Reports 2016 - Ravens Runners London

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Race Reports for 2016
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30-12-16
My final race of 2016 – a 10k round Greenwich Park (just for a change). I say that but actually the route had changed, or at least it was not how I remembered  it – I thought, coming up the hill second time round, the rest of the race would be on the flat at the top of the park and I pushed as hard as I could, thinking I could just keep things ticking over for the last quarter of the race. Sadly, this was not the case and the last lap down and up pretty much killed me off. Having done the first half in 24.15, I crossed the line in 49.44.   At least that gives me something to aim at on 15 January, when there is another race on the same course….unless they change it again, or I forget where I am going!
Alex Anderson
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30-12-16
WITHAM BOXING DAY 5M
I trained hard for the above by eating and drinking solidly for 2 days.  Despite this, I felt pretty comfortable and got round in a PB of 30.06, my highest ever WAVA score.  Beaten by about 7 seconds for the V50 spot. The V50 winner suggested I might run a bit faster if I was a bit thinner.  I thought that was quite brave of the little weed.
Robin McCoy
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30-12-16
I ran the Buntingford 10m yesterday, my first ten miler.  It was a tough course with quite a few hills!  Managed to finish in 61 mins but still awaiting the official results.
Alex Hardy
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30-12-16
Ilford Cross Country 10 Mile
I ran a 10 mile cross country race yesterday in Hainault Forest which was organised by Ilford AC.  Wore my new Ravens vest in a race for the first time.  Really well organised by the Ilford folk – well marked course and some lovely looking treats available afterwards (which unfortunately I couldn’t afford – I blame the parents – see below).  This was only my second cross country race, and I have enjoyed both of them.  It was muddy in sections and frozen in others but apparently nothing like last year where in places it was up to the knee in mud. A great course which  was 3 laps of 3.33 miles.  There were some fantastic hills which you could zoom down and then struggle slowly back up again.  Third time round I found the hills a bit of a struggle but recovered fairly quickly when things flattened out. I felt I paced it pretty well, staying with the same group throughout and managing to lose a couple of people.  I came a cropper at one of the gates which you had to hurdle when the guy just in front of it made it over the gate and then four people on horses insisted they had the right of way so I had to stand still for about 20 seconds while the four horses slowly walked over before I could continue.  I never caught the guy in front!  Made a bit of a hash of the finish.  There were two runners with me and I tried to push the pace with about three quarters of a mile to go in an attempt to lose them.  Instead they picked up the pace with me and were sitting just behind and then they breezed past me with a couple of hundred metres to go and my legs weren’t willing to keep going.  Wish I had left it to half a mile from the end to start the charge as I might have been able to hang on for that distance - lesson hopefully learnt. Finished in 1.11.28 which I was pleased with.  Wasn’t sure what to aim for beforehand as haven’t run much cross country and didn’t know the course but was pleased with a new ten mile record knocking about 2 minutes off of my previous PB.  Finished 22/129 overall and 9/16 in age category.

Saw a couple of Ravens over there; finished just behind Dervish Bartlett (1.11.15) who I hadn’t met before but recognised his name from the results sent round and said hello – nice guy.  He was a fair way in front but with the late burst the group of three I was part of I think gave him a bit of a scare but he picked up the pace and held on.  Mr Catton was stewarding and did a fine job of it with both warnings (“watch the ankles” in the frozen areas and something along the lines of “go Ravens”. On a down note, parents…  Ma and Pa had come to watch and took my two boys for a walk in the forest during the race along with my bag (including a jumper, phone, wallet, food, drink!).  They asked for anticipated finish time so they could cheer me over the line, but alas they lost track of time and then actually got lost (not quite sure how) and didn’t arrive until 2 hours after I had finished so I had to stand in short shorts and a Ravens vest for 2 hours in a cold field until they arrived back – pretty demoralising and a big waste of time.  My sister ran as well so by the time they came back we were both pretty chilly and fed up!  This behaviour was not out of the ordinary.  I think they owe me an extra Christmas present.
John Crawley
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16-12-16
Southend Rudolph Run
Yesterday I lined up for the annual Southend Rudolph run. This is a 5 mile race partly on Southend Seafront and partly on the Southend Parkrun course. It is always seen as a fun run - Christmas fancy dress is encouraged so there were plenty of Santa’s, elves and snowmen plus bizarrely one Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters – guess they had run out of Snowman outfits. Run went very well for me, headwind was tough from mile 1 to mile 3 but just went with the idea of enjoying the run and not looking at my watch at all. Was pleasantly surprised to finish in 36:42, 55th overall out of 445 finishers. Bit slower than 2015 time but not bothered with that. Usual good array of goodies at the end – Xmas puddings, mince pies, lots of chocolate. It’s good fun race to do and definitely one not too take seriously.
Andrew Ferguson
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16-12-16
Southern Counties Masters xc Champs
On Saturday I raced the Southern Counties Master xc Champs at Horspath near Oxford. I ended up coming 3rd M55 which I was really pleased with considering the various injuries/niggles I have since Sept, even a month ago I was unable to run let alone race. Unfortunately I was racing in a combined M50, M55 & M60 race and because we did not have age groups numbers on our back, or even different coloured numbers on our fronts, there was no way of telling what age group someone was in. This meant that throughout the race I had no idea where I was in the M55 category. I managed to pull away from Keith Newton over the last mile and also managed to overtake 3 guys in the last 400m or so after we had come out of the woods, the last guy in the last 100m which is always satisfying. It turned out that one of the guys I had overtaken was in my age group and I had moved from 4th to 3rd to get the bronze medal. Also I was only 4 secs behind the 2nd M55 and only 14 secs behind the 1st M55, which sounds close but at the time even if I had known that they were in my age group I could not have caught them. That was my last serious race of 2016 (I have the usual Christmas and New Year Parkruns but they are just for fun) and was a good way to end the year.
Mick Bridgeland
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8-12-16
Kent Masters XC – Dartford
Good to see a few Ravens out on Saturday in Central Park Dartford for the Kent Masters XC champs. Myself, Luke and Andy T ran the M50 race at 11am. Luke acquitted himself very well in coming 10th, whilst Andy and I 'got round' so to speak! Andrew Mercer was 4th in the later M40 race. Vicky was there in a marshalling/supporting role. The course itself is about as dull a XC country course as you can imagine - 4.5 loops around football pitches and a bit of field. Largely flat with a few minor inclines/declines and a lot of twisting and turning.
Marcus Elwes
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8-12-16
It was certainly more cross field than cross country!  It does appear councils have forgotten who public green spaces are for.   Its fine for dogs to use these areas as a toilet but not for tax payers to use it to run on??  Having suffered from man-flu leading up to the event I was not prepared mentally for sticking with the lead group and settled early on for leading the 2nd group. Always disappointing to finish 4th but I could easily have lost 2 or 3 places in the last 200m and the lead group were some way ahead so generally pleased.  There will be another band of really competitive runners hitting 40 next year (Julian Randall for example) so will be even more competitive in 2018!
Andrew Mercer
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8-12-16
SOUTH ESSEX CROSS COUNTRY -  ROUND 2
Pleased to see that the Essex based Thrift Green Trotters managed to produce a properly hilly course for the above at Thorndon Park.  Not entirely sure of the distance, 7k I think, but delighted to come in 19th out of 378  in 28.24 and help Billericay win 1st place.  Also spotted, Vicky. Simon LM, Derv, Dave Butler & Ian George.  I kept looking for Ian ahead, but astonished to finish ahead of him.  Also the first time I haven’t been chicked in about 10 years!
Robin McCoy
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8-12-16
Well done Robin. That was a great run. I really love the course at Thorndon Park as it has a good mix of everything. I decided to try a different tactic and go a little easier for the first mile and then try and pick my way through the field. Essentially this worked very well as I actually felt strong all the way through the race as opposed to going off way too hard and then just suffering the whole way round. The only problem with this is that you do get held up trying to get past other runners. I finally came home in 32nd place after starting around half way back, however me and another club mate managed to take a wrong turn as we were coming through the woods near the end. We had lost the runner ahead and just had no idea what direction to run as the paths were all covered in leaves. Really enjoyed the run yesterday though which makes a nice change. Well done to all the other Ravens who ran and also thanks to Phil Priest for the support.
Ian George
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8-12-16
I also ran and came in 73rd somehow Rochford RC came in 2nd in league 2 not a bad effort as we had our clubs Xmas party the night before and most of them were still sozzled in the morning. A good tough course to clear the head and  saw a few Ravens.
Gary Pitman
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8-12-16
I was reasonably pleased with 27th. Someone decided to crash into our car on the way, no one was hurt, but I only had time for a 5 minute warm up.
Simon LeMare
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8-12-16
I don’t hold much hope out for Barking as we don’t have sufficient fast female or male runners to truly compete.  It was a beautiful day for it, a more challenging course than Dartford but not our worst. The gates were particularly annoying.  Single file in some places made it impossible to pass but it’s a good course and very runnable.  I flew downhill but on the last uphill had run out of steam and was overtaken by an EET lady who was being “run in” by a fellow club runner.  I had nothing left and came home in 18th.  I’m usually a top 10 placer so don’t know if there was a stronger field or if I was a bit rubbish on the day.  I’m not disappointed though, given I ran a marathon two weeks ago and would not have run had we had a stronger team.
Vicky Cooper
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8-12-16
I came in 62nd which I was happy with in my third comeback XC race. Just got to make sure I carry on trying to make steady progress and not get carried away! The course, as others have said, is a very good traditional XC course though pretty dry at the moment so no mud to plough through to speak of. A chilly day but lovely weather for running. Well organised and hosted by Thrift Green.
Dave Butler
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8-12-16
I am really glad to be doing XC this year and I ran in a local XC league on Sunday, it is a 5 race league between Harlow RC, Bishop’s Stortford RC, Saffron Striders, Hoddesdon Tri Club and Ware Joggers though anyone in a RC can run. This was the first race held in Harlow.  It was a really good 5 mile course going through a stream to start we then did a loop around a field with a short hill before going back through the stream and heading up a steady hill to a wooded area which we ran round twice this included a short steep mound that we had to run up, we then headed back down the way we had come and went through the streams doing the first loop in reverse before running back to the finish. As usual I went off like a steam train partly because I got told to get to the stream quickly to avoid the bottle neck (though I probably would have done this anyway) and was in second place for a mile or so before the faster people started to catch me.  Felt good up until the end of the first lap of the wood before being left by the second group of runners and then I just had to hang on for the finish.  Managed to hold my pace for the most part and finished in 9th place in a time of 31.20ish. I was running for Hoddesdon Tri Club we had four runners in the top ten and first female but we didn’t have the depth of some of the other RC and although the results haven’t been confirmed yet I think B/S RC looked to have a lot of finishers in the top 20.
Alex Hardy
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2-12-16
Mo Run
I ran the Greenwich 10k charity MoRun yesterday which was 2 laps of an undulating course . My running has been a bit hit & miss lately due to work-loads but I was please to finish with a chip time of 43:37 (21:56 & 21:41 respectively).  46th/ <1,000 overall, 2nd V50 (by 8 seconds) and 1st (I believe) in fancy dress.!  Clearly not a serious race but most enjoyable with plenty of amusing shout-outs.
For those of you who are unsure I’m the one on the right - Capt. Jack Sparrow..!!  
Wesley Absolom
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2-12-16
I too took to the hills of Greenwich for this race (barely recognising Wes at the start, due to his excellent disguise!) I decided not to look at my watch and just run how I felt.  As a result, I went off too fast, covering the first half quicker than my time in March when I only had to do 1 lap. This left me facing an uphill battle (literally) to hang on for the second lap.   By the time I got to the final hill at 9k, I was really feeling the after-effects of Wednesday's XC (well, that's my excuse), but I managed to dig in for a 49.18 finish. High point: I beat my last 10k time (a comparatively flat jaunt round the Olympic Park) by more than 3.5 minutes. Low point: being overtaken by Wonder Woman. Hey ho! Wes, please thank the guy at the left-hand end of your photo for his support in the sprint to the finish line.
Alex Anderson
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2-12-16
Hatfield 5
Yesterday I ran the Hatfield 5 which is a Herts Championship race (I am not sure what this means… does the winner go on to represent the County?). It was my first ever 5 mile race on a flat course around Hertfordshire University and the Galleria just off the A1(M) as usual I went off too fast and was left hanging on at the end but this tactic has slowly started to pay off as I seem to be able to hold this pace for a little longer each time. I managed to finish 21st overall with a time of 29.01 and a chip time of 28.54, really happy with the result especially after the cross country on Wednesday but my legs feel very heavy this morning! The winner ran a phenomenal time of 24.55 (James McMurray) and apparently runs a sub 30 min 10k.
Alex Hardy
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2-12-16
ESSEX VETERANS XC
I ran the above 8K XC on Saturday, as did Dave Butler, Mick, Lee, Eamon Brown and Andy Catton, and lots of other old folk.  I set off well, until the course went round the perimeter of a small lake, and one of my shoes, with my brand new elasticated laces from Run Fast, came off.  This may be user error rather than the laces fault, so I will give them another go on Sunday’s XC at Thorndon. This all made me extremely cross, which resulted in me catching up all those who passed me whilst I was sat down.  In the circumstances I was pleased to finish 20th V50 in 34.42, although without the footwear malfunction I think I would have caught the 12th place runner, who I beat on the road last week.  I think Mick was in his tracksuit and on his 2nd cup of tea when I lumbered in.
Robin McCoy
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2-12-16
You must have been the baby of the field ?! Looked like you had a comfortable run after the great lace debacle. Well I ran part of it anyway. The stupid 45degree bank by the lake sparked off my sciatic/ hamstring trouble big time so forced to call it a day after just a mile. Mega p****d off. Rested up all last week in an attempt to make the start line. More Physio and more rest for a while. Or I may just hibernate until Spring ! :)
Andy Catton
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2-12-16
Crowborough 10k
A belated and quick report from the Crowborough 10k which I ran on Sunday.  This is a two lap course complete with ford that benefits from a long downhill section but provides plenty of payback in the form of a steep ascent back to the start / finish.  The race was started by Mara Yamauchi who then ran herself (41.49 gun) and had the decency to describe the course as "challenging"! This was the final race in the 2016 Sussex Grand Prix, and Wadhurst Runners entered knowing there was a chance of us winning the overall title.  I ran a steady race coming home in 68th place of out of 382 finishers, with a course pb for me of 43.42 chip / 43.50 gun. We now await all the calculations that go into working out the final SGP positions - I suspect we are going to have been knocked from our current top spot by one or more of the bigger clubs as they arrived at this race in numbers; pity but there's always next year 😊
Kevin  Cockram
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2-12-16
Bexhill "Poppy" Half Marathon 12.11.16
This weekend I ventured to Bexhill-on-Sea to run their "Poppy" Half Marathon, which is a little different to many half marathons, with its Saturday, 12.30, kick-off. You may have noticed my absence from Raven's lunchtime runs in recent weeks as work, knee and family issues have restricted my running somewhat and I haven't been able to do a stack of training.  However, I had a specific reason for wanting to run the Bexhill HM this year, whilst I also currently have half an eye on the fact that I have (unbelievably!) secured a place through the ballot for the 2017 London Marathon.  I therefore decided to head to the coast to give this race a whirl and see how things went. Conditions were wet and windy but not as bad as I had expected and following the two minute silence before the start, my race was (thankfully) a fairly comfortable, uneventful experience which saw me cross the line in 35th place out of around 580 finishers with chip/ gun times of 1.34.16 / 1.34.21. If you can ignore the relatively high entrance fee, this is quite a good event with real HM PB potential if the weather conditions are right.  To give the organisers their due with regard cost, as well as the charitable side of things, the event overall was pretty well run (the HM is the longest of several races held on the day), the finishers medal's were pretty chunky, there was a good spread of Jaffa cakes etc. at the end and there was an X Factor "someone or other" present to sing the National Anthem.............what more could you want for your £25.00? 😊
Kevin Cockram
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2-12-16
So for me this weekend saw the cross country season start properly. A wet and slightly muddy course awaited for the Kent league cross country race this Saturday held at our home course of Sparrows Den in West Wickham. It was our strongest team for a long time and a great club turn out. This resulted in me not even making the 12 to score team. Coming in 58th (14th Blackheath athlete). The race was won by our own Scott Overall but we still couldn't beat the strength of Tonbridge (inc Mr Mercer) to the team prize. Non the less happy with my run and good to be back in the mud. Sunday I lined up for the Beckenham Trail 10k charity race. This is a really nice local race with all the money going to a local hospice and the British Legion. After the last post at 11. The race starts. Found some of the hilly sections tough going with the day before in my legs but still came home in 8th in 37:59. This was the same position as last year but 1m 23secs quicker. This time would have put me in the top 3 last year. Race won by Peter Lighting of Kent AC in 34:25 ish. As Blackheath we did managed to take the team prize. So a bottle of wine for my troubles. And beat both my brothers.
Chris Tuck
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2-12-16
Epsom 10 mile 13.11.16
Yesterday I ran the above road race. The start was on Epsom Downs race course with the first mile down hill, the second mile was inevitably uphill but I was in the middle of a group of other runners which seemed to help. I pulled away from them at mile 3 but found tucking behind a runner and using them to pace me up the hills worked quite well. At mile 5 the course flattened out and things were going well until I tripped over a branch hidden by leaves and hit the deck. Since I was basically laying in road I scrambled up and kept going. Miles 8 and 9 were hilly again but the last mile was gently downhill and finished in the course grandstand. I finished slightly bloodied but with a pb of 85.55. Overall a well organised race with great marshals, no medal but a rather smart pen!
Donna Henry
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2-12-16
STEBBING 10 13.11.16
I ran the undulating Stebbing 10 on Sunday.  Gary (Pitman) was very gung ho about getting near the front, but was complaining about 3 late nights on the bounce and some biriyani issues. Having had a cold all week, I didn’t have any real plans. I set off brightly enough, with the first 2 miles in about 12.30.  I then had to stop for a pee (school boy error), which rather put paid plans to anything near a PB. Still, ran the last mile in 5.52 to overtake a lanky youngster in front of me to finish in 18th in  1.04.15 – pee adjusted, quite close to 2013’s 1.03.24! No sign of Gary at the end – I hope he didn’t expire on the course.
Robin McCoy
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2-12-16
After three nights on the sauce and two of those nights included late night curries a PB was out of the window. Went for it in the first mile the remaining 9 miles were tough going and I plodded home in 1:09. (Winner was James Caldon Benfleet RC 57:15)
Gary Pitman
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2-12-16
Beckenham 10k trail race - 13/11/2016
My first race report in 5 months.... Because my groin injury (from July) has still not fully cleared I signed up for this on the day, as booking in advance is tempting fate. It's two laps within Beckenham place park , very close to the Assembly league route but through woods, up hills and across fields. Very friendly and well organised too. Didn't know how I'd fare but I set off at roughly 4 min 20 per k and managed that pretty much throughout with a few quicker Ks on the downhills, slowing down a little over the last k where I was overtaken on the final uphill. Finished in 42 36 so was happy enough. Saw Chris Tuck at the start, but that was it, as he finished so far ahead of me.
Pleased to be back, and I hope I will be writing more of these reports soon.
Steve Glackin
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25-11-16
Inter Financial Services XC

To summarise.
Andrew Mercer 1st Vet.
Ravens came third.
Ravens vets also came third.

Firstly my apologies for not running in a Ravens shirt yesterday but business before pleasure unfortunately!  my race musings......
With road race type conditions it was set to be a fast race and as always there were some strong competitors.  As I continue to build strength following a 5 week injury forced rest I set off slower than last year forming part of a 2nd group off the leaders.  Felt good most the way round and as the first group was separated by another inspirational run from Andy Greenleaf I had hopes starting the 2nd lap that I might pick off a few of the front runners - however my lack of racing took its toll and I struggled to hold position finishing 7th overall.  I was a full minute slower than last year which is a fair representation of where I am fitness wise but after a few beers felt I had had a very enjoyable afternoon.
Andrew Mercer
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25-11-16
I was relatively happy with my race. Although the usual could have done better feeling never goes away. Finishing in 30th in 35:48. Glad not to have got passed by any Ravens in the second lap which in my head was about to happen any time. Was relatively close to a few people I'd expect to be with from Kent and Assembly league races. So was about right. In terms of the overall event I loved it and the beer and chatting afterwards in particular. Plus Richmond park is just a pleasure to run around.
Big thanks to Simon for all your organisation. Was a great turn out.
Chris Tuck
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25-11-16
Thanks to Simon for organising yesterday’s fun and games and well done to everyone who raced – some top performances. As always with Cross Country I seem to go out way too fast and paid for it in the second half of the race and was just hanging on for grim death at the end. When I race on the road I seem to start off a lot easier and then gradually pick my way through the field, however when it comes to Cross Country I seem to do the complete opposite. Another great Ravens turnout and good to catch up for a few beers afterwards as well. Needless to say I won’t be running today as my hamstrings are feeling it so I shall take the sensible option and go for a swim!
Ian George
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25-11-16
I really enjoyed yesterday. Because of my commitments to my first claim club in the Assembly League, it has been a while since I have been able to race for the Ravens, and it was also a good opportunity to test where I was in terms of fitness/form.
As it was, I found myself fairly early on in a 'Ravens Gang of 4' as myself, Pete, Keith and Steve S all bunched together for a large part of the race. Having started behind Steve and been overtaken by Pete and Keith within the first mile, I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep up, but hung in on the tails of them for the next 2/3 miles, before passing Keith, then Pete and finally Steve to lead the Gang of 4 coming into the final half a mile downhill. Keith, however, had (rather inconveniently) not died as I hoped as I passed him, but had gamely hung on to my tails and inventibly with the hill and a fair wind behind him breezed past me in the run in to take that little group prize! As it was, I was happy enough just to be competitive with those guys, so didn't feel to bad about being pipped (and frankly Keith needs all the glory he can get these days, as a Liverpool and part time MK Dons supporter). Great to see everyone and some fantastic efforts by our team, as always. Fantastic to cheer the girls in as well as they finished - awesome effort. Thanks also to Vicky and Tim for their on course support.
Marcus Elwes
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25-11-16
My 19 pence worth (*) as follows: Another great day out (3rd year on the run when the weather has been perfect), lovely setting, great competition. As Marcus has already described my race in mirror image there's no need to go into the details, save to say that I was delighted to finish ahead of our mini pack as I'm used to finishing behind those 3 in road races. Also, some guy in a bright orange top also paced himself nicely so that I could see him from a long way off and sprint past him in classic style over the last few metres (I'll never understand why people don't leg it over the last 100m - where else do they think people will watch them !!!). Beers and banter afterwards were as enjoyable as ever and still back in time for "I'm a celebrity...".  What more could you ask for. Interestingly, both myself and Rupert were the best part of 1 min slower than last year even though the course conditions seemed better. And my time this year would also have got me about 30 places higher than this year!
* "2 penneth" inflation adjusted (http://inflation.stephenmorley.org/) since 1975 which is approximately when people stopped using this phrase.  Don't you just love the interweb !
Keith Skilling
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25-11-16
Having never run a cross country race before, but having heard much about the hills to be run up, I came into the race with very low expectations. However, as the Monkeys (almost) said: Now I've run that race, now I'm a believer!".  What a great day out.  It was also my first run in spikes and, other than the 2 sections of road, where I was forced to do a rather poor imitation of Bambi, I really felt the difference not just when trying to scamper up the steeper hill at the mid-point/near the end but also on the downhill sections, when I felt I could really push on. The runners around me were all really friendly, chatting about the course and the benefits of spikes (see above) and even ushering me through, rather than trying to block me or trip me up.  I started quite conservatively and therefore felt able to push on, latching onto people in front and in many cases overtaking them. With beers, a nice hot meal and good banter afterwards, it was a really great event. I will definitely be back for more. Thanks to Simon for organising, and to Mike for sorting the finances. Much appreciated.
Alex Anderson
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25-11-16
It was a cracking day for it yesterday although part of me wanted the weather to turn so it would feel like a proper XC. The race for me went ok, I started off reasonably quick and knew I was ahead of Ian and Rupert with Sid just up in front. When we got to the long gentle slope Sid increased his lead and at that point I decided to let him go, the first lap was rather uneventful and I hoped I had a built a bit of a lead but when I went past Vicky she shouted to me, Rupert and Ian with about 2 seconds gap between each. Rupert duly arrived at my shoulder as we hit the long slope for the second time and at this point my stomach was starting to go again (need to figure out why quickly!) which was frustrating as my lungs and legs were fine, not wanting to dive in to the bushes I had to ease off a little and Rupert cruised on. I tried changing my stride which seemed to help a little but even so Russell and Ian went past me, I managed to keep them within range up the final steep hill and once at the top I figured I might as well just go for it so I blasted early down the hill, I could see Rupert in the distance but he was well out of reach but I got past 3 or 4 others on the final stretch. Frustrating that I couldn’t push harder all the way round but even so I think I was about a minute quicker than last year. This is one of my favourite races and the beers afterwards went down very well!! Thanks to Tim for keeping me company on the cycle down and for the on course support along with Vicky – if there are any more photos from the race it would be good to see them.
Iain Davie
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25-11-16
Agree with Iain's comments – the 'other' gang of 4 (myself, Ian, Iain and Russell) had a good tussle with plenty of switching positions. I managed to go out steady and kept consistent pace, helping me get past Ian and Iain into the second half. Been a while since I had a race that left me on the floor at the finish from the effort but really fun. To echo everyone else's comments, great race, great company, great banter after. And to top the evening off, I got my entry into next year's Gringleford Gallop (21 mile hill race in Peaks) which sold out in less than 5 minutes of opening at 8:30 last night!
Rupert Holden
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25-11-16
In terms of a race report, nothing to add that hasn’t already been said but to add my thanks to the supporters on the way round.
Donna HenryCHELMSFORD 10K
I ran the above alongside Lyndon & some time  Raven, Derv.  I had hoped to run the last road race of the year sub 38, which would be a pb.  I ran a 19.12/18.45 split to achieve my goal, 37.57. Not quite as emphatic as David Wilkinson’s recent run, but a pb nonetheless.  Great to see Mick on the course, but a bit non-plussed by the rubber medal – is this health and safety thing, Mick?
Robin McCoy
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25-11-16
It is true that I was also in attendance at the 10km. First the Positives ……. Downloaded the Garmin to the laptop and have run way way way  more miles this year than I have ever done before in a calendar year and we still have a good month left to add a few more. Also in the year have new PB’s in the Half Marathon, 10 Mile, 5 Mile and Mile and as this was my last race of the year wanted a 10km PB to complete the set and have been peppering the 44minute barrier for the last 3 races …..
So, the Chelmsford 10km. I was just rubbish !!! I passed the marshal, Lord Michael of Chelmsford at about 3.5km (Got shouted at to get a move on !) and knew I was behind schedule but just couldn’t/wouldn’t ( probably the latter !!) do anything about it.
Finished with a gun time of 44:46, on the watch from when I went over the start line was 44:29. I can pass it through the Peter Mandelson ‘spin factory’ and come up with I must have significantly improved to be able to get that close to my Goal Time within putting in effort during the race. But in all honesty, No excuses … I just didn’t give it everything I had! A bad day at the office, swept under the carpet  and onto the next race.
Lyndon Bubb
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25-11-16
Nothing too strenuous this weekend, due to the on-going abs issue but, as some of you know, I completed my 250th parkrun on Saturday at Bromley and spent an enjoyable 22 minutes in the company of Mr Tucker before dispensing cake and stuff to all and sundry. Excellent to also see Stevie G there (running) and Serena (supporting) on the day. Yesterday, I did XC at Oxleas Wood in south east London for my local club in the Kent Fitness League (our club's attendance was somewhat boosted by the late cancellation of the Brighton 10k that morning). Horrendous conditions and a challenging hilly course in the wind, mud and rain. Loved it! Came 122nd in a time of around 40 mins for a course which was just over 5 miles, but time was never going to be an issue, especially as some sections had to be walked, due to congestion. Looking forward to a repeat on Wednesday! Incidentally, a tenuous Ravens connection at that race: our club's first finisher (10th overall) was second claimer who runs for Billericay, by the name of Kieran O'Doherty. I had to rack my brains to remember which of you is Billericay. I mentioned Simon whose name he said he did recognise. Apologies if I have forgotten anyone else.
Marcus Elwes
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25-11-16
Valencia Marathon - 20 November 2016
I had entered this race back in March when I was fit and by June/July I was wondering if I should reduce to the 10K race option.  I took some time off from running and started training again in August.  Being ever the optimist, I decided to see how my training went and make a decision much nearer the time.  Following a 1.32 at Pleshey HM in October, I decided to stick with it and concentrate on obtaining a sub 3.30 as opposed to setting myself a PB goal. The expo was lovely and quiet on the Friday when I picked up my race pack where great goody bags were handed out.  Glad I didn’t wait until Saturday, it was packed with queues everywhere.
On the morning of the race, we gave ourselves plenty of time to arrive but sadly the organisation wasn’t as good as it should have been.  There were no signage for the baggage drop off or toilets.  I found the baggage drop off but struggled to find the loos – there didn’t appear to be anyone to ask and those who provided answers gave incorrect ones.  After finally finding a queue and joining it, it had barely moved for 20 minutes and time was ticking (10 portaloos).  I left there and found a tiny loo with a smaller queue.  I then had literally 3 minutes to get to the start line and into my pen.  I arrived at the start line but couldn’t get into my pen.  The guards were blocking any kind of access and I did not want to start at the back.  I found a gap literally inches wide and squeezed through.  Miraculously the people around me had the same colour on their numbers so I started in the right area.  The buzzer went and we were off.  It only took me 2 minutes to get over the start line, so a good starter after the initial panic.
The weather was perfect for running; 15/16 degrees and with only the slightest breeze, which helped to keep you cool without having an effect on pace.  Mentally I struggled for the first few miles as I wasn’t convinced I was fit enough to run; had I done enough speed work? had I done enough tempo runs? had I over-trained?  I knew I’d done plenty of long runs but was still cautious so stuck to my plan of 7.50-8min miling watching everyone overtaking and thinking; it’s okay, I’ll see you later, when you’re tired because you’ve gone off too fast.  By mile 9 I found the line to follow and tried to stick to it but wasn’t able to everywhere as there were spectators standing on it.  Unlike London, there weren’t any barriers for the main part, only the busy parts and no marshals to hold them back.  I panicked a little just before halfway as I wanted to ensure I went through in no more than 1.45 and so put a bit of a spurt on there for fear of missing it.
I saw some club supporters who’d done the 10K just before mile 16 and that was a great boost.  I was feeling good and decided that I’d up the pace if I still felt the same in a couple of miles.  I did feel great, so upped the pace and started passing people.  It was a great feeling, though I have to say, I wouldn't necessarily say they’d slowed significantly, but simply that I was running faster.  Nutrition wise, I just had Powerade from 10K onwards, that was supplied at 5K intervals.  To ensure I actually drunk it and didn’t spill it down me, I would quickly stop, take on two small cups and get going again.  By mile 21 I could see two 3.30 pacers; as I passed the back one at 21.5 miles he stopped to be sick; hopefully the runners following him were able to catch up with the next one.  I glided past the next one feeling rather smug, still keeping a strong pace.  My legs started hurting but I was determined to continue at around 7.30 pace.  I saw a Serpentine runner and said hello as I passed.  He called to me to say there was a lady in front from Epsom.  As I passed her, I said hello, she shouted she was pacing her Serpy friend to his first ever sub 3.30.  Then I passed a Dulwich runner and his mate (who’d passed me way back) and said hello as I passed.  As we got nearer the finish, the spectators were calling out my name (it was on the race number) and it felt good.  There was a small cobble section downhill but thankfully I didn’t trip. There was a blow up arch just ahead with “Finish” written on it; sadly, that was a fake finish and there was still approximately 200m to go.  A short section to the right, then left over the bridge of water and the real finish gantry was ahead.  I’d done it, I’d finished and I felt pretty good too.  A huge smile on my face as mission accomplished and my fears overcome.
I didn’t know exactly what time I’d finished in until a friend told me some time later, but it was 3.26.58, a negative split of 2 or 3 minutes.  My watch measured 26.69 miles so something I need to bear in mind when I aim for a marathon PB.  Another great goody bag at the end, and a lovely medal too.  The race itself is fast, flat, plenty of room (where I was), wide streets and I didn’t see any charity runners.  Neither did I pass as many runners as I thought I might towards the end, which proves the runners obviously trained for this and ran it properly.  I only passed a small amount of walkers, probably no more than 5 so a “real race”.  If you’re considering an Autumn marathon in a lovely setting, then I would highly recommend this one.
Vicky Cooper
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9-11-16
Abbey Dash
I was back in Leeds, my old stomping ground, this weekend to run Abbey Dash. A popular, relatively flat, 10k road race which attracts a lot of good runners - top 14 on the day were all sub-30. As I've mentioned before, my goal is to set a new 10k PB before the year is out and I knew this race would be my best chance. So sub-38 was the target and I was hoping to run the first half sub-19 to give me time in the bank for the second half. It was a typical November day up north - damp with a bitterly cold wind. But, taking a leaf from Phil Priest's book, I still donned the Ravens vest (after shot below - apologies for the bullet like nipple, but that's evidence of the cold!!). First 3km's were very flat but I was keen not to blow out too soon, so I set off at a steady pace - I've decided to stop looking at my watch, other than at halfway, so no idea what the actual pace was. There's a slight but long climb 3-5km and I decided to push on through the climb. At 5km there is a 180 degree turn. I felt really strong, but as I got round the corner I looked at my watch. 19:13. Panic! Too slow! Too much to do in the second half. No wonder I felt strong. With a gentle slope 5-7km, I decided to gun it and popped the eyeballs out. My plan was to cling on and don't let anyone overtake me. That worked until some cheeky sod decided not to play ball and overtook me, so I gritted my teeth and tailed him to 9km. Unfortunately he pulled away just after then. At 9.5km, there's a steep climb up the slip road back into the city centre. The tank was empty at this point but I somehow managed to get to the top and ploughed through the last 500m. Stopped my watch on 36:59.4. A massive PB by 67 secs. Chip time was 37:00 on the nose! A tad disappointed the number doesn't start with a 36, but chuffed nevertheless. I also think I ran a 5km PB in the second half (17:47) but as there are no official split times, I don't think that counts! Big lesson was how important negative splits are. At the time, I thought I ran the first half too slowly (and maybe I did slightly). But looking back, I don't think I would have nailed the second half if I ran the first any quicker, so I'm happy with the way it panned out.
David Wilkinson
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9-11-16
National Cross Country Relays –Mansfield
So the answer to my question was undulating. In a manner that means there is not really a chance to settle in to a pace. Great course, great event. Watching the front guys run is incredible. It's also a stark reminder where you sit in the world of running. Bit disappointed with my time of 18:25 which put me about 113th on my leg. As a point of reference Andy Vernon (of Olympic fame ran 14:55 and fastest leg of the day was 14:47.) All the same enjoyed the event and would like to get back next year and give a better account of myself.
Chris Tuck
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9-11-16
Billericay 10km
Well I gave the Billericay 10km a shot at the weekend. I have had a cough and cold for a week which I have successfully passed onto my wife and daughter so currently sleeping with one eye open ! It was a nice cold morning and at 5km I thought I saw a hobo huddled in as many layers as humanly possible mumbling in the hedgerow .. turned out it was Robin who gave me some friendly advice… Finished in the Gun time of 44:14 ( No Chip time at Billericay) but watch stopped at 44:05 which was 90 seconds quicker Leigh a few weeks back. I even broke the top 100 finishers coming in 93rd. Just Chelmsford now to break the 44 minute barrier ….
Lyndon Bubb
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4-11-16
"Grin n Bear It" Fell Race
After a few recent trail runs, I thought I would give a fell race a try. So yesterday I took part in the "Grin n Bear It" run over the moorlands to the north of Sheffield.
This was a course of approx. 26km. Main differences to a trail run seemed to be:
-        Organisation under FRA, including a strict kit inspection before issue of race number.
-        Vast proportion of participants we club runners, many from fell running clubs and one club even using the event as their club championship.
-        Route consisted of getting between 5 checkpoints, each marshalled by the mountain rescue team, these being co-ordinates on an OS map which we had to carry. Other than that, there was often not a strictly defined course as such. First 4 miles were on rough singletrack before opening up to boggy moorlands. The next 9 miles varied between deep mud, heather, bracken and grass, mostly without a track or trail of any description. Often the most direct route was not the quickest. Jumping mud streams and climbing steep slopes was the norm, often being closer to an obstacle course than a running event.
Overall, my biggest worry was in not getting too lost, the concept of time or pace completely irrelevant. I was lucky in that for much of the race I managed to keep other runner(s) in sight ahead. Finished in 2hrs 28mins, 16.1 miles by my watch, coming in 19th overall out of a field of 120+. Certainly very fun, fantastic scenery and glad to have tried something as different as this, fantastic organisation and great value at 12 entry. Part of me still likes the re-assurance of knowing where to put my feet and not risking going flying over at every step of the way, but I can see the attraction of this type of run. Legs definitely aching today!
