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Hope rising charity 10k

This morning I ran the Hope Rising Cross country run which started at the scenic Avon Tyrrell Youth Centre with my team mate Lee.

Sue and I arrived good and early and met with Lee and the registered and went for a walk around some of the route, I think Lee and I quickly realised that there was a reason that the course record was nearly 44 minutes it was a very challenging route with numerous (and I mean numerous) obstacles and hills both up and down which made even out toughest RR10 look like a walk in the park 🙂  but I knew it would be a fun race and very scenic run too.

After a warmup we took our places on the front line and after a very un-motivational “if you don’t fancy doing the whole 10k just stop at 5”  hahaha  chat we were off….. Lee and I were running well in the top 6 or 7 runners as we entered the woods and both had a great pace, it was soon clear to me that Lee was on fire today and started leaving me in his wake but I was happy running well and enjoying the race,  that was until after about 1 mile I came upon about 70 or so back runners,  bearing in mind here I was in the top 10 something had gone seriously wrong, at first I thought I had taken a wrong turn but as it was later explained a marshal had sent all those behind me on a serious shortcut so it completely screwed up the race and never did much for moral.For the next mile or so I was dodging past the slower runners which given the tracks was not easy but eventually I passed most of them but it was tough and disappointing so at that point I decided that it was pointless trying to push myself to my limits and settled back to enjoy the rest of the run. Speaking to a marshal afterwards it seems somebody just send all of the runners behind us on a completely separate route which must have cut out some serious distance and was a real shame for those of us doing well before it happened but hey ho it does not happen very often and this race was run by a charity so all good 🙂

The course was amazing, interesting and very tough,  a challenge for any runner and  a 2 lapper but fun with lots of little bridges and crossings as well as little hills and some big ones but it all made for a very enjoyable race if you take out the course screwup 🙂

Lee came in an amazing 46:12 and I came in 49:22 which just goes to show how tough the course was bearing in mind last weeks tough race and we both finished under 44 minutes but I am so pleased I ran this today and helped raise a few quid for Hope Rising.

As we came over the line we were given a very nice medal and a bottle of much needed water and then Sue and I had to shoot off home to a portrait shoot.

All in all a great saturday morning race.

I finished this race in 49:23 and in 15th position overall


Arundel 10k toughest race yet :-)

Today Sue and I travelled to Arundel in West Sussex to run the 1st Scouts Arundel 10k a much loved and very challenging 10k multi terrain race around the beautiful Arundel castle and town centre.  I booked this one because it looked interesting and even tho they list this as “gently undulating” it was without a doubt my hilliest 10k yet easilly beating the famed Marwell and Drovers trail.

Sue and I arrived good and early during a rainstorm and wandered up into the centre to grab a much needed caffeine shot from the local cafe and enroute we bumped into fellow hiller and good friend of mine Lee who I often race with which always enjoyable,  after our coffee we headed back to the car and saw Rikki another hiller who I train with in group F so I knew today was going to be fun, not 1 but 2 fast hiller’s to run with.

After my coffee and changing into my race gear I went for a warm up run of almost a mile with Lee and then wandered off to the start point with lots of other club runners that I often see at our races including a couple of the faster Southampton Athletic runners so again this races reputation was proving to be correct.

Soon after we were lined up and after a quick safety chat about the slippery trail sections we were off!  We ran at a great pace through the town centre and back down and into the castle, that was it, the last “down” for quite some time  because the next 5K was a continual climb to just over 600 feet and boy that was tough but us 3 aptly named hiller’s ran past the 5K marker 3 abreast which was pretty cool to be a part of and especially good because we were running at just over 7 min miles up those hills !

The next 2K were just as dramatic downhill which is where along with lots of runners I seem to struggle and lagged about 50′ behind Lee and Rikki but still kept quite a pace, This is something I have to continue woking on over the winter but I have quite a few hilly races coming up so I should get better.  Then at 7K we met the hill to end all hills 🙂 now this was unexpected and the next 1K was so tough I felt like walking more than once but thankfully I kept my place and pace through to the top but it was tough !!  I think one of the best things about running nearer to the front runners is that I seem to get pulled along rather than nearer the back where I probably would have been tempted to walk. The 8K was through the castle and down and then the last K was out and through the town again with a last small  climb to the finish which I ran very strongly thanks to the amazing support from everyone including Sue and my friends Ian and Jojo.

