proceeded to run in the pouring rain. I was drenched and not able to maintain body temperature under the extreme conditions. This forced me to prematurely pull out at 25 miles, just beyond Gatwick. I was momentarily disappointed, but not for long, as the winds increased and strengthened to gale force, trees started coming down and temperatures plummeted. Of the 160 runners only 50 completed the race, in the worst conditions in 21 years.
At Brighton the police prevented our bus leaving the promenade, due to the large swells. It took us 2 hours to get out of Brighton. I only arrived in London at 10pm. Now disorientated and cold, I couldn't find where I had parked my car. I eventually found it and then couldn't find my way out of London. This was my first driving experience in central London and I spent another hour going around the "circles". After one too many U-turns, I was pulled over by the police who thought I had been acting suspiciously. They started quizzing me about telephone numbers, car registrations etc. At this stage, after such a strenuous day, I was not quite compos mentis. I could not remember such bothersome details. I can just imagine the police believing my story that I had just run to Brighton. When asked where I was heading, they told me that I was going the wrong way. I think that I was too tired to be phased by them and eventually they sent me on my way. I got home at 12:30 truly finished.
Will I do it again? Yes But I will make sure I have food, hot drinks, dry clothing and shoes to change into and a lot of moral support and of course - a second! (Mark Tannian)
Sunday 2 September 2001
Its been a long time coming but Vincent Richardeau finally had his day, unexpectedly leading home the Club in the rain at Welwyn Garden City. Using the excuse that no self respecting Frenchman races over 10 miles, Vincent used Clive Bonner as a pacemaker for the first 4 miles then dropped him and ran the remainder like a 10K. His finishing time of 1:07 was enough to place him 101st overall in a field we estimated to be in excess of 600. On the way home Vincent confided that he hadn't been able to load up on figs as he normally does before a race, perhaps he should steer clear of the blessed things more often.
As for the race: This was a substitute event in the Club Championship replacing the cancelled Maidenhead 10 and was virgin territory for all of us. Two laps of the pavements and industrial estates of Welwyn Garden City was not the most inspiring of venues, but the organisation and facilities were good and we appreciated the welcoming atmosphere. The goodie bag at the end was an unexpected surprise and the finisher's medal must be one of the biggest around. (Ian Robinson)
Havant Summer 5
Sunday August 26 2001
This is a 2 lap road race which starts outside the Mountbatten Centre track, half of each lap is on the road and half on the promenade adjacent to Tipner Lake before finishing on the track on the 2nd lap. The course is flat and offers the opportunity for good times. I'm told that the same course is run for the Victory 5 in December where Rob Denmark holds the course record. Conditions for the race were hot and humid and the winning time was 26 minutes. I finished 32nd in 31.17, with a field of about 150. The race is well organised and marshalled with excellent shower and changing facilities at the Centre. If you are in Portsmouth when one of these 5 miles races are run I would recommend doing it. (Peter Furness)
Peter was being modest - according to the official results he finished 29th/169 and 8th MV40
Burnham Beeches ½ Marathon
Sunday 19th August 2001
What could be the last running of the Burnham Beeches ½ Marathon (aka "the hot one") took place on Sunday in torrential rain. After being run for the last 21 years as a trouble free event, this year the local authorities and the police decided to get involved. This caused major problems for the event organisers, with the police insisting on a change of route and road closures, at great expense to Burnham Joggers.
The new course was described as being flatter and faster, the infamous Horseshoe Hill no longer being "en route". Try telling that to the 711 runners who ran the race in the pouring rain. There seemed to be more hills than ever, if it wasn't going up, it was coming down, and what little was flat was flooded. The event was very well organised as ever and special thanks must go to the members of Burnham Joggers and those who volunteered to Marshal the race on such a foul day. Let's hope that their efforts will be rewarded and that the event will be able to take place again next year.
