The Great North Run Posted by Rachel
It was Great North Run time again and I headed north for my annual pilgrimage to the land of Newcíy Brown, Panaculty, and Stottie Cakes (all top pre-race preparation). This was number 13 for me, and as usual, I hadnít quite done the training Iíd intended. Not that it matters, this is a race for the pure experience, and yet again it didnít disappoint. I canít quite describe how it feels to be stood on the central motorway in Newcastle when Mo Farrah is introduced to the crowd. Or the emotion when the local DJ asks you to take a moment to think about your reasons for running; the people who are still here, the people who arenít. For me, the person who wasnít there this year was a man called Mike Neville. Mike was the presenter on the local news programme, Look North, when I was growing up. I can remember him talking about the first Great North Run in 1981, the preparations and the schedule of training that featured every week to encourage the 12,000 who took to that first start line. I remember thinking; I want to do that and it stuck with me until I did my first GNR in 2005. Mike passed away a few days before this years run, but whenever I stand on that start line, Iíll always give a silent thank you to the man who first inspired me to run.
Iíve done all sorts of different races and events over the years and thereís nothing quite like this. I know its not everyoneís cup of tea, and 13.1 miles of tarmac isnít exactly my favourite, but I love this race. I was lucky enough to be on the Tyne Bridge when the Red Arrows went overhead, and at that instant, without choreography, all the runners shot their hands up to the sky and cheered. Spine tingling, thereís no other word for it. And the food, my goodness, I must have eaten my weight in jelly babies on the way round, although I have yet to take a chance on the free beer! Then thereís the crowd who support from the first to the last mile. They call your name and tell you youíre doing well and looking good, youíre nearly there Rachel! And then you see the finish line and the clock and you cross the finish line with a grin, a limp and a sigh. Number 13, done and well and truly dusted. Bring on number 14.
The Hay Runner Summer sabatical Posted by Jo More photos click here
I've not been at Hay Hotfooters for most of the summer. This is not to say I've been taking it easy, coaching others has been a priority this last few months. So I thought I'd give you an insight into what I've been up to incase you all thought I've been putting my feet up.
I run 3 Walk to Run courses throughout the year. The summer one had 43 ladies enrol which was amazing. Some of them had signed up to learn how to run in order to complete The Cardiff Half Marathon in October. Their starting point was zero miles but the driving force to starting and completing was to raise money for and support thier friends new charity. Running was not something they thought would become part of their lives once the race was over. After Walk to Run finished in July I was approached to do a half marathon training night on the run up to the October race. This was not only a success in terms of numbers but it became extremely important to me and a very emotional connection with all those training to run the race. I signed up too. So for the next 10 Thursdays (Hay Hotfooter night) I was half marathon training with a very determined group of women.
The improvement over the summer was phenominal, I made a taylored training plan for each person, they went from running 3 miles to 9 by mid September and truely believed that they could now do it.
The day it's self was very emotional and uplifting. 60 of us running for Team Drew and I was so happy and honoured to be a part of it. Needless to say everyone finished and not only crossed the line but signed up for next year. Others have followed and have registered now believing 'We can do it too'
I have many wonderful clients but one in particular has become a real inspiration not only to me but to others just starting out on their fitness journey. A highlight of the summer was taking part in The Furlong Fury on Hereford Race course. Obsticles a plenty and the odd skip of mud. Sometimes we that run regularly take it for granted and get annoyed at ourselves if we are slower than normal. This isn't necessarily a bad thing it's what drives us to improve. But sometimes it's good to put away our competitive side and just take pure enjoyment in being able to take part. We had a ball and this wonderful lady ran all the way round and tackled the obsitcles...so much to look forward to.
Anyway for the time being I'm back on Thursdays and it will be lovely to catch up with everyone for the winter muddy running season (my favourite!)
Cross Country Forest Fields Posted by Jo
2 Teams fielded for the first of the Winter Cross Country League. Some of the HH men were off in Birmingham putting in some road miles in their first ever road marathons, well done Will Ford and John Jaspers. As for the rest of us we were throwing ourselves round a very testing 6 mile course in Forest Fields. More track and forest than fields with plenty of slow climbs up and fast runs down. I think this is one of the hardest of the seasons Cross Country races and a babtism of fire for new member Issy, who did incredibly well. Looking forward to race number 2, I think?
