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THE HARRIERS HERALD No. 298, December 2017 Editor: Sue Francis

Contents, features, reports, results       

Thursday night schedules for December and January Marathon Club Entries 2018 – London and Brighton Handicap Race and Handicap Championship – results to be published next month Race results and reports – Oxford Mail x-country Race 1; Marlow Half; Grand Union Canal Half; Eynsham 10K; Wendover Woods 50; Florence Marathon Mo F splits from coach – a special report from Simon’s alter ego Webmaster’s article – Mo features: core workout for runners; reasons not to run a marathon; a good cycling website; Darren’s Personal Trainer website; and a list of forthcoming races Thanks to Kirsty, Terry, Simon and Mo for this month’s contributions

Thursday night schedule for December Thurs Thurs Thurs Thurs

7th 14th 21st 28th

Mark to lead Jess to lead Mo to lead No run leader scheduled but may be a few keen to run (Note: Sports Centre not open)

Thursday night schedule for January Thurs Thurs Thurs Thurs

4th 11th 18th 25th

Martin to lead Handicap Race Pete O to lead Colin to lead

Marathon Club Entries 2018 Sue Virgin Money London Marathon (VMLM) Club Entry (race date: 22nd April) Compton Harriers have been allocated one Club Entry to the 2018 VMLM. We will hold the draw at the Christmas meal. Those eligible to be in the draw are any first claim members of Compton Harriers who are registered with England Athletics and who had posted an entry for the 2018 Marathon but had that entry rejected. Currently, I have four names for the draw: Charlotte, Mark, Vince and Terry. Brighton Marathon Club Entries (race date: 15th April) Every club has been allocated 10 places for 2018, so we probably won’t need to hold a draw for these! Please let me know if you would like to have one. Club Entry to this Marathon closes on 23rd February.

December Handicap Race and Handicap Championship To save the announcement of the Championship winner, and Runners-up, until the Christmas Meal, I won’t publish the results of December’s race until the next Harriers Herald. Suffice it to say that Jess won December’s race, having had a great battle with Martin all the way, and she also set the evening’s fastest time (11:40).

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Race Results and Reports Oxford Mail x-country, Newbury Showground, 5th November Sue Several Compton Harriers are once again linking with Team Kennet to take part in the Oxford Mail CrossCountry series this winter season. The first race took place on a cool and breezy morning at Newbury Showground. The men’s race was won by Thomas Watkins (Newbury AC) in 30:26. Team Kennet’s first finisher (Cameron) was 85th. Ben ran a strong second half of the race to finish 139th (38:07), with Jonathan 265th (44:54) and Colin 291st (50:14). The team finished 3rd in Division 3. The ladies race was won by under-20 athlete Isobel Fry (Newbury AC) in 24:46. Second-claim Compton Harrier Jess (running for her first claim club Newbury) had a great race to finish 4th in 26:04. Team Kennet’s new young star Emily was 9th (26:36) and, with back-up from Sue (31st, 28:34) and Kirsty (57th, 30:12), the team finished 5th.


Photos by Barry Cornelius (

Marlow Half Marathon, 5th November Vince finished 100th, clocking 1:36:29 on this hilly course.

Grand Union Canal Half Marathon, 12th November Vince finished 41st in 1:34:44.

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Eynsham 10K, 26th November Sue Entries sold out early for the Eynsham 10K this year, meaning that some Compton Harriers missed out on taking part. Nevertheless, five Harriers had their entries accepted (though I’m afraid one was racing in a ‘traitor’s’ Reading AC vest!). It was a sunny, cold and crisp morning, with a bit of frost on some shaded sections of the course. Mike had a great run, clocking negative splits for the two-lap course, and can be very pleased with his 40:11 PB (113th). Martin had Mike in his sights all the way, and recorded an excellent 40:29 (121st). I wasn’t too far behind our boys on lap 1, but faded a bit on lap 2 (42:26, 173rd). Lucy’s performance (50:59, 359th) was rewarded with two FV55 medals - 2nd in the race, and 1st in the Oxfordshire County Championships. Mark was really pleased to smash his 10K PB – his target was sub-60 and he clocked a fantastic 55:32 (468th). There were 583 finishers, and the race winners were Matthieu Marshall (Southampton AC) in 32:52, and Joanna Musk (Cirencester) in 37:33. Along with Mo, our chief supporter and photographer, Martin, Lucy and I headed to the Queen’s Head, which has recently changed hands and had a makeover. It now has a Jamaican-themed menu, so Martin refuelled with curried goat!

