Reports 2017 - Ravens Runners London

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Race Reports for 2017
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22-03-17
I ran the Essex Road Relays at Harwich on Saturday.  Billericay only managed to put out one team, which was a V50.  It looked even more Dads’ Army than the rest as 2 of our team were injured and one, Eamon Brown, is a V60. The old gits have their ages on their backs, which it makes it much easier knowing who you are actually racing against.  I ran the first leg in a PB of 17.51 on a blustery course along the seafront, and although our high hopes of getting the Bronze team medal ebbed away, for us to finish 5th, I really enjoyed the race, but need more baton practice.  Eamon had to shout at me to let it go. Also spotted, Lee, Scott Rice & Pete Smale. Shocked to get  home and find I had won the V50 county medal.  As my wife kindly asked, 1st out of how many exactly? I arrived at the Brentwood Half today with the laughable notion of going round sensibly.  When Vicky asked me to pace her to 90 minutes jumped at the chance! Vicky’s report to follow……..
Robin McCoy
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22-03-17
I felt good on Sunday morning with only slight misgivings about the wind.  I saw Robin at the front and after a chat he said he was going to take it easy; I jokingly asked if he’d pace me to sub 1.30, he said yes, I jumped at the chance and was only slightly worried when he then said his pacing can be sporadic! First 3 miles is more or less downhill, so got a great start and I wondered if we were going too fast but went with it anyway. I felt I had a good race until mile 11.  I’m not going to blame the wind as I don’t think that was my undoing.  I dithered about taking on water at the mile 11 water station, by the time I’d committed to doing so, I had a guy to the left of me so had to slow down to get across to get the water.  I didn’t really need it and could kick myself for doing so, I don’t usually bother.  I was probably thinking if I take it now, it’ll see me to the end.  Thus began the painful process of getting slower and slower as the hill started and Robin getting further and further ahead as I struggled and wasn’t able to maintain sub 7 minute miling.  I turned left at the top of the hill where it flattened out, picked up pace, left again to head down the short hill to the finish and could already see the clock on 1.31.  Robin was a great support and it’s fair to say, not meeting my target was not his lack of encouragement or rubbish pacing.  We crossed the line in the same time – 1.31.52, not a PB for either of us. On the plus side, I beat two girls who passed me about mile 5/6 and I also beat two other guys who tried to stay with us.  I was first V45 and 13th overall.
Vicky Cooper
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22-03-17
Well I too ran the Brentwood Half on Sunday ….. I signed up to the ‘McCoy Masterclass’ which is basically run as hard as you can until you are F*$@ed, then run harder until you are really F*$@ed and then push for home  J Saw Vicky and Robin at the start heard the pacing chat and so decided to try to keep them in view for as long as I possibly could .No idea what pace they started at ( World record it seemed ) but I was blowing before the 1 Mile autolap beeped on the Garmin. Just downloaded the Garmin I equalled my 5km PB,  also was ahead of my 5 Mile, 10km and 10 Mile PB’s along the way so I think I can safely say I ran it the hard way. Finished in 1.34.12 which I believe is almost a 3 minute PB. One question for Robin .. Does almost throwing up at about 11.5 mile count as really F*$@ed !! I did have a sleep in the afternoon ……..
Lyndon Bubb
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22-03-17
I also ran the Essex Road Relays on Saturday. Have done a few Parkruns in recent weeks and have got my time down to 17:17 last week so after a good session on Tuesday I was hoping to go as close to 17 minutes as possible. Course was out and back with the wind really strong behind on the way out on the seafront, a couple of short sharp hills out the back of the course as you go round the houses and through a park and then right in your face as you make your way back along the seafront. I set out feeling very good with a 5:20 mile feeling pretty comfortable (mainly due to the strong wind pushing me along and the fear of being overtaken by Springfield’s ladies team who had handed over at the same time). As soon as I got to the top of the hill at the turning point however I felt like someone had punched me in the lungs and spent the rest of the race hanging on and feeling awful struggling back into the wind. Our team was 5th in the end which was a good result but I was a bit disappointed to run 17:31 a long way off my target of 17:00. It was nice to be out competing for Southend AC for the first time in a long while though and gives me something to build on for the Assembly Leagues coming up soon.
Peter Smale
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22-03-17
Windsor & Eton half marathon
Ran the Windsor & Eton half marathon on Saturday morning in 1:20:28 (4th place and a PB by 2:30). Entered this one at the last minute, partly inspired by last weekend's race reports but also to make up for a disappointing 1:25 at Cambridge HM a fortnight ago (albeit ran after a sickness bug the night before, so whilst I wasn't 100% that day, it was nice to get the monkey off my back ahead of London Marathon next month). W&E HM was a super flat course, but very windy. It was 4.5 laps of Eton Dorney lake. Lovely tail wind on the way down the lake but horrible head wind back up. It was a fairly small race, only 500 or so runners, and so I found myself in the unfamiliar place of the front pack early on. Didn't think I'd keep the pace, so tucked in at the back of a group of about 15 for the first lap, but they slowed at miles 3-4 and feeling good, I pushed on and lead the race for 2 laps. In doing so, I split the pack and for laps 2 and 3, there was 5 of us in the front pack, but one guy took off at the start of the final lap and I couldn't hold his pace. Then 2 more took off in the final 2 miles and I couldn't hold them either. Finished in 4th place. Chuffed with my time though I was a little frustrated not to have finished in the top 3 after leading for so long. I got completely outwitted by the 3 who finished ahead of me. I basically took the headwind for 3 laps whilst the others tucked in behind me. By my own admission I don't race enough, so getting embroiled in a positional battle was a first for me. Sounds simple to just tuck in behind them, but it really wasn't! They knew what they were doing and I was a bit naive. Great experience though.
David Wilkinson
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22-03-17
A rare report from me! As part of my return after a lengthy layoff with injury, at the last minute I decided to run the Selsdon Half marathon. For anyone who knows the Selsdon, Shirley, Purley and Riddlesdown areas they will know that there are some challenging hills to say the least. Without any speed work or specific training I thought I would just run as I felt comfortable. I finished 28th overall and was pleased with 1:45 official time 1:46:10 (I had to stop for a tram to go past!)
Andy Morcombe
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15-03-17
British Masters 1500m race report
This weekend i ran my first British Masters race, an indoor 1,500m. Race preparation was OK, but acquired a cold last week and had a badly upset stomach on race day, which was probably down to nerves. Luckily I had taken Imodium to the race.
