London Marathon 2016 Experience

My memory of the London Marathon goes back to the 1980’s, and whilst in my younger years I had ambitions of doing a marathon one day, it was one of those things that I’d put off till I was a bit older. I recognise you can’t just turn up on the day and get round; after all it is 26.2 miles. Put into perspective, it’s the equivalent of running from Ramsey to Cambridge. I knew it would require a period of specific training; I would have to put other things on hold and have support of my family. It might only run one marathon and I wanted to do it right. Anyone that knows me will recognise I rarely do things by halves.

I had been to watch the London Marathon in 2013, 2014 & 2015, supporting Ramsey Road Runners and friends, savouring the atmosphere and being inspired by their achievements. I decided in May of last year that it was time to enter the ballot for London, acutely aware that chances of success via this route are slim given the popularity of the event. I would find out in October if I’d got a place but I was also hopeful that if I was unsuccessful I might get an opportunity via the one club place given to RRR by UKA. I fulfilled the eligibility criteria but I wasn’t alone and it would be down to the luck of a draw. Nevertheless, during the autumn of 2015 my mind started to shift towards the longer distances. I had run 1hr 33mins half marathon in Reading during March and I felt I could go quicker. Attempts to revise my PB at The Great North Run (Sept) and Great Eastern (Oct) quite frankly ended very disappointingly, the latter had me questioning whether I was cut out for the longer distances. I asked myself at the end of both of these runs; could I have turned around and run it in reverse to make up the marathon distance? (even accounting for running at a much slower pace). The answer was an emphatic no and I was a bit lost as to how if I did get a marathon place I would get round. I rarely doubt myself, I trust my own judgement but these experiences brought more questions than answers. However, I still wanted to prove to myself that I could do a marathon and do it well.

I was predictably unsuccessful in the ballot but had a change of fortune in the RRR draw for the club place which took place in November. I was lucky to get the spot. Very excited about the prospect of running in the world’s greatest marathon I arrived home and immediately registered the place on the Virgin London Marathon website. I now had some focus that in five months I would be on the start line at Blackheath, but what type of training programme should I adopt? A bit of internet research revealed a variety of programmes, I opted for the Martin Yelling Advanced 17 week plan which was on the London Marathon website. Advanced in the title related to the number of times you expected to run a week (five) rather than expected time and it commenced on 28th December.

I also had the benefit of club members and friends who had run a number of marathons who were willing to give advice. I guessed there was no secret formula, experienced runners had run some fantastic times and had also got it wrong, and I needed to take bits of that advice and do what was right for me. After digesting the advice over early part of the year I got it down to a few basics that I wanted to on.

  • Make the start line fit and healthy was a priority
  • Make sure you don’t miss the long runs, they are the miles in the bank.
  • Listen to your body and adjust to what it is telling you
  • Enjoy the training
  • Taper and start the marathon fresh.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? But it’s not.

The training went well, I tried to stick to the self-imposed principles above. As weeks past I found the longer runs less daunting and exceeded my expectations with my performances at Folksworth 15 and Oakley 20. An alcohol ban for the last 5 weeks indicated to me I was taking it seriously. I had set myself a marathon target time of 3hrs 29mins 59secs. I felt this realistic, it was my first marathon and I wanted to cross the finish line with a smile on my face rather than being carried across the line. Setting anything more ambitious had potential for it all to go horribly wrong and I might only ever do this once.

I headed down to London on the Friday of the marathon weekend, visited the Expo at Excel, collected my number and absorbed the atmosphere for a couple of hours. I decided to get my name printed on my vest. An £8 investment that later became very important and money well spent. Over the course of Friday and Saturday I got all my kit sorted out, I didn’t want any stress on the Sunday morning.

As the days and hours drew closer to the start, the number of good luck messages started to increase. Some very inspirational ones amongst them, providing additional motivation and focus for what I was about to embark on. A smooth journey to the blue start and favourable weather conditions added to the anticipation. After depositing kit bag, chatting to other runners and the obligatory toilet stops I entered zone three of the blue start area. I confess to feeling a bit emotional at this point. I reflected on the 17 weeks of marathon training, how lucky I was to have the club place, those less fortunate than me and who are experiencing difficult times or adversity. As we edged forward towards the start line, with the Tim Peake countdown from space beginning, this was it, the best bit, the actual London Marathon. This is what I’d trained for. During the Great North Run I found the first few miles congested, and the same happened here. Constantly chopping stride, avoid those that had over estimate their finish time and gone in the wrong zone and looking for clear running space. I hit the first mile at 8mins 30secs. A 3hr 30mins finish time required consistent 8 mins per mile. No need to panic I told myself, it was only 30 secs and over the next 25 miles I was confident I could make it up. The miles soon passed and I was at the first big landmark, Cutty Sark. The noise for the crowd was amazing; I was back on target pace and feeling comfortable. My mind turned to the next big sight, Tower Bridge at 12 miles, again the noise was uplifting. Checking my watch I was still going well, halfway in 1hr 43min 19secs. As I approached the 14 mile point I moved towards the central reservation, knowing family and RRR members would be positioned on the opposite side of the road. Sure enough, I spotted them and they spotted me. If you’ve run the race, you will know how special that feels. At 15 miles I had high 5’s with Team Bex members, including Rebecca Griffiths herself. If you ever need inspiration, read her story, it won’t be with a dry eye. Around Canary Wharf it started to get a bit tougher with a few hills and the twists and turns. The thought of seeing Claire, Sam and the Ramsey crowd on the return route at 21 miles was my next focus. Yet again, they didn’t disappoint willing me on to the finish.

Those that had run a marathon before told me the last 4 miles will hurt. They’d also said it better to have some in reserve as you’ll need it and it’s a better feeling going passed others rather than them passed you. Well, those 4 miles took me to places I have physically and mentally not been to. Running races have hurt before, but this was a different type of hurt.  I told myself the pain I was suffering was temporary and nothing compared to the suffering of others. The voice in my head, aching muscles and twinges of cramp in my left hamstring was telling me to stop but I knew if I did I would never get started again. I recall very little of those last 4 miles. The mile markers didn’t seem to come every quickly, London Eye didn’t seem to get closer and Birdcage Walk went on and on and on. I do remember though random people shouting my name. The £8 spent for the name on the front of my vest seemed to be a good investment. At Buckingham Palace I knew the sub 3hr 30mins target was going to be tight. I knew I had slowed and turning into The Mall I couldn’t relax. My 10 secs of frame on the BBC coverage saw my checking my watch and then checking my watch again. I’d like to say good pacing but there was a bit of panic. Across the line in 3hrs 29mins 55 secs. I’d done it, very, very happy for my first marathon. I didn’t cross the line with a smile on my face, more agonising pain but inside I felt elated.

There were also great performances from the Ramsey Road Runners members. Simon Mead smashed his PB with 2hr 44mins 17secs and goes from a ‘good for age’ category to ‘Championship Entry’. That is an amazing run for a 43 year old (and I’m not mocking his age…..he is a week older than me). Steve Hall running his first marathon lived up to expectation with a classy 2hr 51mins 38min clocking. Darren Paine broke the 3hrs mark with 2hr 55min 40secs. So pleased for Darren who has come so close before. Michelle Brett crossed the line in 3hrs 24mins 4secs, an amazing run from her and finally Steve Burton came in with 3hr 26mins 51sec, the stats showing a difficult last 10km.

An amazing experience. I do need to say a massive thank you to a few people. To Ramsey Road Runners for the club place, to those that accompanied me on training runs, those that offered me advice and messages of good luck, the supporters who came down to London to shout and scream at me and the other Ramsey Road Runners and finally to Claire & Sam for the support they gave me during the training, build up, race and recovery.

I set out on the marathon journey saying I might only do one marathon and I wanted it to be London. So would I do another one? The answer…..a most definite yes.




Lauren came to triathlon having already been to two Paralympic Games as a swimmer. She went to her first Paralympics in Beijing aged just 15 and competed again at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She was born without a right forearm.

Lauren already has a gold medal from Rio, won at the World Swimming Championships in 2009 as part of a British relay squad that also broke the world record.

She first got into Triathlon after her uncle, who is a triathlete, suggested she should try it. She entered her first triathlon, the British Championships, in Nottingham 2011 and finished second. At the Para triathlon World Championships in Auckland (October 2012) Lauren won silver in the Aquathlon (swim-run) event and finished 5th in the Triathlon (Tri4 classification).

