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Thames Meander Marathon - Saturday 12 August

Day 677 of my running streak and an unusual 30 mile double - a 9am parkrun followed by a 10am Thames Meander marathon, which was my 19th of the year and 79th overall. I’m aiming to get to 100 next year, which is why I’m doing so many. I hadn't pre-entered and turned up early to do so. As I waited, a chap mentioned there was a parkrun about to start from the same place. After a quick dash to the car to get an emergency barcode, off I went. I Kept it slow and I did get a few odd glances as I had my marathon number on. The route was exactly the same as the marathon, along the Thames, reaching a turnaround and back. After the run I had 36 mins to kill and kept moving slowly, so as to not cramp. Duly warmed up, the said marathon followed. The route was all along the Thames heading from Ham towards Kew, Richmond and Hampton court. The first section was quite scenic, running past various boats, moorings, pubs, under various bridges and with some London landmarks visible from a distance but unfortunately there was a dull section in the middle that lasted 10 miles and I admit to getting bored. Even though the Thames was next to me, for that section we ran along mostly enclosed gravel paths with trees and overgrown shrubs blocking the view. We ran through a couple of tourist spots and at one point I was dodging the camera brigade for about two miles. Having given up vino and related liquid consumables, it was quite a surprise at 19 miles to get a real bad attack of cramp that eventually added 35 mins to my finish time. I can drink 5 pints, vino and eat a curry before a marathon (as I have a number of times this year) and not get cramp, yet when I stick to soda water I get the leg wobbles for the first time in some years. I might have to rethink pre race hydration. The final stretch was tough. At the start that sent us off a mile in one direction and then we came back to the start, before carrying on. At the end we had to do the same again and it was tough to run past the finish on knackered legs and still have two miles to go. Promised more than it delivered. Nice medal at least.

Paul Owen

Cowman Middle Distance Triathlon -Sunday 6 August

This was my last race before my big race (Ironman Wales) and I was using this race as a hard brick training session. I usually do this race as it's a great tough local course based in Olney, Bucks. I pushed right from the start and wanted this race to hurt me in an attempt to prepare me for the pain I will experience in Wales.

Jensen Button the F1 driver, had also decided to use this race as prep for his half ironman race in Bahrain the middle east as he explained to me. In short I had a good trouble free race finishing an hour ahead in my age group. It's head down now for my last few weeks of big mileage in training. (100 mile hilly bike rides with 22 mile runs off the bike). Not forgetting regular 4k swims in the lake.

Martin Beare 4:43:32

From Here To There And Back (27M LDWA) - Sunday 9 July

I felt ok before the start of this race, but it didn't last. Satnav and I started with Chris Newnham, but at mile 3 he was off. This was a self navigating, almost entirely trail run put on by the LDWA. The route in various places was heavily overgrown and lots of tikes, we were reduced to walking and often wading through collapsed crop. Luckily, Satnavs encyclopaedic knowledge of the different varieties of crop kept my mind fully occupied. To the point in fact where we went wrong twice and ended up doing about 29 miles (which was better than Chris who did 31 miles). Towards the end, we caught up with Becs and Paul Barton and it would be fair to say we were all very glad to finish.

Paul Owen

Bedford Park Run - Saturday 8 July

A PW which had nothing to do yesterdays marathon. It was my daughters first ever proper race and we ran it together. She ran all the way and beat me by a second. My pride in her achievement even let me get over the fact that I was lapped by Phil Horan.

Paul Owen - 33:02

Lakeland 110K - Saturday 1 July

I am planning on doing the Bob Graham Round in the next couple of months and so I was using this race as a training run. My prospective pacer for the BGR had told me that 15 hours for this particular race would be a good idea and so I set off with this in mind. The race starts at midnight and heads out from Ambleside to the East and then north along fairly rocky paths. It avoids the peaks and instead follows some lesser trod valleys and over cols. I took it fairly easy to start with as I didn’t want to break any bones in the dark. The descent to the second aid station at Haweswater proved to be a bit tricky underfoot but I managed to reach daylight without too many scrapes and bruises. Navigating was fairly easy as the paths were marked apart from a 12km stretch to Patterdale during which I saw absolutely no one. I am not sure if this was the work of an irate farmer or someone forgetting to mark this section. Fortunately I had the gpx on my watch and despite a few concerns stayed on track. At the half way stage I was 40 minutes behind schedule but since I was moving up the field I kept focussing on catching the next person up. At the 80km stage I got overtaken for the first time in 60km. 5k later someone else came past and so I decided to hang on with him and get the race finished. This proved to be a good strategy and although he beat me in the last 400m, our mini-competition had pushed us on and I beat my target by 9 minutes and finished a respectable 15th. All in all a decent day out and plenty of time afterwards to have a few beers.

