Race Reports 2012
Conwy Half Marathon
You wait ages for a race report then three(!) come in together! Here's a little ditty from first time half marathoner, Karen Mackintosh followed swiftly Dawn then by Craig Walker .........
Five of us arrived at Conwy at 10am with Dawn as driver. The weather was lovely (as I believe it always is for this event) cold, but sunny and we went to get our numbers. This was all very organised and we got sorted quickly and then went and met some of the other BRC runners on the quayside. Got a takeaway brew and had some flapjack etc and then of course needed the loo. Had to queue for ages but still had plenty of time to get changed, put our bags in the baggage store and get to the start. I’m not very good in big crowds, but with all the excitement of it all and the encouragement from the other members I was fine. We started off and I was with Tracy for a while but after we had gone over the bridge and got on the road as we were passing people and others passing us I realised I was no longer with her and on my own. I worried a bit whether I was going off too fast and would blow up later, but decided that as I had nothing to prove to anyone but myself I would carry on and if I did blow up later on and had to walk for a while, so be it. The run along the beach was lovely and I tried to take it all in.
The time seemed to pass quite quickly and I was spurred on by some people shouting for me in Llandudno – didn’t know who they were at the time but gave them a smile and a wave and it seems they used to be members and were down there supporting. Then the came the start of the Great Orme – it didn’t seem too steep at first and there was even a down hill dip but then a bit later on just as I thought I must be getting near the top you go round a bend and see the real rise to the top with a great snake of runners all the way up the road. I nearly had a weak moment near the top and walked but just managed to keep it going (spurred on by the little aeroplane coming past – I thought he might be videoing and it would be just my luck to be caught walking on film!).
It was a relief to get over the top and really enjoyed the downhill bit. Started to feel it in my thighs around mile 10 and realised I was drifting off and dawdling a bit back along the beach as my legs didn’t seem to want to go, so told my self to buck up and get on with it and managed to pick the pace up again when I got back on the tarmac. It was great to hear the support crew shouting at me on the way to the finish and when I finished I knew I had done a better time than I was hoping for, but not exactly sure as my Garmin watch had malfunctioned in the first mile so I didn’t know exactly how I’d done until I got my text through a bit later. I was so chuffed and just want to thank Dawn and Kev for the fantastic [new to running] course in May and getting me going and to Cindy, Christine & Tracy for the long Sunday runs in the last few weeks and all their advice. Hope to do it again next year, but don’t know if I’ll enjoy it so much as now I’ll have to try and beat my time!
a second one from PB girl, Dawn ....
Drama to and from Conwy!
~ Dawn x
....and here's another great report from Craig Walker,
.......Voted one of the top 5 most scenic half marathons in the UK by Runners World and with a start and finish in the shadows of the majestic Conwy Castle it was certainly one I was looking forward to.
I had decided to enter the race at the last-minute after a club training run a couple of weeks ago. After 2 half marathons in a week followed by a 10k and several 5k races, another half marathon race was the last thing I had planned on doing but as usual my competitive streak got the better of me and reason and common sense went out of the window!
Coming into the race I wasn’t exactly in peak condition. Minor niggles were proving an irritant and I hadn’t trained for the distance because of the late entry. Add that to the fact that my overeating was starting to catch up with me and it wasn’t exactly a recipe for a PB but regardless that was the target and sub 1.36 was where I wanted to be. Psychologically I felt strong, if not physically and I hoped that would be enough to pull me through.
A dry mouth caused by insufficient water intake due to problems with parking and a rush to the start (luckily Dawn and Steve came to my aid with a much-needed slug of water) left me a little worried about dehydration on the start line.
A congested start area on the Quayside meant that a little jostling needed to be done over the first half mile to find some space. Chip timing was on offer so there was no issue there but (minor running etiquette gripe alert!!) I do wish that runners who know they are going to run a slower pace would line up further back to avoid the dancing round runners that invariably has to be done at the start. Don't mean to offend anyone but common sense should prevail and I certainly wouldn’t start with the sub 5 and 6 min mile guys at the front and impede them as they set on their way. Pacing flags at the start similar to the ones used in the London marathon might help.
The field started to string out as we headed alongside Conwy River towards Deganwy Beach and the West Shore of Llandudno. You could taste the salty air and after an ill-advised cooked breakfast with salty bacon that wasn’t particularly welcome.
The plan (if you could call it that) was to push hard over the first 5 miles to try to put some distance between me, Steve and Kev, who I knew would both be the main competition for the first finishing Biddulph runner. I’m quite strong on the climbs so knew if I had a decent lead at this point then I would hopefully be able to push on up the Orme and hang on in the second half of the race to come in first from the BRC runners.
The first 5 miles from a pacing perspective were too fast and the plan didn’t work because Steve was right on my shoulder and Kev was only a hundred metres back when we got to the Orme. A high 5 from my boy Thomas gave me a much-needed energy boost before the steady climb of 2 miles to the summit which was actually my favourite part of the race. I knew I would be strong and managed to put a little more distance between the guys and myself. At the summit I wasn’t looking forward to the long run down, the stress on your quads shouldn’t be underestimated and I could never shake off the fact that I knew Steve and Kev weren't too far behind me and I was tiring badly, totally unlike the Congleton Half where I felt stronger as the race went on.
