Pass The Shirt Relay Video

Watch This Video!! Us Roadrunners can never be accused of not being imaginative. Over a hot few days during lockdown in April we found out just how far our t-shirt could be passed around. The results were edited together by our very own Emma Caswell to produce this excellent video of us all. Enjoy!!

 

RR Charity 2020

Message from our Charity Coordinator Rachel Helsby charity@readingroadrunners.org

 

Charity of the Year – Parenting Special Children

I am feel honoured and privileged that members have voted for me to be the charity organiser of the year to raise money for local charity Parenting Special Children (PSC) which supports over 2,500 Berkshire families last year.

Parenting Special Children was set up by Ruth Pearce, Founder and Chief Executive in 2006 and its mission is to provide specialist parenting support to parents and carers of children and young people with Special Needs, so that they can create positive change in their lives.

The charity offers specialist parenting support to families of children and young people with Special needs and/or disability in Berkshire. From Autism, ADHD, trauma and attachment, to sleep and diagnosis support they offer a wide range of services. They also run a number of family events each year so that these families can have the sort of every days-out that other families would do routinely.

PSC also helps these families feel less isolated by running a number of support groups. For example they have a group for family members who are caring for children who cannot be cared for by their birth parents and, more recently, they have set up a dads and male carers support group which is proving very popular.  It is always good to talk.

We will shortly be setting up the charity page on our Reading Roadrunners website, and also a direct fundraising page for members who wish to raise money for the charity directly.   Money raised through Reading Road Runners will go towards funding PSC’s sleep service.  Children with additional needs are at increased risk of sleep difficulties and, as a results, parents/carers and siblings also don’t get enough sleep a key element of well-being.

I hope you will get an opportunity to learn more about the charity and the variety of work it does through meeting the volunteers at club events throughout the year. In the meantime, you can find out more about the charity by visiting their website:

https://www.parentingspecialchildren.co.uk

RR Charity page is also here https://readingroadrunners.org/charity/

As your charity organiser, I am committed to giving as much time as I can to the role and, as a very local charity, PSC volunteers are also ready to help me. I am very open to constructive ideas from members about how I can do my role and welcome advice from those that gone before me.  Please do not hesitate to come and talk to me at track on a Wednesday evening.

By raising the visibility of this charity and the work it does, I also I hope I will also encourage us all to think a little more about people that act a bit differently to the norm. To stop and think. To show a bit more compassion. And be kind. Because God knows right now the world needs a bit more of that.

Rachel Helsby

#TeamJackMon Lanzarote & Malaga Double Marathon Report.

Double Trouble. Our Lanzarote & Malaga Marathon Double, Dec 2019
By Paul Monaghan

If you fancy a spot of running in December and maybe a marathon or two then you could do a lot worse than Lanzarote & Malaga, Spain.

Lanzarote is a Canary island of volcanic origin and tends to have a hot climate in December. If you like winter sun then it’s ideal. The marathon itself starts from Sands Beach hotel in Costa Tequise.



Malaga is located on the Southern tip of Spain and is primarily used as a gateway for travelling the Costas. However I’ve always found Malaga itself a vast improvement to Torremolinos, Marbella etc. as it has a more authentic Spanish feel. It has to be one of the most underrated Spanish cities.

Caroline Jackson & I ( #Teamjackmon ) were a bit worse for wear as only just completed the Cypriot Larnaca Marathon and the Spanish Basque country’s San Sabastian marathon. These two would make it four foreign marathons in five weeks. Fitness wise we’re both off form lately but the pull of a December in the sun with pals was just too much to resist. So we booked the flights & hotels months in advance cutting costs considerably.

Our usual RR crew Pete ‘The Train’ Morris & Martin ‘Bushy’ Bush would be joining us in Lanzarote but would be flying home after few days. Bushy would be flying to Malaga to join us also.

