This week’s report is full of news of great success and outstanding achievements. It is, however, written without the usual comprehensive results and stats. The facts and figures will appear in due course when Martin has wended his way home from his adventures in the North East, more on that later.
First, some news from last weekend. As Tom Morgan approaches the final weeks of his training for Manchester marathon, he found a local half marathon in Cheltenham for some long run miles. He says his finishing time of just oustside two hours was not quite what he hoped for and that he had to double check the course description after the hill to Pitville at 16km sapped his energy! Cheltenham Half may not be described as flat and fast but Manchester definitely is. We wish Tom well with his final preparations.
5th September, Cheltenham Half Marathon, 13.1 miles, road
1 Dom James (Unknown) 1.08.14 (1.08.14)
1020 Tom Morgan (Cirencester AC) 2.03.04 (2.00.46)
On Sunday Liza Darroch slipped on her England vest to run the Richmond Half Marathon. The event was playing host to the England Age Group Masters teams as part of the Masters programme for 2021. Liza combined her vast experience with some new techniques, such as varying the pace within each mile, to put in a superb performance that saw her win her W70 age group in 2:10:16, a massive 11 minutes clear of the second placed athlete in the category. Liza was pleased that Rupert managed to elbow his way to the front and join her within minutes of the start. She reports keeping a really consistent pace until the last 2 miles which felt a bit harder. The route took in Kew Gardens and a towpath out and back to Hampton Court. It hardly needs saying that we are all very proud of and inspired by you Liza.
A sunny Sunday morning in Chedworth saw the culmination of a huge amount of hard work as runners and volunteers gathered for the well loved Chedworth Roman Trail 10 mile race. Race Directors James and Liz Thomas planned a changed route through the countryside this year but of course it still incorporated some serious climbs and the famous river crossing. Another crucial member of the team is Tim Ingham who spent many hours setting up the course including great signage and plentiful water supplies, much appreciated by the runners on the day. James and Liz brought together a huge team of volunteers to make sure that runners had plenty of guidance and encouragement on the course and a wonderful selection of refreshments. Cakes, cakes and more cakes!
The cast of club members wearing hi-viz or slicing sponge cakes meant that just a handful joined the 224 runners who completed the race. First home was David Musgrove taking 4th place in 1:13:20. There were great performances all round which will appear shortly in the list of results.
James and Liz report great feedback from participants. There was certainly a happy atmosphere as runners, friends, family and volunteers enjoyed cakes and drinks on the grass afterwards.
Tom Payne went to Brighton to run a sunny and warm coastal marathon on Sunday. The course ran a little long, for which the organisers have apologised and Tom, alongside his brother, managed to clock up 27 miles! He reports great support from the local crowds who appreciated the return of the event after 18 months. Some quad issues meant that Tom’s 4:36:16 finish time wasn’t quite what he was hoping for but he is already using the words “next time”. He rounded off his experience by standing in the sea drinking the cold, non alcoholic beer that was handed to him on the finish line. He finished in 3361st place of the 7196 finishers.
Martin Croucher headed North East to combine a seaside break and his traditional outing with his dad in the Great North Run. Changes this year to both the route and start line procedures meant that their experience was quite different to normal. The out and back course meant no seafront finish this year and the wave starts enabled them to cross the Tyne Bridge with virtually no company rather than the usual crowds. Martin enjoys this leisurely run with his dad and finished in 3:02:44. He did, however, put in a fine run at the Whitley Bay parkrun on the previous morning. His 20:18 time saw him finish 13th in a field of almost 500 runners and he rightly rewarded himself with a sausage sandwich.
Nea Sneddon-Jenkins is a parkrun regular and she returned to her home turf at Tetbury this week where she was 3rd lady home in 22:19. Only the previous evening she experienced her first 10k race on a track when she took part in an event in Gloucester, part of the Gloucestershire AAA series of track meets. She described the 25 laps, mostly in the dark, as very hard but was thrilled with a new PB just inside 45 minutes.
Leigh Guilbert completed the “Outlaw Half” half ironman event in the grounds of Bowood House. The event consisted of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run. The swim started from a pontoon and gave Leigh a chance to practice his running dive technique. However, the shock of the cold water meant that his slightly over ambitious breakfast came back to haunt him pretty quickly. He managed to recover from his vomiting and hyperventilating episode after 200m or so and regained his composure.
The bike leg was thankfully less eventful, a pattern of being overtaken by TT bikes and then catching them on the hills.
Leigh found the hilly, mostly off road run tougher. He wasn’t expecting it to be easy as he recovers from an injury sustained a few months ago. It was made even more difficult as the earlier nausea returned.
Leigh must have been helped through the challenge by the donations to his fundraising campaign for Alzheimers Research and finished in around 6:10:00 (Swim 37mins, Bike 3hours, Run 2:20).
Last, but most certainly not least, news of a spectacular achievement from Lee Lawrence. Lee is not officially a club member anymore, but he is known to many of you and his experience in the famous Dragons Back race last week could not go unmentioned.
This exceptionally hard race sees competitors navigating their way down through Wales from Conwy Castle in the north to Cardiff in the south over 6 gruelling days. The terrain is hugely varied including some incredibly treacherous sections of climbing along rocky ridges. The particularly hot weather last week added to the challenge.
Along the way there are timed checkpoints to reach. Lee made the cut off on Day 1 by just 20 minutes having completed over 31 mountainous miles that he described as the hardest thing he had ever done. Sadly on Day 2 Lee was timed out but rather than pack his bags and go home as so many did, he chose to complete the option of a shorter course the following day, and the full distances on days 4,5,and 6. Lee showed such determination and character in carrying on even after his disappointment.
Many congratulations to Lee.