Photos by Mo, Mike, and Barry Cornelius (

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Wendover Woods 50, 26th November Kirsty Wendover Woods 50 is a slightly unusual ultra in that it consists of five 10-mile laps of a course. The downside of this is that you do find yourself thinking ‘oh no, not this hilly/slippery/windy bit again’ but the good thing about it is that you knew exactly when the aid stations were coming. The lure of sausage rolls, jelly babies and coca cola was strong after a few laps. Wendover Woods 50 is the brainchild of the people at Centurion Running, who organise races like the Thames Path 100 and the South Downs Way 50/100. The basic premise of this race seems to be to get the maximum amount of ascent into a race which takes place in a reasonably flat area. Its 2900 metres of ascent make it on a par with some fairly tough ultras in the North of the UK. When you look at the route on a map it appears reasonably benign – it’s just a trot around the woods. But, when you actually run it, you realise that they take advantage of pretty much every small steep hill in the woods to make the runners suffer, and this all adds up over the laps. Before the race there was a lot of buzz about Francis Bowen, a 2:08 marathon runner from Kenya, toeing the start line. A different sort of challenge from the kind he’s used to, but it was going to be interesting to watch! Francis was in the lead for a while, but unfortunately dropped out on his 4th lap. I presented no sort of a challenge to Francis, but he didn’t lap me, and I take some pride in that. I finished 8th woman in 10 hours and 46 minutes. It’s a fantastic race only an hour away from Compton, and I’d highly recommend it, particularly if you’re training to do some races in the Alps, Scotland or the Lakes. And if you like hills.

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Florence Marathon, 26th November Terry We all had a great time, including Emma (who, with her bandaged feet, managed to get around on crutches and by being wheeled by Charlie in a wheelchair, around the lumpy bumpy cobbled streets of Florence). I managed (at last) to complete a marathon without cramping this year, yes! The weather was unfortunately horrendous on the day, as it poured with rain for pretty much the whole race which made for tough going for thousands of drowned rats and left spectators hiding under bridges and brollies, or staying home in the warm! Finishing in 3:48:30, including two comfort stops, was the fastest of three marathons I've run this year, so nice to take a step closer to faster racing again. I put the cramp avoidance down to maintaining a slower but even average pace, which kept the onset of fatigue at bay for much longer, so I could keep running without issues. I also had the use of some 'magic' magnesium spray for my calves (thanks again Charlotte) which certainly played a role too I think. A couple of interesting observations we made: cups of hot sweet tea at every water station (very nice and welcome given the wet and cold conditions), tarts and cake at the later stations (not so nice as it all turned to mush), bananas by the tonne chopped into pieces ready for runners to drop thousands of slippery banana skins all over the course (we found this a particularly unnecessary obstacle course!). A nice few days away in a lovely city, and great fun to be with Ricky (4:10:34) and Charlotte (4:27:34). It was great to see her finish her first marathon with such a good debut time after training so consistently, well done!

