Ely 10K - Wednesday, 31st December
A cold and frosty morning greeted the runners for the New Years Eve Ely 10K. Early concerns as to whether Martin Beare had managed to get a race number were dispelled when his car was spotted just outside St Neots heading Ely-wards, and in a eerie preview of the race itself, he quickly disappeared off into the distance, occasionally being spotted 400 or 500 yards ahead in the mist.
Despite some enforced changes to the published Flyer's line-up six hardy souls arrived trying to keep warm in the sub zero temperatures and joined by Robbie Craig [making up the Magnificent Seven] - seemingly immune to any temperature concerns - resplendent in traditional Scottish kilt.
The race itself went off with it's usual efficient organisation; Martin, as ever, blasting off from the start leaving me to try and keep up with Rick whilst keeping a careful eye out for Sally Marsh following her excellent performances in the last two cross country races. Robbie had carefully positioned himself in the middle of the field just ahead of Karen and Becky.
I managed to keep marginally ahead of Rick until around halfway, when, just when I was starting to tire he passed me looking strong and commenting on how the first 5k was the easy part of the course. Amazingly I just about managed to stay in touch with him around the furthest reaches of the course and then miraculously got past him again at around 7K. However instead of, as I envisaged, pulling away up the hill at 8K, I struggled to get any sort of speed going [maybe the diet of alcohol and excessive food over Christmas played a part] and even with the aid of the ex-Black Watch piper the last kilometer was very very hard. Fortunately for me Rick still had some seasonal goodwill left and allowed me to get over the line about 1cm in front of him.
Flyers performance of the day was Sally Marsh destroying her PB by over 2 minutes and Robbie gets the sartorial elegance award - some very good photo evidence is available on the Ely website.
Well folks i consider myself very fortunate to have made this race as i had initially failed to secure an entry as this a Christmas cracker and bobby dazzler of a race and such as its growing popularity it was fully booked months in advance, i was too late.
The race is the last 10k of the year and is renowned for being packed with festive flavour and atmosphere together with a lone Scottish piper to see you up the only hill on the last k.
Feeling like cinders at the 11th hour i got a place due to an unwell Val Von Arx, and moments later offered another which i managed to help my Triathlon mate Craig Hasley who eventually came 4th overall in a time of 33.43.My goal as ever was to get a PB and given current form was more than doable, however what i had not taken into consideration was the race prep as the days leading up to this race i had been base training for my IRONMAN not realising i was get the chance to race.
I felt ok and had a trouble free run, but was very surprised i was slower than last year, may be this just demonstrates the need for good race scheduling and appropriate tapering, and then striking when the time is right.. However i would not have missed this for the world.
6 other flyers had also made the journey to Ely and all really enjoyed themselves with good runs too, i am sure we will all be back next year yet again to collect our PB,s
This for me has been a busy season with races from very early in the year to the very last day 35 races in total Running, Duathlons, Triathlons, Swimming events. I now look forward to my A race in 2009 Ironman Switzeland (2..5 mile swim) (112 mile bike) (marathon) without stopping then hopefully proud to call my self an ironman and join the elite club.
Happy new year to all.
Cats Christmas Cracker - 28th December
A mountain bike orienteering event from Middleton, near Corby.
It was a 3 hour score event (i.e. as many controls as you can get to in 3 hours) with some off road & some quiet lanes. I had a lovely ride around & above Evebrook Reservoir (in Rutland) in sunshine with frost, in the 1st hour. I managed to do 8 of the 24 controls (winner did 17) for 140 points. I finished 32nd of 57 - and 2nd over 60.
Pasque Santa Run, Wardown Park - Sunday, 14th December
Brilliant race round Wardown park dressed as Santa and Reindeer, good time for both of us PB for Gem. We raised £190 for Pasque Hospice.
Gemma & Carol Ford 29mins 32secs
Stevenage 5K Series, Race 3 of 3 - Wednesday, 10 December
Wednesday 10 December saw the last race of the series for 2008. It was another frosty evening, marginally slippery underfoot, but this tended not to be an excuse for us runner-types ;-). Some badly timed groundwork's saw the start line moved about 40 metres forward, the benefit of which was a visible finish, which did not occur just around a bend (as with the first two races). Other than this, it was a reasonably uneventful affair, with Paul Farmer running home in 15.47, completing three sub-16 minutes jogs for the series and gaining 5th place overall in the series.
Ady Wadsworth once again missed 17 mins and Giles Shorley and Dave Olney, in what has become typical book-end racing, came in within a couple of strides of each other. The only other Flyers I saw was Becky Fleckney and Jim Dodds and at time of writing I do not know how they fared.
The high point was Matt Jones gaining the series Trophy for Junior Men, off of the strength of race one and two. Onwards and upwards dear boy.
I struggle to believe that this new course will ever be as popular as the original course, with ironically, the finish line of both race routes being exactly 5km apart! It is not your typical flat, fast route but where it makes gains is that each race precedes the next by 2 weeks and hence you reap the benefit. Give me the old course any day.
Ady PS Did I mention that it was slippery?
Luton Marathon & Relays - Sunday, 7 December
Race Cancelled - Click to find out WHY!
Having under prepared for this one I turned up late on race day and just about had enough time to wake up before the race was due to start. There was a delay which allowed me to scoff a sausage roll and cup of tea. I must have nodded off, as when I woke up the waiting area had almost dispersed. I quickly threw my running shoes on and raced out to the course, before spending 10 mins trying to find a couple of the ladies who said I could tag along with them. My daps must have been extra smelly as I couldn't find them anywhere. So, I sized up what was a remarkably small field for a marathon and relay. About 7 people by then, I think. I set off at a cracking pace that would have seen me finish somewhere before Top Gear started, only to find the only supporter on the route at mile 1 in the form of Richard Jones. I obviously stopped to have a chat with him for 5 mins, seeing as I was leading the sparse field at that point. Or I was last. One of the two.
The mile markers for some reason disappeared, as well as the marshalls, water stations and any sign that a marathon was happening.
Still, I plodded on although I think I must have missed the relay handover point at the end of lap 1, as no one was there when I went through. I thought I might catch everyone up by the end of the second lap given the speed at which I was flying along, but to no avail. It was only a mile or two into the third lap that I realized something was amiss. A nice old chap leaned out of his window and shouted ''oi! You plonker, the race was cancelled this morning''. Something to do with a car on its roof. I took the hint and called it a day at the 20 mile mark, which just got me home before Top Gear started, which was a nice bonus. My better half wasn't expecting me that early, as she had inside knowledge of my training schedule which saw me taper from the 7th October. Still, there's always next year. Better start tapering for that one me thinks.
Thetford Forest Duathlon - Sunday, 30 November
This was a run/bike/run event over the trails in the forest - not very hilly and only muddy in one bit on the bike section. Distances were: 5.4K run, 14K bike and 3.6K run - but no split times on website! You could do it solo, or as a runner & cyclist pair.
I surprised myself by overtaking several people on the second lap of the bike section and staying in front of all but one, and passing some more on the final run lap!
David Sedgley, 1-44-02 - Jo Allin & Chris Pratt, 1-35-50
Stevenage 5K Series, Race 2 of 3 - Wednesday, 26 November
First I would like to thank Richard Pillinger for allowing me to use his number for this race; I’m really pleased I got the chance to take part. Also thanks to Sally Marsh for taking me to the event, I would never have found it!
The race itself, interesting, for me, it was the first time racing in the dark (apart from training that is), therefore visibility of the ground was a little lacking (in terms of pot holes, curbs and everything else) however the ground you run on is more of a cycle path, which mean the route was in pretty good condition.
Got there nice and early (with thanks to Sally) which allowed for a nice comfortable time to get sorted (no rushing about!). Met up with the other flyers taking part, in particular, good to see Jim back racing. Then the elites turn up, you know, the runners who thrash out a 17.00 min 5k and disappointed about not doing better (I can only dream of getting 18min!)
The start of the race was pretty rubbish (only disappointment really) I made the mistake of not going to the front, I got stuck in the middle and must have lost a minute of good speed trying to get past other runners. After the scramble at the beginning I found a comfortable pace and for the first time ever, felt good at 3 km (not the usual “This is now starting to hurt!”. Finally at the finish, I found myself with a time of 19:14, unfortunately not a PB but considering I have not been training for 5k running, nor had a race recently, I was very pleased with this.
One thing I’m surprised with is my 5k times against my triathlon 5k times are very similar?? There’s only about 1 min difference. Perhaps next time I should have a swim first then bike it to the event, maybe I will be quicker?!
If you intend on racing the 3rd race, here's a few tips
Get there early, although plenty of parking, it takes time to get there (depending on where you live) and from race HQ, it’s about 1 to 2 km to the start.
Have a good warm up, there is about 2km distance to the start of the race, use this wisely, no doubt it will be cold, yes I looked an idiot doing all that skipping, high knees and stuff, but it does do the trick.
Even if you think you are a slow runner, go to the front, don’t worry about the others, get a good start, and watch out for the curbs at the beginning.
If you have transferred numbers from another runner and have done this on the site and received confirmation, still check with HQ to make sure your name is on the list.
Well that’s all the 5k’s for this year, back the longer runs now and next on the list is the Wootton Half for a nice stroll……I mean run! Luvly jubbly
Lanzarote International Running Challenge - 23-26 November
4 races in four consecutive days:
10K Road 44.20
13K Hill Race 59.00
5K Beach 27.18
Half Marathon 1.37.11
Overall 78th (225 finishers) - 7th in age group.
This was my 4th Challenge and once again I travelled with members and friends of Leighton Buzzard AC. We were based at the Club La Santa sports complex which can be described as a sports persons candy shop! With every conceivable sport on offer, you can either participate when you like or join in the various organised events running throughout each day. Every morning stated with exercises to music and then either a 3/4/5K run before breakfast.
The race is truly an international event with runners from across Europe including England, Wales and Ireland as well as Scandinavia (Club La Santa is a Danish Company) and a good turn out from both Germany and the Netherlands.
Day 4 was the first day of the Challenge for us which started with a 2-lap 10K race finishing in the athletic stadium. It is a good course that allows you to see runners behind you on various turns during the race. There was one short but steady climb at 2K which had to be negotiated again at 7K. I was reasonably pleased with my time of 44.20 knowing I still had 3 races to go particularly as my training this year had seen only one session above 8 miles!
The 2nd race was a 13K off-road hill race along tracks and sand up to a ridge of a volcano before returning to the stadium. The first K was on road but then you started the steady climb up to the ridge. The final 400m before the turn was testing, with a strong wind blowing as you negotiated along the ridge. A steep decline off the ridge led you on to soft sand and the start of the downhill section back to the finish. I had a good climb but a strong wind on the return section saw my time down on previous races here - 59.00.
The 3rd race took us to the far side of the Island at the resort of Puerto del Carmen. A 5K - 2 lap race across the beach. Running on the sand is hard and totally exhausting. The outward section was on very soft sand and I felt like I was dragging a cart horse round with me! Nevertheless my splits for the 2 laps were identical and I was just pleased to finish in 27.18 - again slower by some 2 minutes from my first venture 5 years ago!!
The final race was the half marathon. Starting in the middle of the Island we ran the first 8K around a volcano which had one really steep climb just after 6K. The return leg back to the stadium saw a good deal of the run take place off-road on tracks and trails but was generally dropping down hill all the way back to Club La Santa.
I decided to run this a lot slower for the first 6K and then see how I felt once the testing climb was out the way. I was very much aware of my training leading up to the trip and didn't want to blow up over the final few miles. As it happened my tactics paid off as I continued to pass runners and eventually found myself running with a Norwegian lady from around 12K onwards. We found ourselves helping each other all the way back into the stadium but I won't tell you who out sprinted who to the finish!!
This is really a great way to have a winter break holiday. A running challenge, sport on tap and in the evening enjoy yourself over a beer or two in the various bars on the campus. Equally, if you don't want to exercise during the day then you can just relax around the pool. There is even money on offer for overall 3 finishers male and female (unto 100 euros) as well as age category money prizes based on 5 year age splits - so you could return home in pocket!
If anyone is interested in going next year (November 19th - 26th ) or wants more information about the Challenge then ring or email me,
Dave Stanley - email@example.com - 07926073610
Three Counties XC Race 2 (Wing) - 23 November
Well it did not live up to the hype of the weather office but it was certainly cold enough to freeze the brass balls off of a monkey! Throw in a touch of rain, stampeding cattle and it beats the regular Sunday church jaunt.
We have not tackled the course at Wing since the two outings during 2004. Ironically, on one of those occasions we had rampaging horses to avoid, but I would think that the bovine intervention was the more worrying by some degree. Indeed, a yelp from a leading Ampthill Flyer was witnessed by many. Do we mention names? Of course- Phil Holland.
On the racing front, we are all hardy types but I am sure that were this not a team event the numbers would have been far lighter. As it turned out, it was another well supported event from most of the twelve teams present, with 343 runners competing.
Starting hooter failure led to a more than sufficient ‘GO!’ and on reflection (and given the elements), the runners were happier to be cracking on with 5 miles of challenging terrain than standing there waiting for the inevitable.
The tough first kilometer would usually be followed by a gentler second but the aforementioned cattle (were they cows or bulls?) made for a worrying few minutes. As the long line of runners went past the beasts were becoming ever nervous (but at time of writing I am not aware of any resulting injuries).
Leaving the first couple of fields and crossing the road led to easier terrain, all bar one long drag. Having negotiated this hill it is fair to say that it is nearly game over. The long run in for home is all about getting the form back and stretching the legs. Having crossed the road for the second time the finish is less than one kilometer away, most of which is either downhill or flat, with only a brook to potentially snooker the fast run in for home.
NHRR secured individual wins, with Neil Miller taking advantage of an absent Neilson Hall, and Astrid McKeown taking the ladies race. Congratulations! Phil Holland (AFF) overcame his earlier panic attack and took 2nd place, a few seconds behind Neil Miller and a single second ahead of Paul Farmer (AFF).
Some good packing saw Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers’ men repeat their win from the first race and coupled to the AFF ladies coming in 7th, managed to secure the overall win with 138 points. Wootton, who for the second outing in succession, were light of their key point scorers, bagged second overall with 200 points. Some way adrift was Dunstable with 271 points, usurping both Bedford Harriers and NHRR, the latter of whom again lacked most of their quicker runners.
The ladies team event saw Bedford Harriers take a win, with Wootton in 2nd place and Biggleswade in 3rd. Wootton were 2nd men’s team with Dunstable taking 3rd spot.
As the last runners were coming home, the weather turned to the good, although it was still very cold. On this note, many thanks to the marshals and helpers who had to stand out for something approaching an hour and a half, without the benefit of being able to run to warm themselves up. Thank-you.
We now all look forward to the third race in the league, hosted by NHRR on the Letchworth course, on 21 December – a great pre-amble to the Christmas break.
Ampthill & Flitwick go there with a league lead however there are two or three teams that have the potential to challenge if only they can secure a strong team.
On a morning when one should have stayed in bed reading The Sunday Times (no chance, it hadn’t been delivered), whilst gnawing at a bacon butty (dream on ‘cos the cat had eaten the bacon) and having an intimate conversation with one’s beloved (faint hope, she was trundling the highways and byways of Beds trolling for business), what did I do? Run with other madcap Flyers over several acres of extremely muddy fields near the charming metropolis of Wing.
This was my first XC race in nearly two years, and to be blunt it was an enervating experience. My old country boy skills came to the fore when I advised my Pal Val whilst driving to the venue that the lashing rain, and gale force winds would die down, and blow me down (to coin a phrase) they did.
So with blue skies filling the ether and the sun making a lame, game attempt to warm our honed bodies off we went. However as I know from bitter experience what applies to some runners doesn’t necessarily apply to others, especially when from my position near the back of the pack the rest of the field is spread out like an athletic version of Napoleon’s Retreat from Moscow.
But did I care? Not one bit of it. In fact I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and was delighted to be plodding through the mud again, encouraged in no small part from the Leighton Buzzard marshalls.
Congrats to the Men’s team for winning and the Ladies for putting up such a sterling performance on what I was reliably informed was a ‘sticky’ run. Oh and I now realise why my performances are as languid as they are. It would appear I wear too many clothes, if viewing the half naked torsos of Messrs. Atherton, Hartley and Wadsworth was anything to go by. Whilst I and many other competitors were cocooned in multiple layers these Flying Flyers set a sartorial trend I am unlikely nor willing to emulate. But given the way they and the other men flew around the course perhaps there is something in running in this manner.
Hum!!! Shiveringly Goldi
Flyers Junior Initiative ...
During the past few months the Flyers committee and other interested Flyers have been exploring the possibility of creating a dedicated Juniors section within the club. To this end a good deal of time has been devoted to exploring and understanding the bureaucracy and legislation required to run such a section. We have now completed this exercise and are confident we understand that which is required and have produced a set of documents detailing a Child Protection Policy and the responsibilities coaches, parents and children need to be aware of and must sign up to if such a Junior section is to be created.
However a Juniors Section cannot be created unless we have a number of enthusiastic individuals who would be prepared to be involved in running a such a Section. Hence the main point of this missive. Are you willing to become involved in running a Juniors Section? We are looking for a number of individuals to lead and coach this section. This potentially could be a very rewarding and inclusive addition to what is already a very successful club.
Initially we are proposing to run the equivalent of a Summer school at Redborne school next year once the track becomes available to us. We also believe that as part of this initiative we would concentrate on one particular age group of children, in order to introduce the initiative on a gradual basis rather than trying a 'Big Bang' approach. However, a Juniors Summer School will only happen if some Flyers have the interest, energy and time to give it a go. So are you interested?? If so contact our Club Chairman Stephen Hartley in the first instance to discuss in more depth.
Herberts Hole- Sunday, 16 November
Not my best run but still an enjoyable one that saw more than 357 runners finish the 16th annual Herberts Hole Challenge at Chesham .
The route saw competitors start with a steep 100m climb from Lowndes Park before dropping down through woods and fields to join the Herberts Hole footpath at around 2K. The route then take you on an out and back course around the top of the Pednor Vale with one further steep climb at around 4K, which I confess I struggled with this year! Fortunately, the weather hadn't been to bad in the weeks leading up to the race which meant conditions were not too muddy on the run out and back along the Hole. A nice down hill finish back into Lowndes Park and rewarded with a nice T-shirt for my efforts. A well organised multi terrain race.
Dave Stanley 80th - 51.54
St Neots Half - Sunday, 16 November
I had a cunning plan for this race! Let Jeremy Bell and Mike tussle away up front with their breaks and counter-breaks and then blast past them with 3 miles to go.
We were off! As the dynamic duo disappeared into the distance I scoffed at their foolhardy antics and jogged merrily along, chatting with Jim Dodds and Jeremy Lewis about our various injuries ( a tactic known as preparing an excuse). After discussing chafed nipples and dhobi itch , I eventually made decisive break, leaving Jim and Jeremy to discuss their own less serious ailments.
In the words of Swiss Toni “A half marathon is a bit like a woman; there will be ups and downs and lots of panting, but all she really wants is commitment”. Remembering this wisdom, I pushed on, establishing a comfortable lead over the 2 crocks, holding my pace and waiting for Jeremy Bell and Mike Petty to 'come back to daddy'.
There's a small undulation about mile 9 (on an otherwise flat, fast course) after that its downhill all the way back to the finish. As I crested the hill and mentally prepared for my glory run into St Neots. Jeremy Lewis, limped along side, his knee tightly strapped, he gave a polite “Hello Rob” as he hobbled quickly past me into the distance. I tried to remain relaxed, remembering that he is about 2 years younger than me and no doubt a little fitter. I pushed on.....
“Hello Rob” said Jim Dodds, while holding his strained back as he scampered past at mile 11.
'Enough is Enough' I thought and with one last effort I managed to catch Jim again a mile later, Wheezing slowly and breathing heavily I delivered a good natured “Your powers grow weak with age old man” as I inched my way past.
...and then the race was over. Apparently Jeremy and Mike seriously misjudged the course and didn't blow up at 11 miles, so I never did catch them. Meanwhile Jim, Jeremy Lewis and I all finished pretty close together after a terrific tussle.
In short: Cracking Race; this has got to be one of the fastest and best half marathon courses in the country and running it was a real pleasure. I'll be back again next year, chasing that elusive 1:39
Five Flyers turned out for the St Neots Half, Mike Petty, Jeremy B, Robbie, Jim and myself. On paper this looked like a close battles for the full set of GP points. However, three of us were either injured or returning from injury - me, Robbie and Jim. So it was left to Jeremy B and Mike to battle it out at the front of the Flyers pack. Mike finally pulled away from Jeremy B, and both did well to achieve PB's I understand.
My strategy was to complete a steady first half of the race and try to quicken for the second half. I set off with Jim and Robbie, chatting away and trying to stick to a steady pace. At around 3 miles, Robbie decided enough was enough and eased away. Me and Jim kept chatting until the first hill tookk the wind out of our sails!
At 7 miles I decided to 'put my foot down' and try and loose Jim and catch Robbie. I managed to do this by mile 8, but by mile 9 I knew I had a serious task in order to maintain my faster pace, and avoid dropping back again. The last four miles were I think the toughest I have raced. My lack of mileage over the past five weeks began to tell. The only positive was that my bad knee now hurt less than all the other muscles in my legs (and arms and back)! Finally I rounded a corner and there was the finish! Robbie worked hard to come in next, and Jim finished just behind him. Well done lads! A great goody bag awaited at the finish containing chocolate bars and a great running top. A new pair of legs would also be welcome!
Henlow 10 - Wednesday, 12 November
A decent number of Flyers managed to sneak out of the office Wednesday mid-morning whilst the boss was in a meeting in order to run the Henlow 10.
We were greeted by a mild, sunny day perfect for running.
A bunch of us run this very enjoyable race every year. It is run with clockwork precision and nothing ever changes – I could probably copy and paste the previous year’s race report.
The race brief at 11.30, the coach journey to Shuttleworth, start at 12.30, Martin Beare goes hurtling off at the start, I battle with Rick for 8 miles before he pulls away on the Shefford hill, we’re greeted at the finish with a chocolate biscuit, cup of tea and very useful water bottle, the shower room is the world’s most humid place and then the table covered with cakes. Hang on – where are the cakes? Replaced by a lady selling sandwiches! Suddenly the Henlow 10 is no longer the same race. Am not sure if it will now be Martin’s favourite race of the year (and he does a lot).
Anyway, got back in the office by 3pm with the boss just coming out of his meeting. Phew! Will try and get round the course a bit faster next year.
Well folks this for me was the long awaited mid week special, I have made it no secret that this is my favourite race of year, and for a host of reasons, for a start its a day off work, Its also a unique opportunity to run with the MOD from across the country, the event is also organised and marshalled entireley by the armed forces and military police to there exacting standards, Due to the procedures of the event there is plenty of time to mingle, chat and socialise.
This year marked the 56th running of this 10 miler and it was held in near perfect conditions cool,calm and sunny.
The course is an A to B route, runners bused out to old warden aerodrome and race back to RAF Henlow.
8 AFF had evidently wangled the day off most of which are self employed (a rare advantage) Andy Atherton and Rick Hollingsworth having there continual fight for supremacy.
As always the gun went off to military timing and we soon made our way up the hill at the start, my game plan was to get a PB for this distance, a tall order on a course such as this however my plan is always to try and push as hard as i can as anything is possible on the day. I had a good battle with the leading lady for most of the first 5 miles with our positions changing every 200 yards or so. As i was pushing hard i had expected for me to be tiring towards the later stages but i felt good positive and strong throughout, encouragingly the most comfortable 10 miler i have run.
I crossed the line 1.08.16 and with a P.B 41st overall, well chuffed job done and happy days.
The winner was 21 year old Sam mitchell from RAF Wadington in a time of 55.31.
Rick hollingsworth won the battle between Andy Atherton.
Karen Hollingsworth showed real grit to take part and finish considering only the week before she was in hospital having her treatment.
Equal endeavour was shown by Nick Stone who not only missed the start and fought back but suffered blisters the size of golf balls on this feet, that's the spirit of the AFF an admirable quality one might say.
To end my race report we have to address a serious matter, in a nut shell FOOD, for some mad strange reason the organisers had withdrawn the usual delights of the mad hatters tea party ie all the cakes and goodies to die for, why oh why we cried, a massive mistake i would suggest as this was a crowd puller and a main feature of the event.
However rest assured folks you will be happy to know i am in talks with Wing commander Richard Lushingdon RAF Henlow and Flt Lt Mark Saggers to have this reinstated for 2009, for all the right reasons ie i am a greedy bar steward.
Well done to all AFF who took part in this great race, long live Henlow 10. Yet again my name will be 1st on the list for next year (if the cakes are sorted) ha ha.
Stevenage 5K Series, Race 1 - Wednesday, 12 November
I arrived early to the new race HQ as it is now deep in the heart of Stevenage, rather than just off the main road as in previous years. I saw Ady Wadsworth standing under his own black cloud in the HQ, so I wandered over to see what was up. He had been talking to the NHRR team, who had described the new course and possible impact on times, "There's hills, we'll all be 20 seconds down. I may as well go home", he sobbed. Well, fortunately Ady was persuaded to be a brave soldier and after a bit more grumbling he headed out for a proper recce of the course and a warm-up. Meanwhile, I unpacked my kit and Becs asked "aren't you wearing anything under your Flyer's vest?". Argh, I knew I'd forgotten something - it was fairly cold but I managed to survive by keeping a jacket on while warming up and just stripping at the last minute. However, I'll bring something warmer next time!
The revised course is basically a big rectangle, with long straight bits and just three major corners (but more up and down) - whereas the last course was a bit more winding. So, maybe the straight-ness helps to make up for the hillier profile of the new route. We didn't come home with the same mass of new PB's as from last year but still plenty of respectable times that leave scope for whittling down during the rest of the series now that we know our way around the new course.
As you can see from the results, there were a good few Flyers running and it was particularly good to see Jim Dodds racing again, after a long lay-off due to injury.
I hate hard short runs, either in training or races so a 5k race is my definition of a nightmare. Give me a marathon any day. So after taking it easy at training on Tuesday I set off to moonlit Stevenage with zero enthusiasm. Met up with a few friendly faces, huddled in the corner of the Sports Hall and the adrenalin starts pumping. Talk of great times last year and a definite PB potential are dashed by rumours of Ady’s course assessment “PB minus 20 secs at best”. Allegedly there are a few hills on this new improved course.
So a slow jog to the start, admiring the rather large number of semi-professional runners who are already into the second half of their 40 minute warm up. More huddling together at the start and then we’re off. Now I have a problem using my Garmin in the light but in the dark I haven’t got a hope. So after pressing the four buttons in random order for the first 500m my virtual partner is displayed standing in the middle of a field scratching his head and the clock has stopped. Oh well no split times then!
Right then, now it’s probably time to concentrate on the race. I’m feeling quite good and pleased with my start. I haven’t gone off too quickly and look round for some familiar markers. Jeremy Bell is alongside, the metronomic Phil Clarke (always a fast starter) is about ten yards ahead, and Mike Petty is a further 15 yards in front. Freed from my Garmin worries I pick up the pace a bit and catch up with Phil and cruise past (isn’t that what you should be doing at this stage of the race?). Mike seems to be running well and I decide to use him as my marker and track him for about 2k. I start to catch him and pull in front, still feeling OK. But by 3.5k the lungs are struggling and the thought of stopping and walking seems very attractive. Who’s moved the 4k marker? We must have run at least 2k since the last one! Finally I get to 4k. This is a nightmare. I have never been so tired in a race. Time to start blocking out the pain – I didn’t do all the endurance training for London to Brighton to wimp out in a 5k just because one of my lungs had just exploded.
Somehow I managed to find myself isolated at this stage of the race– the nearest runner is 50m ahead and no-one a short distance behind. Where are the pace makers when you need them? Now there are a few silent marshals on the side of the road. Surely the guy in the blue jacket was the one who was supposed to say “Well run, only 500m to go” and surely the one with the two dogs was the “Almost there- 250k to go” chap, but not a word. This was turning into a cruel punishment. But finally somewhere I recognised, and only 200m to the finish. Such a relief. Didn’t have a clue about the time, but when I found out I clung to Ady’s PB minus 20 seconds assessment and settled for a lifetime’s best performance.
But now I know the course and am getting into 5Ks, there’s always the next race in two weeks time!
Ball Buster Duathlon - Sunday, 9 November
The Ball Buster has a kind of "iconic" status within the triathlon and duathlon world because of the course it takes part on. The course is an 8 mile circuit that includes Box Hill in Surrey, or "The Hill" as it is more commonly known. You run the circuit twice and cycle it 3 times in total, and by the time your coming up box hill for the 5th time your legs (and head!) know about it. This year the event featured the added attraction of horizontal rain (from start to finish), strong winds and cold temperatures. After a solid first run I jumped on the bike and made up lots of places, got myself well into the top 20 and was feeling good - then disaster struck and I punctured! Still, this was the Ball Buster so I had to complete the course. So with freezing hands I repaired the puncture and soldiered on. The second run felt better than I expected, perhaps because my whole body was numb with cold & damp - lots of DNFs due to cramp and hypothermia.
Great to finish in one piece and hobble on to tell the story - I'll definitely be back next year!
Kieron Lewis 3hrs 6mins 28th
Steppingley Step - Sunday, 9 November
We slogged through the mud over the 12 mile route on Sunday in 4:34. Conditions were atrocious and that was just trying to walk, let alone running.
This was the 7th time I've done this event, but the first time I've walked the whole route (with only a few downhill jogs) - and boy do my quads hurt now!
