Due to an extremely busy couple of weeks I have been a bit remiss with the race reports so I thought a round up of the past few weeks was called for. And seeing as I work in the bus industry it’s seems particualrly apt that as you wait ages for a race report that 3 should come along together. This could get lengthy so grab a cuppa before you even contemplate to read on!!
I suppose living here in the south of England we should be used to the changing weather conditions but the past 2 weeks have seen events that have taken place in blazing sunshine, followed by near perfect running condtions and finishing with what was probably the worst conditions I have had the misfortune to run in, but I suppose that’s what makes running so unpredictable so much fun.
We started Semptember with the return of the River Relays. After a years absence this event was back in the race calendar with a revamped course over 5 legs. We entered 3 teams of 5 and started the day off in relatively cool conditions in Virginia Water for a 9am start. The course takes in a 26.2 mile route through Virginia Water, to Bishops Gate in Windsor Great Park where the second leg heads out to Runnymede, along the Thames to Staines Bridge. Leg 3 takes in a lovely stretch of the Thames towpath to Shepperton Square where leg 4 begins a mile stretch along Walton Road back to the Thames to Husrt Park in Molesey and leg 5 completes the relay along the towpath back to Kingston Hawker centre. Although the day started rather cool the sun soon came out to play making running conditions rather difficult to say the least. Depite the heat our 3 teams all pushed well and there were many excellent times recorded amongst the field.
In the overall standings our A team finished 7th recording an excellent accumulative time of 2:58:13 an average pace of 6:48 minute miling, the B team finished 20th with an accumulative time of 3:18:42 an average pace of 7:35 minute miling and the C team finished 33rd with a time of 3:45:50 an average pace of 8:37 minute miling. With some of the club using the opportunity to use the event as a long run for their upcoming marathon at the New Forest (more on that shortly) there was some great support aong the way and overall everyone appeared to really enjoy the event. For me these team events really capture the spirit of the club with everyone pulling together to support their fellow team mates, pushing hard so as not to let others down and generally enjoying the social aspect of the club with a few beers afterwards.
Well done to all 3 teams, results as follows and full race results here.
|Stage / Distance||A Team – Flying||Time||B Team – Cruising||Time||C Team – Drinking||Time|
|1 – 4.75 Miles||Steve Ramek||32:53||Jo Deeks||35:22||Sarah Cloete||39:02|
|2 – 4.8 Miles||Libby Marchant||38:38||Jason Blair||33:58||Zoe Wingfield||46:56|
|3 – 6.53 Miles||Daniel Harris||39:51||Matthew Pritchard||55:03||Kevin Stone||54:56|
|4 – 4.93 Miles||Mustafa Fawzy||32:44||Graham Ashby||38:49||Dave Wilson||34:59|
|5 – 5.2 Miles||Joe Chang||34:07||James Thurston||35:30||Chris Wilson||49:57|
Next on the list was the club half marathon championship at Maidenhead. In it’s second year the course was revamped following some minor issues last year and the course was changed to a two lap course which meant there was no need to run down the flight of steps we had to contend with last year. 25 members arrived bright and early in Maidenhead town centre for what promised to be a race with good PB potential, something that most took advantage of with some great times recorded throughout. The conditions were much better then the previous week at River Relays, fairly cool with cloud cover that kept the sun at bay for the entire race. The race set off from the town centre and the only gripe I would have from this years race was that the cousrse was fairly narrow at the start and we were soon marshalled into a subway early on to get us safely across the main road. The main problem with this was it became fairly congested further back in the field the railing at the bottom of the subway slowed the field down as we went through causing some further congestion into the tunnel. That said this did mean that a lot of us didn’t suffer the usual problem of heading out to quick and all in all this probably helped with the overall pace of our individual races which could clearly been seen in the smiles all round from those who ran better then they expected.
At the front of the field Jack Holland once again led the pack out and soon opened up a lead that would see him record an amazing 18th overall in a time of 1:17:43, is there no stopping this man as he single handedly wages his one man war at the top of the men table. A short distance behind it looked as though John Matthews, Kevin parker and Mark La Frenais were having thier own battle as they all finished within 2 minutes of each other and Mr Parker in particualr who was really made up with his PB of 1:26:11. Katherine Wilson continued her excellent form once again winning the ladies championship with a time of 1:30:53. Katherine finished a clear 10 minutes ahead of second placed Zoe Ashcroft who was followed by Libby Marchant in third.
Further back there were some great performances from many who have been taking advantage of the Sunday training groups we have been running lately. Peter Grecian was over the moon with his 1:37:40 having been turning over the miles in prperation for his forthcoming marathon. Fairly new to the club John Reardon who I know has been working his backside off lately on his training runs was smiles all round with his time of 1:44:24 and Javier (The Javelin) Fuentes who breezed past me and Oliver Webb around 3 miles is looking stronger with every race. I did manage to reel him back in by 5 miles but at mile 6 when I checked over my shoulder to see where he was he was still there giving me a cheeky little wink and a wave which really spurred me on for my PB determined to not let him pass me again, cheers Javier!!
