On the Run Awards Edition
Justin Burrell Ι Jeanette Cheetham Ι Steve Crane Ι Caroline Diggle Ι Gill Fullen Ι Lynne Greenard Ian Hammett Ι Angie Kay Ι Ronnie Lawley Ι Jenny Lovesey Ι Richard Piron Ι Mark Tinkler Ι Sarah Wanden Magazine Editor:
It has befallen me to edit this year’s issue of the club magazine and I have to say, it’s been a very pleasant experience; much more than anticipated. You Harriers have, as usual, been very helpful and generous with your time, submitting articles on a wide variety of subjects and sporting events. Can I say a huge thank you to all of you; you’ve made my job very easy. It just so happens, that whilst I was compiling material, a copy of the first ever Bedford Harriers magazine (1986) came into my possession and it makes very interesting reading. Some things seemed to be very familiar; even then, Norman Beckwith was on the committee (you do the maths), there was also a special interest group established for triathlon and the club colours of gold with black stripe had just been decided. However, at the end of the first year, the club had a membership of only 100 which, as you will know, has grown to over 500 today. I suspect those early founders had little idea of just how popular road running and consequently our club, would become. In these straitened times, of particular interest was the fact that subscriptions in 1986 were £17 per year which, adjusted to 2013 prices, works out at £72.76. So, in real terms, our club subscriptions are approximately 25% of what they were then! Even if you include the track pass of £64, the fees are not so different from those of ʻ86. You have to bear in mind that the club was based at Pilgrim School so there was no access at all to stadium facilities. When we add all the other benefits of being a Harrier (too many to list here), membership must be one of the few things that has gone down in price over a period of 27 years. Is our club Bedfordʼs best-kept secret? The other notable difference was that the first issue was basically a collection of committee reports and fixture lists - this was, after all, pre-computer days - and was pretty dry reading. Nothing at all like the more contemporary issues which are full of your amazing endeavours and achievements. I hope you will enjoy reading this one and find out what other Harriers have been up to over the past year and are inspired to have a go at something new for 2014. I know I am. Ooh! And donʼt forget to try your hand at the crossword. No peeking at the answers until youʼve really tried! Lynne Greenard Editor
Cathy Bowʼs race bike, she competed in triathlon nearly 20 years ago in the Ludlow Sprint Triathlon on her ʻState of the Artʼ Bedford Harriers sponsored bike. 1
Cryptic Crossword 2 3
6 7 8
10 11 12 13
15 16 17
ACROSS 3. Miserable Devonian bear? 5. We've pulled a few strings for the next race 6. Pile up the family vehicle (2 words) 9. Politician in the thick of it sheds light on a run (2 words) 10. Knight of the realm goes round and round 12. Make some noise for this dog's dinner (2 words) 13. This band is not so broad 14. Takes cakes to grandma in Oakley 15. This tug will keep you afloat (2 words) 17. Battle to get going (2 words) DOWN 1. This 'f' word will make you out of breath 2. On the middle of an island 4. Help to get Asian out of jail (2 words) 5. Intermittently rude run? 6. Countdown to dinner (2 words) 7. Instructors get everyone on board 8. Will this session help me build a house? 11. Time to put your hands in the water (3 words) 12. Loosening up in jail? 16. Exercise your legs in the school yard
Challenge Vichy Report
Jurassicman - A Tri Too Far... ?
Thunder Run 24
Jurassicman Extreme Triathlon
Greensands Ridge Relay
World Champion tri and duathlete
12 Months, 20 Countries, 11 Races
Ode to Running
British Triathlon Awards 2013
Bedford Sports Awards
Reflecting on the past 12 months, it has been particularly rewarding to observe the enormous number of members competing in events, locally, nationally and internationally. 31 club best times have been recorded over the year and countless PBs achieved. 37 members feature in this year’s Standard Awards scheme and those attending the awards night will know that the club has had its first ever Crystal Award winner. Continuing the subject of awards, 2013 saw the introduction of formalised criteria to recognise outstanding achievement that would otherwise pass unacknowledged.
UL R S T
NCE TR IA TA T IS
“Who are all these people and why are they asking me all these questions?” was recently spotted emblazoned on the front and back of a shirt worn by a certain race director. The significance? The club really does want its members to ask questions and make suggestions because it is only by these means that things can improve and move forward. After all, it is your club and your input can influence its future development. So, please, keep asking and suggesting. All recommendations will be considered, including those that advocate changing the club colours to black with pink polka dots, or was it pink with black polka dots? Belated ʻHappy New Yearʼ to one and all.
Bedford Harriers New Keith Hardy Award Club Man of the Year Trophy
This is one of the few opportunities available to thank the many members and their friends and families who have volunteered their services throughout the year. It is gratifying to note just how many members are prepared to give up their time and make the effort to help others. On behalf of the membership, may I offer grateful appreciation to all those who have volunteered. Long may your selflessness continue!
Steve Crane Chairman
Additionally a ʻRoll of Honourʼ has been compiled to recognise athletes completing a marathon, ultra run or iron distance triathlon. This ʻRoll of Honourʼ is displayed on the Bedford Harriersʼ website, as are the details of the ʻClub Special Awardsʼ.
Special Achievement Awards. These encompass exceptional or noteworthy achievements that do not fulfil the criteria of the Outstanding Performance Award.
Outstanding Performance Award. This recognises achievement at a very high level based on predetermined criteria.
ON RU TH A
ER N N
Entitled ‘Club Special Awards’ there are two categories:
Challenge Vichy Report ETU Long Distance Championship Sunday 1st September, 2013 by Angie Kay
We drove to Vichy via the Eurotunnel, passed through the traffic jams of Paris and headed out through the French countryside and just as we entered Vichy, the sat nav said ‘No’ and so it was a quick diversion into a garage and out came the iPhone - it picked us up and navigated us around the town to where we were staying. We were on the 4th floor and after several trips in the tiny lift, we managed to manoeuvre all our kit, bikes and food into the lovely apartment. After unpacking we made our way to the Pasta Party, a 20 minute walk down past the river, where the swim and the run would take place. We met up with some of the other GB team members and this is where we started to get nervous. Saturday, back down to the river and the Expo! We picked up our numbers and bought some kit, back to the flat to get sorted. Numbers on bikes, helmets, shoes adjusted, transition bags packed not once, but twice, new wheels on our bikes and then we were ready to go back and deposit all our kit. As we queued up at transition we were told we had to show our GB suits - oh dear - back to the flat we raced, put them on and returned in the nick of time. My pre-race prep is to paint my nails so that I sit down and relax! Garyʼs normal prerace prep is to dye his hair blonde so, the peroxide came out first and then the nail varnish! This would normally be yellow and black but this time it had to be red, white and blue! Not only did I paint my nails but also Garyʼs little fingers. Pasta dinner, a little beer and it was time for an early night. The alarm went off and we were both thinking, ʻshall we turn over and go back to sleepʼ? No, this was race day............. Kitted up, off to the race we went. Checked bikes, then the loo queue and, trying not to look nervous, walked to the river. Dawn was fast approaching and so was the start. After having several swim panic starts in my last few triathlons, I decided to start at the back of the swim with Gary beside me. It was a very wide start and once the starter horn had gone off it was time to get my head down and swim. I looked up to see what was happening in front of me and Gary said “Iʼm still here....” and he was. I saw an open space and went for it. I was so pleased with myself as I didnʼt feel any panic and was even laughing to myself as I felt surprisingly confident. Gary was glad to see me go as he knew that I was in the zone and he could then focus on his swim; a huge 2.4 miles! The first lap went smoothly and after entering the water for the second lap, the water became choppy with the mixture of the second wave swimmers and a speed boat going up and down. I loved the conditions but was concerned for Gary as heʼs not such a strong swimmer. Out the water, off to transition and out on the bike......... The weather was a bit cool and I was hoping that the ride would warm me up. There were a few hills out of Vichy and they certainly did the job. We went through some fantastic French countryside of woods, hills and along the sides of sunflower fields. The roads were well-marshalled and we had right-of-way all the time. After the first lap, the head wind came to visit! Just as well we were used to that from this summerʼs training in England! I really enjoyed the bike ride, and the aid stations, with all the usual goodies, were a welcome sight. On returning into Vichy we had a massive hill and then back into transition. As I got off my bike my legs almost collapsed, which made the supporters around laugh, so I had to have a serious talk with my lower limbs to tell them that they had to keep going - not letting on that they would be asked to run a marathon next! Running shoes on and a quick breath and a think...... Off I went knowing that I could run the first lap of 4. I did as we had planned and walked through the aid stations situated every 2k. Again they were a welcome sight and gave great support. Along the river, through parks and over 2 bridges the run was testing in places. We had to run through the finishing area every lap which was done, of course, with extra speed! Gary caught up with me at 3 miles and we went through an aid station together and then I watched him run off with his usual easy style! The 3rd lap was by far the hardest and by the 4th, I just kept on going, determined to finish in the light. I did - just - in 13:29 (3rd Lady in my age group) and Gary was there to see me in - he had to wait 1 hour as he finished in 12:24 in his first Long Distance Triathlon!