With almost no preparation Jackie and I aimed to beat our previous year’s time of 7hrs 29mins. However the conditions were against us – it was more like the Steppingley mud bath! Crossing all of the fields on the route (of which there were many and mostly clay) was totally energy sapping – we ended up with huge moon boots by the end of every one. On the plus side the weather was mostly glorious sunshine with the clouds only gathering towards the end – and sprinkling us with a few short sharp rain showers – one of these treated us to a fabulous double rainbow. At the last tea stop we had the choice of whether to plough on (ha ha) and possibly achieve our time target or whether to test the cakes to see if they were as nice as last year – the draw of tea and cakes proved too much! Our time was 7hrs and 48 mins…. Still, there is always next year! And the good news is that I can almost walk today!
EVAC Cross Country Grand Prix. 9K - Sunday, 9 November
This was the second race in a six race series run in conjunction with the Royston Runners Grand Prix.
There is a monthly race of either 5, 6.5, or 9k. Each race is held at Shouldham Warren, near Downham Market, in Forestry Commission woodland. The area reminded me of Apsley Heath, and was a very good course to run on. The competition was tough, and I finished in a lowly 7th out of 9 in the V60 class.
Before our race there were U9, U11, U13, U15, & U17 races. A total of 114 boys and 96 girls took part, mostly in club vests. I was delighted to see so many youngsters giving it their all, and obviously enjoying the competition. Perhaps it might be a good idea to contact these clubs late next summer to plug the 'Trophy' races.
After the race we went to Welney to see the Swans, followed by a very good late pub lunch. All in all a better than average day!
Nick Stone 40:26
New York Marathon - Sunday, 2 November
So on Thursday 30th October off I trotted to the airport at 4am with my trainers lovingly wrapped up in my hand luggage.
Once in New York it suddenly became apparent just how amazing this experience was going to be, with Brooklyn Bridge looming in the distance and the skyscrapers coming ever closer the whole bus began to buzz about what we were all about to do.
As soon as we got into the hotel it was a case of dumping the bags and shooting off to the expo to grab my number and goody bag. I knew I had a couple of days to see the sites but was also conscious I didn't want to walk around to much and tire myself out, well that soon went out the window !!! non stop from the moment I got there until race day it was great .
So Sunday morning saw us up at 3am ( yes that's right 3am !!!) to get to the bus stop a 1/2 mile walk away for 3.45am sports tours drew the short straw and had to be on the island first , the buses were very well organised and we did not have to wait long to jump on one and make our way to the race village.
Once on Staten Island at about 4.45am it was bitter cold my wave was not due to start until 10.20 so we had a long wait ahead. Cant complain too much you never had more than 2 people in front of you queuing for the toilets as there were hundreds of them and the coffee was good and in plenty of supply.
The start was strange you just sort of turned a corner and off you went across Verazzano Bridge towards Brooklyn dodging the flying clothing people were discarding on the way, This was were it all went slightly wrong my Garmen failed to turn on which sent me into a panic a poor guy dropped down with a heart attack at about mile 12 ( he did survive thank god ) and at mile 17 I just wanted to be sick. But what an experience , I would love to tell you about what the Bronx , Harleem and Queens were like but it was all a blur all I can remember was seeing a group of Jews really not very happy that we were running through there neighbourhood and running into a gospel choir scene which was like being in the file Sister Act ha ha .
So I made it to the end with the help of a very nice man called Lee, tired and exhausted I still made it to the post race party where I enjoyed many a vodka!!!
This is definitely one of the best experiences of my life and thanks to all who helped me with support and advise and roll on London !!!!!!
Stephanie Cooper 4.42.09
Three Counties XC Race 1 (Dunstable) - 26 October
The opening race of the 2008-2009 cross country season witnessed nearly 340 runners tackling a revised Dunstable course.
Wet weather in the lead up to the 11am kick-off saw many runners changing short spikes for longer ones, conscious that there were some sharp hills to be negotiated over the 4.8 mile route.
Considering that this was the first of the five league races (and historically generally lower in numbers) the start area certainly looked very busy, with all the usual (damp) running vests on display. John Caitlin was master of the start proceedings and he did an efficient job of releasing hundreds of runners on time.
The initial flat section of the course proved to be an early drag race for some, an approach that was to be punished come the first steep climb at less than a mile in to the race. The early running was taken up by the lads from North Herts, with Neilson Hall, a recent custodian of a GB vest, being the man to watch. He was closely followed by Neil Miller (NHRR) and Paul Farmer and Phil Holland (both AFF).
In the ladies' contest, the standard was being set by the vets. Stopsley's Louise Peters, Sally Cartwright (Bedford) and Lisa Hornby (Wootton) were occupying the top three slots.
Owing to a different start/finish location, an additional loop, that included a cruel climb, was added to the course, to give the distance required. This part of the course was already the toughest section so a third hill climb saw many runners almost stopped in their tracks. Plateauing after the last of the hills saw many place changes, a measure of who had better judged the race distance and the climbs. The finish line could be seen 350 metres before it was crossed, again, cruel but it helped to maintain the focus-who wants to be overtaken to so near to the final goal!?
The North Herts lads came in first and second but with both runners being second claim, Neil Miller's second was the scoring position, with Neilson (in first place) being exempt from the North Herts score card. Phil Holland had a great run for Ampthill, overhauling his fellow club mate, Paul Farmer. Steve Poole came home a fine fifth, the first vet home.
The first three ladies stayed in sequence, with Louise taking a well earned victory on what must be the toughest course in the league.
In the team competition, Ampthill returned to winning ways, having had a couple of so-so years, with 120 points. They benefited from their scoring men all coming in within the top twenty. NHRR and Wootton occupied the next two slots (168 and 208 points respectively), with both teams having some key runners missing. The fourth placed team, Bedford Harriers, was some way adrift on 346 points, again a reflection of absences.
Hopefully many of these will make a return to the second event, hosted By Leighton Fun Runners and to be held on 23 November at Wing. Having been challenged by this course twice in 2004, we have not 'enjoyed' it since.
In summary, there was certainly many new faces contesting the placings and it was encouraging to see a good number of younger runners and an overall high turnout for the opening race.
The Leighton course is not as testing as the Dunstable affair (good!) and it is set over a very scenic route. See you all in a couple of weeks.
Great South Run - Sunday, 26 October
Well having missed the cut off for a place for the UK,s and Europe,s premier 10 mile road race, i had given up the chance of taking part, That was until 3 days before the race, when my good friend and well respected club member, (no names) suggested i look on ebay for a place, and sure enough for the bargain price of £10.00 i was in, a recorded delivery from Manchester saw the race pack on my door matt. I shall go to the ball i sung, you lucky bar steward they cried.
Upon my arrival in Portsmouth with my mate and coach Dave Coard, the weather was decidedly inclement (for the want of a better word) the conditions mirrored the previous years race. I had only been at the start area 2 mins when i almost fell over Brendan Foster and several elite runners. The Big name had to be our own Paula Radcliffe who was using the event for her pre race shake down for the New York Marathon the following weekend.
My race number instead of being an up the front orange start happened to be a slower white start as the original runner was evidently a 2hr man, so i decided to cover myself and race number in a black plastic bag and go up the front in the start i should have had for my estimated time (1.07.00) At this point i caught site of Nick jones who was supporting son young matt and wife Nicola (come on you flyers)
So we went off on time as the race was televised live to a 100 countries. I had a good steady start and was holding my own (you dirty bar steward) they cried. I thought i had paced the race well and my splits were very even throughout, i loved every bit of the race and soaked up the atmosphere as well as the rain, the conditions were far from perfect but not as bad as they could have been, given the fact i was pleased with my 1.08.54 on the day.
My mate Dave Coard recorded a well deserved 1.02.30 (4th V45) Matt had a blinder 1.01.51 and nice to see mum Nicola returning back to race form. Everyone of the 20,000 runners seemed to enjoyed themselves on this my 2nd favourite race of the year, my favourite being the soon Henlow 10. The only bad thing about this race was it clashed with the seasons X/C opener at Dunstable, sorry everyone but was thinking of you all promise.
Exmoor Stagger - Sunday, 26 October
All Things Bright and Beautiful – the Exmoor Stagger
I have a new favourite race. The Exmoor Stagger is certainly the most scenic race I have ever run, with breathtaking views across Exmoor and a wonderful tapestry of autumn colours. It starts at sea level in Minehead on the Somerset coast before heading up into the Exmoor National Park for around 16 miles of mud, scree and rocky twisting footpaths. The course includes at least 1,000 metres of climb in total, to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor and back (immortalised in the hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful – we even had a herd of running deer accompanying us on the long slog up the moor). As I had been unable to train much since spraining my ankle in the RAB Mountain Marathon in September, I set off feeling distinctly under-trained for this and deliberately started slowly, knowing I had a lot of uphill and distance to cover. I admit to walking up some of the steepest bits on the first 291m climb up Hopcott Hill, before heading down a precariously steep slope into the next valley. From here, it was a very long steady slog up to the beacon at 517 metres and I was pleased with myself for running (even if slugs could have overtaken me) the whole way. The footing was treacherous as heavy rain had turned the footpath into a small river, but I made it without injury to my heavily braced ankle. Feeling stronger than I expected at half way, I hurtled down the twisting, slippery pony track for the next few miles, via a drinks station where bananas and jelly babies were welcome rations. All Dave Sedgley’s nagging about how to run downhill fast paid off as I passed quite a few more cautious runners in my headlong, and very muddy, descent. There was one more steep uphill (back up to around 300m) to tackle and by now I had no chance of running this – walking was hard enough. Once I staggered out onto the top of Grabbist Hill, the marshal (more jelly babies and bananas here) cheerfully announced it was “nearly all” downhill and so it proved. There were superb views of the coast to take your mind off leaden legs, then springy forest tracks which made for a surprisingly easy last few miles and I finished with huge smile in a time of 3 hours 10 minutes. I finished 146th overall, but don’t yet know how I got on in my age group. Overall, a great race and one I would thoroughly recommend.
Caroline Gilby 3hrs 10mins
OMM - Sat/Sunday, 25/26 October
YOU HAD TO BE THERE......
The wind howled and screamed, pulled at our clothing, tried its best to bowl us over, pushed us backwards, making forward progress impossible, took our legs from under us.
Martin and I were trying to push forwards against a wall of wind - looking for a small orienteering kite held down by a rock, on the edge of a small marsh, which had now become much larger. We put two feet forwards in the wet bog, then 3 to the left, then attempted to stand still while the wind got ever stronger - forcing us at times to crouch down in an attempt to get below it.
Suddenly to our right we saw it - our heads bowed down, unable to look in the direction we were attempting to go, we had almost passed it. Martin put the dibber into the electronic brick - we crouched while the gale got ever stronger, screeching around us and making forward progress impossible.
We had intended to head for a path which would take us directly down to the overnight campsite, but now headed with the wind blowing us along, back in the direction we had come to find a track which led us to the top of Honister Pass. Here we followed the road down the valley to Gatescarth at the eastern end of Buttermere - and the overnight campsite. It was this road which you may have seen bedraggled pairs of runners coming down on TV reports.
Earlier, before we got to our first control, I had sought shelter behind a rock to put my new state-of-the-art Gortex waterproof on. This was about 30 mins after we'd started and where we'd made the decision that as the weather was worsening we would only attempt 4 or 5 controls and get to the campsite early. In the end we only did three.
So at the overnight camp we downloaded our dibber (we'd only been out 3.5 hours of a possible 5) put up our tent and settled down for the night - pleased that we'd made it (especially in my case as I'd not finished the 1st day in two previous events this year due to bad weather!) We were ready to ride out the storm and continue the next day when we knew the storm would be over.
Then someone came round the campsite to tell us the event had been cancelled! It proved the worst wind I'd ever camped in as we spent much of the time holding on to the tent!
I hope to do a more lengthy report for the next Newsletter
David - OMM survivor
Ampthill X/Country Trophy - Sunday 19th October
Wow, what a great day for racing. Overcast, cool breeze and with a few glimpses of sunshine. First and foremost I’d like to thank whoever booked the weather and then the local Scouts for their food and hot drinks. I hope you will be pleased to learn that their funds raised will go toward renewing equipment that has been put to a lot of good use over the past years.
It really was a great day. So many smiling faces – well, OK, a few of the runners had to be prompted as they went up the odd hill here and there but everyone really did look like they were enjoying themselves. Like last year the winning positions in the main race were established very early on and Andrew Inskip of Bedford and County AC stormed home in 29 minutes exactly, followed by Tom Bradford of Hook Horton Harriers and our own Phil Holland. Phil does deserve our additional congratulations because he improved on his time from last year and went from 8th to 3rd.
Phil was also part of the winning Flyers Mens team, ably assisted by Kieron Lewis (13th) and Darren Farr (19th). Beds Harriers were the winning Ladies team - Eimear Mullen, Carla Fisher and Sally Cartwright, taking positions 1, 3 and 4. In 2nd place came Jackie Cooper from Newbury AC who improved her time from last year and was rewarded by moving from 8th to second place. Carla also improved her position from 4th to 3rd. Obviously a competitive lot, these ladies presenting a challenge to the Flyers own A and B teams who came 2nd and 3rd in the team race (Sally Marsh, Denise Dillon, Carole Lydon and Jo Aaktar, Alison Chick, Vee Verstraete)
We had more junior entries this year, which is encouraging – but we still have room for more. Our official starter, the local Mayor, Councillor Gary Summerfield, remarked how impressive it was to see the keenness in their eyes as they all lined up, waiting for the gun. Later on he was a little surprised to see the same keenness amongst the seniors as the 199 starters politely jostled for position on the start line.
But back to the racing. Carla Humphry from Riverside Runners crossed the line as the first U13, improving on her time and second place in the last year’s race. She was followed in by Sophie Richens from Chelmsford AC. Emilly Cattell of Wellingborough won the U15 just ahead of Megan Shreeves of Bedford and County. U17 honours went to Chloe Vernon Hamilton with Katy-Ann Tuttlebury of Chelmsford AC was in second place.
The U13 Boys race was won by James Downing of Hunts AC, followed in by Patrick Taylor of Vale of Aylesbury. Guy Marsham, from Wellingborough School, whose continued support of this event is appreciated, took the U15 title with Stephen Woodford of Chelmsford in second. Wellingborough provided both 1st and 2nd in the U17 boys, with Ruben McNeil Walsh winning out against Craig Lambert. Finally, please indulge me, I’d like to thank those runners who said “well done“ to any and all of the marshals and helpers on the day because they worked so hard to ensure everything went “just right” for all the runners. Thanks also to our sponsors, Urban and Rural, Physiotherapy and Spinal Clinic in Ampthill and the Camping and Caravan Centre and to all those who turned up to support their runners and contributed to a great race day atmosphere. I’m pleased to say St John’s had a very quiet session. Really I’d just like to say thank to one and all for contributing to a great day.
Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers are rightly proud of our ability to put on good events that are challenging, supportive and well organised. We look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.
The only downside to me was the number of winners medals we still have. I can’t see how we can do anything for the main race but maybe next year we could make the Junior presentation on the course just before the main race starts?
Haydn Leaker (Race Director)
Well this is going to be the last report from me for a while (woohooo I hear you say!) After thrashing my body and legs around the place for the last few months (Hope that does not sound dodgy in anyway....!) its time for me to have a rest, well that is until December!!
I think I was still feeling the effects from the Bison challenge last week (oh the excuses are coming thick and fast now!) because my energy levels were still low. However the last race of the month, I was gonna do even if I had to walk it...........in fact I was nearly at that stage but thankfully there were too many Flyer marshals around who were cheering you on!
As normal I arrived in plenty of time for a good warm up and stretch (you know, as the bosses tell you)
The race started and we were off!, I felt great, having had a good warm up I was off, legs, feet, felt great, however as per normal "The one and only" seems to forget that there is two laps of Ampthill Park and just basically "gives it large" on the first lap. I got to one of the hills where Mr James was Marshalling and thought "better get me backside in gear" only for him to say "come on He-man, a nice hill for you, you know you like them"!! yeah thanks, so I punished that statement by launching myself up it. That was great till I was at the top then all my fuel was gone and I was finished, I was practically jogging.
Coming up for the second lap I was feeling awful, my legs were gone and my brain (whatever is up there) was telling me "slow up" which what I did not want, but I continued and carried on, I was slow at this point, but I was still going well and climbing the hills at good pace which I was pleased of.
The final straight was then in sight, and pushed it till the end, I looked at my watch for the first time to see a new PB for this race........nice one, another smile on my face!
Another excellent race and an excellent time, whoopee!
I would like to thank all the marshals and local people for supporting us. When I race at other locations, the locals are out supporting their friends and family and its often that you feel totally left out and running your own race. Whilst running this race, it was really nice having people cheering you on, shouting your name out, it really gives you that extra boost to do well, so thanks for all that support
I now intend of resting by watching all the crap soaps and other TV programs I have missed over the last few months......................YEAH RIGHT!!!!!
Ridgeway 15K, Tring - Sunday, 12 October
Despite a disappointing run the Tring Ridgeway rates as my favourite race. Beautiful countryside, 3 testing climbs, some fast off road descent running as well as a fast run in to the finish - assuming you still have anything left in your legs!
My lack of any disciplined training this year soon came apparent up the first climb as we entered the woods and although I generally recovered on the flat sections the final climb up Pitstone hill was a real struggle. A final descent back through the woods saw me regain most of the lost places up that final climb. Once back on the road I managed to hold my placing but it was a real struggle as I completed those final 2 miles back to the finish.
My time of 1-15-45 was 2 minutes down on 2007 and over 4 minutes on my 2006 time - quite clearly there is no substitute for some proper training!!
TRISPORTS Bedford Sprint Series - Sunday, 12th October
This series was 3 races spring, summer and autumn, all 3 races organised by Gale force events and sponsored by Trisports.
From memory all 3 races were dowsed in heavy rain, making the going wet and slippery underneath (oh matron).
Race 2 mid summer was so wet the course was altered due to the river Ouse bursting its banks through Radwell.
The conditions on the bike were not only unpleasant but potentially dangerous as the rain water fills pot holes thus making it impossible to see pot holes etc.
That having been said i enjoyed all 3 races and used the races as sharpeners for my bigger triathlons ie half ironman and olympic distances.
I ended up finishing in the top 10 in the series, and must be pleased with that.
These Bedford sprints are ideal for those who want to sample triathlons for the 1st time added to that its nice and local, it was good to see a few flyers giving them a go this year.
Martin Beare 10th overall 3.49.06 combined
Bison's Challenge - Saturday 11th October
6 mile run 18 mile bike, 6 mile run
Out of all the races I have done, this has to have been the toughest (both mentally and physically) challenge I have ever done, however I'm not sure why, but I was not that nervous about it, the feeling if “Don’t worry about time just complete it” was in the air. The only thing in the back of my mind was of course Bison Hill.
On the way to the event, we actually drove up it. I realised how steep it was, although it was more “short sharp and shocking” than a continuous hill going up.
The race started at 7:30am, not many competitors were there (maybe too scared to turn up, I don’t know….!). We kicked off with the first 6 mile run, I just went very easy, stayed with Martin who was keeping excellent pace, no surprise that Steve James was well up front. I eventually stayed behind a runner from Box fit, not sure who he was, but had an excellent pace, we both knew that there was an 18 mile bike ride after this, so a slow pace was in order.
The actual route itself was really good, only a few steady hills, and then mostly down hill, this is where the recovering section would be.
Eventually, competitors were now at the killer stage, “the hill”. I managed to find the energy to jog up the hill without reverting to walking, but I have to say, it was a killer, I could really feel my legs going, and I knew if that hurt, the bike would be even worse!!!
The first 6 mile run went really well in my books, still had energy which I knew I would need for the biking.
The transition from run to bike was a slow one, I literally got changed into more comfortable cloths, made sure I had food, drink and Gel packs. I took one gel as I got on the bike. The first part on the bike was really good, got some speed up on most sections, but constantly in my mind was the hill. I eventually got there and threw the bike in low gear, went very slowly and prayed, it was very tough, probably the toughest thing ever. I was struggling but somehow had the energy to continue, (must be a “mind” thing) Eventually I was at the top, the thought of successfully making it up the hill took over from the pain and the smile came back. However, that soon went as I knew Id have to do it again two more times. I’m sorry, but if I can do it the once, then I CAN AND WILL DO IT TWO MORE TIMES!!!!!!!! I shouted to myself.
Funny enough, the second time up the hill was strange, I knew how my body felt the first time and must have been a physical thing, I found that the second time was more successful, yeah, it was still a killer and hurt a lot, but I was really giving it everything and was slightly faster!
The third time, I basically said, “just one more, that’s all I had to do, ONE MORE, so for the third and finally time, I climbed the hill, I was slow close to getting off and walking, but the energy of positive thought came in, took some deep breaths, and just pushed as hard as I had energy left. I reached the top so pleased with myself, I still had to run another 6 miles, but I was so pleased to have completed the bike section, nothing else mattered.
I racked my bike up, changed again into my running cloths, and continued with the last 6 mile run, I had one last Gel to get me through. I had an amazing jog, I felt I was on my own and I was, but I just did not care, I knew I had the energy to finished of the run part and was already celebrating completing the race.I got to Bison Hill for the very last time and was in agony, I've never felt this before, my legs just would not go any further, I was going the slowest ever up the hill. Then it happened, my legs were in so much pain and was practically stopping, I had no choice but to walk up the hill, but only a short section of it, I looked up and was so disappoint Id got all this way without walking, so I started jogging again and through the pain barrier got to the top of the hill, at that point it was all over, I had completed the challenge and felt so good, I don't know many people that can say they’ve done that or would go for it.
I came to the finish to see that the time on my watch was 10:30, I had done it in 3 hrs, I could not believe it. My legs were well and truly finished, my feet, surprisingly not bad. I then had chance to see my official result which was 2hrs 57mins, incredible, I done it in under 3 hrs.
What a race, what a race. The feeling I had after my first triathlon was awesome, but finishing this was even more pleasing.
I should never moan about another hill again, that is unless it’s Bison!!
Well the name lived up to all expectations, what a challenge it was.
Having only had 2 hours sleep that night, due to the fact i was helping out at the AFF quiz night, and staking tables and chairs at 12.30 am, hardly good race prep, and not to speak of the pints of falling down water consumed with our Ady W, my brother and Goldi.
Not wanting to let anyone down i made it to the start.
This whole event just smacked of quality. Dave had managed to secure major sponsors Mac Donalds, Active Luton (sports council) Whipsnade Zoo to name but a few.
The feild of competitors was top class with some of the finest triathletes in the uk present 6 of which do or have worn GB shirts. Due to the start list the BTF gave this race a top rate classification. 5 AFF had signed up, sadly Paul Falmer dropped out through illness, However Phil Holland, Steve James, myself, Leigh Pilgrim were present.
This race was not so much about the distance it was all about the course and gradient of the hills.
Each lap started and finished at race HQ (Dell Farm) The race kicked off on time 7.30am after my coach Dave gave a race briefing. Surprisingly i didn't feel to bad on the first run and felt quite positive about finishing the race in a reasonable position, However lap 3 of the bike my legs started to tighten and cramp was creeping in which didn't look good for the punishing final 6 mile run especially up bison hill, However sheer grit and mental strength got me through to the finish. 2 top seeds pulled out for various reasons.
I have completed a half Ironman this year and i would consider that a doddle compared to this race, a challenge it was, the satisfaction of finishing was immensely rewarding.
I have competed in the UK,s biggest triathlons all season and this was the first time we had got a decent souvenir shirt. Also Dave managed to secure free sports rub downs before and after the race, The facilities at Dell farm were excellent, free bacon rolls were also to be found, the marshals plentiful, knowledgeable and supportive, when you consider we only paid £15 for this race it raises some questions as to why other Tri,s and Duathlons are so expensive, Dave proved a point showing you can provide quality without charging the earth. This race has a great future that there is little doubt.
FLYERS Anniversary Quiz Night – Friday 10th October
University Challenge? Mastermind? Countdown? Pah! Nothing compared with the brain power that was exercised at the Flyers Anniversary Quiz held at the Flitwick Cricket Club on Friday 10th October 2008.
Initially there were some fears that the attendance at this momentous event would be sketchy, but five minutes before the ‘off’ we were frantically scrambling around looking for additional tables to accommodate the fourteen teams who eventually took part in the contest. So a big thank you to everyone who attended and supported this event.
And what an event. With an eclectic mix of questions provide by Quiz organiser Robbie ‘Brains’ Craig and Steve ‘Two Crutches’ Smith there was never any danger of brains atrophying due a dearth of dim wit questions. Undoubtedly the round of the evening was ‘Two Crutches’ T-Shirt round. I thought at one stage we were going to have to halt proceedings to revive those ladies who swooned at the sight of Steve’s rippling torso.
Ably assisted by myself on the microphone (is there such a thing as a mic tart? If so can I claim first prize?) and the Incredible Randi who acted as the official adjudicator the evening rattled along at a brick Flyers pace.
It was a comment on the brain power present in the room that at the end of the first five of ten rounds only ten points separated the top five teams but ultimately the brain power of the Ultras (Paul Owen, Richard Jones and other ringers) proved successful on the night.
The Roll over raffle was won by Alec Maldar who was seen making a very hasty exit with the £120 prize money!! Could you blame him.
Thanks must also go to Robbie’s partner Barbara who prepared a superb buffet and Flitwick Cricket Club for the venue itself and the excellent bar staff who kept us well watered.
However the main plaudits of the night must go to the 2008 Anniversary Committee Robbie Craig, Becs Fleckney, Val von Arx and Martin Beare for organising such an incredible event.
I leave the final comment of the night to the Official Adjudicator, the Incredible Randi, who simply stated, ‘I was speechless’.
Civil Service Road Relay - Wednesday, 8 October
Teams of 6 each doing 2.75m which is 2 laps of Finsbury Park. I did Leg 2 for the HASSRA (DWP) 'A' Team. Went off a bit quick but settled for a strong run and even splits (7:28; 7:30) and 15:03 which bolstered 3rd place - it would have been nice to dip inside the magic 15mins. A glorious afternoon and happy to help the team win a Bronze Medal. After Leg 4 the HASSRA 'A Team' had moved up to 2nd but the Hobbs twins pulled it back for SPARTA by scorching 13:40's which is 5min miling on a tough course. Both are welsh internationals who run well inside the 14s for 5K!
Stephen 15:03 3rd on Leg 2 (2.75m) Bronze Team Medal
E.V.A.C. 6K Road Race, Hemingford Grey - Sunday, 5 October
Got drenched and frozen getting to the start line, but enjoyable thereafter despite the continuous lashing rain. Did the first 3K lap in 14:05, and the second in 14.07, so consistant if nothing else.
The free refreshments at the finish were most welcome.
Nick Stone 28:12. 3rd MV60.
London2Brighton 56 mile Ultra Marathon - Sunday, 5 October
This extremely hilly, multi terrain town and cross country race is the hardest run I have ever done and I suspect my fellow runner Richard Jones feels the same. The web site describes the weather conditions as making the race truly punishing, which in parts it was.
It rained right from the 7 am start in Greenwich Park. We wound out of various London suburbs for around 9 miles, whilst having to navigate by map all the way. We hit the first check point comfortably inside our target time somewhere in the middle of the 190 or so runners who set off. The cut off times were a little tight given the distance. We arrived at 18.5 miles at around 3 hrs 25m, drenched and filthy to be met by an angel in the form of George Arbuckle with supplies and a clean t-shirt. I couldn't bear the thought of trying to peel my socks off but a warm t felt good, for about ten minutes. Met George again at 25ish and cruised through 28 miles feeling good in 5hrs 45m. We made a number of errors in navigation at various points and had to stop frequently to work out bearings. Still, only two miles extra, which is better than one lad who did seven!!
Slowed a lot in the third quarter which wasn't down to lack of fitness. The trails, particularly on the hills, had by this point been turned into either mud baths or long wide puddles that stretched often 50 plus feet in front if not more. There was very little hard ground and even the fields were saturated. Difficult to walk let alone run.
Fantastic scenery though and actually great support at various points.
Sue Jones and family were the life saving suppliers in the second half at two points. Hit the 4th checkpoint slowing down and the 5th bang on 11 hours - which meant the previous 19 miles or so had taken a slow 5hrs 15min. Still only 11 miles to go at that point.
Major problems though followed. As we were about an hour off target and getting slower due to the conditions, we were caught in the dark.
We collected a lost lady runner on route and only had my head torch between us. We still had Ditchling Beacon to climb and before we reached the bottom it was pitch black. We had no chance of seeing the trail and had to walk across unlit and unmarked fields. I would guess it took us around 1 hr 45m to cover about 4 or 5 miles. We somehow managed to get to the top of Ditchling and were warned by a supporter that the marshals were pulling runners due to the time and conditions.
There was no way in the world I was being pulled at 50 miles and we set off running down the main road having picked up luminous torches from a supporter. The last 6 miles will stick in my mind for ever. We were very tired, soaking wet and at the end of our reserves. The three of us ran most of the way with very little conversation save to discuss direction. All you could hear apart from the traffic, was the sound of 3 sets of feet pounding the pavement getting nearer and nearer with every step. Our compatriot even seemed to pick up the pace at one point.
And then the finish. Fantastic. Out of the 190 or so starters, only 81 finished. This was a truly remarkable experience and one that I am very glad to have had. Hopefully Luton marathon should now seem like an extended tempo run, although I suspect not!!
Great North Run - Sunday 5th October
Well they may say that it’s grim up north, but it was a lovely sunny day for the Great North Run while the south of the country get soaked. I couldn’t get a hotel in Newcastle, so was staying in Hexham which is a 30-minute drive away. On Saturday evening I drove in to Newcastle and had some grub with Becs and Val. They disclosed that they were running in fancy dress, but would not give me any more details. I had to wait for the morning to find out. So, back off to Hexham for the night.
There didn’t seem to be other runners in my hotel, so I felt a bit self-conscious creeping around at 6 in the morning in case I would wake the non-runners from their Sunday morning lie-in. I headed off to meet Becs and Val at their hotel so that we could travel to the start together. Overnight they had mysteriously transformed into Cindy and Sally-Anne, a pair of cheeky cheerleaders complete with glittery hats and pom-poms! So, off to the start and a quick stop for a cuppa in McDonalds. There we got chatting to a Geordie who was bemoaning the current problems at the football club. He looked very envious when I told him of my support for West Ham, poor old Newcastle can only dream of 6th place in the premiership.
