Race Reports

Suffolk Athletic Association Cross Country Championships 5th January 2014 – Stephen Reyes

30 Haverhill runners (11 women and 19 men) took part in the Suffolk XC Championships on the 5th of January. The event was held at Ickworth Park near Bury St Edmunds. For many this was their first experience of XC, those that had competed previously delighted in telling tales of mud, sweat and tears.

The rain that had fallen the night before ensured the course was as wet and muddy as it could possibly have been, however no further rain fell during the morning or afternoon.

The first race in which HRC competed was the senior ladies. This involved 3 laps of the course, which to spectators looked easy. The look on Mary Ann Moseley’s face as the first of our clubs runners to pass the finish line said something completely different. Mary Ann finished 20th in a stunning time of 40.19 minutes

The second race for HRC was the senior men’s, this entailed 4 laps of the course, which by this stage had become a churned mass of brown mud. Trevor Bunch attacked the 12k course refusing to be beaten, he finished as the first placed HRC man and 45th overall in a fantastic time of 57.06 minutes.

Cheryl Trundle and Sirka Love were also out on the course as Marshalls together with Tim Ellis who just came along to spectate. Tim stood on the long hill shouting encouragement, refusing to let Haverhill runners admit defeat and walk.

Despite the initial statements of “never again”, upon reflection everyone agreed to be there same time next year.

 

February Results – Martin Lawrence

After the lull of Christmas and New Year, Haverhill running club have kicked into gear again, with members taking part in the first local races of the year. Three of the ultra-runners from the club, Paul Buckle, Dave Edwards and Horace Shuriah competed in the 47 mile off road, pedlars way ultra, with the route taking in the trails along the Norfolk and Suffolk borders. With a 12 hour cut off time in this  event, the boys finished comfortably inside this, Buckle and Edwards coming in at 8h55m, following in behind was Shuiah in 9h 45m, a superb effort all round.

The next round in the Suffolk cross country series took part recently at Haughley Park, Stowmarket. The wet weather had made the undulating course slippery and muddy, typical cross country fare, with the 2 lap course lasting 5.4 miles in length. A very good turnout of 22 runners from Haverhill were involved in the field of 255 athletes. Martin Lawrence in 38:30 was first in for the club, for 35th place, followed in by Mark White and Julian Grubb in 56th and 57th respectively in 40:15 and 40:16. Nick Kirkham was next in with his time of 41:24, with Simon Couldry running 41:47 for 81st. Jamie Randall was just outside the top 100 in 43:21 , and first Haverhill Lady home was Alison Couldry with 44:58 for 118th position. Other top 150 finishers were Steve Reyes (45:35), Nigel Chapman (46:21 and Sian Barker in 46:47. A day after running the pedlars way ultra, Dave Edwards managed 47:00, with new ladies captain Siobhan Dockerill running in 48:55. Other finishers for the club were John Nevin (49:25), Timothy Ellis (50:26) Graham Dixon (51:01), Stuart Shepherd (52:07), Steve Miller (53:17), Terry Braverman (55:12), Dave Greenham (55:30), Louise Zioui (58:21), Dawn Dixon (61:03 and Zoe Chapman in 67:34.

The Great Bentley Half marathon is known as a fast flat course, but the race this year was hindered by strong howling face on winds throughout. Putting their winter training to the test were runners from the club, and for five ladies it turned into a fruitful journey. Over 750 runners braved the elements with Siobhan Dockerill the first lady to run a PB, clocking 1:50:12 for 396th place overall. Also running Pb’s were Kym Cromarty in 461st in 1:53:53. Joanne Rosenwald, currently training for the London marathon, in 2:09:11 for 646th place, Tracey North improved her best with 2:27:14 , enough for 728th and Zoe Chapman in 2:41 01 for 737th place. Ian Elden had the honour of first Haverhill athlete in, running 1:41:24 for 258th place, just ahead of Yusuf Firat, with 1:41:38 for 262nd. Darren Cornell and Sil Clay were the next pair home together in 437th and 438th, making times of 1:52:27 and 152:30 respectively. Other finishers from the team were Steve Halls in 1:56:46 (508th), Phil Jarvis in 2:17:41 (703rd), Jackie Hewitt 2:1958 (710th), Joanne Vickery 2:28:14(728th), Sandra Hiscox 2:31:54(733rd).

