Friday, August 28, 2009

Hove Park Run Revisited

Better late than never, a brief report on our latest trip to West Sussex for the 9:00 am Saturday morning Hove Park Run.
We drove up on Friday night in our camper van to a secret location 8 miles north of Brighton. Why pay for a camp site when you can park overnight up a quiet lane for free? Settling down for an early night after eating on the way there meant that we didn't even bother to set the alarm clock, which turned out to be a big mistake when, at 8:34 precisely Lin checked her watch on waking, and less than 2 minutes later we were on our way to Hove, in full panic mode.
The last thing you want to do having driven 3 hours to a race is sleep through the start!
Thanks to an unusual absence of hay wagons and horse-boxes, we made it to Hove Park in record time, and even had a couple of minutes to attend to various necessities like warming up, before the race got under way, bang on time.

Unfortunately, my GPS watch didn't have time to lock on, so I was unable to check on my pace any time during the race, which felt a little disconcerting. I probably rely too much on the GPS, but this time, I didn't really need it to tell me that there was no way I would be able to keep up with the front runners. Unlike the previous Hove Park race, there were some seriously fast people there, and it was as much as I could do to maintain 6th place behind a group which steadily pulled away and out of sight, out of mind. After a while, I dropped back into 7th place and tucked in behind a guy who set the pace for the next 4k. I hung on grimly for the 2 laps until I sneakily overtook him just at the line for 6th place. All this time, I had very little idea what pace I was at, and, given the less than ideal start, was pleased to see that I had achieved a new Park Run PB of 18:09.
After handing in my number to the recorder, I jogged back a short way to see Lin finishing in a very good time, and also a Park-run PB (by over 30 seconds) of 19:58.

We jogged around another lap to cool down, and then had a very enjoyable breakfast at the park cafe surrounded by the other runners. Many thanks to the organisers of the Hove Park Run, there is something really special about the event, and we thought it was well worth the 6 hour round trip!
Next day a 17 mile Long training run in the New Forest turned into a 20 mile run , thanks to a bit of a cock up on the navigation front, but its all good experience!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jurassic Coast 10K

To start in the traditional way – Saturday 22nd August saw a solitary Westgate at the Jurassic coast 10K. But first I had to get there. Since last year when I started driving again, journeys have been just to work in Wellington and back, a total distance of less than ten miles a day, apart from a few longer expeditions with Richard acting as driving instructor. (He obviously missed his calling in life). So it was on to the A and B roads and with a good memory for directions, (no garmins in my car), I arrived safely at Budleigh Salterton at 9.45am. Stretched my legs across the car park to be met by Dave C who had arrived even earlier. However with all this time to spare I managed to remember my number, change into appropriate clothes, do a token amount of warming up and find the start line by 11am.
The race starts by the beach huts on the seafront, heads past the vast car park and on to a trail by the river, which we followed for a short way inland before crossing a bridge and taking the coastal path. It’s the same route as the Exe to Axe but made a bit easier by knowing we didn’t have to do another 13 miles of increasingly hard hills. The path turns inland after two or three miles, still following tracks, some through some woods, before crossing another bridge and heading back down the river. Through another gate and onto the track we came out on and I knew we couldn’t be far from the finish. And just to confirm, there was a sign “300m to go”, then 200m, and 100m. At this point there were footsteps close behind, I could see the finish line, and I hate being overtaken on the line. So taking inspiration from all the athletics I’d been watching, I found some reserve energy and really sprinted those last few yards, preparing to hurl myself across the line if necessary. It paid off as you can see in the results: Dave C also had a good race with an equally close finish, but being some 10 minutes ahead of me I didn’t see it. Hopefully he might add a few words here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Club Handicap 5k 13th August

The intrepid racers

The inaugral Club handicap 5k took place on Thursday evening in place of the usual pre-meeting run and the seven runners who took part all agreed that it should be the first of many.

