Sunday, April 24, 2011

No Kidding! – Poole 5k Park Run - Sat 23 Apr 11

A bit dazed, I waited outside Chalk and Cheese. Lin and Martin whizzed through the village in their new race-mobile, early doors to ensure our arrival in Poole before the 9 am start. I think Martin was a bit dazed too, when he needed reminding that the boot was wide open when driving off.

It was a warm day, a classic sunny Saturday, with that relaxed excitement that is the weekend has arrived. On arrival, other runners were appearing onto the park in a deceptively lazy fashion, and 70 or so assembled towards the pavilion and start line.

It was a fast start, and Martin and Lin pulled away steadily. There were markers at every 2k, which made peacemaking an easy job. Passing the 2k marker after 4minutes, I wondered if I could get to 4k on 8mins... this continued, as the body was coaxed around the lake, swans and prams, following the other runners and then I started to kid myself that a sub 20 was on the cards. The repeated positive mantra of ‘I’m feeling strong and I’m in contention’ did the trick, as I managed to kick to the line to record 19.59, a close run thing and another PB! Martin was in, on 18mins dead, and Lin just after 19mins as the first lady.

These Park Runs are great. They’re in most cities, and are free, and are a fantastic way to feel great for the rest of the day. So Lin, Martin and I rewarded ourselves with a cooked breakfast at Boscombe, to at least address the healthy balance!

Lin added:
I'm sure Richard won't mind me adding a few words to his report - I really just wanted to reiterate that Park runs are a really great concept. Absolutely the best thing about them is that they take place every Saturday throughout the year (some enthusiasts even turned out on Christmas and New Year's Day in 2010) - so instead of having to fit in with when a race is on you can chose to do it any weekend which suits you. Martin and I plan to do some more of these during the summer - probably pretty much as often as we don't have a race on the Sunday and are happy to car share if anyone else wants to participate. All you have to do is register on line up until Friday night ( print off your bar code and present it at the finish. Not only are the races great but the results and stats that they provide are also excellent and are usually on line the same day. And it's a really fun way to kick off the weekend.

A First in Yeovil – Half Marathon - Sun 27 Mar 11

With the onset of British Sumer Time (BST), a 09.00 start poses a significant challenge in itself!  However, it does mean that those runners rising earlier were able to watch the start of the Australia Grand Prix.
40 minutes later, I stepped out into a crisp cold village street, crowned with a brilliant blue sky.  Once on the ridgeway road towards Yeovil , three recognisable cars collected behind a lone lorry – all efforts to reduce the club’s carbon footprint on email had clearly failed!

The start was behind Yeovil Town’s football stadium.  Runners funnelled around the sides, to be greeted by a teenage heavy rock band, banging away at full volume – how the hell did they make it up so early?

 The start was well organised and relaxed, and before we knew it, we were off around the northern housing estates of Yeovil, waking up to summer.  Given the time, many were out on the streets in curiosity, if not support.  It was great, even though I felt anonymous.  I took the clapping and cheering as if a Yeovil Town club runner anyway.  2-3 miles in, running down Mudeford Road into Yeovil, I heard an old boy turn to his wife ‘Amazing, and to think it’s only 8.20 in the morning’!

Through the town centre, around the roads to Penmill, and back through the yellow path towards Ninesprings, the crowds collected again.  My body was starting to hurt now, and then suddenly cry from the crowd shouted my name – Olivia from the club encouraging me on!  Overjoyed, I felt an electric charge radiate out of the top of my head, and suddenly there was a spring in my step, and the next few miles breezed by.  I Made a mental note - "If you are not running a race, go along and support."  You cannot underestimate how much your support is appreciated by those you know running!

Back to the race; it an attractive and interesting course, with a few hills, which should not pose problems to the Maiden Newton Runner.  Phil did warn about keeping some in the tank for the last 2 miles, and boy, was that good advice.  I was very pleased to cross the line 1hr and 38 and half minutes later (an official PB!) and awarded a medal that had 1st on it!

