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Meet the Member – Martin Steadman completes 50 Parkruns

Q) For members who don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself?

A) About 11 years ago I moved to this area after four years working in Silicon Valley. I’m still designing silicon chips but in the rather less sunny location of Bracknell. (Our image sensor chips mostly go into cameras for cars.) I’m married to Jane and we have two school age daughters.

Q) How and when did you get into running?

A) In my younger days running was something I was OK at but mostly did as part of some other sport – rugby at school and training for rowing at university. I stuck with the rowing after graduating and moving to London, and also occasionally joined some runner work colleagues at events like the Burnham Beeches 10k and the Great North Run. Through them I got to marshal at the London Marathon finish one year – that gave me an entry for the next year, but I got some injury or other and couldn’t run. Bother. Fast forward twenty years or so and I joined a friend in a couple of the “micro triathlons” held at Wellington College. These confirmed that I’m really not a swimmer but I enjoyed the running. As my 49th birthday approached I got to thinking about the big five-oh, wondering how to mark it, and remembered that missed marathon… So I signed up for Brighton 2016 and started running a bit more. Then a lot more after Christmas to ensure I made it round! In the end I was comfortably under four hours, and from then I guess I was hooked.

Martin - Windsor Half

Q) What do you enjoy most about being a member of Sandhurst Joggers?

A) Running with other people is a great change from being out on my own, although I’m happy with that too. There’s also a few more faces I know at parkrun now. And I’m getting excited about the conclusion to this year’s Handicap Series!

Q) On which of the weekly runs are we most likely to bump into you?

A) Fitting around the rest of the family can be tricky, but I most often make the Thursday run. Plus the Handicap.

Q) I see you’ve exclusively run at Bracknell Parkrun, tell us what you like about the Bracknell event?

A) I enjoy the variety in the course – there’s flat paved sections as well as hilly off-road bits, without it being too muddy. Through the trees and bracken when the sunlight is filtering down is my favourite part. I keep thinking I should try a bit of tourism though, especially one of those “fast” courses…

Martin cropped

Q) What other events are on your programme for the rest of 2017 and 2018?

A) The Milocarians XC and hopefully some of the remaining TVXC runs (and cakes). I’ll probably sign up for the Bracknell half again, but I do need to organise some more things – maybe it’s even time to think about another 26.2 miles!

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Good For Age – Phil Guy nails his target at the inaugural Birmingham Marathon

The first Birmingham marathon since 1989 started in Alexander Stadium, which will be the athletics track for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and where Mo Farah ran his last track race. Parking was very easy (£5 cash), got rid of the old £1 coins last day of legal tender. This was a big national event; first people I spoke to had travelled from Newquay & Peterborough. The baggage transportation was ‘buses’ not lorries, your bag got a seat.  8:30 was race time, the expected heat wave hadn’t materialised (was sunny later).  My third marathon, target was sub 3:15 to achieve good for age, I had previously experienced hills in Bournemouth and a heat wave in Brighton, so I was running in hope for Birmingham.

Start was on the track then onto the Birmingham main roads which were HILLY this is the race summary from most runners hilly not flat.  Start was great the first 7 miles were all sub 7mins.  Mile 7 began a 9 mile loop, local radio station had taken over a park; crowds started to appear the atmosphere was improving.  After running London parks the previous week, I was disappointed by the lack of iconic venues, don’t remember seeing Cadburys World, Villa Park was a signpost, only Edgbaston cricket which we run round was notable. The great thing about marathons is the crowds and the encouragement they give runners especially the personal touch of your name or ‘Sandhurst’.  I was going great until mile 17 when the hills started to take toll.  I still had 2 big hills to go (advantage of loops knowing what to expect).  Doubt had started to cross my mind.

