Beer Lovers Marathon

Liege, Belgium 20/5/2018 – By Dean Allaway

After running the Medoc Marathon back in September 2017 this was on my radar to do and entered as soon as entries opened, only in it’s third year being held and only having a limit of 1500 places how could I resist a run with beer and music involved?

On to the weekend where I was accompanied by fellow Roadrunners Pete the Train Morris, Caroline Hargreaves and adopted Roadrunner Pete Bowles we all booked to go on the Eurostar which was dead easy from St Pancras to Brussels, then onto Liege which was about 3 hours in all.

We arrived Saturday afternoon with another short journey to Palais by train with only around 400m to walk we were right by the expo and very close to our Ibis hotel, so no logistical drama’s this weekend, wallet, passport, phone – check!!

Numbers picked up and bib number photo done, hotel check-in and back out for a few beers and to watch the FA cup final, which the winner was coincidently scored Belgian Edin Hazard.

In the evening we went out for a meal, most of us had steak and chips (which seemed a good choice as this was a fun run and nothing more), just as well it was a fun run as me and The Train ended up staying out late and going to the beer festival that was going on at same time.

Race day was a 9:30 start we only had a 5-minute walk to the start line by the expo, ideal as The Train was a bit hungover and I was feeling a bit de-hydrated. We got up at 8am and got ready to go with a fancy-dress theme of cowboys and Indians, Pete seemed to forget his outfit? We met up with Caroline dressed as Indian and Pete B another cowboy.

 

So a bit about the race, the first 10k was mostly uphill with over 500 steps to climb getting some great views of the city.  I think I drank more water to re-hydrate here, with 14 more beer stops to come of the best Belgian beers ranging from 5-9.5% and aid stations every 4k or less well stocked with cheeses, fruit, biscuits, white pudding and other savoury snacks. The route was then was mostly flat with nice parts along the river with music playing, it made for a great atmosphere, I had a water pistol gun which helped on a hot day too.

We had so much fun and we all just about beat the cut off time of 6 hours 30 me and Pete B 6:27 and Caroline and the Train got in just under 7 but I think there was still quite a few finishing behind us. We then had an after party which you got a free meal of chilli con-carne and yet more beer and music being played.

A great weekend had by all and a most do for any beer lover!!!

 

All Roads Lead To Rhodes

Road to Rhodes Marathon Weekend 2018 by Paul Monaghan

We do marathons quite often but every now and again a gem pops up that you just don’t expect. I’d visited Rhodes in 96 so started looking at my videos & photos again before we left, and what really sprung back to mind was just how beautiful this Greek island was.

Would it have changed since the 20+ years since I’d visited? Would I see it differently from a running perspective? I would shortly be finding out, and I couldn’t wait.

The largest of the Dodecanese Islands Rhodes is a maze of cobbled streets surrounded by sunny beaches enjoying 300 days of sunshine per year. The Old Town is a historic delight to walk around, a true gem from the past. We wouldn’t be running through this but would run past it which was good enough for me.

To the South is Lindos, dominated with its view of the ancient Acropolis, dazzling white houses & turquoise crystal clear waters. A mecca for sun worshippers and history buffs alike. I’d also taken a boat trip here in 96 and loved it, I wondered if it would have retained it’s charm? We’d be taking a boat later during the trip, so for that reason alone I had to survive another marathon plus numerous souvlakis and plates of humus. No Hard Rock Cafés though…Every cloud (In joke)

It was Kerry Eastwood’s suggestion we give this one a go and with it including a 10k & half also it’s an easy sell, as we tend to not just get the hardcore marathon runners to join us, which is always a good thing. It was also great value and included an Adidas t-shirt a pasta party and free photos; It just had to be done. Pete Cook decided to give his camera a miss as his lenses would probably need a seat by themselves. Still, there were plenty of us to grab a pic or two (or even a #TeamJackMon video)… I hear you snigger.

Higgsy & Sheryl, Kerry Eastwood, Peter Cook and Maureen Sweeney stayed at a resort in Kallithea whilst Caroline Jackson & I (#TeamJackMon). Bushy & Pete Morris decided to stay in the city centre as our marathon was to kick off at 7:15 due to the race temperature. Our hotel was great especially the al fresco breakfast and was close the start.

One thing I will say about Rhodes town is even though a lot of the place can have a tacky feel , it’s still managed to retain its culture and a lot of nice places can still be found, which is ideal if you’re a couple travelling together and don’t want to bring England with you. It caters for most tastes which Caroline & I found appealing. We may not be able to enjoy 300 days of sunshine but we booked from Fri-Wed giving us at least 6 days.

On that note though, our first night was spent touring some of the bars plus catching up with pals & locals discussing our impending marathon. Us RRs know how to party, so much so that we may even write a pamphlet on it. ‘Foreword by Pete Morris & Martin Bush’.