March Results – Martin Lawrence

The Cambridge half marathon, now in its third year has rapidly become one of Haverhill running clubs major events of the year. This year over 40 members participated, and for some this was there first time racing at this distance. The lovely spring weather helped bring the crowds out to watch the 4000 runners take on the 13.1 mile course. Each and every one gave there all, with the heat taking its toll on some, and affecting times of others. For some of these runners who hadn’t ran a step a year ago this was a great achievement. Results can been found here & a race report from a half marathon virgin read here.

The same Sunday was the Essex 20, a 20 mile event for spring marathoners to test themselves over a suitable distance. It proved a worthwhile exercise for Shirley Fowler and Ian Elden who both recorded new pb’s over this distance, with Eldens time of 2 hours 45 enough for 166th place, and fowlers best of 3:15 giving her 346th position in the field of 450 runners. Also taking part was Trudi Morrish, who gallantly gave up her race part way around to help attend to a stricken runner.

The previous week saw another big half marathon take place, the Silverstone half, ran around the motor racing course and surroundings. The strong winds made this a hard run. Seven members travelled, with Andy Palmer grabbing the best result of the day from the team, getting himself a new p.b. in 1:47:49. Ian Longland ran in with 1:28:37 to be first in for the club, enough for 178th position overall, followed closely behind by Mark White in 1:32:15 and 320th.Jamie Randall completed the quartet of men , in 1:46:55, for 1505th place. For the ladies, Joanne Rosenwold managed 2:07:10 for 3861st overall, and Shirley Fowler in 2:08:40 for 4017th, and Trudi Morrish with 2:12:48 and 4473rd place completing the line up.

The final leg of the Suffolk winter cross country season took place recently at Nowton Park Bury St. Edmunds. An impressive turnout of 16 runners from Haverhill running club made the short journey to compete amongst the 225 athletes. The 2 lap course held plenty of mud to contend with, sapping on the legs over the 5 miles. For plenty of these runners, this season was their first attempt at cross country, with the experience hopefully helping them in the future.

Times and positions as follows:

Martin Lawrence 33 35:39, Andrew Bell 36 35:51, Brian Rootes 56 37:20, Trevor Bunch 89 39:24, Ian Elden 98 40:01, Mary-Ann Moseley 108 40:31, , Steve Reyes 119 42:00, Nigel Chapman 131 42:47, John Nevin 155 45:11, Siobhan  Dockerill 164  46:01, Graham Dixon 165 46:07, Stuart Shepherd 166 46:11, Sian Marie Lucas 167 46:16, Steve Miller 168 46:19, Dave Greenham 197  50:56, Dawn Dixon 216 56:39,

Special well done to Siobhan Dockerill, who finished 6th overall in the five races in her category of senior ladies, and Nigel Chapman, who achieved 3rd in the male 55 category. Overall, the team came a very creditable position of 12th place out of 25 teams.

Another race taking place the same day was the Cambridge Boundary run, a multi-terrain race with a choice of a half or full marathon. Taking on the full mileage, under difficult conditions, were Sil Clay, who ran 4 hours 15 minutes, just ahead of Justin Merry in 4:16 following in behind was Paul Buckle in 4:20, with Sian Barker completing her run in 4:47 minutes. Accompanying each other around in the half were Ivan Layzell, in his first event since a long injury lay-off and Tracey Hanniford, in her first half. They crossed the line together in 1:57.