The plan for Caroline & I was to stay at Gatwick hotel Thur eve and fly out to Lanzarote on the Fri (6th Dec) We’d then stay in Lanzarote until the Wed were we’d fly to Seville spend a night there and then catch a bus to Lanzarote on the Thur afternoon.

Lanzarote

After landing a Lanzarote the four of us made our way to the Nazaret apartments hotel in Costa Tequise. It’s an amazing complex were most of the 100 marathon club runners descend on every December, which gives the whole holiday a buzz. Brian Kirsopp had also arrived who was giving it a go for the third time.

The marathon is an out & back from Costa Teguise to Puerto del Carmen. A half marathon & 10K also start from Puerto del Carmen, in fact many Reading Roadrunners over the years have joined us there running various races. I can’t recommend it enough if you want to incorporate a winter holiday.

This was a hot one with temperatures reaching 26 during the race. During the back section there were many people walking. Saying that though it’s an enjoyable scenic run passing palm trees as some stunning scenery. Even a point running in front of the airport landing strip were planes appear to be coming in about 100 metres overhead. We did struggle a lot on this though support from the locals kept us going when all senses said to quit. Caroline had a podium age cat prize a few years ago but like myself was a bit too worn out to be in contention.

We all ran a 4 hour+ but Brian had managed to pull a sub 3:30 out of the bag despite the heat. Respect to him.

This was our third in four weeks so it was a relief to finish and tuck into all the post race snacks etc. Of all the marathons we’ve completed this has more than any other for the runners post race. Food, drinks & even ice creams are in abundance. We celebrated Bushy’s 1000th  ( Yes 1000th) marathon there last year as it was just the ideal place to have it.

After the race 100s of runners descend into the local square for some much needed celebrations. The four of us ended up in a Karaoke bar until about 3:30am.  We had to walk Pete Morris to his room as he didn’t know what day it was. Luckily for us he did not get up on stage.

Caroline & I stayed to the Wednesday to visit much of what the island had to offer, we even threw in a visit to the local Volcanos at Timanfaya Park.

Seville

If anyone has visited Seville or ran a race there you’ll be aware of just how stunning this place is. We ran the Marathon there in 2016 and will indeed be repeating it again in Feb 2020 just 10 weeks away.
Everywhere you look in the city there are orange trees lining the streets. Around the Cathedral area there’s a mixture of small friends tapas bars, some of which look like they’ve not been touched in 100s of years.

Pete and Bushy and most of the crew had now left to go home but we decided we’d get a flight straight over to Spain incorporating Seville before a 2.5 hour bus ride to Malaga.
Cutting a long story short, we found out the airport was closed mid-flight so we ended up at Malaga hence finding ourselves in the position of now needing a bus from Malaga to Seville, returning to Malaga again the next day.
We really enjoyed it here and even caught the excellent Xmas lights switch on as well as visiting one of the oldest Tapas bar in Spain. Our time was short so the next day it was off to Malaga.

Malaga

After landing we caught the local bus from the airport to town. Our destination was the Las Vegas hotel which is right on the sea front. We had a few days before the marathon so it gave us time to indulge a little more rather than our usual arrival the day before.


I’ve always said Malaga is one of the most underrated cities in Europe. With a backdrop of a stunning cathedral and relatively quiet beaches it’s ideal for anyone wanting a authentic Spanish experience avoiding the tourist hotspots. There’s even a Picasso museum thrown in to boot.

On the Saturday we took part in the pre-marathon breakfast run. A tourist bus was laid on from the city that took us to the Estadio Ciudad de Málaga stadium were the run would kick off.

This was great fun especially as Caroline & I were decked out in Xmas gear. Really was a fun run but the nice weather and the stadium made this a great experience even if the route was a little dull.

Our partner in crime Martin Bush flew in not long after we finished ready for the Marathon the next day.

Marathon morning eventually arrived. In 2016 the rain was so bad that they called the Marathon off an hour before the start. Our fingers were firmly crossed in anticipation for this one. As it goes we kicked this off on a nice day. It’s dark when you arrive at baggage but by the time the marathon starts the sun is just rising making this ideal.