The next day it was a case of going to the expo to pick up our race stuff and catch up with the others. Expo was ideally located close to the start in the town centre, which was easy compared to some races were a private jet wouldn’t go a miss to get to the expo from start line.

We all met up in the town during Saturday afternoon but one thing that totally slipped my mind was that Bushy had never visited. Fine you might say until you realise he must have a lack of Greek souvenirs. Anyway let’s just say the Greek economy was restored with just an hour of his shopping.

The guys staying at Kallithea ate back at their inclusive hotel but us Rhodes crew decided to give the pasta party a go during the early evening. We did notice there were no pasta party tickets in our race bags, so we brought our numbers along just to be on the safe side. The pasta party was to be held at Pane di Capo in Kallithea and we had no idea what to expect but gathered it probably wouldn’t be sitting on grass in the rain.
We made our way to the pick-up point but were slightly hesitant as not one of the crowd looked like a runner, in fact it looked like a gathering for a Greek wedding. Could we be in the wrong queue? I spotted a pair of Asics on one of them so we decided to take a punt.

Pane di Capo which we arrived at was absolutely stunning as it was located next to a postcard style turquoise watered bay. It seems most of the Greeks had got wind of it and decided to invite their families, meaning that the 150 they expected turned out to be nearer 400, so you can imagine the chaos. They had three chefs cooking from scratch and a DJ playing amongst the palm trees. As Pete commented it was more like a wedding scene from ‘The Godfather’. You just had to be there to appreciate it, but believe me it was as good as it gets.

We sat down having a beer and noticed a queue growing which we eventually decided to join. We must have queued for 1.5 hours because of the unexpected chaos. They just couldn’t cope, plus we had the added panic of just 2 hours before the coach took us back. Bushy had latched on to being able to get free beers whilst in the queue so I guess it cushioned the blow slightly. Anyway this was the only slight downside to an otherwise perfect set up. The coaches waited so all was fine eventually. I’ve attended a few pasta parties but this was by far the best despite the queuing. The race is almost worth doing just for that evening and I’ve not even started telling you about the race yet.

We’d anticipated a hot race but as we opened our curtains at about 6am the sun was already blinding us. Caroline had run London the previous week but this would be even hotter, we are used to these kinds of temperatures and really enjoy them but there’s never any chance of running a fast time. Never the less we couldn’t wait to start this one and it didn’t disappoint.

The start area atmosphere was electric. The MC was hollering enthusiastically as the runners and officials posed for pics. We couldn’t understand a word but it had a loud passionate tone that had all cheering. The full and the half would kick off the same time whilst the 10K would kick off at midday, though we were all there to support each other.

Eventually the gun fired as the full and half marathons set off together. There was a festive vibe to all of this, and to me it always seems just that much better when it’s hot and sunny. As usual there were happy kids’ high fiving us as we set off, with the obligatory drones hovering above us to grab that essential YouTube aerial island footage.

Was not long before the endless blue of the Aegean was to our left as we ran alongside the ancient Rhodes walls of the old town. The heat was killing me but the brilliant views more than made up for it. I decided on a strategy of not looking at my watch, though the pacemakers can spoil the fun of ignoring your own time & pace. Parts of this route were unsupported, but it’s no surprise as there were no houses at many points and parking would have been difficult. I pushed on regardless but had no choice to stop at most water stations. I just poured bottles over myself as the temp had ramped up to 27 with no shade. Eventually the route doubled back so was a chance to see where the rest were and cheer each other on. I was ahead and still feeling quite good. It was back past the medieval castle and eventually up a hill with the most breathtaking views. I was not sure of my time at mile 24 but had estimated about a 4:20 finish as spent so much time walking and drinking water and generally enjoying the views. Anyway I had a second strength and speeded up towards the end, little did I know Caroline was in pursuit. I crossed the line in 4:05 which though disappointing for me, I knew I couldn’t have done much better in the sweltering heat.

I raised my arms and clapped the crowd as I crossed the finish. This was better than most foreign marathons I’ve done hands down, as everything was just spot on. From the pasta party to the expo, the marshals, the course, it was nearly impossible to fault.

Caroline was not far behind at 4:06 as was chasing me down, It was big hugs as she crossed the line. Bushy & Pete Morris managed a 4:37 and a 4:58 respectively.

So what about the others? They all ran the half except for Maureen who did the 10k. Whilst Sheryl was kind enough to come along to support us all. Pete Cook did a 1:54 whilst Higgsy and Kerry who looked like they were having great fun running the course together managed 2:34 each. Maureen’s 10k kicked off later at 12:15 so she had a chance to cheer us in before starting her own race in which she managed a 1:09. Results for us all though were more or less irrelevant as this was more about the experience.

