Weekly Review – Week Ending 22nd September.

I’m going to do things a little differently this week.

Sometimes while writing these reports and updating the results I notice some patterns, and as I was putting the ‘Yes’ in the PB column for the Swindon Half Marathon I couldn’t help noticing that 2 of them often get a ‘Yes’ in the PB column so I started to get curious and took a look at their improvement and well honestly, it’s worth highlighting. The two in question are Lois Norcott and Katharine Burrett and their journey has been phenomenal.

I won’t start right at the beginning but we’ll go back 17 months to February 2018 and the Wiltshire 10. For both of them it was a first run in double figure mileage and both just beat 2 hours, Lois in 1:55:34 and Katharine just behind in 1:56:02. Two months later saw their first Half Marathon at Bournemouth Bay, Lois clocking 2:27:09 and Katharine 2:31:05. That month also saw them both do the Corsham 10K in 1:07:38 and 1:08:22. By the time 2018 was finished they had both gone under an hour for 10K, Katharine achieved it first at the Castle Combe Chilly (58:13) in November and Lois a couple of weeks later at the Bromham Pudding Run (59:56). They’ve both gone even faster again at the Calne Clock Change Challenge in March of this year, Katharine going sub-55 for a PB of 54:22 and Lois currently has a PB of 56:59.

Heading back to where we started at the Wiltshire 10. Both of them were over 20 minutes quicker in 2019 than they had been in 2018. Lois (1:35:16) and Katharine (1:36:01). They both went even quicker at the Good Friday 10 miles in Chippenham 2 months later, Lois (1:33:59), Katharine (1:35:44).

In between the two 10 mile races, they completed another half marathon, this time in Bath. And similar to the Wiltshire 10 differences, in a year Lois had reduced her half marathon time by nearly 23 minutes to 2:04:24 and Katharine had taken 25 minutes off to finish in 2:05:55. They have now done 2 half marathons in September, setting a PB at both. Lois went under 2 hours for the first time at Chippenham (1:58:39) before taking a bit more off at Swindon this weekend (1:55:34) and Katharine just missed out on a sub-2 at Chippenham (2:02:16), but achieved it with a 1:58:43 at Swindon. For those paying attention, Lois’ time is exactly the same as her Wiltshire 10 from 17 months ago and Katharine is only 3 minutes behind so they can now do an extra 5k in the same time.

At the beginner’s graduation at Chippenham in July, Oscar Zalek was aiming for a sub-30 minute 5k for the first time and I told him to keep the yellow tops of Lois and Katharine in sight as they’d be good pacers. They ended up as the bread on an Oscar sandwich and as expected, all 3 achieved a sub-30. As well as these improvements in speed, it’s been great to see both Katharine and Lois getting more confident with running, they’ve both been present at a lot of club championship events, they both did a leg as part of our Avon Valley Relay teams and in almost all race photos, they have a smile on their face. So next time you see either of them at club or a race give them a pat on the back or a round of applause, they definitely deserve it.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled weekly review and I guess I should start with some of the others who raced at the Swindon Half Marathon as there were another 5, there was a PB for Lauren Edwards by 4 minutes as she came 19th lady out of 728, apologies that it hasn’t got the fanfare it deserves. Andrew Wood possibly had a PB too and Charlie Berry definitely did as it was his first Half Marathon.

If Andrew didn’t get a PB at Swindon it’s almost certainly because he did the Black Mountains Fell Race the day before with David Mackie. 17ish miles, 5,000 feet of climb is going to leave your legs a bit wobbly for the day afterwards. I’m unsure if they ran together but they finished 80 seconds apart at just under 4 hours.

This weekend also saw the Cotswold Way Century, 102 miles of hills from Chipping Campden to Bath. After 3 of us had a DNF last year, Dan Harman became the 4th consecutive one, when he retired at the 70 mile Wotton checkpoint. He was ready to go but after running and walking on one leg for about 35 miles, the medics made it known that he really should stop there. A valiant effort and it was great for him to visit Tammy and Carl Zalek at the Tormarton checkpoint and still get a bacon roll.

Pride was restored for CRC by Mike Lang shortly after Dan’s retirement when he finished in a fantastic time of 21:40:46. He was aiming to go under 23 hours to beat the course record for a vet 50 and achieved it easily, making it the second course record held by a CRC runner at the Cotswold Way Century along with the overall course record…

…for a surname beginning with Z!

Current score: Corsham Running Club 6 Cotswold Way Century 4

And finally, with the nights rapidly drawing in and as we all get the headtorches and hi-viz out from the back of the drawer, it does mean that we’re back to the full moon runs and last week we started with a new route from the Northey Arms. It started off with some natural light but it very much finished in darkness with woods along the way. So make sure your headtorch has new batteries or is fully charged and join us next month for a group run under the full moon.