Race Reports

Portsmouth Coastal Marathon 23rd December (BAR Race)


After last year's sub zero temperatures - it was going to be interesting to see what difference milder conditions with recent torrential rain would make. Well - it was wet!! It was also windy. 

As usual the pre-race banter centred around the excuses. Loz and myself pleaded lack of training for distance, Jamie had done loads of distance but all at a slow pace. Martin Sanwell was doing his first marathon so did not really know what to expect. Jules had her usual approach, so virtually no training, and Jim Graham was taking it easy pacing his wife Helen round as his heel injury was still recovering after his amazing 3h 02m a couple of months ago. 

Jamie set off at a good pace straight from the start, but found his lack of pace training was causing pain in his overstretched hamstrings, so after 8 miles he backed off, allowing myself and Loz to move in front. Jamie is doing a 45 mile ultra marathon in a few weeks and it was not worth risking any damage at this point. 

As we approached the halfway turn (it is an out and back course) Loz was beginning to breathe quite heavily which turned out to be caused by tummy problems. Luckily there were 'facilities' at the turn point, but this was just the start of a torrid time for Loz with several stops in the second half. 

Jim was pacing Helen round and Jules was running at her usual sensible steady pace, although the course made it difficult to keep the pace even. It is half cross country and half tarmac, with 2 sections each way on shingle beach. The cross country sections were very wet, muddy and slippery. If Loz wasn't having a bad time already the last thing he needed was to slip on a wet concrete sea defence wall then skid off the edge. Unfortunately there was a big drop to the beach below and he completed the race with a huge graze down his leg.

 The conditions took their toll of everyone - especially as the way back was predominantly into a headwind, and the pace slowed for all. 

Performance of the Day for me goes to Martin. 3h44m for a first marathon is exceptional, and there is clearly a lot more to come. I am sure he will break 3h30m soon. Helen's 4h13m was also exceptionally strong. 

Martin and Loz pushed themselves so hard that they each went beyond the 'empty' point. When they finished they were both so pale that they really looked ill. It took an emergency dash to the nearest MacDonald's to refill them with junk food before either looked remotely human again! 

Well done to those that completed it. 

Men Winner 2h50m40s 

  • Steve Alden         3h19m50s    17.09%    10pts
  • Loz Wintergold   3h32m59s    24.8           9
  • Martin Sanwell    3h44m01s   31.26          8
  • Jamie Goodhead  3h49m32s   34.49          7
  • Jim Graham         4h13m12s   48.36          6

Women Winner 3h04m02s 

  • Helen Graham                4h13m13s   37.58%     10pts
  • Julienne Stuart-Colwill  5h46m56s   88.52          9 


