Race Reports

Member's events, 18th -19th Sept

Steve & Kay Mcmenamin With Caroline Ray & Carl Clarke At Swim Serpentine 2 Mile.

Saturday 18th September

 

Swim Serpentine 2 mile swim

Five members went up to Hyde Park on a lovely sunny morning to take part in this event in the Serpentine Lake. The event is very popular and is run in waves which start between 0815 and 1620. Steve McMenamin completed the 2 miles in just under an hour in 59.23, saying that he had to weave through lots of swimmers and then encountered the earlier wave. Steve was followed closely by Caroline Ray in 1.00.07 and Carl Clarke in 1.04.00. Kay McMenamin finished in 1.14.33 and Sally Gardner in 1.23.45. Sally was delighted with her time as she could hardly swim a 25m length in the pool 9 months ago.

 

 

Chiltern Wonderland Ultra Run

Doug Mac Taggart, the club's Ultra Marathon enthusiast, tackled this tough 50 mile scenic run which involves 5500ft of climb, in warm temperatures. Doug was pleased to  finish in 12.13.56.

 

 

Sunday 19th September

 

National Aquathlon Championships

On arrival at the Worthing Sailing Club venue Adam Bryant commented that there were some very fast looking people at the start. Despite this Adam relished competing with ITU athletes, completing a tactical roll at the buoy, which he was proud of,  finishing the 750m swim in 17.23 and the 5km run in 21.15, and placing 12th out of 13 in the 45-49 age group.

 

Run Reigate 10k

Zoe Deeley was very pleased to complete her 10k run in a net time of 1.11.00, placing 64th in her FV50 age group.

 

North Downs Way 100mile Ultra run

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On behalf of my wife and I, the time has come (allowing for mental and physical healing)  to provide an update on the NDW 100 (or what turned out to be NDW103).  

I assert that this is quite problematic as those looking in can't understand it and those looking out can't explain it.  For that I reason I feel the best way to provide insight into the event is through an explanation of the psychology behind Ultradistance running with the added benefit of providing an indication of your propensity to partake in the sport.  

If you answer yes in more than:

  •   50% of the questions then it is considered a positive response
  • >70% and you should seek counselling or drop me a line about what races the MidSussex UltraDistance & Cake Appreciation Society (AKA MUCAS) will be partaking in over the next 12 months.
  • > 90% then consider yourself an honorary member of the club and come to our next "meeting"!
  1. When you see 100 miles to go on a motorway, do you think that would be a good run but could you do it in 24hrs?
  2. Would you consider the additional 3 miles in the NDW100 as bonus miles?             
  3. When people mention cake, do you have a Pavlovian response?
  4. Do you have an unhealthy obsession with socks?
  5. Do you think Chris Froome looks healthy?
  6. Do people give you a wide birth when you explain what you did on the weekend?
  7. Are you a little embarrassed by what you got up to on the weekend?
  8. Does everything on your body hurt?
  9. Do you believe your body will self-heal anything?
  10. Do you carry a head torch when you go out at night (even to the pub)?
  11. Do you think it would be better to run and meet your family on a day out rather than drive?
  12. Do you own more shoes than your significant other - or at least compete on the number of trainers you have?
  13. When you go for a run, do you see things that you should not see?
  14. Do you take more medication than an 80 year old stroke sufferer?
  15. Do you know your physiotherapist by their first name?
  16. Do you go to a masseur for a massage?
  17. Do you respect athletes that no one else has heard of?
  18. Do you carry toilet paper when you leave the house?
  19. Does is disturb you to relieve yourself outdoors?
  20. Are Portaloos posh?
  21. Do you feel people who think about barefoot running, forefoot running, pronation and supination are interesting people?
  22. Have you purchased a pair of  barefoot running shoes and live with the injuries to show for it?
  23. Do you know what a salt tablet looks like?
  24. Do you consider Unltradistance running as a sport?
  25. Do you consider Football as a sport? (yes = no, no = yes)
  26. Have you considered removing your toenails to stop them falling off?
  27. Is there any part of your feet that has not had a blister?
  28. Do you know where the Vaseline is in your house?
  29. Do you know what calf cards are?
  30. Do you own but not use calf cards?
  31. Do you think walking up hills is cheating?  (yes = no, no = yes)
  32. Do you think walking down hills is cheating?  (yes = no, no = yes)
  33. Do you think walking is cheating?  (yes = no, no = yes)
  34. Can you eat a Big Mac Meal Deal with onion rings, mozzarella dippers and a shake and still go for a run?
  35. Can you sleep?
  36. Can you not sleep?
  37. Do you know how to read a map?
  38. Do you know how to carry a map without letting go - regardless of logic?
  39. Do you feel you can judge where you are on the planet by your awareness of the earths magnetic fields?
  40. Can you see through time or do you have other "special" powers?
  41. Do you think alcohol is a performance enhancing?
  42. Is Born To Run a book by Michael Morpurgo?  (yes = no, no = yes)
  43. Do you recognise or use any of the following acronyms?  UTMB, MDS, C2C, A2A, NDW, SDW, TTP.
  44. Have you ever had an energy gel that tasted good?
  45. Is Icecream racing food?
  46. Have you ever done a race where there were 2 or less people to greet you at the finish?
  47. Do you feel lucky or unlucky that you live in a country where distance are measured in miles not kilometers?
  48. Do you have a nick name that would be out of place in polite society?
  49. Do you consider anything over 5 hours duration as a race?  (yes = no, no = yes)
  50. If someone offered you a place in a Marathon the day before would you think 