We went and checked where we were starting and at this point I was reduced to the role of bag-boy as I held the ladies bags while they were whisked away for a private photo-shoot in the centre of the road. It all looked very professional, as they were coached on the best way to shake their pom-poms for the camera. The pictures will be available soon on www.cheeky-cheerleaders.com.
Then a spot of running. I have never run a mass-participation event like this before and was totally overwhelmed by the masses of spectators and how enthusiastically they support everyone. Becs and Val were lucky enough to be on the Tyne Bridge as the Red Arrows roared overhead, I could hear them fly over but not see them. I kept reasonable pace with Tarzan and Jane for most of the race and saw a couple of runners with the Flyers kit but the stripe in the different direction. I didn’t manage to catch them to find out which club they are from (maybe a quiz question for Friday night?). The last three miles were tough, but I suppose I should have expected that with 10-mile training runs for a 13-mile event – doh! I was convinced that I was on for a new PB but subsequently found that I run just 3 seconds over my previous best time, so close but yet so far. 13.1 miles is as far as I have ever raced and I was completely cream-crackered at the end of it.
After just missing Becs and Val finish I watched the runners for a while. It was only when the announcer said that the next runners were finishing in 3 hours that I realised that I’d been there for ages and needed to go and find Becs and Val, or Cindy and Sally-Anne as I now knew them. Everyone was calling their friends, so even texting to find each other didn’t work but we eventually met near the buses back to Newcastle. So off we all went back to the hotel for a shower, separate showers of course ;-) I then drove back home while the girls transformed back into Val and Becs and had a night ‘on the Toon’.
So, I really enjoyed the event and am very tempted to turn it into a family weekend away another time.
I see from the results that Lianne Albone also ran, unfortunately I didn’t know that before so we didn’t meet up – sorry Lianne.
Standalone 10K - Sunday, 5 October
A rather wet Standalone this year maybe explains the lack of Flyers that turned up. Before the race I met up with three others, Robbie, Laura and Steph, so was hoping that there was one Flyer somewhere I hadn't met so there would GP points up for grabs. For a change I didn't really have a race plan and it was rather strange lining up at the start without some of the other 'midfield generals' that usually pace me along. So at the last minute I decided to risk going out at PB pace and to see what happened! I knew the first half of the course to be fairly quick so I wasn't too worried about my initial early pace. From last year I remember the section along the main road destroying me, so this year I really dug deep to tackle this section head on. Despite risking life and limb I overtook quite a few people along this section. Then the hard graft began for the last 3K! Without Andy, Jeremy B or Jim to try and chase down this was tough! However I soon found myself doing battle with a young lady and it quickly came apparent that we were determined to beat each other. The added bonus was that she was far better looking than Andy and in the end I eased away from her in the last 0.5K. Jim also did a great job of cheering me home and a bonus was that five Flyers ran so a full compliment of GP points were won by yours truly, the first time I have been first Flyer home! Well pleased with the PB, finally breaking the 43 min barrier. I got back to my car quickly to try and avoid the nightmare I had at Wootton when I got stuck in the mud in the car park. No such problems this time thank goodness. Well done to the other Flyers who braved the weather!
Harlington Village Race (3.4 Miles) - Sunday, 5 October
Having lived in Harlington for fourteen years, Twinkle and I thought it about time we entered for and ran the annual Harlington Round the Village Run. So on a manky, soggy, dank morning we ventured down to the Parish Hall to register (though not before discovering one A.Wadsworth skulking in the layby opposite our house. It transpires he was checking part of the course to see if it was suitable for his tangerine running boots or his fluorescent yellow ones. What is a boy to do in circumstances such as these?? I am pleased to report that the yeller ones won, and Mr. W danced around the course like someone who had two little suns on the ends of his pins. Bless!!!)
However back to the race. This is a 5km (ish) run around the country roads, paths, bridleways and pavements of Harlington. It is a deceptive little race, especially the Mont Blanc type bridle path halfway through the race, and the deceptive undulate up the Westoning Road to the finish.
So we were delighted to see so many Flyers had turned out on such a crap morning, ranging from aforesaid Mr W, to Mr. Atherton, Rob Cook, Ed Watts, Shelley Mayles, Pat Godfrey plus Twinkle and myself, and I suspect one or two others who were not in best racing drag. The total race entry was 40-50 but hey, do all races have to have hundreds running in them to make them a success??
A tip now for all aspiring road racers. Make sure you are at the start when the hooter goes off, and not as I was on the far side of the field contemplating my navel when the field hurtled off like so many wildebeest being hunted by lions (this is literary morning so bear with me). Not that starting 400 metres made much difference to my usual finishing place. Once again I made friends with the people in the sweep up car, and consoled the marshals who braved the weather waiting for yours truly to plod around.
Nonetheless I am proud to report that this was a very successful morning for the Flyers. My Beloved Twinkletoes was the first lady home (which being the Domestic God I am, means I have another pot to polish), Shelley Mayles was the first Harlington resident lady, Pat Godfrey the first lady Vet, and the dear old boy himself Mr Wadsworth was fourth overall and first MV ( I blame it on the shoes!!).
So a good morning’s running for all concerned.
Bedford Sprint Triathlon - Sunday, 5 October
I’ve heard people say to me “why do you do it”, “you’re mad”, “why do you put yourself through it”? Well for one thing, it’s better than watching rubbish soaps and anything else that may be on the TV!!
But seriously, it’s such a huge achievement, to train for all three events and then put them altogether and finish it! I cannot describe the feeling of success unless you do it yourself.
I think you also have to praise triathletes, training for three events and then putting them altogether for a race, the time and effort that goes into this sport is incredible.
The race itself, got there nice and early (6am) in the dark and peeing down with rain, great start. Racked up my bike which was already soaked from the night before and put all my gear that was needed into a bag, at least then it would stay dry. I then managed to find Martin Beare who was also racing.
The swim part was great, similar to the race 2, I managed to keep at least half a length distance between me and the swimmer behind for the whole 400m.
Before the race, the Director said “be careful, run very carefully when you come out the pool, its very slippery” I thought, yeah, what idiot is going to go mad in this weather? That idiot would be me.
Once I was out the pool, everything that was mentioned I completely forgot about, I raced to my bike and before I could even grab my bag, I was skiing on the mud and then fell on my backside. The worst point is, you prey no one sees you, unfortunately, the commentator in the van witnessed the whole event and continue to take the micky on a loud speaker, that was in-case the whole world did not see it!
The bike section was hard work, plenty of hills and the weather was awful, I was not in the mood for doing anything stupid, so I played my own game and went carefully, it was very wet and slippery. There were quite a few bikers who got punctures and realised the urge to take extra care.
Unfortunately whilst “giving it large” down one road, I heard a loud bang on my bike, I must have hit a huge pot hole or something. I automatically thought “uh oh puncture”, thankfully the only think wrong was that my bottle of drink had been thrown of the bike.
I had a great transition and went for it on the 5k run. I lost a couple of seconds when my laces kept coming loose, but apart from that had an excellent run.
I have to say, although I done better than race 2, looking at my results I’m a little disappointed, I really wanted sub 1:30, but never happened, if I were only quicker on the bike, I could climb the ladder more, but being only my third Triathlon, it gives me that urge now to keep training with the aim to do better in the future.
Well done to Martin Beare, Steve James and another guy who was there, can’t remember his name though. Obviously, all three totally slaughtered me…………one day I will have my revenge!
Also thanks also to Phil Holland who turned up to watch and cheer us on, that was really nice.
Swimming pool was nice & warm, even time for a chat with fellow hammer Steve W. I managed to survive & thanks to Martin’s & others time of 8.08 wasn’t too bad for me. Still a bonus to lose the waterwings & get on the bike without too much fuss….Why is it u spend 8mins swimming in a bloody great swimming pool & then get on your bike thirsty…Still the rain soon quenched that. Exit to high 5’s from Bonzo who was marshalling, although Paula didn’t look best pleased, maybe the fact that I suggested she & kids marshal & get up at 6.15am was playing on her mind….
Only other guy I saw swimming was Leigh who seemed to be having fun even having stop for a polite chat with Paula (Gestapo type marshal on door). Oh well he had to be off so still smiling he disappeared into the gloom.
Rain did I mention RAIN….& wind…Early starters got an advantage apparently, just the one sourwester to put on then. T1 spent too much time fanning around with make up….& and cycle top got rolled & caught, did debate going out on the course with a crop top. Imagine the shame so calmly took top off & started again… & again. Finally at the third attempt prefect….nothing too this transition stuff really…
Bike I loved, even after first roundabout where I didn’t seem to have any brakes…due to being a crap swimming I get stronger as event goes on so was passing loads on the bike including many fillies in crop top & briefs…as I went past I was thinking jolly good show etc.. Pavenham T- junction was interesting, 35mph down hill, no brakes to sharp junction, its here the majority of the carnage would take place. Back over A6, grind through Clapham & then Sainsbury roundabout. During this part of the race I developed a close relationship with a white van, needless to say who won although he did ask if I wanted some coffee ground & I pointingly replied 2 lumps please. Still on with the swim…I mean bike as the rain was now hammering down, causing me to wonder if it may have been better to keep my swim cap on for the whole way.
During bike I noticed a pensive looking Mr Beare going the other way, MB had looked absolutely bricking it when we chatted pre swim. Seemed he was making excuses already, never catch any of us doing that. Passed Leigh going up hill, just sorry I didn’t have time for a chat
Late starters were now having the worst of the weather, & SM even managed the school boy error of unclipping his helmet before racking bike. So that a 2min penalty then & wrist slapped… naughty boy…
T2 – Rack bike, unclip helmet (in that order please note SM) & then try to put quick release shoes on…ahh rain had soaked them & the usual stiff uppers were waterlogged & could get a purchase. Perhaps that inexpensive piece of tri kit - Tesco carrier bag - may have been useful
Onto the run, around Bedford Park scene of the recent 5K champs. Conditions could not have been different as not only were their large puddles now but some nasty piece of work had put some hills in…
2 & half laps, didn’t see any other flyers, as so wet I could barely see. Now running used to be the bit I enjoyed but I spent the whole 18.45secs wondering if my calves would pull. I had even thought of putting some calf stockings on but would have really looked a berk then. High 5’s with Zoe as I picked up the lap bands & then wondered if anyone was actually using the water station on the course. Passing a wet & now pointing Mrs J managed to swim/run across finish to complete my only Tri of the year.
Steve James 18th
Stephen Morales 34th
Martin Beare 53rd
Now I don’t usually do race reports, but due to the gumption of those above (ok nothing to do with wasting the 15squid we had coughed up) I felt compelled to do so. Big up to my support crew who then fleeced me for dinner. So next week it’s the Boxfit challenge & no swimming…Whhooppppeeee
Rowers Revenge, Marlow - Sunday 5th October
4K Concept 2 Rowing
I was placed in a seeded draw. and managed a pb by 20 secs of 19 mins 20secs
25K Hilly Road Bike
The first 2 - 8km was all up hill, this gradually flattened out, with more hills midway. There were three places where we had to put our foot down at right hand turns and this was difficult in the wet conditions, especially with cycle shoes on! There was hardly any descents in the race!
Due to several floods and the heavy rain on the bike course, I decided safety was more important than time and just cruised round. Time wise a long hour!
A mixture of road and off road, I decided to wear my off road shoes as I knew the fields round Bisham Abbey would be muddy and wet. I was impressed with a 53 mins 20 secs time. All I could remember up and down the Hills, was Haydn's comments from Tuesday nights session concerning technique.
Rain, Wet and floods! Transition areas - was like a mud bath!
In all , my overtime was 2 hours 20 mins, but took away with a pb in the row and another slight improvement in the run.
The bike, shoes and owner are still drying off, as when I finished I looked like a drowned rat!
Polaris MTB challenge - Grizedale Forest, Lake District - Sat/Sunday, 4/5 October
Dave Sedgley & Sam Pledger.
Saturday (max 6 hours), 160 points in 4-47; 5th place in mixed vets.
Sunday (max 4 hours), 170 points in 3-51; moved up to 3rd!
Total 330 points for 3rd place in mixed vet team.
There was supposed to be a night challenge (2 hours on Sat evening) but due to the heavy rain all day Saturday, making the trails dangerous in the dark, it was cancelled. But we had a great ride in glorious sunshine on Sunday morning.
Doug Anderson 5K County Results ... - 'You gotta be in it to win it!'
Bedfordshire AAA have finally published the county results and AFF runners performed fantastically well.
Paul Farmer's race win obviously secured him the honour of being crowned County Champion, with Phil Holland sticking the boot in with a third place for the senior men.
Next Flyer in, Ady, was fortunate to secure a Silver in the MV40 battle (off of the back off an okay run), closely followed by an in-form Dave Olney. Assuming the AAA awards a team prize AFF will have bagged this, along with the team prize for the Doug Anderson event overall.
The men sealed the deal with bronzes for Mike Petty, Phil Clarke and Nick Stone, all of whom gave us competitive representation throughout the age group categories.
The ladies over-shadowed the fellas with two individual Champions. Nicky Jones and Pat Godfrey won their respective age bands, with the former showing her running family how it should be done!
A silver and bronze for Carol Lydon and Annie Page respectively, rounded off a great day with another high profile outing for our li'l ol' club.
The awards are as follows, and we will be chasing the Beds AAA for medals/certificates:
Paul Farmer - Senior Men County Champion
Phil Holland - Senior Men Bronze
Ady Wadsworth - MV40 Silver
Dave Olney - MV40 Bronze
Mike Petty - MV45 Bronze
Phil Clarke - MV55 Bronze
Nick Stone - MV60 Bronze
Nicky Jones - LV40 Champion
Annie Page - LV35 Bronze
Carole Lydon - LV50 Silver
Pat Godfrey - LV55 Champion
Roade Sprint Triathlon - Sunday 28th September
A bit congested with the swim, I had 5 other people in a lane. I had a few battles and left with a bruised Thumb, after a few bangs. In the end left with a PB of 10mins 20secs.
Bike: 20K 2 lap hilly
2 laps hilly bike. The course was technical and hilly, I was gaining compusure, the longer the bike ride went on.
In the end I lost count, in the number of people I overtook Approx 47mins 20 secs including all transitions
Run: 5K XC
I was going to be run'd down, by all those I overtook on the bike!
Cross Country. Help! Out and back on a farm field, which was difficult under foot. I also chose the wrong trainers to wear! A slightly better performance in the run, but still lost quite a lot of ground to the leaders!
I have been advised to concentrate on some running this winter. As this is now the weaker event!
Debbie Knott - 1hour 30mins 19 secs
Dark & White RAB Mountain Marathon - Sat/Sunday, 27/28 September
From Fell Side, back o' Skiddaw, northern Lakes. This was a score event so max score in time allowed wins.
Elite course (7 & 6 hours)
Brian Layton & Paul Eastwood
Day 1, 285 points in 6-42
Day 2, 227 points in 6-02
Total: 512 points - 21st of 28 teams
Standard course (6 & 5 hours)
David Sedgley & Haydn Leaker
Day 1, 190 points in 5-45
Day 2, 140 points in 4-34
Total: 330 points - 49th of 55 male vet teams
Caroline Gilby & David Bailey
Day 1, 115 points in 5-24
Day 2, 110 points in 4-45
Total: 225 points - 20th of 21 mixed vet teams
Excellent weather for this well organised event (only the second time this new MM has been run).
Caroline & David really enjoyed it and (despite Caroline suffering form twisted ankle towards end of day 2) they are hooked on this event format!
Porsche Silverstone Duathlon -Wednesday 24th September
Rick Hollingsworth had asked me to join him in his first Duathlon, and me being me did not have to be asked twice,
The venue sounded interesting too, the race being held at Porsches new state of the art driving experience centre based at Silverstone race circuit added to the enticement.
On our arrival i saw another flyer my mate phil holland, i had recognised many other faces of good triathletes which was surprising given the day and time of this race and the fact it was a new race too.
The race was a short but very sweet 2 mile run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run. The run was a simple flat out and back course along the perimeter of the race track, then transition followed by a very very technical bike course on the new Porsche handling circuit, there was not one straight, level bit of ground, full of undulating twists, turns and bends that almost put the head into a spin. As the light was fading fast we then made our way back to transition for the final run.
It was no suprise that our Phil Holland equipped himself very well in his usual carefree style to finish 4th overall. I had a poor bike section and was happy to finish 30th overall, Our Rick Hollingsworth made light work of his first Duathlon to finish 37th overall, well done boys.
As a bonus a very select few were treated to a conducted tour of the interior of the new Porsche centre, at this point a mop had to follow me round as i was dribbling at the sight of some 1 off special 911,s with a value of £200,000 each, if only ! sex on wheels.
Thanks to Phils wife Nickie for holding jackets and cheering us on in fine voice as ever.
I had always fancied the idea of trying one these - marrying cycling with running.
As this was my first venture Martin Beare agreed to come and show me the ropes. We arrived on time and in the wet, a horrible sort of drizzly rain blown on quite a stiff breeze. The temperature was also nippy which had me starting to question what I was doing! Really disappointed that the coffee shop was closed!
Registered and numbered we sussed out the running course which was a mile out and back run along one of the service roads. Those of you that have done the half marathon here would probably recognize it.
We then went round the bike course which was on the soon to be opened Porsche test track. This was an interesting course with very little that was flat or straight making the use of tribars almost redundant. The corners where quite tight and we had two dead turns to negotiate - all very technical.
So rather nervously we lined up with our other 75 competitors, the drizzle had passed and with the nights drawing in the bike distance had been shortened to 4 laps making a 2 mile run, 8 mile bike and another 2 mile run.
And off. Started fairly slow (been biking all summer, a niggly achilles didn¹t help or the reasonably hard session at the club the night before).
Had that strange feeling of going backwards as everyone disappeared into the distance only to soon see them coming back again (out and back runs are so crushing!). Good to see Phil Holland in the first few coming back and encouraging at the turn to see that there where a still few people behind me!
Could see Martin picking up his bike as the run course ran beside the transition area a good few minutes ahead of me. Into transition myself and with all the advice remembered to put my helmet on before touching the bike - phew! Then having changed the peddles for flats to aid the double transition jumped on the bike. Here I was back on familiar ground and overtook four people before the first bend, people that I had struggled to keep with on the run. After 4 laps of absolutely great fun and passing loads of people came into transition just behind Martin. The bike course, whilst possibly not a traditional time trial course was loads of fun and certainly had me smiling.
That soon faded as I jumped off the bike and tried to run! It was like the end of a marathon, both legs where cramping in different places and strange pulls and twangs. I had been told this would wear off otherwise I would have stopped there and then. It did wear off after a fairly short time, probably about the time the winner came out of the dusk the other way! Phil wasn¹t far behind the leader and Martin had opened up a big distance on me having the experience, training and fitness that I don¹t have.
Was really pleased on the run back to find so many people behind me after there being so few on the first run. This was a really great event that showed me how much my running needs to improve! Would certainly fancy some more of these though. Well pleased to find I finished just inside the top half!
The evening was further boosted by a site visit of the Porsche showroom/fitness centre that somehow six of us got into (I think Phil and friend Henry had a lot to do with this!). The results below have the transition time added to the bike time.
Phil Holland - 4th - 10.48 - 23.02 - 12.22
Martin Beare - 30th - 13.14 - 25.56 - 14.33
Rick Hollingsworth - 37th - 14.34 - 24.45 - 15.38
New Forest Marathon (& Half) - Sunday, 21 September
On a glorious early autumn morning five of the Flyers finest pounded the undulating hills and vales of the New Forest competing in this years New Forest Half and Full Marathon. The starts were delayed due to a pony drift but quite where they drifted to, we have yet to discover.
Nonetheless off we pounded with the half marathoners leading the way and the full marathon runners starting thirty minutes later. For me this was the end of the beginning. In other words 12 months ago I was being pumped full of my kid brothers Whitbread Trophy and Strongbow induced stem cells, and I wondered then whether I would ever run again.
Some would argue given my majestic performances this year that running doesn’t really come into my stride, but what the hell, I am still out there pounding the pavements, rather than being an urn on the mantelpiece.
However back to the races. My Beloved Twinkletoes in her brand new shoes (my were they white) scampered over and around the New Forest like one of the four legged inhabitants and returned a very respectable 4.09.04 and was 4th FV50, which made the after race vino taste all the sweeter.
In the Half, Becs Fleckney and Val von Arx running their 2nd Half in a week and with two more to come in the following fortnight, were like two gazelles in the first spring of youth (alright they weren’t, but you get my drift) and came home together in 2.17.44. How do they do it?
I was very kindly shepherded by my old friend Jenny Pedder, who majestically gave up all thoughts of her own performance and trotted around with me, occasionally pulling me out of ditches, and preventing me from committing hari-kari in front of fast moving ponies. To her I owe and immense debt of gratitude.
Now something to make all the boys in the club green with envy. Before the race I was presented via her mum Leslee-Anne Dawe with a pair of Liz Yelling’s Olympic running knickers. Initially I thought they were a pair of somewhat abbreviated budgie smugglers, (and wouldn’t they have intimidated the Coffin Dodgers at Flitwick Pool) but after being advised as to what they were well...... what could one say, than thank Liz personally who just happened to be at the race start. As I keep saying, it is all down to charisma.
Leighton Buzzard 10 mile (Club Champs) - Sunday, 21 September
Well for a welcome change the sun made an appearance and the scene was set for the clubs 10 mile championship.
This was always going to be a tough race for me as i had raced the day before in a Triathlon. My plan was to take it easy in my race Saturday but i was doing well and decided to push hard, i just could not resist it.
On the day it was evident that most of the fast boys were not present, and i was beginning to regret doing the race the previous day as a sniff of silverware might have been possible (V40), it was clear i could not keep up with Richard and tim and i was feeling the pace towards the final stages, i was very disappointed with my time some 2/3 minutes off my usual 10 mile time.
Richard wilson had a great race and took club honours, 2nd was Tim Hunt V40 champ, 3rd was a knackered me. Mr Atherton had great race and it clear his Saturday runs with the boys are paying off.
Paula James took the ladies spot with a solid run and club champ, followed by Caroline Gilby. Well done to Boxfit Tri as they had 3 runners in the top 20 finishers (2nd team) The overall race winner was Dave Wardle (who clearly didn’t dawdle) fromWoodford Green in a time of 0.51.32
All in all there were 14 AFF that crossed the line, well done to you all in what was a demanding race. As usual the race organisers staged a good race helped by unbroken sunshine.
A warm summer’s morning (summer?) provided very pleasant conditions for running this race which takes in country roads and villages south of the town. Richard Wilson stormed home knocking 3 minutes off his PB with Tim Hunt the first veteran home. Paula James was first lady home seeing Caroline Gilby with husband Steve providing encouragement from various points around the course.
Behind the speed kings four of us ‘midfielders’ ended up having quite a battle. J Bell and Pete set off at 6.50 mile pace and quickly disappeared out of sight as I chose for 7.30 mile pace at the start. This was the first time I’d made an effort to record a negative split and was determined not to go off too fast. Behind me J Lewis had started even slower doing 7.45 mile pace and quickly lost touch.
Four miles in and after a some tough hills around Mentmore I decided to up the pace. I caught sight of the others around seven miles and was gradually chipping away. With a mile to go JB and Pete pulled over at the final water stop and I cruised past putting in another burst to create a decent lead. I slowed down for the final hill with some 600 yards to go thinking the job was done only for Jeremy Lewis to appear from nowhere on my shoulder! I knew his finishing bursts are lethal having experienced one in a previous race. We both tried edging ahead but neither would give. With 200 to go I went for it concentrating on Tuesday night tips – head up, use your arms – and finished a couple of yards ahead of Lewis with Jeremy Bell not far behind.
For the 4 of us to finish together after such contrasting race strategies was remarkable but I think I’ve definitely become a fan of the negative split.
Well done to all who completed this tough 10 mile course!
St James Place Foundation Triathlon - Sunday, 21 September
Just a quick note to share my relative success at the weekend. I managed 3rd out of a field of 150. In near perfect conditions I managed to achieve a PB for the sprint distance probably helped by the introduction of dead zones meaning there was no time lost in transition ie the timing chips were only active outside of the transition areas. There was virtually no wind and a pleasant 18c was conducive to fast times on the bike. The run was just under 5.5k so I was please to be able to hold about 6.30m mile pace.
Stephen Morales 59.56 Swim 400m 6.48, Bike 19k 31.56, Run 5.3K 21.12
Crystal Palace Triathlon - Sunday, 21st September
The Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers running club has not only improved my running, but also given me the confidence in competing in Triathlon events. This is an event I have wanted to compete in for a long time. The encouragement and enthusiasm of the coaches and club members has enabled me to achieve this. Since joining the club, I have successfully completed two sprint Triathlons (shorter distances) with one more in Bedford to complete the treble for this year. I aim to train and compete in the longer distances next year.
Well, this was just a sensational experience; the weather was perfect, being at the home of UK athletics to take part in a triathlon was fantastic.
I arrived nice and early, racked up the bike and got myself sorted and then began to watch the other competitors whilst awaiting my go, the sun was out and it was nice and hot.
The swim section was unfortunately based in the old training pool which is a 25m as the Olympic 50m was in re-development. That was probably the only negative of the day.
My swim went very well, took it nice and easy, I know I can do this part fairly well without using much energy up; I really wanted to save that for the bike and run.
The first transition was good, although a bit slow. The bike section is nine laps around the stadium. This was the first event where I have been able to use my new bike, it did not disappoint me, I managed to pick up a lot of speed in certain places and it was a very comfortable ride!
On lap nine, I gave my legs a stretch and took in some fluids. On the second transition, there were so many bikes, I found it difficult to find my slot, I eventually got it, chucked my gear off and then the most important part (yes the run!) was on!
I started quite slowly, the weather turned very hot, but I knew mentally “I can do this” so I put my foot down. I wanted to get sub 20mins and really went for it, the run route was two laps around the outside of the stadium then 2 laps in the stadium.
I eventually finished in a great time of 1 hr 21 mins, overall position 184 of 360
The whole event was really enjoyable and now looking forward to Bedford Sprint race 3 in a couple of weeks (and sadly the last one of the year)
Leigh Pilgrim Swim: 9:49, Bike: 50:03, run: 21:09 overall 1hr 21 mins
Mourne Mountain Marathon - Sat/Sunday, 20/21 September
Brian Layton & Paul Davies
Day 1, 20K in 5-48
Day 2, 17K in 4-20
Total, 10-08 for 24th position (4th male vet team)
David Sedgley & Martin Spedding
Day 1, 16K in 4-48
Day 2, 15.5K in 4-20
Total 9-08 for 12th position (2nd male vet team)
We were particularly pleased with this result on a gorgeous weekend in the beautiful Mourne mountains - as we hadn't been able to complete our 2 previous events this year, and the is the best overall position I have ever had!
Success at the England Athletics East Region Awards Evening ...
On Friday, 19 September England Athletics (East Region) hosted a glitzy awards ceremony at Homerton College in Cambridge.
The Flyers were short listed for 5 awards and we won two categories - Off-track Club of the Year and Athletics Partnership (for work with Team Beds & Luton).
This is excellent news - "off-track" includes the majority of athletics clubs so this is one big win and the product of 20 years of effort, enthusiasm and imagination from a lot of Flyers.
Andy Atherton representing the club and is pictured collecting the bubbly.
Shortlist (in the top 3)
Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers
Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers
Val Von Arx
Services to club development
Team Beds & Luton / Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers
Pics + news on England Athletics website a report on the Team Beds & Luton website.
The Flyers will go forwards to represent the East Region in the National Final in Birmingham on 18 October.
Just to say thanks on behalf of my wife Louise and I for the invitation and nomination. We had a smashing evening – Louise enjoyed the champers which I had to leave alone as I was running the 10 miler the next day. We shared our dinner table with Tanni Grey-Thompson returning from duty at the Beijing Paralympics. A number of top GB athletics coaches were present including speaker Tom McNab who gave his forthright view on the state of GB athletics. The impression I got was that for a club our size we seem to have made quite an impact so congratulations to Stephen Hartley and the committee and all other volunteers at the club who have donated their free time.
Luton 10.6KM Cross Country - Sunday, 14th September
Someone forgot to tell me how hilly this was. All off road with several difficult bits, you had to watch your footing in several places. My legs were still recovering from yesterdays biking efforts. I lost time at 2km, as we were all q'd up at a style...
In the last 2 km over took a couple of women, and overtook another one in the last 400m. For me, a poor 76mins04, but times were not important, just the finishing due to the difficulty of the course. The first person was 43 mins, my friend Gavin Rumbles (CC Luton) came away with third place.
Chiltern Marathon (LDWA) - Sunday, 14th September
This was a very hilly challenge walk or run from the village of Lane End.
I was very pleased with my time of 6 hours 29mins as it was only 6 mins slower than the last similar event I did in July but over a much hillier course. [Paul barton also ran it.]
Bedford Harriers Invitation 10K - Sunday, 14th September
This was a lovely day for this race. A shame no other flyers took part, and the sea of yellow vests which seemed to be in great abundance, seemed rather daunting! There were a few Stopsley Striders in red to talk to which made it seem a little better. The route was very nice along pathways heading along the river, towards Willington. One incline across the bridge, didn't seem to make much difference to my speed, which was rather slow, and i didn't seem to be able to pick up speed at all! Never mind i put it down to giving blood a couple of days before, and having a dodgy thigh muscle or something! That's my excuse anyway, and i wasn't as disappointed with my time as i might have been.
- Wilmslow, Bucks 20.8 miles Hilly TT - Saturday 13th September
I decided to use this as my last TT of the year, next years British Cycling Circuit champs course.