A great race, well organised and I would definitely recommend it.
by Sarah Wanden
The Harriers’ Thunder Run presence consisted of two teams of seven runners and our favourite solo nutter, Carla Jenkins. Some of us arrived at camp on Friday and were greeted by a wonderful sight; masses of colourful tents and feather flags of running clubs from all over the UK; a veritable Glastonbury for runners. The weather was scorching and the course nice and dry. A BBQ, some very questionable cookery skills and a few drinks set the evening off nicely, with much tactical team talk over the flames, followed by a reasonably early night. Race day morning arrived. It was clear and sunny, the runners in good spirits. So what better than a little local Parkrun to get our legs in the mood? Off we went to Conkers Parkrun (only 8 miles from the Thunder run site) a notso-surprising massive turnout of just under 400 runners! A nice gentle plod around was just what we needed. At 11am there was a pre-race briefing; we were warned that bad weather would be closing in later on in the evening. I think the actual words were something like “during the storm we can't advise you to keep on running. Ultimately it's up to you”. This made us chuckle! The atmosphere fizzed as the start time approached. At noon our first runners went out - it was very warm indeed. The first part of the course is nice and flat, then a sharp turn into the woods at about half a km leads into a pretty harsh ascent. This then comes out into a grassy area before returning to woods. At this point you find yourself running past the campsite - really good support from all the other clubs here, so a nice little boost. It's a bit undulating from here until about 5.5 km where you have another hill climb before hitting 'Conti Hill', which is a sharp hill emblazoned with Continental Tyres advertising. Apparently the fastest runner up this hill wins running shoes for his/her whole team. Once you have run (hopefully) this hill, you are led into a very twisty technical trail through the woods. Exposed tree trunks are the order of the day and you need your wits about you. At about
8km you leave the woods and arrive on a lovely ridge, which is a good photo opp spot, then a fast downhill and back through more campsite, leading you to a very sharp hill at 9.5km; fine the first time round, not so amusing in subsequent laps. Coming into the finish on any lap was an emotional feeling, whether in the sun or in deep, dark night. As promised, the weather turned dramatically in the late afternoon - from brilliant sunshine to apocalyptic thunder, lightning and rain. We carried on running getting soaked and the course was soon a quagmire of mud, hidden tree roots and slippery ascents. The whole course is on trail and a few bricks on one part! It changed from a dusty, leafy track into a muddy, slippery watery mess and then into a sticky, dirty nightmare where your shoes carried so much mud it was difficult to run and turning a corner took all the power you had not to go headlong into the nearest tree! Some of our tents flooded and were consigned to the skip (after being jumped on Basil Fawlty style). Noel's large tent turned into base camp through the night, although not sure that anybody slept at all; not that they really minded. Every runner came off the course smiling, day or night, rain or sun. The last laps at about 11am were fantastic as the finish line was full of spectators and as Noel came in, we all joined him over the finish line. A wonderful weekend where teamwork was paramount and came naturally to all involved. Well done to all the Harriers involved in running and supporting.
NEXT YEAR ANYONE?
Snowdonia Marathon 26/10/13: A race report from my perspective I want to shout it to the world (but they're all fed-up with listening) that I ran (and walked) the Snowdonia Marathon in October with my best friend, Dawn Childs. It is said to be the toughest road marathon in the UK, lots of huge hills, the last and steepest at mile 23! It all started when Lawrence Foley told Dawn he was going to do Snowdonia Marathon for the ʻBritish Tinnitus Associationʼ with a few of his buddies, Trudie Finch and Caroline Devine. “Why donʼt we have a go?” Dawn said “Itʼll be fun. We donʼt have to worry about how long it takes (we didnʼt even wear Garmins) weʻll just aim to finish it”. So I thought about it for a couple of weeks then I entered. Then I looked at the profile! Oh well, I thought naively, itʼll be like a big Oakley 20 and I do love that race. With Brighton Marathon out of the way I needed another marathon to look forward to. So the youth hostel was booked. We all stayed at the same one, which was an experience in itself as Iʼd never stayed in one before. However, it turned out to be very comfortable and just the job. We trained through the summer months alone and together at my slow, but steady, pace. Dawn was adamant that she would stick with me all the way even though she could have run a lot faster. Hill work every week consisted of running up Cleat Hill to Ravensden then up and down that hill near the water tower. Cemetery Hill repeats were another favourite and I had the treadmill at Robinson Pool on such a high gradient setting that it wobbled. Lawrence, Trudie and Caroline trained but Lawrence picked up an injury; plantar fasciitis, during training - though he still intended to carry on. The school holidays came and went. We all did the Dunstable Downs 20 Mile Challenge which I am sure really helped prepare me for Snowdonia as we donʼt have many prolonged hills in Bedford! Every time I saw Lawrence he would remind me of how many weeks, then days, we had till our huge adventure (thanks Lawrence!). Then we had only two days; the bags were packed and Friday came. Dawn, Caroline and I were on our way to Wales. The journey was long, windy and rainy but Dawn did a fabulous job of driving in such horrid conditions. We got there at 8.30pm, had our tea and went to bed. Caroline, Trudie, Dawn another lady from Stratford–Upon-Avon and I shared a room and, if it hadnʼt been for her snoring, I may have actually got a good nightʼs sleep! We were up early, breakfasted and off to Llanberis for registration and to collect numbers and T-shirts. On our way to the start line, we also happened to see John Harbour from Bedford Harriers; he looked a little nervous but also excited. We hadnʼt seen any of Wales the night before as it was too dark but WOW, this was going to be a race to remember. It felt so immense with itʼs towering mountains either side; this was no ʻOakleyʼ. The Claxon sounded and off we went. The marathon starts with 4 miles of ascent, beautiful rolling hills and mountains all around you and then descends to mile 8, a little off-road trail then relatively flat to mile 12. The halfway mark takes you through a chocolate box village called Beddgelert with masses of community support, then up again for the next 2 miles when you reach mile 16. The route becomes slightly undulating until you reach mile 21. At mile 18 we passed the youth hostel we were staying at and were easily within the cut off time of four hours. Then you arrive at the steepest hill Iʼve ever seen in a race, I think most walked this part. People were starting to get a bit low at this point (dreaded ʻwallʼ territory if you believe that stuff) but Dawn and I were determined to keep our spirits up, and those of others, whether they liked it or not. We trotted past people singing and clapping. Anyone would have thought weʼd had gin in those gels. Maybe it was the caffeine! At 24 miles the course flattens out and you see this lovely downhill, perfect for a nice fast finish, I thought. But...... no, I was wrong. Trying to get down was painful, my knee screamed but I couldnʼt stop myself as the decent was so steep and