Rupert Holden
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4-11-16
Kent Fitness League XC Race 1 - Knole Park Sevenoaks
More XC for me yesterday which suits me fine. Easier on my injury and more enjoyable from my aspect currently.
This was the first of 7 cross country races run in our area involving 7 or 8 other local league clubs. This was my first race for my new 1st claim club, although I had run some of them before with my old club. Knole Park is lovely setting and the course is probably the nicest of the set. A lot like the Richmond Financial Services XC race, along with prancing deer as well as a long drawn out uphill section which you have to do twice. The light fog added a rather ethereal feel to the proceedings. Otherwise conditions were perfect and the terrain was firm underfoot. As I am not fit, I was just keen to get around without too much discomfort. The course if 5.5 miles long and fairly hilly, but not ridiculously so. I started out fairly gently working my way in to the race.. The long hill starts fairly early in proceeding and I felt strong enough to overtake a number of runners on this first stretch. Downhills are a bit more tricky for me at the moment, so I lost places in that section. On the second loop, the uphill sections felt way worse and even though I was not overtaken, I didn't gain much second time round. After about 4.5 miles there is a nasty little bugger of a hill which is only about 200m long but I was practically on my knees going up that section. On the last long downhill section, I lost a lot of places as my stamina had gone, although the last flat long run in suited me more and I was able to pull back a few runners in the final sprint to the line. I ended up 122nd (out of 500-600 maybe) in a time of 40.10, which was a little slower than when I last did the course in 2014. Job done. Aching abdomen today but it will pass. An enjoyable race. Still massively off where I want to be but just don't have the fitness at the moment, so it will have to do!
Marcus Elwes
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28-10-16
Hadleigh Parkrun
A very brief race report for you. I ran the inaugural parkrun at Hadleigh on Saturday. The is where the Mountain bike race was held at the 2012 Olympics. They have since spent a lot of money developing the park and have included lots of new bike, running and walking trails. The first kilometre or so is all downhill down with lots of tricky switchbacks, the middle section is rolling and the last kilometre is back up the same hill we came down. This is not a fast course but I managed to finish second in a time of 20.12. I was in fourth place coming in to the climb back to the start so it pays to have something left for the final section. To give you an idea of the hilly nature of the course I ran the first mile in 6.04, the second in 6.12 and the last in 7.39. For those you who are local it's a great course on well-maintained trails , however the last part is very nasty indeed!
Ian George
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28-10-16
Greenwich 5k
Yesterday, I took part in the RunThrough Greenwich 5k.  Given the terrain, it was never going to be a race for a PB so I set out the race the other competitors, rather than the clock.
My start was rather hampered by a group of runners who had obviously moved to the front on the basis that, given the time they were going to take the complete the course, they needed as much of a head start as they could get!  By the time I had cleared that group, there were 2 separate groups ahead.  I pressed on the join the second group, which included 2 women, and worked on overhauling the second of them, which I did around the 1k mark. I then sat on the shoulder of the next woman, until we got to a nice downhill section where I leaned forwards and let gravity do the rest.  At 3k, we were then going back up the hill (it doesn't seem to matter how many times I run up the Grand Drive in Greenwich Park, it still kills me every time). As my legs started to fail, I pointed out to myself that, even if it took 3 minutes to get to the top, that would still be only half the time of the 3 nausea-inducing 6 minute reps we had done on Tuesday, so I should just dig deep and press on.  By this stage, I was starting to get closer to some of the back-markers of the original lead group and spent the final kilometre trying to catch any of them, whilst also keeping an eye on the woman behind me, in case she came through at the end.  As it was, I managed to pass two of the guys ahead (well, one was the first junior, but he was still male!)  and crossed the line in 14th place overall, but as the first placed female.  The time of 24.06 was nothing to write home about but at least in terms of taking on the competition, I had hit my target. I then had to run another 8k to pick up my children from hockey, so a good way to warm down!
Alex Anderson
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28-10-16
Did my first XC race of the season by guesting at the Blackheath & Bromley club 5 miler. I always enjoy these races, run on great (challenging) courses and nicely organised in a fuss free manner (and bargain entry of just £4!). Not fit and still in some discomfort from an abdominal strain which just won't go away, I had no real targets other than to get round. I simply have no gas at the moment so, even when I saw an opportunity to overtake someone, I usually had no ability to actually do it! I came 28th out of 51 runners in just under 35 minutes, so absolutely nothing to write home about. Andy was just behind me, with a similar lack of fitness excuse, so a couple of Ravens crocks doing the best they could was about the summary of things. Beautiful sunny morning and great fun. Good to be back doing XC. My club's league XC season starts next Sunday, so it was a useful warm up.
Marcus Elwes
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21-10-16
Best excuse to extend holiday...
Just to let you know I've extended my holiday in Hawaii. The hard way. Am just out of two nights in intensive care. Basically the Ironman was last Saturday and that was all fine. On Wednesday though I thought I'd go out for a little spin and from what we can work out, I hit a signpost. My bike was found wrapped round the post and I was found unconscious 45ft away.
Just a few fractures:
  • Cheek bone
  • Jaw
  • Two vertebrae in my neck (the sticky outy bit of bone only, thankfully)
  • Collar bone in two places.
  • Three ribs.
I need an op on my collar bone on Monday then I might get out. They want to be double sure there are no chances of a collapsed lung on the flight back though as there was  a chance of pneumothorax. I'll probably get a final scan Friday then with a view to flying back over the weekend.
Dave Meller
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21-10-16
Leigh on Sea 10K
I have just got back from the Leigh-on-Sea 10k. Not sure of my position but finished in a time of 38.44. I set my PB on this course five years ago but they have since changed the route and made it significantly harder. We were not helped by a strong head wind along the seafront. A great run by Simon Le Mare who clearly has not lost any of his endurance but has plenty of speed.
Ian George
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21-10-16
Didn’t see Ian or Simon yesterday but also did the Leigh 10k. As they have both said strong wind along the seafront and hilly course. Was happy to get round with no asthma issues and hamstring was ok. Went round in 47:42 which is about 2 minutes slower than last year which I put down to the wind and not having run much recently. It was the first run for a couple of months where felt good and actually really enjoyed the run.
Andrew Ferguson
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21-10-16
Well I have spoken to Dave Miller twice before and both times the Hill he spoke about had gone through my runners filter and was just a small speedbump in the road….. Which I think it was if you were the Big Friendly Giant in a Monster Truck. It was as described by others Hilly,Windy,Rainy,Cold and painful ( and I follow Gloucester Rugby Club so I know pain !!) but I loved it !! Time was 45:29 which in the conditions I am happy with
Lyndon Bubb
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21-10-16
Yesterday I did my first road race since the Manchester marathon, and my first run involving steep hills for nine months. (The top of my hamstring hurts too much when I go up and down steep hills). This was also my first race longer than 3K for six months. It was a hilly course of three big hills and was very windy and we had to run for over 3K on the seafront into the wind.
At the top of the first hill I was in about 20th place. At the top of the long downhill I decided to try to get into one of the leading groups to shelter with them into the wind and so I bombed it overtook 10 people going down the hill. I managed to get myself tucked in behind 7th 8th and 9th for the whole 3k into the wind. I felt like I was cheating, but considered it as tactics. The pace into to wind was 25 seconds per mile slower than with no wind.  I overtook a couple of them later when out of the wind. Ended up in about 8th place in 38.10. First V50. Was about 15 seconds slower than the previous 3 years, but put that down to the wind. Am very stiff today but can't complain about anything when thinking about Dave.
Simon Le Mare
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21-10-16
Wimbledon Half
I ran this two lap trail half yesterday, due to the rain I was expecting it to be muddy and I wasn’t disappointed. I started well and the slightly arduous hill at mile one didn’t slow me down too much but by the second lap the weaving in and out of puddles and the mud had taken it out of my legs. I changed tactics to running straight through puddles but this seemed to slow me down even more especially the deep ones (any advice on weaving vs straight through gratefully received). After the obligatory high fiving a Womble I ploughed on to finish in 2.09 (second in my category) not too disappointed in view of the conditions, although maybe a few more long runs are in order.
Donna Henry
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21-10-16
I was also out trail running yesterday and got plenty of the conditions featured in other reports … mud, hills, cold, horizontal rain, etc. Was the 2nd event in the local Autumn series and ran from Bakewell across to Chatsworth and back with plenty of muddy hills and woods, etc. Could not resist taking part since start was half a mile from my front door. Just over 10 miles of fun, 140 finishers. Finished 4th overall, 2nd over 40 in 75 mins. My daughter Ava also decided that she wanted a long run and managed a fantastic 90 mins, 5th under 40 female.
Rupert Holden
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21-10-16
Amsterdam Marathon
I ran Amsterdam marathon yesterday in near perfect conditions. The course was great (nice and flat), good organisation apart form people fielding themselves much faster than they should in the starting pens. Which led to a standstill at about 300m when exiting the Olympic Stadium (1928 games). Lost a bit of time there but settled into chipping away at a sub 1hr 30min half in an effort to finish in under 3hrs. I managed to get around 2 mins in the bag and going into the 2nd half felt alright. There was moments of thinking I've rarely run this fast, certainly not for this far, but a good cadence seemed to keep me moving along alright. I had a couple of kms where I dropped 10-15 seconds on the avg and was acutely aware that the time I had build up was disappearing fast. As people pull up with cramp in the last few kms you can almost feel your hamstrings tighten a little, but with 10mins to cover the last couple of kms I didn't force anything until the last few hundred meters to finish in 2:58:48 - Pleased with that and thanks again to those who have given advice and encouraged a bit more pace out of me. London next year....... Some Kenyans also seemed to do alright, taking a 1-2-3 finish with Wanjiru setting a new course record 2:05:21
Rob Reid
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21-10-16
Bushy Park 10k
Ran the above on Sunday. Decided a couple of weeks ago to concentrate on improving my 5 & 10k times, so this was my first since. In fact, only my second 10k of the year. As you can imagine, it was a lovely flat, scenic course, although bendy and muddy after a downpour on Saturday, with the odd stag, deer and dog as an obstacle. Makes a change from those cyclists tho.... Given the conditions I knew a PB was probably out of reach, but with a flat 10k road race coming up soon, I had few aims:
  • Sub-40min
  • run a negative split
  • Only look at my watch at 5k (I'm a sucker for checking it every km when it bleeps at me - I know , this is bad habit!)
With the negative split in mind I set off at a steady pace, slightly under my 5km pace (which most recently is 17:53). In the past, I've really struggled with pacing a 10k. I either set off at 5k pace and blow up in the final half, or set off too slow and have too much to make up for at the end. I was determined not to get carried away with the front runners in the first 1km, so let about 10 speed past me. By 2km I had overtaken 4 of them, without increasing my pace! Got to halfway in 18:53 and so a negative split would mean a new PB (previously 38:07 - set 3 years ago). At 7km, the wet muddy conditions had taken its toll and whilst I was still gunning for it, I knew I was running slightly slower than the first half. At 8km, a new problem. The conditions had also taken a toll on my timing chip, which had partly ripped and was clinging on, wafting in the wind. I knew it wasn't going to make it to the finish line. Slow down and rip it off to carry or take my chances? Too late, it abandoned ship before I could decide, so I instinctively stopped and ran back a couple of paces to get it. No idea what effect that had on my time, probably 5 or so seconds, but it spurred me on to make up for lost time in the final 2km. The last 250m - all on soggy grass - wasn't exactly a sprint finish, but crossed the line in 4th and a time of 38:13. Only 6 secs off a PB but 20 secs off a negative split.  Very pleased in the circumstances though. My fastest time over that distance in over 3 years.
David Wilkinson
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17-10-16
Ealing Mile race report 7.10.16
Today I reach the V55's. I wanted to run a 1500m or mile race between now and the end of the year, but could only find the Ealing Mile, and nothing else in the country!
It was like a Parkrun course. 13 turns of which 6 were at 90'.  1 tree in the middle of the path, lots of pot holes and conkers. So I knew the time I was after was impossible. I ran a good tactical race, was first into the first 90' bend which was after 10m, then in 4th, gradually reeled everyone in, was in the lead after 1k when 2 old dears walked down the path not knowing there was a race on. I won the race, beating a 2.24 marathon runner, who is now a decathlete, but in a very disappointing 5.13. I could not have gone much faster on that course. Makes me 3rd on the power of 10 for the mile, but I know I could have run quite a bit faster on a road or track.
Simon Le Mare
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17-10-16
75% of a decent run - Tiptree / Essex Champs 10m
Third race report in 3 weeks - what's going on. Took advantage of the two county super vet Daves (Butler and Cox) not being in the starting line up to win M60 county gold. Hardly a worthy winning time (71.13) but you can only race who's there. Nice sunny morning but nasty headwind on way out - one big loop. Through 5m in 34.40 (20 secs quicker than I managed in the Essex 5 miles champs earlier in the year) then nicely picked it up until around 7 1/2 when lack of training mileage became rather painfully evident. Through 7 in 48.30 still on schedule for sub 70 but wheels came of big time between 8 & 9 ! All the runners I had passed between 3 & 7 came flying by in the last mile. Hey ho. Feeling better after a hot soak and a pint of Guinness but tomorrow lunchtime but just be a jog to the bridge and back !
Andy Catton
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17-10-16
Ironman World Championships 2016
You travel 7,280 miles to a race only to find the finish line is 140.6 miles away. Welcome to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Why 140.6? Well, as I heard yesterday, 140.7 would be ridiculous wouldn't it? So, OK, you do finish where you start, but that's not without first swimming 2.4 miles in the Pacific, cycling 112 miles up one of Kona's volcanoes and back, then running 26.2 miles through the same lava fields. It's hard to find words that describe the whole experience. And I say that because it starts way before the race. In the week before, people arrived from some 65 countries around the world. The best of the best in Ironman terms.
It's brutal. It's beautiful. Sensational. Magical. Even the overused word "awesome" has a place in describing this race. Once you've got over the fact that you are very, very ordinary compared to those around you, you just have to acknowledge - this is a show on a world class stage and you are part of it. However inadequate you feel, I have to say that you  are made to feel special. On bike check-in every athlete has a personal chaperone to take them through transition and answer any questions etc.
On the day itself the crowds are 10 deep as you enter the athletes enclosure, people craning their necks to get a glimpse of you. Much is the same as other Ironman events around the world but here an official puts your number on for you. You get photographed, you even get weighed, so that they can legitimately stick an IV drip into you at the  end if you've dehydrated too much. The volunteers outnumber the athletes by over 2:1, there are medics, news crews, marshals (more on them later) families, friends, locals, tourists who knew nothing about it - the whole place it literally completely taken over by this race. It's off the Richter scale of buzzing! I had decided way back not to come here chasing a time. I literally had only one thing I wanted to do, which was to take in that iconic finish and get what would be my most prestigious medal around my neck. To paraphrase (and clean up) the words of the great guru on things like this, Eminem, I kept telling myself "finishing is my only option, failure's not"! At the start itself, the American national anthem belted out, then a select bunch of native Hawaiians took the stage. One of them blew deeply into a conch and issued a blessing, the others then started a drum beat. Sorry America but the anthem didn't do anything for me, but these guys made my hair stand on end. A cannon fired and all of a sudden it's race on. The usual elbows, legs etc colliding in the water I thought there were 2000 competitors but heard later it was more like 2400 counting all the pros, the physically challenged athletes and so on. The swim was fine - 1:10 for me which for non-wetsuit I was happy with. Then onto the bike...
No exaggeration, the nearest description I can give you is that of opening the door of a fan-assisted oven. And it doesn't let up. On the bike a hot wind is on you constantly. In fact it started as a tailwind which was sort of helpful, but wow did you know about when it became a headwind and when it was a cross wind you literally had to focus on one thing - riding as hard as you safely could and not getting blown off. It does actually happen. I'd heard before the race that one unique characteristic of it is that because of the calibre of the field, the spread of swim exit times is much tighter than most races. The first part of the bike was pretty congested then but I thought I'd just get on and race my own race until - BOOM - I got draft busted! Me! Someone had overtaken me then slowed down. I'd eased back but with the congestion the marshals obviously wanted to break up any clusters of riders and picked on me. 5 minutes in the penalty tent - all part of the experience I guess! A 5:51 bike then, or 5:46 in my eyes...
Water, salt tablets, hydration, energy,you have to get it all inside you. And then of course there's the psychological aspect to this. The temperature now was 34 degrees and  you have to start to ready yourself for the fact you're going to get off your bike and run a marathon. My strategy was to keep it steady and rhythmic, allowing myself brief walks at aid stations to max out on the drinks available and the ice. I basically ended up shoving ice cubes anywhere they'd go. Anything to keep my core temperature under control. Roads I'd only previously read about became real - Ali'i Drive, Palani Hill, the Energy Lab, the Queen K. For today, all emblazoned with chalk messages  from supporters. The support is sensational. OK, so I wasn't chasing a time, but I will confess to two inner wishes. First was that I would avoid being "glow-sticked". It gets dark quickly here and for safety they give runners glow sticks to wear once darkness falls. I wanted to avoid "glow stick shame" if I could! The pacing worked - 4:01 for the marathon and finished in daylight! The final half mile is like nothing on earth. People screaming and shouting, music pumping, flags flying.  A carpeted finishing chute with a finishing gantry that blows your mind away. Got the medal, got the T-shirt. Oh yes - my second inner wish... This was the World Championships and I had secretly hoped I could avoid being in the bottom half of the field. My placing? 999th. Happy days. Recommended? 100%. Easy to get into - not at all. I genuinely feel lucky, privileged and, without sounding too gushing, thankful. What a day. But now, what next...?
David Meller
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17-10-16
Royal Parks Half
Now for the report you’ve all been waiting for all weekend… I wish I’d found the time to write this yesterday!! Royal Parks Half: Mediocre event (downgraded from decent since Dave’s report), poor preparation, poor race, poor time… 1:28:58. On a serious note though I’d like to thank everyone again for their generosity, this was part two of my fundraising challenge this year and with QBE matching the funds I’ve got over 4k which is ‘awesome’
Iain Davie
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17-10-16
Oxford Half
At the risk of embarrassing Helena (Eastham) I thought I would advertise her great run of 1 25 in the Oxford Half. A three minute improvement on last year.
Phil Hernon
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4-10-16
Managed to finish a 5k this week ! Not exactly an IronMan Tri or even a half marathon but after last weeks disaster was progress. Reasonably decent (for age lol) 21.08 on an 80% grass circuit in Harrow Lodge Park, Hornchurch. Basically a Park Run but at a more sensible time of 11.00. 6th and 1st Vet but as a charity based event if you just count the "proper runners" it was more like 6th out of 6 with the majority of the other 200 probably still out there somewhere :)
Cats
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4-10-16
Lewes Downland 10 Miles
Instead of doing a long run this weekend I entered on the day the Lewes Downland 10 mile race. Like ronseal it did exactly what it said on the tin: it was in Lewes, it was 10 miles and it was on the South Downs. The thing is, describing countryside as Downland makes it seem quaint, however that would be a misconception: the sweep of the hills were vast against the blue sky, the chalk and flint were hard going underfoot, some of the ups and downs were interminable and the race itself was brutal. I had not raced since before my injury last year and this was my first taste of an event since I started training again and I really enjoyed the buzz and appreciated just being there. Not a pb course and no pb expected. I set off at a conservative pace and held position for the most part and came home in 67th place with the broadest smile in a time of 1:21 and I distinctly remember giving a whoop as I crossed the line. It was great.
Mike McGeown
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4-10-16
Southend 10k
Well done to everyone who raced at the weekend, myself along with various others raced the above nice to see robin and lee before the start. This was my comeback race as had a thigh and knee injury since middle of August, knew it was not going to be pretty managed to start off not to fast managed to keep pace going at around 6.45 the wind coming home was rather strong crossed the line in 41.55 way off a pb but no pain in thigh and knee which was the best result of the day. Nice to see Ricky and Phil priest on course thanks for the shout outs.
Dave Miller
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4-10-16
I also ran the Southend 10K yesterday. I started off at what I thought was a reasonably fast pace but still spent most of the race catching and passing other runners. At just over half way we turned back on to the seafront straight in to a head wind. This was the hardest part of the race but I continued to make up a few places and finished up 22nd place in 37.33. Another good race and at least this year we only had to run 10k. Thanks to Phil and Ricky for the support. Much appreciated.
Ian George
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4-10-16
My report is the same as Ian's albeit 15th and 36:05 (3rd Vet)
Lee Martin
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4-10-16
I also ran this race. No asthma this time which was a bonus. The excuse this week was a dodgy left hamstring so took it a bit easy. Finished in 46:03, not quick but as others have said the head wind was tough to run into. Appreciated the support from Phil and Simon.
Andrew Ferguson
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4-10-16
Glencoe Marathon
I was up in the West Highlands yesterday for the Glencoe marathon, a point to point race of off road trails going in the mountains between Glencoe and Ben Nevis. Having been raining constantly for the past few weeks, we were greeted by the once in a lifetime experience of nice weather in Scotland in October. Perfect weather, clear blue skies and stunning views, the only downside of the recent weather being that anything not on rock was muddy, very very muddy. For once in my marathon life, I managed to start conservatively, knowing that this was going to be a tough and long run. For the first half, falling over in the mud became normal as we climbed out of Glencoe, reaching the "devil's staircase" at mile 8 where even walking was tricky (although desire to run was increased by presence of a bag-piper standing near the summit). I then thought the descent would be the easy part and that I was reasonably competent at downhill. How wrong I was and even managing 8 min mile down the steep descent to the half way point was tricky. So got to half way in about 1:55, knowing that the half marathon started 2 hours after the full. The second half was ongoing undulations, plenty of climbing but not so muddy.  This is where the steady first half really started to pay off and I started to pick runner off after about mile 14, feeling strong. Was passed by 4 of the half marathoners but managed to get back past one of them near the end. Managed to pass plenty of others marathoners but had no idea where I was overall. A nasty fall in the forest at mile 22 hurt but soldiered on, beyond relief to get to the finally downhill starting with just over 2 miles to go. One final waterlogged field of mud took me to the finish line in 3:48:05 – my first ever negative split in a marathon. Finally! No idea where I had finished overall and after waiting around for a while, no results were available so went for lunch with my brother. It was not until last night that the results finally appeared on the website and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had finished 8th overall, winner doing 3:21 – over 600 finishers in total. Added bonus was that I took first place in the over 40 category so that is making the pain today much more worthwhile!
Rupert Holden
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4-10-16
Pleshey Half Marathon
I ran the Pleshey HM for the first time yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. I set off relatively near the front although my start was pretty conservative and I wondered if I'd ever get going.  Before mile 2, a Southend female dropped out.  At mile 3, I was challenged by a girl in green but she quickly fell away as we came upon our first undulation. I could see a Rockford female in front and passed her around mile 5, along with a small group of male runners.  One chap came with me and we ran together for the next few miles, matching each other stride for stride. He took a gel at mile 6 so I wondered how much of an impact this would have, (i.e. if he’d leave me) however either nothing happened or I made a concerted effort to stay with him; I think it was the former. At mile 9, the marshal cheerily informed us I was second female. Surprised turned to shock and fear and I thought, "best get a move on, don't want to drop a place" though I was still a little sceptical, thinking he'd probably mistook a male runner.  My new found friend Gavin told me he'd run a few halves, last weekend being his fastest and he wanted to beat that, around 1.36.  We came across a 4WD and horse box blocking the road; we had to squeeze past, running at the edge of the verge, which halted my rhythm and it took a little while to get back into it.  At mile 10, I caught up with Gary P.  I kept with him for all of half a mile before he decided he'd had enough of my heavy breathing and put a bit of space between us. I then also saw a BRR club mate and tried to catch him. Although I closed the gap somewhat, I wasn't able to catch him. I had dropped Gavin by this time as I surged forward trying to catch my clubmate, all the same.  One last small incline and there was the end, a short sprint over the grass behind the village hall and over the timing mat. I'd maintained my second female place, and being an Essex champs race, I also won the first V45 prize. An enjoyable and fast race, I finished in a surprising time of 1.32.46. I’d highly recommend this if you’re local and I’d love to do it again.
Vicky Cooper
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4-10-16
Tonbridge Half Marathon
I ran Tonbridge half marathon yesterday and got a stark reminder how it feels to race over a decent distance. Knowing it was hilly and having not done enough training and had a bit of a sniffle I wasn’t aiming for a PB just something respectable ahead of the cross country season. I was prepared to talk about how tough I found the undulating course but having read Rupert’s report I retract my statements and really just wasn’t in the condition to match my expectations. Finished in 17th in 84:18.( had hoped for nearer 82) So slowest half for about a year and a half and sadly got piped in the last 400m which was probably the most annoying part. Was still a good race and well organised and ultimately confirmed what I already knew which is a lot of work required over the winter. It was also the Kent half marathon championships and with a lot of other races going on I didn’t see that many competitors but don’t know where I finished in regards to this. Saw through social media and a bit of nosing on power of 10 that there were some great results from Ravens all over the UK yesterday so just want to say well done to everyone. It definitely provides a lot of motivation.
Chris Tuck
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4-10-16
Chester Marathon
I will try and keep my report brief. I ran Chester Marathon yesterday in hope of getting sub 2.45 and ultimately a Championship place for London next year. My plan of attack was to run at 2.40 pace, giving me just shy of 5 minutes contingency as I always seem to fall apart in the last 6 miles. Enough about the plan, in reality I started off at my intended pace – other than the first two miles (which felt very sluggish), I felt comfortable (although constantly reminded myself not to get carried away). All seemed to be going to plan and I still felt great at 30km (which was a massive surprise). In any event, I still held back, knowing that even if I get to 23 miles on time I could still lose a lot in the last 3 miles if the tank ran dry. Miraculously the tank didn’t seem to empty – I got to 25 miles bang on for 2.40 and thought there was no point holding back anymore and put the gauntlet down. Ran my last mile in 5.36 and finished in 2.39.10. As I said above, before yesterday I had never not struggled in the last 6 miles. Likewise, before yesterday I had never had negative splits for a marathon. It isn’t often I say I am happy with any of my results, but I can genuinely say I am over the moon and looking forward to a Championship start at London.
Robert Laing
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4-10-16
Glasgow HM
I ran the above yesterday and like for Rupert in the Highlands was gifted with perfect conditions, cool fresh air with no wind and sunshine. I'd felt good in training recently and have been making sure I've made my weekly long run 13 miles or more. Was hoping that if had good race would be able to get sub 1.20 but was able to stick to sub 6min miling in first half and marginally over in second half. Was very pleased to end up with 1.17.39, 19 secs off PB from 2.5 years ago. If hadn't been fumbling with garmin at start and known what time was closing on might have been able to make up that 20 seconds. Would highly recommend the course which took in Pollock park. Had some hills but not enough to slow one down too much and variety of scenery kept it interesting. Given me encouragement to try and aim for a sub 1.17 in the spring.
Tim Sherman
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29-09-16
Elvis 5K
Yesterday morning I took part in the last Elvis race for 2016; a 5K in Valentine’s Park, Ilford.  My legs were feeling heavy from the previous days’ long run (18.5 miles), so I tried to stretch them out a bit with a warm up.  I set off relatively near the front with a few other girls.  My first mile was awful (6.58), initially struggling to get going, but thereafter I settled into a rhythm and my second mile was much better (6.38), passing a few people on the way.  My third mile was remained strong (6.41) passing a few females and making my way up the field.  By the time I finished, I’d moved from 10th to 5th female and first in my age category, winning £20 for my trouble.  21.09 compared to 20.18 last year but my speed does seem to be going in the right direction now.  Pleshey HM this Sunday.
VICKY COOPER
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29-09-16
Unlike Vicky I went off at decent pace 4.00 at 1k then 8.05 at 2k but then hamstring started protesting, felt sick and breathing was dire. Horribly unwell last night, so damage limitation was probably decent decision. No problem with Vicky counting it as yet another win :) !
Andy Catton
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29-09-16
Ealing Half Marathon
Yesterday took Alex’s place in the Ealing Half Marathon. Got to say I underestimated the course as thought it would be flat. Lots of hills. Started off with the 1:40 pacer as that was the intended time and was doing ok up until mile 4 when asthma kicked in so dropped back a bit. By mile 5 was just behind the 1:40 group again then the hilly section started and just seemed to be dropping further back on each hill. Found it really tough. By mile 9 entire right leg was hurting and was becoming a real struggle, but only 4 miles to go not that far. By 11 miles left leg joined in the pain and was seriously thinking about walking, but we Ravens don’t do that do we? Entering Lamass park at 12.5 miles was still the best moment as did one of those moments when you plant your foot, go to take the next step and your first foot doesn’t move. Legs and arms flailing all over the place – how I didn’t go over was a miracle. Runners around me say it was the best save of a near fall they had seen. Problem was both legs fully cramped up at this point and it was more of a hobble over the line to finish in 1:47:07. Slow time for me but given the hilly nature of the course, I’m quite happy with this. Great support from the people of Ealing. Lots of people out cheering you on. Did like that there was a Ealing Eagles sign reminding their members to “Don’t let your club down” – tough bunch there!
Andrew Ferguson
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29-09-16
Windsor Half - Not going to plan
Going against the grain from the success of the clubs usual race reports. But I had a shocker at Windsor half yesterday. Started well, felt comfortable-ish, got into a small group of a half dozen which had quickly formed as the fastest went away up the road. I suffered a stich for a few mins somewhere between mile 4 and 5 (that's a new experience in a race). This saw me drop 50-60m off group and I was on my own. Settled back into a rhythm for the remainder of the first half but shortly after that my legs just felt empty. The pace dropped and it was an effort to keep moving.  Even into the headwind I couldn't sit on the feet of the runners passing me. It wasn't that they were passing quickly, I just had nothing there. In my head it went from a potential PB, to first half marathon practice, a tough training run and eventually a challenge to keep going to the finish. I managed to get down enough caffeine power shots to revive a baby elephant which allowed me (in hindsight) to see the more entertaining side of it. Cheers of support turned to looks of concern, then silence as I passed. In the final half mile going down the hill to the line a guy shouted "looking really strong", the word strong curtailed off and as I passed he winced. I must have been looking great! Finished in 1:28:38 which was a surprise as more than once I questioned if a finish was on the cards at all. Shortly after crossing the line I lay down and fell asleep within seconds only to be woken by a runner offering me a hand up. I don't know what was going on yesterday, but races like that certainly make you appreciate the days you feel strong.
Rob Reid
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29-09-16
Barns Green HM 2016 - doing a Jess........
12 months on from finally achieving my gold medal moment, yesterday I returned to run my 11th consecutive Barns Green HM.  I'd deliberately held off entering this race as I know I currently have a bit of an issue with my left knee and also haven't done enough runs around the 10 - 12 mile mark in recent weeks.  However, it is one of my favoured half marathons, is close to where my brother lives (always good for a post race meal!) and I reckon the residents of Barns Green would miss me if I wasn't there.....😊 Rain earlier in the morning gave way to warm (bordering on hot) sunny conditions and I set off looking to ease into the race and see how things went.  All miles were 7 something or other apart from the first (6.50) and although I felt the odd twinge, things weren't as uncomfortable as I thought they might have been and my time of 1.38.18 was more a reflection of the warm weather and my lack of longer training runs. This time brought me home in 156th place out of 992 finishers (provisional), meaning I was once more a silver medal holder following my brief foray on gold last time out - the similarities between myself and Jess Ennis-Hill's last two Olympic outings ends there! I will be taking things easy over the next couple of weeks but should be out and about at some point.
Kevin Cockram
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29-09-16
New Forest Middle Distance Tri
First off, well done all on the Raven’s awards – looking forward to hearing about the night! I rounded off my tri season with a middle distance (70.3/half ironman) race down in the New Forest on Sunday. Swim in Ellingham Waterski lake which was pretty open and not too much biff so went sub 30mins (1.9k) but then got cramp in my hamstring on the way out which saw a few guys go past me. Out onto a 3 lap bike course – bit damp for the first lap so held back to make sure I stayed upright, next couple of laps I tracked a guy who was riding about 5% faster than I would have wanted to before going past him and one other, riding the last 5k super hard into a solid headwind to try and get a bit of a gap out of T2 (bike = 2.30).
Onto the run (a hilly offroad out & back half marathon) and I had no idea where I was in the field until about 5k in when one of the aid station marshals told me there was only 1 in front. Passed him & into the lead at about 9k. Got chased the whole way home by a guy who ended up running about 4 mins faster than me but luckily I’d done enough to hold on for the win (run = 1.30) (Overall 4.33). A very nice framed photo for my troubles. A great day out in the forest.
Tom Robertson
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22-09-16
Chislehurst Chase 10k
I have not been running much recently as I have a rather persistent abdominal strain/pull, which is not really improving or getting any worse.  I have tried not running, but it doesn't seem to have made any difference. I can run with it and after an initial period of discomfort it is fine, but is sore for a while afterwards. I can do other exercises, especially cycling, which have minimal negative effect. Anyway, I am so bored of not running that I decided to do this local race at the last minute and take my chances. Its quite a hilly off road course, which is my preferred terrain anyway. Its a smallish race with about 250 runners, but nicely organised and a challenging enough (double loop) route, mainly through picturesque woodland and a bit of field. I came home in a time of just over 44 minutes which I was happy enough with in the circumstances. I think I am probably 2-3 minutes off the pace for this type of off road race, because of the lost fitness. I really felt it after about 7k and the last 2 were a proper hard slog, I think showing where I have lost stamina and strength. However, I managed to come 18th overall and 3rd V50 which was enough to give me a podium spot. Most local races around our way don't actually give a 2nd or 3rd prize in age categories, so it was a nice surprise to get one and actually stand on a real podium. You will see from the picture a man clearly not used to being on (or anywhere near) a podium! Abdomen sore today, so will leave running again for a week. If anyone has had this sort of injury before, would be good to know what you did (other than rest!).
Marcus Elwes
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22-09-16
INGATESTONE 5M
A few Ravens turned up yesterday – me, Gary Pitman, Lyndon (no club colours – shame on you), sometime AL Raven, Derv Bartlett, and Catts spectating.  Derv, Gary and I set off up the hill, and I think Gary fell off fairly quickly.  At Mile 3 time to teach Derv who the better runner is.  Burned him off and then started the downhill run into Ingatestone.  I was going at an unbeatable pace, when Derv went past me with 10 yards to go, and beat me! Garmin not working, and no results –probably about 31.35.  Probably the first OS, but chicked by Liz Davies of Springfield (again).  Possibly shouldn’t have run the Chelmsford parkrun on Saturday.
Robin McCoy
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22-09-16
Cotswold Classic 10 Mile
Well done to anyone who raced at the weekend especially Marcus for a podium finish and Robin for tackling Ingatestone – never again for me.
My race was in Oxford, my first real race back since taking a break earlier this year.  I knew it was going to be undulating and one of the hills was described as “hillzakilla”.  There was a field of about 300+ but not knowing the local running groups, had no idea what the competition would be like or even how I would fare.  As we set off, I thought were was about 8 or so females in front of me and I tried to keep my eye on that.  At about 3 miles I was having a bit of a battle with a chap who was determined not to be chicked so as I came alongside him, he would put a spurt in to get ahead, then obviously I’d catch him and he’d do the same again.  This went on until he started to tire and drop back then when we came to a downhill I just put my foot down and left him to eat my dust!  I pushed on and could see a lady in front who I did pass quite comfortably then there were two more ladies in front.  I did catch one and overtook her but she had more in the tank, overtook me and left me for dead, catching up with her teammate but not managing to pass her.  I was desperately looking for mile 8, fatigue setting in.  I just needed to finish.  I was having a battle (since about mile 4) with a chap in a green vest and green headband. He’d take me going up hills, I’d take him on the downhill and he’d be just behind me on the flats.  I did manage to leave him at some point and he didn’t catch me again.  About a mile from the end, I put in an effort just to get finished.  One chap in a black t-shirt who’d been near me passed me and then with about a quarter of a mile to go, another chap passed me, thanking me for pacing him all the way!!!  As I rounded the corner and saw the clock, I sprinted to try to beat 1.12.  The upshot is whilst my time of 1.11.58 wasn’t great (avg 7.02 per mile), it’s fine as a comeback race and I was stunned and pleased to find I was first V45, winning £15 for my trouble and was 9th female overall.  The race included a long sleeved t-shirt to entrants and free beer at the end.