Authors Steve Alden


Loz finds his way from Place to Place - Records 2012


In October these Hounslow & District Wheelers club records have been smashed.
Place to place records are a longstanding part of the British time trial scene, the governing body the Road Records Association was founded in 1888. However in recent years record attempts have been rare - modern road conditions, particularly the huge number of traffic lights, have made the task more difficult.
In most peoples minds this difficulty has moved on to impossibility, but occasionally some one exceptional turns up to challenge conventional thinking, and the Hounslow and District has Loz Wintergold to fill this role. Loz has had a long time trial career which has been illuminated by some flashes of brilliance, for example when he led the Hounslow to the 12 hour team competition record in 1997. This year he has been concentrating on triathlon and has been honoured by selection for the Great Britain Veterans Team for next year's World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Turkey.
Perhaps the work he has done for triathlon has had a beneficial effect on his cycling performances:in September an impressive ride of 253.5 miles in the Kent CA 12 hour in spite of serious mechanical problems gave him fourth place in the event and confirmed him as this year's Hounslow BAR champion. It also encouraged him to pursue his long standing ambition to attempt some place to place records, but it was clear that some 'warm up' experience would be necessary before attempting a national record.
There are three levels of place to place records. At the top there are the RRA national records-Land's End - John O'Groats is well known, but there are many others: Land's End-London (12 hours 1 minute 37 secs), London-York (7.29.45) for example. At this level the records are now very tough. The next level down are the RRA regional records, for example London - Marlborough and back, which is Loz's next target. Some of these records are  old and therefore not so unassailable as the national records. Below these are club records: in the past when national level record activity was more prominent  most clubs had their own records, and the Hounslow was no exception with Hounslow-Worthing and Hounslow-Newbury.
Record breaking has often gone in phases- a record will lie dormant, perhaps for decades and then some one realises that because of the general increase in time trial speeds it is now beatable and has a go. This then sparks interest among other riders and a new phase begins. The Hounslow records were so antique (Newbury 1937, Worthing 1946) that only this summer the racing secretary had suggested, quite reasonably, that they should be scrubbed from the books as obsolete and impossible under modern traffic conditions.
And the along came Loz. With the racing season over and with the weather conditions deteriorating rapidly he was in a hurry to exploit his current good form before the winter set in. His schedule would be: Worthing, Newbury then Marlborough - London, which would, he hoped, give enough experience to tackle at least one national record next year. It was necessary to move quickly and the Worthing attempt was set up in a matter of hours, although this created difficulties since none of us knew what we were doing. Our method was basic: we would have one following car with a timekeeper and an observer who would also deal with feeding and any necessary mechanical support (e.g. punctures). Two problems rapidly appeared, first that if the route has not been fully agreed (and it wasn't) it would be easy for the car to get in front of the rider without realising it had done so, and second, in traffic at either end  the rider was significantly faster than the car. On both occasions the Houslow turn was covered by the observer arriving independently and then joining the car, but the Worthing turn was a disaster  with the rider having to wait almost five minutes (in heavy rain) for the timekeeper's car to arrive.
For the rides we followed the established practice of starting at a convenient point along the route, turning at the nominal start point (The Bell in Hounslow), going to the far turn(Worthing Pier, Newbury Clock Tower) and returning to the actual start point.
 The existing Worthing record was 5.43.01 for the 109 miles, very slow by modern time trial standards, but time trials never go near places like central Hounslow. Starting from the car park at the foot of Box Hill at 9.23 am (Tuesday 2nd October) and turning at The Bell at  10.12, it was soon obvious that the old record was being annihilated. Loz arrived in Worthing at 12.42and was back at Box Hill by 2.16 pm, making a total time of 4 hours 53 minutes. Unfortunately our amateurish time keeping did not allow for the seconds to be accurately recorded.
Loz described his ride as follows: "There was little wind or traffic before Esher, then riding up the Olympic TT course to Hampton Court gave me a buzz. I had to deal with a road closure near The Warren which involved bunny hopping over a pipe, but the nearest I came to real difficulty was when the south west wind strengthened after Dorking bringing squally rainstorms which numbed my fingers - the rain was particularly heavy at the pier where I had to wait for the timekeeper. Once northbound the wind was beneficial, and climbing up to Findon I found it easy to maintain 20 mph, and my speedo showed 41.5 mph on the descent. The only point where I was struggling was the climb at Kingsfold".
The Newbury record was done on Sunday 14th October. Starting at Paley Street (B3024) at 9 34 am, we went through Windsor and Datchet before joining the A4  at the Colnbrook by pass. After turning at The Bell (10.24) we retraced, getting mixed up with a charity ride in Windsor. It was a relief to get back to the A4 at Twyford although here wind, traffic lights and three traction engines leading long trails of cars all caused difficulties. There are 28 sets of lights through Reading, and then a further 23 sets between Thatcham and the Newbury turn making, for the two way trip, 102 sets of lights. Loz rode steadily "as if I had an extra 50 miles to do, which I will need for the Marlborough  record". He was back at Paley Street by 1.53 pm: the new record, now expertly timed by Trevor Gilbert to include the seconds: 4.19.24 for the 96 miles.
We felt this showed that the 1937 record (4.33.36) by a Mr. R. Hall must have been a brilliant ride by the standards of the time.
Loz's enthusiam is such that he intended to attack the London - Marlborough record next Sunday ( 4th November), until it was realised that the London Brighton Veteran Car run would make this impossible. The plan now is to wait for next year.


Shamlessly stolen from http://ukcyclesport.com/results/time-trial/item/8045-place-to-place-records-2012

Written by  Chris Lovibond |Published in Time Trial

Abingdon Marathon 2012

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The Abingdon Marathon was first held in 1982 and 2012 marks the race's 31st year since its inception. 

