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

 



 

New Zealand’s Coast to Coast Bike, Kayak & Run Race 2018

Race Report By Gary Tuttle.

The 2018 New Zealand Kathmandu Coast to Coast is a multisport race that involves crossing 243Km on the South Island by Bike foot, and kayak. This took place on 9th and 10th February.

I signed up to this originally with the intention of doing the Longest Day – the one-day full course event. By December with the race only in February I realised my preparation was less than adequate and I would struggle to meet the cut off times so opted to change to the 2 day event. Still a big task but I thought much more manageable and enjoyable………..

There are a lot of logistics involved before and during the event; this involved getting the equipment I would need for the race and transporting it around the course on the actual day. Every person or team taking part needs to provide their own support crew. Thankfully I had a great support team that involved my wife Trinity and her parents and an uncle who has taken part in the past so knows the workings of the event.

A friend of Trin’s dad offered his road bike for the event but the kayak proved to be a bit harder to get hold of. Turns out it is a very big event and all hire companies on the South Island were booked out months ago. In the end I managed to hire a sea kayak from a shop in Auckland who would be transporting a number of them down for the race.  With all this sorted before I flew out to New Zealand it was a big relief.

On Thursday 8th Feb we drove over to Kumara race course to register and collect race numbers and receive a briefing about the course conditions, (river levels, transitions, state of the ongoing roadworks a few of us were worried about for the cycle!)

Friday was an early start, up at 4:45 to eat breakfast and take the bike to be racked at the 1st transition. Having never competed in any multisport race previously I thought I better figure out where I would run in and then how to find my bike amongst the hundreds of others! I then walked to the beach for the final race briefing at 6:45.

The race started at 7am with the firing of a cannon by the original runner of the race, Robin Judkins, and then there is the 2.2km run to the bike transition. I had started at the back of the pack so I didn’t set out too quick especially as the days leading up to this I had been having some cramps in my quads and hamstrings. It was comfortable running and I was quickly passing people.

On arrival at the bike transition I found my bike, shoes and rucksack with no dramas and set off on the initial 55km cycle. Having never cycled in a group before this was going to be interesting. I knew a small amount about group cycling and how they take it in turns to cycle at the front (not much knowledge obviously). The ride was generally flat with a few undulations and some fast downhills. Getting stuck in the middle of a pack was frustrating at times when on the downhills as I wanted to go faster than those around me but struggled to get out and around them. I upset a few people by trying to cycle down the middle at one point.

I arrived at the 2nd transition racked my bike and ran round to find Trin with my mountain run gear. She spotted me 1st and shouted out and quickly started changing my shoes and bags. Trin and her mum were asking if I wanted food, drinks and sun-cream, with my usual thinking, this would cost me time and I had to quickly get back onto the course and start the 33km mountain run.

After 2.75km you turn off the trail, down a bank and start your first river crossing. This is the start of Deception Valley; there are numerous river crossings and the terrain is tough going, being very rocky and easy to go over your ankle, (Try running along a rocky beach) there are boulders to clamber up and over, and sometimes there is a bit of easy going smoother trail. I made good progress for the 1st 13km but the mixture of lack of food and 30 degree heat was starting to catch up on me and I was slowing. I had a cliff bar and drank some water then set off again……………

The terrain got steeper as we neared ‘Goats Pass’ peak at 1085m where there was a mandatory kit check and you could refill drink bottles (although the river water is safe to drink in most places)……………………..

I then set off again and from here there was a nice sign to tell you, having crossed the Southern Alps “it’s all downhill from here.’ This was the part of the run I was dreading as in the week leading up to it I’d been getting cramps when running downhill. I wanted to keep it at a gentle pace to delay the inevitable cramps. There were a mixture of boardwalks and rooted trails and unbelievably some steep uphills! The terrain was pretty sapping and slowed me down. The last 3km was back to the rocky river bed but the end was in sight. There was a big sense of relief when I crossed the finish line at Klondyke Corner, and everyone is greeted by Steve Gurney (9 time C2C champion) with a handshake and cold beer. My total time for Day 1 was 7:17:11

After getting a massage it was time to find my hire kayak to set it up and stick race numbers on it, then I was thankful for the cabin we had booked instead of having to camp! Before heading to bed I had to sort out my bags and equipment for the 2nd day.

