Tuesday 28 April 2015

Unexpected Double event weekend!

Well it was the London Marathon weekend this weekend just gone, and like many others I was unfortunate not to get a place. You see I'm still in two minds about London. It holds probably my proudest moment memory in my running career to date and will probably always will as it was my first marathon.

Now comparing it to Paris, I recently did I can safely say I prefer the way Paris starts compared to the crammed London start. Paris had far more starters at 42,000 odd compared to London at 38,000 yet Paris you don't end up stopping starting, tripping over people. Paris offers far more in the water stations an what not. However there is still something about London. Paris is amazing, but London there is something about it. The course is far from pretty but I think the crowds, the atmosphere and the runners make it what it is. That's where I think I am a little gutted not to have been running it getting amongst it all, sucking in that great atmosphere. Even with being ill I would've dragged myself across that line once more!

With the ballot system changing for next year, which means more people will be able to enter the ballot I think the likely hood of getting a place for next year will be slimmer.

So I woke up switched on the TV to watch my friends running around London. I was itching to run in an event. I didn't care what either. Luckily there was a small local event being put on near by for charity. Knowing a few members from the club were also running it. I too was going to enter it.

Event 12 was the Trevi 5k Fun Run at Saltram House in Plymouth. The event was organised by 3 students from Plymouth University as part of their sports developent degree. The charity the proceeds was going to is the Trevi House. They look after woman and children with drug and alcohol issues.

Registration started at 10am, so I had to record the rest of the marathon to watch when I got home. As it was on National Trust land, the event got lots of support from the NT. I can tell you something, the NT are really starting to push their name in sport. Through local events to parkruns across the UK they really are making a good name in local grass root sports.

The weather was good for us, and as I registered it started to get a little busy with all the runners turning up. They had a qualified Zumba instructor there who put on a quick warm up session and get the runners ready for the start. It wasn't a packed field but it was more than the organisers had expected. Runners, walkers, children and adults all lined up at the start. I lined up and there were a fair few members from my running club on the start line. We made up about 20% of the runners so it was good for both the club and the event. One of my fellow club members didn't want to run by herself as she was unsure of the route so on the start line I said I would accompany her.

At 10.30amthe run started and off flew the ruuners. Me and Bee who I was keeping company took off, and I just kept to her pace to which she felt comfortable. Which was good especially as I was still not fully recovered yet from illness.  The route was slightly different to the standard 5k route used for monthly summer 5k races. It didn't have the two hills included which was a pleasant surprise. It took us down from the House to the estuary along the waterfront. Before turning back towards the house. The route took a de tour right along a trail path before eventually turning back along the path before regaining the route to the finish line at the house.

I was keeping an eye on the pace and we were doing sub 10 minute pace, Bee was doing well and working hard, until she had to stop to do up her shoe laces. I'm so glad I have locking laces on my shoes I never have to worry about them coming undone.

As we headed back on the trail path back towards the path leading to the finish I asked Bee what her PB was. "36 minutes ish" was her reply. "You might hate me after this then in a good way" I said as our pace was well under her PB.

We headed up the path also known as Saltram Hill towards the finish. I increased the pace slightly, encouraging Bee to oo the same. I began to push her towards the end until we finished. We crossed the line and she had a new PB of 30 minutes and 14 seconds. If we hadn't stopped for her shoe laces she would've been sub 30 minutes. She ran really well though.

As we crossed the finish lines we given goody bags, which was a pleasant surprise as I wasn't expecting one from this type of event. To be honest it was a better goody bag than the one we got from the Plymouth Half marathon.

It wasn't until after the event I started to have a coughing fit, so in someways I was pleased, as I'm starting to recover.

The event was a really nice little local event for all abilities. It was well organised and well marshaled too. With your £5 entry you got entry in to raffle for some sport shop vouchers, a good goody bag, a well organised event and all the proceeds went to charity. What wasn't there to like about it? The 3 students did a great job. Well done!

The second event happened by chance. I received a message on Facebook which happened to end up in my Other messages box which I rarely checked to be honest. I use my mobile so don't see them through that, I just happen to be on the main website.

The message was from a member of one of the running groups I'm on. She has organised a Virtual 5k charity event and knowing I was doing 37 events asked if I wanted to do it. What is a virtual event?

Well all I had to do was pay £5 towards the charity, then by 30th April run 5k upload my information from Garmin (or any other form of tracking information) and I get a medal sent to me. It's as easy as that.

