Reports 2017 - Ravens Runners London

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Race Reports for 2017
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23-06-17
South Downs Trail Half Marathon
On Saturday I ran the South Downs Trail Half Marathon.  I ran it last year and really struggled with the hills and wanted to give it another go.  This time I decided some hill training should be included in the prep (revelatory I know) so I felt far better equipped this year and am a lot stronger and faster than 12 months ago so wanted to knock a reasonable amount of time off. It was hot but probably a third to half the race has some shade – you also have some lovely trails and great scenery on the route to distract you from the heat and hills.  I decided to carry a water bottle and stopped at each of the three water stations to top up and make sure I was well supplied – was a tough decision as I didn’t want to walk through the water stations but decided that in the conditions it was worth it. I tried not to go out gangbusters as there is a climb which starts at about 5.5 miles and goes continually uphill for 1.5 miles (gently for a mile and then steep for the final 0.5 miles) and my legs were destroyed by that last year.  I wanted to get through that relatively unscathed and then see how things went.  That hill didn’t seem as bad this year and I decided to put in a little walking for the final steep bit to not blow up the legs. There is very little flat up until 11.5 miles with either gentle or tough climbs and some quick descents.  From 7 - 11.5 miles there are lots of steep hills and I ended up doing some walking for 30 seconds at a time on some of these as the legs were knackered and it gave them a break and then pushed on the flat and downhill.  The final mile and a half is lovely and flat so I managed to pick up the pace and put in a decent finish. Last year I ran 2:02:14.  I finished in 1:46:56 this year so just over 15 minutes off, was 45/464 overall, 38/287 males and 26/151 in my age category which I was pleased with. It was a lot of fun hitting the trails and running on dirt / grass / gravel and good to do something a bit different; I would definitely recommend it to people who only do road races. I was struck by the fact that on the hills from about 9 miles onwards a lot of men were having walking breaks but the women kept on pushing on.  The women seemed stronger and better able to keep making steady progress on the hills whereas the guys (myself include) would have a walk break, run past the women on the flat and the bottom part of the hill and then the women would catch up again further up the hill. I tend to do a fair few races with my sister Anna who some of you know.  She did well and finished in 2:24:03.
John Crawley
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23-06-17
Ranelagh Harriers Richmond 10k
John - Well done.  I have no idea how you carved out 15 minutes on such a hot day. Shows your training is really paying dividends. I ran the a Surrey League 10k yesterday - along with Tim Sherman - and I was drenched in sweat before the race even began. It did not get better. Went out with sub-38 in mind but that pace proved suicidal for my current fitness, in that heat and after (maybe touch) too much rum on Saturday night.  Had to stop twice at 5k and 7k as felt decidedly unwell.  Trundled in in 41something which is my worst 10k for quite a while.
Russ Beard
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23-06-17
Ridley Round 2017
Even though it was done as a walk thought I would still send a report. Couldn’t get any Ravens to do the Ridley Round Trail Race this year so ended up walking it with my twin brother. There were a lot of people running it but given the heat it was probably a wise decision not to run though a few cooling beers were of course consumed en route. The route was changed this year so instead of being 5 miles to the first pub it was only 1.8 miles, still round the edges or through the middle of corn fields and a very welcome pint of Ghost Ship at the Green Man. Next pub was 2.4 miles to the Walnut Tree and as it was Ridley Round, a Bishop Nick Ridleys Rite had to be consumed. After this each pub was the 3 miles apart so it was onto the Leather Bottle in Pleshey (Skinners Lushington’s), then the Butchers Arms, North End (Greene King Ale Fresco) and finishing at the Compasses, Littley Green for a Crouch Vale Mosaic. Improved on last year as had no asthma attacks and only fell over once as was watching out for a big puddle in front and failed to spot the hole in the ground! Strava app gave the distance as 22km and walked it in 4hours 30 minutes. There will be some time bonuses – 20 minutes for a pint, 10 minutes for a half but who cares really – it’s a fun day out and never a PB course. After all this walking was concerned about hydration so did have a few more beers in Chelmsford in the evening and a couple more back in Southend.
Andrew Ferguson
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23-06-17
Trail (Half) Marathon Wales
I travelled down to Wales this weekend for the Salomon Trail Marathon Wales at Snowdonia National Park.  There were 9 of us from my local club in the end who had signed up for the Half Marathon route and we made a great weekend of is staying by the sea in Barmouth.  The weather was hot when we left, slightly overcast when we arrived but amazing for the rest of the weekend.  On the morning of the race we weren’t sure how the weather would affect and hadn’t decided if we were just going to run it together but as the gun went we naturally just headed off on our own pace. In the first couple of miles you climb about 400ft then drop 500ft by mile 5.  The climbs were tough but the decents through the forests were insane.  Staying on your feet trying to make up some time and manoeuvre in and around trees, roots etc was a challenge but it was so much fun – some squeaky bum moments for sure!  There were 2 more significant (around 500ft) climbs in mile 5 and 11 and over 2,200ft in total.
My main target was to get under 2 hours and I finished just inside this time with a 1:59 - the winner came home in 1:32 and our club had 2 runners in the top 10.  I felt like I had a bit more in me as I sprinted through the finish line but absolutely no regrets about this race, it was absolutely stunning and I would recommend it to anyone.
Scott Darney
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16-06-17
JP Morgan Frankfurt
I ran the JP Morgan Frankfurt Corporate Championship race yesterday. Beazley somehow managed to win the Mix Race award at last years JP Morgan Challenge in London so JP Morgan fly us out to one of their races to compete against all the other winners. It was an amazing few days with all expenses paid for by JP Morgan!  We ran the Frankfurt course backwards before the main race began so we passed a lot of runners as we approached the finish (their start) who gave us really good support.
The course was good though it is quite tough as there is a long uphill section but this is countered by a really nice long downhill all the way to the finish line.  I finished in a time of 19.56 which is about right given my current form but the winner completed the 5.6km race in 16.30!! I then went and enjoyed the free bar so much so I slept through my alarm this morning and missed my flight home!!!
Alex Hardy
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16-06-17
Olympic Park 10k
Last night was Chasing the Sun again. This time a 10k in the Olympic Park and there was lots of sun to chase this time. Race was 4 2.5km laps starting by the Orbit, past the Aquatics Centre, along the canals round the back of the Stadium and back to the Orbit so a nice scenic run. Unlike the last 2 weeks this was not on trail at all so started off hoping might go sub 45 minutes but came apparent pretty early with the heat that it was not sensible to run that quick. Even after 3k was struggling with the heat and laps turned out to be good as you could get water every 2.5k. Finished in 45:32 which I’m pleased with in the conditions. I know on that course I could go quicker so let’s see if it’s a bit cooler for the July race on the 19th.
Andrew Ferguson
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15-06-17
I agreed to run for Springfield in the EMAC Track & Field Championships at Southend on the basis I could run 3,000m, 5,000m or 10,000m.  Despite not having run on the track in about 40 years, these distances should be ok.  I got my instructions a few weeks back to be told I would be running 1,500m and 200m. The 1,500 went as expected.  Well beaten by Simon Le Mare, but I could see the winners and wasn’t last. 200m next.  My feet appeared to be stuck to the ground.  Last but making up ground. Another 9,800m and I could have won.  There is a nice video of me lumbering into the finish with my club captain, Gary “Chunky” Chandler and current Essex Ladies 1,500m record holder, Liz Davies, laughing loudly from the side.  Sid’s brother, Mark, was kind enough to say that I looked like a marathon runner trying to sprint.  As for the 200m relays….. The track may not be for me.
Robin McCoy
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15-06-17
My tour of London continued last night to Chase the Sun on Clapham Common though you would have had to run a long way last night to find any sun – was a bit cold for June and very breezy. Course was 3 laps round the common with about half of each lap into a head wind and most of it was on trail again. Had a  good battle for first 6k with a runner from East London who was either just behind or in front before she dropped back at start of 3rd lap. Lap times were 15:21, 15:25 and 14:41 according to Strava and finished in 46:13 which is over a minute quicker than Wimbledon Common last week. On to the Olympic Park next week. Hopefully sub 46 minute.
Andrew Ferguson
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15-06-17
National Aqualthon Champs
On Saturday I headed up to Leeds to take part in one of the many events arranged over the weekend (you may have seen the Brownlees smashing  up the Elite triathlon yesterday).  I did the English national aquathlon championships in Roundhay park.  Weather had been poor that morning so the 2 lap course was wet and slippy and a couple of nasty climbs out of transition.  I had a good swim.  I struggled a bit on the hills but found my form on the flats and downhills and ended up winning my Age Group and finished 5th overall (only beaten by 4 young guns in the 20-24 age cat) so pleased to come away as English national champ...
Rob Osborne
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15-06-17
I did the St Albans half marathon this Sunday. It was a warmish sunny day and the course took in some pretty scenic country lanes – although with plenty of climbing. Set off with the aim of running even 4 min km’s and was a bit nervous after a spectacular blow up at the Brighton marathon in April but was able to hold it comfortably and came home 21st in 1;23;57 so pleased with that.
Paul Lucas
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15-06-17
Essex Cross Country 10k Series
I decided to do some off road running this weekend having enjoyed some trail running recently so Ryan and I signed up to this race on Saturday morning in Danbury County Park.  Unfortunately Ryan double booked and decided that getting his barnet chopped was more important (we’ll see soon enough) so I headed up with my fellow Witham Running Club Members.  There wasn’t allot of climbing but it was a hard course to get any momentum as you were constantly descending, ascending, turning or trying to navigate runners, walkers, roots etc, I didn’t really get into it until lap the third and final lap but pleased to finish in 39:27 and 7th overall.
Not 100% sure it was quite 10k though.  The organiser said it that if it was short, it was only be about 100 yards having run the course with one of the wheel measures!  but my watch came in at 5.6m and so did most others and I’m not sure if the week signal in the woods can account for losing 0.5miles but I’ll take it if it means a sub 40m XC 10k!
Scott Darney
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15-06-17
Stansted 10k
On Sunday I took part in the stansted 10k which is a local run to me. I did this when I was a junior but the main draw was that it starts and finishes on a green with a lovely pub. It's a mixture of road and farmers fields / tracks and very hilly! I set off with a group behind the front 4 but they got away about 5k. At the start I wanted to try to run sub 40. Given the terrain and heat was on track untill about 7.5k where I took a slight detour due to a Marshall telling me to keep left but actually meant straight across! This let someone overtake me and I found it hard to keep with him. The hills, heat and Saturday night were starting to take their toll! Managed to finish in 9th position in time of 40.39, was reasonable pleased but good to start getting out and doing some races at weekend.
