Sunday, August 15, 2010

Maiden "Newten" Madness

(Link to full results: )

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The weather on Saturday morning was sadly reminiscent of 2008 when the race took place in a continual downpour but happily by mid morning the rain had ceased, the sky cleared and the sun even broke through once or twice. Although there was the constant threat of more rain it did hold off for the duration of the race.

Numbers were disappointingly lower than last year but those runners who did make the journey to Maiden Newton all seemed to enjoy the race and hopefully will return next year bringing their club mates with them. First runner home and first V40 was Tony Chutter of Bournemouth AC in a time of 40.40 with unattached runner Martin Hewlett hot on his heels in 40.57 to take second. In third place was Mark Pittaway of Royal Manor of Portland, a staunch supporter of the Madness over the last few years and always in the prizes. Mark took the second V40 prize home tonight.

In fourth place overall and collecting the first V50 prize, was Crewkerne Runner Clive Harwood, an excellent achievement considering that he is only a month short of his 60th birthday - a date eagerly awaited by all other local male vet 50's who may actually then get a chance to win a category prize! Maiden Newten Runner, Martin Lascelles, finished in 5th place and took the 2nd V50 prize. Another Crewkerne Runner, Simon Land was second senior home in 43.11 and 6th place overall.
Although there wasn't a V60 category, Yeovil's Pete Jakeman was the first 60 year old over the line, astonishingly managing to clock exactly the same time as last year - 45.26. Bet he can't do that a third year in a row but if he does I think a special award should be ready for him!

In the ladies race, Maiden Newton Runner's Lin Lascelles finished in first place in a time of 45.33 taking the first V40 prize with Dorset Doddler's Lynda Faulkner finishing a close second in 46.13 and taking second V40. The first senior lady home was Nicky Whitley of Egdon Health Harriers in 52.07 with Jacqui Pittaway of Royal Manor of Portland taking second in 56.09.

Both first and second V50 prizes went home with Egdon Heath Harriers - Gail Coverley (52.30) and Frances Anderson (54.18) respectively and indeed as far as the ladies race went it was a night when experience certainly counted with nine out of the first ten ladies all being vet runners.

Maiden Newton Runners is a small club and once again relied heavily on non running volunteers to help marshal and organise the event to it's usual high standard, largely thanks to Club Chairman Phil England who might have enjoyed a rest in the last week having competed successfully in an Ironman distance triathlon the preceeding weekend. Thanks also to Phil's long suffering wife, Jackie and the rest of his family who all get roped in to help out on the evening.

Andy Staples - Maiden Newton Runner

Dan Cantrell - Maiden Newton Runner

Egdon Heath Harriers were great supporters of the race as usual

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Haytor Heller

Sat 17th July saw the Westgates at the 25th Haytor Heller. Unusually this year it was held on a Sat evening and what a lovely evening it was. The race starts halfway up the steep slope of Haytor and you really want to pace it gently at the start. I thought I had started conservatively but as I got to the top my sphincter was certainly giving me some cause for concern; a mishap at this early stage would surely have been most unpleasant. Anyway things soon passed, I mean got better and I was pleased to glide past Lin. Soon we were into some very enjoyable fast downhill where I just wanted to fly.

Further into the race and on the climbs I expected Lin to come back past but I didnt see her again untill the finish. During the very narrow downhill bendy bit through the tall gorse the runner in front went down like a sack of spuds but within a second like a wounded wildebeest he was up and running again before I could go past him; very impressive.

Everything seemed to go fast and before I knew it I had finished posting my 2nd best time. About 1 min later Lin came flying through the finish and didn't stop. The lady on the T shirt desk looked at me quizically and I shrugged my shoulders as Lin dissapeared into the distance. Maybe the race was too short for her and she fancied a couple of extra miles.(in fact as we subsequently learned she was having a Paula experience! (Ive heard it said a laxative the night before and immodium in the morning helps).

Back in the clubhouse I asked Martin if he had won anything; "Well yes actually 1st MV55." Martin asked Lin if she had won anything. "Well I think 1st FV45." Lin asked if I had won anything. "Well 2nd MV55 perchance." Turning to Lesley I enquired politely if she had won anything. Glowering under a mane of unruly hair "a PB but bugger all" she spat.