We popped into a café en route were these poor staff were trying to serve coffees to about 200 runners in 30 mins. Was chaos but a spectacle to watch.
Caroline with a combination of nerves and too much food the night before suddenly had a fit of the runs and quickly dived in front of the 50+ strong loo queue to save the day and her dignity. The only gripe I have about this marathon is the lack of toilets.

Start was so conjected but soon opened out as roads and coastal paths are so wide. By this time I was exhausted beyond belief and was doubting I could run half way yet a lone a marathon. Seven days out of the UK combined with eating out and late nights, not to mention three marathons in four weeks had taken their toll. Caroline was feeling pretty much the same though Bushy is a machine to business as usual for him. Another RR Paloma would also be running as well as some other pals. I decided my best tactic was to go for a fast first half and back off after 13 miles. The trick seemed to work and get me round, though my time was nothing to write home about.

It’s not a bad course but they had re-routed from previous years which meant not taking in as much coastal roads. It also seemed to add a few hills. Some people may prefer this but in the heat it can get too much. Needless to say I’d still highly recommend this Marathon in December for the city and beaches alone.

Caroline’s was about 20 mins ahead of me but Paloma had managed to pull off a PB beating us both and was ecstatic. Another friend of ours Julia whom we first met in Tallinn also managed a PB.

One of the best things about Malaga is the beach bars to follow. Tons of us met up for a well-deserved beer in the sun after the race. Bushy even managed some post-race magnet shopping.

As expected many of us got together and visited the tapas bars etc in e evening. One thing that is worth mentioning is the excellent roof top bar at the Marriot hotel. It gives a spectacular view of the city and for that it’s worth it alone.

Paloma’s parents live in Spain meaning she knows Malaga like the back of her hand. She treated all of us to drinks in the spectacular Bodega El Pimpi Spanish tapas bar which is just mind blowing. Bushy proclaimed it as the best bar he’s ever visited which coming from him just says it all.

Monday it was back to the UK. And dare I say it I think we were both glad to get back to the UK for a rest even if it was raining on our arrival. Now time for Xmas shopping, though a marathon in baking heat is easy by comparison.

Hel’s bells! Executions, torture.. then we raced a half marathon

TRAVEL writer-cum-race reporter ANDY ATKINSON tells the inside story of another successful trip abroad by a group of Reading Roadrunners…

DID you know that the “Gravensteen”, or Count’s Castle, was built by Philip I of Alsace as a show of power and wealth and to keep the burghers of Ghent in order? No, neither did I. That is not until I heard one of the quirkiest audio guides I have ever encountered. 

Full of interesting anecdotes about Philip I, his wife, Elisabeth, the executions and tortures routinely inflicted there, it certainly takes your mind off the exhausting climb up winding stairways to the pinnacle. Once up there, however, and elated that the climb is finally over, you have the town before you!

It was not surmounting old ruins, however, that attracted a group of Reading Roadrunners to the Belgian town, but a different kind of challenge.       

October 27th saw a running festival take place and we were targeting the half marathon – flat, fast and situated away from the town centre, there are no real hills and cool weather promised good times. Ghent is also easily accessible by Eurostar – an ideal venue for a short bit of running tourism. 

Of the ten of us originally up for this, two were non-starters! Fiona Ross and myself, with illness and injury respectively, decided not to run. Undaunted by this little difficulty and unwilling to give up on the chance of a weekend away with good company, we switched our entry to the 10k walk. 

This was much more civilised, allowed for some sightseeing and photos, and was rewarded by personal bests for the two of us of about 2:09:00. Probably not astonishing in the world of race walking, but should there ever be a “leisure walking” event, we would be up there!

The rest of the group took the half marathon race rather more seriously and were rewarded by some exceptional results. Fergal Donnelly turned in his second best-ever time at 1:25:57 and Mark Andrew completed at 1:35:50; but the greatest credit should go to Helen Pool. 