Phil Wolstencroft 14:51:44

Great Barrow Marathon Challenge - Thursday 26 June to Saturday 8 July

29th June - 5:19:50. This is an event that attracts marathon addicts. Based in Barrow, near Bury St. Edmunds in Surrey, you can enter 10 marathons in 10 days, or individual races. Each of the runs is over the marathon distance and tended to be 26.5, and for the hardcore there was a 10 in 10 32 mile ultra challenge as well. I chose 5 of the marathons, with LDWA marathons on the weekends before and after to bring up 7 marathons in two weeks. Sounds odd, but I didn't think I was fit enough to enter all 10 and 7 seemed like a happy compromise. Fellow trainee addicts Richard Satnav Jones, Mark Rouse and Becs Fleckney also signed up for various races which meant there was only one I ended up running on my own. Fully qualified addict Paul Barton entered two as well. Mark originally signed up for 3 and ended up doing 5. There were 5 routes over the 10 days, mostly a mix of quiet country roads and trail which broke it up a little as unlike some of the 100 clubbers who were there, I hadn't run them before. There was a camping option, meals on site and a bar. I kept it steady for the first one knowing what was ahead, walked the hills and let Mark take the honours (well technically he left me and Satnav at mile 3 and was long gone).

30th June - 5:34:29. After a night under the stars in my little tent, the smell of bacon woke me. About an hour after a blooming cockerel had done that earlier. The second marathon is always harder to get going and after another mix of trail and road, I was relieved to finish in what would me my slowest time of the week. The route took in Thetford forest, with a fair amount of rusted, dusty trails to conquer and a few mentally challenging long sections. An undulating six mile road section at the end ensured the legs knew they had been in a race. Mark kept me honest on this one, but I probably slowed him down.

3rd July - 3:54:15. My best run of the week, which rather unbelievably secured me a second place finish. Having had two days off (albeit with a daily run to keep the streak going), I felt surprisingly fresh on the Monday morning. As I was on my own, I decided to pick the pace up a tad and slowly became conscious I was passing people and no one was passing me. I began to reel in runners, on what was an undulating course with a half and half mix of trail and road. I expected the wheels to fall off, but they never did. As the miles grew, I felt in good nick and resolved to pop in a sub 4 (which would have been the equivalent of around a 3.30 road marathon). I was still rather surprised to be told by the race director as I crossed the line I had come second.

4th July - 4:51:47. As predicted, after another night under the stars and a bacon and egg buttie for race nutrition, I paid the penalty for the previous days antics. Having said that, this was the same course as on the 30th June, so to pop in a time 42 mins quicker was a relief on a day when it was very warm.

7th July - 4:48:05. By now the legs were feeling the brunt of the mileage and this was a lets just get it done run. The route wound its way into Newmarket along the busiest roads of all the courses. There were a number in the first half that were very long and straight and I found this route the most difficult of them all. A very long uphill climb at mile 17 really tore into my already tired pins and I have Satnav to thank for just keeping me going.

Paul Owen

Newham Great London 10K - Sunday 2 July

I did this race in 2016 and when I saw this year's fell on my 65th birthday I thought what a great way to kick the day off. I entered Terry for some company but a year on I didn't bank on the fact we were both be carrying hamstring injuries. In Terry's case he has hardly run since the London Marathon. Nevertheless, with the iconic nature of the course - the finish on the Olympic Track - it was an injury worth hobbling round for!

Because of the high entry numbers runners are set off in time waves (we were on the first start of the day). The race starts outside of the stadium by the ArcelorMittal Orbit Slide - the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide (114.5m) and the UK’s highest freefall abseil, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is a viewing experience like no other. We are then taken around the roads of the Olympic Park, past the other Olympic venues before eventually bringing us back towards the Stadium. At 9K runners are taken around the warm up track before entering the concourse of the stadium to do a 3/4 lap before entering into the main stadium at the top of the home straight to run the final 100m to the finish.