It was an early start again for day 2 where Trin and her dad had to get up at 4am to take my kayak and equipment for scrutineering. I had a bit longer in bed and didn’t need to wake until 5am, and once I had breakfast Trin’s uncle took me and my bike back to Klondyke Corner ready for the wave start.

The waves were groups of 10 setting off at 1 minute intervals determined by yesterday’s finish times. I was in wave 16 and we set off on the initial 15km cycle. As this was a relatively short cycle, and I was going to be sat in a kayak for a while after, I decided that I would try and go flat out. A couple of other cyclists came with me and we made good progress with a lot less congestion compared to the day before, we quickly caught up and passed some cyclists from the other groups. At the end of the cycle I had to run 1.3km with my bike down a gravel road to the bike racking, and then made my way to the kayak.

I had no idea how long it was going to take me to kayak 70km with the longest distance previously undertaken in a kayak was on the flat river Thames and covering 16km in 3hrs. Thankfully this was all downstream and the river was flowing at a decent rate. The first 25km is fairly flat without too many obstacles or features; it can get pretty braided so sometimes there is more than one route option. I tried to follow people who looked like they knew what they were doing and had paddled the course previously.

All was going well, when after 10km there was a small section of rapids, I didn’t see a large rock until a bit late and ended up sideways trying to get round it and pushed upside down by the water. I quickly decided it was best to bail out of the kayak as there was 2nd big boulder I was heading towards. I ended up getting pushed over the boulder hitting my leg against it…………………

At some of the known trouble spots there are rescue teams set up to deal with this. One guy on the bank threw me a throw line which I caught whilst another in a kayak got my boat and took it to shore, and another had rescued my paddle for me. Back on the bank I spent a few minutes emptying the kayak, getting my breath back and jumping back in before heading on my way again. I hoped that this wasn’t a sign of things to come as I had lost 10 minutes dealing with that which would add a lot of time to this section if I kept coming out.

The hardest part of the course is the second 25km stretch which is through a gorge and contains a lot more rapids, this makes it a lot more fun but there is more chance of capsizing. Lots of rapids and wave trains, thankfully I never came unstuck and kept upright the whole time. All along the course everyone is really friendly and encouraging. You get chatting to people around you as people are from all over the world. Some are local and have paddled the river numerous times…………………….

I knew I had almost completed it when I saw the Gorge Bridge ahead of me, a couple more bends and I could get out of the kayak. This was a relief as my back and leg were hurting from being sat for over 5 hours. As I came to the river bank there was an army of people to help the kayakers out. Two guys grabbed either arm and hoisted me out, my leg having seized up. From there, there was a cruel steep uphill run to the bike transition where I got changed slapped loads of sun-cream on and ran the short hill to the road with my bike.

 

I knew this last 70km cycle was going to be hard not just with the distance but also the lack of other people around me to help draft. For the first 16km I was by myself but made good progress passing a few people, but sustaining 20mph on my own was tough. Thankfully a rider from a 3 person relay team caught up and for the next 8km we worked together picking up the pace slightly (although he ended up doing most of the work). Eventually it was too much for me to sustain and he started pulling away from me. Back cycling alone I slowed, It was tough going as the roads were so long and straight and the heat was again draining. I kept getting water in me and then managed to take on some food. At one point I saw a sign that read ‘ The End of New Zealands longest straight road’, it was only a few minutes later I realised they must have meant the wrong end and this was only the start! 25km of dead straight road was mind numbing and tiring. My body was really aching, pains in my right quad and the bottom of my feet, I just wanted to get to the end. Eventually a larger group of cyclists caught up and asked if I wanted to join them. This was a welcome relief. I joined in and could relax slightly. They kept rotating at the front so everyone was getting a turn…..