This is a flat, fast, scenic marathon with not too many runners. 

This race sells out within weeks. Mostly good standard club runners looking for a PB, because it's such a good race and usually ideal temperature in October. 

About 750 starters out of the 1,000 entrants. About 80 usually go sub-3 hours. 

Pre Race 

No idea how I would do on the day but weather seemed perfect. 10 degrees, light wind, cloudy. Some muddy puddles from recent rain. In 2011, I trained diligently for marathons and Abingdon 2011 yielded 11mins off PB for 3:11:03. Done several marathons since then and not gone faster. 2012 has been dominated by long distance triathlon and long distance duathlon with no specific stand-alone marathon preparation. Heartened by taking 3 mins off half-marathon PB just 3 weeks before Abingdon 2012. A bit in awe of Kevin James' 3:02 marathon finish a couple of weeks ago. 

My Race 

Figured I would go for sub-3 and see what happens. That meant a decent warm up for 10 mins before the start, so I could post sub-7min miles straight from the gun. Delighted to find I was doing 6:40-6:50 min miles with relative comfort for the first 6 miles but then got a nasty pain develop in heel at the Achilles Tendon insertion. At age 49, one does worry about Achilles Tendon rupture. Contemplated dropping out but decided to keep going as it did seem a genuine opportunity to fulfil the sub-3 dream.

Toughed it out and got to half way in 1:29:30. Completed mile-22 and was averaging around 6:45 per mile, which was comfortably inside target. Hit some kind of wall thereafter and the next miles were 7:00, 7:10, 7:29, despite really trying hard and almost passing out.

Always manage to rally for that last mile, which was around 7:05 on this occasion. Then the last half mile was at 6:30 pace as I sprinted screaming like a nutter to motivate myself. Yes, that's 26.45 miles in total rather than the 26.2 miles I had in mind. That extra quarter of a mile probably took a 100seconds or so.

Post Race

Great to see Anthony Bliss of Sussex Sports Photography. Posed for a few pictures. Delighted with 3:01:17. According to Garmin I had done 26.2 miles in sub-3 but unfortunately that doesn't count.

Great to give Kevin a bit of friendly competition and perhaps the nudge he needs to go sub-3 next time.

My heel feels wrecked and will need serious rest from running for a while. Massive limp day after the race. Thank goodness I have swimming and cycling to do instead for a while.

Race Report by Jim Graham

**After the Male club Marathon being held for over 6 years by Steve Alden it was taken by Kev James 2 weeks ago at the Chester marathon with a time of 03:02:50. Unfortunately for Kev he only got to hold the title for 2 weeks as Jim is now the proud owner of that title.

Club records here



Hickstead Gallop - 5 mile (8km) cross country race

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It was a misty chilly morning when two member of the elite Elvis impersonators wing of the Mid Sussex Tri Club arrived at the Hickstead showground to take on the Hickstead Gallop - Haywards Heath Harriers cross country race.

It was dry but the ground was a trifle sticky as large groups of club runners stretched and warmed up we watched on, striking triathalete poses, gazing through our 1980's orange wraparound sunglasses as we nursed our hangovers and curry guts.

The gun went off and I burst to the front - I was in the lead - two seconds later I picked myself up, wiped the mud of my face and rubbed the spike marks in my back, 'humm reminds one of a good night out me thinks'.

Up the hill, down the hill, up the hill, through the mud.

Up the hill, down the hill, up the hill, through the mud.

Running backwards as more runners come by, I try to block with chicken elbows but to no avail, they just keep coming. The coaching books say start in a sensible position and run negative splits so you can have the joy, excitement and psychological boost of running past people. That's not for me I enjoy the extra pain of demoralisation and the feeling of losing every time someone speeds past wondering why I am wearing a wool shirt fashioned into a running vest.

Up the hill, down the hill, up the hill, through the mud - straight through the mud as other traversed the gate to avoid getting their £100.00 plus trainers dirty. Fortunately I had Robs £15.00 second hand cross country spikes on that he sold to me for £20.00 so straight through the mud, past a few runners at every gate and chicken wing to the next gate - absolutely brilliant spikes are thoroughly recommended if you do any of these events.