The sole Haverhill runner taking part in the Swavesey 5 mile  race in Cambridgeshire was Simon Wallis , who managed 42:02 , enough for 24th place , out of the 108 runner field

May Results – Martin Lawrence

The Oakley 20mile race, held in Bedford, is an ideal opportunity for spring marathon runners to test how there training has been going. This year, among the field of over 800 runners, 10 members of Haverhill running club participated. For four runners this was the furthest distance they had ever run, and they can take great heart out of there runs. Helping each other around the course, Joanne Rosenwold and Sharne Hunt completed in 3 hours 32 minutes each. Jacqueline Hewitt managed the undulating route in 3:50, and Joanne Vickery, training for her first marathon (London), got around in 4:03. Kym Cromarty had a very pleasing race, her time of 2:58 giving her a new personal best at this distance. Completing the ladies line-up were Shirley Fowler, 3:17 and Trudi Morrish , finishing in 3:47 minutes .Leading the men home was club chairman  Trevor Bunch, running in with 2:39, Yusuf Firat , who managed 2:47 , and Horace Shuriah ,keeping Cromarty company, and finishing in the same time of 2:58.

The same day was the running of the Stowmarket half marathon, which this year is included in the Suffolk Grand prix series of races. The sole Lady runner from Haverhill was Kirsty Millard, who in running a time of 1:48:38, smashed her previous best. This was enough for 191st place overall in the field of 368 athletes.Six men competed for Haverhill, with Mark White coming home first in 1:31:59, and  49th place. Following in behind in 108th position was Ian Elden, his time being 1:38:18. Jack Tappin ran in with 1:44:48 for 169th place, and Jamie Randall was just behind in 1:48:34, for 189th position. John Nevin a male 60 veteran runner, achieved a p.b. with his time of 1:55:30, coming home in 242nd place, enough for 2nd in his category.

Haverhill running club member Dave Edwards completed his latest marathon last Sunday , completing the 26.2 mile  in the Bungay marathon (You can read more about Dave’s marathon journey here). Also among the 160 runners were Yusuf Firat and Theresa Jones. Sadly, Jones had to pull out with injury at the 22 mile point in the race. Edwards went on to race around in a solid 3:32, giving him 41st place on the very undulating route. For Firat, this race turned out brilliantly, with him finally breaking the magic four hour marker, coming in with 3:58, and 88th place overall. Another athlete having an excellent race was former Haverhill member Jackie Dockerill, whose overall time of 4:07: was in fact enough to award her first place in her category of female veteran 35.

Taking part in the Half marathon option was Mark White, who continued his good form with is time of 1:35:09, giving him 36th position in the field of 453 runners. Dave Greenham also took part, coming home in 2:48:17.

Also Marathoning that day was Sil Clay, who travelled to Manchester for her event. This race is growing every year, with 6000 entrants this time .Clay finished her run in a solid 4:04:21, giving her a position of 3,005 overall.

The previous sunday saw a group from Haverhill, take part in another marathon distance run. Dave Edwards , Shirley Fowler ,Sian Barker and Paul Buckle took in stunning views and trails around Suffolk in the Daffadill Dawdle, all off-road .The group set out and finished together in 5 hours 24 minutes overall

Sunday saw the crowds come out in force for the London marathon. With the warm weather and the appearance of Mo Farrah, the atmosphere seemed louder than ever before, with approximately 750,000 watching spectators. Making their way there were members from Haverhill running club, in attendance with family and friends. Taking on their first attempt at this distance were five ladies from the club. Rachel Darville ran a very promising debut time of 4:04:58, more to come in future, that’s for sure. Charlotte Acheson was the next newbie home in a time of 4:40:13 (read about her experience here), exactly the same time as another lady from the club, running for charity, Jean Newlands. Joanne Rosenwold followed in close behind on her debut with 4:45:04, a good solid time. Jackie Hewitt came in with 5:16 :32 at her first attempt at the distance , and Joanne Vickery completed the gruelling run in 6:04:41. Martin Lawrence ,running in his fourth London marathon, came in with a time of 3:07:10, , enough to give him a place in next years line up. Following in behind was Martin Speller, also breaking the sub 3:15 barrier with 3:14:26. Next in from the club was Ian Pammenter, coming home in 3:39:42. The aim for Mark Bailey and David Bray was to break the 4 hour barrier, and in this they both achieved, crossing the line together, holding hands in 3:56:36, both achieving Pb’s. Kym Cromarty again improved her marathon time, achieving a new personal best in 3:56:46. Jackie Westrope ran a strong race to finish in 4:13:27,with Ian Elden running in just behind with 4:19:28:The final lady from Haverhill was Trudi Morrish, beating the 5 hour mark with 4:58:22.All the runners would like to thank their family and friends for their support during training and on the day.

