Reports 2019 - Ravens Runners London

Go to content

Main menu:

Race Reports
Race Reports for 2019
_____________________________
16-07-19
Bewl 15
A brief race report from the Bewl 15. Going into this race my intention was to enjoy the experience given it was a bit of a Ravens Stag, was to be my longest race yet and was multi-terrain so wasn't concerned about a particular time. Mike had told me sub 2 hours would be a good time and I managed 1.46. I thought I had arrived in reasonable time before the start but time I had queued up at the bag drop and portaloos, I was near the back of a congested start and so first mile was quite slow at about 7.40 pace. Was not too concerned however and enjoyed picking people off for the majority of the race, catching and passing Mike at around Mile 10. I was tiring a bit by the end particularly as the majority of the hills were in the last 5 miles but felt like had a bit more time if had properly raced it and pleased could take in the beautiful surroundings around the reservoir. Reminded me of the Lake District or Scottish Highlands. Would highly recommend the race and hopefully more Ravens will come along in future years.
Tim Sherman
_____________________________
16-07-19
Ironman UK
Yes it’s that time of year again. Dave Meller’s annual pilgrimage to Ironman UK! I know I’m not running much with Ravens at the moment, but thought I should give you the all important news - my “streak” of doing every year of Ironman UK continues. And it’s hotting up.... Yesterday  was number 15, one of the other “repeat offenders” DNFd and so now we are down to just two. My training for number 16 starts today!!!!! As for the race, great weather, pleased with my 1:10 swim, but the bike course was brutal resulting in a much slower bike leg - 6:41. “The same for everyone” as they say though, so I’m not complaining.  3:52 for the Marathon which I can’t complain about either - one of those “grind it out” type runs. Overall time 11:56 placing me 147th out of a couple of thousand entrants. Hope to catch up with some of you soon, otherwise must get my entry off for 2020...
David Meller
_____________________________
16-07-19
Spitfire Scramble
I did this 24 hour race at the weekend with my younger brother Sean and twin brother Stuart.  The race is set in Hornchurch Country Park and the idea is to complete as many laps of the 5.75 mile course.  There are male, female and mixed categories from 6-8 runners, 3-5 runners, pairs and solo.  We were in the male 3-5 with a big disadvantage having only 3 runners whereas most others had 4 of 5.  We were pitched up with my local club Witham Running Club who had a team in the male 7-8 category and another in the mixed pairs. Our in the hope of raising some money. We had 2 goals;

1) to raise £3,000 and for The Sick Childrens Trust after my older brother and his wife experienced a tough time with their third born in October last year and the Sick Children’s Trust provided some amazing help to them over a very difficult time.
2) to try and run 50 miles each over the weekend.

I don’t often do the fundraising thing for what I consider a hobby but we had talked about raising some money for the charity and we had also talked about entering the race as a team so it just made sense to combine the two on this occasion. Our pre-race strategy was to each run a single, a double, a triple, a double and finish on a single. (1,2,3,2,1) Our fuelling strategy was to nip to the shops the day before and pick up some pot noodles, porridge, chocolate & energy bars, fruit etc and just munch on them at various points during the weekend. So at 12pm on Saturday, Stuart led us off with 1 lap, I did 1 then Sean did 1.  Then, in the same order, we did our double laps.  After the doubles we did triple laps from about 7.30pm to 5am – this would give us an extended break and maybe (hopefully) enable us to catch some sleep (wishful thinking!).  My triple was 11pm through to 2am.  It was actually quite enjoyable running at night with a head torch in the park and trails, the only bit I did not enjoy was the actual running as I’d started this with 17 miles already in my legs would finish on 34 miles - from about half-way this became a real struggle for my legs and there was allot of walking but I made it back at around 2am and tried to force myself to drink a protein drink and eat a peanut butter sandwich. I briefly spoke to Stuart who agreed that the double laps we had planned for our next run would be a real struggle so we agreed to alter the plan so that we head out for 1 each and then just grind out these last few laps as singles.   Stuart did his single and then I went out for mine at around 6am.  I found it really hard to get going but I’d consigned myself to some walking which made it a little less daunting 7 laps down and 40 miles completed.  Sean, feeling fit, managed a double and then Stuart another single before my 8th lap.  Legs were stiff to begin with and it was hard to actually get into any rhythm but bizarely, once I got going, I felt quite spritely, so much so I start picking up the pace and managed to finish with some weekend strava PRs and finishing at 7mm pace!  46 miles done. The 9th was mine and our teams last lap so the pressure was off and I could take my time and walk round but I still wanted to do as well as I could in case it cost us a position.  I planned to jog but not beat myself up if I needed to walk for a bit, so I had a few walking rests but I the whole managed to jog round most of it. I finished my 9th lap having run 51.75 miles at about 12:29.  Sean also ran 51.75 miles and Stuart ended up with 8 laps and 46 miles but more importantly it was a great weekend and we managed to reach our target of raising £3,000 for the Sick Childrens Trust.  We finished 6th out of 14 in the Mens 3-5 category but all of the teams above us had 4 or 5 team members.  It was good to see Anna come and give some support being a local event to her and also David Butler taking part with his club.  If we’re considering future team events for Ravens this would definitley be one to consider! When I’m recovered I hope to be back at some of the lunchtime sessions more regularly so hope to see some of you again soon! Finally, Thanks to those that sponsored, your donations are greatly appreciated and hilst we have reached our target and I don’t expect anything more from anyone else , if you do feel like you want to make a donation then please feel free using the link below.
Scott Darney
_____________________________
16-07-19
Excellent running Scott – well done to you and Dave B! As Scott (kind of) said, this is a really fun event – John and I have done it a couple of times in the past and I’d be up for entering a Ravens team next year if anyone was interested?  Sid said he might be when I mentioned it at the AL the other week – but I don’t think it’s something I fancy doing as a pair so more people are needed!  If it’s something you might be up for, let me know and we can look at getting a team or two entered – dates are 18-19 July 2020.  https://www.spitfirescramble.co.uk/

Whilst I’m emailing, I thought I would give a quick report on a track 5000m race I did on Saturday in Walthamstow.  Ilford struggle to get ladies to run the middle and long distances on the track, hence why I was called upon!  It was my first track race and I ran it pretty much on my own as I didn’t want to set off too fast and blow up.  I enjoyed running on the track and didn’t mind running round in circles, novelty may wear off if I do another!  It was good to have support from John, who did an 800m and 3000m race (my turn to out him for once!) and Cats.  I finished in 5th position (out of 7) in 21:31, which is a PB.  The last ELVIS race I did at the Olympic park was a 5k and my chip time was 21:31 but I’m convinced this was wrong as I started and stopped my watch as I crossed the line and recorded 21:40 so I didn’t take that as a PB.  (I appreciate how pedantic this sounds!)
Anna Crawley
_____________________________
16-07-19
I also raced my first track race.  Was going over to watch Anna and thought I may as well see if I could be of some use to Ilford. Shortest race I had run previously was 5k, so running in the 800m was going into the unknown.  Think I paced it pretty well, and finished in 2.18.1 and ran a pretty consistent pace being sure not to get sucked in with the guys running 2 minute pace and detonating.  I went past two people on the finishing straight of the first lap, one of them went back past me on the back straight on the second lap and I managed to nail him over the final 80 metres with a decent finish.  My target was 2.30 (but really had no idea what the target should be) and I was pleased with the result.  My watch said 2.17 so I felt hard done by to get a 2.18.10 (bit strange getting concerned about 1 second in a distance I had never run before!).  About an hour and a half later I lined up for the 3000m.  Felt pretty good the first 3-4 laps and then just tried to hand on but slowed a bit.  Came home in 10.39 on my watch, 10.40.1 by those who count and again would have liked to get under 40.  Another race where I didn’t know what to expect but felt happy enough with the end result.  I let the fast guys pull away, settled in with two other guys, and then it became two of us when one dropped off.  I then got dropped with maybe 3 laps to go but he only gradually pulled away.  I thought I had caught him on the finishing straight and put in some hard work to get by him just before the line, and then realized that it was the guy we had dropped as he still had another lap to go! Had a great time and definitely want to do more of the short stuff on the track, and maybe even some longer stuff. Cats gave me some helpful advice on spikes as I was a bit of an amateur on that front.  Loving the spikes over regular running shoes.  Didn’t quite understand at the line up where I should stand when I was told to go in lane 12 and there were only 8 lanes – a bit of learning still to be done on how track stuff works!
John Crawley
_____________________________
21-06-19
Ranelagh Harriers Richmond 10k
This race was my first 10k since 2017. In a small way, it was also a search for redemption after an impromptu drink with neighbours turned into a bit of a session leading me to run last time here with a stinking hangover and my worst 10k for quite a few years. This one went much better and ended in a narrow PB of 36.20.  Set out at low 3.30s but at 5k my left hamstring became sore and had to ease off, which was frustrating as I had the energy but couldn't push on. Still, without much post-marathon speed work, and having felt a bit sluggish recently, it was a nice surprise to start the summer with a PB. Once I have shaken off this niggle, it provides me with a lot of confidence I can go quicker as the summer progresses.
Russ Beard
_____________________________
21-06-19
I was back out racing on Saturday afternoon, having heard on Tuesday night at my not so great performance at the Heddington 5K (shame really as its a cracking fast course) about a local-ish 5M. Not raced a 5M for ages so thought I might as well (the only way to run fast, is to run fast). It started at 2.30pm but I needed to be there for 12.30pm to get one of the few precious 25 places left, after online entries had sold out. Thankfully it was a 1 lap, tarmac, country-road style race that I preferred when I raced in Essex/East London (they all love an off-road/trail course around here). Slightly undulating but manageable. Finished 10th lady (def more speedwork required), but first “45+ supervet” providing me with a bottle of red wine (very nice thank you very much) and another dust collector - apologies, I meant trophy, reminding me what I’d just raced. My saving grace is that despite my average performance (35.16), I was barely two minutes off the 3rd lady onwards, and these women were 20 years my junior. So just feeling rather smug there 😊. Still trying out the local clubs in order to make a decision to join one; not being UK affiliated is killing my race entries - £2 a pop more 😉
Vicky Cooper
_____________________________
21-06-19
Trail Marathon Wales
Well done on great racing Vicky and Russell!  And no shame in being “chicked” by Liz Davies, she has been doing it for years and by the looks of it is no hurry to slow down! My local club took our annual pilgrimage to Coed Y Brenin for the Trial Marathon Wales this weekend where, after 3 attempts at the Half, I decided to give the full marathon a go.  Having run Geneva 5 weeks prior, my training was heavily reliant on my marathon training and just getting the legs ticking over again in between, plus lots of trail and finding a mountain/hill in Dubrovnik to play whilst on holiday out there a week before the race.  The full marathon starts an hour before the half and follows the same route but heads over the other side of the valley for the second 13.1 miles.  It has a total of 4000ft elevation and is your usual mixed of gravel tracks, woodland trail etc that you find in trail races with the views you would expect in Wales – stunning. The first 5 miles went quick but had to have a quick kit change as my running pack was rubbing on my shoulder/back having worn my club vest, so chucked a t shirt on.  After about 8 miles I was feeling tightness in my groin and quads, which felt a bit early but tried not to worry.  At half way I passed in pretty much exactly 2 hours and you pass by the finish line so I left my bag at the water station as it was annoying me. I started to run the second half and make up some ground by overtaking a few people as I felt a bit better but it was short lived as my legs started more tired.  Between 17-20 miles I had some trouble with my groin feeling like it was going to cramp and my right quad was struggling to lift my leg on the climbs so going up hill I took it easy but even going downhill was becoming harder with such tired legs and technical terrain, plus I was fresh from a downhill tumble I’d taken descending Mount Srd in Dubrovnik on my holiday the week before, so I did not want to go down again! Mile 21 took me 18 minutes to climb all 520ft and I was beginning to think the last 5 miles were going to take me a very long time! Luckily, things evened out slightly and I did a bit of walk-running, then it was downhill for a couple of miles so I managed to get a good rhythm without any breaks and even passed someone at mile 25 before the last ½ mile climb into the finish line.  It was a hard climb but I managed to run it all without too much pain to cross the line in 4:14. The usual swearing not to ever do the race again at the finish line but I feel like I could break 4 hours given the right training so who knows for next year!  The winner finished in an astonishing 2:48!  Now that my marathon training is over for the year, I should be back at some of the Tuesday sessions.
