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.

Neil

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;

05.01.14- CAMBS XC CHAMPS, PRIORY PARK, ST NEOTS
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.

26.01.14 BRASS MONKEY 10k, ROCKINGHAM SPEEDWAY
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 !

02.03.14 SWAVESEY HALF MARATHON
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.

09.03.14 NASEBY HALF MARATHON
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!!..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 !

21.04.14 HUNTS 5 MILE CHARITY RACE
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 🙂

18.05.14 SOHAM HALF MARATHON
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 !

22.06.14 GREENWHEEL RELAY 7.4 MILES
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.

06.07.14 MARCH 5 MILE SPUD RUN
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.

07.09.14 SWINESHEAD 10 MILE
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.

14.09.14 GRUNTY FEN HALF MARATHON
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
8th OVERALL, 2nd LADY
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.

23.11.14 HEREWARD RELAY
STAGE 4, 10.4 MILES
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 😉