Sunday, 31 May 2009

Course Record at Crewkerne 9 Mile Road Race

Another week, a bigger test. This time it was the Crewkerne 9 Mile Road Race, one of the gems of west country road races and now in its 29th year. While the likes of the Alweston 10 long since disappeared this race has kept its place in the fixture list thanks to the hard work of Crewkerne Running Club who organise the race.

Although the course has changed a bit since the early years to cut out the town centre loop with the requisite road closures the basic format remains the same. A hilly 3 miles out to the stunning village of Hinton St George, a 'rolling' 3 mile loop through Dinnington and back to Hinton followed by the first hilly 3 miles in reverse to the finish in the Market Square.

And for good measure the weather is usually hot, unless its 2008 in which case its wet. Today was no exception. With clear blue skies and the thermometer climbing what little shade there was in the country lanes was taken with both hands.

My weeks training has been OK with no after effects from last Saturday's Egdon Easy. After such a long period of injury you always have in the back of your mind that things might flare up again and racing is the only way to really test the body (and mind). Fortunately my legs felt fine the day after Egdon and so today was the next step on the road to my next marathon.

The first 3 miles were more like a fartlek as things settled down at the front and we were through the marker in 16.45 as I pulled clear of the pack. The loop through Dinnington was all about settling into a nice rythmn and really feeling the effort. A 16.10 for the next 3 miles including the big climb back to Hinton was the warm up for the final assault. In the back of my mind was the course record and with a couple of miles to go I really put my foot to the pedal to try and get under 48 minutes. As it turned out I had left just a bit too much to do and came home in 48.10 though still with a new course record.

In second place was young Minehead runner Mark Hopkinson who is improving with every race. If he gets to put in some miles with Andy Baker during the summer then he will surely make big strides comes the autumn.

In the women's race my Wells team mate Jenny Moore returned to racing after missing London with an achilles problem and took a well earned win.

Looking at the winners trophy and reading the names of previous winners is a bit of a roll call of west country runners from the likes of Steve Walker and Gary Eagle through to more recently Ben Tickner. When I ran the fun run here in 1984 I never imagined I would be winning the main event 25 years later.

Fingers crossed that the body has survived the hills OK. The downhills are particularly stressful so a nice easy run in the pool with the aquajogger is the order of the day for this evening ! now its time to dig out the fixture list and look for some more competition.

All photos courtesy of Mike Shead.

Leading Results

1 Adrian Marriott (Wells) 48:09 (record)

2 Mark Hopkinson (Taunton) 50:29

3 Lee Turner (Torbay) 51:01

4 Billy Sheppard (Clev) 51:57

5 Gerry Hogg (Troll T, M40) 52:21

6 Paul Rose (YTRR, M40) 54:17.

M50: 1 Jonathan Goodland (GWR) 56:02

M60: Colin Williams 66:36

Teams: 1 Clevedon AC (Sheppard, Alan Baker, Nick Hides, Stuart Hancock)


1 Jenny Moore (Wells) 58:15

2 Kate Britten (Clev) 61:47

W35: Lynda Faulkener (Dorset Dod) 66:45

W45: Judy Davey (Honiton RC) 69:31

Teams: Crewkerne Running Club

Full Results

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Yeovil Express

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Return to racing at Egdon Easy

Well its been a while since I put a number on the front of my vest and stood on the start line of a race and it was good to finally race again last night after more than 5 months since my last outing at the Portsmouth Victory 5.

The lay off was down to some big trouble in my left thigh. In particular the vastas lateralis (the outside of the thigh muslces) had been rubbing up against the ITB (which passes over it). Over time the muscle because inflamed and frayed, the ITB was sticking to it and every time I ran again those adhesions flared up. Its taken a combination of accupuncture and some skilled massage using a technique called myofascial release from Simon Morris at Bath University to get everything moving again. The return to training has been a slow process with a couple of flare ups but last week I managed about 80 miles and felt healthy enough to tow the line last night.

The Egdon Easy is mixture of footpaths, gravel trail and road just behind the sea front at Weymouth. Before the start I was as nervous as i've been for some time. Some of my club mates were a bit surprised, after all a 29.47 guy shouldnt have too many problems in a local race. But as we know it doesn't work like that. A race is a race and after so long away from racing you need to know if its still there ! The first half of the race was pretty comfortable and I was in position to be able to put my foot down for the last 15 mins and push hard to the finish. The leg felt fine though the legs felt rubbish and I was blowing pretty hard by the finish. Still, 1st place, body intact and mission accomplished. Next stop the Crewkerne 9 Miles in a weeks time and one of the toughest road races in this part of the world.

Full Results