Sid
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15-06-17
Orpington High Elms 10k
I ran this yesterday. I have been struggling since the Assembly league with a very sore Achilles but rested it for the whole of last week, so that I could try and run this race, as it is one of my favourites (I was second M50 last year and I think it was the my best performance of 2016). It is a very tough hilly off road 10k but nicely challenging and quite scenic - though looking up is not recommended, given the high level of trip hazard! My wife was also running it (only her second ever 10k), so I was keen be there and support her as well. As it was, the race was a struggle for me as the Achilles was not happy at all with being made to race across very uneven terrain and I came in just under 4 minutes slower than last year. Probably an OK result in the circumstances, especially as I fell once as well (standard for me in this race), but frustrating nonetheless. Time 48.13 - generally this race puts 5-10 minutes on your PB, due to the nature of the course. Rob Laing was also there in his Kent AC colours and came 4th overall in a time of 38.44 and picked up the M40 prize.
Marcus Elwes
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15-06-17
Sri Chinmoy 5k - Battersea Park
I had a quick(ish for me) spin around Battersea Park last night in this 5K series.  The course is two half-laps of the park on a wide, flat oval course - it is kind of like a giant track. Finished in 18.03, which surprised me as I have felt a bit sluggish in recent weeks - a consequence of not enough running/motivation post-marathon.  That is my second fastest 5k and a good base from which to attack my PB (17.50 - last summer on the same course).
There are a few of these 5k races on Monday evenings over the summer and if you're in the hunt for a PB I'd urge you to get to them.  The standard is good, so there are always people to chase and push you, and the course offers good PB potential.
Russ Beard
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15-06-17
Woodford Open
Last night I ran the 1500m followed 40minutes later by a 3k race walk. This was a test as in 1 1/2 weeks in the Masters outdoor track championships the 1500m is followed by the 3k race walk 3 hours afterwards.
Ran a PB in 1500m by 0.09 second in 4.42 so was very pleased especially as I had quite a bit left in the tank. I have been doing weekly lactic acid build up runs, which seem to be working as the lactic acid rush I had a couple of months ago, did not happen. Those runs are Adam Hickey's suggestion of 400m at 3k race pace, 1 minute rest, 400m at 1500m race pace, 45 seconds rest, 400m at 1500m race pace,  30 seconds rest, 400m at 1500m pace , 15 seconds rest, 400m at 1500 pace. Mick Judd's is 5 x 600m, 3 to 4 minutes rest between each rep. First 400m at 1500m race pace, next 200m at 800m race pace. Still not sure what to do with the race walk, I did the Essex open champs a month ago where I came 3rd in 17.23 and did 17.52 last night, which are the fastest 2 times in my age group this year, but the standard is low and very few participants. It is not at all tiring and like a tempo run pace. If I sort my technique out I can probably take at least 2 minutes off my time, but I am not sure if I have spare time or inclination to do so. Will be out more with the Ravens after the Masters as then my focus will switch to 10k from 1,500m.
Simon LeMare
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7-06-17
Assembly League
Knowing this is a fast measured course, I decided to ignore the watch again and gun it for as long as possible. It was a typically fast start and I clung onto Sid’s cloak tails for a km or so before setting off after a couple more Ravens (there were lots of new faces last night so apologies I don’t know all the names). Each km hurt a little more, I knew I was slowing with each km after 2km, but focused on maintaining the effort. Stu Fraser stormed past me just before 4km. Managed to keep Ian in my sights but could never really close the gap (great running Ian). Despite every sinew in my legs screaming at me, I managed to put some sort of ‘sprint’ finish in for the last 200m and gained a few places in the process which is always nice.
Crossed the line in 17:35, which (excluding parkruns) is a 5km PB and a 35 second improvement on last year.
Splits (according to the watch – which recorded slightly more than 5km) were:
1. 3:18
2. 3:20
3. 3:31
4. 3:37
5. 3:34
Was certainly fading!
David Wilkinson
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7-06-17
2 4 1 Race reports
Having been popping pain killers all day I wasn’t sure I was going to run Thursday night’s assembly league but decided to have a plod around anyway, my watch wouldn’t start which made pacing harder but settled in behind a Kent AC lady who seemed to have a steady pace. Was a bit concerned to still be able to see a Raven’s vest at 3k but it quickly disappeared, at four and a half k the Kent lady began to pull away and some heavy footsteps behind indicated that a man was going to try to get past me, fortunately I had enough left to deny him the privilege. A shout out from Dave and Marcus helped me get across the finish line in what turned out to be 23.54, no pb but quicker than last year so I was pleased with that.
Sunday saw me line up for the start of the Dorking 10 miles, having run the last mile of the race holding my shorts up last year I was hopeful of a better time! The day was quite humid and I remembered the course as hilly so I settled in to a steady pace and by mile two had a nice space to run in, important as it’s an open road race and pretty much single file. By mile three I’d picked up a bib rustler and a heavy breather but managed to lose them on a hill, however by mile 4 the heat, the hills and possibly Thursdays race started to tell in my legs and I slowed considerably. I finished in 1.34, turns out not holding your shorts up only saves you four minutes, hoping to get stronger for these longer, hilly races.
Donna Henry
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7-06-17
Orion Forest Five
I ran the above race on Saturday; I wasn’t expecting much due to Thursday’s race plus it’s off road so that does take the edge off a bit as its scenic as opposed to fast.  I was in 5th (female) place but couldn’t hold on, I came home in 6th place in 36.07, but first V45 – although I didn’t know as I went for a long cool down afterwards and missed the prize giving.  It’s a nice course with one big hill that you’re waiting for, for ages, then suddenly it appears.  I let my pace drop to preserve energy and then tried to pick it up thereafter. Two more in this series to come.
VICKY COOPER
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7-06-17
Havering 90 Joggers - 5 Mile Race - Elvis Series
I ran the above race last night (yes I know, too many races in a short space of time but that’s it now until the LBH relay on 21st June); the second of the Elvis series. It was windy, the rain came down before we started and produced two wonderful rainbows then that cleared and it was sunny for the race, (though it did rain again when some runners were still racing).  I’ve done this a few times and it’s not a bad course, 2 loops inside and around the outside of Raphael Park, (near Romford) on tarmac paths but finish on the grass.  Legs felt okay and pace was relatively consistent throughout, had a tussle with a guy from H90 but he was stronger and finished ahead of me.  Was conscious I had two guys from my club and Andy Catton behind me, so I couldn’t let up anytime.  I was 5th lady, and first V45 in a time of 34.37, a way off my PB but I certainly wasn’t looking for one.
VICKY COOPER
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31-05-17
Edinburgh Marathon
Currently sat at Edinburgh airport waiting for a BA flight...an appropriate end to a trip that all went a bit tits up about 6 weeks ago when injuries (& potentially a few too many miles) caught up with me & meant very little training. Would have canned it but it was a good opportunity for a couple of days away, a few quiet coffees and a read of the paper without the kids hassling me (just needed to do a marathon to justify it). Gave it good crack going out hard and then blowing at about 18 miles when the lack of training caught up with me - also got the shits. Grizzed out a 2.49 off a run/walk last few miles. Plantar fasciatis kicked off en route so prob won't be out for a while. Back to the bar now - BA just delayed the flight by another couple of beers.
Tom Robertson
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31-05-17
British Sprint Tri Champs
I did the British Sprint triathlon champs in Strathclyde on Saturday.  It was a very hot day even on the outskirts of Glasgow.  I had a decent swim and worked hard on the bike - 4 laps with lots of rises / hills to sap the energy from the legs.  I had very little left on the run and was cramping up but managed to  cling on for Bronze in my age group (40-44) in a strong field so pleased to make the podium for the 3rd time in 3 years. I also got caught up in the BA shenanigans going home but managed to jump on the train without too much fuss and enjoyed a few drinks with a mate on the way home.
Rob Osborne
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31-05-17
HBO 10k
I ran the Hatfield Broad Oak 10k at the weekend with a PB and a sub 38 target in mind.  I have a ton of excuses line up for this one… I moved house on Thursday so Wednesday through to Sunday has been manic and extremely tiring – it was actually nice to get away from the house for a few hours!  I also had a wedding the day before but I held back and only had a 2/3 beers and a glass of champagne – unfortunately I wasn’t as disciplined with the food. My plan was to run as close to 6mm as I could for as long as I could but after a mile I knew I was in for a tough race.  It was a hard undulating course, very difficult to get any momentum and the humidity made things very hard too.  I started suffering a bit from stitch about 3-4km in and from then on it was a battle to avoid full-on stitch and to avoid bringing the previous days food up.  I tried to keep my head down and decided, in the circumstances, a sub 40 would be a good result.  Last 2km managed to push the pace a bit and ran with a girl on my heels.  Gave her a bit of encouragement in the final sprint but I wasn’t going to be a gentleman and held her off on the line to finish in 39:41 – about a minute behind my current PB. Pleased with the time considering, feel like my legs had a bit more in them then the rest of me so hopefully with a few more things going my way I won’t be far off my target in the next (hopefully flatter) 10k.
Scott Darney
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31-05-17
Scott was right though, really tough out there.  I wasn’t fussed about the hills, it was the humidity that did it for me.  I thought I could go sub 38 as well. And didn’t – 38.43.  Still after months of marathon training a good starting point for the summer’s string of 10Ks.  Good to see Phil and family.  Phil was very easy to spot in the crowd with a rather lairy top – nearly as bright as the race t shirt!
Robin McCoy
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31-05-17
London Vitality 10k
Ran this yesterday. Nice course – lots of PB potential, albeit too overcrowded. I’m still regaining full stamina after VLM, so decided to start steady and push on at halfway. Good job really, as it was very congested for the first 3km, so I wouldn’t have been able to run full pelt anyway. Stuck with my recent philosophy of only looking at my watch at halfway. Got to halfway in 19:25 (which was much steadier than intended) and turned on the burners for the second half to finish in 37:41. About 1:30 off my PB. Sort of pleased with the time, but I ran the first half way too slow (as the 1km splits (according to my watch) attached show). I had plenty left in the tank at the end, which is a clear sign I didn’t push hard enough. However, I did run what would be a 5k PB in the second half by 5 seconds (17:16). I find the 10k (physiologically) the hardest distance to race. I never get the pacing right, be it too fast or slow. Hoping to slip under 36 on a 10k this summer. Plenty coming up, so lots of opportunities to do so.
