Worringham super show and England call for Davies

 

MARK WORRINGHAM was the Roadrunners’ hero at the Brighton Marathon, finishing 13th in a field of nearly 20,000.

The former club men’s captain took nearly four minutes off his personal best, coming home in a time of two hours, 32 minutes and 46 seconds.

His successor as men’s captain, Phil Reay, led the tributes to his star vet. “Like a fine wine, Mark just gets better with age,” he said. “To run a marathon in that time and take almost four minutes off his PB is incredible.

“Mark gets a lot of plaudits for his times and achievements but what is really impressive is his bravery and courage.

“He attacked the Brighton course, running the first half in 1:13.37 to see what he had in him. Respect.”

Just ahead of Mark, the race had a dramatic climax, the long-time leader Dan Nash losing his massive lead to Stuart Hawkes in the final mile, the Tipton Harrier winning for the second year in a row in a time of 2:22.33. But, unknown to the huge crowds on the seafront, the outcome was decided, just like most Formula One Grands Prix…. in the pits!

Young Welshman Nash had been forced to make not one but TWO unscheduled stops to use the portaloo facilities.

The ladies was also won for the second successive year by Helen Davies, of Ipswich, in 2:38.41.

Roadrunners’ second man home, Paddy Hayes, slashed a massive ten minutes off his personal best … and then treated us to a brilliant summation of the big event.

“Brighton was where it all began for me,” said Paddy (below). “It was my first marathon in 2015, where I first felt that awful feeling of running completely out of available energy and trying to push on for the final few miles without slowing too much. I felt that again last Sunday.

“I was trying to bring my PB down from 3:14.34 to something much quicker, so I gambled and went with the sub-3hr pace group.

“I knew it wouldn’t last, but I wanted to see how long I could cling on for. I enjoyed the first half immensely, despite or maybe even because of the ups and downs around Rottingdean and Ovingdean.

“The fourth quarter of the race was pure punishment. The sub-3hr group had gone away around half way, and I focused on seven-minute miling until around mile 22.

“In an otherwise scenic race, the stretch around Shoreham port is painfully uninspiring. The power station, sawmills and warehouses aren’t much to look at and there are relatively few spectators.

“After turning for home I had to keep asking my legs for one more mile at 7min pace, then one more at 7.15 as fatigue began to bite.

“Eventually the race re-joins the seafront promenade, the finish line now in sight, albeit three and a half miles away. I crossed the line at 3:04.02, feeling that familiar combination of appalling pain and elation.

“It’s worth repeating just how much difference is made by the support of fellow Reading Roadrunners, both spectating and running.

“It was particularly cheering to see Mark Worringham over at the head of the race.

“Naturally I was pleased with my time but I later spotted that the London Marathon have tightened up their Good For Age criteria and capped the number of places.

“It appears I need to find another four minutes, left out on the road somewhere in Shoreham.”

For Paddy’s training partner, Dan Brock, the race had a contrasting outcome… no PB but a Good For Age qualification.

The British Airways long-haul captain finished in 3:11.58, slightly off the pace of the 3:09 he ran at Abingdon last year. He plans to use that GFA qualification to run Chicago in October and use his Brighton certificate for Boston next year.

“These are both places we fly to on the jumbo,” said Dan, “but I think I’ll go as a passenger for the races.

“Boston is a favourite destination of mine as the city is setup for running and whenever I’m there I’ll always run.

“If I can find a 10k or another event when I’m down-route, I always try to enter. I enjoyed a good 10k in Mexico City last year, but the 7,832 feet of elevation made it hard going.”

Dan (right) will be one of eight Roadrunners in the Simon Davis training group heading out to next month’s Copenhagen Marathon, and he had plenty of praise for his team-mates.

“Most of my long runs are done with Simon’s fantastic Sunday morning group,” he said. “I really can’t begin to say how wonderful they are. Everyone encourages each other and a large proportion came down to Brighton to support… very loudly.”

