Race Reports, October 2008

Dublin Marathon, 27th October

Andy Jordan

Monday may seem like a strange day of the week to run a marathon but in Dublin it was a bank holiday and what better way to spend it than running/ jogging/ shuffling my way through just over 26 miles. This was my first marathon (and possibly my last) so I have nothing to compare it to but it was billed as the friendly marathon and judging by the support out on the streets (and the number of people handing out jelly babies from mile 15 onwards) it fits that billing. It is of course possible that the friendly tag comes from the after marathon celebrations with Dublin being renowned for its Guinness which was a welcome relief after being tee-total in the build up to the race (I spent a whole 24 hours in the city without having a pint, that must be a record).

Monday was a glorious crisp winter's morning and over 9,000 people set off at 9am from near to Trinity College. The start was well managed and we got through the start line after 4 minutes and were running straight away. The first mile was slowish with the volume of people on some narrow city streets but after that it was plain sailing. I soon got into a steady pace of just under 9 minute miles which meant that I was on for a 4 hour target. Dublin is not the most beautiful city to run around but the section through Phoenix Park (from mile 4 to 8) was simply stunning and slightly downhill which was a bonus. The rest of the event runs through the streets and suburbs of the city and the support more than made up for the lack of famous landmarks to look at.

All was going well at the half way point and I was just under 2 hours and feeling comfortable. At mile 19 my wife was waiting with a camera and a banana (brings back memories of the caption competition) and I re-fuelled and carried on ... and then it happened. I met 'the wall'. Runners talk about it with reverence and respect and utter strange pronouncements as to its mysteries. For me it was simple, at mile 20 my legs stopped working. They had got me over 21 miles in training but on the big day they ran out of steam. I kept going but was soon at 11 minute mile pace and then down to a shuffling pace that meant that even speed walkers were getting away from me. So the last 6 miles were hard. Really hard. I gave up on my 4 hour prediction and I was now determined to beat 4 and a quarter hours. At the marker for mile 26 I nearly cried with joy and relief as I saw the grounds of Trinity College. I managed to pick up the pace slightly and came home in 4 hours and 14 minutes with a feeling of pride in finishing but a mild disappointment at missing my target.

The last hour had been awful and I swore that I would never run another marathon. This was torture. Do people really do this for fun? But sitting here writing this 3 days later there is a part of me that is saying ... you know what I would still like to do a marathon in under 4 hours! Never say never ...

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Andriy Naumov Ukraine M 2:11:06
4942 Andy Jordan M 4:14:09

9,398 finishers

Sherman Cup & Davison Shield, Temple Park, 25th October

Shaun Roberts

A cool breezy day for the first cross-country outing of the season. This event is a good warm up for the Harrier League - three laps for the men and two for the women and each lap with about four small climbs. The ground was still pretty firm, despite a bit of recent rain.

Will was first Strider home in the Sherman Cup, so no surprise there - he was two seconds adrift of last year's time, but five places further up. I came in some considerable distance behind him, but I had a good run despite my ribs still aching. Dougie was next, in his first cross-country outing ("I loved it", he said afterwards - "I'll be doing all the Harrier League events now I can see how much fun it is.") Good to see John Everett back out racing again, also Dave after his recent foot problem. Phil Owen came in next, running his second event of the day, this time whilst listening to the progress of the football, and then Alan, a good seven minutes before the last runner.

In the Davison Shield, Fiona came in fifth, four places better than last year. Nina was next, finishing strongly (see below), then Susan and Jan. The ladies team finished third, which is quite promising.

Nina finishing strongly in the Davison Shield

Results

Davison Shield

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 SIMPSON, Kim Gateshead Harriers 23:47
5 SHENTON, Fiona 25:57
27 MASON, Nina 30:00
30 DAVIS, Susan 30:38
33 YOUNG, Jan 31:21

41 finishers.
Team 3rd out of 7 full teams.

Sherman Cup

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 MASSINGHAM, Gavin Sunderland Harriers 29:54
23 HORSLEY, Will 33:33
122 ROBERTS, Shaun 40:58
159 NISBET, Dougie 44:52
167 EVERETT, John 46:08
177 ROBSON, Dave 47:37
181 OWEN, Phil 48:27
188 PURVIS, Alan 53:36

189 finishers.
Team 20th out of 21 full teams.

OMM 2008, 25th October

Geoff Davis

You are all probably sick of hearing about this year's OMM given the hysteria there has been in the media since Saturday afternoon. However Shaun asked if I'd do something for the website so here's a brief account of my six and a bit hours on the Lake District fells on a rather inclement Saturday in October.