David Wilkinson
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31-05-17
Managed to get a place in the Vitality London 10km yesterday and was aiming for sub 38:47 which I did at my previous 10km earlier this month (cross country). It was my first race back post injury and treatment and realized I wasn’t 100% after the first few km’s with my left calf feeling sore. However I knuckled down in the belief that it’s a relatively flat and fast course and depending on how you position your start, it should be able to provide a PB. I was doing OK and went through 5km at 18:38 which whilst felt fast, I wasn’t struggling with my breathing and felt reasonably comfortable except for the calf. Unfortunately at 8km I saw a woman in front of me collapse so my race ended there as I stopped to try and help her. Fortunately it was a combination of heat exhaustion/dehydration caused by the humidity and being stuck in the starting pen for 25-30 minutes before the start of the race. I stayed with her until paramedics arrived, trying to get her to have sips of water, keeping her cool and talking. After a few minutes she had started to come round and I decided she was in a safe pair of hands with the paramedics. Unfortunately for me my race was effectively over and all other Heathens had passed me, so I thought I’d go flat out to the end and managed to overtake one of them with 200 metres to go. In the end I finished in 44:43 but know that the hard work I’ve put in has had a positive impact and I could probably have done a PB had I pushed on. On a separate note it made me realize how important it is to fill the back of the big number with emergency information. She looked like a competent runner and would’ve been on for a very respectable time. She probably hasn’t had any issues previously with the heat. However, she had no information on her and was lucky that she was conscious enough to confirm her name and answer if she had any allergies etc.
Graham Hollingdale
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31-05-17
I was also in the Vitality race yesterday and saw the paramedics with her at 8km. I heard via supporters that she was in a bad way and was being given CPR later on so well done for stopping and being the first on the scene. I enjoyed the race although like others found it very crowded (over 12.00 runners) and difficult to get much space. I ran without a huge amount of expectations having struggled to get out much in the last few weeks, was carried along by the atmosphere for the first few kms, had huge calf and quad paid that  I’ve never felt before between 4 and 6km but decided at that point that being stuck in the city with miles to get back to Green Park was pointless and needed to carry on.  Luckily by the 7th km the pain had gone and decided to keep with the crowds and push on. I somehow came in at 44.26 taking 1.5mins off my PB and finishing 144th for my age category. I now have the racing bug!
Georgina Miller
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31-05-17
Rye 10 Mile
Following Mr Bubb's exploits at The Great Baddow 10 Mile race; Sunday saw me on the start line for the Rye 10 Mile. I had hoped to follow Phil's advice of looking for a consistent seven minute mile pace, but whether it was the terrain of this particular course or my lack of race technique, my pacing was as varied as the hills we encountered.  It was also reasonably warm, although as a fair bit of the course ran under trees, I don't think that had a significant impact. Reaching the top of the final climb, I realised Phil's thought on my achieving a sub 70 minute time was on a knife edge, so I just tried to push the final half mile in the hope I might make it - unfortunately it wasn't to be as I finished with a chip time of 1.10.26 (1.10.30 gun) - 28th out of 226 finishers. A little disappointed not to have broken the 70 minutes but still relatively happy with a new course PB by 2 minutes flat. The winner (Ben Cockburn of Blackheath & Bromley) was the only runner to achieve a sub 60 minute time (59.19), whilst I later jogged back out along the course to escort in Wadhurst Runners Michael Middleton, who aged 82, brought this years race to a close with a 2.50.00 chip /2.50.37 gun time. Hopefully I'll be at the Assembly League this Thursday with something left in the tank!
Kevin Cockram
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25-05-17
Southern League athletics meeting
So I don't normally report on the shorter races but combined I feel my two runs this weekend are far enough to allow me a report. Yesterday I travelled to Bracknell to race for Blackheath and Bromley in the southern League match. Firstly at 12:30 I ran the 800m. My target for this season was to go sub 2:10. 2:14 was my PB from last season. In my first race this season I had managed 2.11. So knew the target was achievable even this early. As always the initial pace was a shock to the system and a first laps of 63 left me with very heavy legs with 200 to go. Managed to get across the line in what a team mate clocked as 2.09.9. Sadly official time was 2.10.1. Sadly last place as the race was won in 1.56 but still point for the team. At 3.15 I stepped up for the 1500m. Much happier with the pace and a few people to race. Stuck to roughly 70 sec laps. Kicked in the final 200m to overtake two from other clubs. Official finish time of 4.28.3. So happy with that knocking 8 secs off my one 1500m last season. So with still a lot of the summer to go need to revise the targets down a bit.
Chris Tuck
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25-05-17
ITU World champ qualifier
I did the World champs qualifier at Eton yesterday, for the World champs in Rotterdam in September - I  I had an ok swim by my standards but was left behind by former aquathlon world champion Richard Stannard (aka the fish).  About 1km into the bike my chain fell off and got caught on the inside so I had to stop and faff about and lost about a minute as a few groups flew past me.  I resolved to keep going - the main objective being qualification, so latched on to a few different groups (draft legal bike).  Out on the run I left T2 in 5th place and worked back up to 3rd not quite able to reel in 2nd.  I got the fastest run split of our race 18:20 (garmin said 5.15km), and ended up qualifying so pleased with the result knowing it could have been a fair  bit faster !  I also saw Ian George there too who looked like he had a good race too.
Rob Osborne
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25-05-17
Well done Rob that's a top effort. The level at this race was exceptionally high so to bag an automatic place was very impressive indeed. As for me this was my first attempt at a draft legal triathlon having done a duathlon last year. The draft legal format is no easier as I seemed to spend a lot of time riding on my own after trying and failing to make the bike pack that was just up the road after the swim. I eventually got swallowed up by the next pack, however this was totally disorganised and that group soon fell apart  with riders going off the front and getting dropped off the back. I managed to make up a lot of places on the run but not enough for an automatic slot for the World Champs. It was great fun though and all out racing at it's best.
Ian George
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25-05-17
As for me, I was doing a longer distance Tri yesterday, competing for my third time in the Outlaw Half. Still getting slightly quicker as I get older, 45 seconds quicker than last year, with a half marathon tantalising close to 1:30, missing this by just a few seconds in increasingly hot conditions. 4:58:04 finish gave me 6th overall in my age group so good day out (although rather early start, getting up at 3:15am!).
Rupert Holden
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25-05-17
Gothenburg Half Marathon
For my part, I ran the Gothenburg half marathon on Saturday, my first ever overseas race. This event is massive, with over 70,000 people participating and it is quite a feat of organisation (albeit not clockwork like London). There are 25 waves that go off at different times, all of mixed ability. Whilst the course itself is not too challenging (apart from a couple of large bridges across the main river), the sheer number of people make it  something of a challenge, as you spend the entire race (unless you are in Wave 1) overtaking slower runners. It's actually like trying to race during rush hour. Myself and my group who had travelled over together were in wave 22. This meant a lot of standing around at the start, as our wave was due to go over 2 and half hours after wave 1. This also meant that many people had finished the race and were back with their medals before we had even started, which was a strange experience. When we finally go underway at 3:37pm, we had to pick our way through other slower runners (and walkers), discarded drinks cups, gel sachets, doughnuts, ice-creams, sponges and every other manner of obstacle. It was certainly an experience, but not one that was necessarily entirely enjoyable and played havoc with my niggles. I was happy enough in the circumstance to finish just under 1:40. In honesty, I am not sure I could have been any quicker in those conditions. It was nice to finish in the stadium as well. It is apparently the largest organised race in the world and from that point of view it was great to have done it. The support was amazing and the city is worth visiting. Other than that, however, I am not sure I would rush to do it again! It was just a bit too crazy...
Marcus Elwes
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25-05-17
Hogsmill 5
I first ran this lovely ladies only race last year and desperately wanted to beat last years time. The start is on the athletics track and I lined up at the very front of the start line, since I’d finished in 15th place last year my plan  was to hang on to the front group as long as possible. The first two miles were road and trail and went fine but then a period of relatively long grass and having to jump a stray dog took it’s toll and I started to drop pace, a relatively small hill in the last mile finished me off and by the time I reached the track for the final 800m I was gasping for air. Finish time 41.15, 15th place again although slower than last year.
Donna Henry
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25-05-17

Big East (Bradwell) Challenge Distance Triathlon
Very well done to Rob and Ian at Eton Dorney, Rupert at the Outlaw and all other racers this weekend! I had a go at an Olympic Distance Race (albeit a shorter swim and slightly longer bike) on Sunday – I went into this just aiming to do it and enjoy it. It’s the race most local to me and yet I’ve never done it. Some of you may be aware my fiancée (Madz) is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma (treatment going very well) – so my running etc. has taken a big back seat and I’ve been training when and where I can. I was really looking forward to this and so was Madz being my number 1 supporter and having never missed a single triathlon of mine. You can therefore imagine both of our absolute delight and shock when I crossed the finish line in 1st place!!!!! The swim was tidal and I felt really relaxed and strong, using my sailing knowledge to put myself in the right position for the tide – I exited the water 1st and ran the 200/250m to transition very pleased. This was short lived as I realised I had forgotten to put socks in transition as planned, so my thoughts turned to a painful 10km run pretty quickly!  On the bike I had to remind myself it was a longer race and to pace myself – I was just waiting for someone to overtake me on the bike as happens in nearly all my races. 5, 10, 15 and 20 miles passed and nobody overtook me – I couldn’t believe it and came into T2 still in 1st. I knew I had several minutes over 2nd place as the start of the run course overlapped the end of the bike course but having never raced this distance before I wasn’t counting my chickens yet. The first 4.5km (ish) was on the road – the second half along trail on the seawall. I did look back at various points and couldn’t see anybody in sight. The last 3km where very tough, my lack of race fitness definitely showed , with a headwind on the rough seawall and my feet torn up, I was finding it very tough going indeed. I crossed the line absolutely knackered (not been that tired in a very long time, VLM 2014) and absolutely delighted too! Turns out there was a 10 minute gap back to 2nd place so I didn’t need to stress during the run. Still no idea how I managed it, think I had a lot of emotional energy stored up and just had a great day. Looking forward to getting Madz back to full health and then getting back into the swing of things myself. One last important point, sport has really helped me over the last few months as a stress relief etc. so if you are unfortunate enough to be in a similar position with a loved one being ill, I’d implore you to maintain some training no matter how small or infrequently for their (and your) sake.
George Wakefield
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25-05-17
Beckenham relays
There were 4 Ravens running last night in this event, Tim, Chris, Graham and myself. This is the 6th year in succession I have run this event and it is one of my favourite races, both from a running and social point of view. The course is a shortened version (just over 4km) of the old AL course with the finish up the same long upward stretch. I ran in a team of over 50's which came in 34th out of 122 teams and ran a very similar time to previous years for my leg (16:43). Chris ran 14.26 and his team came 5th overall, just holding off our first team. Tim ran 14.27 and his team came 3rd. Graham (15.22) I think it was fair to say was in a more 'mixed ability' team which came in 48th.