Scott Darney
_____________________________
21-06-19
Horwich 5k - BMAF Road 5k Champs
Yesterday I ran the Horwich 5k. For those of you who don’t know Horwich is a small town near Bolton. The Horwich Festival of Racing runs from the 11th to 16th June and consists of a number of Running, Cycling, Trail Running, Orienteering, Duathlon and Fell Running races. On the Sunday one of the races is the BMAF Road 5k Champs which is a Masters only 5k consisting of 3 and a bit laps of the town on closed roads. The course is basically a slight downhill start followed by three 1 miles loops of the town and is undulating, unfortunately this year the wind was in your face on the slightly downhill part of the course taking away the advantage of that section. Having injured my left hip climbing over the 3 foot 6inch fence around Chelmsford track on the previous Sunday it was 50:50 at the start of last week as to whether I was going to race. Dave Butler also managed to hurt his hip the weekend before when he slipped on his wet floor. As old gits we need to understand our limitations and avoid dangerous situations. Anyway my hip got better and I decided to race. I ended up 5th in my age group in 18:26 which considering my hip (which was fine during the race) and the wind I was very pleased with, 2nd place was 18:04 so it was a close race, unfortunately the winner of my age group ran 16:58 which is way in front of the rest of us, but as he is from Scotland I actually finished 4th Englishman which hopefully will support my case for selection for the International XC race in November. I felt strong during the race, the half marathon training is coming through, but I need more speed ie Fartlek & Reps.
Dave was not so fortunate as his hip did not respond to treatment so he came along as a supporter, basically he drank beer in front on me when we went out for a meal the night before, caught up with a number of old friends before the race, some of whom he had not seen since before he broke his leg, and then chilled out watching the race. Overall a fun weekend away
Mick Bridgeland
_____________________________
14-06-19
Sri Chimnoy 5km
A warm June evening In Battersea Park and it was time to see what sort of level of fitness I was at after the tibial stress fracture over the winter. There are a series of races on Monday nights in Battersea Park, with £6 entry and the standard ranging from Jonny Hay (sub 15 minute man) to Richard Knowles who is over 80 and ran 36 minutes in this race. They are great races for all standards and ages. A quick exit from work and a swift warm up and we were under starters orders. Don’t go off too fast, don’t go off too fast!! Obviously I went off too fast! 3:29 for the first km and I knew it was going to be a long day at the office! The second and third kms were 3:36 and 3:38, just about hanging in there. As we turned the corner I could see Cormac Toomey (Clapham chasers legend) was closing in and that the next two kms could be a stream of people coming past. I was really up against it now as the winter off began to hurt, the watch beeped at 3:48. Knowing that a fast finish might rescue the time, I tried to put the foot down and managed to get past a four runners in the last 500m to sneak in at 17:58 with a 3:21 last km. Finishing in 32nd place. Nice to be in under 18 minutes, back to trying to up the mileage and learn how to pace a race!! As always superbly organised races!
William Gallimore
_____________________________
14-06-19
Nice one Will… 17:58 isn’t too shabby for a comeback race! I’ve raced a couple of times over the last week…
Last Wednesday was the first race in the ELVIS series – it was 5 miles over at Eastbrookend Country Park in Dagenham, and a grass/gravel course.  Last year I had a terrible race so was pretty confident I could better that performance.  I didn’t set off too quickly but slowly began to pick up the pace and pass runners as the race went on.  As I got further in to the race, I wasn’t sure if I was going too hard but I think I paced it pretty well and came home in 38:58 which I was really pleased with. I didn’t look at my watch much at all during the race (something I am quite guilty of doing), and it was nice to run by feel.  I knocked 5 minutes off last years time, which just goes to show how bad that run was!
On Saturday I decided to have a crack at my 5k PB and ventured 5 minutes down the road to Barking parkrun!  My PB stood at 24:06 which I ran at one of the Ravens 5k’s last year (I think in Feb or March).  Last year I set myself the goal of running sub 24 but it didn’t happen!  I think my next quickest 5k was around 24:25 in November.  On Saturday, I thought a PB was on the cards but wasn’t sure by how much.  I set off too fast, as most people do, doubting the 6:50 per mile pace on my watch and putting it down to dodgy sat nav, but I soon settled down and in to the race run.  Just under half a mile in I was met by a club mate from Ilford who was taking it easy and kindly paced me for the rest of the race.  It was good to have him there as I’m pretty sure I would have slowed if I was on my own.  After 3k he made me speed up a bit, which consequently meant I slowed a little towards the end!  My mile splits were: 7:15, 7:07, 7:22 and I finished in 22:28 so PB achieved and better than I expected! 😊  Alice also ran and was first lady home, this was after a casual 10 mile run to parkrun!  It was also nice to have John and his kids cheer me round the course.
Last night was the second ELVIS race, another 5 mile race but this time at Raphael’s Park in Romford, a flat course with a couple of inclines but nothing horrible.  I decided to set off a bit quicker this time and see if I could on.  I began to feel the pace quite early on in to the race but pushed on (something I am getting better at doing) and managed to hold on.  I finished in 37:08 which is a new PB.  (Top tip – it’s easier to get PBs if you don’t race the distance very often 😉) Big thanks to Scott (as marathon training is definitely paying off) and my iron tablets!
Anna Crawley
_____________________________
14-06-19
PB's tumbling Anna ! As said last night all that marathon training paying off. Actually didn't know you were right behind me last night ! Although you didn't quite catch me I see our chip times were an identical 37.08. I was nearly 2 mins down on last year so may need some training tips from
you :) Re-match at Jubilee Park tomorrow ! Consistently good run from John as well 31.20.
Andy Catton
_____________________________
14-06-19
European Triathlon Champs
This Sunday I was lucky enough to take part in the European Triathlon Champs over the standard or Olympic distance in Weert in the Netherlands. I qualified for this race back in September last year.  It was a great start to the weekend with British victories in both the elite races with Alistair Brownlee demolishing the men’s field.  It was my turn in the age group races on the Sunday morning. There were 66 of us taking part in my age group wave so the plan was just to go hard and finish as high up the field as possible. The race started with a run in to the lake and a race to the first buoy. I had a pretty good swim coming out in 26.40 although the swim was quite a bit longer than the 1500 meters advertised. This is not unusual in triathlon! On to the bike and the plan was to just bury myself to try and keep in contention. The course was three laps of a pan flat route with a strong wind that just seemed to be in my face whatever direction we cycled. I lost a few places on the bike but came back to T2 in very respectable 1.02.46 for the 40k although this was probably a tad short. Finally on to the run and with the temperature hitting the 30’s I just tried to make up as many places as I could. The run was four laps and the organisers had put two water stations on each lap along with a number of hoses to cool us down. The problem with this is that my feet were soaked leaving me with a feeling that my shoes were going to come off at any time.  Again the run was hard (especially the 1st lap) but I managed to make up about 15 places and only got passed by one fella in my age group. I came home with a run split of 43.01 or 6.55 per mile although the run was a tad long too. The fastest run split came from the winer in 37.59. To be honest I was hoping to run a little quicker but the combination of the heat and the very hard bike probably put paid to that idea. It is tough to run fast when you have already emptied the tank on the bike. I ended up 24th in my age group so a pretty decent effort. It was a great weekend and a real treat to represent Great Britain although it wasn’t cheap. The cost of the entry and all the kit was close to £400. You can see why British Triathlon have been so successful as I am sure a lot of money they make from the age group teams goes to help fund the elites. Although to be fair the support we had was fantastic with two team managers, a mechanic and a physio.
Ian George
_____________________________
14-06-19
Ian, Many congratulations. It sounds very hard. I was at the opposite end of the spectrum with an 800m race last night in the Eastern Vets, along with Dave. Pleased with 2.24, but nothing compared to your great effort.
Simon LeMare
_____________________________
14-06-19
I also took part in the European Champs this Sunday in Weert – Ian, I don’t think we’ve met yet but we’ll have to introduce ourselves and bore the others with incessant triathlon chat! I took part in the M30-34 age-group race. I had carefully planned out my race, including my power targets on the bike, and a nice, conservative run pace as I would then be tired and the weather was set to be very hot. However, Sunday morning arrived and, maybe overpowered by adrenaline and caffeine, I decided to go all out for a podium rather than be an also-ran. I drafted the whole swim to conserve energy, then pushed on in the last 200m to emerge in 3rd place (1600m in 22:00). By the end, the others must have been angry at me tapping their toes the whole way round. I hammered the bike, chasing after 1st and 2nd place (and trying to escape the angry mob), who I could see each time we passed on a lap. The course was very fast and flat, and I was pushing along at 51kph on one section which was very slightly downhill and down-wind. I arrived in T2 still in 3rd place, and still on target for my podium (38.6km in 54:52 @42.2kph). My revised target pace for the run was 3:50 for the 10.7km (long, annoyingly). This was optimistic, but I thought possible should I be fitter than I realised or motivated by the cheering crowds. My first kilometre took 3:53 and felt quite comfortable, so I was in good spirits. Unfortunately, a stitch started to develop in my abdomen around 1.5k. I tried to push on, but it got so painful that I had to slow down. After a couple of failed attempts to increase my pace again, the stitch cleared around 6k in. My pace improved, but it was countered by two huge blisters developing on my feet from my new racing flats (rookie error). I was able to put on a burst for the last stretch and came home in 45:16, finishing 9th in my age group. As you can see in the last photo, I was hurting quite a bit. Post-race analysis showed that even with the 3:50 pace, I would have still been passed and finished 5th, as the front guys were doing 3:30s! It seems that yet more running training is prescribed! The fartlek and intervals sessions have been doing me good, as my stand-alone 5k time has demonstrated, and I seriously recommend them to everyone. I’m now taking a week or two to enjoy my fitness before training resumes for the World Champs in September. On Wednesday I set my 20 minute power record, then tomorrow I’m off to Southend parkrun to go for my parkrun PB (sub-18), followed by reclaiming my swimming KOM at TriFarm in Chelmsford :D
James Simmons
_____________________________
14-06-19
Southend Half Marathon
Been a long time since I have done a race report but I got talked into doing the Southend half marathon yesterday by one of the customers at the bar. Meant a 6 weeks training plan where I could only run twice a week at the most on Mondays and Tuesdays, so did not do as much training as I hoped for.  For once it was perfect conditions for the race on Sunday, hardly any wind and about 18c. Those who have done this race in the past know it can be windy along the seafront and usually a lot hotter. Decided to line up behind the 1:45 pacer and see what happens during the race, it's actually a pleasant experience to do a run not to be chasing a pb. Race went well as was keeping the pacer in sight though not staying with him. I know after 8 miles was still at 8 minute mile pace but then dropped back a little to finish in 1:47:51 which is about 3 minutes slower than 2018, but a lot quicker than I was doing in training so very happy with time.  Thanks to Phil Priest for the shout outs and encouragement round the course. Fingers crossed will be in London tomorrow and have sorted out a shower and somewhere to store bag so hope to see some of you out for a run. Not sure if I can manage one of the fartlek sessions though!