At the end of the day I was more than pleased with how my run went as it was all about enjoying the London Olympic experience. Having crossed the line I was fortunate to be congratulated by Jo Pavey who I then blurted out that this was my 65th birthday run! Embarrassing to say the least but but we then did quickly discuss my deteriorating running times over the years (I have a PB of 36mins) but I did wish her well for 2017 knowing she still hoped to qualify for the world's 10,000m - she recently ran a sub 33 at 43 year's of age!

Although Terry and myself had run the race conservatory both setting new PW's, the main thing was that we had got round OK albeit a little sore. The target now is to try and sort the injuries out and then both get fit for the cross country season.

Dave Stanley

Herts Hobble - Sunday 25 June

Day 601 of my current daily streak, 12th marathon of the year and the first of 7 planned in the next two weeks. I like a challenge. As marathons go, the Herts Hobble 26.5 (so technically an ultra lol) LDWA event is on the easier end of the scale. Rolling green countryside, self navigating but with great instructions, 4 checkpoints with lots to drink and loads of food, friendly chat from the compact entry and a few mates to chill the time away. I left my watch off and didn't ask what the time was once, save on the way to the event as I had overslept, didn't have time for breakfast and needed to use the conveniences to leave last nights sumptuous repast at the start. There was food galour at the checkpoints and plenty of hot and cold drinks, which meant I spent so much time at each, I probably added an hour to my overall time but that wasn’t an issue. I let the sprightly Chris Newnham go at 16 miles which was a wise move, as he was 25 mins quicker than me over the last 10.5 miles and I needed to conserve my energy. I finished with my legs feeling ok and almost ready to do some more. Almost. Great to see six Flyers at this event, which at a cost of £8 was ridiculously cheap.

Paul Owen, 5:27

Silsoe Stride - Sunday 25 June

I thought, after running in the "Hot" weather at the GSR relay last weekend, I would have a go at this local race at Wrest Park. The race started at 9.45, after the usual warm up and briefing etc, and Ian Halpin raced off like a steam train, and was a good 50 yds in front of the next runner by the time we reached the turn to go out to he woods (about 1/2 mile in !).. He stayed in front all the way and duly came home in front.

My race was a steady plod around the route, with no chance of getting lost, and, as a result of a "marshalling problem" was running back in with some of the 10k runners - who had been sent on the wrong route.... Most of the circuit was flat, apart from a short uphill around 2-3k point. Nearly all on tracks, except the final 600 yards along the main driveway to the finish.

My finishing time was 32.16 , coming 74th out of 148 runners. Also, I was First MV60 / with 7 others running - but alas no prize...

I would recommend this race to people , being good for a first timer at 5k. A Good Race, friendly marshalls, but the news will certainly be made regarding the 10k runners being sent on wrong route..

Keith Morgan

Cardiff Olympic Triathlon - Sunday 25 June

Was so chuffed with this time... Was aiming for 3 hours and I'd trained well and was confident - but was much faster than I'd hoped in all 3 disciplines!

I'm fairly sure the swim was short - I'm a confident swimmer but I've never got anywhere that sort of time for 1500m. It was in the sea so not sure the tide helps! (The waves certainly didn't help... but I consumed enough water to keep hydrated for the whole race!). The bike course was flat and I was powering round faster than I'm used to, but I'd done enough in training to know my legs were handling it so kept on. My legs were slightly tiring by the end so I intentionally slowed a bit in the last few miles anticipating the run. My legs felt good almost immediately off the bike, which is unusual! I clock watched for the first mile to check I wasn't going too fast, but after a mile I was still running faster than planned and feeling good, so I didn't look at the watch again and just went with it! I felt good the whole way round the run until the last mile where my legs got heavy and started tightening up... but who cares by then, its only a bit to go and I already knew I was finishing much better than expected - so just grin and bear it!!!

The run course was short too (at least 1/4 of a mile), so 47 minutes wasn't quite a 10k effort, but I still kept under 8mm the whole way which was faster than I've done for years, in or out of a triathlon. So satisfying when everything goes right in training and on the day!

Jody Buczynski- 2:29:23

Beds RCC Spoco TT Cycle - 2*11.3M - Sunday 28 May

This was my first time attempting this undulating course and it was thoroughly enjoyable (even Hillfoot!), however I got caught at a set of traffic lights on my 2nd lap that popped up unexpectedly! Great to see a few other flyers taking part and some cracking times!

