Reports 2020 - Ravens Runners London

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Race Reports for 2020
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9-01-20
Tadworth 10  or The case of the Missing Mojo
I’ve not done much running for a while, mostly down to a severe case of missing mojo, so i decided the best thing to do was enter a race, a hilly race, a hilly, muddy race, just after Christmas. Ok then. The start is in the middle of Epsom Downs by the race course and as we wait for the off, in my head I can hear David Attenborough’s voice “the group of runners, stand huddled together in one of the most exposed places on earth”. And then we’re off up the first hill and within 100 meters I was already at “what the the hell am I doing” stage however then a runner passed me wearing a fabulous neon green headband the like of which I’ve not seen outside of a fancy dress party since the early eighties and I was distracted enough to get up the first hill, although he didn’t appear to have my missing mojo. Next is a short downhill followed by approximately 42 miles uphill on broken tarmac. I was seriously considering walking and Attenbourogh was back “as one of the older members of the pack begins to slow on the hill, the others pass her, is the race over for her?”  Then like a really crap game of eye spy there came many, many shouts of “car” and I became lost in the excitement of wondering if someone would actually get run down. Shortly after the reason for wearing the Ravens vest became clear as Serena Stacey a previous Raven who many of you will know spotted me and we had a quick chat which improved my mood no end! The route then has a slight downhill stretch before turning into the village of Walton, next, like a bad version of “We’re going on a Bear Hunt” it’s past the pond and through a wooded area, can’t go over it, can’t go under it, got to go through it, (not the pond obviously, although it was single file and there were a couple of runners I would have given consideration to throwing in if needed).  The next part of the course is a steep downhill on a residential street and as this is a two lap course a rather depressing run past the 8 mile marker at just under 4 miles. After this all that’s left to complete the first lap is what I heard one guy describe a hell hill although I prefer the travelator as I seem to keep running without getting any closer to the top. I’m determined not to walk and slightly ahead of me is that runner found at every race, “B.O. man” although this particular example had also overdone the aftershave producing a result that I’m sure paco Ruban never intended. However he doesn’t seem to have my mojo either so I push on past him for the second lap. The second lap was uneventful and the marshals friendly and enthusiastic, and before I know it the end is in sight as I approach the finish with the enthusiasm of a kid given a free turn on the bouncy castle I realise I’ve not been as slow as I thought and manage a sprint finish. Chip time 1.32.14 bizarrely a course pb.  I found my mojo when I got home (it was attached to the bottom of my scales, weighs about 4lb in case anyone’s interested).
Donna Henry
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9-01-20
Well done Donna! Sorry I didn’t see you this year. I also did this race. Always quite enjoy it in a slightly perverse way. Having run a 76 half at Viccy Park on Saturday, I decided the obvious way to get to Tadworth would be to run 10 miles there. Then did the 10 mile race. Legs screaming with DOMS on every downhill. Favourite bit was at the top of the 42 mile uphill on the broken tarmac for the second time, telling the volunteers at the water station “I’m glad I don’t need to run that hill again for another year!”. Good fun was had by all. 65:59 on my watch which as the back end of a 20 mile long run I was pretty pleased with. Am able to walk today in a very broad sense of the word.