Andrew Ferguson
_____________________________
14-06-19
Last night I ran the Blaydon Race. It’s the holy grail of the North East club running scene; probably because of the song more than anything else. But despite it being a race on my doorstep practically all my life (excluding my 6 years daan saaf) and its long tradition, it’s one I had never done before.
Its 5.4 miles from Newcastle city centre finishing in the exotic surroundings of Morrisons car park in Blaydon (a suburb in the charming town of Gateshead). Every year is a sell-out, with almost 5,000 taking part this year, mostly club runners. So the standard is pretty good, with the top 15 av. sub 5. I was a fair way behind them in 116th place (31:41 – av. 5:52’s). I was pretty pleased with that though. Managed to get into a good rhythm early on and ground out a fairly consistent pace. Shame it wasn’t a 10k as I feel I could have carried on to run a 10k PB! Decent goodie bag at the end, with a fancy t-shirt, a bottle of Blaydon Ale and a stottie cake (Geordie delicacy). I’d recommend it if you fancy a trip up north next summer. Plenty of room at Maison de Mackem.
David Wilkinson
_____________________________
14-06-19
Well done Dave, good to read a race report from you and to see you still doing well (great pace).  I too took on a local race yesterday. Lacock running festival (a mile from my house, be rude not to) offered 1K fun run, 5K-ish (but longer), 10K and HM. My OH adjudicated the races and raced the 5K. First man 18.43, first woman 18.44, my OH 3rd in 19.17. It was actually exciting to see the woman on the bloke’s shoulder. For the 10K, (two laps of the 5K route), there were 4 waves, I was in the 3rd wave. Four ladies (me included) right at the start. By mile 1, I was in the lead and wondered if I’d gone off too fast (6.42 followed by 6.36)!! I tried to stick with it but slight undulations meant my pace slipped. I was ahead but had a young Team Bath girl chipping away. I was beginning to tired but her breathing was quite laboured. When she pushed so did I but I knew come the rise again, she could get past. I was actually starting to feel for her, she was clearly putting in more effort and I felt she deserved the win more. I encouraged her on but then pushed a little and she did eventually pass me, finishing 10s ahead. She was ecstatic, absolutely over the moon and came over to tell me I’d pushed her to a new PB. To be fair, I’d done pretty well myself and I was happy with my result. So from all the waves, she was 2nd and I was 3rd, but first Vet, just 15s between all 3 of us. I finished in 42.57. Not seen a 10K start with 42 for a while so feeling pretty chuffed, especially considering I’ve done next to zero speedwork. Our prize? A free entry into one of their races, of our choice! 😳😳. Next race tomorrow night, 5K supposedly on fast, flat tarmac. Not sure how my legs will respond.
Vicky Cooper
_____________________________
4-06-19
Sydney Half Marathon
On Wednesday last week I decided spend £73 to enter the Sydney half marathon. I’ve had my most consistent bit of running over the last 2 weeks being in Australia – 2 runs a week. Furthest run was 6 miles as a result of getting lost. Race start was 6:45am which meant a 5:55am wake up. A heavy night in an Italian the night before sabotaged grabbing some breakfast for the morning. Only a coffee shop was open at 6:15am, so I decided banana loaf was the next best option and 1 of your 5 a day. Managed about a third before my stomach warned me about pushing any further. Jogged to the start and realised I had registered for an estimated finish time of 3 hours 20 minutes. Fortunately fancy dress isn’t big in Australia running races, so no humiliation to contend with. Set off like I meant business, jostling with 2 others at the front of our wave under the impression there were photographers at the start. After a speedy first mile, I decided to drop off. This was due to a lack of photographers and the first hill approached. I feel that the modern definition of ‘undulating’ has many different interpretations. Sydney Morning Herald’s definition is the worst case of false advertising I’ve come across. The course was hilly and whilst an early start seemed sensible, it sooner got upto 20 degrees without much shade. After 4 miles I decided to take on the first gel I was given at the previous water station. It was branded ‘winner’ and had the texture of extreme gloop. It took a bit of chewing but looking at the branding inspired me to swallow rather than spit. I was also under the impression it would help me out in 20 minutes time.  20 minutes later I was tapping my chest as the combination of banana loaf and gloop started to mix similar to the feeling around 3am after having beer, wine, aperol, and shots of limoncello with not enough pizza. I continued to run, tapping my chest and swallowing hoping it would pass. Mile 9 it had passed, so I had another sash of gloop – a chocolate lime flavour – definitely a sample the sponsor was trying to dispose of en-masse! After much crossing over and turning corners up hills, we entered the botanical gardens and I pushed on to finish in 1:37:28. Almost 10 minutes slower than my last half in October but considering the lack of everything you should do before a half marathon, I was pleased to have done it.
The downsides were;
-          Lack of support around the course
-          Narrow roads and bottlenecks due to the route
-          No t-shirt momento – you could order one for an extra £30 but they sold out of all sizes except XXL some weeks before the event
-          Lack of freebies after the event/no goodie bag
Positives:
-          Starting earlier means you can spend the rest of the day at the beach
-          Challenging course makes it more interesting
-          You see some of the sights around the city
-          Regular water stations
Graham Hollingdale
_____________________________
4-06-19
Burnham-on-Crouch 10k
I was looking for a 10k to enter this weekend after some Ravens recommended last year that it’s worth taking advantage of marathon training and racing something a few weeks out, so I went to Burnham-on-crouch  for their annual 10k. We started in the field, ran 2 miles on tarmac where I managed to overtake a couple of people, then ran around the edge of farmers fields for 1.5 miles which was thick grass and on uneven ground so it wasn’t much fun.  Then we climbed up onto the seawall and ran on more trail that was directly into the wind for about 2 miles.  Finally back on the tarmac for a 0.5m finish. I knew a PB was out of the window as soon as we hit the trail, but I managed to hold onto 5th place from mile 1 through  to the finish line which was nice because they presented prizes to the top 5 men and women so I got a £10 voucher for my efforts.  38:49 which is not close to a PB but it was never going to be a fast day. I’m on holiday next week so can’t make the Assembly League but will be there for the next one – good luck everyone!
Scott Darney
_____________________________
4-06-19
Well done Scott!
This weekend I did the Moonlight Half marathon in Jeselo (beach town near Venice) on Saturday evening, which starts at 7.30pm – or as the Italian race instructions say “about 7.30pm” ... “the start time might change a bit depending on organizing needs”.  The best thing about this race were actually the race instructions (sent on the day of the race): “On Saturday 25th try to be early in advance; in case of sunny weather many people will go to the beach and you might find queues”. “Venice marathon will place 5 music groups to entertain both spectators and runners.  In this way the difficult moments that a runner can face could be washed away with a smile.” “After the race… let’s party with us all at the Moonlight Beach Party!” This is my kind of race!!!!  Unfortunately it really wasn’t and having stockpiled my body in the 3 days prior with Aperol Spritz and a lot of crisps, I was totally unprepared for the 13 miles in 26 degrees.  Typically, I started off sub 6mm and then petered off into the realms of 7mm by miles 10, 11 and 12.  Finished in 1.25.56, 5th female – beaten by 2 Kenyans, 1 Ethiopian (1.13, 1.15 and 1.18) and an Italian called Ricotta Giovanna.  A similar story for the men, the winning time being 1.01.37, with all top 6 under 1.05 and Kenyans. The race was run by BMW so was a fantastic event, very relaxed and fun (though a very good standard of runners, because the elevation gain was just 123ft according to Strava).  There was also live streaming video so my family watched it at the dinner table from Kent.  Got a couple of worried texts from my Mum as I think she was expecting me over the finish line a little sooner.  I forgot my Ravens top but it says Ravens City of London Running Club on the results which I think looks quite cool! Celebrated for absolutely no reason with loads more Aperol and a tuna toastie, which gave both me and my friend food poisoning, rounding off an extremely wonderful few days in the sun!!
Alice Whiley
_____________________________
4-06-19
Hull Half Marathon
Yesterday I ran the Hull Half Marathon – why I hear you ask. This was one of three qualifying half marathons, you basically had to finish in the top 4 in your age group to be selected to run for England against the Celtic Nations in another Half Marathon, the Maidenhead Half, on the 1st Sept. This is an England Athletics initiative rather than BMAF and despite the fact that you have to pay for your own transport & race entry plus buy the England kit it still was enough to motivate me to run a Half for the first time in three years. The fun was that you had no idea where were in your age group you just had to do your best and hope it was enough. I managed to come 2nd M60 in a time of 1:26:43 so I achieved the objective. Luckily it was not quite as hot in Hull as it was down south, but it was humid and close, and the race started at 9am which helped a bit. All I can say is that Half Marathons are hard work ! The plan was to start steadily and drift through the first 5 miles and then try to hang on at the same pace for the next 8.1. I achieved the first part of the plan but the next 8.1 miles were painful. It was quite a twisty course and it was a bit windy in places but basically I found it hard work to hang on to a reasonable pace – more long runs and tempo runs needed ! In the last 2 miles we ran with the 10k runners who had started 45 mins after the Half Marathon, and as luck would have it I found myself running with 10K runners who were running the same pace as me and this kept me going to the finish. At the end there was a good race goody bag and a nice race t-shirt plus they were also giving out pints of alcohol free beer which tasted really good at 10:30 in the morning after a tough race – beer is obviously good for you !
Mick Bridgeland
_____________________________
4-06-19
I ran around Dorking 10 mile very easily in 73 odd minutes after a tough session the night before. Lovely hot weather for a course that's undulating and downright hilly in parts. The North Downs formed a beautiful vista as a backdrop to the race. Highly recommended albeit not one for a PB...
Bryn Reynolds
_____________________________
16-05-19
Ipswich Twilight 5k
I ran the Ipswich Twilight 5k on Saturday which was a great race, including the national championships this year, with waved starts going on throughout the afternoon culminating in the Women’s elite & men’s sub 20 wave which I was in at 7pm, and finally the men’s elite wave at 7.30pm. The sun came out and the course is surrounded on one side by bars which gave a pretty loud and raucous atmosphere by the later races which was great. The course is narrow at the start and loops around the marina 2.5times, and I snuck under 17mins by the smallest margin, so I’m a little behind where I was earlier in the year. Laura Weightman won the women’s elite in 15.21, and Nick Goolab missed Mo’s UK record by 3 seconds in 13.34, knocking 16secs off his time last year.