She is originally from Peterborough but currently based in Portsmouth, where she is studying for a Masters in Business after completing her Psychology Degree at Portsmouth University. She previously studied at Kelly College, Devon. She is coached by Paul Hogg (Swimming) and Sam Warriner (Triathlete Coach based in NZ).

Lauren is part of the UK Sport World Class Lottery Funded British Paratriathlon squad.

Lauren on Twitter @LaurenSteadman

Latest write-up – Chicago
PT4 GB athlete Lauren Steadman hasn’t lost a race since May 2014, and having won the Olympic test event in August the reigning world champ went in to the final with a sizeable target on her back. Never one to play it safe, however, Steadman pushed hard to guarantee her 10th consecutive win.

“That was probably my toughest race yet”, said Steadman. Obviously the standard has risen a lot since last year. I didn’t have the best swim, on the bike I was holding, I wasn’t getting further away and then my head coach and my father said ‘look, you’ve got to have the best 5k of your life.’ [US National Paratri champion and eventual silver medallist] Grace Norman is a track runner and has the ability to outrun me easily. I just focused on my form and it took me home.

“This is a stepping stone for next year and again I’ve got to up my game 10 times as much because next year they’re going to come at me twice as hard.”


Key Results:

  • ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, Chicago, 2015, GOLD
  • ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, Edmonton, 2014, GOLD
  • ETU Paratriathlon European Championships, Kitzbuhel, 2014, GOLD
  • ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, London, 2013, Silver
  • ETU Paratriathlon European Championships, Alanya, 2013, GOLD
  • Paralympic Games Swimming, London 2012, 6th, 8th and 9th
  • European Swimming Championships, Berlin 2011, 4th and 4th, GOLD 4x100m Free Relay (WR)
  • Swimming World Championships, Rio de Janiero 2009, 6th and 8th, GOLD 4x100m Free Relay (WR)
  • European Swimming Championships, Iceland 2009, Bronze 400m Freestyle, GOLD 4x100m Free Relay (WR)
  • Paralympic Games Swimming; Beijing 2008 9th, 11th, and 15th


Tell us about your disability:
I am missing my lower right arm just below the elbow. As a child I would always want two arms, but over the years I have come to love being individual and relish all the challenges!

Why the switch from swimming:
In May 2011 I competed at  British Triathlon Nationals and came 2nd,  realising I had transferable skills from swimming to triathlon. I then got asked to represent GBR a few more times in World Championships, and decided to make triathlon my new challenge, and have found immense enjoyment from pushing my body to the limits in not only one but three sports.

Lauren Steadman Latest ITU events…

15th Sep  2015 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Chicago  1st
1st Aug  2015 Rio de Janeiro ITU World Paratriathlon Event  1st
9th Jul  2015 Geneva ETU Triathlon European Championships 1st
7th Jun  2015 Besançon ITU World Paratriathlon Event 1st
30th May  2015 London ITU World Paratriathlon Event  1st
16th May  2015 GBR Paratriathlon National Championships 1st

21st Sep  2014 Madrid ITU World Paratriathlon Event 1st
29th Aug  2014 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Edmonton 1st
20th Jun  2014 Kitzbühel ETU Triathlon European Championships 1st
31st May  2014 London ITU World Paratriathlon Event 1st
17th May  2014 Yokohama ITU World Paratriathlon Event 2nd

11th Sep  2013 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final London 2nd
13th Jul  2013 GBR Paratriathlon National Championships 1st
14th Jun  2013 Alanya ETU Triathlon European Championships 1st

Finish Line

2 Time  World Champion

First Time Runner A BLOG by Caroline Carty


Hello readers.

Today is a day of firsts, this is my first ever BLOG and today I completed my first ever 10km race. Thought I would log it for reflection later on during my journey through life. A milestone month all round as I also turned 40 years old.

Some Background Info

On the 19th April 2015 I started running. It was hard and running was never my strong point, especially with knees that are built the wrong way and a Doctor once told me (after my 4th baby was born and I struggled with joint problems) to never run, cycle or exercise again aside from swimming. I could barely run a short distance at all. I then started doing the couch to 5k app and cried many times as I struggled to run for the correct time.

On the 30th April I ran for the first time with Eye Community runners. The week before I had been running on my own, doing week 2 of C25K and the ECR group ran past me. I was later invited to join them after I thanked them on their Facebook page for stopping to check if I was ok. Surely I can’t join a running club, I can barely run for 90 seconds, they won’t want me I thought, I’m far too slow it is foolish nonsense to consider it?

But still I nervously went along, taking my 10yr old with me for moral support as he had been so good at helping me do the c25k app. I barely managed a mile out and a mile back. The patience and support from the runner/trainer from the club was brilliant. Each week when I could I went back to the club, my distances and stamina grew and I gained a whole new circle of friends. My 10yr old joined the juniors section of the club too. Suddenly my Facebook friend suggestions were full of running people. I also joined a Facebook running page RunMummyRun as recommended by a good friend who also encouraged me to give it a go, get out there and see how it goes.

16th May 2015. My first attempt at completing the Peterborough 5k ParkRun! People watching! Walking/running and being extremely slow. I was joined by my 10yr old again (who was chomping at the bit to run on ahead but is not allowed to run alone until age 11) and a lady from ECR kept me company that first nervous week. (Thank you). I did it, ok so it was walking and running but still I did it. I crossed the finish line in 41.15. The second week (23rd May) I shaved a whole SECOND off my time and came in at 41.14! My first PB-woohoo! Third park run was on the 30th May 2015 and I came in at 39.56. May aim was a sub 40 and I was so happy I did it-without stopping to walk! Another PB!

I began to think I could actually do this running stuff and not be a complete disaster at it. So began to ponder further distances, to improve my stamina and then build on improving speed.

13th June 2015. Another ParkRun but this time my 12yr old wanted to join us, it was his first ever proper run and he found it tough. We walked a lot of it, which I found harder than non-stop running but still got ANOTHER PB of 38.44. Eldest son rather pleased he managed it too. In mean time DS2 had found other adults to run with and was flying round the parkrun course in under 30mins. He will no doubt log his own running journey in his own blog.

14th June 2015. I asked my husband if he would run with me. My parents were staying the weekend due to a commitment we needed a babysitter for and I asked him to take me on a long run. He used to do a lot of running with the Army, although had not done much long distance stuff recently. We ended up running to Newborough and back, and it was actually an 11k run. It took me an hour and 30 minutes and it was so hard, I was so slow, and I hit the proverbial wall on the return journey. Just before setting off I saw a notification via the ECR club page for an opportunity to take someone’s place in the Ramsey 10k run. I mentioned this to my husband during our long run and he said to go for it. When I got back, despite being so worn out and parts hurting and knees protesting at all that hard work, I decided to see if the place was still available and it was. So I entered. EEEK!

27th June 2015. ParkRun number 5. No PB this week but wasn’t aiming for one. There was only 4 seconds in it. Crossed the finish line in 38.48! Was a really hot morning so a paused for some water towards the start of the final loop of the lake. Had I not stopped I would have got another PB but it’s reassuring I’m staying a sensible pace given tomorrow is race day. I ran with my 10 year old as he had no faster adult to run with, he was frustrated to be stuck with me
although I tried to sell it to him that it was good to run slower sometimes and it was a test of his endurance to run for twice as long as normal-didn’t really work and he a bit of sulk near the end as I would not allow him to go on ahead. ES being over the age of 12 is allowed to run off on his own if he wishes and he did and he enjoyed it far more this week. We were supported by husband and the two younger children who also walked some of the ParkRun route, just for fun.

Thanks guys, it means a lot when you come to support us, although I’m probably too proud to say it.

It’s great we have something we can do as a family. ParkRun is ideal, you don’t have to zoom round superfast like it’s an Olympic event, its open to all ages and abilities, affiliated to a club or not. A good way to encourage the children to get out there and play/get fit and help the adults keep moving and fit too.

My husband and I have been following calorie counting on MyFitnessPal since January and losing weight slowly and steadily, I’ve lost 3 stone so far and can now fit into some size 10 clothes, all helped by the running/walking etc. It would not be appropriate to comment on my husband’s weight loss journey but needless to say I am super proud of his achievements too.