I just missed out on an age cat prize as did Caroline but it was so much fun watching the festive prize giving. All us RRs sat in the roasting sun sipping beers on this stunning island. Even Bushy resisted the gift shops and pubs for a few hours (OK two hours)… A friend of ours from the 100 marathon club ‘Costas’ did pick up a prize so we had something to celebrate besides finishing in the blistering heat.

During the prize giving we were approached by the Larnaca marathon organiser. (Larnaca Marathon is twinned with Rhodes Marathon) They offered us free accommodation during that weekend as Caroline will be running her 100th there. It was the icing on the cake to a great day.

The following day we took a trip with Pete to Lindos which I’ve described above. If you go you really have to do this, not only is it a stunning place, but you get a chance to sunbathe on the top deck of the boat and go swimming. If you happen to go with Pete you may even get a few dodgy selfies thrown in.

We did another boat trip plus visited the infamous Faliraki and a few other places, which I’ll skip going into detail about. Ultimately all as I have left to say is you just have to do Rhodes Island’s Marathon weekend as you won’t regret it. Oh and don’t forget your sandals & sunscreen J

  1. If you want to join us or anyone at the club for a foreign trip or race please get in contact or check out my new ‘Runners on the Road’ section on the website. Everyone is welcome regardless of ability or even if you’re recovering from injury. All are also more than welcome to join us for Caroline’s 100th Marathon at Larnaca, Cyprus in November.     

Running 100 Miles

Running 100miles, via Intensive Care – by Stuart Kinton.

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to do well at and enjoy endurance events since childhood and so have always sought challenges that test my physical boundaries. I have come to learn just how much the human body and mind are capable of and the incredible feats they can achieve. Only 3 years ago friend and former Roadrunner Gavin Collins was competing regularly in ultra-marathons and I thought the idea of him running 50 miles was a crazy one, one that I simply couldn’t get my head round. At that stage I had never completed a stand-alone marathon and had only run beyond half marathon distance a handful of times in training.

 

Having completed an Ironman in 2014, I struggled for motivation and entered very little in 2015. I needed a new challenge to get me inspired again and running has always been the activity I enjoy the most. A friend suggested the South Downs Way 50 mile race in April 2016 and I went into it on a rather hit-and-miss training plan where my longest run had been 18 miles. A certain Gemma Buley just so happened to be racing that day and so we stuck together, power walking the many uphills and jogging all the flats and downhills. We reached the athletics track in Eastbourne with a great sense of achievement and couldn’t quite fathom completing those last 50 miles having already run 50 miles beforehand as is the course for the South Downs Way 100.

   

 

 

South Downs 50 2016 with Gemma Buley

Just over a month later, in May 2016, my life was quite literally flipped upside down. Whilst out on my bicycle I was hit by a car. The Thames Valley Air Ambulance flew me to Oxford where I spent 9 days in hospital including 3 days in intensive care with a variety of injuries. From very early on I saw this as another physical challenge, one that I would give everything to. I was determined that this accident would not define me and that I would come back and prove to myself that despite these injuries I was as good as, if not better than before. I spent lots of time in the gym and had managed a couple of runs before requiring further surgery on my arm and with it a ban on running until Christmas 2016. Of course the most sensible thing to do when under a ban on running, having sustained such significant injuries and having not run for so long is to put yourself on the waiting list for a place at the South Downs Way 100 in June 2017.

I began running again at Christmas and did my best to start with short, steady and infrequent runs. My motto soon became, “time on feet”. Only the elite runners will actually run an entire ultra and therefore you have to train your body for a lot of walking too. At no other time in life do you spend 20+ hours on your feet, let alone asking your legs to provide continuous forward progress during this time and so getting acclimatised to this is important. I soon realised that I really enjoy sticking to a strict run-walk schedule and tend to base this around 12 minutes so that it fits nicely into an hour. One training run on the Ridgeway was as much as 9 minutes walking, 3 minutes running – this was a great way to get 30 miles and nearly 6 hours of ‘time on feet’ without taking too much out of myself or risking injury with too much running. I completed a number of these 25-30 mile run-walks and felt as prepared as I could be going into the South Downs Way 100. For me the idea of completing 100 miles is still too much to think about in one go and therefore it has to be broken down into smaller chunks such as aid stations.

 

My goal for the race was to complete it, hopefully in less than 24 hours and also raise more than £2900 for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (the cost of the average rescue).

