Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Windsor Triathlon

Sunday, June 15th, 2014
The Well Deserved Pub Lunch.

The Well Deserved Pub Lunch.

 

The start line against a strong current

The start line against a strong current

15th June 2014

In our wetsuits waiting for the early start

In our wetsuits waiting for the early start

This was an on/off event for me. My crunchy arm had prevented me from swimming and there was so much going on that it all seemed very doubtful that I would make it to the start line. However, three weeks ago I decided to go for it and booked myself some swimming lessons, bought a wetsuit and persuaded my friend Richard to take me on a few cycle training jaunts. So feeling rather nervous and poorly prepared for my first triathlon I arrived at Windsor with John, Tim and Liam at the unearthly time of about 0600. We had racked the bikes on the Saturday. It was time to climb into the dreaded wetsuit (Zone 3 £150.00). They are unbelievably tight and, as my head comes out of my body in a different place to most humans, it has a tenancy to garrotte me. Tip toing bare foot from the transition area to the start point was quite painful.
The race starts in “Waves”. My wave was number 17 and the start gun went off at 0715.

 

There was an almighty scrum of clashed arms and thrashing feet. The current was really strong and I struggled to move at all. I also found it hard to get my breathing under control and it was an awful attempt to cross the river into quieter currents. Once there things went a bit better but still bad as I made slow progress up the right hand bank. The turning point was interesting as it was almost impossible to make progress against the strong current but it just had to happen. Once around the buoy I recovered my breath and got quite into the stride of it.
The end was in sight and I clambered out feeling very light headed and unstable after 39 minutes 36 seconds. Eventually I gathered my composure and ran to the transition area.

Running to transition

Running to transition

I panicked when I couldn’t get out of my wetsuit and decided to tear it off. Then I realised the Velcro flap was still attached and managed to peel the thing off and jump on the bike after more than 3 minutes.
The bike ride was fun and armed with some jelly babies seemed to go quite well. The 42 km ride took me 1 hour 27 minutes and 9 seconds. That said my friend Tim was riding a single speed wooden bike he made himself and finished
in a staggering 1 hour 19.38!
The transition from bike to run was fast and there was enough energy left in the tank the complete the run in 51 minutes 32 seconds.
The final time was a very slow 3 hours 03 minutes and 33 seconds – not too good but a result nevertheless.

I rather enjoyed it!

Tim Powers Across the Finish Lime with an amazing time!

Tim Powers Across the Finish Lime with an Amazing Time!

Steyning Stinger

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

2nd March 2014

Group Photo before the Steyning Stinger

Group Photo before the Steyning Stinger

Grit, Pen, Anthony (Alex), Paul and Alasdair

This was the Half Marathon that I had been waiting for. I’ve run it once before and loved it. It is virtually all trials and pretty hilly being based around the South Downs. The first time I ran it, the “Stinger” was pretty dry under foot with just a few muddy patches but today it was quite different with long muddy stretches sometimes up to a foot deep. I went for the mass start at 0900 but you can give your time and start earlier if you prefer to avoid the crowds. Actually you can opt to walk it if you like and set off at 0730.
There was no announcement but we were off! And it was straight into a muddy field that acted like suction pads on your legs. Anthony (Alex) lost his shoe and he certainly wasn’t the only one. The first “Sting” is a bit of a trick as there is a long uphill slog and eventually the brim of the hill and it turns down. Sadly don’t be tricked as the real sting hasn’t even started. Eventually you get onto the top of the downs with easy going and great views. Pen had motored on passed me by now and it wasn’t long before Anthony overtook me. The open running up here suited Anthony and he was soon out of site. There was a biting wind and even running it made me a bit chilly. There again I was only wearing a tee shirt.