Racing isn’t the be all and end all of trail running, is it? Posted by Will
The day started with bright sunshine but on arriving at the decidedly damp and wet ‘under tyre’ field in Presteigne serving as the car parking area, the skies were grey and some of us were wondering if gloves might be needed. Having watched several vehicles attempt to negotiate the mud, a hardy gang dressed in white and black (Sue, Ange, Tina, Imme, myself, Paul, Pauls daughter Hattie (as Sherpa), Mark, John W, John J and The Whippet) shod in trail running shoes headed up the hill to the start line. For such a fantastic race, sadly there were under 50 entrants so start line jostling was lacklustre at best.
At 11.01am the start gun was fired and we were off! Making the mistake of heading off with John Jaspers near the front, and possibly a bit quick, we headed up the gravel track that continues on for a good mile plus then spent the following 3 miles running through the forest on narrow tracks, fire roads, up hill, down hill until we met the concrete road. I had moved ahead of John J, cursing because I knew I had gone out too fast and headed towards the first river crossing having negotiated the slurry covered farm track.
Having crossed the wider, deeper and colder river crossing than I remember from last year, the course heads down a difficult albeit flat, path that is heavily rutted, meaning you run with one foot in a rut, the other higher on the grass, so always off balance. Looking back, as one does when you know your struggling but are trying to be competitive, I saw John W catching me up. At mile 5 he caught me and with a self deprecating “don’t let me put you off Will” he overtook and headed off, having a great race, running smoothly and looking fit as a flea.
After crossing the second river, I was caught by John J on ‘that’ 1.5 mile hill that leads up through the forest. At this point its just a long haul uphill and seeing John W in the distance and John J next to me I plodded on through the mud and wet. Sadly the hill was too much for me and John J inched his way ahead and ground out the incline. With Paul not so far behind it was time to get your head down and grit your teeth and keep the gap.
The wonderful thing about this race is that the last mile is downhill all the way and after exiting the rutted cutting, the last downhill section is smooth and fast and time to stretch those tight hamstrings. With Paul hot on my tail and crossing the line, being very thankful for it, I was greeted by John W and John J and a well earnt rest!
Well done to all! A tough race. Of course we were all racing, for position and pride and against ourselves if nothing else.
The results as follows: John W, John J, Will, Paul, Mark, Imme, The Whippet, Ange, Tina and Sue.
The Canalathon Posted by Paul Photos from Jo, Emma. Sue and Tinas adventure
Marmite Sandwiches, Cherry Cola Bottles and McDonalds Flake Mc Flurries
(or as it is otherwise known the Pontypool to Brecon Canalathon 2017)
6.09am outside Will’s house (for some reason Will and Martin thought it was a 6am meet) and
heading off to collect Heidi for the journey south to Pontypool via Brecon and Abergavenny. The
Canalathon is a 6 mile canoe (2 people per boat), 22 mile cycle and 7 mile run along the Brecon canal
tow-path. This is a slight change to 2016 which was a 18m cycle/11m run which as you will shortly
see was probably for the best.
You are recommended to have a Race Manager to sort preparation and logistics. We were late. Our
preparation consisted of a bit of bickering, reading the map upside down, getting lost in the
beautiful welsh countryside and establishing that all 4 team members like marmite. Hay Hotfooters
2 (Tina, Jo, Sue and Emma) were already at Transition 1 (canoe to bike), resplendent in HH team
uniform and looking fresh and confident. We were not.
And so to the boats which were open canoes. Heidi drew the short straw and was in with Martin
leaving Will and me in boat 2. We got in and after some gentle paddling I casually mentioned that I
was surprised that we hadn’t reached the start yet. I was politely advised that we had in fact started
10 minutes ago and would I like to pull my finger out (that was the gist anyway).
M&H set off fast and quickly opened up a decent lead, however we started to close and were both
passing other boats as we went. When we eventually caught them there was the inevitable childish
horseplay which invariably ended with one of us getting stuck on the bank and/or all of us getting a
little bit wet. We realised that this wasn’t really helping us as a team so we eventually behaved and
made our way to T1 and the changeover to bikes. I think we all agreed that this really was the best
part of the whole day – 6 miles along the beautiful canal at 8am on a Sunday morning in lovely
Onto the bike route which was along the tow-path and so level all the way. The only obstacles were
the occasional dogs with their owners who waved and smiled as we passed (the owners not the
dogs), the odd opposition team or team member who usually got out of the way after several
minutes of bell-ringing and regular cattle bridges over the canal which seemed to get lower and
lower and on one occasion gave Martin a glancing blow across the head (how we’ve all wanted to do
that once or twice).