What a course, hill after hill. The course was a two lap affair with lots if technical sections. I was up against several top leading women in the country. But came away with experience for next year. I could see that working on my strength back in the gym paid off, so I didn't shy away from those hills.
Debbie Knott 7th Lady 68mins 31
Swineshead 10 - Sunday, 7th September
“Never say never again”. A true statement for me. I said I would never run further than a 10km.
10km is as far as I will go, when I hit that 10km marker I know that’s it, yet here I am writing a report on a 10 mile I have just completed!
As this was my first race over 10km, it was a case of “complete the race”. I wasn’t in it to get any specific place or time.
I decided on this race after a few Thursday sessions. These are long distances, 8 miles and over. I was speaking with one of the Flyers who was preparing for the Swineshead 10 mile and asked if I was doing it. At this time the obvious answer was “no”, and I had no intentions, that was until I realised that if I can run 8 miles on a Thursday quite comfortable, 10 miles should not be a problem.
The other fortunate thing about this race was that I mentioned it to Ricky Jennings who advised me to take it easy as its very hilly at times and not a nice route.
I turned up and managed to find the other Flyers that were taking part, including Martin Beare, who also warned me of the route and not to go mad.
The race got underway just after 11:30am. I told myself for the final time that this was a 10 mile not 10km, just so that I would not “dart off”.
I started off great and managed to pace 8min miles and kept this up most of the journey. This meant that the hills were not really a problem, I was also running worth other runners of the same ability, a couple of us were running together for quite a few miles, keeping an excellent pace.
8 miles eventually came and I found myself with that little bit more energy on me, so I put my foot down slightly, by the time 9 miles came I was feeling good and stepped up the pace once more.
I finished off very comfortable, with an excellent time, slightly longer than expected, but this did not really bother me, the fact that I enjoyed this race and completed it was for me, the highlight.
I would like to thank those Flyers who supported me with this race, could not have done it without you!
This race should have been called Swineshead 10.5 mile,
Due to heavy overnight rain the course had to be altered at the the last minute as there were small lakes at the 8/9 mile stages, i thought the Tri season was over for me and the wet suite hung up to dry.
I was doing this race purely to see where i was at with my running after a season of competing in Triathlons.
I chose This run as i didn't want any pressure and i did not expect to see any AFF runners, much to my surprise there were 9 Flyers on the start line in the sleepy village of Swineshead.
The whole point of my exercise being to get an accurate time for a measured 10 mile, evidently this was not possible due to the course change.
Looking at the results from the previous years races i wondered why the times seemed a little longer than i would have expected. Now i know, this was one of the toughest 10s i have ever raced, as it was hilly and demanding.
I think my pace was a little fast in the early stages and really felt in towards the end.
I will settle with my result 24th overall and it was great wearing my AAF race vest for the fist time since early spring (my last running race)
It was also good seeing and chatting to other flyers.
Well done to all who raced, some good efforts were made on this wet challenging course.
Well done to the ever present gigolo Mr Lydon who completed the 5 mile race.
Kent Coastal Marathon - Sunday, 7th September
Four weeks to go until our London to Brighton ultra. Our challenge this week was to run a marathon, starting it feeling tired on the start line. So another 60 mile week, no taper, 11 miles off road on Saturday, a couple of glasses of wine the night before and absolutely no carb loading for me and 2 hours paintballing on Saturday afternoon for Paul, and together with a 6.15 departure from Flitwick, we felt our preparation had gone to plan when we lined up at Margate.
We didn’t really have a race plan – Paul was thinking of running about 4 hours 30 and I wasn’t thinking. The first half was quite a nice run from Margate to Ramsgate and back along the coast. We reached the half way point in about 1:59. Most people dipped out at this point and once we got onto the second half it was obvious why. We had to run six miles straight into a strong headwind along a concrete path on top of the sea wall. It was pretty high level mental torture – which in itself is good preparation for ultra running. I’m always suspicious of races where you have to run around a chair, but on this occasion the strategically placed chair at 19.5 miles brought an end to the torture and was greeted by cheers from fellow runners. The run back was actually quite enjoyable and we gradually picked up the pace finishing strongly in 3:57.
Ever onward – a thirty mile off road run next weekend and then we’ll have to start thinking about a taper.
As for the race itself, it was very well organized and superbly supported by the marshals and volunteers, but despite all that the course was too monotonous to consider revisiting any time in the future.
Great Scottish Run Half Marathon, Glasgow - Sunday, 7th September
With my marathon brethren bearing the winds of the South Coast in Kent, it was time for me to continue my Scottish tour with another attempt at the Great Scottish Run. This race is the largest of it's kind in Scotland, with over 13,000 running the half and 10K.
There are nothing like stereotypes, however. If anyone was in any doubt which city they were in, a look to the left at the start line was a pie shop and to the right was a pub! Aaahhh, I'm home.......
The course was changed this year, with a rather daunting first mile straight up a steep hill. The rest was mostly flat with a few tough hills thrown in, and some strong swirling winds, but with excellent support and atmosphere and the obligatory pipers at each mile marker.
As for times, with an average of less than 2 runs of any description per week in the 10 weeks since Greensands and my first half in 18 months, I was OK with the time, although the race did feel like a struggle. Still, a position of 500-odd out of over 7000 cant be bad.
Just a footnote. Has anyone ever stood next to some of the top Kenyan athletes? Whilst milling around 10 minutes before the start, 2 Kenyans (who finished 1st and 5th) were standing next to me (yes, it was at the back of the muster point.....), the winner finished in just over 61 minutes. When you see the build of these runners, there is just nothing on them. I have seen bigger calves on my 3 year old son. To achieve the times they do is just incredible. One flight to Mombasa please...........
George Arbuckle 1:33:39 PB
Milton Keynes Big Cow Duathlon - Tuesday, 2 September
After the success of the Bedford Sprint Triathlon, I wanted to give another multisport a try. This time it was the Duathlon.
I was there nice and early for a good warm up ready for a 7pm start. I knew that my biking was not up to standard. I’m not very fast and that’s where I loose time, so my only catch up would be to do well on the run.
The sun was out during the warm up, I thought this was going to be a great evening, how wrong could I be, at 7pm, the race started and so did the rain.
The running course was fairly good, I had a great start, just basically got near the front and held on, a few runners past me, but I think they were Olympic champions so I had my excuses………..
At the end of the 3km run, I was in 8th place which was brilliant. I grabbed the bike and went. The bike route is 10 laps around the MK Bowl, by the time we got to lap 5, we were in a torrential downpour, it was hammering it down! This sadly continued during the rest of the event.
By the time I got to lap 7, most competitors had lapped me about a 100 times, I was a little frustrated. The last lap eventually came and I was drenched, tired, but still had a smile on my face!
I had a good transition off the bike and into the final run, however, of all the times I had practiced this, my bottom and legs were really hurting and aching at this point (anyone who’s done a triathlon will understand) and I did laugh, its very difficult to get moving, your wobbling all over the place, but after around 1km, I was back in the groove of things.
I eventually crossed the finishing line in 16th place and was so pleased with myself for completing it. These events are so rewarding
Another excellent multisport event bites the dust!
3k run: 12min 34 sec. 16k bike: 39mins 53 sec. 3k run: 14mins 19 sec. Overall: 1 hr 6 mins, 16th Place
Royal Dartmouth Regatta Road race - Sunday, 31 August
Just back from a wonderful week in Strete near Blackpool Sands Dartmouth.
This was an extended family get together with the Royal Dartmouth Regatta acting as the catalyst and surprise surprise it had an associated 5.1 mile road race, not to mention many things nautical and aeronautical, including air displays by the Red Arrows, an air ripping Typhoon display and much much more, a great family day out, made better by great weather and cream teas (couldn't find any local tarts Rick!),
The field was quite small, around 170 which seemed to comprise mainly of club runners and for the first time my elder sister, our first race together!
For those that know Dartmouth the course can only go one way from the quayside and that's up, up and more up. Starting from near the back, my usual excessive pace was quickly subdued by "The Hill" starting after only 300m it went on for a further lung busting 1.5 miles, at the top the course did a small 2.5 mile loop made more difficult with 3 short sharp undulations that really sapped ones energy and determination to keep going, after that it was all down hill to the finish.
I was pleased with my 40th place but more pleased by my big sister's 80th place which gained her 2nd place in the female Vet 50. The time as you would guess was not a PB but a respectable 37:12, and no where near the sub 26min set by some mountain antelope back in 1983.
Mike Petty 37.12
Phil & Friends Challenge Ride - Sunday, 31st August
Ex President (Phil Liggett) of the Cycling Tourists Club (CTC) annual charity ride, a 105 or 150k ride around the Peak District.
A long weekend in the Peaks sold this both to Karen and to Stuart Brown, Stuart could at least claim some work related connection by spending Friday at the Chatsworth Show. We didn¹t have an excuse so left Thursday afternoon!
Friday we rode from Hope over to Bakewell for a Tart - excellent fuelling stategy! Saturday we met up with some walking friends in cafe (large slice of treacle tart) before a 7 mile walk over to Edale Valley before returning to cafe for more tart! We later met up with the Browns for more food - this time followed with sticky toffee pudding!
So the morning of the ride found us groaning under the weight of two much food - including a cooked breakfast that morning! We needn¹t of worried, we needed all that fuel and more to get round some of these hills.
This was one of the first long rides in challenging terrain (and conditions) that Karen and I had attempted on the tandem. We certainly learnt a thing or two - one we can climb up 20% hills (and overtake people) but also that the brakes are not good enough for going down 20% hills. The brakes all locked up and we were not slowing down!
The day started grey and overcast and got worse, with wet roads and fog to add to the general fun! Unlike other events that I have done this year the Glossop Cafe and its chip butty goes down as one of the best fuel stops - way better than a gel!
Karen and I did the 105k and left a hour after Stuart who was riding the longer, hillier 150k. We finished almost together but Stuart had forgone the chip butty.
A long ride which I think took a long time. Climbed some big hills - slowly - Mam Tor and Holme Moss (Stuart also climbed several more), finish was good to get to with hot tea, more cakes and a warm welcome from the rest of the Brown family.
Bedford Olympic Triathlon - Sunday, 24th August
This was my first olympic distance triathlon. An early Sunday morning start and then the rain to wake everybody up. After a relaxed briefing, off with nervous trepidation into the murky River Ouse. The instructions were keep to the middle which was a wise move. A good swim which is my strong point and then off to Shefford and back on the 40 k bike ride. Not my strongest discipline but a creditable 1hr 29 mins. Finally the 10k, three laps of the embankment with very tired legs. I finished in 2hrs 49 mins. Thanks for all the support from my parents (Phil is never going to do one), Martin Beare, Steve James (You'd never get me in the Ouse) and Steve Morales (6th in the the mini tri).
Moulton 10K - Sunday, 24 August
Having studied the Olympics carefully I had a choice of 2 strategies for this race:
(i) The Kenenisa Bekele strategy- Front run from 5k then completely destroy any remaining opposition with a sprint to the line commencing 500 metres from home.
(ii) The Catherine Nderebe attack - Keep out of trouble by running just behind the pack; then move to the front when everyone is busy trying to predict the tactics of the opposition
Being the only guy to be given a ladies medal in the Chicks Chase; i decided to give in to my feminine side; follow Catherine's tactics and run just behind the pack (of around 100 other runners); then with just 2k to go i decided to make my move. Unfortunately it gained me only 3 places and I ended up in 97th place;
Bella 5K, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow - Sunday, 17 August
As I am having to spend a lot of time up in Scottishland at the moment, I thought I had better try and do some running! A quick check on local races threw up something called the 'Bella 5'. At first I thought I had strayed onto a Les Dawson Tribute show, however it was in fact a 5K round Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, in the shadow of Ibrox Stadium.
This was an extremely well-organised race by the Bellahouston Road Runners - one of the larger clubs in the country. There was a good friendly atmosphere, relatively flat course and some typical Scottish weather to contend with. Considering the race only cost a fiver, to receive water, Red Bull, a banana, chocolate bar, medal and Asics wicking cap, this would have to be described as great value for money.
What I thought was a really good idea was that, in the spirit of environmentally friendly running, they were encouraging runners to return their race numbers at the end for recycling, offering spot prizes as an incentive. This just added a nice touch and I am sure someone I know could provide some prizes if we were to adopt this.......
As for negatives, the only one was - yet again - my official time. I seem to be making a habit of getting a very bad spot this year, again being the difference between achieving a landmark. However, a narrow PB was some consolation.
George Arbuckle 19:06 PB
Ride to the Horns, 85 miles - Sunday, 17th August
Another ride in the Chilterns, this time starting over in Mentmore and riding over some of the classic climbs - Whiteleaf, Bison Hill, The Hale, The Crong to name a few! Some short and steep some longer and not so steep, either way it hurts the legs.
One of the few rides/event where we could actually dispense with our rain jackets! The event had been organised in association with Mark Webber the Formula One driver who also rode the event. He is something of a keen cyclist and uses it as part of his overall training programme. He was certainly accessible and was spending time with most of the finishers. Three routes where on offer including a 7 mile family ride.
Event start/finish was Mentmore which for those of you running the Leighton 10 it¹s at the top of the hill! Bit of a carnival atmosphere as the event was a charity one, with local bike shop, red bull, local restaurant, local stall holders, balloon races all enjoying the rather warm afternoon. A coffee followed by a beer sitting on the green made it all rather pleasant!
Good route with some good scenery, with flat bits as well as those hilly ones. Could have done with a few more miles in the legs - none of us had ridden any distance since the etape.
Mike Petty, Stuart Brown and I all rode together and finished in about 5.30 (results to be confirmed).
Shaftesbury 25 miles TT - Saturday,16th August
The 25 miles Bike TT event was held at Newmarket on the A11 & A14. Due to the time of year it meant that the competition for places was going to be tough. This was the strongest field of Ladies Bike Riders that I have competed against. All with the same aim, to improve in the National 2 distance or National 3 Distance Ladies BBAR Compeition.
The first 12.5 miles was into a head wind whilst the last 12.5 miles was into a tail wind, which meant after the turn I was averaging 25 miles per hour.
My time for 70 mins 21secs was a 6 mins 30 secs improvement in my years best. It also looks like my 2 distance BBAR event of 25 miles and 50 miles, will put me in the top 50 national rankings.
This was one of my last TT events of the year and only have a hilly TT left in September.
I will be hoping to move back to running within the next couple of weeks, so will hope to see you all at club night on a Tuesday.
Debbie Knott 70 mins 21 secs, 17th lady
Caldicote Lake 5K - Thursday, 14 August
A late change in the published date for this event and practically zero publicity guaranteed a pathetically small field for what was once a highly popular event. Indeed without a posting on the Flyers forum I suspect the number of runners would have been in single figures. It does seem odd that having invested in chip timing systems, not to bother with any significant publicity to recoup your investment e.g. a listing in Runners World.
The evening was billed as 2 races; the Chicks Chase starting at 7PM and the Men Only race at 8PM. The Chicks Chase started on time but then, for whatever reason, they sent off 7 male runners at 7:10PM, followed half an hour later by 6 more. They then amalgamated both sets of times together.
In both the Chicks Chase and the Men Only race a lack of marshals in the right place (near the new town houses) led to some wrong turns, lost places and and about 30 seconds added onto times. In the second men's race there was also a consistent 15 second discrepancy (in the runners favour) between the chip times and their garmin times. Did someone forget to press the start button on the timer?
Heartbeat events who used to run the Men Only, the Chicks Chase and other successful events has recently become part of Blacksheep Sports, the new organisers. On this evidence Blacksheep really need to pull their fingers out.
I've got to say that all the staff I met were more than helpful, indeed they were a friendly bunch who more than went the extra mile (3.1 miles surely?) for me on the day, so I should really feel pretty guilty about writing such a damning review, but at the end of the day friendliness and enthusiasm are no substitute for proper planning and decent organisation.
Rob 'the Grinch' Craig
Mazda London Triathlon - Sunday, 10th August
Myself and team Boxfit Tri started our journey to London (Excel) at 4.30am as our bike racking and transition set up was scheduled for 5.30am. As we crossed the Thames the river looked cold, choppy and bleak, as was the weather with high winds and driving rain, the sudden realisation of the race ahead just added to the nerves and excitement, my already full bladder was just feeling fuller.
This race was my nominated "A" race of my year and it was important to me and my last chance to beat my coach and mentor before the end of the season, i had come close all year.
4,000 competitors had raced the previous day in the sprint distance, Sunday saw the Olympic distance (1,500 swim, 40k bike and 10k run)
I decided to go in the more difficult men's open category i.e. men all age groups. 7,000 competitors in 11 wave starts.
My wave start assembled and we were summons to the river, we had to swim to the centre of the Thames ready for the starter, it was a straight out and back course, i had decided to start from the front of the pack to avoid the all to familiar punching and kicking common on these mass starts. I made good progress and was pleased with a solid, consistent swim given the choppy conditions, I was in the leading pack exiting the water on my way to transition.
Thankfully i had done my homework and had familiarized myself with the location of my bike etc, (not easy in a building the size of an aircraft hanger and 7,000 bikes)
After a slick transition i soon found myself on the closed roads on the bike course (The Westminster route) apart from some technical bits around the Excel building it was fast open roads, i pushed hard and my quads felt as if they were going to explode as the lactic acid built in the legs. Returning back i did some drills on the bike to prepare my self for the run ie stretching the calves and standing up on the peddles to stretch out the back in preparation for the 10k run, at this point i also took on board another energy gel and fluids to see me through to the finish.
I was back into transition for a quick change into my running shoes and was going to push hard on the run, at this point i knew i was on for a good time and was delighted to find my back had not gone into spasm as it often does coming off the bike (being tucked in the aero position) I Was elated to find no such problem. the run was trouble free and i enjoyed every bit of it as i was feeling strong throughout and it was great passing so many exhausted triathletes young and old.
I entered the Excel building for the last time to a roaring finish with the thousands cheering, clapping and cameras flashing, what a race and experience. I clocked in at 2.28.10 Well inside the magical sub 2.30 time. Not only that but i was 1st home from our team even beating my coach and mentor by 3 mins. If that was not good enough London now tell me that i have won the right to race in future Olympic distance in the sub 2.30 race.
For me it does not get much better and a great way to finish of a good season of Triathlon. I now make my back to the running and start my preparations for the Ironman in Switzerland and the ultimate challenge.
My splits were:- Swim 28.42, Bike 01.12.56, Run 41.39. Total time including transition 2.28.10. I was 95th overall in the men's open Olympic distance out of 1083 finishers (top 10 percent)
Bearbrook 10K - Sunday, 10 August
Probably not too many races about that have quite as much advantage in the second half of the course.
The last 4 kilometres are pretty much either a gentle downhill or flat which, combined with a not too undulating first 5 kilometres, has the potential for some reasonably speedy times. Without mojo I was never going to achieve too much however, I rarely put in a positive split for the second half of any race and yet achieved it on this course.
Paul was flying but was hoping for nearer to 33 mins. Blustery conditions and with him stuck in no-man's land made it a big ask. Paul Barton was racing his 37th race of the year (!!) and it's always a pleasure to see the Bird's representing the club.
The only other attendee from the club...............the start/finish inflatable, with Stu Brown emblazened all over it! Post race the wind really picked up but the inflatable remained intact. Confidence boosting should a similar scenario occur during one of our own events. It is one of those races that I would like to attempt in a more enthusiastic mood as it certainly has lots of fast potential.
Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 Trail marathon - Sunday, 10 August
Richard Jones and I ran what was advertised as a trail marathon, going over or past various landmarks which gave rise to the name ie 5 rivers etc. From the off we had a plan to walk all the hills and in all probability put in the slowest ever marathon time for us both. We are running a 56 mile London2Brighton ultra in 8 weeks and this was part of the training plan for that. Time on our feet and the ability to be able to run big miles this week meant we achieved our aim with a personal worst time for us both by a significant margin! Straight from the off we hit a narrow trail up a hill in the first Km which led to everyone walking up. Last years race reports suggested not many water stops, which they very efficiently remedied with 3 stops in the first 8 miles alone. We wound our way around the outskirts of Salisbury on a mixture of tarmac and off road, before hitting the only true trail section in the middle. The route led us along a good mix of woodland, open fields, flat and hills, all of which was very well signposted. Some very nice views on some sections of the route. Indeed, the route was well marked all the way and we only had to glance at the map we were given once or twice and that was only really to get a feel of where we were rather than find our way. For such a large area off road, the organisers need a big pat on the back for that. There was a very good level of support from the marshals at the checkpoints, who were all cheerful and helpful. The race included various smaller runs including 10k, 20k and 30k as well as a lot of long distance walkers. No support at all on the route though, with two girls waving ice creams at us at the 21 mile mark being the first ones.
Welcome surprise at the 15 mile mark to find cakes and other bits and pieces. As we were not running fast, it was nice to be able to stop and have a chat with other runners whilst we indulged. More cakes and similar at other stops as well. Only real problem was down to me having a curry the night before. The cake and drink mix set something off and at 16 miles I found myself in the middle of the trail crossed legged holding on for dear life. Luckily RJ found some toilet tissue and I was momentarily saved, before a repeat performance two mile’s later which was luckily right by a pub! Not sure if it was the chicken jalfrezi the night before or the mars bar, energy drink and two peanut butter sandwiches I had for breakfast! My advice, stick to pasta!
The final 3rd took us over a lot more tarmac than we would have liked before running past Salisbury cathedral and down the middle of their High Street which was full of shoppers and tourists who looked at us like we were from another planet. That was a bit of a strange end to a trail marathon but hey ho, there you go. Good feel to this event despite too much of it in town and on the road. There was a smallish filed of about 200 or so, with some grizzled veterans on parade. Lots of 100 club members were there and my measly 13 marathons seemed insignificant compared to some of them. There were also a number who were not that experienced and that led to a good mix and made the day seem pressure less. Nice buttie and massage at the end. Took 1 hr 50m to get there from Flitwick although 3hr plus to get back. As for our time, it was around the 4hrs 50m mark, although at least 15m of that was down to my call of nature pit stops!! I would recommend this race on the whole, although even if you run the hills be prepared to forget any idea about Pb’s and fast times, which is part of its charm in a way.
Alpine KIMM, Praz de Lys (near Chamonix) - Sat/Sun, 9/10 August
Brian Layton & Steve Smith: Day 1, 19K in 5-46-10 for 170 points. Day 2, 20.5K in 5-34-41 for 220 points. Total 390 points. 16th overall & second M50 team.
David Sedgley & David Peregrine: Day 1, 21K in 5-50-25 for 190 points. Day 2, 18K in 5-10-30 for 180 points. Total: 370 points. 19th overall and second V60 team.
We had a great time in this super area - with clear blue skies all weekend. There were some very stiff climbs, with fantastic views of Mont Blanc. Eleven British teams took part, the winners being a mixed pair from Wales - with 690 points. Both Claudie and David P's wife were there for the weekend, they helped with translation and thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, the camaraderie at the overnight camp, and the views. They say they'll be back next year!
Cranfield (County) 5M - Friday, 8 August
The cool, windless conditions made ideal running weather on Friday. The first half of this course is flat and fast but the second half is undulating leaving finishing times slower than expected however most flyers recorded PBs. This is a Beds AAAs organised event which relies on local clubs to provide marshalls so thanks to Jeremy Bell and his cohorts for directing the finish area. The inflatable arch looked great and left runners in no doubt as to where the finish line is!
The BBQ and jazz band were great and there was a well attended fun run for the kids
In late June the Flyers got a call for help from Beds AAA, they needed helpers to man the finish at the Cranfield 5 in August. As I had got help from County officials to timekeep and referee at the Ampthill Trophy I put my hand up to volunteer to get a small team together and return past favours. Although it was in the middle of holiday season a good crew of volunteer Flyers turned out and did a great job of organising the finish - and also assisting with the start and the kids fun-run.
As well as our timing gear we also used the Flyer's inflatable finish arch. That certainly got a lot of attention - it's a whopper!
The proof of the pudding was that the whole event ran really smoothly and we did a great job of showing how we have willing and capable people who turn out and support the County team. As I was the person who agreed to pick this up and thought it was a good idea to help I'd like to thank all those who turned out and made this work.
So, the roll of honour: Phil & Pauline Bierton, Jim & Helen Dodds, Anthea Cozens, Robbie Craig and Leigh Pilgrim (and not forgetting young Matthew Bell helping to distribute medals).
Thank you all! Jeremy
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 7 August
Well that's it for another year, no more Thursday night madness!
I suppose its almost time to dust of the running shoes and get back out there - Henlow 10 is calling!
A strange night - heavy rain when we left home and drizzle as we set up the bike ready for our warm up. It turned out to be quite sunny, pleasant, warm, with the roads almost dry but hampered by a head wind on the way out. No pb this week after a bit of a run of them but with Karens chemo only last Friday maybe we were pushing things anyway!
Local pro Simon Gaywood put in an appearance and showed us how we should be riding making us all seem very ordinary
Karen & I had started this evening league on the tandem as training for our attempt on the accent of Mont Ventoux. For obvious reasons Ventoux didn¹t happen but the weekly ride became something that Karen was looking forward too, not just the ride but the very social tea and cake afterwards (is this purely a cycle thing or can runners do it too!). In total 120 different riders have turned out over the 13 events, overall position is calculated on your 5 best10 mile and 4 best 11.3 mile events.
Tonight's results were
|Rick & Karen Hollingsworth 31.29||Johnathon Roots 32.06||Mike Petty 33.54|
So flyers finishing positions in the overall (9 rides)
|16th Rick & Karen Hollingsworth - 265.08 minutes||21st Johnathon Roots - 275.39||23rd Stuart Brown - 281.33|
|33rd Steve James - 241.43 (8 rides)||76th Julie Brown - 119.21 (3 rides - not right rode 4 events, 68th)||73rd Mike Petty - 97.15 (3 rides)|
The winner Maciek Werenko (Magic) finished with a total time of 221.42
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 31 July
More of (edited) Mad max:
Evening heartless fluffballs of reduced ability, another strange (that would be "bloody awful" to most of us) night. It had so much going for it, warm and almost still (remarkable)...but the humidity killed any chance of pb carnage and the damp roads just added that frisson of sphincter tightening excitement that makes time trialling special.
Naturally, a few people are still on the way up to finding their level and so would have stuck pb times in even if superglued to one of the Shetland ponies by the start line. Hey ho, several people (all the Flyers!) slapped down considerable pbs on a night when the rest of us were twitching, sliding, cursing and puncturing by the bucketful.
Hope some of you sampled the slippery delights of the mud patch on the bottom corner of the little bridge, what fun. How I laughed while drifting beyond the point called "control". Delightful times we live in. Also lovely to see so many of you walking back. Within the space of 10mins I passed 6 probable punctures. Almost a procession, the Bunny lane Mardi Gras perhaps? Night verminous wheelsuckers.
|Rick & Karen Hollingsworth 27.05 (PB)||Johnathon Roots 28.16 (PB)||Stuart Brown 29.04 (PB)||Julie Brown 35.00 approx (PB)|
Last Friday of the Month 5K, Hyde Park - Friday, 25 July
After an epic 6+ hours to run (well, runish..) Greensands, I had a long hard think as to what the best distance would be to run next. The 56miler London-Brighton.......the marathon de sables perhaps???? Nah, I think a 5K will do very nicely, thank you very much!
As I was going to be in some big city called Lundin (or something like that) I thought the Last Friday 5K in Hyde Park would be just the tonic (thanks to Jeremy and Ady's race reports)
With next to no running since Greensands for various reasons, a kick off at 1230 and the hottest and most humid day of the year so far, I was glad it was only 5K. 3 sun worshipping Flyers were there at the start ready for the off. Well, err.....not quite...... Stay tuned for the next edition of the newsletter for Robbie's race report (good plug Goldi....?)
Suffice to say we found it tough with the heat, humidity and tourists who cant walk in a straight line (who let them into Hyde Park anyway........). The course itself I would describe as flat and fast - not very fast due to a few twists and turns - but fast enough for PB territory. All things considered I was pleased with my time and would recommend this race to others. My best achievement? After Greensands, managing to complete the WHOLE race without stopping for a 3 course-meal en-route!
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 24 July
More of (edited) Mad max:
Evening, morning, whatever... Good conditions warm and dry, but very windy. In fact on the way out so horrendous that the "this far and no more" prize goes to Hutchmeister who turned round for a gloriously self determined DNF.
Perhaps if she had continued on a bit further where the wind started helping she would have joined the numerous others who put in crushing all time pbs (well better than last time out anyway).
La Dunlop surged up the rankings ladder by 30 secs - bell removal finally coming good I hear!
In other less entrancing news...the fast boys did what they normally do...go fast, Maciej shaved 9 seconds off his pb, while being chased by Sam Hayes with a pb at 26.33 and if not for the dropped chain incident Mark Cook would also have crushed his pb. Alas life is cruel and tears are cheap.
The Cook suffered twice - after slamming past me on the slope out of Old Warden he was also held up by horses. So there is justice...except as that enjoyable thought crossed my brain said equines did the same to me and then invited a land rover along to help out even more. Damn. C'est la Richard Guerre.
Steve James 28.35 (PB)
Rick & Karen Hollingsworth 30.52 (PB)
Johnathan Roots 31.36
Mike Petty 33.02 (PB)
Stuart Brown 33.56
Julie Brown 40.27 (PB)
NSPCC MK Half Marathon - Sunday, 20 July
I had a good run and enjoyed it, still not managed to crack the under 2 hrs yet but maybe next time at the Robin Hood Half in Nottingham.
Bedford Race for Life 5K - Sunday, 20 July
As always, a very large crowd to support a wonderful charity run held annually in Bedford. Nice cool weather conditions. Someone ran as Scooby Doo, she must have been very warm at the end of the run.
Kally Akhtar 22.15
BUPA Great Captial 10K - Sunday, 20 July
Well, after all the previous 10k races had there problems (Silverstone, Whipsnade and Milton Keynes) I finally managed to get a PB for a 10km!