fast. Mile 25 was much flatter and Dawn linked arms with me to keep me strong; my knee still hurt. Then before I had time to cry, the finish was right there. “200 meters to go” Dawn shouted “thatʼs half the track”. I started to sob with relief, then gave myself a quick mental telling off, then we were off. Arm in arm we rocked that finish line together. Weʼd run through rain, extreme wind at the infamous mile 23, mega ascents and descents. We ran with and chatted to wonderful people along the way; an older gentleman with his 9year-old border collie pulling him along, Super Mario, King Arthur and saw lots of local club runners e.g. Riverside Runners and a lovely, supportive man from Eye running club. The race itself was well organised and the crowd support was brilliant. It wasn't about the time it took. I was pleased with 4:58 even though itʼs my slowest marathon. This marathon is about much more; achievement, camaraderie, meeting great people, super support throughout the race and true friendship. A weekend of explosive GIRL POWER and I can't wait to do this splendid mountainous adventure again. Caroline Devine finished third in her category. Brilliant! Even more so when you take into account the type of marathon this is. Thank you Lawrence and the other Harriers; this was a weekend to remember. I recommend Snowdonia marathon to any fellow runners.
By Caroline Diggle
Interview with Gill Fullen World champion tri & duathlete You recently triumphed in The World Duathlon championship in Canada. Did you think you had a chance of winning before the race? I knew had a good chance of winning my age group but it was a complete surprise to win it outright.
So, how did it feel when you realised you were World Champion’? Initially it didnʼt sink in because the commentator didnʼt believe that Iʼd finished when I came over the line.
Oh, so that wasn’t a joke? No, he really didnʼt. He said over the Tannoy system words to the effect of “Sorry love, youʼve come the wrong way. Go and do another lap”. Apparently the other Canadians there were cringing because they knew Iʼd won. It was all a bit deflating really and then, after that, I really donʼt know how to describe it. I knew I had raced to the best of my ability so yes, I suppose I was very pleased to have won.
In triathlon, as we know, you have to work on three separate sports. Would you say that you are equally strong in all three? Definitely not. Iʼm not that strong a swimmer.
So, do you train more on that discipline? Well not this year, because Iʼve been doing a lot more duathlons which involve running, which Iʼm definitely stronger at and cycling which, I would say, comes a close second. Therefore, these events play to my strengths. So the plan is that I will definitely work more on my swimming to bring it up to scratch for triathlons. I never had swimming lessons when I was young, although more recently, I have had some technique sessions and some coaching, I put the hours in I know Iʼll get better, but believe me, it does take hours.
On race day, do you have any special routine? Well, I always get up three hours before a race and have porridge with chocolate spread and raisins and fresh fruit. The size of the porridge portion will depend on what race Iʼm doing. Sometimes itʼs humungous, sometimes very little. Apart from that, nothing special really.
I suppose you take on more food whilst you’re on the bike? Well it depends how long the race is. I canʼt run with solid food in my stomach so, if itʼs a shorter race, I just take gels. In fact, I did my first Ironman with nothing in the tank but water because I was cramping so badly. My energy levels dropped horrendously but somehow I got through it.
So what’s your training schedule like? Do you train seven days a week? No, always one day off for recovery! Actually, it varies tremendously during the year. At the moment Iʼm doing about ten hours per week, but building up to Ironman, Iʼll be doing nearer 18 to 20.
During an Ironman you have to be out there on your own for a long time. What goes through your mind? Itʼs funny because when I did my first one, I had all sorts of things ready to think about on the bike because I thought Iʼd be bored. As it turned out, I neednʼt have worried. The whole time youʼre concentrating how youʼre riding, where you are, what the roadʼs going to be like round the next turning, how fast you should be going, whether you should be speeding up or just cruising or where you are in the race. Your mindʼs working the whole time; thereʼs no time to get bored. I thought at least there would be time on the downhill to recover, but there isnʼt. Youʼre hanging on to the bike really hard because youʼre going so fast. Itʼs a long time to have to maintain your concentration, and before you take part in one, you just donʼt realise what a mental strain it is.
I know you’ve had your share of injuries. How do you keep motivated when you can’t train? When you have an injury you have to look on it as a time to concentrate on your other weaknesses. My injuries usually come from running so if I have to back off the running, I work on the cycling and the swim. These days Iʼve got an incredibly good support team; an osteopath and physiotherapist and theyʼve made huge inroads into helping me not get injured.
What I find amazing is that you haven’t been running that long. Surely you must have always been sporty. Yeah moderately, but you have to remember that when I was at school, it was an era when competition was frowned upon, so we never had sports days or cross-country fixtures; it just wasnʼt seen as important to succeed at anything like that. I did compete occasionally but I didnʼt particularly shine. However, Iʼve always ridden horses so theyʼve kept me fit.
Do you wish you’d started the sport when you were younger? I donʼt really want to go there but I suppose, yes, I have to say I do. If Iʼd started 20 years ago then I would have had the chance to be an elite athlete.
So, is there a little hint of regret there? No, not really, because life is what it is and you canʼt live with regrets; you have to take what youʼve got and make the best of it. To be honest, I put quite a few years into other things that I found equally fulfilling such as karate, in which I have a black belt and Iʼve also competed in equestrian events at international level, so Iʼve always done something.
I know you have a family so, how on earth do you fit it all in? Thereʼs a lot of things I donʼt do. I just never sit down, I havenʼt watched a film in years, I rarely go to the pub and I donʼt do housework. Well, I do it when I can. It gets done when it needs to get done, but itʼs not a priority.
Are your family sympathetic? Well I have two boys who are now of an age where they are doing their own thing. They donʼt complain… well, not a lot. You have to remember that we used to have a stable yard and had fifteen horses outside the front door. I never sat down and I was never in the house. When we got rid of the yard I just didnʼt know what to do with myself and the children werenʼt used to having me hanging around that much anyway. So, there hasnʼt been much of a change.
So what advice would you give to anyone thinking of taking up triathlon? Do it! Itʼs incredibly fulfilling, itʼs very sociable, it keeps you fit and healthy and not just physically. It contributes a lot to good mental health too. If Iʼm in a ratty mood I go out on a bike ride, and this is especially true of a group ride, I come back feeling on top of the world. I have to say coming from the horsey world, the world of triathlon has been a breath of fresh air. People in running and triathlon are so supportive. Whether youʼre coming in first or last, whoever you are, wherever you come from, irrespective of your background people support you and want you to succeed.