Deborah Beare 1:5:30

Liverpool Rock'n'Roll Marathon - Sunday 28 May

This was a large marathon race, we stood in pens and went off in waves. Each mile there seemed to be either a band or a DJ, the race was well structure and marshalled. I initially had a goal of 9mim, however I had to reconsider this at miles 6, when I really felt worse for wear, I slowed down my pace, made sure I took on water and salts. I found I had to concentrate on my footfall, my breathing and the negative thinking tell me to dnf. I settled in to a good rhythm which took me all the way to 17miles. Here I had to walk, my head was hot and I knew I had to cool down. I picked up the pace and lasted until 22mile before I had to walk again. Redway Runners where very supportive, three passed me and urged me to keep on. The 4.30 running bus passed me and told to get on the end, which I did until 24. I again picked up the pace found a rhythm did a lot of mental counting and got over the finish line. In what had been my most difficult marathon to date. I felt really ill afterwards, not post race sickness. This was extreme headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, abdominal cramps. I found I had contracted the norovirus, (I'm on day two of the norovirus challenge). I will be back next year and the music and bands were brilliant, also I want to try that race again, fit and healthy this time.

Ian Orr Campbell - 4hr 37m

Grafman Middle Distance Triathlon – Sunday 21 May

For those not familiar with Tri distances this was a 1.9k swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run. The venue being Grafam Water. I had been swimming in our local lakes prior to this race (Brogborough and Stewartby) to try and acclimatize myself to the very cold water temperatures lately. I did this race because I won the entry from last year's race and it's very local and it's a good form of training for bigger races this season.

Unfortunately the race referee decided the water was too cold on the morning and reduced the swim to 1 lap for safety.  I found the water fine but got boxed in and couldn't find clear water for some time and made things very frustrating. Swim soon over onto the bike and the same thing in the early stages very busy and congested with athlete's which was dangerous at times.

Days before the race I had invested £200 on a bike fit so was interested in seeing how I got on with comfort and handling etc. With no dramas I was soon back for my half marathon this is my favourite bit because it where I make my way up the leader board, however to my horror I found my lower back had gone into spasm and this didn't sort itself until 10k but I refused to let this effect my goal of an age group win an suffered the pain and kept a decent pace. Long and short of it was a 1st some 14 minutes clear of 2nd.

Thanks to my as ever supportive wife and Ian Haplin for making the trip to support.

Martin Beare – 4.28.11

Wheathampstead 10K - Sunday 21 May

This is one of the those races I've been returning to year after year and it is again surprising that so few Flyers run this race - in fact, I didn't see any this year. Starting on the village green in Wheathampstead it really has a 'carnival atmosphere' to the whole day and incorporates a 2K fun run for children. The 10K race leaves the village green and heads out to join the now disused railway line that used to run from Hatfield to Dunstable. Just before 5K runners are taken off the old track and across surrounding fields taking in the only serious climb just before 6K. Back over the railway bridge at 7K runners are dropped down to follow the footpath alongside the River Lea back to the finish on the Village Green. This is a lovely off road run and despite the heavy rain on Saturday the course was reasonably OK underfoot. Terry had intended to run but pulled out on the day with a recurring hamstring problem. Last year I managed 50.10 but this year I have just struggled with my running since London. Through 5K in 26.40 I did the return 5K in a slightly slower time to finish in 53.46 and was out sprinted by the 2nd V60 finisher to add insult to my run! 3 minutes down - what can I say but a disappointing run on a lovely course

Dave Stanley 53:46 - 3rd V60

Apocalypse 50 - Saturday 20 May

My first ultra in almost a year and the pace, nutrition and hydration seemed to work as I came 3rd (about 70 starters). This is not a bad event to do – 50 miles and 3000m of climbing in the Shropshire hills. About a quarter of it is on roads and it is reasonably easy to navigate. With just one aid station from which four entirely different loops emanate and all the checkpoints being self marshalled (orienteering style clips) there is a certain simplicity about this event which works well.

Phil Wolstencroft 10:32

Nottingham Sprint Triathlon – Saturday 20 May

Entered this in preparation for an Olympic distance triathlon next month. Its a great event – no scenery (if you like that sort of thing) but well organised and a quick course. Swim went well - I feel confident in the water so was happy to go quite hard and not waste too much energy. Bike went well too – a bit quicker than planned, but got into it a bit with 2 other blokes and my competitive side came out ??