As I was already planning on running with my Sweatshop Running Community friends the next day it was a simple thing for me to do. So I donated my £5 and entered the Virtual 5k.

Event 13 of 37 The Big 50 Virtual 5k run. Monday night I turn up to the Sweatshop Running Community run. it's been a few weeks since I last ran with this lot mainly due to working or being traveling back from another event. It was good to catch up with everyone. Now they lay on 3 routes for people to choose from 3k, 5k or 7k. I for this event chose the 5k route.

After a quick welcome chat by Ben from Sweatshop, we were off. I wasn't planning on running with anyone, as everyone has different distances in mind or pace. Luckily though, I ended up running with a couple of friends of mine Jackie and Jon. Jon however was leaving us to do the 7k route, but Jackie stayed with me. It was nice to have company, we had a good chat, as we made our way through Central Park near the Plymouth Argyle Football Club. I wanted to put in a reasonable run tonight, to see how my body would hold up.

Even with the hills, I didn't want to slow too much. I kept a comfortable pace still just about able to chat but just. The weather was very good, considering it was raining earlier it had brighten and warmed up nicely.

Jackie and myself soon made it back to the Sweatshop and I had ran 5k in 26 minutes and 59 seconds. Not my fastest 5k time with stands at just over 22 minutes, but with recovering from illness (I only had one small coughing bout during run but a big one afterwards) and not really going for it, I was pretty happy with the time.

I sent my info to the organiser, and due to some runners unable to run the event but still donated the money, even Jackie who kept me company will get a medal. Looking forward to receiving them soon.

So despite not being able to run in the London Marathon, my weekend wasn't a complete waste. Having also my blood test results back as well Monday morning, with good news and the Doctor telling me I am on the recovery path now I am pretty happy.

Now with having to work this weekend coming I doubt I will get any more events in before HOPE24 (24 hour ultra) on the9th/10th May. Hopefully I will have fully recovered by then to give my best shot.

Thank you for reading
My Justgiving Page

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Event 11 - Plymouth Half Marathon

It's been a week since the Paris Marathon and it was time for another event to tick off. I've still got the cough that ruined me in Paris but that wasn't going to stop me.

Now the Plymouth Half Marathon is my local event, and it's a pretty big event in organisation and the amount of runners that take part. 4,000 runners run it pretty much every year. Registration opens pretty early and it is a very popular event, with many making it their first half marathon. At just over £30 for entry it's not the cheapest and not the best value for money. If you want a finishers t-shirt it's extra money and the goody bag isn't really a good bag. It's a bag with lots of leaflets with a packet of crisps, cookies and a vegan coco bar. The medal is a good medal, and you do get water and a banana at the end. However they ran out of banana very early on, so a lot of runners didn't get one. Which is quite bad knowing how many runners are running on that day.

When you compare how much London Marathon costs which is just less and you get more for your money. Also the Silverstone Half Marathon was only £20 (see previous review) and you get far more including t-shirt and medal.

If it wasn't a local race for me, where many from the club run and you know the support will be good, I doubt I'd enter to be honest. I did enter it though knowing all the above.

Kit already to go!

 It was a 9am start and with the my running club the Plymouth Musketeers mustering for a club pic at Smeatons Tower for 8.15am it was going to b an early start. With roads being closed off at 6am, I knew traveling to the event will be a bit of a nightmare as will getting somewhere to park. We left in good time, but even still traffic was bad and parking was a nightmare. I had to jump out to try and get to the photo in time. The wife went and found a car park space whilst I jogged off.

I arrived just after the main photo was taken but managed to get in another of the group photos. I was meeting a friend who was keeping me company for the run. Danny Slay is an Marathon Des Sables veteran and race organiser of HOPE24 a 24 hour ultra in just outside Plymouth. I met up with him at 8.30am in the athletes village. I wouldn't say it was much of an athletes village this year, there was two lots of massage marques and a baggage area. Far less going on there than the previous year and it was slightly disappointing.

Picture taken by Colin

Athletes Village
Athletes Village

Danny finished getting himself ready and we made our way up to the pen before it got crazy. The race being chip timed meant unless you were super fast that needed to be up front, it didn't matter where you were you were really in the pen. We had about 10 minutes to wait until the start of the race. With the pen filling up, standing space was soon getting sparse and you couldn't help but bump the nearest person.

