Running reflections: racing and volunteering

Racing

I’m not a competitive runner. I’ve never been a particularly fast runner, although I’m working on improving my pace over all distances this year.

Since I started running races in 2005, with my first Great South Run (a 10 mile road race), I have run a fair few events. As I build towards my races later this year I thought that I’d try to summarise my race experiences in a few words, so here goes nothing…..

2005

Great South Run – I just ran 10 miles!

2006 – 2012

Great South Run – New PB; Not a PB; Finished via ambulance, blagged medal; Hula girl fancy dress run; Beat Phil by 2 seconds!

2011

Great Gorilla Run 8k – gorilla costume running on warm September day, got medal from Bill Oddie

2012

Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon – first half marathon, just about beat 2 hours

London Marathon – distance debut poorly paced, finished smiling

Devil Run 15k – a cracking, hilly run around the Devil’s Punchbowl at Hindhead

Portsmouth Coastal Marathon – DNS as wife sick, ran solo on Boxing Day unsupported with race number

2013

North Downs Way 50 – surpassed expectations on ultra marathon debut

Clarendon Marathon – cracking runchat with Phil

2014

Steyning Stinger Marathon – led James Elson, sloppy underfoot, brutal

Leith Hill Half Marathon – snowy, icy peak, fun on descent, cooked breakfast at end a winner

North Downs Way 50 – injured ITB, limped it in

Endure 24 – 80 miles of slippery mud, mangled feet

Royal Parks Ultra 50k – chasing sweeper, ran past deer

Great South Run – paced brother to target time

2015

Winter Tanners 20 miles – superb LDWA event, FiPo tastic running in the Surrey Hills, got it done

Malvern Hills Ultra 52 miles – bloody hills, got lost, superb views

South Downs Way 100 – debut 100 miler, paced well, walked in dark, big smile at finish

Alice Holt 10k – surprised myself with sub-50 minute finish on undulating trail course

Portsmouth Coastal Festive Half Marathon – ran without looking at watch, steady and controlled

2016

Why Not Run 6 hour timed event – did 5 laps, 23 miles, smiled again

Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 50k – amazing scenery, shame about the ITB issue, more limping to the finish

Autumn 100 – paced by Ash and Rod new PB, fell over 3 times

2017

Arun River Marathon – good first half, poor second, Amberley Mount joyous, mental strength waning

North Downs Way 100 – DNF, poorly prepared, didn’t deserve the #BuckleForBob, will be back

Portsmouth Coastal Marathon – another DNS, this time due to my illness, destined not to run this race!

2018 (to date)

Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon – PW performance, paced abysmally

Winchester 10k – perfectly paced, almost a PB

Over the years there were also a few Santa Runs, a 10k solo and two 5k runs with my son Andrew, all great fun

In compiling this list I’ve been reminded that I’ve yet to run any of the following races:

  • 5k (Santa Runs and parkruns aside)
  • 100k
  • A track race

All of these are now on the running to do list!

Volunteering

I broke my volunteering duck at the South Downs Way 50 in April 2013 and have been hooked on helping fellow runners along their way ever since. Smiles, banter, hugs and encouraging words go a long way when you’re racing (or plodding, as is more often the case for me).

I’ve volunteered for the following race organisers and highly recommend their events:

Hermes Running (Race Director: Dave Ross)

I’ve only helped out once here, the Thames Meander Marathon, but I got the opportunity to chat with 80 year old runner “Rocket” (pictured above) among others while volunteering near Barnes Bridge with Fiona McNelis. Dave Ross is a superb runner and a top guy who looks after his runners.

Believe and Achieve (Race Director: Robert Piggott)

I’ve helped out at race registration, handed out medals and goodie bags, and swept the course as last runner marshall. Robbie puts his heart and soul into these events and is alwats appreciative of the volunteers.

Centurion Running (Race Director: James Elson)

The expression “Centurion Running family” us often used by runners to describe how these races feel and that’s a great summary. James, Nici, Drew and co make all of these events run like clockwork, supporting volunteers and runners alike. From helping out at race registration to bottle filling, good preparing, race timing, finish line medal awarding and sweeping up, all of these volunteering shifts have been an absolute joy.

Sussex Trail Events (Race Directors: Jason McCardle, Chris Ette, Danny Cunnett)

I’ve volunteered at the Cranleigh aid station on the Downlink Ultra for these guys in the last 2 years. Great guys who know how to look after their runners and are creating some original and challenging events.