June 2013 Race Reports

 

Kent Road Runner Marathon

 Trentham Running club had representation in the South East last weekend in the shape of Jill Phillips and Dan Jordan running the Kent Road Runner Marathon. Dan has kindly sent us this race report from the weekends events:

Well the Kent Roadrunner Marathon was more of a road-trip than anything else!! There were four of us travelling down and staying over, as well as my brother meeting us there on the day. So on the Friday afternoon my daughter Izzy and I picked Jill up and then went to the station to pick up my friend Jamie, and off the 4 of us went down the M6, M1 and M25. Traffic-wise things were OK until Dartford, and the conversation was focussed on paces and times, and what the course would be like. We were all excited, and Izzy really wanted to come because uniquely this race allowed racers to setup their own table to put out their own food and drinks on, and Izzy was going to be our support crew at the table! So, I should explain that this was a lap marathon, ran on a 2.5km cycle track, and the marathon being 17 laps of said track! So we would pass Izzy 17 times and be able to pick up whatever of our own food and drink we wanted, and she could cheer us on.

We arrived at the Premier Inn in Gravesend about 5 in the evening and went across to the pub and sat in the sunshine for a drink and then we had a meal, and an early night. I slept reasonably well and awoke early, sometime between 5 and 6, and we all got up around 6:30. Izzy and I went for breakfast at the pub; Jill and Jamie had brought their own, and then we left for the track arriving at about 7:45, over an hour before the 9am start. We registered, met up with my brother and then went to set up the table and to get a look at the course. I’d brought a camping table and chair for Izzy and we setup 4 zones for each of us. She had everything she needed including pace bands for us and a stopwatch!! It was much cooler than we had expected and really quite windy which was not a good sign at all. We couldn’t see all of the course but between the start and the table were a few undulations!

I was feeling really negative before the start, for no particular reason, but fortunately my support crew had other ideas, and I received a good telling off from my daughter. She then made me repeat after her “I am going to do my best”, “I am feeling good”, “I am going to get 3:15”. She was brilliant, and it really made a difference, I was feeling good, I was going to do it!!!

We did some stretching and got ready for the off. First of all a race briefing as we shivered on the line, and then we were off, up a short bit of hill, down and a hairpin and back up to the table and Izzy cheering us on. I’d started with my brother quite near the front and it was a wide enough start to very quickly get into your correct pace. Both me and my bro were hoping to get Good For Age times for London – he has done it before, I was still a way off with 3:23 at London my PB and needing 3:15. 3:15 is 7:26 average over a marathon which really doesn’t sound too tough, and I should be capable of getting it, but I never do! I’ve done SC20 at 7:15 pace and chatted all the way round, but struggle in the marathon. Anyway, my plan was to run at 7:15 pace for the first 20 miles, putting 3 mins into the bank and hoping to hang on for the final 6 miles. However, I also didn’t want to clock watch, and with the garmin struggling over such a sharp-turning course I was not going to rely on it for timing, so I’d printed out a lap pacing band and simply checked this against the clock every time I crossed the line.

After passing Izzy the course went steeply downhill, but into a strong headwind, then through 3 more sharp turns before hitting the bottom, before turning to come up A BLOODY BIG HILL! Actually the first time I went up it it wasn’t too big, there was a short steep section which you ran only slightly quicker than walking speed, but then a long rise from there all the way past the start. Coming up the hill the wind should have been behind you, but it was in a cutting and so no real benefit from the wind. As I crossed the line I took off one of my rubber bands (only 16 more laps to go!) and checked my time – I was more than 40 seconds up already which meant I’d gone off pretty quick. I’d stuck with my brother and I knew he was capable of 3:05 and would be running at that kind of pace. However, I felt quite comfortable and did another lap with him. By this time I reckoned a loo break would make me run better and break me off from him and let me find my own pace, so I popped to the loos that were literally on the course, and then carried on. The first few laps were easy, and having looked at the splits since (it was chip-timed and they sent it all through), at the end of lap 10 my pace was 7:14. I’d ran with a few people and chatted away during this time, did a couple of laps with the first lady, and then a guy who was after 3:10.

However, and as usual, I started to slow from about 16 miles until the end, and no amount of encouragement from Izzy (and she was superb) could make me go any faster. And for the first time ever in a race, my legs were actually hurting. I walked up the BIGGEST HILL IN THE WORLD the last 6 times, and I walked with Izzy while I took on food or drink at our table too. I eventually finished in 3:25:53 a broken man. And then they hung a great big heavy medal around my neck. I sat down and ate the banana and drank the water. Then got off my sorry arse and walked down to cheer the Pocket Rocket on. I hadn’t realised, of course, that when I was cheering her in to the finish she had another lap to do, so I went and lay on the grass verge as my legs were killing me.

When Jill had finished we packed up our table and got ourselves together. We tried to find out how Jill had got on in her age group but it was a bit chaotic, we wondered if the timing system had failed completely but they said it was recording but they couldn’t look at it. My brother had got his time, but only just – 3:14 instead of 3:05, but a GFA for London. So I didn’t feel too bad with my time, it was only 2 mins off a PB, and on a really hard course. So I resolved never to run that course again, but I was not so foolish to say never again to a marathon, because I will get my Good For Age for London....next time

 

Thanks for the report Dan and unlucky at not getting that Good For Age place but still a performance to be proud of non-the-less. Well done!!! Results are HERE!

