Friday, April 23, 2010

The Honiton Hippo

Race Report by Dan Cantrell

I ran the Honiton Hippo on 18th April. Here’s a brief summary:

I saw Richard and Lesley on their way to the registration. They looked very surprised to see me at a race and asked if I knew what to do with the race number. I declined their implied offer of assistance, as I know how to pin on a number…although it’s bloody painful! Perhaps I should use sellotape next time?

The course description stated that there are hills and river crossings and we were not to be disappointed. The first few miles seemed to be one massive hill. I managed to run rather than walk, but I suspect that some of the walkers were faster. The route then took us through part of the Landrover experience course, which was good and bumpy – although not as boggy as I had expected. After that, we snaked our way through a few back gardens, where the race organisers had planted primroses and other flowers for us to admire. The race briefing stated that we were to treat the course with respect as it goes through private land, so I resisted the urge to eat the flowers. The river crossings were nice and cool and after one there was a marshal handing out jelly babies. I must have been nearer the front than I thought at this point as there were still some black ones left. It tasted much better than flowers.

The race was incredibly well organised, with marshals everywhere… I didn’t get lost once! At the end we received a very appropriate memento – a towel, and there were shortcake hippos with their feet dipped in chocolate. Just before I ate the hippo it became even more realistic, with fingerprints of real mud all over it!

All in all, a fantastic event.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Johnny Kipps

What a start to our 25th year, with a little help from our friends at YTRRC and two MNR members on bikes a total of 26 people completed the 20th JK. There have been many years when you could count the runners on one hand taking part in this annual event, so it was a bit f a shock for Wynford Eagle having this many runners invading the peaceful village.
After a brief description of the route given by the chair and it was over to Lord Wynford to get the race underway (but not before telling us he was still in touch with Johnny and he is impressed to hear the event was still held in his name).

I have always found the start of this race difficult, as it seems a bit of a cross between a social run and a race. The only plan I had of trying to stick with Dave C when he made his dash to leave everyone else behind at the start was out the window when Dave retired to riding his bike round the route due to a foot injury.
Without any real plan I found myself taking to the front of the pack with in a very short distance, fully expecting to be joined and probably over taken at the first of the many hills crammed in to the first 2.5 miles of this route. Apart from a few shouts to slow down from Pete Jakeman, it soon became very quiet. By the time I started to climb the second hill I was beginning to think there was some plan I was not part of and everyone else had turned round and head for the nearest pub. Hearing Dave C giving words of encouragement to someone (is that multi tasking, riding a bike and talking Dave) reassured me there was still a race going on.
Still out on my own heading for the last and the steepest climb on the route I took a quick look behind, to see Dave Webb in pursuit. Still not believing I could hold this position for much longer, I pushed on trying to reassure myself if I was hurting Dave had to be. Finally at the top and grabbing a much appreciated drink, I actually started think I had a chance of winning. Still not sure how far back Dave was or if he was on his own, it was the turn back towards Wynford before I dared to take another look. which confirmed it was just Dave about 100meter back. I knew I could not let up if I was going to stand a chance of collecting the coveted biscuit tin, which had not graced the England household for many years.

With just the long straight ahead followed by the steep down hill to the finish, I had convinced myself I could win this race. That was until Dave C arrived on his bike, looking for a bit of reassurance I asked “is he gaining on me or am I doing OK”. The reply came well this strong wind could catch either one of you out, it really depends which one of you wants it the most. These reassuring words NOT, were followed by right I am off to the finish to let events unfold with out my influence (Thanks Dave). One final check before starting down the hill to the finish confirmed Dave W had found the wind just as tough as I had and was not closing the gap. This did not stop me continuing as fast as my legs would let me to the finish line.

I know this has turned into marathon report but I can’t finish with out thanking everyone for making the effort to turn up to start our 25th celebration it great fashion, well done Mike for producing a perfect set of results and Jackie and team for provide the drink station. O and of course Dave C for providing the biscuits, one down side with having so many runners the tin was all but empty by the time I got it home.