We set off at 08.11 from a little knoll just south of Seathwaite farm. Although the rain hadn't started at that point someone managed to go down on their bottom as we descended the ten meters or so to the path - much to my inner amusement. Our first checkpoint was a couple of miles away just north of Allen Crags and we picked this one off fairly quickly as visibility was reasonably good. The next one had a variety of route choices and we selected one that involved climbing to Esk Hause, skirting Esk Pike and descending into the valley of a tributary of the River Esk. The wind had been very strong from the start and as we contoured the steep and rocky slope the rain started in earnest. Nonetheless visibility stayed fairly good and we dropped into the valley and then onto the checkpoint without too much problem.

Part of the route to the third checkpoint involved a fast run down the valley with a couple of river crossings where things hadn't yet developed into raging torrents. A fairly steep climb and traverse of a boggy area bought us to the next checkpoint and conditions were now pretty bad - torrential rain and gale force winds - but we sped off towards the next marker which was half way up Scafell. This involved a fast couple of miles then a steepish ascent for about ten minutes with a final traverse to the checkpoint which we hit spot on and with no other competitors around us.

I now felt that we had it cracked and were on the return leg. But by now the rain had been belting down for a couple of hours and, with the ground already saturated, the rivers were all in spate. Crossing Lingmell Gill was a wet and wild experience but we managed it quickly and without mishap. Fortunately there was bridge over the raging torrent that was flowing into Wast Water and we started to climb up the steep path to Beck Head (between Great Gable and Kirk Fell). Buffeted by the ferocious wind and rain I struggled up this ascent but still managed to overtake a few other competitors who probably were not doing the Elite course 'like wot we were'. It was misty now as well but after reaching Beck Head we flew round to the next checkpoint at the very top of Ennerdale. We didn't have far to go now but the conditions were at their most severe - gusts of wind that you needed to crouch into unless you wanted an uncontrolled descent to the overnight camp and rain/hail that felt like machine gun bullets when it crashed into your cagoule hood.

Water was now flowing everywhere and on Haystacks I stepped into a pool that looked about six inches deep but proved to be about four feet deep with large rocks on the bottom. I managed to pull myself out relatively unscathed and forged on with my partner Paul down towards the finish. After crossing four or five more streams in spate we made it to the overnight camp by Buttermere Lake quite elated. We'd got through day one and were fairly confident we could manage day two after a good scoff and a sleep in our bomb proof tent - perhaps the Elite wasn't beyond us after all. You will imagine our disappointment at being told the event had been abandoned!

I'll not bore you with what happened after that but needless to say we will be back next year to have another go. Paul's altimeter said we had climbed 2010 meters that day and a quick look at the map shows we covered about 18-19 miles. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and found it quite exhilarating. We never felt in danger as we have experienced similar conditions before (although perhaps not quite such heavy rain) on a number of occasions - that's why I always look weather beaten!

Beachy Head Marathon, 25th October

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Stuart Mills M 3:02
623 Yvonne Jones F 5:19

867 finishers

Richmond Castle 10K, 19th October

Shaun Roberts

Cool morning for this one - the rain held off, and though we set off into the wind, it didn't amount to much, and was soon coming from behind as we turned the first big corner.

Fiona was first Strider home, 5th lady overall, and won the first FV45 prize. I came in next, well chuffed to get round in a course PB, despite having bruised ribs from a headtorch run on the previous Wednesday. Nigel wasn't far behind, and then they came in thick and fast. Well, as fast as you could go up the last climb into the Market Place. Jean picked up the second FV50 prize and Jan the first FV55 prize to round off a good day for our ladies, who were second team overall.

Bob and Fiona finishing in the market place

An honourable mention to Fiona's Bob (41:14), who had a great run, two places in front of his Mum, and to Alan, Wendy's other half, who finished in 43:48, swore he'd never do this one again, but changed his mind within five minutes of trying his first pint! Good to see Emma Robinson again, and Amanda's legs were once more out in the sun, which was good to see. Mike Hall finished strongly up the hill, in front of another 29 runners, and over a minute up on last year.