Photos by Emma

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Mo F splits from coach By HH Special Correspondent Hermione Goatfondler The world of athletics was completely unmoved this month by the news that Compton Harriers’ very own Mo F had parted company with his coach, Albert O’Balsam. Mo, who won double-double-gold at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, made his announcement on his return from his latest training session in Portland, Oregon. “My heart is in the UK,” he said. “Well, metaphorically, anyway. I still have my heart, but I’ve had various other body parts removed and they’re still in the UK and I miss them when I’m away training.” “Frankly, training in Portland is a right pain,” said Mo. “I have to get up at 4am and drive to Gatport Airwick to catch the plane to Trumpton. It’s a seven-hour flight there just for a two-hour training session and then a seven-hour flight home. Every day. I don’t get home until 5am and I have to get up an hour before that. It’s very tiring.” Asked why he started training in America, Mo replied “When I was asked to train in Portland, I thought Albert meant Portland Bill. I really should’ve looked on a map, shouldn’t I? Oh well. It’s been fun, but I really want to spend a bit more time at home. It’s where my heart is. Well, metaphorically, anyway.” Mo was also asked about his plans for the future and whether previous controversial training methods used by O’Balsam had contributed to his decision to part company with his coach. “I fancy a holiday,” Mo responded. “I quite like the idea of going somewhere new. Like America. Or Devon. Wherever my heart lies. Well, metaphorically, anyway. “I will most likely continue to use Albert’s training methods in future,” he continued, “especially the bladder-control method. Very useful, that one. And a lot less damp than other methods. And although I’ll continue to use Albert’s Conditioner when I wash my hair – well, what’s left of it, anyway – I’ll probably stop using his shampoo. I don’t really like shampoo. I prefer real poo.” Mo F is 104.

Mo F in training with Club-mates at The Bell

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Website update‌ Mo Did you know a new World Record was set recently by Dr Jessica Bruce at the Abingdon Marathon? She was running and pushing twins side by side in a double buggy and completed the race in an incredible time of 3:22:05! Back to business ... there was a bit of a hiccup recently when I was unable to gain access to update the website. I contacted the web hosting company (Fasthosts) to check if there was a problem at their end, as I couldn't find one at my end but, unfortunately, I could barely hear (let alone understand) the person dealing with my call in the call centre. Owing to the 'language' difficulty and the sound quality on the line, I wasn't completely sure, but I think I was advised that I would receive an email from an engineer to take me to the next step. However, after 15 minutes, I was getting restless, so I logged on to my online account with Fasthosts to see what else I could do and, after going 'round and round' in circles, I decided there must be a better way ... I needed to speak with an engineer to explain the problem and get a resolution ... I know ... 'Social Media'. Fasthosts do in fact have a Facebook page, so I posted details of the problem and 'hey presto' an immediate response, asking for my telephone number and, within a couple of minutes, I was talking to an engineer and after another 10 minutes or so, everything was once again working. Proof of the power of social media! Oh, by the way, the scrolling banner is working and it displays all the 'selfies' and other pictures posted on the Harriers Twitter page. This month's article: Essential Core Workout for Runners Building a stable core will help to improve your running posture and reduce injury risk. In addition, it will make off-road running over uneven ground a much easier task by building muscle where you need it. With all this in mind, the following 10-minute core session first thing in the morning will do the trick! o The Plank: Hold press-up position for 3 mins or so, switching position every 30 seconds. Alternate from full plank to side-plank on your right forearm, then go back to full plank, followed by side-plank on your left forearm. Make sure you concentre on your core muscles, i.e. taking the strain through your stomach muscles, not your shoulders. o Single-leg lift: Start by standing upright and, with your core muscles tensed, shift your weight on to your left leg. Keeping your hips square, slowly raise your right leg straight behind you and lean forward, pivoting at your hips, to create a straight line from your head to your right foot, forming a 'T' shape. Use your core muscles to stay balanced as you slowly return to the upright position. Arms can be out to the sides or pointing towards the ground, and the exercise can be made more challenging by using weights. Repeat 10 times per side and focus on going up and down slowly. o



Glute bridge: Improves core stability and glute strength. Start with your back on the floor, feet on the ground and knees bent. Next, form a bridge by lifting your back off the floor using core and glutes. Whilst holding the position for about a minute, lift one foot off the ground and straighten your leg out for a few seconds, holding your bridge straight and stable, then lower and repeat with the other leg. Do three repetitions before lowering to the ground. Walking lunge: As the heading implies, this exercise involves walking in lunges across a room. Your front foot needs to be flat on the floor with the front knee bent at a 90-degree angle and your back leg should be balanced on the ball of your foot with bent knee just off the floor. Lean slightly forward and push yourself upright and step through with your back leg into the next lunge. Repeat the process across the room for at least one minute. Add weights to make the exercise more challenging. Step downs: Step up and down with measured, smooth motions. Focus on keeping your legs lifting straight up resisting the temptation to lean forward during the motion. Do 15 on each side for a quick-core day, but add an extra two rounds when doing a full-strength routine. By adding weights, you can make the exercise more challenging, but focus on being slow and steady first, making sure your core is balanced.