At about 9 miles (I think) the path splits and those super-fit lunatics doing the full marathon shoot off to the right while us whimps begin the descent back to base. Here I misjudged a foot placement and twisted my leg but managed to carry on running on it with just a little pain. The 13 mile sign came into view so I tried to gather my reserves for the final sprint only to find a 13.1 mile sign and no sign of the end. That was a bit scary but it wasn’t far around the corner. Sprinting to the finish line in thick mud is a bit of a laugh. Grit had set off early so she was there to greet me with Pen and Alexander.

The times haven’t been posted yet but Pen did it in 2 hours so I must have been 10 minutes behind. The last time I did it in 2 hours 1 minute so I’m either getting less fit or the mud slowed things down.

We went off for the wonderful free breakfast provided by the friendly organisers, had a good natter and headed home. Definitely one for next year.

Group Photo after the Steyning Stinger

Group Photo after the Steyning Stinger

 

Deal Half Marathon

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

9th February 2014

Deal, Kent

Awaiting the start of the Deal Half Marathon

Awaiting the start of the Deal Half Marathon

The Zetland Arms in glorious sunshine!

The Zetland Arms in glorious sunshine!

The rollers come in at Kingsdown Beach

The rollers come in at Kingsdown Beach

This was a bit of an impromptu race. I mentioned to my friend Philip who was up in London last week that I thought there was a half marathon in Deal which could be fun. Philip emailed the next day to say that we were welcome to stay with him as he lives in the nearby village of Kingsdown. I hadn’t realised it was this weekend! After a bit of deliberation as to whether we were ready for a Half Marathon we decided to go for it and treat it as a training run for the Steyning Stinger in early March.

We drove down on Saturday evening and were treated to a large pasta dish loaded with fresh fish and vegetables, just the ticket. After a restful nights sleep Philip kindly drove us up to the start. We paid our £20.00 late booking fee, collected our chip timing gizmo and numbers and headed off for the 10.30 start. I suppose there were around 400 people there. The route consists of a lead-in of two or three miles connecting to a big loop. The surface is all road and although it is described as hilly it is not severe in any way. All the hills are runnable without any need to put the brakes on during the down hill stretches. The up hill stretches were gentle but quite long. Despite the whole of England being drenched with floods and blasted by gales it was actually a really nice day! The sun was out and there was a very stiff, but not too cold, wind. The road surface was basically dry with just one puddle. Can’t complain about that or indeed anything else. The race was very well organised with ample friendly marshals, lots of water stations and clear mile markers. I don’t normally drink any water on half marathons. I have a good big glassful about an hour before and drink a fair whack after but never feel the need en route. Most of the runners were club runners with all the local clubs taking part and quite a few travelling from far afield. I was pleased enough with my time of 1 hour 46 minutes and 48 seconds (chip time). After the race we all went to the Zetland Arms on the beach in Kingsdown for a gastronomic Sunday Lunch. What a perfect day!

Running Times in and around Greenwich

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

South Dock

28th December 2013 (updated 25th August 2014)

I really enjoy going along to British Military Fitness Running Club on Wednesday evenings on Blackheath. I find that running with a group pushes you to run much harder than you would ever try when running alone. Every week is different but they often include some timed circuits. I keep forgetting my times but have now decided to jot them down here for reference.

If anyone is thinking of trying these routes, to set your own target, my fastest flattish half marathon time is 1 hour 46 minutes and I am noticeably slow on short sprints. Every time we do a new circuit I’ll try to add them and maybe add little maps if I can. I’ll also add details of any long runs in the Rotherhithe – Greenwich areas.

Greenwich Park Outer Circuit.

This is when the park is closed and you need to run the roads by the shortest possible way. Maze Hill is a long and gentle hill and Crooms Hill is short and steep. You can go either way.

My fastest time 18 minutes 20 seconds (some BMF runners can do this in about 14 minutes!) 131200

Greenwich Park Inner Circuit

Apparently this is 2.2 miles. When I lived next to the park it always seemed to take 16 minutes but hopefully it would be a bit faster now?