Steve passed me on the run down at about the 8 mile point and he steadily edged away over the last 5 miles. My quads were shot on the way down towards West Shore and I knew the run back in to Conwy was going to be hard. I fully expected Kev to pass me at any point from 10 miles onwards and he duly obliged at 11 miles and I just couldn’t respond and he looked strong on the way in. The last mile is usually where I like to push hard but I had nothing left in the tank and towards the end I was looking over my shoulder for Nigel. It felt like I was running in treacle for that last few miles and I was just glad to get it over and done with in 1.38.24, still my second best half marathon time but I know I should have been nearer 1.35 if I had run a smarter race.
A big well done too to the other Biddulph Club Runners, a brilliant turnout and the level of competition is great at all levels. That can only help us all become better runners which at the end of the day is why we all do it. That’s mirrored with PB’s for Dawn and Nigel [Lindop] and excellent first runs over the distance for Karen and Janet plus a brilliant 2nd placed age group finish for Pat. Hats off to all.
PS - Steve and Kev I will get you next time ;-)
below which highlight my pacing problems on the day.
Langley 7 -3rd November 2012
As this was my first race running as a member of Biddulph Running Club, I thought I would submit a small report on the Langley 7 that I ran on Saturday.
Previous to this race I had run just 1 race before of the same distance – the St Thomas 7 back in September where I clocked 1 hour 5 minutes. I felt that I had improved my running quite a bit since then, and so my target for this race was to break 1 hour.
The weather conditions where perfect at the start of the race, the sky was blue, the sun was out, and there was a nice cool wind around as the firework went off to mark the start of the race.
I started right at the back of the pack as I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way being a novice to this sort of stuff. The first mile was slightly down hill as we twisted our way through the quiet village of Langley, and I hit the first mile point in a time of 07:38, so I had high hopes for a sub 1 hour time. I completed the second mile in 08:52, so was still on target, but then came the hilly section – the never ending hilly section! For anyone who has ever completed the Mow Cop killer mile, then this is the way I would describe miles 3 and 4 of this course! Mile 3 took me 10:27 to complete, and mile 4 a whopping 12:11, at which point my hopes of breaking an hour had completely gone out of the window. Thankfully after the 4 mile marker the rest of the course was either flat or down hill, meaning I put in the final 3 miles at around 8 minute mile pace, resulting in a final time of 1:02:30.
Although I have not had much experience with many different courses, I would say that this was a really challenging run, and I suspect it would be a nightmare in bad weather conditions. The views at the top of the climb were great though, and it all felt worth it at the finish line. No certificate or medal at the end of the race, but instead a nice cold bottle of Pedigree Ale, which I enjoyed later that evening. Overall a well organized race, with good support from the marshals and spectators. I would happily have another go at this next year.
Sandbach 10k, 14 October 2012
This race is one of the races on the 'club champ' list so it was a little disappointing at the start to find we had only nine members out representing BRC. Having said that, to those who ducked out: good call! The 1st and last kilometres are the only off-road sections of the course and from last year's pleasant trot thru open field, wild flowers and trail became this year a scramble through a muddy, soggy quagmire - probably due to global warming. I certainly felt there was more C02 about than usual. More later. This meant starting the road section with an extra 50kg or so of something stuck to each foot. It wasn't that nice kind of quagmire either - unlike the infamous bogs section at the Keswick/Derwent Water 15k which, although deeper and longer lasting, somehow sucked, squelched then cleaned your running shoes and, with a tip of its hat, bid bon voyage! to each runner as they successfully pushed through its tricky peril. At one point in these bogs a lad just in front of me sank one leg in far as his thigh, but he pulled out, clean as a whistle and the quagmire bade him a wink and a nice farewell. No, this Sandbach stuff was the kind specially made by cattle and tractors, and four legs or four wheel drive would have been the choice. As it was I had two legs and a slick new pair of Nikes which had about as much grip as, well, a slick pair of Nikes on mud really. With Craig W running so well recently I knew I'd have to be at least as good as last year to have a chance of pipping him at the finish. Sadly, within the first km I knew it wasn't my day; Craig slipped and slithered with skill down thru the field and already had 25yds on me by the time I got to the road - Kev was a short distance behind but not so far that the elastic could be broken. I still had some hope of catching Craig when his pace slowed slightly at the drinks station - but it wasn't to be. My worrying lack of energy allowed Kev to ease in front at about 7km and there's nothing I could do. Nearly two minutes slower at the finish line than last year's effort. I'd like to blame the mud but, although it caused some minor grief, it's no excuse for the poor performance (I'm working on another, more plausible excuse as I write - watch this space :-) ). It's the last time I phone that Lance Armstrong's Doctor to see what Mr A. took to ride all the Tours so incredibly well: cranberry juice + PSP22 energy powders (orange flavour) certainly didn't work for me - although I did feel I could foam at the mouth anytime I fancied it!