The race was the culmination of 6 months of training, and my first proper age group race where they were would be lots of good people to race against rather than only Mick. I had worked out lots of different race tactics in advance rather than just wait and see as i have no experience at this level. The competition were very friendly, and 11 of us in the race. We all knew Guy Bracken would win (and he did in a European record), and Gary Ironmonger would come second, so the only medal left to go for was bronze. The start went OK, and was incident free, after 100m I was 7th, after 200m 6th, and after 300m tried to get into 5th, but the guy sped up and would not let me overtake him. He was very aggressive for 2 laps, as we were side by side, I knew he was not a medal contender, then he elbowed me in the side and said loudly I was crowding him, so I just overtook him. With 2 laps to go, I overtook 2 people and was right behind Gary, with 1 lap to go i was feeling fine. With 125m to go, I suddenly had a build up of lactic acid and could not keep up the pace, and was overtaken into 4th. Frustratingly I lost 4 seconds in the last 125m and came in 4th. I learned a huge amount in that 4 min 45 seconds. To be competitive at this level, I need to improve my PB by 3 seconds. This is possible, but not at the moment as my work work load is too high, and have not had enough time to do enough high quality training. I receive a new deputy in 3 months time which will relieve my work load and give me more time to train.
Simon LeMare
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15-03-17
I ran the Bath half yesterday. Very well organised for such a big (15,000 runners) race.  I bumped into Nigel Rackham, who some in the insurance market may know, he was defending last year’s V50 time of 73 minutes, which he did in 74.14 (slacker!).  I decided to run 6.20s which would get me home just under 83.  I got a bit confused with the pacing and didn’t see all of the mile markers, so focussed on trying to overtake a few people. Arrived at 10 miles at 62 minutes dead, and was now able to do the maths, that a 20 minute parkrun would get me in well on time. I found a second wind to charge up the last hill to finish 81.36.  90 second pb for me, so very happy. Two more races before London, so bring it on.
Robin McCoy
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15-03-17
I ran in the 'Gringleford Gallop' on Saturday, a hugely popular (600 places sold out in less than 5 minutes) canter of 21 miles around the villages and hills of the Peak District, and passing with a mile of my home. Have done a lot of off road and hills lately and was really looking forward to this event. Start was pandemonium – mad dash for 100 metres before stream with narrow bridge, followed by 2 stiles in quick succession, so lots of queuing and chaos. All settled down after first mile as we hit the first big climb. After about 5 miles, I was in very familiar territory and knew the route very well. Lost count of just how many stiles / gates we had to manoeuvre. Came home in 2hr 42 mins, very pleased since I was expecting about 10mins slower, taking 18th place overall so very happy. Legs still sore 2 days later, very punishing event but great fun.
Rupert Holden
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15-03-17
I did the Bedford Autodrome draft legal duathlon yesterday.  It was a race I did well in last year and is a good early season benchmark. I was up against Nick Shasha in the V40 category (who runs for Phil’s club Orion) and had won the BMAF 1500m the day before. I had a good first run finishing in 16:30 (it was a tad short of 5km -  4.85km).  I then ended up catching up with a small group of 3 others on the bike about 40s down on the lead pack. We worked really hard on the bike and just about reached the lead pack by the end of the 20km bike leg.  I ended up with the fastest overall bike split of the day...which was nice. That took it out of my legs so was a bit slower on the 2nd run (2.8km) than last year when I had much fresher legs.  I came 9th overall and 2nd AG behind Nick who made the first pack on the bike (15:50 run split !) and had a good strong race.  It means I've qualified for the world champs but they are in deepest Canada over the summer so I won't be heading over there - hoping to focus on the World Triathlon Champs in Rotterdam instead..
Rob Osborne
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15-03-17
Surrey Half
I did the Surrey half marathon (start/finish at Woking leisure centre) yesterday – wasn’t sure where marathon training would leave me but had a couple of easy days Fri & Sat so decided to have a crack at 1.15. Went off with a group that whittled down to myself and a couple of Clapham Chasers by 10miles. Saw Helena & Stu out on the course both looking strong. Jon Fairs was running as well as part of his VLM training.  Found it tough going pretty much the whole way and bottled it in the last mile to finish in 1.15.07 (14th) – kicking myself now but happy that the training is going in the right direction.
Tom Robertson
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15-03-17
So I entered this two weeks ago to try and see how fit/unfit I was ahead of London and decided if I didn't go under 1.25/1.26 then I would pull out. I e-mailed Phil to ask him what time he thought I would go based on a rather hungover park run time of 18.25 last week and this was his response.. I think you are capable of  1 22. That is you losing 5 mins over ten miles based on your 5K time. I suggest you target 5m in 31 .50 10m in 63.5 and hold on for dear life the last three plus  in 19.5 .. that gives you 1 23 but with a faster last three (which will happen) you will go under 1 23. Good luck. I honestly thought that wasn't even just ambitious but a bit ridiculous. I ran 1.25 in October after some pretty hard training and since then I've consumed more units of wine than I have miles! Anyway I just thought I'd give it a ago and either blow up and fail miserably or be pleasantly surprised but there was no point going out and aiming for 1.25 because I've done that already and I don't see the point in paying £40 to race unless it's for a pb! I'll actually move onto the race report now...