Soon we arrived in Christchurch and there was only about 16km left. We had to stop rotating as there was too much traffic so some of us started to speed up as the end was in sight. I finally saw the 1km sign and peddled as hard as I could. There was a line of marshalls waiting to catch me and hold the bike whilst I jumped off and ran to the finish line. There was a steep incline up a sand bank rising 3m and I pushed as hard as I could to get to the top where the finish was. The relief as I crossed the line and was again greeted with a handshake from Steve Gurney was immense. My total race time 15.56.15………………..

I enjoyed the cold drinks and free burgers provided and enjoyed the satisfaction of having completed the event. With my burger and support crew I hobbled to the beach to cool off in the sea. It was one of the most enjoyable events I have done, everyone was friendly and helpful. I can’t wait to head back and compete in ‘The Longest Day’…………..

 

 

 

Corney smashes club record

ROB CORNEY broke the 23-year-old Reading Roadrunners club half-marathon record with a sensational second-place finish at Wokingham on Sunday.

Corney trimmed four seconds off Howard Grubb’s record with his time of 69 minutes and 20 seconds.

He was only beaten by the Great Britain Olympic marathon star Scott Overall (65:11).   

Afterwards a delighted Rob (right) said: “I had Overall in my sights… for about 500 metres!”

Rob was always in the front group of the best of the rest and chased down the former Reading AC runner Johnny Roberts in the last three miles.

“I noticed Johnny was tiring,” he said. “So I started to reel him in. I got into second with about one mile to go and then just had to grit my teeth and maintain the pace to the line.

“I didn’t go into this race with a target but sub-70 was a target for the spring so I’m pleased to get it.”

His Roadrunners team-mate Matt Richards was our second man over the line in eighth place in a time of 71.01.

Rob was one of three Roadrunners to win a Berkshire county athletics championships gold medal at the event, along with Alex Harris and Alan Freer.

And there were silver medals for four of our ladies – Gemma Buley (below), Erica Key, Mary Janssen and Lesley Whiley – as well as your author.

Those awards were the icing on the cake for the club after another hugely enjoyable and successful Wokingham event which, sadly, I understand may be the last.

Rumour has it that several of the committee are considering standing down after many years of service and replacements are hard to find.

That’s a shame because Wokingham has a reputation for being the local ‘half’ with the noisest, most supportive marshals and fans.

If Overall is the final winner of the event, it is a pity his tweet “Solo run at Wokingham today” sounded a bit sniffy and dismissive.

It is six years since the 35-year-old Londoner ran 61 minutes in New York and, if he doesn’t like running solo, he should drop back through the field where he can find some excellent company among those of us grinding it out in the middle of the pack.

He would be privileged to run alongside people like my old training partner Melanie Shaw who, after a year out injured and over two years since her last ‘half’, was well pleased to finish in 1:42.

Or he could have run with fire fighter Vince Williams, who came straight to the race after being on duty all night (last call 5.30am) and still managed to turn in a 1:40.

And he could have teamed up with one of Chris and Gemma Buley, a really nice couple who are fast becoming the top husband-and-wife team in Reading Roadrunners.

The Buleys are slaughtering their pbs every weekend these days, starting with ‘his & hers’ pbs on consecutive weekends at Woodley and then Reading parkruns.

At Bramley, Gemma (right) knocked 10 minutes off her best while Chris professed himself disappointed with a time of 2:31 for his first 20-miler.

At Wokingham, both ran 10-mile pbs on their way to new marks at the 13.1 distance, Chris improving by six minutes and Gemma by four.

Gemma, of course, has a top running pedigree, being the great-niece of the former world cross-country champion Stan Eldon, but Chris only took up running late in life when he got fed up waiting around for his other half to finish ultra-marathons.

The secret of success for the two teachers seems to have been their decision to train together outside of any Wednesday evening groups at Palmer Park.

“The biggest difference for us has been putting in the hard work together,” said Gemma. “Training at track with just the two of us has meant that we can plan sessions that work for us.

“The next big target for me is to hopefully take a chunk of time off my marathon in London and for Chris to get round his first marathon in Brighton.”

