Friday, 24 May 2013


According to the route description I'll run up and down "Brown Willy" and pass by "Wheal Fanny". If I survive those experiences I'll be good to get to the end of this 100 mile journey. Last Year i thre the towel in at around 62 miles, this year I hope to finish in under 30 hours.

I'll try and tweet progress through the Twitter channnel @rushirushworth.

The event website is here and an extract from the introductions follows:

One Man's Dream

In early 2008, Ivor Kingwell, (our group social secretary and organiser of the Dartmoor Reservoir Kanters), came to the Cornwall and Devon Committee with his idea for our next hundred. It was clear from his presentation to the group at that meeting that he had already put in a lot of thought and done a huge amount of research. He felt strongly that the route should take in both counties. His suggestion was for a walk that ran from coast to coast, across both counties and over both Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor – a true Cornwall and Devon Hundred. He pulled out maps with 3 possible routes marked on them, each one meeting the required criteria. His enthusiasm, together with the effort he had already put in, so motivated those attending the meeting that evening, that the decision was made to allow Ivor to put in a “bid” to National Committee for around 2013 -2014 and if successful, front it as organiser. This he duly did and in mid- 2008 we were allocated the 2013 hundred.
Then, in November 2008, just as Ivor was putting together an executive group to move everything forward, he collapsed and died whilst out on a Scout walk on Dartmoor. This came as a real blow to the group. He had been at the committee meeting just days earlier and group members were stunned. However, it very quickly became clear that this hundred would now be our group’s tribute to Ivor and resulted in the name Camel (Camel Estuary start) Teign (Teign Estuary finish) Ivor's Dream
Good Luck to everyone taking part...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Deepings 10k 2013 - A Sunny Day in the Deepings and a Pb Cliffhanger

"The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hooray, the sun has got his hat on and he's coming out today".

A Height Chart L-R
I've always been confused by that line. If the sun has his hat on surely we are in for a dull day. If the sun takes his hat off, his rays will shine? That's what I was thinking about during the first couple of kilometres of the Deepings 10k. The heavily armed race starter  made a brief announcement during which he identified that "the cloud had covered the sun just at the right time" which would be "ideal" for us runners who were about to set off. It was that announcement which triggered the song previously described and frustratingly set in motion a tune within my head that lasted for the rest of the 40 minutes of running that followed, I can only hope you now have the same song in your head so that you can understand my pain.
The sun did in fact shine brightly making it easier to get out of bed. An 11 am start also meant that I could leave my slumber at a sensible time. I left Grantham at 9am after picking up new club member Chris England. Chris was undertaking his second 10k after a baptism of fire at the Grantham Cup. Today would be flatter and "on road" but the lack of hills would demand a faster pace which would no doubt throw up its own challenge.

Charles Roberts 1st GRC back.
We arrived in the quaint town of Market Deeping in time to watch the start of the 3k race. Children seemed attracted to the shorter distance and I noticed Lucy Roberts of Grantham RC on the start with her son Charles. Charles went on to have a great debut race and was technically the first Grantham athlete home arriving back at the finish with as much enthusiasm as when he left. Just as the 3k finished the rest of the Grantham contingent arrived, Ben, Scott and Dave together we discussed race strategy, toilet strategy and whether we could win a team medal or whether Dave could win a solo. 

3K Race Start
The race begun at 11am just after the sun put his hat back on. I felt strong throughout the 10k but I had to work at times to keep up the fast pace. The course leaves the grassy surface of the rugby club and then uses typical Lincolnshire country roads. The roads and scenery were similar to that enjoyed at the Friskney Half Marathon earlier in the year. The sun took his hat off at various intervals and when his rays shone it was hot. The heat was tempered by a mild wind that itself might have tempered a few pb's. On a perfect day this would be a fast course.
I arrived home a few seconds over 40 minutes. I had glanced at my watch with about 2k to go and I knew sub 40 was touch and go. I put in a big effort in the that final 2k but ultimately came up short. I tried to locate the finish clock as I rounded the corner on to the grass pitch, there was about 50m to the finish. By the time I locked on to the clock it was too late, I crossed the line just seconds over 40 minutes. I would have preferred to be 39 something but I wasn't too bothered today. I  had a miserable race the previous week at Sheffield, at least today I got a bit of zip back and felt strong. 
Dave Kay finished a full minute in front of me and later explained that he prefers a more hilly route. Ben Mason was aiming for a pb after coming off a strong Milton Keynes Marathon best performance. Previously his best time was 42:16 (I think, don't quote me) and he ran home at Deepings in almost exactly the same time. Official results aren't yet published but it will be exciting to see if his official result might be a second or so under his pb, a second or so over, or perhaps exactly the same time. Scott Jones was next man home enjoying another strong run,again not long after the Milton Keynes Marathon.

Scott encourages Chris.
New to running, Chris England, pbd at his second time at the distance coming back in around 1 hour and 5 minutes. The aim now is to go sub 1 hour at the Summer Solstice Race and make sure he beats his 60 year old mother!
Did such strong performances win a team prize? There were plenty of them, 1st 2nd and 3rd team in either gender. Sadly we missed out to stronger clubs with Metheringham, Nene Valley and Yaxley taking the honours.
The Deepings 10k was a good local event. Runners were given a water bottle emblazoned with the logo of Deepings rotary club who organised the event. A post race cup of tea and a bacon sandwich were very welcome before the drive North back to Grantham.