So, for anyone thinking of doing an international event, what sort of cost is involved? In fact, most of the entry fees for BTF races arenʼt that bad; certainly less than the Ironman. Obviously you have to factor in your travelling and accommodation and that will depend on where youʼre going. If you go to Europe, most places you can drive to, accommodation doesnʼt have to be that expensive and the race fees are the same as anywhere else. In actual fact, itʼs often no more expensive than a weekend away in the UK. Itʼs just the Ironman and other branded races that are expensive.
So, what about the future? I have a few little goals in mind but Iʼd like to keep my cards close to my chest if you donʼt mind because if it doesnʼt happen, it looks as if Iʼve boasted about what Iʼm going to do and thatʼs not the case at all. Of course, there are things Iʼd like to do, but Iʼm not saying that theyʼre going to be possible. Iʼm definitely going to carry on doing triathlon while I still enjoy it but I can see other challenges such as adventure racing; things like orienteering and off-road challenges, that might be beckoning. Who knows? Iʼll just wait and see what opportunities present themselves.
Thanks Gill for giving us this insight. Can I wish you and everyone else doing, or thinking of doing, triathlon events in the coming year, the very best of luck.
Dear Reader Would just like to add that, Iʼm sure many of us are feeling overawed and exhausted just reading this. I think it is worth bearing in mind that although we are not all capable of reaching the same heights as Gill, to paraphrase Chrissie Wellington, there is no shame in not succeeding, only in not trying.
Alison Cooper nominated for
Ode to Running
‘Club Person of the
A couch potato at 21, I realised I was far too young. I needed exercise, needed it fast, to avoid becoming a lardy arse. "Let's go to jog swim", a friend of mine said. But first just a small point; best get out of bed!
A stretch session later I ran round the park First surprise of the evening? I'm enjoying this lark! Alison Cooper was nominated by her fellow athletes for ‘Bedford Sports Awards 2013 Club Person of the Year’!
(Second surprise, met the love of my life.
Many of you will have been lucky enough to be coached, mentored and encouraged by Alison over the last few years, whether it be at the weekly swim sessions, the evening road bike rides in the summer and mountain biking in the winter, an email with advice to prep for a race or, an early morning text to calm those pre-race nerves.
Seven years later he made me his wife.)
From one mile I moved on, to two, three and four, And before I knew it I did even more.
Every training session is thoughtfully put together and every level of ability is considered and planned for, all in Alisonʼs own time.
Six days a week we used to run,
She has been on the Bedford Harriers Triathlon subcommittee since 2010, arranging taster sessions, club championships and team events as well as all the other things you already know about.
And strangely I still called it, FUN!
Alison is always welcoming and inclusive and over the last few years she has dramatically increased participation in triathlon within the club as well as cycling and swimming in the wider community. She regularly circulates information on up-coming events and has brought members from Beds Road Cycling Club and the Harriers together for activities. She has also encouraged beginner cycling groups to share information on rides and has put together a circulation list for all cycling activities.
PB's abounded, this really was fate. I ran a half marathon in 1.28! 3 marathons later a coach I became, For really hard sessions I found my fame.
Her approachable and down-to-earth nature means that no question is too small, or request too much trouble. She delivers these weekly sessions with enthusiasm, knowledge, experience and above all, a smile. She is always willing to answer any questions and offer advice.
My ʻgroup loveʼ beginners, encourage their path The arse end's our place and we have a good laugh
The awards application required evidence of Alisonʼs achievements and commitment, so the call went out to gather some supporting information. Despite the very tight turnaround time, the response was fantastic and the feeling unanimous that Alison deserved some recognition for her hard work and all the time she gives, whether this be in terms of motivation, encouragement, confidence or new skills. All of this done in her own time, while working fulltime, having a family and being a competitive athlete herself.
And all I can add is, if I found it fun And I got PBʼs, anyone can run!
27 years forward I'm still going strong, Coaching and crowd control, I run with the throng. An Honorary Harrier I'm proud to say, When I took up running? A fabulous day!
By Nette Cheets (and a little bit of Cint)
Year 2013’ Bedford Sports Awards There were countless positive comments from people who she has benefited; too many to list them all, but here are just some of them: “Alison is a force to be reckoned with, not only did she help me to improve my biking and swimming, she gave me confidence and advice during my first sprint triathlon and encouraged me to join in other events such as Swimathon for charity, Box End triathlons/duathlons and BRCC time trials.” “Mountain biking is another activity we have taken up this year due to Alison. She always organises great routes which are fun. In just two months I am finding that I have improved with her motivation and guidance.” “Alison really deserves to win... she's a star” “If it wasn't for Alison I would not be doing an Ironman next year. She let me borrow her Hybrid bike for the weekend and that's where is all started.” “Alison motivated me to get cycling on a Tuesday evening throughout the summer. Rather than sitting on my backside watching the television, I was out in the fresh air with a group of like-minded people, keeping fit & having fun. She is a selfless and totally motivating person who, in my opinion, deserves to win this award as recognition for all she puts in.”
In addition to all the effort she puts into supporting fellow athletes and encouraging newcomers, Alison has achieved great successes herself, having competed in:
“I met Alison at my first Harriers session 5 years ago. Steve Crane told her to look after me and she has been doing so ever since!”
• Marathons • Half marathons • Duathlons on and off road • Ironman, Sprint, Standard & Middle distance triathlons
“Alison deserves recognition for her thoughtful session planning, inclusive approach to training and dedication to helping others of all abilities and ages to get involved and try new disciplines. She is always willing to give advice and share her experience with others, and must devote most of her spare time to coaching swimming, cycling and MTB.”
2013 • Althorp Duathlon, 1st in age category • Box End Off- Road Duathlon, 1st in age category
“She is particularly encouraging to people who are new to the sport, giving advice on every aspect of triathlon training and has coached so many inspirational sessions on all aspect of triathlons. All this, plus organising team events and get-togethers after the races.” “Alison gave me the confidence to take on my first low-key sprint distance through to a half Ironman. She has helped me with every aspect from getting me back on track after injury, to hints on how to tackle a race day heat wave, to balancing races out to get the best results and the correct training to do in the week prior to a race. “ “For anyone who is lucky enough to know Alison it's like having your own personal coach and one who is always smiling and positive. She brings out our potential and has helped so many of us achieve things we never dreamed we were capable of.” “A selfless individual who does not do all this for recognition; far from it. She does it because she enjoys it and has great pleasure at seeing others improve and enjoying the sport.” “'Never forget the time I saw Alison in the park marshalling for The Bedford Triathlon and I said to her "I'd like to give a triathlon a go". That was it! No looking back! She got me through my first sprint and onto middle distances 2 years later. Her support, encouragement and advice has kept me going throughout, and her training sessions have improved my performance no end” “If it hadn't been for Alison's encouragement and advice on my first triathlon, I don't think I would have even finished the swim, let alone completed the whole race and come first in my age group! Her dedication to helping others is outstanding.”
Editorʼs note: Although reaching the shortlist, unfortunately Alison was beaten to the top spot by someone from a completely different sport. However, as these testimonials prove, for anyone interested in triathlon, the title should definitely have been Alisonʼs.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give and you give so much to so many.”
