Race Reports

LEJOG Sunday Lunch

"We'll be at the Severn Crossing for coffee and cakes at 11am" they said - I foolishly thought they were still working on BST.

 

12:10pm they finally rolled across the bridge claiming strong winds and steep hills, by which time I was already heading towards the lunch rendezvous thinking I had missed them. A quick scout of the pubs in Monmouth brought me to the conclusion that Google recommendations are rubbish, and I quickly changed the venue. If you are contemplating doing LEJOG yourself - I can now highly recommend stopping for lunch at the Robin Hood Pub in Monmouth.

 

The boys rolled into town at 1:45pm with Emma arriving simultaneously in the support wagon, and with the bikes stowed safely in the beer garden, there were instant demands for full fat coke; crisps; and directions to the nearest little boys room.

 

An almost universal vote for steak and ale pie was followed by more coke and sticky toffee pudding (albeit with a loud request for a spotted dick from Steve). All this fuel was washed down with stories of near misses with taxi cabs and high speed tours around the car park in order to take yesterdays daily mileage from 99.6miles to 100. New nicknames have now been endowed on each of them, with Emma being regarded by all as "the Saint".

 

The goal of John'o'Groats draws them ever onwards, and discussion was had as to whether it would be acceptable to fill the very last water bottles with beer so the party could start early on the final day. Once they were suitably fuelled, photographed, and restocked with Snickers bars, we sent them on the way for the final 40miles of the day. It was great to meet up with them all. 

 

Three days in and they are doing well, demonstrating once again that there is nothing a well trained club member cannot do, providing there is a promise of alcoholic oblivion at the end of the journey.

 

Andy Lennox

Ironman Wales

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I'm not sure at any point prior to waking up in race morning, had it actually sunk in what I was about to do, either that or I had selectively blocked it from my mind.

We arrived in Wales on Thursday to register and just have a chance to get used to the strange bed/surroundings etc.

Friday we drove the bike course. Well. I learned from that that the westerly loop was easier than most hills we have around us, but the 2nd loop was going to be hell on earth. The westerly loops was quite good road, little bump hills that didn't take a huge amount of effort to get up and at least 3 spectacular views. In contrast the other loop was quite a stones surface with lots of winding hedge enclosed roads and 3 of the worst hills I have ever seen.  The hill coming up into Narberth started off steep but then eased off a bit but went on forever, the 2nd on the way into Saundersfoot was a 16% straight up Jon, not dissimilar to Kidds Hill and the 3rd, known locally as Heartbreak Hill was of similar percentage but it did a lot of winding. Realisation also dawned that the hill out of Tenby that I had said "oh no, I hope we aren't cycling up here!" about, was in fact the hill we were running up.

Saturday, bike racking day. Took everything down, racked it in my allocated slot and put the cover on, at which point it completely disappeared! I've never seen anything like it, 1500 bikes all racked together in exactly the same place. It was at this point I became quite thankful for the knowledge that I would be far from the first person put the swim so that would make my life a lot easier!  After racking my plastic bags and driving off I suddenly got struck with an immense paranoia that I had somehow forgotten to put my helmet in my bag, even though I knew it had been on my head at the point I racked the bag and wasn't when I left!

Sunday. Race day. 3 alarms went off at 4 just to ensure that none of them spontaneously failed and I woke to have missed race start. 5:10 start making our way over to suddenly realise that I had left the carrier bag with all my drinks in in our room, glad I left early! Upon arrival, Darren dropped me off so that he could go and park the car somewhere and I made my way to transition, still not entirely aware of the magnitude of the situation, to put all my bits on my bike.

Walking down the road to transition (it was still dark at this point) was like a scene from a zombie film, and I thought wow, it's actually happening, the start of a zombie apocalypse! But no, it was just all my fellow competitors slowly walking towards their destiny. Some neoprene clad, others not. Once I'd sorted the bike and got my wetsuit on and everyone else was assembled we started the walk down to the beach. I couldn't stop thinking to myself how far it was and how I was one of the only people I could see wearing flip flops rather than trainers!