 

As per my usual racing I set off way too fast and got carried away by the excitement of it all. I went through halfway in 9:10 and was going well until about mile 78 by which point, a friend had joined to be my pacer. The relentless hills of the South Downs and the early pace took its toll and at that point I realised that the last 20 miles would be nothing faster than a walk through the night. This was extremely tough to handle mentally as I knew that this was likely 6 or so more hours of walking when already exhausted. Continuous forward progress is definitely the name of the game at this stage of an ultra and that’s what I did, putting one foot in front of the other over and over again. The emotion of reaching the track in Eastbourne was overwhelming, all pain left my body and I ran the last 200m like an effort on a Wednesday night at Palmer Park!

 

There were a lot of tears; I was back, I had achieved something I had never dreamed possible, I had completed the race in 22:07:04 and had raised over £4,000 for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

   

 

 

During SDW 100 – June 2017

Of course I quickly forgot those painful last few hours and over time considered my next challenge. I thought about how strong I had been until those last 20 miles and wondered if I picked a flatter course and adjusted my training whether I could break the 20 hour barrier. I chose the Thames Path 100 and was motivated by the fact that I would know so much of the course. This year I would also have a whole year of running in my legs and the knowledge that I could complete the distance.

 

I completed Brecon to Cardiff (44 miles), Chester 50, and Exmoor Coastal 32 with four weeks separating each race so as to get my legs used to more ‘time on feet’. I did well at these races however a niggling foot problem meant that I had to really hold back on training in between them and therefore by race day my main goal was a PB, though I still had dreams of 20-21 hours.

 

At the start line in Richmond the sun was shining and the heat was already rising for what we now know to be the hottest early May bank holiday on record.  I set off on a

9/1 run/walk schedule for the first hour, 10/2 for the second hour and 9/1 for the third hour.  In hindsight I was running way too fast, particularly given the heat and with the walking breaks being so short I was not able to recover fully, get fuel on board and let this fuel digest. This was a big lesson in sticking to my training where my walk recoveries would be a minimum of 3 minutes and as much as 9 minutes as mentioned earlier whilst maintaining a very good average pace. I felt terrible 20 miles in; I was hot, I had sweated buckets, my legs were tired and my head had dropped at the thought of another 80 miles to go. I even considered at what point I would drop out and thought that if I did so then I would at least be able to enjoy the sunny bank holiday weekend. It was at this stage also that I swore I would never enter another 100.

My goal of sub-22 had gone and so I set my sights on sub-24, something I knew I would still have to work really hard for. To get through the heat of the day with my fatigued body and mind I was only managing sporadic short jogs but this was helped by tagging along with other runners on their jogging efforts. I just kept ticking off each aid station, working towards the next one and a few miles before Henley realised that my power walking pace was really strong and saved a lot of energy also.

 

I got into the halfway point at Henley in 10hrs 34mins and was buoyed by my strong walking and the fact that I was now joined by a friend to pace me. Having a familiar face and conversation is so valuable and this really helped me to push on with the walking pace and manage a few short jogs wherever possible. I am extremely grateful to my friends for giving up their Saturday night to pace me and a real psychological boost was that every couple of hours it would be a different friend taking over pacing duties and so with it came fresh conversation and something to work towards. I knew that if I maintained 4mph I would go under 24 hours and I was consistently hitting that even with aid station stops along the way. I was sure to get into each aid station, grab what I needed, have a sugary cup of tea and get going as quickly as possible so as not to waste time.

 

Between Goring and Benson I really got a second wind and was running 2-3 minutes at a time regularly and feeling great. I knew that every minute I put in the bank now would aid the sub-24 hour goal. I experienced the most beautiful sunrise near Clifton Hampden as I was back to a strong walk but realised that I still needed to keep fuelling. My main fuel throughout the day had been grapes and pineapple, the only things that I really wanted and could manage in the heat. As the sun came up the heat began once more and my body was fatiguing. I was just so grateful that the path was firm the whole way as I ran the last 15 miles a month pre-race and it was incredibly muddy, I really wouldn’t have fancied wading through mud with 90+ miles in the legs!

 

My feet were very sore but I fought on with a good walking pace, though my conversation with my pacing friend was very minimal by this stage. I saw the finish line in Oxford and managed one last run across the finish line in 22:52:20.

Again there were many tears, 20 hours previously I was incredibly low and didn’t think I would finish, let alone break 24 and ultimately 23 hours. I am so proud of that determination to ride that wave of negativity, be able to adjust goals mid race and complete in a very respectable time. Onwards to the next 100…

 

I think my aim now is to complete Centurion Running’s series of four 100 mile races. I think I will aim for the North Downs Way 100 next year and Autumn 100 (based out of Goring) in 2020. As for this year I am hoping to pace a friend to a sub 1:30 half marathon and another friend to a sub 3:45 marathon. As well as this I am aiming to complete my first swim-run event in the Lake District, which will involve approximately 37km of running and 5km of swimming.

