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Endure24 – Andrea Hadfield reports back from the top step of the podium as the SJ Ladies Team ran like girls… and nobody could keep up!

The e-mail arrived about Endure 24, having taken part last year, I must have been one of the first to sign up…a few months later and I discover I have switched teams to join the first ever Sandhurst Ladies team! I started to get nervous as I knew the other ladies in the team were super speedy, but they were quick to reassure me that they needed some ‘ endurance’ on the team as well as speed! Endurance I can do…

Nikki, our fearless captain, was super organised, getting us to work out some predicted lap times and preferences for day/night running, so she could create THE PLAN. Then conversations turned to more important things – what shall we eat for 24hrs and what on earth were we going to wear?

The weekend arrived and we were able to answer one of those 2 questions as we rocked our fabulous new team vests, to the envy of all who saw them. Lisa had even coordinated her knee taping to match them, which was dedication to the cause of run-fashion.

SJ Ladies back of vests

We had THE PLAN, we had THE VESTS….what could possible go wrong? As it turned out, not very much. Runner after runner returned to the camp having smashed their predicted lap times, those of us later in the ‘running order’ smugly began our 24hr eating festival, and the time ticked by. Sharon and Gemma developed an excellent theory, that as long as the person before you in the schedule was still relaxing and within sight, you had no reason to be concerned that you were supposed to be running somewhere! At this point we also discovered that Helen had brought enough run clothing to kit out everyone for several weeks.

Andrea pre start

After everyone in the team had run a lap, rumours of the leaderboard started to circulate and we discovered we were winning the Ladies ‘Large Team’ competition, now the pressure was really on (although it actually wasn’t as we were winning by a fairly significant margin). Day turned to night, and the well-oiled machine continued to run, with smooth handovers and swift loops around the forest. Unfortunately, on one of the night laps, Heidi picked up an injury, although still managed an amazingly fast time despite hobbling the last km or so.

Despite a bit of a cold, and some hayfever, I had been enjoying the running and socialising, but at around 2am came my darkest hour of the event, I was lying in my tent listening to the rain and dreading the call which arrived even earlier than expected. At this point we were over an hour ahead of schedule. On went the trail shoes, and I slipped and slid around the muddy trail which was getting more churned up by the minute. The music had stopped and the runners had spread out – had everyone given up because of the rain? At certain points I thought I’d left the route as I couldn’t see a single head torch, but I completed my lap – albeit, very slowly!

The rain soon stopped and it started to get light again which was cause for great celebration – the end was in sight, and things were still looking good for our win. Some frantic calculations and strategizing was ongoing as our last few runners headed out, although we were sure we had won, did we have time to squeeze in another lap before the clock struck 12? And more importantly, did we need to? It turned out to be a ‘ no we didn’t ’ on both accounts, so instead we had a fairly leisurely jog across the finish line as a team, with Katie doing some impressive ‘run-dressing’ (not to be confused with undressing). We had done it. We cheered the other teams home, picked up our winnings (a funky headband each, and a team trophy) and went our separate ways for some well-earned sleep.

winning team

Reflecting on a brilliant weekend, I’ve never really done any team sports, and had previously never really considered running to be one. It was an absolute privilege to be on the first Sandhurst Ladies Team with my amazing teammates Nikki Stanley, Helen Antram, Lisa Hale, Katie Herrington, Sharon Burfield, Heidi Zymela and Gemma Potter. Hopefully we’ll be back next year to defend the title!

Ladies team under finish banner


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Vitality 10k – Will Lucas reports back from his 1st race… a big one at that!

Having only joined Sandhurst Joggers a few months back, I had never before considered actually taking the plunge and signing myself up to an official race. However when the opportunity was handed to me and all it required was a yes or no answer, I decided that the Vitality London 10k was the one for me!

Vitality10k prerace

When the day arrived I made my way into Green Park to meet with some familiar faces and get my bearings before making my way to the start. Having started with some feelings slight nervousness of not knowing what to expect, they soon passed to leave me with excitement as I took in the sights and sounds of the busy park full of people getting ready for the race.

Vitality10k palace

It was not long before it was time to start heading down to your designated coloured zone to line up for the start in which I found myself on my own and fairly far back. To me this didn’t matter at all as everyone seemed in high spirits which created a great atmosphere of inclusiveness. Slowly the crowd surged forward closer and closer to the start and before I knew it, there we were, just waiting for the signal to go.