Bryn Reynolds
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9-01-20
Essex County XC Champs / Ilford 10m XC
Couple of XC Races in the past week. Met John and Anna at the Ilford AC 10m XC on Sat 28th Dec just to test my foot out as had some issues a couple of weeks prior wearing spikes at an Essex League race where I had to pull out, so I wanted a re-run before the Essex Champs. Plan was to run each of the 3 x 3.3m laps progressively and as such John got a healthy lead on me after my enthusiastic start.  First lap 23:03 so pushed on a bit.  Second lap 22:49 and felt ok so pushed a bit harder and only just managed to catch John on the second half of the final lap which I completed in 22:26 so a clean sweep of progression, a time of 1:08 something and top 10 finish.  Good day out and good strong runs from John and Anna too. Then it was the Essex XC Champs on Sat 4th December where I planned to employ a similar tactic over the 2 x 5k laps with a conservative first lap and strong second lap.  I regretfully ignored Mick’s advice to check the hills out in my warm-up as I wanted to watch Jess Judd win the ladies race, and so I set off a bit too quick and then found my legs a little tired before I even got to the tough 3 x hills at the far end of the course.  I wanted to stay in contention with some runners around me who I recognised too but probably worked a bit too hard to soon.  First lap was 19:47 and felt hard starting the second lap and noticeably slower through the 3 x hills but seems like I held back enough once I knew I’d gone too hard as I had some energy left for the final 1.5 miles managing to overtake a few people and then a couple more in the final ½ mile to finish the second lap in 19:53 and total time of around 39:40 and 74th overall.  Not an earth shattering performance but I’ll take it after suffering last year and having to jog round the last 2 miles with stomach cramp.  Great run from David Butler, John and Anna too, and good support from Mick and Robin! Head into Marathon training this week feeling pretty strong and ready to face the hard work!
Scott Darney
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9-01-20
Yes, I ran the Essex Champs. The first half was OK. I made a school boy error and did not have a warm up in my spikes, My warm up was all in trainers on the road and paths close by. The laces very slightly loosened during the race and I could feel my left ankle straining when we had any tightish turns in a clockwise direction. Half way through the second hill session, I could feel my left ankle starting to hurt, so I slowed down whenever there was a turn to protect it. I decided for the sake of safety to call it a day with about a mile to go to make sure it will be Ok for Saturday. Next weekend is more important as it is round 4 in the Essex cross country series where I am on course for a medal in my age group. Am still on Gardening Leave for another couple of months.
Simon Le Mare
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9-01-20
I also had the same issue with one of my laces coming undone about 3 minutes in to the race.  I decided to step to the side and sort it as the race had only just started and I still had a long way to go.  It’s difficult though when loads of people come running past, and I wouldn’t usually do it, but I decided to speed up and try and get my position back. They were new spikes, and I didn’t warm up in them either – lesson learnt!  As I traipsed to the start line, my bright orange spikes quickly transformed in to a rusty orangey brown colour. I had a good race and felt like I worked hard but judged it pretty well and managed to overtake a few ladies in the second half of the race.  I tried to take the hills fairly easy, and run the down hills fast, something I am trying to get better at!  I finished in 45:13 and 32/129. Nice to see Ricky Goad out on the course offering support, and a few other Ravens.

I went to barking parkrun on Christmas day with the goal of running sub-21.  My PB was set back in July at the ladies couch to 5k race that Alice, Alex and I took part in and stood at 20:53.  I’ve run a few 5ks/parkruns since but haven’t gone under 21 mins again, my best being 21:16 at the Barking Elvis 5k at the end of August – it was really hot day so I wasn’t too disappointed.  Anyway, it wasn’t meant to be as I came in at 21:05, a bit gutted but I was only 6 seconds off my goal time so hoped it would come soon.  I think I went off a bit too conservatively actually, a rarity!  On new year’s day I tootled off to Valentines parkrun.  I didn’t feel particularly great that morning (nothing to do with the night before, I promise) but decided to go out much harder this time and see what happened.  My first mile came in at 6:36, second 6:28 and third 6:46, obviously went a bit too hard, but happy to give it some welly and felt like I pushed pretty hard.  A club mate caught up with me (he wasn’t going all out) about 3 mins in and took on the role of pacing me which I think was a huge help as it kept me going when I probably would have slowed.  Finished in 20:37 so a nice 16 second PB to kick off the year.