So to sum up, this was a great event and a bargain at £15 when the likes of Cardiff is £30 (and 130m short!!)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

London Marathon 2011

Sunday 17th April saw the Westgates in London for THE Marathon, and as usual only one of them was racing. Due to lack of annual leave we had to cram all the travelling into the weekend, arriving at the Excel centre about 2pm. Not sure why they can’t just send the number etc. But a cynic might say there is the chance to make vast amounts of money in return for the most meagre pre-race goody bag containing a small can of beer (which I don’t drink) and a men’s deodorant. We set off in search of our vastly over-rated B&B (without breakfast), and later met son plus girlfriend for a meal in Wetherspoons. Might not be haute cuisine, but at least you know what to expect. Had forgotten how bad the traffic was in London, although that was one of the reasons for moving away. Was also surprised to find that almost every shop along a continuous 10 mile route was selling food – either supermarket, small ethnic shop or take-away.

On Sunday morning we had our porridge (DIY version) and set off for the start. At this hour – 7.30am it was reasonably cool, and I left Richard to find a parking space while I found the Green start. I also found the toilet queue and spent the next half hour or more there, so never got to see any of the celebrities. Richard had turned up outside the fence to see me off. And ONE minute after the gun I was across the start line. The first few miles were at a steady 8.5 min/mile pace, but I soon realised that I wasn’t going to last at that pace. Whether it was the lack of long training runs or the rapidly increasing temperature, but I decided not to kill myself and slowed down. Also had in mind various events coming up and wanted to be in a fit state for them. Was pleased and surprised to hear a shout in Tooley Street and there was Richard with my spare drinks bottle. I’d also been taking on water at most of the drinks stations and paid for this a few miles later when I needed the portaloo and had to queue to use it!! It was good seeing most of the leading men heading back in the opposite direction near Shadwell. It was also good to have support along virtually every yard of the route, and the one thing that stands out is the noise of the crowd, the bands, the pubs etc. Tower Bridge was passed, Canary wharf and the Isle of Dogs and soon I was going back past the Tower of London, under various bridges and along the embankment. It was getting really hard by now and I was using my usual tactic of counting paces, lamp posts, banners etc. The 25 mile mark was a welcome sight and before long the 800m to go sign appeared. Unfortunately there was an increasing number of casualties from here, almost within sight of the finish. With 200m to go I heard the name of Matthew Pinsent being called, I looked round but couldn’t see him and finally crossed the finish line. Chip removal, goody bag, kit bag and meetings soon followed and it was all over.

Many times during the race I though “that’s it, never again” and when somebody stumbled into me I thought if I’m injured I won’t have to finish, but some sort of stubborn determination kept me going, although whether more marathons are going to happen is yet to be decided. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if I’d known the year so far was going to be so busy I probably wouldn’t have applied for this one, but having got the sub 4 hour time at the New Forest I thought it would be the only chance I’d get (for a guaranteed place on the green start). However it does show that training makes a difference.

Now that’s enough from me, perhaps Olivia would like to let us know about her much greater achievement of finishing her first marathon.