Marcus Elwes
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19-05-17
Elvis 1 - Dagenham 88
I ran the above race last night along with Alex Hardy (Orion), Andy Catton (Ilford) John Crawley (Ravens) and his sister Anna (independent).  It was a 5 mile course, one small loop followed by two larger loops around Eastbrook End Country Park in Dagenham where the terrain was mixed to say the least and there were more switchbacks than I care to remember.  I started very near the front and thought I might get 2nd lady as the first lady (Hayley Pegg, Chelmsford) is a very good runner and none of the faster females from the local clubs (East London Runners/Eton Manor) seemed to be in attendance. I ran as hard as I could, for as long as I could; the race just seemed relentless, I managed to finish as 2nd lady in a time (according to my watch) of 35.30.  Not bad for a race in the pouring rain.
Vicky Cooper
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19-05-17
Had a lot of fun last night running through and hurdling puddles and was a good field with lots of people around my ability to compete against.  I enjoyed the course which was trail, grass, dirt or gravel.  I ran well at the beginning and then faded a bit but managed to pick it up for the final mile.  Finished in 33.07 which would have probably been 33.00 but for the fact that during the second loop there was a point where the person in front had pulled away and I came to a fork and had to start shouting for a steward to tell me whether to go straight on or head off to the right.  Awaiting results so not sure where I finished.  Pleased with my time as it was off road.
John Crawley
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19-05-17
As Vicky said I also ran this race and finished in 30.50 which I think was around 12th place. I was quite happy with the result due to the conditions and the off road course especially as I have been unable to train properly for the last few weeks due to illness.
Not the best prep either as I decided to go home first and then drive to Dagenham from Hertford this took about 1 ¾ so I arrived just in time for the start but didn’t have time to attach my number so had to run with it in my hand for the whole race!
Off to the US next week but should be back the week after and hopefully back out at lunchtime. Well done to the other runners and Vicky for her 1st, 1st and 2nd not a bad run of results J
Alex Hardy
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17-05-17
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside................Hastings parkrun
On the back of recent outings, I decided it was worth a visit to the coast to try my hand at a slightly less undulating parkrun than my usual one at Bedgebury. I'd looked at the weather forecast on Friday night but was still a little disappointed to find it slightly breezier than would have been ideal - this no doubt helped on the outward leg but was a distinct disadvantage on the return! Finished in 5th place out of 224 parkrunners with a new parkrun PB of 19.36 (first time under 20.00) - 1st in my age category with an age grade of 74.06%, which was second best age grade to a VW 65-69 who posted a very impressive 85.18%. Mile splits of 5.54, 6.24 and 6.40. With a bit of speed work and a calmer day, this course has more to offer in the way of potential PB's so I have every intention of a return visit.
Kevin Cockram
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17-05-17
Great Baddow 10 mile race
Yesterday I lined up on the start line along with robin (fresh from Halstead marathon) last Sunday also saw Garry pitman. I was a hot morning with a nice head wind for the 1st 4 miles along with a hill which seemed to go on for ever, then a nice down hill then a bit up and down. By mile 8 I was gone and was hanging on for dear life.
Managed to cross line in 67.57 which is a course pb of 2 mins and 40 secs outside my pb set 4 years ago only downside got chicked  by 1 min. On to the next one with my head held high.
Dave Miller
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17-05-17
Also spotted, Lyndon, who ran a PB.  I planned to run 6.30s to get me home in 65.  I ran the first 2 miles at 6.10s, and then slowed down mile by mile.  The last mile was tougher than any marathon I have done.  A PW of 65.58 (but not chicked). Only myself to blame.  Time to take a rest! I did like the sign at 5 miles that said “Half Way”. This must have been for visiting Kent runners.
Robin McCoy
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17-05-17
Well I was another of the merry bunch of Ravens in the Elite start ! In preparation for the Bubb v Cockram challenge I had a cunning plan based upon Wiley Coyote. I purchased via ACME supplies a dog sled harness which I was going to attach to Mr McCoy aka Road Runner but as with all plans it failed miserably which just left me with the option of running. I will obviously be forever in awe of the person in a race that now goes past Robin and lives with the immortal line ‘MEEP MEEP!!’ I have to admit I was brilliant to the first corner and even dipped in front of said Road Runner for what must have been a hundredth of a second so in case Kevin wins I always have that to fall back on. My plan was 7.12 minutes for a 72 minutes finish and I was only 6 seconds of that pace upto mile 7 and no idea what happened there but lost about 30 seconds on that mile but everyone else seemed to struggle there, I was only just off the pace for the last two miles. Finished in 72:45 which is a 90 second PB ……Very happy with the PB and that 9 of the 10 miles were good just a bit more Hill work I think.
Lyndon Bubb
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17-05-17
Rochford 10K
Well, not to get in the way of the Bubb Vs Cockram challenge, I had my own race yesterday.  I competed in the Rochford 10K (surprised not to see Gary there, he’d obviously escaped to Great Baddow), and got a bit of a shock when I discovered it was mainly on grass and not on road as I had thought.  It started on a tarmac road, went through a bit of a farm, farm tracks and “a riverside embankment by the River Crouch”.  Running on the grass on the bottom part was not great footing due to tractor tyres that had obviously gone over it, then dried.  However, that was nothing compared to what we got when we went up a short hill and started running in the opposite direction.  The wind was a real problem, brutal! and the dodgy footing continued, make it quite rough to run on.  There was about 3.5K of this surface before going back down a hill at the other end of the path at the side of the estuary, back along rough grass before retracting our footsteps back the way we had come.  I started at the front of the start line and took the female lead from about 2K.  I kept the lead, finishing in 43.56, 2 minutes ahead of the next female, 24th overall from 333 finishers.
VICKY COOPER
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10-05-17
The other Marathon (Southampton) Report
The other marathon…
Being I think the only person to run a marathon the same weekend as the London but not the London I thought I would take my time writing a report and enjoy reading some of the brilliant efforts at London.
I undertook the Southampton marathon which was the first one since 1983 and incidentally my home town and having run the half marathon the last two years took up the challenge to run the marathon as I haven’t done one in a few years.  The course itself is an undulating 2 lap course with a big bridge thrown in at the end.  You can see from the strava link at the end what the course looked like and how my time broke down. The day itself was a nice cool start perfect for marathon running with about 1300 in the marathon another 4000 doing a half and another 1500 doing a 10K.
It was probably the most relaxed start I have ever had to a race, no cues at the loos easy bag drop and people starting in the appropriate pens, even so friendly I could go a nice warm up and turn up 5 minutes before the start and my place was still available at the front.  I lined up and just told myself stick to the time don’t do the usual and go off at some unsustainable pace that would make me pay later.  It was a very enthusiastic start with a camera man running (or sprinting to get out of the way for the first 50 meters ) and the mayor of Southampton blowing her horn with everyone else that was running the other races cheering you on.
I thought I would get to the first corner and see how the bunch of runners in the sub 3 pen started.  To my surprise and how it had looked in my dreams I was at the front, ok this felt strange am I running a stupid pace (checks watch) no, ok am I dreaming no… the first person went past ok so back to reality.  In the build up to the race I had felt, fat, lethargic, injured and unfit, on the day I felt brilliant the tapering advice from Phil, Lee, Pat, Vicky et al was fantastic I have never felt so good.
What felt like cruising along at 6:30 per mile I let a few people go past and knowing that it was a marathon happily let people go off without trying to race.  I soon settled into a rhythm and felt good, large parts were run on my own but thankfully along the way people helpfully shouted my position which was 10th
As the miles seem to fly off I was continuing to hit the times I wanted and as half way approached I was closing down on some of the people who had gone off a lot quicker and were paying for it now.
The issue with the second lap that I knew before the race started would be with the marathon going off at 9am the half marathon at 10 and 10K at 10:30 (running a course that joined the end of the marathon / half marathon)  If on target I would go through halfway in 1:26ish giving me a 15 minute buffer from the back of the half and just ahead of the 10K crowd.
Thankfully I averaged 6:30 for the first half which was putting me on for a solid 2:50 time , and in fact went through half way in 1:26:09 so bang on.
The issues started at mile 14 the first back marker from the half marathon, the sun had also come out to play so it was I was not only battling getting around people I was battling the weather.
Steadily as I ate up the miles I hit more and more people but with only a bit of weaving I thought that wasn’t too bad but every mile the crowds became bigger and bigger and my shouts to get out of the way were getting more frustrated, although the Marshals were trying and a lot of the runners apologised for getting in the way which was nice it was still a massive pain and an unwanted distraction.
By Mile 18 the constant weaving was beginning to take its toll on my a lot more than I thought at the time. My times per mile started slipping and by the last few miles combined with a really annoying long drag of a bridge which is ½ mile each way took a lot out of me.  It was horrible hitting the bridge and like the M25 on a bank holiday you couldn’t really move or run.  Nevertheless and with my calves burning I plodded on still believing I was on for a sub 3 hours even by 10 seconds.
The last few miles were the hardest digging deep and thinking of all the hard work I had done I pressed on thinking I could die once I crossed the line, I could see the finish line in sight and at that moment I got a glimpse of my watch and it said 3 hours……
I couldn’t believe it, thinking I must have got something wrong or the course was long as when I finished it was 26.5 but I later realised this was the waving effect, I finished in 3:01:20.  To say I was gutted at the end was an understatement, I crossed the line collected my non-alcoholic beer and just found an empty space and sat on the floor feeling rather sorry for myself and trying to understand what had gone on, I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry, needless to say at least one those emotions surfaced.
Hindsight is a great thing and reflecting on it I can take some positives, firstly without the support knowledge and drive of everyone at the Ravens none of this would have been possible, I am really in awe of everyone at the club and used it for motivation and inspiration when I needed to dig deep in the race and training.
I have a notebook of improvements so there is a lot that I can improve on to hopefully smash this time next time around.
This was a 8ish minute pb for me which is great.
I finished 13th overall and 7th in my category.
I did actually average 6:51 a mile which is sub 3 hours its just I ran .3 of a mile more so technically ive run under 3 hours.
Qualifying for London GFA
I could moan about the organisers and how they could do it better but this is the first marathon they have done and the previous half’s have and did get better over the last few years. They will take all the comments away and make it bigger and better from last year, I did even email the race director and got a nice response so am hopeful of that.
My only dilemma now is coming to the end of my job at Lloyds is the location of any new role is influencing my decisions as I now probably wrongly look at how close to tower bridge it is for the lunchtime run.  Unfortunately some of the roles are also based in Kensington / Sloan square so that might be a bit far for a lunchtime run, but I could always set up a sister group around Battersea J
Here are the run details
Have a great weekend.