Anna Crawley
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9-01-20
As mentioned by others, I also ran in the Essex XC Champs which is over the reduced distance of 10k these days since equalisation of distances with the separate ladies race. Though it worked out a bit short at 9.6k per my watch. I warmed up on the grass in off road shoes switching to spikes for the race. My shoelace did not undone this time (like it did in the Masters International in November!). I train on the course at Gloucester Park where the race was held so it doesn’t have too many fears for me though I did feel quite apprehensive beforehand. I started the race fairly conservatively and worked my way through the field seeing a few others I know on the way. By the start of the second lap (of 2) I seemed to be in a pretty good position and felt good too which always helps as does the encouragement round the course. Caught up with and overtook Colin Ridley a very good Colchester M55 runner which was great as I’ve got close recently but not got ahead before. Once we got through the running up and down the hill from several directions part of the lap there’s a nice long run in to the finish. Managed to stay ahead of Colin to finish in 82nd place of 226 runners which was a 30 odd place better finish than the last time I ran this race 2 years ago. So v happy with my run and it’s on to the next xc races this coming weekend - January being a very busy month for XC races!
Dave Butler
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9-01-20
Ilford 10 miler - I felt good when I set off so when Scott slowed a little after his quick start I pulled away on a fast downhill.  I saw him at the end of the first lap a decent way back, and then at the end of the second lap about 100 metres back and I wondered if he could catch me and knew it would be close.  I pushed it hard to keep the lead on the third lap until just over a mile to go where there is a long uphill, and by then the legs were struggling with uphills and he went by me at a decent clip - I couldn’t catch him over the last three quarters of a mile on the flat once the legs had come back to life.  Was 29 seconds back by the end which I was happy enough with as he has looked fast recently, but would have loved to have hung on to beat him!  Nice little course PB for me by just under 2 minutes and my fastest 10 miler at 68.48 (only 10 miler I have raced to date).

Essex XC Champs - I finished in pretty much the same spot as last year – 97th.  Tough little course although to look at it as a spectator it doesn’t look that tough.  Good first lap and a little slower second lap – my legs were useless on the hills on the second lap (as were most other peoples!).  Happy enough to finish in a consistent place when compared with last year as I hadn’t felt I was running well recently and was doing a lot better a year ago.  Scott was about 15 seconds ahead at end of first lap and then a little over a minute ahead by the end so again I faded a bit.  Saw Robin with just under half a mile to go who gave me a cheer, but I was feeling pretty knackered by then and didn’t do him proud with my finish.  Also saw Mick a couple of times but he blanked me. Dave Butler was very impressive.  His usual well-paced race, and he picked me off on the first climb (pretty decent sized climb) on the second lap.  I was struggling, slowly uphill and he went by me looking strong and continued to open up the gap for the remainder of the race.  He said to me after that he knows the course well, but you still have to run it and he ran it blimmin’ well! I warmed up in my spikes for both races, raced in them, warmed down in them, all with no shoelace issues. After a pretty average last 9 months of running, I think I have turned a corner as felt happy enough with these races. Just checked and Anna finished 79th last year and 32nd this year in Women’s Essex County XC Champs.  She also won 3rd lady in Ilford 10 miler in 82.27, knocking 20 minutes off of her time since she last ran it.  You got to choose your prize - she marched straight up and grabbed a specific bottle as she knew exactly what she wanted – no messing around.
John Crawley
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9-01-20
I did the Kent County Champs with Chris & James at Brands Hatch. After 3 weeks of slow running, no sessions; was really surprised to be mixing it with some half decent runners (primarily clubmate Stu Beaney who had just done a 35m 10k on New Years Day). Managed to hold Stu off on a course that admittedly suited me (not very muddy/ fairly flat rhythmic running) and as a bonus managed to score in the 12 team which is unheard of during Surrey League where I finish in the 140s. Now proud holder of a Kent County Silver medal.
Arif Merali
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9-01-20
As Arif mentions, I run the Kent County Champs on Saturday. Could not work out if I run ok or not, felt fine most of the way round and finished ahead of some local rivals, but it was my slowest time I have run there in not bad conditions. I only just finished ahead of a team mate, who I am normally quite clear off, finishing 41st overall. That’s about average position where I have finished here over last few years. It was my team mates birthday and he brought a Colin the Caterpillar cake, which most of the team declined a piece off. I had two slices so all ended well.
James Macdonald
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