Neil Parry
_____________________________
16-05-19
I also  raced at Ipswich twilight 5k but not fast enough for the sub 20 min wave so entered the 20 to 30 min wave. Going into race feeling strong so thought would be around 20 mins. Started strong 1st mile 6 min min miling then faded but finished in 19.09 which was a pb by 15 mins from 2 years ago. Good to see training working. On to the next one
David Miller
_____________________________
16-05-19
Geneva Marathon
I chose a later marathon this year because I wanted to run as many XC races as I could without interfering with my long runs.  My training had only just really started before I went on holiday, ran a week then got sick for a week and had to start rebuilding with about 10 weeks left.  When I got down to it, my training seemed to be going ok but this year I have done a little coaching some marathon plan writing for friends and clubmates plus our very own Anna Crawley and this  took allot more time out of me than I expected.  I wouldn’t change it though as it was a great experience for me and I learnt allot. My original plan after setting a clean sweep of PB’s from 5k up to Marathon in 2018 was to run for 2:50 but after the setbacks I adjusted this to 2:55.  Then going into the taper it was questionable whether I would be in shape for this as I really felt that I’d been allot more relaxed/complacent about my training this time round but I was making sure I nailed the long run and the speed session each week. Anyway, race day arrived and I felt good in the morning of the race.  I ran the first few miles relatively easy to prevent myself going off too hard.  I didn’t really have any issues hitting marathon pace but I had issues maintaining marathon pace because the course changes from tarmac road, dirt track and was also quite undulating.  It wasn’t steep but it just wasn’t really flat enough to get any real momentum.  Then there was the wind which was against for most of the first 7-8 miles.  Still I felt ok and went through half way in just under 1:29 which was about right seeing as my plan was to finish the second half stronger seeing as it was downhill.  I also wanted to enjoy this marathon so I made sure I high-fived the kids, waved at the crowd and made the most of the support from the locals which was very encouraging because the organisers had put a Swiss flag on my race number, not sure why it wasn’t GB flag but still, it was a big plus! I then turned onto a lovely nice tarmac road which I knew would lead all the way back to the finish in the city feeling relatively good with about 6 miles to go.  At 22 miles we went under a tunnel and there was a DJ so I had a little dance as I ran passed (I say dance – it could probably be mistaken for just a very odd running style!) and tried not to sprint too hard down a long steep hill but I did want to make the most of it to some degree.  But it got me.  I think the hill destroyed my legs (as well as the prior 22 miles) as when we got to the flat and the final 4 miles it felt really hard.  A little niggle on my Achilles was starting to burn and my inner thigh started giving me some warning signs of cramp.  These final 4 miles, much like any marathon were about survival and brining it home. I crossed the line in 2:58:08 which is 3min PB and my first sub 3.  Having not had a drink since new years eve I started thinking about beer during the final few miles and how much I wanted one - my first words when crossed the line and saw my brother were “I need a beer”.  Now onto Trail Marathon Wales in 1 months time which I won’t be running anywhere near as hard!
Scott Darney
_____________________________
26-04-19
LITTLE BROMLEY 10K
I got a late entry for as this Mick’s son Zach wasn’t running.  After such a long injury plan was to be on the right side of 39 and beat my club mate Pete Chubb who just beat me in the Essex 5 2 weeks ago.  And not beaten too badly by Mick! I did a sensible warm up with the race winner Tim Woulfe, and then off! I actually turned my Garmin to K.  Pacing pretty even, worst K 3.56 and best 3.45 in the last (up hill) K.  38.07, beat Pete, and Mick beat me by about 15s. Job done. V60 winner (Paul Mingay/Colchester (boo)) 35.16 and V70 (Anthony Nixon/Ilford) 40.00.
Robin McCoy
_____________________________
26-04-19
As Robin mentioned I also ran the Little Bromley 10K yesterday. If you has asked me on Tues after Fartlek I would have said I was feeling good and looking forward to the race. Unfortunately I woke up on Weds and my back was really painful, I had trouble getting dressed and putting my shoes on – the back improved as the week went on but I was still in two minds on Saturday whether to run or not. As it turned out the back was not too bad, it just took the edge off of my confidence, and I didn’t feel too bad in the first half but I started to slow in the second half – I think that this was more down to not having done any road races for nearly a year, I have lost the art of holding a pace for 10k, in xc races the pace is changing all the time and you have tough up hills and then recover on the downs. Anyway I finished in 37:58, which I was pleased with all things considered, and at least having organised Robin’s entry he had the decency not to beat me. I will be out for a jog at lunchtime.
Mick Bridgeland
_____________________________
26-04-19
Brighton Marathon
Yesterday saw my second marathon (I ran the Madrid 7 years ago aged 21 but I was slow and lazy back then so I’m not sure I’ll count it). Leading up to the race saw a foot injury with six weeks no training then two weeks before a nasty bout of tonsilitis so my hopes weren’t high for the day, although I approached the start line feeling well just a little undertrained. I went out far too quick at 3:30-3:40 marathon pace for the first half, not sure what I was thinking but it was such a well supported race and I was having fun so I just got carried away. I started to suffer at mile 17 where I started vomiting on the course alarming myself, the other runners and the spectators.This didn’t stop until 1 hour after the race so safe to say today I’m trying to eat and drink everything in sight now. I saw Donna after a particularly bad bout which gave me a nice lift and luckily I had some friends that cheered me on at various points while I was suffering into the horrible headwind and kept me going to the end. Crossed the line which a chip time 4:05 which I’m really happy with given the circumstances. Despite everything I loved the race and saw a few Ravens out on the course so will look out for their reports, not sure what cause the nausea/sickness as it was like nothing I’d experienced whilst exercising before, perhaps the gels weren’t to my liking or just punishment for going out too fast. I haven’t been able to run with the ravens for ages as I’m over in Holborn/travelling until March next year but I’ll be back then and will hopefully try to make some sessions over the summer. On to the Frankfurt in October where I hope to use the experience from Brighton as a lesson of what not to do in marathon running. Hopefully see some Ravens there too!
Astrid Ainley
_____________________________
26-04-19
Goodwood Running Grand Prix
While every other runner was busy in Brighton, I ran a marathon yesterday around the Goodwood motor circuit (just west of Brighton). I’m in training for Transvulcania in 4 weeks so thought that this would be a good interim test of how on track I am for that race. The track is 2.3 miles around meaning the marathon distance started with a small up and back followed by 11 laps. The marathon started first with shorter distances joining in along the way. I started off pretty well this time because I am generally terrible at pacing myself but in this case I had a couple of club runners to follow. The first half of the track loop was in the sun and nice and warm but the back half was cold with a huge chilly head wind. So I was constantly not looking forward to the back 1 mile all 11 times around. By half way I was feeling pretty good so stepped up the pace a bit. This proved to be just a bit too fast and I eventually struggled a bit around the last lap to the finish. Overall managing to cross in 3:01:17. Given how it went I am feeling pretty on track for 4 weeks time. Still, a bit disappointing to not go under 3 hours. My pacing is getting better so I will give it another shot soon enough. Hope everyone’s running weekend went well.
Kris McCullough
_____________________________
26-04-19
Paris Roubaix
Paris - Roubaix cycle sportive .... very fun time was had in France, although at times it felt that the cold and the persistent headwind were as much of a challenge as the cobbles. And the cobbles .... what an experience - hard to describe exactly but even though I had read about them and seen videos of them, nothing quite prepares you for the actual experience. There are 29 sections of the 'pave' varying from just under 1km to longest at 3.7km. Hitting the First few sections it was a case of understanding the best way to tackle them and the realisation hitting home of what was ahead and also the disbelief of the battering that the bikes were taking. Our starting group of 6 fragmented after first few sections and I spent a very pleasant day with 2 of Ian's East Essex clubmates, making steady progress and getting to the velodrome in Roubaix after just over 7 hours and 172km (55km of which was 'pave') of riding and enjoying looping the track at the finish before everything got cleared for the professional race on Sunday. A few sections stand out in my jarred memory of the day, in particular the infamous 'Trouee d'Arenberg', one of the 3 hardest 5* sections, where the cobbles we massive and there was no remorse whatsoever. Ian had a good ride too, although hit a minor mechanical issue towards the end. Body still a bit shaken from it all but not as overall in bad shape as I expected to be, although not sat on a saddle again yet! My thanks to Ian for organising the trip over and giving me my first taster of the continental classics.
Rupert Holden
_____________________________
26-04-19
City v Wharf 10k Relay
Thanks to Alex for organising this race. There was some confusion at the beginning of the race as to the format as it was understood that that 2 man team could run 2 consecutive laps each but as it turned out the baton had to be handed over after each leg so the runners had to run 2 x 2.5k. We also had to decide between the 4 man team which of us would run 2 legs as unfortunately Will had to pull out due to advice from his physio.  Luckily we got this right by asking Tim to run 2 legs and he delivered 2 excellent runs. Jonathon Pontin was running for JLT instead of the Ravens but did at least wear his vest.  He and his brother were the race winners with a time of 33:12 and his splits were 7:57 and 8:10 for his 2 x 2.5k legs. Second place was the Ravens 4 man team of Tim Sherman, Scott Darney, Ryan Day and Tim Sherman (again!) with a time of 33:27. David Wilkinson and Stuart Fraser were sixth overall and the fourth 2 man team with a time of 34:59. I understand there is a City v Wharf 5k event in September too?
Ravens Splits below:
Ravens 1 (2nd overall / 1st 4 man team)
1 Tim                     8:20
2 Scott                  8:29
3 Ryan                   8:18
4 Tim                     8:18

Ravens 2 (6th overall / 4th 2 man team)
1 Stuart                8:47
2 David                 8:37
3 Stuart                8:54
4 David                 8:39
Scott Darney
_____________________________
12-04-19
Colchester half marathon
Heading to the start line of the Colchester half marathon yesterday I was full of apprehension as I’ve been training hard for the VLM and my legs had been feeling terrible all week. At the start line it was great to meet some friendly Ravens faces in Neil, Scott and Ryan which did wonders for my nerves. The first couple of miles are quick with some steep downhill sections. At this point I was wishing I had longer legs as I watched a couple of gazelle like people bound down the hills whilst I was struggling to keep up! You then hit a steep hill back into the town with some other climbs up to around mile 5. At no point was I feeling particularly comfortable, but seeing my split for mile 5 caused me to have a few words with myself about how badly I was running and that I needed to sort myself out (a few more choice words may have been uttered). The second half is run around the countryside outside Colchester which is a much more pleasant run and I also started picking off runners in front of me which always acts as a good motivation. At mile 8 I thought my chances of a sub 80 min were long gone but just told myself to push as hard as I could. Miraculously by mile 11 it seemed that if could just keep close to 6mm for the final 2 I could do it. The final downhill into the finish gave me a bit of bonus pace and I came over the line in 1 hour 19:43 which meant a pb by a massive 2 secs! All felt pretty uncomfortable but I’ll take that as a bonus for a day when I feel a bit better.