Duncan Anderson
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10-05-17
HALSTEAD MARATHON
Such a contrast to London! Less than 500 people around the (very) undulating North Essex countryside.   I hadn’t really thought about a time- the 2 times I did back to back marathons I dropped about 25 minutes for the second race, although that was Boston/London which were 6 days and a flight apart.  3.10 had a ring to it. I hadn’t thought about pacing at all and went through the first half in the same pace as London, 1.27.  I then caught up with a chap who was running his 15 marathon of the year! He wanted to join the Hundred Marathon Club, and was clearly in a hurry.  We slowed down to 2.15 for 20.  Only a 45 minute 10k to get sub 3! Nope. Neither of us fancied it, and slowed down further to enjoy the now very sunny jog into the finish.  3.01.30.  Delighted.  V50 Trophy and Essex V50 Silver Medallist (i.e. the first Essex V55 beat me).  Scott Rice was very happy with a 2.55, and apart from that no other Ravens – assuming Scott ever was a Raven.  Really well organised (no queues for loos = whole new marathon experience).  Good tech t shirt and a bigger medal than London!
Robin McCoy
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10-05-17
Regents Park 10km
Yesterday I competed in the second of the summer series 10km’s in Regents Park. It is a gentle 3 lap course which does, unfortunately, lead to you catching a significant number of slower runners on the final lap. It’s a well organised event without hoards of people. I tried to go out fast to use up the nervous energy at the start and then settle into a good rhythm. Unfortunately this rhythm left me running on my own for the last two laps as the bunch of runners in front of me were a minute down the road. This seemed to work quite well, although I had a lull between 7 and 8km, but from that moment I managed to pick it up and have a drive to the finish. I finished 10th in 37.01 which is a pb by 55 seconds so pretty happy and indicates I’m moving in the right direction.
Tim Harman
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10-05-17
Darent Valley 10k
My decision to take the Assembly League easy on Thursday night paid dividends, as I managed to put in an improved performance in this 10k race, after the slightly lacklustre run in the Ted Pepper 10k on the Bank Holiday Monday previously. As you can probably tell by the name, this is an undulating but very picturesque course in one of the nicer parts of Kent. Not a PB course. but it has its fast sections and, if you manage the hills OK, you can make decent fist of it. I went out quite hard a the start, maintaining a strong pace for the first 5k, before I began to flag a bit for the next 2km, which actually go off road for a section before re-joining the main road back to the race HQ in Eynsford. The last stretch is straight and long, although still fairly hilly. I was able to pick the pace up a bit and pushed hard, recording my two fastest k's of the race at the end, which was very pleasing. Came home 69th out of a field of just under 700, 9th in my age group in a season's best time of 41:48, only 12 seconds slower than last year's time in this race. Very happy with that, in the circumstances, as it indicates a continuing return to form.
Marcus Elwes
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10-05-17
For me, I ran The Ox HM, a hilly, off-road half on the Rushmore Estate in Wiltshire, having been able to swap from a 10K the day before (when I signed up online, there were no HM places available, it was showing as full).  I had a fantastic race; other than the Orion 15M XC back in March, I’d never done anything like this before and tbh, even that wasn’t comparable.  I had no pre-conceptions of what it would be like, just that it would be a bit difficult and so to just go out, have fun and enjoy it.  I started off at the front and it was a fast downhill start; one lady took the lead and I just followed her and tried where possible to stay on her tail.  There were two extremely large hills that had to be walked up.  I just flew the downhills as much as possible.  The terrain was very mixed, grass fields, short bit on a farmers field (with permission), chalky roads, woods, narrow tracks through the forest, trail/cinder paths, wild garlic fields etc.  I managed to get past first lady through the narrow forest tracks and loved that part of the course.  The sun wasn’t out and although it was a bit windy, the temperature was just right.  There was a guy in front who I was just trying to keep in sight.  I ignored the first two aid stations but took a drink at the third and ploughed on.  I had a run with another club runner from down that way and we had a bit of a chat whilst walking very quickly up a hill later in the race.  Then off we went again and I knew I was relatively near the end as I’d run two 10K loops the day before with my other half who was doing a 50M ultra.  I sprint finished across the grass, first lady home with a huge smile on my face; it was amazing.  I finished in a time of 1.50.58.  The next lady after me was 1.55.47.  The first man home who runs for GB finished in 1.35.24.  I was 17th out of 316 finishers.  A great day out, especially after my 21.25 parkrun the day before at Salisbury.
Vicky Cooper
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10-05-17
Sutton 10k
I played (well I was on the pitch – “played” takes it a bit far) football for the first time in 2 years, and the second time in about 10 years, on Thursday against clients for work (sorry, duty bound, hence not at AL).  The result: aching muscles I had long forgotten existed and sore knees – a package of aches and pains which rivalled my typical post-marathon experience.  Consequently, I approached the weekend and my first 10k of the summer with a little trepidation. I bumped into Mr Sherman on the start line and was pleased to keep him in sight for a couple of kms, before he drifted out of sight (Tim finished in a very creditable 36.35).  An uneventful race for me – after it settled down, I was running in a lot of space and I can only recall overtaking about 3-4 people, two of whom took their revenge in the final km or so as tired legs got the better of me. 38.09, which would have been a big PB this time last year, but falls nearly 30 seconds short now.  A solid base to start the summer season in which I hope to target something beginning with a 36.
Russell Beard
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10-05-17
Hastings 5 Mile
A flat, fast course along the seafront, the conditions were pretty good, cool and not much headwind.  I got boxed in at the start but things shook out quite quickly and I was able to get into my stride.  I was amazed to see my watch record a 6.06 first mile (this is quick for me) but my run at the Assembly League on Thursday night gave me the confidence to push on.  During the fourth mile I was trading places with two other runners and this no doubt helped propel me to finish with a provisional 54th place out of 545 finishers and a chip time of 31.50 – a course PB by 01.16. I’m pretty pleased with this – for once as I went to retrieve my bag, the lack of other finishers was notable (for a few minutes anyway!) and three of my fellow Wadhurst Runners who I normally compete with but generally follow across the finish line, all subsequently commented how they could get nowhere near me on the day – a nice change. When I looked at my watch data later, it had recorded my fourth “tussle” mile as 5.29 (I’ve never knowingly run under 6.00), an 18.41 5k (somewhat quicker than the 19.46 it credited me with last Thursday) and a total mileage of 5.21 for a five mile race! I’m somewhat sceptical of some of this data as the course passes under cover for part of its route; however, I know this race represents a very good outing for me and I’m still buzzing.
Kevin Cockram
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5-05-17
10km relay race
Results were; Ravens Men and Women won their respective races in the teams of 2. It was a 10km relay race with each runner doing 2.5km twice alternating which wasn’t great for the legs on the resting in between. The men’s team were only 30 metres behind the winning team of 4 men who were all fresh having only run one lot of 2.5km each. The Women’s team won by quite a distance from what I saw so a really good performance. Georgina & Alex for Women, Me & Tim Ayres for Men. Really good event and thanks to Vicky for organizing it!
Graham Hollingdale
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5-05-17
Hackney Half Marathon
After the warm up 5k on Thursday, this was the first proper race since December. In training I have been doing 8:20 – 8:30 miles so lined up with the intention of maybe running 1:55.
First mile was duly done in 7:45 so revised plan was to keep one of the five 1:45 pacers in sight and just see what happens. Miles were ticked off and still seemed to be keeping around 8:00 mile pace. By mile 7 all but one of the 1:45 pacers were  behind me and everything still was going good. Kept up around 8 minute miles and was very pleased to finish in 1:45:33. Had been nowhere near this in training so was a bit of a surprise but just goes to show what can happen on the day. No issues from the back injury as well during the race so all pretty positive for me.
Andrew Ferguson
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5-05-17
Ted Pepper Memorial 10k
Ran this yesterday. As many of you will know, this was the event RD'd previously by our very own Andy Tucker and, whilst he was officially not in charge of proceedings this year, you would have been forgiven for thinking otherwise as he beavered and bustled around directing everyone as usual like the busy thing that he is. Hopefully next year he can actually enjoy the event (or god forbid, even run it!). Conditions were good for the largely off road/woodland run, although we did have light rain for the first time in ages, which was actually quite welcome. I started out quite hard but predictably faded mid-race before coming back a bit towards the end and managed to finish in 44th place (out of 380 - a record attendance for the race), 9th in my age group, in a time of just over 42 minutes, 2 minutes slower than last year, so the general running malaise continues. Graham was also there and finished in 20th place in a highly commendable 38:48. The winner ran 34.33 which I believe was a new course record.
Marcus Elwes
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5-05-17
Agree with Marcus, it’s a good course and near perfect conditions apart from the headwind and rain for the first part. I went out hard as well and was clinging on by the end. I had Tim Ayres (part-time Raven and partner from last weeks’ 10km relay) running on my shoulder telling me to push on (mind games) only to then sprint finish as we came back into Norman Park running track in the final 300 metres. The winner, Ross Brayden from B&BH was actually 2 seconds off beating the course record – something he wasn’t aware of until after the race. I would recommend this race next year to others based in Kent and it’s grown in popularity. Mixture of woodland, fields, and paths with water stations, markers, good number of marshalls to direct, and well organized. The field started off with a limit of 250 but sold out quickly and eventually opened up to 450 entrants. Nice medal at the end and a free pair of running socks.
Graham Hollingdale
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5-05-17
Witham May Day 5
I entered the Witham May Day 5 to see how close I am to one of my 2017 targets of breaking 30 mins for 5 miles.  It’s my local club race and the route is one I’ve done hundreds of times in training but it’s not really considered a fast course as it gets very windy when you run out into the exposed country lanes and it’s slightly undulating.  For this reason (and the fact that I’ve not done enough speed work since Manchester Marathon) I didn’t expect to go under 30m this time but I planned to give it a go anyway and tried to run as close to 6:00 m:m as I could for as long as I could. I managed it for the first 3 miles before we turned and ran into the wind and I saw and felt my pace slowing down, so I decided 30mins probably wasn’t likely but I could still get under my current PB of 30:38 set on the same course in the Boxing Day 5 last year so I tried not to worry about the sub 30 and push on.  We got some shelter from the wind as we came back into Witham and I was able to pick up the pace again for last mile and make up some time but in the end it wasn’t quite enough and I crossed the line in 30:08. I’m pleased overall as it was still a PB by 30 seconds and I had quite an enjoyable (and helpful!) tussle with a Colchester Harrier from mile 1 through to the end which was even more enjoyable because I managed to overtake him and push on with one final effort in the last ½ mile!
Scott Darney
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5-05-17
I run the above race yesterday with the intention of beating my last 5 miler 4 weeks ago of 32.06. The weather yesterday was cloudy and rather windy so a pb was out of the question. Started off the race at a pace of 6.16 and in my head tryed to stick to this pace, how the wind was blowing in my face, mile 2 and 3 were 6.18 and by mile 4 was 6.24. Had a nice battle with a guy from Witham running club. Not sure how I managed but run 6.10 in last mile, crossing the line in 31.44 beating my time by 20 seconds from 4 weeks ago guess that's what you call progression. James wright from this parish won the race in 27 something.