Haselbury Trail

Wed. 4th Aug saw the Westgates at the Haselbury Trail Race. Once again blessed with fine weather although at times the wind was strong enough for me to draught behind a large bloke.It's reassuring to know that some things in life remain the same; there's the same field where a herd of cows threaten to charge the unwary runner as he threads his way down to the gate. Another hazard was the bright sun low in the sky blinding even through sunglasses as we picked our way up the stony track. (Lesley came well prepared with a peaked cap which solved the problem, however she thinks she left the favourite cap in the clubhouse)
After the initial downhill charge I settled into a reasonable pace without pushing too hard. My target and rival Paul Chadwick went on ahead. It took some time to catch him and on a grassy downhill I changed gear, went past and gradually built a 53 second lead by the finish. My next target became Pete Jakeman who for a couple of miles was only 3 places ahead. Off road suits me and I thought I would have enough advantage to catch him but he kept up a very strong pace. Towards the finish two youngsters (probably under 16) went past putting 5 runners between us. Pete might be fairly ancient but he can certainly show a clean pair of heels!

Thanks to Ironman Phil for cheering us on at various places; it does make a difference even on a short race like this. My 47:18 was my 2nd best in several attempts. Lesley's 55:15 was her best. Also present were Martin and Lin both recording good times 43:14 and 45:29 respectively earning 1st M vet 50 and 2nd F prizes. Martin's time a bit slower than in 2004 when he posted 42:37 finishing 12th although he was 9th this year. Overal another good race and I think everyone mentioned enjoyed it and were pleased with the results.

Sidmouth Festival Run

After a late sat. dinner, some beer and wine sund. 8th aug. saw the westgates up at the crack of dawn catching up on the washing up, watering, weeding and blogging before setting off for sidmouth. fortunately the race started at 11am and the journey was covered in under 50 mins.

Another beautiful clear morning with fine views along the coast and out to sea. the gardens looked immaculate as ever and as the tide was out families were already on the sand. some might say the only eyesore were the swarm of yellow and black swrr vests as the club was out in force - eventually winning both mens and womens team prizes!
As usual most of us started up the hill at a steady pace while a few hardy souls hared off in an effort to be 1st man or lady to the top for a prize. i clocked the first K at over 7 mins and went through 2K at 12 mins+. ahead of me were two club colleagues lewis jones 60+ and karen cook both of whom who i rarely beat. keeping them in sight as targets i worked fairly hard and the average pace per K came down below 5.5 mins. it was pretty warm and at the water stations i poured two cups over my head while grabbing a 3rd to drink. with the end in sight i was suddenly behind karen as she slowed on the steps through woods. however as we went back onto the road and then the grassy hill to the finish no matter how hard i tried she stayed 1 sec ahead.

Afterwards we were going to paddle and picnic but unfortunately we had to wait for the prizes and the parking ticket was running out. you guessed it, lesley of maiden newton harriers as john perrott put it got 1st F 55.

Shave Cross

Sat 7th Aug saw the Westgates at the 62nd Shave Cross. Another glorious sunny evening ideal for running and great for the bbq, lamb roast,skittles,tombola etc. A 10 foot strip around the field had been harrowed which proved a bit awkward for the unwary runner. After a few laps warming up I knew exactly which line to take and from the start I kept Dave Carnell in my sights. Out onto the road I was behind Dave but going up the first hill he passed two runners and then opened up as he stretched out downhill. I kept plugging away and after the water station was about 20 secs and 1 place behind.
At the end of the road section I was alonside Dave but knowing his potentially blistering finish I knew I had to push on. Dave said he had a bit of a stitch or was it wind or just a ploy? I said i wasn't pushing it as Lesley and I were racing at Sidmouth in the morning. Bluff and double bluff. Back onto grass I eased ahead and stayed in front even on the steep downhill field. Into the final field I had a reasonable gap and turning the corner towards the finish I was certain Dave's challenge was over and I relaxed. 5 seconds later I realised with horror that the gap was closing and my arms and legs went into emergancey sprint mode. The finish was getting closer and closer and so was Dave and with shouts and cheers ringing out we collapsed over the line. A photo finish at 33:55 but I might have got it by a short whisker.
Lesley and I had planned to go to the pub on the way home but got delayed by the prize giving. Although she was 2nd lady there was no prize for this category but she did get an embarrassingly large cup and trophy for 1st lady vet. (40:21 a PB)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sturminster Half Marathon

Apologies to Lesley and Richard for bumping their post off the top so abruptly, but I had to get this one in today or I know I'll let it slide. Also somebody might be doing a post on the Haselbury Trail race coming up this Wednesday (hint hint).