This was my birthday present for my (ahem) special birthday. Seemed like a good idea at the time! We were travelling with Sportstours as the Chicago entry system had crashed, leaving entries the result of a ballot. Not wanting to take a chance, we opted for a long weekend trip with all the arrangements sorted for us. Arriving at Chicago airport, our rep Wally took us to stay at the Essex Inn on Michigan Avenue, a few minutes walk from the race so ideally suited. Dumped the stuff then took the free transfer school bus to the Expo. Number pick up was very efficient and there was even a facility to change your T-shirt if you had chosen the wrong size. The expo was pretty big with lots of freebies and cheap pasta. Free bus back to the hotel and crashed out. Chicago is 6 hours behind so 9pm was now starting to feel like the middle of the night.
Walked to the Willis building (formerly Sears tower) and went up the 103 floors for magnificent views and yes, we did brave sitting on the glass ledge! Saturday evening we opted for the pasta option in the hotel, with a side order of chips. Sunday, up at 5am, porridge pots in the room then set off at 6am for the start. Our wave was starting at 7.30am and we knew that there would be heightened security after Boston, so needed to ensure there was enough time to get through security, bag drop, loo and get in the corrals which were closing at 7.20.
There was a large police presence with sniffer dogs, FBI and police pretty much everywhere. This was reassuring and there was a relaxed atmosphere at the start area. I was in my corral (C) far too early but did not dare go out to go to the loo again. There was a 30 second silence for Boston, the national anthem and then we were off. 40,000 runners on a beautifully sunny, but fresh, day. I had already decided that 5 weeks of training was going to result in a getround- safely approach so the first few miles were nice and steady. My Garmin stopped telling me mile splits after we had gone under a long underpass so I didnʼt take too much notice of times for a while. The support on the race is, for the most part, very, very loud! Some of the posters that people had were funny including: Run like someone called you a jogger!
Saturday was carbo-loading, mooch-about day. The local deli called ʻYolksʼ, served these huge breakfasts with non-stop coffee.
Don’t stop... you’re not the government! May the course be with you.
GOT A STORY for next years edition of ‘On the Run’ Whether a beginner or a seasoned athlete, LG would love to hear from you TODAY By the time I had got to halfway I knew that everything was going well and that there was a sneaky chance that I might get under 4 hours. Most of the race is through the main streets but we also went through the Old Town and China Town. Plenty of water stations along the route with loos at each of them. I had to stop twice for a wee but there were no real queues. By 20 miles I was still feeling good and sub 4 was definitely on the cards. Still maintaining pace by 23 miles and suddenly a sub 3.55 was looking possible. 25 miles and still going OK. Legs were a bit tired by now but nothing too horrendous. 800m to go, just turn the corner and up the slope. Who decided that an incline at this stage was a good idea???
The heat was starting to really push through now and they were handing out ice-cold, wet towels (heaven!), bananas, ice bags, water, all sorts of food and a pint of beer. I had one sip then decided that this probably wasnʼt a good idea! The queue for baggage was about 20 minutes. Apparently last year you could drop your own bag and go on and pick it up yourself. With the security this year, that had all changed and things took time. I walked to the reunite area to find Neil. He had a good run overall with 3.40.12, although heʼd not been feeling brilliant for the first 5 miles.
Championship Races: 2014
Round the last turn and the finish was in sight. Still running well and managed to wave arms as the line was crossed.
10m Sandy 30th March
3.50.45!!!!! Really satisfied and pleased that all those boring hours spent in the gym while injured seemed to have paid off.
A slow walk back to the hotel, bath, rest then steak and chips and a couple of beers with a few others, swapping stories. Monday was an architectural river boat trip. This was a nice chance to see lots of the city without walking too much. Monday evening flight back, arriving Tuesday morning, so quite a short trip. Iʼd really recommend this race if you are thinking of entering one abroad.
Jenny Lovesey 13
Blisworth 23rd May
Half Marathon NSPCC Milton Keynes: 6th July 5K
Doug Anderson 30th July (date TBC)
Standalone 5th October (date TBC)
JurassicMan – A TRI TOO FAR... ?
Are you like me…? About this time of year I mull over what my event options are for the year ahead. Let’s face it these days there is so much to choose from - especially if you consider yourself a triathlete or multi-sporter. Do I decide to stay in my comfort zone and have another go at that middle or Olympic distance triathlon and improve my time by a few minutes or do I go for a genuine challenge where there is a real fear of failure but on the other hand it would be an incredible and memorable experience.
the first 2 circuits, but the 3rd loop was bizarre. I looked up and sighted the furthest buoy every 6th stroke or thereabouts but, each time I looked up the buoy seemed further away and to my right - I was being sucked out to sea! Working hard I managed to fight my way back on course and swam the final leg parallel to the beach. It took me 90 mins - 10-15 mins longer than I expected. We all stumbled out onto the pebbly beach trying to stay upright. The cold was now getting to me, so the quicker I got going on the bike the better. The first 45 mins on the bike was OK, a steady climb north then undulating quiet roads. It didnʼt last. For the next 30 miles it was relentless shortish sharp hills like Sharpenhoe and Sundon but between 17% and 20% up and down. I managed to ride a few but for most I had to walk slowly. l wasnʼt alone! At Checkpoint (CP)1, 40 miles, Mark was waiting and informed me I was averaging less than 12mph! Dark thoughts began and I was close to deciding to pull out at the end of the 112 mile bike leg. The next phase was a lot better; few hills and with an occasional slight tail wind. At CP2, 86 miles, I was tired but still indecisive about continuing beyond the bike section. From CP2 to T2 they hit us with the hills again, which were even longer and I was on auto-pilot by Corfe Castle. With very little left, physically and emotionally, the thought of 26.2 miles of hills, half of it in the dark and finishing at around 11.30pm made me finally decide to quit. Although I was well within the cut-off - there were still quite a few behind me. Some carried on but had to quit during the run, some had to stop at T2. Mark arrived at T2 and we got all my stuff together and headed back to base at Charmouth and fooood….! I soon recovered, was feeling mildly disappointed at having to stop, but relieved in equal measure.
Well this time last year whilst perusing the race calendars, I came across Brutal Events ʻJURASSIC MAN extreme TRIATHLONʼ August 11th. 2.4 mile sea swim at Budleigh Salterton, Devon, cycle 112 miles west to east through ʻscenicʼ Devon and Dorset to Swanage and then run 26.2 miles along the southwest coast path to Lulworth Cove. Race limit 100 and transport supplied for the point to point route. Free camping and about half the price of a full M dot race. In my head I had no fear of the sea swim, having done Ironman Nice and swum in Swanage Bay and how hard could the cycle route be? Surely not like climbing up into the Alpe Maritimes north of Nice, the Peak District or Snowdonia, …And the run? - ok there will be some ups and downs, running (and walking) along the cliffs but there wonʼt be that 30 degree C heat and mindnumbing tarmac out-and-backs Iʼd experienced in Ironman Nice and Frankfurt. So that was it; I entered. I had months to prepare; I signed up for the Exmoor 27.5 mile coastal trail marathon, 2 consecutive days of the Tour of Wessex sportive and the Mallorca 70.3 (middle distance) Ironman amongst others. I completed all without too much suffering and ramped up the training miles as much as I could. Mark Tinkler kindly* offered to support and we drove down on the Thursday before the race to acclimatise. We camped at the HQ site in Charmouth, had a few test rides, “Mmm itʼs a bit hilly…!.” and trail runs and waited for everyone (slowly) to arrive. The HQ arrived Saturday morning along with a few more competitors. In fact, they were very close to calling off the event due to so few competing. Race day dawned. We had to be up at 3am - quick breakfast and coffee and waited for the cavalcade to drive to the swim start (an hour away). It was still dark when we arrived at Budleigh Salterton; fear and loathing was beginning to well up inside me. What am I doing here? How am I going to get through this? The swim was 3 clockwise laps of a triangle making up the 2.4 miles. The hooter went and like lemmings (or Zombies), we slid into the cold, grey water. Out to the first buoy then, a long leg further out to the second. I kept a good line around the buoys on
20 competitors finished the race out of the 38 that entered. 12 finished within the 18hr cut-off and the winnerʼs time was 14hr 17mins! Ok, I still regret not at least starting the run, but my legs thanked me as, a few weeks later, I was belting round the Silverstone Duathlon course with no after-effects. Would I do it again? Well of course! Trouble is, it was a one-off; Brutal Events / VOTWO deciding that logistics and cost were way too much for such low competitor numbers. Shame… but maybe just a smidgeon of relief?