Vicky Cooper
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22-09-16
Richmond Marathon
I have enjoyed running with the Ravens for a few months now and here is my first race report. I had run one previous marathon (Chester) four years ago and missed my target of sub-4 hours (finished 4.04.32) after being on course up to mile 22 cracking in the last 4 miles (split of 1.54 and 2.10) so had some unfinished business.  Having trained and run the Spitfire Scramble a month ago and enjoyed the benefits of more speed based training on Tuesdays and Thursdays and also the ‘easy runs’ on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (which were more like fast runs for me!) I decided to enter the Richmond Marathon as a I had a fair level of fitness behind me. Two Sundays ago I went out for my final long run of 22 miles and had to stop at just under 10 miles with a case of runners knee – unexplained pain in my knee for no apparent reason which stopped me from running, but then seemed okay to run on again fairly soon after.  I had 4 days of no running to give it a chance to recover and then just did 3 more gentle runs of 3 – 4 miles before race day in the hope that the knee could both recover and also strengthen a little. The conditions on Sunday for the race were great – cloudy, around 17c and the course is about as flat as they come.  The race starts in Kew Gardens and went south along the Thames to Kingston and across the bridge to Hampton Court Palace and then back again.  A lovely, scenic route.  I would recommend it for anyone considering a marathon at this time of year in 2017; they also have other distances as well and it seems to be growing in stature. I started off trying to go at 8.20 / 8.30 per mile per my watch but each time I got to a mile marker it seemed it was taking me closer to 8.45 to get there.  When I got to the 5 mile mark I realised that the first few mile makers were long and that I was actually on schedule and hadn’t needed to worry about pacing.  All the way round I could feel my knee, but it wasn’t sore and didn’t interfere with my running – I was worrying the whole time that it may just suddenly become painful like it did on my training run and that I would have to stop.  Fortunately it held up and if anything probably meant that I tapered just a little bit early before the race so I had a decent amount of energy left in the bank. Managed to keep going at my intended pace up to 21 miles and then slowed a bit (but nothing like Chester) the last 5 and came in at 3.50.47.  I finished 251st out of 680, was 221 of 504 men and 41 of 96 in the 30-34 age category.  Really pleased to go sub-4; that has been hanging over me for a long time and one that I seriously wanted to beat. I sense that some of you like a free beer, so to entice you for next year they were giving out free London Pride afterwards.
John Crawley
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16-09-16
Chase the Sun, Battersea Park
My first race report - here goes! … Liz and I opted for the 10km at Chase the Sun Battersea last night and I was determined to enjoy it and not stress myself out too much about times. Great to see Alex beforehand and I’m sure our warm-up helped me later in the race! I really enjoyed the run - thought the whole event was well organised and marshalled, etc which was great. Felt quite relaxed throughout and just tried to focus on picking off runners ahead of me (which I’ve never really fully committed to before … and it helped!). The course was 4 laps of the park and while it was a little repetitive, I quite enjoyed ticking off each lap. Felt pretty strong during the last mile managing my fasted mile at 7.37mins and finished with 48.12 which was a bit quicker than I was expecting … little way-off my PB but I haven’t been doing a huge amount of running recently so I was happy with it AND enjoyed it which was the main aim for me last night!
Rebecca Cawston
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15-09-16
Eastern Vets finals
After 4 rounds of competition Southend AC today took part in the finals. We all do multiple events so energy conservation is important. 8 people from each age group in each event. First race was 1,500m. For the first time ever,  I lead from the start, and did enough to stay infront. Won the race in 4.55 with second place 5 seconds behind. 1 1/2 hours later was the 3,000m. One guy was amazing, so I let him go after 200m, and concentrated on second. First V50 finished in 9.29 ! I was second in 10.39, 3rd was about 25 seconds behind. 2 hours later was the relay. 200m 200m 400m 800m. I did the last leg 800m. When the baton was passed to me, we were 50m behind the leader. At the end of the first lap, I was 40m behind. I was totally focused on beating him, and for the first time in 3 years, (when a guy cheated in a park run and cut a corner), i was totally focused on reeling in the leader. I felt no pain at all. I took 75m out of him on the last lap, and we won the relay. Was very pleased with my last race as a V50. Overall SAC did their best ever and came second.
Simon LeMare
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15-09-16
Hellingly 10k
Well done Simon at the Eastern Vets - very impressive turns of speed.  Yesterday I was just north of Eastbourne to run the Hellingly 10k - I'd forgotten how much of this race is uphill (k's 1 - 4) and it was novel to be running a race in September actively looking for shade to get out of the sun! Came home in 51st place out of 300 with a time of 42.56. Saturday also saw me volunteer as the time keeper at Bedgebury parkrun - what pressure!! Fine for the number we are dealing with at Bedgebury but  respect to anyone dealing with 400 - 500 runners!
Kevin Cockram
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15-09-16
Langham 5k
I came away with the Vets prize at the Langham 5k (a pretty low calibre race) but finished 4th. The first 3 guys started faster than I wanted to, but now looking at their result, perhaps I should have battled on for a podium spot … I was definitely closing down 3rd at the finish.


 

Lee Martin
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15-09-16
Thames Path Challenge
Not a run this time, this was supposed to be a 100k walk along the Thames from Putney to Henley. Set off with about 30 others from Tokio Marine HCC at 8.20am on Saturday aiming to walk to Henley in about 24 hours. We didn’t even make it across Putney Bridge before the rain started so good start to the day, though it was just a passing shower. All seemed to be going well, walking at a good pace covering 5km every hour and even the sun came out (briefly). First rest stop at Old Deer Park Richmond after 14k was reached fine no issues at all and set off walking again. Round 20k in at Kingston, heavens really opened and full waterproofs needed. Around this point my twin brother Nick, who I was walking with, put his foot down hard and banged his heel. I didn’t know this but he started dropping back a bit and I had to keep waiting for him to catch up. Next rest stop at 28k in Hurst Park he admitted that he was in a lot of pain but thought it was just his boot rubbing so he loosened the laces a bit and we carried on. By 35km he was really hobbling and had to take painkillers just to get to rest stop at 37.5k in Shepperton. Here we found the medics and they told him he had probably done nerve damage and taped up the area to hold it rigid and basically told us it was very unlikely we would be able to do the full 100k as planned. By changing his walking style to not lifting the foot much, we were able to carry on with the plan to get to halfway and see how things were. By 40km my feet were very sore as blisters were starting and left quad was really starting to hurt. Both of us hobbled on through Staines (had not read my email and did not know 2 beers had been left for us!) and was doing our best to get to 50km. Finally got to Runnymede and decided that Nick could not continue so we had to retire at halfway. As of this morning his foot is very swollen and shin in a lovely shade of red and he can hardly walk. Myself I have 5 blisters, 3 of them blood blisters and walking around it’s not good. Time wise we did the 50km in 10 hours 18 minutes. I’m going to stick to marathons – much easier than walking!!
Andrew Ferguson
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15-09-16
Cardiff 10k - mixed result
Yesterday I ran in the England team in what turned out to be an England v Wales Masters race incorporated within the Cardiff 10k (a race of about 5000 runners). The good news was that us old gits were given access to the Elite athletes areas so I could drive from my hotel and park 100m from the start, then warm up and leave it to the last moment to walk in at the front of the field – I could get used to that ! Over the last few weeks my right heel has been a bit sore but I have been in denial saying that it was just a bruised heel rather than the dreaded plantar fasciitis. Anyway I decided to race anyway and started out at a fairly fast pace keeping my Welsh rivals in sight and just ahead of my England team mates. I went through 5k in 17:37, too quick for my current level of fitness, the heel was sore but manageable and in a race you may as well go with your rivals. Julian Critchlow, England team mate, came past me around 5k and moved ahead, but I could still see my Welsh rivals. We all slowed in the second half but I managed to catch and go past one of my Welsh rivals, Ifan Lloyd, at about 8k and could still see the other one ahead. Coming into the finishing straight even though like everyone else I was really tired I started to really push the pace then with 50 – 100 meters to go the heel finally said that’s enough ! Suddenly I could not walk let alone run, I had to hold on to the barriers at the side of the road and drag myself, limping/shuffling to the line. At the time it felt like both my legs had just given up but looking back it was combination of the tiredness plus the heel. I was taken to the First Aid tent in a wheelchair and they checked me out but after resting a while I was able to hobble around ok. Unfortunately I lost about 20 secs in that last 50 – 100 meters and Ifan Lloyd overtook me again ! I ended up with 36:25 (36:21 chip) but I might have been able to get close to dipping under 36. I was 2nd in the M55 England team of 4, my two teammates behind me had their own problems, Paul Mingay had achilles /calf problems and walked from 7k finishing in 59:12, whereas Phil Teece ran 37:54. These are guys that have run faster than me this year, it just goes to show on the day in a race anything can happen. Even though the drive home afterwards was hell and I can’t walk today overall I enjoyed it - it was a well organised race, great weather, and I would do it again – hopefully it will become an annual international masters event.
Mick Bridgeland
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15-09-16
Beckenham Half Marathon
I did the Beckenham Half yesterday – a very small half marathon which was held for the second time yesterday. I planned to use the race as a MP training run ahead of Chester (which is in three weeks) and was hoping to simply let someone set the pace and follow (my usual strategy). I started off running with another runner for the first mile, and then went ahead to set the pace. I assumed the runner who I had just gone past, or someone else, would come by at some stage, but as the race continued I started to suspect I was building a gap (although was afraid to turn around just to find someone was just behind me). To cut a long and boring story short, I managed to keep the gap and won in 1.20.27 (which is a bit slower than I had hoped for, but is at least at marathon pace). I appreciate it is just a small race which didn’t attract a fast field, but it was nice to come first. Thanks to Marcus for his support at around mile 7 (a nice surprise to see someone I knew out on the course).
Robert Laing
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15-09-16
Not a race as such but I took part in the Bacchas half Marathon yesterday at Denbies Wine Estate. It’s a lovely run through the grape vines steadily climbing the hill to some amazing views at the top. There are six stops on the route stocked with various wines as well as the usual water and snacks, the atmosphere is great with anyone not in fancy dress looking slightly out of place and some great entertainment at the stops (loved the bell ringers). I’ve no idea how long it took but the included hog roast, glass of wine and cake at the end helped with the recovery. Thoroughly recommend it.
Donna Henry
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15-09-16
Great North Run
Ran the GNR yesterday. Being a South Shields lad, I regard this as my home run and it was my 11th this year. Having ran 2 x HM PB’s this year (82 mins being my best) I was feeling confident going into it and hoped to at least beat my best time on this course (86 mins). That was until I was wiped out with a D&V bug on Thursday! Anyway, I recovered in time to make to the start line on Sunday though I had no idea what condition my body was in. Weather wasn’t great for distance running, blue skies and 20+ degree heat. Set off at 6:30/mile pace, which I held until mile 9, but blew up massively at that point. There are a few long climbs on this course, which (coupled with the high temperature) took their toll on me. The last 4 miles were a gruelling 7:30/mile pace. Crossed the line in 1:29 and almost collapsed, but was caught by 2 attentive St John’s ambulance guys! Probably shouldn’t have run at all, or at least should have took it easy, though that’s never possible once you get carried away with the nerves and excitement on the day!
David Wilkinson
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15-09-16
Chase the Sun, Battersea Park
Last night was the last of the 'Chase the Sun' series, in Battersea Park. I opted for the 5k version, determined to do my best time of the series. I therefore set off at break-neck speed (for me) completing the first kilometre in 4.10, which is about the same pace I run for the 800 reps on Thursday.  I then spent the next 4k trying to focus on keeping pace with those near me, and chasing down a few ahead.  At 4k, I was starting to wilt (these races certainly attract the good weather!), but after some cheery encouragement from Steve Stanley, who went charging past me on the 10k, I gritted my teeth and started counting off the steps to the final straight, for a final sprint to cross the line in 23.40, a new PB J .  Great to see Rebecca and Liz there as well, doing the 10k race.  Rebecca was certainly looking very relaxed when I saw her on her 3rd lap, but I will leave it to her to report on her race.
Alex Anderson
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15-09-16
Well done Alex.  It was certainly a sweaty evening in Battersea Park and I was tempted to do the 5k.  But for me this summer has been about 10k, so I stuck with the programme and finished in 37.51 in 12th, close to a PB and overall I'm pretty pleased as I was flagging in the last 2k.  I have very generously been given a chip time of 37.02, but sadly I don't think it took me 49secs to cross the start from the second row, so I can't take the credit for that one.
Russell Beard
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8-09-16
Wee 'n' Pee 10k (plus a bit)
Another great day down at Staines on Thames, courtesy of Andy & Michele's fine hospitality. One of the best events in the Ravens' calendar, without doubt. This year, there was the option of a 10k as well as the usual 5k (probably around 5.25k in actual fact), which I decided to plump for, along with Serena and about 10-15 other runners. Andy T, Andy H, Vicky and Dave decided to go for the (frankly slightly wimpier) shorter option. That was my first mistake. The 10k race started first and off and we duly went down the Thames path towards Chertsey, as directed. An unknown chap went off hard and, after going with Serena for half a km or so, I tried to push on and keep him in sight. That was my second mistake. On we ran, past the 5k turnaround point. And on. Under the M3 motorway. And on. And on. After about 20 minutes, myself and the frontrunner stopped, as we had already been around 5k, so thought we must have missed the turnaround point or something. We decided to turn back and, sure enough, we had. We later found out that the reason we had missed them is that they didn't turn up until after we had passed! Fortunately, they did for everyone else and managed to turn them around at the right point. At this stage, I kind of gave up, but decided to complete the course anyway, which I finished in an all-time PW for a 10k of 57 minutes. I had however, run just under 8 miles! Our misfortune, however, was Serena's good fortune as she won the race! In the 5k, Dave Butler won, whilst Vicky was first lady, so a Ravens' clean sweep of 'trophies' (vouchers for the local pub in fact). We then went back to Andy & Michele's' fabulous house on the Thames to celebrate/commiserate, with the help of several pints of mighty fine Thameside ale and a fabulous barbeque. Great fun all round!
Marcus Elwes
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8-09-16
Three race report!
Following Thursdays comeback Assembly League run (my first proper run since February) I also had a couple of events on Saturday. At 9.30 I ran the Shoreham Woods 10k, a lovely hilly off-road event, around the woods and fields of Shoreham in Kent. A low key event (in the best sense of the words), I ran it with a friend of mine who is a newcomer to running. He has asked me to help him train for the Brighton Marathon next spring and this was his first formal running race. As a 24 minute parkrunner, he was hoping to break the hour but the terrain meant we both finished in about 1.08 – the slowest ever 10k for me but extremely enjoyable because it was very comfortable. I can thoroughly recommend this event to anyone who wants to run a good cross country 10k and will be back again next year to run it in anger. At 10.50 I jumped into the car to drive the 8 junctions to junction 13 of the M25 to take part in the Wee and Pee at 1 pm. Last year I missed the start of the race due to traffic problems. Thanks to traffic jams and accidents I arrived at the Wee and Pee at 12.45 having still been stuck in traffic at junction 10 until 12.25. I was convinced that I would miss the event again but ‘raced’ the last few miles. Technically a negative split which is a first for me. So I was a bit rushed as I struggled to park, change and register for the start. However, I was rewarded with the sight of a smiling Dave Butler ready to race on the start line. As Marcus has mentioned, there was a 10k and a 5k. Marcus headed off on the 10k first followed shortly by Serena, Dave Butler, Vicky, Andy Hayward and myself on the 5k. Andy and I paced sensibly and caught up on some gossip so we were able to follow the progress of both Dave and Vicky on the out and back course. So pleased to see Dave back racing again and to see him put a winners medal around his neck – the first medal of any sorts since his injury two years ago. Vicky ran well too finishing close behind to take second place and first lady.  With Serena finishing first in the 10k with the most bewildered look on her face, it was a great day for the Ravens. Serena doesn’t like racing so watching her win and then have to collect the winners prize was great for us although somewhat painful for her.  Marcus came second in the unofficial 14k event which caused a great deal of amusement all round. Even with Marcus eventually… The barbecue and beers afterwards were first class – thank you Andy and Michelle – a great way to finish the day. We can all highly recommend the fine ales of the Thameside brewery. Next year, let’s get a full Ravens contingent out. So although I raced three times in three days, following no racing/training at all, all were very easy runs and I’m pleased to say that all seemed to go well. Nothing broken.
Andy Tucker
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8-09-16
My first race report for over two years! Unlike Andy, I arrived an hour before the start of the Wee and Pee after various trains from deepest Essex to Staines. Plenty of time to chat to Andy & Michele, have a nice warm up along the Thames Path and register at the pub. This was a great event to do as part of my comeback. After watching Marcus sprint off on the 14k, we had a more leisurely start to the 5k. I managed to pick up the pace once on the path and gradually overhauled Vicky and the other lady who were in 2nd and 1st places respectively until I got to the 5k turnaround point where they thought I was in the 10k and therefore going straight on. Luckily after a brief chat about directions with the marshal I turned and headed back in the opposite direction. Felt good and managed to improve my pace steadily through the remainder of the race to finish in a time of 22:13 (5.3k distance on my Garmin). Great effort by Vicky to be 1st lady, Serena on winning the 10k and Marcus on coming second in the 14k. Well done the two Andy's on their runs too. Then it was time for medals, photos, beer and then more beer and BBQ at Andy & Michele's. Lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon and many thanks to Andy & Michele for their hospitality and making it such an enjoyable day out. Very pleased to have a good run and no aches or pains afterwards.
Dave Butler
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8-09-16
Maidenhead Half
I raced the Maidenhead Half on Sunday. I'm currently in the middle of a slightly rush job marathon training plan (with 6 weeks till Amsterdam) so wasn't really expecting anything. I actually went quicker than expected, finishing in 1:25:54 (improving the PB by a couple of mins). I felt myself slowing over the last 6km despite fighting as best as possible to stay with the guys winding it up for the finish. I'll put that down to the weeks miles but in reality I need to do more threshold runs. More time on the feet.
Rob Reid
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8-09-16
Sunday morning saw me race at the Blackwater Triathlon in Maldon which consisted of a 400 metre swim, a 23k bike and a 6k run. After having a great battle with one of my team mates who beat me by a few seconds, I finally finished in sixth place and picked up a prize for the third place vet. I last did this race in 2008 and I was delighted to finish about a minute quicker especially considering the windy conditions we faced yesterday. George also raced at Blackwater yesterday and put in another stellar performance.
Ian George
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8-09-16
Life after running
Firstly, well done to everyone who raced at the weekend (especially you Dave B) and it's good to hear the assembly league is being well supported. While I haven't run at all since March, I have been attempting to keep fit with spinning and swimming. Neither are as enjoyable as running (I miss the inane banter) but have given me something to focus on. On Saturday I entered my first event, a 1500m swim at Eton Dorney. Great to be back at a sporting event but a bit different not having to stress about how my legs were feeling. Instead my arms and shoulders seemed to develop strange aches and pains. Anyway, not knowing what to expect I put myself relatively near the front so as to minimise the chance of coming last. Weirdly, I wasn't aware of many people coming past me and I seemed to be going a similar pace to the few I could see (goggles totally useless, any tips/recommendations?) even overtaking a few.  I finished 33rd out of 152 in a time of 26-24 which I am quite amazed by - I am not a swimmer. I'm guessing most of the real swimmers did the longer distances, 3, 5 or 10k but even so it was great to be back doing something competitive. Life after running is finally looking up, or should I say down and then to the side.
Stuart Lenton
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8-09-16
Quick race report – Chantilly Middle Distance tri (Le Gantelet): Flipping hot (37C) for a couple of days before but thankfully cooled down on race day. Swam (1.9k) 31mins in the chateau ‘moat’ (pretty happy), biked 2.27 on a fast 2 lap course (90k) (not so happy, just lacking the power, not enough taper I think) & ran 1.32 (off road half marathon – happy as well paced and didn’t explode). 4hrs 36mins for 9th (winner went 4.11). Great race, well organised and lovely course. Chantilly is a nice spot for a weekend away – 2.5hrs from Calais. Hopefully out for a few sessions before the next race (New Forest Middle) in a couple of weeks then hanging up the bike & speedos to get back to the running.
Tom Robertson
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8-09-16
I did the final aquathlon race at Lee valley white water rafting centre yesterday. Having done the 3 of the previous 4 races I stood a chance of the overall series (fastest 4 count). After all of the previous comments I was sure to neck 2 cans of Coca Cola and 3 cans of Dr Pepper to be on the safe side. When I got in the water I realised this was in vain as the water was filtered and crystal clear although my stomach was bubbling lots. The 500 m wetsuit swim was followed by a 5.5km run and I didn't see a single fight on the towpath (granted it’s not as congested as tower bridge). I came 2nd overall in yesterday's race and managed to win the overall series ( finishing 1,2,2,2) so pleased with result and getting ready to pick up fitness again for next year.
Rob
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2-09-16
Assembly League – Beckenham

20 ravens runners plus 3 behind enemy lines. Particularly brilliant to have 6 ladies and the return of the ever encouraging ‘Mr Tucker’. As for the race it was the usual mix of car dodging, youths on bicycles, people desperate to get in to McDonalds and bemusement from innocent bystanders. Having felt all week like I was feeling fresh, my jog to the clubhouse saw me feeling very heavy in the legs. Started a bit further back than I’d have liked but thought this might help me not get too carried away. Managed to get past a few people on the first hill. Ran hard on the flat but overtaken by Sid after about a mile and had no ability to stick with him but kept him in sight. I also had the beacons of Tim and Rob further up the road so just tried to keep all these Ravens vests in sight. Managed to overtake a few people coming in to the park as we started to go up the hill. Could still see Sid but couldn’t real him in so focused on just not being caught from behind. Finished in approx. 17:03 which is 10 seconds quicker than when we ran this race at the start of the season. Still a few people from other running clubs that I’d have hoped to be mixing it with but I guess there is always next year.
Chris Tuck
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2-09-16
Yes, nice to be back and great to see such a fine turn out by Team. No report from me as such – just a case of finishing my first race back for a while - mission accomplished.
Andy Tucker
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2-09-16
'3 behind enemy lines' - I like that. Phil, I didn't see any SEAC runners at all (admittedly they could have all been way out in front of me!) whereas everywhere I turned all I could see was Ravens vests. Well done on a great turnout, and especially from the ladies team(s). Great stuff. Good to see Rob and Arif as well. For me, I am running injured at the moment (nothing serious), but felt I had to turn out last night, as I had done a lot of Hernon-esque cajoling of my club colleagues to get out in force for this event (which seemed to work, as I think we had a record number - around 40), but my intention was not to over-do it and I would have been happy with anything sub 20 minutes. As it was, I came in with 19:37 after a relatively comfortable race and little burst to take me past an impressively motoring Kevin in the last 50 metres. Some way off my best for this course, but happy enough in the circumstances.
Marcus Elwes
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2-09-16
Back to back races for me having done a 10k the night before. Surprisingly legs felt a lot better and not as heavy as at Hyde Park. Struggled a bit on the first hill but seemed to be ok after that. Got passed by Andy T who definitely was not hanging around at the back like he said! Gave me a target to try and get past him but as expected asthma hit about 2 miles so slowed down a little bit to recover.  Finished quite strong as was passing people on the last hill and finished in 21:37 which was 14 seconds slower than last year. Happy with the time though.
Andrew Ferguson
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2-09-16
Fantastic to see a good turn out and over the moon with 6 females J Considering my below average performances recently, I was relatively happy with last night’s performance – about 20.50, faster than the first one this year but slower than previous.  First two miles were fine though got a little stuck behind runners and I did manage to overtake the Eton Manor girl before we hit the end hill.  Thought she was going to re-take me – she didn’t but 5 other girls did L  MUST do more hill work!
Vicky Cooper
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2-09-16
Absolutely loved last night, especially with 6 lovely ladies! I've had possibly the worst season of my life progressively getting slower and slower since a dodgy marathon in April. Two weeks ago I couldn't even get under 20 minutes for a park run so I was absolutely delighted with 18.37 last night. I set off on the pavement with some Dulwich runners (who swiftly ditched me as they zoomed off) and felt a bit sluggish which wasn't helped by the first hill - must also do more hill work!!! I then assumed I was pretty off pace to run a decent time so stopped worrying and just ran, following Phil's advise to not look at my watch! It's the best advise I've had because I ran a pb and after months of feeling disheartened and miserable I have the love for running back! Great picture - I will get myself a Raven's vest sorted ASAP in time for the XC!
Helena Eastham
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2-09-16
Great performances all round. Not having raced for a long time, thought would give it a go. As always set off far too quick for my current level of fitness. Died a bit during last mile, especially when Stew ran past me. Start a little interesting down a residential street with parked cars. I didn’t time it, so will have to wait for results. All in all an enjoyable race
Pat Young
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2-09-16
Started off with intention of keeping mick and tucks in sight, after doing the earlier race at beckenham had a bit more knowledge of the course. The first hill was hard work after the frantic start used  the downhills to relax and go as fast as I could. Caught up with George and mick about half way and felt good so kept going expecting them to come with me. Caught tuck prob with mile to go then could see rob osborne in front. Thought for a second could catch him then he stepped up a gear and was out of sight so just made sure no one caught me on last hill like last time! Finished in around 17 min hoping it's under! Although I have stopped wearing my watch for short races and run as I feel as think more of a distraction for shorter races and think it is much more enjoyable way to run! Also after a full 'summer season' with Ravens am starting to enjoy / get used to this eye balls out races as hadn't done much of it in the past!
Paul (Sid) Newton
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2-09-16
Overall I was pleased with my run, 17:14ish, especially after just having come back from two weeks holiday, that’s the excuse out of the way. I must admit after you came past me I could still see you in the distance but had no chance of catching you, I got closer to Chris and George came past me nearer the end. However many times you run that course the last hill does not get any easier. Glad to see you have started to ignore the watch during races, I wear mine just to look back on after the race, as the race ebbs and flows and the course undulates your pace will vary-  the most important thing is the race against your rivals
Mick Bridgeland
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2-09-16
Really good turn out and well done to everyone! Started off too far back at the start because it was so busy – so had to use up a bit too much energy at the start to run around people and get back to where Mick and Chris T etc were. Lost ground to Mick, Chris and Sid on the flat middle section of the course, couldn’t stay with them but wasn’t a big gap. At the bottom of the hill I thought I wouldn’t have too much of a sprint left but by halfway up I started feeling pretty good and really pushed hard to finish quickly (cycling up hills definitely helps me with running uphill). I overtook Mick and two others and finished just behind Chris. Slower than earlier in the year but I was in good shape in April building up to Lisbon so pleased with how I ran last night.
George Wakefield
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2-09-16
Started a few rows back and despite probably going off a bit too fast it was a much more steady start than normal for me.  I maintained a decent pace slowing a bit in the second half.  Tim overtook me just before the last hill but I found enough in reserve just to catch him at the end.  I think I finished around 16:45ish- a fair bit down on my best but pleased with the race considering current fitness levels.
Rob Osborne
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2-09-16
Well done to everyone who took part – really good to be part of a big team of Ravens. This was my first time out on this race. Having been warned about the hills, I was pleasantly surprised with the first one – at least you could see the end to it and knew it was downhill fast afterwards – but the second one killed me.  I felt much better than the only other AL race I was able to do this season (much better at keeping on the shoulder of faster runners for longer) but still significant room for improvement on stamina over that last mile. Finishing time 23.12. A target to beat next year!
Alex Anderson
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2-09-16
Southend Open race result
Today was a bit disappointing but a learning experience. There is a large contingent of race walkers at SAC and I was pressurised to enter the first race which was a 1 mile race walk. (I did a 400m practice at the end of each running training run for the last month) There were 25 entrants including Dominic King who did the race walk at Rio. He lapped me !  I came second in 9.22 and beat Dominic's coach who was 3rd. Was not at all tired, but I knew my quads could suffer. The last race of the day was the 1500m, which was 6 hours later. I thought i would have recovered by then, which is why I entered the walk. My quads were really tight during a long warm up and I was worried about an injury. Decided I would start and if they were too tight I would pull out. Finished 5th first V50 in 4.49. Was very disappointed as thought I would have recovered from earlier, and feel I wasted a possibility of a 1500m PB. Running has priority over race walking, so I will not do that again.
Simon Le Mare
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2-09-16
BRR 5K "Elvis" Race - BH Monday
I was entered into the above race by my club even though I didn’t particularly want to run it due to my recent performances.  Indeed, I wondered whether my legs would ever experience a sub 7 minute mile ever again.  However, I need not have worried, I managed three and a bit of them.  It’s a two lap course around  Barking Park, relatively flat with a few twists and turns but nothing too onerous.   I took the race in my stride, didn’t feel that I went off too fast but remained steady and was able to start reeling people in, specifically aiming for club mates.  I put in a big effort at the end following further encouragement from team mates who had already finished, to a pleasing time of 21.30 and won first V45 trophy – my first since entering this new age category (for me) earlier this month.
VICKY COOPER
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2-09-16
For the record a pretty average 20.59 performance after a frantic late arrival. Good conditions for much faster, but managed not to be following in Vicky's wake this year :)
Andy C
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2-09-16
Newick Will Page 10k
I ran the Newick Will Page 10k on Sunday and so completed the last of eight races required for this years Sussex Grand Prix (SGP) - any further races will now only count if I score more points than my slowest race to date. A relatively low key race along undulating to hilly quiet lanes.  We were warned that there was also a cycle race in progress between k's 4 & 5; however the biggest issue came in the form of a tree that fell down across one of the lanes, also bringing down the power lines.  With care you could climb under the trunk and through the branches but it was enough for the cycle race to be abandoned - just as well no one was going under it when it came down. I felt sorry for Wadhurst Runner's oldest competitor (83 years old!) who arrived at the tree post the arrival of the emergency services to be told he couldn't pass through!  This wasn't going to stop him however, so in true Dunkirk spirit and with the aid of the tail runner and a race medic, he "jumped" a couple of barbed wire fences and enjoyed some cross-country before re-joining the course further up the lane, a little bloodied but well on course to retaining his Vet 80 SGP title! As for me - 52nd out of 192 finishers in a time of 44.14 inclusive of tree hurdling - some might say a TREE-mendous effort all-round!
Kevin Cockram
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2-09-16
Chase the Sun Hyde Park 10k
Yesterday was my first race in 2 months following the asthma issues I have been having and it was a Chase the Sun 10k in Hyde Park. Lack of running over the summer showed as found it really hard work. Finished in an unspectacular 47:02 as was saving some energy for tonight’s AL but was happy just to be racing again. Would have been even happier not to have an asthma attack at 8km but can’t have everything.
Andrew Ferguson
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25-08-16
Hercules 5000m Open result (17.08.16)
I was pleased to scrape under 17 mins last night with a time of 16:58.52. Only the second year HW has held the event and all 140 places taken pre race day
Stuart Fraser
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25-08-16
It was a really good evening of racing. Well done Stuart, a great time. I don’t recall seeing you there last night, assume you weren’t wearing a Raven’s vest? I ran in the middle race and my time was 16.14. Suppose realistically that is what I thought I was capable of, although would have liked something closer to 16.00
Robert Laing
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16-08-16
I ran the Maldon 5k last night – it is a handicap 5k so I was one of the last people to start. I ran with my son – I did 17:45 ish (results not yet up) and my son out sprinted me at the end and beat me by a few seconds !!
Mick Bridgeland
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16-08-16
Spitfire Scramble 24
I completed the Spitfire Scramble 24 hour race this weekend as a pair with another female. It’s a 5.9 mile loop around Hornchurch Country Park in Essex, all terrain (tarmac, gravel, woods, grass etc); the Spitfire flyby at 3.55pm this year. I did this last year as part of a team of 6 so being a pair this year was going to be a challenge. Our plan was for each of us to do one loop each to start off with, then after the initial loop, two loops so that whilst one was running, the other got two hours rest, give or take. I suggested my friend go first because she had not done this previously so didn’t know the route. We tried to pace it so that we could keep going for the whole 24 hours. We had managed 5 loops each when she had to go home to rest her knee (she’d done a triathlon the previous week, London 100 bike ride the week before and Outlaw ironman the week before that!) as it had swollen up and was very painful. I tried to stick to the 2 hour rest but ended up having 3 hours, then going out for another 2 loops, then another 3 hours rest, and another 2 loops. I was just having a short break (it was about 8.10am by this time) and was going to go out again when she arrived back, refreshed and ready to go again. So she did one loop, then I did one, then she did another and then I finished the final lap just before 12pm. I managed 10 loops and my friend 7 loops. I was happy enough with 59 miles (the OCD in me wishes each loop was 6 miles in distance…) but suppose I’m a little disappointed in myself for taking 3 hours break instead of 2, because we got 2nd female pair, whereas, I think we could have got first. Ce la vie, I’m still happy overall and legs feel okay today.
Vicky Cooper
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16-08-16
Race report from Cornwall/Track results from Wimbledon
Fantastic effort Vicky! I was going to say my legs are still in pieces after running a really tough hilly 10k course last Friday but after reading your report I think I’ll keep quiet!
While on holiday in Cornwall I found a 10k race in St Levan. After a week of pasties, cream teas and local ales my race expectations were low. The St Levan 10k is a small local event with just over 300 runners but the field had some quality at the front end. Unfortunately for me, a local V50 runner Tony Wright turned up and beat me with ease. I finished 2nd V50 (14th overall) in 36.56 and Tony finished 7th in 35.21. The race was won by Joshua Bull in 31.58. I looked up Joshua on Power of Ten and he’s run 30.20 this year. He’s currently ranked 4th U23.
I was disappointed with the time but it was the toughest 10k road course I’ve ever run. I gave it my all but I think my lack of mileage the past 4 months was the main reason I struggled.
Earlier this month, I targeted a 1500m race at Wimbledon track as my ‘A’ race for the summer. I was hoping to run below 4.35. I had warmed up and was ready to race for a 7.30 start; however due to a number of delays I didn’t actually race until 8.10. Not sure if this is my excuse for a poor run but when the race started I just couldn’t get going and finished in 4.43:71. 20 minutes later I ran the 3000m in a PB 9.53:71. I felt surprisingly good for the 3000m and just ran steady 80 second laps. Last year at same event I ran the 1500m in 4.38:12 and 3000m 10.04:90.
The past 4 months, I have raced nearly all recognised distances. Times below -
800m – 2.21:10
3 x 1500m – Best 4.42:36
3000m – 9.53:71
5000m – 17.24:70
5k – 17.00
Parkrun 17.43 (finished 1st Tooting – only Parkrun this year)
10k – 36.56
Half Marathon – 76.43
Marathon – 2.54:53
Stuart Fraser
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16-08-16
So last night I ran the last of Blackheath and Bromley’s open meetings. Unlike other meetings this has a mile track race rather than a 1500m. It was interesting to get there early and see the 100m races which were extremely well attended with lots of youngsters. ( Possible Bolt fever?). The mile wasn’t until 9pm by which time it was begging to get dark. I had briefly considered doubling up with the 800m but a slight twinge in my back doing hill reps on Saturday made me think better of it. I went off with the front group who were all about 15 to 17. It felt fairly comfortable and I considered pushing on harder but decided to settle in. Went through the first 400 in about 69/70 secs. With about 800 to go the youngsters started to wind up and pull away from me and sadly with about 600 to go a few other people began to pass me and I had nothing really in my legs to react. Picked up the pace with 300m to go and couldn’t quite catch one of the youngsters who I has started with on the line. Finished with an official time of 4:58. I’d have liked to go quicker particularly as most of the race in front of me was around 4:50 to 4:55 so would have been happier if I could have kept in the mix but all in all a fun track race to finish off the summer with the first cross country race less than a month away.
Chris Tuck
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16-08-16
So I did Dublin 70.3 on Sunday my first official half ironman event and I managed a time of 5.00.05! A little gutted not to be under 5 hours but extremely happy with my time. It was a great race fairly flat so I would think it is a good PB course but being in Ireland the weather is a little unpredictable which could effect the race though thankfully it was pretty good on Sunday.
The swim is a rolling start sea swim which I struggled with and only managed 36.42 for the 1.9km. The bike is fairly flat and I was happy with my time of 2.43 on a road bike without tri bars.
The run went really well and I managed a 1.29.56 half marathon on a very flat route around Phoenix Park. I was in pieces at the end but really was able to push on despite the pain towards the end thanks to the training I have been doing with the Ravens. Where I lost a lot of time was in transition where I had no experience of the Ironman process of using bags to store your gear and I would hope to improve on this next time. Only down side of the day was having to wait an hour and a half for our bags to be delivered back from the swim transition which given the high entry fee was not good enough and I will be making a complaint!
Alex Hardy
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16-08-16
Apologies Alex, I didn’t realise you were in Dublin as well.........I too jumped into a cold Irish Sea on Sunday morning for the Ironman 70.3 Dublin. I had a good swim in a time of 36:13. After a relatively quick transition (T1) I headed out on the 90km bike course. 2hrs 43 minutes later, with an average speed of 20.6 mph I entered T2. I started the 13.1 mile run with heavy legs and normally after a couple of miles I get into my stride but this one was different – I struggled mile after mile and really had to push myself just to keep going. It was a disappointing run with a time of 1hr 50 which underlined the lack of brick training (bike to run sessions). In my age group I was 20th after the swim, 14th after the bike and bizarrely managed to gain 1 place on the run so finished 13th / 132 with a total time of 5hrs 20 minutes.
