BMAF 5K Race Report by Vicky Henderson

As I’m a 2nd claim member of a couple of running clubs in London, I’ve been quite spoilt by running challenges during lockdown. One of my clubs’ offers a weekly 5K TT challenge and that’s given me some focus other than just running aimlessly (although that’s still been enjoyable). When Stuart mentioned the BMAF virtual race, I thought this could be quite interesting, because it’s for us oldies and it gives us the chance to benchmark ourselves against others in the country that we’re not aware of – and stops us feeling too smug about our own running, in case anyone thinks they’re fast!!

Stuart & I decided that our weekly 5K route would be suitable for the BMAF champs as it does not have too much downhill to warrant it being outside of the rules. We invited Laura to join us too; I felt this would be mutually beneficial as I knew I would be chasing Laura, trying to keep her in my sights (5Ks are not my forte). For Laura, she knew I’d be chasing as hard as I could so good for her too; plus of course, she could make keeping Stuart in sight, her focus.

We explained the route and where there were slight undulations, where the “fast parts” were and potential wind tunnels. So, after our 2-mile warm up, we were ready to go. We were starting from the other side of the railway bridge at Thingley, near the travelers site, where the route would be the third left, to the end, turning left into the main Corsham Road, then at the crossroads, turning left again, over the small railway bridge, to the end, left once again to finish at the crossroads with the road leading to Chippenham.

Watches ready, feet poised; the countdown, three, two, one, go and we were off; unsurprisingly Stuart was first off in the lead, then me, then Laura. Within 50 metres, Laura had taken me and the chase was on. Thankfully, there was little wind but goodness me, was it hot. Still, haven’t got time to worry about the temperature, we had work to do. Because I’ve done this route so many times, I know exactly where the mile splits are (yes I’m old fashioned and still work in Miles, not Ks). The first mile is round the corner, just before the big tree; this can vary in time for me, anything from about 6.55 to 7.07. Imagine my shock when my first mile showed 6.37!! I tired to stay calm and not worry about going so fast that I’d blow up. You see the secret is, I usually get quicker, because the Corsham Road is ever so slightly downhill. So, it was a case of “keep calm and carry on” (I love this so much, I have it on a mug and a t-shirt).

In mile 2 there is a downhill section followed immediately afterwards by a short uphill – time to get the arms pumping to keep the legs turning over in an effort not to lose too much momentum. From there, it’s a short run to the end and left into Corsham Road – which is usually where I’m able to pick up the pace. By this time, Stuart is but a dot in the distance and Laura has certainly put a good space in between us. But I keep chasing; I know this route, I know I can pick up speed. I’m coming to the sharp corner and just beyond is the tree signaling the second mile; the watch beeps and it’s showing 6.37 – again. Still not shabby, by this time although I’m usually a good few seconds faster by now, it’s still a fast second mile, so no need to panic.

And so, just to hold on now. I approach the left turn, which I need to pick up the pace a little, because there is a railway bridge that needs to be navigated with as little decrease in pace as possible, but at least the other side is downhill, so that will help me gather speed again. And this bit of road does wind, so it’s a case of keep looking forward and focusing on Laura. I know once I get to the end of this lane, it’s about a quarter of a mile to the finish. My legs are burning, I’m beginning to get that sick feeling in my stomach, but I haven’t got time to undo all my good work. I turn left now, onto the last leg – and always the hardest. The main aim now is to keep the legs turning and get that white signpost to keep getting closer. My watch beeps for the third mile but I really don’t have time to check, I need to finish now (it was 6.32). Breathing is hard, Stuart is cheering me on, and Laura has finished. A last bit of a sprint (6.34 pace) and I’m done!

I stop the watch, 3.11 so a bit over but better that because Strava sometimes has a nasty habit of changing it down. The time was a season’s best of 20:32. Thrilled was not the word, beaming would more accurately describe me. It was tough, there’s no doubt about it; I was still breathing hard and could not speak but walked slowly towards Laura who was also still catching her breath. 20.14 for her and again, she was thrilled. A personal best of all time. And racing with Laura and I hadn’t done Stuart any harm either – with a fantastically executed 18.38.