Tim Harman
_____________________________
12-04-19
As Tim says, I ran my first road race of the year at the Colchester HM on Sunday and was a bit apprehensive as to how I would fair my training has been interrupted with holiday and then illness for most of the last 7 weeks, with last week being my first proper full week back after re-building. In the warm up there was a definite chill in the air and I was pleased I put my gloves on but after a couple of minutes in the start area things warmed up and I quickly offloaded my gloves. It was great to see so many familiar faces on the start line and a few Ravens in Neil, Tim and Ryan.  The clear blue sky added to what I felt was a really warm and friendly atmosphere. I estimated that I was probably in shape for somewhere around 83mins but if all went well then maybe I could sneak under my current PB of 82:27.  I decided to head off at close to marathon pace and move through the gears to try and make it a progressive run.  Ultimately, I was right on plan for the first half of the race but I did not have those final faster gears in me for the second half to really push on so I just tried to hold my pace with the odd effort here and there to see if there was something left for a fast finish (there wasn’t!) and held my pace to come home in 83:40.  It’s a fair way from what I was hoping for when I registered for the race but as we all know, marathon training throws up so many challenges that you have to adapt and run as best you can in given fitness, conditions and circumstances etc.   Still 7 weeks left to train so plenty of big runs to go! Also, I’d not run Colchester HM since my first HM 4 years ago and it might have been something to do with the weather but I really enjoyed this race.  The support was brilliant for those areas in and around the town and then through the finish line, which really does help.  Highly recommend the race.
Scott Darney
_____________________________
12-04-19
As mentioned by Scott and Tim already, I ran the Colchester Half Marathon as well this weekend. My pre-race target was also 83 minutes and this was going to plan up until around 10 miles where I started to feel the heat in my legs (which haven’t had the training they really should have done over the winter). This led to a very slow last three miles and I ended up finishing in a time of 1:25:20. Not too bad but looking forward to racing the shorter 5k’s (assembly league) that are coming up. All in all the CHM is a great event to get back the running motivation that has been lacking recently.
Ryan Day
_____________________________
12-04-19
Kingston Spring Run
I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to enter a race that starts at 8am on Mother’s Day when the clocks go forward because actually it’s a really terrible idea. Freezing cold wind did nothing to improve my mood at the start, as we waited in the pen. I then realised I’d forgotten my watch so my friend agreed to be my personal pacer, since going off like a rocket and blowing up half way is a bit of a habit for me. The first three miles are on a sandy towpath which is surprisingly difficult to run on as your shoes tend to slide with each step, but we managed jazz hands for the photographer at mile 5, always important I think. At 6 m my personal pacer put on her fancy jawbone headphones. I had no headphones so decided to sing, to myself obviously no one wants to be issued a noise abatement notice 5 miles into a race. I requested something motivational from my brain DJ but seemingly the only song available was shaddap you face by Joe Dolce (younger Ravens may want to you tube it, it’s quite a tune). Fortunately at mile 6 I saw an abandoned shoe, and was able to distract myself for several miles wondering how you lose a shoe and on the side of a main road in Kingston. I once lost a shoe at a Madness concert but that’s a different story. We were on pavement beside a road at this stage with quite a few crossings all of which were marshalled exceptionally well. By now I was quite in need of a drink and delighted to see a water station but baffled to see all the tops had been taken off the bottles. I’m seriously considering practicing drinking from a bottle without a top (that’s the bottle without a top not me) whilst running as this has been an issue for me before. As we passed mile 7 my friend said she was going to have to make a toilet stop. Having not even thought about it until that point I was instantly desperate for a wee. Luckily we were back on the towpath with some conveniently placed bushes. We jumped in (a first in synchronised weeing for me) and leapt back onto the path totally shocking a male runner who screamed like, well like two women had jumped out of a bush in front of him. 200 meters further down the path we passed a public toilet. The race is an 8 mile or two loops for the 16 mile. I’ve done lapped races before but wasn’t mentally prepared to come within 20 meters of the finish line before heading off for a second lap. By mile 14 I began to doubt the excellent pacing by my friend as she picked up the pace and by mile 15 I decided I couldn’t keep up, she told me in no uncertain terms that I was to keep going and that we were going to pass the guy in front of us and the girl in front of him. We did manage to pass both runners we’d targeted and I was delighted to then see the finish line come into view. Time 2.31 pretty pleased with that.
Donna Henry
_____________________________
12-04-19
BRAINTREE 5* (AND ESSEX CHAMPS)
I decided to run the above as I had already paid, and there was a free race t shirt, to add to the 5,000 I already have.  Some time ago (i.e. when I entered) I thought it would be my return to competitive (geriatric (Essex)) racing.  I trained hard at Springfield Striders Annual Dinner (and no) Dance, and warmed down with a couple of large gin and tonics.  Because the clocks went forward, the alarm went off in the middle of the night.  Set off at sub 6 pace and then had a procession of old timers over take me.  Tottered home in 31.19.  Nearly 80% WAVA score (all that counts nowadays).  Finished 60 and 11th V50 which shows that road  running is dominated by old people.  Also seen El Presidente of Essex Athletics and Dave Miller.  *That’s miles BTW, things haven’t got that bad yet.
Robin McCoy
_____________________________
12-04-19
As robin noted on did the above on Sunday, not sure what form I was so just run it as hard as I could, 1st 2.5 miles ok then struggled with the wind and hills managed to cross line in 32.48 which is best time for a 5 miler in 2 years so happy with result. Finished in 91st place and 15 I think in the vet 50 group which is full of quality runners. AL on Thursday hope legs recover by then.
Dave Miller
_____________________________
12-04-19
Serpentine Last Friday 5k/Colchester half
I ran the serpentine 5k in hyde park on what turned out to be a pretty warm Friday lunchtime. I’d only run it once before and they had used a different course due to the winter wonderland last time. I needn’t have worried about finding the start, the crowds were visible from quite a way off surrounding the bandstand. 300 people started the race which heads around the lake anti clockwise. The start was pretty busy and I got a shove in the back and a telling off from one disgruntled runner for an unspecified misdemeanour. It soon thinned out and I tried to focus on sticking in behind a group going at a reasonable pace. The first 3km were manageable but km 4 coming back on the southern side of the lake was a real grind and I was overtaken by a handful of runners who had paced it better. Emptied the tank for the final km and managed to squeeze in just under 17mins (16:55), which was 24th place on the day. A pb by 25 seconds so I was pretty happy to trot back to the tube and return to the office; although if I’d have kept going east I would have just about made it in time for a pint at the Raven, next time. It’s a nice race, well organised, the paths are wide enough that there is plenty of room for runners without crashing into pedestrians. I don’t know if it was deliberate, but you are no longer charged to use the loo beforehand!
A slightly belated and very short  report from the Colchester half which has been widely covered already: lovely weather, ran 10miles at marathon pace and a bit faster for the last 5k, finished in 1.25.56 without feeling too tired. Would second the positive comments, it’s a really fun race, lots of support, and only a short warm up from the train station to the start line at the football club if you are coming from London.
Neil Parry
_____________________________
12-04-19
Manchester Marathon
This is a long story with plenty of self-imposed melodrama. The eventful weekend started on Friday lunch when after a gentle jog around Wapping, my knee swelled to the size of a small football. High levels of panic, ice and ibuprofen followed from then until Sunday morning. It got progressively more comfortable and when I arrived in Manchester around 5pm on Saturday was fine for walking but I didn’t want to test it with a jog. I had the fortune of picking up a hotel room right at the finish line from a friend who was injured and didn’t travel. It was perfectly placed for the race and for cricket fans, having a balcony with an unbelievable view over Old Trafford, photo attached. I was able to leave the hotel at around 8.30 and wander 10mins to the start line. I’d highly recommend it if you are running Manchester in the future. The start area was super busy and lots and lots of people were crowded around the 3hr pacer for the start – there were a number of tight turns in the first few km’s which made it quite uncomfortable. Once we were out on the open road it was much better. I was trying to run easily and hope that I heard no grumblings from my knee… Its not the most attractive course to run around, but pleasant enough, there was a lot of support as you travel around the surrounding suburbs, Temperley in particular was as loud as I’ve ever heard a road race. I started to push away from the 3hr pacer to give a bit of cushion, and kept the pace a little faster than 3hrs for the next 10miles or so without feeling like I was pushing too hard. For the last 10k I thought I had enough in the tank to accelerate and take a bit of time off which went fine until a bit of cramp brought that to a halt at around 40km, by which point I could almost see old Trafford and I hobbled back as fast as I could. I finished in 2.56.10 which is by far the fastest marathon I’ve ever run (3.18 in 2013 being my prior best). Looking at the state of the people finishing near me I spent the next hour or so wondering if I should have pushed harder…that soon got forgotten amongst train beers and M&S sausage rolls. PS. My knee is now absolutely fine….apparently only needed 42.2km to loosen it up
Neil Parry
_____________________________
22-03-19
Essex 20 mile race
Yesterday I raced the above it was a windy and wetish morning. Not run further than 15 miles since VLM last April and not doing a spring marathon but liked the idea of running with other people, plain was to Finish and not bet myself up. Managed to get in a group who were running about 7 min miling but after about 6 miles the pace was too much so backed off, felt ok until 17 miles and managed to hang onto a little group at this stage who help me cross the line in 2.27.42 a pb of about 2 mins. Nice to see Vicky at the start and saw Andy caton jogging around the course as Well, felt really rough at the end so knew I pushed myself.
Dave Miller
_____________________________
22-03-19
I also run the Essex 20 mile race as part of the Kent team. Felt quiet tired all week, had no idea where I would come but my 2 priorities were to try and make sure I was in top 3 from Kent team out of 4 and to run something close to marathon pace time. I managed to come 2nd in the Kent team and run 1:57:19 which is probably about right. Pace was reasonably consistent but the run felt patchy and struggled in parts though this may have just been the wind. Essex won the team event comfortably, Kent finished 5th though 5nd to 5th were all quite close in the standings. One of the Kent girls comfortably won the women’s race by almost 10 minutes running 1:59,. Having looked up the Kent team beforehand I had a 3rd priority of not being chicked by Lucy, but did not want to mention this in case I sounded like a male chauvinist pig. My watch tells me to rest for 3 days, though hopefully will be out for a run at lunch.
James Macdonald
_____________________________
22-03-19
Popular race – I was in Rochford as well; stupidly early for a 10am start and ended up hanging around for 90mins. On the positive side there wasn’t a queue for parking/toilets/numbers. I was also there to see big bags of sparkly new county vests being delivered for the serious runners. I was in two minds on how to “race” the distance, either to just go for it or run what I thought was marathon pace; in the end enthusiasm got the better of me and I just went for it, trying to stick to 4min/km’s (~6.30ish for the imperially minded) and see how long until i started to fade. The course was three laps with a couple of shortish hills sandwiching a longer downhill section. The first 2 laps passed without much incident apart from the weight of carrying four gels and some car keys meant my shorts kept falling down. On the last lap it felt like the wind really got up, and I was running slower even on the downhill section. The last hill was a real grind, and several runners who had paced the distance better came past me in the last 3miles including 2 from Witham, one from East London and one from Ilford. I finished in 2.10.29 for 65th place which felt as good as I could have run on the day, and hopefully translates to a long held goal of a sub 3hr marathon in Manchester next month. I saw Anna on the course who was looking very comfortable and Scott before the start as well. Special mention to  Robin for finding me a person willing to transfer their place just ahead of the deadline. Just to emphasise James’ point on the Essex team, the men were the top 4 positions and won the overall men’s race by 20mins or so, which I thought was hugely impressive.