By Richard Piron
* Having Mark there was real bonus, mainly for the company but especially as I knew heʼd be following me around the course in my car in case things went badly wrong. In his words “in case the wheels fall off”.
JURASSICMAN EXTREME TRIATHLON run by Brutal Events with VO2
Just a quick report on Richard Piron's attempt at this - I think he was drawn in by the sound and attractiveness of this small event..... a nice little 3.8k swim in the English Riviera.... a pleasant little 112 mile cycle with a tail wind in the sunshine up the coast.... and a 26 mile stroll along the coastal path to Lulworth Cove.... with superb picture postcard views all the time. Well the clue might have been in the title and the fact that Brutal Events were running it! When we arrived Richard wanted to ask the charming Race Director Claire if the hills were easy.... but I thought this might look a bit foolish as she turned up with 'BRUTAL' plastered on the side of her van. So he asked the local farmer running the campsite about the gradients - and he likened it to running up the side of his house :((( Well the swim in the channel was horribly cold and there was a current with a swell and it took over 90 mins. It then took him 10 mins to climb up the pebble beach to get to T1. 3 hours later, at the 40 mile bike check point, he was pleading with Miss Brutal - I mean the race director Charming Claire - that it was too 'Brutal' and he wanted to stop, but she and her paramedic wouldn't let him, telling him he could do it. The same thing happened at T2 which was another 3 hours and 80 miles in.... and then finally, he refused to continue after an 8hr55 bike saying he didn't want to join the dinosaurs or spend his birthday in hospital. Maybe there is a glimmering of common sense evolving here? It was too 驶Brutal始; only 10 got within the 18 hour limit. The fastest was 14hr-15. Some of the competitors who finished were trying to walk round the campsite the following day as if they had broom handles down their trouser legs Will be interesting to see if they do this event again - very scenic with pretty coves and villages but the 20+% hills are something else. If you've done the Grizzly down there, you'll know it can get ridiculous. Next year anyone? by Mark Tinkler
Greensands Ridge Relay June 2013 Most of the best days start as a flippant suggestion whilst pounding the streets of Bedford on a Harriers training night and it was one of those days when Andy Palombella suggested we enter a mixed team into the Greensands Ridge Relay to make an assault on the Flyers Trophy in June. The relay takes place over a 33 mile course, split into 6 legs, running from Waterside Park near Leighton Buzzard to Northill Church, passing through the undulating (hilly) countryside of Bedfordshire. A team of enthusiastic Harriers comprising 3 men and 3 women was formed. These were Andy Palombella, Anna Folland, Carla Fisher, Gill Fullen, Gary Butler and Ian Hammett. There was no pressure to do well until they were named the ʻBedford Harrierʼs SAS squadʼ…… However we had a secret weapon as Andy had trained on the ridge when he was just a wee boy (mid 20ʼs) and Carla had completed the race as a solo competitor so was familiar with all of the routes. The weeks leading up to the race were spent reccying the routes with varying success; a couple of people who shall remain nameless ended up running 17 miles instead of 12 one Sunday, and others took numerous wrong turns even though we distinctly heard them say “Iʼm sure itʼs this way”… and “trust me I used to live round here”! That was all part of the fun though in preparation for race day and once the routes were fathomed out, the straws were drawn as to who would run which leg, and then the logistical arrangements were made; the main one being that Ian had offered to make the team Chocolate Brownies to consume once they had finished the race!! Race day arrived and the SAS squad were to be pitted against a field of 43 teams, all starting at slightly differing times due to their predicted handicap, which was cunningly based on age. This was with the aim of ensuring that teams arrive at the finish at similar times.
Anna had the responsibility of the 5.5 mile lead-off leg from Waterside Park to Stockgrove Park starting at 12:23. We were the 31st team to get going and Anna didnʼt disappoint as she got us off to a flyer, running the 13th quickest time over the leg before handing the baton to Carla. Carla then built on Annaʼs great start by running a new F35 leg record over the 4.2 mile route from Stockgrove Park to Woburn and the 6th fastest overall, putting the SAS in 7th place. Ian was up next and faced the longest leg of 9.1 miles from Woburn to Millbrook. Keeping the momentum going, he ran the 2nd fastest time over the leg to move the Harriers up to 4th place overall before handing over to Andy. Andy had a hilly 5.8 miles to cover from Millbrook to Deadmanʼs Hill, but this wasnʼt going to deter him and he maintained the SAS strong position by posting the 6th fastest time over the leg with Gill Fullen then blasting out a new leg 5 record for F45 over the 5.2 miles from Deadmanʼs Hill to Deadmanʼs Cross. This left Gary with the 4.7 miles from Deadmanʼs Cross to Northill Church to take the so-called glory leg, where the team and brownies were eagerly awaiting him to cross the finish line. In typical sprint finish style, Gary brought the SAS team home posting the 7th fastest time on his leg. With the race complete, refreshments on board and brownies being consumed hungrily, the team awaited the results. The efforts had all been worth it as they became the first mixed team ever to break four hours, completing the course in a new record of 3:50:22, winning the Mixed Relay and the coveted Flyerʼs trophy. The team also finished a remarkable 4th overall, only being beaten by three very good all-male teams. Well done everyone; it was a great team effort….
Lets defend the trophy in 2014 By Ian Hammett
12 Months 20 Countries 11 Races When we set off on our year-long tour of Europe in our motorhome on 11 December 2012, it was always my intention to try to run a race in each country we visited, as long as that didn’t compromise the spontaneity of our trip (we had no itinerary, only one fixed aim - following the Tour de France from start to finish -, and I didn’t want to chase races). In the event, plantar fasciitis, severe winter/spring weather and a lack of races in certain countries scuppered that plan. Our first country was Spain, and we spent Christmas in the mountain village of Guejar Sierra, north of Granada. We had a lovely walk in the mountains on Christmas Eve in glorious sunshine (shorts, T shirts and shades), but Christmas Day was wet and windy, and we got even more stares than we do in Bromham as we donned our Santa hats for our traditional Christmas morning run! As we ran through the village centre, I spotted an advert for the 2nd Carrera Urbana Nocturna de Navidad, a few days later. I entered us online (I didnʼt tell Peter that there were only about 12 entrants on the start list), and, on the evening of 27 December, we walked the mile or so to the village centre. At first, we seemed to be the only ones there - although I would have expected most runners to turn up early to go through their pre-race routine, it seems Spanish runners live up to the reputation of ʻmananaʼ. We watched the childrenʼs races first. During our race, I soon knew the meaning of ʻoxygen deficitʼ” - the course was several laps of a really, hilly, twisty circuit. It was one of those routes where you turn a corner and think: “We canʼt be going up that hill!” but, of course, we were! There were lots of prizes for all age groups, but the presentation was swift and efficient, and I won a trophy and town council T shirt for my efforts as third vet. Unfortunately, the last few months of planning our trip and wedding had taken its toll on Peter, who found the race just too hard for his level of fitness, and he was unable to finish.