Competition to the Buleys for the honour of top family at Wokingham came from the usual suspects, Caroline and Sophie Hoskins.

While the new England call-up Caroline was the Roadrunners’ first lady home in a new pb time of 1:24.17, daughter Sophie tasted success for the third successive weekend, with a half-marathon pb to follow pbs at 10k at Chichester and 20 miles at Bramley.

Going even one better than that was the PB Queen, Helen Dixon, who made it three in the space of eight days, with Wokingham following new marks at the Bramley 10 and Woodley parkrun.

The pb roll of honour from Wokingham, led of course by Corney, the Buleys and the Hoskinses, included a 12-minute improvement by Grant Hopkins down to 1:24, ten minutes off by Beth Rudd, six by Sarah Walters and five by Stewart Wing.

Our senior men’s club champion, Justin Simons, pulled off a great double, following up his 1:29.06 pb at Wokingham with a course record in a swimming-and-5k run duathlon at the Oratory School straight afterwards.

Other Roadrunners to make it a pb double at both Bramley and Wokingham were Katherine Sargeant and Tony Streams, as well as Paloma Crayford and Maria Norville.

Also setting new marks were Dan Brock, Sarah Richmond-De’voy, Erica Key, Ian McGuinness, Susan Knight, Tony Long, Gareth Goodall, Holly Towers (right), Katie Gash, Gary Clarke, Veronika Royle and yet another of Katie Gumbrell’s quickly improving group, Diane Hodder.

It surely can’t be a coincidence that a good percentage of these people were among the very few braving the deluge on the track last Wednesday night. And one of the last runners to finish their training despite the Noah’s Ark conditions… Caroline Hoskins. End result of her efforts… an age grading of 87.98 per cent. There are no short cuts on the way to the top.

While the award for runner of the day on Sunday undoubtedly went to Rob Corney, the award for coach of the day went to…. Rob Corney!

Rob has been coaching my son, Mark, who achieved the astonishing improvement of FOURTEEN minutes from 1:39 down to 1:25.35.

Mark (left, chasing down Caroline Hoskins) is a veteran of the Sweatshop Running Community set-up and has made huge strides since he started training regularly with the club wonder-boy.

“It was great to see Mark lay down such a good time,” said Rob. “Partly because he proved me right… I told him he could go 1:26 and he laughed at me. Now he’s clearly thrilled with the time and it’s good to see him enjoying his running so much.”

So that’s the secret! All you have to do is train with Rob Corney! Just try it for five minutes and see how it goes….

·        All the results at http://www.sportsystems.co.uk/ss/results/Wokingham%20Half%20Marathon/3457

·        See Chris Drew’s Flickr album at

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chris-drew/albums/72157693562632655/page1

·        See Sev Konieczny’s Flickr album at

https://www.flickr.com/photos/46406693@N08/sets/72157663832190697

 

 

 

Morris leads pb extravaganza

THERE were no fewer than 22 personal bests on the weekend the road-racing season got into full swing at the club’s flagship occasion, Bramley.

Pride of place went to Brendan Morris, our second finisher in the 10-miler behind the returning Keith Russell, with a time of 58mins 11secs.

Brendan was 11th overall, just ahead of another Irishman, Dave McCoy, who also dipped under the hour. Our trio also picked up the silver medals in the team event.

The big pb in the 20-miler was bagged by Seb Briggs, fourth overall in 1:56.40. Seb cleaned up at the prize-giving, taking the MV40 category prize with more than 10 minutes to spare and then carrying off the second-place team award with Alex Warner and Lance Nortcliff.

New international Caroline Hoskins started the season as she means to carry on, slashing a minute off the 12-year-old course record for 20 miles in a new pb time of 2:14.22.

Carrie, who will wear an England vest for the first time in May, finished fifth lady overall and took the FV50 age group award with more than 12 minutes to spare.

Our first lady home at 10 miles was Jane Davies in 1:11.01, a time comfortably good enough to capture the FV50 prize.

Jane also led Helen Pool and new member Katherine Foley to third prize in the ladies team award for the shorter distance.

