baRUNNER - a website for the British Airways Athletics Club
BA Athletics Club News Digest 5th June 2017
New members and potential members of all fitness levels and abilities are welcome at all of these events. The full diary of club featured events is on the club website at: http://www.barunner.org.uk/Event Diary.shtml. Updated May 5th.
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Concorde Five this Sunday
As of this morning we had 71 runners entered into this event, which is roughly how many we have had a week in advance for the last couple of years when we've ended up with 90 finishers. I believe that we'll have a club team for both the men and ladies (just) but higher priority from my point of view is the number of helpers and I've now had promised slightly more than the minimum so I'm happier. There are many additional turns that could be marshalled so please let me know if you or someone you know can make it.
At this moment in time I don't have a volunteer for the critical job of lead cyclist - if you've got an idea on who could do this then please let me know ASAP. Roderick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For runners and helpers the map below shows the layout for our new Race HQ at the Cranford Community College, including where the car park is - I don't expect the Concorde Centre to be open. If you have already offered to help, but you didn't get my "volunteers" email last Friday, then please email me again.
24th May: "Traditional" Concorde Handicap Run and last Concorde Centre Social - additional
Janet sent me this photograph taken after the run...
Left to right (with the run attempted in brackets):- Alan Anderson (unknown), Simon Turton (unknown), John Taylor (Concorde 6), Tony Barnwell (The 6.6), Chris Kelly (The 10.3), Steve Newell (the 6.6), Janet Smith (Round the Block), Steve Hillier (RTB), Alice Banks (RTB), Trish McCabe (unknown), Neil Frediani (10.3), Denis Foxley (Cranford Park), Roderick Hoffman (Concorde Eight) and Joe Nolan (non-running).
Missing from the photograph are Gary Rushmer (10.3) and Dave Barnard (6) - Gary having driven off to recover Dave. Harpreet Virk (6.6) and Piers Keenleyside (10.3) had also pre-entered but I can't remember if either actually ran on the evening.
Man does Comrades Marathon - says "It's Hard"
I've been wanting to do this race for a long, long time, but was always a bit in awe of it. 86.73 km. 5250 ft ascent. It took me 38 years to enter a Marathon... I did not want to underprepare - this would not be wise. Anyway, time flies, so over the last couple of years, I have entered some increasingly lengthy events, and this weekend I found myself in Durban, SA, for the 92nd running of the Comrades Marathon.
For those who donít know, it was setup after the First World War, which South Africans had to march up Africa just to get involved, in honour of the fallen Comrades, who didnít get to do the march home. It has some great history, stories, and characters, such as Bruce Fordyce, 9-time winner, and parkrun fan, and Vic Clapham, the founder, whose great grandson Antony was at some of the surrounding events. It runs from Durban up to Pietermaritzburg one year, and down again the next. Besides being long and hilly, itís also South Africaís most popular run - with 20,000 entries.
The winning time this year was 5:35:34, which is 3:53 mins/km - about 17.3 * 19:25 parkruns - not bad. Of the 17,031 that actually started, 13,851 finished this year - but they were not the only ones who made it to PMB. They were lucky enough to arrive before the 12-hour cut-off. Almost half the finishers arrive in that last hour, from 11 to 12, and as you might guess, that means there are plenty more ~ maybe another thousand ~ who get to the finish, but are too late, and are turned away, medal-less. Something to avoid after 86.72k! (There was a guy in my hotel who "did" 12:02 - no medal...).
The start was brilliant. My hotel was opposite the start, and the bag lorry was on the road between, so I simply crossed the road, dropped my bag, and went in to the pen. The preamble was fantastic. The loud music, at 5.30 am in the dark, made it feel like a rock concert and when they played the National Anthem - Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika - followed by the folk song Shoshaloza - everyone joining in - it brought a tear to my eye - never mind the segue into Chariots of Fire, which is of course, quite a tune.
There is a traditional cockcrow, and then a bang, and we were off - through the bright TV lights - and into the dark. After that, I'm tempted to say it was all downhill, but that would be hugely inaccurate. The run starts to climb immediately, and so I had no problem employing my "Hold Back" strategy. In fact, I was so effective, that before long I could see none of my fellow pen B runners, just pen C - in a trend that was to continue throughout the day. By halfway the C's had thinned out and I was amongst D's with E's and then F's etc. appearing.
I reassured myself that this was entirely to be expected, and that once we got the hills out of the way - most of the climb is in the first half - I would be able to get some time back on the undulations and downs of the second half.
By the time we reached the top of the fourth big hill - Inchanga (50km) I was realising that was not going to happen. I had been doing 10+min miles for the first half, and was feeling tired. I still believed I would be able to maintain 12 minute miles - for a sub-10 finish, so I kept going, but the undulations kept coming, and so despite the regular water / energade / coke / cream soda / bananas / oranges / some salted potatoes / cracker stations, I was running out of zip.
My Garmin only lasts for 9hours (which I knew would not be quite long enough!) but its main job was to keep me sensible over the first half, which it did. As it started to give out, 46.2 miles in 8:31, I figured that I had 10miles to do in 90 mins for a sub-10. I clearly remember deciding to commit to that, and set off with some kind of renewed enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, either because I picked up the pace fractionally, or whether it was going to happen anyway, I then started to cramp up.