Neil Parry
_____________________________
22-03-19
Vicky Park Half
I signed up to this one on a whim on Thursday, realising that time was ticking if I wanted to squeeze in a pre-London race. Glad I did: it turned out to be a decent confidence boost. Set off with a small group going a bit quick and knocked off a 6.09. They picked up the pace and I knew that wasn't sustainable so pegged it back a touch and ran consistent 6.20ish miles from then on. As a 6 and a bit lap course, there was a constant stream of people to pass, but I was in a group of 1 going that pace, so a pretty uneventful race flying solo, battling the seemingly constant head wind. Finished 7th in 1.22.44; 1st old bloke. Around 50s short of a PB but was not expecting to get that close and nice to be heading in the right direction. Good race if in search of a PB: flat, wide paths and there's something oddly satisfying and encouraging about ticking off manageable 2ish mile laps and not worrying about the miles themselves.
Russ Beard
_____________________________
22-03-19
ESSEX ROAD RELAYS
This Saturday was my comeback road race.  Given my abject lack of speed work, I figured 18.30 was achievable, compared to 18.02 last year.  I was warming up for the 3rd and final leg, I bumped into Scott Rice who told me the gale force winds would add 40 seconds to my normal time.  Anyway, set-off with Springfield in 3rd place.  For the first 4k I was pretty much on my own, passing a youth from Colchester and  a V40 from Colchester.  Got to 4K. Medal in the bag! What could go wrong? At this exact moment, Paul Mingay of Tiptree, who despite bring over 60, ran 2.47 in the Seville Marathon, appeared on my shoulder.  He beat me by 16 seconds over the last K, pushing us into 4th place, or as my daughter kindly said, “1st loser”.  19.21, so wind adjusted, about right! Anyway good to be back, and no apparent damage from the run.  Back to first leg next time! Also spotted, young Ryan Day. Out for reps on Thursday!
Robin McCoy
_____________________________
22-03-19
It was some trepidation that I travelled to Wrexham on Sunday morning for my first road marathon in 3 years. Unsure of my confidence over the distance and also unsettled weather meant a nervousness on the start line. We were running alongside the runners in the concurrent 20 mile race, doing an extra 6.2 mile loop in miles 10-16. However, things settled down nicely for the first hour, where we had a bit of descent and wind in our favour and I banked some good miles in 6:30 – 6:40 range. The just as we got to end of mile 9, the real fun started. There had been mention of water on the road and had rather dismissed this. There was a dip in the country lanes and then we hit a 'wet' section of about 400m. At first it was about 6 inches deep and enough to get shoes wet, but then we came around a corner and I could see runners ahead walking and up to their shorts in water. A hard slog through dirty freezing water ensued. At this point, any idea of getting a 'time' vanished – as we exited, water sloshing around in the shoes (leading to bad blistering later) and freezing legs meant I was shivering for next couple of miles as I tried to get back into my stride. And then for us 'lucky' marathoners we had to go around the same loop again at mile 15, again getting the ice cold dip. After that is was survival – it had become a completely solo effort but fortunately there were slower 20 miler and half marathon runners to chase down and catch. The last 5 miles of a marathon are always tough, but I was not helped by the headwind and climbing we had to do in this final section. Managed to hold my pace well and was very pleased with my effort, passing into the lead of my age cat in the last mile to a very disgruntled look from the guy as I passed him. So, first M50, 9th overall, time for what it was worth was 3:05, so happy that I am in good sub 3 form on a more normal situation. Overall, one of the most friendly and chatty races I have done – maybe it was the adverse conditions, but overall good feeling mean that I will remember this one in different ways to usual!
Rupert Holden
_____________________________
1-03-19
National XC Champs (Raven's World XC Champs) - Saturday 23rd Feb, Harewood House nr Leeds
On Saturday I ran the National XC Champs at Harewood House nr Leeds. It was a fantastic venue for the Nationals and the weather was more like a summers day than February and overall the event was very well organised and I will definitely go back if it is held there again. The course was approx. 12k, 2 laps of 6k each. The surface was grass, with next to no mud but the course was “rolling”, in fact there were a couple of steep hills on each lap but luckily there were some fast downhill sections as well. Apart from the very congested start were over 2000 runners charge up the hill from the start and then squash into the relatively thin course I really enjoyed the course and the race. For the first mile or so it was tough trying to squeeze past people and dodge runners who were slowing down but after that I got into my running and felt strong throughout the race, even up the hills, and spent most of the time overtaking people. I think this was my best XC race of the season, which is good as I have the BMAF XC Champs in Belfast on the 9th March. I came 953rd in the race in a time of 49:08. I didn’t see anyone else I knew during the race, but I see from the results that the results of the Raven’s World XC Champs were –
Arif 607th 46:03
Keith 874th 48:26
Chris Tuck 884th 48:31
Me 953rd 49:08
Luke 1290th 52:32
Well done Arif, a great run
Mick Bridgeland
_____________________________
1-03-19
Bit late but just thought I’d add a short report. I saw Keith early on and was a little worried that he’d show his class (jason had worried me with stories of his great training performances) but overtook him early on and never heard from him again. Otherwise saw no ravens. I ran with 2 clubmates who are normally better than me. This time they decided to to mark me and allow me to do all the work. I dropped one but the other stuck to me like glue and on the final hill put in a burst which I managed to shadow but we then proceeded into a long downhill and final straight and he got a gap and I was done. But happy overall. Driest XC I’ve ever done altough it was hard & rutted and brutal on the feet and the 2 climbs were ‘challenging. Overall enjoyed it tremendously and highly recommend it. Next year I hear its in Nottingham and would be great to get a Ravens contingent.
Arif Merali
_____________________________
22-02-19
Valentine's 10k
Yesterday I ran the Valentine’s 10k, although it’s not a pb course I ran it last year so thought it would be a good indication of how Marathon training was going. It’s a strange start to the race as you line up in time based pens and then begin a slow procession to the actual start line, because we were walking I didn’t realise we were so close to the start and was busy chatting and didn’t notice at first that we’d gone over the start mats. The first km passes Chessington World of adventures but this is pretty much the only highlight of the race. The first part of the route is on a road without pavements in pretty fast moving traffic, I had decided to stay where I was rather than play chicken with the speeding traffic but ahead of me were two ladies running side by side chatting I risked passing them which put me behind a little old lady. I decided to continue passing people until I found someone acceptable to run behind, however just as I passed deep heat man a bus passed a little too close and I decided to stick it out slightly in front of him. At 3k we moved onto pavements and I was able to pass a good few people. I spotted a lady from a local running club ahead, as I usually finish in front of her I decided she was my target and managed to pass her on an uphill section. I spotted what I thought was a photographer ahead and was just preparing to grin when I realised it was a just a supporter of a runner ahead as he cheered for Charlie, so Charlie became my new target. At 5km there was a water stop and I hoped Charlie would need a drink but he grabbed a water, took a glup and flung it down without pause. By 7k we were on another uphill section of the course with only a couple of runners between Charlie and me. I passed a guy in black and who tried to stay with me so I put a little extra effort in to lose him and Charlie came within touching distance. However the 16 miles from my long run Friday were starting to take their toll and I was slowing down. I saw the shadow of the guy in black behind me and tried to push on, I then noticed he’d grown a ponytail, and heard him thank the marshal in a very feminine voice.Lluckily we’d reached to top of the hill and 9k and I was able to push on but I’d lost sight of Charlie. Finished in 52.39 three minutes slower than last year when I wasn’t marathon training, which was disappointing.
Donna Henry
_____________________________
22-02-19
Well done Donna! It's tough racing on tired marathon training legs. It will all come good on the day! I ran it pacing a friend to a sub 37 10k. Quite pleased with the pacing as whilst the mile splits varied by about 40 seconds per mile from fastest to slowest, gradient adjusted pace on Strava suggests that the range was just 10 seconds and we came in just under on 36:53. I actually quite liked the course but agree in the first km or so it felt pretty hairy with the traffic. Thankfully it thinned out pretty quickly up front. Downhill 2nd and 3rd miles meant we built up a nice little time cushion and then held it well over the mostly uphill second half. We overtook about 4 runners in the second half. Will definitely do it again next year - hopefully racing.
Bryn Reynolds
_____________________________
22-02-19
Hampton Court Half
On Sunday I ran the Hampton Court Half. A few guys from work were running it, and it’s a scheduled race on the Clapham Chasers’ marathon programme, so was looking forwards to a good challenge and decent support. My most recent HM was the Oxford Half which came a week after a careless postman had taken me off my bike and dislocated a couple of fingers, and 5 days after I’d had a dog sink it’s teeth into my tasty calf whilst running in France. So I had been feeling confident that my preparation could only be better, and Oxford had at least given me a reasonably low bar of 2:32 to beat. As it was I picked up a hip flexor injury in the Surrey XC and I’d stupidly not given it much opportunity to recover, as Mick can attest to after dragging me around on a limpy run a couple of weeks back. I’d reconciled myself to not running, but eventually succumbed to some pressure from colleagues on Friday and decided to turn up. As I stepped out my house on the morning of the race I realised I had left my usual running shoes at work, and as I stepped on the train I realised I had left my race number and chip at home. Finally, as the starting gun fired, I realised that the front pen was much smaller that I’d expected and I was actually in the second pen, and watched all those who would have set a good pace run into the distance. Right, excuses over. The race started on closed roads for the first mile or so, which gave the race a chance to spread out a little before hitting some more narrow paths. I pulled ahead of those in my pen hoping to catch some of those ahead of me. This meant that I ran the first 3-4 miles more or less on my own, which was actually quite fortunate as much of the start of the race was on a tight footpath by the side of a main road. Once the route hit the river I was passing the stragglers from the front group, which periodically gave me something to work towards. I passed the half-way point in 41mins which was on target, but I was feeling that my legs just didn’t have the spring that I would usually expect at that point. Passing through Kingston gave a good boost from supporters out in cafes enjoying the sun, and by the time that we turned to head back West down the river I had joined a group of 5 who were setting a reasonable pace together. I couldn’t tell if I was impressed by, or hated, the man who was videoing himself throughout the race and giving a running commentary (pun fully intended) on how he was doing. In the end though, even a high-five from an impressively dressed Henry VIII lookalike wasn’t enough to put the energy back in my legs and I found myself really struggling to keep pace for the last 3 miles. Came home in 1:26:26 by the end, which lops 12 minutes off my PB (in large part thanks the great training from all you guys) but leaves me still wanting to get back and keep pushing it down.
Sam Bullen
_____________________________
22-02-19
Seville Marathon - 17 February 2019
Sorry, it's a bit long...  I ran the above on Sunday and was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been ahead of a marathon, possibly except for my very first one! This was because unusually for me, I had a time in mind and was honest when asked so most people knew I was aiming for 3.23. The one thing I forgot to factor into my fantastic plan, was the Garmin distance; as we all know this is actually longer than the “real” marathon distance! Weather conditions were perfect, the pens were easy to identify and I was desperately looking around for an English vest to at least say hiya in my 3.15-3.30 pen. There were three 3.15 pacers & for 5 silly seconds I considered following them, then realised I’d blow very, very quickly & dismissed the idea as soon as it came.  I didn’t hear the start per se but we were soon moving forward & the clock ticked over to 50 seconds as I crossed the start line. Garmin started and I was off, concentrating on sticking as closely as possible to 7.45 pace. To be fair, that’s more or less what I did throughout the entire race. In a way it was nice to be running in miles because I didn’t need to worry about my Garmin not marrying up with the markers. However, I soon tired of the K markets because there’s so flipping many of them - 42 all up.