Maze Hill – Westcombe Park Road – Vanbrugh Fields – Highmore Road

A little all road circuit for sprinting

3 minutes 131200

Gloucester Circus

Good for pairing up, one person runs while the other waits.

50 seconds per lap is about my fastest but 1 minute per lap over four alternate laps is just achievable 131200

Thames Circuit through Greenwich Foot Tunnel and over Tower Bridge about 11 miles

This is my normal long slow run. I start at South Dock but it makes no difference. The run can be increased by adding bridges with London Bridge being a half marathon. A word of warning – although it is lovely running at high water there can be bridge lifts to mess up your timing. Deptford Creek, Limehouse Basin and Tower Bridge can all open up but are less likely at low water. The locks at South Dock and St Katherines don’t normally hold things up as you can run over the closed lock gate (on the assumption they can never open them both!). Other things to mess up your run are unthinking property owners who leave rights of way locked with padlocks and Tower Hamlet Council who for some reason insist on locking a Memorial Park (even on Christmas Day!) forcing you up onto a horrible main road. Also beware on Tower Bridge as the tourists often step backwards to get a scene in their camera causing a major trip hazard.

This is a great circuit to do with less able runners as a river bus connects everywhere so people can decide to go half way if they like.

This is generally treated as a long slow run.

1 hour 50 minutes 131200

1 hour 53 minutes 131225

About 2 hours 140201 – This time we ran clockwise and it provides much better views with a great vista of Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf when heading east. Sadly we ran in the evening and the path is virtually closed off by all the flat owners on the north bank who put up gates all over the place. Such a shame that the Thames Path hasn’t right of way.

2 hours 8 minutes 140810 (wow that was slow) 5.3 mph 11.25 M

1 hour 41 minutes 42 seconds (that’s better) 6.6 mph 11.15 M

 

Our neighbour has done this route in 1 hour 18 minutes but he is entering the Mount Blanc Marathon. Has anyone done the loop faster?

Putney Bridge to South Dock

This is a 12.42 mile run along the river, except by Battersea Power Station where you are diverted inland. Clearly marked but it get crowded along the stretch from Westminster Bridge to Butler Wharf and you need to run quite slowly to avoid the tourists. We did it as a long slow run. Sadly there are no hills!

2 hours 1 minute. Average speed 6.2 mph. 140119

Greenwich Park 10K – including triple climbs up One Tree Hill

This was a wicked route devised by BMF as a Sunday morning race. The route was complex, I got slightly lost right at the end, but it was a good and hilly run so it was excellent training with maybe 150 -200 m of ascent. The fastest in was 40 minutes and 9 seconds. My time was 49 minutes and 8 seconds.

Surrey Hills Run

Sunday, November 24th, 2013
The Ugly Truth!

The Ugly Truth!

The Juniper Valley Route that we intended to run!

The Juniper Valley Route that we intended to run!

Gareth, Laura and Anthony. It's not that cold Gareth!

Gareth, Laura and Anthony. It’s not that cold Gareth!