 

Thank you for reading.  If anyone would like to speak to me about my experiences, my training or ultra running then please feel free – I’ll do my best to make it down to more Wednesday track sessions and local races.

 

Conquering The Transvulcania 74Km Ultra

TVR 2018 Race Report –By Ashley Middlewick

Having recently watched some videos on YouTube of previous year’s editions of the race and reading the magazine I collected with my number. I knew it would be tough 74Km with 4350 metres of total elevation gain with another 4057 metres of descending with Rocky uneven terrain to contend with.

I caught the 3.30am bus with all the other runners from my where I was staying in to the start located in Fuencaliente. We arrived just over an hour before the 6.00am start. I stepped out of the bus into the dark windy environment.
After getting the toilet and bag drop out of the way I realized that I’d forgotten to fill up my Camelbak. There weren’t any taps or anyone handing out water. My solution: finding a couple of half-bottles of water that other runners had discarded and topping up with them. Then it was the short walk down to the start. It was cool seeing a few familiar pro faces at the front – Ida Nilsson (1st woman last year) and Zaid Eit Malek (3rd man last year). I waited at the side until a few minutes before 06.00 sneaking through the barrier near the front of the huge pack. There was music pumping and the announcer was getting everyone juiced for the off. I very nearly forgot to set my GPS watch in time (started the satellite search 2 minutes before the gun and luckily the satellites were located with about 30 seconds to spare).
The gun went and we made our way up past the lighthouse and along the road. Fireworks went off which personally I found a loud distraction more than anything. A bit further along we made our way from the wide road onto a narrow trail. It was a bit of a bottleneck and I was glad to be near the front away from the worst of the crowds. As the trail led upwards it was an awesome sight to look back down and see thousands of headaches snaking their way up. The first feed station was in the small town of Los Canarios where the main street was lined with locals cheering on the runners – a real treat so early on. The headtorch came off at the top of the street as daylight beaconed and made my way into the trees and where the real climbing begun. It was ridiculous – steep ascending up sandy/gritty/loose/dusty material made progress painfully slow and was both mentally and physically draining. Thankfully the weather was pretty ideal at this time – cool and sunny and the stunning views/surroundings really helped keep morale up.

After the initial pig of a climb I knew there would be a bit of descending before the push to Roque de Los Muchachos (the highest point of the course and the island). It wasn’t too long before reaching the end of the half marathon/start of the marathon course (the half was the first 21km of the Ultra course and the Marathon started here and finished 5km before the end of the Ultra). I passed the half marathon point in 2hours 3 minutes. After this there was a nice easy gently undulating mud/track which offered a chance for the legs to recover a little before the push to Roque. Near the start of the climb we went through a forested section – it was damp and cold in places with the dew blowing off the trees and wind-chill. I was glad I’d opted for my white long-sleeved Ellesse t-shirt (a TK Maxx special purchased a few weeks beforehand) as this along with my Bramley buff kept me warm. Fairly early on during the climb the leader of the marathon came flying past at some serious pace – he had a substantial lead at what must have been about 15km in. The next 30-45 minutes I felt good – I’d gone through 23.5 miles (over halfway) in 5hrs 15mins. My initial aim was to try and finish in under 11 hours, possibly even a sub-10 of things went well, so I was thinking it was potentially game on for the sub-10 with far more downhill than up remaining. As I climbed higher and the runners thinned out I utilized the opportunity to have a pee whilst running (a time-saving tactic used by Dean Karnazes in his Ultramarathon Man book). This went well with no hesitation and minimal spillage. The heat started to intensify and altitude kicked in above 2000m and things got very hard at the highest points.

The views were incredible and I could see Mount Teide/Tenerife above the clouds in the distance. Just when I thought I’d reached Roque there would be another little descent and another little climb. Eventually I saw the big white marquee marking the aid station at Roque and this couldn’t come soon enough. I’d gone through all three of my energy bars and was in urgent need of refueling. Entering the marquee there were several tables full of choice. I necked a few cups of water and must have had 5 or 6 chunks of watermelon to help rehydrate. Food wise I opted for a couple of cereal bars and raisins. Both hit the spot well and I took some raisins in my empty jelly-baby containers with me. After some iso drink, more watermelon, re-filling the Camelbak and getting water poured over my head I pushed on feeling significantly more refreshed.

The altitude and heat were still testing but I placed myself conservatively and felt good enough. A little way down the dusty Rocky track the heat really intensified and I pulled my rolled-up long sleeves back down to avoid burning. I was now descending at a not-much quicker than walking pace and was constantly having to move aside to let faster runners past. I kept drinking at least every 5 minutes. There were a few occasions when I stepped aside to pee but nothing came out. I knew this was now survival mode – go slowly, keep drinking, concentrate and make it down safely. There was an aid station maybe halfway down – again badly needed. I discovered after rummaging around/spreading cereal bars everywhere that they didn’t have any of the chocolate ones they had at the top so had to make do with apricot. So after a cereal bar, more raisins, iso drink, watermelon and water on the head I pushed on.