The course used to start/finish in the stadium but work is being carried out there now, so it was started next to the aquarium in the City. Lovely wide closed roads did help to ease potential congestion and for the most part, you could follow the green line. European city marathons don’t tend to use metal barriers to keep crowds back and there are few marshals so you do find spectators gathering closer and closer together, so they are sometimes stood on the line you’re trying to follow. I saw a couple of guys running in sandals, not sure if they were real running sandals or if they were chancing their luck. The miles ticked by and I was religiously checking my pace which seemed to be going to plan. An English guy asked me what pace I was aiming for and when I told him he said he was aiming for 3.30; I advised him he might want to check his pace & drop back if that really was his goal. I saw him again about mile 10 next to me and I just felt sorry for him. I must look him up to see how he fared. I had known pretty much where I was until this point then I didn’t recognise the area and stopped trying, just concentrating. I was taking on a couple of sips of energy drink at each station, conscious I didn’t want to run out of energy.  I went through halfway on 1.42, disappointed to see that time as the maths in my head told me I should have gone through in around 1.40. However, I was still running strong and had 50 seconds in the bank from the start line, so tried to stay optimistic I could still achieve 3.23 or at least a PB. By 28K I was beginning to despair of the K markers, simply in your face and never seeming to click over into the 30s. Finally we made 30K and I was hanging on to see 32K as I could count down sensibly from there. It arrived and next was 35K I looked for, because there were mats every 5K so they helped somewhat. At 38K I was beginning to feel fatigued and being overtaken - not what I’m used to at this distance in a marathon. More energy drinks at the next station and I tried not to slow too much as I knew it would be difficult to get going back to MP.  As some of the Spanish guys passed me, they were really kind and indicated to me to run with them to keep pace.  A sweet gesture but not one I was capable of following.  A guy offered me a gel; initially I refused it then changed my mind. Sadly it was too little too late and didn’t kick in. 40K marker came into sight and I have never known 2K to feel so hard or take so long. A few corners to finish and a few fake plastic air filled finisher arches before you could see the blue one at the end with the clock on it. Gun time was 3.26.47, chip time 3.25.54. My second best marathon time but still disappointing given I thought I was running at the right pace and had an opportunity for a PB. I had a chat with some English runners at the finish who were pleased with their times; a serpentine guy got his sub-3.27 and a female Wimbledon Windmiller got her 3.23 (grrr) knocking 3 mins off her PB. I’m hoping to be able to look at my stats on the Seville website to see how I fared compared to others and look at my 5K splits. I know I ran an even paced race, flagging at the last two miles with a 8.01 and an 8.17 mile. Next stop London where I hope to be able to run at 7.40 pace (hopefully I’ll be recovered) as long as the other runners don’t get in my way :-). What I need to remember is the mile markers probably won’t agree with my Garmin (if they have mile markers) and that slowing down at water stations is inevitable whether for yourself or other runners slowing down/crossing in front of you to get water. I will also probably take on a gel about mile 20/21 to help me finish strong. Happy to take on any other advice.
Vicky Cooper
_____________________________
15-02-19
Saturday was the final Essex xc League race of the season at Gloucester Park, Basildon. I started the race 24 points ahead of Dave, so basically he had to beat me by 25 places to take the M60 trophy. It was just as well I had this large buffer as Dave finished the closest he has been to me all season, just 3 places and 11 secs behind me, I was 55th and Dave 58th. Unfortunately even though I felt good, despite the Southerns the week before, I think the fact that both Dave and I finished about 30 places higher that our normal finishing positions was down to less people running the race rather than any massive improvement on our part. Basildon was its usual mixture of muddy, soaking wet flat and the artificial hill that is just as hard to run down as it is up, in fact I took the steepest downhill very carefully, I get more of a chicken the older I get ! Next up is the National XC Champs on the 23rd Feb followed by the BMAF Champs in Belfast on the 9th March – nearly the end of what always seems a long xc season.
PS It was a double Bridgeland celebration as my son won the U17 race and took the U17 Trophy.
Mick Bridgeland
_____________________________
15-02-19
Good report Mick and well done. Please pass on my congratulations to Zach. Not much to add except I was very pleased with my run in getting close to Mick. Was always a tall order to do much better than that. Think it was probably my best XC run since coming back from my leg break (have to stop using that excuse soon!) except Swansea back in November which was in easier running conditions. As usual in XC races, I started out steadily and then gradually picked up places until lap 2 (it was a 2 lap race x 4K) when I spied Mick ahead. I almost caught Mick at the top of the man-made hill but he was then stronger going downhill and on the flat; though we were not far apart at the finish.
Dave Butler
_____________________________
15-02-19
Yesterday I run the Deal Half marathon in Kent. I had never run it before, its about an hour drive away and by all accounts it’s a challenging undulating course, but I thought it would be a nice change from a long run. On the drive down was torrential rain and I knew if was going to be windy. My mate who had run it a few years ago said don’t go for a time but just race it. I settled on his advice and the first mile was quite slow but I found myself along with my mate Chris Biddle from Dartford in the lead. We are often quite close in races, Me and Chris run together for first 2-3 miles swapping the lead but then I seemed to make a few meters up on him, I gradually pulled away but was always wary as the undulating course was certainly true, by half way I could not remember running on a flat bit. The 2nd half remained undulating but I felt strong and in general I was running quicker (probably partly wind assisted) a few looks back and I could see no-body. To cut a long story short I ended up winning the race finished in 1:16:48, which is off PB but given the course and conditions was well happy. I was about 90 seconds clear of 2nd and 2 minutes ahead of Chris in 3rd. The win also qualifies me to run for Kent next month in a 20 mile race which is a bonus! My mum also run and went really well finishing in 2:12, this is even more impressive by the fact she managed to full over quite heavily tripping on a cub a couple of minutes before the race started. My day could not even be ruined by Chelsea, even though they tried their best to ruin it for me.
James Macdonald
_____________________________
15-02-19
Great run James, I also raced in Kent yesterday I turned up at ashford 10k not in the best of health had a bad cold all week. Anyway decided to give it a crack last did this race about 10 years ago and finished around 49 mins so knew I could bet that. I Started right at the front and got in a good group and run on the shoulder of a young lady who helped me push on, the course very undulating and the wind in my face for 1st half then coming home wind behind me, then hit a lovely hill at 8k. Was hanging on for dear life the young lady had left me and tired to catch her but nothing left in me, managed to cross line in 41 mins, finishing in 22nd place and 4th in the over 50th cat. Pleased with my morning work back to training until the next time.
Dave Miller
_____________________________
15-02-19
Good stuff mate. On the other end of the spectrum I ran Surrey League Croydon XC on Sat and nearly came top 100! (104) (I think I was 150 something 2nd match). Latched onto Bryn for the last 2/3 miles and he did a sterling job in winding quite a few people in – ended up beating me by 5 places (10 secs). A clubmate who beat me by 40s at the southerms pipped me on the line so looks like progress. Weirdly the muddiest conditions of the season. Did 20m yesterday (inadvertently) so buggered today.
Next stop Nationals!
Arif Merali
_____________________________
15-02-19
The Gentleman of Surrey Cross-Country League - Official Race Report - Division 1, Race 4, Lloyd Park - 9th February in the 2019th year of our lord. Beat Arif.
Bryn Reynolds
_____________________________
15-02-19
I ran in the Div 2 race over the same course and found the muddy section of the last lap utterly draining but was pleased to score (for the first time ever) and finish n 55th ahead of club mates who usually beat me.  With promotion back to Div 1, I can look forward to adding circa 100 to that place next season.
Russ Beard
_____________________________
15-02-19
Calne Smart Smasher 10K
I raced the above 10K in Wiltshire (where I now live) on Sunday.  It's a race I've never done before; it's a sort of trail, muddy, splashy race along an old railway line (and back) that is wide enough to fit 2/3 runners.  When you return, you see the back markers and some of them weren't particularly keen on the puddles so were trying to avoid them - no idea why!  It wasn't a particularly competitive field and I finished first lady in a time of 44.47 - not too bad for the type of race.  I didn't give it everything as I have Seville marathon this Sunday.
Vicky Cooper
_____________________________
1-02-19
Victoria Park Half 5th Jan
A slightly belated race report from 5th Jan, on account of not coming back to work until this week from the holidays, which I'd recommend highly. The race was organised by run through, who do a load of these type of races, I think they do this particular one once a quarter, and I have also had the misfortune to run around the 1mile Olympic park road cycling circuit 13.1 times; this should be avoided at all costs. The race includes a 5k and 10k, which start later and is made up of laps of the park in a teardrop shape. I'm sure no one needs to be told that Victoria Park is incredibly flat, so aside from a spot of Christmas norovirus, I was quite hopeful of a reasonable time. A few seriously quick runners set off into the distance from the start and I stuck with a group of about 6 runners some way behind them. It was really cold I found help keep my hr down nicely, and as the laps wore on the group got smaller until there was just me left. For the last couple of laps the 10k runners started coming through so it was a nice distraction to try and stay with a few of them for a kilometre or so before they moved off or finished, although there were increasing numbers of other runners to weave through as well. After what seemed like a never-ending half lap at the end where we kept turning left when the finish was to the right, a mad dash saw me creep in under 80mins (79.39) for the first time, and beat my pb from early in 2018 by over 4mins. With a perfectly functioning train service I was out and back from Ipswich  in a little over 5hrs, and in the pub in time for lunch! Nice race if a little repetitive, very fast course if you are looking for a spring pb in April.