Wes Absalom
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11-08-16
I ran the Vanguard Way Marathon yesterday. It is a trail marathon which starts in Croydon and follows the Vanguard Way to just beyond the M25 and then comes back on itself. It was a really scenic run with loads of great trail (as well as a few horrendous hills). In any event, I ran it as a training run for Chester and had no great plans (other than not wanting to go too hard). The guys who placed 1st and 2nd last year (both 2.32 Marathon runners) did about 3.24, so I thought anything less than 4 hours would be good. In any event, I went out behind a runner from Herne Hill who set a blistering pace (and didn’t seem to want to let me take a share at the front). So I basically spent 23 miles running behind him, at which point he had nothing left in the tank. So I left him at that point and ran the last 3.2 miles by myself. I finished in just shy of 3.20 (he came in in just under 3.25 and 3rd place was in about 3.54). Overall a great trail marathon if anyone is keen on doing it next year.
Robert Laing
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11-08-16
Sri Chimnoy 5k Battersea Park
Last night I (along with Lee and Russell) ran the Sri Chimnoy 5k at Battersea Park. I ended up with a 17:38 which I was a bit disappointed with, I was hoping for about 30 secs quicker, it was just one of those nights. I started off ok but then struggled to hold my normal race pace, hopefully just a one off, I am going on holiday on Sunday, chance to relax and recharge and then come back in Sept ready for the xc season.
Mick Bridgeland
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11-08-16
I managed a 16:53 which went well. I slowed a bit in the middle I think but got it back at the end with a strong finish.
Lee
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11-08-16
17.50 was a 59 second pb for me. Pushed on in the last km and could probably go quicker again, so will be looking to line up some more 5ks over the coming weeks. 10k times are also tumbling this summer. All thanks to Ravens' interval sessions. Cheers.
Russ Beard (Sid)
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8-08-16
Assembly League – Victoria Park
My first Assembly League race this year (I'm sorry to say) and my first visit to Victoria Park - ever! Luckily for once I had left plenty of time to get there and so, following Phil's directions, enjoyed a leisurely stroll in the warm evening sun through the park to the start. Once again I was struck by how fit, thin and lively the majority of these Assembly League runners look, so having stood on the start line with Lyndon to see what it might feel like to be able to justify such a lofty location, we duly moved to the back and a position more appropriate to our talents!
The race itself was quite straightforward with plenty of people to follow (!) and had the novelty for me of being pretty flat. I was slightly conscious of a twinge in my left knee so was a little cautious throughout but was pleased to post mile times of 6.32, 6.46 and 6.46 to give me a watch time of 23.03 for the 3.5 mile race distance. Still had a bit in the finishing straight to gain a couple of places at the expense of Paddock Wood and Dulwich (the gentleman from whom duly congratulated me, which I thought was nice of him) so all in all a good evening.
Good to see the other Ravens (even those who'd "forgotten" they were!) so it's onwards and upwards to the final race in September - see you all there!
Kevin Cockram
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8-08-16
As with Kevin, this too was my first AL experience. I would love to be able to do more but logistics are not my friend when it comes to the majority of locations. Tim Andrews and I ran out from the city (don't tell phil) via Mile End which was about 6.5k once we had worked out where the start was. I took a conservative approach to start positioning as had felt sluggish on the jog over forgetting it was a position based result for Ravens until about 300m in so did my usual of trying to make up some places and pace of Tim S (who had out run me at JPM). I have up trying to follow Rob L who had tagged onto the back of the faster group and is a different class. Tim S and I ended up running together for a while which was really good for me and I ran through 5k in under 17 but had already started to fade after I had got penned in for a short period and had to amend stride (it's amazing how much this always effects me). Anyhow, no idea where I ended but posted approx a 19:19. Great to see a good turnout from the Ravens and thanks to Phil for giving us a kick to get there.
Apologies for running off as soon as I had finished, I had to navigate my way to stratford to train it back to norwich. Tim S will attest that my directional ability isn't great but I do know my lefts and rights eh Tim ;)
Matthew Ellis
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8-08-16
Yesterday was my first race in a Ravens vest. I haven’t done a lot of races before, so good to have the chance to run with a field of club runners (most obviously much faster than me!) and pleased of the encouragement from other Ravens. As Matt said, the ‘light warm-up’ to Victoria park was much further than either of us realised, so my legs weren’t feeling too fresh by the time we got there. I started a bit too far forward and as a result set off too fast, buoyed by the crowd of runners around me. I found myself slowing in the middle and struggled to get my legs moving again. With about 1k to go, I managed to pick it up a little bit and passed a few people near the end. I came in with a watch time of 23:56 – not quite as fast as I’d have liked, but given I’d been chasing Matt for 4 miles from the City, I wasn’t too disappointed. Needless to say I’ll be getting the tube there next time!
Tim Andrews
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8-08-16
I tried to McCoy method of warm up (with a twist) for this race As luck would have it my team at work had decided to have a 'team bonding' session that afternoon which involved playing softball (and obviously drinking) in none other than Vicky Park. The twist was that my head was unfortunately on the receiving end of a 16 stone colleague's knee whilst defending 3rd base!
So half cut and half concussed, I duly wobbled round the 3.5 mile course and unsurprisingly recorded my worst ever time there, coming in just under 23 mins. I don't remember much of it to be honest! Won't be doing that again!
Marcus Elwes
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8-08-16
I poodled around . Started at the back was overtaken by a few . Went through first mile in 7 23 as the plan was just to see how the ankle was not too displeased with 7 23. Carried on pretty much the same pace for the rest of the run.. finished totally in control but near the back with a time to look forward.. or so I thought. The objective was to see how the ankle reacted and it was not good .. Very swollen and quite painful.. seeing a specialist Monday pm
Phil Hernon
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8-08-16
I finished in 20:30. Splits were 1) 5:44, 2) 6:07 3) 6:02. I normally fade badly over this sort of distance but managed to pick up the pace for the final third and beat a bloke in his 60's in a sprint finish, which was a relief, being half his age!
David Wilkinson
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29-07-16
Outlaw Triathlon
I had expected a tough and challenging day out when I did this event last year – but in practice this was I got in a big way yesterday compared to last year's relative breeze. From first 15 mins of swim I knew it was going to be a long day, unable to get into any sort of rhythm and stopping every few seconds. A few stern words to myself to either give up now or get on with it resulted in eventually getting into a comfortable stroke and swim completed ok. Next problem was bike where after first hour I found I could not get into aero position on my tri bars due to this hurting my back too much, so it was a long and arduous 112 miles, not helped by strong headwind in final 10 miles to really finish me off. Again, it took a bit of self-convincing that I could even start the run. First half went quite smooth but as heat rose I knew it was only a matter of time before it all caught up with me. I was having to stop and take on liquid at every drink station (something I have never had to do before in any marathon) and final few miles were mentally painful to say the least but I was determined to get to the finish. The whole question of time had disappeared from mind at a very early stage, but I can only say that it was character building event! Final finish time 11hrs 09mins with marathon in 3:39.
Rupert Holden
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29-07-16
Last night I ran the latest 'Chase the Sun' event, completing the 5k course in 24 minutes dead (6th woman, 35th overall – clearly people in Clapham run slower than people in Hyde Park). Once again, it was a really well organised event and the conditions were much better than in Hyde Park a week ago, which might explain why I was 24 seconds quicker (despite the Ravens' curry the night before).
Alex Anderson
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23-07-16
Today, i ran the Soar Mile (1609m) at Battersea. There were 8 graded races, I was in race 4, with about 10 people in each race. I was extremely anxious about the race, as I was still very stiff in some unusual muscles in the upper hamstring/inside of the upper thigh/glutes areas after my inaugural gym session on Monday. I decided I would do a long warm up, and quite a bit of stretching and if things tightened during the race, I would pull out. The first lap of 409m was in 78 seconds and the next lap in 78 as well. There were 6 of us all bunched together, and it took me 2 laps before I managed to get on the inside of the track. One guy would not let me pass him, and he sped up everytime i tried to pass, and then slowed down immediately after. I passed him with 400m to go, and finished 2nd in a disappointing time of 5.09, but was thrilled to be injury free. Decided I need to sharpen up my tactics and probably buy Mick and Dave a beer to advise me on short track race tactics. It was a well organised event and am pleased to have had a learning experience on a difficult tactical race for a race that did not matter too much.
Simon LeMare
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23-07-16
Last night was the latest in the 'Chase the Sun' series, in Hyde Park. Given the temperature, and the fact this was my third race in 7 days, I decided to go with the 5k option and to try to follow the group's advice about pacing myself better. Having run the course less than a month ago, I was able to do a good comparison on time from then, to see what progress (if any) I had made. Given the temperature, I decided to start slow, going through the 1st km in 4.45 (compared to 4.20 last month). I kept the same pace until 3km, when I felt myself slowing, but there were a few people around me with whom I could really race, and I set out taking them on, rather than worrying about the time. By the final strait along the Serpentine, I was feeling comparatively fresh, so I put in a bit of a sprint (well, it felt like a sprint to me!), overtaking another group to finish in 38th position, in a time of 24.24.
Part of me thinks this just demonstrates I do need to go faster at the start, as last time my time was 24.17, so I was 7 seconds slower. However, given I was 25 seconds faster over the 1st km last time, this also shows me that I was able to push on better in the second half, and the fact I was passing people in the second lap, and managed to do the second lap faster than the first, suggests I am making progress with my stamina. I also take comfort from the fact that I was 6 places up the order compared to the last race and that the winner this time was 1.12 slower than last time, which I think reflects the conditions.
Alex Anderson
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20-07-16
Standard Chartered 5K Race
I have never done this race before and loved racing on the closed city roads. I managed to start at the start line which is always an advantage but wasn't tempted to be dragged round too quickly by Phil Wicks and co. Ran my own race and felt good all the way round. The Ravens support was great and helped me finish strongly in 16.09 which gave me a position of 14th which I was pleased with. Obvious sub 16min target for 2017 though........
Andrew Mercer
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20-07-16
RIDLEY ROUND
Sid, Andy and I entered the Ridley Round, an offroad ½ marathon, with time deductions for each pint drunk at the 5 pubs en route. We teamed up with Chris Pearce/Purse/Snowdon and Rob Mills from the Springfield Striders, in part so we wouldn’t get lost, as they had done it before. Chris Purse & Rob Mills are both maths teachers. Next time we’ll take a geography teacher, as we got lost at least 3 times and ran about 15 ½ miles. Proper cross country on a very hot day, with the legs increasingly heavy. Delighted to have a last run down the hill into Littley Green and a final (ish) pint at The Compasses. Time? Not a clue, but thoroughly recommended. Took a bit of tumble 14 miles in (can’t imagine why), so out for a hobble at lunchtime. Andy also had some fun and games…..
Results in!
Sid 1.18.32
Me 1.18.46 (Big PB)
Andy 1.43
Assisted by maximum 100 minute deduction for beer drunk.
Robin McCoy
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20-07-16
Went into this on the back of a very bad period of asthma and having been put on stronger asthma medication last to try and bring it back under control. Maybe running through corn fields on a hot day with lots of pollen in the air was not the best of ideas…but hey liked the idea of running between 5 pubs. Even running to the first pub started struggling with breathing though it may also be trying to keep up with the others in the group as well. Between second and third pub had asthma attack and ended up having to stop running and tagging along with a group of walkers who could read the instructions so that helped! One of the group was walking and jogging so that helped to get me to the third pub where rest of our group could be found having a pint. Asthma started improving and for the remaining 3 pubs it was combination of jogging and walking to control the asthma. I obviously didn’t do too bad as manged to get to each pub in time for Robin to get me a pint before the main group set off and I finished my beer. Second asthma attack came about 12 miles so pretty much walked and slow jogged the last stage but put a spurt on when could see the last pub as felt I had earned that last beer or 2. Time wise watch showed about 3:10 and lot further than 13.1 miles. Don’t care as apart from asthma was a really fun day and well worth doing. Still managed to get to the pub in the evening for a few more beers to celebrate my Dad’s birthday! The one thing that has come out of this is no more races until asthma is under control. Getting fed up with having asthma whilst running now.
Andrew Ferguson
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20-07-16
Ironman UK 2016
Here's my annual update from Ironman UK! For those that don't recall, Ironman UK has been going for 12 years now and I've been there since the start. I think the technical term is "ever present" although we're also known as "repeat offenders". One of the better days weather wise. In fact I was welcoming the sunshine as my "A" Race this year has become the World Championships in Hawaii in October. Seemed a shame to give IMUK "B" status after all these years but I was still pleased with how it went. 1:05 for the swim, 6:01 for the bike (yes would have preferred to dip under 6) and then 3:46 for the run. Happy with that, just baffled why my Garmin clocked 27.7 miles. Are marathon courses up here building in "contingency" distance so there's no chance of them being short?! Anyway, I came 120th out of about 2000 and In the "race within a race" i.e. my age group was 6th out of 202. But to the all important stat...
Two years there were 7 "EPs" or "ROs"... Last year 5. This year... We are down to 4! So yes, I WILL be back again next year!!
Dave Meller
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15-07-16
I ran this last night and despite not putting to much expectation on myself I was in the first few rows so had had a good starting point to attack if I was to do anything half decent. Set off with no idea of pace as i got dragged along with all the exceptionally quick runners along with the usual fools that start at the front but are nothing more than fun runners who sprint for a few hundred meters then bunch up all over the road so you end up winding left to right to navigate around them. Once these obstacles were tackled I kept a pretty steady pace up to 3km which came up quite quickly, struggled a little between 3km and 4km but regained composure in the last 1K, Heading into the finish I had no idea of time as the clock was obscured but crossed in 18:00 which is a PB for me, which i am very pleased with. No doubt the only reason i got close to this was because of the ravens group and the tough sessions so thanks all for helping with that. Next time i am going for sub 18.
Duncan Anderson
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15-07-16
Standard Chartered 5K Race
The mighty R&Q team was lead home in 18.01 by our latest recruit, Sid. Good to see Mick cheering on the course, and other Ravens, including Alex, Marcus, Dave Miller, Vicky, Helena, Matt and Andrew Mercer. Plus runners from my other 2 clubs, Billericay & Springfield. As some of you will already know (i.e. I have bored you senseless already) 3 intrepid Ravens (me, Andy F & Sid) are taking on the off road 13.1 mile beer-athon that is the Ridley Round, tomorrow. Conscious of the need for some specific training, I ran 5 miles and then retired to the pub at 5pm for 3 well deserved pints of Estrella. I ran 18.43 which is my fastest 5k since 2013. I think I have found my event. Looks like lovely running conditions, but I will be doing further training for tomorrow today.
Robin McCoy
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15-07-16
As Robin says, I ran the Standard Chartered Race last night. Despite the crowding and the lack of (a) preparation and (b) a watch by which I could time myself, I apparently came in at 23.46, a new PB by 11 seconds. Great to see so many Ravens on the course.
Alex Anderson
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15-07-16
I had an OK race but just could not live with the pace set by a fuelled up Robin! Came in 19:09 which is my fastest (non-parkrun) 5k of the year and a race best by 7 seconds. Never quite felt at my best though. Maybe should have had a few pints beforehand! Saw Matt on the long stretch back before the finish and also saw at various points in the evening Dave, Pete, Vicky, Alex and Gary. Good Ravens showing. Well done all. Usual slightly ridiculous event, with the 'elite' pen shenanigans reaching a new high when Dennis Williams wandered in to the sub 18:30 group. I was stuck in the 18:30-27 minutes pen, along with Matt I believe!
Marcus Elwes
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15-07-16
I ran last night as well. I saw a few Ravens on the switch back and gave a shout. My race was over after the first mile. I started too far back and was held up in the first mile losing 30 secs. Felt like it was very busy at the start but was a good race and well supported. Will do it again next year but will get there on time! My chip time was 19:21. The winner was Phil Wicks 14:46.
Gary Pitman
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15-07-16
Well done all! I saw (in no particular order) Robin, Dave, Sid, Marcus, Pete & Matt. Was stunned when I saw who I thought was (male) Alex pass me as I’d seen him racing at lunchtime – must have been his twin. I ran a very average 21.27 (20.45 last year), which I should be okay with being as I’ve not been running, just cross training. My low had to be the guy who breezed past me in the last K whilst texting on his phone… Helena ran under a Lloyd’s name and finished in 19.36. Duncan did 18 dead.
Vicky Cooper
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15-07-16
Run the above last night and saw all the below before the off! Started way to far back and really struggled for 1st 2 miles had a good 3rd mile too late by this stage managed 20.07, not my best but 3rd race in 7 days tells a story.
David Miller
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15-07-16
Also ran the event as ‘Arthur’ last night. Arthur got stuck in the middle of the mass start and got stuck behind walkers at the first corner and in the Barbican tunnel …. So had a terrible first 2 km ( I think I got to the marker at 9 minutes 30) so knew it wasn’t going to be quick … I used the patented ‘McCoy Manoeuvre’ to get in a position to at least run the last 3km. Finished is 21:59 ( but at least it’s not in my name J)
Lyndon Bubb
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15-07-16
17:14 - burnt a lot of matches going above and below 5k pace trying to get round folks. Not sure I’m much fitter than that and was hanging over last k
Matthew Ellis
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14-07-16
FELSTED 10K
3RD in my 3 10ks in 3 weeks. Drove to the race with Ricky, who didn’t want to be in the race report (sorry Rick). Made a few new friends by not spotting the huge queue for the loos and just walked into the first free one. Started some way from the front, so had a pretty congested first k, but got going after that. Spotted Dave Miller at about 2k, but otherwise ran a pretty solitary race – overtook a few and was overtaken once. Got to 5k in 18.50, and started thinking about 37 something. Was losing the will to live between 8 & 9 and delighted to stop running. 38.11 on my watch (over 80% WAVA!) but given the marvels of modern technology, I expect will have my actual time around Christmas.
Robin McCoy
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14-07-16
Late on Friday I was sent an email asking if I would represent the Essex first team in the Southern inter counties championship 3k race walk. It would mean I would be given an Essex team vest which would obviously be an honour to receive, and something I would never have thought of owning. I was naturally a late call up as the two main racewalkers were at the Rio training camp and the other guy who is third-best in Essex was unavailable. apparently I am the fourth best in the county but that's because the pond is very small with very few fish in it. However I have not done any racewalking since the Essex Championships a couple months ago and I also did not feel I should own an Essex team vest as of the age of nearly 55 I will probably be the oldest competitor and the rest of the team being made up from extremely good athletes way above my standard of athletic ability. Also I was a little stiff after an impromptu 400m, 300m and 200m reps session on Friday with Lee and Stuart. So I thought about it differently which was my friend, who is also the captain at Southend AC and the Essex captain, had asked me to do him a favour and do the race with him to earn some points for the team. I was put into the A string as I was the stronger walker of the two of us. Of the eight teams at the inter counties there were few walkers. I ended up being fifth in the A string and earned 12 points for the team, and I was not last! Am the proud owner of a county vest, but still not sure I should have it.
Simon Le Mare
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6-07-16
BRENTWOOD 10K
Ran the above this morning. Ran yesterday morning and easy on the pop last night. Clearly both mistakes. On what felt like a very hot day, struggled to 19.30 for 5k, so picked it up to finish in 38.43. 14th and 2nd V50. Last week’s 10k was corrected to 38.51, so faster - just. Chatted to Derv (2nd claim Ravens) and Lyndon, who seemed to have forgotten his club top! Another 10k next weekend, then a rest. This is not my distance! Exhausted. Very well run race BTW.
Robin McCoy
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6-07-16
Technically I didn’t forget it J I just packed the old thick one and one look at the weather I though sod that !!! I too struggled ( usual excuses ..Heat/talent/Humidity ) and finished in 44:22 in 38th place …. But improvements are occurring . It was over 3 minutes quicker than last year but not the sub 44 I was targeting. On the positive side ….
It was my son Adam’s 8th birthday on Saturday and as a present he wanted to run the 2km Kids fun without being slowed by his mother’s pacing ( If only all presents were that cheap !) He finished 4th in photo finish for 3rd in 10:05. The first question was “When do you think I will beat Mick ?” Me : “ At this rate sooner than he would like it be …”
So in the last month Lord Bridgeland of Chelmsford has lost his fan club, been beaten by his son and is now in the Sniper Crosshairs of my son ….Go gentle on him.
Lyndon Bubb
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6-07-16
Peak District Triathlon
Fun day out at Chatsworth House yesterday for my 'local' race, a few miles from home. Swimming in the (very cold) river through the estate followed by fantastic and very challenging courses around local roads for the bike section and near fell- like course for the run. My daughter Ava did the Sprint distance, which was a ETU qualifier for Dusseldorf next year. She has just turned 15 and had a brilliant race, being behind after the swim and then passing the field on the first long bike climb and not getting caught again and taking first place in the U20 age group. So this gives her a place in the U20 GB team, a fantastic achievement. I also had a fun day, doing the standard distance race, which included 2,500 ft of climbing on the bike leg – the upside of this was that it also went downhill and I managed to get in excess of 52mph on one of the descents – very scary! Overall, I came in 16th and 4th in age category, so very pleased. Great day out, have now just about got all the mud and sheep droppings out of clothes, body, bikes, etc.
Rupert Holden
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6-07-16
I did the Gosfield sprint triathlon yesterday which also doubled up as the Eastern Region Sprint Championships. I came out of the water in the top 10 and managed to move myself up to 4th at the end of the bike. I then lost a place at the start of the run but managed to make another place up finishing 4th overall. The good news was that I came home first vet and was delighted to be awarded the Eastern region vet sprint championship award along with two of my clubs mates.
Ian George
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6-07-16
Three race reports
On Sunday I took part in the Selsdon 10k, organised by Croydon Jubilee Church with all the profits going to the British Heart Foundation. There were about 70 runners a fair proportion from Croydon Striders, the route which was changed at the last minute due to flooding was described as undulating. It started off full tilt down a very steep hill, the route around the local areas of Selsdon and Warlingham with quite a few roads to cross was well marshalled but the hills were challenging especially the near vertical uphill before the finish. I finished 25th , 4th female in 54.30.
Thursday night I ran the Informal 10k organised by South London Harriers over tracks and paths on Farthing Downs, we started in long grass which was surprisingly hard work and I was relieved when the grass became shorter and flatter before I realised it was also littered with cow pats! The route then headed into the wooded area which was wet and extremely slippery, having re-enacted Bambi on ice I eventually stacked it completely just in front of the photographer. I scrambled up to finish 97th 7th in age group in 57.53.
Yesterday I completed the Caterham half marathon which I can sum up as hilly and hot, on open rural roads it was a friendly well organised race, I’d agreed to run with a friend so I was slower than I would have been at about 2.05 from my watch although official results are not yet out.
Donna Henry
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6-07-16
Outlaw Half (Holkham)
This was the first Outlaw event I have done and I must admit that I was thoroughly impressed. Very smooth operation, well run and good course. Only criticism was that they only had a top 3 for relays and no prize for top all female team which I thought should have existed. Awards were also left until 4pm and when the quick boys/girls were all finished before 11am it becomes an unnecessarily loooong event.
'Raced' my 1st middle distance tri on Sunday after 3 years away from the distance and crikey it hurt. I must have ticked off all the 'do not's' that a coach would give out prior to a race.
These include:
Do not race if you haven't done much training
Do not make up your nutrition plan night before
Do not try anything new on the day
Do not turn up having done zero brick sessions
Do not attempt a 4hr+event with prior longest session 2.5hrs.
Do not do a half as your first race of the year
I am bloody sore today after hobble/walking run due to lack of quad conditioning which meant I couldn’t run down hill at any sort of pace on an undulating course as they were bordering cramping for 1hr 40mins.
Total: 4:40ish (winner was 4:18ish)
Position: 24th ish (inc teams)
AG: 3rd (Very surprised)
I won't be using any stairs
Matt Ellis
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6-07-16
Bewl 15
Drove over to Wadhurst on Sunday morning for this off road 15 mile trail race with Mrs Priest. Very difficult, very tough and ultimately brutal but hey I married her! Started off in the middle of the pack which meant that you had to run a certain pace for a while as the field gradually strung out down the narrow farm tracks. This was probably a good thing as the mud and hills around the reservoir were tough and the stiles and long grass also sapped the energy. After 10 miles we came out onto narrow lanes and just ran up and up (Thanks Mike for the warning!). This was followed by a couple of sharp descents but then we climbed some more before finally entering farmland again and a climb to the finish.
A really really tough race and ended up with 2.06 for 162nd place out of 700 + finishers. Not sure where it put me in the over 55's but by the end I really didn’t care.
A very well organised race, friendly marshals and free tea, coffee and cakes. There was also free beer and Mrs P and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting there in the sun afterwards, beer in hand, discussing how brutal the race actually was. Good to see Kevin (who had a great run) and Mike there and we were even talking about next year on the way home!
Philip Priest
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6-07-16
Firstly , well done all the weekend racers, particularly Rupert & daughter; great achievement’s both – I know how scary 52 mph is in my old Land Rover, so that speed with all the protection a bike has to offer must somewhat focus the mind!
As for me, along with Phil & Mrs Priest, I joined 702 other finishers at the Bewl 15. As Phil has commented, there were some muddy patches and the odd hill to contend with but the weather for the race itself was pretty ideal; the really hot sun waiting until most of the field were eating cake and drinking beer at the finish before making an appearance.
I was asked at the start what time I was looking for. I hadn’t managed to do much specific training for this race and felt a little light on my longer runs, but said I hoped for around 2 hours – this actually translated as sub. 2 hours but I wasn’t going to admit it!
Anyway, my race panned out ok, and having managed to stay upright over some interesting ground conditions, I found myself coming back up the hill to the finish with the possibility of getting just under the 2 hour mark. With that in mind, I was able to up my effort for the final 400m and in so doing, crossed the line in 106th place and a time of 1.59.49. I was pretty pleased given my recent running exploits and not even the fact that I had to do my bit for the club and giveaway my medal to another finisher could diminish my sense of achievement – in fact I felt a bit like Jose Mourinho when he threw his Premiership medal into the baying crowd of Chelsea fans back in 2006 – all very empowering!!
It was great to see Phil and Mrs Phil (!) at the end (brilliant that you want to come back again) and also good to see Mike doing his marshalling / organising bit for Wadhurst Runners - particularly in view of the fact that he mentioned that forty minutes before the race started he’d been tempted with an on-the line entry; however, given you are on the comeback trail Mike, I think you made a very sensible call - there’s always next year.
Kevin Cockram
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6-07-16
A brief race report from me. I ran the 10k version of the Race for Life on Blackheath yesterday. I decided to go off fast (despite the heat) and see what happened. After 2k, I was comfortably in 3rd place and feeling strong. Then disaster struck, in the form of a marshall who sent us the wrong way. Fortunately, we were put right after about 300 metres, but by then another 18 people had gone the right way and we were playing catch-up. I pushed on hard, going through 5k in 23.27 (a PB) but then found myself slowing and losing distance on the front-runners. I finally crossed the line in 7th place, in an unconfirmed time of 48.08 (which would be a PB, but I don't think I can claim it, given there was no formal time keeping).
Alex Anderson
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6-07-16
Orion Harriers Forest 5
I ran at the above this morning starting and finishing on the heath down the road from Orion's clubhouse (Phil's club?) inside of which there were impressive placards on the wall showing the club's honours lists dating back to the 1930s. Race was a partly undulating/flat loop of Epping Forest on gravel paths and some muddy sections in the woods/heaths. Were some fast guys up front mostly from East London and Vicky Park Harriers one of whom with the long hair, cap and beard runs the Assembly Leagues. Finished in the top ten in about 31.40ish. A well organised and friendly event with refreshments and cake afterwards and good opportunity to run/race offroad if you live/work in the city. Was the 2nd of 3 summer races the last one being on first Sat of August 10am start, £12 to enter.
Tim Sherman
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1-07-16
Ironman 70.3 Syracuse
A bit of a belated race report for you, however last Sunday the 19th June, 2016 I did the Ironman 70.3 in Syracuse in the US. The 1.2 mile lake swim was fairly straight forward and I came out of the water in a respectable 33.21 but it was on the bike where things started to get tricky. The bike loop was a 56 mile affair which included very nearly 3,000 feet of climbing, the first ten miles of which were all uphill. I finally climbed off the bike in 2.55.40, however it was the half marathon that was the killer. Essentially the race organisers sent us up to the top of a very nasty hill twice. The first two miles of each lap were undulating, however we were greeted with a ludicrously steep gradient for the next mile until we finally reached the first lap turnaround point. What made it particularly hard (other than the 30 degree heat) was trying to recover enough to pick the pace up when the road did flatten off. The run itself had over 1,200 feet of climbing, it was brutally hard and you get to a point where you are just trying your best to get through it. I was also desperately trying to cool myself down at each of the feed stations using as much water and ice as possible and keeping the fluid and salt intake up. I finally finished the run in 1.51.28 which to be frank is disappointing, however in my age group I was 16th for the swim, 20th for the bike and 16th for the run and 16th overall so it looked like I was not the only one who struggled. I finally finished 127th out of around 1,300 odd competitors in all. You have also got to remember that the top 20 were all professional triathletes. The winner only managed a 1.26 half marathon so this should give you some idea of how hard it was. On a flat course the winner would usual be closer to 1.10.
Ian George
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1-07-16
Watford Open
Tonight I ran the 1,500m in race 10 of 17 at Watford. It was very well organised, and worth doing if you do not live too far away.
As an Essex boy, for me, from office to home via the race was 6 hours, for a 5 minute race, so not sure if I would do it again. It was a bit windy, which was frustrating as I was after a PB. Tried for the first time, running harder throughout and at exactly the same time for every lap, which I did. But did not have much left in the tank for the last 150m. Finished last in my race in 4.43.11 half a second outside of my PB. So overall reasonably pleased as it was windy. Starting gym sessions from the weekend, and so hope that will strengthen me up a bit.
Simon LeMare
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1-07-16
Bromley Common Midsummer 10k
Ran this new 10k last night, (along with Marcus) which uses (pretty much 100%) the same course as the Ted Pepper 10k – a combination of some paths and off-road. It’s not hilly but quite tough nonetheless, negotiating through woods and trying to avoid large muddy puddles too. And it’s quite bumpy underfoot – its quite difficult to get a good rhythm going. A chap from Beckenham led at the start but he was passed by all and sundry after one K (why do some people go off stupidly quick?). I was probably in about 10th at this point and after about 3k began to reel a few people in. Got to 6th place and had a decent battle with a Bromley and Blackheath chap – on the flat and smooth surfaces he was quicker but I always managed to catch him through the woods and the mud. Anyway, the last 1.5k was fairly flat and smooth so he pulled away a bit and I didn’t have the legs to catch him. Finished just under 40 mins, so I’m delighted with that given the course and the mud!
Steve Glackin
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1-07-16
I was at the race too and it was Paul Sharpe who I think finished just ahead of you. Mixture of heavy underfoot, a mini stream to run through from the rain, and then a bit firm in places. Fairly well organised although there were no markers between 1km and 6km which was a bit frustrating and difficult to judge. Also a couple of points where you went from a clearing into the woods impacted sight greatly. I think I was 9th in 40:53 so fairly happy with that all things considered. Race was won by a chap from Petts Wood runners who did sub 38 I believe.
Graham Hollingdale
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1-07-16
Steve G and myself ran this inaugural local event last night which, to all intents and purposes is the exact same course as the Ted Pepper 10k which Andy organises each year on the May Bank holiday. It is a multi terrain 10k the majority of which is trail/woodland with a little bit of path/track at the beginning/end. The weather was dank and drizzly but otherwise ideal for me, other than when we got into the woods where visibility was actually a problem. Underfoot conditions were quite muddy in places with various large puddles/swampy bits to tackle. I started with Steve for the track part of the race (one and a half laps), before he moved off and then I spent the rest of the race just trying to maintain my position which I did fairly comfortably, finishing in 13th pace, 4th in my age group. Steve managed 6th, 1st in his age group. Steve was just under 40 minutes and I was just over 42. Serena's brother in law finished 7th. Overall the event was OK for a first go, not quite the efficient polished article that Ted Pepper is, but it is always good to get out on a muddy trail course at this time of the year.
Marcus Elwes
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28-6-16
Lee Valley Half Marathon
Another one in the Run Through series this was either a 1 mile, 5k, 10k, 10 miles or half marathon around the Velodrome in the Olympic park. I was doing the half marathon which meant 13 1 mile laps of the course. It’s quite undulating as well round the Velodrome. Nothing really much to say as 13 laps can be a bit boring. It wasn’t until the 5k or 10k events started that you see other runners. With the 1 mile lap I was lapped a couple of times and know I lapped a few people as well. Finished in 1:41:56 which wasn’t the sub 1:40 I was hoping for but pretty good. No asthma was the real bonus!! Heard that the 10 mile event was won in about 58 minutes which is impressive pace for that distance.
Andrew Ferguson
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28-6-16
Springfield strides 5 mile race
On Friday night I raced at the above event in pleshey just north of Chelmsford. Gave myself over 2 half hours to travel 22 miles but due to a couple of accidents took me 2 hours 15 mins to get me to the start, so not much time to warm up not the best start to the evening. Decided to go off hard, 1st mile in 6.11 then really struggled for rest of race nearly pulled out at half way but decided to continue not sure if this was right decision. Crossed line in 33.25 mins not my best race think this was down to rather busy week and got a bit of a cold, finished in 24 place and was not chicked on to the next one.
David Miller
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28-6-16
HORNDON ON THE HILL 10K
I ran the above yesterday. Due to the advance of having chip results rather than a man with a clipboard and stopwatch, there are no official results, although they have had the time to add 600 pictures to FB. Progress. Prepared well on Saturday with plenty of beer and wine. Woke up not feeling 100% on Sunday, but nothing a nice cup of tea could not put right. Set off down the hill. 1st mile in under 6 minutes (woo hoo). Had to run up the hill, so 2nd mile in 6.30. Settled in a 6.15 rhythm, and ran by myself for the next 4.2. Happy to see the finish line and finished in 38.37, a PB for this course, 11th place and 4th V50. Pleased to see Ricky beat some youth with a hipster beard on the line.
Robin McCoy
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28-6-16
Bedgebury parkrun & Heathfield 10k
Saturday - Bedgebury parkrun: my 50th parkrun and a course pb - 21.10 (getting ever nearer to a sub 21.00 on this course)
Sunday - Heathfield 10k: the course hadn't got any flatter in the preceding 12 months.......still awaiting official results but my watch had my time as 44.02.78, which if confirmed, will have given me a course pb by around 1.06.
This Sunday it's the Bewl 15, so feel free to join me, Mr & Mrs Priest and several hundred others at Wadhurst Runners annual loop of the reservoir - the cakes are baking, the beer is brewing and (for the benefit of Lee Martin), in true Barns Green style, gold medals are available!!
Kevin Cockram
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28-6-16
Castle Series - Cholmondeley Gauntlet
On Sunday I did the above event which was 1.9km swim, 96km bike and 21km run. The swim started 8am in black churned up muddy water which turned into just brown dirty water once it got deeper. An uneventful swim in 38 minutes. On the basis that a castle is always built on top of a hill it was always going to be a challenging cycle and run. The bike course was 3 loops and I suffered a flat on the 3rd lap, 12 miles from the finish. Thankfully this only cost me a few minutes and I completed the bike in 3hrs 04 (av 31kph). The run was painful from the start. It was 3 loops around the castle grounds and I cramped up at the top of the main hill on 2 out of the 3 laps. I finished the run in 1hrs 46 which gave me a total time of 5hrs 33.18 which was slower than I had planned but placed me 34th overall/180 (4th in age group) – it was a shame as without the flat tyre and cramps I would have made the age group podium.
These Castle Series events are well run and a number of distances are available. My only criticism for this event was that the only aid station on the bike was positioned at the bottle of a hill – when you’re doing 50kph you don’t really want to stop to pick up additional fluids - I didn’t, but in hindsight this could have attributed to the cramps - so it may have saved me time overall if I had stopped.!
Wes Absalom
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28-6-16
I also ventured north for this race but did the shorter Olympic distance. Good race for me all round minus the calf cramps on the run but as you alluded to I put this down to not enough liquid on the bike and the varying terrain of the run. Once you got yourself into a rhythm you either had to go uphill or onto grass or through the technical session. I was entered into the elite wave finishing 31st but 19th senior male. Guess there were some pretty fast women and juniors racing!
Ben Pritchard
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24-6-16
City Mile race
Yesterday, along with some other Ravens, I ran the City Mile. I have to say it was exceptionally well organised, along with an enthusiastic chap on the megaphone.
It was strange but nice running on roads you have walked along many times. I was in wave 1, but started at the back as it was the 4.30 to 5.00 minute runners, which is faster than my PB of 5.01. Ended up overtaking lots of people which surprised me, which held me up on the corners a little. Went as hard as I could with 400m to go and finished in 5.04.1. I also beat my son, but that does not really count as he is in the middle of training for an 8 runner, 24 hour relay race next weekend.