Next stop Portugal, and I was delighted to be able to enter the inaugural Torres Vedras 10km near Lisbon. Iʼd entered via email, and only had to pick up my race pack, but registration was chaos, with one poor organiser getting really stressed. There was a huge crush of people collecting their race packs, and nobody seemed to want to own up to speaking English, but eventually I got mine. The race started on a hill, and the drinks stations included wine. The course was all on road, including some rural lanes, with hardly any spectators, and I somehow managed to put in a last effort, as the woman I could see in front of me looked as though she might have been in my age group. There was a band playing at the finish line, and the goody bag included a welcome packet of crisps, apple and wine, and a nice red technical top that actually fits me.
Rossdorf 10km - Prizes galore We followed other runners to the prize-giving at Casa Benefice club (a famous football team in case you, like me, didnʼt know), a really interesting little club house, all in red, with huge trophies, framed shirts and photographs on display. Lots of trophies, bunches of flowers and garlands were being awarded. I heard my name called out and, seeing a woman on the third place on the podium, I stood on second, but was told Iʼd actually one this particular vets category, and received a trophy.
In France, I entered the 2nd Escalquens 10km (there was also a 5km). Starting in the car park of a Decathlon store on the outskirts of Toulouse, this was the closest Iʼd been to a race start from “home“. We parked in the car park, and I was grateful for my own private changing room and shower, as the store was closed (remember when Sundays used to be like that in the UK?) and there were no toilets. Before the start, I had to hand over a signed letter from my GP indicating that there was no medical reason for me not to take part (thanks to Bob Wells for pointing out the rules in France). The flat route was a mixture of road, canal banks and muddy trails, and I was really concerned about getting my new shoes dirty, as these ones had to last me the whole trip. As we waited for the prize-giving, we were entertained by a team of about eight red cross volunteers, part-time firemen, etc, who helped a guy whoʻd struggled across the finish line. Hope he had his GPʼs letter! I was 1st FV2 (European vets categories donʼt indicate the age grouping, though I expect this one meant FV50), and I won another trophy. Peter wasnʼt too bothered - although we were restricted on weight and space, Iʼd already sent my first two trophies home with my brother when weʼd met up with him on a skiing holiday in Montchavin. Three races and three podium finishes - all that was to change in Switzerland -Laufsporttag (Running Sports Day) Winterthur. Switzerland seems to have these events everywhere all year round, and this one was really popular, with races for all age groups. Peter and my friend, Tish, both entered the 5km walk on the spur of the moment, and I regretted not joining them, as it took me almost as long to run my race, as I was terrified on the snow and ice-packed course up and down through woodlands. Another great atmosphere on the course and at the finish, though. People had even written: “hop, hop” on the path near the finish line - this is the shout of encouragement in German at races. Our finisherʼs “medal” was a chocolate-covered cake in a box, a muesli bar and a raffle ticket . A cunning ploy by the organisers, the huge tombola with decent prizes was drawn after the presentation, meaning most people stayed until the end. Liechtenstein, a tiny country, had no races for months, and in Austria we were caught up in lots of snow, meaning the races were too far away to get to in difficult driving conditions. And so it went on; Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria - mostly really poor weather, and also no races where we were. As if by magic, it was warm and sunny when we crossed the border into Greece, and we stayed out for an hour as we enjoyed our first run in about six weeks. Searching for races in Greece, there seem to be lots of ultra runs and long-distance trail events. So, with neither of us having trained, we ended up entering the
Sfendami Mountain Festival - Prize-giving Sfendami Mountain Festival, a 23 km, hot, hilly trail run in the foothills of Mount Olympus. I was worried about Peter - heʼd only run two half marathons in his life and the Malta Challenge (including a 25km race ) with Bedford Harriers, which was in
1999! He later described Sfendami as the toughest race of his life, but he did brilliantly, finishing less than 30 minutes behind me, in 3.28.17. He even gave an amazing speech, when he was interviewed just after finishing, and was asked his views on the economic crisis in Greece! We were made to feel so special by the organisers and fellow runners at this event - I was given a headdress and asked to present prizes. The medal is one of the best Iʼve ever received in thirty years of races - stained glass in the shape of a maple leaf, symbol of the Sfendami Mountain Festival. We recovered next day by watching the mountain bike race over the same route weʼd run - surely even more gruelling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2d9WoNON64&feature=youtu.be
Next, a ferry to Italy. For over thirty years, my first-claim club, Les Croupiers (Cardiff), has organised the Welsh Castles Relay. It is traditionally held on the second weekend in June, and Iʼve hardly missed a race, so when I saw the Citta di Castello half marathon advertised for the same weekend, I just had to do it. Luckily, it is in Umbria, a part of Italy we were really keen to explore. When I picked up our numbers the day before, the organisers couldnʼt believe weʼd chosen that town, of all the places in Italy, to run our race, but we were glad we had. We turned up at the motorhome aire (serviced parking area), to find it newly-completed and not yet opened. We didnʼt sleep all night, with an organised rave in the park. The course itself was not particularly exciting, out into fairly dull rural roads, but with a great finish in the cobbled centre. The goody bag was something else - bottles of locally-produced wine and olive oil, shampoo, coffee, vitamin supplements, wooden novelty key ring, etc - and a plastic medal! There was also a nice selection of cakes and, of course, proper coffee, free for all runners. Peter did really well in 2.15.45 , although he told me, because heʼs so unused to racing, he wasnʼt sure if the distance markers were in miles or kilometres and, when he realised they were km, he was gutted at how far he still had to go! I later found my 1.47.50 was surprisingly good enough for first vet cat1st Cat P. We made good friends with another motorhomer, Tonino, and his fiancee, and the four of us shared running (and life) stories in English, Italian and Spanish (just like any other post-race chat, really). After the Tour de France (another article, perhaps), we had a great time in Luxembourg, another tiny country with no race while we were there, so next racing stop was to be Germany, warmed up by our stint of volunteering at the European Half Ironman Championships at Wiesbaden. At Darmstadt, I saw the local running club training on the track whilst we were at the outdoor pool, and asked about races. Just five miles away, at 4.30 pm the following Saturday, was the Rossdorf 10km, and we received a very friendly, helpful reply from the organiser in response to my email. On the day, for just 8 Euros, we had a T shirt, sponge and anti-inflammatory gel, as well as a free post-race swim and shower at the town open air pool. It was 35 degrees when we ran, and we puffed and panted our way round the hilly, lap course in town. Each lap took us to the centre, with its music, food and drink festival and enthusiastic crowds, and the impromptu drinks stations and showers set up outside peopleʼs homes, reminded me of races in the South Wales valleys when I first started running in the early 80ʼs. Post-race goodies included fruit and alcohol-free beer, and I stood on a podium of beer crates to receive my vetʼs prize of flowers and a book of poetry. Unfortunately, Peterʼs calf went, and he literally hopped home in 63.08, whilst I managed 46.33 For my race in the Czech Republic, I entered the World Masters Mountain Running Championships, Janske Lazna - 8600m, with 650m elevation, and another hot day. The previous evening, weʼd enjoyed a lovely outdoor opening ceremony, with singing and bands, and the whole event felt special. On the day, we were set off in five-year age groups, and I felt a bit out of my depth among the fell runners. The course was, of course, hilly (and hot) and my lack of training really showed. I could only manage 15th FV50.