In my disorganised fashion I turned up without a waterproof or my race number and had to pick it up on the morning. I tried to start nearish the front because I hate crowds after my little tumble at London last year. I spoke to two girls at the start who said they were going to be running 6.15 minute miles so I swiftly moved slightly back because I thought I'd be way off that! We set off and almost immediately it started raining full on torrential rain - I was so glad I decided not to wear mascara! I tried to stay settled and suddenly realised I was running about 6.13 minute miles and it felt weirdly comfortable. Over the first 3 miles I overtook the other girls and still felt very comfortable and my pace was really consistent. At about mile 4 some spectators cheered me on and said I was the first lady - I could barely believe it because I still felt really comfortable and I thought the others would be quicker than me. The course was a bit lonely at points but small crowds every half mile or so were amazing at cheering me on and I still felt really strong. I took on a gel (which I haven;t done before) at mile 5 and then felt really good. There was an out and back stretch around mile 4-7 and between miles 7-8 I suddenly didn't feel so great anymore and thought 'oh crap I've gone out way too hard and now I'm going to pay for it'. Then I had a word with myself and actually realised I'm 8 miles into a race and yes it's supposed to start hurting now but if I keep it up then I've only got to hold on for another half hour or so (less than one of Phils sessions). I took on another gel and by mile 9-10 I started to feel a bit better and focused on trying to keep form, breath deeply and not tense up. I had no idea how far behind the next girl was but I assumed she would be pretty close so this made me keep the pace up. At mile 10 I latched onto a group of 3 guys all wearing green and we just worked together for the last three miles and pushed the pace on. My last two miles were both 6.08 min miles AND I even had time to high five all the kids on the side lines. I made what I thought was a kick for the finish line and realised I'd gone about 400m too early. Those last couple of minutes were some of the most painful of my life and I've never been more relieved to cross a finish line in my life!! When I realised I'd won the pain went away almost instantly because I was so delighted (and they put a medal round my neck which detailed a large amount of prize money). It was the best race of my life and I feel like everything just went perfectly from start to finish. A year of hanging off the back off the group on a Tuesday lunchtime has really paid off! I used to do two sessions a week with my club in Birmingham and despite only doing one a week now I have gone from running 1.28/1.29 to 1.22 in a year!! Thanks guys!!! I got a pb AND some money to book a holiday for after London!
Helena Eastham
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15-03-17
The Grizzly
I did the above race for the second time, trained harder and further than 2016 and more or less injury free so was looking forward to smashing my time from last year ... it remains unsmashed :-( No idea where the time went but did notice there was more walking and it started earlier than last year, so seemed to be just overall slower.  Did have to be pulled out of the mud twice as I was completely stuck and did a comedy forward role and tumble into the stream on the beach at 17mi.  I don't think these accounted for the 4mins I lost but I'm hoping, that I might at least get on the 30th anniversary video they were making. Only, joy was (after being tipped off by a young girl sitting near the finish) that I managed a fast last 100m to just make 100th place (out of ~1500) - results not out yet but let's hope she could count! BTW the girl who told me I was 101st needs to go back to school - I was actually 96th (wow).
Keith Skilling
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15-03-17
The North London Half
Turned up for the third running of this race for an 8.30am start with a hint of drizzle in the air. Went through the first 3-4 miles in 7 minute miling and then as per normal,  when it starts to hurt, went through the ‘why did I go off so fast and why am I racing through the streets of North London at 8.30am on a Sunday morning”, routine. Felt better on reaching Allianz Park (Saracens Ground) at halfway and going round the track there, before returning to Wembley and a finish in the stadium. I evidently picked up 20 places in the second half of the race so am pleased with that but should have definitely ‘gutsied’ it out more when the going got tough early on. It is an undulating course to say the least and some of it is a bit dull through housing estates but the finish in Wembley stadium is great. There has only been about a minute difference over all three times I have run this course and I did run a hard 20 miles the week before so maybe still feeling that in my legs. Anyway, finished in 1 hour 35 minutes in 365th out of 5,800 odd. Was 4th in the M55 age category out of 115. Actually, I say further back in the pack but that is still in top 7%.
Philip Priest
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10-03-17
ESSEX 20
I ran the Essex 20 for the 4th time yesterday.  I have always thought that it is a good pre London (or other spring race) as it sufficiently close that it gives a good indicator of training & fitness, but not so close that you can’t take remedial action if required.  The only downside is that is 3 laps with a rather large hill in the middle of each lap, plus a few other smaller hills. I decided to run 6.45 pace, but as I lined up in the freezing wind and rain had a rush of blood to the head and decided 6.30 was better.  The hills made pacing difficult, and dropped slightly behind, lumbered down the last mile in about a 6.15 to try and chase down a bunch of 4 runners, to finish in 2.12.20, or 6.37 average, a 1.39 PB, and nearly 7 minutes quicker than last year.  After a couple of cups of tea, Darren Sutton of Springfield Striders suggested we watch the prize giving.  Delighted and astonished to come 2nd V50 and receive an Essex Championship silver medal. Didn’t even mind that the gold, Michael Valbonesi beat me by 2 seconds! Also running, Derv Bartlett and Sid (whose Raven’s vest seemed to have sprung a rather bloody leak).
Robin McCoy
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10-03-17
I also took part in the Essex 20 but this was my first time! my training not really what it should have been leading upto London following Very few runs In December (drinking/chest infection) and January (Achilles). Furthest had run was about 11.5 miles but needed to get some long runs in. Started about 7 min miles as planned and was going ok but just before end of 1st lap shoe lace came undone so put in a 6.22 7th mile to catch up where I was. Settled back done to 7's but started to struggle towards 13/14 miles last lap was hard hard work but kept going at a slow 8 min miles! The hill on the last lap seemed to go on for longer than the first 2 laps!!!! Was passed by 2 Ravens who have been coming on a Thursday (sorry don't know their names!!) and finished in 2.25. As robin pointed out the ravens vest is a little bit blood stained despite the vaseline used! Good to get 20 in although disappointed with time it took!!! need to now have a good 4 weeks of training.
Sid
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10-03-17
I think that might have been me (in my Witham Vest) who passed you Paul?  If it was you in the Ravens Vest who I spoke to before the race and then gave me some encouragement as I passed? With Manchester 4 weeks away I used it as a training run and my plan was 10 miles at 7:30 and 10 at 7:00 (hopeful MP).  I managed 10 at 7:24 and 10 at 6:56 coming home in 2:22:54 and knocking 10 minutes off last years time. Ryan Day of Ravens and Gt Bentley also ran his first 20 miler as part of his training for London and finished in a great time of 2:15:43 after deciding that my planned pace was too slow for him!
Scott Darney
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10-03-17
Regents Park 10k
So a shorter race for me than most of the marathoners and their 20 mile races this weekend. (Hats off to you all). I undertook the above on Sunday with the view to seeing where I'm at post winter. Two aims firstly to try and stay below 6 mins a mile and if it went well break 36 minutes. Less than ideal conditions with wind and rain making it slightly slippery underfoot but a large contingent of Dulwich running club meant there was plenty to chase. Tried to stay relaxed, it was a 3 lap course and unusually for me seemed to be able to pick people off in laps 2 and 3, relatively even pacing. Averaged 5.55 m/mile but could only get across the line in 36:40 for 12th place. Did however managed to take the scalp of Dulwich's Tony Toughy who despite being old enough to be my Dad is still a scalp for me.
