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Royal Berkshire 10k road race

Today was the Royal Berkshire Green Park 10k and another opportunity for me to fine tune my marathon training and pace so I was pretty excited about this one, tied to the fact that it was an inaugural event which is always exciting and after reading their Facebook page for the past month or so I knew it would be a fab event too and I was not disappointed.

Sue and I left here about 7:45 because we were heading to Shirley to pick up our friend and fellow hiller Megan and then we headed off for a lovely drive to Reading which was very non eventful 🙂  We were allocated car park B which was about half a mile from the race and made for a perfect post run walk and quick escape too with zero traffic and considering there were probably 4000 people there it was genius.

We parked and walked to the race HQ and had a look around and then we met with the 3rd hiller running Chris, Meg and Chris then went for some shade so Sue and I headed off to the food area to say hello to our lovely friend Leanne or Cupcake as I call her, she was running her Vintage Ice Cream van Bluebell and it was a massive hit looking at the queues.

Time for a pee and the first negative, there were just not enough toilets, ok for us chaps because we could find a bush but not good then it was time to queue for the start and it was seriously crowded and we lacked space in a bad way the second negative but there were not many more 🙂  the start was probably amongst the worst I have seen which is a shame given how amazing the rest of the day was.  Anyway we were off and I was very careful not to go mad. My instructions were to warm up well then start out sensible and then pick it up a bit to my “fast” marathon pace (this is the pace that I will try to aim for once I am half way through)    I did this for the following 5 miles and enjoyed every mile, it was a race full of long gentle hills which suits me very well both in terms of training and racing and it was very warm which I don’t mind on the shorter races either.  I did run between mile 3 and 5 with the over 65 winner of the VLM which was nice but as I approached the 5th mile we had slowed a couple times so I headed off on my own,  I then decided to pick up the pace for the last mile and a bit, I think mentally I like to know that I left some in the tank so the last mile was quicker which felt fab although it did push my average pace down a little,  my bad 🙂

As I ran in I saw the lovely Sue for the second time and then shortly after crossed the line and was handed a lovely bespoke medal and a goodie bag full of awesome treats and even a nice branded water bottle plus of course the lovely tech t-shirt, these people really know how to put on a race !!  VERY well done guys.

I then met with Sue and waited for Meg and Chris to finish so we could photograph them,  II had a couple of goodie bag treats and stretched well and then we all sat on the grass for a while before walking back to the car park all very happy.

The race/event itself was great overall 9/10  (would have definitely been a 10/10 had the few things been addressed)

Facilities  6/10   toilets were very poor bearing in mind the race size,  I have been to races with less than 800 runners with twice as many

Route  10/10 loved it

Route support  4/10  but this is a geographical problem not something that anyone can take blame for

Race village   7/10  would have been 10 if there were more food and coffee options and less queues

Goodies  10/10  BEST ever

Medal  10/10  could have been bigger/nicer but its awesome I love it so no complaints

Spectator facilities 10/10 TOP NOTCH my wive loved it

Start/finish   2/10   sadly the start was pants but awesome finish,  the start should have been much more spaced out and controlled, finish perfect

All in all it was a great race and for an inaugural event it was near perfect, next year I am sure these tiny things can be addressed and it could become one of the very best races here.

Loved today and cant wait for Liverpool next weekend.




Overton 5 mile road race NEW PB

After this mornings parkrun I was really buzzin for this afternoon’s race which was the Overton 5 mile race and the first in our Hampshire Road Running League (HRRL).  I was not planning on running this one but my club mate Rodolfo had booked it and could not run so wanted another team member to run it and I was pleased to step in because our Son Andy was also running it and I love to run the same races as him.

Sue, Andy and I arrived about 1:50 for the 3pm race so plenty of time for a chat with all the other hiller’s before the race started as well as a warm up run which despite my morning run I decided to do, I ran around the fields for just over a mile which seems to suit me well and today was no different because once we started I felt great.

It was not long before we were lined up and the gun sounded and off we went, I started about a third of the way back which in retrospect was a mistake because I should have moved forward a bit more but hey ho as  my club mate Tony would say “each race is a classroom. we were soon on our way out of the playing field and once I saw Sue and stopped showboating I was moving at a decent pace alongside my good friends Steve and Mike, out and UP I should have said 🙂  the next mile and a bit was a series of steady climbs and bends but all very enjoyable and then the last mile was a fast downhill run through the village and past the start point again for lap 2.  At this point I noticed my watch was just under 17 minutes so I decided to pick up the pace and go for a PB so I did just that, despite the fact that I had not quite reached the halfway point I kept up the pace and moved up the field right through until the finish which again was a very fast mile and up around back into the playing field to a WHOOP WHOOP from a very pleasing crowd of hiller’s which helped me with my sprint finish although I did miss Sue taking my finishing photos 🙂

Through the finishing tunnel I was handed a very welcome bottle of water and a beautiful glass tankard which made me very happy and even I think is a nice change from a medal Shock !!!