A trip to a low key marathon in Northampton proved very worthwhile for Shirley Fowler recently. Accompanied by serial Marathoner Dave Edwards ,they took on the 6 lap off road course and Fowler, cajoled along by Edwards, achieved a massive new personal best at the distance, clocking 4:14:24, the same time as her partner, this was enough to give them 25th and 26th place overall, in the field of 75 marathoners.

Ickworth park, last Sunday saw the running of the Hoohah 10k event, the first in a series of three races taking place over the coming months over National trust routes. Ten members took on the tough, hilly race, along with nearly 300 others. Stuart Shepherd had the honour of first in for the club, clocking 53:16 over the 6.2 mile course, and 91st position overall. Graham Dixon continued his rapid improvement in running 54:58, and a personal best for him, enough for 114th place. James Briggs was next home in 127th, with 56:37. Followed by Simon Wallis in 57:34 , for 133rd place. Louisa Zioui was first lady back in , her time of 1:01:55 enough for 179th. Phil Jarvis managed 1:02:01 for 182nd, and Helen Spooner clocked 1:02:14, for 183rd.Dawn Dixon again improved on her best 10k time in running 1:03:36 for 200th place. Finally ,a trio of ladies completed the line up, Zoe chapman in 258th with 1:10:33, Hayley Woods in 284th with 1:16:55 and Sarah Jarvis coming in with 1:18:38 for 285th place .

Over thirty runners from Haverhill running club participated in the annual 10k event at Ashdon last Bank holiday Monday, mainly for the promise of the cake after the run!!
The course is mainly off road, with some very difficult hills to take on. The race proved to be a very successful occasion for several members, and for some this was there first time attempting this distance. New members, Bill Banner, Paul Sherritt, Debbie slater and Nicole Bailey all ran very pleasing first efforts. The pick of the bunch was Andrew Bell, who in his first time at 10k, ran a fantastic race to finish second overall, out of the near 200 field. Bell, who normally races triathlons, showed his real potential to come. Overall, the club had three finishers in the top ten, with Martin Lawrence finishing fifth, and Brian Rootes coming home in ninth position. Lawrence’s time was enough to grab him the prize of first veteran 50. Also collecting a trophy was Cheryl Trundle, who was first 50 veteran lady crossing the line.

From the ballot to Buckingham Palace – By Charlotte Acheson – London Marathon

“600 metres to go” the sign said. Feet pounding, heavy breathing, shoulders burning, I turned the corner to see The Mall. The big, red FINISH ready to welcome me home with a smile on my face. So what got me to the end? I guess it’s best to start at the beginning.

I joined HRC in May 2013, with just three races under my belt and little understanding of the technicalities of running, but simply the knowledge that I liked to run. I started with no expectations of what I wanted to achieve; I wanted to meet other runners and get better at running. It soon became evident that I was hooked. Tuesday and Thursday evenings were all about the club. Running in the sun, chatting and laughing with new friends and learning that actually there is a technique to running up a hill! I was addicted to the feeling I got from running with the club. A couple of Kevin Henry’s over the summer and then I found myself entering Great Eastern. Early morning weekend runs along with regular club sessions made sure that I got my sub 2 hour target. The sense of achievement was incredible. So, what next?

For a while, I ran with no real target. Training with the Istanbullers and being told after 2 hours of running that whichever way I was to go back to the leisure centre meant I would have to do at least 17 miles (!), made me start to dream… Then the email came: An open ballot for the London Marathon 2014. So one Thursday I find myself looking at it, pen in hand. No, it wasn’t my time: one half marathon race and an unexpected 17 mile run wasn’t enough… was it?