24th November 2013

This was the first event organised by the South Dock Running Club – Fell Running Division. It may well be the last if our map reading skills don’t improve. Having recently discovered that Anthony had entered the Mount Blanc Marathon we felt some hill training would be in order. The plan was to drive to Headley Heath and park by the arrow on the map (coming soon!) We would warm up thoroughly and set off on a 9 km circuit which would take us to the bottom of Juniper Valley and up to Box Hill and around the North Downs Path with spectacular views over the Mole valley with another steep ascent and a jog back to the car. Basically a big hilly circle. How could it possibly go wrong? Gareth and Laura are now well accustomed to passing the same things two or even three times after experiencing one of my “circuits” of Oxleas Wood (just keep the fence on the right and you can’t go wrong). Laura was a bit worried about joining the Surrey Hills circuit in the first place and once we arrived at the same junction for the third time she smelt a rat and decided to call it a day. Gareth either being gallant or also smelling the rat offered to accompany her back to the Cock Inn at Headley. Anthony and I thought we would push on a bit further. We headed off in opposite directions. Twenty minutes later we met each other running along the same path the opposite way! Undeterred Anthony and I ran on faintly convinced that it we head north west we simply must find Box Hill. The thing is Box Hill is a massive great big hill so it can’t be hard to find surely. It is Surreys biggest tourist attraction. We sheepishly asked a walker, the Ordnance Survey map and compass swinging from my neck. “Oh, just go down there and up the other side and you can’t miss it”. We had just come from “there” but thought maybe we will give it another go. Twenty minutes later we were back where we had asked the lady the way. Anthony by now had realised that I was totally hopeless with the map, “all the gear no idea” kind of thing. I don’t really like to admit how rubbish I am with maps but I had better own up and get some training before I get seriously lost. Prudently Anthony suggested that we should finish off our running by running up the three hills that departed from the bottom of the valley as a kind of three pronged circuit. We could’nt get lost because we would stay in sight of the junction. So that is what we did. At this point I took off my rucksack with the Sports Tracker and left it at the junction. We ran up the steps and down, ran up the hill and down, hopped up the steps and down, and towed each other up the hill and down. Then we did some short hill sprints. Note that the Sports Tracker was static in my bag so when you see the picture of our actual attempt at the route it didn’t even include these runs. Nevertheless there are FIVE runs along the same path on what should have been ONE lap! That is how rubbish my map reading was.
We never got to Box Hill, never saw the views!
We met up with Laura and Gareth in the pub and had a huge beef sandwich and a pint of London Pride. We had run about 9 hilly miles so all was not lost.

Weasdale Circuit

Monday, November 11th, 2013
Weasdale Circuit

Weasdale Circuit

8th November 2013

I have been up in the Lake District doing an Industrial Rope Access course with Gareth from work. It involved a lot of hanging about in the most exciting way. As it happens Gareth likes a good run and is a founding member of the famous South Dock Running Club (est 2013) so we planned on getting up into the hills together. We bought an OS map and found a few paths near to Teabay where we were staying in the Cross Keys Pub. Dave Ellis from Lyon Equipment, who were training us, got wind that we fancied a run and very kindly came up with a very promising looking circuit just a five mile drive from Tebay. It was a route that the local Mountain Rescue Team used to take on Friday nights after work. This was re-assuring because at least they will know where to find us. We managed to persuade Victor to join us. Victor was from Spain and was completing a series of work at height courses at Lyon and then in Aberdeen. Poor Victor completely confused us with people who know what they are doing! On a wet and dark Wednesday evening we jumped in my car in search for the run. It was pretty hard just working out where to park the car and after about five minutes running we were officially lost. With one fading head torch, a hand torch and another dull head torch we gazed at the map and compass and shot off through a woody lane. However there were no woods on the map. We stopped again and half heartedly convinced ourselves it was off to the left, but it wasn’t. After about 30 minutes of getting rather cold we eventually found the start of the run. We knew it was the start because of a map on a post saying “You are here”. We set off a little way up the very wet and muddy trail before deciding to call it day. For a bit of exercise we ran up and down a road hill a few times (Victor wondering why we had to run back up having just ran down – good question) then jumped into the car and had a goat curry in the pub.