By mile 25 I was hanging in but then horror as I turned a corner a really step hill, I was wiped out, my legs were killing, I thought I was going to throw up, I wanted to stop running and walk.  The 3:15 pacer went by as did my 3:15 target.  After getting to the top of the hill at least saw 800m to finish the sign which preceded a smaller hill, at the top the finish was in sight, somehow I got some energy and sprinted to the end, watch time 3:15:02.  The steward asked if I was alright as literally stopped to breathe.  The finishing area was underwhelming, there was no medal, water, banana handout here, only a finisher’s bag collection which had signs ‘water in bag’ as was the medal under the pamphlets. I retrieved my bag including phone from the bus, my time which was 3:15:00, my target missed by 1 second, NO!!!!!! devastated!

Phil Guy Brum mara medal

Driving back reflecting on being proud knocking 3 ½ minutes off my personal best, and one of heartbreak missing my target by 1 second, 1 second out of the 11,700 I ran, 1 second!

After posting my time on the worldwide web, I checked the website to find my time had been revised to 3:14:59 OMG WOW; I am good for age after all!

Phil Guy Brum mara time

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Rock N Roll Lisbon Marathon – Alison Jones reports back

I should have known the Lisbon marathon was not going to be easy when we had to queue for 45 minutes to get into the Expo to collect my number!

My husband had been telling me the temperatures in Lisbon for the last couple of weeks so when he said, the week before we went it was about 20 – 21 I thought fine, no problem, but the week leading up to the marathon – Sunday 15th they started to rise to the point I told him not to tell me anymore.

Since this was a coastal run, I took some solace in the fact that there will probably be a coastal breeze, since I do not do heat, I am Scottish it takes me a week in the sun just to turn white!

As usual, middle of the night start, up at 05.00hrs out at 06.00hrs to get a taxi to the station to catch a train to the start in Cascais, at least the train was free, empty is was not.  As we stopped at each station more and more runners squeezed in, thank goodness it was runners, generally skinny, and not a sumo competition we would never have made it.

When we arrived in Cascais it was still dark, but hot even then, so I knew this was not going to be easy for me, but I was still relying on my ocean breeze.

With only 7 toilets for about 7000 runners you can imagine the queues; at least the baggage was efficient.

Daylight arrived just as we were setting off at 08.00hrs to run a loop around Cascais then past the starting point to then follow the coast road to Lisbon, so I knew when we passed the start we would have done 8+ miles, this was the most uphill section of the race.

Having run the Rock N Roll Dublin half in August I was hoping to hear some good bands on my way round the course, although not as many as in Dublin, some were pretty good, some were passable and some were abysmal, so much so you had to speed up to get away from the noise!

I did not have a drink at the first water station as I thought it was too early, but started to get really hot after this bold decision, so decided I would take a bottle of water at the next and carry it with me, the sun came up and so did the temperature.  I was still in control at this point, we had passed the start and were now heading out of Cascais towards Lisbon.

Usually I take it steady in the first half of the race and see what I have left in the tank for the second half, hoping to finish strong, by the time I got to mile 16, hoping to finish was my main aim!

I was taking a bottle of water at every water station and picking up a fresh one at the next, since by the time I had run with it for a few miles I could have made a cup of tea with it, by now the temperature was 29 – 30 and I was melting, so much for my sea breeze, I think any breeze there, was making it hotter.

It was utter carnage by this time, people were walking or sitting on the pavement, I really just wanted to finish and could not have cared less about the time.  I am sure the statue of Christ the Redeemer was even laughing at the state of us, anyway the end was in sight and I did not die, as I thought earlier on in the race.

My watch was about ½ mile out and we were in the final 2k so I knew we were nearly finished (well I had been finished by about mile 18) the final 1k was downright cruel, we ran onto cobbled streets, my feet were not best pleased, and as I turned a corner there was a ballooned arch, ah the finish I thought, no chance, there was no timing mat and the spectators were saying go on, okay I thought, just another corner to go, round the next corner there were four balloon arches, ha I thought it must be one of them, we are still running on cobbles, but no again, another corner to turn, finally I saw the finish and FINISHED, in a chip time of 4.15.47 placing me 12th in my age group, 292 amongst the women, but none of that mattered.

Alison Lisbon

In conclusion, the views were spectacular, but the heat was a killer, this truly was a War of Attrition!

