Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Gloucester League Race 3 -14.12.13

Venue; Malvern - Peach-field Common

This was the third race in the calender for the Gloucester league (my second in this league format), and my final race of the year. I was looking forward to the race as Malvern is a place very close to my heart because most of my bike work is done in and through the picturesque Malvern hills (Jason Taylor, Paul Scriven and Richard Price will agree).

The course at Malvern is always one of the toughest in the county and it certainly held up to its reputation. The climb around 1k into each lap was insane and certainly split the field within the first lap (it got tougher and tougher each lap). The course was up and down throughout and proved tough for all, although it was slightly firm on foot so there were no footing problems through the whole race.

As the race progressed I could feel myself getting slightly more tired, but I had also found a comfortable stride range, and was holding around 20th position (for a triathlete/duathlete against all these runners I was happy). On the last lap I decided to step it up slightly and see what I had left, I was able to keep gaining on a few in front and push past a few runners and get into 16th position (eventually where I finished). As alwasy in XC it finished with a sprint, with 17th position gaining on me slightly on the last hill I was able to hold him off and finish strong.

Overall I was happy with where I had finished as I had trained through the race with no sign of a taper (eyes set on other goals), and just used the race as a hard training session.

One thing I will say is that you always know when you have raced in Malvern..............HILLY!!!!

Thursday, 12 December 2013


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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

X Country Birmingham league 7.10.13

Worcester Athletics; Birmingham League: Hinkley

Saturday 7th December was the 2nd X country meet for the Birmingham League. Worcester Athletics had put in a decent performance as a team in the 1st meet at Leomington and were hoping to build on this. The weather was clear and quite pleasant, the ground was good to soft and the course looked like it would be fast (it was). The course only had one major hill in it and was 80%, although it was very muddy in places.

As normal the race started off at a frightening pace as always, in this instance it was even faster due to the flat course. I found myself struggling a little from the go ahead, although my positioning was good and the first lap went quite well. After this I found my stride and warmed into the race a little, but still found it very tough. The extra wet mud made it difficult to find grip and with a bad choice of small length spikes, footing was hard to find during areas of the course.

After a long training week it was always going to be a tough race, and using it as only a training exercise it is always a hard task to break into the pain bank. Into the last lap I was able to grab a couple of places back after loosing some during the second lap, and finished with a slow canter due to HR already being high and my quads screaming at me. All in all I found cross country to be one of the hardest I have done to date and was able to grab a respectable 28/291.

Next week; Gloucester League - Malvern 14.12.12 (last race of 2013)

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Recent Races

Winter has now truly come upon us and we are now having to battle with the temperatures to get those winter training miles in. I'm sure the worst is still to come, but now is the time for cold, icy and muddy cross country.


Croome Park Capability Canter was my first ever cross country victory. It was an amazing, beautiful and charming course. A few pokes, some water and a lovely scenic technical wooded section rounded off with a huge hill finish made it a very enjoyable day.

From the start as normal it was frantic and fast. A great up hill start, a fast a quick downhill round the corner and a jump over a gate and we were well underway. I found the race very quick to start but had to keep pushing. It was my third consecutive cross country race weekends and I started to feel this about 8k in. I pushed and pushed making sure I could build as much of a lead as possible knowing my legs were getting heavy. It worked and I was able to run home to my first cross country victory (although the up hill finish almost killed me).

A Thank you to all at Black Pear Joggers in Worcester, it was a great race and excellently ran.

Croome 2013 Start
The fourth Croome Capability Canter saw a record 261 finishers with runners from 16 different clubs, including a great turn out from Malvern Joggers and Tewkesbury AC.
The race winner was Daniel Geisler from Worcester AC in a time of 40:24, with Jennifer Coxon from Birmingham Running Athletic and Triathlon Club the first female home in a time of 46:35 (full results).
Some great Black Pear successes: Paul Childs finished in 4th place, Neil Herron, Julie Gerrard and Marion Winwood finished 2nd in their age categories and Richard Ralphs and Helen Burton finished 3rd in their age categories. Well done!
Voted into the top 10 off-road races by readers of Runners World, the Croome Capability Canter is a 6.5 mile (10kish) race around the scenic Croome Park; designed by renowned 18th century landscape architect Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

Castle Coombe Chill Duathlon was the last Major race of the season, but in many ways the start of the serious Duathlon season. It was a great race to put some markers down to where I was in my Winter training. After a heavy six weeks training block and leading into a recovery week I felt good going into the race. The race a usual at Castle Coombe started off very fast, and with a very high quality field was always going to be this way from the start (Ed Clancy was even there racing for a relay team sponsored by 9bar).

The first run went well and I cant in around 10th, the bike was very tough and felt I didnt have my bike legs at all. The major head wind made things very difficult on the back straight of the race track. I came in off the bike 14th, and then was able to make up some places to finish 10th in my age group, 11th overall. I was a little disappointing with the result, but in hind-sight with where I am with my training it was actually quite a good result. I am very much looking forward to racing the same format in February and beating this result. It was also a fantastic day to catch up with old friends and make some new friends and rivals.