Nike Run London 10K
Sunday 22 July 2001
The organisation left a little bit to be desired and it was clear that this was the organisers first attempt at putting on a race of this size. Despite being told that the gates of Kew Gardens would be open from 7:00 am we were still queuing to get into the park at 8:15, whilst we saw crash barriers being delivered and being advised that an incident inside was the reason we could not enter. There was also a demonstration against Nike outside the main gate. This resulted in large queues for the baggage storage and toilets and a delayed start to the race.
The race itself was run mainly inside of the gardens and whilst the twisting and curving nature of the course together with the large number of entrants would rule out running really fast times, the route was quite pleasant to run as it took you all over the gardens. With all competitors having to wear the pink Nike shirt it did give the race a strange feel as all you could see was a sea of pink with no real identity moving in front of you.
The organisers did try and make it an enjoyable experience with music on route, and 2 large water stations, and a medal for all finishers. I would say it is a race to do as a fun run enjoying the atmosphere and the use of the park rather then to compete to achieve a fast time
Elmbridge Road Runners 10K
Sunday 22 July 2001
With the Nike Run London 10K and British Open 10K attracting up to 20,000 entrants just a few miles down the river I had assumed that this race was going to be quiet. As it turned out, the start was delayed due to the queue for entries on the day and when the numbers ran out the organisers resorted to writing them out by hand on the back of the entry forms until they reached the official race limit of 600. It's probably worth mentioning here that last year there were only 364 recorded finishers.
The race may lack the razzmatazz of its two larger (and distinctly more expensive) rivals, but the facilities at Elmbridge Leisure Centre were excellent and the noticeable lack of fun runners meant no hold ups at the start. With all this for £5 why go anywhere else?
The course itself is pleasant enough, following the road to Hampton Court and then back along the Thames Tow Path. Best of all it's perfectly flat and had the conditions been better I may have recorded a new V40 PB. As it happened the rising temperature and humidity made for hard work and leaving me an agonizing 10 seconds over. (Ian Robinson)
Thursday 19 July 2001
Eight of us enjoyed the 5K Race For Life event at Harmondsworth Moor close to the Waterside headquarters of the organisers British Airways. The weather was ideal for running but not so good for the spectators. Thank you to all those hardy souls who turned out to support the 1300 field around the testing course.
For those of us wishing to run the event rather than walk the test on the second loop was navigating the other 1300 people walking around the narrow trail paths of the course!
British Airways athletic club put up a strong field and despite the leading group getting lost towards the end they still won due to a couple of minutes lead on the following pack. Star performances of the night have to go to Carol and Wendy neither of whom had ever raced before but thoroughly enjoyed the event. (Jac Aldous)
News from the Hart family is that Chris managed to get round the whole course "without a single fag", while Lou is still bitterly complaining that the drinks station didn't serve Bacardi Breezer's. Young Natalie gave the most impressive running performance culminating in a sprint to the line in to finish in 46 minutes - our scouts have already tried to sign her up. More to the point all three raised more than £400 each for a very worthy cause.
Cornwall AC Summer Turkey Trot 4
Tuesday 17 July 2001
The race was over a hilly course around the outskirts of Redruth on Tuesday evening. The race headquarters were at Trickie Dickie's restaurant which meant that there were opportunities for competitors to have a meal and drink in the restaurant after the race or partake in the outdoor barbeque.
There were a 121 entrants in the 4 mile race with a 2 mile fun run also being held. The race attracted a good quality field of mainly club runners with the race being won by GB international Dave Buzza in a time of 20.58. There was a very generous prize list with awards for the first three in each age category (I just missed out finishing 4th in the vet 40 category, with a time of 25.38 30th overall), as well as a large number of spot and raffle prizes
The whole event was well organised and the pleasant after race conditions meant that many stayed on after the race to attend the prize giving. (Peter Furness)
Wycombe Half Marathon
8 July 2001
The organisers cunningly leave out the "High" in High Wycombe to fool the unsuspecting into believing this is an ordinary race. The truth for anyone who hasn't run it or heard of it, is that this event has got the mother of all hills at the start. What goes up must come down but the downhill at six miles gives little respite as its so steep you have to fight it. As a result it's hardly a PB race, more a rite of passage.