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14th/15th October – SJ Weekend Run Down

We’ll start the Run Down with some Wednesday night action at Handicap. As the end of the year gets closer members are giving it everything to make improvements and score those valuable points. Here’s the results on the night which saw Sharon Burfield knock a huge 1 minute 52 seconds off her previous best to take the top spot this month:-

Handicap October 2017 results

And here’s how the overall table is looking with the leaderboard looking increasingly tight and only two more opportunities remaining to improve the points tally. Royston Crandley has made up a lot of ground on series leader Jim Laidlaw with Martin Steadman and Dick Newman also making a late charge. The current Top Ten have all logged the maximum seven runs so will be looking to drop any low scores in the November and December runs. The battle for the podium is ultr-tight with nine points seperating first to fourth and Martin Steadman has a big opportunity to move up as he has two scores under ’20’ that he can potentially improve on:-

Handicap October 2017 table

This week at Parkrun Frimley Lodge we celebrated another hugely impressive landmark, this time for volunteering as Richard Boese logged the 250th occasion of him helping at the event. This is on top of running at Frimley Lodge 304 times out of 362 total Parkruns! Faye Joyner sampled the Frimley Lodge course for the first time and celebrated with a PB!

Parkrun FL results Oct 14th

Over at Parkrun Bracknell a big crowd of SJs who also bike and swim as 3CTri held a club gathering resulting in a big club turnout. Fiona Slevin-Brown continued her great run of form to finish first for the club in 22:35. Lots of Bracknell first timers so inevitable PBs including James Ratcliffe, Alan Kirby, Sarah Hyatt, Jon Gubb and x. Big kudos to Lauren Askew who recorded her fastest ever Parkrun and Blanche Barnes who laid down her fastest on the Bracknell course.

Parkrun Bracknell results Oct 14th

Parkrun Rushmoor – Andrew Brooks returned to action and confirmed his Marathon retirement as he posted a speedy 18:58, just ten seconds slower than his best ever. More kudos to Louisa Enriquez who continues to get faster recording a new PB of 27:32.

Parkrun Rushmoor results Oct 14th

Some new venues on the SJ Parkrun Tourist trail this week. Jon Payne made his first visit to Woodhouse Moor in Leeds finishing in 20:34. Speedy SJs at Southampton with Robert Jerrett and Stuart Overhill finishing in 20:34 and 22:58 respectively. Frances Park ran her fastest Parkrun at Coventry with 27:29. Kevin Forster stayed closer to home this week on the Stoke Park course in Guildford and finished with 29:27. Down in Devon John Bartlett ran at Plym Valley and Mark Neve at Exeter Riverside. While Gavin Loader ran at Alice Holt, John Tovell at Crane Park and Will Lucas at Seaton.

Lisa Hale swapped vests for the afternoon to complete her second race of the day in the Hampshire XC league at Portsmouth.

A big crowd of SJs enjoyed running and chocolate at the Eeyore Expedition in the Ashdown Forest. Members included Tracy Buck, chris Lambourne, Alurie Dutton, Yvette Glacken, Fiona Marshall and Serena Gigg.

Jackie Kent ran with friends at the Clapham edition of Race for life.

Overseas at the Lisbon marathon our very own Marathon Majors finisher Alison Jones (who is one of only around 150 women to have completed all series of Abbott Marathon Majors) completed in 4:15:47 to finish a brilliant 12th in her category.

Alison Lisbon

Jim Laidlaw went PB hunting at the Cabbage Patch 10 and yet again got to drink a can of Rio to celebrate a new best of 1:09:27..

Fast times for our two runners at the inaugural Birmingham Marathon. Wayne Boardman recovered well from Bournemouth to improve on his time finishing in 4 hours and 24 minutes while Phil Guy had an absolutely storming run which was timed to absolute perfection as he finished in 3:14:59 to grab a ‘Good For Age’ time by one second! That’s also a PB!

Wayne Birmingham

Another busy week on Strava with seventy-seven members logging runs this week. To take part in this just create a free Strava account and link it to the club in your profile. Here’s the top 10 from last week:-

Strava Leaderboard Oct 15th

To take part in this just create a free Strava account and link it to the club in your profile.