However, on Friday after we had all successfully completed our exam we decided to celebrate and have another go at it. Victor wisely pulled out. Time was slipping by so we purchased more batteries got changed and headed to the start. This time we parked right next to the start of the run and set off. The ground was wet and soft but runnable as we followed a dry stone wall until the sheepfold. We then set our compass and ran SSW up the gradient. I say “run” but actually by the time we were half way up the 586 m hill we began to walk. As the light faded away we were afforded some spectacular views, just a hint of what we were missing by running in the dark. At the near top we found some quad tracks which led south to the first “summit”. Here the land drops steeply away then rises again until you reach a cairn on Randygil Top.
Time to celebrate with a massive chunk of marzipan. Now the cloud had dropped in and the visibility was very low as well as it being a moonless night. We set the compass and ran off in a NE direction following some rough tracks. Running again it was very pleasant but even with nobbly trail shoes it was occasionally very slippy. We skirted the edge off Green Bell (605 m) and relaxed into a 3 or 4 km run down towards the east edge of the enclosed field. We hit the road bang on target and ran the last 1 km or so along the road back to the car. It took about 1 hour 50 but could have been faster with more light. We joined Victor at the Cross Keys for supper and some celebration beers.

The distance was about 9 km.

Henley Half Marathon

Sunday, October 13th, 2013
Laura surveys the wet scene

Laura surveys the wet scene

Alasdair running past a Flint wall or Alasdair Flint runs past a wall

Alasdair running past a Flint wall or Alasdair Flint runs past a wall

The Team relaxes at Gordon's warm house.

The Team relaxes at Gordon’s warm house.

John showing that he has lost no fingers so far

John showing that he has lost no fingers so far

The Team before the start

The Team before the start

13th October 2013

A 7 am start from London got us to Henley at about 8.20 in time to park without any hassle. It is not a good idea to leave this run too late as the traffic really builds up. The summer weather has faded away and cool drizzle was the order of the day. Gareth and Laura from the world famous “South Dock Running Club” (established 2013) were to join me and John. John’s friend Rob and Tim were running too. The run is like a butterfly with two loops of about equal length. One is used for the 10 K race which kicks off a few minutes before the half. There didn’t seem to be many runners but there were over 1,200 finishers so it wasn’t exactly empty. Funnily this race seems to suit me although I don’t like roads and I do like hills. The first few miles felt very smooth and effortless. I just tucked in behind someone who I felt was running at a steady pace and enjoyed the scenery. It seemed that I was going quite fast despite aiming for a negative split. On returning over Henley Bridge there are a couple more flat road miles before swinging left up a 1.7 mile hill climb. It is a pretty gentle slope but it normally catches some of those who ran too fast at the beginning and I went past several people walking. Hills are my favourite so I mouched past about 15 runners on the way up before it flattens off and eventually turns hard leftdown a steep hill. At this point I stupidly thought I was going fast. I had a slight muscle pain in my right leg so decided to nurse it a bit with a marginally slower pace. Just before the Fair Mile I tripped on a pothole and twisted my ankle heavily but continued running. I really felt I was in for a personal best as I continued to overtake runners down the Fair Mile and put on a full sprint around the rugby club.
Sadly despite my feeling of comfortable speed it was a rubbish time of 1 hour 50 minutes 22 seconds. That was about three minutes slower than the previous year. Must try harder.
We all met up, scoffed a few snack bars from the Lidl Goodie Bag (thanks Lidl) and went for our cars to head up to Gordon’s house. Gordon had invited us all for a barbeque and kept his word despite the awful weather. Warmed up after a much needed shower we were fed, and fed, and fed until we hit the 1,400 calories we had burned on the race. Then we ate a bit more just in case. Finally we relaxed, after a bit of technology struggle, to watch a video of the Northern Lights.
Now that brings us neatly onto our next adventure. Russia here we come!

Thanks to Henley Rotary and all their volunteers who stood cheerily in the rain to make another great run and thanks to Gordon and Josie for looking after us so well afterwards.

Torrington Christmas Caper

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Liam and John all clean before the muddy race

The posh mansion we rented over Christmas. It even had a washing up machine!