RACE DAY 28th June 2015.
-Feeling sick with nerves
-Knowing I will be last and slow
-Did I mention I was nervous?

Pretty much sums up how I felt today. I was kindly given a lift to the event by another fabulous ECR lady. My husband and I felt it was too long for the boys to hang around and they would be bored so I didn’t think they were coming along to support me. They turned up just as I was about to set off! Thanks guys, meant a lot.

The weather was grim. Rain-lots of fine drizzly rain and some wind! I decided to change out of my shorts (yes I know, I brought shorts-I never wear shorts, I am still a tad shocked that I had shorts on for a while-out in public)! Yet still my amazing family turned out to cheer me on for my first race and a long distance at that. (Long for me)!
The ECR group were brilliant, so good at keeping me focused and not too nervous, with good advice and reassuring me I WOULD finish and I WOULD be ok and I WOULD enjoy it. (They were right).
After a group photo we got ready to go. BANG! And we’re off! I tried to keep up with the #greenarmy but I was too slow, by 1km I was at the back of the group and soon overtaken by everyone else too. I was last. Hello tail runner, guess we better get to know one another. I have to say my tail runner was A-MAZ-ING! Such a good supporter, chatting away when needed, allowing me to reply if I could but no pressure. We had a reasonable chat, she was very inspiring. She even held my water bottle for me when we collected one en-route.
The route was really rather good, off road and rural and not too many people watching to embarrass me. Several soggy Marshals along the way, including children cheering everyone one and guiding the way! Handy as my glasses had been removed early on due to the rain and slipping off. (Must get a proper band to hold them on and a cap to keep the rain off)! Water station at 5k, yippee!
Much needed especially as some small stones had worked into my trainer and began to annoy me. The car that followed us offered me the chance to sit in to sort my shoes out but I know if I sat in the car I’d never get up again! I was on target time wise with my 5k pace and that was a good feeling. 6k, 7k still comfortable but 8k WOW I didn’t see the tiredness coming. I hit the wall so suddenly, tears, pain and feeling I couldn’t do it. Tail runner got me through, made me laugh, and spurred me on.
At some point some of the ECR ladies joined us, they had come to meet me as I got closer to the finish. The 8-9km section seemed to go on forever and I was really tearful now. I asked when we would be at 9k and my tail runner (#newbestfriend) told me we had passed it ages ago and I only had a short distance still to go. WHAT! HOW! WHEN! And OH MY GOSH REALLY! A few more corners and the end really was in sight, more ECR crew, who all ran me into the finishing straight. Sprint-finish time-can I muster anymore? Well I did, my pace increased a teeny bit. In the distance I could hear my family cheering and I waved to them hoping I was waving in right direction, I could hear the support from the ECR crew cheering me on to cross the line. I could just make out the clock ahead without my glasses on.

FINISHED! I crossed the line, big smile on my face, arms in the air in celebration. Yes I was last and No it didn’t matter. I had done it. I didn’t walk and I finished, which were the only 2 things I set out to achieve. I was the LAST WINNER! TIME-1hr, 20mins and 11 seconds. Happy with that!

WOOHOOOO!!!!!!! I can’t describe the feeling of achievement, how good it felt, how tough it was but it was all worth it, and only made possible with the help of such amazing people. My family, the ECR crew, the Ramsey Road Runners, the tail runner, and everyone who has helped along the way…THANK YOU
EVERYONE! XX See you next year. XX

PS-I am already planning my next races. Eye Charity Run 5 miles on Thursday 2nd July followed by a simple children’s fun run of 1.5 miles on the 5th July. St Ives 10k to follow on the 19th July is my next aim, alongside regular parkrun’s and ECR training runs where I hope to improve my times and running style, so I’m less of a plodder and more of a runner.

0-10km in 3 months-I’m rather chuffed with that!

Thank you for reading my first blog, and joining me on this journey. Hope it wasn’t too long.

2014 White Lion, Ramsey Road Runners, Pool Champions, (pairs).

In a surprising turn of events, Darren and Gavin were crowned 2014 club pool champions.

Speaking shortly after the event Darren is heard to have commented that “their opponents stood no chance after they were unable to stay awake while waiting for Gavin to ‘tuck them up’ for another snooker.” And Gavin insisted of going on the record as saying “Woo! Hoo!

I better do something before I start getting too fat

I’m no stranger to running. As a teenage I was quite a handy athlete on the local / regional scene up North, concentrating on 800m. At 17 years old I ran 1min 53secs over that distance and represented the County and ran in the English Schools Championship on track and cross country. In those days I lived less than ½ mile from the local track and there seemed to be little else that occupied my time. If you go searching Google, unfortunately, you won’t find anything. We are talking about the late 80’s / 90’s when I used a telephone box to phone home, my first car had a manual choke and the TV had four channels.  I then went off to Staffordshire University with thoughts of progressing academically and athletically. Staffordshire University at the time was considered to be one of the best educational establishments for athletics behind Loughborough, Birmingham Uni and some of the London Colleges. Distracted by independence, cheap beer and girls perhaps my focus waivered somewhat and I didn’t quite achieve what I wanted to athletically. I moved to Cambridgeshire in the late 90’s and picked up the Senior Men’s 800m crown around 97/98 before hanging up my spikes.

As the years rolled by I dabbled with running on a very ad hoc basis, until the summer of this year (2014) when an expanding waist called for immediate action before it was too late. Encouraged by Claire and Sam, a trip down to Ramsey Road Runners beckoned. I had paced Sam around the Abbey Fun Run for the previous two years and was out kicked by my 8 year old in the last 100m of this year’s event. Back in the day, my sprint finish was an attribute I relied upon to beat the opposition, now I couldn’t move my legs fast enough to beat my 8 year old son. Whilst, Sam had improved his time by over a minute and ran 11mins 2secs, and I was really pleased for him, I was not mentally prepared for him to take the bragging rights. I was brought up in a competitive environment and the knock I had taken had ignited my fire to compete again and set myself some targets. I also realised my diet and lack of exercise was not doing me any good. I wanted Sam to see his dad competing again and hope it encourages him to do better himself.

My first attendance at a Ramsey Running Club training night was a welcoming and friendly one. It was good to hear banter and the tales of the previous weekend’s races. I had done some training on my own in the weeks before whilst on holiday to try and get back into running. I also did a few Parkrun’s at Hinchingbrooke. I had been told most midweek runs are a 5 mile circuit around Ramsey & Bury but I also heard mention in the training room of ‘efforts’. Darren looked and talked like a decent athlete and it was too early for me to be doing ‘efforts’. The others there also looked pretty serious. I decided to tag along and despite being dropped pretty early one it was good to get round. I wasn’t to be disillusioned and tried to establish a routine of getting out for a run each week at the club and when I get back from work, rather than putting on the TV. I decided to join the club. The training became easier, I recovered quicker and my competitive edge has started to return.

My introduction back to racing was on a very warm October morning at Priory Park, St Neots for the first Frostbite Friendly League. It was great to see so many people participating and demonstrates the healthy appetite for these type of events. To get round was an achievement, it was hard work and in hindsight I went off too fast. This event had shown me how much I’d missed running. Whilst by its very nature an individual sport the event requires a team score and this fuelled my motivation and adds to the togetherness amongst the runners.

Onto the second Frostbite Friendly League event at Bushfields, Peterborough and in the lead up tales amongst club members of this being a fast course and a large field would be assembled. Conscious of my over exuberant start a month earlier I decided to position myself further back at the start line. It seemed to do the trick and I hit the first mile mark at my target pace. I felt good and going into the last mile could see the familiar gait of Gavin Stokes in his red Ramsey vest ahead. Despite my best efforts I could not get close to him. The training was starting to pay dividend though and I was happy with the run. I had finished 44 places higher than St Neots and it was a bigger field. I’d also average under 7min per mile. Again, I qualified as a team counter and for me this is a huge motivator. Others were dependant on my performance.