Thankfully it wasn’t too long until I came into familiar territory at Mirador El Time where I’d come to watch the Vertical Kilometer race on Thursday. At this point I was grateful to be back on concrete/tarmac for a bit albeit very steep downhill stuff. I had a quick glance at the watch (I was just over 10 hours in with 12-13km to go) and thought any chance of a sub-11 had gone with a tough descent and final climb still to come. However things weren’t as bad as I was fearing with a decent distance covered with tarmac followed by the final track down to the beach in Tazacorte being solid (no loose Rocky crap) which made it mostly slowly runnable. I made it down to Tazacorte with 10hrs 25mins on the clock with only the final 5km climb to go – the game for the sub-11 was well and truly back on. I didn’t stop at the water station grabbing some a bottle of Gatorade and cup of water as I ran. The route went down onto the beach briefly which I wasn’t expecting before looping under the road and following a dried-up river upstream. This was pretty tough but I was in the zone and it felt great to be overtaking runners rather than being the one overtaken.

After the dry river the course went up some very steep cobbly tracks/tarmac and knew I’d have to keep the intensity up to get in under 11. My Camelbak had now run dry and I was thankful for the bottle of water that I hadn’t yet touched on my running belt. This came into play in the last 2km and poured some over my head as well as drinking some. Finally the hills stopped and it was a long straight road about 1km long to the finish and I could see the finish arches in the distance. Another glance at the watch: 10 hours 54 minutes – this should be in the bag. I ran this last stretch with a big smile on my face high-fiving the locals cheering me on. I had to keep a decent pace going and there was a slight doubt towards the very end causing a relative sprint. Then the clock came into view and I knew I’d done it. A few last high-fives before crossing the line in Just over 10 hours 59 minutes. Job done 🙂 .

I’d give Transvulcania a solid 8/10 rating. The support, scenery and aid stations were all superb and were generally well organized. Good choice of help-yourself food at the end too which I took full advantage of. Good free buses too. They could have improved the signage in a few places – generally I was OK as was just following the person ahead but there were a couple of uncertain moments when I was in my own. Also there was a lack of toilets at the end and those few that were there lacked paper causing me to have to sneak into a restaurant. The medal was nice but lacked the year and distance on it.

Overall not as good as The Maraton del Meridiano in my personal opinion, but superb none the less. Definitely one off the Ultra bucket list!!!

Naturist Foundation 5k 2018

The Naturist Foundation where bare is beautiful- By Peter Higgs

Over the weekend I completed a 5k for the club Charity, why would anyone sponsor me to run a 5k, well because this was no ordinary 5k, this was being organised by the Naturist foundation & the race required the runners to be as nature intended, yep au natural, in the buff & I don’t mean Multi-functional head wear.

As the day approached I began to get a bit nervous, I wouldn’t know any of the others runners, I had no support crew going with me & Sheryl advised me that she had overtime at work on Sunday morning, I wonder who she bribed to get that!!.  But at least I wouldn’t need to worry about what kit I was going to wear.

Sunday morning arrived and with trepidation I set off for Kent, the SAT NAV sent me down a long winding county lane.

I approached the gates of Brockenhurst where I was greeted by two fully clothed men in high vis who asked me if I was here for the race and then checked my name off the list and directed me to the visitors car park where a portly man wearing a striped dressing gown open at the front greeted me. OMG he was naked! Suddenly it was all real. I would have to get my kit off as well, but not yet, later, yes later, 2 mins before the race, that would be fine.

Strolling across the car park I saw a guy I knew as a parkrun Tourist, oh god he was naked! & so was his mate. Do I turn & run or casually say hello? So I casually said hello & we got chatting. Seems he was a regular & had done it for the last 5 years. Walking up to reception fully clothed I started to feel out of place as most of the other people were baring all, well what did I expect, I waited in line to complete the registration process & the lady at the desk thankfully had clothes on, but no one else did & the café & sun room was full of naturists all smiling & chatting,” pop over there & see the girls they will write a number on you” I was informed , so I headed over to the number desk, where yes you have guessed it  two naked ladies were perched on the edge of a table writing numbers on runners chests & arms with a red lipstick, removing my top I suddenly felt very overdressed I was the odd one out, I still had trousers on.  A little voice in my head said come on Higgsy its time to man up, so I walked over to the locker room , disrobed & headed out into the sunshine, I still had a good half hour to go before the race started,  to say I was nervous was an understatement, I mean where do you look when there’s a whole load of people on a grassy knoll in front of you and their err tackle is at eye level?