        a) What a great day out?
        b) What a circus?
        c) All of the above or
        c) As "c" is statistically the correct answer and you can't be bothered reading the other options
        d) None of the above
Answer; "c" = yes

 

Jamie & Emma Goodhead

Country to Capital Ultra-marathon

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It was the 12th of January, snowing and I was sitting in bed with a cold.  What better thing to do than pack your gear, head to Wendover and run to London along with 300 other eccentrics including your wife.  45 miles of cross country bliss and a day without children, could it get any better?  Actually yes, what other race starts with bacon rolls and a cup of tea?  I'm not sure I can remember being in a pub, teeming with such energy at 7:30 in the morning but then again if the night had been that good I wouldn't have remembered!

These days one can't take these things too seriously, so starting at the very back of the field we ambled down Wendover high street to the first style - now it takes some time for 300 people to cross a style who all arrive at the same time.  No worries, time to stretch, have a chat and ponder how the water will get out of your water proof shoes when they fill up from the top!

It's always nice to spend time with your wife, enjoying the countryside and the company of strangers with interesting stories about how they don't have heating and are using this as preparation for their run from Birmingham.  Things didn't change much for the next 25 miles, run a bit, wade through some mud, have a chat, look at a map, wait at a stile and repeat.  The weather did improve and at checkpoint 1 I discovered the best cake ever made which included some magical ingredients that I'm sure were designed to uplift one's spirits - the world took on a 60's glow!

Now there is nothing quite like a light Siberian breeze hitting you in the face for a day which contributed to the downside of the race when I failed to motivate Mrs G to go any further than the Marathon distance, which left me to go it alone.  A stubborn one that Em but the look of grey disgust and inability to pose for the photographer meant we had failed on our mission of quality time together so I may as well punish myself a little!  75grams of carbs and 500ml of fluid per hour and the knowledge that if I get through the 30 mile point I had enough jelly snakes to get me home, not forgetting the joy of more cake at the next stop was plenty of motivation.

A Canal can be quite boring but not the Grand Union Canal, that has a few house boats, the occasional BMXer, water, footpath, disposed toilet, dead fish, misleading sign or two, tree, derelict property  and at least 2 Sainsburys - now that beats seeing nothing swimming for the same amount of time any day!  And then came the finish, at just over 8 hrs I crossed the line and went to the pub - beats a round of golf but not quite as good as an Ironman so I'd give the experience 6/10 but 10/10 for value - Race T shirt, medal, mysterious cake, gels, and 8 hrs of entertainment all for the bargain price of £40 odd quid - now that is a deal and better than anything I got in the post Christmas sales and it gave me an excuse to miss the Swimming Club's T30!

Jamie & Emma Goodhead

London to Brighton Run (57ish miles)

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This race is billed as a challenging self-navigated off road run from London to Brighton, facts which I am not sure I really understood when I entered. The more people I spoke to, the more horror stories I heard about checkpoints being abandoned and bags just left at the end, and the more concerned I became.

The fact that the map book only arrived 3 weeks before the race was not terribly helpful either, especially since I had begun to recce the course as per previous years and there had been significant changes.  In fact I was more worried about getting lost than running the distance.  

However, I did manage to run the course south of the M25 in bits and pieces prior to race day, which calmed my nerves somewhat. 