The latest race instalment came in the mud bath of Hinchingbrooke Park for the third Frostbite race. In anticipation, I’d purchased a pair of ‘Trail’ shoes but nothing on my feet could have compensated for the deep claggy mud in places. It certainly was a challenge. Following my previous performances I’d set myself a target of bettering my finishing position at Bushfields. I considered times pretty irrelevant on the difficult terrain. I felt though that Gavin, an experienced season campaigner might be in my sights. Approaching the last mile or so I’d not seen Gavin and was expecting him to come surging past with the sprint finish so many had talked about. Thankfully, I’d got the better of him this time but I’m sure the competition in the middle order will continue. Again, I improved on my placing, finishing 23 places higher than the previous event and I was encouraged to see those ahead of me (Simon Mead, Steve Hall, Darren Paine, Shaun Walton, Andrew Brett and Lisa Marriott) congratulating me as I approached the finish line.

As 2015 approaches I hope to continue improvements in the Frostbite League and would like to crack the top 100, run some 10km’s, 10 mile races, possibly a half marathon and hopefully run in some of the team relay events.

I have found Ramsey Road Runners to be a very friendly welcoming club, incredibly encouraging and there is a great atmosphere on the Monday and Wednesday club nights and at races. Thank you to all those people who make it happen and seeing so many juniors turning up on a Wednesday night bodes well for the future of the club.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. Good luck in 2015.


2014 Race Review by Lisa Marriott

So here is a brief race log that highlights my second year of competitive running with the Ramsey Road Runners in which I won the 2014 Cambs County Road Race league;

5.8k, 15th position

A very wet and muddy priory park where I can remember wearing road running shoes whilst all other runners seemed to be wandering round in spikes. At this point I wasn’t full of confidence and my lack of experience was about to show!
So I did infact spend the majority of the race slipping and slidding and finished a disappointing 15th (reserve) just missing out on qualification. A lesson was learnt!.. well done to my great team mate Beth Curtis who also turned up to battle it out in the mud.

25th OVERALL, 1st LADY- 40 MINS

So I begin my venture to run sub 40 10ks just as I had done in 2013.However,although a very fast course,horizontal rain and freezing conditions proved a challange and I landed on the line dead on 40 minutes (kind of frustrating). Absolutely soaked and without much feeling in my legs I couldn’t wait to get under the heat lamps that they had provided for us in the pits. A jolly day out other than that and thanks Simon Render for the taxi !

20th OVERALL, 2nd LADY- 1.31.37

The challenge this year to run sub 90 minute half marathons again proved difficult during this event where again the wind was at its best. A multi terrain course that exhausted me and I really did struggle the last 2 miles but happy to get my first HM of the year done and dusted and against some decent female runners.

7th OVERALL, 2nd LADY- 1.31.46

A very tough race with two long vertical hills! (as well as a few others) and I hated it!! was a painful slog and made me feel like I never wanted to race again!…lactic acid in the legs and hyperventilating was not for me a good experience. Thankfully I was towed along by a nene valley runner who encouraged me round to the bitter end to finish a defeated 2nd lady.

23.03.14 THORNEY 10k
23rd OVERALL, 1st LADY-39.57

This is the race I really wanted to win and was determined to go sub 40. I set out at about 5.50ish pace with a fellow runner and ended up with a minor tear in my calf by mile 1. Way to fast and I payed the price, however pure stubbornness not to stop and finish the race made me run through the pain to the end where I just scrapped under 40 minutes-phew!! I was hopping lame but satisfied with my result… job done !

06.04.14 CAMBORNE 10k
39th OVERALL, 2nd LADY- 41.21

So I shouldn’t really be here due to calf injury, but again stubbornness wins the day and im racing again!..a tough race, mainly hated it and was exhausted at 7k. Happy to finish 2nd lady in the time that I did.
Glad that was over !

12th OVERALL, 1st LADY- 33.24

This race was hard work on rough terrain and I was glad to see the finish line-Enough said ! ..but winning it felt good!

04.05.14 FENDRAYTON 10k
11th OVERALL, 1st LADY- 40.39

I like this race its fairly local and runs along a guided bus route for much of it so not to harsh on the legs..I also favour this race as I have won it 2 years in a row (not trophy hunting at all!). My aim to run it quicker than last year which I duly did and thankfully my legs where feeling better due to help of fellow team mate Steve Burton who gave me some extremely painful sports massage !

11.05.14 EYE 10k
54th OVERALL, 5th LADY-41.17

I hated every minute of this race it felt like a slog the whole way through, just wasn’t my day, I had to get it done though as it was a County league race in which I had high hopes for. Howver,Was nice in the end to discover that placings went up to 5th ..another trophy!..happy days 🙂

18th OVERALL, 2nd LADY- 1.32.56

A hot day but enjoyed the race amonst some great runners, I ran slightly quicker than last year so was pleased although still wasn’t able to go the sub 90 I was hoping for on a flat course like this was slightly frustrating. 2nd lady was good enough as I’d only managed 4th last year.

15.06.14 HUNTS 10k
21st OVERALL, 3rd LADY-40.41

I really enjoyed this race, it was competitive, lots of runners and an uphill finish that lasted a kilometer makes it a really testing course. I was pleased to improve on last years time and the highlight had to be getting presented with a mini fire extinguisher by the great John Major himself!.. what a treat !

STAGE 3- 51.03

Awesome team effort and always a fun packed crazy day out with the Ramsey Road Runners!!. I love these relays and watching Gavin do his robot arms sprint finish is always a highlight of the day. Running stage 3 was a mission though with the off road bits that seem to go for miles and miles. Great credit to Libby Mead who did an amazing job cycling all stages with us. To top the day off we won the mixed team prize. Such a great effort by everyone to complete these events.

16th OVERALL, 1st LADY- 32.11

A great race picking up first lady prize and team mate Michelle Brett picking up 2nd (girl power)..and always fun when you win a bag of spuds at the end 🙂

20.07.14 ST IVES 10k
44th OVERALL, 5th LADY-40.25

A very competitive race in what seems like to take forever to run down an RAF runway and then back again!.. not one of my favourite 10ks but I managed to pick up a good time although much of the race felt like a struggle :-/

27.97.14 LITTLEPORT 10k
21st OVERALL, 1st LADY- 40.56

Back to reclaim my title although running it a minute slower in what seemed like a hotter day than last year…trophy hunting again !

17.08.14 THORNEY 5 MILES
29th OVERALL, 1st LADY -31.39

This was my best short race of the year very pleased with the way I ran beating a decent Bedford Harrier runner at the finish by 1 second !.. however, frustratingly a bit slower than last year’s time.

31st OVERALL, 3rd LADY- 1.07.05
After travelling with Simon, Jevan and Nathan (such fun) I felt somewhat car sick and it was also a hot day. The race starts uphill and I was already exhausted after 4 miles!. The rest of the race was a mental battle and wanting to walk at the 7 mile mark was not good news for me. It was good to see the Ramsey men running so well though and improving with every race. Two ciders was needed straight after this race and to top it I received a very orignal 3rd lady prize (hand blender) that I very kindly donated to my mother for her babysitting duties.

51st OVERALL, 5th LADY – 1.30.22

My local race and PB course, desperate to run sub 90 I didn’t hang about and found myself upsides Phillipa Taylor for the first 2 miles!!, by 5 miles I was done, I’d had enough, not sure how I ran that race but it was awful. Last year was amazing running 1.26 and loving it. I think I tried to hard and blew it this year, however I did win my age category and wasn’t far off sub 90 so another one bites the dust…

20.09.14 RNR STAGE 2
This was my first ever race longer than half marathon distance and I was keen to get another stage record. Having run well and enjoyed the majority of the race the last few miles along the river bank felt like torture. I managed to beat the record by about a minute until a GB triathlete came along and smashed it by about 5 minutes !!..fair play. Another amazing experience and thankyou to the rest of the club for all their efforts in getting us round..for me to just turn up and run was I expect the easy bit !

19.10.14 THURLOW 10
14th OVERALL, 2nd LADY- 1.08.40
Lots of mud and hills but a nicely organised and friendly race, very little road to run on.. the second half of the race was a slog and I was suffering…I finished a well beaten second.It didn’t feel like a good race as I ran on my own for most of it which made it feel like even more of an effort.

26.10.14 FENLAND 10
43rd OVERALL, 4th LADY- 1.06.39

My first Fenland 10 and boy it was windy, the last league race of the year so had to get it done. This is now my fastest 10 mile race on record but have yet to run one where there are no hills, mud or windy conditions to contend with!. Happy though I won the Age Category prize in what seemed to be a very competitive race.

