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Centurions and Angels

Two intrepid club members took on the enormous challenge of completing the Cotswold Way Century over the weekend. Luke Campbell and Karen Higuera have kindly summed up their experiences of the 102 miles of ups and downs through day and night.

Luke was incredibly grateful to all the friends and family who came out to support him along the way and finished in just over thirty one hours.

“An excellent event with great marshals and feed stations. The first thirty miles were a piece of cake. I’ve been smashing the step machine in the gym so my legs were really strong with anything uphill. My problem was not enough long, fatigued miles. Flat and downhill was hard going at anything more than a walk, but walking is fine.”

“This is the way it went. By 70 miles, every single inch of my body wanted to stop but Ibuprofen and caffeine tabs were great.”

“I signed up for this for two reasons. I wanted to do 100 miles some time. 100 miles is the HARDEST challenge I could think of. Let me tell you, it was a challenge. Everything was a complete mental game after my body gave up. I ignored the pain, chafing, heartburn and pace, just kept hustling. It is simple to say, but every single step forward is one closer to the finish. But that is hard when you end up doing 150,000 of them.”

“Running at night was fine. Chatted, ate and was encouraged by Sam, Simon and Pete. Stupidly humid weather, constant sweating but drank enough I think. No stomach issues, just bad heartburn for the first time in my life.”

“Worst thing, its so, so, so flipping boring. I can’t tell you. So dull I was pulling my hair out at times. Second worst thing, the last two miles through Bath to the Abbey. Thank you mum and Oliver for the support. Third worst thing, it was advertised at 102 miles but its way over, even without getting lost. Trust me, you know about those extra miles. Most interesting thing, I wore the same shoes for every single step and had no issues. Big up Altra!”

“Hats off to the super human who went sub 20. Final thanks to David Goggins for the audio book I listened to for 10 hours!”

A brilliant achievement for Luke and a masterclass in just keeping on going.

For Karen, this was about seeing just what she could do after overcoming some recent injury challenges, knowing that she was unlikely to finish but accepting that fact and going for it anyway.

“The Cotswold Way Century has been my nemesis for a couple of years, twice getting to the last checkpoint at 87 miles and twice with a knee injury even before starting the race.”

“In June, having had to cancel a fell race in Yorkshire, I took up the offer to run a more local, favourite route with friends. Perhaps I was a bit over familiar with it, got a little close to the runner in front and tripped, struck my knee on a jagged rock – on the aptly named Jagged Rock Hill in the Malverns!”

“I had lots of hospital trips, wash outs of the wound, stitches. However, it healed over well so I avoided a skin graft. There was some muscle wastage, a sore hip and some numbness in the knee. When the dressing came off it was time to get back to it and over six weeks I managed to build back up to a 15 mile run/walk. Really pleased.”

“So it was in for a penny, in for a pound. I wasn’t able to get my entry fee back so thought I would take the opportunity to see lots of friends at the start and see if I could get to Seven Springs. I’d lost lots of confidence so was very cautious. How would my leg cope?”

“The support of the marshals along the way and the aid stations were outstanding. Seeing club members along the way with words of encouragement, flapjacks and jelly babies was much appreciated. I met lots of lovely people, saved several from getting lost and helped Mike, a lovely chap from Connecticut, to make it to halfway. After failing to persuade him to make it to the next aid station, and feeling sharp and chirpy, I stepped out alone to tackle some long dark wooded sections where I saw reflections of animal eyes. I remembered Lara once telling me that Standish Woods was an old stand and deliver track where many were robbed and killed. That helped maintain forward momentum! Running alone still scares the life out of me.”

“So I surpassed my 33 mile goal and was on the way to hot chocolate and biscuits at Coaley Peak, 60 miles ish. By the time I got there I was suffering with a painful lower back. My reducing pace meant it would have been very tight to get to the next check point. I decided not to push my luck and called it a day at 4.30am.”