Monday, April 18, 2011


by Dave Webb
February was a quieter month on the racing front, but club members have been keeping busy in other ways. Some readers may remember that the club’s 2009 PR award for bringing the club into disrepute went to Jackie Webb, for her use of clear hand signals towards a runner who had slipstreamed her all the way then sprinted past just before the end of the race. Jackie felt that I should have warned her by shouting out ‘She’s behind you!’ Perhaps there was a pantomime performer lurking in there, for this year she made her debut in the Cattistock pantomime, slapping her thigh in the role of principal boy, to the entertainment of many of her clubmates. When she launched into the song ‘Give me some men, some stout-hearted men’ she was no doubt thinking of her running club colleagues.
Other club members have been concentrating on running, with Martin and Lin Lascelles doing what they like most, ie long cross-country runs involving lots of hills, no fixed route, map-reading and the chance to try out new pubs. So their race report for the ‘Blackdown Beast’, on the club’s blog page, began:
After thoroughly enjoying last year's inaugural 16 mile romp through the Somerset/Devon borderlands, (with 3 pubs and a Cornish Pasty/Mulled-cider stop), this event has been on our calendar for many months.  
If you are wondering what could possibly attract sane people to spend their weekends running through the mud, then you may be interested in a new feature for this column, where I attempt to answer some common questions about running.  This month’s question is ‘When is the best time of day to go running?’ Running magazines would probably quote all kinds of research studies into differential heart rates in the morning and evening, the influence of Circadian rhythms, and the need to replicate race conditions in your training schedule. For my part, I think the crucial issues are food and hygiene. If you don’t want to spend all day wondering if it’s long enough since your last meal to go running, and if you only want to have one shower per day, then I suggest you go running in the early morning, after  a reviving mug of tea. I sought an alternative answer from local sceptic and armchair critic, Mr Les Knott-Bother, who replied that there is no right time of day to go running, and it is best never to go above walking pace.
I now need to turn to the thorny question of unlicensed runners. There have been a number of recent sightings of people out running on the local lanes and tracks. I regret to say that some of these people are not known to Maiden Newton Runners and are therefore running without a licence!  Being more serious, we are a friendly group and welcome anyone who would like to come along to a meeting or to one of our social runs, on a Tuesday night at 7pm or on the 2nd Thursday of each month for a run at 7pm and our meeting at 8pm. We now have a club email address (as well as our own website, facebook page and blogspot) which is so anyone who is interested can email us for more information.
In the coming month there is a new race on the local calendar, the Yeovil Half-Marathon on 27 March. This event begins and ends at the Yeovil Town football stadium. Several hundred runners are expected to turn out (a record crowd for Yeovil Town?!), including a good representation from Maiden Newton Runners, provided we do not succumb to age, injury or infirmity beforehand.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Johnny Kipps

Another missed lie-in on Sunday morning as Martin and I headed over to Wynford Eagle at 9.15 to run round the course ahead of the race. Our marathon training called for a long run (20m) today so we were compromising by doing 12 miles, not racing but throwing in marathon target pace miles on the "flat" bits. The plan was to save plenty of energy for the first Yeovilton 5k on Wednesday evening.

The first lap was completed according to plan and we arrived back at Wynford Eagle to find a record attendance eagerly awaiting the start. It was absolutely fantastic to see so many people there, friends from Yeovil, neighbours desperate to curry support for the Sydling Fun Run (18th September - please be there or I'll be in trouble with Di!) not to mention a total of 14 Maiden Newton Runners.

Phil had decided to give the rest of us a chance and also to allow his knee to make a full recovery - after his briefing, Lord Wynford kindly started the race, after assuring us that he is still in touch with Johnny Kipps, who is delighted to know that the race named in his honour not only still takes place but is growing in popularity each year.

As Martin Chaffey had managed to resist stopping off at the car boot sale en route from Yeovil this year we were able to start promptly at 10.30am and as usual Dave Carnell set off at a breakneck pace with Dave Webb hot on his heels in pursuit whilst the rest of us adopted a more leisurely pace. Martin and I settled into our race plan and headed up the hill, running with Richard Blackmore initially, and discussing which of the Dave's we thought would be victorious.

Well the thing with race plans is that you never know how you're going to feel on the day and sometimes you just get carried away by the moment. It was one of those days for me and as we climbed steadily upward I decided that it was time to drop Richard so I upped the pace a little expecting Martin to come with me. By this time Dave Webb had taken the lead and as we continued to climb I found Dave Carnell coming back to me pretty quickly. Martin had obviously decided to stick with the plan so I was a bit worried about how much trouble I would be in later.

As I reached the top of the hill where Jacky was, as usual, kindly "manning" the water station I caught Dave up, so I thought I may as well see if I could psych him out by passing him - that seemed to work pretty well. I was suffering the odd pang of guilt about not sticking to Martin's race plan but then I thought the hell with it - there are 6 Yeovilton 5ks but only one Johnny Kipps, why save my energy?