Chris Tuck
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10-03-17
Thames Riverside 20
Yesterday I ran the Thames Riverside 20.  The race is hosted by the Clapham Chasers, my other club.  It's a nice, flat, scenic course along the Thames tow path between Putney and Richmond and back.  Well, it is nice when it is not lashing it down with freezing rain at 8am on a Sunday morning and covered in gravelly, muddy puddles. Much like Robin, at the start line I had the aim of 6.45s, but I dashed off with some quicker runners and eventually settled in with a couple of lads running 6.30s for the first 10.  One fell off by 10 and by 15, it was my turn, as I started to drift backwards.  I managed just about to keep it in the 6.45-7 range, finished in 2.12.57, on my watch, which is nearly a 2 minute PB over the course and distance.  It was probably also a PB in terms of personal overall muddiness by the end of the race. Only one PB left to beat since joining the Ravens last spring: my marathon PB better watch out in Manchester next month.
Russell Beard
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2-03-17
Thorpe Park Half
I ran the inaugural Thorpe Park Half this morning. After not getting a chance to run this week at all due to work and family I was feeling pretty fresh, I wasn't intending to taper at all for this and was going to run it as a training run for London but as it turned out I approached it as a proper race and test of my speed. The hope was to beat my PB from last March of 1:26:24. The race starts in the car park of the theme park which is still shut for the winter, so parking facilities were decent although a bit odd to be lining up with roller coasters in the background. I got there with loads of time to spare but annoyingly needed the loo about 25 minutes before the start so eventually made it to the start with 7 or 8 mins to spare and found myself very far back nestled in with the headphone wearers, first timers and general non serious crew. The start doubles back on itself which made it even worse as I watched all the people I wanted to be running with cruise off in to the distance. I set my target as 1:25 which duly meant 6:29 per m, incredibly the first two miles which were spent dodging through people were below this so once I settled in to a rhythm I felt pretty good. It was all on closed roads and felt quite sheltered from the wind so just kept focusing on ticking off the miles and keeping them sub the magic number, if I crept over it I worked harder to get it under the next one. It felt like I was running on the limit and a potential stitch was lingering in the background but never materialised. There were a couple of uphill sections which I had to work hard on to keep my pace but I quite enjoyed the challenge of it. Since I started towards the back I spent the entire race passing people so just kept pressing on, mentally this was strangely gratifying although not sure whether it would have been better to have a proper battle with someone further up the field. Was very pleased to finish in 1:23:54 on the watch and gives me renewed hope of a sub 3 hr marathon if I can get back to some proper mileage.
Iain Davie
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2-03-17
I thought I saw a Ravens vest go past in the first mile but couldn't stay up long enough to see if it was! Had a great race until mile 4 where I completely crashed, pushed on refusing to walk until I was sick at mile 8. Then limped home wearing lead boots. Not sure if it was bad fuelling, if I went off too fast or if I've overtrained of late. I was happy to still finish sub 2 but not so happy with the huge blister caused by what were going to be my Marathon shoes.
Donna Henry
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2-03-17
Headcorn half marathon
This morning I ventured over to my old manor to race the above race. After my 1st race 3 weeks ago I wanted to run quicker and set off rather faster than I should should and held it together for 1st 6 miles then seem to run against the wind for the next 7 miles could not keep to my 6.40 pace a few miles over 7 min miling. Finished in 90 mins and 10 secs very pleased as I was 70 secs quicker than 3 weeks ago. On to the next one in 3 weeks then back to the shorter stuff.
Dave Miller
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2-03-17
RODING VALLEY HALF
Mick had warned me that this was not a very pleasant race. He was right – had to cross a busy main road 4 times, and plenty of unmarshalled side roads. I ran the first lap with another runner and after I stopped to avoid being run over, I ran the second by myself, although I did pick off a few stragglers, including Stephen Philcox of Ilford who has beaten me every time I have raced since I turned 50 – although from his

reducing pace he was either injured of hadn’t trained for the distance.  Anyway, finished in 84.51, second geriatric, in an average pace of 6.29. I had hoped to be closer to 6.20, but given the course happy with my second fastest half.  Bring on the pancake course in Bath in a couple of weeks! Not having done this distance for some I think I learned a couple of lessons. Do NOT go flat out in the parkrun the day before, and do NOT **** it up the night before. I think the longer races will find you out in a way that a 5 mile XC won’t.  Didn’t spot any Ravens, but nice to see Mary from Runfast on the course.
Robin McCoy
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2-03-17
National XC
So again it was that time of year when I join about 2000 other blokes to charge around a muddy hilly field. This years national was held at Wollaton park in Nottingham and whilst it was very muddy and challenging. I have to say I thought it was a great course. The mixture of hills, swamp like crossings, steady down hill stretches and on course support made it a very enjoyable race even though it was as tough as you'd expect. It was a 12k course made of 4 loops each one a different length. Managed to set off at a fairly reasonable pace and not get trampled in the stampede style start. Ran first 2 laps with 2 club mates then one managed to pull away whilst the other faded slightly. Didn't have the sensation of going backwards like I have in other races this season. Was starting to struggle towards the end but made to feel better by a chap in front of me who went face down in the final muddy up hill. Bit of an attempt to do a sprint finish. Crossing the line in 50:39. Despite having what felt a good run was slightly down on last years finishing position in 623rd place. (Only 140 further back than at the southerns). Race was won by Ben Connor of Derby in 39min something. All in all despite the lower finishing position really enjoyed it. A great event that has to be experienced if you get the opportunity
Chris Tuck
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22-02-17
ESSEX CROSS COUNTRY  - BASILDON
A few of us had the pleasure of running the above in beautiful Gloucester Park, Basildon.  Only one hill, so we ran up it from all directions, 8 times in total.  I had the temerity to run past Lord Michael of Chelmsford. This, the finest moment of my running career, lasted about 30 seconds as Mick went hurtling down hill past me as I tip toed in the mud.  5 miles in total with the following Ravens spotted:
Alex Hardy 32nd place/31.01 minutes – running for Orion for some reason
Mick 57/32.30
Me 63/33.01
Dave Butler 84/34.54
Andy Catton bravely watching from the side-lines.