Another Roadrunner to return an outstanding time was Chris Buley, finishing his very first marathon in 3:21.17.

“I didn’t know what to expect and it was a really enjoyable experience,” said Chris. “I loved every moment of it and was very pleased with my time.

“Running towards the power station was particularly tricky and the only dull part of the race.

“I was going really well until mile 21 when I had severe cramping in both legs. My left leg cramped and then my right… it was agony! I’ve never had such bad cramp.

“Next time I have to be a bit smarter with fuelling for the last five miles as, for once, my fitness felt great.

“It was nice to see fellow Roadrunners along the way, so thanks to those who gave me a big cheer and smile.”

Roadrunners’ first lady to finish was Jane Davies in 3:41.35, and it was the start of a bitter-sweet week for her.

“That’s well outside my PB of 3:22.08 which I ran in London in 2013, so I’m about four minutes a year slower,” she said.

“It was a GFA for me, but it’s easier for the ladies. The GFA rules for London have changed though, so I won’t definitely get a place.”

But Jane’s mood changed from disappointed to euphoric a couple of days later when she learned she had been called up for the England Age Group Masters marathon team.

Her performance at Brighton, after which she cooled off in the sea (left), sparked an email from England Athletics confirming her selection to represent her country against a Celtic Nations team on a date yet to be announced.

Jane’s performances for a lady approaching the closing months of her spell in the FV55-59 age category never ceased to amaze, as do those by the inimitable Ashley Middlewick.

Ashley’s body of exercise for the weekend consisted of a cycle ride from Reading into London on Saturday, another from South London down to Brighton on the morning of the race and a further ride home afterwards.

In the middle of all that he contrived to slip in a parkrun at the new Hazlewood course in Sunbury-on-Thames, where he was the FIRST finisher. Oh, and he ran the marathon in 3:08.03.

The day’s racing at Brighton kicked off with a 10k in which both Roadrunners competing, Vroni Royle  and Nicola Gifford, chalked up personal bests.

They were no doubt helped by being pulled along by a high-class field with pacemakers… but not by stopping for their drinks!

 

 

 

 

Victoria victory for modest Morris

 

BIG Brendan Morris was proud to join the queue of Reading Roadrunners proclaiming their shiny new Easter personal bests.

“I’m struggling to keep this one to myself,” he announced on Facebook. “One hour 14.12 for the Victoria Park Half Marathon…PB!”

But Brendan was barely telling half the story. What he failed to mention was that he actually WON the race, beating a field of over 700.

While some of London’s elite runners were in Berkshire on Good Friday denying our best guys the prizes at the Maidenhead 10, our gentle giant was already in the capital to gain revenge.

So a month which began with a lot of frustration ended in triumph and Brendan can look forward to the Virgin London Marathon with bags of confidence.

Sharpening up in February with a 58-minute pb in the Bramley 10 and a 17:10 parkrun pb at Woodley, his target has always been London. Let Brendan take up the story…

“I’m hoping to improve on my marathon time of 2:41 that I ran at Abingdon last year, which has got me on to the Championship start line for London,” he said.

“If my taper goes smoothly and there are good conditions on the day I’ll be aiming to go under 2:40.

“My wife Gemma will be running London as well as she got through in the ballot. She’s new to running but has been putting in a tremendous effort and deserves to achieve a time she should be proud of.

“Though I won’t be with her on the day, my thoughts and some of my concentration will be with her. My wife and I both wanted to do a half marathon as part of our training and we picked the Bath Half as we knew it was quite a flat course. Unfortunately the ‘Beast from the East’ had other ideas and the event was cancelled due to heavy snow.

“Still eager to do a half marathon we signed up for Reading a couple of weeks later… well, we all know how that ended. By this time we thought we were cursed and had upset the running gods.”

Not long afterwards Gemma Morris suffered a foot injury and eased off the mileage, but Brendan was still keen to race a half marathon and to crack the 75-minute barrier. Using the RunBritain website he sourced the Victoria Park Half in Mile End, east London.