Vitality10k start crowds

As we started I found the pace very slow and with so many people out there quite difficult to get around and go at my desired pace. This was not a huge problem as running through central London was not something I imagined I would ever do and there was so much else to take in other than my pace. With crowds cheering and clapping on all sides of the street, bands playing every km or so and not to mention the iconic sights never seen in this light, I found the kilometres soon passing by.

Vitality10k london streets

By 5km the streets seemed to be much quieter and the stretch to 7km felt like the hardest point. The temperature in the city that weekend was hot and fairly humid. Much of it felt like there was little to no breeze which made the water spray all the more welcome. At this point I noticed the streets seemed to be becoming much livelier again and as the 8th KM past I felt like the final two would not be a problem.  I was not wrong, spurred on by the same sights, sounds and support of the beginning I only wished there was a little more to go! After crossing the finish line the whole race was made even more worth it when I picked up an excellent bag with finishers T-shirt, medal and a few other nice little bits.

Vitality10k will & team

All in all a great race which I would recommend to anyone especially those that have always thought about it but not quite made it to the sign up stage.

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Endure24 – SJ Team Red Captain Wayne Boardman reflects on a magical weekend of running

Upon securing a place at Endure 24 I decided to do a little research on the race, something I failed to do with The Grizzly with spectacular results, and after typing in the word ‘Endure’ into the laptop I was given a list of definitions that included:

1) To continue to exist
2) To support adverse force or influence of any kind
3) To suffer without yielding
4) To suffer patiently

Having read the above and looking at the course profile I wasn’t entirely sure I’d done the right thing by entering, yet having just completed Endure 24 I have to say it’s at the very top of my ‘must-do’ race list. I absolutely loved it!
Wayne don't shoot

There are a number of reasons why I loved this race so much including;

The course – it was the perfect distance for me to push myself around in a reasonable time for an unfit 40 something; it was hilly with a couple of steep uphills and equally challenging steep downhills; it was technically challenging with lots of twists and turns through the forest with countless exposed tree roots to run (trip) over; and it was entirely traffic free and very picturesque.

The festival atmosphere – Endure is marketed as Glastonbury for runners, and it certainly felt that way. Within the race village could be found the food tent and the caravan bar, deckchairs and bales of hay to lounge on, the DJ set and the huge colourful flags, and the best bit for me – the inflatable Mizuno shop! I just had to purchase another pair.
Teepee & caravan

It’s family friendly – I was unsure whether to take my two rug rats, Rufus aged 11 and India aged 8, but I’m so pleased I did as they had a wild time. Not only did they enjoy the camping, something we don’t often do, they loved being surrounded by other fun loving children including the Rice boys, the Potters, and Bowles Jr. What they enjoyed most was the independence the weekend gave them; they knew daddy was a little busy to parent them like he normally would, I knew the race community was a safe one, and so they had the freedom to enjoy their surroundings without me constantly nagging about their whereabouts.

The team spirit – I was lucky enough to skipper a hard working team of runners that included Kate, Zerrin, John, Jim, Dave, Alan, and Erol. Before the event I asked everyone what their expected lap time was, and based on this I set a plan that everyone could complete 4 laps within the 24-hours. One or two team members had some concerns as they’ve never ran this distance before, and/or they didn’t much fancy running in the dark, but everyone dug deep and got on with the task to ensure we as a team met our target of 160-miles. Throughout the weekend, whether it was day or night, hot and sunny, or dark and wet, everyone took their turn without complaint when the time arrived – and no one forgot to wake the next runner! Something that not all teams can say 😉
It was great running Zerrin in as a team on her last lap, a fitting end to an excellent team event.

The final reason why I loved this race so much was the camaraderie amongst the SJ family. From the pre-race arrival team who secured an excellent spot and worked tirelessly throughout Friday to get tents erected for other runners, the evening jolly where beers, wine, and a few tales were shared (who remembers spreadsheet gate?), to the sharing of food, water, tent pegs, pink giraffes and dry socks that occurred without question. As an longstanding SJer who has dipped in and out of the club over the years it was great to feel the SJ hug around me and my family this weekend; all three of us thank you for making the weekend so enjoyable.
SJ Red at finish clock

A truly wonderful and memorable weekend that simply has to be repeated next year.
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Meet the Member – Simon Whillis

Wednesday sees the June edition of the SJ Monthly Handicap so it’s the perfect opportunity to get to know the man behind the clipboard and stopwatch who earlier this year completed his 100th Parkrun; meet Simon Whillis…

Handicap trophy

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

A) Been a member of SJ for a long time although I now only do Park Run on a regular basis. I joined the ranks of the retired a couple of years ago and my wife joined me 3 weeks ago so “the world is now our oyster”, providing the money holds out. Enjoyed sport all my life without ever being any good at it. Running, or shuffling in my case, means I am competing against myself.