I then went back to find Sue, chat to a few hiller’s and wait for Andy to finish which was amazing to see.  We then unfortunately had to head home because we had clients but it had been the perfect day.

The course was undulating and very interesting, definitely my kind of race and one for next years diary, nice and local and great parking too, the marshals were all brilliant with lots of encouragement as we went round and the course was laid out perfectly, the organisation was top notch, my only criticism would be that the pre-race brief was a waste of time unless you were on the front row (again lessons to be learnt) so they needed a loud hailer for next time.

Really chuffed that I ran today and thank you to Rodolfo for letting me run in his place, to the Organisers for swapping the number/name so effortlessly its nice to see.

I am so chuffed with my running at the moment and I have no doubt its down to a few things, my training and run leaders at Lordshill Road Runners (you guys are amazing)  RunCamp with Ant has taught me so much and although I was shocked looking at the photos at my poor form today its definitely making me faster, My running buddies for the constant inspiration, it means so much guys and lastly but most importantly my wife, best friend and sole-mate Sue for constantly being there for me and giving me your total love and encouragement as well as the odd very well placed pep talks which I love and AMAZING photos, I could do none of this without you Sue X

Thanks Sue for the lovely photos.


I finished this race in 34:50 and I finished in position 180 out of 482 finishers for a new PB

Check out the stats from my polar GPS here (again you will see the obvious place when I stopped racing) 34:51

And lastly one from our son Andy, this photo makes me a very proud Dad 🙂


Yateley 10k 3rd race and new PB

Last night was the last of the Yateley 10k series for 2013 and it was the perfect night for a race.  Sue and I arrived good and early and after our high protein picnic I wandered in to collect my race number and chip and to chat to a few Sandhurst joggers.  We then had a coffee and went for our pre-race walk and chat which as always helped to calm my race nerves although I must confess that I felt more nervous here than ever before at a race I think because the last one went so well that I had something pretty amazing to match or even hopefully beat.  After a walk and another coffee I headed out onto the fields and went for my usual 1.5 mile warm up run but this time after taking advice from my RunCamp coach Anthony I did it a little slower, in fact I ran it at an average 8.23 min miles and then did a few leg swing exercises to looses and warm up my hip flexors and pelvis before heading over to the starting coral.

As always I headed to the front few rows, I run a pretty fast race so its good to get towards the front, I have never to my knowledge slowed anyone down (famous last words) so its the right place for me, in fact very few people overtake me until a few minutes into the race so its all good :-).  After the pre race briefing the gun fired and we were away !  the pace was good and fast and I quietly doubted my ability to keep it up, I honestly much prefer running in the morning but he ho,  I soon got into the rhythm and as I passed the 1K and the 2K mark I noticed I was still running well under 7 min mile pace so all good,  this continued up and down the hills right through the race until at the 7K mark I noticed that I had slowed very slightly because of mental fatigue so I remembered everything that I had been taught by the amazing runners I know, Andy, Jim, my run leaders Kev and Stu and well as Anthony and so many more and I managed to pick up my pace but to be honest the thing that drove me on last night was the last thing that Sue said to me,  “jules if you want a PB power up those hills then when you reach the top power down again”  she does make me chuckle and she is the best coach anyone could ever ask for, I am so blessed to have her in my life and so thankful for her support when running.

Soon enough I reached the 9k mark and the dreaded “waitrose hill”  although after 3 races I have still not seen a waitrose haha!  Its funny but when I am racing I only think about running and my form and my min miles and I don’t take any notice of where I am running, this keeps my mind active and focused on the job in hand,  When I upload my miles to “FETCH” it asks me to write 3 things I saw when running, I honestly struggle to find 3 interesting things 🙂   anyway up the hill I went and then the easy 500M home, fast and furious downhill into the school and through the finish, as I ran the last straight I could see the clock was 42:20 so knew I was onto a winner but I was delighted to cross the line with another amazing PB of 42:26 a full 59 seconds faster than my previous best 10k which in fact was here 1 month ago.

Just like the last 3 races this was very well organised, the Sandhurst Joggers are a very friendly bunch and the marshals are probably the best and most encouraging  I have experienced apart from my home team of course 🙂  I loved every minute of last night and as I crossed the line I was given my lovely medal and a couple of chocolate bars and a bottle of water and I sat down and waited for the lovely Sue to come find me 🙂

I then went for a short cool down run and then some gentle stretching which did the job nicely because last night and this morning I feel great and could run again, in fact I am in a few hours with the hiller’s.