As we were nearing the beach it was still dark and I was beginning to wonder if tinted goggles were a bad choice and which point the chap next to me said he was thinking the same thing. Once we had racked our bags on the railings of the ridiculous ramp from the beach to the esplanade we made our way down onto the sand. We were talked through the course which was 2 laps out to one what I thought was a massive buoy, along the back to another, then back in to the beach. The sea was perfectly calm which was nice, seeing as the previous year had caught the tail end of that hurricane, and the sun was just starting to rise behind the clouds.

This is it, no backing out now. I need a pee. It's still dark, where am I going again? Some of the thoughts that went through my mind, then following a rendition of the welsh national anthem we were off. This was it. Sink or swim literally.

Was the little amount of training I had done been enough? I hoped so, I seemed to be able to pull it out the bag in the past, hopefully it would work again this time? Hope so, there's a lot riding on it, not to mention the bits I'd bought at the expo which I would feel unable to wear if I failed!

I decided to hang near the back like usual, let the pros fight it out among themselves. Right, pull pull breathe, pull pull breathe, this is easy, just think of it as the Arun swim that you've done so many times before... Heading out to the first buoy was quite hard going, for a start, despite the thing being about 7-8 feet tall and similarly as wide I just couldn't pick it out, I think it was the plethora or orange lifeboats around that detracted from it... An, there it is, pull pull breath, woohoo I'm there, next! The back straight was fast. That ws probably the quickest side by far but again as the buoy ws even further away this time it was even more difficult to spot so I hoped whoever was leading the back knew where they were going as I'm pretty sure everyone was just following them! After that one, back into the beach sighting on Goskar Rock which is a bike spiky rock that is just off the beach and is somewhat imposing. Go Iron Cops! Said one of the banners that had been strung on it, yeah, go iron cops! you can do it! Running across the beach I stole a glance at my watch, 40 minutes, not bad, just got to do it again. Getting back in almost seemed harder as you felt like "but I've done this already!" but do it again you must, so off we go. The sea had started to get a little choppier at this stage. Still nothing too bad though. Out of the water for the final time, I managed to get straight up with no wobbling at all and made for the ramp. Found my stuff, got my wetsuit off and rinsed myself down with water. Once at the top of the ramp, donned my flip flops and jogged back to the transition with a few people commenting on the fact I was running in flip flops! But that's what I do!

Nothing really of note happened in transition although I did note that I was in and out a lot quicker than some of the people that had been in there before me.

Bike. This is the part I was anxious about since so much could happen that is beyond your control. Quick time check, right I have 8 hours 55 mins to complete it. I can do this. I decided that after the drive on Friday, the best course of action was to do the first loop as fast as I could without compromising energy levels etc to build myself a buffer for the harder loops, so off I went and I actually felt like I was positively flying. I decided to treat it like any other normal Sunday bike ride and break it up into things I knew. The first loop I decided was out to Boxhill and back. Amazingly I didn't even feel like I had done a swim at all and basically felt fresh as a daisy. Legs turning well, past a couple of cleat errors on the first big hill but they seemed ok, come on, grind it up there then you'll be rewarded with a nice downhill. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! I'm liking this, with it being closed road you literally felt like you owned the road, I think this was pretty much every cyclists dream, go as fast as you like with no risk of being hit by cars whilst dodging pot holes etc. I was living the dream! Ok bike, we can do this, just you, me and the open road. If you get me through this I'll buy you some new shoes (tyres) that match your outfit and you'll look really pretty, I'm sorry I didn't get you new shoes before the race, but we all know you shouldn't try out new shoes on race day! And it seemed to work as we were flying round passing various people with mechanical issues on their fancy carbon fiber TT bikes.

The view over the bay that was so spectacular on Friday was less so today, the wind was right up and I was being blown all over the place! Thankfully that stretch is quite small before you started cycling up between some sandy dunes. Made it round the bottom loop, only 2 more to go. The first half of the 2 loop section is fine, if you're ok riding round Sussex then it's nothing new, rubbish road surface, tight turns and the odd bump in the road and incidentally it seems like the primary road kill in Wales is slugs. Heading towards Narberth there were a couple of really long grindy hills then there was the hill into Narberth itself. I could see a couple of people pushing their bikes up ahead but I thought I had to at least try. After the initial ramp it was actually ok, got to the top and it was like the top of a mountain at the TDF there was music, hundreds of people and you could help but grin like an idiot.