Please let me know if I’ve missed anything and share your results and achievements in the future so the rest of the club know what you are up to.

As always keep a look out on Facebook for details of the weekday evening runs.

Wednesday: Andrea Vincent and Sharon Burfield are the General Members for the Wednesday which leaves from Sandhurst Memorial Park at 7pm. The run will cover approx. 5-6 miles over roughly an hour. Runners run at their own pace and loop back as needed.

Thursday: This week the threshold/improvers run will be on the Golden Retriever route. Please make certain you have high vis and good lights as there are some dark sections! Meet at Sandhurst Sports Centre at 7:30pm.

Friday: Track is still free and the THREE coaches have some great sessions planned for all abilities to improve fitness and technique.

Sunday: Anybody not racing can join the crowd running from The Lookout at 9am. It’s a flexible run to suit everybody’s needs and is either adapted to fit with distance targets or multiple groups are formed. The three ‘Cs’ of Coffee, cake and chat are enjoyed in the cafe post-run.

We have a few great club events coming up in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for emails and be sure to respond to the organiser:-

The Weekend of Running is being held on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of November with a busy programme of runs, talks and socialising planned. If you haven’t already signed up and paid up, please respond to Jenny’s email.

SJ Cross Country – our ‘home’ event being held on Sunday 26th November at Lord Wandsworth College and we need you! So if you can help and volunteer on the day please get in touch with Jenny.

London Marathon Draw and Bake Off – the date and venue are still to be confirmed but in the meantime if you did enter the London Marathon ballet then be sure to hold onto your rejection letter or email to earn a place in the club’s own draw for two places. You could also refine those recipes ready for the Bake Off!

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Meet the member – Janet Venables celebrates 150 parkruns

Q) For members who don’t know you tell us a bit about yourself?
A) I live in Camberley with my husband Keith and this summer we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary; Keith doesn’t run…he cooks my dinner while I shower and that is the secret of a happy, long running marriage! We have a grown-up daughter and son and now we have three Granddaughters aged 6, 2 and 6 months; I look after them during the week so I have to keep on running just to keep up with them!
Q) How and Why did you get into running?
A) Ten years ago my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia and I became her main supporter. Her incapacity made me look at my own health and I found my way to the Arena Leisure Centre where I still do Spinning, Pilates and Yoga classes. They suggested running with a Club and I found the SJs website which attracted me to joining the Club. I lost 3 stones, became stronger and energetic, learned to manage my time better…and  become a Real Runner!
Q) What do you enjoy most about being a member of SJs?
A) SJs are fully inclusive and that is what I love most about being a member. The Club welcomes everybody of all speeds, sizes, ages, pace, shapes etc etc to all from their very wide range of sessions, events, celebrations etc etc. I feel very comfortable just being with other SJs and every time I run with them I am a Winner. In 2015 I was ‘Most Improved Runner’ and presented with a trophy at the Ball-a delightful surprise!
Q) On which of the weekly runs are we likely to bump into you?
A) You won’t bump into me because you will hear me running up behind you – it seems I am a heavy breather! At present I run the Monday Night Club Run, Tuesday Intervals and Saturday Parkrun. My lungs work very hard at these sessions and I manage to keep up at the back!
Q) What’s your favourite Parkruns and why?
A) Frimley Lodge is my favourite for Running and Volunteering because it is very local and I can be home by 10.15 ready to start my relaxing weekend. Having reached 150 I have put away my red and black T-shirts and ordered my Apricot Tee. I love the route through the trees and alongside the canal and it’s a joy to feel them change with the seasons. The organisers have created a very uplifting atmosphere…and they like cake so my homemade bakes go fast too!
Q) what else is on your running Programme for the rest of 2017 and 2018?
A) I tend not to do other events simply because Keith and I like to spend our weekends together at home…but I always have future running ambitions; I intend to run for Dementia UK at sometime in memory of my mother who died earlier this year. Also, I want to beat my Parkrun PB before March next year when I will have my 60th Birthday Cake. I feel now is the time for me to put in some extra effort and with the consistent, amazing support of the SJs I believe I could actually do it!
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Wellesley Rushmoor 10k – Gareth Hopkins reports on his 1st 10k

So here it goes…my first run report.  Apologies if I waffle on a bit.  I was excited/nervous about my first 10k run as I have only been running since the beginning of May, but I was also looking forward to pushing myself.  Running with the Tuesday Night Run Group has been a fantastic way in helping me extend my distance running so this would be my first “proper” test.