I was tired straight off the bike and it took a few minutes to unfold my back and legs into a running shape, but I found a rhythm!! In my last triathlon (last year) I pulled a calf muscle 1 mile into the run and had a very long hobble to the end – and I was still paranoid about that happening again. So, I ran cautiously (and was overtaken by almost everyone) but was happy to finish injury free and running comfortably. Hopefully this is a good sign to get under 3 hours in my Olympic triathlon next month.

Jody Buczynski : 1:18:04

Chicks Chase 10K - Thursday 11 May

Haven't done this one for a few years as it has a bit of a rep for being overpriced for a basic run round a lake but it popped up on my radar and was another race challenge point so couldn't say no..

They've introduced a chaps chase which sets off half an hour after the chicks. I got overtaken by all but one smelly boy. It was a pointless effort but avoiding being overtaken by the last male kept me going for the last couple of kilometres and I managed to keep him at bay. An ok course, nice simple event I could pop along to straight from work. OK medal which you just helped yourself to at the end along with a couple of haribos and a cup of water. There are few more races throughout the year so may do a couple more.

A good idea for the pot hunting couples in the club who could easily wipe the floor in both races and despite the efforts of the organisers the chaps chase didn't have that many runners so a good opportunity for our competitive males to bag a top ten finish if they fancy it!

Rebecca Fleckney 59:58

Kassios Dias Corfu - Sunday 7 May

Denise and I ran this iconic mountain marathon billed as 24k which was exactly 14 miles. The event takes place in and around Kassiopi in north west Corfu. Many top Greek mountain runners come from the mainland to run the event and there were a few Brits including 5 of the Durrell Family TV crew who came back! This is a tough run with 1150 ms of ascent much of which is in the first 10k. There are wooded slopes of 36% with small rope sections to help pull you up, or where they turn down hill keep you from crashing through the trees. Dry stream beds full of big rocks also test you on the way up. Coming down is tough on the knees and quads and the passage down is littered with stones and rock. Delightful bottles of Loux (the local fizzy orange) were a blessing at about half way! Down to the coast just below where we stay and then a rocky up and down path along the coast to a steeply wooded area with another climb tests tired limbs towards the end. A small road and beach section leads to the last but one hill, with a great fast run down and round the Castle peninsula with a steep uphill to run round the ruins of the castle and out into the High Street and harbour to finish. We both feel this is a brilliant race and Denise Who was the oldest lady in the race(!) finished in 3 hrs 56 and was fourth in her age group which was 40+ so a brilliant run. I finished in 2 hrs 47 and was 21 out of 175 and second male vet 55 (3rd oldest in race). Unfortunately the organisers had me in a different age group so I missed a presentation on the podium, but they have corrected the positioning now. Would be great to see some more Flyers out there next year.

Warwick Browning

Stevington 12K - Sunday 7 May

Not absolutely sure why I entered this race, the promise of a nice, scenic, local race with good cake at the end from Becs seems to be the only reasons.

During pre race pace planning with Jess Anstee she mooted a 7:30mm avg.  I didn’t think I’d manage that but decided to give it a go.  We set off around 6mm pace and I very quickly recognised this wasn’t sustainable, it barely was for 400m on the track on Tuesday!  The numerous ‘undulations’ took their toll but I still managed to average around 7:30 pace for the duration.  Happy with that given my more laid back attitude to everything (food, training, racing, alcohol) this year.  Bravo to Jess who maintained her strength throughout and took 1st place, with me trailing in over a minute down to take 2nd.  Few fellow flyers in attendance and was great to see the support from the village for their event, didn’t get to sample the cake though.

Theresa Jackson

Great rolling course through some lovely villages and the sun came out for us. This was the first time I'd run this event and after an exhausting MK on Monday, I thought I'd just enjoy it. That plan went out the window about 3 seconds before the start gun to be honest. I pushed till 6km and then steadied myself and tried to finish confidently. Overall, this result was really pleasing and I'm slowly finding some form after not really having much structured training since the new year.

Scott Huntley

Sandstone Trail Challenge – Saturday 6-May

This was the 3rd time I had run walked this race. From Whitchurch (Shropshire) to Frodsham (Cheshire). The challenge is to find 5 grid referenced checkpoints on and just off the sandstone trail. On the day the organisers give you a fact sheet advising what fields have frisky cattle or stroppy horses and any changes or deviation you must make on the trail.