Q) How and when did you get into running?

A) Saw the first London Marathon on TV and a few months after that I entered the first Fleet Half Marathon. March 1982!!! Took part in a few local half Marathons – including the legendary 1985 Sandhurst event which included the heaviest downpour that I ever ran in. Did my first London in 1986 after 3 rejections. My youngest daughter was 2 days old then. Her 13th birthday present was to come up and watch me run what turned out to be my last London.

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

A) Without doubt the people that I have met. Joining SJ changed our lives. We have made so many lasting friendships. Walked and run all over the country with our SJ friends.

Q) Other than running the monthly Handicap, on which of the weekly runs are we most likely to bump into you?

A) I occasionally run on a Tuesday. I help out at the Yateley Road Races as well.

Q) I see you’ve ran at a number of different Parkruns around the country and volunteered at over 70! Of the 11 venues you’ve run at, which was your favourite and why?

A) I like Frimley because I have made a lot of new friends there. I recently did Guernsey which was challenging and enjoyable but the one I suppose I have most affection for is Keswick which was my first bit of Park Run tourism. It goes along the C2C cycle route and about a year after I did it a couple of the bridges were swept away by Storm Desmond. They found another temporary home for the run but it is now back where it was with a few amendments. Last August I ran it again.

Q) What other events are on your programme for 2017?

A) The running is a bit limited these days so we are making up for it by walking the West Highland Way in June. I might manage the Bounders relay.


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June 10th/11th – SJ Weekend Run Down

This week saw the first of the Yateley 10k Road Races and a huge turnout out of runners and volunteers from the club. Fifty-nine members raced the 10k and there must have been something in the water as at least twenty-two members ran personal best times! A number of top-10 in category results and a podium for Dave O’Toole in the M60 category. Here’s the overview of results:-

Yateley 10k race 1 results spreadsheet page 1Yateley 10k race 1 results spreadsheet page 2Yateley 10k race 1 results spreadsheet page 3

Fantastic performances all round and kudos to the following for PBs:- Dave Bartlett, Sharon Burfield, Helen Clayton, Helen Fairman, Nicola Gater, Julie Graham, Stuart Holbrook, Lucy Howard, Jacqueline Hudson, Laura Ive, Lina Johnson, Sarah Johnson, Jim Laidlaw, Lynsey Lightfoot, Patricia Marshall, Joe Poppa, Gerry Reed, Jenna Soane, Kim Soane, Katie Woolger, Harvey Young, Krzysztof Zielinski.

Karen reading rd marshal

A huge shout out must go out to the army of volunteers who turned out to help with car parking, number collection, the bag drop, the fun run, marshalling and all the other tasks that go into making it such a well organised and successful event!

Gavin Loader was on fire at the Dinton Pastures 10k Last week bagging 10th position overall and a new PB of 38:41.

Back to normal this weekend with all three local Parkruns open. Frimley Lodge was popular as ever with 547 runners in total and witnessed a trio of SJ PBs plus some excellent results. Dave O’Toole continued a super week finishing 63rd overall, 5th overall Age graded and 1st in the 65-69 category in 22:18 (Dave also finished 1st in the 65-69 category at the Guildford Sprint Triathlon on Sunday to round off an amazing week of racing!) Phil Guy led members home in only his second Parkrun with a great time of 20:20. Emy Circuit knocked an impressive 1 minute 36 seconds off her best time lowering her PB to 24:39. In his 116th Parkrun Simon Whillis recorded his best time ever with 25:49. We will hear more from Simon later in the week. Well done everyone!

At Rushmoor James Ratcliffe was first SJ to finish in 12th position overall stopping the clock at 18:54 followed by Jim Laidlaw narrowly missing out on a course best by 6 seconds finishing in 20:50. Newton Johnstone and Elin Loftesnes both recorded seasons bests of 25:25 and 27:09 respectively.