Now for the praise. This was a thoroughly well organised event with plenty of Marshals, ample drinks stations and good separation from traffic over all but one small section of the course. The start/finish venue at the Rye is excellent as are the changing facilities, even if the showers were cold. Just like the course, entry on the day was a bit steep at £10, but I could have saved a third if I'd bothered to enter by post and the goody bag at the end was better than average - so no complaints. The tour through the Buckinghamshire countryside could even be described as picturesque provided you like your scenery at 45 degrees. (Ian Robinson)
Carlton London Run
Sunday 1 July 2001
The Carlton London Run is more of a mass fund raising event than a race. Just about every charity that you can think of was represented in one way or another. At the sharp end of the race a few elite athletes ran an extremely fast race, the first three coming home in under 30 min.
With an entry exceeding 5000 runners, most of them participating for charities, I was not expecting to run a good time. At 9.30 am a large cannon was fired, adjacent to the start line in Southwark Park, and the race was started, I slowly started to pick my way through hundreds of charity runners who all thought that they were in with a chance of winning. At 9.31.am I had to stop and walk as everybody tried to get through the park gates.
The route took us out of Southwark Park and then onto the London Marathon course, around Surrey Quays along Jamaica Road, across Tower Bridge, a U turn, back across Tower Bridge, back along Jamaica Road and into the finish in Southwark Park. I reached the 1k mark, still surrounded by charity runners, in 5mins 15secs, confirming my expectations of a slow time. At 2k the charity runners had been left behind and I was now in the company of club runners. As we passed the 4k point a lone piper, dressed in full costume, sporran and all, played a lament on his bagpipes.
The course is fast, flat and traffic free and good time was made, up until the drink station just after 5k, here more time was lost in the ensuing chaos as runners tried to grab a bottle of water. At 6k the lead runners passed us going in the opposite direction, The three of them were all running smoothly and were way ahead of the fourth placed runner who was not in sight.
As we approached Tower Bridge we were directed through some cobbled side streets that took us under the approach road to the bridge, we crossed on one side of the road, did a U turn and came back on the other carriageway. As I ran back along Jamaica Road to the finish I was surprised by the number of people running in the opposite direction. Another lone piper was stationed along this section, perhaps they should get together next year and start up a band. There was plenty of space in this section of the race, I managed to run my quickest 1k splits between 8k and the finish line, crossing it in 45:04, not particularly quick, but it could have been a lot worse.
All finishers were given a medal and T shirt. The after race entertainment was second to none with many displays, kids rides and a live band. This event makes a great day out for the family, just enjoy the event and forget about running a PB. (Brian Matthews)
Borehamwood Half Marathon
24 June 2001
Ah Borehamwood! This was always a firm favourite with the club (if memory serves me right we won the team prize a couple of times) until it fell out of favour due to an uncanny knack of clashing with the Datchet Dash. So it was with a slight sense of nostalgia that I returned after a break of five years. The venue may be the same address as before but the school now features a rather large sports complex which I'm pretty sure wasn't there before. There's plenty of room for changing, secure baggage store and remarkably, for such an event, queue free toilets (how do they do that?). As for the race, it's hillier than I remembered but then I'm getting older. The course is the usual inner M25 fair of trading estates, slightly scruffy countryside and town centre, but the Marshals worked hard to keep runners and cars separated and even the Police were smiling. They say nostalgia ain't what it used to be, but the Borehamwood Half has certainly improved with age. (Ian Robinson)
Tesco 10,000 m Road Race (Perivale)
21 May 2001
Eight days after a Marathon PB in Stockholm Peter Furness bounced back against a quality field at Perivale. Feeling none the worse after his Scandinavian ordeal Peter finished in 39:09 to take 2nd in the Male Veteran 40 category and 27th overall against a quality field of more than 400. Partners Lisa Binch and Craig George both improved their 10K PB's by more than 1 minute to fish 11th Senior Woman in 46.32 and 86th in 44.59 respectively. Meanwhile new member Vicky Pyne completed her first ever 10K race still smiling in 1.06.19. Brian Skinner pulled off the shock of the day finishing 11th male vet 45 in 48.51 - something he will probably remind us of for many years to come. Yet another good advert for Physiotherapist Neil Mason who somehow manages to keep Brian's calf muscles in check.