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Sheffield Half Marathon 2013

The Sheffield Half Marathon was a race I hadn't run before. It began at Don Valley Stadium and ran through the city centre before a gradual incline up the vibrant Ecclesall Road. At the junction of Brocco Bank, runners turned back along the same route all the way home to the stadium. 
Warm up track - a good find.
I was surprised by the "big race" feel in the stadium. Don Valley is about to be retired, not even Jessica Ennis can save it. I suppose this race  was a stadium swansong and there were around 6,000 runners at the party. The stadium seating was occupied by thousands of spectators which helped to provide a good pre race atmosphere. I found a quiet room complete with indoor warm up track and did a few shuttles before moving to the runners area below the stands.  I decided to get on the start line earlier than usual, it was a mistake. I shuffled in among my compatriots a good ten minutes before the gun but the race start was then delayed. There was an announcement that there were cars parked on the route which the Council was in the process of removing and the race would not start until they were gone. I regretted taking up position so early because my pre-race hydration efforts came back to haunt me. 
I stood on the start very close to the line and wondered if I had time to get out, "unhydrate" against a stadium flood light or similar structure and get back into the throng at a respectable position towards the front of the field. As I pondered with increasing urgency whether to take a toilet trip, there followed the next announcement, "will runners please come to the line", I would have to wait. We shuffled towards the line, an official starter dressed in a red suit authoritatively fired the starting pistol and we were off to run what for me personally turned out to be 13.1 miles of misery.        
The golden rule of racing is not to set off to fast, if you do you will likely suffer in the later stages. I had run a marathon pb three weeks earlier and had spent the weeks since the marathon generally basking in my success and enjoying the sacrifices that I had missed during pre London training. I had indulged in treats like alcohol and cake and alcohol. I decided to exercise the golden rule with vigour setting off at a very reserved pace and I became concerned after five miles or so when, despite the lack of effort I began feeling sluggish, lazy and tired. If you go off too fast, at least you can slow down.
Simon says....
I tried to put my toilet needs out of my mind usually when the race gets underway you have other things to think about but at Sheffield I lost the mental battle. I was feeling tired, I couldn't find a pace and knew the race was going to be a struggle. I had entered Sheffield to take advantage of my London marathon fitness. I didn't pay much attention to the type of course but I wanted to do a half marathon soon after the marathon to see the pb fairy would visit again. I can now confirm, the pb fairy doesn't visit the undulating streets of the city of steel. 
By sixish miles I threw the towel in for the first time by running off course for a whizz. It's a long time since I have stopped during a race and as I perched against the wheelie bin watching the race by pass me I felt a bit guilty and wanted to get back on the running stage. I had a little word with myself and was soon back among the racing masses and determined to to be more positive. 
The crowd support in the city centre was good. At the other side of the city we ran up Eccleall Road, a vibrant road flanked by bars and restaurants. I'm not very familiar with Sheffield but if you lived there I think Eccleshall Road would be a good place to live. Half way along the road the front runners began to return in the opposite direction. The first  runner wore a neanderthalic beard. He looked liked he was chasing an antelope for tea. He was way ahead of second place and later finished in an astonishing time of 1 hour 6 minutes. I enjoyed watching the elite as it diverted my attention from the misery which, despite an empty bladder,  I was still experiencing.
The second half back to Don Valley became more and more difficult, there was simply no pace or energy to be found. By ten miles I'd really had enough and I was surprised at how my body began to tire. Not three weeks earlier I had breezed through 13.1 miles of the marathon feeling great and ready to tackle another 13.1 back to the Mall, at Sheffield I was questioning whether I could finish a single half. The physiology and psychology of running is an odd thing, either I had not recovered from London or I had recovered too much!
As we approached the welcome sight of Don Valley I saw runners adjacent to me on an underpass below, entering the stadium behind a fence that I couldn't pass. I had not gone wrong but it became apparent that we needed to do an external lap of the stadium which would then bring us to the other side of the fence which by that point we would be perhaps 200m from the finish. This was obviously the race organisers illustration of how to kick a man when he is down. They thought it appropriate to finish the race within a stadium that you can see agonisingly close but yet distant for at least the last 3 miles of the race, only to find that when you reach the golden target you have to run round it before you are let in...that in my knackered view was entirely inappropriate. 
Sulking on a seat at the back
I wasn't the only person struggling. As I turned into the stadium I almost tripped over a guy that had come to grief. He had fallen and was surrounded by medics, never a good sight to see. I staggered onwards. I was so tired that when I saw a cup of abandoned water on a fence post in front I stopped to drink it, most unlike me, especially with about 400m to go.
I crossed the finish line with some relief and walked on to retrieve a goody bag with sweets, biscuits and a decent medal enclosed. The t-shirt stop was next, a fairly decent white technical top. I'm not keen on white tops so I exchanged my large for extra large so I could at least sleep in it. I swayed across to a lone chair in the stadium, stuffed the biscuits in my mouth all at once and reflected on what had gone wrong. In hindsight I ran 1:32:20 across a fairly undulating course so I can't beat myself up too much, it was just harder than it should have been.