Robin McCoy
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22-02-17
A short report on a short race this weekend. Having knackered my legs with a week's skiing, I decided to take the 5k option in another very well organised RunThrough race yesterday, setting off as fast as I could and seeing what happened.  The field was pretty thin in the sub 23 minute category so there weren't many people to aim for, but I settled in with a second pack and tried to stick with them to the end.  I crossed the line in 10th place (second woman) and was surprised and delighted to find I had set a new PB of 23.15 (31 seconds faster than my previous chip timed PB).
Alex Anderson
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22-02-17
KFL XC Deal
I ran this race yesterday for my club, a 5 mile relatively benign (in comparison to some of the others) cross country on the south Kent coast. It was a lovely day for it and was the final race of the league season which has seen us in 2nd place in only our 4th year competing in the league. We managed to hold onto this place in this last race, although really struggled to get a team out at all, in competition with the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon and the Greenwich 10k which was a club GP event. I was pleased with my run, in spite of losing some time having to do a up a shoelace less than a mile in (rookie error) and enjoyed a good battle with Rob Whittaker, sometime Raven, running for Sittingbourne Striders, which I just managed to win by a nose. My time of 34.22 is actually a 5 mile PB, as I have never done this distance on road, so I am pretty pleased with my continuing recovery.
Marcus Elwes
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22-02-17
Tunbridge Wells HM
A short report - I ran the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon yesterday a little further back down the field than my fellow Raven / Wadhurst Runner, Mike McGeown, who I know was particularly taken with the ascent of Spring Hill at around 8 miles........ I'm once again having to be a little cautious with my left knee, so was happy to run a steady race provisionally placing 225th out of around 1500 finishers with a chip time of 1.36.55 - around 25 seconds off my course PB. On the approach back into Tunbridge Wells (Langton Green) I was overtaken by a couple of Maidstone Harriers, so I ran after them to warn them about the approaching speed camera; their reply being that if I could crack a funny (their choice of word!) like that, I obviously hadn't been running hard enough - I didn't like to say that sometimes it's all about the journey rather than the destination.
Kevin Cockram
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22-02-17
I too was out yesterday at the 4th SECC league, at Weald Park in Brentwood; I saw Phil Priest spectating, having run 21 miles to get there; Robin who was determined to go off hard and finished only slightly muddy but rather bloody and Dave Butler who didn’t hear me at all.  I tapped a chap on the shoulder who looked like Gary but when he turned around, it wasn’t. It was a lovely day for it, I ran in spikes for the first time, (even though I’ve had them ages, not been brave enough to try them beforehand) and they definitely helped.  Not too hilly/muddy but the last mile was the toughest and I saw some deer running through the park with about a kilometre left to finish.  I’d been keeping with a couple of Dagenham 88 boys and was very pleased to overtake them about 3.5 miles and they didn’t come back.  I finished in 11th place and the run felt good.
Vicky Cooper
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22-02-17
Also there, Derv Bartlett & Terry Spooner, part time AL Ravens and Ian, who had cycled from Southend/Leigh.  Warmed up for 5 miles, ran the race in 29.01 (on my watch, no results yet) for 27th place, and then ran 9 miles home  - quite tired today.  More importantly, this has been my first season of XC and I have loved it, although a little surprised that the shoes have only lasted one season! Didn’t photo the other leg, as it looks the same!
Robin McCoy
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22-02-17
Well done Robin and Vicky. I was only a few places behind you Robin and came home in 34th which was the same position last time I did the Weald Park race in 2013. As always I started off way too hard but managed to pick up a few places on the faster sections of the course but then really struggled over the last mile or so which got very muddy/hilly. I don’t remember seeing any deer Vicky but we did come across two horses that were clearly startled by all the runners and were not too happy about it either. It was a much quicker ride back home as I had a tail wind all the way…..
Ian George
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22-02-17
Well done all. Sorry I missed you (and Stuart) Vicky. Heard Phil Priest though. Good to see you there Phil. I finished a bit further back in 52nd place, which was an improvement on my 60th position in the previous race in this league. As the others mentioned quite a tough last mile or so with hills and some mud. Got some scratches from a thorny bush but not as bloody as Robin's! Happy with my run and keeping focussed on trying to make steady improvements. Billericay back on top of the league with one race to go too!
Dave Butler
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22-02-17
Hampton Court Half Marathon
Well done to all who raced at the weekend.  Some strong performances. I ran this race yesterday seeking a PB.  Had only done one previous half marathon which was on the South Downs last summer – the hills dealt my legs some serious punishment and I went round in 2.02.14. Had been struggling with man flu for a couple of weeks prior to this race and really had no idea how I would get on.  The last 1k reps I had done on a Thursday a couple of weeks back were about 20 seconds off per kilometre, and I was slow on my final longer run in training.  Fortunately man flu dissipated in the final days leading up to the race so I turned up with a clean bill of health and minimal drugs in the system( I had therapeutic use exemptions…). I was targeting 1.30 and knew it was a little ambitious but that I had an outside chance on this flat course.  There were two 1.30 pacers and I managed to stick with the first one until 8 miles which was as long as I could hang on.  I could feel myself tiring and at 8 miles I dropped off and just tried to keep up a half decent pace.  I came home in 1.32.53 which was 361 of 3944 (results don’t show places for age category and sex).  When I have fallen off in the past my minutes per mile have slowed by a minute or so and this time when the pace dropped it was by no more than 40 seconds which is still a lot but getting better.  I managed about 7.30 a mile for the last 5 miles which is a lot quicker than I used to run when I was tired. Worryingly I beat the second 1.30 pacer.  Anyone running without a watch and relying on the pacer would have had a nasty shock. Overall I think I was pleased and am seeing progress but feel if I trained a little harder in the longer runs I could have gone quicker. My sister Anna also ran it and managed to get a PB, breaking the 2 hour mark for the first time, coming home in 1.58 as she prepares for her first marathon at Manchester. Thought the race was a little disorganised with regards to getting people in the right place for the start line but other than that okay.  Also, the tents to get changed in had no door across the entrance so you could see people getting their kit off and down to their altogether when you were casually walking past the tents - maybe that was the plan?