With a two-and-a-half minutes PB of 1:32:02, Helen was on the podium as second female overall and first in her age category. As cool and collected at the finish as the start, she made it look easy!

The rest of the group also performed well – Dan Rickett was well within his predicted two-hour time at 1:54:47, John Bailey and Liz Atkinson chased each other in at 2:26:17 and 2:28:31 respectively, despite John sporting a shoulder injury, and Lorraine Bailey followed with a solid 2:37:10. Liz and Lorraine bagged the second and third FV65 placings in the process. 

We were joined for the event by Reading parkrunners and long-term friends of Reading Roadrunners, Aleid Busser and Adrian Wadham. Aleid turned in a superb 1:59:39 as first FV70 and Adrian 2:05:24 as first MV75. 

Veronica Andrew also attempted the half, but under-trained and a little under the weather, she wisely decided to call it a day at 10k before things went pear-shaped. Her prudence paid off and she is none the worse as a result.

As for Ghent – not so well known as its flashier neighbour, Bruges, it is, however, very quaint, with a long history as a mercantile town. It sits on the rivers Lys and Scheldt and is criss-crossed with canals. 

As well as the castle and mercantile history, Ghent is famous for the “Adoration of the Lamb” triptych by the Van Eyck brothers in St Bavo’s Cathedral and, at the other end of the artistic scale, “Graffitistraatje”, where you can try your hand at your very own graffiti. 

The half marathon has only been running for about three years, but next year it is planned to route through the city centre. This will add interest, but perhaps not speed — much of the centre is paved with cobbles. I am also unsure of how they will deal with all those thousands of bicycles that zoom around. Between the cyclists and the trams, walking, never mind running, can be a hazardous experience.

Overall verdict: A well organised, multi-terrain, friendly race with a super finish line in the Topsportshal Stadium and the bonus of a big bottle of exceptionally strong Belgian beer in the goody bag.

Cartoon: Veronica Andrew, from her personal collection.

Pictures: JohnBailey, Dan Rickett, Andy Atkinson, Fergal Donnelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heartbreak Hill conquered… now it’s Chicago here I come

SPECIAL report from Roadrunner BRENDAN MORRIS on yesterday’s Boston Marathon… and it’s aftermath!

IT’S 3.30am local time and I’m wide awake lying in our hotel room in Boston. Yesterday I ran the Boston Marathon in a time of 2:47.50. It was a time that I was quite happy with and celebrated accordingly afterwards.

The trouble is now that I’m rather uncomfortable. The hangover is bearable,  but not pleasant, the muscles in my upper legs are particularly sore, but the worst thing is, I need the toilet. 

This will be the third time that I would be going during the night (an issue with maximum rehydration after a marathon). The first time, my left leg gave way underneath me completely and I ended up in a heap on the floor and crawled to the ensuite.

The second time, I made so much noise groaning in pain that I woke my wife up and she was less than sympathetic. 

So I’m now weighing up the options available. The most attractive one seems to be to wet the bed, but I think the most acceptable one will be to attempt to roll out of bed into the floor quietly and then once again crawl to the toilet and muster up the strength to stand, then hobble back. 

The prestige of the Boston Marathon needs no introduction. It’s an event that is on many amateur runners’ bucket lists, with a difficult qualifying time and no opportunity to run it otherwise, making it a race to aspire to. The city seems to have embraced this event with open arms as well, with the locals generating a great atmosphere throughout the marathon weekend. 

Upon signing up to run Boston, my initial thoughts were… “it’s that marathon with a hill in it.” After running it, I think it would be better described as “the marathon with one flat bit in it.” 

The more I read about the course in the build-up to the event, the more it started to worry me. “Though it has a net drop in elevation, do not let that fool you into thinking it’s a quick or easy course.” This was just one of the cliche-type phrases that I read and in hindsight all of them seemed to have been true. 