Prior to the race Kevin Furlong and Natalie Warren had both been training hard to achieve their first sub 2 half marathon and niether were disapointed as both not only hit their target but did so with plenty of time to spare. Maria Cenalmor also recorded a new PB and is looking likely to go sub 2 some time soon if she continues to improve as she has been doing.
I think the performances put in by those of us further back in the field really are in most part thanks to the Sunday training runs we have been organising. Whilst these sessions may not appeal to the faster runners in the club I would encourage anyone looking to improve their times to join us, they really appear to be doing the trick. We plan to continue them going forward especially with Epsom 10 only a couple of months away and details will be posted on both the forums and the Facebook page over the coming weeks, all are welcome.
Well done to all that ran Maidenhead, full results can be found here and the Grand Prix tables are available in the download section.
The final installment of this marathon length report comes from an extremely wet and windy New Milton in the New Forest where 8 club members turned out for the half and full marathon. Having arrived at the campsite on Saturday spirits were high as at this point the weather appeared to be rather pleasant. However by the early hours of Sunday morning the elements really unleashed their fury as we lay in our tents listening to the rain drumming down in what sounded like monsoon conditions. On rising we were greeted by a very bleak morning but still this didn’t appear to dampen the mood in the camp. We arrived in New Milton for the 9:15 start for the Half marathon and although a little breezy the rain appeared to be holding off, it seemed to good to be true. In the start line for the Half were Dan Hookey, Jill Hogge, Rosie Gerrard and Javier Fuentes with Matthew Pritchard, Grant Davison, Libby Marchant and Peter Grecian having to wait around for the 10am marathon start. Although not officially in the race I had decided to head down with the guys to keep Rosie company in the half and had headed out before the start to a point 1/2 mile in to wait for Rosie to come through before joining her. I have to say having gone round the course with Rosie I was really impressed with the organisation of the whole event, the guys here were right up there with the best I have ever seen. Despite the aweful conditions that eventually hit us at around 10am they were totally comitted to lifting the spirits of all the runners and they controlled the busy junctions with slick efficiency. Whilst waiting for Rosie I spotted Daniel and then Jill come through but no sign of Javier, however once again he suddenly appeared from the back of the field, giving great encouragement before speeding off up a hill and into the distance. The course whilst hilly was absolutely beautiful, even at mile 5 when the heavens opened as we went over the open areas of the New Forest. The veiws were magnificant and had the sun of been shining it would definitely rate as one of the best courses I have seen. One thing that really struck me during the race was how well regarded 26.2 is amongst the running community. Early on a lady came running up behind us and suddenly shouted “Bloddy hell, you 26.2 lot get everywhere!!” as she ran past she mentioned that she had seen us all the previous week at Maidenhead and as she headed off ahead she shouted back “You guys are great” before wishing us luck and heading off. To get a remark like that from a complete stranger was really great and just shows what a great club we really are if others remember us in this way from other races.
As far as I could tell from the huge smile he was wearing later, Daniel had a really good run having only his wrist watch after his Garmin died just before the start, exceding his expectations and putting in a time of 1:42:11, quite a bit quicker then he had anticipated. Javier continued his run of good form and matched his pace from maidenhead last week with a time of 1:52:57 having turned up late for the start. Rosie who had set het sights on a 2:10:00 target ran an extremely strong race. I hadn’t gone down to pace her so i just sat on her shoulder or tucked in behind and let her run her own race. She looked so strong throughout and even managed a bit of a sprint finish as I left the course just before the finish straight. She crossed the line in 2:04:42 just a minute behind Jill who crossed in 2:03:45.
Although the weather was extremely poor and the rain basically fell from around 10am until long past the finish of the half, I have to wonder how the hell Matthew, Grant, Libby and Peter made it round the marathon in such appaling conditions. The full marathon spends a lot more time out the exposed areas of the New Forest and having experienced the lashing rain and wind for part of the half course, I could only begin to imagine how the guys were feeling having started just as the rain fell. On my return to the finish at around 2pm I could see the St Johns ambulance service flitting back and forth and was told by one of the marshalls that they had been inundated with calls to runners going down with hypothermia, yes it really was that bad. At this point I did have concerns for the guys as I knew just how cold I had been afterwards and that only the intervetion of Simon Gerrard had stopped my teeth from shattering as they chattered together. However I needn’t have worried because 4hr 17 minutes after they started all 4 came trundling into the home straight and although looking a little worse for wear they were at least in good spirits having trained, ran and finished together. The sight of them crossing the line together once again drove home the reason why I run with this club. Despite their times not being up there with some of the fastest times in the club for a marathon, the Latin saying of “Veni, Vidi, Vici” should be the motto of these intrepid 4 from now on. All I can say is that running New Forest on Sunday was probably one of the hardest races any of them will ever run and each of them should be extremely proud of their achievement and it is somethng others within the club can really take some inspiration from, I know I have. You can see thier results here and I’m sure they will be only to eager to regale you with stories of their advernture when they’ve rested their legs and head back to the club.
All in all it has been a really good month and with the club 10K and 10 mile chamionships looming I’m sure the remainder of 2012 will be just as competitive. Well done to everyone who ran any of the above that I haven’t mentioned and i look forward to seeing you all on the start line again soon.