22nd OVERALL, 1st LADY- 1.10.11

I loved this race and enjoyed every bit of running in the mud and the rain. The highlight for me was to over take Eddie (Admin does not approve of this comment) and get the ladies team back before the old boys team or we would have never have heard the end of it..Once that pressure was off I just ran and enjoyed it overtaking about 17 or 18 runners was a real confidence boost to keep the pace up. I think the biggest effort of the day goes to the Ramsey Rockets Team who throughout the year have been the runners of most consistency and improvement than all of us…well done to the boyz you are all awesome 😉

Nutrition, supplements and witch doctor techniques

Since joining the club a couple years ago (don’t worry, this won’t be another life story!) 😘 I have adopted the status of being a witch doctor/fool with my approach in supplements and nutrition in helping my running performances. The days of one bottle of lucazade sport and a banana are long gone and now if I don’t bathe in a bath of magnesium oil the day before a race, then I’m gonna have a terrible run. I do hope this will give some insight into why I take what I take and hopefully doesn’t get me banned from competing in any future events.

Where too start I ask my self, and as I have already mentioned magnesium oil, that seems like the perfect place to begin. That fad started a long time ago when I heard Matt Lewis mention to another runner about it being really good for cramp. But for me it came out when we was in Berlin for the marathon, and to my memory, Gavin and Andrew also were keen on giving their legs a spray and rub down on the morning of the race. After doing some extensive research I found that magnesium oil, when spray onto the skin, is really good to help with muscle fatigue and cramps. Perfect for a marathon if you ask me. Stupidly I hadn’t really used it much prior to the marathon and in fact I potentially od’ed on the stuff and suffered with cramp about 6/8 miles in. Gavin and Andrew however both ran fantastic marathon and neither suffered at all from fatigue or cramp. So my overall experience with magnesium oil is use sparingly and try it before you plan to race.

I don’t think there has been a race this year that I haven’t had a can of (rhymes with) ted pull or high caffeine energy drink in my hand 30/45 mins before a start to a race. This is purely and simply to get my heart rate up and almost acts as a helping hand to a warm up. The high caffeine content will make your reactions faster and wake you up also. It does also help with endurance races as it encourages muscles to burn fat as fuel instead of glycogen which will prolong “the wall”. Caffeine is also now being used in energy gels which should be used on the longer run to promote a higher heart rate later on in the race. I tend to take the caffeine gels at about 15 miles, and every 3 miles until the finish of a marathon. Once again in the reason being to not hit the wall, which is when you’re heart rate drops and your out of all your glycogen (energy). I highly recommend caffeine to any runner, just train on them before as they can mess around with you’re tummy. And potentially you’re pants! 💩

Now my favourite, coconut water! The stuff is like liquid gold. Great tasting, full of potassium and super hydrating. I couldn’t recommend the stuff enough. I tend to start the night before with a carton and then another carton in the morning. As we all know, potassium is great for not cramping, which is why we always have a banana before a race. Well coconut water has more potassium than bananas! The hydration side of running is simple! You need to be hydrated! The amount of sweating you do when running, you need to make sure you’re correctly hydrated, with out being over hydrated! With that I mean drinking 2ltrs of water on a start line and every bottle at a water station! All you’re doing is going to make yourself feel bloated and sick. So starting the night before will make sure by the time you get on the start line, you only need to swig at some water to replace what you have lost through sweating. Also I am certain that hydration will aid recover with lactic acids and eliminate cramp!

I have dabbled in beetroot juice, which for someone who doesn’t really like beetroot, its bloody difficult. I haven’t done a huge amount of research on it as I find the only benefits from it I have experienced is that a “number one” is like black current juice, and a “number 2” is like black current juice. I have heard its good for your blood and nitrogen but I’m not too convinced with it and I’ll only really have that in a small amount on the morning and night before a race, If at all!

I can’t do this blog without mention creatine! Creatine is a non flavoured white powder which got me an in depth strip search at the passport control in Berlin! Hanz and Stefan were really nice too! No I’m joking! But for me it was something I took when I used to be a little bit porkier and wanted to get “hench”. Simply it’s work for helping you train harder, a lot harder! It makes you push you’re self with out really hurting, which will make you stronger. It does this by depositing water in you’re muscles which obviously makes them bigger, in turn makes your stronger! One down side for me was the mood swings. Couple of times I was quizzed by the Sunday running crew on if I was taking something! So be careful with that one. I tend to use that for a short time as I can’t afford a divorce.

I also abuse multi vits, vit c, cod liver oil, glucosamine and barroca. I am sure I’m not the only person to take these and I’m sure you all know the benefits on them. I will add vit c is really need for longer races because you absolutely smash your immune system after a long race and are vulnerable to illness. Maybe frank needs these so he keeps the sniffles away 😷

Now that’s the pre race prep work done, I will now talk about post race! This is something that I have started in the last couple of months and find it really beneficial for muscle recover, which is good when training for a marathon as the last thing you want to do is miss a training session.

Protein, protein, protein! As a runner we have the luxury on living off carbs for energy and never much protein, but protein is a major part of running and shouldn’t be forgot about. I try to get a protein shake of some description down my neck within 1 hour of finishing a race. Having it this soon after a run, will speed up muscle recovery and will ease soreness. With protein, your body can’t digest more than 20g at one time so keep an eye out for that. The types of shakes I have had are whey protein shake that you could imagine, a shot of protein milk (which was good as it was a small amount and didn’t fill you up), or my favourite a friji or nesquick milkshake. Even a glass of 500ml milk will help with about 16g of protein!

The one that separates the men from the boys, ice baths! Dipping yourself in a bath full of cold water isn’t that appealing but after doing it, you do feel better for it! It speed up muscle recovery and for the men, gives you an inny! You only need to shallow fill the bath and make sure the water covers your legs as you sit down. No need to submerge yourself up to the shoulders! That’s crazy! Just using the cold tap will be enough, but if you are feeling freaky then drop a bag of ice in there too. No longer than 8 mins as you could get hypothermia. So be careful.

Compression clothing! Or as the neighbours think, the crazy spider man suit! Wrapping yourself in Lycra from head to toe helps with blood flow, which is what you need after a run. With the compression I use a foam roller and do some light stretching. All in aid of blood flow and reduce muscle soreness. But if anyone has used a foam roller, you feel like it’s only going to make you’re legs worse!

Hopefully some one finds this beneficial and will adopt some of the stuff I have said as some of it works, even its psychologically. Most of it could be a fad but as long as I feel it’s helping then I ain’t going to stop. I will try and do an updated blog once I have collected enough of my blood for transplants and my order of EPO arrives! You can buy anything from China!

Thanks for reading

The Beginning By Shaun Walton

I started running in February 2012 in a time when i had quit playing football and wanted to find a new, interesting and more rewarding hobby to have in which keeps me healthy, in good shape and have the desire to achieve in. It was actually my stepdad Paul Stevens who recommended and mentioned to me about running, reason being because he would usually watch me at my football matches and notice that i was probaly the only one on the pitch running backwards and fowards and springting ahead, thats where he got the idea from. At the time i’d obviously packed away football and got bored sitting at home not getting out there and taking part in a sporting activity. I was quite unsure at first whether to give it a go or not because before running i was very unkeen to try different activities such as cricket, golf etc. Anyway i said to myself try it and see, at least i gave it a go otherwise. I did however have some confidence of giving running a try because i use to run on the treadmill at the gym for about twenty minutes and would sometimes run round Upwood and be compeltly out of breath, so i have had some interest in running but at the time football is all i ever wanted to do but not anymore.