Me and Danny at the start in the pen

Heart fm were there doing announcements, warming the crowd off and were going to announce the start. "We'll be starting any minute now, oh there's klaxon go!" Just like that we made our way to the start line.

The start line

Danny being aware of my illness knew I wasn't up for a fast time and that getting round was my goal again. The start was pretty manic as we squeezed through the narrow section until we hit the road up the hill along the Hoe into the Barbican. We settled in and away we went down into the Barbican. The course isn't a flat 13.1 miles, with some long hills thrown in. I was feeling ok right up until the first 4/5 miles when I felt drained once more. I started to struggle and Danny noticed this. There were plenty of water stops, although the first (which was also the last) water stop had one of those weird squeeze soft water bottles. I struggled to get enough water out when I needed it.

The weather warmed and soon it was another hot run. We made our way to the long climb of Billacombe Road to Elburton. In the warmth it makes it feel never ending. I got to almost to the top where I really startled to struggle. I had to break down to a walk for a minute to get my breathing back. I was back into a run soon after, all the while Danny kept with me.

We turned left off Billacombe and down Elburton, a nice down hill before another uphill towards Saltram. Again as I made up the hill, my chest and cough struggled. I had to power walk the best I could. You know those many sayings other runners say to those struggling they shouldn't say, well they said them. I just ignored them and focused on just getting up the hill in Saltram Estate.

One Marshal knowing I had just ran Paris with struggled joked shouting "Anyone would think you just ran a marathon". It brought a well needed smile to my face I can tell you. We got to the top and turned left in through Saltram along a rolling section of tarmac before down Saltram Hill (used be the route upwards before they reversed it a through years ago). Well needed down hill, but I a quick pee stop behind the narrowest of trees was needed. Danny ran on as I watered the flowers with shouts at me of "I can see your willy or I know what you're doing" again made me chuckle and much needed.

I ran off and caught Danny up. We eventually after about 8 miles made our way out of Saltram and back along the road towards the city. First though we had to run out and back along Embankment. With the estuary on side and the returning runners on the other it felt like it would never end. Again I started to struggle even more and I even on the flat i had to break into a little walk. I picked up the run again and eventually we hit the turning point just after 10 miles. 3.1 miles to go! A whole 5k that was all. I got to 11 miles before struggling once more, I broke into a walk and told Danny who had been with me all the way so far to crack on to the finish. He asked if I was sure, and I said yes. I let him go so he could get in at least a good leg stretch!

I made my way down Gydina Way before the turn towards the Barbican stretch. I grabbed my final water pouch thing before breaking back into a run. I ran back through the streets of the Baribican before hitting the last two hills, which I walked up both. The last hill leading towards the final stretch to the finish. I still managed to break into a sprint finish down the last couple of hundred metres. I was completely drained. The fact I can run these distances with out issues up until recently made no difference it felt like I was a complete novice. Mentally I found that tough. I finished in 2 hours 25 mins, my Pb for half is 1 hour 47 mins and I know I am capable comfortably of sub 2 hours comfortably. So it does really knock my confidence a little but then I come back to reality and say to myself you are ill, you have whopping cough which makes you dizzy and throw up. It drains you of energy every day. It's an illness that can kill babies.

I did finish it! Danny waited for me at the finish, I'm so glad he was there.

Danny and me after the finish

The Medal

Now that was the run for me, but the atmosphere was brilliant. I can't fault the support that goes on at this event. A lot of people cheering me on, knowing me from my running exploits recently. One crowd support who I didn't recognise shouting "I saw you in Paris well done!" The high 5's from the children, crowds giving out jelly babies, a well marshaled course made the pain worth while.

I'm very lucky to have very good friends in the running world willing to help me, be it from my running club the amazing Plymouth Musketeers or from the ultra running world like Danny. I just hope now my illness goes sooner rather than later so I can see what I can really do when it comes to HOPE24.

Most people would've not started Paris or Plymouth with my illness, but I'm not most people. I don't do them for me, I make the sacrifice for others.

Thank you for reading and please if you can donate towards my target that would be great.


Wednesday 15 April 2015

Event 10 - Paris Marathon 12th April 2015

It's been a bit of a roller coaster this one I can tell you, and I'll be starting from the beginning!

Not long after last years Paris Marathon I entered the pre registration ballot expecting it to be pretty much like London Ballot as in not that easy to get a place I expected not to get one. I was pretty wrong, it's not like London and I did get a place, pretty much so did everyone I knew that entered the ballot!