Over at Bracknell more PBs as Paul Biggs continued his return with his best time on the Bracknell course in 25:53 while Blanche Barnes recorded 34:20 for another Bracknell best. Martin Steadman continued his fine run of form finishing first for the club in 23:47.

Plenty of Parkrun tourism this week with Stephen Casey clocked his best time in 2017 with 21:58 at Basingstoke while Gerry Allan continued a good week with a PB of 24:14 at Brockenhurst. John King made his second appearance at Queen Elizabeth Country Park and improved to 24:03. Richard Boese made a pre-Endure visit to Newbury to record a course PB of 24:12 and Yvette Glacken was in action at Luton Wardown.

Don’t forget to add Sandhurst Joggers as your club in your Parkrun profile to help us keep track of your achievements.

clipboard runnng order

The big event of the weekend was Endure 24; the Glastonbury for runners, a 24 hour relay (unless you are George Green) around a 5 mile circult in the grounds of Wasing Park near Aldermaston. We had nearly forty members in action and more detailed reports to follow. In the meantime, here’s a quick summary of the weekend. The Ladies team ‘ran like girls’ and nobody could keep up with them taking the win by over two laps. The Men’s team battled bravely with the Bicester Tri Club but eventually had to settle for a still excellent second pace in the Men’s Eight category. The two SJ mixed teams had a close fight throughout the event with the Red Team narrowly beating the Green Team 32 laps to 31. Charlie St Aubyn teamed up with Louise Sibley in the pairs to finish in 7th position in Mixed Pairs. There was drama and courage in the Women’s Pairs for duo Sara Lambourne and Tracy Buck. Tracy had to retire early on but Sara battled on bravely with support from other clubmates eventually completing an incredible eight laps or forty miles. In the Solo category, George Green completed an astonishing seventeen laps to finish 28th out of the 118 solo finishers. Jenny, Richard and Trish also ran with ‘maverick’ non-SJ teams.

Ladies team under finish banner

Leon Hicks continued his quest with the aptly names Dragon Seeker Ultra, a 60km event from the Severn Bridge to Cardiff. Leon just continues to astound with these feats of endurance week in, week out.

Dragon seeker ultra strava - Leon

This week we had a new King of Strava with Jim Laidlaw topping the leaderboard with a total of 82.4km. Head of the Hook offshoot Lou Lamb was second with 82.2km and Charlie St Aubyn was third with 80.1km. As you can see it was tight at the top this week! Sixty-four members logged runs this week. To take part in this just create a free Strava account and link it to the club in your profile.

As always, 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.

Monday: Patrick will be leading the usual Monday night chatfest leaving Sandhurst Sports Centre at 7:30pm.

Tuesday: There will be multiple groups running on Tuesday from Sandhurst Memorial Park this week starting at 6:30pm. Later the interval sessions will meet at The TYTHINGS in Yateley at 8pm where the session will be 5 x 3 minutes, 5 x 2 minutes, 5 x 1 minute.

Wednesday: Handicap this week starting at 7:30pm from the Morgan Rec in Crowthorne. Come along and try to beat your previous best time (or if it’s your first attempt you are guaranteed a PB). Don’t forget the monthly curry at the Raj will be consumer afterwards meeting at 8:45pm.

Thursday: This week the threshold/improvers run will be on the off road, Nikki will have more details later in the week and soon we’ll have a route schedule planned out.

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.

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Endure 24 – Royston Crandley reports back from the Glastonbury for Runners