Another element to the Boston Marathon is the unpredictability of the weather conditions and this year did not fail to disappoint. As myself, Gary Tuttle and Grant Hopkins sheltered from torrential rain in a marquee, wearing ponchos and bin-liners around our feet, we spoke to a local runner who had done Boston “around ten times”. He claimed that your finishing time in Boston can’t be compared to other marathons; it’s a different kind of beast. 

He said you cant even compare your Boston time to other Boston Marathons as the weather each year is so different. Again, more cliches that rang true. 

This year they had initially predicted heavy rain throughout and for it to be cold. It was actually pretty mild in the end and the rain had passed by before the race started. The real issue during the race was the humidity to begin with and I would say in the final stages it felt pretty hot as the sun came out. 

The crowds along the course were great. Again, the area seems to have not grown tired of this event but to relish in it. Lots of unofficial feed stations, water stations, live music and co-ordinated cheerleading had been set up and in true American style they are unapologetically loud and bold. The Wellesley scream tunnel left my ears ringing and the last couple of miles in Boston proper were incredible. 

My build-up to the race had been hampered by a foot injury. I was only able to build up to the distance slowly and was not able to put in the amount of training I would have liked. I could only manage four runs greater than the half-marathon distance, which for me is not many (London and Berlin ten runs of 18 miles-plus).

So I was looking for a decent performance in the region of 2:50.00 but wasn’t going to be too harsh on myself if I only managed sub-three hours. My tactic was to run comfortably on the downhill stretches, not slowing myself down, then respect the uphill sections and not put too much effort into attacking them. I thought this would leave me good energy to finish strongly in the last five miles, which are pretty much all downhill.

Unfortunately this didn’t seem to work as well as I had hoped.  A lack of long hilly runs in my training meant that around the halfway mark my quads were sore and I could feel my hamstrings tightening. 

This seemed to coincide with the temperature increasing and I knew it was going to get tough in the second half. I made a decision at that point to stop looking at my pace and concentrate on feel. 

I still respected the hills through Newton (a series of four inclines culminating in the infamous Heartbreak Hill) and took them steady in the hope that I could run strongly in the final stages. 

The course had taken it’s toll on my upper leg muscles though. By the top of Heartbreak Hill I was in agony. My legs couldn’t turn over quickly enough to take advantage of the last downhill section. In fact i was cursing the downhill parts by this time due to the pain. 

The last five miles became “let’s just finish without walking” mode. I was in a world of pain by the time I got into Boston proper, but the crowds and a runner who I was keeping pace with really spurred me on.

I snapped out of my defeatist mindset in the final stages and suddenly realised that I was still on for a good time. I gritted my teeth in the last mile and tried to make sure I ran under 2:48, which I managed.

It was a tough race. I would like to tackle it again with more specific training and higher volume. Considering the conditions and lack of preparation I’m happy with my time, the injury was fine and it gives me good confidence going into Chicago in the autumn. 

Pictures: Gemma Morris and Brendan Buxton

Boston results: http://registration.baa.org/2019/cf/Public/iframe_ResultsSearch.cfm?mode=results

Caroline Jackson Achieves 100 Marathons

Caroline Jackson finally achieved entry into the prestigious 100 Marathon Club last week when she crossed the finish line at Larnaca Marathon 2018.

‘It feels like a dream. Having my friends & family here with me is just the icing on the cake’ Caroline commented.

Not only has she run 100 Marathons but she’s ran them in style clocking up over a third outside of the UK and all in 7 years. She’s also been on the podium many times including first lady at Limassol, Cyprus marathon and second lady at both Hunsruck in Germany and Liverpool.

It was a group occasion as Caroline was joined by her partner Paul Monaghan  (they call themselves #TeamJackMon) and many members of Reading Roadrunners plus other friends from various clubs at the Larnaca marathon were she finally nailed her 100th. Her family were also there to witness the presentation and join in the celebrations after she crossed the finish line.

Well done from all of us at the club.