At least with this marathon I had a year of knowing I had a place and preparation and planning could commence a lot sooner than a London place where you don't find out til October if you have been won a place or not.The only difficulty I had was not knowing if I would have left the ship I was on or not by them. There were a few from my running club Plymouth Muskeeters going so they had organised a group flight booking. I by the time I had my draft confirmed could not tag on the this group booking so had to sort my own way there. Having looked into it, found it cheaper to grab the Eurostar than to fly not in a group booking. It would make travel time slightly longer but it was better than driving there and back!

As the marathon approached it was time to see a Doctor and get my medical form signed. All French races require this as mandatory regardless of distance. So I went and because I suffer from White Coat Syndrome (I worry they'll find something wrong) my blood pressure was high. So I had to have some tests done including blood test, ECG and 24 hour BP monitor fitted. If it came back to show I didn't have white coat syndrome and I actually had Hypertension that would be Paris over in regards to running, the doctor was not willing to sign the certificate.

24 hours later I went back and luckily all was well and it did prove what I thought! With a signed certificate I was happy to still be running the Paris Marathon and not just going to support friends.

Medical Certificate

Eventually the time came to travel to France and I was all ready to go, I had bagged some good mileage in training the only thing I had issues with was a chest infection I've been struggling with badly since Silvestone back in Mid March. I hadn't informed the Doctor about it as I didn't want that certificate signing to be scuppered. As I had no goal time despite what I registered for a year in advanced as long as I got around I was going to be happy. I packed my kit which included my X-Bionic kit and Sunwise glasses

The Kit

We arrived in France in good time, and went straight to the Expo to register and pick up my race number. It was open til 8pm so even though we got there at 7pm it was still buzzing with runners turning and looking around. 

I handed in my medical certificate and got directed round to the area for collecting race numbers. the atmosphere was already building for race day, it was amazing! I went to my section to collect my number. When I applied I was looking at sub 4hrs as it was achievable, but the training I had put in wasn't going to get me to this but it didn't matter. It just meant I had a head start on the those that were going to finish around the time I was expecting to finish which around 5ish hours. I picked up my number one thing stood out! They had me down I was from Jamaica! Luckily I wasn't the only one from club with this issue, there were a few with Jamaica, France and even Australia.

Bib Number

Right opposite the number collection area was a wall with all the entrants names written on it. Yes all 54,00 entrants names! So I had to go find mine didn't I?

The wall of 54,000 runners names

I was also given my runners goody bag, which was filled with various items like drinks bottle, nuts, various fliers for other races and also the bag could be used as the drop bag should you require it. It was pretty good to be honest and had some useful items inside it.

The runner's goody bag

After quickly going around the expo we headed off to La Defence where our hotel was. A lot of the runners from the club were staying there so it was nice to be surrounded by people we know. We booked it well in advance and got 3 nights for £153 which was pretty good as most hotels weren't less than £200 for the same time period. Good thing about the hotel was it was only about 9 minutes away from the start/finish by Metro. The Metro is pretty good, sorting tickets was a pain as it wasn't the easiest of menu systems but soon got the hang of what we wanted once we spoke to the Metro staff. Zones 1 -3 for a day over the weekend was 3 Euro 55 cents so pretty cheap to be honest. Much like London it was more expensive during week day peek times.

So registering on the Friday night meant that we therefore had all Saturday to do what was needed to to. I managed to drag myself to the hotel breakfast seeing a few friends who were also staying there and had a good pre race chat and talk about our travels to get here. How I ever I feeling pretty rough with this chest infection/cough I've had for quite a while now so I went back to bed for a morning nap. Not wasting the whole day in the afternoon, we went sight seeing and exploring the city.

I made sure I ate as well as I could during the day whilst out and about and the plan was to get a pretty good night sleep. I fell asleep about 9.30pm however it was distrub having to get up during the night having coughing fits to the point I was throwing up lots of phlem until the point of food coming up. When I did sleep I had a bad marathon dream. I dreamt I had got little sleep before the marathon and not long after I started the marathon I fell asleep somewhere, waking up much later not having a clue where I was. When I eventually found people I knew all wearing their finishers t-shirts and medals they all told me I missed it all and didn't finish. I was so gutted it was unbelieveable! Luckily it was a dream.