David Miller
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5-05-17
ETU Duathlon Championships Race
I am still in pain from this event in Soria, Spain on Sunday. I am very grateful that I elected to do the Sprint Distance, 5km run - 20km bike and 2.5km run rather than the full distance which is double that. Besides the inhospitably tough terrain, the weather turned ugly for those fellas with 25mph gusts of wind and rain to boot. Soria is designed on a slope and the run leg consisted of running up and down the park 6 times which just felt like a hills interval session. I managed the first run in just under 19 minutes before transitioning onto the bike. The bike course was equally silly with 60m of elevation which we descended and ascended 4 times in the 20km stretch. Climbing was tough and coming down was terrifying at 45mph with a cross wind. A minor wrong turn at the end of the bike and lack of endurance saw me limp home in 1:13 (about 10 minutes slower than I would cover this distance on a normal course) in 27th place. I finished behind 12 GB athletes (including the Silver medal in my AG) who made up over 400 of the weekend's participants but managed to beat the guy who beat me at Windsor a couple of weeks ago. Based on that and a superbly organised event, I'm calling it a good result but my legs aren't ready to give me any kudos for putting them through that just yet.
Denzel De Bie
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5-05-17
Assembly League – Victoria Park



Get my race report in quickly as I’m on a course this morning: Meant to start at the front but once again didn’t (note to self, stand next to Lyndon in future)! Then  got boxed in, that didn’t help so slowed on the first mile.  However, splits were 6.35, 6.40, 6.50 then 6.29 for last mile.  Totally knackered, beat my nemesis from EM, didn’t beat the man I usually have a good race with from Kent but I did the best I could on the night (he finished about 8 places in front of me).  23.30 by my watch, not sure of the official time.  As usual great to see a strong team, some outstanding performances and Astrid had a first great inaugural race too.
Vicky Cooper
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5-05-17
Rather bizarrely I turned up yesterday evening feeling quietly confident having come first at my local park run on Saturday with a pretty sizable PB. I decided to try to run this race at an even pace which meant not starting off too fast. I had a battle with Sid for the first mile or so at which point I began to pick up the pace and just worked my way through the field picking off as many other runners as possible. With about a mile to go I spotted David Wilkinson and decided that I needed to get past him as quickly as possible as my sprint finish is normally rather pathetic. Fortunately I managed to hang on and even made up a few places in the last 100 meters. I finally came home in 19.47 with mile splits of 5.41, 5.44, 5.40 and an average of 5.29 for the last half mile. Even though I didn’t get the time I had hoped for at the Brighton marathon it does appear that I have found some form over the shorter distances. We done to all the other Ravens who ran there were some great performances all round.
Ian George
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5-05-17
I decided to try for an even pace rather than my usual setting off too fast and running out of steam. After the first mile I thought I'd maybe picked a too fast pace but by then I was running side by side with another lady so I decided to ignore the negative voice and try to stick with her. By mile 2 I was gasping and gurning and felt like we were running in circles and as we hit mile 3 my new best friend pulled away and I couldn't quite stay with her but I finished in a pb for the distance.
Donna Henry
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5-05-17
Having lost my father last week this race was a welcome distraction- I find running is a great way to take your mind off things. I consciously decided to start off more conservatively than my recent kamikaze starts this made the first half of the race more comfortable but I still suffered in the last mile. I swapped leads with Rob Laing a couple of times (Rob you're not the best wind shelter!) before he pulled away at the end. I managed to pick up a couple of places in the last third finishing with 18:45 by my watch which I was pleased with. A good turn out and some great performances by the ravens. Always a good buzz and great camerarderie.
Rob
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5-05-17
My race. Went off fast(for a change) 5:26 first mile. Slowed to 5:40s for the rest. With about half a mile to go chap from Dulwich decided to fly past me. Was having none of that. Went after him and caught him with about 100ms to go and duly passed a fair few as collateral damage. Finished in 19:21 just behind James from Cambridge who comes to reps who then informed me he'd had 3 beers at lunch. Excuses excuses. Felt I could have pushed earlier but that might just be hindsight. This is 18 secs quicker than I have ever gone on this course so all in all fairly happy and believe I made the scoring team again. Well done all. Great to see Ravens vests in numbers.
Chris Tuck
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5-05-17
As for my race, this was done off the back of the Hackney Half on Sunday so was the third time in a week been in Victoria Park for running, Started off quick (for me!) with first mile in 6:45 and slowed in down a little to 7:08 and 7:3 for miles 2 and 3. Had a good battle with a Kent runner but could tell he was tiring by the amount he was looking at his watch. Last mile was at 6:49 pace finishing in 24:35 bit slower than last but enjoyed then run and more importantly, no problems with the back again.
Andrew Ferguson
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5-05-17
As for my race, started at 5:40 min/mile pace and managed to hold that for the entire race to come home in 19:48 by my watch. With the marathon still in the legs, the hamstrings in particular were screaming at me in the last mile, so I had little in me for the final stretch and lost a few places as a result. 42 seconds quicker than last August though, so I’m happy with the time but would like to run sub-19:30 with fresh legs next time. Great to see so many Ravens on the course and some cracking times. Well done.
David Wilkinson
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5-05-17
No real race report from me, as did not really race, as we had a big turnout of faster runners this time and I was never going to be a scorer, so decided to take it easy and start from the very back. Consequently, a PW from me (23:20) but feel better today for not going flat out.
Marcus Elwes
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5-05-17
Even by my standards I started too far back (I think only Marcus and a couple of other runners were behind me) and consequently I found myself a little boxed in, but as this was post marathon and there were plenty of scoring Ravens in front, I wasn't overly concerned.  Realised after around 0.5 miles I was feeling quite good, so just tried to keep going with mile time splits of 6.19, 6.26, 6.26 to finish with my watch time 21.58, although I know the official time will be slower - last August time was 23.03 so I'm quite happy. I have a new fangled watch which declared I'd run a 19.46 5k (probably a PB at this distance but as it was within a race I guess it doesn't count) and a max heart rate of 193 BPM - I'm sure this can't be too good but I felt fine so I'm not going to worry overly......for once!
Kevin Cockram
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5-05-17
Well I managed to strategically place myself on the grass outside of the pack so got a reasonable start, at roughly a mile in a certain Mr Cockram sailed past and although he says he only offered words of encouragement all I heard was ‘Move it Fat Boy’  which spurred me on !!
I’m afraid I work in these new-fangled kilometres and my plan was to try to beat my new PB from the Ravens 5km last week and then just hang on.  The Garmin was having a few GPS Issues and only recorded 5.3km (with splits fluctuating all over the place) as opposed to everyone else who seemed to get 5.6km but I believe I went through 5km in 20:30 which was faster than last week and finished in 23:05 about a minute quicker than last year.
Lyndon Bubb.
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25-04-17
Windsor Sprint Duathlon
Temperatures were ideal as we waited for the starting gun but a steady 12mph head wind had already started to blow down the course. I noticed the pink compression socks of a guy who regularly places well and decided that he would be my pacer for the opening run. The first 5km run was uneventful and was going neatly according to plan for the first 1.25km.. then we turned into the wind! Fortunately, there was a 6"6 mountain of a man just ahead of me and, while drafting is illegal on the bike section, I did it shamelessly in this section... coming into the last km I exchanged words with pink socks only to find that he was doing the standard distance and I was pacing my 5km off a 10km runner... finished the 5km in 19:10 going into the bike leg but the lost 30-60 seconds here were going to cost me positions. The bike section was one of the most enjoyable I have ever had. However, the tailwind was sheltered with the cover only breaking to expose the headwind on the finishing stretch of the 4 lap course. Enter lesson number 2 about trying new things on race day. I had just fitted a power meter to my bike and decided to pace myself using only an objective power reading rather than worrying about how fast I was going. I have since checked and found my bike power meter reads 5%-7% higher than the one I use to assess my functional threshold power... not an embarrassing bike leg but I think I could have pulled in close to a minute here if I'd been racing smart instead of fun. As always, the last section, another 5km run was more about seeing what was left than any sensible pacing strategy. Despite an easier run than intended and a bike which was well within my threshold, I was still blown going into the run and had to wait for about 1km before my legs joined me on this last section. I managed to pull back one position in the second run (19:50) but generally struggled here with thoughts of stopping screaming in my head for the first 10 minutes. As always, all was forgiven with 5 seconds of crossing the finish line and I've decided to ascribe most of my slow time to 'the conditions' rather than blame myself. Lots of people out as a final jaunt before the European Duathlon Championships in Soria, Spain in 2 weeks, including the Grenadier Guard  who finished one place in front of me. I'm taking this weekend's lessons with me and, if nothing else, I'm beating that guy in 2 weeks. 13th overall and 5th in the over 40s.
Denzil De Bie
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25-04-17
Assembly League:
"I came to the race with the goal of beating my time from last September, to see what progress (if any) I had made since then. Unfortunately, hitting that goal was never going to be achievable once the organisers decided to change the course!
I started quite near the back and set as a new goal the task of overtaking as many people as possible before the finish line.  Unlike my first Assembly League race last year, where there was pretty much one-way traffic passing me from the start, this time I was able to take the race to others, gradually reeling people in and focussing on keeping the pace up, rather than putting in a big effort to pass a runner and then finding myself dropping back again.  The last hill was as uncomfortable as usual but at least this time I knew the finish line wouldn't be far off the top, so I was able to push on past a number of runners in front of me and finish in (I think) 22.47 (I say I think as unfortunately I was too slow to make it onto the results list Vicky sent round last week – hey ho!). Next stop Vicky Park, where hopefully there will be no change to the course and I will be able to do a like for like comparison."
Alex Anderson
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25-04-17
Hyde Park 10K
I donned my Ravens vest today for a 10K in Hyde Park.  The goal was sub-40 which I think I had a chance at based on a few Parkruns recently where I have now managed to get my 5k time down to 19.15 so thought this was in the ballpark.  Unfortunately ‘twas not to be but I am hopeful I will get there by the summer. I have never run a 10k and realise how tough they are with strong pace required for double the 5k distance (I know how obvious it is!).  I finished in 41.50 but based upon both my fellow runners’ watches and mine I think the course was 6.37 miles so quite a bit long.  My 10k time was 40.41 per my watch. It was a 2 lap course with a couple of steady uphill slopes of about 50 metres and 100 metres at the end of each lap (uphill to the finish is tough!).  I don’t know why but my belly suddenly felt very week on these inclines which has never happened before on a slope or hill.  This slowed me significantly at the end of the first lap and it took a few minutes to settle down before I could run at full pace again, and then reoccurred at the end of the second lap which meant I couldn’t finish strongly in case of an accident.  Need to work on my strength to keep the pace up over the latter stages of a race where I feel I tend to drop off at the moment. I finished 21/484 overall and 13/147 in my age category.