Neil Parry
_____________________________
1-02-19
Benfleet 15
A rare item from me a ‘Race Report’ Sunday morning saw me run the Benfleet 15, which starts at the Mountain Bike Olympic Bike course and is mainly run on trails with some road. Driving down realised I had left my trail shoes at home, but didn’t turn back as was under the impression the course would be frozen. I have not run anywhere 15 miles for a long time, so plan was take it steady and not worry too much about time. Stuck to plan, first 4 miles felt very hilly and very slippery with wrong shoes, but didn’t fall over and felt good, course then seemed to flatten out and get more consistent pace. Ticked off the miles until the return back into park ten pace dropped a bit due to terrain. Crossed line in 1:53 which reasonably happy with as only 2 mins slower than when last ran it 7 years ago. Thanks to Phil P who gave encouragement on course, a couple of others Raven were out but leave up to them for reports
Pat Young
_____________________________
1-02-19
I also ran Benfleet 15 on Sunday. Having ran this for the last 5 years I would say this was the best conditions I’ve seen for the race, no mud, no wind and no snow almost didn’t feel like the B15! Saw John and Pat at the start and as usual went off too fast for the first downhill mile. Managed to keep a more consistent pace on the flat bits mid race and pass a few on the hills at the end the last hill at the finish is always a tough ask but got to the top without walking. 4 min course pb for me finishing 1:55 and missing out on the gold medal by 2 places in position 102. The winner was Chris Burgoyne (Springfield Striders) by 3 seconds in 1:30
Gary Pitman
_____________________________
1-02-19
South of England Cross Country Champs at Parliament Hill
On Saturday I ran/took part in the South of England Cross country Champs at Parliament Hill. I saw a number of fellow Ravens before/after/during the race, I will leave them to do their own reports. For some reason I end up doing this race every year, I think I enjoy the occasion rather than the actual race and I am usually already there watching my son so I might as well run. When it come to the actual race I realise that 9 miles is further than I have run since the previous year’s race and even when it is relatively dry like it was on Saturday it is still a muddy & hilly and is the toughest xc race that I have run. Having said all that I still enjoy it, the mass start up the hill, the crush at the top of the hill which means that you have to practically walk, the dread as you remember how hilly/muddy the far end of the course is and finally the mad downhill/flat finish where if you manage to stay on your feet you end up trying to out sprint whoever is next to you. The race itself went OK, except my periformis/hamstring started to feel sore/tender at the start of the final lap and for a while I was concerned about whether I was going to finish. I ended up 676th in 1:03:03. I must admit the 8:50min/mile I ran between mile 6 and 7, a mile that started at the bottom of a hill and finished at the top of the last major uphill on the course did not help my overall time. Once I got on the flat again I managed to get back down to nearer 7mins/mile for the next mile and finished the final flat/downhill half mile at sub 6min/mile pace.  The race turned out to be only 8.53 miles, not that I was complaining. A short 4 mile jog yesterday at a very slow pace was interesting !
Mick Bridgeland
_____________________________
1-02-19
I also run the South of England Champs on Saturday. Was not sure how I would go, have run a lot of miles last few weeks, felt quite niggly, but figured would be fine running on soft ground at Parliament Hill. I arrived early as my mum was running in the senior women race (she being at the very senior end of the spectrum), this meant had plenty of time to watch some other races and bump into a couple of ravens before the start. The start is a tough climb, I wanted to start quick as knew of the hold ups at the top of the hill, though I wanted to do this could not really get into it at the start and entered the crush at the top of the hill. Turning the corner I’m always amazed how far ahead the front runners already are. The first lap was just about getting round and avoiding all obstacles which you can’t see due to the amount of people you are running with. At the end of the first lap I felt good and even better when realised the course was probably going to be short of the 9 miles, this not only benefitted how much further I had to go, but I also was going out Saturday night and the earlier I finished the better. Laps 2 and 3 were nicer running I a spread out field. The course in general was dry compared to previous years, with just patched of slippery mud. It is hard to judge how well you run as pace goes out the window, I finished in 54:14 and 196th place, I felt strong on the course and beat a few mates who had finished in front of me at the Kent Champs 3 weeks earlier, so think I am progressing well. The next few weeks I aim to cut back a little on my mileage and try a few faster runs. Having said this my trains were a nightmare this morning so I may go back to running to work.
James Macdonald
_____________________________
1-02-19
I also ran. Although mine can be summarised fairly easily and reflects the general emotions I have of running. 1. Was really happy to be there and running again. 2. Shortly followed by half way through the second lap a strong realisation how much fitness I’ve lost with 2 months off and wished I hadn’t bothered. 3. A relief to actually finish. 4. Disappointment when seeing my time and finishing position. (Over 500 places higher than last year). 5. Loved the post race feeling of accomplishment and dissecting the race and talking everything running with a few beers after. So a mixed day out but I am slowly getting back to regular running just need to see how long now it takes to get fit. Going to get back to sessions and full training when I return from my trip in Feb. So hoping to be back out with everyone then. Work permitting.
Chris Tuck
_____________________________
1-02-19
I too participated in the Southern X-Country, finishing 93/703 in the Senior Women's Race, in a time of 32:51. While not my highest finish it was nearly 3 minutes faster than last year's National over the same (similar?!?) course. Although this time round it was somewhat less of a quagmire, the focus on running rather than combining with other sports (rowing/cycling) is clearly paying off,  as is the investment in lunchtime seminars on the insurance industry ;)
Rachel Lund
_____________________________
1-02-19
I also ran at Parliament hill on Saturday (which explains why I was so far behind in today’s session…) – it was my first time running there and I really enjoyed it.  I thought it would be a one-off experience and I would vow to never to do it again, but I definitely think I’ll be back! The race went ok and I finished 579/703, 44:49. I wasn’t too far behind a couple of ladies from a local club, I finished ahead of one of them at the last XC I did, and the other one beat me, so I was alright with that!  I was just a mere 12 minutes behind Rachel, which leaves me feeling a bit bemused as to why I didn’t get a mention in John’s ‘well done’ below…. maybe next year ;) If anyone’s thinking about doing it next year, I would highly recommend.  The only disclaimer I would give is that the men’s race is nearly double the distance of the ladies!
Anna Crawley
_____________________________
1-02-19
Thanks for my shout out also. I enjoyed the race also – great for me that it was relatively dry – just didn’t have the strength towards the end to push on (lack of hills training & long runs I think). Incredibly fast finish and after 9 on Sunday I have been knackered ever since! Great race/ event – I sincerely think everyone should do this if they get a chance. Ps. Congrats to Dave Mellor – 1st raven ever to run it ravens first claim.
Arif Merali
_____________________________
1-02-19
OK - I suppose I should write a race report as well... As Arif says, I was first of the first claim Ravens! Plus I didn’t get chicked! AND I got a whole bunch of Strava PRs! OK - I was the only first claim Raven, the race was run under gender apartheid rules i.e. separate races for men and women, and last time I did this race was pre-2009, known to many as the pre-Strava years or “the good old days”. There isn’t much else to say that hasn’t been said, other than if you take the “start steady” approach up the hill at the start you will probably be greeted by a bottleneck at the top and, as was in my case, bodies literally all over the place in the muddy descent on the other side. It’s a great course though - “proper” cross country. Main thing to say is that the start of this race is nothing short of iconic - your running career really isn’t complete until you’ve done this, so hope some of you have a go next year. My time of 1:07 unselfishly sets the bar pretty low for a new club record for first claimers,  so come on guys and gals - see you there next year...
Dave Meller
_____________________________
9-01-19
Regents Park 10km
After having a rather unsatisfying run in the December run in the Mornington Chasers 10km series I lined up for my first race of 2019 hoping for a better result. The course as ever is fairly uninspiring with 3 laps around one area of the park. With quite a lot of club vests lining up on the start line I was hopeful that there might be someone at a similar pace to me to help with keeping the pace high. This was all going nicely to plan after the first lap when a group of 3 of us were pacing each other through. Unfortunately at the end of the first lap a speedy Belgrave Harrier came past and one of our group went with him and I didn’t have the speed to go with the move. The next 2.5 miles the remaining 2 of us ran together but just before the 8km mark he dropped out entirely. I felt like I was still running well and just had to push on to the finish. Due to the 3 lap course by the middle to end of the final lap there is a lot of traffic to pass which can be awkward. I came over the line in 36:26 which is a 35 second pb, so pretty pleased and gives a good base from which to start marathon training from. Pretty even splits and managed to quicker 3rd lap than second which was pleasing.
Tim Harman
_____________________________
9-01-19
Tadworth 10 mile (or who ate all the mince pies)
This is my 4th year of entering this race, it’s early date meaning it’s a good indicator of the level of damage caused by Christmas mince pie misdemeanours. It also used to score highly in the rubbish memento category, I once received two left hand gloves although this year there was a medal. The race HQ is the Grandstand on Epsom Downs race course which means proper toilets and with a 11.30 am start it’s one of the most civilised races around. The start is on the exposed downs, where everyone huddles together like penguins to try to keep warm, although I’m sure penguins don’t have to avoid deep heat woman and BO man. The start was a slow affair up a steady incline and across the actual course itself, the next part of the race goes down a relatively steep hill on a stony path with those wishing to overtake running on the grass alongside the path. I’ve never experienced race rage before but I got quite agitated at a man on the overtaking grass, going at the slow path speed, however we soon started on another uphill where he left me behind. I was already starting to struggle and decided to distract myself observing the other runners and taking bets about which ones would thank the marshals, I usually manage a nod or a thumbs up at best so I’m in awe of runners who have the breath to thank every marshal. I was also quite pleased to spot a mobile cloakroom as I needed to loose my long sleeve top but it turned out just to be a lady with too many layers tied round her. Thankfully we were now on a long downhill part of the course and I was able to claw back some places, carefully avoiding the pothole that took me out last year, then the route flattens out and goes through the village, past the pond on a relatively narrow path where I encountered a couple running side by side effectively blocking the path, I resisted the temptation to push them in the pond and briefly skipped into the road. The next part of the run is through the woods and up yet another hill onto a sandy path which I found almost impossible to run on, at the end of the sandy track is the start of the second lap and I again struggled up the hill. I was running in my Raven’s vest (of course) and a fellow runner remarked that he at first thought I was a misplaced jockey, in response I gasped that I wished I had a horse, we turned the next corner and no word of a lie there were a row of horses on the path, astounded by my luck I wished openly and loudly for a million pounds but sadly not even a dropped pond coin appeared. I was getting steadily slower as my lack of fitness showed and the last up hill nearly defeated me but I was determined not to walk, as I came down the last hill I received a shout of “sprint finish raven”, I’m not sure if it was someone with excellent eyesight who read my top or someone who knew me, so apologies if  I ignored someone! I eventually finished a minute slower than last year in 1.35 so in summary I should have eaten a couple (of boxes) less mince pies. See everyone out there soon.
Donna Henry
_____________________________
9-01-19
Well done Donna! I was the one who cheered you on down the final hill as I spotted the Ravens vest. Good race for me as I come back from about 6 months out last year trying to resolve achilles troubles. Set off very easy at the start and let myself build into the race. The course is incredibly undulating - there's not more than few hundred metres I'd guess where you're running on the flat. Started out in about 12th place. Worked up to 6th over the first 2-3 miles. Had 5th place dangling in sight for another 2 miles until just after halfway where I threw myself down the stupidly steep hill and past him. 4th place was in sight and coming back. I know the runner pretty well considering we were each others best man. Got the gap down to about 100m when my wife yelled out "Go on Bryn" which promptly let him know I was chasing so he picked it up! Closed the gap a bit by the end but couldn't quite get close enough. Nice little sprint at the end to come in at just under 60 minutes with a 30 second negative split. Really enjoyable little race and very well organised.
Bryn Reynolds
_____________________________
9-01-19
Essex XC champs
Great pleasure to present Mick's son Zach with his county bronze (U17) on Saturday at Writtle. The old man was 105 in the senior race. Battle of the Ravens was won by John Crawley placing an excellent 95th, Mick 40 seconds back in 105th very closely followed by Scott Darney 2 sec back in 106th. I had a decent "training" jog round to finish 174th over the new short 10k county champs distance. Surprisingly stiff doing my 50 mins in forest today but should be there for first "fartlek" of the new year tomorrow.
Andy Catton
_____________________________
9-01-19
70th in Kent for me. Feels better than 164th in the last surrey league.
Arif Merali
Back to content | Back to main menu