I took on board and actioned all the advise I had been given from the recent problems I've had and it paid off. I have to say, the weather done its bit as well, plus it was a flat course which helped! But focusing on the run, I managed to get a more comfortable start from the beginning (not the usual "leg it" mode) and this time managed to get to 5km in just over 20mins, but I knew I had to keep up the speed if I wanted to get a good result, its always easier said than done though.
From 5k onwards I decided not to look at my watch, the last thing I wanted was a panic if it wasn't good. I knew in my head I was running well, so If this wasn't a good time, then I've got a lot of work to do for the future.
Usually after hitting 6 to 7km, the "Wall" sets in and I slow up, this time, I managed to continue and at 8km gave it that little bit extra, 9k came and then I soon saw myself hitting the 900 metres to go, 600 metres to go etc. I could see the finishing line, I then blanked the race, fixed my mind on the race track at Redbourne and basically pushed it that little bit more, where the energy came from I don't know, I knew that if my time was bad, I would say "you could have pushed it a little bit more at the end" so instead I just went for it.
I eventually passed the finishing line, stopped my watch and realised I had achieved my goal! I was absolutely knackered, worn out and felt awful, but I was soooooo happy to get this PB.
Leigh Pilgrim: 41 min, 32 sec, PB
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 17 July
Nice to see a few more Flyers taking to two wheels, there are still four more evenings left before the end of the series. Insurance is covered so if anyone else would like to come and join the fun - fruit cake last night was excellent - then come and join us!
More of Mad max:- Couple of big pb mentions for Unners, Hayton and Juggler (yeah 3 so I cannot count, big deal, planet sized brain for spotting that one), congrats. Otherwise a spattering of fast and not so fast times on a strangely windy but neutral evening. Cool and humid some found it good others just plain evil. A strange one. Bath, food, laptop sorting, bed, sleep, dreams, morning and happiness regained (as if). Max, well gone.
Steve James 26.01 (PB)
Rick & Karen Hollingsworth 27.55
Stuart Brown 29.09 (PB)
Johnathan Roots 29.10 (PB)
Mike Petty 30.19 (PB)
Julie Brown 36.33 (PB)
Stevenage Race for Life 5K - Sunday, 13 July
My daughter Ashleigh-Louise and I ran the 5K race for life at Stevenage on Sunday 13th July, she ran it in 26 mins I did it in 37 mins, I astounded myself!!!. I would just like to say a big thank you to Annie for all her advice in the nice and easies and Stephen for all his advice with my shin splints, In fact a big thank you to all members for their support and encouragement.
The Long Swim 3.9K Box End, Bedford - 13th July
I had no intention of doing this race until an hour before the race start,but only went to spectate and support 2 mates, but as it was a perfect beautiful morning with ideal race conditions, i could not resist having a go, luckily i had my B.T.F race licence on me and wet in the van.
I was going to use the race as training session as i missed my long session on saturday due to work commitments.
This race was always going to be tough not only for the distance but it was a pure swimmers race and attracted some serious swimmers from far and wide.
The course was a simple 3 laps with large markers at every turn, the secret as always on endurance events is pacing which i settled into quite quickly, the only other point to focus on is keep sighting the markers as it is very easy to zig zag thus increasing your distance, not easy when in a large lake with little visual references unlike lanes in a pool.
I exited the lake at the finish in a time of 1.07.13 and 29th overall pleased with the mornings workout.
This was my fist visit to this venue and i must say i was rather impressed with the lake and the facilities with lots of water sports and a posh restaurant and bar etc on offer, might pop along for watersking.
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 10 July
More of Mad max: - 10 July 2008 of your uncommonly pointless existence on this silly oblate spheroid (have I used that before, do I care, can you read)?
Later than usual, smellier than ever, dirtier than last time and about as useless as a stats guru can be amongst innumerate filth.
Another excellent turnout (54) on a cool windy evening that was fairly neutral, good out, evil back (well that's my excuse).
As so often the case need all things horizontal, but I'll make do with sleep. Night and all that stuff. Gone.
Rick & Karen Hollingsworth 31.27 (PB)
Stuart Brown 33.27
Johnathan Roots 33.46
Steve James DNF - Puncture
Etape du Tour - 6th July
This has been something of a thorn in my side for the last two years. Each year the Tour de France chooses a stage (etape) to open to the public. This year the stage is from Pau to Hautecam - it will be stage 10 on Monday 14th July. My last two attempts at the Etape du Tour have both ended with being picked up by the broom wagon (too slow!).
This years stage has been described as easier but still formidable!
It is 105 miles long and consisted of two small (category 3) climbs, two out of category climbs and just over 10 hours to do it! So after 60 miles and a visit to Lourdes we arrive at the Col de Tourmalet, a beast of a mountain - 2115m meters high - the highest Col in the Pyrenees. The climb was 17.2k long with an average gradient of 7.4% - steep and long! Also shrouded in cloud so cold, wet and windy - a very bleak place to be.
There was then the descent from 2115m down to 465m - over 5000ft downhill on closed roads over 20 miles - excellent! However we were brought back down to earth with the mountain top finish and another 14k slog up a 7+% climb to the ski station at Hautacam. This climb unlike the last climb seemed to play with you, changing gradient so you couldn¹t get a good rhythm. The sign that said 10% for the next kilometer was a real killer, it also contained one of the steepest sections at over 13%!
This event would have been ideal if it wasn¹t raining for the first hour or so, that the cloud cover didn¹t started at 500m, that you could see the outstanding views and if I had taken my overshoes! On the plus side it was much better than the 30+ degrees that met us at registration.
Near to 8000 riders set out from Pau to conquer this ride and as usual around 2000 didn¹t make it and for once it wasn¹t me! Stuart Brown and Mike Petty made up the team of three riders ably helped and assisted by Julie Brown and Karen Hollingsworth who drove us everywhere and gave us great support, as well as getting chatted up by various Frenchman!
Felt to a degree as if this has been put to be bed now, had ridden every hill and mountain, enjoyed the challenge, thrilled to the long descent weaving down the mountain side and had suffered both physically and mentally on the climbs. Very, very pleased to have finished but nowhere near the elation at having finished the Etape de Legende or climbing Mont Ventoux.
Not sure what¹s next but forever there will be a tingle down my spine of cresting a Col, the vista opening up before you, the bike tipping forward, the speed increasing, your legs resting as your reach for the drops and cover your brakes, eyes and brain calculating your velocity and position as you negotiate the first of many hairpins!
Perspective - winner did it in 5.38 and next weeks Tour will probably do it even quicker!
08.09.59, 3387th overall, 679th in Category (D)
08.44.46, 4713th overall, 1667 in Category (C)
09.12.18, 5499th overall, 2076 in Category (C)
Princes Risborough 10K - Sunday 6th July
Another Sunday, another race!! "Fresh" from the Humber half marathon and Steve James's Tuesday training "jog" but in slightly adverse conditions - heavy showers and a bit of a breeze - I managed a new personal worst [at least whilst I've been a Flyer]. However, I really quite enjoyed this pleasant, rural and undulating course which started and finished in semi-picturesque Risborough market square. Around 350
runners braved the elements and dodged the puddles, cheered on by the amazingly numerous crowds and lots of marshals. Much more rain and we'd have been swimming!!!
Jim Dodds 44.13
Cowman Half Ironman, Emberton Park - Sunday 6 July
TOTAL 5.28.49 (Transition inclusive)
Total 5.47.05 (Transition inclusive)
Total 5.47.42 (Transistion inclusive)
Total 6.47.09 (Transition inclusive)
Olney Mulisports relay 1st relay team
David swim 00.28.14
J/C Bike 02.40.14
Phill Holland run 01.15.35
Well it was 2 weeks ago i raced in the Dambuster Triathlon and it rained the whole race, so i was hoping for a dry day for this tough race, but oh no the height of British summer did its usual thing and rained most of the day (i have cleaned that bit up)
The first of 4 wave starts gathered on the bank ready for the 7.00am start, i nervously made my final adjustments to my goggles and wet suit and took the opportunity to shake the hands of my team mates from Boxfit Tri and Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers and wish them all good luck. Phill Holland was in a relay team for Only Multisport doing the run leg.
Pete Bird, Ricky Jennings, Stephen Warne from AFF like me taking on the whole distance.
I decided on a relaxed start on the swim and let the mayhem fight it out, once i found clear water i turned my twin turbos on and soon found myself picking off the swimmers one by one, i maintained a good race pace with a good split time.
Into transition 1 and onto the bike for the 92k 3 lap course. The conditions wet and windy, the weather was not much better ha ha. I found myself in a pack that was being monitored by a B.T.F referee on a motor bike as there was a lot of drafting going on (not allowed) i decided to push on and not get involved, i was pleased with my progress and felt good and strong despite head winds and loosing my drinks holder and bottles off the bike.
Coming back into transition my bike split was 3.01.50 some 13 minutes ahead of my coach and Boxfit team mate, now it was on to the half Marathon, a 4 lap semi off road course.
On my 2nd lap i was passed by young Phill, he was like a gazelle on heat and words of encouragement was exchanged.
I was delighted to hold my coach Dave off until the last lap and with 5k to go he passed me. I Finished 3 minutes behind him with an overall time of 5.28.49 At the start i could have only dreamed of a 5.30.00 finish so well chuffed to get what i did.
This was a real hard race as the name suggests but it was made easier with the support from the likes of Ady Wadsworth, the Boxfit possie, Niki Holland and the hundreds of supporters that lined the route.
The boys Pete Bird, Ricky Jennings, and Stephen Warne all finished and with respectable times, well done lads.
Phil Holland and his relay team not only came 1st but over half an hour ahead of the nearest rival. (nice one son)
Mark Booth the Event organiser from Big Cow Events yet again staged an excellent event which attracted competitors from across the country.
So its head down for me and some hard training before next months big one The London Triathlon.
Ampthill Gala Day – Sunday, 6th July
On a drizzly and wet day in July we battled against the elements and the ice cream vendors, put up our gazebo and marked out our territory for the greatest test of athletic ability Ampthill has ever seen.
It was great to see that the local community were not dispirited by the torrential rain and a procession of children, adults, dalmations, pirates, bands and various other creatures came straight by us at approx 1pm giving us maximum exposure and very good publicity for the club.
A bleep test was set up over a 20 metre track whereby the participant does shuttle runs from one end to the next whilst aiming to meet the turning point within the beeps. A total of 20 levels were available and boys and girls of all ages gave their best to compete in their category, despite the poor weather conditions we had 35 entrants (even one in wellies) all receiving encouragement, a sense of achievement, free Gatorade and sweets of their choice.
The overall winners which each received a £5.00 kick off voucher were as follows;
Joshia Herbert Male aged 13 Level 8, Ethan Clarke Male aged 9 Level 8, Ernie Mayne Senior Male Level 7 & Clare Wilkie Female aged 11 Level 5
Great thanks goes to: Paul Lydon (chief megaphone operator, singer, bleeper, stall erector etc; etc;), Robbie Craig (chief track tester, checker, motivator, stall erector etc; etc;), Martin Beare (logistics and warehouse manager), Steve Hartley (for buying the beers as well as other very important duties), Helen & Jim Dodds (IT support, refreshment relief and disassembling the stand), Stuart & Julie Brown (for lending of vital equipment) & George Arbuckle (refreshments)
I hope I haven’t missed anyone and huge heartfelt thanks guys for contributing to an overall successful day which will hopefully raise awareness of the club in the community, encourage activity within the youth of today and maybe even help create the next Paula Radcliffe of Ampthill & Flitwick.
Happy 20th Anniversary to Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers, be sure not to miss the final events of the year;
|Club BBQ, Redbourne Upper School, 15th July 2008||Proms in the Park, Russell Park, Bedford 2nd August 2008||Quiz night, Flitwick Cricket Club 10th October 2008|
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 3 July
A dry, warm evening which should bring out some quick times. There¹s rain in the air and some breeze. Consistency here but would to get a bit faster, maybe next week? Stuart bags another PB - obviously on a roll!
Steve James 26.45
Rick & Karen Hollingsworth 28.03
Johnathan Roots 29.29
Stuart Brown 29.30 (PB)
A new arrival ...They come like buses
My best result of the year: Ruth and I had a beautiful baby daughter in the early hours of yesterday morning (6th). 8ld 6oz. Both are very well. Name TBC.
Cheers, Rich Pillinger
Amy, Nobby & Christian Farr are pleased to welcome Lily May who was born at Bedford hospital on 1 July at 00:04. Lily weighs in at 7lb - all are doing well.
Congratulations from us all!
Humber Half Marathon - Sunday 29th June
Although disappointingly missing out on the Greensands Relay through visiting friends in Hull, a form of salvation appeared in the shape of the Humber Half marathon. A reasonably large field of just under 1500 runners - including lots of fancy dressers and a group [or is it platoon or something?] of Army Cadets who route-marched around in full gear and packs - set out on an unexpectedly bright and sunny morning across the Humber Bridge, a circuit around Barton and back across the bridge to the finish. The views from the bridge were quite amazing and as it's around 2.25k across you get plenty to opportunity to have a look around before being brought back to reality by the first climb up into Barton. Encouraging crowds and Marshals were in plentiful supply as we swept downhill again through the town and underneath the bridge and then into an extremely long climb back up at 9 miles to access the main road and over the Humber again. I guess the weather made this as it would have been unpleasant going across the bridge in any kind of wind/rain, but this was an excellent race experience, Helen even said that she and our friends enjoyed watching it too!!
Jim Dodds 1.40.09
Greensand Ridge Relay - Saturday, 28 June
The main problem with a group of fogies is that memory gets to be a bit of a problem as the years move on. So Andy forgot that it was a bad idea to do a last recce of his part of the route in the gloom and rain on Thursday and turned his ankle (oops, sorry – Andy) . We now had no runner for the 8-mile leg of the relay and no time for anyone else to learn the route. Lots of frantic calling round on Friday and we ended up with two options – Robbie would run a leg for Dave’s team and then switch teams and run the third leg for us otherwise we’d shuffle our pack and Mike Petty would switch from the shortest (leg 2) to the longest (leg 3) and Keith Morgan would run leg 1 as planned and then carry on and run leg 2 as well. I just couldn’t quite feel sure that Robbie would be in the right place at the right time, so decided to take up Keith’s offer as a more straightforward option. Unfortunately he had also forgotten that running the Luton 5-miler the night before was going to leave him pretty knackered on Saturday.
So, all a bit fraught – and we hadn’t even started the race yet!
Keith was always going to struggle with over nine miles to complete after a 5-miler the night before. However, he hit his main objective – he finished the first leg in front of Ady. A fair bit of pre-race needle had gone into that competition. It seems that some duff navigation cost Ady that particular battle (I’m going to gloss over the details of relative pace and so on and Keith can have his moment of glory). Keith was pretty much running on empty for the next leg, so by the time he handed over to Mike Petty the team were a good way off the handicap times but fair play to Keith, he kept the team in the event with his efforts. Despite not running the route apart from on Saturday morning runs Mike did a sterling job to keep on track and pull a minute back on the time. Jeremy Lewis took the leg that runs through Ampthill and got a bit lost, in Ampthill Park! He wasn’t feeling great and didn’t do as well as he’d hoped for (just one of those days when it doesn’t ‘click’) so on to Phil Clarke for leg 5. Phil was mistakenly told that Jeremy Lewis has overtaken some other flyers and should have been at the changeover point already, but it was just a case of accumulating time behind schedule. It was tempting to assume some calamity and just set off, fortunately he didn’t get too frustrated and waited until Jeremy showed up and then he was off. He pulled back a couple of minutes over his handicap time. Meanwhile at the last changeover point I was getting wound up by all and sundry and struggling to see the funny side. However, once I was off the tension went and I managed a moral-boosting overtake of another team as well as the 3 Flyers solo lads on the way to the finish. A beer and a burger were very welcome at the pub next to the finish.
This was my first time doing this event and I’d really recommend it. If you haven’t tried it then get a group together for next year and give it a go.
As predicted, GRW lived up to expectations. Great atmosphere, nice weather, good organisation and a nice beer/bar-b-cue at the end.
Richard Jones, George Arbuckle and myself decided to have a go at the whole distance with one other madman - I mean dedicated ultra runner - also doing so. We knew at the start our rival was game for a race as he asked us if we had trained for it and what were our marathon times! We told him we hadnt and didn't know it was a little under 34 miles or so, just to annoy him. As he sped off at 7 min miling, he fell into our trap. We had decided to let him win before we had even started and thought he could feel the pain and we would enjoy it! I did for the first 27 miles or so. It was a little strange setting off at the start with the 7 or so spectators cheering on our rival, whom we kept pace with for about 10 or 12 metres.
The first leg takes you out of Leighton Buzzard along the canal and up into Stockgrove Park and leg two into Woburn, near to Tom Pearsall place. Its hard to get lost on those legs, although our esteemed chairman did his best! Perhaps the section should be named Wadsworth's woe next year? Mike Petty was there early on looking to steal a march on his rivals.
We were well shaded for a long way through the woods and thanks to the sterling efforts of Just Jones, had water stops all along the way
- along with rice pudding (twice), peaches(once) bananas(lost count) and mars bars(ditto). We knew we would be caught, which we were for the first time at the handover at the end of leg three. Still, nice to see Dave Olney (and another much prettier Flyer whose name I dont
know- sorry Dave ) at that point with welcome words of encouragement and subsequently all the other flyers at the other handovers. That was the longest leg and it was good to do it early on. The fourth leg took us through the familiar territory of Ampthill Park, across to Maulden Woods and up to Deadmans Hill. There were quite a few people at that point, including a worried Phil Clarke who thought he might not be able to catch us. He didn't! The smell of the bacon butties form the fast food wagon almost made me stop.Up through Clophill and past Pillinger corner - the only place where it really is impossible to get lost (eh Richard) - took you across an open field to the last handover point and then homeward bound for Northill. Saw Sedgers on the way, in the distance with a cup of water. When we got there, he wouldn't give us any and said he was saving it for someone who was making an effort!! The last leg was for me quite hard, with Just Jones and Greensands George doing their best to take my mind off things. Lads, at 32 miles I aint going to talk to Oprah Winfrey, let alone you two.
And the finish. Boy was it good to get there. Bit surprised to beat two teams, which was an unexpected bonus. Star flyer of the day?
Robbie Craig, who walked around from the pub with a tray of beer and crisps, which meant I didn't have to move more than 10 feet from the end for at least twenty mins. When we did, the crowd outside the pub was jovial and good natured. Very nice touch for Robbie to organise medals for the Flyers at the end, although personally I think my blister deserved one all of its own.
This really is a good, fun relay event that attracts all abilities.
The Flyers had by far the biggest presence and I hope next year there are even more. It certainly helped us to see so many friendly faces and the mickey taking is all part of the fun. Only another 12 months to go Ady. As for times, the 3 Amigos did it in 6 hours 14 mins. We would have been half hour quicker, if it wasn't for the three course meal stops. Next stop, London to Brighton in October. Only 56 miles ......... Oh dear , got to go. Need to start training for that one right away!!
Pablo the Taff Owen
Extract from Luton AC Report 28th June
Middle Distance athlete Tim Harris had a busy afternoon. He began with a runaway victory in his main event, the 800m, in 1m 56.8s. Tim then ran a Personal Best 51.2s in the 400m, and filled in the B string 200m, finishing 3rd in 24.5s. He showed his versatility in running a leg in the 4 x 100m and had the fastest leg of the 4 x 400m relay.
Peter Benedickter junior returned to competition following sickness to get 2nd place in the B string 1500m, with 4m 21.0s. Peter will be running 3000m the English Schools Championships at Gateshead on the 11th and 12th of July. Dad Peter ran a Seasons Best 59.3s in the 400m Hurdles. Peter senior then ran the final leg of the 4 x 400m relay, despite an ongoing injury to his leg, which restricts his training. The Benedickter family have struggled all week, suffering from the E-Coli outbreak, recently given a lot of media coverage.
Gerry Gough Acting Southern Men's League Manager. 29/06/2008
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 26 June
A wonderful day until we arrive at the club house, when a faint drizzle appears - great start!
Not helped by finding a puncture when taking the bike out of the garage!
Also found a piece of sharp stone embedded in the front tyre which left a rather large hole when taken out - new tyres needed!
By 7.17 (our start time) the drizzle had moved onto a spotty type of rain driven by the ever increasing wind! This wasn¹t going to be a good night.
However Karen was obviously feeling keen after walking her leg of the Greensands Ridge (and beyond) and my legs were positively eager after a 85 mile bike ride the day before which seemed to consist of battling into a headwind most of the time!
Anyway we had a good start and rode the first half quite quick and then getting the benefit of the wind as we turned west. Coming off the last hill the rain decided to really pick up just as we came across several other racers. We overtook 16 (our minute man) then 15 and 7 and 5! We were flying and looking good for a pb, however we were brought down to earth when number
23 came past (he started 6 minutes behind us and we still had two or three miles to go!
We made the best time we could as we turned into the head wind at Cople and finished just 3 seconds down - a good ride for the conditions though.
Thoroughly thrashed by the winner coming in 7 minutes ahead!
Rick & Karen Hollingsworth - 32.06
Johnathon Roots - 33.22
Stuart Brown - 33.39
AXLR8 - Wellington College Triathlon - Sunday, 22 June
After 5 years away form the Triathlon scene 10kg heavier and now a vet I joined the Flyers. I have been participating in the sessions since Easter and found the improvement in my fitness very encouraging. I am still carrying too many kilos but have gone from staggering around the Flitwick 10k in just under 43 minutes to winning my first Triathlon in the Vet Category and coming 5th overall.
I was also fortunate enough to be in the winning team for the Relay event at the weekend – a really enjoyable event. A big thanks to the club for the organised sessions and getting me motivated again.
Sprint Triathlon 3, Emberton Sprint Distance (6-Jul) - 750m / 20km / 5km 1:14:02
The DAMBUSTER Triathlon, Rutland Water - Saturday, 21st June
The Dambuster Triathlon is commonly regarded as one of the best but one of the toughest Triathlons in the calender with a hilly and technical bike course to nagotiate, and also famous for its "Rutland Ripple" a set of 3 hills.
The Dambuster Triathlon is set to the backdrop of Britain,s largest man made lake and the beauty and tranquility of the Rutland countryside, This tough event sees the race cut a swathe through the serenity of Rutland.
Base camp, race HQ, transition 1&2 and race start and finsh focussed around Anglian Waters Whitwell site.
Myself my coach and 1 other member of my Tri club decided to go up the day before the race due to the location and the 5.00 am Transition set up on race day, thus meaning not being able to do the job of lead bike on the AFF Marston Vale 5K (thanks Ricky Jennings for doing the job for me)
At 7.00 am 4 sepatate wave starts formed, making 500 competitors in total.
The race kicked off with a 1,500 meter lake swim with markers and marshalls in boats leading the way towards the Dam on an out and back course.
I paced my self well on the swim and tried to hold back and save some for the bike and run to come. i was pleased with my slit swim time of 28.38 chip timed, then running to transition 1 while taking off a wet suite (not easy) also trying to identify your bike amongst 500 other bikes (not easy) then on with bike shoes, numberbelt, helmet and glasses (timed) exit transition and on to the 42k bike course,
I was so angry and frustrated to find that my tinkering with my gear set the night before had not done me any favours (the old adage if ant broke dont fix it, ringing in my eares) my chain came of 3 times in the early stages and wipped away my good start. I pushed hard in the driving heavy rain and was pleased with the remainder of the bike. 1.22.37
Leaving the bike back at T2 it was then on to the 10k run which i was looking forward to as my aim was to pick up some places, but as i soon found out my lower back went into spasm which lasted the whole 10k, i was forced to stop 6 times in agony, but i made it to the finish with a run split of 44.58
Dispite my problems i enjoyed the event and as ever the organisers (Pace Setter Events) did a brill job in staging this famous UK ranking race, and the hundreds of spectators made for a great atmosphere.
As ever my coach acquitted himself well and made it look like a walk in the park and i suppose it was after his recent ironman in Lanzarote, My other team mate paul did very well, not only was it his fist olympic distance but it was his fist ever triathlon.
We will all return next year eger to improve our times and close sporting rivalry.
Martin Beare: 1,500 Open swim 28.38, 24k Bike 1.22.37, 10K Run 44.58, Total chip time including transitions 2.38.50
Marston Forest 5K - Friday, 20 June
As the Deputy, Assistant, Executive, DogsB to our exalted Race Director Ms Val von Arx, it was both an illuminating and rewarding experience to be at the centre of arrangements for this year’s Marston Forest 5k. Like many a Flyer I have been involved in many races both as a competitor, and as a helper so to be at the ‘centre’ of arrangements was quite an experience.
The most rewarding element of the whole process was the way in which so many Flyers gave so willingly of their time, their knowledge and their experience which resulted in this years Marston 5k being I am advised the most successful yet.
With the race entries closed a couple of days before the event, it was good to know so many people had viewed this race as being one worth running in, especially as the tracks and the paths (well most of them) around Marston had been radically improved since last year. As a result course records being set in both the Mens and Ladies races was testimony to the great nature of the course itself and the preparation that went into making it so.
Val and her team are to be complimented in the professional way the race was conducted. I received several plaudits from competitors post race to say what a great evening it had been.
So where should such plaudits be directed? First and foremost to Val especially as this was her first bash at being Race Director. The Chief Marshal Ann de Winter superbly marshalled her respective teams including the Start team under the direction of Chris Jennart, the Finish Team ably marshalled by Tony Cole, Race Secretary Rebecca Fleckney, Race HQ Director Robbie Craig, and not forgetting Gandalf himself Mr Phil Bierton who worked his usual magic in producing the results, and earlier in the week measuring out the course (a special note of commendation to Alex Maldar the results runner, who by the end of the evening looked as if he had run the race five times).
Of course none of this would have been possible without the efforts expended in constructing the course. On a day when rain seemed to be an ever present possibility the combined resources and physical effort supplied by many people went a long way to making this such a successful event This ranged from Mr Stuart Brown and the loan of his Magic Van, (I can feel a new career as a White Van Man approaching), the tools and storage facilities he also provided, Club Chairman Mr Stephen Hartley and former Dear Leader Mr Ady Wadsworth (who has now made it up with Chief Ranger Alexis), Gandalf Bierton, Mr Sedgley and Nicki Cronin who with club hammer, big boy strimmer and reams of blue, red/white tape and poles made the course the magical place it became. For Val and I who looked, listened and learned it was a formative experience.
A special vote of thanks must go to the Marston Forest authorities for their very kind permission in allowing us to stage this event on such a magnificent site. We must pay special regard our new best friend Alexis Pym the Marston Forest Chief Ranger, who healthily and safely co-ordinated the car parking, catering and much of the signage used during the event.
So from the time that Val and I first arrived at the site at 1000 on the day of the race to the time we left at 2200 (after the best bottle of Magners I have ever tasted), the whole day was an illuminating, and rewarding experience.
Well done Flyers. You did us proud.
Well what a race, I had been training on this course for weeks and each time I was running at 21mins (which was last years time), no matter what I did, I could not get under 21mins, my aim was to get under 20 mins on the day, which at the time, was not looking good. I kept telling myself this is a 5k run not 10K.
The day itself, the weather was great, arrived nice and early and met up with one of the coaches, I mentioned that I was there early to warm up and he basically gave me clear instructions on what to do. I went along to one of the pathways and warmed up for around 30 mins, maybe more. I got to the start point and for the first time, no nerves and no adrenaline, that was not good, that's what usually makes me go like the clappers.
As soon as I heard "3, 2, 1", the adrenaline suddenly "kicked in" and found myself literally launched in the air, I got a great start, had to really push it at the beginning. I hit the first Km at 3.50min and knew if I continued I could do it, easier said than done though!
I kept up with the speed and realised I was doing really well, and then it happened, I hit 3km and felt rubbish, my legs were tired and I was slowing up. After a bit of positive thought (get your butt in gear!) I just gave it everything I had. I got to 4km and realised that I was about to shock myself by knowing that staying at this speed, I was going to hit the 19mins marker. The final few hundred metres I could see the clock and knew amazingly I had achieved my goal. I was evening more pleased to hear the coaches cheering everyone on at the finish.
Once again, I finished a race "high as a kite", shocked that I had done my aim, and also, so very, very pleased with myself
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 19 June
The event through the words of Max O'Driscoll:
Evening receivers of wisdom, expiaters of guilt and other less principled immoral standard bearers. I bring...well...something, results probably.
Bloody windy, fractionally unhelpful on the way out and almost neutral on way back, railway bridge to Bunny Lane, diabolical. Temperature up on last week which was pleasant but the gusting slapped any chance of really good times for the skinny types amongst us.
The fast boys went fast, the up and comings shaved a few more seconds off their pbs. The rest of us just about did what we usually did. Enough. I smell therefore I reek, hence bathwards is my preferred destination plus some warm water for a change.
That's it for tonight... until we meet again for another gripping chapter of failure nailed I bid you adieu. Max, leaving building and often found hunting down wild Ginger Beer in the forests of Tesco.
Steve James 26.04 (PB)
Rick & Karen Hollingsworth 28.24
Johnathan Roots 29.13
Stuart Brown 29.33 (PB)
Kirton 5 Mile (Suffolk) - Friday, 13 June
Did this on the last day of our hols in Suffolk (keen eh?). It was very pretty, very flat, apart from 1 hill (as you would expect in Suffolk) and very pleasant. I didn't go all out as I reasoned I was on holiday so had a right to be nice to myself but still got a good time (for me) - 42.45 which is a P.B. I think. [I have you down for 41:52 at Cranfield in 2006 PhilB]
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 12 June
Another night of fast pedaling!
Five flyers took to the roads of North Bedfordshire on a slightly windy, slightly cool evening. Julie Brown was first flyer away at number 5 on her first try, followed by Steve, Stuart and Karen & I on the tandem. Paula James and four of our children giving support around the course and at the finish.