John Crawley
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13-04-17
Assembly League – Beckenham, 6.4.17
Well done to everyone that made the effort to head south of the river last night for the first Assembly league race. What once would have been an unimaginable number but is now almost expected, saw us turn out about 18 runners (could have been 19). Plus 3 behind enemy lines. We were greeted with a new course, which meant we were sparred the delight of cars trying to run us over on their desperation to get to the macdonalds drive through. It did however mean having to make our way to the top of Beckenham place park twice and a gravelly climb in the woods as well. My own race went as normal flying out of the blocks up the first hill and giving Arif a little shove on my way past. Alex then came past me going up the hill in the woods but I managed to keep in contact. What appeared to be Dave Wilkinson but skinnier then came past us both in the park. As we turned back towards the bottom of the last hill Tim came past me to put me out the scoring team. I then just tried to stay with the First Lady and hope I'd have enough to not get chicked on the final climb. To my surprise I did and even managed to get back past Tim as well but couldn't catch Alex. Looking at everyone's Garmin readings the race appeared to be in the region of 2.95 miles. So my 17:06 and 36th place are about what I'd have hoped for. Looking at the initial results for the first 50 posted on Facebook I think we were 5th team behind VPH, Dulwich, stock exchange, Kent. Particular mention to Rob Osbourne as first raven home, Helena for being 2nd women overall and Andy Tucker for his return in a usual quiet and understated fashion :).
Chris Tuck
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13-04-17
Great report Chris. Sums it up very well. I liked the new course, although would have chosen slightly firmer off road shoes if I had known so much of it would have been on trail. I probably would have also tried to position myself slightly better at the start, as it was a complete scrum (even more so than before) and there were very nearly several falls. Other than that it was a really enjoyable evening. Great to see big turnouts from my first claim club and the Ravens, plus a load of other parkrun mates. It really is one of my favourite events. From a personal point of view, I finished in 19:53 according to my watch, which is neither here nor there, but felt a tiny bit more competitive around the people I normally find myself racing against, so progress back is still being made, albeit slowly.
Marcus Elwes
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13-04-17
As Chris mentioned I had a quiet and understated run as is my way. Lovely to be back 'racing' with the Ravens although I am not fit enough to do anything other than take part at the moment. Great to see so many Ravens running well. I preferred the new off road course and look forward to revisiting it in September when hopefully I can race it rather than run it.
Andy Tucker
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13-04-17
My report pretty much mirrors Marcus’.  Wrong shoes but still gave it a good shot.  Despite Andy Tucker running not racing, he still managed to beat me – but I was much closer to him and Kev than I’ve been before.  I liked the new course, my watch shows me finishing in 20.45 – good race until my lack of hill training showed at the end, and I got pipped to the post by someone I most definitely shouldn’t have!  Must start further forward at future AL events.
Vicky Cooper
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13-04-17
Was not feeling the love last night started to far back and spent 1st mile trying to get into the race picked off plenty of people really struggled on last hill managed around 19.55 I think!
Dave Miller
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13-04-17
Pushing further forward next time seems to be a common theme.  I was having a nice chat with Vicky and then they were off!  Still nice to spend a lot of the race overtaking others, after more or less only being overtaken for the last 4 miles of Manchester.  I thought it was a good course with its hills and mix of terrain, made all the nicer by the splendid evening.  The hills were not kind on post marathon legs, but that will be different for the re-run at the end of the season.
Russell Beard
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13-04-17
Regents Park half
As my first ever race report I’d hoped I would be able to report a complete success, but sadly not to be. Yesterday I ran the Regents Park half marathon and things were going nicely until the start. My legs felt pretty terrible after less than a mile, which is never a good sign. This feeling lasted until 5-6 miles in, at which point any thoughts of a pb had vanished so I just had to concentrate on doing the best that I could. It was a great morning for running around the park, obviously a bit warm but I don’t think that changed my race at all. The course is arranged for 5 laps on a circuit with a drinks stop at the start of each lap on a flat course. I managed to pick it up in the second half and finished in 1hr 22 – 1 min slower than a month ago on a tougher course. Generally a bit disappointing but I did manage third place.
Tim Harman
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13-04-17
The Brighton Marathon
Well I gave it my best shot but the sub 3 hour marathon still alludes me after coming home in 3.07 at the Brighton marathon. It was all going reasonably well until my legs just went at around mile 22 although to be honest I was struggling to hold the pace from about 20 miles onwards. I never hit the wall as such but I just struggled to run with any purpose and the last few miles were bloody hard and I could not have been happier once the finish line finally arrived. It felt very hot although I am not sure I can blame the heat. Having run a 1.21 half back in February I knew I was in good shape, nonetheless I still decided to run a little more conservatively and try for a 2.58 hoping I would be stronger towards the end, but whatever pacing strategy I use I have always struggle over the closing miles. Not really sure what the answer is but it won't stop me trying again. I would recommend Brighton if anyone fancies an alternative marathon. The first 5 miles through the town are fantastic, however mile 6 to 13 are tough due to the rolling nature of the course. The hardest bit though is the last turnaround at mile 21 at Shoreham and then the last few miles back to the finish. Brighton pier just never seems to get any closer. Still happy to have given a marathon another go and may be I'll be back again at London in 2018. It was good to see Phil Priest out on the course although I am not sure he saw me the second time when I passed him coming the other way at about mile 17. Thanks to Andy Tucker for the support at around mile 9 as well. I wasn't expecting that! I also ran with another Raven who I met for the first time at the start but given my pre-race nerves I have rather embarrassingly forgotten his name. We ran together until about half way and then I didn't see him after this. I tried to look through the results but you can't search by Club name.  Any ideas anyone?
Ian George
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13-04-17
Having a couple of days in Brighton after a very tough day at the office. Full report to follow but my race mirrored Ians. Going along as expected but everything just went after 20 miles and as at Paris last year was beset by my legs cramping up. Hobbled across the line in a personal worst of 3.49. No more marathons for me.
Phil Priest
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13-04-17
Yesterday I ran the Paris Marathon. This was my first ‘proper’ marathon after a dismal attempt in London in 2011, which, due to lack of training / knowledge / experience / respect for the distance saw me plod around the course in over 5 hours… Anyway, back to Paris. I had initially set a target of 3:45, but with some good training runs under my belt, felt confident I could beat that. On the morning, despite numerous attempts to move into the 3:30 pen rather than the 3:45 one, I had to give up and stay where I was. That meant the first three miles or so was spent finding gaps between the back markers of the 3:30 group and trying to get into some kind of rhythm. Eventually I found a bit of space and was able to run with a bit more comfort. As was my plan, I went out at around 7:40 pace, knowing that I would slow towards the end and wanted to try and bank some seconds if I could in the early miles. I went through 10k in 47 and half in 1:42, but started to slow as the heat took hold. The temperature got to around 24/25 while we were running and I struggled big time to keep up the pace. I began to slow around mile 16 onwards, dropping to over 8 minute miles. Towards the end, there were so many stopping with cramp and I just focussed on putting one foot in front of the other and getting as much water on board as I could. I came home in 3:35, which I’m pleased with, especially given the face-melting conditions, and learnt some good lessons for next time, which I hope will be sub-3:30. All in all a good course, and good event – worth the trip over there.
Tim Andrews
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13-04-17
THAMES TOWPATH TEN
I decided to have a last pre-London tune up race at the above, which I used to run regularly when I lived in London.  Mainly because I had to set off at some ungodly hour to get to Chiswick for a 8.30 start I hadn’t really thought about shoes, and took road racing shoes.  Once I got there, it all came flooding back to me that it was mostly off road, strangely on the Thames Towpath. As a result ran some very odd splits. I ran the first half by myself and was then caught by a young lad who runs for Kingston.  We decided to share the work and run the last half together.  As we came over Chiswick Bridge, sub 60 looked like it was out of reach, so we both slowed down to jog in at 60.27.  Probably not a bad thing with London so close.  Still a big PB for me. Delighted to be the first V50 and as my FB friends have already seen, I got 2 beer glasses and two cases of Fuller’s beer.  That’s a proper prize! The taper starts!
Robin McCoy
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3-04-17
Southern 12 stage road relay
So again I took part in a serious running event to be reminded how fast 'fast' really is. I ran in the southern 12 stage road relay on Saturday afternoon at a very windy, hilly and exposed Cyclopark in gravesend. For those that don't know, this is the competition consisting of 12 legs alternating between long and short legs for all clubs in south of England with top 25 qualifying for the nationals. Due to a few withdrawals I ended up running the first leg which was also a long leg consisting of 3 laps. Totalling about 4 miles. The first half of each lap was down hill wind behind with the the return inevitably being up the hill in to the wind. Despite running a first mile in 5:08, going through 5k in 17:20 and average 5:41 miles I was very much towards the back bringing us home in 41st place. Sadly due to injuries and absentees we were unable to complete a 12 man team but was still a great event and watching the top guys fly round is just incredible.
Chris Tuck
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3-04-17
Ran the Cranleigh 15/21 yesterday, either 15 miles or 21 miles which you don’t need to select before. Being Mothers Day and already running a significant domestic deficit I opted for the 15. Beautiful morning on a rolling course with a good field of marathon runners tuning up. Went round in 1.30 with company most of the way. Faded in the last few miles but good session on tired legs. Also picked up the win for the 15 as the guys in front of me were all doing the 21.
Tom Robertson
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3-04-17
Kingston Breakfast Run
My second ever attempt at the 20 mile distance the last having ended in a DNF, a horribly early 8am start felt worse with the clocks going forward. Started off at a steady marathon target pace, at around mile five the runners from the 8 mile race converged and I got stuck behind the 11 minute pacer and then a rhino! The course goes past the finish for another loop which I found quite hard, at the next station I grabbed a water ( I hate cups) which I took a big gulp off before realising it was the most disgusting energy drink ever, I stayed on track until mile 14 where I ran out of steam, and slowed considerably I finished in 3.29.14 just beating the rhino. It’s a lovely flat course, although narrow in parts, it’s well organised with a fab goody bag if that’s your sort of thing!