The choice of ales at the beer festival afterwards was excellent, and very welcome - and the paella from the French Market outside also went down well. Good turnout of supporters around the course - great to have so much support! Thanks to Andy for organising the coach and to Pam for organising the pub lunch, which I had to miss, but which I'm sure was as good as last year's. Pam says: Yes, the pub meal was very good.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Paul Lowe North York Moors M 34:42
7 Sarah Tunstall Kendal AC F 37:15
38 Fiona Shenton FV45 41:22
67 Shaun Roberts MV50 43:20
130 Nigel Heppell MV50 46:52
184 Gary Davies M 49:13
230 Dougie Nisbet MV45 51:21
242 Nina Mason FV35 51:58
261 Jean Bradley FV50 52:44
269 Andrew Thompson M 53:18
271 Jan Young FV55 53:35
287 Wendy Rowell FV55 54:39
288 Emma Robinson FV35 54:40
319 Amanda Hunter FV40 56:35
401 Margaret Thompson FV55 1:02:57
418 Mike Hall MV70 1:06:03

447 finishers

Hellhole Multi-Terrain 10K, 19th October

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Stewy Bell Chester le St M40 34:39
28 Michael Bennett M50 43:25

142 finishers

Sunday Social Run, 12th October

Many thanks to Mandy and Louise for a great social run at the weekend! Lovely routes, for both runners and walkers, and a good pint and a meal afterwards at the Ship Inn. Shaun

October Social Run Group Photo

Great North Run, 5th October

Dougie Nisbet

It's overblown, overhyped, overpriced and OTT, but I don't care. I love it! I love the Great North Run! We may all be Brendan's whores, but it's good to feel dirty and sinful once in a while. Poor man's gotta be able to feed his family after all. He can be my pimp any day.

This was my 2nd GNR and so I considered myself a seasoned pro. I knew there would be crowd trouble. I knew that there might be some congestion, occassional gridlock, and things would get sticky, especially at the lucozade stations. I had a rough race plan that, broadly speaking, involved getting as much out of my entrance fee as possible. I would go through every shower, drink every lucozade, listen to every band and high-five as many people as possible.

After disembarking from the coach I soon lost sight of my fellow Striders. Barrie and George waved their VIP cards and headed straight to the front of the field. Feeling part of a 52,000 sized family I wandered with camera in hand and soaked up the atmosphere. This year I was running for Shelter so I kept an eye open for other Shelter supporters. Not everyone took kindly to me bounding up and asking for my photo to be taken but a couple of charming friendly lassies were happy to pose with me.

I knew things would be busy but was surprised at just how chocka it turned out to be. Last year I was at the back of the last pen and it took me less than 15 minutes to the start. This year I climbed into the pen in front but we still crossed the start a good 28 minutes after the gun had fired. Chatting to Margaret in the pub later we both agreed that the second half of the race was the more congested - I don't know if that ties in with what others found. My split times show mile three as being the fastest. Andy James had sponsored me on the understanding that I would hit a sub-2hr time, and at the half way mark I was on track. But it was pinball wizard all the way after that. Dodging, ducking, bouncing and ricocheting was hard work so I settled down to high-fiving and waving. Apart from spotting Dave Robson at the Fetchpoint I saw no-one else I recognised. I had a spell of staring accusingly at runners that I passed whose colours clearly had no relation to their prospective finish time. I trusted my glare translated as "How the hell are you in that colour when you're walking up this teensy hill?". I paused in my Hard Stare activities to high-five Elvis and, realising that the road ahead was blocked, settled down for an easy finish. At least this year I was not passed by any amusingly shaped vegetables.

Meeting up with Roberta at the finish was tricky due to the huge crowds and congested mobile network. We decided later than one of the nicest parts of the day was just sitting in the companionable coziness of the Look Out Inn having a quiet drink and waiting for the coach, listening to the day's tales being told around us. After the frenetic buzz and crowds of the preceding hours it was a peaceful oasis of calm.

Results

Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 Tsegay Kebede Ethiopia 00:59:45
1 Gete Wami Ethiopia F 01:08:51
2330 John Robson 01:39:01
2958 John Everett 01:41:00
6831 Jean Bradley* 01:50:11
9228 Barrie Evans 01:54:30
13066 Stephanie Barlow 02:00:14
13094 George Nicholson* 02:00:17
14882 Dougie Nisbet 02:03:17
19235 Andrew Glass 02:10:31
21026 Angela Proctor 02:13:40
22468 Mike Kitson 02:16:26
23454 Margaret Thompson 02:18:21
24637 Greta Jones 02:20:42
24672 Joe Thornton 02:20:47
32088 Kathryn Anne Larkin-Bramley 02:42:08
34745 Ann Westberg 02:59:20

* Subject to dental record check.

37,000+ finishers.