I remember the very first time i came down the club i was feeling nervous and shy because i’m going to be around adults and not having any idea about running. Anyway i got introduced to Adrain Graham and Jim Chandler and everyone else who was down the club that same evening asking me how far can i do or have i done before and my response was, ‘in your terms not far’, if so about 3 miles maximum i’ve done. I was told by Adrian and Jim i can give the normal 5 mile training run that the others do which leads to Bury and i thought “WOW” thats far out towards bury as i thinking to myself ‘Don’t think so’ or i can train with the juniors. I went for the unsure option and done the 5 mile run and as far as i can remember i ran it with Jim chandler and Emma Brewer who introduced me the route, into the route i said to Jim ” I think i can speed it up and go one ” and he replied back ” Just run straight down this road to the club house ” as it was along the last straight finish which is now commonly known as the sprint finish straight (Right Guys).  After the first run i was knackered 5 miles was a lot to me back then and got asked; would you come back down again? ‘I’ll see how i feel next week’ i replied. But i do remember Jim saying to the quicker runners ‘ Shaun will have to run with you guys next time, he’s too quick for me’ he said. This gave me some confidence and some desire to keep on trying running. As the weeks went on i kept on going down only run on the Monday and Wednesday training runs just to get me use to running and give myself plenty of time to recover. My friend Darren Paine who i met doing Boot Camp at the gym also joined in between those weeks to improve his running as he had already done some Half Marathons amongst 10k’s aswell. I got to meet many new great people and also take part in a race in i think was the 4th or 5th week of running which was the BRJ Frostbite Race round Huntingdon, i remember the day to be very wet but inside i was nervous, obviuosly because me first race but i think i was thinking about the whole run and result whether i will finish it or will have to stop and walk, but i got round it safely finishing the race in around 36 minutes which for was something i achieved well because it’s something i had never done  to be so surreal to me. The thing that was embarrassing for me was i had to wear an XL vest because that was all Adrian had at the time and it was like a tent round me and as you may know i’m not the biggest of chaps.

As the weeks and months went on, i kept on coming to training and sometimes some runs of my own on other days and aswell i competed in more races. I raced a few 10k’s getting around 42 minutes for them and doing more 5 mile races also getting one or two PB’S along way which where around 34 minutes which gave me so much inspiration and enthusiasm to push on and get better knowing that if i keep on pushing and trying i could aim for more goals and getting the results that i wish for. I can’t remember much more in my first few months of running in terms of training and perhaps racing but i do remember taking part in the Round Norfolk Relay in September 2012, those of you who don’t what the Round Norfolk Relay is, it’s a continues relay event which consists of 17 stages whith around fifty to sixty clubs around the country taking part in and each stage is ran by a runner from each club which mult terrain course’s along the sea side in daylight and along dark long roads at night and the whole event goes on for over 24 hours, which resulted me in following the event round. This event changed me not only as runner but as a person, it got me to know more about the other runners and boost my confidence around them, to know them more and them knowing me more as a person. I camped over on the Friday night along with most of the other runners and I remember the little incident with “The Man in a Bag” which the runners would know about and remember. As the event went away I was down for stage six which was 7.90 miles running from Cromer to Mundesley which i finished in around 55 minutes and finishing 13th overall on that stage, and I remember mostly the support I got from the other Ramsey Road Runners who cheered me on and made me feel happy whilst running the stage and it made me realise how much of a happy and wonderfull club Ramsey Road Runners is. Also many of the team follow the event from start to finishand condsidering the event takes over 24 hours to complete, this means going all through the night which means we only catch no longer than an hour’s sleep here and there, but we have such a great team spirit though, thats the fun of it.

Exactly a month late after Round Norfolk Relay I completed my first Half Marathon which was the Perkins Great Eastern Run in Peterbourgh and still remains to this day my favourite race, which for me was something I thought I would never do having been running for only 6 months prior to this. Having signing up to do this race a month before, I knew I would have to train hard for this race and my Mum and Stepdad were slightly unsure whether if i should do this race or not, they did say ‘If you can think you can run it give it a go’ and they did support me for it but i was struggling to find a training partner/partners or finding time to train by myself. A few members from the club such as Andrew Brett, Michelle Brett, Stephen Ashurst, Gavin Stokes and Simon Mead asked me and they also asked Darren Paine if we want to join them on sunday’s and do a long training run resulting in running off road, in the rain, cold or snow and we came along and started running witht them on the sunday runs which really helped me with my training and having the motivation and dedication to run more and it also got me, Darren and them to know us better. They helped me really well giving me some advice on how to pace the run and run your own race. As race day approached it was a hot sunny day in October and in the morning of the race I hadn’t felt so nervous or feel so sick before a race or a football match. As the race went away it took about 2 miles to settle in comfortably and to realise what I was about to tackle, the amount of runner there was so surreal to me and the crowd were amazing cheering every runner as they run by. As the finish line approaches i thought to myself “I’m actually gonna make it and complete the run” and i also thought “Go on sprint the last straight ” and i legged it overtaking 5 other runners along the way and the crossing the line in 1 hour 32 minutes and 16 seconds, which for me was such a credible time on my first half marathon and the whole gave loads of inspiration to run more half marathons and run more for the coming future and achieve greater results. I remember doing the St Neots Half Marathon a month after Peterbourgh half, this is why as said before peterbourgh inspired me to race more especially half marathons. At least i knew what to exspect from a half marathon just not with hills as St Neots half has alot of. Having had trained for this as well and having some idea of half marathons i managed to get a PB on only my second half marathon also with hills finishing it in 1 hour 31 minutes and 36 seconds, but i must admi i wouldn’t of done withount Andrew Brett who very kindly offered pace the run with me and i couldn’t of done without him which was good because it gave me an idea of how to pace half marathons and knowing i can go quicker.

As my first year of running come’s to an end i completed my first 10 mile race at Neve Valley 10 and i knew what to expect because i have trained and raced further than that distance and i finished that in 1 hour 9 minutes and 9 seconds which is good for your first attempt at a ten mile race. As 2012 came to an end i had achieved alot that i thought i would never do and achieve in a life time, i had made new friends as a result of it, i had more ambitions about running, i actually had set decent new years resolutions to achieve and i was really proud to have been awarded the Ramsey Road Runners mens most improved runner of 2012 and that personal achivement in my first year of running made me realise i’m going to be a runner for the rest of my life to achieve and experience alot of running related ambitions with years to come.

At the start of my second year of running i had entered to run Folksworth 15 at Yaxley and still at the age of 17 and still condsiderably new to running this was something i really had to thought about but i was told if you train well and hard there’s no other reason why not to run it unless i pick up an injury and can’t run it. So anyways i decided to do it and train well doing the sunday runs and extra miles before or after training or train on other days, so i can be physically and mentaly prepared to what looked to be serious undulating course i’m about to run here. I was proud to finish the race in 1 hour 50 minutes and so far and by far it was the hardest i had raced not because of the distance but because of the hills especially on the last hill on the second lap near the end but overall i did enjoy which for me was the most important factor and as well if brings me more experience and knowing what to expect next time. As the year went on i carried on running and enyoing it as much as ever, and training as always and of course racing like you always do. I managed to get some PB’S in the early months of 2013 such doing 10k in 40 mintues and 36 seconds at Eye 10K, getting a 5K PB Peterbourgh Grand Prix Series race 1 in a time of 18 minutes and 46 seconds i couldn’t seem to beat for a long time after that, however i didn’t get a 5 mile PB throughout the entire year having done a 5 mile Pb in Novemember 2012 at Bushfield Frostbite which was 32 mintues 23 seconds which again i couldn’t beat for a long time throughout the whole of 2013 in actual fact. That didn’t bother me too much in a way, i still enjoyed my running every week but there were points when i thought “Why can’t i beat any of these PB’S, is it in my head, my confidence or was i blown out too early”, it was strange. However i still enjoyed the team relay events Ramsey Road Runners took part in, the club took part in three events, early in the year was Hereward Relay, The Green Wheel Relay and the unique Round Norfolk Relay.