I will definitely be back for 2014 and who knows maybe I will be running sub 40 by then, I sincerely hope so.

Here are the results for the last 2 races in this series.

Race 1. I finished the race in 46:25 and 226 out of 900 ish runners.

Race 2. I finished the race in 43:25 and 148 out of 820 ish runners.

LAST NIGHT I finished the race in 42:26 and 125 out of about 1000 runners.

I am delighted with these results and especially this race, I ran an average of  6:45 min miles which is brilliant and I hope to get sub 42 within my next few races,  This Sunday I have a trail half marathon and then the week after a 10K at Clapham Common which I am looking forward to although its my birthday weekend so depending on alcohol drank it might not be a super fast race 🙂

I am pretty sure that my speed is down to my training both with the hiller’s and Runcamp and I cant recommend either strongly enough. And of course as my good pal Andy says, “train hard and race easy”  this has become my mantra and its paying off big style.

Check out RunCamp

Check out the hiller’s  without a doubt the best local running club

Check out the race stats from my Polar watch

Lastly I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped organise these races, those who cheered me on and those new friends I have made at Yateley but mostly to my best friend my soul mate my amazing wife Sue for your constant love and encouragement “stride”

A few photos from today thanks to the lovely Sue.

Still striving for a sub 20 parkrun……But new PB today

This morning I ran my first 5k since April and it felt great,  I have been getting faster with my 10k’s and this morning I was hoping for a sub 21 parkrun which would knock a minute or so off my best yet which was 22:21.

I woke early for breakfast and a coffee before heading off out the door for my run to Southampton Common, I ended up going a fairly direct 2.5 miles to the start of the parkrun which I ran quite well and it felt great when I arrived but in the back of my mind was a niggling thought “had I overdone the run down”  Ahh well only time will tell.  After chatting with a few mates I lined up at the start and headed for the very front to give myself every chance of a decent race, I am fast enough to get off the line sub 6 min miles so I knew I would not slow anyone down.  Once the hooter sounded we headed off up the common straight and I had a great pace sub 6 as predicted and then rounding the bend and up the first hill which was ok, then the second long straight which felt good turning back and running back towards the start/finish for the first time. This was my first parkrun where I could see the front runners in front of me at that point so I knew it was going well,  I continued at pace and up onto the long incline which was hard but I knew once there it was a short sprint across the common to the triangle and then the homeward straight which felt great. I had a great finish managing to avoid some pesky bugger trying to pass me and crossed the line in an amazing Sub 21 🙂

I cant tell you how happy I am with todays result both in terms of my race and my finish and I put it down to a couple of things, firstly my new motto of  Train hard and Race easy which simply means the more work I put in during training the easier racing has become, I train with my amazing Club the Lordshill Road Runners and am so grateful for all the support they give me constantly and I know this has made me a stronger faster runner. The second is RunCamp which if you have not checked out before and your into running you really do need to check it out, I am only on week 1, well 2 really and its just brilliant, it concentrates on improving my running form which again it turn makes me a faster stronger and above all safer runner which helps me avoid injury.  You can check out both of these using the links below but I would urge anyone out there to join a local club as a first port of call.

I am so lucky that I can run the next few parkruns so am hoping to keep nibbling away at my time and hopefully by the time I run Parkrun USA in January I will be a coveted sub 2o parkrunner, well thats the plan !

Next week I am doing a little parkrun tourism and off to Brockenhurst parkrun with my club.

RunCamp Facebook

RunCamp Website

LRR Facebook

LRR Website

I finished todays parkrun in position 45th out of  runners in a confirmed time of 20:43 an amazing 1 minute and 30 seconds faster than my previous best and I came 2nd in my age category.

This was my fastest race so far I manages to run an average pace of 6:40 min miles or 9 mph.

 You can check out the results from my Polar HRM here

A few photos thanks to this weeks volunteer photographer Nick Perkins


Wyvern 10k my most enjoyable race so far

WOW, Wow and just WOW……..

What an amazing race that turned out to be.