Halfway through the 22 mile cycle route the rain started. The forecast had been poor all week and so
far we had gotten away with it. We could see it coming and eventually it arrived. Waterproofs on,
cherry cola bottles all round and on we went. We entered T2 and dropped the bikes. We were
soaked through but the sun was coming out again so hopefully there was a reasonable chance of
drying out on the run.
It started to occur to us that we had overtaken a fair portion of the field so we were in with a decent chance of a good finishing position. Anecdotal evidence from stewards (this was a very well stewarded event) suggested that there were only a couple teams in front of us. This should have been the moment for a rallying of the troops and a concerted effort to chase down those in front.
The canoeing had been relatively easy, Will had captained us through the cycling, Martin was aboutto do the same on the run and Heidi just seemed as though she could go on for ever. Unfortunately it was at this point that the weak link in the team started to appear.
The 7 mile run started with heavy cyclists’ legs so the initial pace was slow as expected. The hoped for speeding up after the first mile never happened nor did the ‘second wind’
Despite lovely overhead conditions again, intravenous cherry cola bottles, regular stops to help me draw
breath and Martin trying to raise spirits by singing (that was never going to work) these 7 miles were tough
for me but the team stayed together and we ground on.
Then the worst thing possible happened and we sighted a team in front. Because my shuffle speed
was slightly faster than their team shuffle speed we eventually caught them (I was under instruction
that however bad I felt I was to keep smiling as we passed them in order to break their hearts). On
0.75 miles to go and the backmarkers of the last remaining team in front of us were sighted. Could
we catch them? Possibly but if we had tried I probably wouldn’t be here to write this account.
Mercifully no one suggested trying (thank you team). We rolled in to the finish to be greeted by
Heidi’s family and the daunting prospect of recovering spare vehicles, bikes, water proof equipment
etc. The only downside was that despite a 1pm local finish, home was only reached around 4pm.
Definitely recommend this event to all HH members next year – really enjoyable but just worth
giving the race logistics some thought. Oh, and do not underestimate the amount of pleasure that
can be derived from a Big Mac & Fries and Coke at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon.
Hay Hotfooters Captain’s Report - Herefordshire Summer Off Road League 2017
Link to photos click here
This Summer 12 men and 9 ladies registered to run for our Club team out of which 9 men and 6 ladies actually took part, including our new star Junior Aderyn. Particular thanks to Martin, John Warburton, Brian and Ange who were able to run in all 4 of this season’s races. It was also lovely to welcome new runners John Warburton, John Jaspers, Sue Richards, Sue Bamford and Aderyn this OR season. They all seemed to enjoy the races so let’s hope that they will also turn out to run in the XCs this Winter.
The Club had enough runners to make up the mixed team of 6 required (including at least 4 men) for each of the races and for two teams at Westhope. This is a fantastic achievement for a club as small as Hay Hotfooters, as was our team’s final position of 10th.
As always the atmosphere at each race was very friendly and their organisation, including producing the results, managed very efficiently by Mike Blenkinsop. Shaun also supported the club again by helping on the finish line and for this was thanked by Mike at the end of season’s Presentation.
Huge congratulations to Martin who most deservedly was awarded a medal in his age category at last!. Also to another member of the Carter dynasty Aderyn who will soon be overtaking us all and won the female Junior race category. I was also very pleased to achieve third in my age category again.
A massive thanks to everyone who took part and so for representing and supporting our club. I hope that you will all also be available for this Winter’s XC races.
Tina Lavelle (Summer OR Captain)
Rob Lally Fun Run Llanigon Show Posted by Martin the younger
Photos click here
If you want to be a winner you can train really hard, watch what you eat and get lots of sleep. Alternatively, you can specifically target races in their first year of being organised before good runners find out about them! This is a strategy that has served the Brilley Boyz well in such races as the Huntington Chase and the Dorstone Dawdle.
And so it was that Martin and Aderyn Carter rocked up for the 2.5 mile Rob Lally Run which formed part of the Llanigon Show on Saturday 12th August.
In many ways it is very similar to the Llanthony Fell Race. It starts from the show ground and goes up, more up, up again and then finally gets to the top of the neighbouring hill. It then has a fantastic descent which can be seen from the show before finishing in the arena to the applause of the crowd.
Martin was the winner (obviously his destiny as his race number was 1) and Aderyn was the first female finishing 4th overall. A great atmosphere combined with medals and a chocolate bar for all finishers. What more could you want?