Simon LeMare
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24-6-16
I started with Simon and Rob in the 1st wave. I also ran about an hour and a half later with my daughter, which was great. In agreement with Simon, the event was extremely well organised and made for an enjoyable morning. Thanks to Phil for adding to the organisation and adding some amusing commentary. I am not sure what I expected in terms of the actual run. Suppose I thought I would at least keep up with the bulk of the runners. Went off at what felt like a flat out sprint, although it felt like my legs were in treacle as runner after runner came flying past me and I just couldn’t make myself go any faster. After what felt like an eternity of pain I eventually finished in just under 5.01. According to my running watch my average cadence was 190 steps per minute with a stride length just under 1.8m – simply put, I have no idea how to go faster?
Robert Laing
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24-6-16
I also raced yesterday. Agree it was very well organised even if the chief marshall (AKA Phil) told me off over his megaphone for arriving to the start 'late' (10 mins early) ;-) I'd done a 75km bike ride on Saturday so not the freshest of legs and started off too fast again! I had nothing left in the final 400m which is a long way to run up hill when you're full of lactic.. I ended up with 4:42.02 - so 4:43 when rounded up 2s down on last year but all in all pretty pleased. Good to see Simon LM, his lad and Rob Laing on the start line - I also saw Vicky too. Young Will Stanley came powering past me after 1km looking really strong - think he finished 8th in the wave with 4:35 - great job Will.
Rob Osborne
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24-6-16
On Saturday I competed in the Southern Athletics league for B&B at Lee Valley. I ran the 5000m which wasn’t until about 2:15 but went along to the meet for the whole day and had a good day watching. Particularly helped by the fact we won the match. I was running the B string for our team and very quickly realised that I wasn’t going to be going with the front runners. The race was won by my club mate in the A string clocking around 15:55. The other B string runner and by definition my competition was in this front group so I quickly decided that all out exhaustion wasn’t required and I just needed to beat the 2 other runners in the race. As such I spent about 10 of the 12.5 laps running on my own. I felt reasonably comfortable and finished in 17:40 for 2nd in the B string and 5th overall and secured the points required. Not particularly enamoured with the time but considering this was only my second track 5000 and was 7 seconds quicker than last time not all bad. With the knowledge I had the 1500m (which I later talked someone else in to running) to come and a race on Sunday also I was fairly happy not to have to push it.
On Sunday I took part in the Ranelagh Richmond 10k which also included the Surrey champs. For anyone who wants a fast but ‘local feel’ 10k I would recommend checking it out as Andy Hayward did to meet last year, with me returning for the second time. I had planned to try and knock some time of my new PB from a few weeks ago and went through the first mile a bit quick in 5:22. About halfway round started to feel a bit heavy in the quads but didn’t bother to check my watch and just kept my head down. Managed to get past a fair few in the last 1k but only finished with a time of 36:21 and 52nd place. (First time I have crossed a line to feel a bit light headed). This was much better than my 38 mins last year. Race was won in about 30 mins flat and also managed to catch up after with an old friend of my Dads ‘Hugh Jones’ who I haven’t seen since I was about 9. After a week of curry, beer and late nights last week I am fairly happy with those times but hope there is more to come before the end of the summer season.
Chris Tuck
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24-6-16
The annual "Running of the Balls" is a charity 10k for testicular cancer on Roosevelt Island, New York. 27 degrees C (81 F in American money) without any shade.
2 laps of the island - I set off with the intention of ignoring common sense and pacing myself to something sub 40. It took about 2k for the heat, tiredness, and the 20 ounce steak and cheesecake I'd had the night before to kick in. Wimped in at 43.15 but which somehow got me a place on the V50 podium and 15th overall out of a couple of hundred mostly overweight Americans. Not my moment in the sun I'd hoped for but nice to do something a bit different.
Steve Stanley
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24-6-16
BMAF 5k
On Sunday I ran the BMAF 5k Champs in Horwich. I ended up 3rd M55 in a time of approx. 17:17 (official results have not yet been published). I beat one of my rivals, Andy Wetherill, into 4th place and considering I have a few niggles over the last couple of weeks I was fairly pleased, but looking back I think there was a chance of winning my age group. One M55, Mark Hall, set off faster than I was prepared to go, I still ran 3:16 for the first K, and I was occupied with racing Andy. By half way I had moved into second place but then got overtaken by a M55 who was running with a club mate of his, I should have hung onto these two as this M55 eventually overtook the early leader with 100m to go to win the age group. I could see the early leader fading but I was not close enough to take advantage.
The winner was a Scot and the second place does not run XC so this race will help my selection chances for the International XC in Nov
Mick Bridgeland
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24-6-16
Chase the Sun 10k - Clapham Common
A fairly rare race report from me, I ran this yesterday evening. This was 3 laps of the Common on paths and slightly muddy trails. I set off with the leading group of 6 but after the 1st K was overtaken by about 5 others. After 3 k I was back in 6th place - as the early pace was catching up with a few people. Stuck with this group until about 6 k when they began to pull away – and I was then on my own until 2k from the end when I got overtaken again - I went with him but he had a good strong finish – too good for me. Finished in 39m 24 - happy to be sub 40 again, on a humid evening too and I measured the course slightly long - approx. 150metres.
Steve Glackin
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24-6-16
Dino Dash Relay - Crystal Palace
I ran the 3rd leg of 3 for one of the teams my club entered (we must have had 10 or so in all) in this relatively new event (2nd year) around the grounds of Crystal Palace park, including the famous dinosaur statues (hence the name). It was a 3km route with a sharp upward incline for the first km, then down for the second and flattish for the third. My time was 11:41 which I was fairly disappointed with to be honest and have no excuses that I can think of!. Not sure where our team came, as still awaiting results. It was a fun evening though, nothing too serious. Tim was also there, running for a some city team or other.....
Marcus Elwes
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24-6-16
I ran a local hilly 10k xc last night. Went off too hard, struggled in the second half but thought I’d done enough to hold onto 3rd after a Mo style wind up 1km out (in my mind anyway!) but got stuffed in a sprint finish to come home 4th.
Tom Robertson
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24-6-16
Short report from me, I ran the Kent 10,000m championships last night. Started off a little quick but managed to settle into a sensible pace. Ran 34.23, which I am more or less happy with. There were only 2 V35 runners, so I wasn’t too surprised when I won the age group.
Robert Laing
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17-6-16
Orpington High Elms 10k
I ran this race yesterday, a tough hilly trail 10k often advertised as one of the hardest races around; its difficulty level not helped by a fair amount of rain both before and during the run. I was still feeling very sluggish after the Hyde Park 10k during the week and a rather uninspired parkrun the day before (won by a certain A Mercer), but once we got going and I settled in, I began to really enjoy it and was able to pull away from all of my usual main rivals. I realised when I overtook a couple of M50's who I know, that I may be in with a shout of an age grade prize, but that was not to be, as unbeknown to me, there was one of the Blackheath crew up ahead. However, I was really pleased with 14th pace overall and second M50. Petts Wood won the ladies team prize and we would have won the men's too (as we had 2nd, 5th and 9th) but our first placed runner forgot to register as a club runner, so Blackheath won it by default!!. This is the first race I have actually enjoyed for a while and it was a real relief, as I had been feeling so flat. I can only assume that it was the hills, the trail and the rain that made it enjoyable and that, therefore, I am now officially Andy Tucker!
Marcus Elwes
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17-6-16
Southend Half Marathon
I along with a couple of other Ravens ran the Southend half yesterday. Conditions were warm with a South Westerly wind of about 8-10 mph with intermittent rain, which turned heavy later on. The route is 2 loops of the seafront generally in a Westerly/Easterly direction. My main target was to be inside 1:30 but I also wanted to try and achieve a more even average pace. I think I achieved the pacing goal as the times ranged from 6.41-6.51 per mile apart from 11 and 13 which were 7.01 and 6.57 respectively. A sort of sprint at the finish gave me a total time of 1:29:47 so just managed to sneak it – delighted. I won’t be out for a few days whilst legs recover.
Wesley Absolom
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17-6-16
Well done Wesley! In addition to Wesley, Phil and Gary I also ran the Southend Half yesterday. Likewise, thank you to Simon at mile 11 whoever else was shouting support. I don’t usually race in my Ravens vest, but thought for the Southend Half (with so many other Ravens running) it would be appropriate. I can’t add much more detail in terms of the conditions on the day, suffice to say they were pretty good running conditions and it is a pretty fast course. Perhaps a little less wind would have made a small difference, but I can’t complain. In terms of the actual race I started off fairly conservatively and as I ran past my wife at the first mile I was in about 10th position in the third group of runners. Shortly after the second mile myself and another runner made the jump to the second group. As we approached the forth mile (first turn around on the first lap) I timed that the three leaders were 15 seconds ahead of us. I attempted to increase my pace to catch them and in the process dropped the second group. Unfortunately I never caught the entire first group (although could just see them ahead of me most of the way) and ran virtually the rest of the race myself. I caught one of the lead runners just past the 12th mile (he was blown) and in the last 800m someone caught me from behind. We ran the last half a mile together and lucky for me he wasn’t a greater sprinter, so managed to pass him on the finishing straight, finishing in 3rd. Time as 1.16.33, which is a PB by 1.20 and another step closer to sub 75!
Robert Laing
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17-6-16
Decided to make the ultimate sacrifice Saturday night and watch England in a major championship without having a beer. That was very hard work, its just not the same with a cup of tea!!!!!. Turned up on a bright and breezy Sunday morning with no great expectations but just to enjoy it. Saw Gary before the start and both Gary and Rob on the course and Wes at the finish. Gave Rob a shout at 3 or 4 miles (it was good to see a Ravens vest so near the front). Started off at 7.10 pace and carried on at that pace for a while until we came round to the second lap where I struggled to keep it going. Gradually fell away a bit after that and ultimately ended up with 1.35.55 which gave me 201st place out of 2000 starters. 15th out of 160 in the M50 category. All a bit Raheem Sterling actually. Promised a lot and did well for half an hour before failing to really deliver when it mattered. An enjoyable local run but the course is a just bit dull having completed it a few times. Thanks for the encouragement from Jason, Simon and Dave M. Was that Steve Stanley I spied also running? He’s not from round these parts……….
Philip Priest
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17-6-16
On the spur of the moment I entered a very local race on Sunday, Medway 10K; I’ve uhmed and ahed all week but figured I’ve got to start somewhere so might as well be that one, see where I’m at and build a base from there (been rubbish since marathon). Thankfully, it didn’t feel like I was running through treacle this time and feel I’m making progress in the right way. Started on track, then the first 5K just seemed to be uphill. I was vying for first place with a local runner from “Rebel Runners”; she was far better uphill than I was but I was able to pass her on the downhill and flats. One of her teammates came past me about 6K and pulled away, at the same time I pulled away from the other one. I felt steady the whole way and just did what I could. The last mile was slow as it was uphill but it was nice to finish on the track. 44.40 so not as bad as I’d feared, in second place and won a bottle of wine for my troubles.
VICKY COOPER
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10-6-16
Run Bedford 10k
I think I missed the crowds at 7k owing to my zen like powers of concentration. Either that or I was preoccupied with trying not to grind to a halt. I trimmed a few seconds off my best 10k this year but still nowhere near last year's pb of 38.50. First 5k in 19.25 and then lost quite a lot second half and finished in 39.35. An excellent fast flat course and plenty of strength in depth. Winning time under 33 and first 70 or so under 40.
Steve Stanley
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10-6-16
Chase the Sun 10k Hyde Park
On a muggy and humid evening 4 Ravens set out to do the latest in the Chase the Sun series in Hyde Park. Myself and Marcus were doing the 10k and Lyndon and Alex the 5k. We also met Steve Glackin as well who did the 10k. Having done this race 2 weeks ago and doing a 10k pb was hopeful of going sub 43 minutes for the first time. All was going well up to 5k which was done in 21:50 so a little behind schedule but nothing to worry about. Just after the third lap started felt asthma attack coming on and as normal tried to ignore it and carry on. Did not work this time as could not get any air into the lungs and attack was getting worse. Had to stop after 6km when I found a marshal and needed asthma pump twice before could carry on. Didn’t want the DNF so slowed down just to make sure I finished. Needed asthma pump twice more at 8km and just after 9km but managed to finish in 48:12 which was 5 minutes slower than 2 weeks ago but at least 4 minutes would be down to asthma attacks. It was horrible conditions to run in – air was so thick and humid which is what I put the asthma attacks down to. Have to find another 10k to get that sub 43 now!
Andrew Ferguson
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10-6-16
I do not have Andy's excuse for what was frankly a far far tougher race than I had expected. I guess the humidity had a lot to do with it, as everybody appeared to struggle, but I was still surprised at just how hard it was. Right from the first couple of KMs, I could tell my pace was well off as I recorded over 4mins for each split and just could not speed up. Knowing early that it wasn't going to be my night, I contemplated dropping out at the 5k mark, but chastised myself for the thought and plugged on, just trying to pick people off as best I could. It is a 4 lap course, so once you realise you are not on for a good time, it is hard to keep yourself motivated.
Anyway, I came in 23rd out of 160, 4th in my age category. Stevie G came 8th overall, 1st in his age category but even he admitted it was a struggle. My time of just under 42 mins is my worst time for 4 years for a 10k (excluding XC/Trial races). Andy F ran the 10k as well, whilst Alex A and Lyndon ran the 5k.
Marcus Elwes
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10-6-16
I can concur with Andrew indeed! I don’t believe I have ever run in such humid conditions. The 1st 2k’s I managed in 3 m 49 and 3 m 53 and I thought I need to pick this up a bit. But I just couldn’t - it was so humid, and the next k I managed in just over 4 mins. After that it was all over 4 mins per k until the last 2 where I dropped back down to 3.57, 3.52 ( I actually thought I was doing really well at the end!). Crossed the line in just over 40 mins. By my watch the race was slightly long too – about 150 metres. That said, it was really well organised and was good to catch up with a few Ravens!
Stephen Glackin
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10-6-16
As Marcus says, I was there. Not that you would know that from looking at the results – GRRR!!! I started strongly (for me), doing the first km in 4.20, but the heat/humidity took its toll and I found the 4th km pretty tough. Coming along the side of the Serpentine on the second lap, I started to get passed by the best of the 10k runners who had started 4 minutes after me – a bit dispiriting – although it was great to have a cheer from Steve – thank you! – which helped spur me on. The problem at the finish was that I wasn't sure who I was actually racing, with some runners continuing on for the 10k. As soon as the different runners started to divide, I chased down the people in front of me and passed them (both), which was also encouraging. I finished in an unconfirmed (angry letter to organisers coming up…) of 24.17, which was 19 seconds off my PB but not too horrendous, given the conditions. Well done to Lyndon, who I lost by on the first bend…., and to Marcus, Andy and Steve for surviving the 10k on a day clearly not meant for running!
Alex Anderson
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10-6-16
Well at least I can piggy back on all the muggy and humidity comments ….. I fully agree it was tough. I think I was running Chase Halley Comet rather than the sun and I think that the Year 2062 was about my finish time !! It was 21st in a time of 21:56 which I think is my worst time in 2 years
Lyndon Bubb
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7-6-16
Assembly League – Battersea Park
25 Rob Laing Kent SM 16:26
45 Tim Sherman Lloyds SM 16:56
48 Stuart Fraser Lloyds M45 17:00
49 Tom Robertson Lloyds SM 17:02
56 Mick Bridgeland Lloyds M55 17:08
66 Keith Newton Stock E M50 – 3 17:20
76 Chris Tuck Lloyds SM 17:29
77 Paul Lucas Lloyds SM 17:31
80 Ollie Robinson Lloyds SM 17:43
91 Paul Newton Lloyds SM 18:03
95 David Wilkinson Lloyds SM 18:09
97 Simon Phillips Lloyds M50 18:13
100 Iain Davie Lloyds SM 18:18
109 Gary Pittman Lloyds SM 18:32
134 Derv Bartlett Lloyds SM 19:13
154 Wes Absalom Lloyds M45 19:35
157 David Miller Lloyds M45 19:41
15W/161 Helena Eastham Lloyds SW 19:46

Well done to all Ravens last night and thanks again to the rather well dressed team manager. Great to see so many Ravens out and a lot pretty happy with their runs.
Short race report from. Despite the many excuses I was peddling before the run went off with the usual go hard or go home philosophy. Went through first mile in 5.23 ish. Not too far behind Tim . Then settled in a bit more and waited to count the Ravens come past me. They duly did Tom, Mick, Stuart, Paul and also Keith. Managed to run 5.40’s (ish) for rest of the race and turned in to the straight and a quick shout from Phil and with Paul insight managed to sprint him down to get past him on the line. Have it by my watch as 17.31 which I believe would be a new PB. Retired to the pub to seek the wisdom of the ‘flying Rob Laing’ and glance a few looks at what appeared to be a boring game of football.
Chris Tuck
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7-6-16
I must admit after a poor race over 1500m the night before and feeling a bit tired in the warm up I was not sure what to expect. As it turned out as soon as the race started I felt a lot better. As Chris says I passed him after a couple of k and then Tom and Stuart drifted past me, I could see Tim ahead as well and I managed to keep all three in sight for the rest of the race. This is the fastest Assembly League race and despite a head wind on part of the course again produced some good times. I felt strong through out the race and managed to gradually over take other runners who had started too fast, including Tony Tuohy (an old rival) in the last 600m. I ended up out sprinting someone in the finishing straight cheered on by Phil and ended up with 17:09 on my watch (compared with 17:05 last year) so very pleased.
Mick Bridgeland
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7-6-16
For my part I was determined not to start too quickly and blow at 3k (Lee – remember last year?!) so stuck myself behind Mick for the first couple of k hoping that we would be in the same ballpark at the end. Wasn’t expecting much after a few weeks of patchy training but ran with Stu through til about 4k where his 400m reps seemed to pay dividends and he went away. Think I came in just the wrong side of 17mins.
Tom Robertson
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7-6-16
A great turn out on one of the freshest AL evenings, at least it made for good racing. I would have settled for 18:59 tbh but I set out at 5:40 pace and finished at 6, passing Gary around halfway and later Ian, both running very well so I knew I was doing better than expected, some good support from Phil and I expected Ian to pass me at any time, but it was David who went flying passed with a km or so to go, guess the marathon’s out of his legs now! I passed somebody in the finishing straight but it’s a long straight and he passed me back easily enough. I finished in 18:12 – no overtures but I was very satisfied with that, it’s a relief to be 6 minute miling again and it didn’t feel too onerous, only downside is an Achilles issue. A couple of beers in the pub and, unlike last time, I left in time for my train, indeed I had almost a whole minute to spare!
Simon Phillips
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7-6-16
And for me after 2 days of bad asthma just wanted to get round without having another asthma attack. So decided to start at the back and go easy. First km in 3:58 which did surprise me as didn’t think I was going anywhere near that pace and seemed a long way back. After 3k felt another asthma attack coming on but decided to ignore it and carry on which seemed to work as it passed without needing pump. According to phone and watch went through 5k in 20:37 but was a bit short of finish line so think official time will be bit slower. Very pleased with time – maybe that sub 20 minutes 5k may still come.
Andrew Ferguson
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7-6-16
With Phil’s words in my head “for a 5k you just go for it, eyeball out” I set off with that intention - the first mile was completed in 5:56 which was obviously too quick for me as the 2nd was 6.27 and the 3rd in 6.25 plus a little bit at the finish gave me a watch time of 19.37. Reasonably happy with that but I clearly need to put in more effect on the speed work to see the benefits. I’m hoping to be out lunchtime but it’s going to depend on a work rather than legs.
Wesley Absolom
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7-6-16
Ran 18:08 last night. Pleased with that even if Sid did beat me (17 secs off PB, which I'm determined to beat this summer).
David Wilkinson
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7-6-16
Well done Chris and the rest of the flock! I could sense that some of you were close behind at various stages due to Phil's cheering which kept me pushing. I didn't have massively high expectations before the start as was feeling rather crackered but as soon as it started I felt the best I've felt in a race at pace for some time. You get that "in the zone" feeling when you feel comfortable at 5.15 to 5.30 pace which was how I remember feeling when I got my 10k PB in March 15. I just kept telling myself that 5k is a short race and to make the best of it whilst feeling so good as hadn't experienced that for a while. Was delighted to get back under 17 again and just want to keep improving now and get somewhere near Rob' incredible 16.26.
Tim Sherman
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7-6-16
Dorking 10
On Sunday I entered the above 10 mile race. It was extremely well organised, plenty of parking, bag storage and toilets. The race was on open roads which was a bit scary at times but very well controlled by the friendly and encouraging marshals, there were a couple of nasty hills and the last two mile was pretty tough but such lovely pretty views I defiantly recommend it. From a personal perspective it was a nightmare involving blisters, stiches, eating flies, faulty shorts and a toilet stop so I finished in a disappointing 1.38.
Donna Henry
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7-6-16
Sort of Race report, I ran our local Park Run with my daughter started nice and easy with her until she told me to go as chatting with her friends. Found Dave Butler who was running, chatted with him, which was good. After a while pushed on a bit and ended up 3rd. I was saving myself as that afternoon drove to Wales to take park in the Dragon ride 95 miles in the Welsh hills starts near Port Talbot not very pleasant, then heads out into the Brecon beacons, the climbs were relentless and steep.
Happy to finish 6hours 10mins average 15.5mph
Pat Young
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7-6-16
Blenheim Tri
I competed in the much shorter Blenheim Sprint Tri on Sat. It is a really well organised event and it was my first ever triathlon 3 years ago so I wanted to see if I had improved! I managed a new PB for the event of 1.16.43 coming 44/3911 and 9th in my AG. Really happy with my time and improvement though the result highlighted the need to improve my swim time. I was initially disappointed in my run time (21.50 for 5.4km) but compared to others around me it seems comparable, I felt that I was running sub 19min pace despite the hills so not sure where I lost so much time!
Alex Hardy
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7-6-16
Forgot to tell you about a half marathon I just about managed whilst away (excuse the poor time but I did finish third and win money J )
Queensland Half Marathon
Position 40th
Time: 01:36:19
Viccy Cooper
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7-6-16
Last night I ran the Sri Chimnoy 5K at Battersea Park – a different course than the Assembly League, 2 laps of the lower half of Battersea park. I ended up with 17:25 and won the M50 category – for a change they gave out fruit rather than a medal, I got a mango ! I must admit I still felt tired after last week’s race and as we came past the finish on lap 1 I did think about dropping out ! Overall still happy with the time, and all good training for my BMAF 5K on the 19th of June
Mick Bridgeland
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7-6-16
Rye 10
Apologies but a late race report from the Sunday before last for the Rye 10 mile. A lumpy but scenic route, run in warm and sunny conditions. I came 44th out of a relatively small field of 196 finishers and enjoyed running the last mile in the company of three other runners; all of whom I managed to keep behind me in the finishing straight to cross the line in 01.13.25 (Gun) / 01.13.19 (chip). My time was around 1 minute slower than last year but given a week of late nights the previous week, I was pretty happy to just get round in one piece!
Kevin Cockram
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2-6-16
Chase the Sun 10k Hyde Park
Last night I did the first Hyde Park Chase the Sun event in Hyde Park. It’s either a 5k or 10k run you decide what distance to do when you get there. It’s starts at the Bandstand in Hyde Park and does a 2.5km lap so it’s a good one to monitor how you are doing on each lap. Very picturesque running through the park and a good challenge. Started out with the philosophy of go hard or go home. With the marathon stamina getting round was not a problem but could I run quick? First lap was a bit of weaving to get a bit of space and having to dodge the bikes coming the other way but this only lasts about 1km and you can settle into a rhythm. Nice downhill bit going towards the Serpentine helps, gives a bit of boost. First lap was done in 11:00 so working out on the pb of 43:56 I was just outside it. Nothing to worry about another 3 laps to go. Next lap was a bit quicker at 10:57 so was now on for a pb .Third lap was hard work legs were hurting by this point but it was just digging in and keeping the splits good and managed at 11:06 so again just outside pb now. Fourth lap I just went for it and just after 8km was tasting blood and a little light headed but still carried on and was passing a lot of people. Last lap was very quick still not sure where that came from and did a 10:04 last lap for a total time of 43:07. This beat my previous best by 49 seconds so very happy this morning. Sets a high benchmark for the season and with 2 more of these Hyde Park runs to do a sub 43 minute 10k must be possible.
Andrew Ferguson
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2-6-16
Ran a slightly disappointing 40:01 in the BBC 10k on Thursday. Heavy legs aside, I should have ran quicker. Pleased with my recent HM/marathon times, but the 5/10k's aren't doing those times justice. Not learnt how to run the middle distances. Set off too quick, died at 4km, made a small recovery from 6km to end.
David Wilkinson
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2-6-16
Vitality London 10k
So yesterday I ran the Vitality 10k which also doubles as the British 10k road champs. Starting on the Mall then a loop up to the city round the Bank of England and then back to finish in front of Buckingham Palace. I did this race last year and found the masses difficult to deal with but this year I was aided by having a place in the very front pen with the ‘elites’. (this was through a connection and not on merit sadly). I met up with a club mate beforehand and having only planned to try and do better than last year once we got talking I decided to resurrect my desire to go sub 36. He reliable informed me that I had to do 5.45 min miles. At the start you are funnelled through a bit of a bottle neck before crossing the line. I think this is to try and reduce the stampede from behind. Duly had a rather lot of over enthusiastic runners come past me. Decided to do the usual go off brisk and then settle and see where I was at by 5k. Happily through the first mile in 5.40 so thought I’d just settle in. Got in with a group on ladies, sadly no time for chatting. Then found myself going through miles 2 and 3 in 5.37 and 5.36. Went through 5k and saw the clock at around 17:30. Slowed slightly until got to the 9k mark. Then just focused on striding out and despite feeling pretty dead managed to catch a few people going down birdcage walk. Turned the corner with 100m to go and could see the clock counting down towards 36. Did my best to sprint in. Finished in official time of 35:52 (My watch had it at 35:47). Which is a min and 5 secs off of last year and about 55 secs off my PB. 224th overall. 209th Male. (100 place improvement on last year). Overall an enjoyable run and a stark reminder how fast the guys at the front are. Also that running fast always hurts.
Chris Tuck
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2-6-16
I took part in the Outlaw Half triathlon on Sunday in Nottingham. I previously did this event 2 years ago and this year proved to be a near carbon copy of my previous race, although the conditions were a bit windier and more overcast. Got off the bike and out of T2 in almost an identical split of 3hr 28, giving myself a target to get under the 5 hour mark, one that I was not initially confident of achieving. With extreme jelly legs and numb ice blocks in place of my feet, I started the run and got into the zone in big way, managing extremely even mile splits, keeping them just under the 7min mark. Managed the half marathon in 1:30:59, even managing a sprint down the finish carpet and taking 2 others in last 50 meters. Overall time of 4:58:50, 45 seconds faster than last time. Once again, a great event that is well organised and well supported and one that I can thoroughly recommend.
Rupert Holden
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2-6-16
I did the inaugural Guildford Triathlon on Sunday morning. The pool swim & transition were at Surrey Sports Park which is a short walk from home for me which made a very pleasant change to all the admin of getting the bike on the car etc. 500m pool swim (just under 8mins), buried myself on the bike (22k ish) (including a +40kmph banana & pool water spew) & did enough on the run (c.5km xc) to nab the win.
Tom Robertson
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2-6-16
On Sunday I did my first standard triathlon for over a year and a half at the Hertfordshire Triathlon in Welwyn Garden City was a good race but I had forgotten how mentally challenging it is to get off the bike and get going on the run. I was happy with my swim as I haven’t been focusing on this element but managed a 26min 1500m swim time. The bike was an undulating 2 lap course with a head wind on the way out and with the wind on the way back and I was reasonably happy with my time 1hr 19mins as my Garmin said it was over 27 miles. The 10km run was a 4 lap course and I struggled mentally on the first two laps and then I heard Phil’s voice telling me to man up and fight through the pain so I picked it up in on the last two laps to go sub 40 mins. I was reasonably happy with my result 15 / 87 but I now need to start training more for my half ironman in August. I also saw Paul Hewett, who runs with the Ravens at the same event and he managed an excellent time and result. I am not sure if he receives the emails but his times were excellent.
Alex Hardy
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2-6-16
On Sunday I did the first Burnham on Crouch 10k. The race was run on a mixture footpaths and country trails but was flat so was hoping for a good time or pb. The usual happened and I went off too fast and did the first 5k in 19:44 The second half was mostly on uneven farmland and I was feeling the burn so couldn’t keep the same pace and slowed down. Finished in 40:44 bit disappointed as it’s a minute behind my pb. The race was well organised and will continue to grow. Winner was Neil Spicer 37:48 (Leigh Strider) 279 finishers.
Gary Pitman
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2-6-16
On the 6th May 2013 I started my first ever marathon ... on 29th May 2016 I finished my first ever marathon! Take that Eddie Izzard !! That's just over 3 years of pain and suffering (i.e. listening to Phil's jokes about not finishing - though to be fair to him you can add children, wife and mother to that list). A quick breakdown of the two races:
2013 2015
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Training Av. 40 mi/week 50 mi/week
> 20 mile runs 1 10
# of injuries race day 0 4
Temp. race day 21 deg 21 deg
# hats worn 0 1
# monkeys on back 0 1
Target time 3:15 3:15
Finish time DNF 3:28
So not the best time but the important new stat is "# of monkeys remaining on back = 0". Hooray! As far as the race itself, I was determined to stick with the 3:15 pace group, unfortunately the pacer didn't seem to have any idea about what pace to run! We did the first 2 miles sub 7 mins and when I asked him if it was a bit fast he said he didn't know! After 11/12 miles we were still averaging 7:13 pace and did the half in 1:34. So I made a decision to see how I felt at 15 mi and then see if I could keep the pace going. At 15 mi everything felt good (thought the pace had dropped to 7:20 av) so I kept going at the same effort. Unfortunately 17mi - blister, 18 mi - really bad stitch, 19 mi groin injury flared up. So at 20 mi I was walking and trying a shuffly run in between. I have never been so incapable of running in my life. At 24 managed to grit my teeth and keep run properly again and then my wife (who had earlier ran the half) appeared from nowhere and paced me in for the last mile. Despite nearly finishing me off (check out the pain - http://www.marathonfoto.com/Catalog/List/258246490?PIN=K6L944&LastName=SKILLING) this was a fantastic lift and got me over the line sub 3:30. Overall given injuries I've had over the last 8 weeks I'm just happy to have got round. Having a few days of R&R in Scotland. Plan now is to try and clear up the injuries and then have a shot at beating Vicky's time in the autumn. Thanks to Rupert for keeping this on the QT and thanks to all you guys for the great advice you ***would*** have given me !
Keith Skilling
PS I can recommend Liverpool over Manchester (of course). Well organised, good route (though v. steep in parts) and free beer / concert at the end.
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2-6-16
Ok so not strictly running or even multi sport so forgive me, but I did the 400m in the European masters swimming Champs at the Olympic pool on Friday. I won my heat in a time of 4:50 which I was very pleased with beating my previous best of 4:54 which i set in 1985 (aged 10) ! it was very busy with lots more (faster) races after mine. I ended up 23rd in my AG (5th Brit). To put in to context Richard Stannard (aka the fish) got silver in 4:20 and the winner from Italy won in about 4:13 just missing out on a world record. In Dubai at the mo managed to squeeze in a short treadmill session - running outside is out of the question !
Rob Osborne
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2-6-16
European Triathlon Championships 2016 - Lisbon (and Hanningfield Triathlon 2016)
Well done all racers at the weekend! Apologies for the essay that follows…… This time last year I had just finished 4 qualifying events for the GB Age Group Triathlon and Duathlon teams – and was desperately hoping I’d done enough to qualify for one of 4 events – Triathlon World’s or Euro’s and the Duathlon World’s or Euro’s! As it turned out I qualified for ALL 4 and have spent the last few months (and too much money) travelling from the UK to the USA, Australia, Germany and last weekend Portugal! I’ve achieved a couple of major ambitions of mine and couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out. The Ravens have played a massive part in this – so thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way! On Friday 27th May I took part in the European Sprint Distance Championships (25-29 Age Group) and I’m very pleased to say that I came 14th out of 32 competitors in my Age Group (131st out of 463 overall)!!
Swim (750m): 11min 24secs
Bike (21km): 37min 39secs
Run (5km): 17mins 45 secs
TOTAL: 1:08:00

I was even more nervous than usual before the race and was sick before breakfast – then could only manage half a bowl of cornflakes before the race. So not great prep and didn’t feel very good or confident right up until the first mark in the swim. Swim: The course was in an S shape and seeing as I didn’t feel very good I didn’t want to get involved in the melee going around the buoys – so I took a slightly wider route around the buoys leaving a little gap for the people on the inside – this let me carry on swimming at my pace although probably sacrificed a little bit of time. After the first mark my nerves disappeared and I felt much better. Bike: The bike course was an out and back – the turnaround point being at the top of a 70m climb (max gradient 11.8%). We had a brilliant tailwind all the way to the foot of the hill – averaged over 26mph up to this point along a closed dual carriageway. As usual had a quite a few bike monsters overtake me on the flat but overtook 8/9 guys up the hill – I’m a good climber – I need a triathlon with an entirely uphill bike leg maybe!! Then on the way down the hill and the whole way home we had a horrible very strong headwind. It took me 17 mins to get to the turnaround point (including the hill climb) – and 20 minutes to get home even with the big downhill! Overall a really tough bike course because of the wind on the open motorway on the way back. Run: aside from the first few hundred metres I felt good throughout the run – only two people overtook me (think I re-caught one of them but I can’t be sure). I overtook lots of people and felt really strong on the final lap – upon entering the stadium I looked behind me but had nobody chasing me down. I had no idea what my final times were and once over the line I realised how much effort I’d actually put in – after the emotions/nerves of the morning I felt a bit like crying but in a good way. When I found out a few hours later I was 14th I was really, really pleased! And then I got to meet Javier Gomez (pic attached)!!!! What a day!! Looking at the final results – I was only 3 seconds behind the winner of my Age Group in the swim and only 14 seconds slower on the run which is very encouraging as I think I have more to give in both - it’s just the Bike where the winner was miles ahead of me (he had the fastest bike split 33:23). A lot of hard work to do but it does show I’m closing the gap on the fastest guys! Had a nice few days in Lisbon but I’ve now come down with some sort of cold/bug and feel like crap – don’t think I’ll make the AL but will see how I feel in the morning.
George Wakefield
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2-6-16
Eastern Vets 1,500m
Last night Mick and I ran a windy and cold 1,500m at Chelmsford. Lee Taylor went off hard and Mick led the following pack of 5 tightly bunched together. The wind was strong down the back straight, and we were running at 5.20 pace into the wind. With 500m to go, I put my foot down and battled to get into 2nd with 400m left. Went hard, but had a couple of younger runners on my shoulder who went past me on the home straight, so came 4th in 4.52. The 4 X 200m was a nightmare. I ran the 1st leg and we were in about 4th and handed over to my 67 year old colleague, he ran well and towards the end of the leg realised there was no one to pass the baton to. So he stopped and waved to the SAC cheering crowd, one of which realised he was running leg 3, so he ran over and took the baton, and we came in last !
Simon LeMare
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2-6-16
As Simon said it was a windy and cold 1500m. I remember most of the race the same as Simon (except I am amazed he knew what pace we were running into the wind, I never look at my watch), the main difference is when Simon put his foot down with 500m to go I didn’t (well in my mind I did but nothing happen). I managed to carry on at the same pace for the last lap and finish just under 5mins.
Mick Bridgeland
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25-5-16
On a roll - second M60 win inside 5 days !
Cannot remember last time I raced twice in a week.
Had our first of our local road / trail series race on Wednesday night. Overall 44th in 35.40 in the Dagenham 5 (ish). More cross country than trail and the most twisty of courses.
Andy Catton
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25-5-16
Windsor half river trail run
Ran the above half this morning in glorious sunshine and was hoping to go under 1:34. Imperative to start near the front as first 3 miles ran on very narrow towpath. First 5 miles went off in 35mins and at 10 miles in 71mins but started to struggle all of a sudden and then at 12 miles pulled up with sharp pain in left calf muscle (presumably cramp) and hobbled the last mile ! Came in a disappointing 1:36 . It was surprisingly warm and my garmin had it down as 13.28 miles but very frustrating to breakdown. It was a stunning course on a beautiful morning but sad to see them charging £5 for bag drop which I've not come across before.
Steve Dewey
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25-5-16
WWF HK 3k road race
On Saturday I had the choice of a 3k or a 10k race. I chose the 3k as my flight had landed only 5 hours earlier and was not sure how my knees would feel. There were about 2,000 running the 10k and 1,000 the 3k. At 7pm it was 27oC and 90% humidity. At the end of the warm up I was dripping in sweat. Made a school boy error as did not stand on the front row. Was in about the 5th row, with 50 children infront of me who wanted to be in the photo with the World Wildlife Fund Panda. After a countdown in Chinese we all started. It was a nightmare trying to get past the children. I lost about 50m to my rivals which included 2 that looked in the V50's. Tried not to panic and gradually reeled them in. After 1k I was in 20th place and sneaked inside one guy at the turn to be 3rd. He stayed on my shoulder, Steve Ovett style, so with 800m to go I showed him what I was made of, which turned out to be nothing as he glided past me. Finished in 4th in 10.36 first V50, so very happy in the circumstances.