“The course was flat and the weather pretty much perfect,” he said. “I had taken an early train as I didn’t dare wake my wife, so I was going solo.”

Well, not really solo! The six-and-a-half lap course soon became a parkrun-style free-for-all. Not only was their route open to the general public enjoying a dry Bank Holiday but two more races, at 5k and 10k, were taking places simultaneously over the same course.

“It was a constant battle to pick a racing line against oncoming dog walkers and runners who I was lapping,” said Brendan.

But he was always up with the leaders and his 75-minute pace target. By the nine-mile mark he was pulling away from his main opponent, Tom Sawyer of Tring.

He eventually prevailed with 35 seconds to spare over second-placed Sawyer. “Crossing the line I was over the moon,” he said. “I couldn’t quite believe that I had cracked it.

“But I’m always looking to improve, so I never dwell on the PBs too long before trying to work out how I’m going to cut the time down further.

“We have some fantastic runners in our club and I want to be able to represent the club at the sharp end of competition.”

Roadrunners men’s captain Phil Reay paid tribute to the achievement. “I’m thrilled for Brendan that his hard work and dedication has been rewarded with a race win,” he said.

“After recording PBs at seven distances in 2017 it’s no surprise to see him continue to go from strength to strength.

“He is without doubt an inspiration and a role model for all those members striving to continue their own improvement.”

After London, Brendan says he will be “hoping to scrape together enough pennies to do all six of the major marathons in the next three years.”

If he does, let’s try to persuade him not to make a secret of his future successes.

Bitter-sweet for Rob Corney at Maidenhead Easter 10

 

ROB CORNEY came within an ace of rewriting the Roadrunners’ record books in the Maidenhead 10… but he wasn’t happy!

Corney, who smashed the club record for the half marathon six weeks previously, finished third and led home a long list of Roadrunners county championship medallists.

Alex Harris, Alan Freer and Gemma Buley joined Corney with Berkshire golds, there were silvers for Sally Carpenter and Sarah Dooley and bronze for Pete Jewell, Helen Pool, Sarah Bate and myself.

The club’s only representatives at the prize-giving were Caroline Hoskins, after another outstanding performance in the FV50 category, and Tom Harrison, who vanquished his sole opponent at MV80 by the small margin of 34 minutes.

Meanwhile Corney was left to rue what might have been. After a delayed start to the sell-out race he forced the pace and went through 5k very close to Mark Worringham’s club record time of 15mins 38secs.

And although he soon lost the lead to the eventual winner, Dan Wallis of Belgrave Harriers, his next personal best time quickly followed as he clocked a personal best 31:47 for 10k, just outside the club record of 31:38.

“After that it started to unravel a bit,” he said. “An old hamstring injury I struggled with at some of the XC races flared up.”

Rob was passed by the Kent runner Chris Greenwood and eventually finished in a time of 52:48, only 23 seconds outside Howard Grubb’s longstanding club record.

“I was not at all pleased as I was on for about a 52:10, which I had to abandon,” he said. “But I will live and learn and at the next flat-road 10 miler I will claim another club record.”

Corney’s final thoughts were for the Roadrunners supporters. “They did the club so much credit again,” he said. “It’s great to get so many shouts of support and it must be tough for the guys from other clubs who get nothing like the same cheers.”

The club’s first lady finisher, Carrie Hoskins, led a long list of personal bests with a sensational time of 1:03.42. She had more than seven minutes to spare over the second FV50, our own Jane Davies.

Both our girls earned age gradings of over 88 per cent for their performances… practically international-class running.

And Carrie’s wasn’t even the best pb in her family… daughter Sophie, the Henley Hockey Club star, improved by over four minutes.

Another notable new mark was set by our top MV50, Alex Harris (1:01.13), now clearly back close to top form leading up to the London Marathon, having been lucky to survive a horror crash while cycling in Lanzarote last year.

The usual suspects in our pb list, Chris and Gemma Buley, were at it yet again, Mrs B returning a new mark over six minutes quicker.