I spoke to lots of people about it, gathering very varied advice. “Too soon!” some cried. “You’ll be fine! You’ll love it!” others enthused.

This was London; every runner’s dream. Bring it on!

Tuesday 3 December 2013. AGM.

Sat at the back, wreaking havoc with Siobhan Dockerhill, the draw was next on the agenda. Darryl Buckley, Charlotte Acheson, Ian Elden. Sorry? No, I feel I missed something there. Did you just say my name?! I felt the colour drain from my face and my jaw hit the floor. Fear, excitement and panic raced through my body at lightning speed. What had I done? What was I going to do?! I am going to run the London Marathon! MEGA WHOOP WHOOP!!!

So January came and armed with my Trevor Bunch plan, I was determined and excited for the challenge. I remember being told right from the start, “don’t focus on the end point, enjoy the journey to get there”. And what a journey! Ups and downs, not even including the hills! The physical demand was just one part of it; I had not considered the mental strength needed for such a challenge. Following the plan was not always easy and life often got in the way, but my main source of encouragement and direction came from you guys: HRC. Through my running journey, I ran, laughed, chatted and shared my anxieties with so many people from the club. Everyone was there to help me and support me. Number 23908 became more than just my number; it was our number.

Whilst race day was simply one of the best experiences of my life, the whole journey from ballot to Buckingham Palace has been absolutely incredible. I have learnt and lived a lot along the way. I have discovered a level of determination and passion when I run that I never knew I had. Starting the marathon with a knee niggle was already a slight concern, but when Canary Wharf threw in a stitch, I was not sure how it would end. Slowing my pace to help to breathe through the stitch, made my knee stiffen; yet running to keep my knee in motion, made the stabbing in my side too painful. I ran and walked for a mile or so and then started to run more consistently until I got through the stitch and could run without the pain. It occurred to me that for the first time ever, I had overcome a potential drop-out point. I had allowed myself to believe that this wasn’t going to stop me. My mind had won the fight! This feeling will stay with me forever. My confidence then continued to grow and Embankment was sensational. Running, smiling and waving to family and friends; it was my time.

Training for and running the London Marathon has given me confidence and a new, refreshed perspective on running. It has also brought new love into my life! This was not on the training plan, but meeting Ian certainly made the journey even more amazing and made London an even more significant event in my life. Thank you for everything J

So what got me to the finish line on race day?

Haverhill Running Club.

Thanks to you all, I have been able to live this experience. You have supported, encouraged, smiled, listened, advised and run this whole race with me. London has changed my life and our incredible club has made that possible.

In June, Ian and I will be having a BBQ and we hope that many of you will be able to come and celebrate the success of London with us and accept our thanks for your support and friendship along the way.

 

June Results – Martin Lawrence

The Milton Keynes marathon saw three members of Haverhill running club take part recently, along with over three thousand other competitors. The undulating route takes in the scenic parts of the city, with the finish at the football stadium. Steve Halls managed to break the 4 hour barrier, coming home in 3:59:08. Kirsty Millard, running her second marathon in three weeks, crossed the line with 4:30:10 to her name, and Darren Cornell couldn’t quite beat the 5 hour marker, in running 5:00:19.
The Halstead marathon last Sunday saw the distinction of Haverhill runner Dave Edwards reaching his goal of 50 marathons. Conditions for this tricky, hilly marathon were pretty poor, but Edwards applied himself with his usual aplomb, running a very solid 3:35:13, enough for 118th overall in the field of over 500 runners. Ian Longland was the top runner for the club in the race, clocking an excellent 3:12:18, for 43rd position. Yusuf Firat, enjoying some fine form at the moment, ran a big new personal best, clocking 3:45:43, and 176th. Ivan Layzell also finished the race in a new best time, running 4:01:37, and 276th place. Jackie Dockerill, becoming something of a marathon veteran herself, clocked 4:07:46, enough for 310th.Shirley Fowler and Sian Barker completed the gruelling run in 372nd and 373rd places, with times of 4:25:42 and 4:25:45 respectively. Final athlete home from the club was Brian Connaughton, who came in with 4:50:32 for 456th place overall