Having originally planned on doing sub 4hrs when I entered I got a start time of 9.30am which meant I had to be in the pen no later than 9.15am. We all left the hotel at the same those who didn't have a super early start for being super fast and got ourselves in good time to the start at the Arc of Triomphe. They had made the metro entrance and exit gates unlocked making it easier for the amount of runners to get in an out. The atmosphere was all ready building as the sun was rising along with the temperature. The crowds gathering , runners heading to the pens as they started to fill up. People taking photo's, chating, singing. Music being played over the PA system. Marshals in the pens dancing helping people to warm up. Pens were split into time catergories and were going to be set off in waves every 30 mins which was so much better than the way London starts there was no tripping over people getting bunched up, slowing down, speeding up and slowing down again. So this was a big plus in my opinion.

Start pens beginning to fill up

The Mayor started the race with the wheel chair athletes first off! Now I was getting excited! That morning I had wrote something on my hand to remind me why I was doing it and to help me get round. I was hoping not to need it but I was glad I did.

My mantra for the day

Then in a French accent "Green pen 4 hours are you ready?"came across the PA, we moved down as pen open at the front and made our way to the start line. Nerves kicked in a little and a few deep breaths was needed. I was ready for it, may not health wise but training I was. I was doing this.

The Start line

That was it, I was off! For the next 4-5 hours I planned to be out for, as the temperature was already quite warm, I knew hydration was going to be key. There is water stations every 5km around the course and I have learnt from experience in marathons and other races that keeping hydrated is essential especially in the heat.

The course route

I settled into my planned pace of 11 min miles pretty soon letting all the fast runner zip off. I started to take in my surroundings and enjoy it. Waving to the crowds, giving high 5's to the supporting children. The streets were crammed with people supporting runners or just local out watching cheering on. Occasionally I heard shouts in French "Allez Tommo", which is quite a big moral boost even if you don't know that person. The first few km's passed by and I was feeling alright. The atmosphere was still electric. The local fireman were out with their trucks and their ladders hoisted above the runners shouting their support and spraying cold water over the runners. This is something the firemen did at quite a few places along the route.

I approached the first water station at 5km (3.1 miles) and was pleasantly surprised how well stocked it was. Along with plenty of water bottles, they served banana halves, orange slices, sugar cubes, raisins. I couldn't cope with the sugar cubes as they were too hard for me, but the oranges and water went down well. I planned to carry the bottle of water and take sips and make it last as long as I could until the next water stop.

4 miles buzzed on my Garmin and with in a few hundred yards after I had the first of my many coughing fits of the day. It was quite an intense one as I went dizzy and shook a little. As I came round and found I was still pointing the right way I carried on. But it drained all of my energy! My legs felt tired? Tired? I've not even reached 10km yet not alone half way.

Straight away I had to rethink my plan. Knowing I started earlier than most who finish in the same amount time, I knew it was still going to be possible for me to finish regardless as long as I kept going. I got to 10km in 1hr 10mins and now it was really heating up as well. I was going to be out a long time and in the heat. It was going to be some mission. Get to half way, get to half way and then think about the next plan of attack. Again taking water at the water station it was something I wasn't going to miss.

As the half way mark approached I already had another 4 coughing fits. I'm pretty sure most people thought I was a right mong so I just laughed after each time to make myself feel better. As each fit drained me it came to a run/ walk after 10 miles to get me to half way. I had enough gels for the second half so did not want to use them up before half way. I got myself to half way but god that was a struggle. 2 hours and 48 minutes for half marathon was my slowest every half even during a marathon.

Half way!

I will admit I was a little soul destroyed. Even though I had no goal time and it was being used a training long run for the ultras later on, I still didn't want to be out for so long. I looked down at my left hand at what I wrote for the first time. I took a deep breathe and cracked on. I planned then to run walk as much as I could get to each water stop. I had enough gels for each of the final water stops so I would take one each time I got to one. I was going to do this no matter what it took.

The crowds were still amazing, I got boosts from other runners either because I was from Plymouth (having Plymouth Muskeeters on my vest) or because they saw me struggling. The water sprays were a welcome relief in the heat, also there were stations of big buckets of water to soak the sponges they provided in the goody bag or to chuck over yourself.

The course was also supplied with lots of port a loos for the runners, however myself like many after drinking lots of water didn't always have time to wait for one to become free so I found a tree to use in the wooded section. Every so often you would see runner dart off to the sides to go water the plants.