Well done to all the other BRC finishers - some of whom ran their first 10k race.
Craig Walker kindly sent in this report for the Macclesfield Half Marathon
Sunday September 30th 10am start....Macclesfield.
Half Marathon PB attempt.
After a week of mammoth eating sessions (not a literal mammoth though, far too hairy and extinct) I woke up at 7.20am surprisingly bright and not feeling like Elvis after a deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwich fest. I was a little nervous in anticipation of my first half marathon since the disaster that was this year's Potters Arf, keen to prove to myself that I could still post a half decent time.
For the Potters race I set off far too quickly, pushing over the first 5 miles after a long injury lay off and only a few weeks back running. I paid for it later in the race by staggering in, dehydrated in 1hr 56mins, my worst time in several years. At one point I had said to my brother, who was running along with me for a couple of miles, that if I went over 2 hours I would quit running forever! [ glad you didn't! ed.]
Luckily I just about made the finish line in time, helped by my eldest son Thomas running the last few hundred metres with me and was thankfully able to carry on with my running.
This time, determined never to repeat this type of performance again, I made several changes in my training. Firstly and most importantly implementing a proper training plan, aided by a newly purchased GPS watch to focus my training. I also made an overdue purchase of some orthotics to help with my ropey right shin and set out to break my PB at the Macc Half.
I arrived at the Macclesfield athletics track where the race was to start about half an hour before the race. The traffic for the car parks was heavy but well marshalled. I was ushered into a nearby car park and found a space no problem and was off to the start for a warm up on the track with 20 minutes still left to the gun.
The start was a lap and three-quarters of the running track and then off out onto the roads for the start of the proper work. The route was a nice rural course, very undulating as you would expect for a rural course but with plenty of downhill to go with the inevitable uphill.
The conditions were blustery and I seemed to be running into a head wind for the whole race (always the head wind never a tail wind, why is that???) but the rain held off for the most part which was good and the temperature was perfect for distance running.
My tactics for the day were to push hard on the downhill and flat parts of the route to make up for the time that would be lost on the climbs, particularly the 2 mile climb from miles 10-12.
I was worried at mile 6 that I had covered the first 5 miles too fast as I started to feel heavy legged (the same feeling I would usually expect after 10 miles or so) and indeed this didn't ease off for the rest of the race.
Thankfully I train a lot around Mow Cop so hills are more than familiar to me and I was making good ground on the climbs and overtook many runners on the uphill sections, which is always good for morale. Despite feeling a little heavy legged I was able to maintain a pace within my target average of 7.38 min/miles by pushing on the downhill to recover what I lost on the climbs.
The race was superbly marshalled and four drinks stations were positioned out on the course although the cups were tricky to drink out of on the move. Still they did the trick and kept me suitably hydrated as I pushed on.
As I hit 11 miles my slowed pace on the 10-12 mile climb led me to believe I would not make my 1 hr 39 mins target and a PB. Thankfully I had miscalculated and realised as much when I ran past the 12 mile point in 1 hr 31 mins . Freshly invigorated by the thought of a PB I dug deep and pushed hard for the last mile and was pleasantly surprised by my pace, covering the final mile in 7 min 17 secs.
The finish was on the 100 metre straight back on the running track and the prize a nice technical tee shirt (and PB), much more useful than a medal which usually end up in the kids toy boxes.
Overall it was an enjoyable, friendly event, made much more pleasant by the solid organisation and I would definitely take part again. Shame it wasn't traffic free but the police were on hand to ensure that junctions were blocked and traffic directed sensibly. All in all, a good way to spend a Sunday morning.
Only seven days until I do it all over again in Congleton......
This one just in from Dawn after a particularly memorable Roaches run in the Summer Series
.......Felt compelled to write this one up!
Tracy put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard in these modern techno times) and scribed a race report for the K-Swiss 10k in Manchester.......
It has been well documented in the annals of time my indifference to the fair sport known as football....surely not! I hear you say.....so I was a little surprised to find myself on a grey June morning trotting around a stadium dedicated to that very ‘sport’. I find difficulty in describing it as such, as it can only referred to as 22 men with a bag of wind and have long since decided that the action of rolling around on the floor whilst checking to see if anyone is paying attention is reminiscent of a toddler having a tantrum. Best course of action.........ignore. I digress (apologies) from the purpose of this which is to chronicle the event today, which was a first for our club. The promise of a meet and greet with the legend which is Ron Hill created much interest and Dawn's persuasive nature meant that a figure in the teens would be turning out in club colours. However, injury and shocking straight down rain at sunrise meant that the numbers were dwindling. A merry band of intrepid runners (do I mean merry?) left the BVLC at stupid o’clock, sat-navs and maps at the ready. Arriving in good time meant that we had an opportunity to track down the world famous runner and seal the deal Dawn had been cultivating, a photo opportunity. Ron was just as pleased to take part as we were and the only sticking point was no one had a camera...doh! Thank heavens for modern smart phones.