Everything felt a bit more real when I picked up my number and T-shirt on the Wednesday before the race and even more so on the morning of the event. I have to admit I found this a hard but enjoyable run. Something I have learnt from starting running is that it doesn’t matter whether you are a hardened runner or a pure beginner, you are all there for the fun of it as well as pushing yourself.

Rushmoor 10k start

With that in mind when passing my first 1k, perhaps having Lust for Life by Iggy Pop in my running playlist wasn’t perhaps the wisest choice. Starting off as if I were Ewan McGregor running down the streets of Edinburgh (a la Trainspotting) maybe I pushed myself a little too much straight away. I carried this on down the canal path and when passing 2k thinking that if had entered the fun run I would be finishing now and tucking into the samosas that were at the finish line.

I was thoroughly enjoying the run, as I prefer off road running, and loved the fact that this course offered so many different terrains.  I was running quite happily up until the 5k mark when I seemed to hit a wall.  Something didn’t feel right with me and my paced certainly dropped. I couldn’t put my finger one what was causing it, my legs hurt and my breathing went all over the shop. My other half caught me up soon after and was a superstar. She really helped me round and get control of my breathing. Soon after the 5k, the water station was a blessing, especially the jelly babies that were on offer. The rest of the course was a struggle but with my partner’s help I found my pace and things became easier, although I do believe that the gap between 8k and 9k was secretly a lot longer (well that is what I am telling myself!). Seeing the finish line come into view was a sight for sore eyes and I couldn’t help but go for a sprint finish.  It certainly did feel good to cross the line.

Rushmoor 10k 9km

Stupidly I was annoyed with myself for struggling, but in hindsight I did set off too fast, so it was my own fault.  Looking back when I received my time of 1hr 08min I realised I am happy with the run as less than six months ago I couldn’t even run for a minute let alone 1k.  This race was a perfect course for a 10k introduction and I am looking forward to running a lot more and pushing myself more, although ensuring I find my pace early on. I am also looking forward to running more and more with the Sandhurst Joggers and getting to know everyone more.  Next step…get a top so that I can be recognised as a fellow Sandhurst Jogger at events.


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Phoenix “It’s a Numbers Game” Double Marathon Weekend Race report – Richard Boese

Phoenix Running is one of a number of companies that organise small marathon and timed challenge events on lapped courses.  They base most of their runs along the Thames by The Weir Pub near Walton, with race registration at the nearby Elmbridge Excel Leisure Centre.

As the name suggests, this pair of marathons is aimed, only a little tongue in cheek, at people chasing numbers on their way to 100 (or multiples of 100) marathons.  Now, I said to myself that this was not something that I was interested in and I’m not in a race with myself to get to 100 marathons by any particular date.  The medal for this is also bloody huge, which was another thing I told myself I wasn’t really interested in.  So it was with some guilty feelings at my mental weakness that I arrived at Walton on Thames on Saturday morning, just two weeks after my 50 mile epic adventure at Surrey Tops and a week after getting over a bout of flu.

I arrived early ahead of the 8am race registration opening time, parking was easy and the leisure centre was open to use their loos.  I checked in and soon some familiar people started arriving, including Leon Hicks and Lance King.



After a short race briefing outside the leisure centre, we set off for the start, just a 5 minute walk away to drop bags by the aid station.  The course for the two runs was going to be the same both days and consisted of out and back loops along the river from The Weir pub upstream to a point just a few hundred metres beyond Walton Bridge, then turn around and come back again.