Up through the finish tunnel and I was given a lovely medal but no goodie bag and no drink which was odd there probably were drinks but certainly not local to the finish,  All in all a very enjoyable albeit tough race, I would definitely do this one again next year because the organisation was spot on and the atmosphere was electric all day long partially because of the race buzz but also because the Arundel festival was in full swing, I would go so far as to say its been one of my favourites so far.  I cant help loving those hills 🙂

I ran wearing my Brooks Adrenaline ASR trail shoes and it turns out they were a good choice, lots of people wore road shoes but the 3 or 4k off road was quite wet and slippery so all in all very happy, I had amazing traction on the 6 and 7K downhill which was slippery and wet and pretty good elsewhere, the ASR’s are a sort of cross shoe so work very well on multi terrain races which at the moment seem to be most of mine.

After the race Sue and I and our great friends Ian and Jojo who are both good runners and came to support me had the most amazing day in Arundel with a picnic and a few photos, we walked back to those hills just to make sure I was not imagining them 🙂 all in all a perfect Sunday finished off with a few Magner ciders on the decking at home…..

Despite still being a few lb over my ideal race weight after my birthday celebrations my training is definitely paying off on races like this, at Lordshill Road Runners (the hiller’s) we do a lot of hill training which sounds awful but it does make me a faster and stronger runner. Also my RunCamp training is starting to come together and you will hopefully start to notice things like better arm placement and that my legs are kicking back better which again will make me a faster stronger runner so the next few months should be a lot of fun.

I finished this race in 43:52  which was just under 7.04 min miles and in position 65 out of 565 runners which is amazing considering the hills and terrain and not far away from the amazing top 10% 🙂

Max Altitude 455 ft

Ascent 620 ft

Descent 660 ft

Check out the stats from my Polar GPS watch here


Thames multi terrain 10K and a new trail PB

Last night Sue and I travelled to Beale Park in Pangbourne near Reading so that I could run the Thames 10k which is a flat multi terrain race which took place in the most amazing park.

My week started badly after I hurt my calf again at training and had to stop early but thankfully after lots of massages from Sue and foam rolling it felt much stronger today so I thought I would give the race a go so off we headed nice and early so that we could have a nice riverside picnic in the grounds of Beale Park.

Once done I went for my usual 1.25 mile warm up run to prepare me for the race plus to test out my calf which was just fine, soon I then went along to say hi to a few people and was given a free technical t-shirt and a couple of handy sport’s water bottles from the organisers, result !  We wandered around a little and soon after we were ushered to the start and I chose a position about 50 or 60 runners from the start which turned out to be the ideal place for me because I finished in 46th place. A few seconds later the hooter sounded and off we went running the first section out onto the tarmac path and up into the zoo coming out the other side and back past the start and the 1K mark, we then ran along a path and into the fields along the towpath following the canal which was nice although it did feel extremely muggy,  out the other side and back through the zoo then our into the woods and past the 6K mark and onto the fields and back along the towpath, through a scout camp which was a highlight for me, lots of support from the scouts and leaders which gave me a buzz for the last 2K’s which were pretty rough going underfoot but all good. The last couple of k’s were hard going because of the heat, despite it being overcast it was still 23 degrees and very humid but I managed to keep my pace through to the finish and also kept my place despite the odd ankle biter trying to pass me 🙂

I passed through the finishing tunnel and the timer said 44:30 which is more than 5 minutes faster than my previous trail 10k so all in all I was delighted. I collected a beautiful medal to go along with my nice technical t-shirt and a couple of water bottles which is amazing 🙂  TOP RACE !

Overall this was a very well organised race in a lovely location, the course was very pretty and as I said pancake flat albeit quite ruff underfoot but I loved every part of it. The race village was great, a nice selection of tents including a very helpful info tent and some lovely burgers, although I declined 😉  how good am I lol. there was a massage station and a couple of charity tents which pushed this race into the next level, very nice indeed for a smaller race.

I enjoyed my milkshake afterwards which helps my bloods get back to normal and we had a lovely trip home,  this is definitely one for the diary next year.

I crossed the line in 44:18 in position 46  out of 700 runners which is well within the top 6.5%  🙂

Check my polar stats here

Dinton Pastures 5k and new PB

Last night Sue and I travelled to Hurst in Berkshire for the second time so that I could run the Dinton Pastures 5km Series which,  I loved the first race so much that I was really excited about tonights race.  Well its a bit of a trek but Sue and I love to travel around to new places so thats not a problem.  I would have done the 10k but I have another 10k local race on Sunday so decided again the 5k was best for me today.

As always Sue and I drove up early and chose a lovely spot for a picnic before heading over to Dinton pastures just after 6pm and I was lucky to be able to collect my race number straight away before the rush started, not to mention park before the car-park became congested, this series has become so popular I don’t know what the will do next year.  I think word has gotten out about the amazing races and the idilic location so to be fair for those that had trouble parking its a small price to pay for a near perfect race.