Simon LeMare
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25-5-16
Hogsmill 5
Yesterday I ran this local ladies only race. The route was a road and trail mix and I was going well until I got to the first small but significant hill. With encouragement from a marshal I pushed on and the rest of the course was pretty flat. The race finished on the Harrier Centre athletics track which for me was a novelty and I saw the clock still said 40 rather than 41, so I pushed as hard as I could and finished in 40.58 and 15th place.
Donna Henry
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25-5-16
Blackheath Open Meeting.
So last night I decided with it being a year since I last ran some shorter races on the track that I would attend our clubs opening ‘open track meeting’. It seemed a bit silly to go just to do the 800 so I duly entered the 1500 as well, with an hour between races. Last year I ran a 2:20 and a 4.50 so my only target this year was to see if I could go any quicker. These races are a bit hit and miss as you never know who is going to turn up and sometimes involve some of the juniors going off rather hard and dying fairly early on so some avoidance is needed. The 800 was first and I went off in lane 7. By the time we got round the bend I was already a bit of a way of the front pack and got a sharp reminder how hard it is to make your legs go faster over such a short distance. I was starting to gain on the young lad in front on me but could not close him down. Finished with a time of 2:14:39 (unofficial). After a cool down followed by a warm up I then lined up for the 1500. This involved exactly what I thought it might and a group of younger athletes setting off like greyhounds for the first 100m only to slow right down going around the top bend. I then settled in behind the guy in third with the first two already out of sight. I managed to stay there and as I started to push with about 200m to go so did he. 4th, crossed the line in 4:37.46 (unofficial).
Chris Tuck
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18-5-16
British Sprint Tri champs
I did the British age group sprint champs at Emberton park near Milton Keynes today. There was a good strong field which is always good to test yourself against. I Managed to latch onto a quick pair of toes on the swim exiting 3rd in my wave. Luckily the chap called Andy Tarry has moved up an age group to 45-49 as he was on fire in all 3 disciplines ( look him up on power of 10!). After some comical attempts to get my feet in to my bike shoes I had a solid bike. I got overtaken by Matt Ellis' Norfolk brethren (Iain Robertson) on the bike but managed to hold my position on the run which was a bit longer than 5km. I ended up coming 2nd in the 40-44 category 40s down on 1st place but over a minute ahead of 3rd - a result I was very pleased with. I also entered for my first claim tri club - Ravens City of London Runners.
Rob Osborne
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18-5-16
Essex Championships 3K race report
Rather than join Mick for the Vets 1500m, I decided to enter the Race Walk ! I had always fancied a go at one. Had a couple of chats with the Southend AC race walk captain and had the rules explained to me. One foot on the ground at all times, and the leg must be straight when hitting the ground until past vertical when you can bend it. You are allowed one warning for breaking the rules, and disqualified on the second. I practiced altogether for just under an hour in the aggregate in 6 sessions, as obtained blisters on the heels, shin splints (toes point up when foot goes down to keep the knee back), sore quads, and aching shoulders as have to use the arms a lot. To be reasonably competitive I had to do roughly 10 minute miling. Bizarrely, unless you are disqualified, which happens (the winner was disqualified in the world championships last week), as everyone has the same pace and assuming you are fit, you know the result after 200m. On the gun, the 4 of us from SAC let the pros go off and we all followed. Lap 2 I was given a verbal warning for bent knees, so had to bring my toes up more to keep the knee back, the shin splints were very painful.
Was lapped on lap 3 by the 2 leaders ! Kept up the same pace throughout and finished in 3rd in 18.52 a minute and a half ahead of 4 th. The winner (Dominic King) finished in 11.58 ! His brother Daniel 10 seconds behind. I was given a few tips, which will probably bring me down to 9 minute miling, but to be competitive I need to be sub 8 minute miling, so this is probably my one and only race walk report. Dominic King is representing GB at the Rio Olympics, and if Daniel can do sub 4.02 in the 50k next weekend, he also goes. So it does take Olympic internationals to beat me!
Simon Le Mare
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18-5-16
Well done Simon, a good effort but I have to say it did look daft !! I ran the Vets (over 35) 1500m, my first one of the year. My initial target of sub 4:50 had to be revised when my son went through half way in 4:49 when coming second in the 3000m in 9:49.36. In the end I came 7th in 4:48.73 which I was very happy with.
At the moment my fitness is ok I just can’t run any faster !! Not enough speed work
Mick Bridgeland
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18-5-16
Horsham 10k
Yesterday I returned to the area I called home for eleven years to run the Horsham 10k, which was fully subscribed to its 500 race limit. This is a pleasant two lap course on a mixture of field, trail and road, which although has a Lions involvement, still has a nice club feel to it hosted as it is by Horsham Joggers. Unfortunately they seem to have had a bit of an issue with recording finish times as having completed the two laps, I didn't appear in the results and there was some debate over certain category prizes - the whole thing being caveated by the word "provisional", which is always a handy word to use in such situations! Anyway until advised otherwise, I'm declaring my watch time of 42.43.85 which appears to have placed me around 50 something or other.
Kevin Cockram
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18-5-16
British Sprint Tri champs
Continuing the multisport theme (albeit not quite in Rob's league! Great result Rob, well done) I did a pool based sprint tri in Wellington in sunny Somerset. A sociable 12.30pm start, had a reasonable swim at just under 6mins for 400m, out on the bike and had a good blast on a course which was hilly & twisty in places but with a good 6 or 7km of open TT roads to get the power down. Had a lad on my wheel (at +10m of course...) for the whole bike so was expecting it to be a good race on the run. Hilly 5k run where I paid for my bike efforts but had enough to pull away and win my wave. Had a short wait while the final wave came in but scooped the overall win by a couple of minutes. Celebrated with a burger and cheesy chips in the sunshine!
Tom Robertson
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18-5-16
Great Baddow 10 Mile
I ran the Great Baddow 10 Miler on Sunday … Not the greatest preparation as managed to get a stinking cold last week so dosed myself up on Zinc/Vitamin C, Sudofed and anything I could find to cut it short. I even tried a couple of blue pills provided by Chris Meadows although he said the V on them should for Vitamin but I have seriously have my doubts …. The option not to run was banned by my son who was desperate to do the 2 mile fun ( he is planning to write his race report tonight …)
I finished in 1:14:18 which is technically a PB for me for the distance but I did go through 10 miles well over a minute quicker on the Brentwood Half a month ago.
On a sadder note I believe that Adam is now resigning as Chairman of the Mick Bridgeland fan club, unless there are any other volunteers ( it takes less than 10 seconds a year to run !!) … The first question asked when he finished was ‘What time would Zach run it in ?’ So still a Bridgeland fan club … It has just been upgraded to Bridgeland 2.0 with many of the bugs being sorted out ….
Lyndon Bubb
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18-5-16
Was down in Devon for long weekend and did the Haldon Heartbeat 8.5 miles trail race. A beautifully scenic but extremely hilly race in Haldon Forest near Exeter.
Cruising along enjoying it, for once, nicely well under 7 minute miling until hit monster of a hill at 5 miles. Then another 6 tasty hills over last 3 miles.
Finished 35th and first M60 in 62.02. Was a superbly organised little race. I was chicked but no disgrace by an Olympic silver medalist. So here's a quiz question without resorting to Google can any one tell me what event did Heather Fell win her medal in at Beijing ?
Andy Catton
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18-5-16
All Nations Triathlon - Eton Dorney
I did the All Nations Triathlon at Eton Dorney on Saturday – quite a nice relaxed event but with lots of good triathletes and a good way to blow out the race day routine rustiness – it seemed like the entire Ful-on Tri Club had turned up and quite a few GB Age Groupers too! Slightly different courses and transitions to normal so unfortunately I can’t compare my times properly to previous years – times as follows (17th out of 202 Overall; 16th Male; 12th of 77 in the Age Group):
Swim (400m): 6:29 (11th fastest split)
Bike (30km): 33:19 (slowest bike split in the top 24 finishers)
Run (5km): 18:49 (7th fastest split)
Overall: 1:00:04 (the 4 seconds is annoying but I had no idea of my time!)

Swim: definitely a bit rusty in the cold water – took until the 1st buoy for me to calm down and settle into a rhythm – lost my place on the front row at the start trying to stay warm, so had to work through a few people which didn’t help (shouldn’t have let this happen). Was catching 3rd place really quickly – exited the water in 4th place. Should have done better but pleased with how I felt in the water after the 1st buoy. Bike: felt strong until the 4th lap. 6 people passed me on the bike (some from the wave before) – I’ve worked hard and improved on the bike over the last year and a bit, but it’s still my weakness. Need to keep working on it. Garmin said it was over 20km so pleased with time but need to keep improving. Transition 2: was much slower than normal owing to using different helmet (left my aero one at my parents house – Labrador’s fault) and the fact I couldn’t get my right foot into my trainer due to not enough ultraglide being applied to the shoe! Glad this happened now and not in Lisbon. Run: felt strong on the run and overtook lots of people – but in hindsight I didn’t suffer enough to try and get a really quick time – next time will be different. Overall I’m glad I got some race practice and I’m not disappointed but much room for tweaking and improvement this weekend at the Hanningfield Tri!
George Wakefield
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12-5-16
Assembly League – Victoria Park 5.5.16
On what was almost a perfect evening for running apart from a bit of wind blowing across the park, what felt like a depleted ravens team. ( this is probably testament to how the Ravens has grown that 9 guys and 3 ladies feels light), all trekked over to Victoria park. The usual casual warm up of a quick jog with Simon and Tim discussing how I always set of too fast and the usual Dennis start and we were under way. In what felt like a very quick first lap. This was confirmed as we ran through the first mile loop and they were calling out the time and as I went by I heard 5.32. I tired at this point to reign it in a little. Tim and George duly past me fairly early on but I had George in my sights for most of the race. ( Being a straight and flat course this could mean he was up to a mile in front J). I duly tried to hang on to a group of runners in front but around 2.5 miles as you make the sharp turn to head back towards the start I could feel myself tightening up. I tried to just focus on staying relaxed and keeping my shoulders down. As we made the turn for the finish a few words of encouragement from Phil and then shortly after hearing him cheer Paul on gave me the kick up my backside that I needed to put in a bit of work on the final straight. Managed to pass to runners and couldn’t quite get past one more on the line. ( I was tempted to run him down but thought better of it). Overall a good race and I was about 25 secs quicker than last year finishing in 19.37 and I believe third Raven. The run back to Lewisham station was less enjoyable. Well done to everyone that ran and thanks to Phil for team manager duties.
Chris Tuck
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12-5-16
With still having the marathon in my legs, this race was always going to be about finishing, not time or position. That’s not to say I wasn’t trying. Indeed I went through the first mile in 6.46 (very helpful having the guys call out the times as we went past) but knew this was not going to be sustainable. As we ended the first loop and a half and then turned right to start the figure of 8, I had caught a rival from Eton Manor who I’d had a terrific battle with last time on this course (and won) but decided not to get into a tussle with the year so let her go. There was also a Kent AC guy ahead who I always beat but again, decided for the long term that it would be better to ease off for this race and allow for a better recovery and take them on next time. My legs were very tired and just not picking up at all, I could phy7sically feel myself getting slower, a very bizarre feeling! I heard Phil cheer Andy F on as we turned the last corner so figured he was breathing down my neck and sure enough he breezed past me on the finishing straight. I think I was 46th female (compared to top 30 usually) and came in under 24 minutes. Obviously I’ll look to smash that next time.
VICKY COOPER
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12-5-16
Went into my second Assembly League race wondering if my legs had recovered from London Marathon and would the foot injury be ok. I need not have worried. The old adage of don’t go off to fast went out the window and decided just to try and go as fast as possible. Even I was surprised to see first mile run in 6:39 which I think is my fastest mile. Second lap was a bit slower to start with (mile 2 6:50) but got the boost from Phil cheering us on and realised even though it’s 3.5 miles was going to me close to me 5k PB. Could see Vicky in front of my so made a bit of an effort to try and catch her which I happened on the finishing straight. My target time was something just over 24 minutes and was very pleased to go sub 24 with 23:40 by my watch. As for the 5k pb – was 4 seconds outside it at 20:56 but still only the second time I’ve gone under 21 minutes so can’t be disappointed.
Andrew Ferguson
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12-5-16
I had a bad race last year in this one and was determined to go better this time round. It seemed very congested at the start and I set off behind Paul who I knew was going to be a lot quicker than me, I managed to stick with him for about ¾ of a mile but then he eased away – speaking to him afterwards he’d set off slowly… I went through the 1st mile in 5:52 and managed to keep up a decent pace throughout and felt like I was running on the edge. I could see Paul catching Chris up ahead and felt like I was gaining on them when we got the far corner of the course but after that I think they eased away again. Nice to get a shout from Phil coming round the final bend and managed to up my pace a little although didn’t have anything left for a proper sprint finish. My watch said 20:34 which is exactly a minute better than last year and my 5k split of 18:17 was a PB as well so overall very pleased.
Iain Davie
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12-5-16
This was my first real race – by which I mean a race populated only by real club runners – and it was something of a rude awakening. The constant stream of people passing me rather took its toll on my confidence and I felt like I was running backwards at some stages of the race. My attempts to hang on the back of passing racers, including Rebecca, fell rather flat, but at least (with Phil's vocal support – thanks, Phil) I was able to overtake a couple of people in the sprint to the finishing line. A year ago I was generally 'racing' (if you can call it that) at 8 minute mile pace. The fact I am disappointed with a run at 7.20 pace yesterday suggests I have made some progress since I joined the Ravens, but there is clearly more to be done. Onwards and upwards!
Alex Anderson
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12-5-16
Lot of racers on a lovely evening and everyone set off too fast for my recovering legs. Good, bright orange support from Phil a few times. I was able to just pip Steve towards the end with 21:34, better than expected. Missed the photo. Made the pub. Missed my train.
Simon Phillips
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12-5-16
Very odd to be running against Ravens for the first time, but at least most of you (apart from Chris!) were quite friendly to me. Phil even gave me some encouragement on the course - thanks. I have to say this course is my least favourite of the AL races. It may be something to do with how difficult it is to get too/from, but also I can never understand why I cannot get my pace up to my 5k pace on what seems essentially a fast flat course. I managed 21:39 which was a 4 second PB and trailed behind Gary, Simon and Steve, all of whom I could see just in front of me but never got close to, apart from Steve briefly at the end, when we jostled for the finish, but he found a last bit of spare energy to pull away. Nice one.
Marcus Elwes
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12-5-16
Vicky Park A/L. A few seconds quicker than last year which I'm quite pleased with as my recent times have been a bit disappointing. It certainly helped to push me along knowing Simon was just behind me. A novel experience which is only likely to occur again the next time he has a marathon in his legs. He passed me with ease towards the end but it was good while it lasted. Thanks also to Marcus. Having him pass me with 200m to go wearing his Petts Corner running vest was enough to muster up a shot of adrenaline I didn't realise I had in me. The final sprint made all the difference. Finished in 21.36 I think.
Steve Stanley
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12-5-16
Having felt steady improvements in my running since January and finally a lack of achillies/shin pain in the last month in addition to some more recent races under my belt I went into the race feeling fairly confident although tired from a busy week and lack of sleep at the start. Went off at what felt a hard but maintainable pace in the second pack behind the front runners and kept it going until the last mile to half a mile when really started to struggle. Ended up with about 19.23 which not bad but felt disappointed that I didn't get under 19which may have done had not slowed near the end. Just need to keep working at it.
Tim Sherman
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12-5-16
Marsworth 10k.
25 degrees, trail run over rutted fields with a few mini scafell pikes thrown in for good measure. 43.45 but managed to be 9th (210). Free cake and and a chocolate finishers medal (yes really ) This will either have toughened me up and I will feel the benefit when I next do a cool weather flat road 10k or its taken 2 years off my life!
Steve Stanley
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12-5-16
Vicky Park 5
I ran the Vicky Park 5 on Saturday. I came 17th, 1st Vet 50 in 29:00 gun time, 28:55 chip time. It was a nice hot Saturday afternoon with a slight breeze and I had a good race against a number of fellow competitors. What was sad was the fact that there were only 82 finishers in what used to be a well supported race. I think the race was not held last year and this year was moved to May instead of March/April but even so it was a bit sad and must have cost more to put on than the money it bought in. Unfortunately being such a lovely day the park was packed with people enjoying themselves so it was a matter of dodging Boris bikes, children on their scooters, people queuing for ice creams etc. My wife also ran but because of the low turnout even though she was third woman and second vet 40 she ran the last 4 miles of the race on her own, she could not see anyone ahead or behind, mainly because of the crowds in the park. Sad to see this race struggling
Mick Bridgeland
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12-5-16
LastTuesday night I headed out to the Lee Valley White water rafting centre (great venue by the way) for the Lee Valley aquathlon. I started the 500m swim in the 2nd wave 1 min behind the first wave and quickly ended up making my way though the stragglers from wave 1. Lucy Charles (Ironman u25 AG world champion) and her fiancé Reece Barclay were in wave 1. They had 30s lead after the swim - but I managed to pull back 50s in to on the run (5.5.k) in and took the overall win, which I think was a surprise to the wave 1 winner when the results came out!
Yesterday I did the East London Triathletes Dragonslayer duathlon on the 1 mile road track in the velopark. Again there were 2 waves, our wave starting at 11am so it was a bit toasty. I held back a bit on the first run (3 miles). Nick Shasha had quite a healthy lead but by the 3rd lap of 15 I’d caught him back up. I was coasting until lap 10 when a fast cyclist overtook me so I tried to put the hammer down and stay with him in my sights for the last 5 laps. The last run (2 miles) was tough in the heat and hard to get the legs turning over. By the end of lap 1 I’d regained the lead and went on to win the race. I ended up 5th overall when the earlier wave (London League) was added in and came in as first v40.
Rob Osborne
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12-5-16
I ran the controversial Hackney Half yesterday. Controversy aside, it was a very hot race and the course wasn’t as perfectly flat as I had remembered it being, although still very fast. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was capable before we started, not having felt particularly strong for the Assembly League on Thursday. And, as a result, I wasn’t sure how hard to pace myself at. In any event, I went out at just under 6 minute mile pace which I kept up until the end. All things considered, and compared to Brighton, it was really nice not having to struggle in the last couple of miles. Although, in reality, I don’t think I could have run any faster than I did. Like Brighton, it was a very large field (circa 13,000) and there wasn’t any depth of strength towards the front. My time was 1.17.55
Robert Laing
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12-5-16
Hastings 5 Mile
Yesterday I ran the Hastings 5 Mile in glorious hot and sunny conditions. Without wishing to sound like Mr Excuse (again!) this race came on the back of a 27 mile walk on Friday (sorry, the reason for not running the Assembly League on Thursday) and my aim to run the first 10 Bedgebury parkruns - Saturday's being the 8th, which I ran quite conservatively. I gave Hastings a fair crack and given my exertions over the previous two days and the heat, I was quite pleased to provisionally place 72nd out of 484 finishers with a gun/chip time of 34.19/34.10 - around a minute slower than last year. Next up is the 9th Bedgebury parkrun (running easy) and the Horsham 10k on Sunday.
Kevin Cockram
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12-5-16
I did a 10k in Battersea Park last night, my first in 18 months, flat, 4 laps, perfect conditions and low expectations which I didn’t quite meet! 300 doing the 10k, another hundred doing a 5k that started a few minutes earlier, a young but relatively slow field. There wasn’t much evidence of a race since with the laps it felt like working through a crowd of people doing something different, I was within 30 seconds of five people in front of me but I only know that from the results. 39:03 wasn’t too far below expectations and I felt better than usual after a 10k so hopefully I can build on that next time. Homemade flapjacks and bananas at the end, which was great. Well the flapjacks were definitely homemade, I’m not so sure about the bananas.
Simon Phillips
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5-5-16
Brighton Marathon
Although it has been suggested that this was my first Marathon I have run two others. The first was at VLM in 2008 (I think) where I was dressed as Wee Willy Winky and posted a 4:16ish and I ran a 3:38 at IMUK in 2009, I hated and loved both of them in equal measures probably because I entered both with zero pressure but with no real understanding of the toll they would take on your body (I had only been running for a year at that point having taken it up along with swimming and cycling as rehab for a Basketball injury). Running as a mascot was awesome and you got loads of support and when ‘running’ an Ironman marathon there is no stigma attached to walking parts of it…..i felt a standalone Marathon was a different beast.
I entered the 2016 Brighton Marathon whilst watching my Girlfriend complete the 2015 edition, and also while injured. I hedged my bets and tried for London at the same time with intent to complete both but go for a time at Brighton and then run London as a Guide for a friend of mine who competes as a VI triathlete. I didn’t get into London, neither did he and we both ended up getting injured so it was probably a good thing in the end.
My plan (a year ago) was to crack off a decent Marathon time and get a GFA place at another large marathon (a quick one like Berlin) but this really depended on putting together some consistent training in a solid block, something I hadn’t been able to do for a looong time. This didn’t start off well as I entered with an ankle injury which took 3 months to get rid off and then I picked up a back injury in September and changed jobs to work in London in November (2hr commute each way, each day) so only started to get some decent running in when I joined up with you lovely lot in December.
Training went well and I started to get some decent runs in. I knocked triathlon on the head as couldn’t do more than one sport with the 4hrs commuting and this seemed to be playing dividends and got to a stage where I felt a sub 2:45 would be doable and even started dreaming about a sub 2:40.
Four weeks out I picked up an ankle niggle and this knocked confidence, I am still unsure what I have done to it but through my own self diagnosis went from believing it was a stress fracture to a Peroneal injury (This has played up since my BBall injury)
I wasn’t sure if I would start all the way to the night before but as I had travelled down with 3 others I felt I would see what happened
My race plan was to run until my ankle became an issue, calculate my finishing time and work out whether it was worth finishing or if an early bath would be a more sensible option
Arriving at the startline I was still in two minds whether to just go for my ‘perfect race’ time of sub 2:40 or to peg it back a bit and go for a sub 2:45 – I believe I was still chatting about this with Rob as the gun went and after the starter explained to the Elites that meant go I set off with an awful lot of runners coming past me over the first 500m. I settled into a rhythm at a 3:40 per k average pace and sat at this for the first 5k gradually picking off a few overtly confident runners – I didn’t really check my watch much but kept at a pace that allowed me to have a few conversations with Superman (who was taking all the crowd attention) and a chap who was aiming for a 2:35.
My plan was always to run the first few miles above average race pace as this was the most downhill and least cambered section of the course so starting out bang on average didn’t make sense to me. If I could use the same (practiced) effort and get an advantage leading into the second half this would be a significant moral boost.
I felt pretty good through the town and all the way out to Overdene (or however you spell it) and could see Rob sitting at the front of a pack on the out and back section, the running for this half and all the way back to the Pier was on the left hand side of the road (or down the middle) and the camber was the right way to reduce the amount of stress on my left ankle.
My training had been done on minimal nutrition with only a few of my >20m runs completed with gels. The plan had been to fuel with a gel at each aid station as an extra boost for the race with water over the head and minimal fluids taken at every opportunity (when I didn’t throw them all over my face).
Official Splits at half way:
1mile: 5:48
5k: 18:21
10k: 37:11
15k: 55:38
Half: 1:18:56
At 12miles the camber switched as we were funnelled to the right side of the road – this started causing issues straight away and I was weaving over the road a bit more looking for the flattest sections. My pace was still OK and I was aware I had 6 minutes in the bank for the second half to get me under 2:45. I paced with another chap for a while and we caught a couple of runners who had tired. At this stage I came off the pace and dropped to 3:50’s as knew I had some flex to make the time I wanted and didn’t want to blow up.
25k 1:33:57
30k 1:53:28
The problem with doing this was losing my running partner and also changing my run gait which seemed to do my ankle no good and I made the further mistake at 32k of coming off to walk an aid station to give the ankle a break, seemed a good idea at the time but as soon as I stopped it stiffened up considerable and it became harder and harder from that point on.
35k 2:14:32
At 35k it was very much a jog and hobble but with only 7k left I could still get under 2:45 running at just over 4min per k which I still felt was doable…..but it wasn’t (this was about where Rob came trotting past – but I have tried to block that out ;)
40K 2:41:25
The stop start unfortunately meant I started to get cold and with cold comes cramp and as soon as I realised I wasn’t going to make 2:45 the motivation to finish went and I decided that protecting my ankle was a better move rather than push for a 2:49 but be in pieces. I walked the majority of the last 3 miles with the occasional jog just to get it over with.
Marathon: 2:57:45
Not really what I wanted but the priority is to try and sort my ankle so I can have another crack at this. I am confident I can crack a sub 2:40 if I can get the strength in place but am well aware that even if my ankle had held up I would have probably fallen behind the pacing required as was tiring over the last few miles.
Considering I almost didn’t start I am OK with the result as it gets me GFA but there are certainly some demons to lay to rest so I may well be involved in the VLM pre-race in 2017.
Matt Ellis
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5-5-16
Did my 4th Hockley Woods park run yesterday. Times coming down steadily - 21:59 yesterday and felt pretty good. No problems with the leg. Still only running very low mileage and not on the road as yet though sure it would be fine.
Dave Butler
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5-5-16
Ted Pepper Memorial 10K
Chris T and myself both ran. Chris was 9th in 38:08 and I was 21st in 40:17, which is my fastest time on that course by nearly a minute.
Marcus Elwes
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5-5-16
Yesterday I took part in the extremely well organised and run race that is the Ted Pepper Memorial 10k. For those that don’t know this is a race held in and around Norman Park in Bromley that is organised by our very own Andy Tucker. (Yesterday was actually Andy’s last as race director, so I assume we can look forward to him winning the event next year J)
The race is mostly off road but still fairly flat and despite the somewhat changeable weather recently conditions underfoot were pretty good.
In my usual fashion and with the first 600ms being on the track I duly set of too fast and was in a group and about 5th place as we excited the track. A position I maintained for approx. 1 5th on the race. It was after this I began to get passed. After about the 2nd mile the course became a bit more exposed and it was this point I felt the fast start catching up with me. My splits reflect this as my third mile was about 6.30 pace. As we started to turn for home and the kilometre markers seemed to be going in the right direction towards 10 and knowing the last k was just the straight run through the park back to the track I started to get back in to my running a bit more and caught a few people. I had a Blackheath and Bromley youngster in my sights. Unfortunately I left it a bit late and couldn’t catch him.
Finished in 38:08 and 9th place. I’d been hoping for something more in the 37min zone but all in all can’t complain too much and if nothing else it was a good day and tough training run.
Chris Tuck
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5-5-16
Yesterday I ran a 3000m at an Open meeting in Stevenage. Unfortunately this was a significant race in my running career, this was the first race where my son has beaten me.
The idea was that I would pace him at 80secs per lap (10min pace), as it turned out it was a bit windy and I found myself running at 81/82secs per lap. With 300m to go my son overtook me and ended up beating me by nearly 4 secs !! I ran 10:11.30 and he did 10:07.54.
Mick Bridgeland
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5-5-16
Last night I ran the Eastern Vets (Or Eastern Masters as we are now called) AC T&F League 3000m. I ended up 2nd in the race and 1st M50 with a time of 10:08.4 (which although faster than Monday’s race was still a second slower than my son ran on Monday). The winner ran 9:34 and Simon was in third in 10:21 so I basically ran the whole race on my own.
At least I am slowly getting faster and managed to go through halfway in 5:00 but it was still hard work. I need more speed work and 1500m races to make the 3000m seem less hard work
Mick Bridgeland
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22-4-16
European Duathlon Championships 2016 - Kalkar (Germany)
The race was set in and around Wunderland Kalkar – which is a Butlins type theme park resort – located in a Nuclear Power Station complex that was never commissioned – what a waste of $5.3billion! My start wasn’t until 7pm so I had all day to stress and worry about fitness, the quality of the opposition etc etc – so felt pretty wasted and wobbly legged at the start line! Nerves get me before almost every event – need to find a way to stop it. The schedule was very oddly organised – all the sprint women started at 7:15 so it was getting quite dark by the time they finished!!
Run1 (5km in 18:07 – 2 laps):
My wobbly legs took a while to disappear and it was a crowded first km so didn’t get a very quick start but in the 2nd km I started feeling better and started moving through the pack a bit as we headed into a strong headwind along the dyke. Felt strong at the end of the run and passed another person going into transition so when I saw the results I was pretty disappointed by the time of 18:07! Lots of people though it may be a long course as the organiser originally indicated it was 5.4km in length – but that they were going to make it exactly 5km. general consensus was that the wind was stronger than people thought and while half the lap was directly into the wind – we didn’t get the benefit of a tailwind on the rest of the lap due to the wiggly nature of the rest of the course and the massive power station buildings.
Bike (20km in 32:33 – 2 laps):
Coming out of transition I passed another person who had put on their bike shoes to run out rather than having them on the bike already and just jumping on! The bike was WINDY so was pleased with my time – made ground upwind but the bike is still my weakness - although far better than the start of 2015! The start/end of each lap was very twisty, technical, bumpy and slow so pleased with my time. Passed another person on the way back into the run as they stopped completely to unclip their shoes rather than do a flying dismount.
Run 2(2.5km in 9:39 – 1 lap):
Legs were a bit fuzzy for the 1st km when one person overtook me but then all of a sudden they returned and I felt much better when we hit the headwind again and passed 3 more guys and left them trailing. Again disappointed with the time but the winner in my age group only ran 15 secs faster so all in all pleased with how it went!
George Wakefield
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22-4-16
Flitwick 10k
As my last 10k was 43+ and "last Raven" I had a target of sub 40 here as my primary goal (and beating Steve Stanley as my secondary goal). Set off a bit too fast (after discussing pacing with Steve) at the start - and had to let him power away after about 3k. Went through 5k at just over 20 minutes but remembering Steve's comment that the last part of the race was mostly down hill I was reasonably happy. At 7-9k could see Steve running with a group about 50m ahead but never managed to close the gap - but did reel in a couple of runners I'd been behind for a few k. Unusually, for me I got overtaken on the last 100m as it went from road to muddy grass finish, but managed to respond with decent sprint and just catch the guy who had gone past me. Time - 39:51 and also in the results they gave me the placing over the other guy (which I don't think he would have been happy with) which meant I finished one place down on Steve.
Overall pleased with the run.
Keith Skilling
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22-4-16
Last year this was my 10k PB so I'd mentally prepared to give it a bash despite my recent 5k times not making it very likely. It's a course I'm very familiar with and having Keith to compete with helped. Finished in 39.40 which is 50 seconds slower than last year's pb but happy enough given recent form.
Steve Stanley
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22-4-16
Saturday I took part in the National 12 stage road relay at the usual location of Sutton Park in Birmingham. We had a somewhat depleted team due to injury, illness, holidays and London marathon prep. Our squad were front loaded and at one point we were as high as 5th. I ran the 11th leg and by the time I took over we had somewhat fallen down the order and I took over in 34th position. I started my leg in the snow ad by the time I finished it was glorious sunshine. I hope this was due to the changing weather and not the amount of time it took me to run. I had one of the longer legs (5.3 miles). I was conscious of not blowing up so tried to leave something for the last mile. Unfortunately although catching one person in the first mile I then lost 3 more places. And then didn’t see anyone else for the rest of the race, Finished my leg in 31.58. Which equates to the same average pace as last year when I ran a short leg ( 3 mile). We ended up finishing 39th out of about 62 teams so not a great result but part of the challenge seems to be just getting 12 runners together to travel up to Birmingham. The race was won by Highgate with Aldershot and Bristol 2nd and 3rd. Highgate had a particularly impressive 11th leg runner who managed to catch up an Aldershot runner over 30 secs in front of him and then extend their lead to over a minute.
Chris Tuck
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22-4-16
Braintree 5M
I have completed this race before (34.33) a couple of years ago so know the course and know it’s not flat, more undulating. Getting such a good time at Brentwood recently, I wondered if I could repeat the performance and get another PB (previous being 34.37). Rather than looking at my watch, I ran to feel and could see a [male] team mate ahead but just could never catch him. There was one guy between us but then this Braintree chap came out of nowhere in the last 400m and ran as though he’d jogged the course and saved his best for the last. I came in at 33.56, a PB indeed and 7th female. My avg pace was 6.44 and I’m absolutely delighted with that. Had I been a couple of months older I would have won my age category but sadly not quite there yet. It did however go to a team mate so that’s okay J
VICKY COOPER
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22-4-16
Brighton Marathon
Matt and myself both ran Brighton Marathon yesterday on what can only be described as a beautiful day with near perfect conditions (there was a slight head wind running towards Hove). The course felt very quick and where we were in the field there was absolutely no congestion (something a few people towards the middle of the field apparently felt). With the exception of a few isolated sections there thousands of supporters which created a fantastic atmosphere. I met Matt, for the first time consciously, as we lined up to start. We chatted until we started and then he disappeared into the distance. I had decided long before the start I wasn’t going to entertain any thoughts of trying to run with him, I was going to attempt to pace myself and run my own race. I won’t bore you with any further details of my run, needless to say I attempted to break 2.45 and was pretty much on target until about 37km. I had it in my head that a marathon is run between the 18th and 24th miles, unfortunately I think at 24 miles is when the fuel tank ran out and I hit the wall in spectacular fashion – the last two miles don’t run themselves unfortunately. I ran the vast majority of the race by myself as there were very few people around me (there was very little depth of strength towards the front end of the field).
I finally finished in 2.47.29, which is just under 7 minutes faster than my previous PB. Very happy with my time, but slightly disappointed I didn’t get sub 2.45 and a Championship entry to London. I came 19th out of roughly 11 thousand.
Robert Laing
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22-4-16
I ran a 5000m on the track on Saturday, my first 5000m for two years. I ended up with 17:34.2, which is what I expected, but I still would have liked to run faster – I forgot how much hard work track racing is !! I just need to do more speed work.
Mick Bridgeland
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22-4-16
Darent Valley 10k
I ran this race on Sunday as a final sharpener and also because it is one of my favourite races. Very picturesque part of Kent and whilst it was a tad chilly to start it was a lovely fresh and sunny day for it. It is quite a hilly 10k including some off road parts and one particular short killer hill at 7k. I was not sure whether to run it at race pace or faster but, after 3/4k of taking it relatively easy, I pushed on a bit feeling quite comfortable, and finished in 21st place with a time of 41:36. I am fairly certain I could have hit 40 mins on this course, had I raced it flat out, but obviously was not going to risk it this close to London.
Marcus Elwes
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22-4-16
Goudhurst 10k
Yesterday I nipped a mile down the road to run the relatively low key Goudhurst 10k (5k also available). Nothing much to report other than a nice course on a pleasant spring day – provisionally finished 18th out of 131 finishers in a time of 43.20.00 (gun, no chip). Wadhurst Runners took home the team prize (bottles of wine all round) plus a couple of individual "trophies" (more wine!) and then, being the true athletes we are, we retired back to mine for a brunch of bacon sandwiches, beer, tea, coffee and cake; with a bit of fruit thrown in for good measure – an enjoyable few hours.
Kevin Cockram
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13-4-16
AL League Beckenham
As for the assembly league sprint finish Dave beat me to the line after taking advantage of my head dropping as couldn't catch Ollie after the blistering pace he went off at! It was my first assembly league race and 'looking forward' to some more although I need some getting used to the speed and intensity of the shorter stuff! Give me a marathon any day!!!
Sid
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13-4-16
My first Ravens race report in 9 months (maybe more?) and due to ongoing and varied injuries these days I have become even more superstitious than usual and will not tempt fate by even booking a race. But since I can manage shorter distances and it’s the AL, I had to turn up! Great to see so many Ravens again and it was great to race properly (apart from Park runs, which of course are not races). Knowing the course usually helps but it doesn’t make the last hill any easier. It’s a grind to the finish, managed to overtake a few and also to get overtaken too. Finished in 18.14 by my watch – so not too bad, but lots of room for improvement. Most importantly, great to see everyone again.
Steve Glackin
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13-4-16
Manchester Marathon
A big group of Ravens ventured to Manchester to run the marathon. I inadvertently booked a hotel in the Gay District. Spent a pleasant evening with Stuart having a pasta and red wine, not in the Gay District, but our waiter obviously came from there. For the race, the rest of the Ravens wore the traditional running attire of shorts and a vest, but I decided otherwise. For those of you that don't know, I spent over 20 years training at karate, reaching a reasonably high level, and being comfortable fighting against any 3 black belts at the same time. After 3rd Dan, they change your style to fight against 5 or more at the same time. But I preferred my old style and did not want to change it, and decided to call it a day. I then took up running. Having completed 7 marathons, I thought my name should be on the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon in a martial arts suit, and so decided to try for it. The training was in normal clothes, but for the last month started running in the karate suit. My teenage children would only let me train in the dark so no one would recognise me as it was too embarrassing for them.