It’s fair to say there were three exhausted but high on adrenaline Corsham Running Club runners jogging back to Lacock last Tuesday. (Sorry, we don’t have a photo of Stuart, he had to rush straight back to his work).

Staveley Stay at Home Race by Susan Mackie (and Nicky Slinks)

Intro by Sue Mackie

A few virtual races have popped up since lockdown, but none have appealed, mostly because I was down to run the actual version and a virtual one didn’t appeal. This offering by INOV8 was different. We had entered the race with my in-laws and our assorted off-spring some years ago to mark Dave’s 40th, it almost felt like a return ‘home’ and involved a voluntary donation to some local (to my mum) charities. We decided on a virtual 18km distance and printed off our Race Numbers – no chip timing here, so like a proper fell-race.

The INOV8 ambassadors for the actual event were scheduled to have been local boy Damian Hall and ultra running queen Nicky Spinks. There was a fancy dress element so we decided on the alter-egos Damian Fall and Nicky Slinks. The RD had mapped a lumpy course which appeared to be devoid of any flat, and after a bit more time faffing I left the house around 10 as my alter-ego, Nicky Slinks, who I had developed an entire back-story for and who will take over the narration from this point….

Nicky Slinks:
Damian Fall has kindly invited me to have a crack at some of the hills in this gentle rolling Wiltshire countryside, to be honest I wasn’t expecting weather quite this warm – but he has given me a head-start and pointers as to where the nav may be a bit tricky. I’m also on the hunt for some cows.

The start is straight forwards and I’m enjoying running in the outdoors, more than I have for a while and feel good. Flattest part to start and a lovely downhill to get the legs working, then into a delightful wooded trail up and down into the sunshine and first spot of some cows. No good for me though as they are definitely dairy. [If you can give me locations of where all the cows are and their individual names there may be a Prize on offer – (you can tek a girl out from Yorkshire….)]

I continued up the next rise along a trod lined with Ramsoms and at the top of the hill along the road to Euridge ‘farm’ which also appeared to be short on the livestock in the barn, and yapping terrier on the back of the quadbike.

Not sure as it would pass as a farm in Yorkshire, but it were Reet Gradely (Editor – Gert Lush in proper language). Along the ridge from Euridge Manor and a sign there may be some cows. Downhill and there was a herd of beef cattle, which appeared to be playing hide and seek, in the way that a toddler believes if they can’t see you then you can’t see them.

At this point the RD’s warnings about unknown paths sprang to mind, so I stopped clarting about with the cows and started to concentrate. A track up on the right, that I’d never been along before had a gate, but the snicket was rusted shut so I spent time trying to rattle it open and then realised that it had a stile adjacent! I came out into a field that was steeper (and warmer) than I expected, which led me onto a side road through Colerne.

Colerne felt like an RD headquarters – there was bunting strung all around it and even an event ambulance.

I then got an inkling of why the RD had made the route go up here and enjoyed a spectacular view back down the valley into Box. At least I think that’s why I am grinning like a Cheshire Cat, that or heat exhaustion.

A km or so along the ridge running parallel to Bybrook Valley saw tremendous views and then turned left and started a lovely trot downhill. Partway down the ‘the obvious path turns left, but you need to go straight on’ advice caught me up and I stopped to check the map. ‘Bugger’ that lovely downhill stretch had to be repeated back up, or else I would miss a large loop off the course. I checked the map, but it was the quickest way to correct my error. As I reached the apex I saw Damian Fall hove into view. We swiftly exchanged pleasantries and I followed him, which was fortunate, as this next section involved trods across grassy slopes, numerous twists and turns, in short a tactical decision to follow! I stopped taking photos at this point to try and keep in view of Damo Fall and managed for a couple of km or so, then a steep up, sharp right and descent through scrubby woodland saw me catch a last glimpse of him shooting up a hill.