The Hereward Relay is a team event which consists of 4 runners in each team running round the Peterbourgh area and through Whittlesey and March. I ran stage one which is 6.5 mile, however i did it 43 minutes and unfortunately didn’t beat the stage record for our club which is 41 minutes 15 seconds which is currently and still held by Andrew Brett. The Green Wheel Relay was a new team event which consists of 7 stages in which Ramsey Road Runners entered two teams in 2013 and i rememeber that day being so hot. The first time i did it, i had done stage 3 which is 7.2 miles and was around the middle of the day and that’s when the heat and humidity kicked in and made so difficult for me and for sure for the other runners from the other teams. Darren Paine who was my cycle support on that stage backed me up on how hot and humid that stage but i was glad to finish it in 54 minutes 14 seconds and finish 2nd overall on that stage. But the highlight of the day was proudly annouced that Ramsey A the team i was in with Andrew Brett, Gavin Stokes, Stephen Ashurst, Darren Paine, Lisa Marriott and Michelle Brett were proud to to have won the event in a team of 5 hours 33 minutes and 41 seconds, what honourable moment that was for all of us. Round Norfolk Relay this year for me was different, i was down to run satge 11 which was 14.60 miles in the dark which again brought nerves to me. As i got going i was getting in to it really well and finding is so surreal especially out running on the road with only myself and a support car behind me chasing the other support cars i can see way into the distance. Unfortunately i cramped up in my calfs with only 3 miles to go and is slowed down an awfull lot, but i kept going knowing i didn’t want to let the team down especially with their huge support before, during and after the run, But i was proud to have finish in 1 hour 46 minutes and finish first male junior on that stage. despite the darkness and the cold air at night, i found that run to be one of the best running experiences i’ve had so far, infact i’ve enjoyed it so much, i was willing to put my name down for the night stages for the next coming years at Round Norfolk Relay, it inspired me that much to take on those kind of undulating challenges.

As October aproached i had entered myself to run the Perkins Great Eastern Run after the year before had giving me alot of inspiration and i coudn’t say no. The weather that day was chucking it down with rain which for me is the perfect weather condition to run in as the air is cool ad makes it easier for my breathing whilst i run, that’s just my personal preference. Unfortunately though the weather was extremly wet, the crowd wasn’t as big as the year before but my main focus was to beat time from the previous yeah i was proud to have beaten it with my overall finishing time of 1 hour 28 minutes and 59 seconds. The frightening thing for me was that next year i would have to work harder and dig deeper to beat that time which at that moment of time i thought i gave everything in just then, but i know i would have to train more and harder to set a new PB. As the year was coming to an end i also got a 10 mile PB Nene Valley 10, having done in 1 hour 9 minutes the year before, i did it in 1 hour 6 mintues 4 seconds which was another proud achivement for me. As 2013 came to an end i unfortunatley didn’t get want i wanted for 5 mile and 10k, for mile i wanted sub 32 minutes and 10k i wanted sub 40 minutes, but i didn’t seem to be able which was frustrating because i knew i could of done it and done better but i think i wasn’t at my best at that time in those distances. However i entered to do Ely New Years Eve 10k with most of the Ramsey Road Runners and having done decent times and Perkins Great Eastern Run and Nene Valley 10, i was more than 100% confident i can achieve sub 40 minutes 10k but the race ended in a bit of controversy for me. The first 2k or so was perfectly fine, i had high hopes of getting under 40 minutes but as 3k came and out in the open the wind was so strong and gusty, it was blowing me about and made it nearly impossible for me to run in, however as i finished i picked up a complete stropp and chucked my cup of water that was given to me into the distance, i was that annoyed about the run with the wind. This made me feel bad about myself and down in not getting what i wished for in 10k and the whole cup throwing incident, i went thorugh phases in my head saying your never gonna do it but i just got to keep believing. However after my cup throwing incident, some of the runners found it as a practical joke especially Gavin Stokes and Darren Paine and still to this day call the incident and me CUPGATE, which i do find funny and amusing, but i suppose that’s what we do at our club we joke around and have a laugh, thats fun of being a Ramsey Road Runner member. So if you ever hear the word CUPGATE from our club thats why.

2014 had arrived quickly and knowing that i’ve been running for around 2 years, i had entered myself into folksworth 15 again as i really enjoyed it the previous year, thinking and knowing that the folksworth 15 in one word is brutal which i think every runner would agree, i felt more confident going into it this time than the year before because i knew what to expect, trained harder and longer and poetentially my legs being use to that kind of distance. As the race got away the weather for that time of year which was in January was warm and sunny without no wind so poetentially perfect running conditions for most runners, it didn’t affect me too much, after a very good first 13 mile all of a sudden i got cramp in my calfs and i slowed down from 6:50 mintue miling to 7:50 minute miling which is a huge loss of time which was extremly gutting because i was due for a decent time. The last hill that we had to run up was nearly impossible for me my clafs were that cramped and tight, it was painfull and in a way brutal, however at the end of the day i was amazed and proud to get a PB still with a time of 1 hour 48 minutes. As the months went on i was running some 5 miles and 10k races but still not getting my targets for those distances which was still frustrating for me, i remember the other runners saying to me why can’t you do those times, your’re more than capable of doing them. I didn’t know why, maybe i wasn’t putting enough effort, was it in my head and wasn’t i pacing it correctly like i do in training because i must admit after those 5 mile and 10k race’s, i was saying too myself ‘ i felt i could of gone alot quicker ‘, i didn’t even feel like i hadn’t put any effort in. From there i just done normal training runs and effort sessions such as sprints, hill efforts and some cross country runs to build my speed and strength up, i was so determined this year i would get PB’S in those distances.

As june approached and went on the peterbourgh grand prix series race at ferry meadows arrived and it was the only one out of the 5 i did and i got a PB on that in 18:39 which gave me some belief and hope, because i thought if i can maintain that pace for another two miles i would get around 31 minutes for 5 miles and if carried on for 1 more mile to make up 10k, i would get around 39 minutes, so that overall boosted my confidence up. A few days before that, the club had entered three teams to compete in the Green Wheel Relay again, only this time Ramsey Rockets the team that consist of myself, Michelle Brett, Lisa Marriott, Darren Paine, Simon Mead, Andrew Brett and Gavin Stokes: finished 2nd overall out of 26 teams with a time of 5 hours 26 minutes 48 seconds, but we were still cheerfull and happy to have won the mixed team category, even celebrated with a few pints which was all fun and laughter. I started the team off running from Peterbourgh Athletics Track to Eye which was orginally 7.2 miles but it turned out to be 8.1 miles, but no one informed me on this change. The weather was hot and humid reaching the early 20’s in temperature and around 10:00 in the morning, luckily for us Libby Mead had very kindly offered to cycle with us whilst we ran our stages and good on her, she done the whole route which was just above 50 miles and cycling non-stop for just under 5 and a half hours, excellant stuff Libby. She got me through my stage by her excellant support and encouragement, despite the heat and the extended anonymous mileage which raised our eyebrows, and i finished the stage in 56 minutes 15 seconds and finished 2nd on that stage which was won by a Nene Valley runner. Andrew Brett and Michelle Brett also filmed the journey of our day including interviewing each runner before their stage and after and believe me, you can tell the difference in body language and looks.The film of our day is on the website or youtube which should inspire viewers on what team relay events are like. Ramsey Road Runners were also delighted for the Ramsey Ladies team to be the quickest ladies team to finish in at time of 8 hours 23 minutes 51 seconds, well done ladies excellant stuff, you know who you where.

July finally arrived and the summer just got hotter, but that still didn’t stop me from entering races. March Spud Run was my next race which was 5 miles and i was hoping to do better than the previous year which i did it in around 34 minutes which was also hot. Despite the heat i finally got what i wanted for 5 mile and did it in 31 minutes 23 seconds, it was such an achiveable moment for me because i’d waited so long to do this time and i finally did it, it was just a matter of time i guessed and self belief, keep saying too yourself you can do it. I was also accomplished to have been awarded a bag potatoes as well as all the other finishers did. About 4 days later me and Darren Paine thought we may as well do the Eye 5 mile charity race for a bit of fun. I was targeting a PB for this race but i was thinking how would still feel from the previous race which was less than a week ago. It was small race, not many runners do it, surprisingly i got another PB for 5 mile in just in the matter of days and broke my PB by 33 seconds and got 30 minutes 50 seconds, another happy moment for me, from there on my confidence and self belief risen to the point of pushing myself to the limits. As July was coming to an end, all the shorter races were all nearly done and that means distance races and training starts again. I thought i may give St Ives 10k a try and see if i can get under my 40 minutes at last, going into the race i knew i would do it because of my 5 mile times, but if i didn’t get under my 40 minutes, i would just stop 10ks because they’re obviously not for me. Despite the cource being flat and all on raod it was still hard because it was round an airfield and it just dragged on and on, that was the hard bit, despite all that hard work i finally got under my 40 minutes in a time of 39 minutes 13 seconds and my reaction was, well it was just like another PB to me, i was over the moon because it took me over a year to get that PB, a long wait but it was worth waiting for. Another good result to add to that, i was the 3rd MU20 .