Ran up to an hour each time, when wearing the suit, and during tapering period did the speed work in it. The guy at Guinness World Records said I had to prove I ran the whole marathon in the suit and so must take a photo of me in it by every mile marker. So had to run with a phone. Every time I came to a mile marker I asked someone running next to me to take a photo of me running by it. Only half of them came out, mostly due to sweaty hands and the bright sunshine on the phone. The record was 3.21. Decided to go for 3.07 and see what happens. Plastered myself with Vaseline as I knew the chaffing would be a big problem. For 10 miles was OK, then my quads started to get tight. This was because when the wind blows at an angle the bottom of the trousers wraps around the other leg and you have to kick it off. Right shoulder ached a bit due to the belt flapping around, and had to run with my right arm 3" further away from the body than normal. The crowd were magnificent as there were very few in fancy dress and I was the first of them. There were many shouts of karate man, Bruce Lee, Sensei, Black Belt.
I wouldn't say some people from Manchester are a bit stupid, but one shouted out "come on Elvis", and another "Spider-Man". Started to slow at 17 miles by a little, at 19 was running 15 seconds a mile slower. 22 miles was 30 seconds a mile slower. The quads were really tight and arm pits sore. Realised sub 3.10 was out of reach, but wanted to try for sub 3.15 as good for age time. Mile 24 left foot was going numb, right arm was tingling and was getting a headache. Mile 25 I was getting worse and thought I may be about to hit the wall. Could not run any faster than 8 1/2 minutes for the last mile as was so shattered. Finished in 3.13.19. Nearly collapsed at the end. I was the most tired I had ever been. But pleased and relieved.
Simon (fastest marathon in a martial arts suit) LM
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13-4-16
An apprehensive turnout for me at Manchester yesterday, had questioned whether or not to toe the line but decided to give it a go. Still tired post Seville and I knew from training runs that I was not feeling in brilliant shape. However decided at start that if I was going to run then I may as well run hard – went out at sub 2:50 pace but after the first hour I knew there was simply no way that I was going to hold it. Second half was a case of survival, run at sub training pace, mentally painful. Good to see Arif and Stu as they both breezed past me with ease. Glad to have finished, my time of 2:57:09 satisfactory in circumstances, time for rest from marathons for a while now as tri season kicks in. Well done to all the others, especially the Ravens very own Hong Kong Phooey – that suit looked like really heavy material, so to run a marathon in it is lunacy!
Rupert Holden
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13-4-16
I am chuffed to bits to get a PB (my first over any distance since 2013). Beautiful clear skies with a building breeze which was hard work later on in the race. The start felt easy enough with my planned pace of 6:18s or under. But after 5 miles when I had worked out who else was going for sub 2:45 and ran as part of (just behind) that group, those terrible little thoughts came in to my head ... "Can I keep this up much longer." "Is this really sustainable". Duly ignored knowing that I can run the Tough Essex 20 on a windy day faster, I plodded on. The group got whittled down to just 3 and then 1 as the other 2 fell apart at mile 20. Ok, "just keep it going", "don't slow up". The miles ticked by and I had sped up slightly. 3 miles to go ... "Are the wheels going to fall off?", "if they fall off, how slow can I afford to go and still duck 2:45?" Mile 25 came and eventually I saw a gantry in the distance - "is that really the finish? I don't want to speed up and find out when I get closer that I've made another Colchester Half muck up." It is, I sprint for the time 2:44:21 is mine. Very steady race with all splits 6:10 - 6:20. A fast course for sure.
Lee Martin
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13-4-16
Arrived in Manchester Saturday late evening to notice Simon and Stuart in Bella Italia in what looked like a candle lit meal with a window seat. I tried to gatecrash but it was too busy to get in. Next morning I arrived at 8.30 at the Cricket Ground which was the main hub and finish. I went to put my bag in the baggage drop only to find hundreds of people swarming around a small shutter trying to put their bags in. After about 15 minutes in the bundle and not moving people started to get anxious as the race started at 9 and throwing their bags at the window, at this point the organisers told everyone to leave their bags where they were and to get to the start, they would go and pick up all the bags and put them in baggage drop. Not the best start! Onto the race. My main aim was to try for a sub 3:30 as my 6 months training with the Ravens had definitely helped my speed work. Most of you won’t know me as I’m usually hovering at the back but it’s definitely helped running with much faster runners. I decided to pace around 7.45/7.50 I saw Lee and Karate kid in the first mile as it looped back. The race itself is very flat with just a couple of gentle inclines later in the race. I caught up with the 3.30 pacer and felt comfortable and after 6 miles I caught up with the 3.29 pacer (I was in the 3.45 pen) for the next few miles I kept my pace between 7.40/7.55. I saw Lee, Rupert, Stuart and Arif at various points although they were running in a different direction. At 20 miles I felt my right hamstring twitching so I slowed and changed my gait only for my left hamstring to start cramping. Rather than stopping to stretch I slowed down again only for them both to cramp up at 25 miles I had to stop and stretch. The last mile I plodded to get home in 3:28:35 a 20 minute pb! Think I lost about 3 minutes in last 5 miles but hey ho. When I arrived back to the Cricket ground to collect my bag I was met with a queue about a mile long snaking around the whole car park. Not what you needed after a marathon. I guess the quicker runners had no problems collecting their bags. I got lucky as my bag was just in a row of bags outside and someone agreed to go and get it. Not so lucky for others as there were reports of people having to wait 2.5 hours to get their bag back. The marathon organisers sent out a Facebook post later apologising for the delays and they would look into it. Well done to all the other runner especially the Karate Kid.
Erratic splits: 7.54, 7.25, 7.35, 7.49, 7.51, 7.42, 7.52, 7.54, 7.56, 7.44, 7.52, 7.44, 7.50, 7.41, 7.47, 8.01, 7.42, 7.42, 7.48, 7.47, 7.59, 8.11, 8.11, 8.23, 8.30, 8.53, 2.40.
Gary Pitman
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13-4-16
Gary, Congratulations on smashing your PB. Really fantastic effort! Having been wined and dined by Simon Saturday night, I intended to run with the karate man at a sensible 3.05 pace to ensure I achieved a sub 3.10 time, which will give me a Good for Age V50 place for London next year; however due to the baggage fiasco at the start and a call of nature, I was still in the loo when the race started and I didn’t get to meet up with Simon as planned. When I eventually joined the race a couple of minutes in, I was in 1400th place and it was very congested. I decided to conserve my energy and gradually move through the crowds rather than weaving in and out to get a better place. Around 4m, the crowds started to thin out and I realised I was running comfortably at sub 7 min mileing, so I changed my game plan and decided to carry on at this pace for as long as I could and hoped I’d be close enough to the finish if I hit the wall. My race preparation only consisted of 5 long runs (one 18.5m in January and four 14 milers) and I really had no idea how the later stages of the race would go. I got to half way at 1.28.01 and continued at a sub 7m pace until mile 17. With 9m to go I felt strong and I upped my pace to around 6.25’s and run the second half in 1.26.52. I was delighted with my time of 2.54:53 and the negative split.
Stuart Fraser
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13-4-16
Following on my 43:15 PW in the BMAF 10k champs at the Olympic Park last Saturday I managed a little better with a struggling 42:35 at the Little Bromley 10k this morning.
Maybe I will have to consider a fancy dress outfit for next race whilst my last 6 months of rubbish racing continues :) !
Andy Catton
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13-4-16
I raced the Basildon Aquathon today and managed to come home first vet.
Ian George
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13-4-16
Sandy 10m
Having been unable to run for the last 10 days due to injury I was going to duck out of this race but the weather was so nice on Sunday I decided to run anyway and see where my fitness was.
I set my Garmin's "Virtual Marcus" to 6:50/mi as this was about the speed I've been running the Thursday tempo runs. The start was very up and down so it was hard to see where I was pace wise, but as the race wore on I seemed to have reasonably good av. Then as the last three miles approached I realised it was going to be mostly downhill as we were running back the way we had started. I got into a good battle with a couple of runners and this kept the momentum up until the last 100m when I out-sprinted them both. Finished in 67:04 (av. 6:42) so pretty pleased - stiff and sore today but no worse than expected. And, as it’s my first run at this distance it’s a PB.
Keith Skilling
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13-4-16
Having not really raced properly since early summer last year before I got injured other than some cross countries and 1 10k over the winter, off the back of some more solid training including a training week in the Algarve at the beginning of March and touch wood reduced injuries, I have now raced 3 times in the last week! Started off with the Reading Half last Sunday which I booked back in January not expecting to reach the dizzy heights of 2014 but as a long distance race target to see where I am fitness wise and what I need to work on. Having set a PB of 77 minutes in 2014, I went into the race thinking that anything under 85 minutes would be satisfactory but hopefully getting nearer to 80 minutes. The conditions were good and I felt relatively comfortable at the start and low and behold found myself running at sub-6 minute pace. This however did not feel as comfortable as it had 2 years ago so I knew that I was likely to have to back off at some stage but thought I’d try and keep it going for as long as possible. Managed to keep it up until the hilly section in the town centre at around the 7 mile mark and whilst I could manage the hills they took away some of the momentum and I then decided to settle in at a more comfortable 6.30-6.40 pace for the remaining 5-6 miles with a view to maintaining a reasonable pace rather than falling off the cliff and having to walk or slow dramatically at the end. Whilst my legs ached I didn’t suffer from any cramping or the like which I had done in the past, probably because I wasn’t pushing myself at the end quite as hard. I also took on some Lucazade during the race which I haven’t done before that probably helped. Ended up with 82.49 which was fairly happy with all in all. I was lacking endurance/stamina but hadn’t done any long runs at that pace, only at about 6.40 to 7 min/mile pace so was to be expected. Then ran at Beckenham with the Ravens on Thursday. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to warm up so made a bit of slow start up the first hill but once got legs in gear felt pretty good and managed to catch and pass some of the other Ravens along the flat housing estate. Caught George at the bottom of the last hill and thought might have a chance of taking him also to finish as next best Raven after Rob but George seemed to find an extra gear and finished a few seconds behind him. Enjoyed the race though and was good to blow away the cobwebs. Finished in 16.52 compared to 16.12 last year.
Yesterday, I took part in a race that was all about speed rather than endurance. Did the Clissold Park 10K relay in Stoke Newington. A beautiful park by the church on a lovely sunny if chilly morning. Formed part of a 4 man London City AC relay team and managed to blast out 7min42s for 2.5K. We easily won by about 3 minutes in 31.05 but to be fair there were no athletic club teams amongst the competition. Was mostly encouraged by the fact that I ran virtually the same time as 2 of my team mates who are decent runners , one of whom has run a sub 34 min 10K which has given me some confidence going forward. We even went for a fairly brisk 8 mile run afterwards.
Tim Sherman
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13-4-16
I ran the Fulham and Putney half marathon again at the weekend and took solace on the way round that it wasn't a full marathon! I ran this race in October last year and got my PB at the time of 1.23.50 and yesterday I managed to get a new PB of 1.22.21 which I was really happy about although I did try and set off at 80 min pace but I started to suffer after 5 miles and knew that I couldn't hold the pace so dropped down and settled in to a steadier rhythm (that was a struggle due to the fast start). The problem I found with this half is although it is nice and flat the constant twisting and turning mixed with running on paths with pedestrians and cyclists makes it very hard to settle into a nice rhythm. Also as it is a small field I was running on my own for a lot of the race and I was really helped earlier in the year at the Watford half competing with other runners towards the finish. However, due to the small field I was happy to finish in 14th place! So although I didn't get anywhere near the time I was hoping for I was happy with a new PB and realise more work needs to be done to make the faster pace feel easier.
Alex Hardy
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8-4-16
Beckenham Assembly league:

Tonight was my first ever club race. Great fun. The start was crazy. We were packed like sardines into a narrow suburb street, with cars parked either side. The start was slightly delayed as the waters parted to allow a resident to get their car through, as they were welcomed home to a comical applause of 100+ runners. We were off shortly after and it was a frantic start, as everyone hustled for position. After 100m, I knew I'd set off too fast and I let the likes of Osborne, George, Ollie, Sid and Tuck take off, settling in behind a fella (Alan Camp - maybe known to some - he's entering v60 this year and he beat me at my local parkrun last Saturday, but that doesn't count as its not a race, right...), as we climbed the first hill. Felt strong when I got to the top and noticed Sid was within eyesight so decided to do my best to keep him there. Managed to do so all the way to the start of the final hill, at which point I thought I'd have a cheeky bid at chasing Sid down, who was probably 20-30 metres in front. I knew he'd beat me over a sprint, so doing everything possible to mute my elephant like stomps, I got within 2 metres when he looked over his shoulder and spotted me! A mad dash to the line ensued, which got me over in 17.07 (according to my watch). I'll leave the suspense of who actually won between us to Sid's race report... I did however beat my v60 rival! I'm half his age tho, so no bonus points there.
David Wilkinson
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8-4-16
Slightly tarnished by past experiences of fast starts (eg AL Dome 2015) I tried to reign myself in a bit at the start this year. I didn't quite get in to the suffer zone but maintained a solid pace on a slippery course. I was passed by a very strong looking Rob Laing after 2km who continued to pull away and looked to have had a great race (well done Rob). Passing the drive thru Macdonalds in the last mile I dropped a couple of places but picked up a couple on the last hill finishing in 16:12 17s down on last year's PB so a solid if not spectacular start to the season. I think I placed around 15th or so overall so maybe reasonably high up in the v40 camp.
All in all a great event and great team spirit. Too many to mention individually but I witnessed a few epic battles up the finishing hill - George Wakefield holding off an ever improving Tim Shermanator in his injury come back. A stewards enquiry on the Wilkinson Sid sprint off. I saw Josh in a dead heat with a Kent runner but made sure he was in front in the finishing funnel (go Ravens). Vicky was looking strong too and Wes put in a very good performance. I also witnessed Simon's eyes popping out in the finishing sprint having told me beforehand that he was 'running not racing'. Thanks also to Andy Tucker for supporting and acting as bag carrier in chief.
Rob Osborne
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8-4-16
Great race reports so far. Thanks Rob, think you may have been looking at another Vicky… I like this course (apart from the pig of a hill at the end), felt relatively strong during, taking a few people here and there. The last hill was to become my downfall, having two men and two ladies (who I’d previously passed) come sailing past me and I had nothing left in the tank to fight with. Overall not a bad start to the league. Don’t know my finishing time. After the marathon, I’ll have to concentrate on some hill reps (on grass).
Vicky Cooper
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8-4-16
Solid turnout by the Ravens last night 11 men and 2 Women (plus Mr Laing for his 1st claim club) which I think is not a bad start. I believe there were 258 runner according to the assembly league twitter page. It was a true assembly league start as we all waited for Dennis to climb his chair, happy to report however that this year he had a horn so at least we weren’t caught quite as unaware as we have done in the past. I set off pretty quickly as per usual with a few Blackheath club mates ( who I know are faster) but ‘no pain no gain’. I had a good battle with Ollie for most of the race jostling for position. I then started to slow in the last mile and wasn’t able to react as George and Tim came past me, similarly didn’t fight as Sid and David wound up and went past me before entering the park. You guys are looking in good shape for your marathon assaults. Managed to push on to stay in front of a couple of Dulwich runners and finished in approx. 17.17 so about 10 seconds quicker than last year. Legs were a bit heavy from Sunday and also have had a bit of a shock this week following some shorter distance work on the track Tuesday and last night’s frantic pace. Happy that I am not racing this weekend. Well done to everyone who ran. The majority of Ravens all seemed to be passing people up the hill rather than the reverse which bodes well with most of the coming races being longer.
Chris Tuck
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8-4-16
Well done to everyone who ran last night – everyone seemed pretty bubbly afterwards so think everyone “enjoyed” it! Have to say I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this one as my running hasn’t been going at all to plan this year! But wanted to use this race to see where I was fitness wise. Set off fairly quick in the madness as everyone tries to get some clear space – think the most important thing on the first uphill section is to make sure you spot the runners that set off too fast as early as possible so you can make sure you can move around them early and not get boxed in. Everyone begins to space out on the downhill so you can relax a bit and when we hit the flat middle section I could see Chris and Ollie just in front having a good tussle. Having passed them I don’t remember much after that until we hit the bottom of the final hill when Tim came up alongside me! We had a group of 5/6 a few metres in front of us and I wanted to get in front of as many of them as I could. Worked really, really hard up the hill and overtook 3 or 4 of them and finished just behind a lady that normally disappears ahead of me in the AL races (think she is quite often the first lady but might be mixing her up with someone else). Think Tim pushed in front of a few from the same group – so strong finishing from the Ravens. I was pretty dizzy at the finish so knew I’d given it 100% and needed a quick sit down!! So very pleased with how I ran (about 16:50 I think - I ran 17:03 in September last year) – think I can put that down to the extra bike and swim training keeping me fit! Think I’ll either do the Parkrun on Sat or Basildon Aquathlon Sunday before heading off to Kalkar, Germany next Thursday for the European Duathlon Champs (so will have a few race reports to send round in the next week) – think I’ll struggle a bit in Germany but looking forward to it nonetheless!
George Wakefield
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8-4-16
Great report Rob. Since this race last year I’ve done one xc race and virtually no speed work, couldn’t risk racing flat out, but went faster (well harder anyway) than expected, a mere 2 minutes from a pb! Enjoyed the last hill for a change as I hadn’t been eyes out - until I could see the finishing line when the desire to not be overtaken took control. We had good numbers for the opening race,12 + 2 I think. Reckon the A & B teams scored well, maybe the ladies too but hopefully get 3+ for Vicky Park. Rob Laing did a very impressive 15:45 (for Kent). Thanks to Tucks for his supporting role and respect to Chris for making the long journey. Must be nearly 200yds from his house.
Simon Phillips
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8-4-16
Being an A.L. virgin this was my first race. Having spent a lot longer on the course that most Ravens I guess my report should be longer but you'd be bored. I just ran as hard as I could for 19.42 sec knowing that if I eased up Vicky would come cruising past me. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Wes Absalom
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8-4-16
It was my first run in a Raven’s vest with my sole aim being not to be last, I was glad Vicky had warned me about the hill, however I still found it a challenge and so many people went past I did wonder if I was actually going backwards. I briefly considered stopping at the McDonalds for a coffee when I realised there were still people behind me! I struggled on and up the last hill overtook at least one person, however my time was still a minute or so faster than before I started running with the Raven’s. Between now and the last race of the league I will be mostly running up hills!!
Donna Henry
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5-4-16
Ran Paris Marat‎hon today. Weather was 21 degrees and brutally hot. Went off ok and was through 10 in 76 mins but it was a struggle after that. Still on course for sub 3.30 ‎at 20 miles but then it went badly wrong. Had been trying to take on board fluids but right calf began to cramp up and I was reduced to a hobble. Every time I tried to run properly same thing happened. Did not enjoy last 6 miles at all. Ended up with 3.45 ish and a tan where my vest had been! Lots of ambulances flying round the course which was not good. Anyway have set the bar pretty low for all the Ravens spring marathoners. Am sure you guys and gals will be able to beat that.
Phil Priest
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5-4-16
BMAF 10k - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
I ran the BMAF 10k on Saturday at the Olympic Park. About 500 ran the race but there was not a very good turn out from the BMAF, the 9:30 Saturday start might have put a few off from traveling from around the country. It was a 3 lap, mainly flat course around the park near the stadium, the weather was sunny and warm with bit of a wind in places. It was chip timed and unfortunately a very narrow start as the whole field was funnelled over two small mats. I ended up having a race with a guy in my age group plus a M50 and a couple of M45s , and I managed to pull away from them on the last lap. I won the M55 age group in 36:03 and came 22nd overall, Nigel Arnold was 2nd M55 in 36:21 and Mike Boyle 3rd in 36:35. Of the other guys I was racing Graeme Saker, M50, who joins the M55s in Sept, was just behind me in 36:12, Matt Bland M45 just behind him in 36:18 and Stephen Philcox not far behind in 36:30. It was good to have a group to race with as it keeps your mind off of the pain. My wife was 2nd lady overall in 40:04, just being beat by a youngster in a sprint finish, she won 2 tickets to the Orbit. Unfortunately there were some problems with the chip timing and they had to resort to watching the finish line video to try to work out were some people came, this held up the prize giving for a couple of hours, but at least it was a nice sunny day
Mick Bridgeland
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5-4-16
Paddock Wood Half
This was a race I had targeted for a PB because, as many of you will know, it is a pretty fast and flat half. I PB'd last year getting just under 90 mins for the first (and to date only) time. Conditions last year were quite wet and windy, whereas today was bright and cool. I also knew I was in better nick than last year, so decided to aim for something in the region of 1:28 as a reasonable target. At a push I thought if things went very well sneaking under this was an outside possibility. I saw Kev before the start (and again at the end) but did not see Chris, tho noticed he put in an excellent time. I ran the first few miles at 6:30 pace ('go hard or go home') and tried to keep this pace going for as long as I could. I managed more or less until around 7 and a half miles, when I began to flag a bit. I took a gel, which gave me a bit of a boost and ploughed on at probably around 6:45/50 pace, knowing that if I could maintain this to the end a good time was assured. With 10 miles down, I knew a 21 min 5k finish would get me in below my target, so pushed on more and managed just over 20 mins for that last stretch, to finish in 1:26:33, a PB of over 3 minutes. I was over the moon as this was way beyond what I had expected in my wildest dreams. Chuffed.
Marcus Elwes
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5-4-16
As Marcus points out I also ran Paddock Wood Half marathon. In contrast my overall summary is disappointment. I blew up pretty badly from about mile 8 and no matter how hard I tried just continued to slow. Ended up finishing in 81.13 (by my watch). 81.17 (by the gun) and my chip didn’t register so probably somewhere between the two. Finished 53rd in the end. I went through 10 miles in almost bang on the hour ( had targeted going under it). So thought I could still pull it back but unfortunately every time I tried to cling on to someone who passed me my legs failed to comply. Overall just chalking it up to experience. One of my club mates had an equally disappointing day so we are now both on the lookout for one more half in a months’ time where we can try again.
Chris Tuck
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5-4-16
I joined Marcus, Chris and 2,112 other finishers for the Paddock Wood Half Marathon. Unfortunately I didn't see Chris (probably explained by our respective race times) but did see Marcus at the end being attended to by the Kent Fire Service who had apparently just finished dousing down the soles of his smoking trainers! WELL DONE Marcus on a thoroughly deserved HM PB. My race was somewhat different to both those of Chris and Marcus, coming home with a chip time of 1.33.57. I'm not overly disappointed as the time is reflective of the running I've been able to do so far this year and is the quickest of the four HM's I've run in 2016. Whilst to improve race times I need to do more speed work, I also have to counter that against a niggling knee issue that has flared up and was apparent once again towards the end of yesterday's race. I will see how things are come Wednesday, but I'm thinking it is probably sensible not to race on Thursday - luckily I suspect my non-appearance will have minimal impact on The Ravens overall performance, so good luck to all of you who do race and hopefully I'll be good for the next one.
Kevin Cockram
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1-4-16
Last Saturday saw me take to the hills of Greenwich Park for the 'Tough 5k' - my first race in a Ravens top. Bearing in mind the advice from the group about going hard from the start, I set off at a mad dash, completing the first kilometre in 4.10. I then discovered that the next kilometre was partly up the main drive in the park and my pace was almost a minute slower for that kilometre. To keep myself going, I started to target runners in front of me, although it was impossible to know who I was actually racing, since many of the other runners were doing the 10 and 15k courses. At 3.5k, we had to go down the hill again, which meant having to come up again for the finish. Fortunately, I was able to hang on and came to the top to discover that the line was only about 400 metres away and that my path was pretty much clear. I pressed hard for the line and finished in 24.11. Much to my surprise, a steward then handed me a 'magnificent trophy' (see photo and judge for yourself...) for being the first woman finisher. I finished 6th overall and was the first veteran. A pleasing start to my Ravens' running career!
Alex Anderson
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23-03-16
BRENTWOOD 1/2M
Ran the above this morning, which I first ran 20 years ago – not that old age is starting to bother me. I bumped into Wes and Dave Miller, who went for a warm up, which seemed a bit keen, and Ian George, who sensibly didn’t. Through the first 2 miles, and past the already tiring Wes and Dave Miller, in about 12.45. Then pulled up with a twinge to the knee, and started to think about going home. ******* to that, after thinking about it for 42 seconds, set off tentatively and within a few miles, going ok again. Past Wes and Dave again, and in the distance could see Pat Young, who looked effortless as usual. Caught him up – “Pat, have we gone through 10?” “Yes”. No we hadn’t. Found a burst of energy for the last 3, and in the circumstances delighted with 86.47 (official time) and 86.05 (time actually running). Bumped into Vicky, who was complaining about something, despite a PB.
Robin McCoy
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23-03-16
I also ran the Brentwood Half and came home with a chip time of 1.22.00. It was good to chat to Robin, Wes and Dave at the start and I bumped in to Pat just as we were about to start. I tried to keep a sensible pace for the first few miles so I could save some energy for the last few miles. Everything was going pretty well until about mile eight when I seemed to have what I can only describe as a mini bonk. I just ran out of energy. Fortunately after taking a gel I started to feel better and then had a really strong finish. The conditions were ideal for ruining yesterday, however I always forget how undulating the middle six miles are.
Ian George
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23-03-16
As Ian says lovely day for. Saw Ian on the line went with him for a few miles, but knew wasn’t going to be able to stick with him, so forgot the watch and tried to settle into a comfortable pace. Good to see Robin just before 10. Finished in 1:27:55 a pw ! but happy to be out there and hope gives me a rough idea of target for Brighton (which isn’t going to be sub 3 !)
Pat Young
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23-03-16
Despite allegedly “tiring” after just 2 miles of downhill running I managed to keep going for the remaining 11. With an average pace of 6.47 per mile I finished in 1:29:03 – 3 seconds quicker than last year.
Wesley Absolom
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23-03-16
Well done all who raced at weekend, also raced at Brentwood my job for the day was to pace Wes round to sub 90 mins so job done.
Dave Miller
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23-03-16
All week I’d been very nervous about Brentwood as I’ve not raced for about six months (and it’s not healthy) but by Sunday morning I’d decided whatever will be will be. I had no concept of what time I’d finish in as had no idea what form I’m in and decided a sub 1.36 would do. Took me ages to weave to the front before the race started but did manage it though they had an “elite and celebrity” start. Really, on a HM?? Once I got through, I had to weave around who I assume were “celebrities” as they certainly weren’t elites! I started picking off the women I could see and kept moving forwards. By mile 6(ish) I’d seen a supporting club member who told me I was in the top 10, this surprised me but gave me a boost. At mile 8 another member of my running club (on his bike) rode alongside me and I think I lost concentration. I’d been told by a marshal I was 7th female and because I lost focus, the lady I’d overtaken, came past me, regaining her 7th place. I did up the pace but I couldn’t hold on. Still, I finished in a very respectable time of 1.31.09, taking 1 minute, 26 seconds off my previous PB and 8th lady. Good to see Ravens beforehand (Wes & Dave M), Robin during (when he had his moment) and Ian George afterwards as well as Lyndon who reported a PB too. BTW, Liv (Lee) from BRR who runs the Assembly League as a Raven came in 7th place, in under 1.15. That sub-1.30 that I keep harping on about is most definitely in sight now J
Vicky Cooper
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23-03-16
I came in with 2 simple targets: Try to be within 10 mins of any other Raven and see if I could run a 1:40. So with the “Hernon’s” voice ringing in my ears I decided to run as hard as I could for as long as I could ( which I now know bloody hurts … and I must learn pacing and reckon I will go faster ). On route I equalled my 10km PB and beat my 10 mile PB by 2 minutes and finished in a Half Marathon PB of 1:36.08….. Now even Lee Martin hasn’t reported 3 PB’s in a single race !! So both targets were met but I was knackered !
Lyndon Bubb
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23-03-16
Hastings Half
It would seem I was at the wrong race as I took myself off to Hastings for the Half marathon yesterday. Whilst I knew it was described as hilly, I was blissfully unaware of quite how hilly it was. You still seem be going up when you hit the half way mark, with short downhill sections to give you hope of achieving any target you may have. You then have a long downhill to bring about a negative split, before the last 3km along the seafront when you're just desperate to stop the clock. Finished in 87:40, nearly a min off last weeks Surrey Half so i'll take that as an improvement.
Rob Reid
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23-03-16
Bedgebury Pinetum Parkrun & Hastings Half Marathon
Bedgebury Pinetum Parkrun.
Wouldn't normally run something like this the day before a half marathon, but this was the inaugural run of a parkrun right on my doorstep and I couldn't resist, so l hopped on my bike and headed for the start line. 141 runners completed the one lap course which is mostly on wide forest tracks - I ran 23.36 which got me 18th overall and 1st in my age category which was an unexpected bonus as I ran quite conservatively given Hastings the following day.
Hastings Half Marathon.
My 10th consecutive attendance at this race and enjoyable as ever - well organised, well supported and won in both the male and female categories by the Run-Fast contingent. I finished in 1.35.39 (chip) which placed me 267th out of approximately 2800 finishers. Due recent issues I again didn't push things overly but upped the tempo a couple of times mid-race and pushed hard enough in the finishing straight to gain around 8 places and feel like throwing up after crossing the line! Also pleased to report that amongst a great turnout and performances from Wadhurst Runners, we have recently landed ourselves a bit of a star who delivered a 10th placed finish in a time of 1.17.29 (chip) - all very inspiring!
Kevin Cockram
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23-03-16
Hampton Court Palace 1/2 M
I did the Hampton court palace half yesterday, it was my first half marathon. The weather was spot on, no wind at all and chilly but not cold. The course itself apart from the last 500m was spot on, very flat and decent conditions under foot – why they decided to have the finish line at the end of a field after all that is beyond me. Training has gone well for the past 6 weeks so I was pretty confident in going under 1:30, decided to try and pace it at 6:45 and get somewhere near 1:28. 1st couple of miles were a bit quicker than I intended, went through 2 in about 12:30 but after that kept a pretty steady pace and kept ticking off sub 6:45’s. At mile 10 my guts were giving me a bit of grief which was frustrating but the issues didn’t last too long and a finished pretty strongly for a chip time of 1:26:24. I was very pleased with the time and now have renewed optimism of breaking the 3 hr mark for the full marathon.
Iain Davie
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23-03-16
I did this one too, a little congested at points but a good course and I felt the same about the field at the end! A PB for me too.
Donna E Henry
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23-03-16
North London Half
I joined 6,800 other souls for a 9.00 am start for this race which had a lap of the track of Allianz Park (Saracens home stadium) at half way and finished in Wembley stadium. First mile was the usual for mass starts, in that we ran a hundred yards then stopped for a short walk and then had to try and get going again. Consequently second mile was run at 7.00 min pace as everyone tried to catch up with their expectations. It is not the most interesting of routes and there is not much in the way of scenery but the start and finish are good. Couple of big hills at miles 3 and 10, which sapped the legs a bit, but felt reasonably comfortable all the way through and was overtaking people at the end as we ran into the stadium for the final 200 yards to cross the greatest finish line in the world. I am not sure it is the greatest finish line in the world, but the stadium announcer had obviously been told it was and he was going to tell everyone every few minutes that it was, as if the more we heard it the more we would all believe it. Having said that, it is always good to finish in a stadium and it is Wembley!. Came 473rd in a time a minute quicker than last year of 1.34.13 and came 4th (out of 129) in the M55 category which I am pleased with.
Philip Priest
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23-03-16
I ran the Hockley Woods park run on Saturday as part of my rehab. This was my first run outdoors since breaking my leg though I have been jogging in the gym since start of the year. This is a nice undulating course through the woods on forest paths mostly dry but with a few slightly muddy bits. I came 48th out of 147 in a time of 24:54, which was better than expected though I was treating it as a rehab training run and started very slowly. I was slightly apprehensive beforehand but the leg was fine.
Dave Butler
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16-03-16
Surrey Half
I ran the Surrey Half at Woking this morning in good conditions. The RunFast team were there in strength and took the medals. I finished 25th (2nd V40) in 76:42. Big improvement on the half I did in Santa Monica last month in 84:57. I decided to go off fast today and ran the first 5m in 28.33. I slowed up a bit after that but only went over 6 min mileing twice at mile 10 and 12. Prior to the race, I was hoping to run close to 81 minutes. Quite surprised and delighted with a 76 minute time.
Stuart Fraser
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16-03-16
I also ran the Surrey Half yesterday and only saw the back of Mr Fraser at the start line and then he was gone. Decided to set off with the aim of 6 minute milling and try to get through 10 miles in the hour. Pretty much managed this but suffered a bit in the latter few miles and lost the pack I was running with. Finished in 79.17 so pretty happy with this as is an improvement on my PB from September. My plan for my Paddock Wood race in a few weeks' time had been a sub 80 mins so this now needs revising as I felt yesterday that with a bit of better preparation I should be able to eek a bit more out particularly the last 3 or 4 miles. Finished 48th.
Chris Tuck
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16-03-16
I too ran the Surrey Half yesterday. Had no real goals for it so was working off trying for 90min. On the out and back section (arnd 10km) had the pleasure of seeing a couple of Ravens flying and some way ahead which was a reminder to keep pushing. Finished in 1:28:32 which I was pleased with given I haven't raced a half since 08. Came as close to a negative split as I have in any race, missed by a few seconds so fairly consistent start-finish. I now have benchmark to look to improve on.
Rob Reid
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16-03-16
First of all, fantastic run Stuart F, one of us who seems to be getting better with age. Now, not quite in the same league ... and before you all start, don't bother, I've already had an earful from the wife! Preston Park park run. My reasoning for doing this race was:
1. I'm facing a long lay-off already so what harm could it do.
2. When I started running after my last operation my kids watched me hobble round the same race at the back of the field and I told them that I'd get back to the top 10. This was going to be my last chance.
3. Woke up early feeling quite reasonable (although admittedly that was probably because I've stopped running).
4. It was a nice day.
There was no point going half-hearted so I put myself at the front and decided to go off as hard as my one-stride warm-up would allow. I started regretting this by about 500m and starting to realise that this was probably a stupid idea. It's a three lap course so I'd have at least a couple of chances to bail out. However, towards the end of the lap there's a hill where you can see the frontrunners and I made the mistake of counting them - I was in 10th place. Decided to try to keep going as long as I could but when someone overtook me I'd drop out - 11th was no good to me. Unfortunately, nothing then happened for a whole lap, apart from me getting louder and louder. Then, the guy in ninth slowed and I moved up a place - even less chance of a bailout now. At this point I wasn't best pleased and quite far from my usual chatty self but somehow managed to carry on by convincing myself that this could be my LAST RUN EVER!!! And so I finished in 9th place achieving my top-ten goal and can now happily hobble off into obscurity. For anyone interested, the time was 19:05 and yes, I am disappointed not to get 18-something!
Stuart Lenton
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16-03-16
BMAF xc Champs
I came 4th M55 in the BMAF xc in Bath yesterday. It was a lovely sunny day, the ground was soft enough for spikes but there was no real mud and the hills were fairly gentle and long. This all made for a fast race, eyeballs out all the whole way. The race was slightly shorter at 4.79 miles than the advertised 5 and I managed to average 5:52/mile with splits of
1st M55 in 11th was Julian Critchlow in 26:56
2nd M55 in 18th was Ifan Lloyd from Wales in 27:14
3rd M55 in 24th was Paul Merrison in 27:58
4th M55 in 25th was me in 28:03
5th M55 in 26th was Mike Boyle in 28:14
6th M55 in 31st was Laurence Johnston in 28:31
7th M55 in 32nd was Ian Furness in 28:38
It was a great race chasing and hanging on to rivals all the way round. I managed to overtake Paul to move into 3rd on a long gentle downhill stretch with about 1K to go but he overtook me again on the slightly uphill that followed and stayed ahead. Overall 3rd Englishman should put me in the running for the International in November so I was very pleased. My wife came 12th in the women’s race, 7th W40. With my son running a 17:48 PB in the Chelmsford Parkrun on Saturday to come 3rd and put the ups and downs of his xc season behind him it was a very good weekend racing for the Bridgeland family.
Mick Bridgeland
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16-03-16
Excellent run from Mick. Very tight race with some quality guys in his age group. As Mick states a really quick course with no chance for a breather anywhere. Just seen from the results I finished a rather disappointing 13th in the M60's (32.30). Thought I had had a fairly decent run - certainly felt flat out all the way.
Andy Catton
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16-03-16
I opened my season yesterday in Bedford sprint duathlon which was a world championship qualifier so attracted a strong field. Everyone set off on the first 5k at a really fast pace. I came in to T1 at 16:30 in about 30th position several runners going sub 16 mins. The new draft legal format on the bike was great fun and I managed to work my way up to a quick group then settling in without having to push too hard, so I had reasonably fresh legs for the final run. It was really foggy and difficult to see the finish line so I sprinted for my garmin finish line of 2.5k only then to see the finish line 300m further away ! I averaged 3:12 per km in the last run so was really pleased to hold that pace coming in 8th overall and 1st V40. Ian George was also racing and looked to have had a really good race too.