Round the whole thing actually the support was fantastic, people all outside their houses cheering you on, I don't think I stopped smiling at all on the first lap round. Then came some hairy descents that I certainly was glad we weren't having to go up before hitting the bottom of the 16% hill. I can only describe it as the top section of Kidds Hill but a little longer. It just goes straight up and the road surface was a little rubbish which didn't help. Managed to puff and blow my way to the top though then after a bit of respite came Heartbreak Hill. Unsure of the % of this one, but it was quite twisty and was again lined with people so stopping wasn't an option then once all the strength in your legs has been taken by those 2 hills you have to do a bit more climbing before finally hitting the descent into Tenby... Before doing it all again! Nothing much different to note about the 2nd loop apart from the fact a head wind had got up and it started raining which pushed away all but the most die hard of supporters so I think my grin may have started slipping that time round! Especially when it got to those 2 hills but with an additional 30 odd miles on your legs since you last did them!

On the final descent into Tenby I had a little cry of happiness as I realised that I was actually going to do it, there was no reason at all now why I couldn't finish. I felt worn but not exhausted or anything, it was actually going to happen, I was going to go home an Ironman!

Got out onto the run pretty quickly and surprisingly my legs actually felt fine, but what wasn't playing ball was my back. That felt stiff as a board and just didn't want to loosen. The run course was 4 loops up a horrible hill then back down and around Tenby itself. Each loops you got a different coloured band so all I could do was look at everyone else bands and decide how far ahead of me they were or whether I was ahead of them etc. first loops went ok. I stuck to my plan of power walking up hills and running back down and it was going well. The support in Tenby was absolutely fantastic with people shouting your name as you went past, again, you couldn't stop the smiles!

By the 2nd loop my stomach was starting to feel really tight, probably as a result of gulping too much air down with my drinks so that wasn't helping the cause, but I was still sticking to the plan, walk up, run down. By the 3rd loop when a lot of people had finished and again the crowds had started dwindling it was starting to get really really tough. I think it was also the hardest because you were sort of in no mans land, you still had to do another loop but you were so so tired and didn't have the motivation that came from being on the home straight.

By the 4th loop I had perked up a little knowing that as soon as I got that beautiful beautiful pink band on my arm that was it, I could finish so I dug deep and ran where I could. I kept telling myself that if i could finish before 23:00 then i would have a 15 something time. Unsurprisingly the only real support now came from some hard core supporters in their gardens/hanging out of windows "come in Sussex!" was the regular cheer I got and it kept making me smile, I made sure I thanked all of them for their support on the last leg as it really was that that gets you through with any hint of a smile by the end.

Back in Tenby the support came from several groups of people gathered outside pubs with their cowbells and high fives and it just felt amazing, the final smile was when I ran past a restaurant and everyone started cheering saying things like "yeah she made it, go on Sussex!" and stuff like that. How many more corners 'til the finish line? Surely I must be nearly there?! Then there it was left for finish, right to go out on the loop again.

I'll take left thank you very much! I wanted to finish strong so I took a hundred meters or so to walk jut to ensure I had enough to power through the finish, then this was it! I'd done it! The moment I'd spent a year preparing(well sort of) for and it was all going to be done in the next 10 seconds! Better still I was going to get 15 something.... Epic!

Once through the line (15:39:26) I got given my medal by the mayor who must have been standing there all day bless him, and a big hug from one of the helpers who said she'd been cheering me on from the swim and was really really pleased for me.

One of the little things that made me smile is they give you the timing chip band which as you can imagine over the last 36 or so (I put it on the minute they gave it to me to avoid losing it!) hours, I had become rather fond of.

Now, sitting here typing this it's all a bit surreal. I know I did it because I have the medal, t-shirt and very very tired feet, but apart from that I don't feel substantially worse than after just an ordinary marathon. Maybe there is a pain saturation point after which it literally can't get any worse? Would I do it again?