2011 promises’ to be an interesting race, this years winning time was exactly the same as last years. Add to that other runners not saving them self for a marathon the next week, it should be an interesting race.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Exe to Axe

Sunday 4th April saw the Westgates at Exmouth for the start of the Exe to Axe but only one was running. After failing to finish last year, this year Richard failed to start. A sad case of pre-patellar bursitis. Although a major disappointment for Richard this had one great advantage for me: a chauffeur to the start. We arrived at Exmouth on a fine and sunny morning, and it was even warm – in the car. However a blustery northwest wind soon cooled things down. I set off at a very sensible pace, enjoyed a few conversations with passing runners and reached Budleigh Salterton to see Richard had found his way there and was taking photos. (This circumstance was not to be repeated). On to Sidmouth still sensibly walking the hills, although once the woods were reached there was no choice but to walk. The mud was thick, sticky or sloppy with deep puddles in every gateway. I enjoyed the run down into Sidmouth and, as last year overtook several runners leaving me with no-one to follow at the bottom – result a small detour along the road courtesy of directions from some cyclists. However I found the seafront, dodged hordes of pedestrians and reached the checkpoint. No sign of Richard.

The next bit was really hard, seemingly endless steps up and down, then some more muddy woods where we crushed vast quantities of wild garlic, and then down to Weston Mouth and the inevitable steps back up to the cliff top. On to Branscombe where I managed to eat half a bourbon biscuit, but found no one to follow. Last year I had got lost at this point and had spent much time worrying about it. (Still no Richard). However there were a few runners dotted about higher up and I found the steps, all 90 of them. Started to feel a bit tired now, but a glimpse of Seaton in the distance helped keep me going and I soon reached Beer and more unhelpful directions. Another climb and this time onto a tarmac path, luckily it had a grass verge for tired feet and knees. Then the final drop down the steps to the promenade, dodging the crowds again and onto the finish. This time Richard was there with the camera. He had been at Sidmouth and Branscombe but had only waited for the leading runners to come through!!. He’d also unintentionally filmed rather than photographed the finish. So watch this space, as I may be able to extricate some stills.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Bournemouth Rotary Club Quarter Marathon

Put off travelling to Brighton by the Bank holiday weather we needed a race to do this weekend, and found the perfect one in this fairly local quarter marathon. We had never done this distance before this year, and have now done two.

Its basically a 10k with an extra 550 metres, which in this case were mostly downhill. The weather looked a bit dodgy, but the rain actually held off until after the race, and the wind was not strong enough to be much of a factor. We started on the seafront a couple of hundred yards to the east of Boscombe pier and ran east along the seafront.

After the first 10 or so fast men had raced off I found myself at the back of a small pack of 4 runners, at least 2 of which were MV2s (over 50) like me. I hung on behind them until we came up off the seafront after the first 2 miles. Then dredged up enough energy to take the lead as we ran around the residential streets for a couple of miles before returning to Boscombe along the clifftop road. The lead runner in the chasing pack caught me up with over a mile to the finish and pushed me really hard as we ran almost shoulder to shoulder before the final downhill stretch where I was able to find a last vestige of remaining energy to pull away back down past the pier and then held on for a final "sprint" to the line. Very satisfying to finish like that - it could have gone the other way if he had overtaken me strongly at 5 miles Iwould probably have let him go. As it was, I had finished first in age-group, and a new PB by nearly a minute - very chuffed!

I received my goody bag and jogged back to the pier where Lin soon appeared, also faster than last time, and a good 4th position in a competitive ladies field.

Lin's bit:-

This race was just what our training called for to sharpen us up after a series of long, steady training runs.  The route was fairly flat with just one or two slight inclines and therefore no excuse for the pace to drop off.  However after a fast first mile (6.29) inevitably I did slow down as I concentrated grimly on trying to keep up with a female runner some 50m or so ahead of me.  I did start to reel her in but at mile 5 I suddenly started feeling sick to the point where I thought I might have to stop and throw up - what was that about?!!  Fortunately the feeling soon passed but so had any chance of catching up with my rival so I settled on trying to maintain a good pace.  I was hoping to get under 44 minutes but as I sprinted down the hill and turned back along the coast (with shouts of encouragement from Martin) I could see the clock at the finishing line and there was no way I could attain my goal - eventually crossing the line in 44.17.
Martin had clocked an excellent 40.35 (unofficial time) and was told that he finished 12th although the results have not been published yet.  Another great result for him which was rewarded by a bottle of champagne at the prize giving. My prize was one of the more unusual I have received - a voucher for an all day breakfast at "Bistro on the Beach" but only valid for Wednesday - Friday during April therefore ensuring that it will never be claimed!