This morning I ran the Wyvern 10k and had the most amazing race, not my best time in fact 28 seconds away from a PB but its the race I found to be the most challenging so far and the most enjoyable. Sue and I arrived good and early at 8am because there were a lot of roadworks in Fair Oak and the parking at Wyvern was limited, but to be honest I like to be there 2 hours before to allow me time to enjoy the pre race atmosphere and a pre race warm up run.  Once we arrived and parked we had a coffee and then headed off to register, I picked up my race number 244 and met with a few other hiller’s (Lordshill Road Runners) and had a chat with most of them,  I then went for a warm up run, about a third of a mile with my team mate Becky which was lovely and then a mile alone, I am always better if my warm up is between 1 and 1½ miles starting at a gentle pace and finishing at race pace which for me is around 7 minute miles,  A quick last minute wizz and then off to the starting line up.

I lined up with another club mate Lee who is an amazing runner and someone I aspire to,  after a gargled pre race briefing we were off,  the first ½K was through the school grounds and then we were out onto the roads,  I am very pleased and a tiny bit proud to say that from this point on nobody overtook me and I overtook loads,  Once I reached the 1K mark I decided to get my race on,  from then on in I loved it,  hot hot hot but so much fun, we ran through fair oak along the traffic free lanes in a mixture of sun and a little shade up hill and down dale 🙂  ok the dale is an exaggeration but it was hillier than I expected.  Once we reached the 4K mark we had a few more mild hills but a very welcome hosepipe shower and then we reached 5K turned around and headed for home, the homeward run was lovely, again a little hilly but enjoyable, Once I reached 7K I felt amazing, although to be fair I felt pretty good from the start, I kept picking off runners including a few of the faster hiller’s which gave me a buzz and as I headed into the school I knew my times were good despite not checking my watch,  I just keep a constant eye on my minute miles 🙂   I then saw Sue with her camera and shortly after Mr Hammond with his but powered home around the field and athletics track, thankfully Sue had ran across and captured me at this point and I am so glad she did, without a doubt my fav running photo yet,  Over the line and so chuffed to hit 43:53, collected my very cool medal which is engraved on the back. nice touch Eastleigh 🙂  and a handful of treats again nice touch Eastleigh and then met with Sue for my post race milkshake.  Yum Yum Yum.

After chatting with Steve (Becky’s hubby) and a congratulating a few other hiller’s I headed off for a cool down run of just under ½K before chatting to a few more hiller’s and then heading home for a few beers and a BBQ.

I then got to thinking why I enjoyed today so much, what was different, it was not a PB, it was hot and sweaty 🙂  but I think I learnt a lot today.  From the second we arrived the organisers and marshals and a few runners were saying “this is not a PB day just enjoy it”  and despite my best efforts I listened to them,  I should have done what I always do, RAN FOR ME, I started the race a little further back than I normally would have, I started the race a little slower than I normally would have and I ran with the mentality that because of the first few bottlenecks there was no point pushing myself, BAAAAAHHHHHH  I wont do that again 🙂  for starters I always enjoy my races, enjoy is not a strong enough work I love my races 🙂  I also seem to enjoy the challenging races or weather so today was a perfect day for me to run, but most of all once I started I was on a roll and had so much more to give , if I would have started with my usual 6 min miles I would have had a super PB 🙂  I am not pissed about this, on the contrary I am really happy that I now know how important it is to run my own race, my team mate and captain Jim always tells me to “smash it” and my other team mate Andy who came second overall today tells me “train hard race easy”  both will have become my mantra 🙂  right or wrong only time will tell !

Again for the second time I ran without my glasses, well I took them off after a few minutes and I ran with a bottle of water, not to drink but to pour over myself during the race, worked perfectly coz I felt great on both counts, I will look into contacts for running but to be honest I can see everything I need, my distance is perfect and I can read my min miles on my watch, what more does a runner need 🙂

Overall the organisation was good, the marshalling was amazing as was the support, I think the great north run would have been happy with todays support 🙂  I loved the post race goodies and overall atmosphere was the best 🙂  despite the 29 degree heat I loved every second of it and bring on the next 10K 🙂  sadly thats not until the 31st due to 2 weekends working away but I am looking forward to that one.

I also came in 7th out of 13 hiller’s and as you can see from the graph below we have so seriously fast runners for me to aspire to 🙂  very happy about my team placing too.

Check out the report from my Polar HRM here Although its obvious if you look at the graph,  I never turned my watch off so ignore the overall time 🙂

I finished this 10K race in 43:53 which works out at 7:03 min miles overall,  VERY happy with those numbers and I came in 54th out of around 350 runners.

Lastly a couple from my friend and fellow sports photographer Paul A Hammond, the first is the love of my life Sue relaxing in the sun despite her telling me “its non stop photographing you and the hiller’s”  haha,   and the second of me at the top of the hill 200M away from the finish still smiling despite the 29 degree heat proving that my motto “the smiles easily outnumber the miles”  is true,  or maybe I am not working hard enough 😉