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Shugborough Relays

Andrew Vickerman has sent us his report from the Shugborough Relays. A little late going on but here it is:

Arriving at the Shugborough relays I hadn’t realised what a big event it was, until I was in the queue for the car park. They even had to draft in some cows as marshals.
As I got around to the course the Green army were just leaving for the warm up, a good 20 of us. I was surprised by the course, a lot more turns and obstacles than I was expecting.
Had a mingle with the team and met my fellow Jamaican bobsled team, Lee, Ian and Phil F. Lee was Lee, but the others were sandbagging.
Right it was time to get down to business, went to watch the start, which was a pure stampeed, I was glad I wasn’t running that leg.

Went for my final race preparation in the bush and made my way to watch the first come in. As they have to lap the field it gives you time to get ready. I watched Lee come onto the field and made my way to the start.
It was utter carnage in the change over area and seem to take an age for Lee to come around. Ken Rushton gave me the nod as he saw Lee approaching, through he came and I was away.
I tagged onto what I thought would be a quick lady when I started, but soon realised she wasn’t going the pace I needed so pushed on overtaking quite a few people. By the car park I spotted Dan Maddock so pushed onto pass him just before the woods. As we entered the woods I seemed to be overtaking loads of people although most of them were kids.

I saw Stan's Grandson in the distance and concentrated on catching him. First mile 6:15, I couldn’t believe how good I was feeling. The distance between us wasn’t coming down as we came out the woods and under the bridge. I had sensed I had slowed a bit and urged myself to kick up past Bryan Dale.
Coming onto the field was a good boost as there was quite a few spectators, but as you go down the back there was a group of 4 of us and I just couldn’t get past them with the ground being uneven. On the final push I managed to take 2 of them but the whippersnapper got away from me.

Looking down at my watch I had done 12:49, not fast for some but great for me. Our team got 51:09 meaning we finished 30th overall.
Went to watch the rest of the green army and my wife come in. Again there was some great performances. A group of us went and did another lap as a cool down to burn off Lorna's (Gregs wife) cake.
Just got to try and extend that pace to 6 miles on Sunday. See you there!


Cheers Andy and well done on your race, that's a good pace and keep it going :-)


Shrewsbury Half Marathon

Many thanks to Paul Orry for sending us this report from the Shrewsbury Half Marathon:

After bringing my own charity challenge to a close at the potters arf I found that I just couldn't rest and on the evening of the potters arf booked in to do Shrewsbury half marathon. As the day approached myself, partner and best friend were starting to get nervous as our race packs and numbers still had not arrived. So making a call to the organiser on Saturday, we were told we needed to get to the event early to sort out replacing them. This was all good and well but the marathon and half marathon were on the same day and Shrewsbury would be closed off to allow the race to take part. The marathon was due to start at 9am so it was a very early start. An un-eventful journey to Shrewsbury. To reduce traffic trying to get into the town centre we parked on the Shrewsbury Town football club car park and shuttle buses had been put on by the organisers to take us to the race start, or so we thought.

We were dropped off approximately a mile from the start so a walk helped to warn us up. As we entered the start location in the quarry there were a vast amount of people. So after sorting out replacement numbers, toilet visits and loading up my best friends kids pushchair with all the baggage start time was gettin close. 9am came and the marathon runners still hadnt set off. Organisers were waiting for the green light to confirm that the roads were closed and clear. At 9:30 the marathon started with a rapturous applause. As the runners left the quarry the we assembled behind the start line, we were now due to start at 9:45 however it was more of a 9:55 start.

The crowds were brilliant. There were similar numbers of spectators to the potters arf, not bad for a dull wet and windy day. We left the quarry on our first lap of the 2 lap course (2 laps for half marathon and 4 for the full). Nice steady flat before we turned right up hill and through the town. The roads were packed with runners and I jostled my way through the packs to give myself a nice bit of space. Constantly picking people off showing how strong Trentham are ;) . The course was a mix of fast flat and downhills with the odd steep uphill thrown in for good measure. Running at a nice steady 7 and half minute miles I almost bounced up the hills. The rain made the road a little slippy underfoot but no mishaps. Water stations a plenty although the number of people on them was not. Although advertised as being located every 2 miles it was more like 4.

The upside to going up a steep hill is coming back down it. Here I improved my position, allowing gravity to do what she does best. As I hit the bottom of the hill this is now mile 4 41/2 I passed a fellow trentham runner, she was making her way up the hill. I was now heading back into the town and a different entrance into the quarry. This part of the course was (for me) demoralising its a zig zag affair of about 2 miles. Once that was complete head towards the finish line before diverting to the right to start lap 2 of the course. As I entered the town for a second time the crowds were still in high spirits and the rain had started. As I drew my second lap to a conclusion and with the finish line insight I urged my legs to move faster, they refused it took a lion hearted roar and gritted teeth to allow me to sprint the final 100 meters as I did the crowds went wild as I overtook other running clubs.

Unfortunately I had to slow before I hit the chip mats as it felt like my heart was about to give in. The run itself was easy to complete than walking away from the finish line as lots of spectators had basically created a very tight funnel, due to there being no barriers. T shirt and medal aren't anything special considering the cost. What I found disappointing about this run although I probably would run it again is that there were too few marshals. Spectators and half marathon runners were inadvertently walking into the path of the full marathon runners again due to the lack of tape/barriers. Also the lack of support for the slower marathon runners who although only having ran for 3 hours were running through empty streets almost. I would never do the full marathon I couldn't face the steep hill 4 times. Twice was enough but I would recommend the half. Pleased that I set my new PB here knocking 4 minutes of my previous.
 

Thanks Paul and many congratulations on getting a 4 minute pb on what sounds like a very tricky course, especially with the rogue spectators and shoppers. If you have a report from Berryhill or Maybe one of the other recent races please send it in.

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Page last updated 03 July 2013

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