John Crawley
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13-02-17
Southerns XC – 28.1.17
I did run the Southerns on Sat and got very lucky as it was my first race there and the conditions were as good as they get though it was still a very tough race!  A 3 lap course with constant hills and thick mud make it very difficult to find any rhythm and due to the quality of the runners I constantly felt like I was being overtaken. I was running for Orion and managed to finish in 59.17 and came 282nd which I was very happy with though I saw Rob Laing at the finish and he looked like he had just been out for a quick jog while I could hardly speak!!
Alex Hardy
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13-02-17
Great Bently Half Marathon – 5.2.17
At the last moment I managed to get a place in the above race, as not done much half marathon training decided to try and run a hard training run and keep just below 7 min miling. The journey to great Bentley has not great as part of the A12 was closed and took 1 hour and 40 mins to do an journey which should only take an hour, hence arriving at the start with 1 min to spare, not the idea prep no chance for a warm up. Any way started off to fast as normal going through 1st 3 miles in 6.48 pace then had a bad patch from 3 miles up to 6 miles then managed to pull it back, then at 10 miles was hit with a nicly hard wind to the finish but managed to hold it together. Closed the line in 91.17 avg pace 6.56 so cracked my goal. Lovely journey home took 2 hours due to diversion and loads of traffic.
Dave Miller
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13-02-17
Wokingham Half Marathon – 12.2.17
A brief race report for you. I ran the Wokingham Half marathon this morning. The conditions were better than they were last year so I was hoping to go quicker and duck under 1.22. Even though this is a fast course there are some nasty drags especially over the M4 and the A329 so it's not always easy to keep a solid consistent pace. You also have to do these twice over the first and last three miles. I had a much better run this year and felt pretty good over the first ten miles averaging under 6.10 and was making my way through the field all the way round. However the last three miles started to hurt and I just couldn't keep the pace going and finally came home in 1.21.34 which is about 60 places higher than last year. A solid performance and it gives me a lot of confidence going in to the Southend Marathon four weeks today. I saw Russell Beard as well but didn't see him the end so I don't know how he got on.
Ian George
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13-02-17
Great time Ian.  Second time this weekend in skimpy shorts and club vest in pretty nippy conditions for me, but despite the cold they made for a decent run today.  I ran fairly consistent 6.20ish miles to finish in 1.23.49 on my watch, which is a PB by about 25 secs or so.  I set out expecting to fade in the last few miles after a muddy Surrey league XC over Wimbledon Common yesterday, but the miles kept ticking along and although I didn't have it in my legs to push on in the last 2-3, losing a few places, I hung in there and am pretty chuffed with the result.   Since turning 40 last year, I have now got 5K, 10k and HM PBs, all thanks to Ravens' sessions, so cheers guys and girls.  Just one biggie left to aim for in the Manchester Marathon in 2 April.
Russ Beard
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13-02-17
Indoor 1500m race report
Any you know I have been training for the 1,500m for the last 9 months. Yesterday was the East of England indoor championships, and also the South of England championships which is a different organisation. Both organisations had entrants in the same race. I entered through both organisations. I was in the 55 to 59 age band and so was the baby in the race. The aim was to do well in the East of England one as I run in that league. I was fairly confident, but was surprised to see someone from Warrington in it. Speaking to him afterwards, he is a member of Eastern Vets, Southern Vets and Northern Vet so he can get more racing competition. With the South of England there is one guy who is faster than me, but he had decided to run the 800m instead.
I was excessively nervous beforehand. My race ended up being M55 to M70 with 11 of us in the race in the 6 lanes. It was a strange race, as I am sure I am on PB form, but the aim was to do the best I could in the race, and do a PB another time.
The first 200m was fast, then it slowed a little, I was in 3rd behind the M55 from Warrington and Dave Oxland who came 3rd in M65 1500 world championships and used to have good races with Dave Butler. The pace was not that fast and so I over took both of them at the beginning of the straight and took the lead after 500m. I heard them behind me for 2 laps and then could not hear them. I realised I was in the lead by at least 50m with 2 laps to go, I decided to speed up, but not flat out, just in case. I won by 14 seconds, so was pleased but disappointed as it was reasonably easy and I was not that tired. I was 10 seconds slower than my PB, in 4.53. If I had been in the M50 race I would have had a good battle for first or second, which is a shame, as that was won by one second faster then my PB.
Simon LeMare
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26-01-17
Marsden to Edale Trigger Fell Race 15.1.17
I took part in the above yesterday in what is regarded as a tough point to point fell race, crossing the summits at Black Hill across the Snake Pass and around Kinder Scout, linear distance 20 miles and 4500 feet of climbing. The weather yesterday, to put it simply, was atrocious and a challenging event became a bit of a brutal survival exercise. Snow from the previous days followed by heavy rainfall left the route a mixture of icy slush and deep mud. Much of the course was off any footpath and this was further hindered by a thick fog and pouring rain. Like most others, I have never fallen over so many times before, my hands covered in icy mud, my feet numb after the first few miles due to constantly running on water/slush. A few minor streams had become rivers, needing to be crossed in groups holding hands, often thigh deep in fast flowing water. Some of the climbing sections, particularly up to Bleaklow, were so step that it became a mountaineering / rock climbing exercise in places.

One outstanding memory was descending off Kinder Scout a few miles from the finish, coming down a very steep snow covered hill, where I decided to stopping trying to run and simply slide down as a human toboggan - very effective although a bit cold on the backside. I fared better than many in keeping just about warm, a lot of extremely cold people at the finish. Time became irrelevant, it was a case of finishing in one piece. My Garmin read 24.5 miles at just on 5 hours. Results not out yet, I think this was around top 40 position out of the 250 who started (no idea how many finished yet). I think that even the winner this year did not manage to beat 4 hours. Certainly a "fun" day out, the longest time I have ever been out running and simply relieved to have got to the finish in one piece. I guess that if you are going to do this sort of race then you may as well do it in the most challenging conditions possible!
Rupert Holden
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26-01-17
BENFLEET 15 15.1.17
As with Marcus, my efforts yesterday were pretty tame compared to Rupert’s.  I decided at a party on Saturday night that my chances of getting out of bed to do a long training run were quite slim.  So I decided I needed some proper motivation. Got up early and a little bleary eyed, and joined the huge queue (ok just me) to enter the Benfleet 15.  The last time I did it in 2010, I said “never again” which was the correct answer. Cold, wet and miserable.  As I came up the final hill with 2 miles to go, I remarked to a fellow runner that I was glad the hills were over.  He gave me a pitying look. The course had changed and the last 2 were uphill on the Olympic mountain biking course.  The first lady started walking. Me too! Finished 36/564 in 1.48.27, 2nd V50 although well beaten by the first V60.  Pretty pleased as much faster than my last effort on a tougher course.  Also running were Gary Pitman and Phil Priest, but way too cold to wait for you (sorry).  Good to see Dave Miller and Ian George on the course, despite Ian shouting at another runner to overtake me (noted).  Out run by my 9 year old daughter on the school run this morning, so a rest I think.