With several Club members out or competing in the Spelthorne 10K, a team prize was never a realistic prospect, however our large turnout ensured we still managed to finish 6th, 9th &12th in the team competition which is testament to the improving fortunes of the Club.
As for the race: The slick organisation at the start/finish was marred by rather sloppy and sometimes non-existent marshalling on a very busy road circuit. The two Clowns operating the first drinks station obviously thought the objective was to throw water over the competitors - much to their own amusement and disadvantage of anyone wanting a drink. The single lap course though Greenford and Hanwell included several unmanned crossings of major junctions leaving competitors to fend for themselves against the narrow minority of psychotic drivers the area boasts. Then there were the unusually high number of "Care in the Community" people dotted around the route intent on verbal abuse or simply standing stock still with arms and legs akimbo to block the path. (Ian Robinson)
15 April 2001
The event is well organised by the Victoria Park Harriers and is run on the pathways of Victoria Park in East London. The race headquarters is the clubhouse in the centre of the park and offers good changing and shower facilities and plenty of refreshments. The course which is run over 2 laps of a figure of eight type course is fast and flat and provides the opportunity for fast times or a short sharp workout before London. As well as the main race there are also a number of junior races staged. I was pleased with the event as I ran a PB of 30.43. (Peter Furness)
Sunday 8 April 2001
The race which starts and finishes at the old Polytechnic sports ground was well supported especially with the number of cancellations recently.
A good part of the race is run along the towpath as the name suggests, the recent rain had meant that it was very wet and muddy in places and had also led to a late change in route as Old Dear Park was under water. Except for the climb over Chiswick bridge the race is very flat which gives the opportunity for good times to be run and for those in London a good work out on a not too demanding course. There is also ample changing and refreshment facilities at the finish. The memento for finishing, this year an inscribed half pint glass is worth having. (Peter Furness)
4 March 2001
Despite many attempts to ascertain if this race was still on because of the foot and mouth i.e. ringing Camberley leisure centre, sweatshop, e-mailing the organiser and even ringing the Police - who replied "how would we know we only handle crimes" to which I replied "well the way I run should be a criminal offence" I still didn't know. Also two other nearby Half's had been called off, so I thought everyone would go to Camberley - but not so.
The turn out was fairly modest (800 or so) considering. But it was very cold and even snowing !! The start area is in a big field but with excellent changing facilities - with heater ! - football changing rooms. There was also very good baggage facilities the same as London i.e. lorries. The race goes out from Frimley Park Lodge and goes through villages and country side - its two loops and fairly undulating. Plenty of water stations with dodgy looking water, rather brown looking actually. In all a good race and one I would recommend, although undulating I am sure a PB would be possible, well it must be - I came the closest to mine for about 6 months. (Gary Fiddes)
25 February 2001
The Malta Marathon and ½ Marathon were run on Sunday 25 February 2001. There were 245 competitors in the full marathon and 465 in the half. Both races start at Dingli cliffs, the highest point on the island, and finish at The Ferries in Sliemma, which is at sea level. The courses are predominately downhill apart from a couple of stiff climbs at about 10 miles in the half and at 23 miles for those running the full marathon.
The road surfaces in Malta leave much to be desired, with large potholes and uneven tarmac it is necessary to concentrate just to stay on ones feet. The weather conditions at the start of the full marathon at 8.00 am were ideal for running with light cloud cover and a cool following breeze, but by the start of the half marathon at 10.00 am the sun had broken through and the temperature had risen into the high sixties.
The new blue and orange International Vests were on view to the Maltese public for the first time, and made quite an impression, with our supporters being able to pick us out of the crowd quite easily from some distance away. The full Marathon was won in a time of 2:31:53 and the half in 1:05:56.
We had a great time in Malta, and would recommend the event to anyone looking for an early season race and some Winter sunshine. (Brian Matthews)