The recent Haver10k and Haverhalf races in the town were well supported by H.R.C. members , with over 40 members running the 10k , and 25 competing in the half. There were plenty of special performances, with Alison Couldry coming third lady in the 10k, and 1st veteran 40 lady, and Mark White was also top 40 veteran male in the race. P.B’s were achieved by among others, Ian Elden, Amanda Freemantle, Kym Cromarty, Dawn Dixon, Graham Dixon and Sandra Hiscox. For some this was their first race at this distance, and all come through with flying colours. The half marathon also had success for the team, with Martin Lawrence coming third overall, and Cheryl Trundle achieving first place in the veteran 60 category.

(Club members sheltering from rain in new club gazebo)

The Soham half marathon this year was attended by 7 runners from Haverhill running club, joining in the field of 120 runners. Although the course is flat and fast, the hot weather affected the times of all runners in the field .Mary-Ann Moseley flew the flag for h.r.c. ,gaining first position in her category of ladies veteran 35 in a time of (1:39:49). The other runners were, Jamie Randell (1:48:15), Jack Tappin (1:51:51), Nick Reader (1:52::48), Jo Rosenwold (2:16:02), Allison Austin (2:18:22) and Tracy North (2:39:06).  The same day as Soham half was the second race in the Hoohah series of 10k events, this time run at the Wimpole Estate, all off-road, with some serious climbs to contend with. A team of 11 runners from H.R.C. Set off in the field of 400 athletes. The heat and the terrain made for hard work throughout. Stuart Shepherd was first across the line from the club, coming in with 51:25, gaining him 82nd place. Graham Dixon was next home in 55:25 for 140th, with James Briggs behind in 57:04 and 168th. Phil Jarvis (1:04:59 for 269th),Helen Spooner(1:05:02 for 270th),and Louisa Zioui (1:05:05 and 271st), were next in line. Completing the line up were Dawn Dixon (1:08:10) Joanne Vickery (1:14:40), Hayley Woods (1:19:40), Zoe Chapman (1:25:14) and Sarah Jarvis with 1:25:15.

Joining the thousands running in the Bupa 10k in London were Ian Elden and Charlotte Acheson .The course takes in some of the capitals finest landmarks. Charlotte grabbed herself a new personal best time at this distance, running 52:38, with Elden coming home with 45:05

 

May Madness – Ian Elden

If January through to April was all about training for and running the London Marathon, then throughout May I have rediscovered my love of the shorter distance. I have always been better at the 5k races, and have always felt I should probably be better than I am at 10k too – and it’s not just the races themselves, but the training: long slow runs bore me, and I much prefer a shorter, more intense training session, such as the excellent Tuesday night club ones run by Trevor, Steven and David. These sessions are extremely hard to replicate on your own – much easier to push yourself properly when there are others around you doing the same, and the camaraderie/banter in between reps helps make the hour more enjoyable: they are hard but fun, which is exactly what good training should be. I had a period of about 8 months when I hardly ever made club training, and my times all began to fall off – and I’m sure it’s no coincidence that since I resumed Tuesday sessions from the turn of the year, I have been able to steadily chip away at my 5k times and am now back close to my pb from over a year ago.

And so, the races in May have come thick and fast.

Firstly, Newmarket Heath 6k: running without Garmin and just going by feel alone, I was pleased to come within 30 seconds of my time from last year, when I was running at my quickest. This was the first indication to me, after a disappointing London Marathon, that it wouldn’t take much to get back to my old times again, and possibly go quicker.

Next up, the first Kevin Henry race of the season at Impington. Everyone talked about the PB potential of the course – nice and flat, wide enough for no congestion, and good surface underfoot. I came within a few seconds of a PB, and my first sub-20 run in a KH fixture, so I was happy with that.