Robin McCoy
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26-01-17
Jogged over to the start in the rain. It was cold. Watched the kids race with Mrs P in the rain and it was colder. Therefore, decided to start as I was. (it was a Ravens top under a Ravens vest I would hasten to add). Course is as Robin says as brutal as ever and welcomed the encouragement from Ian and Dave Miller, also from Gary as we passed one another at 10/11 miles. First 4 miles and last 2 miles are really really tough with the mud and hills making it difficult to stand up at times let alone find some propulsion (although as has been stated this all pales when looking at Ruperts pictures).  Finished in 2.01 in 106th place which is 3 minutes quicker and 46 places higher than last year. So pleased with that. Even more pleased when I was soaking the mud off in a hot bath afterwards and Mrs P brought me in a beer. Nothing like a beer when you feel you have earned it!!
Philip Priest
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26-01-17
Tokyo Imperial Palace 5K 15.1.17
Ran the 5K race yesterday, but unfortunately no Jenson Button in it this time. There were 3 simultaneous races, a one lap 5K, 2 lap 10K, 4 lap 20K. I opted for the 5K. Did Robin type training the night before as had a beer and a triple blood orange Countreau to knock me out and help me get some sleep as was struggling with 9 hours jet lag from the day’s flight. It was 0oC, windy, the tight course was a pedestrian path around the Palace grounds which always has several hundred people walking / jogging along it, half way round it has a continuous 1K up hill, then a 1K downhill, then a flat 600m to the end. For some reason the 20k went first, then the 5K and 10K started together. I was in 2nd for the first 1k, then took over the lead. Twice I had to shout out when the course was tight, in my best English, and people were 3 a breast, move over please race coming through. Pleasingly / disappointingly, there was no one near me in the 5K race, as the decent club runners opted for the 20K, and the 5K was mostly fun runners. I finished in 18.19 so happy considering the course, but would have preferred some sort of competition as I won by about 3 minutes, which put a dampers on the result.
Simon LeMare
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26-01-17
Wildest Peak trail run 22.1.17
Saturday was the rescheduled date for the 'Wildest Peaks' trail run, postponed from last November and a race on my doorstep, covering some of the best aspects of the White Peak district. Not fantastic timing due to having run the previous weekend but I was keen to take part on what proved to be a fantastic course of mainly rocky trails with a few challenging climbs. The original route of 17 miles had been shortened to just under 16 miles due to land owner restrictions. Start was in 10 minute waves to prevent congestion on the narrow paths , this being a very nice way of starting a race and effectively making it a time trial. I lead my wave until about 2 miles in where I was passed – but kept the guy in my sights only for him to pull up after about 11 miles, leaving me leading my start group. I managed to steadily pick runners off from the wave in front of me and by about 14 miles, I could see another runner ahead, who I eventually tracked down but could not quite pip in the final dash for the line. Turned out this was Lucy Gossage, the triathlete, who won the ladies event. My finish time was 2hrs 5mins. Along with daughter Ava, I had to get home and missed the presentation (this being 2 hours after we had both finished) and we had no idea of overall results.
These finally came through online late in the evening and was pleasantly surprised to find I had taken 2nd overall, 30 seconds off the winner, 3rd place being a further 30 seconds down – would have proved interesting if it had been a mass start. Ava managed 2nd lady on the short course, so a good day out for both.
Rupert Holden
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26-01-17
Canterbury 10 22.1.17
Back doing a road race for the first time since a calamitous run at the Tonbridge Half in October, I entered this because it was a club GP event and they had a coach going down (I do like a merry coach trip!). I only found out in the week leading up to the race that it was a 10 mile race rather than a 10k! Nothing like doing about a bit of research I say. Anyway having only ever done one 10m race in my career back when I first started running in 2011, I was not quite sure what to aim for but based on current form thought I would try for 70 minutes. Conditions were quite surreal, Thick fog meant you couldn't see more than 3/4 runners ahead and none of the supposedly fantastic views the race offered, whilst temperatures were around -2/-3, easily the coldest condition I have run in. There as no wind though, so not disastrous. I maintained sub 7 minute mile-ing for the first 4 miles but then hit a long uphill stretch which I struggled on more than I would have liked. After that, at about halfway, I was a little off pace and subsequently came through 10k in around 43 mins. Ploughing on the last few miles (including another toughie hill) were hard and in the end I came in just over the 70 minute mark (official time 70:43). Fairly happy with that in the circumstances. I reckon I am still around 30 seconds a mile off my best, but slowly getting back and the niggles kept fairly quite, which I was relieved about, as road running tends to aggravate more than XC.  207th overall out of a total field of 1,300, around 28th I think in my age category. A 12 minute PB on a very old dusty time. Good race, worth doing again, if only to see the scenery properly next time!
Marcus Elwes
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26-01-17
Farnborough Half 22.1.17
The temperature leaving for the race was -7 and didn’t get much warmer when we arrived at Farnborough airfield, there was lots of parking but a good half mile walk to the start. The start was pretty chaotic with the long toilet queues becoming mixed up with the baggage drop and number collection queues and we were still making our way through the crowds when the race started, thank goodness for chip timing! It was an almost completely flat course over closed main and rural road with a little bit of very frozen trail and tow path. I decided to stick to the pace that got my recent 10mile pb and finished in 1.53 a four minute pb, pretty happy with that.
Donna Henry
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26-01-17
South Essex XC at One Tree Hill for me. The ground was very hard, so spikes were entirely the wrong shoe! Came 29th, an improvement of 31 places from last year and on my watch about 5 minutes faster for 8.5k. Also spotted Ian (excuse to follow), Gary, Derv and Vicky.