It was odd in that in most fell-races I start with the pack and rapidly lose them (as they are of fleeter foot) and have to rely on my own navigation, this time for the tricky ‘middle section’ I had company for it. I followed the farm track round and realised I’d made the mistake that I often do if I have been following someone and not checking the map at an obvious point. Backtrack. I needed to concentrate for the last few km.

The RD in his wisdom had chosen a stream rather than an actual path to follow, It looked a bit like a path, but not enough. I decided the road was a better option.

I trod through and across some nondescript fields that seemed to have dead crows tied around posts as footpath markers saw me glance up to the right at what looked at first like a pack of labradoodles with ridiculously long necks, and I realised they were llama/alpaca type things. I got a wave from up the hill and continued round onto more familiar territory, along Bybrook valley through the outskirts of Box – the flattest part of the course.

I was doing the maths, it had to be about 2km to the end, with ‘additions’ I didn’t need to do the extra out and back to Saltbox farm, I could just head straight up the hill. A quick check of my Garmin and the map and by my calculation I’d be just over 18km. Result. Taking a fell racers approach, I’d covered the checkpoint, distance and elevation, I could do a direct route straight up Hall’s hill to the end. Quick stop for a final Selfie at the bottom of ‘Halls Hill’ for my favourite, an ‘Uphill Finish.’

Damo Fall was sat waiting for me, beer primed.

Footnote: That was my second fastest time up Hall’s Hill. I currently hold top lady, of 8. I think the first time I may have been running away from some frisky young Fresian bullocks – but don’t let that put you off.

The (Nearly) Bowood (Pewsham Estate) Virtual 10km Run by Stewart Unsworth

The official Bowood 10k race fell victim to the coronavirus outbreak but the organisers, Calne Rotary Club and LPS Events kindly offered to post a medal to any entrant who completed a ‘virtual 10k’ by midnight on 12th April and sent proof by the 15th. The results were to be collated and a final ‘virtual finishing order’ announced. Therefore it would be prudent to seek out a fast, flat course to maximise the final position on the leaderboard. Luckily, I knew an alternative event organiser by the name of S.Unsworth who asserted it would be a race like no other. I suppose the ‘(Nearly) Bowood (Pewsham Estate) Virtual 10km Run’ does fit that description but perhaps not in the way envisaged.

The virtual run package contained the following promises/recommendations: 1. Personalised race number with chip timing. 2. Well stocked water station. 3. Professional start/finish line. 4. The ‘Infamous Bus Stop Chicane’. 5. Opportunity for a PB on a ‘flat course’. 6. Run at an appropriate time of day in order to get the best weather conditions. 7. Wear road shoes; not trail.

Sadly, the reality was as follows: 1. ‘Personalised number’ was one used in a previous race with the title for this race written over in biro; additionally there was no corresponding timing mat thus the chip was rendered useless. 2. The water station was a stool stationed at around 8km with one glass of water and a small plate of pointlessly wrapped sweets. 3. The start/finish line was a piece of paper stuck to someone’s front door with blu-tack. 4. The ‘Bus Stop Chicane’ was a bus stop that you could easily run past only serving to slow the runner down in an event that was marketed as a PB opportunity. 5. The course had as much elevation as the real Bowood 10k. 6. The start time was at 5pm; the hottest time of the day at 22 degrees. 7. No marshals. 8. No km markers. 9. Definitely no medical provision. 10. Part of the course was off-road and at the far end became a marshy quagmire that rendered road shoes unusable. The hapless organiser belatedly cut this part out meaning it became a short course. Therefore in the final mile the route was hastily changed on the hoof to correct the distance. 11. Despite winning the race (because no-one else was foolish enough to enter) no winners trophy or any other recognition of success was forthcoming.

Hopefully in the months to come I’ll do races organised professionally rather than by some inept cowboy. Stay safe everyone.