There were also huge improvements for Judith Ritchie (10 minutes) and Stewart Wing (eight). Other men on pb form were Chris Manton, sharpening up for next weekend’s Paris Marathon, Nelesh Kotecha and Tony Long, while firefighter Vince Williams was on red hot form and pilot Dan Brock was really flying.

Captain Sam Whalley spearheaded a bunch of super performances from her women’s section, including pbs by Paloma Crayford (again!), Liz Ganpatsingh, Sarah Richmond-De’voy, Vroni Royle, Cathrin Westerwelle, Rachel Allaway, Sian Deller and Hannah McPhee.

Towards the back of the field my wife, Jill, finishing after the weather had turned from threatening to Noah’s Ark conditions, improved by over three minutes from her time at Bramley, enough to earn her congratulations from the Prime Minister.

Roadrunners’ own leading lady, Carrie Hoskins, is the only competitor of the fairer sex to have 100 points after two rounds of the club championship. Among the men there are perfect scores for Corney, Freer, Harrison and myself.

Looking ahead, ladies of a certain age looking for a bit of success at the Woodley 10k should be warned that Mrs Hoskins will be in the field and won’t let the fact that it is only seven days before the VLM slow her down.

Likewise Corney has targeted that race and isn’t planning to finish second. He has also entered the Marlow 5, leaving those chasing points in the senior men’s section of the club championship to battle it out for the minor placings.

Link to the revised results: here

Race Pictures

Link to Peter Cook’s Flickr album here

Link to Chris Drew’s Flickr album here 

Link to Sev Konieczny’s Flickr album here

 

 

Mark and Helen win SPOTY awards

 

ROADRUNNERS Mark Worringham and Helen Pool both won trophies at the Reading Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Former men’s captain Mark took the prize for the veteran achiever and Helen picked up the award for the best local improver during the year.

For Mark it was a reward for his success during a year when he represented England at the Masters Cross-Country international in Ireland and led his Roadrunners squad to the veterans’ title in the Hampshire Cross Country League.

And for Helen it marked a year in which she ran big personal bests at every distance on the way to clinching the club championship and culminated in being selected to represent Berkshire at the Inter-Counties Championship.

Our heroes received their awards at a glittering ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Reading.

With his usual dry wit Mark commented that the “goodwill in the room seemed to dissipate when it was mentioned I was a Reading Borough Council town planning officer.”

The main awards for the local sportsman and sportswoman of the year went to Jenine Hutchison (taekwondo) and Dan John (swimming).

Here’s the link to full details of the awards ceremony… https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/news/reading-sport-personality-awards-2017/

Trains, Towels & Pole Dancing

Castellon, Spain Marathon 2018 By Paul Monaghan

This marathon on paper looked a good one. Was easy we thought. Fly to Valencia and then catch a train to Castellon to check into hotel and visit expo on the first day. Course seemed flat and weather was looking good for that weekend.

Of course when you travelling with Pete Morris, Martin (Bushy) Bush, Dean Allaway, Caroline Jackson & Caroline Hargreaves well things don’t always go to plan and truth be known I wouldn’t have it any other way. I do enjoy a bit of chaos but sometimes it does have its limits.

All seemed to be going smoothly until we got on the flight at Gatwick. A text and then a phone call came through from Dean saying he’d lost his passport. This happened somewhere between bag security and passport control. He eventually found it but he was too late for the flight and decided he would go home. We were one man down which was a shame.

Eventually we arrived in Valencia and decided it was a quick drink at 100 Montaditos (they’re everywhere in Spain) and Pete & Bushy ran over to Hard Rock Café to sneak one in there also and grab a few blurred photos. Weather was hotter than expected so was nice to eat & drink alfresco and not listen to people moan about the weather for a change
Time was tight as we’d booked the tickets. Now was just a simple case of grabbing the train to Castellon. Did I say simple? Wrong!! We got the right train OK but Caroline J thought Castello de la Plana train station said something else so we quickly dived back on the train. It was still moving and poor Bushy was running after it and eventually jumped on. Magnets and tacky souvenirs where strewn over the track, but luckily Bushy was in one piece. But wait, we were at the right stop and now ended up 8 miles away at next station called Benicassim. What the hell we thought and grabbed a few photos did a #TeamJackMon video and caught next train back to Castello de la Plana. We’d not even got to the expo yet.

