Monday, August 20, 2007


Ironman 2007

Congratulations to Phil for an excellent performance at Sunday's Ironman. He completed the swim in 1.20.01, the cycle in 6.51.39 and the run in an amazing 4.08.25 to finish well under his 13 hour target in 12.41.42.

About to embark on a little Sunday morning cycle ride - 112 miles of Dorset hills on a windy day!

Just starting the marathon and still smiling!

About 10 miles to go.

Phil's own race report to appear here shortly (when he has got enough energy to switch his computer on!)

21st August 2007 - Phil obviously made a quick recovery and here is his report!

Ironman 2007
I am temped to make this the shortest report ever for MNR, I did it, got the T shirt to prove it.
But after all the support I was given by you all, right from the 6.00am start in the lake. I will try and string a few words together.
After the constant rain on Saturday it was good to find it stopped on Sunday morning, the thought of having to spend 13 + hours in the rain and wind was not good. To my surprise the usual pre race nerves were not there (this could have been due to it being 4.00am and I wasn’t awake enough to notice). All the kit and bike had been handed in the day before so all I had to do was turn up and prepare for the swim which was the one bit of the event that concerned me, 1500 people all trying to swim around the lake as quickly as possible. The start of the swim was delayed for 20 minutes to make sure every one made it into the water after some parking problems (they needed Dave Webb’s expertise). But again this still did not bring on the pre race nerves and once we actually got under way it was nowhere near as difficult as I was expecting, in no time, well 1hr 20 mins, I was climbing out of the lake heading to transition for the bike ride. This was not the fastest transition of the day by any means, but when you are going to spend the best part of seven hours on a bike it’s worth preparing for it (that’s my excuse any way). By the time I came out the large group of supporters that had taken over the grounds of Sherborne Castle to see me take part in this event were thinking I had given up. But a full 13 minuets after climbing out of the lake I was on the bike heading to Dorchester for the first time. At this point I was on such a high the cycling felt effortless, this continued right though the first and second laps of the route, and as the photos prove, smiling all the way, even at the top of Lyon’s Gate where cameras were waiting to capture the pain. The final turn from Dorchester back towards Sherborne knowing I had 8 miles of hills ahead of me was tough but not enough to take that now fixed smile off my face. As I was approaching Sherborne Castle to go into transition again to prepare for the run, there were thoughts of "how am I now going to run 26.2 miles?" The swim and the bike had gone perfectly and I had enjoyed it, but could I, or would I be able to run 26.2 miles? Eight minutes later to cry’s of “what the hell have you been doing in there?” from Lin I was starting on the run and yes the smile was still there. All the advice of don’t run too quickly, start slowly, went out the window and I had soon completed the two laps in the Castle grounds at a pace I knew could not last. The pace continued though the town, if only to try and out run Martin with his camera. The footbridge with all its steps at Sherborne Hotel brought the pace right down; heading out along the A30 for the first time knowing I had to do it again was the only low point of the day. 11 miles down and 15 to go - I knew I could finish it but it was going to be hard. Having eaten and drunk enough so called energy drinks and bars to last me a life time there was only one thing left to try to boost the now depleting energy reserves, flat Coke. Not to make things worse I only tried a small amount, it went down OK but did not seem to make much difference. By the time I had reached the turn around point for the second time, about 19 miles, I had got a taste for it and was drinking it at every aid station, and by the time I got back to the dreaded foot bridge heading back to the Castle I had a complete new lease of energy - running up the steps two at a time. I don’t know if this was all down to the Coke or the fact I had worked out that I could finish in less than 13 hours, whatever it was it kept me going right to the finish line to collect the T shirt in a time of 12hr 41m under the dream time I had hoped for of 13 hrs.
I know this report is pushing towards one of the longest ever, but it would not be complete with out a big thank you from me. First of all to my family who have supported me 110%, putting up with me training up to six days a week, coming home from work and then disappearing again running, cycling or swimming, and the occasional pub run. Secondly to all of you who came out to watch the event. I was overwhelmed to see so many face right from the start of the swim to the finish line - as some of you know a friendly face and a shout of encouragement can really lift you and I got more than my fair share of that all the way round - thank you.
Will I do it again?
Jackie say’s not if it takes this long to write the report afterwards!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