Egg-Cellent Adventure Virtual 10K by Laura Midwinter and Marie Vinolo-Young

The Tri-Island Egg-Cellent Adventure 10k was a charity race to be ran in the village of Rampside, Cumbria in aid of Get Leafy Home. Darren Leith suffered a stroke in 2017, which left him with Locked-in-Syndrome; Darren has been receiving care and therapy at a Neuro rehabilitation centre in Southport, which is a 200-mile trip from his home and family. The charity has been set up to adapt his home so that his family can care for him. The race raised nearly £800, well done to Tri-Island Running.
Race Day, Sunday 12 April 2020, Corsham Running Club members x 2 (Laura Midwinter (Shaw) & Marie-Letecia Vinolo-Young (Bath)).

LM

Laura’s 10K Race Route – Shaw

Laura’s Race Report

It is very difficult to find a flat 10k route in the village of Shaw, so I decided to counterbalance the hills with starting on a ¼-mile downhill, hoping I can maintain the speed of going downhill throughout the course (only in my dreams). Therefore, as expected it was flying start with me leading, which I maintained throughout, hey, I was in the lead on my course!

As it was early on Easter Sunday morning and the country is in lockdown the roads were quiet, so I did not have to wait at road junctions and I only had to cross over twice to comply with the 2m COVID-19 rule.

As I ran through Beanacre, my pace slowed slightly which was probably down to the slight incline and my mind knowing I had a sharp but short hill to attack at the end of Westlands Lane. I then hit the top of Whitley, I picked my pace up for the downhill section and with the motivation of the sun shining, and birds chorus, I maintained the pace for the final 3 miles. I approached the final stretch and I could see the finish (Shaw School Car Park), I dug deep and with a grunt or two sprinted through the finish line, cheered on by the birds singing in the blossom trees, applauded by nature.

Amazingly, this was my second fastest 10k time, so I am hopeful for the future that with continued dedicated training and running with the brilliant CRC I will achieve my personal set 10k goal.

MY

Marie’s 10K Race Route – Bath

Marie’s Race Report

Easter Sunday meant race day…this time for Tri-Island running which should have taken place in Barrow-in-Furness, my adopted town, the town of my first ultra! It was an egg-cellent adventure with the entry fee all going to a local charity. However, this race was to take place in the beautiful city of Bath.

6am start meant that you could forgive the easy distraction of the stunning sunrise, birdsong, peaceful streets and a time to take in all the sites one had seen a million times before but perhaps not really appreciated. Temperature was good and allowed the white pins to blind anyone who was unlucky to be glared at! This was shorts and t-shirt weather!

The course was undulating to keep it interesting and took in several burrows of the city including historic sites such as The Royal Crescent, The Abbey with the NHS flag flying proud and Royal Victoria Park, to name a few. A quick clap and thank you as the course made its way past the RUH. Pigeons and Seagulls adorned the streets and were very respectful spectators. Managed to stay out in front for the whole race and came home bringing the bronze at third lady and not even noticing Laura fly past to bring in the gold! So team Corsham again bringing home the prizes…time to get that cabinet!!

 

Not the Devizes 1/2 Race Report by Gary Young

So Sunday, 5th April should have been The Devizes Half Marathon. This along with many other races had been postponed until later in the year.
On Monday, 6th April at 7.21 am I crossed the start line for my solo “ Not The Devizes 1/2 half “ .
The course was a mixture of country lanes and road taking in Lacock, Gastard, Whitley, Shaw and Melksham, the weather conditions were perfect.
Race Highlights ( in no particular order ).
1. Seeing two care workers in Lacock outside a house putting on thier PPE and stopping briefly to clap them and tell them I loved them.
2. Bumping into Mr Biggs and his dog somewhere near Gastard and getting some motivational words as I ran past whilst social distancing. (a well needed boost and my fastest split time! )
3. Not being eaten alive by the Lacock Alligators. ( Who knew!! )
In 2hrs 7 mins the race was over, no medal, no T-shirt just the gift of running, good health and avoiding this horrible virus.
Stay safe and run….

Vale of Ewyas Race Report by David Mackie

Vale Of Ewyas Race* and Storm Dennis – 15th February 2020.

*The Valley of Ewyas is the steep-sided and secluded valley of the River Honddu. As well as its outstanding beauty, it is known for the ruins of Llanthony Priory

Early in January interest was piqued by a Facebook post for a new Fell Race in what has, thanks to Andrew Wood, come over the past year or so a regular stomping ground; the Black Mountains.