The River Torridge was over its banks

23rd December 2012. For the Christmas period this year a group of 12 of us are staying in a mansion in Torquay. Selma managed to find the place and it is pretty swish with a billiard room, chandeliers and a sweeping staircase. To avoid the usual over indulgence is was decided that the Christmas break would be an active one with runs, walks and a “Military Fitness Style” session on Chrismas Day. We also booked ourselves into the Torrington Christmas Caper held on the Sunday before Christmas. I have been really looking forward to it because it has a reputation for being very hilly and very very muddy. Sadly I damaged my calf muscle doing a fast little run in Greenwich Park on the Friday morning and was worried about entering it. I decided to go ahead with loads of Ibroprufen gel and a compression bandage. I promised myself to run through discomfort but to stop at pain. There were 350 people at the start and it wasn’t raining, although it had rained heavily the day before. The River Torrige was in full flood.  There was a great local atmosphere with most people knowing each other and a lot of runners dressed as fairies. However even in fancy dress they did look like a serious bunch of runners with quite a few people wearing tee shirts from Ultra Races.  The start gun went at about 1111am and we seemed to run downhill for a long way. That obviously means having to run uphill a long way too. It is a bit disheartening running behind a fairy and not being able to overtake! It wasn’t long before the race began to live up to it’s reputation with fairies and Santa’s wading thigh deep through muddy flooded roads. I like these conditions and my left leg was holding up well so we continued and a moderate pace. The race is only 9.5 miles so the half way jelly babies and water came nice and early. My second jelly baby got splashed with mud but in it went in any case. The second half was more hilly and had a little sting in its tail. At a checkpoint about 8 miles in they directed us over a fence and down what I can only describe as a deep muddy gully with a mini torrent in the bottom.Then there was a pretty tough long climb over soft heavy ground. Bizzarely my bad leg was great but by now my good leg was playing up with exactly the same thing. I wasn’t sure if I could run through it but I reduced the pace a bit and carried on. It finally packed up as I crossed the finish line with John. Now I just hope it will recover quickly so I can enjoy the rest of the Christmas activities

I’m not sure what our time was because we forgot to look but around 1hr 35 minutes seems to be the nearest guess. Thanks to all the organisers and marshalls for making it such a fun race.

We ended up in the Black Horse Torrington for a well earned lunch. Little Anna (3 years) entertained the whole pub by confidently, calmly and clearly explaining that she wants a pink tortoise for Christmas. They wished her luck.

The actual result  was1hr 31min 26 seconds. There seemed to be 215 finishers so I doubt my 350 starter figure was correct.

The full results for the Torrington Christmas Caper are below:

http://files.pitchero.com/clubs/16415/TAACChristmasCaper2012RESULTS.pdf

Marlow Half Marathon

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

The Start Line Looks Rather Sad 10 Minutes before Time!

The Sports Hall before the Race

4th November 2012
I had a quick look at the weather forecast on the day before the Sunday run and it said 6°C and 95% chance of heavy rain. And they were spot on! We drove through sodden roads to arrive in Marlow at 8.30. My sister who lives nearby came to wish us well. Actually the rain pretty much stopped as we started running but the roads were badly flooded. At one point we were literally knee deep in water and I am not exagerating. To begin with many runners were trying to keep their feet dry. I’ve learnt that this is a totally pointless exercise and decided to make use of the stream of water down the edge of the road to get clear of a jam of runners.
The route is all on tarmac so I wore my trainers but sadly Nike trainers aren’t designed for running underwater and soon the padding inside became bunched and lumpy. It made patches of the run pretty uncomfortable. The water was quite cold too and it was possibly this combination of fast hill running then cold water that caused Liam’s calf to cease up after about eight miles. This is home territory for Liam and he had been looking forward to the run for a long time. On a good day Liam can run the route in 1hr 35 minutes. It must have been a bitter blow when he realised that he couldn’t run through the pain and would have to retire. St Johns Ambulance looked after him and he got a lift back to base. I can’t understand how I missed him as I ran past but even stranger was that John said he overtook me a couple of times and I overtook him a couple of times too. The fact that I didn’t notice him at all was extraordinary as I was aware of many of the runners around especially those who got past me and there were a lot of them!
The route takes you through lovely undulating Thames countryside. It is more hilly than the Henley Half but none of the hills were real stingers, just a bit of a slog. It made it a slightly slower run than Henley and I think John and I completed it in around 1hr50 minutes with Grit a bit after. I will try to find the results and some better pictures when they are released.
Once we were all assembled back in the sports hall we were kindly invited to Liam and Sarah’s house for a massive lunch and a few beers. Heaven.