Karen & I were last after I had pushed everyone off (as in up the road as opposed to into the hedge!) whilst Karen was taking finish numbers.
Steve set a new pb after complaining of not feeling too good! Surprisingly Karen and I were only 11 seconds off a pb, I say surprisingly as Karen had only had an operation two weeks ago and was only hanging on with one arm with the handlebars upside down. She did say she was pedaling fast to get it over with quicker (I think she runs that way too!).
Steve James 29.23
Karen & Rick 32.14
Stuart Brown 33.32
Julie Brown 42.21
Bedford Sprint Triathlon race 2 - Sunday 8th June
400m swim, 24km bike, 5km run
swim 00.07.00 3rd in cat
Bike 00.45.48 5th in cat
Run 00.20.30 3rd in cat
Total time 1.13.26 37th overall
Total time 1.33.32 138th overall
This local sprint triathlon was race 2 of a 3 race series staged by Galeforce events, the day started with great sunshine from dawn and i arrived at 6.00am in good time to have the pick of the bunch in transition, my aim was to use the race as a training session so did not put much pressure on myself,
It was good to see young Ampthill & Flitwick Flyer Leigh Pilgrim have ago at his first triathlon which he has wanted to do for some time.
I was hoping for an uninterrupted trouble free race as one does, The swim was average followed by a slick transition then heading out of bedford the only set of traffic lights turnrd red with a B,T,A referee viewing, (going through a red is instant disqualification) i must have lost 2 mims in total including stopping and getting back up to race speed. at this point i shouted some loud words and it was not oh dam then realised that those words alone could have got me disqualified. I tried to make up time but it was always going to hurt my result.
However i came in 37th overall and 3rd in class so must not grumble. I was so pleased for young flyer leigh who completed his first triathlon in 138th overall and with a massive smile which was worth the visit itself well done mate. there was a 3rd flyer stephen something but had trouble identifying his result.
The James family played there part in the day too as steve, paula and even the kids where marshalling and shouting words of encouragement as we did the 3 lap 5k run around bedford park.
All done and dusted and sun bathing in the garden at 11.00 am, good job done.
After a number of "do I don’t I" I decided that this is what I have been training for, for the last 3/4 years. I had everything planned to the last detail, even had a foot pump for my tires incase they deflated!
The actual race itself was to me the highlight of my athletics career, ever since I started swimming, then seeing Tim Don race in the London triathlon, "That’s what I want to do". At that point, I couldn’t run or bike, I was only good at the swim section, great start!! However after a lot of help from my Dad (got a dodgy bike), then got into running, I found myself getting closer to that goal.
The day itself, well after thinking of all the things that could have gone wrong, it all went as clockwork, the swim part was outstanding and the bike was funny, after 3km I was out of breath and loads of people overtaking! But I did not care, for me I just wanted to complete the race.
I kept going and eventually made it back to the pool, got to the transition area, quick change, then onto the 5km run, I felt brilliant, I just basically jogged it round (Don’t tell the boss!)
I looked at my watch for the final time to see an excellent running time!
Thoroughly enjoyable, recommend it to anyone interested in triathlons..........if I can do it, anyone can!!
I would like to thank Martin Beare (who raced as well!) and also Steve James for their support
Mont Ventoux - Saturday, 7 June
This was to be another challenge that Karen & I were to attempt on our tandem. Life unfortunately through itself in the way and Karen wasn¹t able to join me. So with hotels, channel crossings and event booked just Stuart and I flew the flag.
Mont Ventoux is a large mountain that juts out from the Alps into Provence. It is big - 1912 meters tall. We arrived the day before and drove up. This was to get a feel for the gradient, get some idea of landmarks and to note the 15 degree temperature drop (5 degrees at the summit) and that the last four miles was inside a cloud with visibility down to twenty feet!
So nervously we lined up on Saturday 7th June in the market square at Beaumes de Venise with a lot of very confident looking French riders and the odd splattering of English. Three different distances where on offer and we had gone for the middle one - 102 kilometers.
The initial ride of 17k and a climb of 190 meters found us at Bedoin, the official start of the climb, a 21.4 kilometer climb of 1609 meters. In other words mostly bottom gear for the next two and a bit hours!
A wonderful climb, very tough and very surreal once we hit the cloud. The biggest problem was yet to come! The descent - a half marathon down hill! We were so cold on the descent, partly the temperature, partly being wet inside the clouds, partly not generating any heat as we descended and also a 90k wind!!
Several cyclists had stopped and were running up and down to warm themselves! We both suffered from shivering so bad that the bikes started wobbling. Fingers so cold that they became numb and braking was very difficult.
Once down we still had another 40k to go to the finish over some fairly lumpy terrain followed by a 10k downhill sweeping finish - guaranteed a smiling finish!
Excellent, excellent organisation. Chipped timed, motorbike outriders, ambulances, very well marshaled, traffic stopped at junctions, excellent feed stops, goody bag including bottle of wine, three course pasta meal and wine at finish - cost 32 Euro¹s!
A truly memorable event and one that WILL be repeated on the tandem.
Stuart (Gold Standard) - 5 hours 14 minutes
Rick (Silver Standard) - 5 hours 21 minutes (must let go of the brakes!)
Dorney Dash 10K - Saturday, 7 June
Conditions were pretty good for this circuit around the 2012 Olympic rowing lake near Windsor. Bright sunshine combined with a light breeze and a virtually flat course greeted the 880 runners for the 25th running of the "Dash".
Despite the breeze the leaders set quite a fast early pace and I quickly lost sight of Richard Wilson who was looking to improve his pb [yet again]. The first circuit of the lake was reasonably uneventful but things became slightly tougher on lap 2 going back into the breeze. When I got to 6.5k I was able to see how the leaders were doing - they were coming back the other way at 8.5k, the winner managing a fantastic time of 31.55. Didn't see Richard again until the end, but needless to say he'd produced another great performance to knock around 30 seconds of his previous best. I came in a little bit later....... I noticed from the results that Jason Goodman [Bedford Harriers], who I believe runs with AFF on Tuesday/Thursday came in just behind Richard.
Teide Challenge ...
This is just a quick note to inform you all that I was able to successfully complete the first challenge of three. The 50 kilometre cycle ride from the costal area of Puerto Santiago to the cable car at 2200 metres located in the crater of mount Teide (the highest point in Spain navigable by road) took just over 4 hours. Conditions were favourable and cool for the first 2 hours, after punching through the cloud line at 1000 metres the sun soon began blistering down but did not hindered the successful completion of the challenge.
Thanks to Mike Broadwith my companion for the entire assent and his patience – as a an extremely strong cyclist the temptation to fly on ahead must have been enormous - and to my good friend and former colleague Sean Coffey who demonstrated real determination to complete the 3 hour section from Chio to the summit on the back of very limited training. Thanks to my parents that provided the support vehicle, video footage and most importantly encouragement. And finally thanks to all those that have collaborated with this event and a reminder that this is just one of three.
We are still looking to increase the number of sponsors so please encourage any contacts that you may have to become involved. I have attached a fund raising update for perusal and link to our website www.watfordgrammarschoolforgirls.org.uk.
Whipsnade 10K - Sunday, 1 June
The Club Championships and an excellent turn out of Club Runners (but where was the Beare!). This 3 lap course around the grounds of Whipsnade Zoo, I felt was a good choice. A reasonably fast course and excellent for spectators with the added bonus of being able to stay in the zoo afterwards. It's strange, but when your concentrating on your running you don't seem to notice the animals/birds in the zoo - although I do remember some squawking flamingos around the 4K point!
My first 2K was slightly quicker than I anticipated (8.15) but I felt reasonably good at that stage. Through 3K (12.34) and I passed Jeremy Bell only for him to re-pass me within the next K. Through 5K in 21.19 and a sub 43 was surely on the cards. However, the climb back up to start the final lap saw the brain willing but the legs feeling their age and I slowed! My K splits were suddenly against me but I did manage to pass Jeremy again with 1500m to go and finished in a tired 43.36 - just 4 seconds slower than Flitwick.
Well done to Dunstable Road Runners for a well organised event.
First report here for me so I will try and keep it short so you don't fall asleep!
Great race, the weather was perfect and the course itself is excellent, no hills and a lot of downhill slopes!
As this was not chip timing, I made the decision to go near the front (after a bit of advice) to enable a good start. This paid off straight away as I started the race as soon as the clock started rather than losing 20 or more seconds being at back of the queue.
I was going really well, although unsure of my first lap time (so busy concentrating I forgot to look!) I felt good and knew I was in good form. However this was not going to continue. For the first time ever during a race, my shoe laces became undone. I had no choice but to stop and sort them out, this cost me around 10 secs maybe more. I carried on and picked up the pace again. On the last lap, although the usual pain started to kick in I still managed to keep to a reasonable pace, however when I saw the "400m to go" sign, my energy levels boosted and I went for it.
When I crossed the line, I looked at my watch and realised I was seven seconds away from getting a new PB. If I did not have the earlier stop, I would have done it, but that's what its all about and as they say, there’s always a next time!.
I still got a fantastic time which I’m really pleased with.
Any complaints? No free t-shirt!!
TRI FEST 1000 Metre Open Swim - Saturday 31 May.
Tri Fest 08 is a series of races organised and run by Big Cow Events and spread over 2 days, races include an Aquathlon, Open water swim, 10K run and a sprint Triathlon.
A few day prior i decided to do the 1000 meter lake swim as part of my training schedule and to familiarise myself with the lake as I am to do a half ironman race there is several weeks time.
I started the day at 7.00am with my normal 3000 metre training swim with my tri club and was joined by Darren Farr for the 2nd time that week, Darren was also to join me later that afternoon for the race at Emberton Country park. Darren had also brought along the very very pregnant wife Amy and we joked about her waters breaking as she watched us race.
All age groupers and genders were to start off the same gun time, these start can be difficult as everyone is fighting for space and clear water and arms and legs can fly and its not uncommon for people to swim over the top of you, its always a good idea to sprint of the start to get clear water and miss the mayhem before the race settles down or to hold back, i decided to to crack on from the off but still found myself fighting for space, i can assure you there was no (no after you sir) it was more like (take that) it was hard to get into any rhythm in the early stages as we headed for the 1st boy on the course.
As i turned the boy it had thinned out a bit and i was a lot more happy and could get my teeth into the race and turn the twin turbos on, before i knew it i had turned the 5th and last boy and the exit ramp was in sight which we had to climb up and a short run to the finish gantry and our chip time displayed, to be honest i would have preferred a longer race as i was just getting into the race when it was over.
As well as darren there were 5 members of my tri club Boxfit taking part all of which did well.
Our Darren had a cracker and beat last years time. Full results on Big cow events.
Edinburgh Marathon - Sunday, 25 May
A typical windy day on the east coast of Scotland, although the overall temperature was pretty much ideal. The winner described it as an 8 mile race with an 18 mile run-in. The wind was pretty much a cross / head wind as we ran between miles 4 and 18 which made it challenging but unquestionably helped us on the way back.
It was a very scenic course, although it was more like the East Lothian Marathon rather than Edinburgh as most of it was run along the coast at Portobello, Musselburgh and Prestonpans – where Richard’s stride seem to lengthen as we passed through – something to do with a famous Scottish victory in 1745? (yes, yes, the last one, I know….)
A very well done to all for some very good times – to Coach Jones for pacing me round the course and being able to run sub 3:20 in relative comfort, 6 weeks after his 3:10 at London. To Phil for a sub 3:40 in his first marathon and to Robbie for a very good PB – where his first 10K would have broken his 10K PB!
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 22 May
More of Max: Evening rabid stats lovers, number swallower's and those of Garmin inserted persuasion. I bring forth digits, placings and times for your sadly alienated lives on this wretched planet. Enjoy in a dark little corner but don't complain to me when your friend is ahead in the rankings.
Another reasonbable evenings entertainment, a light breeze against leading up to Hillfoot and helping most definitely on the way back. Cool but not cold. Some exceptional times again and a lot of pbs.
Interesting that the quicks were a little slower than week 1 (couple of notable exceptions) whereas the slugs in general knocked chunks off their 1st time outings. Perhaps mollusc is the way to go.
Steve James - 26.32
Karen & Rick Hollingsworth (tandem) - 27.52
Johnathan Roots - 29.14
Stuart Brown - 29.43
Bedford 6 - Wednesday, 21 May
It was a nice evening for the Bedford 6, although feeling sluggish after sitting in a course all day. A short walk to the start in Mowesbury Park, the runners all looking very fast. Well it was the Grand Prix series! Only saw one other flyer Karen Roberts. We all set off at 7.45 to run past Mark Rutherford school, where the headquarters was. All was going fine till I got to about 3 miles, when there was a big hill that seemed never ending! Although on the downhill i did manage to pick up a bit of speed. On the last stretch around the park, I went off course, (maybe the story of my life!) not seeing any marshalls or markers, so lost a bit of time, I could have done without. Eventually called back on the course, also the finish was not very clear, and slowed down too soon.
Wheathampstead 10K - Sunday, 18 May
Another attempt at regaining some post-marathon form found me lining up on a very pleasant morning with 702 strangers - including a guy pushing his child in a buggy who was anticipating a sub 45 minute time - on a revised, and surprisingly almost completely dry, off-road 10k course in rural Hertfordshire. The very scenic route partly uses a disused railway track, but there were quite a few inclines, steps and gates thrown in and plenty of walkers, horses and cyclists coming the other way ensuring that runners couldn't admire the scenery too much. This event is charity based so attracted a lot of unattached entrants and is very well organised with encouraging marshalling and quite a large crowd at the end. Didn't see any other Flyers - even Martin Beare was absent!! Beat the bloke with the buggy though!!!
Jim Dodds 43.35
The Archer - Sunday, 18 May
Another Sunday, another event. This week a 75m (my computer said 78miles) or 105 mile ride up and down the Chilterns starting near Amersham. This event is based on a professional race that usually takes place over much of the same terrain.
Just Stuart and I this week and I needed to get back so elected for the shorter route. Some hairy descents down some very minor roads, not helped by a stiff breeze. A small event made smaller by two route options. A good day out and personally well pleased, my best time on a bike for years!
Short route - Rick. 5.07. (Fastest 04.47, slowest 06.46)
Long route - Stuart. 6.32. (Fastest 05.11, slowest 08.37)
Moon Walk – 26.2 miles - Saturday/Sunday 17/18 May
After enjoying myself rather too much at the club anniversary ball on the Friday night, I was collected by my walking partners (Stephen and Jackie Mullens) at 6:30pm on the Saturday for the Moon Walk in London. We arrived at Hyde Park at around 8:15pm for a 11:30pm start – rather keen you may think, but that was stipulated in the instructions. The evening was very cold and later on it started to drizzle – not ideal conditions for walking in a bra (even a furry one is not that warm)! There were somewhere between 15,000 and 17,000 people taking part in this event and we started in 4 groups at staggered intervals of 10 minutes – rather crowded. At about 3 miles there was a bottle neck getting out of Hyde Park with a Pedestrian crossing where we had to wait for the second change of lights to get across and throughout the route there were many road crossings where we had to wait for the lights. The route was good – up one side of the river and then back on the other side with some good views including the Tower of London, London Bridge (which we crossed) and the London Eye – although the wind was brisk off the river! At around 8 miles I had an altercation with a metal bollard – I didn’t see it as we were so tightly packed together – the knee has a colourful bruise, but otherwise no damage fortunately. We managed to lose the crowds after about half way when the half mooners (13 miles) went to their finish and the going was much better. The support from passers by (on foot and in cars), supporters and crowds spilling out of nightclubs was fantastic – it has to be said that Stephen got lots of attention from a variety of passers by (mainly men).
Overall we were very pleased to finish within our target time of 6 ½ hours – we beat it by all of 2 mins 30 seconds!
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 15 May
Here is the evenings proceedings through the eyes of Max (a Bedford Tractor)
Evening miscreants, miserables and missing inaction (intentionally no space you dibble brained walloon). Another (well the second at least) evening of joy and delight on the uneven, cold, damp, raining, breezy roads of North Bedfordshire. An appreciably good turnout of 60 (go on quibble, 59 you pedant peasant) and some highly unremarkable times almost all the way through the field. Already in the cumulatives times I can see a few battles raging between incestuous groups of overwhelming underachievers. Keep up the shoddy work. If I was impressionable I'd be impressed, as it is I'm just fairly flat, tired and a little dull witted so bed (late again). Hmm, think a large bowl of porridge before kippage. Yup that's a plan (ish).
Steve James 30.01
Rick & Karen Hollingsworth (tandem) 32.03
Stuart Brown 32.31
Jonathon Roots 35.42
Quickest 26.28, slowest 45.04
Grant & Stone Marlow - Sunday, 11 May
With temperatures soaring up in the mid 20's, even with an early 9:30am start, an amazingly large field of 1,599 runners lined up at a very narrow start for the thankfully almost completely flat 5 mile jaunt around the streets of Marlow. Organisation was pretty good with most of the roads closed to traffic, making it a bit easier to dodge everyone else, and there was very good support from the local's - especially the ones with hoses nearer the end!!! The one water station at 2.5 miles was unfortunately completely overloaded, with a big queue forming when the bulk of the runners came round, but otherwise it was a slick event with a good medal, T-shirt and goodie bag at the end. I think most people were just glad to get around given the conditions [I know I was].
Beds AAA T&F Champs - Sunday, 11 May
A cor blimey hot day saw the fearless ones amongst us attempt the delights of the county track and field champs at Bedford.
Tim Harris, Chairman Steve and Ady represented the club on a day when hot weather wasn't particularly welcome. Steve kicked off with a 3000m jaunt, missing his target by about 20 seconds, undoubtedly a reflection of the heat but nevertheless managed to bag a silver medal.
Whilst Steve was basking in the glory Ady had opted to partake of the triple jump, having spent some 24 years preparing for this day. Early concerns about not actually reaching the sandpit were very quickly dispelled as the opening jump crept in to the sand by some 8 inches. Job done, no more jumps as the opposition was somewhat absent and hence the victory was secured, albeit a touch hollow.
A similar format prevailed for the long jump, second victory of the day for the veteran.
Tim's efforts in the 800m were somewhat old fashioned as he actually had some competition, little difference that it made. He comfortably led the race from start to finish and retained the county title he first gained last year (only 1 second outside his PB).
Treating the day as something of a decathlon, Wadsworth then lined up for the 5000m, not relishing the heat that came with a 2.30pm start. Things did not go to plan with a poor time, which, masked by the lack of competition, still resulted in a silver medal.
Tim's turn again and he cranked out a fantastic 400m to give himself a new PB and a silver medal.
Tireless veteran and grand-dad, Ady, rounded off the day by once again donning his spikes to run the 1500m which, as with the 5000m earlier in the day, produced a shocker of a time. Oh well, next year.
The results will shortly be available but suffice to say between the three of us we produced seven medals, gained with differing levels of difficulty.
It was a shame not to see more Flyers as some of the events are there for the taking. A comeback for next year perhaps?
Betty Willett 10K, Stockwood Park, Luton - Sunday, 11 May
Having not run a 10K for a year I thought I’d get some practice before the club champs at Whipsnade, so chose the Betty Willett 10K as a local run. I arrived early at 9:30 for a 10:30 start and it was already very hot down by the start on the athletics track. Plenty of water and sun lotion was the order of the day and then hang around before a warm-up in the shade so as not to overheat too much. The race starts and finishes with a lap of the running track so as usual I set off much too fast and had to rein myself back and calm down as we headed out of the track. The first 5K went well in 21 minutes but for a reason that I can’t exactly find (most likely a combination of starting too fast, lack of endurance and the scorching heat) I just ground to a halt in the next 5K. At 7K I grabbed some water but it went down the wrong way and I had to stop to get my breath back which was frustrating. I had a little bit left to make up a place at the finish after I’d almost been taken out by a wayward football from the centre of the track.
So no other Flyers to measure against, but I’ll be putting in a few extra miles before Whipsnade to get some more endurance and see if I can do better next time.
Jeremy Bell 46:09
Tewkesbury Half Marathon - Sunday, 11 May
Took the opportunity for a lovely motorcycle ride into deepest Gloucestershire, to give no.2 son (Joe Brown) a bit of support on his first half marathon. The course was flat and fast and on this day extremely hot. Joe ran well within himself to record 1hr 41 mins and was placed 208th overall out of a field of approx 1500. Not bad. - Proud dad
Halstead Marathon - Sunday, 11 May
The race literature described this race as undulating through the country lanes of Essex. What it should have said was it was a roller-coaster course that would climb and drop all the way. Quite simply, this was one of the hardest marathons I have run. A mixture of scorching temperatures constantly I suspect around the 29 degree mark and what seemed non stop climbs led to my slowest ever marathon time of 4;17;31, although even that placed me 207th out of 428 finishers with 547 entries. I went through halfway in around 2 hours which was also my slowest ever half and in truth I struggled the rest of the way. However, rather surprisingly I would actually recommend this race. Having run a number of off road and non flat marathons , I know from experience you will add 20 mins plus just due to the terrain. Lose another 15 plus minutes to the heat and you forget about times and you just dig as deep as you can and do it, no matter what the time. At that point, the whole marathon challenge changes and offers something else than a fast flat course could. As long as you know that, you can relax to some degree and be comfortable with a lot slower time.
It was very well marshaled and well supported for a country course. The climbs stared after half a mile and you knew where you stood really within the first 3 miles with 4 separate hills. After around 5 miles you started lap 1 of part of a two lap loop, that allowed friends and family to settle down on the roadside with a nice picnic and wait for you to loop around, although I turned up without any supporters or family. Billy no mates sprang to mind! However on the line a fellow Flyer appeared which was a welcome surprise, although rather surprisingly I didn't know him! Still a club member is always a welcome sight. There were 5 water stations which due to the loop meant 10, with lots of water and a facility for your own drink to be delivered to the station which was a nice touch. A really nice medal, a very friendly atmosphere and overall the beauty of the Essex countryside - even with the hills and valleys - led this to be a painful but rewarding race. It clearly would have been easier without the heat and obviously the race has no control over that.
Would I do it again? No. Am I glad I did it? Yes. Can I run run a lot quicker? Yes. Does it bother me? Err....., no....honest...........
Paul Owen 4.17.31
St Albans 10K - Sunday, 11 May
After my first 10K of the year at Flitwick, I thought I'd give St Albans a go. Slightly more undulating that our 10K, but I did have a decent run their last year. It's a nice rural course but I do wish they could sort out the start - next to the main road on a very narrow path that gets even tighter after 400 yards before leading you out into the country. Sunday was not the day for fast racing and with the sun beating down as I passed through 2K and climbing up towards the Hollybush Pub (yes I was tempted to stay for a pint and join the runners on the way back!), I knew this year it was going to be a struggle!
A nice down hill at 3-4K (4.07 my fastest of the day) was followed by a long slog up past the Rose Gardens to 5K (22.14). Sadly, I couldn't improve on this and a desperate 4.59 at 7K, as we made our way back up the hill to the Hollybush meant I was on course for another PW! The final 3k was tough (4.35 and 4.31) and with two short sharp climbs through the final K (4.25), I finished in 45.15. The final results did reflect the weather had taken its toll on runners and overall I shouldn't be too disappointed finishing 89th and 7th in my age group. The only other Flyer I saw in the results was Patricia Godfrey - 370th in 1.04.00
Raid O'Bivwak - Sat/Sun, 10/11 May
Here is result of Raid O'Bivwak, a two day orinteering event, with ovenight camp, on the Plateau de Retord, in the Jura mountains, France.
This was a fabulous area of forest & flower rich meadows, and we had lovely sunny weather the whole weekend.
But I'm gutted as we made a silly error wrongly plotting 2 early controls on Sunday, which cost us about 45 mins and second place!
David Sedgley & David Peregrine
Day 1: 21 K; 5h 19m. Day 2: 22 K; 5h 42m. Total: 11-01. Fourth Vet 60 team.
Haydn Leaker & Brian Layton
Day 1: 5h 43m. Day 2: 6h 08m. Total: 11-51
Beds Road Cycling Club, Evening League - Thursday, 8 May
A fourteen week time trial league. Club has a special licence for a come and try – so why not!
Alternating between a 10 and a 11.2 mile course starting/finishing in Cardington. Last Thursday was the first event and a warm evening brought the riders out in droves – 70 odd anyway, as well as a local professional road racer. Simon Gaywood turned in an impressive 22.17 and records are being checked to see if it’s a course record. More human times are:
Karen & Rick Hollingsworth (tandem) - 28.22
Jonathon Roots – 29.49
Stuart Brown – 30.07
Fastest 22.11, slowest 40.37
Silverstone 10K - Tuesday, 6 May
It was a hot, sunny day……….yeah whatever.
Anyway, when will race organizers start being clear about what they are doing? Yet again, we have another saga whereby the race is advertised as chip timed but no-one bothers to tell you that it won’t be chipped from the start.
The reason for my whinge and Phils (and I suspect Robbie) is that this little fact robbed us of key milestones.
My watch timed me at 39:57 but the race logged me at 40:03. Phil’s watch was 41:57 and he was logged at 42:03. Robbie I think may have missed his PB because of this also.
So now you see the reason for the whinge…..sooooooooooooo close! Superb, flat course (as most of you know), great run and a PB of almost 2 minutes in the cold light of day I am extremely pleased with. A negative split of 20:25 / 19:37 was also good but perhaps I could have gone quicker in the first half in hindsight…..
Anyway lots of positives for us. Heyho……..
Rob Bed (George)
Flitton 'flits' - Monday, 5 May
On Bank Holiday and in glorious sunshine, the fourth Flitton 'flits' took place with over 200 people taking part.
Late registration and number collection were in the Church Hall and by 10.00h the whole area was buzzing with cars parked almost all the way to the MUGA site one way and to Flitton Hill the other. An art exhibition of local work depicting scenes of the Moors was a real bonus as people waited to move down to the start line. Plus a display of the 2007 run, in the pouring rain also attracted some looks of sympathy in the hot morning sunshine!
At 11.00h, race starter Dave Sedgley blew the hooter and 139 people set off around Flitwick Moor and Flitton Moor for the 5k race. First back were 3 Ampthill a& Flitwick Flyers in amazingly fast times, but there were also some very good local performances, especially coming from the 2 Pub teams in a well fought contest. The White Hart won the day, but the Jolly Coopers, again fund raising this year, put in a brave show.
The children's races were also very well supported and there were medals for all junior competitors this year courtesy of our sponsor Glenn Todd from Wardhedges, to whom we owe a huge thanks. Prizes were donated by many local companies and individuals and these made for an exciting array of trophies and goodies - thanks to everyone who contributed.
The prize giving and after party was held in the White Hart with a pig roast and perfect weather with 100's of people enjoying a relaxed Bank Holiday afternoon, after a fun morning's exercise.
The event raised over £1000 for the Flitwick and District Heritage Group, involved over 200 runners, about 100 marshals and helpers plus families and supporters, placing it firmly on the Flitton calendar as a popular and successful local event - put May day Monday in your diaries for 2009 now!
Debbie Lawson, Dave Sedgley and Sally Smith
Forest of Dean Sportive - Monday, 5 May
85 miles of hilliness!
Another Sunday another bike ride. As we prepare for our exploits in France we continue the training over some of our more lumpy events. Previous week had 5000ft of climbing, this weeks had 8000ft and being so close to Wales had rain too! This has fourteen named climbs with the top two having gradients of 25%. All of us (apart from sensible Mike) went camping which on the whole was ok, but cold on the first night and a thunderstorm on the morning of the event was down heartening! Personally pleased to finish but not helped by missing a turn! Congratulations to Mike for a really good time in his first Sportive.
Steve James – 5.34
Stuart Brown – 6.20
Mike Petty – 6.45
Rick Hollingsworth – 6.55
Fastest – 4.17, slowest – 8.53
Kings Lynn 10K - Sunday, 4 May
As I was up in the area for the weekend decided to run Bespak GEAR 10K in Kings Lynn. Basically trying for a PB - needed to break that 40 minute barrier for the 10K, prior to the club champs in June (Whipsindae). As this was a flat fast Town Centre race, big field, chipped time, the pressure was on - well it wasn't really - this is why I did this run - no other Flyers in sight (although 2 Bedford Harriers were seen). I decided to line up in the sub 38 minute area (the sub 40 minute was full up!) 10.30 prompt and off we went round the historic town centre of Kings Lynn - the words of Ady Wadsworth ringing in my ears form Thursday's run - " I want a good 38 minutes from you"..... anyway first mile out running 5'45 pace - too fast me thinks, mustn't go off too fast the training manuals tell me. However next miles in and out of shopping centre streets, nice big crowd cheering and clapping - settled down and early pace slowed slightly - 5k up in PB time things looking OK at only water station - onto 6k round the park - going into park as front runners are coming out on 7k, picking off runners in front of me through the park, back out onto the streets and into the shopping area again, through the market square and onto 9k - starting to tire - but once more back down by the river and over the bridge - my watch clock's 6 miles, only the 0.2 to go and the finish line in sight with 37'20 mins on the watch - right pick up the pace and run for that finish line - even the announcer notices the late burst giving the Ampthill & Flitwick flyers a mention - sprint to the line pays off - stopped watch on 37'47 (Chip time 37'50) - great over 3 mins off the PB! Ady's technique of a few pints the night before must have paid off! Despite the niggling injuries all turned out well on the day - long way to go for just the race but if it coincides with a trip to the North Norfolk beeches - well worth a shot at your PB
Dave Olney 37.50
Bedford sprint triathlon race series - Sunday, 4 May
Going against my coaches advise not to do this race as it too short for my future triathlons, that include 2 half ironman and 3 olympic distance triathlons.
However after months of hard base training i was itching to race, and days before could not resist doing this local race. I was seeded as one of the fastest swimmers so started at the back as is normal on triathlons, my swim is my strongest discipline so was looking to do the damage and get ahead from the start.