The force of nature/God/sods law which was on our side today meant that instead of the dowsing we had expected it was a little windy and overcast but otherwise ideal. The course bobbed and weaved, using more cones than I’ve seen unless on a contra flow on the M5 and took us round the very structure [do you mean the world famous Ethiad Stadium there Trace? ed] to which I have referred. Some areas of undulation and a course which was quite poorly supported should have gone against his race’s likeability score but I found myself quite entranced and realised....almost too late.....that I had gone off a little quickly and came to the conclusion that I may well pay for that later. At 6k the sight of the leading men finishing their second lap and heading back into the athletic track was a little disconcerting but as I headed round the cone chicane once more my spirit was lifted when I realised that the second lap was shorter that the first. Little time left to wonder at the skills of the architects/craftsmen in the creation of some of the beautifully imposing mills on the route, now serving a purpose other than industry and some sadly standing idle but both starkly contrasting with the boxy dwellings dotted around the course. Time to stop musing and get on with that quality mile I’d been fantasising about. With a nice bit of undulating on a dual carriageway the course wound its way back on the athletics track we had started on and a stadium finish, worthy of any major athletics event. All told a good race and one I would consider again.
Great report Tracy - keep 'em coming.
A shorter one (than his norm) by Steve about the same race .....
I'll make this a short(ish) one. I must admit I wasn't particularly looking forward to this race - the thought of running around the dark satanic mills and backstreets of Manchester didn't infuse me with motivation. However the reasons to take part considerably outweighed those against: (i) the prospect of a good number of BRC members taking part (ii) a photo-opportunity with Dr. Ronald Hill - former world marathon record holder (as a claim to fame I have held the shoes he wore during that record breaking race - he did a guest appearance one Saturday morning at Bourne Sports - the shoes were little more than flexible plywood with canvas uppers) and (iii) starting and finishing in the stadium of the 2011/12 premier league champions - oh, it was also the venue for the 2002 commonwealth games. Disappointment number one - quite a few of the BRC members didn't make it there - it's a shame when so many get niggles just before the same event. The biggest disappointment was that the start and finish was not in the Ethiad Stadium at all (like I was led to believe) but in some second rate practice track just over the car park. Stadium finish my a***. What a K-swiz that was. Perhaps I didn't read the small print, I dunno. Having said all that Doc. H was more than happy to oblige and stood with the BRC runners for a nice group snap. It was good to know that Ron knew of Biddulph as he used to run with George Rhodes - the legendary local athlete of yesteryear and car dealer empresario.
During the race, unlike Tracy who has a much better eye for these things, I didn't notice the old mills' architecture. The only structures I noticed were the steel skeletons of two rather sad looking disused gasometers which we seemed to be forever circling around. Even though these things were clearly long out of service I swear I smelled proper fuel gas on passing them. Homeless gas I guess. I was a little distracted trying to work out the scrap iron value of their remains. The course was pretty much flat with just the occasional steady fall or rise. I diced for a couple of miles with Stockport Harrier girl - I thought it was a Stafford Harrier or perhaps a Congleton Harrier - they all wear the same goldie coloured vests - it's a Harrier thing. Talking of vests: did anyone notice the Black/gold outfits of Chorlton Runners? Looked just like ours - apart from 'Chorlton Runners' on the back. Very confusing tho when trying to locate team mates in a crowd of Chorltons ( & there was a lot of em!)
I did feel reasonably OK - perhaps not as good as in Llandudno the week before but certainly much much better than the Market Drayton a month or so ago where I really just wanted to go back to bed - and that aint a good feeling when you're in the starting pen. So with all that I thought I could well be on for a PB in Manchester. Those positive thoughts were still on as I was approaching the entrance to the 'stadium(????)' for the finish, '39.55' my watch read - great! Just about 400m to go and I'll be there! 90 seconds should do it and a good PB to boot. Nearly two minutes later I crossed the finish line - where did all the time go? I must've walked somewhere or fell asleep along the track.Turned out I'd equalled my PB ( from Mkt Drayton strangely enough) but the good thing was I felt a whole lot better about it.
Well done to all BRC members who ran - many of whom achieved a good PB for the distance. Would I do the race again? Ask again next year.
PS. It was nice to see that the Ethiad's Man City goalie, Joe Hart, had such a good European Cup campaign - probably the best player of the England side. He's done really well for himself since leaving his eponymous role in Dawson's Creek (it is him - isn't it?). I've wanted to use the word 'eponymous' for ages.
Once again Hayley Martin trekked to the land of thistle and whiskey to complete her 4th (or is it 5th?) marathon and her second 26.2er in the space of 6 weeks! Here's another great report and some top tips for next year ....
Well a little bird tells me that some of you guys are signing up for the Edinburgh marathon next year.....so I thought I'd go check out the route for you and feed back .
Here's my informative report filled with tips to get you round next year.
You perhaps might like to do it a little faster than my time of 5:37:09.... I'll come out with my excuses for the embarrassing time a little later. But first allow me to share what I've learned :-)
1) If you need the loo on route please avoid the prickly gorse along the lane at mile 17 .( there is plenty of other undergrowth for you to use at your leisure.) I have marked the particular bush in question with a balloon so you know to avoid that area next year .please don't ask me about this one, just take my word for it .