Race day was a 6am start in Blackheath with registration in a TA hanger full of fit looking people and the discussions of previous races began.  It is pretty difficult not to doubt yourself when surrounded by multistage desert racers and people using the race as training for the 400 mile Arctic Yukon race, but too late to back out now.. 

I have to say the run was scenic, even through London.  The course ran through Lewisham, Bromley and to the west of Biggin Hill, crossing the M25 just north of Limpsfield Chart, then east of Edenbridge and East Grinstead.  The run then goes via Wych Cross to Horsted Keynes and then through Chailey Common heading south to cross the Downs at Black Cap, then through Falmer to Brighton.

The 5 checkpoints were well stocked with water, bananas and in the latter stages cakes, biscuits and also cold roast salted potatoes dipped in tomato sauce which have to be one of the most delicious things known to mankind when running this distance.  

I managed to go off course 3 times (once was in Ashurstwood which is a part of the course I had run in training) but nothing too terminal, adding 1 or 2 km at the most and was never running alone.  The people were friendly and happy to chat as we ran which was encouraging and also useful as many of them had a great deal of ultradistance running experience.  I did meet 2 other people who were also doing their first ultra and both finished just ahead of me.  I was pretty amazed at the number of experienced runners who were happy not to look at their maps and just follow inexperienced people like me, especially when I was joined by Rob and Jamie, acting as tour guides for the latter stages of the run. 

Overall, the run went pretty much as expected for me.  I was comfortable until about 35 miles and then began to tighten up as we climbed from Weir Wood reservoir and it was then that Rob and Jamie's support was invaluable.  Rob ran with me for about 15 miles from mile 31 and Jamie joined us in Horsted Keynes at about mile 40 and ran to the finish.  

I enjoyed the day, despite the pain.  Interestingly I learnt that it is possible to run through pain and out the other side to a stage where running is actually more comfortable than walking (although up hills are still very difficult after 50 miles with weak legs).  I was pleasantly surprised that, even when we were within a mile or so of our house, I was not tempted to crawl into bed with a cup of tea! 

The low point was leaving checkpoint 5 knowing that I had the walk up Black Cap ahead, but thehigh pointwas reaching the top with Jamie and seeing not only the sea, but also Steve and Kay, which was a real boost.  I knew then I could get to the finish and promptly ran past 3 other runners, one of whom tagged onto Jamie and I and then finished with me.  He was a French guy called Sebastian and a mutual thumbs up was our signal to each other of a job well done. 

As I look back I am not sure I would do it again, although as my legs recover I could change my mind..  

All I know is that I could not have done this without all the encouragement from everyone I know.  It is fantastic to belong to a club where people don't tell you that you're mad when you suggest something like this.  Claire Cresswell deserves special mention for getting me to start running on the Downs and Rob for training and company on the day. 

I will be forever grateful to my amazing husband Jamie for putting up with my training and for his help on the day.  Not only did he run about 20 miles with me, he kept my spirits up and force fed me jelly snakes on a regular basis to keep me going.  He always knows just what I need and that is just one of the reasons I love him. 

Statistics

  • 3 runs a week in training
  • Longest run 35 miles
  • Time to finish 12.24 (cut off 13 hours). 
  • Not sure how far I actually ran (Garmin packed up after 65km)
  • Number entered 290+, 196 started and 88 finished

I finished 58th (7th female)

Emma Goodhead

 

Jade's 24 Hour Run Challenge

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This was my first attempt at ultra running, and whilst a 24 hour running challenge was maybe a little over ambitious, I liked the set up of the challenge- it was a little over a 6.5 mile loop, which you completed as many times as possible.  As I had no idea how far I could actually run I thought this concept was a good idea, as I could stop whenever I needed (no pressure of going point to point) and also could pick up food/drink as I passed through the checkpoint each time. 