Donna Henry
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3-04-17
I ran the Orion XC 15 miles on Saturday. Phil was marshalling and I saw Alex Hardy before the start too.  Having never run that distance on a XC and not quite knowing how my legs would hold up after last week’s HM, I decided to just run and enjoy the course.  I pretty much did that but my competitive side kicked in when I saw a lady in front of me who I know I’m way faster than.  I passed her then continued to pick off people, especially the ladies I saw.  I got to 6th lady (the marshals were especially helpful when running past them by providing me with this information) and then didn’t see any more ladies so knew unless I was overtaken, that’s where I’d finish.  The course is extremely undulating, but on a beautiful sunny morning in a forest, you just took the hills as you found them.  There was a very technical area around mile 12, where mountain biking obviously takes place so you had to keep your eye on your footing, but I still managed to pick up the pace towards the end, picked off a couple of men and finished in 2 hours and 2 seconds.  It seems other than the first 5 finishers, we all went wrong and my watch showed 14.5 miles.  I was told beforehand it was more difficult than Benfleet but I didn’t find that. Final result was 6th female overall and first V45 – collected a very nice prize, a meal in a wooden box with the event name and year. All in all, a great morning
Vicky Cooper
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3-04-17
I also ran the Orion 15 and like Vicky enjoyed the race.  I tried not to race it too hard as I have a HM this weekend that I want fresh legs for but my legs are still feeling quite heavy today!! I finished in about 1.42 with the short cut!  Not sure where I came but it was 20 something.
Alex Hardy
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3-04-17
Jog Shop Jog 20
I 'ran' this race on Saturday, as part of my marathon training, as it was the only 20 miler around that fitted into my schedule and I quite fancied the sound of it. 20 miles off road on the South Downs near Brighton. What could go wrong? A very deceptive name and a very deceptive race. It should immediately be re-named the 'Jog Shop Slog', or even better, the 'Jog Shop complete and utter Brutal Ba$tard run'! On a beautiful but breezy morning, around 100 hardened fell runners (should have been a clue) and me set off east of the Brighton Marina along the narrow coastal path into the headwind. First 4 miles are fairly flat and whilst the wind was stiff, it was nothing too treacherous.  Then you head north onto the Downs for the first hill section. Again, nothing too difficult, but obviously my pace slowed somewhat, as I was overtaken by the more experienced runners. However, the first 5 miles were done in just over 40 mins, so I was happy enough at this stage. Once on the Downs themselves, the next 10 miles were very tough indeed, going up and down sharp inclines and declines, navigating deep grassy fields, livestock, gates, styles, over-friendly dogs, fences, high winds, cow pats, very uneven terrain (my Achilles in particular did not like that) and everything you would expect. Lots of walking up the sharper inclines and lots of careful placement of feet on the declines. After 15 gruelling miles, I was virtually dead on my feet. The last 10 miles had taken over and hour and a half and left me in pieces. My Achilles was complaining badly and I felt quite badly dehydrated (I had relied on there being more water stops than there were - about 3! The more experienced runners had camelbaks). However, that last 5 miles, apart from one ba$tard little hill which I wasn't expecting and I had to walk up (muttering under my breath), was fairly benign and I was able to get back to the Marina in just under 45 minutes, to mean I snuck in under just the 3 hour mark. Really brutish race. I came 21st overall (2nd in age group) having slipped probably about 10 places during the race itself, for a variety of reasons. Certainly a tough learning experience, but excellent training time on the feet and gave me a whole new respect for proper hill runners. There was some stunning scenery that I was occasionally able to enjoy in the midst of the gritty slog. I can see the attraction of this type of race, if you are physically up to it.
Marcus Elwes
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3-04-17
Kingston Breakfast 16.2 Run
This race was made up of 3 different distances 20, 16 and 8 miles, the 20 miler went off 30 minutes before the 16 and 8, and it was a two lap course. Having come off a hard training week I didn’t know how deep the reserves in the legs would be but thought I would try them out. I lined up in the second row and charged off with the pacer at 6 min mile pace for the first 4/5 miles after which I realised I would never keep this up so over the next couple of miles eased back 25/30 seconds a mile to a more leisurely 6:30ish pace. It’s quite unnerving when you see the pack you were running with march off into the distance at the same time as my brain telling me to drop off the pace even more but luckily I ignored my brain and listened to some advice that Arif gave me last week about not believing what you brain tells you about falling off a cliff and it worked. My watch was telling me I was still maintaining my 6:25ish pace which was the positive I needed to keep charging on.  Much like Donna I got the wrong side of the water stations twice and had the disgusting slurps of energy drink which i think was watermelon, being cup based more went on my legs then in my mouth. I was running on my own for most of the second lap but catching back markers on the second lap kept me going and was quite good mentally to chase them down, the last couple of miles I started to struggle until someone flew past me and shouted some encouraging words which worked as I latched onto the back of him which pulled me along for a mile and that was all I needed to get over the line. I finished in 1:43 (6:26 /mile 4:00/KM), and came 13 out of 600, after getting the goody bag that seem to weight about 2kg I stuffed it in the rucksack and did much slower 3.5 miles home.
Duncan Anderson
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3-04-17
Manchester marathon
I was a little worried I had not quite got enough miles under my belt, even if the faster training with the Ravens has helped me to HM and 20 mile PBs in the last month or so which gave some confidence, and so it proved. Instead of racing off at the start, which made me pay at London last year, I ran fairly consistent 6.40s-6.45s for the first 16 miles, but they had started to feel less easy by 12, so the writing was on the wall. From 16, pace began to drift and eventually around 21 the 3 hour pace group cruised past and, whilst I tried hard to hang onto their coat tails, they glided off into the distance by 22, which is always pretty demoralising.  By then, legs were shot and 8 somethings was the best I could muster. Finished in 3.06, the same as London last year and another 3.0something to add to the collection (6 straight now - an increasingly frustrating record - although not all of those efforts were aimed at sub-3). In all honesty, with a sub-3 time gone, I did something I have not done before in a marathon and eased off in the last 3 - whether it ended 3.03 or 3.06 mattered not and I had memories of feeling abysmal after slogging every sinew last year in the last few  miles. The last 12 months have brought PBs for me at 5k, 10k, HM and 20miles but the big one was not to be.  It gives me GFA, I think, at London next year, so I'll be back. Great to see some Ravens support out on the course - the shout outs definitely gave me a boost, so a big thanks. As for the race itself, it's a good run.  The organisation seemed pretty good, and they have got over past reported problems with bags and distance (well it certainly felt like it in case of the latter).  It is also very flat and easy enough to find plenty of space to run in and find a rhythm without tripping over others. They even had pints of Erdinger for everyone at the end - nice thought, but it was the alcohol free version (it went in the bin after a few sips!). If London wasn't on my doorstep, I'd contemplate it again.
Russ Beard
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3-04-17
Paddock Wood half marathon
So nothing as hardcore as a marathon for me this weekend but I did make a return to Paddock Wood half marathon. A lovely day for it with slight wind but nothing major. Managed to get to the start line with a whole 20secs to spare due to traffic. Told myself not to get carried away and run at the target 6 min miles. So duly went through the first mile in 5:43, second and third miles in 5:50s. It was around this point a certain Mr Sherman came gliding by me. Told myself it wasn't a Thursday reps session and continued to try and settle back to my 6s as planned. Around this point managed to get in with a group and decided this was a better option than being isolated. So 5:55s it was. Managed to take it in turns leading which mentally helped tick the miles off.
Got to about 9 before I started to pay for my ambition. Went through 10 in sub 60. It then really started to hurt and mile 11 is a blur. Then then sight of a tall fella who passed me at mile 3 got my mind back in gear. By this point I had slowed to 6:15s but due to some misfortune on Tims part managed to get past, with a last mile of effort gave it everything left. ( wasn't a lot) to finish in 78:29. Nearly a min PB and about 2 mins quicker than same course last year. Although 20 places lower. Fairly happy although as always those few slower miles are a regret. I think the group I was in all kicked on for 77mins. As well as Tim, James Macdonald who does reps was there and put in a solid PB of 74 mins and is looking very good for London.
Chris Tuck
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3-04-17
I too was at PW along with Mike and Kev, the Wadhurst warriors. I didn't have a great race culminating in some more 'issues' at mile 12, which probably took a minute off my time, but still would have left me outside the 1:30ish I targeted before the race. Mile saw me emerging form the bushes and tried to encourage me over the last mile, but I was gone by then. Final chip time was 1:31:39, over 5 minutes slower than last year, which leaves me wondering what to aim for at London now...
Marcus Elwes
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3-04-17
Braintree 5 Miler (Part of the Essex Championship)
The race was described to me as flat and fast but I can only describe it as hilly will a few downhill parts, went off to fast went through 1st Mile in 5.59 and then paid the part as the race went on and the hills got the better of me by mile  4 was really struggling to breath but managed to cross to finish line in just above 32 mins no PB but am pleased with why my fitness is at the moment.
Dave Miller
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3-04-17
Spring Half Marathons
Race comments (rather than reports) for three recent half marathons I have run:

Eastbourne – 05 March – 1.37.20 chip / 1.37.49 gun.  Never an easy course with a short but steep uphill towards Beachy Head and then twisty sections through Sovereign Harbour.  From a Wadhurst Runners viewpoint, noteworthy this year in that our latest parkrun prodigy ran this as his first half marathon (his longest run before being around 8 miles), coming home in a chip time of 01.25.44 and 17th out of 1,152 finishers – not bad for someone who only took up running via parkrun last year!

Hastings – 19 March - 2.02.45 chip / 2.03.37 gun.  A different approach for me this year as I ran this with my nephew who was running his first half marathon (another parkrun convert; although yet to join a club).  This was all about him getting round in one piece and enjoying the experience.  I was hoping we’d go sub 2 hours but there was a strong headwind to deal with for the latter miles, so despite a good last mile, we missed our target this time; although I have no doubt that will be achieved on his next HM.  

Paddock Wood – 02 April – 01.31.13 chip / 01.31.31 gun.  Back to normal and a very late entry (on the back of a parkrun course pb at Bedgebury a couple of weeks back) to this HM which is known to be flat and fast (given the right conditions).  I thought it unlikely, but suspected I could get somewhere near 01.30; maybe just below.  Managed the first 8 miles sub 7 minute mileing but then four north of 7 minutes did for me and despite the final mile tweaking back under the 7 minute bracket again, I fell short.  Still, I was pleased the time gave me a rare foray into the north of 70% (70.91%) age performance percentage so not all bad.  Good to see the other Ravens there – I was aware there were some pacey people out front, so well done to them and to those that finished around me.

I’m still in two minds over London - I have a ballot entry so I could delay for 12 months as training has been a bit of a mixed bag; my knee says “delay”, my head says “run” as I can’t believe I’ll be in any better shape in 12 months’ time and I’m not sure I can face the long training runs again.  I think whatever I decide, 2017 or 2018 will be the last marathon I enter for quite some time…….
Kevin Cockram
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3-04-17
I had a bad experience at the Lea Valley Half Marathon which is a flat race around the footpaths close to the Lea valley white water rafting centre.  So I set off at 6 min/mile but by mile 6 it was obvious that I could not hold that pace and started to fade and the last 7 miles were all about getting through the race.  Finished in 1.23.52 so back to the drawing board as need to work on my stamina in these longer races as I can’t seem to comfortably hold my target pace.
Alex Hardy
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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