2) For about 8 miles along the route you will meet runners coming in the opposite direction. Luckily you run close enough to them for you to be able to interact and smile at them as we all run merrily along. I find that slipping the odd gel shot to a few dashing young men with my phone number sellotaped to the packaging works a treat and is much cheaper than the plenty of fish dating site.
3) Take money for chips ?you will see them, you will smell them, you will want them. You have been warned!
4) Oh just to go back to tip number 1?.i know we all used leaves as kids.but take some loo roll- we are adults now
5) Don't tip Gatorade or other sports drinks over you head to cool yourself down. Yer. Like I did that (tuts loudly) really! How stupid do you think I am ?
6) If you run with an iPod (against the rules but I'm a naughty girl) yes if you run with an iPod , please realize that it is your headphone wire that you can see in your peripheral vision not the tyre of a bike that is following you the whole bleeding route!
7) Don't steal ice lollies from kids spectating you might think you can run faster than their dads- but trust me after 24 miles you wont be able to .
8) Hot day? Need sun block ? long hair? Tie it back and rub your cream in well bearded women are so 1980's
9) Always ask first before you rush to help a fellow runner with a groin strain. Really ! some people are so touchy!
10) If you grab some Vaseline that the marshals give out make sure you tell the spectators what your actually doing. I found rubbing it in intimate rubbing places got weird looks oh and err don't make 'oooohhhh' noises when your doing it that's even worse!
11) Ladies if it's a really hot day make sure you don't accidently pin your race number to both your top and your bra. If you get to a point where you feel you wanna whip your top off in the heat you'll come unstuck. Not that anyone runs in just their bra ! (Dawn- if your reading this please don't tell anyone what you saw in that half we did J)
12) If you must rub your eyes after eating a sticky gel shot and getting it everywhere, I find it generally take about 10-15 minutes for your eyes to water enough to un-stick your eyelids. If you are going to try this I recommend doing it as you pass Musselburgh race course at around mile 9. You'll find the white railings around the course adequate enough for you to hang onto and guide you round for a few hundred feet.
And finally .... my final tip!
If you wanna feel like you have run the marathon without actually going to the trouble of it, try hitting each toe with a sledge hammer, throwing yourself off the garage roof and landing on your back , and then once again on your head, (just for good measure), then get a good friend to drive a small car over your thighs, buy a medal off eBay and there you go #
Well I was gonna come out with all my excuses for my slow times etc now wasn't I , but somehow it doesn't feel appropriate and maybe its ok for me to cut myself some slack and just be glad I made it round . It was fun , very hot and I finished . I got to experience all the best parts of running a marathon and lived to tell the tale (see doctor ! told you you were wrong again!!)
Marathon number 5 ? you betcha :-)
Love to you guys :-)
Hayley Martin xxx
Firstly from new member Michelle .....
I've never done a big organised charity event like this before so the Manchester 10k was a great experience. I felt my pace flowed easier than the Market Drayton 10k the weekend before but my time was a bit slower and I came in at 57.33. I loved the atmosphere, the crowds and the music - the city was really buzzing. The climb towards Manchester United didn't seem too much of a climb - and I avoided falling over!!
I feel strongly about the appeal I was raising money for and I work for the charitable organisation too. I was fundraising for the SMCVS community transport service to buy a new community mini bus - a fantastic service using volunteer drivers that allows older and vulnerable people in Staffordshire Moorlands access social events such as luncheon clubs and meetings. It is also used by other voluntary and community groups as a low cost service.
My running has really improved since training with the club but I don't have any other challenges set so suggestions would be good with not too many hills!!
~ Michelle :-)
And another short one from Julie .....
My time for yesterday was 52.16 and new PB by 8 seconds. It was a good day out and finally I ran a race in decent weather!
A week after the 'London Six' did theirs Julie Harris completed her second 26.2 mile grueller: The Greater Manchester Marathon. It's official :Julie has a talent for running long distances in the rain - or is it a talent of attracting rain to a race? - she could be a rain god (anyone remember 2011 Potter's Arf?).
Fresh off the press - here's Julie's 2nd marathon story .....
Race day had arrived and I opened the curtains hoping to find the weather forecasters had been wrong but unfortunately they had got it spot on. 4 degrees C, driving rain and gales force gusts of wind. I did contemplate for 2 seconds going back to bed, but no, I had trained too hard for this to let arctic weather in April put me off. The hailstorm as I drove into Manchester did make me question my sanity.
The hardest part of my race day preparation was choosing what to wear. With hindsight I think I got it right but if I had owned some long trousers that I had tested over 20 miles then I would have worn those.
The race was well organised at the start with convenient parking and the female changing tent offered good shelter from the elements, especially with so many people packed into it - it was the only time I was warm all day.
We were soon under way and I felt good, it was a relief to get moving and warmed up. My plan was to 9min/mile for as long as possible and I managed to do this until 13 miles. The course wasn't too crowded and my running was never impeded by the other runners. The support on the course was fantastic and I was amazed by the number of people who turned out to watch and cheer us on. They must have been so cold.