Phil, having twisted his ankle whilst running round the Madness route the previous Saturday to make sure it was safe for the race, elected to multi task as starter, time keeper, marshal and sweeper.
Mike unfortunately drifted off during the pre race brief and neglected to listen to the route description. No-one really knows where he went or how far he ran (Mike included) but he seemed to enjoy it anyway.
Just getting everyone started posed a bit of a problem as all the start times had been calculated on the basis of a 7.10pm start - due to lingering for late comers this had to be put back. Some people also changed their minds about their proposed finish times causing the order to change and some people missed their exact start times due to our illustrious starter being too busy gossiping and losing track of the time. Some people missed their start due to over enthusiastic warm-ups and being half a mile away in the village when they should have been on the start line.
And so we set off, Di first, followed by the two Charlies, then Mike off on his magical mystery tour, myself, Dave and finally our speedy 5k expert, Martin. Dave passed me within about 50 yards and quickly disappeared from view. After that I didn't see anyone except Phil on his bike and eventually, nervous glances back proved what I had suspected, that Martin was hot on my heels. Despite a bit of a run in with an angry driver as I reached Maiden Newton I managed to keep ahead of Martin and once I turned into Chilfrome Lane and saw the finish line ahead, he was passing me over my dead body!!!

Charlie Spencer was the first "actual" runner home and Martin, despite finishing last, no surprise, recorded the fastest time. The handicapping wasn't too far out and all 7 runners finished within 3 minutes and 42 seconds.

Despite some teething problems with the time keeping!!! everyone agreed that this was a great idea of Phil's and that it should become a regular event during the summer months, hopefully some more of you will be inspired to join us next time out.
Mike attempts to explain where it all went wrong!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Summer Madness

Nicki Philp and husband Richard cross the finish line together....despite what the results say!

After last year's theme of "Monsoon Madness" it was a complete turn around this year with a lovely summer evening for the fifth running of the "quite" New Ten Madness. (Results now available at the following link:

There was a great turn out with 140 oops, make that 141 runners completing the event and a very impressive performance by first runner home, Bertie Powell from Woodford Green in a time of 37.49. Hot on his heels was Nigel Rackham from Metros with John Broom from Holmfirth Harriers finishing in third place. After all this foreign success it was good to see Yeovil Town's Paul Rose cross the line in fourth place to take the first MV40 prize, although he did seem more concerned about the collection of his lardy cake and cucumber.

Dawn Broom, ex local lady, now defected "up north" put in an excellent run to lead the ladies home in 45.14 and right behind her (always chasing the ladies!) Pete Jakeman celebrated his first run as a V60 by being first V60 - good job we had a spare lardy cake since there wasn't an official prize for the category. Sarah Jordan Whittaker was second lady home and Julie Rayfield finished in third place and could also claim the prize for travelling furthest, being a member of Dubai Road Runners!

Once again there was great local support from Yeovil Town, Egdon Heath and Royal Manor of Portland, and following some bullying tactics at the Haselbury Trail race the previous week, it was good to welcome our first ever Langport runners to the event - worth the trip for Matt Hill who finished in an excellent 7th position.

Richard Rider led the Maiden Newten contingent home followed by Mike Ashworth, Charlie Spencer, Andy Staples, Jackie Webb, Olivia Newman-Spencer and Di Ashworth - all looking like they had thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

As usual, the driving force behind the success of the event was Club Chairman, Phil England with support from his long suffering wife Jackie. Thanks must go to everyone who helped make the evening go so well, but without Phil there would be no Madness. So there you are, you know who to blame!

Under Phil's expert organisation everything ran like clock work and he even looked quite happy too!

Our friends from Yeovil Town Running Club made up a large part of the field and they made an impressive sight as they led the charge as the race started at 7pm.

Mike sprints for the finish line and if he looks that happy he obviously didn't try hard enough!

Charlie leads the Maiden Newton ladies home - as usual not a hair out of place - and no mud either!

Di looks pleased to see the finish line.