Robin McCoy
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26-01-17
Thanks Robin.  No excuses from me although I had run 12 miles off-road before-hand and only arrived with ten minutes to spare. There was also a lot of confusion at the start as no one seemed to know what way we were running and I ended up way too far back at the start. This time I went off like a headless chicken and must have ran past about 150 people in the first mile including Dave and Gary. I finally made it to around 30th place and was only a few feet behind Robin but them preceded to suffer (a lot) over the last mile and finally came home in 43rd place. It was great fun though and a good day's training. No footwear excuses either. I wore trail shoes and they were perfect!
Ian George
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26-01-17
Same race for me, 1 minute, 10s improvement.  Came 15th, substantially down on placing from last year.  I saw Robin, Phil Priest (supporting) & Dave Butler.  Unlike Marcus' race, ours was a beautifully sunny day.
Vicky Cooper
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26-01-17
Good to see everyone at the OTH xc yesterday. I came in 60th after starting steadily and picking up a few places during the race and 3 on the last hill which was a good feeling. Lovely sunny day if a little chilly!
Dave Butler
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26-01-17
Victoria Park 10k 22.1.17
Ran this on Sunday. Perfect conditions; sun, blue skies, cold, no wind. Its a super flat course too; 3 laps around the top end of the park. Despite having clocked 50+ miles for the week, I felt good and decided to make the most of it. Following on from November’s 10k, I was hoping for a negative split again and to avoid looking at my watch (other than at half way of course). So I set off with the front pack but, 500m in, I realised this was too fast for me and quickly dropped off. Sensible, as they went through 1km in under 3mins. And at this point I realised I had unwittingly looked at my watch so gave myself a mental slap. After lap one, the guy on the mega phone shouted out that I was in 23rd place. Crossed 5k in 18:12 and felt good, so decided to push on for the final 5k. Overtook a few, which was good for morale, to finish 15th in 36:18 – a new PB. My splits were 18:12/18:06 (a negative split, just!). Hoping to go sub:36 his year, hopefully before VLM.
David Wilkinson
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13-01-17
Kent County Champs
So Saturday saw me take part in my first Kent county champs. This was 7.5 miles of cross country which in reality equated to 3 and a bit laps round a slopping field on the edge of Brands Hatch. I had no real aim for this race as I'm just trying to up the training with a view to putting in an improvement at the National XC in Feb. Usual manic XC start going through the first mile in 5.40 ish. Settled in and committed to making sure I had something in the tank for the hills on the last lap. Last lap still heard and despite a team mate getting away managed to claw back about 5 people in the last few hundred metres. Finished in 72 in 46.34. Overall happy with the result although few in front who o have beaten in league races earlier in the season. I'll get them at Parliament Hill at the end of the month.
Chris Tuck
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13-01-17
Tadworth 10miles
This is a nice local race with a 11.30 start time, which starts and finishes on Epsom racecourse, it is really well organised with the HQ being in the Queens Stand and is the only official race to be allowed over the Downs itself. It’s a very hilly 10 mile, 2-lap course with seemingly most of the uphills being long muddy drags and most of the down hills short and sharp on tarmac. The first lap went well, steady up the hills and flying down despite the tarmac being quite slippery in trail shoes, but by the second lap I’d run out of steam and the mile long uphill between 8 and 9 miles nearly finished me off! The finish was downhill and I found a little in reserve to sprint to the finish. I’m now starting to run races for the second time and it’s interesting to get a direct comparison last years time (in appalling conditions) was 1.44. this years time 1.33.
Donna Henry
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13-01-17
Minnis Bay XC
Cross Country for me too yesterday and a real cracker by the sea at Minnis Bay on the North Kent coast. This is a fairly legendary course round our way, purely because of 5 dykes on an otherwise fairly unremarkable coastal race. I had never done it before but heard countless stories of the grief caused by these dykes. Apparently they were not as bad as last year (similar to Donna's race; conditions such better), but were still pretty treacherous to get in and out of and then regain some semblance of rhythm with shoes and legs seemingly weighing twice what they were before hitting the mud. Attached you will see pictures of I think the 3rd dyke which I navigated with a much grace as was possible in the circumstances! The course was almost exactly 6 miles and I came 88th (out of around 350), my first top 100 finish of the season, in around 44 mins. Great fun, as was the wash down in the sea afterwards!
Marcus Elwes
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13-01-17
ESSEX CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP
Cross country fun in Essex too! 3 laps at Claybury including a most unpleasant hill, for 7 miles in total.  98/186 of the senior men in 48.06.  After the shock of a decent run in SE Essex XC a few weeks ago, I think I shall revert to my original view that XC is not for me.  Good to see Dave Butler out, albeit coming back slowly and sensibly!
Robin McCoy
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13-01-17
Good fun at Claybury! Thought I would struggle to finish after lap 1 but kept going to finish 121st some way behind Robin (and I hadn't done a pr first!). Good to get a long XC in the bank and to run in the county race. In local terms the best XC race there is. Still a lot of club runners shy away from it. We had 10 senior runners but 30 to 40 do the Sunday league.
Dave Butler
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07-01-17
Lamberhurst New Year’s Day 5k & 10k.
I ran the above event with my two nephews; the older one opting for the 5k and the younger one joining me for the 10k.  Both are new to running, having recently started attending their local (Horsham) parkrun and they ran at Lamberhurst 24 hours after completing their second Bedgebury Pinetum parkrun. The Lamberhurst course is a relatively hilly single (5k) or double (10k) loop from the village hall in Lamberhurst taking in the National Trust’s Scotney Castle.   The three of us ran together for the first 5k and then it was all about getting my younger nephew to complete his first 10k without killing him or putting him off running for life! This was duly achieved and we finished with gun and chip times of 54.48/54.28; 129/130 out of 228 finishers.  My elder nephew finished the 5k in 29th place out of 122 finishers with a gun and chip time of 29.40 / 29.20.  As age is most definitely on their side, I’m sure it won’t be too long before they are knocking my 5 and 10k times for six!
Kevin  Cockram
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07-01-17
Cyclopark 10K
I took part in the above race last night at Gravesend.  I cannot recall ever running in such freezing temperatures.  The route is 4 x 2.5K loops of the Cyclopark, well lit except for either end being very dark where I needed my torch (took a head torch but held it in my hand as it was easier).  This did slow me down as well as ill-advised short shorts so my quads got very cold and difficult to lift the legs.  However, I finished in 44.24, first lady and as BRR also won the ladies team prize, I came away with two bottles of wine.  Not bad for a race that cost £6.
Vicky Cooper