Yes, definitely! I'd say to anyone out there, if you want to do one, just do it. If you are determined enough then it will happen. Don't allow self doubt to stand in the way, it really is an incredible feeling that everyone should get to experience.

 

Swim   01:20:44
T1      00:14:42
Bike    08:24:05
T2      00:05:51
Run    05:34:02
Total  15:39:26

Le Jog Days 1 - 4

LeJog Day 1 

Land's End to Okehampton 100.04 miles 6h28m58s average speed 15.51mph.

We started just after 8.30 after the obligatory photos at Land's End. Ian had bought a new bike at 12 days notice when his original Ribble bike (actually hewn from solid rock) had finally died and was deemed beyond repair. He was therefore making adjustments right to the last second. As we started he realised the saddle wasn't right and he had left his glasses behind, so our first pitstop was after less than a mile to get him sorted. The other problem was that he has always used Campag group sets, and the new bike was Shimano which is sufficiently different to cause trouble until he got used to it. So the very first significant hill after 6 miles required a gear that he just couldn't find, the chain came off and jammed and we had another lengthy pit stop!! Remarkably another lad (also riding LeJog) had a chain problem at exactly the same place at the same time so a large group of cyclists were hanging around the roadside.

The only rule we had made before setting off was that everyone should get new tyres to reduce the risk of unnecessary punctures. So guess what? Yes - the only old tyre in the whole group had the only puncture of the day. Mark got it changed quite quickly but it happened on the most exposed part of Bodmin Moor with a howling crosswind so by the time we got going we absolutely freezing.

In spite of taking the most direct route along the A30 it was still a very hilly ride. The 4 mile long hill as we approached Okehampton was expected but still tough. The steepest climb of the day was a mini Cobb Lane in the final half mile to our night stop at the Youth Hostel. At the top we realised we had done 99.6 miles so we cycled round the car park several times to make it 100 miles before we stopped.
Sad - or what?

 

LeJog  Day 2

Okehampton to Burnham on sea 77.50m 5h7m44s average 15.11mph

Total so far 177.53m

There is a cast list at the end of this report so you know who I am talking about.

Day 2 started much brighter than yesterday. The sun was shining and everyone was up in time for an early breakfast sorted for us by the Saint. It turned out that the Tour of Britain was finishing in Okehampton today so there were many cyclists at the Youth Hostel, but there were also road closures in place which fortunately didn't affect us.

Today we kept off the major roads and were rewarded with generally low traffic levels. There was one kamikaze tractor driver who managed a 90 degree left turn into a field at speed while the Ox was trying to draft him on the way to Crediton. Minor roads does of course mean monster hills, and today's special was Cadbury Hill on the way to Tiverton - 3 miles long with a similar incline to Kidds Hill made it quite special, but having a vintage car tour going the opposite way was quite spectacular. There were about 30 or so pre war motors, and most of the drivers gave us a cheery wave. I distinctly heard a young passenger in an old car shout something about old gits on new bikes though.

We stopped in Tiverton town centre for a bite to eat, and received our 3rd spontaneous public donation to the charity ( that is £12 so far). We then took a detour to visit Churchill's sister to find the Saint already there. We were treated to another tea break as well as a delightful ride along the narrow Devon back roads which also included encouragement from the local youngsters. Single track roads with steep descents and climbs to match were about as far away from yesterday's riding as it was possible to get. Only Cling On struggled and came down the hills with his brakes glowing red hot!

We then had a faster ride on into Taunton then Bridgewater where we planned another break. Before we got there though, Brace had another puncture, and we then had the comical scenario of 5 men changing an inner tube. Unfortunately Brace's pump was not suited to the type of valve he had, and after fully pumping it up, twice it released the valve insert and lost all the air. Luckily we had spare pumps and we eventually got it fixed.

After our tea break in Bridgewater, The Wobbler confidently shot off in completely the wrong direction, eventually realising he was heading for Minehead and not Bristol. Once on the correct route though we managed to reach Burnham on Sea for our next stop.


Cast List

Ian Anderson - now known as 'the Ox' - for his formidable power over any terrain and in any circumstances.