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Links of interest this month: (Full list at: I recently read an interesting article giving reasons why you should not run a marathon ... some very good points made, which are certainly worthy of consideration, but I can't help thinking that I would never have run a marathon, let alone a series of 40-milers if I had followed the advice to the letter! A little bit of the H&S gone mad syndrome? The link is Another link, particularly for the cyclists and tri-athletes, covers all you need to know about cycling and cycling gear. Check it out at . And finally, a personal trainer we all know and support ... we wish Darren success and good luck in his new adventure.

Events Calendar Summary





Jan 2018


See Website for full details: ( Sat, 02: Sun, 03: Sun, 10: Sat, 16: Sun, 17: Wed, 27: Sun, 31: Sun, 07: Sat, 13: Sun, 14: Sun, 21: Sun, 28: Sat, 03: Sun, 04: Sun, 11: Sat, 17: Sun, 18: Sun, 25: Sun, 04: Sat, 10: Sun, 18: Sun, 25: Fri, 30: Sun, 08: Sat, 14: Sun, 15: Sun, 22:

10:00 The Grim Challenge (Trail) 4, 8 or 16miles 09:30 Reading Santa Run 5k • 10:00 Mapledurham Ten & 10K• 11:20 Oxford Mail XC League Round 2 (Carterton) 10:00 Milton Keynes Winter ½ Marathon • 10:30 Andy Reading 10k • 11:00 Tadley Runners Xmas XC 5.3 10:30 Dinton Santa Dash 2k & 5k • 10:30 Free Christmas Santa Run ~8k Berkshire XC Champs • 10:00 Muddy Welly - 5k, 10k & ½ Mile Fun Run • 11:00 Hooky Christmas Canter - 7miles M 10:30 Goring and Streatley Fell Running Championships 2017 10:00 Gut Buster 2017 - 10k or 10Miles 11:20 Oxford Mail XC League Round 3 (Adderbury) Country to Capital 45 10:15 Woodcote 10k • Rough 'n Tumble 10 11:00 Gloucester Mthn, 50k & ½ Mthn • Winter Windsor ½ Mthn, 5k, 10k & 15k 10:00 Longleat 10K Thames Trot Ultra 50 11:20 Oxford Mail XC League Round 4 (Venue tbc) • Lungbuster 2018 - 9 miles XC 10:30 Bramley 20ml & 10ml Road Races 12:20 Dorney Lake Winter Half Marathon ½ Mthn, 5k, 10k & 15k 10:00am Wokingham ½ Mthn 09:00 Brighton Half Marathon • 10:30 The Terminator (12 miles XC) 11:20 Oxford Mail XC League Round 5 (Farmoor) • Goring 10k 10:45 Deep River Trail ½ Mthn & 10k Reading ½ Marathon • Ridge Off Roader • 10:30 Grizzly 2018 • 12:30 Windsor & Eton 5k, 10k & 15k 09:00 Yeovil ½ Marathon 09:30 Maidenhead Easter 10 White Horse ½ Marathon • 08:30 Thames Towpath 10 • 09:30 Baildon Boundary Way (Trail ½Mthn) 12:30 Thames Valley Spring ½ Mthn, 5k, 10k & 15k The Brighton Marathon 09:00 Southampton Mthn, ½ Mthn, 10k & 1ml fun run • 10:00am Virgin Money London Marathon

Sun, 20: Sat, 26:

08:30 • Royal Windsor ½ Mthn & 10k River Trail Runs • Windermere Marathon Grand Union Canal 145ml

... don't forget, if you want to search for more events, especially those further afield, just follow our page link for other sources: Finder

HH December 2017



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