As I continued to run/walk I got to 15 miles and by this point already had another few more coughing fits. As I approached the entrance to the first of two tunnels I was caught by another club member who was running. Jason tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was alright. I told him I was struggling, he said he was too with the heat and an injury. So from that point we stayed together and made our way into the first tunnel which seem to go on for ever. 16 miles was about half way where there was a DJ playing dance tunes, big screen and laser show. The air was dry in there, there was no flow of fresh air coming through at all so I was glad when we eventually came out the other end.

We made our way along the River Sienne with the Effiel Tower baring to our left, the crowds still cheering us along. Jason for some reason like me had a different country of origin on his bib number so he often got " Go Jason from Australia" shouted at him. This of course made us chuckle, giving us something to talk about taking our mind off the miles we had a head of us still. As we approached the second and last tunnel, I hear my name shouted out behind me. It was my wife and son. Running towards the barrier. They managed to catch me so I turned round to go give them a big hug and kiss. My boy offering me his cookie, which I gratefully declined hehe. I waved good bye with a boost to my moral and looking at my hand once more I carried on.

We were nearing the end, and spirits were high. Speaking of spirits well wine, as we got to 21 miles there was a group of people offering out Champagne and wine and this again at 24 miles by a bunch of clowns offering Haribo and wine.

The whole atmosphere over the whole course was amazing with various bands literally every mile and crowds cheering there was nothing not to love about the atmosphere there. Even with the gay cheer leaders bringing their form of morale it made it very Parisian. Although after 24 miles I'm pretty sure the guy being chased by one gay cheer leader saying something french wasn't too impressed.

So as myself and Jason dragged ourselves towards the finish we picked up the pace for the final half mile flurish. Being cheered in we came towards the finish line. I crossed that line stopped my watch and thanked Jason, I know he was struggling too but without him keeping me company it would've made it even harder. I had 10 coughing fits some quite bad and draining some not to bad. I collected my finishers poncho, t-shirt and medal.

Jason and myself after crossing the line.

I had done I finished what I set out to do. It was my slowest ever marathon time, but it didn't matter 6 hours 6 minutes and 19 seconds of hard work done. Time on feet done.

The feeling of completing an event like this hasn't changed regardless of whether I'm quicker or slower. It's still amazing. The whole event was worth the trip, it wasn't wallet busting either. To be honest it wouldn't have been too much cheaper if I went to London.

It's well organised event and whether you use it as a first time marathon or just another marathon I don't think you'd be disappointed.

I did it!

I can't fault the X-Bionic Kit either, it works really well in the heat as I found out when in the Middle East, but this is first time I have really used over a long period of time. The X-Socks marathon socks were a good choice and recommend them for these types of events. Sunwise glasses again were faultless in the heat and sweat. They didn't slip, steam up and remained comfortable throughout. I did get a great sunglasses tan line from them as well.

I've since been to the doctors and have suspected Whooping Cough (100 day cough). Little they can do about it, so I've just got to get on with it.

Finishers T-shirt and Medal

Thank you for reading the blog please keep supporting and I recommend this event to anyone looking for a marathon! Next event will be Plymouth Half this Sunday then Hope24 in May

Kind regards

My Justgiving Page

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Second Double Hitter weekend - Shrewsbury parkrun 5k & Chasewater Easter 10k

Hello all

As Easter weekend appeared upon us, another double running event weekend happened event numbers 8 & 9 of 37. As it's tapering time for Paris, two nice small distance events were required to help me tick off some more toward the total of 37 events.

I headed up to Shropshire for Easter to see the in laws, and the first thing I did prior to going was see if there was any events on over Easter. Knowing there were parkruns in Telford and Shrewsbury which would be the nearest ones, I opted for Shrewsbury as Event number 8, as I had yet to do that one out of the two. My brother in law Paul who also runs said he would do it too. We've run Telford parkrun a few times together in the past. Paul hasn't run much since the birth of his young son. 10 min mile pace was what he was currently running as so we were looking at roughly 30 min finish time for him. I was just pleased to have company.

Not knowing the course, but Paul did.  We made it to the start and soon we were off on our Saturday morning run. 9am start with over 350 runners from the fast serious runners to the slower out for fun runners.

I didn't know the course route I was a little glad of being with my bro in law as he ran it once before. The course (unlike Plymvalley in Plymouth where I am a run director) is a tarmac course around the old quarry. It runs along the river Severn and has one incline and one decline. The route it self starts with a a loop which as the slight incline and decline before running along the flat tarmac along the river to a monument to which you run back the way you came. You go back up the the incline for a final loop before heading back down the flat straight to the finish.