Throughout August was just long training runs, track work grafham water runs on a friday evening, put all the hard work and mileage in my my upcoming half marathons and for Andrew Brett, Michelle Brett, Darren Pain, Stephen Ashurst and Gavin Stokes who were going to run the Berlin Marathon at the end of September, so they were making the most of it. After a good few weeks of hard work, Grimsthorpe Castle 10k had come around, which is a nice rac because there’s event stalls going on etc, however out of all the days on a bank holiday, it chucked it down but that didn’t stop up from racing. The course on this race is hard due to the hills, off road sections and ironically the finish is off road with a hill. The previous year i did the race, i finished in 43 minutes 20 seconds, but this time i got another sub 40 despite the tricky and undulating course and got 39 minutes 41 seconds also beating some of the clubs best runners including Andrew Brett and in some cases Darren Paine, but the results still came out that he beat me, i had him on line, we still joke around on it to this date, the board probably thought it was bad sportsmenship off me to overtake your own club mate on the line. After a funny finish and a foot long polish sausage as a post match meal, me, Darren, Andrew and Simon attented the awards ceremony thinking we may have won something, we were proudly to be awarded the first 1st male team and on top of that, i was awarded the first MU20 to finish the race, which was the most gifted of results i’ve ever had from all the races i’ve done in the 2 and a half years of running i’ve done and this made me realise i’ve got great poetential to get quicker in the coming yearsalong with inspiration knowing that i can win awards for achieivng such a good result, it’s putting that extra in, the more you put the more you pay off and as always said no pain no gain. Some of us finished the month by doing a recee run of stage 2 for the Round Norfolk Realy which was another nice day out, especially running along the coast, its quite unique. We finsihed the run by Chucking Michelle Brett and Lisa Marriott into the sea as their proposed version of the ice bucket challenge, after that bit of fun we had the traditional Norfolk Fish and Chips after a hard run. Those of you who where there will remember, for life my Cod and Chips moment: ‘ I go can i have Fish and Chips please, the waitress goes do you want Cod or sea bass sir, then i reply no can i have fish please’, all i remember is the other runners laughter right after i said no fish.

September now and all the long distance running begins here starting with Swineshead 10 mile, which again was another hot day with a hilly course but i still got a PB from it and my time was 1 hour 5 minutes 47 seconds which as always after every PB, i was happy even though the course was quite undualting at times, the hot weather didn’t help either, not the perfect running conditions for me this time. Once again Round Norfolk Relay had arrived and it was my 3rd consecutive year of taking part. This year the event had some stages changed involving stage 9, 10 and 11, in which i was running stage 10 which was 14.60, similar distance than the year before. I was actually really excited about it because it involved running in sudden darkness by myself and the support car, along with chasing the other support cars that i can see way into the distance. After another surreal run in the dark and passing 9 runners in total which was an amazing feeling and hills later, i finished the stage in 1 hour 40 minutes 58 seconds, 6 minutes quicker than the year before, i found that statistic unbeliveable, i also finsihed 8th overall on that stage out of 51 runners and i was the 1st mj on the stage, a truly memorable run to remember. I think my result would surprise some of the other teams, i remember when overtaking some of the other runners, the people in their support cars were saying ‘ It’s team number 20’ which i had pinned on my vest, and i turned it was a 19 year old going past them. I must admit it’s nice seeing the other runners though because you then got someone to talk too or say hello quickly after being alone in the dark for so long and you think too yourself ‘At least i’m not the only runner who’s crazy enough to do this’. Overall Ramsey Road Runners had a fantastic event and memorable one, we finished the event in 26 hours 14 minutes 45 seconds and finished 28th out of the 51 teams. Once again there is also a video about our journey on this years event which can be found on the clubs website. Also a special mention to Beth Curtis who stepped in to do stage 12 which was 19.67 at about 2:00am in the morning, excellant stuff. However all the club’s and other runners taking part in the event were shock to hear a sudden passing of a runner who sadly collapsed at the end of stage 4, everyone’s thought were with the runner’s club and family. As September came to an end i was happy to hear that Andrew Brett, Michelle Brett, Darren Paine, Stephen Ashurst and Gavin Stokes completed the Berlin Marathon, after a years worth of training and about 5 pairs of trainers for Gavin, a very nutrtious few months for Darren and hard training from all of them, they were glad it was over. Well done guys, you’re all such an inspiration too me, you make me want to run a marathon which i got one planned for 2016.

Perkins Great Eastern Run was here again, as said before it is may favourite race and i was definately aiming for a PB, i was aiming to get sub 1 hour 25 minutes. As i done most of my training with the marathon lot and some advice given to me, i was running about 30 miles a week in the 2-3 months in prior leading up to the race. After all this hard training and non-stop running, i was felling great and accomplished to have finished the race in 1 hour 23 minutes 44 seconds, 5 minutes quicker than the year before. For me it goes too show that if you put the effort in training and from races you get what you wanted to achieve for and there’s not a better felling than this. At the end of the month i was happy to get a 10 mile PB at Fenland 10, in which the year before i got injured at this race, so i was hoping to break that barrier and actually finish the race this time and despite being very windy i finished it in 1 hour 4 minutes. Just recently i got a 5 mile PB at Bushfield Frostbite which was treated like a 5k sprint from all of the runners, some say it’s a quick course, some say it isn’t, it’s what you find quick i suppose. After this quick 5 mile sprint, i was amazed to do it in sub 30 minutes and do 29 minutes 50 seconds and breaking the sub 6 minute miling barrier, thats the first time i’ve ever brkone that barrier in a race.

That is all my running up until now and i’m still training hard but not as much mileage. For the rest of year i’ve got Hereward Relay, Nenve Valley 10, BRJ Frostbite and maybe the Waterside 5 mile. I target some more PB’S in these races in what has been a great year of running for me and aim to just to do as well and maybe better next year and for all the years to come in which is only the beginning for me.

What running has done for me is that it has changed me as a person, it’s made me become more confident, out going and it has given me a sense of achievement. I think what has kept me running and would keep me carrying on running for the rest of my life, is not only my passion, enthuiasm and love for running, but my shere determination and motivation in wanting to suceed and get better in running. When i hit the older stages of my life and would probably be doing less running is i can look back on my life in running and say i done this and done thats, i believe running is something to be proud about. Not only that it’s all the members of Ramsey Road Runners who’ve kept me running by their friendship, happiness, encouragement and kindness, in my opinion we’re all like a family and it is a great pleasure to be a part of that family with the Ramsey Road Runners. Running has also made me make more close friends in which we sometimes have social gatherings together and i must admit, it’s strange seeing them not wearing running clothes. Running has also changed my appetite, as when i didn’t run, i would just eat junk every day and drink coca cola everyday, but now i rather have a bannana over a chocolate bar and coca cola is probaly a weekly or every couple of weeks treat. It has also given me sense on how to look after your health and body by not boozing and eating junk, but eating the right stuff and believe me or not i do like to eat but most of the time it’s good stuff. But usually after a big long training run or race i usually treat myself to a big pizza, a bag of sweets and coca cola, not beer because i rarely drink, only on special occasions. Overall i would like to thank the club members for having me in as a member, even though i’m alot younger, but i’m sure they like the fact there’s a soon to be 20 year old member at the club who like’s to hang around and have joke around with them. Running is now a set routine in my life in which it does if you believe and have targets, you gotta work for them but if you work hard for those targets you get what you have trained for and thats how you get the sense of joy and belief of achivement. I’ve now started to do alot of cross training in order to work on different muscles, it’s just something different from running, i swim, hope to start cycling soon as i would like to do some triathlons and duathlons in the future, i also do boot camp along with Darren, Andrew and Gavin and i’ve also started personal training with PT Chris Harlock who get me to focus on strength and condtioning to help for my running. In which he gets me to focus on core strength, balancing, weights but related running and building more strength.

And for now i would just like to keep on running and running with my running buddies and the sunday run crew as well as enjoying my full time job at the same time.

Christmas Drinks

I have suddenly thought of something to do with this blog.  Go me!!

Just to let you know that we are planning to meet up for some Christmas drinks on Monday 23rd December at 7pm at the White Lion pub in Bury. We would love to see you there and please feel free to bring partners or a friend etc. It has been a great year for the club so lets celebrate!!

pp. Andrew