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 International Events!!

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 events are usually marathons but many incorporate half marathons & 10Ks also. We also have members who travel to international parkruns.  Often many may 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.

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.

 

Upcoming Trips:sible text


 

Seville, Spain 2020

Distances  Marathon
parkruns? None in Spain at Present
Date  23-Feb-2020
Contact  Paul Monaghan & Caroline Jackson
Details One of the best cities in Spain. Famous for it's cathedral & tapas bars. The race starts in the centre and through the streets of Seville. At one point passes the stunning Plaza de España. Race is mainly flat. About ten of us from the club are travelling to this. Entry & details on website here

 


 

Paphos and Limassol Marathons

Distances  Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K & 5K
parkruns?  None in Cyprus
Date  15-March and 22-March 2020
Contact  Paul Monaghan & Caroline Jackson
Details Cyprus the island that has approx 320 days of sun a year!  A great place to get some late winter sun.  The Paphos marathon starts at the wonderful Aphrodite’s Birthplace and starts at 7.30am.  There are free coaches for all runners to the start from the Harbour in Paphos.  Free Unlimited Beer at the finish and a fantastic award ceremony overlooking the Mediterrean.  There is also a wine 5k run on the Tuesday which includes transport there and back to the winery, lunch, visit to the museum and winery,  and bottle of wine for all finishers.  Link here for the Paphos event https://logicomcyprusmarathon.com/

Limassol marathon takes place on Sunday 22 March. On the same day there is also a 10k, 5K , and Half Marathon.    https://www.limassolmarathon.com/

There is a great after party at Limassol too at the new marina.

Please contact us if you need any advice on where to stay and flights etc.  We have done these races before and have lots of knowledge on both Paphos and Limassol.

Check out this article I wrote last time we ran them in 2019

 


 

Marseille Marathon 2020

Distances  Marathon, Half Marathon, 6K & 10K or Relay
parkruns?  None nearby
Date  12 April 2020
Contact  Paul Monaghan & Caroline Jackson
Details Giving this one a go also a good opportunity to get away over Easter.   We are flying out on the Good Friday and back on Monday.
Marseille, a port city in Southern France and located on the Mediterranean Coast.
We are staying at the Ibis by Vieux Port.

Website: https://www.timeto.com/en-GB/sports/running/run-in-marseille-by-harmonie-mutuelle-2020

 


 

Rhodes Marathon 2020

Distances  Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K
parkruns?  None in Greece
Date  3-May 2020
Contact  Paul Monaghan & Caroline Jackson
Details We have ran this one before and can recommend it.  It’s a beautiful run in the on this great Greek island.  The run starts early mainly to avoid the heat but its still a scorcher.

The pasta party the night before the event is amazing.   Further details

https://www.rhodesmarathon.gr/en/

 


 

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)