Hopefully this is a definitive list of the PB’s from the 20-miler, in the order of finishing: Briggs, Paddy Hayes, Katherine Sargeant, our top man’s wife Loretta Briggs, the superstar’s daughter Sophie Hoskins, David Walkley, Dave Brown, Paloma Crayford and Sarah Richmond-De’voy.

Missing altogether from the results submitted to the club newsletter was Peter Manning, who finished 305th in a time of 2:45.52.

In the 10-miler the new best marks were set by Morris, Gareth Goodall, Vince Williams, Sam Whalley, Nicola Gee, Chloe Lloyd, Maria Norville, Zoe De La Pascua, Jenny Boxwell, Helen Dixon and Sarah Walters.

Sadly, your correspondent scored a notable double of a personal best followed by a personal worst at the weekend.

The best (usual corny joke coming up) was in the Bramley 20, for the very good reason that it was my first time over the distance.

The worst was in presenting the results for the club newsletter straight after the event.

New editor Peter Reilly was anxious to make a good fist of his first edition, giving a very good impression of Tom Hanks playing the boss of the Washington Post, so copy deadlines were tight.

And he wanted a couple of reports on the race, plus a write-up of the club’s Hampshire League success, on the final whistle.

A lot to do… and I’m afraid I made a bit of a pig’s ear of the stats.

This data is always provisional for some considerable time afterwards, but that’s no excuse to my sins of omissions. Apologies if the newsletter listings appeared with some members missing altogether and several personal bests not acknowledged.

I knew things were going badly when I saw David Ferguson post on Facebook that he had achieved a pb. I’m afraid he wasn’t in the original results at all and, consulting the bible that is Power Of 10, he’s still not!

Then I saw a picture on a Flickr album of Claire Woodhouse crossing the line, but I knew I hadn’t spotted a time for her, either.

For the record, Claire’s time for 10 miles was 1:23.14 for 257th place and I think I also missed Martin Douglas, 288th in 1:24.25. A time for June Bilsby, a late swapper between the two distances, must remain one of the great imponderables.

As ever, your best chance of getting your name up in lights is to mail your race details to results@readingrunners.org as soon as possible after races. Simple as that.

You can also post in on the club’s Facebook page, send it to my personal email account, text me, tweet it or send it by pigeon. But results@readingroadrunners.org gets the job done.

There was also a pb at the weekend for Kerry Eastwood at the Worthing Half Marathon. Tip for recognition, Kerry: Enter your races as a Roadrunner!

 

Pictures kindly supplied by Barry Cornelius.

Maraton del Meridiano 2018

Report by Ashley Middlewick

The Maraton del Meridiano – an eventful experience to say the least!!!

Left my Airbnb place at 8.40 expecting a 45 min walk to get to the start. 5 minutes after setting off I was offered a lift by a passing camper van (the driver was also running) and I got to sit on the bed in the back accompanied by two yappy little dogs :). So I get to the start nice and early. Good atmosphere and there’s a DJ playing some good uplifting music. Then reunite with fellow Brits Paul and Agnes who I met in the queue for the bib collection yesterday afternoon. I then drop my main bag off (opted for running with the Camelbak with orange jacket in in case it got cold higher up).

We set off on time at 10.00am (I had a flight to catch at 5.35pm so it was a race within a race with part 1 being get around the 42km and part 2 being find a taxi and get to the airport on time). 0.67 miles in everyone stopped and there was a significant delay of maybe 10 minutes before we got going again. Not sure what the delay was about but was just happy to get going again. Anyway it wasn’t long before the severe climbing started and everyone was reduced to a walk. All I could do was run/overtake where possible and hope that the waking wouldn’t last too long.