I was so keen the water was bubbling but then after 100 meters i went anerobic and had great difficulty breathing and was forced to stop in the middle of the lane, yes the kid in the sweet shop syndrome had struck again, i was furious with myself as i should have known better given my experience, i had thrown away my ace card, i recovered and finished the swim surprisingly 3rd fastest in my cat. the bike was average and the run was ok.
I finished 56th overall but could have done a lot better and a valuable lesson learnt.
One other competitor was not as lucky as he ended up in hospital after hitting a parked car at 25 mph and going through the rear windscreen, in clapham village, its easily done on fast straights tucked with arms on tri bars.
Although these races are well run and good fun, i do prefer the bigger and longer events across the country.
my (A) race this season is the London Triathlon the biggest in the world and it televised.
LDWA Henley 20 & 40 Walk/Run - Saturday, 3 May
3 Ladies, A Man and a Dog
Occasionally I have a rush of blood to the head and such was the case when I suggested to Twinkletoes that we entered the LDWA Henley 20. Quite why I do these things is unknown but I put it down to the drugs and age.
So Saturday 3rd May so myself ferrying Twinkletoes, Lisa Bassett, Leslee-Anne Dawe and my new best friend L-A’s good dog Leo down to Henley. An entertaining trip down the M1/M25/M40 etc was enlivened by an intimate discussion on male penile lengths. I took no part in this discussion and just sat there with my legs crossed (difficult admittedly when one is driving).
The Henley 20 for the uninitiated is not a race but one of many long distance walks/runs organised by the Long Distance Walkers Association (a clue there in their name). These are beautifully organised and managed events which encompass walks/runs across some of the most beautiful countryside this country has to offer. So it was on this particular walk.
Our original intention was to run as much of the route as possible, but given my fragile state of health (runners excuse no.1), and L-A’s current injury we jogged and ran the first 5 miles and then strolled (sorry stepped out manfully, womanly and dogfully) the rest of the route (except Carole and Lisa who ran the last 4 miles and who were found happily ensconced in a Henley boozer!!).
The route over the Oxfordshire countryside was magnificent, and epitomised a green and verdant landscape. The Route Description is beautifully detailed and as we found, if you followed the instructions explicitly (thank you Twinkletoes who could always find a job as a human sat-nav if all else fails) you couldn’t go wrong (isn’t that true Sedgers??). Some of the abbreviations contained in the Route Description gave an initial pause for thought e.g. B=Bear (wot? Grizzly or brown) and K/G=Kissing Gate (sorry this was a serious event so no time for nonsense like this).
So on a beautiful early summer’s morn we plodded up hill and down dale, with suitable AAHHH! pauses from the ladies when we came across Lambses, Calfses, Bunnieses, and God help me a herd of bison. All I could think was that they were all fattening up nicely. Oh and bluebells. And more bluebells. And yet more bluebells – arghh!
One of the beauties of these events is the catering at the three on-route checkpoints. Home made cake, butties, jelly babies, tea, coffee and squash were very welcome refreshments on route, and we made full use of them (particularly the good dog Leo).
A quick note about Leo. Apart from towing me up several steep inclines, almost being washed away in the Thames when he went for a refreshing dip, he did magnificently. He never stopped, and put the vegetarian dog we met to shame. (I kid you not. How do we know? Cos his owners called him a naughty dog for not eating his carrots. Nothing to do with the cake I was stuffing down it when the owners back was turned).
As I said the scenery was wonderful and although some of the paths were a trifle muddy and sticky we 5 ploughed on in manfully, womanly and dogly fashion. This despite my being attacked by a vicious branch which inflicted a near mortal graze upon my right shin (runners excuse no.2). If I really squeezed the wound a spot of blood appeared. I appealed to our resident medical expert for assistance (Twinkletoes) but she took one look and told me to ‘Hop it’. Hum.
We bumped into a couple of Flyers on route namely Sedgers and Robbie Craig who not content with the official route were adding their own diversions to the days running. Whether this was intentional or not depends on who you talked to!!
Steve (Weasel) Smith also came thundering past us at one stage doing the grown up version of the event, namely the 40 mile route. 20 was quite enough for us thank you!
Other highlights of the day. Huge red kites (feathered variety) which circled the valleys as if waiting for the likes of moi, to collapse so that they could fly down and pick my bones. Stonor House. Possibly the most magnificent privately owned country pad I have ever seen. L-A providing me with enough ‘Quotes of the Month’ during her comfort breaks. The overpowering smell of money emanating from a fleet of gin palaces moored along the banks of the Thames (why spend megabucks to poodle along at 4 mph) and Twinkle and Lisa sat outside a boozer in Henley grinning like 2 naughty school girls.
So, would we do it again? Most certainly and I thoroughly recommend any similar events to fellow Flyers.
Goldi (whose life threatening leg wound is now well on the road to recovery. Thank you for asking)
Shakespeare Marathon - Sunday, 27April
Fortunately the weather forecast was hopelessly wrong and the day turned out to be a pleasantly warm and sunny one for my first attempt at this distance. The course is a very picturesque two lap affair [combining a half and full marathon] with a couple of small-ish hills, one steep down hill stretch and a daunting long straight 5/6 mile finish along a disused railway track back into the centre of Stratford. Marshals were excellent as was the drinks station organisation with a small army of children offering lots of encouragement and "well done's" as well as the more usual water bottles.
After 4 months of training and much invaluable help and advice from the "Saturday Runners" [thanks everyone] I was still a bit apprehensive as to how I'd cope. The initial crush through the town probably helped me keep to a reasonable pace though and things went pretty well around the first lap - 1 hour 45mins through 13 miles. Things got a bit quieter on lap two as 2/3rds of the field had disappeared to finish the Half Marathon, and I managed to keep things going at around 8 minute miling up to 18 miles. Support from the locals remained extremely good, especially considering we'd rather trashed their picture postcard villages with a mountain of plastic bottles and sponges!!
The second ascent of the long hill then slowed me a bit and I never quite recovered my pace afterwards, but I was still going OK along the long railway track run-in until 24 miles when I started to run out of steam and had to have a couple of walking recovery stops. I did get going again for the last mile, however, and the final stretch through the encouraging crowds, including Paul Lydon, was very satisfying. I even managed to do a sort of sprint finish - well it felt like a sprint to me anyway!! - and overtake someone in the last 50 yards. I was really pleased just to have got around, with the added bonus that my time was well within my pre-race "good result" parameters.
It was good to see Carole Lydon and Paul Barton come in with excellent performances - both still looked strong at the finish. A very satisfying day!!!!
Princes Risborough Sunday Sportive - Sunday, 27th April
A 126 kilometer (worked out to be just under 80 miles!) cycle ride through the Chiltern Hills. The race was full with 400 riders taking on three different routes. Stuart and I went for the longest route with very little cycle training in our legs, our longest ride since last September.
The route had 5000 feet of climbing and some big descents - max speed was 48.6mph!
The route proved testing with so little training, some poor road surfaces and a heavy rain squall making the minor roads very muddy. Punctures then seemed to be the order of the day for most and Stuart almost stacked on a single track road descent when a car appeared from nowhere.
We finished (uphill) in 5.22 - a bronze standard. The fastest finisher (not the winner because its not a race) was in 4.03 whilst the slowest was 7.00.
Duston Sprint Triathlon , 400m/20K/5K - Sunday, 27th April
Swim - 12mins - A few problems with the swim, as the lane ropes became loose when I started and to top that I had an annoying male breaststroker in my lane, who wanted to overtake me and then slow down. Must be a male ego thing. I couldn't jump out of the pool as the side was too tall. Not good for little people.
Bike and all transitions 46mins 31 - All I can say, was the bike and the body worked today. The Bike course was very hilly and my confidence was growing overtaking people on the bike. The bike course took us around the villages of Althorpe.
Run - 30mins 53 seasons best - With limited amount of running recently, I cannot complain with a seasons best for 5km, especially after swimming and biking.
Overall time 1 hour 29 mins 24 secs, first sub 1 hour 30 mins sprint Triathlon and first sprint Triathlon for 3 years. 11th in my Age group. I only decided to do this two weeks ago due to recent performances on the bike.
Flitwick 10K - Sunday 20, April
On a cool, dank, misty morning more reminiscent of an Autumn rather than a Spring day, 841 competitors met and competed in one of the running events of the season. Namely our very own Flitwick 10k.
This event goes from strength to strength since being relaunched in 2004 as the David Bithell 10k. It is testimony to the ongoing success of this event that this year we topped for the first time over 1000 entries. Competitors ranged from the youngest Billy Cooper of Box Fit Tri at 15 years old to the magnificent Ida Barr of Bedford Harriers competing at the truly incredible age of 80.
A total of 92 clubs took part in this year’s event, with Bedford Harriers competing with 47 of their club members, Ware Joggers who sent 37 runners, our own Flyers who turned out a magnificent contingent of 36 fleet of foot, through to Stopsley Striders with 35 competitors and new club MK Lakeside Runners who turned up with 28 club members out of a total membership of 40 plus.
We had 8 gentlemen in the race who were in their 70s (hope for Ady yet!!) and 4 ladies who were also running in the same age category. There were 9 competitors who had run in the inaugural race in 1989 including Alan Taylor from Stopsley Striders who had competed in 11 previous Flitwick 10ks.
The support we received was truly incredible ranging from Flitwick Town Council who kindly permitted us use of the recreation ground and whose Mayor, Cllr David Thompson efficiently started the main race at 1100.
With bananas from Pratts, chewy bars (yummy, yummy!) from Jordans, and isotonic drinks from Taut (where were the girls I was asked?), all runners were suitably watered and nourished at the end of the race. A special mention must go to the Munchies catering outfit who supply the bestest bacon butties it has been my pleasure to eat in a long, long time.
Of course none of this would have happened without the combined efforts of a dedicated band of Flyers under the firm but fair direction of Race Director Ann de Winter, who bravely volunteered for this role after last years event. With Stuart Brown working his magic with signage, water barrels, marker poles and tape, and a magnificent ride around lawn mower to trim the finishing straight (I still reckon we could have made a fortune giving kiddies a ride around the field), Haydn Leaker very efficiently controlling the race HQ,, Jeremy Bell providing his magic at start and finish,
Chief Marshall Paul Owen controlling a band of very enthusiastic marshals, Phil Bierton working his usual chemistry with software, entry and result info and the Hollingsworths doing an invaluable job in controlling the entries it was truly a case of the sum equaling the parts.
There were a couple of minor hiccups, such as wondering whether or not the travelling fair would depart on time (they did) to the complete failure of my commentary PA. I know I have a big gob but even I can only bellow down a megaphone for so long.
What of the race then? At one stage I thought, given the climatic conditions we might be on for a new course record or two but it was not to be.
Nonetheless the overall winner Owain Matthews of Bedford & County returned a very creditable performance in winning in a time of 31.57. The first lady home was Tracey Ranson of Springfield Striders who finished in 38.26.
However we must make note of our local heroes in the shape of Paul Farmer who finished 4th in a new club record of 33.20, Stephen Hartley who was not too far behind him in 8th place in a time of 34.15, to the dear old soul himself Ady (Granddad) Wadsworth who in finishing 21st in a time of 35.59 became the Beds County V40 champion. This trio of magnificent performances ensured our men won the County Team prize. Nonetheless all Flyers ran magnificently and it was a real pleasure to see runners of all abilities acquitting themselves so well.
So after the Lord Mayor’s show what was next? The Children’s 1 mile(ish) Fun Run. This event goes from strength to strength and given there were something in the region of 150 children (and parents) competing it shows we must be doing something right.
The day ended in the White Hart in Ampthill where a variety of Flyers partook of edible and liquid refreshment at the end of a long and busy day. (A special thanks to Twinkletoes who ferried a number of us London Pride,Red Wine, and Brandy soaked individuals home to our respective beds!!)
Here’s to 2009.
Team MK Sporting TT - Saturday, 19th April
On saturday 19th April, I competed in the Team MK 21 miles Sporting TT. The weather conditions were back to haunt me, Wind and rain. The venue was once again, Cranfield University. Got to an hour and recorded 18 miles, which is a lot faster than what I have done for a couple of years. A few people, that have been with me for a couple of Time Trails this year, mentioned that I locked stronger and that I was getting a lot closer to the leading women. If I compare my first Time Trial of the year, over Easter, I only recorded 15 MPH so to get to 18MPH is an achievement in itself.
Debbie Knott 3rd Lady - 1 hour 11 mins, 35 secs
London Marathon Reports - Sunday, 13 April
Demons erased at London ...
After a restless night the alarm finally sounded at 4:45. After forcing down two slices of toast headed out to St. James’s Square where I arrived at 6:15. The waiting was finally over and the chance to erase the painful memories of my last marathon two years ago had finally arrived. This time I had put the miles, regularly exceeding 60 mpw and completing eight runs of between 20 & 23 miles so I knew that barring any mechanical problems with the body I should, this time, be able to hold myself together over the last 6 miles.
Got to Blackheath early and eventually met up with Vicky, Rick, Karen, Mike & Andy as the nervous anticipation increased and the whole place really filled up with runners, all with their own reasons to run, all with their own expectations & goals. The atmosphere was great ; music playing and there was a big screen which showed previous marathons and great finishes just to inspire everyone. Luckily the sky was blue with a sprinkling of clouds so it was good to try and relax in the sunshine. At 9:10 everyone started to make their way to the numbered pens. Nearly had an an accident just before the start. Sat down on the floor to save the old legs and another runner promptly stepped back and trod on my foot. No damage done though. As we were called forward threw my old jogging bottoms over the fence and just missed on old dear eating a hamburger. As the minutes counted down I just wanted to get on with it so it was probably a good thing that when the gun did go off I was completely surrounded which stopped me going off too fast. Otherwise, I had so much nervous energy that I would have probably covered the first mile in 5:30 and then blow up. As I was in pen one it didn’t take long to get into a stride. Even after the first few hundred yards you had a tremendous sense for the support from the crowds. One runner couldn’t wait to hit the wall. He promptly tripped over a sleeping policeman and went head over heels. Fortunately he was not to badly bruised and managed to continue.
My plan was to average 7 min miling to try and get around 3:05. My first couple of miles were 6:38/pace but I felt very comfortable. Surprisingly it was quite warm so made sure I started taking water early. I passed James Cracknell after a few miles and knowing that he is a sub 3 man spurred me on. Continued to clock around 6:45 miling although did have to hold myself back from going quicker which would have been so easy to do with adrenaline still running high. Got to 10 miles in 67 mins which was slightly ahead of schedule and by the time I saw Nicola, Matt & friends at the 12 mile mark was still doing under 7 min miling. Seeing your family and friends really does give you a lift and I was looking forward to seeing them for the previous two miles – To see the massive Welsh flag that they were waving in the distance was a welcome sight.
I tried to keep focused on my form and rhythm knowing that if I could continue at this pace then sub 3 could be a distinct possibility. Crossed Tower Bridge where I knew Ady & Tim would be. Their words of support & encouragement made me more determined. Made halfway in about 1:28 and still felt quite strong. I knew that if I could get to 20 miles at this sort of pace I would be in with chance.
At 16 miles my left knee began to twinge a bit and the thought of the ITB problem returning loomed its ugly head. Fortunately it did not get any worse.
Around the 16/17 mile mark the sunshine disappeared and the heavens opened. Although it was a lot cooler the thought of doing the last ten miles in the heavy rain was a bit disconcerting. Luckily it didn’t last that long and by the time I hit 20 miles it had cleared up. Went through in 2:17:17 which was a PB for that distance. Although beginning to tire I was not slowing up as much as I thought so just had to break the last 6 miles down into manageable chunks. As Ady rightly said the marathon is two races, one for 20 miles and another for the last 6. Could see the streams of runners going in the opposite direction. Quite a welcome surprise when I heard a “come on Nick” from Rick who with Karen were just past the 12 mile mark.
The crowds were absolutely fantastic all the way round but it was during the last miles that they really made the difference. As the runners began to spreadout it seemed as though everyone was encouraging me and shouting my name. I was just so glad I had my name on my vest. ( so nearly didn’t ). I knew Nicola & Matt would be around 25 miles so this was encouragement enough to make me dig in. Saw some other people I knew around 22 miles which was an unexpected bonus as well. I had started to slow and, after a few very difficult mental calculations it was clear that sub 3 hours was definitely not on. In fact James Cracknell passed me, obviously the more even paced running was paying dividends for him as he did manage 2:59. Scooby Doo also passed me briefly but I soon showed him a clean pair of paws although I still couldn’t catch Elvis and Tarzan.
Hit 24 miles and I began to find it tough, really needed to concentrate on maintaining a steady pace and not let it drop too much. The quads were starting to burn, I could feel my hips really tightening and aching, the knees were stiff. There were quite a few runners who were walking and some were receiving medical attention. My heart did go out to them. To come 24 miles and then have problems so close to the finish is really rubbing salt into the wound. It was at this time that I prayed that my body would just hold together for the last bit. I knew that to break the club V45 record I would have to do he last couple of miles at under 8min/m so just needed to keep going. Kept looking at my Garmin yet every time I looked I had only gone .1 of a mile, time seemed to be slowing down ( Well in fact it was me !).
As I past the 25 mile mark I started looking for the Welsh dragon but could not see it. Surely I could not have missed them. The noise from the crowd was deafening. There was real buzz in the air. Then just before Buck Palace I saw the flag. It was so good to see them and this spurred me on for the remaining 800 metres. Turned the final corner and could see the clock at 3:03:30 . Must get under 3:04 I thought- and tried to put on a finishing spurt. I must have looked like a cross between the Wooden Tots and a string puppet as I tried to squeeze one last effort out. But managed to get to the line in reasonable shape to finally banish the memory of the Stratford marathon of 2006. – Official time 3:03:49.
What an experience it was, it definitely made the cold, dark nights of training through the winter worthwhile. Congratulations to all the Flyers who made it, especially the first timers who all put in sterling performances. It is no mean feat in completing a marathon. For me, I definitely think the training paid off this time Not only the long runs, some of which were done at near race pace, but increasing the total weekly mileage to just the point where you body doesn’t breakdown. This really paid dividends.
Now Nicola hopes to see a bit more of me at the weekends…………but sub 3:00 next time??...................maybe not.
The Masai and the rest of us Warriors...
This was the 100th anniversary of the first Marathon run in London and it was to be an extraordinary experience. One of the great days of my life experiencing all the emotions. I travelled down with R Jones, Robbie and Mike with a great atmosphere on the train. We met up at the park with the Hollies, Nick ‘Bob Beamon’ Jones and Vicky Adams (who was wary of the fact it was her 13th FLM on April 13th!). Here the organisation was fantastic. Dave Bedford jokingly says on the web site that he’s commandeered every portaloo in England – I doubt this is too far from the truth!
The day started with beautiful blue skies but dark clouds formed as we approached 9.45. It only took 2 minutes before we were through the start line and away at a decent pace. The magnificent support that we were to experience throughout the race began immediately. I tried to hold back in the first miles which was incredibly difficult after a week of no running, carbo-loading and the adrenaline running through your body. However at 3 miles I passed the 6 Massai warriors armed with shields and spears. The noise from the crowd was deafening and everyone’s pace increased.
Around 6 miles I caught Mike who was taking it easy with a calf strain. We chatted for half mile and then I moved on through the packed crowds of Greenwich. Just before Tower Bridge we were hit by a torrential downpour but this was not going to dampen our spirits. We saw the Elite men hurtling past effortlessly shortly after. At 17 miles I started to feel tired but fortunately my wife Louise and son Martin were positioned there to give a much needed lift. Ady Wadsworth had warned me that the marathon is actually 2 races. 20 miles followed by the last 10K. He was spot on. I bounced along the first 20 fairly comfortably and then it started to get tougher and tougher. My left hamstring started playing up and I started to feel ill – this must be the ‘wall’ effect, like running with the flu. Luckily I was certainly not alone in this. At 23 I passed Gordon Ramsey who was struggling. Unfortunately for him there was no peace as the crowd shouted him along. The last few miles were a blur. I took a little walk but the crowd just shouted at me and I had to set off again. I used the Paula Radcliffe trick of counting strides to 100 to keep my mind off everything (top tip). I finished the race hopping as my hamstring seized up with 50 yards to go. I was totally drained.
Fortunately the charity I was with (Children with leukaemia) managed to patch me up with massage, cups of coffee, doughnuts and sandwiches. They had set up camp at the Royal Banqueting House and the family and I were indeed treated like royalty. I had arrived with them on my death bed but left a restored man!
I was very pleased with my time. I had trained hard with the Saturday morning crew who all gave me tremendous support and advice for my first marathon. Cheers lads. Oh and of course I couldn’t have done without the support of my wife – thanks Louise – it’s time to give some time back to the family.
Well done to the others. Some impressive times and a host of PBs.
I must admit I just decided to chug along and see how it went i was pleased with my time as I'd realistically been looking to clock 4:15-4:20 Crowd was amazing and if there's one thing I'd say its get your name on the front of your vest. I never knew I had so many friends!!??
Got beaten by that bloody Ben Fogle though...
I appear to have come out of it relatively unscathed so "Roll on Edinburgh"
Well done Nick and Richard although I suppose 3:00-3:10 is just a walk in the park for you guys :-p Andy and Mike congratulations on some terrific first marathon times. I suppose this means I'll have to speed up a bit between now.
Finally well done Ali (aka Lisa B), Karen and Rick.
PS If Karen still wants that sub 4, Edinburgh doesn't close until May 2nd
Just logged on to see your achievements, fantastic effort from all,
Although I did wander around to the “EF” meeting point the rain finally drove me to make my back.
Nick and Richard amazing results proving that miles work!
Andy the calf held out but unfortunately it was not up to the challenge of sprinting from the last bend.
Never again, ½ M is my limit.
Started off really well then suffered after that first downpour with horrible hip pain (I got cold and I never run in the rain!) Managed to hobble for miles 13 to 16 (slower than a walk but walking was too painful) felt like giving up but talked myself round and then it improved so my last third was faster then the middle third! Was quite satisfying overtaking so many people in the last 3 miles! Did it just under 4hr 51 minutes (4hr 59 35 seconds on the main clock) so happy. Just felt odd as hardly out of breath! I got stuck on the ramp as they removed my chip with cramp in my right calf. Nice young st John's ambulance man helped me off into a wheel chair and stretched it out for me. I then had 2 podiatrists massage my calves at the end (I did hobble over to the meeting point!!)
Totally seized up today but taking advantage of a TENS machine, debating whether to use Dougie's hockey sticks as crutches!!!
Karen and I started reasonably - 10 minute mileing for the first 8 miles which would put us at a position for pushing on in the second half for something near or under Karens pb (4.17).
However a longish toilet stop at mile eight lost us probably a mile so we just went with the flow which back here was fairly slow! It was very difficult to find a pace with so many people! The whole race stopped just after the start, it stopped again at the Cutty Sark and again further on where the road narrowed. Several people chasing times were getting very frustrated.
It was good to lend a bit of vocal support to Nick & Richard but also depressing when they were 10 miles ahead of us!
Crowd was fantastic and very satisfying to overtake so many people in the last 6 miles and to finish in reasonable health. Karen had a few demons to contend with and both of us some niggles - for me my Achilles was horrible painful at around 22 miles and is still painful.
Good to see a lot of the characters - Blind Dave, the Massi Warriors, the guy that was running his 22nd marathon in 35 days (something like that). Karen was also quite keen not to overtake someone called Dave (something to do with him only wearing a thong I think!) personally I thought the Nuns and the Nurse looked quite nice!
Finished hand in hand which was great and 10 minutes after finishing we were in the hotel and after getting cleaned up we walked down to the embankment to see some runners still going (5 o’clock)! Put some money into the guys carrying the enormous piggy bank - much respect to those still out there after so long! Had an wonderful dinner overlooking the Thames on a sunny evening washed down with a few beers!!
Well done to everyone and especially to Andy and Mike.
Rick & Karen
British Duathlon Championships - Sunday, April 13
With the Triathlon & Duathlon season well underway, the first British championship of 2008 was hosted by Big Cow events at Emberton Park, Nr Milton Keynes.
Age groupers lined up to compete for national honours and the final places for the World Duathlon Championships, it also marked the fourth round of the Mazda National Duathlon ranking series which concludes in Ashbourne in 2 weeks time (the beautiful peak district)
Needless to say the standard and quality of this event was a real wake up call, these boys and girls were the best in the UK.
Thanks to my coach i was well prepared for my race strategy and as always on endurance races pacing being key.
Phil Holland who also has an appetite for Triathlons and duathlons also took on the challenge, although being in a different age category and wave start.
At 7.45am the 1st of 4 wave starts went off and it was
4 laps of emberton park, then into transition for the 40k bike, then back to transition and 2 more laps of emberton park.
I was pleased with my effort and result given i had pitched in with the best in the UK and some would go on to represent UK in the World championships.
Young phil stood up well and it was good to see his big improvement on the bike.
It was also good to see Steve James cheering us on throughout the race, thanks Steve.
If nothing else these top class tough races defiantly raises the bar, so its back down to hard training ready for the next biggie.
10k run 40k Bike 5k run Phil holland 21st in age category Martin beare 27th in age category Full results and splits www.bigcowevents.com
On Sunday, 6 April the Flyers proudly hosted the National XC Finals in Ampthill Park.
We thought that we'd mastered XC races but woke to the challenge of snow which meant difficulties getting onto the park and seeing the marker white flags.
Snow also means sledging so there were necessary adjustments to the course. In the event the snow melted by 11am to leave crisp, clear morning with soft conditions underfoot, and we were able to revert to our original course.
The Plate Race went off at noon to tackle a mischievous 9K course that included some new paths in the woods.
Neil Miller (North Herts RR) was first back and it was pleasing to see the club win after their absence in the Finals last year. The Bedford Harriers also put in a first appearance and one hopes that they will be back for more.
At 1:30pm it was time for the National XC Final with seven teams competing for honours.
Returning to form Michael Aldridge (Wootton RR) won the race and helped Wootton to a second successive title.
Paul Farmer (3rd) was first back for the Flyers and some excellent performances, most notably from Dave Olney (20th), mean that the club finished 3rd despite missing a few faces. This is no mean feat.
A big thank you to all the marshals and in particular PhilB, Stuart Brown and Mike Petty who were there early doors to set the course. Also to the Air Cadets who had to endure a difficult reaction from those using Parkside Hall. In some respects hosting an event is more of a challenge than taking full control, but the races started on time and the feedback is positive.
Can I also take this opportunity to thank Tim Harris, Adam Peters and Val Von Arx who manage the team and have helped to make the 2007/8 season a success.
Pity that it's all over. Whether you marshalled or ran I hope that you enjoyed the day. Well done to all.
Click HERE for results in the form of an XLS spreadsheet. I have added a couple of tables combining runners for each of the races.
Wilmslow Half Marathon - Sunday, 30 March
Wilmslow half marathon is a big race about 4,000 runners with prize money of over £11,000, sorry didn't win a penny - Wilmslow is a very "posh town" 12 miles south of Manchester - footballer territory. The first thing that hits you at the start is that all the lamp posts have balloons on them. Then the start - chaos late comers at the start, fun runners everywhere and surprisingly no chip . My daughter took nearly two minutes to get through the start. Apart from that a great race, flat and scenic apart from the roar of jets taking off from nearby Manchester Airport. Followed a runner from Sale Harriers because I've heard of them and they are a top club. Good race as I beat Joanna and Matt and all of his mates.
Plus for all the cyclists in the club, I saw GB win two golds at the World Cycling championships in Manchester Velodrome on Friday night. Chris Hoy was awesome.
Cycling Events - 29/30 March
Northampton & District 10 miles
Conditions - Windy & wet
I punctured with 3 miles to go, was on for the win before the puncture. My legs were also drained with this type of sporting course, several undulations and short and sharp hills. The course was near Cranfield University.
2nd lady - 36Mins 13
Icknield Hilly 30Km (Actual 19.2 miles)
I woke up and found out that the light bulb in the sky was shinning. My body and legs were still recovering with the extra efforts from the 10 mile the day before.
The course was around Chedington, Ivinghoe beacon (2 miles climb) and the outskirts of Aylesbury.
This was the toughest of the TTs, I had competed in the last two weekends. The climb out of Ivinghoe was a shock, a nice steady pace. Then onto the A4146 towards Bennington...Sharp climb, all I can say is nasty! Mentmore hill was also worst, but managed to get up this hill, last year I had to walk it...
There was wind in some parts, but it was the road surface, my body is still recovering from the road vibrations.
I am finding that even times are not important for me at this stage of the year, but my confidence is growing. This will help me when I start my triathlon season, later on in the year! And I am a person that is not very keen on hills, regardless of running or cycling....
3rd lady 72mins 36 mins
Polaris 2 day MTB event, Llanwrtyd Wells - Sat/Sunday, 29/30 March
This was a very tough, but beautiful area. Wet on Saturday after first 2 hours - then very wet & windy overnight camp. A lovely sunny day on Sunday. It was great to be back cycling in an area I remember cycling through with my parents over 50 years ago!
David Sedgley & Viv Kilgour. Day 1, 130 points in 5-58-33 (24.5 miles). Day 2, 70 points in 4-05-26 (21 miles). Total, 200 points - 5th mixed team.
Friday, 28 March saw a record number of Flyers pitch up at Flitwick Cricket Club to heckle and cheer, and that was just Goldi in a saucy pair of brown leathers.
In 2007 the Flyers achieved a great deal, both as individuals and as teams, so it is a great pleasure to acknowledge and reward some of the highlights.
For those that were unable to join us Adam Peters was awarded Run of the Year for a Club Record 5K performance (15:30) at Stevenage on 28 November 2007, and Martin Beare collected a trophy for Most Improved Runner from a shortlist that included Pat Godfrey, Dave Olney and Adam Peters. Ady Wadsworth is a very deserving Club Person of the Year for an outstanding contribution that continues to shape the club.
There’s a full list of Club Champions on the Flyers Website.