I was expecting Dave to come back past me at any moment or for Martin to catch me but in the mean time I was enjoying myself so much I decided to stick with the pace. Phil and John were both out on their bikes and gave me some encouragement as they passed me. In fact Phil's detailed information about who was doing what behind me meant I didn't have to display any weakness by turning round to see for myself what was going on!

As I reached the downhill stretch Phil informed me that Martin was gaining on me and then zoomed off leaving me to it. I risked a quick glance or two back as I went down the steepest part, if Martin was going to catch me anywhere it would be here, but as the road levelled out he was still behind me and I sprinted to the line with Charlie's great support and encouragement spurring me on.

Martin finished pretty close behind me, followed by the two Daves, Dave Webb having won that battle, and gradually the rest of the field finished. It was great to see Richard Rider's strong sprint finish and Mike also had a very good run finishing just ahead of Pete. In total there were 29 competitors, even with several members missing due to injury or a certain prominent event next weekend. Results are up at:

Poole Park Run

On Saturday morning Martin and I were up at the crack of dawn (well for us anyway) to drive over to Poole for the new Park run event which started last weekend. For those of you who don't know about Park Run, they are free timed 5k time trails which take place all over the country at 9am every Saturday morning ( We've done a few on our travels but were absolutely delighted to hear that finally we have one right on our doorstep.

It was a beautiful sparkly morning, and as we jogged around warming up people began to assemble in front of the cricket pavilion where the race was due to start. The race director gave a brief description of the course and promptly at 9am we set off.

The route consists of two anti clockwise laps of the lake with a final loop around the oval in front of the cricket pavilion at the end. Neither of us were feeling particularly sprightly after another week of hard marathon training but we set off with our usual optimism. I was a bit worried to find myself fairly close behind Martin for the first 1km - I can never judge my pace so I knew that either I was going too fast or he was having a bad run (it turned out to be the latter) neither of which was a good thing.

By the time we reached the far side of the lake he started to pull away from me and I also got overtaken by another female runner. As there was a junior ahead that dropped me into third place in the ladies race - and that was where I stayed. First lap was completed pretty much on target pace but the second lap started to take its toll on my legs and my pace dropped off slightly. I was gaining on the junior ahead of me who had gone out very fast and was obviously paying the price in the latter stages of the race. On another day, without Johnny Kipps and the first Yeovilton 5k ahead of me, I might have killed myself trying to overtake her but for today I was happy to cross the line in 19.23 and third place.

Martin had finished 7th overall but was very disappointed with his time of 18.46 - I reminded him that it was only 6 days after a hard half marathon, which was also going to be my excuse until we discovered that the winner today had finished in a little over 15 minutes and coincidentally had also won the Bournemouth Bay Half a week earlier in 1.12! With our excuses blown we decided to console ourselves by slinking off to the Reef Encounter in Boscombe for a well earned breakfast.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Bournemouth Bay Half Marathon and 10k

This was probably the biggest race around these parts that we have never got around to entering before, probably because it coincides with a couple of other very good races - the Exe to Axe, and the Taunton Marathon and half-Marathon.

Anyway, we finally did it, and showed up on the day extra early as a result of having lost track of which of the number/chips belonged to whom. We had visions of standing in giant queues for the information desk, and having to pin on numbers and attach timing chips as we ran to the back of the crowd at the start. As it turned out, it we needn't have worried, the race was extremely well-organised, and the well-staffed information desk took only seconds to check our numbers.

We then had plenty of time to explore the Pier area where most importantly, the main loos were situated. This was also where the races (all 4 of them ) were to start from. First to get under way was the 10k, in which new member Dave B had entered, so, after taking care of business, we went to the 10k start line to find Dave. His knee had been playing up, so there was some doubt whether he would be there, able to compete, but he was, although the knee was no better. He was gamely, some would say unwisely, racing, in the hope that the knee would at least hold up and not slow him down too much from his target 4k/minute pace. We wished him well, and returned to the car to get out of the cold, and rest a while before returning to the promenade for our warmup, and the rest of our pre-race routine.