All was going well, I was relaxed and enjoying the atmosphere but around mile 7 I began to feel the familiar pain in my knee that I had experienced in London. This surprised me as I had only had a problem with it once since London. This time though I didn't panic and ignored it as it wasn't painful at this stage. I met someone I knew on the course and stayed with her for a while and then I began to look forward to seeing Dawn and Rachel around mile 11. I had missed Louise at the start.
I went through 10 miles in 1h 30, still on target. I began to realise that my knee hurt most when the camber on the road was steep or I was running around corners. So I ran as much as possible in the centre of the road and took the smoothest line around the bends [ ha!- the sacred racing line - ed ]
Altrincham was probably the best part of the course as it was like being an Olympic athlete! There were so many supporters lining the course in the town centre and by chance I was running on my own and the cheers were fantastic. Just past the main centre I saw Dawn and Rachel, they were great and gave me a real boost. Rachel ran with me and Dawn can give Nigel a run for his money in the cheering stakes! Thank you both of you.
There was a slight uphill section after this and I was still strong. Half way came and I went through in 1h 59 a bit down on pace but ok. My knee was causing quite a bit of bother at this stage and that was when I decided not to pace myself anymore but to enjoy the experience and hopefully come in at a respectable time.
Then came Dunham Massey! We went along a narrow country lane for a mile or so, it was great as it had high hedges on both sides and offered us a little respite from the wind. The lane got wetter and wetter and at one stage we all ran into each other as we tried to negotiate the puddles! The lane gave way to a short section of cobbles!! Not the best running surface after 14 miles but that was nothing compared to the dirt track afterwards that had turned into a lake. The muddy puddles where ankle deep and we were all filthy. I must admit I enjoyed this section but it wasn't conducive to a fast time. I must have run 11min/miles through that section.
The hardest part of the course was between 17 and 21 as there were few spectators and it was just a slog to get back into the city. I was still feeling strong though. I had to concentrate on keeping my leg relaxed to keep away the pain. So many people were cramping up now, the cold was affecting everyone and I had made a decision at the start that no matter how I felt I wasn't going to walk in this weather and I am very proud to say that I didn't walk a step. I even had to double back at one stage to get a gel as mine had a hole in it and was only half full.
Back in the city I was overtaking lots of runners as I had continuously from mile 13. I was extremely cold and could hardly move my arms and fingers. The wind was dreadful now. Around mile 24 there were gusts that almost stopped me in my tracks. That was when I saw Louise and the banner she had made really helped me to forget about the wind. Thank you Louise. I wanted to speed up but every time I tried my left leg would complain so I continued to relax until mile 26 then I speeded up. Seeing my family in the finishing straight was brilliant and I had maintained a huge smile on my face for the last mile. I crossed the finish line in 4h13.48 The day before the marathon I wouldn't have been happy with that but with the terrible conditions and my knee I am so pleased. I sobbed when I got over the finish line and worried that people would think I was in distress but I was elated and had finally put the demons of London behind me.
I would recommend Manchester as a good marathon to run. Dunham Massey would have been a lovely part of the course if the weather conditions hadn't been so extreme. The support was amazing. The only problem yesterday was the baggage collection. I found my bag relatively easily but some runners took up to an hour to find theirs and some never did. In those conditions it was dangerous as we were all on the verge of hypothermia if not already suffering with it. It is a problem that is easily rectified and I am sure they will have it sorted for next year. Apart from that as a first time event it was well organised.
Would I run another marathon? Of course !
London Marathon 2012
Four reports from the London Marathon vets....... thanks to Rachel and Hayley, Christine and Kev for these race write-ups.....
Here's Rach's story .....
Hayley Martin and Kev Shuff were the 'lucky ones' to win the draw for the the 2 club places in this year's London Marathon. Here's a great write-up of the event from Hayley ....
Just wanted to write a few words of thanks to every one at the club for helping with my training for the London marathon and for letting me have the club place [you won it fair & square Hayley - I was there ! ~ ed] - I felt very honoured and privileged. Apologies for my embarrassing time ! It is actually a pb for me - (though I might be better keeping quiet about that in case I can trick anyone into believing I've got a sub 3 hr one last month:-))
I think I got slightly distracted by the fact that there were so many jelly babies and sweets given out, pieces of orange, I had 2 bananas and a packet of crisps- all given out by the crowd. I strongly suspect that I came back a stone heavier than when I started out! I managed to save a gingerbread man's life - he couldn't tell, because of his costume, that his shoe lace was undone - I sprinted forwards to inform him. Also managed to get a cute guy's phone number (don't tell my husband :-)) and HIGH-5 about 200 people- as you can tell my mind was truly focused on the job in hand - which was running ....I think :-)
I actually had the dream race - nothing went wrong, I felt comfortable all of the way round and with my hand on my heart it felt like I had only run about 5 miles - I'm sure I didn't feel the first 20 miles - I keep checking the splits to see if I took a short cut :-). I think that's down to the crowds though, after spending many hours trudging the streets on 5 hour training runs to be suddenly surrounded by thousands of people, you totally forget your running and think you stepped into a carnival . London - the only place where you can run 26.2 miles and it feel like 5 !