Next came the Ashdon 10km, the first of 3 races over that distance that I deliberately set up for May, with the aim to improve my time over what I find quite a tough distance to pace properly. Ashdon was hilly and off road – two factors I always try to avoid where possible, so again this was a conscious decision to try to take myself out of my comfort zone, and tackle things I find tough. My time was respectable enough, but the overriding memory of the day was the huge HRC turnout, which made for an enjoyable social occasion. Oh, and the cake. Obviously.

Second 10k of the month, the inaugural Haver10. Again, a great club turnout for this and the Half, and my best ever race: a new PB for the distance and 5th place overall – obviously not the most competitive of races, a fact which I’m sure will change in future years as more local runners become aware of the event. But a nice flat route in the main, which just a slight incline coming back out of Sturmer. Nice to run on roads I know so well – having a good mental picture of how far there is to go has got to help, and I was pleased to keep my pace reasonably consistent throughout, with enough left for a sprint finish. 41m50 suggests that my sub 40m target is not quite as ridiculous as it has seemed over the last year, although there is still a long way to go.

In between all these races, there have been my weekly Parkruns. I have traditionally tended to neglect hills as part of my training, so Colchester Castle Parkrun on a weekly basis has helped tremendously with that. It’s a tough one to pace, since the first half is all flat or downhill, before then you tackle the big hill twice in the latter part of the race. So I never know whether to go all out to start with, and get some time in the bank, or whether to try and save something for the tougher second half. On this particular occasion, there was a 20min pacer, and since I was determined to go sub 20 for the first time there, I settled in behind him and let him do the thinking for me – even choosing to run without my watch. I was chuffed to bits when I was able to go past him with half a kilometre to go, and with a strong finish, I was sure I had a new PB – only to discover he had paced it incorrectly, and I had only matched my previous best time there, of 20m07.

But the most enjoyable race of the month for me was my last – the Bupa 10000, in London. I entered this mainly because it fell on my 40th birthday, and I had a few Colchester-based friends doing it too, with the promise of a day’s drinking and eating to follow. Charlotte and I arrived at our hotel the evening before, and like all good athletes, immediately began focusing on the following day’s events: being able to visualise what’s in store can only be helpful – and so, with this in mind, we found the pub we were planning to spend the next day in, and began sampling their beers. In fairness, we had only intended to have one – but the champions’ league final was on, and one thing led to another….anyway, we did at least get back to the hotel at a reasonable time, although unfortunately their bar was still open, and …

So not ideal, but it meant we turned up on race morning with very little expectation of setting quick times, and thus avoiding a lot of the pre-race nerves that we both normally suffer with. I was convinced it wasn’t a race with PB potential anyway, due to the huge number of entrants – second only the London Marathon in terms of what I’d experienced before – and I was anticipating congestion throughout. In fact, this wasn’t the case at all, the start being brilliantly organised in waves based on your predicted times, and so providing you were near the front there was no reason why you would be held up at all. Charlotte managed a new PB, and whilst my own time was some way outside my best, I am convinced I can do it quicker next year with the right preparation. But that wasn’t why I entered – and it was great to experience a race atmosphere similar to the Marathon, but with 20 miles less to run.

A busy month of racing came to an end with the club time trial, and another great turnout of over 70 runners. Andrew and I take it in turns to organise or run, and this month it was his turn on the stopwatch, but I didn’t feel I was in shape to go for a time, so instead paced Charlotte, who achieved a big new PB and a first ever sub 24min time. One of the things I have discovered over the last year is the pleasure you can get from running with others, helping someone to a new PB is the next best thing to getting one yourself. And getting more involved with the club in terms of helping organise the time trials, etc, has been a great way to get to know more club members, and to feel more a part of the club. Big thanks as always to our volunteers, without whom this can’t go ahead each month.

Haverhill Running Club seems to be going from strength to strength at the moment. We have always been a friendly, welcoming club – but it’s great to see so many people attending training, time trials, and local races. To get over sixty runners at last month’s Kevin Henry fixture in Impington was fantastic, and let’s hope we can match or even better this in Newmarket this month. See you there?

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