My previous lack of experience of cramps didnít help, and all I could do was to slow down/walk to avoid them. After some time, I came across someone else with the same problem, and being given salt (in a bag like a sherbet dip) to treat them. So I dipped in too, and within another mile or so, was able to limp on at a sort of run.
By this time, everything was hurting, a lot, but I was able to console myself by remembering that no one had told me this was going to be easy, and they had all been right. I didnít want to leave anything in the tank, so despite looking slightly invalided, I tried to stumble into a run, whenever I wasnít actually going uphill - not that much of the time! I wished I had got something left when it turned out that there were stairs over the track to get to the hospitality tent, but not really, I felt happy at that point, even if I was impeding the able-bodied folks behind me.
Anyway, I managed it, in 10:19:26, despite the pacing variations along the way. That was similar to my initial expectations, before I got carried away with my seeding, pace calculators, and stray comments, it just took five big hills and their buddies to clarify it to me.
Another feature of the race, is that if you do both directions consecutively, you can get an extra, "back-to-back" medal - yeah. So I am really going to have to put some effort in for next year...
Also running in the event was Piers Keenleyside who finished in 11:01:52, and the speed graph below suggests that Piers had saved more in the tank that Chris had - or perhaps had a body more used to this type of torture.
Club parkrun results for Saturday 3rd June
Our two runners entered for the Comrades (double) marathon in South Africa warmed up at the North Beach parkrun in Durban. With youth on his side Chris Kelly (30:12) showed a clean pair of heels to Piers Keenleyside (41:21) but Piers retained the club course record (28:41) he set in 2014. The attendances at North Beach are huge compared with UK parkruns. Often over 1,500 and this week 2,081 (a new record for North Beach, and just nine runners behind the largest parkrun turnout ever).
Gareth Snook (23:30) was our other overseas tourist this week taking in Gorky Park in Moscow. The course is a flat and fast out-and-back route right by the Moscow River with impressive best male (15:04), best female (17:26) and ďaverageĒ times of 24:48. For those who were wondering what unknown runner (i.e. forgot barcode) is in Russian, look no further - "Неизвестный". Gareth was "Первый забег!" (first timer). Parkrun Gorky Park attracts 30 to 50 runners each week at this time of year, rather fewer during the winter. It has been going for over three years now.
Alice Banks (25:36) visited Black Park on pacer day (1st Saturday of each month) and recorded her best run there for three years. Joe Nolan himself (28:28) who manages the pacers and is recovering from a painful foot injury recorded his time so far this year. Richard Ruffell (21:46) lowered the club course record at Tring. Steve Waite (27:12) improved his pb at Riddlesdown. Former member and protťgť of Alan Anderson, Kerstin Luksch (22:47) lowered her pb at Homewood (Chertsey) while Ian Cunningham (21:15) ran his fastest time at Bushy Park so far this year.
Sarah Gordon (31:48) established a female club course record at Congleton. That takes her personal tally on to 83 different parks. Her brother, Roderick Hoffman (28:00), visited Brandon Country Park in Suffolk and took his total on to 195. He remains just one ahead of Gregory Bailey who is yet to repeat a parkrun anywhere (194/194). They both intend to reach 200 this summer*.
John Coffey (26:29) was at Crane Park for the first time since 2012. That time places him second in his new age group and 38 seconds faster than Alan Anderson who has only run there once, in 2012.
As I was running at Brandon Country Park I wondered if we'd ever see Paul Brandon there? Or perhaps Julie Barclay at Barclay parkrun near Hoddesdon? Alice Banks at Alice Holt? Barry Walters at Barry Island? Alan Anderson at Anderson? (particularly unlikely since it is a New Zealand parkrun). Simon Ashford at Ashford parkrun? Marion Woodhouse at Woodhouse? And Gary Rushmer could go close at either Rushmere or Rushmoor but has been to neither. More tourist efforts required!
If you want to promote a special parkrun then let Steve or I know...
We have a trip to Salisbury in the unofficial diary for 17th June to meet up with Eddie Giles and my 200 tourist parkrun is planned to be at Beckenham on 22nd July - also my birthday.
* I had considered managing a joint 200th with Gregory Bailey but he needs to miss a few over the next couple of months - including on the 22nd July.
Joe's Coaching Corner - Glute and Piriformis Stretch
Cross your right ankle just above your left knee and lower down into a squatting position. Hold onto a friend or a tree for balance if necessary. If comfortable, gently push down on your right knee and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite leg.
Joe also sent in this photograph, being used by Bracknell Forest Runners to promote their tough Forest Five race on 21st June (see:
Another photograph taken on Janet's camera at the last Concorde Centre meeting. It shows Janet Smith and Laurie Kelly holding the London Business Houses Shield that we had just retrieved from the Concorde Centre Trophy Cabinet. But I'm sure that you can think of a better caption than that for the picture...
Mail me: Roderick (email@example.com)
Results, news, pictures, feedback, jokes, stories - send it to the editor, Roderick Hoffman, at firstname.lastname@example.org.