The third running of the Madness took place on a lovely sunny evening which encouraged 120 runners to toe the start line. Phil England, Club Chairman, and the force behind the race, did the pre race briefing and count down and his daughter (who much to the delight of Phil's family had been practicing enthusiastically all day) got the runners underway with a blast on the hunting horn.

Maiden Newton Runners being a very small club, it was great to see such whole hearted support from all it's members, especially the non-running members of the Club who don't often get caught on (our) camera. Stuart Hargreaves and John Arscott, ex Chairman of the Club, formed part of the scarily efficient result recording team, together with another former Chairman, Guy Smith, the man with many watches, not to mention Charles Le Vay who supervised procedings with military precision.

Ian Habgood, from Egdon Heath Harriers was first across the line in 36.38, followed less than a minute later by Paul Rose of Yeovil Town Road Running Club who was the first vet 40. Third place went to Mark Pittaway from Royal Manor of Portland, also a vet 40.

Previous winner, Dave Caddy, another Egdon Heath Harrier finished in 5th place and 2nd senior man and
Egdon Heath's winning streak continued with Stephanie Slade storming across the line as first senior lady in 44.01.

It was the night for local Clubs with Yeovil Town also taking the first male super vet - Nick Brooke, closely followed by Richard Orme of Egdon to claim second prize. Yeovil's Donna Elliott took the first female vet trophy home, and a special mention for Joyce Rendell of Axe Valley Runners, who not only broke the Yeovil/Egdon stranglehold on prizes but as first female super vet finished in an excellent 3rd place overall.

As well as local runners (many will recognise ex Club member Brian Mountjoy-Row pictured above) there were entrants from further afield and the competitor who travelled furthest to start the race was Henry Vales from Germany of Schwarzbier Schwarzbach. Hopefully his excellent time of 43 minutes and 17th place made it worth the trip!

On an evening when Phil had found chores for most Club members, Dan Cantrell and Jackie Webb managed to escape his notice and fly the flag for Maiden Newton both having excellent runs.

Feedback so far has been positive and hopefully the Madness will become firmly entrenched in the local racing calendar. Although there were many people roped in to help on the night, the race wouldn't take place without the organisational skills and enthusiasm of Phil any complaints, send them to him!

Special thanks to everyone who helped on the night, all the marshals, entry takers, tea and cake providers, John Stark Architects who provided sponsorship, Phil's family and many friends, St John's Ambulance and if I've forgotten to mention anyone it's due to my forgetfulness and not because of lack of appreciation!

Results have been despatched to and will be published there shortly. If anyone really can't wait to see how they did feel free to e-mail me ( ) and I'll send a copy in rtf format.

If anyone has anything (preferably good!) to say about the race then please log on and leave a comment on the blog. We can take constructive criticism too. (Phil has broad shoulders - specially after all the swimming he's been doing lately!).

And if you're a local runner, join the club and become part of the MADNESS!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Exmoor Seaview 17

The Exmoor Seaview presented an ideal opportunity for a weekend away......unfortunately the weather was not so ideal and spending a Saturday evening in Minehead in heavy rain is not an experience I'm keen to repeat any time soon. We did eventually find a pub which served something other than burgers, and then spent the evening trying to avoid eye contact with the hard cases who were drinking there, including one who we were convinced had an electronic tag on his wrist.

We had not booked a campsite but elected instead to drive up onto North Hill and park the van off road. By this time it was getting dark, misty and still, of course, pouring with rain. Due to the large quantity of beer that Martin had managed to consume I was driving so it was lucky that we managed to avoid the potholes and find a reasonable parking spot. It was quite spooky not being in a camp site and we were a bit anxious about being moved on by a National Park ranger, but we spent a peaceful night - apart from the rain and wind and it was worth it in the morning when we opened the van door to a beautiful sunny morning, an uninterrupted view of the sea and no-one in sight for miles around.