In the afternoon you can even join in the family friendly sports day. It was here that Aderyn took revenge on her dad, utterly thrashing him in both the sack race and the
3-legged race. An additional bonus is that you can run with your dog and then enter the dog show later in the day.
It's always good to support your local races and this one could be a contender for our club championship next year.
Blackdown Beauty photos click here
Whilst the Brilley Boys and JJ were having a leisurely run up Snowden (ha ha) some of us were racing from pub to pub in Devon and managing a cream tea as well.
The excursion was organised by Tina and Alan N. Alans old club Honiton oraganised the event (not a race) and he was the originator of the idea including planning the course. Sue Tina Alan and I ran the full 19 miles whilst Claire and Jim walked the shorter option. The idea is to stop at the designated pubs on route for a drink, approximately every 3.5 miles. Second to last stop was a fantastic cream tea. I loved the run beautiful rolling countryside, great pubs, good company. It was amazing to think we'd run 19 miles and had a drink at every stop. Will definitely be going back. The event raises money for Macmillans.
Thank you Alan.
SNOWDON INTERNATIONAL RACE REPORT
("GO HARD OR GO HOME")
Behind all great runners is a dedicated support team. Therefore, on Saturday 15th July, Martin and John J took part in the Snowdon Race safe in the knowledge that the Whippet, his daughter Jess and his potential son-in-law Matt would dedicate their whole weekend to ensure every chance of success.
The omens were extremely good when the caravan that Martin's wife had booked for them turned out to be a palace fit for a king. As you would expect from such professional athletes, Martin and John J registered on the Friday night before, collecting their race t-shirts with the slogan.....
"Go hard or go home". This could become the new motto for the Hay Hotfooters and rumour has it that the Whippet will table this motion at the club AGM.
Saturday morning started well with everyone apart from John J taking part in the Penhryn Castle Park Run. Martin saw it as a warm up for the main event but the cunning John J was saving his energy for the summit to come.
The Whippet and the two youngsters had to force march to the predetermined rendezvous point. In the caravan concerns had been raised about the fitness levels of youngsters today but Jess and Matt loved the demanding pace set by the Whippet to the top of Snowdon as they both felt it would help them become better people.
In the build up to the race the rain started and the mist came down.John J's strategy paid off and he thrashed Martin in the race to the summit. It was a magnificent, well executed plan that would have psychologically crushed lesser mortals.
However, Martin followed the Whippet's advice to run as if being chased by the hounds of hell. From the jaws of defeat he snatched victory by just over a minute.
Sadly this approach came at a price. Martin is made of flesh and bone whilst the mountain is made of rock. After he crossed the line, Martin was ushered into the first aid tent by Steve from Presteigne Pacers. Although Steve's behaviour could be
viewed as being helpful the truth is that he enjoyed Martin grimacing as the very nice doctor picked the grit out of his wounds and bandaged him up.
Another fun packed weekend with a recent customer survey showing 100% satisfaction for those people who have shared a caravan with the Brilley Boyz. Book early to avoid disappointment next year.
Man v Horse Posted by Jo
I know we quite often start these reports with I've never known be that hard...but it was.
It was wet and extremely muddy (which I like) but after spending more than 5 hours wading through mud and being soaked to the skin, it was very very tiring. The course route had been changed and certainly the changes in the first 18 miles I liked. We had a good turnout of Hotfooters, Rachel, myself, Will, Paul, John (the whippet) and Marty, Harriet was part of a relay team and Susanah on her horse.
The horses came through quite early on and the above picture is of our very own Susanah, negotiating the runners and the mud. I didn't see as many horses as usual which at times made it feel like a very grueling fell race, however John asures me he saw plenty (must be faster next year)
Yes you read it right, I will be back and aiming to see more horses, classic case of pain denial. The final few miles had an extra climb up through the forestry which went on and on. It was nearly the straw that broke the proverbial camels back but that was saved for the last little climb, ouch!
Great finish though, downhill to the new finishline. Shame the weather didn't want to make you stay. 3 of the ladies who belong to my running group were also there to cheer me in and provide jam and cheese sandwiches as I colapsed on a litter bin. Thank you.
Well done to everyone that took part an very testing race and one which continues to lure me back.
The Anniversary Waltz and other stories Posted by Marty and Jo Photos walks click here Race click here
I will start and finish this post in between is Martys version. Just for the record it has been vetted by all present and passed with a clear conscience that all is true (well sort of). It was a fabulous weekend and one which I would highly recommend company second to none...the race how ever that is another story. Anyway over to Marty.