David Ricketts - after tenaciously sticking to the back end all day yesterday - now known as 'Cling On' Cling On clung on as only a cling on can!

Brad Williams - needs no introduction as he is the legendary 'Wobbler' and has already lived up to his reputation.

Mark Jordan - now known as 'The Brace' after hobbling everywhere the day before the ride with a purpose made knee brace pretending to be injured before wiping the floor with us on his bike. Whilst riding if you hear the command 'Brace! Brace! ' it means that Mark has another puncture!

Emma Alden - now known as 'The Saint' for her amazing efforts behind the scenes, driving the van, making sure everyone has a proper breakfast, loading and unloading and generally being completely fantastic!

Steve Alden - now known as 'Churchill' - because of his natural leadership and organisational skills. NO - it is because he nods his head when he rides - just like the dog on the insurance advert - Oh Yes

 

Le Jog Day 3
Burnham  on Sea to Leominster  100.55 miles 6h22m57s 15.75mph average.

Total so far 278.08m

We stayed at a great B&B which meant a late start as we had to have the full breakfast but it was well worth it. We headed off via Bristol at quite a good pace - only slowed down by 2 huge hills which seemed to go on forever. The first view in Bristol was the magnificent sight of the Clifton suspension bridge over the gorge. We eventually cycled underneath it before heading around the city to the old Severn Bridge which had a cycle path to cross the Severn. Unfortunately we came across literally hundreds of people who were also crossing by the same path. However they appeared to be dressed as dalmation dogs. On closer inspection it turned out they were actually meant to be cows. They were all on a sponsored walk for a local hospice but the connection to cows was never explained!! Because they were going the same way we had to slowly weave our way through dozens of small groups whilst also contending with the powerful cross winds. Cling on clung on to one of the groups by mistake and there was an anxious wait at the other end before he finally emerged unscathed!

We had now crossed our first international border successfully. Only the Wobbler was concerned about the visa requirements for entry to Wales but luckily there was nobody in customs to check and we got in safely.

The Welsh had been warned that we were coming and had resurfaced the entire road network which made a very pleasant change from what we were used to. The road from Chepstow to our lunch stop in Monmouth was delightful following the Wye valley and passing Tintern Abbey.

We met Andy Lennox and his charming wife Helen in Monmouth and put away huge numbers of calories. Of course Churchill could not resist commenting on seeing his desert 'Look at my Spotted Dick'

The final run via Hereford and Leominster was all up and down with the Ox leading the charge up most of the hills including one monster hill. Brace worked hard to keep Cling On going until we finally neared our destination when he started riding like a Cling On posessed.

They all asked Churchill 'Have we done 100 miles'

Oh Yes!!

 

Day 4

Ludlow to Runcorn 86.47m 5h21m27s 16.14mph average 

Total so far 364.55m 

We had a really good meal in plush surroundings last night in Ludlow and also sampled the delights of Butty Back beer, a Wye Valley speciality! It certainly got the Ox thinking so he turned out this morning with his Ann Summer's bib shorts that were completely see through. It was like following a bike rack! I have heard stories about the Ox and the Ass, but not the Ox's ass, and none of us will be able to sample 'Oxtail' soup without remembering! Having a crack at the front has taken on a whole new meaning and in the interests of transparency the story has been told in full! 

Brace really struggled with his knee all morning today and was in a lot of pain, being forced to virtually 'one legged pedal' to get by. Fortunately it settled later in the day but it has been quite worrying. By contrast Cling On shot off like a scalded Cling On and almost had to be restrained until he ran out of steam before lunch by which time he was clinging on!! 

It is always good to see some great views as you cycle. As we approached Shrewsbury the Ox pointed out the hill range named after him The 'Quantox' ( Quantocks). The Wobbler had a near miss when he was so dazzled by the appearance of the Ox in front of him that he almost didn't react to a pothole in the road. However it was he who had to shout Brace! Brace! to announce the only puncture of the day, which he changed in record time.