“The goody bag contained an apple, banana, water, alcohol-free beer and a chocolate bar. As a “woman-friendly” race, I actually received a smart, womenʼs cut technical top.
Rossdorf 10km - Hopping into the ﬁnish Even so, I was elated to be part of this unique event, and the lovely medal, with the words “Athletics for Life”, is one I shall treasure for a long time. http://www.maratonstav.cz/dokumenty/propoziceANJ_MS_2013.pdf
In Poland, I ran the Wroclaw marathon with just 12 hours notice - I only found out about it because we were camped at the Olympic Stadium, where the race started and finished. This lack of preparation actually made for a lovely, relaxed, exciting experience - I ran with the 4.00 pace maker (who didnʼt quite make it), and managed 4.00.49, 2nd FV50. The post-race experience was even more fun - limited free food and drink, but so many runners and supporters sitting around to enjoy the refreshments and presentation - a real buzz as we chatted to lots of friendly runners. Entry fee souvenirs included a technical vest and sunglasses. Buoyed by finishing that marathon comfortably, I had no qualms when the first race I spotted in our next country, Slovakia, was another marathon, three weeks later. Being the oldest marathon in Europe, and the second oldest in the world, the 90th Kosice International Peace Marathon was already full, but a quick email to the organisers and I was in. At a cost of 40 Euros, though (negotiated down from 50, as I was a first-timer at Kosice), plus ten Euros to hire a Championchip (this is Marathoner statue, Kosice common at lots of races on the Continent, so many runners buy their own). This time, although still not racing, I decided to run without the aid of a pacemaker, and managed 3.57.29. A fast, flat two-lap course starting and finishing in a beautiful medieval city, with a great atmosphere - this race is one for your bucket list. Crossing the finish line, I was given a plastic blanket and a medal which Peter later described as like a shopping trolley
In Austria , in glorious Autumn sunshine, I entered the 42nd St Wolfgang 27km Classic - probably one of the most scenic races Iʼve ever done, and definitely one of my worst performances ever. Peter did the 11th Shoreline10km. Wish Iʼd done the same, or even the 5.2km .Thereʼs also a marathon now - all races have different starts, the marathon even in the next town, but all come into the same finish. Peterʼs race meant a free shuttle ferry across the lake, but there was a bit of panic when we realised we were waiting at the wrong terminal! In the Classic, after about 5km, the course rises sharply and, of course, what goes up, must come down. I ran (or shuffled) all the way to the top, only to be passed by, literally, about 500 runners, as I hated the steep, shingly descent through woodland. Back on the flat again, I picked up the pace, but never made up for all the time lost, and finished in a miserable 2.40.56. Peter had run a brilliant 59.41 and, spookily, our min/km were exactly the same - 5.58. The route is permanently marked on the shared foot and cycle path, with painted lines and wooden marker posts, and we cycled it two days later so I could show Peter what Iʼd been through. Of course, it wasnʼt really that steep a descent, after all. Have a go if youʼre ever on holiday in this most beautiful part of Austria or, better still, enter one of the St Wolfgang races held during the year (including duathlon and triathlon). Amazingly, even though both small countries have extensive race calendars throughout the year, there was nothing in Belgium or Holland that fitted in with our plans, as we were by now on a tight schedule for the ferry home on 1 December. A few days later, I was back amongst familiar runners and spectators at our very own Harriers Half Marathon. Entering races overseas is easy and fun. Iʼve often thought Iʼd like to enter big city marathons for the experience when I no longer feel I want to actually race them, and Wroclaw and Kosice have convinced me to do so. Itʼs also great to find a small, local event, perhaps part of a festival, where the organisers, fellow runners and spectators will make you feel very welcome and special (as long as you donʼt take all the prizes!). For all races, we proudly wore our Harriers vests, playing our small part in putting this brilliant club on the map across Europe. Some of the websites I used to find my races: www.activeeurope.com www.marathons.ahotu.com I wrote reports for some of the races, a few of which are on the Harriers website, others I deemed too long and detailed, but I would be happy to send to any insomniacs out there! Also, more than happy to chat about our international race experience, and help you plan yours. Happy travelling! Ronnie & Peter (I couldn’t have done it without him!)
Awards 2013 by Justin Burrell
We were somewhat privileged in our seating arrangement to be adjacent to table number 14 where Johnny and Alistair Brownlee and Lucy Gossage were seated. Later we realised Non Stanford was also on the table! The award-giving was soon underway after some brief introductory speeches, and Gillʼs category was one of the first to be presented. I specifically remember looking at Gill while they were listing her yearʼs achievements and reasons why she was nominated and trying to read her face. Did she realise she had won before they actually made the announcement? She gave nothing away and seemed to take it all in her stride when her name was called out. She had just won Female Age Group Triathlete of the Year; the most prestigious award for British Triathlon that she could ever possibly achieve and I am still not sure she realises the enormity of what she has accomplished. The award not only recognises the athleteʼs sporting achievements, but also what they give back in support of other members of the team whilst competing for GB.
Gill and Chrissie
Gill and the Alistair Brownlee
Getting to know Gill a little better this past year, itʼs plainly obvious that sheʼs an extremely dedicated and outstanding athlete. On top of that, she also offers lots of support at races and encourages we Harriers to challenge ourselves; she is always full of praise when we compete or race well. I have also witnessed her being nervous at the start of a race which seemed strange to me at the time. How could anyone so accomplished be, well, so normal? Observing all the elite competitors and award winners, it struck me that, in essence, they are all as ʻnormalʼ as the rest of us, albeit blessed with an extraordinary talent. I also realised that in no way should that stop us “taking a chance” to coin part of Chrissie Wellingtonʼs speech. The Olympic legacy is still strong within the ranks of triathlon and the governing bodies are trying very hard to make it more accessible to all, particularly to children. We were all asked during the awards night to encourage others to try it. Hence, I am using this opportunity to ask YOU, if you have not already tried a duathlon or triathlon, to give it a go. It could be you racing for Team GB or even accepting that award in a few years time!
Gill and the support crew
Lynne and Steve Across: 3 grizzly 5 fixture 6 carb load 9 lamp post 10 circuits 12 squeaky bone 13 IT 14 hoodie 15 pull buoy 17 warm up Down: 1 effort 2 Kona 4 Indian file 5 fartlek 6 chip 7 coach 8 brick 11 ten to two 12 stretch 16 quad
Design and Print by Creative Workshop 01234 364494
What an amazing event! To be mixing with the elite in triathlon & duathlon, with none other than Chrissie Wellington as guest speaker for the night was awe-inspiring, and that includes Harriersʼ own Gill Fullen to whom massive congratulations are due.