It was well marshalled by Helsby running club. On arrival at each checkpoint you gave your number and had your ticket punched, there was Cake and drinks and support from the volunteers. The challenge was not a race, however everybody had a time in mind, mine was to beat 9.10hrs my result from the previous year.

I tried to keep an even pace of 11.30 min, and for 14 miles it worked, however tiredness, the climbing (all fours at one point), my running buddy becoming injured, slowed me right down. I shuffled the last two miles, then got lost. This really was a challenge of mind over physical pain.

I sprinted to the finish line, slightly delirious, most definitely cattle trucked, with a pb of 8 hrs 7mins. Everyone claps you when you get in, then they give you pie, all this for £20 quid, such a brilliant event.

Ian Orr Campbell - 8hrs 7mins

MK Rocket 5K (Club Championships) - Sunday 30 April

Men Women
  Mark Waine 17:10   Nicola Bowerman 19:28
V-40 John Decesare 17:17 V-35 Jo Aatkar 21:55
V-50 Nick Jones 17:32 V-45 Caroline Gilby 21:59

What a great race with great support and atmosphere on closed roads, this race left me feeling happy yet somewhat frustrated as at this time of the year I am in my peak phase of triathlon training with some big races only weeks away and I cannot afford to taper for running races and the previous day had been a morning on the bike followed by a gym session in the afternoon therefore happy with a PB. I take my hat off to many AFF for some excellent runs across the board with many PBs too, well done all.

Martin Beare

Blackpool Marathon - Sunday 23 April

My 4th Marathon at age 55. The plan, a sub 3:30 on three runs a week. During training my body was telling me 9 minute miles would be the most sensible option. A faster run than expected at Oakley made me decide to go back to plan A.

So the big day arrived, it was sunny, but a cold and strong wind. Off we went, first mile bang on 8 minutes. Got to about 16 miles on schedule and then legs gradually started to tighten. Back began to hurt and started to become a real issue after about 20. Managed to get to 22 miles on time and then bang my left calf cramped so much I was in real pain every time I lifted the leg. It took me an hour to complete the last 4 miles.

A fellow runner gave me some advice at mile 25. Drop your hands by your sides and shuffle at speed without lifting you legs. If I had known that a mile 22 I think I would have got a sub 4 hour time.

Great medal and the people in Blackpool were really friendly.

Dave Coker 4:00:31

A good sunny day - no crowd support like London but a calming, relaxed sea run with 2 loops of the course finishing with a steep slope at 26!!! Nasty!! But all in all, a very enjoyable experience. I did cheer on a flyer as he passed me running considerably faster than my steady pace but I finished happy and pleased with myself

Justine Goode – 5:28:21


London Marathon - Sunday 23 April

When I turned 60 I wanted to run one more full marathon. Since then, it has taken me 4 attempts via the ballot process and even then I needed the Club place to finally have the joy of running the London Marathon again. Now 64 this will be my 9th London but as my very last full marathon (number 26) I wanted to enjoy the whole London experience. I was fortunate to have my son run with me, which turned out to be a god send over those final struggling miles. The training had gone well and the 3 x 20 mile races showed that I needed to run at 9 minute pace to achieve my goal of dipping under 4 hours. A time I felt was on the cards as long as I ran those first miles sensibly. I even told so many colleagues of the need to keep that early pace in check as too fast a start can often come back to haunt you in the latter stages!

Guess what, I got carried away with the whole London experience. Starting in Pen 1 was great in that it took about a minute to get over the start line but maybe I just couldn't hold myself back enough from the faster runners. I didn't run a 9 minute mile until mile 13 with most of the earlier miles run between 8.35 and 8.50 pace. I was through half way in 1.56.25 some 3 1/2 minutes ahead of schedule but by mile 17 I was starting to tire. The weather was now noticeably warmer and I knew by mile 20 the 'wheels were coming off'. Through 20 in 2.58.12 I could still have been on target for sub 4 but the legs were going. A 10.17 and 11.25 miles were followed by excruciating cramp in both legs forcing me to continually stop and stretch over those final 3 miles. Only the encouragement and perseverance of Terry to 'keep going its not far now Dad' forced me through that so important mental side of running. The crowds were fantastic at this stage giving me huge cheers every time I got going again.