Just to set the scene, and get my excuses in up front, when Lin and I entered this race we were both going for a really good time and so planned to be taking it easy for the week leading up to it (after the Blackdown Beauty which was 8 days before, and not run at any pace - apart from the section to the first pub!). Then we heard about Axe Valley's Highways and Skyways Recce run the Sunday before which we couldn't miss - 14 miles and several thousand feet of climbing...

So my legs were definitely still a bit fried when we lined up at the start. I assume that Lin's were too, but we were still hoping for the best. My plan was to run two 40 minute 10ks, then a 4:24 for the last 1.1k which would have given me a PB. Lin was aiming for a 6:50 pace which would be just under 1:30, and a post broken-hip best by about 4 minutes.
We met up with Jackie, and soon after Dave appeared, but no time to chat, because we still needed a bit more warming up. Jogging down the hill from the start we were helpfully informed that the start was back that way by a couple of people. Perhaps they thought we were sneaking a head start which, as it turned out, was the only way I would be getting a PB this day.

Back to the start line, and a quick chat with Nick Brooke and Richard Boulter from Yeovil Town, both V50 rivals who would be tough competition. Nick had stuffed me out of sight (literally) over a similar distance at the start of the Wessex Ridgeway relay a couple of months back, and Richard had finished 6th at the Seaview 17 (actually more like 20) last Sunday - which easily cancels out my excuse BTW.

10:30 arrived and so we were off! A nice easy downhill start which soon turns into a slight uphill, and the first complaints from my legs muscles - I must have gone off too fast? But no, exactly on target pace, and Lin was still ahead of me! This was not a good sign. But I pressed on, overtaking first Lin, then Nick and maintaining speed through the slightly undulating first 3 or 4 miles,. I was imagining that I had left Nick well behind, but then he appeared, smoothly passing me on an uphill section, and I had to work hard to stay with him for another mile or two before realising it was futile. As he steadily pulled away I heard a little voice in my head telling me to drop back and run with Lin, but I ignored it and carried on pushing as hard as possible, gradually losing ground and hope of a decent time. Had I realised how close behind Lin was it might have spurred me on, although I didn't have much left at this point.

Another couple of miles dragged by, then a group of runners reeled me in, which included a fresh-looking Richard who cheerfully informed me that Lin was just behind. This was a very welcome bit of news which made me feel better because at least I could vicariously enjoy Lin's success, even if I was finding it increasingly hard to enjoy the race itself.
Richard and his group moved off into the distance, and then I heard the pitter-pat of little feet. No it was not Lin, but a tiny female runner with a Dorset vest - false alarm. A bit further, then into the last mile, and finally, the better half (she hates that expression - because it implies she and I are of equal size?) herself pulled alongside, and we ran together, both pushing hard, and too knackered to waste energy with even an attempt at conversation.

Our friend Jill greeted us as we turned on to the road for (at last!) - a brief downhill to the entrance to the field and the finish. Lin by now had opened up a slight lead, but I put her in her place with a tottering sprint to the line. Might as well enjoy beating her, even if by only a second, at the rate she is improving, she'll be beating me easily from now on.

Dave finished soon after, but unfortunately I missed him because I was back at the car chugging my protein recovery drink which I had reconstituted from a freebee sachet from the Big Sur Marathon Expo a couple of years ago, wish I hadn't bothered, it tasted foul. It took a while to get back to the finish area (half of the time taken up removing our pressure socks) to pick up an absolutely delicious Honeybuns cake and a t-shirt in a nice pale grey.

By now the horror of the ordeal had faded, and I enjoyed a pleasant relaxing cup of coffee and chat with Jill, Gareth, Pete and Ian before the prize-giving where Lin picked up her prize for finishing 4th female - in a very strong field - a great result.
A bit more chatting with a pair of fellow running couples Dawn and Jon, then Flora and Nick, then we were off home to Sydling. A celebratory drink at the pub is in order this evening I think!