A reconnaissance of the route confirmed the sales pitch; Andrew and I committed and entered. There followed some weekends of excessively wet and windy weather as the UK was battered by a sequence of three storms. The third, Storm Dennis, coincided with the Vale of Ewyas race weekend. Numerous races were called off and the forecast was less than encouraging for the Black Mountains and Sugar Loaf…

However, the race director gave a green light for the event following a late Friday run round the route. Based on the conditions experienced they advised wearing two tops underneath a waterproof, at least one long sleeved. Having participated in a number of Fell Races with sporty weather and where other folk seem impervious to wind and rain, often enduring in just a running vest when I was wrapped up in full waterproofs and thermals, that advice indicated the outing would be a challenging one. The one positive was the temperature was above freezing, even with wind chill taken into account, so not excessively cold and no risk of slipping on ice either.

Saturday morning saw an early start just in case the Severn Bridges were closed. As it was the Prince of Wales bridge* remained open so there was plenty of time for a pit stop in Abergavenny. A quick scan of Tripadivsor identified an open greasy spoon and we dived in.

*Because of the more advanced aerodynamic design of the later bridge, the Second Crossing is far less prone to such restrictions caused by cross winds than the first Severn Bridge.

Amply fueled, and with Dennis starting to make his presence felt, we made the short drive to the Old Pandy Inn to register and gear up. Due to the inclement weather plus the length and nature of the race, there was not a big queue to register and in due course only 28 runners toed the start line.

For only the second time ever I started a race in full waterproofs; and not the usual running “crisp packet” waterproofs, but heavyweight mountaineering Gortex, generally reserved for full-on Scotish or Lake District outings in testing conditions.

On the sheltered, initial road section I felt a little overdressed. However, as soon as we climbed onto the open hillside and got into closer company with Dennis the decision was vindicated. Andrew’s choice of shoe was less ideal as he “wheelspan” his way up the waterlogged and steep grassy slope. As our pace / endurance was broadly similar, Andrew and I had decided to run as a pair and provide some safety in numbers given the conditions. His lack of traction therefore gave me an opportunity for a breather and helpfully to suggest he might have been better off with the studded shoes he chose to leave in the car.

Thankfully the exposure to wind driven hose pipe levels of moisture was brief as we headed up and over the first summit and checkpoint. From there it was onto the first navigation choice of the day. We did not follow the small herd in front of us but elected to drop more directly towards the valley bottom or a lower line we had used on the reconnaissance. It was six and two threes and we neither lost nor gained places. A short, steep climb led to the second high point and Checkpoint. It was not a day for views or lingering. So after having hearlity thanked the marshall for their endeavour, we pressed on.

Faced with another navigation decision, we went with the majority this time. As a consequence we lucked out on a much more direct line than the one we had taken on our trial run. In no time at all, thanks to Storm Dennis wind assistance, Andrew was charging down to Llanthony Priory with the only interruption to his flow being the Checkpoint 3 marshall, who had sensibly elected to move to a lower, less exposed position. I lagged behind, blaming my slowness on steamed up glasses and lack of regular hill running. Andrew being the perfect gentleman duly waited for me at the gate off the fell and we enjoyed a frightfully skiddy descent down water-logged grassy field to the priory. By this stage the effects of the full fat breakfast were starting to wear off; the briefest of stops was made to top up energy levels ahead of the climb out of the valley. It also provided an opportunity to check on water levels as we crossed the River Honddu. It was already a mass of boiling muddy brown water, which did not bode well for the stream crossing awaiting us towards the end of route.

The path ascending from Llanthony up to Bal Mawr, the highest point of the day’s Type II fun*, is a beauty and provided welcome relief from the breeze. As we neared the top of the climb, Dennis, in the form of his howling could certainly be heard if not not felt. We were also approaching what the race director had advised would be the most exposed section of the route. We duly paused to don extra layers in preparation for the predicted battering. The reality, whilst pretty grim as the pictures above indicate, was manageable. The expected long drag into the prevailing teeth of Storm Dennis passed swiftly enough and was eased by being slightly downhill. That said, the weather was far from balmy and still warranted full waterproofs and the extra layers. We also started to haul in some runners ahead of us, which further improved morale and provided a bit of added impetus as we passed the halfway mark, marching onto the fifth checkpoint.