So I guess I best give you some background before I talk about the race itself.  I hadn't trained any longer than 26.2 miles, and had only done 2 marathons this year.  I was meant to do another 2 marathons in 2 days in early May but got an IT band injury in my hip whilst running the Brighton Marathon, so had hardly done any running since (mostly just biking).  I had also been asked by several friends and family members to get an ECG test to check my heart was ok and I wasn't in danger of dropping dead at any second, so I got one with my nurse.   The test results were not given to me until the Thursday, 2 days before my race, when the doctor (who had the worst bedside manner I've ever come across) rang me at work and told me that the results were inconclusive and she thought I had a 'Long QT'... when I asked what this was she told me to Google it (really!!) which nearly gave me a heart attack in itself when I looked... oh yeah, it's that condition that causes people to drop dead at any second...great (ironic really as you're not meant to shock people who have that condition!).  She would not give me any further details of my results (she had referred them to a cardiologist but results could take weeks) we finished the phone call with her saying 'I wouldn't run for 24 hours without some conclusive results' and then the final caring words of 'I don't see why people can't just do things in moderation'... Charming!  To cut a long story short I ended up getting an appointment the same night with a cardiologist at the Nuffield in Brighton (hello overdraft), a second ECG, and being told that I was ok to run... phew!!  My long QT is at the top end of the 'normal' range so all is good.  I must admit it was a massive wake up call in the few hours that I had to wait to go to the Nuffield that I realised how quickly everything could be taken away from you... I literally don't know what I would have done if I'd been told I couldn't do any of my crazy sporting antics anymore.  I hope I never take what I'm able to do forgranted again.

Race day- the race started at 1pm on the Saturday, and 34 of us set off.  The course was beautiful, a mixture of mainly farm tracks between fields (if you had hay fever or allergic to rapeseed you would have been screwed!) and a couple of roads.  Whilst some of the ground was uneven it was a very flat course so you could get into a nice rhythm.  My tactic was to keep a steady 11 min/mile pace, and walk through the checkpoint to eat and drink.  This went well and I had a couple of runners to speak to that were running the same pace.  I ran the first marathon in 4.58... way too fast Jade!  Although I had kept my pace I hadn't been walking for long enough through the check point.  I decided at this point that I should just keep running at this pace until I could run no more.  I should mention at this point that my hip started hurting at only 6 miles in, I was worried this was going to cause an issue but with some ibuprofen and the seemingly magical Cliff Shot Bloxs that I always use in races (no, unfortunately I'm not being sponsored by them!) the pain disappeared, and after the first marathon I had no aches and pains at all... this was not to last, I knew that, so I just enjoyed every moment of running and was in quiet wonderment and awe that my little legs kept going.  I think I got to around 40 miles when it got too dark and I had to run with my headtorch.  I'll be honest I'm a complete wimp in the dark, and was pretty scared about this prospect (it really was very dark in the countryside) but apart from the bullfrogs it was really peaceful and calming running in the dark. 

Every so often I could see a headtorch bobbing along in the distance, and I knew I wasn't alone.  I carried on running until 46 miles and then my legs starting to complain, as always my quads were starting to scream at me.  Dinner was served at HQ, so I ate some veggie soup, potatoes and pasta and set off again on a run/walk strategy to cover 53 miles.  All in all just under 12 hours, I was very pleased with myself.  The only problem was as soon as I stopped my legs seized up.  I knew I had to rest, so I somehow got myself in to the boot of my car (back seats already folded down) and slept fitfully (damn cramp) for about 3 hrs.  I woke up and was surprised that my legs felt a bit better, as I opened the car boot I was humbled to see one of the guys (who ended up being the winner) running past to start another loop.  I also felt massively guilty for sleeping and scorned myself for not just pushing through the night.  I had a quick breakfast and set off again with a crazy ironman shuffle going on, it was a pointless and energy zapping exercise, and realised walking was just as fast.  My knee started to become very painful with a shooting pain and cracking/clicks every time I put my foot down, I had to look at the bigger picture and the rest of the race season so I called it a day with just another 7 miles under my belt that morning.  Total distance covered- 60 miles.

Do I feel like I could go further in the future- most definitely.  But for a first attempt I am very pleased that I did my best.  I'm fully aware that had I just walked for 24 hrs then I would have covered a bigger distance, but that was not what my challenge was about, and I certainly wouldn't have felt happy doing that.   I wanted to run as far as I could, and running until you drop is more my motto.   I was more pleased with getting a double marathon under my belt than walking until the cows come home.  But I have learnt that I am clearly no good at pacing myself!  Would I do an ultra again, absolutely!  Phil Couch (I'm sure it was you Phil) told me a quote last year before my ironman from T.S. Elliot that says 'Only those who will risk going too far, can possibly find out how far one can go' and that has certainly stuck with me.

I shall stop my waffling now (gold stars to anyone who has made it this far, you're nearly at the end!) but I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone for your brilliant support, encouragement and kind words before, during and after the race, and of course the donations to the BHF who I ran to raise money for.

 

Jade Overy