“I’ll never know if I could have made it to the end but now I can get on with building my muscles back up and enjoying the cross country season. But I will not be giving up at any aid stations next year and I hope to overcome all the challenges. Any kicks up the backside and shouts of encouragement will be very much welcomed next September!”

Congratulations to both Luke and Karen and thank you for sharing your memories of something most of us will never experience the like of.

16th September, Cotswold Century, 102 miles, trail

1 Richard Elsworthy (Unattached) 19.55

38 Luke Campbell (Cirencester AC) 31.19.59

40 finished

On Sunday morning a team of Cirencester runners went to Ashleworth for the beautifully low-key, if a little hilly, Angels 10k. The race was the penultimate in the County Road Race series for this year and also part of the club road race competition. And what a morning they had!

There was a super top ten finish for Brecht Grieten. Kate Jacobs continued her tremendous season finishing first lady. Jo Musk was first LV40 and Kate Sackett first LV60. This fine group of performances meant that our ladies brought home the team prize too. James Widdowson was close on the heels of Kate S and very happy with his pacing on the day, only going past people in the second half.

The result sees Jo in third place overall in the county ladies competition and first in her age group. Kate S has run nine of the series of races so far, picking up nine or ten points in each and heading up her LV60 age group. Check out the club website to see current standings and all the points scored in the road race competition. With just a couple of races to go, James Widdowson leads the men’s competition whilst Kate S is top of the league for the ladies. Cricklade 10k and Stroud Half are the last two opportunities to score some points, or throw in a marathon of course.

17th September, Angels 10k, 10k, road

1 Lee Stopford (Stroud & District AC) 33.00

9 Brecht Grieten (Cirencester AC) 36.53

14 Kate Jacobs 40.32 – 1st lady

32 Jo Musk 44.08 – 1st LV40

50 Kate Sackett 48.18 – 1st LV60

54 James Widdowson 48.55

107 finished

Liza Darroch and Rupert Chesmore battled wind and rain at the Swansea Bay 10k as they ‘enjoyed’ a family run with the grown up children. Liza had thoughts of an attempt at improving on her own club FV75 record but conditions were definitely not conducive. She may have been a little disappointed but definitely pleased with her age group first place and being quicker than most of the FV70s too. Her attention is now fully on Chester marathon and the England Age Group Masters competition there.

Good luck Liza!

17th September, Swansea Bay 10k, 10k, road

1 Kadar Omar (Unattached) 29.44

1845 Rupert Chesmore (Cirencester AC) 1.05.27

1857 Liza Darroch 1.05.33 – 1st FV75

2849 finished

In parkrun news there were some impressive age graded runs as Rob Forbes had a win at Cirencester where Wendy Nicholls was first lady and Pam Wheeler ran a season’s best time. Lorna Harris was able to wear her 50 parkrun T-shirt with pride after a few weeks out.

Colin and Clare Tapley were in the far north on Fleetwood Promenade where Colin had an excellent run Clare ran her best parkrun time of late.

There was a Cirencester one, two at Seven Fields with Ollie Campbell and Ian Barrett finishing within a minute of one another.

16th September, parkrun, 5k trail

Cirencester parkrun

1 Rob Forbes (Cirencester AC) 17.44

10 Wendy Nicholls 20.45 – 1st Lady

78 Brendan McCarthy 28.11

81 Pamela Wheeler 28.17

105 Gordon Jones 30.07

134 Gary Wood 32.05

147 Lorna Harris 34.21

148 Brian Harris 34.22

177 finished

Fleetwood Promenade parkrun

1 Steve Rankin (Unattached) 16.53

15 Colin Tapley (Cirencester AC) 22.35

92 Clare Tapley 32.46

110 finished

Tetbury Goods Shed parkrun

1 Oliver Cox (Unattached) 18.38

20 Paul Timms 23.17 (Cirencester AC)

34 Rachel McAdam 25.45

122 finished

Seven Fields parkrun

1 Ollie Cambell (Cirencester AC) 18.02

2 Ian Barrett 18.55

145 finished

Results to Martin at and stories to Rachel at or via WhatsApp

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