Finally, thank you to everyone that came along and in particular to those that helped to set things out and tidy up afterwards.
Fast Flyer misses Presentation Evening
Rose Olivia Cozens born 27th March at 10.48 pm - she arrived quicker than expected and it took just over 8 hours from start to finish.
Weighing in at 6lb 14 apparently she mis-read the memo that said she was due on the 26th March and felt the need to make up the time with unnecessary efficiency! She also knew it was the presentation evening on Friday and wanted to take the limelight.
Picture of our baby daughter (when I was convinced it was so surely a boy) is attached.
We have both lost track of the days, until you switch the TV on (not very often) and realise your favourite programme is on, and as for what time it is goodness knows!
Thanks for all your good wishes received and the flowers from the club dispatched with such efficiency!
Best wishes, Anthea and Bob
Stanwick 10K - Monday, 24 March
An enjoyable run despite the cold weather. Four flyers braved the elements to head into Northamptonshire and run this undulating, but quite fast course, including a "refreshing" dip through a very wide and annoyingly unavoidable ford. The ever-improving Richard Wilson notched up yet another PB - surely only a matter of time before he achieves a sub 40 - and Helen Dodds successfully completed her first race at this distance. The event is unusual in that it is managed [very efficiently] by the village of Stanwick itself and is packed full of both club and unattached competitors. Marshals and local support are good too.
Maidenhead 10 - Friday, 21 March
A very cold biting wind "welcomed" 3 flyers and 1136 other runners to a bleak-looking industrial park just off the M4 for the 55th running of the Maidenhead 10. The course is very flat with a dull initial 3 miles around the industrial park up the entrance road and back down to the park again before heading off into a stiff breeze towards the more interesting country lanes around White Waltham. Given favourable conditions this would be a very fast course, but for me the wind killed off any hope of a spectacular PB improvement very early on - possibly around the time that I first opened the car door on arrival. Having said that the event is very well marshalled/organised and was fun to do with a supporting crowd including Val von Arx, Dawn Bird and Helen Dodds.
Rome Marathon - Sunday, 16 March
We have come along way since Stuart Brown convinced us that running a marathon would be good for us!
We have traveled 340 miles - 13 marathons between us now. We both set new pb¹s but both had hoped for better. I hadn¹t tried for a time since London
06 and have finally broken through the 4 hour barrier (3.55). Karen has consistently nibbled away at her time and trimmed a bit more to 4.17. We both would have been happier with at least ten minutes quicker but the cobbles, a cold and some lack of sleep put paid to that.
The start is at the bottom of the Coliseum and we were roughly in the middle of the field of 12,000. The weather was perfect - I even came away with a bit of a Œvest¹ tan! It was a narrow start and took several kilometers before the field thinned to give a bit of space. The race went south of the city before heading up along the Tiber past the Vatican before heading north for a loop before heading back through the city and most of the tourist places - the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and a host of other churches, piazza¹s, column¹s and statue¹s before the finish at the Coliseum. We might have noticed more of the route if we hadn¹t been watching the cobbles and the odd fallen runner!
A slightly undulating course also added to the fun! The water stations were plentiful with choices of water, salts and three flavors of Gatorade, also fresh fruit and biscuits but unlike Florence no tea and cakes!
We took our children with us as well as my mum and it really was great to have some very vocal support as we came to the finish line. Excellent medal, t-shirt, technical shirt, Asics running rucksack and loads of bottles of Gatorade!!!
Rome like so many European destinations is just an Easyjet flight away and we will look around for another one to bag next year - Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam etc ......
However there¹s still London round the corner.
Oakley 20 - Sunday, 16 March
An ice cold northerly wind blasted into the faces of the runners as they started their 20 mile trek around the country roads of North Bedfordshire on a very wet Sunday morning. For many the race is a training run in preparation for the spring marathons and so self-discipline is required to not be tempted to give it your all. However, just getting round the course in these conditions was quite a trial with many roads flooded after the previous night’s downpour.
The organisation was as ever superb by Bedford Harriers who seemed to have an army of marshalls happy to spend many hours outside in the wet and cold urging runners on.
Despite the conditions I enjoyed the run. My aim had been to finish running knowing that I could still complete another 6 miles. Jim Dodds suggested before the race that I finish after 14 miles to achieve my goal. I ignored his suggestion and trotted around completing with the tank not completely empty.
Well done to everyone else for completing the course.
Birmingham Rat Race - Saturday, 15 March
My first adventure race and what an event!!!!!!!!! I teamed up with my sister who rustled up some sponsorship (thanks to Bigpeaks.com) and a great dollop of expertise, so thing were looking promising.
Orienteering, running, cycling, search & rescue, climbing, kayaking, abseiling, mountain boarding, egg throwing, stair running, bridge climbing, wire ladder climbing was just the start of what teams were expected to achieve in this 8 hour endurance event.
Despite getting lost, loosing the key to the bike lock, dropping my food, falling off the bikes, not training enough for the Kayak (3.5km’s), my big sis pushed us home to 1st Mixed pair and 6th overall. Although I think the organisers missed our questions section on the road book (appeal made as this moves us to third behind Team Innov-8), defiantly an event to be re visited and a very addictive format for anyone who enjoys multi discipline.
Winners: Aberdeen Asset Management Adjusted time 07.12.33
Bigpeaks.com Adjusted time 10.21.30 (2.12 pen)
Inter County XC Championships, Nottingham - Saturday, 15 March
Having received a last minute call-up to run for the county, I had no option other than to nod my aged head and get my sorry backside up to Nottingham.
The Inter County Champs are the culmination of the county champs and include teams from counties and regions in England/Ireland/Scotland Wales. They also serve as the trials for the forthcoming World Champs.
My expectations were not high, due to the company that I was keeping, but the experience of competing in a race of this standard will remain unforgettable.
To cut what could be a long story short, the winner came in at 37 minutes, I was nearer 47. Had the race have been a 10 miler I think that I could quite safely say I would have been lapped.
I was 242nd out of 264 finishers, coincidentally, exactly the same position that Mr Hartley achieved last year. Had I have run the race of my life I may have moved 10 places up the finishing order. I was also 2nd home for the county, due to non-finishers.
Still, a fantastic personal achievement and I have now ticked another box as I have my county vest (24 years after I last ran for the county as a junior).
Adrian Wadsworth 242/264 finishers in 46 mins 36 seconds.
Les Irvine Relay - Wednesday, 12th March
Why do I seem to have bad wind on so many key events - Henlow 10, Wolverton 5 and now this one, to mention but a few? It was proper in your face stuff, unfortunately for the greater chunk of the lap (is this possible?).
You probably know the format by now: assemble at the OU with other runners/academic types, include at least one female (in your team of four) and get on with it. AFF had two teams entered (from the original four), having been hit particularly hard this year with last minute injuries. It was therefore left to eight able bodied athletes to produce the goods; and they made a decent job of it. From the 47 teams entered we managed to bag 2nd and 8th. This compares to last year where our teams were 1st, 2nd, 11th and 47th. In a strange way, on aggregate this year we were better than last (??).
Yes, we lost our hold on the Les Irvine Trophy, which we had held for three years, but when you consider that our first team home comprised of three stand-ins, it's not a bad result. Over the past six outings we have managed three second places alongside the three wins. The Ampthill Mob managed to creep up the finishing order, their top 10 placing achieved without their enigmatic leader, Jeremy Bell. Perhaps, like me, he will have to consider team management over and above having a guaranteed place on the team?!?
The winning team were new to the fray (and relatively new to the planet as they were under 19's), having trekked up the M1 from Oaklands College Athletics Academy in St Albans. They won well but based on their times our best team would have sparred quite nicely with them. They are supposedly returning next year so a chance to prove the point.
Well done all and many thanks to Kara Farmer for standing in at the last minute, grinding out an amazing 7th fastest ladies' time of the day.
Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers (2nd overall in 23mins 29secs)
Adrian Wadsworth 5.39 (7th quickest of the day)
Phil Holland 5.30 (4th quickest of the day)
Kara Farmer 7.03 (7th quickest of the day)
Tim Harris 5.17 (2nd quickest of the day)
The Ampthill Mob (8th overall in 27.38)
Andy Atherton 6.51 (45th quickest time of the day)
Jackie Foster 7.24 (14th quickest time of the day)
Martin Beare 6.45 (45th quickest time of the day)
Rick Hollingsworth 6.38 (38th quickest time of the day)
East Hull 20 - Sunday, 9 March
This race was a fortunate addition to my marathon training schedule that combined a weekend visiting friends with, what turned out to be, a very well organised and pleasant run.
Although starting in the maybe less than scenic city of Hull, the flat [ish] course soon emerged from the built up area and passed into some relatively quiet country lanes, through some tiny villages and returned down a disused railway track into the finish. As ever I started off a bit too quick, pushed along perhaps by a breeze that only became really noticeable when we turned back into it for the incoming 9 miles.
I set out with no real plan, other than to get round in one piece, but egged on by the enthusiastic marshals and some local support I managed to keep a fairly reasonable pace and was a bit surprised to get to half way in 76 minutes. The return route was slightly tougher and I was quite glad to eventually stagger down the finishing slope to creep over the line. As this was my first 20 miler [and only the second time I'd clocked up the distance at all] I was quite pleased with the result. Wasn't so sure that I could manage another 6.2 miles though.
Jim Dodds 2:36:38
Silverstone Half Marathon - Sunday, 9 March
This race is commonly know as the official pre Flora London marathon shakedown, and therefore has its fare share of glitz and glamour with famous faces and major sponsors present.
My sole aim for attending this race was purely to get a PB as the venue can deliver, however the weather has to be right, and as the famous GP circuit can be affected by winds as its exposed and open (ooh er misses)
With severe weather warnings being dished out on every news cast, i wondered if it was worth going.
The race had Bedford & Counties Liz Yelling present, and fresh from her National Cross Country Tile.
Dave Bedford had the honour of starting the race with the chequered flag
My game plan was going to be much the same as the previous weekend Mk Half, feed myself in gently (oh matron) lucky old you i here you cry.
Having raced round this circuit many times both as a racing driver and runner i know the importance to clip all the apexes of the corners and draft down the long open straights.
There was a handful of flyers that made up the 5,000 runners and waving the banner for the club. It was great to see Mr Lydon in cheerleading mode and in strong voice and Tony Cole had bought his possie with his girls cheering us on at every opportunity.
Tony and i started the race together and we stayed in touch throughout the race but Tony always just ahead.
I had hit all the splits in perfect time for a sub 1.30.00 that was until the final 200 metre push when my stomach went funny and i was sick on the final approach to the finish, hopefully not captured by approx 20 photographers clicking away. If that was not bad enough more importantly i lost my sub 1.30.00 and ended up with 1.30.23 hay ho got a PB though. Tony ran an excellent race and got a well deserved 1.29.03 well done mate.
Judging by the times the girls had great runs too and iam sure like me enjoyed the experience.
I would be failing in my duties if i did not say thank you to the supporters (flyers cheerleaders) and the race organisers who staged once again a flawless event and one that was beyond reproach in every respect. Happy days !!
Grizzly - Sunday, 9 March
By general consensus this was the toughest Grizzly ever - going further inland to take in some extra big hills, an extra bog (which did for my calves!) and lots of pebble beach near the end. Weather generally good - warm & sunny at times, with great views, but 15 mins of hailstorm to add interest!
I realy enjoyed it, and Julie was really pleased to finish on so little training.
[Donna from Beds Harriers was First Lady.]
Nike MK Half Marathon - Sunday, 2 March
Historically this race seems to be quite popular and this year was to be no different with 2,500 runners entered.
As usual the Open University where hosting the start and finish on the campus.
Fortunately the skies were clear and blue, like my language judging the wind speed, I am beginning to wonder if and when iam ever going to get a fast course and the conditions right on the same day.
A handful of flyers gathered at the mass start to enbark on 13.1 miles of roads and red ways all of which are tarmac.
I decided to feed myself gently into the race and soon found a comfortable pace, unlike my previous recent half marathon, i felt strong and relaxed. Before i knew it the 5 mile marker was passed and still i felt strong and to protect this feeling i took an energy gel donated by our Nick Jones (thanks mate)
I may add my performance was also aided by the view of a young blonde's bum in front of me. (oh matron)
It was good to see several flyers supporting and cheering on route.
The remainder of the run for me continued in the same vain, but sadly i lost my young blonde (story of my life ha ha) but i ended up with a PB 1.31.13
Nick Jones had a blinding come back race and given bad race prep due to marathon training nearly PB'd and for me was man of the match.
Lets hope the conditions are favourable for next weeks Silverstone Half marathon and hopefully sub 1.30 or am i being greedy again.
Wymondham 20 - Sunday, 2 March
Wymonham is 10 miles this side of Norwich and this race had two benefits - its our last long run before the Rome marathon and more importantly is where my mum lives (very convenient on Mothers Day!).
There were two races - 10 and 20 milers starting at different times. For the 20 miles it was a 3 mile run out then two laps of 7 miles and then run back.
Its run on very quiet country roads which considering the county was undulating! As those who have run Grunty Fen half and Ely 10k they will be familiar with the wind that howls across the fens and Norfolk is very similar! To be fair because it was two laps we did get the benefit of the wind behind occassionally. Running into the wind was really hard work though and with so few runners over such a long distance it was hard to find some big bloke to hide behind!
Personally went off to quick and suffered for most of the race, which for your last long training run is not so good! Finished very tired but was happy with time - cannot think how I could possibly run another six miles though.
Karen, ran a much steadier race but being lighter didn¹t enjoy being blown across the road! The race was well ran and marshalled especially with two races of different lengths over the same course with different start times!
There were 210 runners in the 20 miler and 218 in the 10 miler.
So after a quick shower it was off to The Railway for some very hard earned Sunday lunch (excellent Blackberry and Apple crumble!) with mum, sister, wife and 4 children!
Lions Club of Winslow 10K - Sunday, 24 February
This event is a bit of a fund raiser for the Lions Club to celebrate their 25th anniversary and help various local charities in Winslow. Even though it's their first attempt at race organisation the whole event was remarkably slick and well organised and was thoroughly enjoyable with a very "local" feel to it . There were the usual collection of club runners involved, but quite a substantial entry of "unattached" competitors.
The course itself is one lap along pleasant country lanes through some outlying villages and back. It's slightly hilly with the largest undulation lying in wait at 9.5k in the form of a testing climb back into Winslow itself.
I wasn't particularly confident of doing anything much in this race as I'd had a slightly disappointing long run the day before - ducked out early in the Saturday Marathon Training Run - and staying at home seemed a much better option than an hours drive to the event. However, I eventually joined the 228 others as we "sped" off once around a school field and then out into the Buckinghamshire countryside. A slight breeze - seeming as ever to be always in my face - made it hard work early on, but I managed to keep going at a semi-reasonable pace until the usual experience of being overtaken revealed that I'd gone off too fast yet again!!!! Second half was consequently a bit slower and with the final hill taking it's toll, I was glad to finish and collect my t-shirt. An enjoyable morning [despite my pre-race reservations].
I believe that the Lions Club are going to continue with this event next year, and I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who fancies a good well organised early season challenge.
Jim Dodds 42.38
Scout X Country races - Saturday, 23 February
Ampthill and Woburn Scout District held their annual Cross Country races on Saturday afternoon in Ampthill. Toby Brown was 1st in the 8 year old race, and 7th in the 9 year old race. Overall the Flitwick Falcons came in 2nd.
Round-the-Lake (Taupo) Relay, NZ - Wednesday, 20 February
As last year Isabel and I put together and managed the Taupo Harriers team for the Round-the-Lake (Taupo) Relay. 4 over 60s, 2 over 55s and two 12 year old twin girls plus few in-between those ages (14 runners in total) – the most varied team in the race. I was oldest runner (14km in 1:14:25 or 5:24 per kilometre) at 67 years and Isabel was next oldest at 65 years (7km in 0:45:50 or 6:39 per kilometre).
30 seconds quicker than last year doing the 155km event in 12:hours 32 min 33 seconds Third Taupo Running team home and well up the list of running team finishers!
Hardwick X Stream (6 miles) - Sunday 17 February
Having missed the last round of the Three Counties X/C Series (due to my Tri coach taking me on a 2 day training session in the peak district in preparation for the famous Ashbourne Duathlon. a European qualifiying round and a national ranking event), thus I was missing a good thrash round the countryside "oh matron" my case comes up next Thursday ha ha.
The Hardwick X Stream race is in its 15th year of running, organised by Bearbrook Joggers. The race is set in the confines of Manor House Farm in the village of Hardwick Buckinghamshie and is well known for its challenging 6 mile course with its 3 water crossings and numerous stiles to cross.
The course was bathed in bright sunshine however the temperature still being below freezing even at 10.am thus the ground being very hard. I would describe the ground as ankle breaking with frozen ruts and tracks etc. My last minute shoe choice being 15mm spikes. (shit or bust one might say).
The race started on time at 11.00am with approx 250 seasoned runners, from my previous experience it is prudent to get out in front from the start as soon after was a narrow gate and the first of the 3 water crossings where it can get tight and somewhat fraught. I had made it through with no problems and was happy with how I felt and with my position at that point. [Ed: "Oh matron"]
I had swapped places with Tony Cole several times in the first half of the race but Tony eventually had the advantage up the long hills (you fat bastard I hear you cry). I did manage to close the gap once the course leveled off back towards the finish but not enough to challenge, however I was pleased with 46th overall, Tony came in at 35th.
We had wiz kids up front as one would expect Paul Farmer taking an excellent 3rd overall and our Club chair Steve coming in in 7th overall, nice one boys. The ever youthful Dave Stanley put in a solid performance to finish in 56th overall. Dave Sedgley seemed to have enjoyed his trouble free run finishing 202th overall.
Chiltern Harriers took 1st and 2nd and winning team prize, well done to them.
All in all a good mornings work in the crisp fresh country air, and all in traditional British fashion, we made our way to the village school for a cuppa and bacon rolls. Long may this particular tradition live on ha ha.
Flyers clinch Final Place - Sunday 10 February
On Sunday, 10 February the 3 Counties 2007/8 Cross Country League reached it's climax with a trip to Guilsborough, Northants. Twenty-nine Flyers made the journey north mindful of the significance of this fixture. A place in the National XC Finals in Ampthill Park (6 April) was up for grabs and, level-pegging in 2nd with Bedford Harriers (=37pts) after 4 races, the Flyers team needed to muster a strong performance.
The Guilsborough out-and-back course is an artful blend of farmland and trail that guarantees a quick start and a gut-busting 1 mile ascent on the return.
Spirits were high as the athletes soaked up a glorious spring morning - there were even muffled complaints that it was a touch warm and the over-dressed would go onto perspire rather more than they might choose.
At 11am the charges set-off at a frenetic pace that would come back to haunt a few. Adam Peters (3rd) stretched his leg at the front and led the throng for 3 miles before pressure from Neil Miller (North Herts RR) and James Elworthy (Bedford Harriers) took it's toll on the tussocks of the country. The Flyers Paul Farmer pushed on from halfway to finish with a solid 5th, and Tim Harris and Phil Holland both made good progress up the hill to pack with 7th and 8th respectively. Stephen Hartley (11th) and Ady Wadsworth (vet 12th) were close behind and Dave Olney (vet 28th) completed the maths to deliver a second Men's Team win in succession. There were a raft of other Flyers inside the top 100 with vets Steve James (30th), Tony Cole (52nd), Jim Dodds (71st), Mike Petty (86th) and Rick Hollingsworth (89th) all recording their best placing of the season.
Our Ladies Team faced the arduous challenge of keeping contenders from the Bedford Harriers, Wootton Road Runners and North Herts in check. Jackie Foster put in yet another great performance to finish 19th, followed by home by an impressive Sally Marsh (24th) and resurgent Caroline Gilby (29th).
With the hard work done it was just a question of waiting for results and the outcome didn't disappoint. The Flyers finished 2nd for seires overall and the Men's Team backed-up with second. The League also recognised individual performances over the course of the season with three Flyers on the podium. Adam Peters 2nd man (pipped by just 1pt), Ady Wadsworth 2nd MV40 and Jackie Foster 2nd FV45. Congratulations to each of you.
Well done to everyone who has represented the Flyers at Cross Country this season - our place in the National XC Finals in Ampthill Park on 6 April has been earnt the hard way. The race at Guilsborough also brings the 2007/8 Club XC Championships to a conclusion, and the deserving Club Champions are:
Vet Men's Champion
Vet Ladies Champion
Full Club Championships results are on the XCountry page of this website.
And some from the Past
While I was away, watching the XC at East Haddon, Pauline was doing some tidying up and came across this newspaper article which I thought might be of interest This must have been one of the first few XC league events that the club participated in. Click on the images to enlarge.
Serpentine (Last Friday of the Month) 5K - 25 January
I took a day's holiday Friday and travelled to Hyde Park to run the monthly 5K around the Serpentine Lake. For those of you that have taken part in this event you will know that the course is about as flat as you could want, with runners only being hindered by some tight turns and wind in your face on the outbound leg. This said it still has obvious PB potential.
The event is run over a lunchtime, I guess the city types try to fit it in lieu of another trip to Costa Coffee. There is very little drama from start to finish. The organisers show up at about 11.30 and set out the start and finish (2 signs) and the half dozen marshals wonder off with the KM markers (I never did see 2KM). The horn goes, the runners follow suit and 2 minutes later a second wave sets off.
The nearly 3KM outward leg is the more testing part of the course as the (marginal) uphill, the corners and the wind gang up on you. The return leg is almost a doddle and given the choice you would opt to run the course as prescribed.
I sat happily in 5th for the majority of the race, only being quite rudely overtaken at 4KM (on the easy stretch!). The first 3KM had put paid to achieving my 5th PB on the spin but I was not about to lose a place inside the last KM. A small incline towards the end was the opportunity to steal a march and in the end I finished quite strongly, bang on 17 minutes.
If you get the opportunity to run this race you can make a day of it around the capital the only downside being no showers. As this is a monthly event they hold a championship and this is based on age graded percentages. The winner for 2007 was a vet lady who averaged 93 plus percent!! I now have to work out how I can run the remaining 11 5K's for this year down there!!
Ady 17.00 - 5th place (3rd vet!!!).
Ampthill Park - Three Counties Cross Country - Sunday, 13 January
New Course Works Wonders!
An extremely busy day at Ampthill Park saw the home team gain an advantage, to turn in a very impressive result.
This was the 4th league outing for this cross country season and in the previous three Ampthill & Flitwick had racked up a trio of third places. Let's face it; we are up against some pretty stiff opposition. Wootton have a very strong team this season, as indeed they did last year, and they are all but in the finals, (also to be held at Ampthill Park). Bedford Harriers, one of the county's biggest clubs, have proven that they can deliver a result, just so long as they can get a side out. The same applies to North Herts Road Runners. They have fielded some of the finest athletes that have participated in our league but again, no side, no result.
The course, which after runner feedback (post race), can only be described as the best in the 3 Counties League, had been modified for this race, primarily to take us away from some of the main pathways. The changes, although not significant, certainly made for a better route, introducing some previously unused elements of the park, and slightly increasing the overall race distance to a shade under 5 miles. As usual, and almost no need to say it, the workforce which had turned out to prepare the course on both Saturday afternoon and early Sunday, under the direction of Stu Brown, had done a terrific job. Thanks all.
Masses of runners began to assemble in the park from about 10.30am, awaiting the starting instructions from Sue Jones. Sue's advice that there would be a 3-2-1 countdown, was misheard by many who took it as the actual start and almost did the big off. Fortunately they held and this gave us all a giggle.
The uphill start is a sensible, if somewhat rude option, and when the race got underway it does tend to have a slowing factor (for most). The course, a small loop followed by two large laps of the park, is very testing, as proper cross country should be, and there soon formed a long line of multi-attired runners. The usual suspects gathered at the front, unfortunately without the presence of our Adam (work commitments), but Tim Harris, Paul Farmer and young Pete Benedickter assumed the mantle and made sure that the front of the field included some red.
Four races in and most generally know whom they run in and around. It is as much about trying to beat those runners in personal battles as it is gaining an overall result. One lap of the park, half way in to the race, can leave you exhausted and this is probably where AFF made the greatest gains. 'Ampthill Park Novices' undoubtedly used their best stuff on lap one and blew up on lap two. Our local knowledge paid dividends as it became increasingly obvious at the finish that the team was performing well against previous outings.
One by one we stomped across the line, the uphill finish providing one last trial for weary legs. In Adam's absence, Neil Miller (NHRR) returned to winning ways, closely followed by James Elworthy (Beds Harriers), with Tim Harris third and Paul Farmer fourth. Pete B, off the back of a 6km race the day before, demonstrated great stamina and ran in 7th (and only 16 years old!!). Some solid packing by Phil Holland, Steve Hartley and Ady Wadsworth (12th, 13th and 14th respectively), rounded off with a monumental performance from Dave Olney (31st), saw the men's team victorious on the day. About time too!
The ladies, perhaps lacking strength in depth, turned out a more than respectable 6th place for the team. With some notable absences, Amy expecting, Michelle work and college commitments, we are fortunate enough to be able to call upon our recent County XC performers. Caroline Gilby (ever present) and Jackie Foster, along with newly joined Sally Marsh, held firm for the club and ensured that the overall team placing of AFF was 2nd. A great result and testimony to both our persistence and the drive to gain a home result.
Back in the HQ, there was food (and volunteer labour) aplenty. The positive comments about the organising of the event and in particular the course itself, are very satisfying. When you know how many people have worked to make it happen, ensuring that we lay on a professional, enjoyable event, it can only add to the occasion.
Controversially, I have a 'run of the day' - there was many fine performances. Pete B Junior's run (off tired legs), Sally's inaugural XC outing and Val Von Arx (who always looks as though she is having a lovely time!). I think that personally I would have to opt for Dave Olney (again). Dave has progressed rapidly from the first league race, showing continual improvement. This result underpins Dave's performance in the County race last week. I don't know what you are having for breakfast mate, but keep taking it.
Hopefully see you all at East Haddon on 10 February, where it is all to play for. The finals beckon (6 April) but will it be the Plate Final, of which we are the holders, or the main event/A-race? We are currently second, equal on league points to Bedford but trail on total points tally (call it goal difference).
Thanks to you all for making it such a great day.
County XC Champs (RAF Halton) Saturday 5 January
Is bitter better? We think yes. Our English weather generally comes to the fore whenever you attempt to do anything outdoors. Saturday's XC fitted this model in that if you were doing anything other than running at race pace then you were cold.
AFF has spent many years supporting the annual pilgrimage that is the county cross country event. Combined with the Buckinghamshire Champs, each county hosts every other year. This year was the turn of Bucks, having been hosted by our good selves at Ampthill last year. The venue, RAF Halton, is okay but perhaps a little bland, with the perimeter of playing fields to be negotiated, numerous times.
Amy Carter kicked off proceedings for our club with a solid showing in the U13 race.
Peter and Jack Benedickter, on this occasion representing Luton AC, ran in 5th and 4th in the U13 and U17 races respectively. Peter is still recovering from glandular fever, otherwise a medal was beckoning.
With no representation in the other junior categories, we had to wait for the senior/vet ladies race for further club interest. It was a worthwhile wait as both Val Von Arx and Jackie Foster 'walked' away with silver medals in their respective categories-nice one girls!!
The last race of the day was for the junior, senior and vet men, held over a long 12K for the elders (seniors upwards). This was easily the biggest field of the day and combined with a fast, downhill start, had the potential for calamity. However, barring the odd elbow, and later into the race Phil Holland tripping up a fellow runner (and then falling over himself), there was little to report in the way of incident.
Paul Farmer, on the comeback trail, bashed out a fine 5th place, followed by some sound packing from Phil Holland, Steve Hartley, Kieron Lewis and Ady Wadsworth, all of whom made the top 12.
In my opinion the run of the day went to Dave Olney. 18th overall (fantastic) and a pivotal performance in as much as Dave was the final ingredient to AFF gaining the gold medal for the team trophy.
It is the first time in the club's history that we have won this award and the accolade will share space with the other team prizes that we have captured in the last 12 months.
To round it off, Nick Stone and Ady Wadsworth gained silver and bronze medals in the V60/V40 categories.
So yes, it was cold, and the outdoor presentations took a long time (due to the number of both Beds and Bucks awards), but didn't our club do well? Furthermore, we have given our support to another county-organised event.
Thanks a lot and the park at Ampthill now awaits us (next 3 Counties League Race- 13th January, 11am).
Happy New Year to One & All
As we close the book on yet another successful year for the Club it is time to tidy up a few remaining events. The Marathon Championship is contested over the calendar year and awarded for the best performances over the distance. Over the year, 42 marathons were completed by Club members and the final results are.
Valerie Von Arx
The Grand Prix Leagues also are concluded at the end of the year. This, supposedly, "bit of fun", event was well contested during the year. Adam Peters clearly beat everybody but required the head to head count back, against Stephen Hartley, to retain the Eagles League title. Giles Shorley, surely showing a clean pair of heals to take the Ospreys title, while Jim Dodds edged out Chris Jenart, to take 2nd place, in the last event of the year. Jeremy Lewis just managed to hold off Nick Stone to take the Falcons title. Sam Freer and Jayne Hunt took the Herons and Kingfishers titles. No title is awarded for the Hawks league because no one completed more than one GP event.
The leagues will be reviewed and adjusted for the coming year and will be published via this page during January before replacing last years tables.
Be warned that some league winners are likely to find themselves in the same league for the coming year. It may seem strange but is all part of the process of equalising the size of each league to about 20.
In practice, the bottom leagues will be considered to be one large league with people moving into and out of Kingfishers as points are scored. If we get sufficient people from those leagues competing in GP events, then they will split into more formal leagues.
I have also updated the annual Age Related Performance table - Click here to view and see how you really rate against your colleagues, and more importantly against the passing years.
Last Updated: Monday, 23 December 2013 21:02