We did eventually get to our hotel and soon after made our way to the expo. It was at Ribalta Park where we would finish the race. I was immediately impressed and couldn’t wait to start the race. If you’ve ever been to a race expo you’ll know that all kinds of foreign races are advertised so we tend to spend a bit of time at them. The guy from the Porto marathon stand was giving out free port so he tended to be our best friend for the day (Yes Caroline & I are now doing that marathon). A few photo shoots holding up our numbers and passports (Sorry Dean but it had to be done J ) and it was time to get back to hotel.

Sandy Sheppard and Brian Kirsopp would arrive later so we picked up their bags in advance.

Race morning came and what a great morning it was. Sandy & Brian’s hotel was right next to the start so we joined them for coffee before a mass RR photoshoot near a bull statue.
I absolutely buzz at marathon starts and still get goose pimples at the start of every race. When I first started doing marathons I used to get so nervous but now I just soak up the atmosphere. Truth be known I’m more nervous at parkruns, 10Ks & halves for some reason. The marathon is my stage and I relish it, though I feel the best parts are still the beginning & end and I can’t wait to get them over with as quickly as possible. Caroline & I only ever run together on XC marathons were we make a point of not looking at our watches and enjoy. Road ones are different so there’s a bit of competition. (One each up to now this year)
Fireworks & music blasted at the start which gave it a party feel.  This was a good course and well supported, I recommend it to anyone. €35 and they even threw in a tech t-shirt. We find these races cheaper all around than the UK all in all and we get a holiday out of it.

I did struggle on this one as Caroline & I hadn’t ran a marathon for 7 weeks so I did feel rusty even though I’d be training hard for this. I crossed the line at 3:43 were Caroline was waiting for me (she did 3:37) We received a towel and tons of food including pizza at the end. Maureen Sweeney kindly came along to support us adding to the great atmosphere later on in the park at the end of the race.

We now waited for the rest. Brian was already in and Sandy was doing the 10k . To our surprise Bushy pulled off a 4:10 his fastest in 6 years. Did he sniff a free souvenir? He told us he didn’t want to miss out on the towel hence his time. Joking aside he’d only done a double marathon the week before and it was about his 11th of the year making it even more impressive. He’d go on to run a 4:06 the following week in Malta.We have so many friends from 100 marathon club etc that it’s like a running family. Much like Roadrunners but an international version. So we all met up near the finish for a few beers in the Spanish sun. Brian got the best time, Pete got the most photos, and Bushy got the most freebies. I can’t recommend this race enough.

We were in Castellon a couple more days so had the delight of us all celebrating visiting the various tapas bars. Pete even managed to eat mussels & snails. There’s just so many of these great little local places in Castellon with a distinct lack of tourist traps. We also kind of like it when the menus are in Spanish and they don’t speak much English.
Did I mention there’s a beach at Castellon? We took a bus and about a thousand Spaniards followed us on. I was crushed against a pole which looked like I was pole dancing in the photos. The journey worn me out more than the marathon, and not one person stuffed a €10 note in my stocking.

Always a pleasure travelling to do marathons with my lady Caroline and the rest of the Roadrunners.  You know where we are if you ever want to join us. It’s not all about running, though it does help 🙂

Brian Kirsopp              3:20:37
Caroline Jackson        3:37:33
Paul Monaghan           3:43:33
Martin Bush                 4:10:03
Pete Morris                   4:42:27
Caroline Heagreaves 4:56:25
Sandy Sheppard          1:00:55 (10K)

 

‘Sno joke for the Whalleys as Reading Half Marathon called off