The team spent a happy few miles counting Churchill's 'bob count' and the record was 141 in a minute. They were all very pleased though, with his route today as it was gently rolling for the most part, and some great views in the Delamere Forest. All was well until we approached Runcorn, which appears to be a series of major roads joined  together by other big roads, and we really felt we were taking our lives in our hands as we switched from one dual carriageway to another. We got there in the end, to a fine hotel under the flight path, next to a railway station in the middle of a motorway network, to be greeted by the Saint, who yet again had checked us all in, organised food, got everyone's bags out and has been completely saintly. 

Have we had a good crack today? 

Oh Yes!!!

 

Photos are uploaded daily here

Bala Standard Distance

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I arrived on the Saturday afternoon to register having travelled for nearly 5hrs and when i looked at THAT lake i said to myself " why the hell are you doing this again" !!! Maybe they will cancel the swim and turn it into a duathlon!  I stopped moaning to myself [something you do when you get older!] and went and found my B & B.

After a very fitful night's sleep i had a bowl of porridge and cycled down to the race start at about 08.00. On arrival in transition i looked out at the "lake" and it was like a mill pond, not a ripple in sight!! No wind, blue sky and reasonably warm. I thought this looks good!!!

By the time the first wave set off at 09.30 the sky had begun to cloud over and the wind had picked up a little and the water was no longer FLAT!! Well by the time my wave, the last, went off the wind was whipping down through the valley and the water was covered in "white horses" and it was really choppy. Within 100m the wind got worse and the waves got bigger!! I thought if i swallow enough water i might just empty the lake and run round the course!!! I continued to struggle through the water and eventually i could see the exit pontoon but the nightmare is not over yet as the last 15 or so metres is so shallow you almost have to crawl as you can't stand and walk because it's really rocky!

With a helping hand i was up onto the pontoon and running into T1 which went without too much trouble. Although it was cloudy it was fairly warm, unlike last year, so i didn't need a long sleeve top on for the ride and i was soon out onto the out and back undulating bike course on closed roads. The first half was into a strong head wind, so it was difficult to get a good speed going but i did manage to overtake a few riders. The return section, although undulating, was a lot faster, so i was soon heading back towards T2.

This transition went without a hitch and i began the run, which is an out and back undulating course on pavements. Although the wind was bad the run went very well and i even managed negative splits. By the time i crossed the finish line the wind was howling and the sky had really darkened but i did manage to return to my B&B before it rained!!

 

                       2012 Result                   2011 Result

swim 1500m   45mins 45 secs              52mins 1 sec
T1                 2mins 59secs                6mins 16secs
bike 40k        1hr 16 mins 43 secs       1hr 20mins 14secs
T2                 1min 11secs                  1min 35secs
run 10k          52mins 31secs             55mins 9secs
 
overall time 2hrs 59mins 11secs        3hrs 15mins 17secs
 

As you can see i improved my time from last year in all three disciplines, so i was really pleased.
                     

Bachuss - Wine & Jelly babies

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Jeans Report

What a fantastic time I had, could not have enjoyed it anymore. Having all those familiar and friendly faces on the start line definitely made it more of a social fun run.

13 miles seem to fly past, maybe it was the continual talking! dancing at the water stops or just the wine!! whatever it was I was disappointed when we got to the finish.

Mile 2   First taste of white wine, Trevor's eyes lit up at all the Power Gels and started to fill his pockets.

Mile 6   Brought a queue for the toilets and welcome sponges, supplied by an old gentleman having the time of his life, sponging down all the ladies!!

Mile 10  Brought extra wine tasting - a water fight with me and Kay - Two courgettes! carried by Trevor and Jules (have you cooked them yet?) and a lovely picture of Claire skipping off into the distance.

Mile 13  MSTC competitiveness kicked in and there was a dash for the finish or it just could have been the tea, coffee, cake, fruit, Bar b q and more wine supplied at the end, so we greedily put back all the calories we had lost.

Bring it on again next year:)

Trev's Report
I'd just like to mention the pumpkins ... I was first competitor over the line carrying a pumpkin!

I also managed to eat more crisps , pretzels and jelly babies than anyone! And despite a valiant attempt from Jim I won the competition to earn the entry fee back by collecting as many gels as possible , even managing to store some inside Roses sports bra !

Also the MSTC medics at mile 12 ... Steve pumping that poor woman full of gels until she vomited!