After about 4 miles we progressed onto a slightly downhill smooth trail and the pace was brisk. Then at the first timing mat I was called back – looked down and realized I’d lost my timing chip that was attached to my shoe with a bit of string that must have come undone. Thankfully the guy at the chip mat waved me on. After a slow technical descent down to the second timing checkpoint (9-10 miles in) in the small town of Sabinosa I stopped to explain to the officials about my chip situation. They radioed around to the other checkpoints letting them know my predicament and waved me on explaining that I didn’t need to stop again. After Sabinosa there was a lot of slow climbing with a considerable amount of walking involved. There were snippets of awesome views looking down at the sea far below. It was predominantly (or at least very significantly) up all the way to about mile 20. It seemed never ending especially with the strong winds and drizzle higher up (the abyss springs to mind). The descent when it eventually came was a welcome relief and the end seemed within reach. There were a few occasions when I had to stop and shake out the little bits of volcanic grit that had made their way into my shoes. Maybe 3 miles from the end I could start to hear the noise from the finish down below but there was a very techn

 

ical single-track forest descent to negotiate – time to stay composed. Eventually the path led us back into Frontera (the main town where the race started/ended) and there was one last steep down before a final right turn down the main Street/finishing straight.

The support was fantastic and I managed a decent finish. After crossing the line I immediately found a race official and asked him about me getting an official time despite losing my chip. He took me over to the timing guys and they showed me on the laptop that I had an official time – 4.59.18 :). It was about 3.15pm so I went to enquire about getting a taxi to the airport. I asked a guy in a MDM jacket – turns out he was a taxi driver and said he could get me to the airport for 4 euros and for me to come back at 4.00pm. Just enough time for a beer and to cheer some other runners across the line before jumping in the taxi with another runner and making our way to the airport. We arrived with an hour to spare – mission accomplished :).

Would 100% recommend the MDM event. Tough but stunning course with constantly changing weather on the beautiful little island of El Hierro where the people are friendly and atmosphere good. The course was superbly marked and feed stations well stocked. The pasta party the night before was brilliant and the food at the end wasn’t bad either. May well do this again next year.

England call for Caroline

ROADRUNNERS’ superstar vets Caroline Hoskins and Mark Worringham have both qualified to represent England. The pair returned stunning times in the south of England championships at Chichester to earn international places in May.

Carrie will now line up in an England Masters vest in the Great Birmingham 10k… but Mark is sadly unavailable for the big day. The former Roadrunners captain finished 12th overall in the fiercely-competitive Chichester Priory 10k and was the winner of the MV40 age group in 32mins 57secs.

Like Mark, Carrie just missed a personal best, but her time of 38mins 44secs was good enough for third place in the FV50 section and 18th lady overall.

The first three Masters in each age group will line up in England colours against another international team yet to be announced. And they will have pride of place in an advanced starting pen just behind the elite group.

Now the Henley grandmother faces an anxious wait for official confirmation of her call-up. A thrilled Carrie said:  “It was a hard race and very windy, but a great event.

“I presume I will hear soon from England Athletics but I have no idea when so I will celebrate when the email comes through. Fingers crossed.

“I was 24 seconds off my 10k pb but happy with that in the conditions… very, very cold and very windy for the last 4K.”

To complete a great day of family success Carrie’s daughter Sophie improved her pb by over two and a half minutes with a time of 42:02.

Unfortunately Mark, who has already represented his country this winter as a cross-country international, won’t be able to join Carrie in Birmingham.

“I will be away that weekend with the boys’ rugby club,” he said, “so I never put myself forward for consideration. I was entered for Chichester before they announced it was a qualification race.”

He was disappointed, too, not to manage a pb. “My best time is 32:05 on the track and 32:22 on the road,” he said. “In fact, I think I’ve run quicker than today about six or seven times.” But Mark has plenty of big targets for the running year ahead, starting with a tilt at a sub 2hrs 30mins in the Brighton Marathon in April.

And he also has the Masters World Track and Field Championships to look forward to in Malaga in September. Along the way he will be seeking that elusive sub-32mins 10k.

Carrie, meanwhile, also has plenty of big targets in the next few weeks… Bramley, the Wokingham and Reading Half Marathons and then London, where she will be aiming to finish in under three hours again. 

Both the Roadrunners’ experienced stars have been nominated by the club in the ‘veteran achiever’ category in the Reading sports personality of the year award next month.

Middle-distance runner Helen Pool was also nominated for a local SPOTY prize in the ‘improver’ category.