“Any first timers that wants a walk round to familiarise themselves with the course please meet up by the pool” one of the helpers announced & I decided that was the best thing to do, so off went to check out the course which turned out to be quite undulating & through the camp site and a lovely bluebell wood.

We got back and it was time for the race.

After a quick safety briefing, the whistle was blown and we were off. It actually felt good as I passed a few people and exchanged hellos and great day for it etc. The weather was perfect for running and I was enjoying the wind whistling through my hair!

By the second lap I was passing people and really enjoying the run, I had completely forgotten that I and everyone else was naked, until I approached a runner who had shorts on and looked completely out of place. How strange is that?

One more lap to go, this was great but actually quite a tough course. Then three laps were done into the finish with a time of 27.08. Not a PB but who cares as I loved the race. At the finish line I started chatting with runners who had already finished and soon discovered that a number of them where parkrunners from the London area as one guy was a Datchet dasher and another was from Woodley parkrun. We all stood around chatting and clapping in the other runners, including a group of ladies who were walk/running and having great laugh.

So I was standing around with 140 odd other naked runners and it felt great, uninhibited plus I felt really relaxed.

After a Burger & coffee it was time for the presentation of trophies & certificates where each person was called up and duly had their photo taken with the organiser / owner of the camp. I then returned to my car, put my clothes back on which felt strange. I then headed home.

There’s another Naturist 5k in Sept and I will be signing up, but this time definitely won’t be as nervous, as getting your kit off & running with other like-minded people is actually really fun.

Thanks to everyone who donated. Over £300 to the club charity is great

SCVAC Track & Field

SCVAC Track & Field League Starts with a Bang! – Fiona Ross

‘On your marks, get set……..’ and with the gun shot echoing round Horspath Stadium, Oxford, on 30 April 2018, the Vet 35A men stormed down the 100m track, including Reading Roadrunner David Ferris, in an impressive opening event!  David Fiddes and Nigel Hoult followed close on his heels, each giving a very strong performance in the Vet 50 100m and Vet 60 100m respectively.  They did not stop there, David Fiddes also gave a sterling performance in the Vet 50 3000 steeplechase as did David Ferris, together with Ian Giggs, in the Vet 35 400m events.  Simon Denton then beat Reading AC at their own game in the Vet 50 400m event!

When talking about the events in which he participated, Nigel highlighted what many Roadrunners feel, i.e. sprinting is “something most of us don’t do in competition”.  However, the atmosphere at the SCVAC Track & Field is fun and friendly.  Indeed, Nigel recounted that there was “a bit of humour when the starting pistol didn’t go off for one of the races!”  Furthermore, there is a sense of achievement in competing against clubs who focus more on athletics than road-running.  Nigel was rightly pleased which his 100m time of 17.8 seconds, and that he scored 4 points for the club. Furthermore, although Nigel had little time to prepare for his 400m race, because he had been co-ordinating our team and watching the steeplechase, his time was nevertheless impressive!

When it came to the 1500m events, Reading Roadrunners certainly came into their own.  Ian Giggs was a strong contender and Mark Worringham and Pete Jewell were second in the Vet 35 and Vet 50 age categories respectively. Fergal Donnelly flew round the track in just 5 minutes flat! As a non-scorer, he ran with the Vet 50 runners and said modestly afterwards, “I learned how to finally win a race – run in an older age category!”  However, I am sure Fergal would have given our competitors in the younger age category a run for their money!

The Reading Roadrunner ladies team also gave it their all.  Our very own ladies’ captain, Sam Whalley, certainly did. “I am by no means a sprinter”, she told me, “but as ladies’ captain, I feel I should set an example and participate. I was pretty confident I would come last in my 100m and 400m races. Nevertheless, I was cheered on by members of our club and others, and the other competitors, who I assume had excelled at sprinting in their younger years, all said ‘well done’ when I had finished. Once I saw the results, I was delighted to see that I had come within a second of my PB at both distances. With it being the first meet of the league, I can even claim them as season’s bests!”

Like Sam, I was really pleased with my 100m and 400m achievements too, especially since this was my first ever track & field event, but I agree with her that the team spirit of the Reading Roadrunners and our competitors (shown in the individual and relay races) makes these events even more enjoyable!  I would like to thank Sam and Roger Pritchard for encouraging me to take part, Tony Canning for the coaching for the sprint events and for his patience (I did not even have the spikes screwed into my sprinting shoes when I first started training!) and Glynne Jones for his advice.  With   their support and that of Nigel and our team, I had the courage to take part and enjoyed it!

Adele Graham was just half a second behind her Reading AC competitor in the Vet 50 100m race and Tracey Lasan finished ahead of her Reading AC competitor in the Vet 60 100m and ahead of Oxford in the Vet 50 400m race!  Helen Pool and Claire Seymour did us proud in the Vet 35 1500m race too.  The Reading Roadrunners have talent, even when not roadrunning!