THE ANNIVERSARY WALTZ Martys version
On Friday 21st April the " car of truth" headed up to the Lake District for the Anniversary Waltz with Johnny Whippet, Marty and Jo. There are sadly many cynics who have questioned the value of Johnny and Marty's life coaching but it was given a hugely positive endorsement by Jo as preparation for her comeback race.
The secret of fell racing is in the preparation, especially the evening before. Lily and Chris had booked a luxurious caravan (that Donald Trump would have been happy in) and cooked a bonanza pasta feast. Apparently carb loading is old school and protein is the way forward but everyone was too polite to mention this.
The Hay Hotfooters were joined by celebrity runner Jezza (Wye Valley Runners) and the current love of his life. With his unique physique Jezza defies all physiological logic but at least the counselling has helped him come to terms with his crushing defeat by Marty and Lily in Man vs Horse.
The evening was full of high brow conversation sprinkled with moral dilemmas. There was even a rumour that Johnny would do the washing up but sadly this proved not to be the case.
On the morning of the race Johnny insisted on getting there several hours early. However, his chirpy mood dissipated with the £5 parking charge combined with the steward's remarks " have you washed this car in the last 10 years?"
Acknowledging that Jezza was by far the best runner the Hotfooters decided that the best strategy was to attack him psychologically. Someone commented that he might look like a runner from the front but that from the side he had clearly eaten too many pies. Unfortunately this was unsuccessful as he still finished miles in front.
Lily was distracted in her support role by flirting with the legendary Joss and Jo ran an excellent race. The dramatic climax of the day was that instead of charging downhill to the finish Johnny had a near death experience. His life was saved by Lily and the heroic Jezza whilst Chris and Marty debated over who might have to phone his wife.
A great race with fantastic scenery and just a few climbs to contend with. The lovely weekend ended with Johnny hosting a traditional game of find the "rat."
The Anniversary Waltz
The car of truth what can I say. What is revealed in The car of truth stays in the car of truth. 4 hours worth, that is a lot of truth and trust. I survived to tell or not to tell the tale. John announced as we were heading towards the Lakes we were stopping for an amble. This I feared involved one of his 60 trig point collections. It did and a cave. Unfortunately we only found the cave (that was hard enough). A good warm up for the race though.
Accommodation was second to none. Lily and Chris had set up home and were busy making our pre race meal. We were joined by Jezza who with stood the Briley Boys phsycological battering trying to unsettle his race plan.
So to the race. I am not race fit but needed to jump back on the horse. This was a biggy, tough tough tough. I actually cried twice and John and Marty were held to account on making me do it (several times during steep ascents and vertical descents).I finished sprinting to the end and felt absolutely fine! It was hot, stunningly beautiful, painful and wierdly fun. I will do this again just to prove to myself I can and hopefully keep the tears at bay next time.
We had a lovely meal out to celebrate Johns birthday and a cracking days walk the next day to bag a Trig point, complete with Prosecco. The car of truth was strangely quiet on the way home.
Come and join us for the 2018 road trip. Who will join me in the car of truth?
Hay Hotfooters Team Captain's Report - Herefordshire XCL League 2016/17
To see photos click here
A big thanks to everyone who took part and hope that you will also be available for this Summer’s XC races. Our final team positions were ladies 19th out of 25 and men 16th & 19th out of 32 which I am sure we all agree is a fantastic achievement for such a small club. Congratulations as well to Jeff Kay who in his first year as a club member was awarded second in his age category. I too was also very pleased to achieve second in my age category.
Tina Lavelle (Winter XC Captain)
The start of the race is on the old railway bridge with 197 runners lining up, Martin, Will and Jeff ensured that they were well to the front whilst Tina and Alan H were a little further back, the course itself is not an easy one as it soon leaves the city and follows the rural roads around Breinton in a large loop and could be described as undulating, it is a good run and it is very well signed and marshalled by cheerful and enthusiastic marshals, the finish is the same place as the start with the last Km a fast downhill.
Martin was the first Hotfooter home in a time of 44.22, Will was not far behind in 46.54 and Jeff was third in 48.28 Tina was the next Hotfooter to finish and came in at a very creditable 57.28 and Alan H living up to his status as the slowest runner in the club came in at 60.04, readers may be interested to hear that one of our former members, Gary, came in just before Tina at 56.42, Gary now wears a Wye Valley Runners vest.
All in all it was a great start the the New Year, I look forward to 2018 when perhaps a few more Hotfooters will take part. Finally I would like to point out that the winners time was 33.24 and Alan H had just passed the half way marker!!