Rob Osborne
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16-03-16
Well done all some great race reports this weekend (especially Stuart Lenton’s) and fantastic performances. As Rob alluded to I also had a pretty good race at Bedford Duathlon yesterday and really enjoyed the draft legal format of the bike leg. I completed the first run in 17.16 which is a new 5k PB. I am never entirely sure of the accuracy of these distances, however my Garmin had it at just over 3 miles so it probably wasn’t too far out. I had to work very hard over the first two of the four lap bike leg, however things soon settled down and I found myself in a large group. I came in to the second transition not feeling too bad and managed to pick up some more places on the second run finally coming home in 51st place and 4th in my age group. Not too much running for me this week as I have the Brentwood Half next Sunday so I want to stay as fresh for that as I can.
Ian George
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16-03-16
BVAC 5 mile XC - Sparrow Den
Nothing at all in comparison with the sterling exploits of fellow Ravens, but I ran this small local XC race on Sunday at Sparrows Den (part hilly woodland and part flat trail course where they run the Kent Masters) and recorded my highest ever finishing position in any race ever - 2nd in a field of 76. The legend that is Stormin' Norman Hemmings was there as well and took the M60 prize. And another (tenuous) Ravens connection was that the race was won by Serena's brother in law, Justin Macenhill.
It was good to be running XC after all the recent pavement pounding and also to run a proper race in perfect conditions for XC. I slipped to 6th early on, but hung onto a group of 3 in front of me (the front two being a long way ahead), took one place back fairly quickly, another mid way through the race, but was still in 4th place as we came out of the woods for the last lap which was about 500m across flattish trail. The person in 2nd who had been a long way ahead was now failing fast, so I realised I had a chance of 2nd place, so using my increased marathon training strength, I pushed through the guy in 3rd and then passed the one in 2nd with about 200 meters to go and just ran as hard as I could, eyes out Steve Jones style, hoping to God they had nothing left, which thankfully they didn't. Very chuffed with my first ever 'podium' finish.
Marcus Elwes
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16-03-16
Lydd 20 Mile
Yesterday I did the Lydd 20. It was a rather dull out and back but was pancake flat although quite windy. I finished 3 minutes quicker than last week’s Essex 20 but my pacing was all over the place. I finished in 2:32:20 a pb for this distance. The race lacked any atmosphere or spectators but was a good training run for Manchester. Winner was Thomas Millard 1:53:56 (Canterbury Harriers).
Gary Pitman
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16-03-16
The Grizzled One
I ran the 20m mixed terrain course known as The Grizzly on Sunday (Seaton in Devon). My wife had entered with her running club (Bedford Harriers) of whom there were about 38 runners on either the 9 mile "Cub" or the full Grizzly. The first half mile is along the pebble beach where you think you are running but actually don't seem to move forward at all. It then turns back to the start line where I had to make a quick pit stop - the queue for the toilets having defeated me before the race. Not the best start in the world but then I got into a good rhythm and managed to maintain a good pace. From mile 10-15 I could see a black and white top ahead of me and kicked on to try and see if it was a Raven - it wasn't but after a chat with him it was clear I would have to press on if I was to beat 3 hours. I managed to do so and finished 84/1400 in 2:55. Did I forget to mention anything... oh yes, vertical climbs (strangely for a race which starts and finishes in the same place there is at least 20% more uphill than downhill on this course!!), mud so thick it sucked the will to live right out through the soles of your shoes, treacherous downhill descents, more mud, and a great downhill finish, followed by a hose down from the local fire brigade. Oh and that effing beach again at mile 17 :-( Best moment - running through the pub beer garden at mile 13 to great applause and support. Sharon's best moment - stopping at the pub at mile 13 for half a bitter - then, refuelled and refreshed re-taking all the runners who had passed her while she was drinking! Great event, great club weekend (Benfleet also had about 50 runners there), superb weather helping enormously.
Keith Skilling
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8-03-16
ESSEX 20
My first race report since 2013 and certainly my first race over 10 miles since London 2014. I woke up at 3am panicking about running this horrible hilly 3 lap race, having failed to get into the flat as a pancake, single lap, PB smashing, Riverside 20. Then realised that I was my 50th birthday – real cause of panic established!
Being in no sort of racing condition (only 7 weeks to London, phew!) decided to run as close to 7m/mile as possible. I ran round with Rob Mills of Springfield who had the same target, for the first 19 ½ miles. Beat him by 15 seconds in 2.18.37 (still got it). Nothing much to report, other than I had forgotten how much this distance running hurts. Also out – Lee (obviously well ahead of me, but I won’t steal his thunder), Gary Pitman, and Mr & Mrs Priest – I see Phil gallantly beat his wife by about an hour.
Robin McCoy
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8-03-16
Robin neglected to inform you that he was further weighed down by a nice “50 Today” badge holding on his number! (Given by his daughter). I like racing this distance as a predictor for my marathon now 5 weeks away. I checked old PBs beforehand and thought that I would at least give it a bash and see what happens. Felt tired from the off but got sucked along by old Manchester Marathon 3 hour pacer – Simon Hart. He was also allegedly after a sub 2:05 time. We hit halfway in 61:39 (6:10s pace).
After two of the nasty 3 hills I had to let him go - he was consistently running faster than I needed to / felt like I could. But once he was gone, I slowed a lot. 3rd hill was almost at walking pace but once at the top, I had a burst energy and managed to overtake a few. Ended up 5th Essex Vet in 2:04:44 about 40 odd seconds behind my 2012 PB.
Lee Martin
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8-03-16
Yes, joined the others for a chilly (at the start anyway) 20 miles round the villages and country lanes of Langham. Three lap course which, as the others have alluded to, included a brute of a hill. Felt reasonably comfortable and reached 10 miles in 75 mins and then decided to push on. This may have been an error because I really felt the last 3 to 4 miles. Should have carried on at the same pace and then pushed it at the end. Anyway, finished in 2.32.26 which I was pleased with.
Philip Priest
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8-03-16
We Done Robin I finished a few minutes behind Phil in 2:35:16. The hills on the final lap took their toll. Happy with my time as good prep for marathon. The winner was Paul Whitaker (Southend AC) in a sprint finish 1:47:03.
Gary Pitman
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8-03-16
Mudman duathlon
I raced a very hilly and (as the name suggests) muddy off road duathlon on Saturday (7.5k run/15k mtb/7.5k run). It was seriously chilly and not helped by 5 times through a 100ft long, knee deep, puddle (3 times on the bike and twice running). Lost the use of my thumbs and ended up shifting gears with the heel of my hand (fingerless gloves were a poor decision!). Luckily there were hills aplenty to get a bit of warmth back in the legs. Went off conservatively on the first run, as usual lost a few places on the mtb but then had a solid second run to make a few back. Finished 6th in 2.02.
Tom Robertson
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8-03-16
Thames Riverside 20


A few of us pitched up in Putney at some god awful hour on a very cold but bright morning. Myself, Andy T (aka Alex Anderson), Rob Reid, Andy Ferguson, Dave Mellor and Lucy. Billed as a 'Race or Pace' event (the former for the Robin McCoy's of this world, the latter for everyone else), we were in a variety of different pacing groups ranging from 7:00 (Dave and Lucy) through to 8:30 (Andy F and 'Alex') which were sent off on a 2 minute staggered start basis. I was in the 8 min mile pacing group, but decided that I would try and pace myself between 7:30 and 7:45, so pushed on from after the first mile (when you have to stay with your group for safety reasons).
Thereafter there was very little to report. I more or less stayed exactly on pace (splits 7:44 7:37 7:36 7:41 7:37 7:33 7:37 7:37 7:25 7:46 7:23 7:28 7:30 7:24 7:45 7:40 7:44 7:38 7:44 7:20) apart from mile 10, where I nipped to the loo, and the last mile. Finished in 2:31:50 at an average pace of 7:36. Saw Dave and Rob out there but missed Lucy and Andy F. 'Alex' Tucker passed me just after the turnaround at 10 miles, said 'do you want some company' and then promptly sped off! So, all in all, happy enough to know I can maintain a pace properly over a long distance, as its not something I am generally very good at and, from that point of view it was a successful morning's work. I need to be 6/7 seconds a mile faster for London but hopefully I wont be so dog tired then! Its a great event I have to say, really well organised and obviously very picturesque. The terrain, however, is surprisingly uneven and, in places, quite tricky. Only about a mile in total is actually on road, which is always a bit of a worry this close to London but even though I am feeling pretty stiff today, everything is more or less in working order.
Marcus Elwes
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8-03-16
As reported by Marcus, I became Alex Anderson for a morning. The skirt was nice but the heels did for me. Was a lovely but cold morning for a 20 mile out and back run along the south bank of the Thames from Putney Bridge to Richmond. Took in the beautiful sights of that part of town including Craven cottage Football Club, assorted rowing clubs and most of South London enjoying the walking, cycling and dog exercising. I started with Andrew Ferguson in the 8.30 pacing group and picked it up shortly after mile 1. As planned, I just comfortably paced the race to be as consistent as possible – this wasn’t one for me to race yet. Enjoyed seeing the other groups on their way back and was pleased to see David and Lucy running well and seemingly comfortably in a fast moving pack. Caught Marcus just after the half way. Offered him some company and then remembered that he is an AFC Wimbledon fan and couldn’t face 10 miles of conversation about the REAL Wimbledon team. Actually, I think he stopped to tie his shoe lace in an effort to lose me. Finished in about 2.27 (official times aren’t out yet). Felt good although underlined the lack of mileage in my legs.
Andy Tucker
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8-03-16
This was a very good pre-marathon pacing race. As Marcus says it’s mainly off road towpaths and feet are really hurting this morning! Bit muddy in places but having done the Richmond half marathon over the similar terrain, I had an idea what to expect. Stayed with the pace group for first 10 miles and then needed toilet break but could not catch group up again but could always see them so knew pace was ok. Last 4 miles felt tough and was having to run on softer ground just to ease the feet.
Finished in 2:49:37 which is spot on for the 8.30 mile pace I want to do at London. Very pleased with how it went.
Andrew Ferguson
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8-03-16
Eastbourne Half Marathon
Evening all - bit of a day so just catching up on all the emails - well done on some great races and reports - always good to know Mr Priest is keeping his racing hand in and congratulations to Robin on his 10 miles plus racing return and half century. I headed to the Sunshine Coast that is Eastbourne for their half marathon which was also this year, the first of the Sussex Grand Prix races. Taking into account a lack of recent running due work and illness I was relatively happy with a 1.37.02 chip time to place 118th out of around 1100. Unfortunately my left knee also played up (I suspect not helped by the descent back down from the foothills of Beachy Head) so I also had to run the last few miles with a degree of discomfort - St John's gave me some post race stretches which have helped. Hope to be out at some point this week but will be proceeding with caution as I don't want to miss the Hastings Half Marathon in a couple of weeks.
Kevin Cockram
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3-03-16
Cambridge half marathon
Run the above this morning with Steve Stanley, had a nice chat with Steve on start line I discussed that I wanted a time of sub 90 mins. A nice flat and fast couse weather conditions perfect went off a bit fast, 1st 2 miles 6.23 and 6.25 then slowed the pace down between 6.32 and 6.40 run with a nice young lady who kept me going. Started to feel tired around mile 10 but managed to keep her in sight crossed the line in 87.09 a pb of 90 secs which was a very good day at the office. A very well organised event plenty of support will be back.
Dave Miller
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3-03-16
Well done Dave, a brilliant effort! I think it was the funky neck - wear that made the difference! Sub 1.30 was my target as well but not having run a HM for 27 years it was a bit of journey into the unknown. The plan was simply to maintain 6.52 pace but getting too drawn into the big event atmosphere this turned into 10 seconds quicker but feeling very comfortable I cracked on. At 10 miles and my head celebrating an 88 min PB my legs had different plans and grinding to an almost complete halt I finished in 1.30.22. I got a 10 mile PB out of it but I think a few extra Thursday tempos are needed before the next half.
Steve Stanley
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3-03-16
Also ran Cambridge. Managed to beat my PB set in Barcelona 2 weeks ago with 1:22:58. Over the moon about that. Excellent course as Dave said. I've ran 4 HM's since September last year and times are (in order): 1:40, 1:29, 1:25, 1:23. Difference is a little weight loss but more importantly regular fartlek/tempo sessions.
David Wilkinson
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3-03-16
National cross country
So being that time of year again it was the National cross country this weekend up at Donnington Park. Any attempt to find out what lay in store for us was pretty much shut down as nobody had seemed to have run a cross country here before. So duly set of on Saturday morning with the reassuring thought nothing can be as bad as Parliament Hill. The start was the usual charge of about 1800 people across a field to then all bottle neck at the first corner. The early pace felt quickly and there was the usual dogging of people who were even more enthusiastic than me at the start. The course was 3 laps of 4k. It was fairly undulating and the last mile or so of each lap was through some pretty sticky and energy sapping mud and followed a number of climbs.
I saw the familiar sight of the back of Mick’s head for the entire first lap and a good chunk of the second but then after that I didn’t see him again until I spotted him at the finish. Managed to get in a group of guys and tough it out and strangely for me seemed to be passing people on the hills. My lace came undone during the second lap but decided to ignore it and made the mental note that if it came off in the last mile I was going to leave it behind. Luckily this never had to be put in to practise. On the last lap a Ranelagh chap came passed me and recognising him from someone that beat me at the mob match last week I decided I was having none of it and set off to empty the tank. Finished in 55.17 in 618 place. This is over 200 (837) places on my position last year. ( Even accounting for the fact there were less entrants I am fairly happy with this improvement.) Overall a tough course I saw at least 6 people step off the course and a good number more having to stop and put spikes back on. Race was won by Jonny Hay who won the Southerns and is in training for London marathon this year. Good to see someone of that level using cross country as part of their marathon prep.
Chris Tuck
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3-03-16
Like Chris I also ran the National on Saturday. I came 563rd in 54:30. The start was mad, 1800 runners funnelled in to a marrow fenced in course, I was running 6 min/mile and could not see the ground in front I just had to trust the runners in front, At one point the whole field slowed and we ran into the back of the guys in front. Gradually the race thinned a bit and you could relax a bit. At the start of the day the course was soft but still grass, by the time we ran it was energy sapping mud, plus short sharp hills. My GPS said it was 8 miles, so not much shorter than the Southerns. It was great fun, I really enjoyed it and felt strong. The only disappointment was that having raced a M55 rival of mine for the first two laps he managed to sneak ahead of me on the last lap by taking a less muddy route. I shall be racing him again in two weeks time at the BMAF National Champs in Bath on a dryer shorter ( 5 miles ) course.
Mick Bridgeland
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24-02-16
Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon
Ran this yesterday along with Andrew and Kevin. I saw Kevin at the start and good to have a chat. Andrew needless to say I never saw until I spotted his name in the results, coming in 10th in an massively impressive 75:13. The race was won by Paul Marteletti of Run Fast in 68:30. As many of you will know, this is a very popular race down our way but does pride itself on one particularly long uphill stretch just past the halfway point. I was not sure beforehand whether I would be able to break 90 minutes on this course but thought I would give it a go. My strategy was to try and get to the bottom of the hill with an average pace of around 6:40-6:45 and then see where I was pace-wise at the top, before re-evaluating as necessary. Part 1 went fine and whilst I found the hill tougher than normal (presumably because I had gone out quite hard), I got to the top with my average pace only having dropped to around 6:55. Unfortunately, the hill had simply taken too much out of me and I just could not get back to the required pace until the last mile, by which time it was too late. I knew this but pushed on hard nonetheless and came in at an infuriating 1:30:09. Being me, this extra 10 seconds bugs me no end, but on mature reflection my target was 1:30 or thereabouts before the race, so I was bang on. I was 5 minutes faster than the last time I did this course in 2014 and only 30 seconds off my PB. But still - 10 seconds! Grrrr. Hopefully, I can rectify the situation when I do the much gentler Paddock Wood half on the 3rd April.
Marcus Elwes
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24-02-16
As Marcus has reported, yesterday I joined him and Andrew for the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon. Unfortunately preparation for me was not ideal as I was ill over the preceding 3 weeks; the first two of which I didn't run at all, whilst last week I only managed 3 (very slow) runs of around 6 miles each. That said, even at the level I operate at, I have never looked at this race as a target HM and so with my doctor's "endorsement" ringing in my ears, I decided to turn up and look to run it sensibly, with one eye on the other HM's I have coming up over the next couple of months. My race was therefore relatively uneventful as I topped and tailed the 11 miles in between with a 6.56 first mile and a 6.58 last mile, although there were some real naughty miles in-between with the infamous Fordcombe Hill seeing me post a somewhat dispiriting 8.40. At around mile 11 came the one bit of the race that was eventful as I had an unscheduled meet and greet session with the 1.40 pacers and at that point I really did wonder if I was about to finish with a 1.40 something time in a HM for the first time since 2010.
However, with a bit of encouragement from the aforementioned pacers, I managed to push on and finished with a chip time of 1.38.40. With illness hopefully confined to the past, I'll be looking for a better time at Eastbourne on 6th March.
Kevin Cockram
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24-02-16
Feeling slightly over-raced but focused I knew the TW half was likely to be tough. Its not helped by the fact the race goes through my village at mile 2 (all up hill until this point) which puts self imposed pressure to go off too quick. Felt ok though and pushed hard until around 1km before 'the hill' around the halfway point when my hip flexors tightened and I decided to drop back to a more sustainable pace. This allowed me to enjoy the next few miles but the fast start meant I didn't have much left for my usual strong finish. Generally pleased with the result although irritating to be overtaken in the last mile by Will Levitt of TW Harriers who took the age group category.
Andrew Mercer
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24-02-16
Wokingham Half Marathon
I ran the Wokingham Half yesterday with Lee and Mick. My target was just to go as fast as possible as I have not run a half marathon since March, 2014. Things were looking good for the first five miles as I was on for a sub-1.20, however we had the wind behind us going out which meant the last four or five miles back were predominately in to a head-wind. I had a particularly bad mile at around the 10 mile mark with a 6.50 and then just struggled over the remaining few miles. I finished in a time of 1.22.46 which is only 1 second slower than my last half marathon. I have the Brentwood half next month so with a few longer runs and some more favourable conditions I would hope to get nearer to 1.20.
Ian George
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24-02-16
As Ian has said I ran the Wokingham Half yesterday. The course seemed a lot more undulating from the one a remembered when I last ran there 16 years a go, plus it was a bit windy. Like Ian I felt ok for the first 5 in 30:05, slowed over the next 5 – 31:42 and then struggled over the last 5k – 20:40 – to finish in 1:22:27. I would have liked to have gone sub 1:20 but given the wind I was reasonably happy. Unfortunately the wind did not seem to slow the fast runners as the winner still ran 63 mins and the first woman 1:14.
Mick Bridgeland
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24-02-16
I like Wokingham and would recommend it as having great PB potential. There were a few bridges to go over which were a bit draining (particularly in the last few miles). I felt pretty good but could see the pace edging off a bit. Went out with PB pace (05:55 / mile) in mind just to see what would happen, ended up with 5:59 average and 1:18:34. It was definitely windy!
Lee Martin
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24-02-16
Old Deer Richmond half marathon
My first pre London Marathon training race was Old Deer half marathon in Richmond. Run one lap around Old Deer Park then alongside the Thames for a couple of laps and back to the park.
With the rain that fell on Saturday last minute decision was to wear the trail shoes and not normal trainers. Good decision given that the Thames towpaths were more mud and puddles. Miles 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 was just a game of dodging the bigger puddles and running through the mud. Good fun though! Had a good battle from mile 3 with some guy called Daaaan (that’s what his vest said) who really didn’t like being overtaken as every time I went past him 30 seconds later he would go past me again. This lasted until mile 7 when I went past him and could tell he was starting to struggle and never saw him again. Helped to make the race more enjoyable. Going through the mud was tiring but was sticking to my plan of 8 minute miles which work fine as finished in 1:44:25. Happy with the time as it’s where I want to be for the marathon training.
Andrew Ferguson
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24-02-16
I did this also - tried to do it on tired legs so cycled about 15 miles there. (and back). A little bit pissed off with the advert - was supposed to be fast and flat but as Andrew says for large sections was basically cross country. I didn't have trail shoes and slipped and slid whilst trying to do 6.20s and suffered for it in the end with 1.24.31. Would hope there was 2 mins extra there if was fully on tarmac.
Arif Merali
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24-02-16
Seville marathon
Simon LM had advised me that it would be cold at the start and hot by the finish. In practice, Seville had a mini heatwave and it was hot at the start and very hot by the finish. But nice to experience the sunshine. After a mini panic in actually getting to the start due to hotel not booking taxi, it was a busy beginning with a lot of congestion for the first mile or so. Settled into a very steady pace, not as quick as previous marathons but probably the most even. Still not managed to achieve a negative split, getting halfway in 1:25 and finishing in 2:53:42. Scenic route and enjoyable event, large number of fast runners- I finished in the 500's and a lot of runners around me all the way. Now enjoying a few days of sunshine and tapas, see you all soon.
Rupert Holden
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15-02-16
Been in Barcelona this w/e for bro's stag, which happened to be same w/e as Barca HM, so I foolishly went for it. Sunday 7am, alarm blasted out, I peeled last night's clothes off, scoffed a banana and a swig of water and sent my sorry self to the start line. Well worth it however, as I somehow managed a PB with 1:25:37. Good course for a PB!
David Wilkinson
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15-02-16
Tonight I ran a 1500m indoor race. Was not sure how I would do as have not done much speed work as am training for the Manchester marathon. Hence I have been doing the occasional 400m reps at lunchtime, but did a 20 miler at the weekend all on sand and grass, which was probably not a good idea as preparation for 1500m. There were 15 in my race, so a bit of messy start. After 1 lap I was in 14th place. Kept the same pace for the next 4 laps, then put my foot down a bit. Ended up in 6th in 4.42. A 1500m PB by 1 second and an indoor PB by 3 seconds, so very pleased.
Simon Le Mare
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8-02-16
Great Bentley half
Run the above this morning in windy conditions, has been unwell for past 3 weeks was not sure what condition I was in. What off fast and tired to keep going for as long as I could. Pace started to tail off at mile 10 managed to post a 89.18 so well happy with that. Got Cambridge half in 3 weeks so hope to be in better form by then.
Dave Miller
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8-02-16
Also ran GBHM yesterday. Despite the windy conditions it’s a good flat race that’s well attended and marshalled. Finished just behind David in 1:29:35. Nearly a pb just 37 seconds to shave off next time. Winner was Mark Newton (Springfield Striders) 1:12:36
Gary Pitman
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8-02-16
Watford half
I ran the Watford half yesterday which is an undulating half with a couple of testing hills but a very enjoyable race. It heads out into the Chilterns and there is some beautiful countryside on the route. I managed a new PB of 82.52 but I was very grateful to a local runner who basically ran the race with me from mile 3 and then helped me push for my PB at the end of the race. He was just using the run as a training run for a marathon in a few weeks so he spent a lot of the race talking to me but I struggled to talk back too much! Apparently this year is a quiet year for him as he is only doing 3 marathons as opposed to his usual 15!!
Alex Hardy
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8-02-16
Yesterday I ran the final xc in the Derbyshire league series. 5 races over past few months of varying degrees of mud and undulation, finishing with a mudfest yesterday in Chesterfield.
At the end of the series, our Matlock AC combined teams secured 2nd place overall and both myself and my daughter Ava secured 2nd places in our respective age group categories.
Been great fun and good training, back on the road now for Seville less than 2 weeks away.
Rupert Holden
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8-02-16
Well done Rupert and Miss Rupert, Good luck with Seville. It is a very flat course, and PB territory. I had a night mare start. Was in the sub 3 pen, went for a last minute wee with 15 minutes to go. Came back to find the sub 3 pen now had 1000 people in it. After a lap of the track you had to go through a tunnel, where there was a queue. I became stuck behind a lady running pushing her baby in a buggy! I was 3 minutes behind schedule after the first mile. Suggest you have an early wee and not a late one.
Simon LeMare
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8-02-16
Tuck, Tucker and myself ran the Blackheath & Bromley 10 mile Club cross country yesterday. I ran as a guest and used it as part of an overall 17 mile long run, so took it relatively easily. Tucks likewise, which explains our largely unspectacular results. Chris as you will see was bounding off from the start and finished a very respectable 7th, It was a nice breezy morning, but needless to say very boggy underneath. It is a really really tough course, but I did very much enjoy the experience, albeit mostly afterwards and it was I think a good training session for me at this stage.
Marcus Elwes
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8-02-16
As Marcus says I came a respectable 7th but was a little disappointed to run the same time as last year but happy to still be under the 70 min barrier. It was however a great day to be running and as always an enjoyable event. The hills are pretty energy sapping but a good workout. Bring on the road racing season I say. ( I am sure Mr Tucker would not share this sentiment).
Chris Tuck
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4-02-16
Southerns
The southerns were the best and worse conditions possible in the usual contradiction of parliament hill. The sun came out over head and despite a bit of wind by cross country standards was fairly pleasant. I was not too enthusiastic after one of our under 20’s finished his race to declare that mud is worse than the national. I set off with the words of a number of our more experienced team mates ringing in my ears declaring just go off easy and get in to it. This was what I did more or less. The race was 15k over 3 laps in deteriorating mud underfoot. The first lap was the usual scrum of people and there was very little opportunity to get in to your running as everyone launches up the hill. It was the usual case of survive the first half of each lap and then once you climbed to the top of the heath you can actually do some running. I seemed to lose people on hills but then pull them back on the flat and downhill. Even though I felt pretty tired in my legs I did find myself passing people on the last lap fairly easily and if I was being critical should maybe of started to speed up a bit sooner. I saw Mick as he went past me on the first lap and could see him in front of me for most of the second but he was gone after that. Overall I finished 429th (from about 1000) which is 41 places higher than last year. Blackheath finished 9th in the team event. I also counted over 5 people fall face first in to the mud throughout the race and several step off the side of the course to walk back to the start. So I think the toughness of Parliament hill lives on. Overall an enjoyable (in a cross country sense) day out and even saw Norman on the train on the way home. Spotted a number of other Ravens at various stages but afraid I am not familiar with everyone’s names.
Chris Tuck
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4-02-16
The southerns was great fun. As Chris has said it was very muddy on the first half of each lap, the 2-3 inches of mud was ok as you could still run fast through it but the 6inches or deeper mud sucked your shoes in and your stride length was reduced to about 6 inches. I passed Chris on the first lap and said hello, I then passed Chris Beeching (who I don’t think was running under his own name), I also saw Mark from the fartlek sessions and managed to just overtake him in the finishing straight. Luke was out on the course giving encouragement on each lap. I really enjoyed the race and felt strong throughout, especially along the slightly dryer top half of the course, it was very congested at the start but I then managed to spend most of the race overtaking people and managed to really motor in the final mile – it was the sort of race where once you got way from the deep mud you felt like you had a lot left and could really push on. Having said all that I do question why the race is still run over a 9 mile course when all other xc races, leagues, Championships, Internationals etc tend to be 5 miles or 10k with the odd 7.5 miles in the case of Essex Champs and the Nationals. Chelmsford only had two runners in the race me and a V50 runner, I wonder if the 9 mile distance put off some of the faster younger guys.
Mick Bridgeland
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25-01-16
This weekend I took part in another club cross country race, this time welcoming South London Harriers to run our club 7.5 mile cross country course in a mob match with conditions a long way removed from those last week. It is a rather hilly affair and is a bit of a slog to say the least. I realised that it would be a struggle from the start possibly still carrying some of last week’s race in my legs. Managed to keep sight of some club mates to pull myself round and pull back two from the other team with about 2.5 miles to go. Overall we were rather comprehensively beaten in the mob match with SLH occupying the majority of the top 10 placing’s. I ended up finishing 16th and about 30 secs quicker than my fastest time over this course last year. I can’t say I ‘enjoyed’ it but the hills and the thick mud do make for a sense of satisfaction once completed.
Chris Tuck
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18-01-16
Benfleet 15
A very hard but enjoyable run. day started off strange by seeing Phil with more than a vest on! even a hat! but by the start of the race he was in his vest! started steady and saw Ian about 3 miles and run with him till about 6. Up to 12 miles was going well but the last 2-3 miles were hard work and after staying on my feet all the way round fell over 3 times in the last 2 miles. Ended up a time of about 1hr 48. which I think was up about 4 mins up on last time I did Benfleet. Good to be at a race (as been a while) and get some support from fellow Ravens!
Paul Newton
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18-01-16
Really tough race for a Sunday morning in January. Ian and Paul had warned me about the first 4 miles and the last 3 miles but nothing prepares you for the finish which as Ian said is bordering on the ridiculous as you are sent down grassy/muddy hills knowing that the finish is way back up at the top. Anyway, started off with something in reserve, which was a good move as the first 4 miles are really tough, up and down and very muddy. At 3.5 miles was suddenly aware of a runner coming towards me (which is not something you expect) and realised he was minus a shoe which I had probably just stepped on! Miles 5 to 12 were along the sea wall and the conditions underfoot were not too bad but after mile 12 it was a slog all the way, finishing up with hill after hill and me losing a lot of time. The last hill at mile 14.9 is really hard. At one point was hoping for two hours but slipped back to 2.03 which was about a minute or so behind Wes and 3 to 4 minutes behind Gary I think. Anyway, really enjoyed it (I say that today!) and good to see Ian and Paul on course. Thought the marshalling etc was great and glad to have got a hard 15 mile run in on a cold Sunday morning.
Philip Priest
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18-01-16
Benfleet 15 - I finished in 2hrs 02, only just ahead of Phil. I also slipped over trying to get up the last set of hills and landed in a stinging nettle bush (which lived up to its name). A good race though and I was delighted to have taken 4 minutes off my time from last year.
Wesley Absolom
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18-01-16
I also did the Benfleet 15 yesterday. Managed to get in just under 2hrs in 1:59:41 which is two minutes quicker than last year, as others have said it’s a tough race with the last 3 miles mainly uphill on muddy terrain. Was good to see some other Ravens running saw Ian and Paul on the switchback and Phil out on the course. A good way to spend Sunday morning even if I’m feeling this morning. Winner was Thomas Beedell (Woodford Green AC) 1:29:44.
Gary Pitman
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18-01-16
Ran the Helsby 4 Villages half yesterday, getting through the snow to make the start where it hovered around freezing point. Took the wise precaution of base layer and gloves, this proving a good move. Time was 1-2 mins down on previous runs here but that seemed consistent for all and achieved my highest finish position (52nd out of 2000+). Had a good battle with winning lady for last few miles, managing to sprint ahead in last 100 meters to finish in 1:22:36. Tough but good day out!
Rupert Holden
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18-01-16
Blackheath and Bromley open 10k cross country
Yesterday saw me and a few other Ravens run my clubs open 10k cross country race. A rather good turn out from a number of local clubs (Beckenham and Croydon Striders) saw over 150 runners take to the start. Still yet to find out who won the mob match. There was a distinct lack of the faster club members in attendance. Went off in the usual fast fashion and lead for the first mile. Then lost contact with the first 2, as the initial hill got to my rather tired legs. Was caught at the next hill by a further 2 runners and then one more at the next hill. (I think it is fairly obvious I need some practise going uphill.) Managed to maintain the gap with the 3 in front on the flats and down the hills but not close it and only have it extended at the final hill. Managed to finish strongly across the last 2 miles (it was flat) in order to prevent anymore catching me and did the last mile at around 6.10 min/mile pace. Disappointed to be around 30 secs slower than last year with a 42:24, even with my highest finish position in a club race. Took some solace from looking at my Garmin last night to see I have covered over 120 miles already in January which is by far the highest monthly mileage I have ever run. All in all it was a rather fun race in the snow and is all training towards the southern cross country championships at the end of the month (a minor 15km stroll around parliament hill) where I am hoping to make considerable improvement in my positioning on last year.
Chris Tuck
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18-01-16
I had a good run but not as good as Chris. Great run, some good battles and lovely to see 150+ runners from 6 different clubs all out enjoying our tough cross country course. I finished a respectable 16th in 44.56. Blackheath & Bromley were winners of the mob matches against both Beckenham Running Club and Croydon Striders. Great to see Marcus enjoying the snow and staying upright. It was also a pleasure to see Andrew Mercer at the Bromley parkrun on Saturday run an excellent 2nd place in 16.39 behind his Tonbridge team mate Dan Bradley. He finished nearly 2 minutes ahead of 3rd place.
Andy Tucker
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18-01-16
It was great fun and very picturesque in parts with the snow covering (though bloody cold!). I was happy enough with my 29th place in a time about 20 seconds faster than last year.
Marcus Elwes
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18-01-16
Ran my first Scottish park run yesterday. In brutally cold weather on the exposed sea front in Aberdeen I managed a disappointing 19:23. I'll put it down to the long warm up jog (5k) from where I was staying which didn't even warm me up and the cold and slippy conditions...
Iain Davie
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11-01-16
Yesterday Lee, my wife Wendy and I ran the Cold Christmas to Good Easter self navigation marathon. This is an off road marathon (this year it was 27.2 miles) where there are no marshals or direction arrows you are just given a set of written instructions, you meet at the Finish at Good Easter village hall about 6 miles outside Chelmsford, and a coach takes you to the start, about a 50min coach ride away at Cold Christmas in Hertfordshire. There was just under 100 in the race and we were led down a track and told which way to go and the race was off. To start with you can see people in front and behind but as the race goes on you can end up running on your own (or in my case Wendy and me).
The most important thing is to follow the instructions regardless of what anyone else around you is doing and also don’t make the way you are going fit the instructions. An example of this yesterday was at about 20 miles where the instructions to exit a church graveyard through a gap in the left hand corner could have been interpreted in a number of ways, Wendy and I want wrong to start with and then realised out mistake after about 50 meters. Unfortunately Lee, who went off with the front group and we thought that was the last we would see of him, was not so lucky because at just over 20 miles Lee suddenly overtook us again, it turned out that he and a few others had gone the wrong way out of the graveyard and not turned round until after about a mile so overall ended up doing over two miles extra to end up behind us again. As the race goes on and you get more and more tired it takes you longer to understand the instructions and you end up stopping more and more to try to make sense of them, also having run across one ploughed field and ended up going slower and slower as the mud stuck to my shoes we decided to round around future fields which was a bit easier but ended up adding to the overall distance. We ended up running about 27.6, Lee over 29 miles and at least one guy ran over 30 miles. Luckily the weather was kind to us but by the time we got towards the end I was shattered. We ended up running for about 4hrs 20mins, which was about 4 hr marathon pace, but towards the end we were running at over 12 mins a mile as we negotiated yet more mud and we got worse at reading the instructions. When we finally reached the finish we were fed with jacket potatoes, vegetable chilli, French bread and rice pudding – a great meal. I finished 11th, first M55, Wendy was 10th and first woman and I think Lee was 8th .We spent the rest of yesterday slumped in front of the TV eating and drinking and trying to recover.
Mick Bridgeland
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11-01-16
Well done Mick & Wendy and Lee. Sounds like fun! At the opposite end of the spectrum, I started my running comeback on Friday with my first run for 18 months. This was just one very slow mile on the treadmill! Nevertheless, it still felt like a milestone reached and a hurdle overcome.
Dave Butler
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3-01-16
Yesterday was round 2 of the Essex Cross Country series held at Orion. Very muddy but no rain. I was expecting the usual, Colin Ridley and Mick battling it out for first V50 in about 35th place, me finishing in about 50th, and my 18 year old son Dominic in about 60th. This time Mick did not run, Colin was first V50 in 35th place, I was 50th, and Dominic was 39th.
The first time my son has beaten me during a race. Having been at university for a term, he has gone from 2 Southend AC sessions a week, usually on the track and a weekend 6k jog, to one hour of core exercises one hill session one track session one cross country race and a weekend recovery jog every week. Not sure I will ever beat him again.
Simon LeMare
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3-01-16
Saltwood Boxing Day Run – 3 mile hilly, muddy cross country. Starts and finishes on the village green by The Castle pub (serving bacon sarnies before and beer after!) with an eclectic mix of 800+ club runners, joggers & fancy dress. Managed to improve on my previous best 3rd with a 2nd this year (a good 90secs back on the winner).
Box Hill Knacker Cracker (New Years Day) – 10k (ish) cross country going up and down Box Hill 5 times from various directions (=500m of ascent). Fancy dress encouraged so I dusted off the stag do regular Bananaman suit. All started with a rendition of the National Anthem. I ended up out front after the first hill and then to’d and fro’d with Wally until the last hill where I managed to pull away on the steps for the win. A fantastically muddy and ridiculous race. Got a t-shirt and a heat reactive mug (not one for the mother in law if you’ve ever seen the race motif) – also had tomato suit and cheese and pickle sandwiches. Bottle of Denbies sparkling and a tankard for the win. Definitely going back to do some more of these guys races later in the year!
Tom Robertson