Wasing Park is a beautiful setting near Aldermaston; acres of woodlands, open green areas and TENTS! Acres of Tents.  This can prove a mission when you arrive a little late in the day and all you can see for miles are multiple canvas roofs with the occasional flag or inflatable item denoting a location for a club or individuals who are all pitched up for one reason only; to take part in the most popular endurance event for runners.
Wasing scenery
Endure 24 once again invades the trails of Wasing Park. I’m pretty sure I had no real plans to return to this event, this will be my third time, and I know at some point it is going to hurt. I know there are hills a plenty, mud (potential mudslides and brown rivers, that’s mud and rain).
Endure24 cafe
On this occasion I’m off first, which turns out to be a blessing in disguise. The gun goes, well it’s bit of a wet fart of a gun, I’m thinking Magnum, no I think it’s a cap gun from my childhood… but anyway it’s gone pop and we are off, slowly but surely.
Hill of no return
The Course takes a sharp left then the ascent begins, you climb up through the trees and come out into a blustery open area with lovely views, and a huge church on the right side, but no one saw this apparently, I’m thinking specsavers will make a mint.
invisible house
It’s warm, very warm, we head into the woods and start to chew up the ground and we soon discover its tougher with the sun out to play, breathing like an over paid phone operator.
The inhaler helps me control the breathing and I start to chase or tuck in behind fellow runners.
The course is very undulating throughout, but there is one particular hill with a nickname, ‘Heartbreak hill’, yes, it’s description is spot on. Once you reach the top, it’s not literally down hill from there, but the work load is broken and then finally after a twist and turn through some trees, roots and some sneaky little dips, so fingers crossed nobody took a trip, literally.
Graham in singletrack
The final section takes you amongst the campers and the spectators, catching the rays as you weave your way through the campsite. The end beckons, I cross the line and locate the next runner after my change over.
finish chute
24 hours is a long time, a whole day to be precise 🙂 what else would you want to do with a rare weekend off, running, nothing gives me more pleasure than running to exhaustion, sleep deprivation and quality cuisine. When’s next year’s entries open?
A great weekend was had by all, the team all worked together to predict times, looked after by the team captains. Like most, I completed 4 laps of around 4.89 miles, but felt longer at times.
SJ Green team
So if you inspired by everyone’s reports or the photos; so grab your running shoes and watch out for next years entry.
Happy running


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Vitality London 10k – Royston Crandley reports from the queue for the toilets (and his best 10k run in 2 years!)

Bank holiday weekends are usually accompanied by dark threatening clouds and rain by the bucket loads, unless of course you have a 10k around the streets of London planned.  The weather gods are great at fixing the weather to make things a little tougher for everyone who is either running or watching.  I arrived slightly later than planned, leaving around 40 minutes to prepare myself for the 10k that was imminently awaiting me.  The intention was to meet to work colleagues for a pre race photo and catch up, that didn’t happen sadly.  Leaving the family at a pre-set location I have jogged towards the loo’s for a quick #1 I quickly saw that the queues in themselves were verging on 10k long, have you ever tried running with your legs crossed, this could be interesting.  There was no way I’d make the start if I waited in the queue so I opted to keep my fingers crossed instead of my legs and hope that I would not have to make a pit stop.
I pass the point of no return, LAST TOILETS !!!! everywhere I look reminds me that I’m carrying too much water,  Hallelujah, the magic word, URINALS! Relief, literally.
Royston & friends Vitality 10k
I make my way to the blue start feeling a lot happier and lighter.  Spotting my fellow club members; I’m ready to run.
At the start of the race Hugh Brasher gave a short speech to remember those who lost their lives the week before in Manchester, then followed a minutes silence which was very well observed.
We are off, the gun goes and my plan was to run a negative split, some thing I’ve never managed due to my inability to control my pace over those crucial first miles.
The legs are feeling good, the breathing is fine, the temperature is a tad humid, now humidity and Asthma don’t really enjoy each others company, so a quick puff and this eases my mind and I settle into the first mile.  I had set my watch to control my pace and this would alert me if I was moving a little too quick or slow so I could adapt.
Which ever distance you run, whether 5k, 10k or half you know its going to hurt at some point.  I cross the 5k point without a clue on my time due to the watch settings, not sure if this was a good idea, the alerts are going crazy which is playing games with my mind-set and now its hang on to the person in front time and lets get this done.  The air is dense and the breathing heavy, steam train coming through folks. At around 7k Sarah Alexander comes floating by, ok, I’ll stick with Sarah, not a chance in hell, Jo Pavey would struggle to keep up with Sarah, amazing run and a PB in the making.
Having run this race before,  I know what’s left or what’s to come depending on the course, last 2k ok lets give it some welly, the wellies fell off and the nausea makes an appearance, so I back off a little and disappointingly coast the last km towards the finish.
The finish beckons and with a final push I cross the line, and like all of us I check the watch and I’m actually more than happy with 48:21 (official time) that’s my quickest 10k in 2 years so I’m going in the right direction.
This race is proving to be a real delight and one that I know will feature in my race diary for next year, lets just hope the queues for the loos are a little less than 10k  🙂
Happy running see you all soon.