Finishing together, arms aloft was a memorable experience and although it was 'a bad day at the office' over those final miles I didn't mind - you can never take away the joy and pleasure I got from running London one more time. Yes it can be difficult as a runner at times negotiating other runners but the iconic nature of London and the incredible encouragement of the crowds made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end at times. To me it is the number 1 Marathon to run. I first did it in 1983 in 3.04.34 and came back to run it again in 1990 when I did my second of 5 Sub-3 marathons in 2.57.32. The course has been kind to me and this year was the first I struggled but I shall remember it for first running it together with Terry and secondly for the incredible supportive crowds. 

Well done to all the other Flyers running and especially to Nicola who narrowly missed out on her sub-3 - it will come Nicola, and to an incredible run by Craig Palmer 2.30.46 has to be the Club run of the year so far.

Dave & Terry Stanley 4:16:46

An amazing experience. Knew it was going to be tough from about 15 and at 20 miles the Halpin train truly went of the rails and the wheels spun off emphatically into the Thames. Hardest hour of my entire life followed, couldn't lift my legs, one of the cat eyes in the road looked like a mountain and I couldn't navigate it and tripped it was that bad haha.

A walk and jog strategy was immediately put into place to get me to an emotional finish line.

Thanks to everyone that donated to LOOK UK I know everyone one of you. Thanks to my support crew on the day Charlene Richard Gale Debbie and Bill and everyone else that I saw on route!

Thanks to two amazing people Deborah and Martin Beare for convincing me that running was the right idea, my knee went way after the wheels were already off so thanks for your encouragement, I have absolutely no regrets and I'd run the same race / pace again - my legs just stopped working!

And thanks to the many many people that gave me advice along the way to my first go at the distance - especially Mark Waine, George Arbuckle and Jerry Day for expert advice, Barry Stratford Rich and Ashley Larman, Hattie, Alex Anstee, Mark Danger (cheers for letting me steal your hydration belt for training) and every single person that wished me luck.

Well done to all flyers and other friends I know that ran today you all did amazing - now for some �� and a big thanks to Craig Palmer the guy that ran a casual 2:30 for his taper plan (which unfortunately I couldn't carry out). Thanks all.

Ian Halpin


Brighton Marathon - Sunday 9 April

My training for this marathon was far from text book due to a nasty acute Achilles tendonitis injury. I only had 6 weeks of training from 2 months of no running. I battled with thoughts of pulling out but eventually thought it would at least be good Ironman training. Any thoughts of getting anywhere near 3hrs seemed a distant dream.

As race weekend arrived it seemed the weather was against me to with the hottest day of the year forecast. However as I have always claimed a race is a race and I had to at least try. I had a funny old start after being put in the wrong start pen (3.30 pace) which started after the (3.00 pace) I ran hard to catch the faster group to then run with them and that pace which was a little ambitious given my lack of fitness. Long and short of it was a surprising sub 3 (2.58.16) chip time.

4th in age group 85th overall so delighted with that and now feel confident with a faster marathon later in the year. I now turn my focus on the new Triathlon season. It was good to witnesses Barry Stratford get his first sub 3 and Roger finish strong.

Martin Beare

Oakley 20 - Sunday 2 April

This was my final 20 mile race leading up to London (thank goodness!) and the plan had been to have a positive run and hopefully finish feeling reasonably strong. I'm pleased to say that as I crossed the finish line some 2 minutes up on my predicted time I was more than pleased as to how the race had paned out. Oakley is an undulating course but in my opinion has only one really tough climb at around 3 miles. Nevertheless, I was trying to keep to around 9 minutes a mile and at 5 miles I was slightly up in 44.36. Through 10 in 88.39 I was still running to schedule but for anyone who has ever run a marathon there will always be those tough miles when you think 'is it all going wrong'. Today that came at 14 miles and its where you need to have the mental toughness to run through it and keep your mind positive that things will improve. The final climb back into Stevington at 17 and I was still struggling but my mile splits were only just over the 9 minute pace. Re-fueling at 17 had helped and as I approached Oakley I felt I was through the worst and back into my pace and starting to feel strong again. The early miles had been run with Ian Orr-Campbell before he had pushed on followed by Katie Ruditis. But at 18 I had first Katie back in my sights and then Ian at 19, passing them both as I pushed on to the finish with my quickest mile splits of the day in 8.25 and 8.17. I was well pleased with my run knowing a similar time at London would give me just over an hour to do that final 10K for my sub-4 - bring it on!!

Dave Stanley 2:58:06

Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2017 09:44