The start/finish is by a large weir and the pub patio and seating and after a short section of tarmac you are on a wooded path with occasional boats moored alongside for a few hundred metres, before the path opens out on to the concrete slipway of a rowing club.  This leads on to gravel paths for the most of the rest of the way past a lot of fancy houses, another nice pub (The Anglers), over a steep footbridge by a boatyard and chandlers, under the big steel arch of Walton Bridge, under some willow trees to the turn point at 1.6miles.  Each lap is 3.275 miles making 8 laps for a marathon.

Richard Numbers Game river.png

So, at the start of Day 1 I was feeling OK, over the flu and my legs felt fine.  As I knew I was running the next day, today was mostly about finishing in a reasonable time with as little damage as possible, so I set off at a reasonable 10 min mile pace chatting along with Leon for 3 laps, then keeping going at that pace until 4 laps, making half way in 2:15.  Having got to that point and realising the cut off of 7 hours gave me masses of time, I wasn’t too upset that the wheels seemed to fall off, with both knees and hips feeling increasingly tight.

I tend to feel like this trying to run a couple of days after a marathon, and I can usually manage a gentle 5 or 6 miles with the Tuesday slow runners, so I figured that the Surrey Tops (and flu) had taken it’s expected toll and I was rightly feeling tired and stiff, even though it was two weeks after that event.  In this situation, it can be easy to let your mind wallow in the pain and just convince yourself that it isn’t worth it.  This is where the ultra runner’s mentality needs to kick in, where the key objective is to keep making forward progress until you finish or you miss the cut-off and get pulled from the race.  Forget the pain in your legs and look around for things to cheer you up, which could be anything; other runners cheering you on or chatting, people out walking their silly dogs, rowing eights training on the river, swans and geese coming in to land, Hotblack Desiato’s amazing all black stealth barge moored at the boat yard.

The other thing was I knew I was going to come back the next day and do this all again, so I had to spend the remaining time trying to recover as much as possible.  I was reduced to a fast march to try and stretch out stiff muscles and reduce calorie use and dehydration. I spent remaining laps when by myself eating as many jelly sweets and Freddo chocolate bars from the aid station as possible and concentrating on walking technique to keep going at sub 14 minute miles.  Occasionally I’d catch up with another runner and chat.  I finished in 5:34, Leon came in not long after in 5:48 and Lance at 6:07.

I downed a couple of recovery drinks (milk and a chocolate milkshake) and headed for home.  In the afternoon, I felt just about OK, so the recovery walk seemed to have done some good.  I had a relaxing hot bath and stretch and a roast dinner and walked around and did a few stretches during the evening.  I put compression tights on to sleep in and got to bed reasonably early.  The next morning, I could walk quite well, managing the stairs without having to come down sideways.  I had my usual porridge and banana breakfast and coffee and hit the road for Day 2.

There was no Lance or Leon to keep me company this time, but still some of the people from the day before and a new selection of the Usual Suspects out for a Sunday run, including Traviss Wilcox, Race Director of Kent based SVN Running Challenges and former president of the 100 Marathon Club.  After a presentation to Lorraine Croucher for completing 52 marathons in 52 weeks and the familiar race briefing, we set off to the start.

Problems started almost immediately.  I thought I would jog gently for a while to warm up and ease the legs back into life, but after half a mile I had a lot of pain on the outside of both knees, which was all to do with tired and stiff quads.  The warm up needed to be a lot gentler, so I walked for half a mile and then tried running.  I managed about 5 minutes of running before the pain was too much and I was walking again.  After doing this a couple of times, I found out it didn’t seem to matter what pace I was doing my running breaks, I could just last about 5 minutes, so the new tactic was to walk until my knees eased off, then do an interval run at sub 8 minute mile pace.  This seemed to keep the average pace at a level where I kept up with some of the other runners and made sure I could finish well inside the cut-off time.

So, Day 2 was an uncomfortable learning experience, but I finished, though in a pretty slow time of 6:08, but I wasn’t completely broken or injured.  In fact, as soon as I stopped trying to walk or run I instantly felt much happier (funny, that!).  I got the ridiculously big running number medal hung round my neck, saw a few remaining people finish and then headed home for more recovery.  Two days later I was feeling better and managed a nice chatty recovery run with one of the Tuesday slow groups.