Update: Well I now realise why I can’t remember passing John, it was because he got in 7 seconds in front of me! My result was 1hr 53mins and 15 seconds which isn’t too brilliant but the course was really slow because of all the water. Here is a little video from Bucks Free Press from the winner.

http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/10025661.Video__Marlow_Half_Marathon_speaks_about_victory/

Here are the results:

http://www.chiptiming.co.uk/pdf/marlowhalf2012.pdf

and here is a great Youtube Video with some intersting shots of the flood at about 8minutes in and some interesting shots of certain people walking up the hill around 19 minutes in!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2bp6-SI3gA

Henley Half Marathon

Monday, October 15th, 2012

John, Grit and Me before the Race

Grit with a Stag in the Flower Pot Inn

The wonderful Flower Pot Inn

The Start Line

Grit in the Clubhouse

When my body says NO I say YES

Liam before the Race

Sunday 14th October 2012
We scraped the ice off the windscreen and drove from Cholsey to Henley through a faint mist and a totally blinding sun. It had been a fairly wet week but it looked like it was going to be a great cool sunny morning for the run. Grit and I had been invited for dinner with the Halsalls on Saturday evening. We took the high risk option and accepted. Not that the food would ever be high risk, it is always amazing, but normally the main course gets served just after midnight and the alcohol can be, well lets just say, generous. Amazingly, we ate scumptious pasta at 8.30 pm (a personal best for John Halsall) and only had one beer! Honest! It was good to see Jack and Ella on top form.
There were about 1200 competitors in the races and we got parked just before the mad rush. It was well organised although the distinct lack of Ladies Loos caused a huge queue which must have been frustrating for some.
Grit, John, Liam and I found a position about midway in the crowd ready for the start. It was chipped timed so the fact that it took a minute or so to get over the start line didn’t matter too much. We looped around the Rugby Club grounds and then exited onto the road. The run was 90% on road which isn’t my favourite surface but it is a bit faster than running on trails. Grit was wearing Merrel barefoots and the rest of us wore trainers. We ran over the Henley Bridge then off onto a great little road heading towards the Flower Pot Inn. I was going for a negative split and only aiming to get within the 2 hour mark but it seemed quite fast and relatively easy. At the half way mark I guzzled half a gel ready for the 100m climb. I was well ahead of my planned time but felt OK and I prefer hills to flat.
About halfway up the hill I got one of my urges to go faster and started to sprint up past lots of runners but sadly I can’t sustain it for long enough and had to ease back I need to really practise more hills but because Greenwich Park has been closed this year it has spoilt my local hill training area. The hill was pretty easy and then there was a nice runnable downhill section for a few miles before getting onto the Fairmile for the last mile or so. I always like to sprint at the very end if possible but misjudged where the finish line was so I had to slow down a bit before the end. More speed practise needed! Liam had already romped in but I was pretty chuffed with my time of 1 hour 46 minutes and 35 seconds which was a personal best by a few seconds.

In fact we all did really well and we all came well inside the 2 hours we had set ourselves. We listened to the prize giving which was a strange affair because the lady announcing the prizes had to face backwards to speak into the microphone and most people just wandered off. It was a bit of a shame because I think all the volunteers really deserved a massive big clap for all their efforts. It was a great run. We celebrated at the Flower Inn, a favourite little pub near the river. Next is the Marlow Half Marathon on 4th November. It is meant to be hilly so it could be fun.