The race start time approached, and we made our way to the start line, where we met Yeovil's star veteran runner, Paul Rose, who was doing a last sharpening race before the London Marathon. Then at 10:30 sharp, the race got under way, a fast start, along the promenade for half a klick, then sharp right up a surprisingly steep and long hill to the road that wound around the 3 Chines before a sharp drop back on to the promenade for a 6 mile dead flat

Lin was focused on the female competition which as far as we could see consisted of an extremely slender and fit looking young woman in black, and a strong-but less svelte one in a white top. The latter sped off at a rapid pace which we could not have hoped to maintain ourselves, so we let her pull away, and Lin concentrated on keeping pace with the slim girl. I was focussed on maintaining a dead even pace, and also finding the straightest possible path around the Chines, up pavements and grass-verges, using all the available road to cover the least distance and save the maximum energy that I knew I would need later to keep up with Lin.

After we returned to the promenade we were running with whatever slight wind there was behind us, as was the early ladies leader. We were exactly on my target pace of 6:30/mile, however Lin could not resist racing the other girl, so, not wanting to risk blowing up I let them both go, slowly opening up a gap of 40 yards or so before I saw Lin pull away into a clear lead. I then started gaining on the second lady and caught her up at about 5 miles. I ran with her for a mile or so, as Lin continue to pull away from both of us, but then saw that the pace had dropped to 6:40, so I decided to take a chance, and put my foot down a bit along the remaining mile or so of flatness before the route came up from the beach and into the residential streets of Southbourne.

I put in a 6:25 mile, and almost caught up with Lin before we came up off the beach, then did catch up at the first of several sharp bends around the housing estate. We both looked back as we made the turn, to see the woman in black too close for comfort. But I sensed that Lin was struggling, although she kept up with me for a couple of miles until we returned to the coast at which point I gradually dropped her along the cliff-top road that led back to Boscombe. This is definitely the most testing part of the race, into the prevailing wind, and although visually flat, rising imperceptibly so the pace slowed and I was starting to feel pretty tired, and finding it hard to maintain the concentration without which the pace would drop even more. However once I reached the end of the cliff road, just before the steep drop to the beach, I looked back and saw Lin only 100 yards back, with the other girl no closer to her than before, and felt that I could stop worrying about her, and concentrate on catching up a few of the men in the race, and hopefully get ahead of any MV50s still in front of me.

A swoop down past Boscombe Pier, then on to the seafront for a final 2k. I was gaining on a pair of guys, one of whom looked like he might be over 50. I pulled even with about a mile to go, then bided my time until a kilometer to go when I made my final push for the line, and beat him by over 10 seconds. Unfortunately the first MV50 ws a further 7 seconds ahead of me! Maybe I could have caught him too, but I didn't think he looked old enough to be in my age-group. Looking young is a useful trait if you want to win age group prizes. A better one is to actually be a faster runner than all the other old guys!

However, I was happy with my performance, finishing in a respectable 1:25:42. And of course I was happier still to look back and see Lin crossing the line, less than a minute behind me, and winner of the ladies race, albeit a scant 15 seconds ahead of her young challenger. Her third win in a row, four if you count her first overall age-graded at the Grizzly!

Dave had finished the 10k in a disappointing 41:40, having struggled with his knee problem, hopefully it will respond to a bit of rest, but he is gamely planning to do the Johnny Kipps next week, you can't keep a good runner down!

After our race, we tried out the post-race massage which was probably the reason why our legs feel so good the following day. Then we repaired to our favourite Bournemouth area restaurant (Cafe Boscanova in Boscombe) for a celebratory lunch before we made out way through the maze of roads that is Bourmemouth and back to West Dorset.

Once home, the results were soon available online. There were about 1400 entrants in each of the main races, its easy to see why it is so popular. To summarise, a good race, well organised, with good facilities, and plenty of atmosphere. Also in aid of a very good cause, the British Heart