From there it was a long section of downhill and a bit of tarmac towards the brooding mass of Sugar Loaf. The 400 metres of height loss was immediately clawed back in the fruity, gradually steepening climb to the summit of the Loaf and another checkpoint. Writing nearly two months later this section still firmly falls into Type III fun* territory. The entertainment factor was further reduced on the descent from the wind and rain lashed summit of Sugar Loaf when I led us astray, having relied on instinct rather than the map over a part of the route we had not covered on our previous visit. An unnecessary loss of hard won places and added time and distance resulted in some colourful language. The moment was rapidly overtaken however by the desire to crack on and get to the dry embrace of the Old Pandy Inn. We were thankfully soon back on known, gentle downhill ground and equilibrium was restored.

*Type 2 fun = Miserable while it’s happening, but fun in retrospect.
*Type 3 fun = Not fun at all. Not even in retrospect. More information on the “fun scale” Here

The downhill concluded with the much anticipated stream crossing. Water flow was indeed a little boisterous. However, a bridging fencing arrangement gave something to hang onto and we both got across without too much drama. From there it was onto yet more Type III fun for the brutally abrupt and bramble strewn climb to the penultimate checkpoint; it was definitely a day that kept on giving.

Absolute stars of the day were the marshals who were in positions fully exposed to Dennis’s rough and moist embrace but unceasingly encouraging and cheery. The one at Checkpoint 8 was the best prepared and was fully ensconced in his bivvy shelter with just the electronic dibber showing; I was clearly getting tired as I faffed and took an age to “dib”. Having not found a decent descent path from this highpoint on our reconnaissance, I had identified a white house in the valley as the best point to aim for. So rather than following a path Andrew had found heading in the right direction, I stuck to Plan A and headed off to find the white house marker; unfortunately as we entered unfamiliar looking territory it transpired there was more than one white house in the valley. Thankfully it was not too much of an excursion but did generate a bit more effing and jeffing verbalisation on my part.

The Old Pandy Inn was now tantalisingly close as the crow flew. We were not crows though and in a lovely quirk of route setting there was one last little bump to negotiate before the canter back to dry clothes, shelter and oodles of cake some two hours after the winner; despite my navigational blunders we did finish in the top 25 though.

On entering the pub I was mightily surprised to be identified as the first V50 home. My reward was a pack of dry socks, which was both marvellous and farsighted given how we found Andrew’s car when we left the pub…

A twenty plus mile outing over the Black Mountains in mid-February is always going to provide memorably good sport. The Vale of Ewyas in combination with Storm Dennis certainly did not disappoint in that regard. Very many thanks go to the race director Tim and his brilliant band of helpers from the Mynydd Du fell running club for putting on the event, and the trust they put in the judgement and ability of the runners in doing so.

Writing this some two months on as the sun shines and Covid-19 impacts, the winter hills of South Wales and racing already seem like another age. However, “what was has been will be again”* and that is sustainment enough while Covid-19 is overcome.

*Ecclesiastes 1-9

Roding Valley Half Marathon Report by Vicky Henderson.

Very late to the party but, I took part in the Roding Valley Half Marathon on Sunday 8th March  It’s disappointing to see how numbers have dwindled over the years and I don’t think it’s anything to do with Covid-19, just a general decline in club racing at this particular race;  as such, the quality wasn’t as high as some halves.  I also suspect coming a week after the Essex 20 and the Big Half didn’t help their cause.  Apparently back in the 90s, they used to get numbers of 1200, 2018 when I last took part there were just over 400 finishers and this year, 316 participants. 

I had forgotten just how hilly this course is and believe there to be a hill in every mile and an extra one for good luck – not just the 3 or 4 I remember!  This race starts and finishes on a track which I particularly like and consists of one small loop and two larger loops; the conditions were fair, little bit of wind but manageable. 