We had to be at Race HQ for 9.15 to get the bus across to Countisbury where the race starts. The bus trip up Porlock Hill is always a bit nerve wracking but at least we had a competent bus driver. The runners in the second bus were not so lucky and we were all kept entertained when he got the bus stuck in the car park at Countisbury. Good job Steve Eliott was there to sort him out!!!

We gathered for the obligatory group photo and the pre race speech from organiser Fred Hagan - and then we were off, a charge across the grass jostling for position on the narrow coastal path where running in single file is unavoidable. Martin and I had planned to run together but this first section is definitely a case of every man (or woman) for himself, so it wasn't until we turned inland up the first of many steep hills that we settled into a comfortable pace together. The sun had come out again now and it was beginning to get quite hot - my favourite kind of running weather but Martin (precious little flower) was already beginning to suffer from the heat and began whining quite early on about slowing down a bit now or a lot later. I did my best to ignore him and keep a reasonable pace going......

This is a beautiful section of coast - much more scenic and definitely easier going than the South Devon coast we recently experienced. I was feeling quite strong and enjoying myself, especially when we got to the first checkpoint and the marshall used my favoutire expression "Well done, you're first lady". Not what Martin wanted to hear, he knew there was far less chance of me slowing down if I was in with a chance of winning!

We turned inland to avoid a landslide - the diversion to last year's route added an extra 2 miles to the route and also threw in another very challenging hill. Martin and I ran together until we reached Porlock Weir but at this point I gradually started pulling ahead, despite Martin taking a very cheeky shortcut - and in full view of some other runners! By the time I reached the checkpoint at Bossington I could no longer see him behind me and I knew that I had now reached the toughest part of the course - the long climb up Hurlstone Point where you rise from about 90 feet above sea level to well over 900 feet in the course of a mile. I was very impressed by the two runners in front of me who managed to keep up a conversation almost the whole way. I was far too busy trying to drag some oxygen into my lungs to even think about talking!

Once you finally reach the top you know you have done all the hard work and just have 3 or 4 miles of fairly easy running to get back into Minehead. However, life is never that simple, and having overtaken one of the "talkers" in front of me, I couldn't stay with the other one and therefore had no-one to follow. The route isn't marked - you merely follow the acorns on the coastal path. What no-one told us was that as you approach Minehead you don't follow the coastal path - you keep straight on. I turned to follow a track clearly signposted "coastal path" and it wasn't long before I realised that this definitely wasn't the way I had come last year! I reached Minehead via the harbour - a detour which added some extra distance - but I wasn't the only person by any means to make the same mistake. (Martin did exactly the same thing as did many other runners)

I was tired now and also disappointed that I clearly wasn't going to beat last year's time. The worst part of the run was still ahead of me - along Minehead seafront, trying to dodge holiday makers who kept wandering across in front of me - and having made it safely across the moors and cliff path I managed to fall off the pavement at the only road crossing due to watching the traffic instead of where I was going. It was a relief to turn into the school and as there wasn't a cricket match on this year we got to short cut across the field instead of running all the way round it. I finished in 3.12.52, almost exactly 4 minutes slower than last year, but the GPS revealed that the new route was over 2 miles longer at just under 21 miles.

Martin came in soon after me in 3.22.45, followed by Richard, who was running with a 17lb back pack (ultra training - yes we've managed to convince him of the joys of the ultra event!) and Lesley finished in 4.04, looking as fresh as a daisy........and to think what a short time ago it was that she could regularly be heard saying "I DON'T do running".............

This is the best value race around - the £5 entry fee gets you the bus to the start, a fantastic run, excellent Race HQ, including showers, and last but certainly not least a fantastic spread of free sandwiches, cakes and drinks at the end. And they still make money out of the event for charity!