I'm not really sure how long to make this race report to be honest (sorry if I am boring you) shall I shut up now.... or talk about Jeff Galloway's running techniques that helped me to get round? He advocates taking short walk breaks early in the marathon to give certain muscle groups a rest from the constant pounding....thus saving time and fatigue later on in the race. Most, if not all of you guys reading this, probably wont need to do that as your ''proper runners'' ! but for a ''back of the pack'' runner like myself his advise was invaluable and left me with more energy and enjoying the race and I know I can shave many more minutes off my London marathon time using his techniques. I'm looking forward to trying them out when I do Edinburgh marathon in just over 3 weeks. I know I could have done better and gone faster. I wanted to push on throughout the race , but had to hold back as I'm never really quite sure how my heart is going to react on these longer marathon runs, so again apologies for taking my time round the course but I'm sure you'll understand. Once again thank you for your support and for being a wonderful friendly running club :-)
Lots of love......
~Hayley Martin :-) xx
And another one from Christine...................
My marathon story..
“Gruelling” is one word which sums up my marathon experience of 2012. My first marathon experience, London 2011, was a good one – I felt strong and fresh. I expected something similar this year. My training with Sara – accompanied by Nigel, Gerald and others, had been a pleasure – really! However, from virtually the first step of this year’s event, I ached. I was too hot, too uncomfortable, went off too fast, petered out and struggled my way round. At 10 miles I felt very tired. At 18 I was so ready to stop, having to force myself to keep plodding on. A little bit of encouragement in the last 5 miles was passing hundreds of runners who were now walking. I kept on running, putting one foot in front of the other. I couldn’t believe it when the finish line was actually reached and I could at last stop. Hooray! I have never been so pleased to finish a race! It was lovely to have the support of family and friends – thank you to you all – sorry I was such a misery! I cheered up at the Chinese afterwards!
Let it be on the record that I will give myself a break next year!
Very many thanks to everyone who sponsored me – Macmillan Cancer relief has over £1000 extra to spend helping people thanks to your generosity.
I look forward to supporting others in the race in 2013!
Must be a club record for reporting on one race - Kev rounds off the reports for London 2012......
Think my fello marathons runners have said it all ! Here's my summary : Getting to the start ! Fiasco...Start to 22 miles Great.........Apart from the 3 ladies walking after a mile !!! (somebody please tell me why? ) 22 -24 Giving up running.......24 to finish, met a chap from forest park and the little chat gave me the push i needed. The boost at 10 & 18 were awesome, massive thanks to all the BRC folk who were there, you did the club proud. A pb for the course for me so i got to be happy.
Will i do anymore ? at this point i really dont know.
Had a great day on the Coniston 14 yesterday. Good running weather: dry, clear and cool. Well organised race with good atmosphere. Really pleased to have finished in 1:44:04. Could you please post on the website sometime as this is such a good race to encourage others to venture into.
Great results for Kev and Rachel in the Stafford '20'. Kev sent in this race report.....
Stafford 20 !! ..........
What can I say!? Got to start by sayin what a difference a week makes! Last week's 18 mile run round Brownlow was in sleet, rain, wind and bloody cold. (still don't know why we do it ) This weeks race 15 degrees and sunshine, Beyond me.
Myself and Rach arrived in Stafford around 9-25 giving us alittle time for all the race prep stuff, right socks, parts of the body covered with plasters, ( thats me ) lucozade,tiger stuff ( not me ) gels and everything else. Anyway next over to registration to collect t-shirt I thought! thinking they would have a list of entrants we didn't bother to take are numbers ! mistake !! This years race momento race mug,the t shirts we had spotted were the Alsager 5 shirts not given out. Anyway the race itself, have to admit I did say to Rachel that I wouldn't race ( sorry Rach ) couldn't resist it. The first 8 mile lap went really well even tho I still forgot how many steady climbs there are.
Lap 2, 6 mile lap going well also right up to way you pass the university where for some reason the applause got a little louder, nice I thought just the boost I need ! only to find out a few seconds later that the applause was for the winner completing his 3rd lap and entering the finishing straight :-( have to admit that did throw me a bit I thought I was running well enough not to get lapped.
Lap 3,after getting my thoughts back to my running I manage to get to mile 15 pretty well,ok i thought just a club run to go,mile 16 ok keep it up,mile 17 not so easy, good drink bite on the chewy bar, Mile 18 and 19 were a real struggle but I manage to drag myself up the nasty little hill at the finish.
While crossing the finish i herd one of the ladies say it was under 2-35. I new I had had a good run but wasn't expecting a minute and a half under my Pb for the course. 19 years that one stood,so pleased with 1-34.05.
One special mention to Rachel, 20 miles is a hell of along way to run none stop,to get round in under 3 hours for your first attempt is very special indeed.Really well done. x. London will be a breeze.
Sorry again I ran off and did my own thing.
Just to finish , a great day for a run and 2 pbs for BRC........