And it was Roses first half marathon!

 

JulesReport
The "courgettes" are actually the size of small pumpkins rather than the sort you find in Sainsbury's!

Definitely the most fun I have ever, and I'm sure will ever, have on a half marathon. I echo Jean's sentiments when I actually got quite sad At mile 9 when I realised there were only 3 miles left!

I think the quantity of wine increased each stop due to realising that there were fewer and fewer people following us :-D

Clairs Report
Sunny 'Skippy' Sunday
I went to bed on Saturday night and slept soundly. On Sunday it was a perfect day, I left with my printed out map of the bike route to get to Denbies and met Jean on route.

Cycling to an event has to be the way to go, no problems with nerves. The route was great and Jean and I enjoyed the bike ride so much, it was more of a concern that my map reading skills - while cycling - would get us there (which they did). It was a beautiful scenic route and didn't feel like the 30 miles at all. We got to see the Olympic rings on the heights of Box Hill as we made our final road towards the Vinyard.

On arrival at Denbies, which was so lush-green and beautiful we were surrounded by runners dressed up to the nines! I liked the runners dressed up as vineyard grapes - by the time the run was done their balloons as had deflated with the heat of the sun pounding down on them and every so often a few would bang as the balloons burst with all the friction created.

It was Such a relief to be back in the swing of things, again. It really didnt feel like 13 miles. I was pretty certain that post injury that I would run 4 and walk the rest. I ran and skipped a very decent 12 plus miles. Meeting up with Fiona, Jo, Sharon, Graeme, Steve, Kay, Jim, Helen, Juls and of course Trevor and Rose was superb.

We had an enormous amount of fun, we chatted, danced and stopped of course at every feed-drink station to make sure that we were hydrated, re grouped and then we all ran on again. I did quite a lot of skipping ... I found that too much sugar does make for a very skippidy hoppidy me - thank goodness I didnt have any wine !

This event was really well organised, lovely marshalls and a really good event to be part of - sometimes running for fun, chatting with friends and enjoying the scenic view has to be a founditory reason for all the training that is done in the year. They provided a great post BBQ, music and the atmosphere was fantastic. I would definitely do this again, be more organised and dress up and would cycle back next time too.

Jim's Report
A great day for a PW (personal worst finish time).
Brilliant fun race with fancy dressing, wine, sunshine, friends and great scenery.
Felt like it was the South of France running beside vinyards in blazing heat.
Had the rare privelage to run with (and chat to) the race leader (eventual winner) for a couple of miles. Jonathan Ratcliffe had lapped me and I had no trouble keeping up with him for a while seeing as his legs were 13 miles more tired than mine. Jonathan is a 2:45 marathoner and won this event in 3:11, which shows how tough the course was with hills and half-drunk half-marathoners to negotiate.
Not for the first time, my competitive wife sprinted past me on the finish and beat me by a couple of seconds.

Sharons Report

Best half marathon I have ever done & best of all I achieved a PW (Personal Worse) - also the first time I have ever finished a run feeling a little bit tipsy (lightweight - I obviously don't get out much).

I've just checked the pics on the website & it's the first time I'm smiling while running - he! He! The scenery was fantastic and it was great to just stroll up the hills exercising the jaws from all the chatting

Also needs to be said on the race report that Steve was "chicked" at the finish post by at least a second - lol xx
 

Steve's Report

What a great race and my kind of nutrition plan more wine than you can drink and more jelly babies than you can eat a great social run except for the last 5 meters when the girls got a bit competitive :) think this will have to be a club run for next year.

Place Time Name
48 01:56:44 Fiona Bussell
138 02:14:54 Joanna Rendall
193 02:23:38 Helen Graham
194 02:23:40 James Graham
242 02:30:06 Graeme Fitzjohn
509 03:19:08 Claire Cresswell
562 03:43:56 Sharon Chladek
563 03:43:57 Kay McMenamin
564 03:43:57 Jean Fish
565 03:43:57 Steve McMenamin
567 03:44:05 Rose Ryan
568 03:44:05 Trevor Moore
0 03:43 Jules - times missing