We started off at a 9.30 min pace, which my bro in law was happy to run at and we continued to pick the pace up as we went along. He was now struggling to talk to me so I knew he was pushing it,  and as we approached the finish lineI made him sprint finish. We finished in 28 mins and 30 secs so well under the 10 min mile pace he was currently running at. Obviously he was pretty happy, shattered but pretty happy.

Me and the Bro in Law Paul

Realising that day that tomorrow's 10k was a Trail race when checking the start time, I had realised I had only brought a pair of road shoes and none of my trail shoes. I received an email also that day telling me they recommended trail shoes for the events especially as the weather hadn't been good previously. So a good excuse for me to get a new pair of trail shoes to add to my collection. I popped to the running store in Shrewsbury and got myself the latest model of trail shoe that I already use. Inov 8 Roclite 295's, really comfortable light weight trail. They're a pretty good multi terrain shoe. They do well in the mud, gravel and sand and are comfortable enough over tarmac for medium distance.

Inov 8 Roclites 295

Event number 9 was The Chasewater Easter 10k, Staffordshire. I got to the event at 10am, having already received my timing chip and bib number there was no need for me to register in before the start. The start and finish was located by the cafe with a children's 1 mile fun run starting before hand. The race was organised by a company called "Nice Work". Going by their website they've organised a lot of events around the country over the year. They are a professional company so seeing how it was organised at the start showed, with timing chips a proper digital timing clock and a well laid out course. It wasn't a once a year club organised run. This sometimes can be good but also I sometimes prefer events for runners by runners.

Eventually it was my turn to run after the fun run had finished and they were running both 5k and 10k together. The course was a two lap course so this enabled the 5k runners to finish and the 10k runners to crack on for another lap.

The Start

We all lined up and soon enough off I went. It was quite a crowded start as to make the distance we had to do a small little loop of the start area before heading off around the lake. The course was mainly trail but it started with some tarmac and harder off road surface so I did wonder if I could of got away with road shoes. As I found out later on I was glad I had trail shoes. As there were a lot of runners still bunched together from the start as we made our way around the the first part of the lake lap we hit a couple of gates. The big main gates were still locked and closed so we had to funnel through the open pedistrian gates. This was really my only gripe with the course. It was pretty much flat occassionally rolling with one very slight incline. The second lap the gates made no difference as the 5k runners had finished and there was a far more spread out 10k runners on the second lap.

I started at nice comfortable 9 min 30 ish secs pace again I wasn't out to break my pb but out to enjoy another new event course. I did intend to have a faster second 5k and negative split it though. The lap was a very beautiful route around a lake. Passing a small train station with steam trains puffing away on my left with the lake on my right. The course got muddy in various parts which those with road shoes either took a long route around or struggle to run through. Me on the other hand just ran straight through. Being used to a parkrun at home that is far more challenging with mud, I knew exactly how to handle it.

I skipped across the mud and over took a few runners along the way. the next two miles were a little quicker then the previous and as the mixture of hard trail path and mud ended on to solid tarmac as I came round to the end of the first lap the sun started to come out from behind the clouds and I was glad to have my Sunwise sunglasses on my head.

As I said the 5k runners turned left to the finish as I continued on to the second lap. I clocked the 4th mile on my Garmin 310XT watch as bang on 9 min mile I started over taking more runners that started off faster than I did and through the mud once more. 5th mile reach and I was now 8 min 42 sec mile pace with the 6th mile clocking at 8 min 29 sec mile pace. Still very comfortable even at that pace I was pretty pleased finishing off with a sprint finish for the last .4 of a mile. I do love a good sprint finish!


Could I have gone faster? Definitely, but I was happy not to. Better not to injure myself with the bigger events coming up on the horizon for sure, plus I wouldn't have enjoyed the course as much as I did. However it was a little strange not having anyone to run with as it's been a little while since I've been to an event with out someone to keep company or keep me company.

I got a nice little Easter themed medal and a creme egg for finishing. I like the medal it was slightly different. A good little event which I would do again if I was in the area.

The Easter Medal

I'd like to thank the continuing support from X-Bionic/X-Socks and Sunwise as I carry on my journey.

Next event is event number 10 the Paris Marathon 12th April 2015!

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