Steve sent in this little piece about the Cheadle Spring 5. PS. If you've got something urgent to do - best read this later ......
Shorts or longs? Vest or long sleeve? T-shirt? Or Antarctic polar gear?. These were the thoughts which were bouncing around my head as I drove to The Cheadle 'Spring' 5m. The day was not so much like Spring this year - more like a deep and dark December. Constant rain in the morning turned to constant sleet as I passed the Jones and Shuff bathroom emporium at Kingsley Moor. (You didn't know Kev and me ran a Loo and Bidet business together? Neither did I so I'm going to ask them for dividends). I hadn't prepared specifically for a 5m race - not that I really prep properly for any race- but a good night's sleep, porridge, oatcakes and cheese for breakfast were boding well for a reasonable run. The only iffy thing was the weather - but that would be same for everyone so I couldn't complain. After collecting the race number at race HQ (some kind of youth centre hall which was dry, warm and a little bit steamy all at the same time) the decision was made - it would be the club vest over a long sleeve with shorts instead of longs - which I figured would get wet and heavy during the race. Race number was successfully pinned on with 5 - yes 5! pins to prevent the sail effect - and on pretty straight for me too! A woolly hat and gloves were added for extra comfort and could be easily removed should an overheating incident occur.
Toni and Rob arrived shortly after - the only other two from BRC to take part here. A little disappointing that only 3 from BRC were there but never mind. I began to think I was a bit overdressed when some of the other runners - esp the elite girls - were in just vest & shorts and some very daring ones in crop tops. Hee Hee, I saw these same girls on the start line standing around for 5 or 6 minutes freezing their BradPitts off so who had the last laugh? Well, they did really cuz they kicked my butt in the race - more later. Did I mention it was sleeting? Anyways, back to the event. I knew I'd have to run near a PB to stay in front of Rob - who laughably said last Thursday that he'd be happy with under 38mins. A comedian this fella - he goes faster than that on club nights. Other concerns were me old nemesis Stan Winterton and I'd really like to get the better of Miss Deb Thomas of Trentham RC who, although she put in a sick note yesterday at the Bourne's breakfast run, still said she'd beat me "no matter what". Well now, we'd see about that - I wasn't going to make the same mistake as last year where, feeling good in the first mile I went past her only to see her easily cruise by with a mile to go and I was too low on gas to respond. No, the plan was to keep Deb in sight and hopefully have enough left in the final mile to reverse last year's debacle. Stan was alongside me on the start line in his signature red & white striped woolly hat. For anyone who doesn't know Stan he's a M65+ runner and a bit of a local hero, it's irritating and inspiring at the same time if you happen to be about the same race speed as him ( I mean, he trumps me by over 20 years ! ).
At the gun Deb went off like a rocket (flimsy vest and shorts) and I tucked in behind Stan (wearing much more appropriate attire) but only for a bit, Rob was breathing down my neck too. A little bit of luck dodging between the early crowd of runners saw me move in front of Stan - and Deb wasn't too far in front after her initial burst off the line. Everything was going reasonably OK although the old legs felt strangely cold as we turned off the main road in to the country lanes and I'd been breathing a little too hard for comfort but I put that down to what I thought was a good pace. It was a mistake to glance at the watch at the 2mile marker - 14.00 exactly. Damn! With how knackered I was beginning to feel it should have been 30 or 40 seconds quicker. It all went a bit downhill from there - partly the terrain but mainly my mental & physical state. My normal breathing rhythm went to pot and Deb just pulled gradually away whilst I felt that a red and white woolly hat was imminently about to mirror, signal and manoeuvre right past. The anticipated moment of overheating and hat removal never happened - instead replaced with a cold forehead with a bonus of wet feet as we crossed several flooded sections of lane. The last one and half miles were the worst - mostly a gradual climb on a main road. The marshals were good tho - giving encouragement at every opportunity. At the turn-off into the side street for the last quarter mile I glanced back down the main road only to see Mr W gaining fast. I really tried to speed up for that last quarter mile but in reality it probably meant I didn't slow down. Luckily the finish came before Stan got me. Deb had run a stormer [33.15], I'd been well beaten. Next year tho......
Through the finish funnel, feeling like Roger Bannister after his sub-4 mile (but without the joy of a new world record to go with it), I picked up a piece of metal on a ribbon and, in my incoherent state, missed another freebee which apparently consisted of some sort of powder sachet selection. Magic powder I needed most of all at that moment. Back at an increasingly steamy Race HQ, Toni ( having finished in a grand time of 37.55), Rob (34.45 - big well done there Rob ) and myself decided it might be novel to see the presentations. Clap. Clap. Applause Applause. The first 3 semi-clad lads and girls collected their just rewards. But the girls still looked cold ( ha ha ) . Then there was quite a few prizes for the 'vets' categories. You could have knocked me over with a feather when they called my name for 2nd place M40-44 cat. Hee Hee - I won an £8 Bourne's voucher [don't spend it all at once! ed], that's never happened before. Official finish time was 34.01, 10 seconds or so quicker than last year but feeling 10 times worse. Will I do it again. Definitely..... maybe.......if only for revenge.