We attend many different races throughout the year (often sharing cars), ranging from relatively short distances to half and full marathons, including venues close to home and those a little further away (some of our women members did the half marathon in Tromso in 2016). Some examples include:
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Hastings Half Marathon - Sunday 19th March 2017
Latest 3 Road reports, photos and results
Barcelona Half Marathon - 12 Feb 2017
I’ve been sitting here trying to recall how I got myself roped into running a half marathon. I always said I was happy just running 5km and 10km races and yet I found myself agreeing to running over 21 kms! I suspect it was Pat Cliff who got me interested as we had one of our many early morning pre parkruns.
Flights and hotels had already been booked before I got involved although I was able to take one of the ten pre-booked rooms at the hotel. Thanks to Jackie for organising these for us. I just had to sort my flight and enter the race, making sure I did it in the right order! Imagine booking my flight and then finding out the race was full . . . . . As this was all done in September and the race was in February I needn’t have worried at all.
I had no idea how to train for this so I relied heavily on the experienced runners in the group to guide me. We had lots of early starts ahead of parkrun and late finishes as we built up the miles in our legs. We all booked to run the 10 mile race in Canterbury a few weeks before we were due to fly out to Barcelona and I was pleased with how I coped with that race along with my time on the day. We had one more training run to do and we talked excitedly about the forthcoming trip for 11+ miles.
There was a flurry of text messages during the final few days as arrangements were made for cabs, check-in and meeting up at the airport. We all attempted to have an early night as we were being picked up at Fiona’s at 4am as we needed to be at Gatwick by 5am. The journey was a little hairy as the driver seemed to be in a rush to get us there but we all managed to hang on tight and got through security without any mishaps. After a quick bit of breakfast it was time to board and I was lucky enough to have a row of seats to myself so managed to grab 40 winks.
Once we had checked in at the hotel we had to make our way across the city to collect our race numbers and technical running shirts. You certainly cannot miss us when we wear them! The journey across the city was rather eventful as Pat fought off would be muggers at the Metro station. I don’t think they knew what to make of her!
We all had an early night as we needed to be at breakfast at 7:30am as the race started at 8:45am. There was no porridge available so I filled up on fruit yoghurt and granola and plenty of fluid. After a last minute wee stop we made our way across to the start line, which was only five minutes walk from our hotel. Veronica was a great help as our supporter, coach and bag carrier whilst we were running. The nerves started kicking in as I pushed my way into the pen with Fiona, Jan and Barbara for those runners of 2+ hours and I was feeling very emotional. Fiona and Jan calmed me down and I tried to focus on my prior achievements as we slowly made our way to the official start point. 18 minutes had already passed before we crossed the start line and we were away. It was great to see the sights of Barcelona from a different perspective and the crowds on the street were encouraging us along.
I had no idea where any of the other BVAC ladies were although I kept pace with both Jan and Fiona. The weather was pleasant and proved to be good running conditions. We passed the 5km mark in just over 32mins and took on some water. I got confused at 7km as I thought we had passed the 7mile marker. Thank you to Fiona for pointing out my mistake. I suffered with pins and needles in my right foot shortly after this but with lots of toe wiggling it eventually passed.
At 14km we headed up Diagonal where apparently Barbara saw us heading up as she was going down. We also spotted Anne but she didn’t hear us due to the band playing on the street. We later spotted Bernie, Pat and Belinda and it was good to see that everyone else was running comfortably. As we headed into the final 4 kms we were running along the sea front and watched the waves crashing on the beach. I was starting to struggle and the emotions of the morning were sweeping over me. I wanted to drop back so I could join Anne, Val and Jackie however Fiona and Jan had other plans for me. With their encouragement I managed to keep going and the finish line was soon in sight. I could see the timer and I was confident that I could beat my target of 2hrs and 20 mins. Apparently Veronica was at the finish line cheering all us BVAC ladies through but I was so focused that I missed her. I crossed the line hand in hand with Jan and Fiona and I cannot thank them enough for their support and encouragement for every kilometre and all 2 hours, 16 minutes and 43 seconds of it . . . .
Until the next one!
Canterbury 10 - 22 Jan 2017
I signed up to this race as part of my training for the ½ marathon in Barcelona in February and this was going to be the furthest I had run officially. Like any race I had set myself a target time, this being 1 hour 50 mins or 11 minute miles whichever looked better!
I decided to take it easy at parkrun the day before and had a gentle run whilst making arrangements to collect Natalie, Pat and Sarah the next morning for the drive to Canterbury.
The day started early with a bowl of porridge before we headed off down the motorway where the weather was not looking too bright. The weather reports suggested it would be cold and foggy and it was not wrong. The race headquarters was a hive of activity and we met with the other club members to have the obligatory selfie before we made our made our way to the start line.
The race started through a built up area but very quickly became open countryside although we could barely see due to the fog. Picturesque villages were also passed through and I am sure on a summer’s day they would be wonderful. Sadly the weather did not do them justice but we were not there to admire our surroundings!
The first few miles passed quickly and it seemed we were already halfway through the race and able to take on much needed liquid at the water station. At mile 6 we knew we were heading back and Natalie, Belinda and I were comfortably in our stride. Natalie provided us with jelly babies to keep up our energy levels although I was still struggling with the cold conditions. My feet were numb and I had to keep wiggling my toes to keep the blood circulating. It wasn’t long before we approached the final hill and Peter’s training came in handy as I remembered to keep my head up, elbows back and kept my knees up to make it to the summit and back on level terrain.
The last mile was soon in sight as we made our way back past the houses and on to the finishing straight. I could see the timer ahead and I pushed on to chase Belinda to the finish line with Natalie hot on my heels. My chip time was 1hr 47mins and 48 secs so comfortably within my target and set me up nicely for Barcelona a few weeks later.
A medal, cereal bar and water greeted us as we made our way back to the headquarters where we were able to catch up with the other BVAC runners. I had to hurry back home as football was due to kick off at 4pm and for the first time in seven or eight seasons I was late getting to my seat but it was worth it as I held on to my earlier achievements of the day.