Furthermore, it was not just on the track that Reading Roadrunners showed their prowess!  Ian showed his long-jump skills and Andy Atkinson and Simon Denton skilfully ‘put shots’ or ‘threw the hammer’, scoring points for the Reading Roadrunner team! These achievements were all the more impressive, since these are not events in which Reading Roadrunners normally participate at all.  Indeed, Andy recounted his experiences:

“Not since 1966 had I tried to put the shot.  Some of the other competitors seemed to be capable of throwing (not the right word as you will see) the shot a remarkably long way! I stepped up in the ring, after sagging under the weight of the shot, and took Glynne’s advice not to stand back, twirl or stagger. I grunted and hefted and the shot hit the sand at what appeared to be not far beyond my toes, but actually was 5 metres in! “No put!” was the referee’s response. Apparently, I had let the shot part from my cheek on launch and had effectively “thrown” it, which is not allowed. On the second round I did the same – about 5 metres in, but a “no put”. There were audible sighs of relief, when it was deemed on the third round that the put was good and the 5 or so metres stood.

The hammer is a heavy ball of iron on the end of a steel string! The first time I forgot to swing the ball over my head and went straight into the rotation, got dizzy and threw the hammer beyond the left side boundary – “no throw”. The second time, I remembered the swing, limited the rotation to one turn, but in my elation at getting the hammer beyond the tarmac area, stepped out of the magic circle – foul! The third throw, at 11 metres, was good and the fourth at 11.5 metres, better. I was delighted even though some competitors had put the shot further than my hammer throw! I got two points this time.”

Andy recommends that these events are something worth trying and can be done by anyone with minimal training.  He feels it does require some practice to gain technique, but strength and balance rather than speed are key to success. A discipline different from just running and well worth a go!

Adele Graham took third position in the Vet 50 Hammer event for the ladies and represented us in the Vet 50 long-jump too and javelin events too!  Helen Grieves and Liz Atkinson, following her superb performance in the London Marathon, also scored well earned points for the Reading Roadrunner ladies in the Vet 35 and Vet 60 Javelin events!

 

The SCVAC Track & Field League Starts has certainly started with a bang!

The Reading Roadrunners team would be top of the leader board, if points were also scored for team spirit and we went home with something as important as any award, a great sense of achievement!

On behalf of us all, a big thank you to Nigel Hoult for organising the Reading Roadrunner team, to Tony Canning and Glynne Jones for the coaching sessions provided for these events and to Sam Whalley and all those involved.  Fergal Donnelly spoke for us all when he said it was “a great evening, expertly organised by Nigel & team”.

We would like to encourage other Reading Roadrunners to take part in this Track and Field League because it is a great opportunity to try something new, support your fellow Reading Roadrunners, get to know other club members, who were friendly and supportive, and an opportunity to have some fun! Sam Whalley recommends “if you are 35 or over, and haven’t yet given these events a go, be brave, and try it!”

The next fixtures are on 14 May, 4 June and 2 July 2018.  Nigel Hoult has published the details. Come and join us!

Runners on The Road

Runners on The Road

 

Come and join us for races or holidays abroad!! 
Full calendar with future events below

Often throughout the year many of us Roadrunners organise our own trips abroad. Someone will come up with an idea and we'll then eventually post it on Facebook.

These races are usually marathons but many incorporate half marathons & 10Ks also. Often many will just come to support, so it's ideal if you just want a holiday.

The problem is many people can feel left out or new members may not have noticed old posts on Facebook.

All the trips I arrange I try to make everybody welcome. So if you have a trip planned in next year or so, or have a great idea then please contact me or email your idea and rough details to runnersontheroad@readingroadrunners.org or just tag me in (Paul Monaghan) and mention details on Facebook. Note you're not obliged to do this and it's totally understandable that you just may want to arrange your own trip with friends. But come on we all love a good holiday.
(Hover over or click links below for further details)
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Trips Planned For 2019

Oct
27
Sun
all-day Dublin Marathon Weekend
Dublin Marathon Weekend
Oct 27 all-day
Dublin Marathon Weekend @ Dublin | County Dublin | Ireland
About 15 Roadrunners will be going to Dublin and running this marathon. Entries showing closed but places will be released again on 1st July. See Alice Carpenter if interested.
Dec
15
Sun
all-day Malaga Marathon Weekend
Malaga Marathon Weekend
Dec 15 all-day
Malaga Marathon Weekend @ Andalusia | Spain
A few of us are returning again for this in December. Always nice & hot and an amazing event. Most of us will arrive on the Friday and return on the Monday. Contact myself or Caroline Jackson if interested.