32 years old - Made in Britain - Exported to Singapore - Re-Exported to the Netherlands - and from thence back to Britain

Monday, May 22, 2006

Tired, aching and very happy

What a wonderful experience the Greenbelt relay was! The Clapham Chasers submitted a team of 11 runners, 7 of whom arrived on Saturday morning for the event (two others drove themselves later that day, and the other two ran two legs each on Sunday). Before I get going with the race description i should acknowledge that the race photos I have linked to here are copyright material of the Bushy Park Time Trial group, bptt.net - and I have not had a chance yet to ask permission to reproduce them on my blog. I will send a mail today, but should the btpp.net guys want me to remove them then please let me know and I will take them off immediately. The same goes for the Box Hill photo - which is copyright material of the stragglers.org - the race organisers; the stragglers deserve a big thank you for all their hard work - thanks guys!

Stage: 1
Runner: Neil A
Distance: 12.8 miles (18.02km)
Difficulty: 5/10
Finish Time: 1hr 08m 39s
Finish Position: 5th

Stage 1 kicked off with Neil A (Team Captain) running Hampton Court to Staines, a 12.8 mile run along the thames. Neil was due to run two legs on Saturday, but still gave his all to this stage, coming in 5th (place to be confirmed once the results are posted online - all legs are out of 30). This was a great start to the race and set us up nicely for the rest of the day. Once I get some more details from Neil I will post these up as this race set the tone and pace for the rest of the day! A photo of Neil running through stage 1 is below:

Stage: 2
Runner: Will
Distance: 9.7 miles (15.6km)
Difficulty: 6/10
Finish Time: TBC
Finish Position: TBC

Whilst Neil A was running from Hampton Court, Mike, Myself, and Jeremy (guest runner for the club who had contacted the race organisers and asked if any teams had a spare place - and we did!) drove off to the beginning of Stage 2 - our first deviation from the plan (we were supposed to go straight to stage 3 which is where I was running from). This was to drop off our bags into the other car - which would be picking each of us up from our runs. Stage 2 was Staines to Boveney, and was being run by Will - another of the clubs speedier runners who, like Neil A, was due to complete two legs on the first day. Having duly found Will, Justina and Andrea (the Italian Stallion) we dropped bags, went for emergency dumps at MacDonald's, and sped off to the beginning of Stage 3. This meant that we didn't get to see Will start off, but I am sure that he was quick off the blocks! Will was also running a difficulty 6 (out of 10) stage, with the course presenting 9.7 miles (15.6 km) with the first 40% of the course being along the Thames towpath, and the last 60% along roads and paths. Again, actual results will be posted on here once I get them off the website (once they are published). Again, once Will sends a race log I will update this - but a picture of Will mid run is below:

Stage: 3
Runner: Neil B
Distance: 11.2 miles (20.5k)
Difficulty: 5/10
Finish Time: TBC
Finish Position: TBC
Speeding off from Staines, Mike headed off for Eton, where my first stage was due to kick off, starting at Boveney church and finishing at Little Marlow. Passenger navigation was slightly iffy, and we ended up taking a fairly circuituos route through Windsor (where a quick trip the wrong way up a one way street sharpened the mind and navigation skills!), but we still made good time to Boveney. This small village lies west of Eton, and is beautifully located on the Thames. The weather, which had been unsettled for the past three days, had left the Thames path fairly muddy, but gave the field of runners little cause of alarm as the sun was doing its level best to peek out every now and then. Before we started the run we were told that conditions were more like a autumnal cross country than a summer run, which proved in the end to be very true. Still, the marshal gave the off and we all started what was to prove to be a great and fun run along the thames. Although I started off relatively quickly in fifth place, I was quickly overtaken by a runner from the Stragglers (I think), then by another from the Stock Exchange, and then by one from Britsh Airways! Aargh- had I gone off too quickly? Feeling foolish for having gone off so quickly I dropped into a steady pace with a competitor from the Dulwich Runners; a strategy that allowed me to recover a bit, and also to replan my race. Unfortunately, after about a mile the Dulwich runner got a coughing fit and had to stop, so I was off again on my own, although not for long - as a racer in yellow and black livery came up from behind and overtook me! From fifth I was now back at ninth, and only about halfway round the course! Resolving not to drop back any further, I increased my stride to keep up with this new runner - no mean feat in four inches of mud! Still, over the next two miles I gamely paced behind this runner, and as he started to make progress on the BA and Stock Exchange (LSE) runners, so did I - the race was back on! As we broke the 7th mile, I put on a spurt and overtook the yellow and black clad runner (was he a Straggler.org runner?) and started to put some pressure on the runners from BA and the LSE. However I didn't get to overtake them until we took a turn away from the river at 7.3 miles - but I saw my chance and took it, and as we hit tarmac, I lengthened my stride. Within a mile I had widened the gap between myself and the other two runers to about 100 meters - and could now see three of the front four runners ahead of me. A quick change back onto the thames tow path at mile 8 - and I knew that I only had 3.2 miles to go - which is just over 5km (a distance that I am very familiar with!) and so i decided to open up my stride again. Of course, that last 5.14km was to prove very tough, but all the time I could see myself closing on the lead group, until a Marshal shouted "400 meters to go!" - I was nearly finished; both in terms of distance and energy! I kept up the pace of the next 250 meters, and saw the fourth place runner cross the line - and decided that I would aim for a sprint finish. As I opened up my stride to the fastest i could possibly go I remembered all the pictures that have been taken at 10k finish lines recently as I sprint, with a cross between a grimace and a gurn on my face, and so I tried to relax my facial muscles so that I didn't look quite so much of a fool this time. I also scanned the crowd at the finish line for my team mates and spotted Andrea, Neil A and Justina near the back just as I crossed the finish line! Knackered, elated and not really knowing quite what was going on, I had finished fifth, 11 seconds behind the fourth position runner, with a time of 1hr 8min 39secs. This meant that I had been running each mile with an average of 6mins 8secs per mile, or 3mins 49 secs per km. That works out at 1hour 20mins 26secs if you take that upto a half marathon - over cross country! We will see how that works on road next week in Canterbury... The obligatory shot is here:

That's it for now - stages 1-3 posted, with another 19 to go! I will post more later today, and hopefuly will have more information from the other CC runners, who each will have there own stories and battles. I also will post my personal battle on stage 19 - which was difficulty 9/10, and involved running down this:


Blogger  said...

wah, so cool ah. wear sunnies some more. =)


9:54 am


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