I wasn’t really running with anyone but did try and keep a couple of blokes in sight.  Towards the end, I was able to pull back one place but going downhill on the pavement, I thought a car was going to pull out on me so slowed, which annoyingly interrupted my rhythm and a guy came sprinting past me.  I had borrowed a watch due to mine not having enough charge in it (left charger at home, school girl error) and whilst I was able to see splits, I didn’t actually have a clue what overall pace I was running at.  I was pleasantly surprised when I came around the corner on the track and saw the clock in the 1.32s.  Pleased to report that I finished 1st lady in 1.32.27 – 17 seconds slower than my 2018 time (but quite consistent nonetheless!).

Carsington Water Half Marathon Report by Vicky Henderson

I raced a HM on Sunday 23rd February and was a victim of the awful wind. This was at Carsington Water in Derbyshire, one full loop, approx. 8 miles then a further 3 miles back onto the trail and then back to the start/finish to make the 13.1.

It was a very undulating course with little flat areas and where it was flat, the wind was so strong, I thought I was going to be in the water. The only saving grace was it was so windy, it almost kept the rain away.

The results were a bit muddled what with some men running under women’s numbers but I had a good idea of which women were in front of me so I had a good idea of the end results and knew they were wrong. Therefore, I felt compelled to email the organisers on Sunday night and on Monday morning I received an email from them stating they were aware of an issue with the results and would be working on it.

I have since seen that the results have been rectified, and I was 10th lady overall, 1st V45 in a time of 1.39.56. It’s by no means a PB but given the conditions and seeing the other performances, I’m happy with the outcome.

Virtual Bowood 10K Race Report by Toni Cliffe

With the current world climate as it is, I had to complete my Virtual Bowood 10k alone. I had already completed a virtual run with Gary Young and Caroline Cozier earlier in the month, we ran together with Katie and decided we would do the same with Bowood, not realising the run would be solo.

We agreed 0800, however Caroline wanted to break up the day so went later. I hate running solo, I find it hard to muster up the motivation and I have never listened to music whilst running.

It was very quiet, met a couple of dog walkers who said hi, I then passed a cyclist and he shouted Happy birthday from a distance (he was my friends husband!) as I approached Langley Burrell, I knew it was down hill through the village. I kept looking at my Garmin to see if I had reached halfway point so I could turn round.

As I turned round to go back I started to think about all our recent training sessions, I thought of the driving arms and helium balloon, I thought of Biggsy’s demonstration during the RAMP part of our training (I had a chuckle!) and I thought of Brian EA coach, encouraging us to keep going if we are feeling knackered to get the results we want! And I was wondering whether Gary would beat me!

As I made my way back, I was plotting where I could run to ensure the last couple of miles were downhill, that long incline at the end of the chippenham half route was one I didn’t want to tackle, so made a detour and managed a very respectively time (for me anyway!) best 10k time in a while.
although I was unable to join my fellow runners, I was still as determined to get a good time which surprised me cos, did you know, I really don’t like running solo!
Good luck to all those solo runners out there, and hang on to what we still have!

Gloucester 20 Report – Chris Nutt

The race was well organised and functional as opposed to flash, with stewards, runners and all, respectful of the conditions in which it took place – I suspect numbers were down. The weather was typical for this winter – atrocious but this didn’t really dampen the energy and enthusiasm of those running and those cheering them on and backing things up.

The course is a good one for those preparing for a marathon as the main purpose it serves at this time of year; a couple of slightly slower rises getting on for around 700ft in total over the three lap circuit but otherwise fairly flat. Despite not getting in any longer runs (I only managed one run of 16 miles in the run up) by way of preparation and fully expecting to fade badly at the end I was very pleased to maintain a fairly steady pace across my split times and came in on 2:34:22 chip time with which I was very pleased – any real speed endurance is a thing of the past for me now, so its all about expectation management in my mind these days. I would definitely recommend the event, small enough to be easily navigated but serious enough to be well worthwhile!