Before the race started I went for a 2K run starting off slowly for 1k the building up to my race pace, I have found this helps me avoid injuries and generally get off to a better start when racing, I then had a bottle of water to keep me hydrated which is obviously an issue in this weather, I was then all fired up and ready to go, to be honest I never felt great about tonights race simply because it was so warm and as I have said numerous times before I am not best running in the evenings but I really enjoy the races so its worth it no matter what time I get.  Having said that I always start a race chasing a PB but the important thing is to enjoy the race not just the result, for me exercise wether running or Gym has always been about burning calories so enjoying the racing is a massive bonus for me.

It was soon time for the 10k race to start and off they went, 3 minutes later it was our turn and just as at the last race I chose a front line start, this is an off road course and rough in places as well as a few very narrow bridges so my plan was to be upfront and stay there,  I managed that ok despite the heat but I never banked on overtaking quite so many of the 10k runners which did slow me a bit but hey ho thats racing 🙂    I ran the first couple K’s relatively well but slower than I had hoped and certainly slower than my pace from last weeks 10K at Yateley but it was so much hotter tonight,  I then tried to pick it up a bit and soon reached the 4k mark which is when I started to feel good and pick up my pace a little more, you can see from my chart below that each mile got a little quicker than the last which means I am running well rather than using all my reserves on the start,   the support during the last Kilometre was amazing, the best part about having my name on my vest is having complete strangers shout “C’mon jules”  it gives me an amazing buzz,  I then spotted Sue with her camera and decided to sprint for the finish which was fun,  NOT!!!!!   haha but I managed to keep up the pace and cross the line in a very respectable and Personal Best of 21:56 which I am delighted with and is 17 seconds better than any 5k race I have done.

Once over the line I was handed a lovely engraved medal as well as a very welcome drink and banana. I then went for a 1k warm down run and after saying goodbye we headed back home. As you all know by now I love my medals and I now have 2 from the Dinton Pasture series, I only found out about them after race 1 had finished or I would have done them all, the medals are amazing and definitely the sort of finishers medal you would expect from a much larger race. Once again the race was very well organised and marshalled and enjoyed by all, Ellie Barnes from  is an amazing person and worked tirelessly again to make this the huge success it was, the location is beautiful and the marshals all very friendly so everything a race could possibly want plus the option of a bbq and a lake swim afterwards but because of my diabetes I declined the bbq and because I am a wimp I declined the swim too 🙂

If your anywhere near Reading you should check our Barnes fitness

Dinton pasture series website 

Check out the report from my Polar HRM here

I ran this 5k trail race in 21:56 a new PB for me and I came in 12th out of 68 runners.

RR10 Manor Farm Country Park

This evening I ran the Manor Farm RR10 in Southampton with my Club, Lordshill Road Runners,  The RR10 league is a series of races organised by running clubs in south-west Hampshire for their members. The races are held on Wednesday evenings during the spring and summer and are great fun and this one was off road and and quite dry compared to the last 2 RR10’s that I have done.  This was my third RR10 and I really enjoyed it for a couple of reasons, firstly its my clubs home 10K this weekend and the one and only time I am allowed to run it so I was not going to race this week but I did 🙂  I decided to take it easy tonight and treat it as a training session rather than a race, secondly because I ran with my mate Paul who was just back from injury and I have not seen him for a few weeks, it made perfect sense for me to run with Paul who normally runs at my race pace but this evening was running a very cautious 8.5 min mile.

We were called to the starting line and I must confess it felt very odd starting nearer the back rather than towards the front for me but I kept telling myself that this weekends race was the most important so far so all worth it !  Once we set off I mostly let Paul lead the pace and we had a lovely run through the woods and over a few tiny obstacles, managing to chat to people as we overtook was nice as well as a few hello’s to my friend Paul the photographer. It only seemed like a short while before the marshals were shouting “one last hill” and sure enough the last hill was upon us and up to the open park I was quite happy that I had ran a very sensible race, Paul then got race fever and sprinted to the finish 🙂 cheeky bugger but I loved every minute of running with him again and was very happy to see him back.

Overall a lovely course and a great atmosphere and I am sure everyone enjoyed it, a great turn out for LRR although I am pretty sure my offerings tonight never helped the league table much nor has the fact that I have missed a few this year but next year I will be fully prepared for them.

If you are thinking of getting into running or already do run bit are not part of a club I would urge you to look into joining one for days like this amongst other benefits, I have made some great friends already and the support is amazing, LRR are known to be a very friendly club so why not check them out, a great bunch of likeminded people, some running 5 minute miles and some 10 minute miles but all runners with a single goal to enjoy running !

I finished overall in position 164 which was pretty good considering and in about 42 minutes

Check out the report from my Polar HRM here

Here are a few photos courtesy of Paul A Hammond


A quick pre-race photo of me looking very chilled.