Still they come past - until the line came in to view, using my spikes and absorbing the DNA left in them by Rob to give me the power of a Spartan (fortunately with clothes on) I sprinted to the finish and past a few shocked runners as I past them, only to realise they were carrying on for their final lap.

The day was complete when I found a muddy old runners glove.

  • Colin - 34:57
  • Dean - 42.32



Chester Marathon


My trek up to Chester started on Saturday, leaving behind the family of wife and 4 year and almost 2year old kids.  At least the marathon guaranteed a good night's sleep but perhaps running a marathon is not the only way to achieve this! 

This year had been all about this marathon with my only other race events two 10k runs and a half marathon, virtually no cycling or swimming.  The year before had been a similar affair with three marathons Brighton (3hrs 24 and too hot), Beachy Head (4:09: too off-road and hilly) and Portsmouth (3:34 - too cold and unfit). I was really concerned that getting close to my pb of 3.10 (set at Rome in 2006) was a lost cause. But I figured I 'd give it another go. So all the eggs had been placed in the basket a long time ago and I was hoping to crack sub-3 hour into the equation. 

Early start as usual - with the upside of having kids is that waking at 6am without interrupted sleep meant that I was feeling the most refreshed I'd been in a long time. Small bowl of porridge and a banana 3 hours before race start then it was off to Chester Racecourse for the start. The organisers had a lot right - warm tents to hang around in - check. Excellent baggage drop - check. Lots of portaloos - no check (luckily that side of things was already sorted). 

Race start was on the Chester Racecourse itself and literally entailed ducking under the white metal rail onto the horse racing course.  It felt a bit strange to be at the front - after the marathon fails last year was I really even wise to step into the sub-3 area with others? But I figured that there is no use predetermining the outcome by being conservative and choosing a slower time.  And knew I should be there or thereabouts after a 1:25 half marathon the month before.  So with the elite thoroughbreds at the front, and the club runners around me I was banking on not being the pantomime horse in my bit.    

The town crier got us started with an oh-yay and a horn and we did a half lap of the racecourse on the grass (fortunately they don't start a marathon in Aintree!). The course then weaved around Chester city centre past the famous clock tower, the cathedral and the tiered olde worlde shops called the Rows. Soon we were out of the Chester part of the marathon.  In reality the majority of the course was on rural roads held across the border in Wales.

I settled into a group regularly doing sub-6.30 to 6.40 times and figured that this would be the one to hang onto. The first half of the course was fairly flat with some gentle undulations but nothing noticeable when feeling fresh.  I was happy with the pace, but dropped off this group eventually towards the halfway point as the main people doing the work in the bunch suddenly dropped their pace.  I was through the half marathon point exactly at 1.28.  Slightly ahead of pace and only 2 ½ minutes off my half pb.

The next section of the race was when the going started to get tough however and the course became more undulating.  I was holding the pace at the right speed (6.50 for sub-3), but it was really tough going as the field was much sparser by now.  Some nice if sporadic support along the very rural route and Wallace and Gromit music in a village was great.  There was a couple of hills along this point that were absolute killers (not in terms of normal running) but when trying to stay on pace (not possible) and to get back onto my average pace after they finished they were real mental challenges.  Eventually I passed the 20 mile point seemingly at 2.15 (new pb for this distance). I now had 45 minutes for 6.2 miles to get sub 3. But unfortunately the course and my body had other ideas.  A succession of uphill drags meant that I was losing on average 30 seconds per mile and my body was giving the early warnings of cramp.  The mind games were now in full swing - every time I started thinking negative I tried to keep it within the moment - just keep pushing on and ignore everything else. 

Normally I get a bit of adrenaline at the end of a marathon and my pace picks up again, but the threat of cramp became real as my hamstring went for a full blown lock out that stopped me in my tracks. I didn't hang around to stretch it out however and carried on a downhill section breaking occasionally into the monty python ministry of silly runs onto the final riverside section, which led into the Racecourse.  Unfortunately, the bridge I thought signalled the entry to the stadium was another ½ mile away but I continued on at some sort of pace.  Finally the course came into sight and it was back onto the grass race course for a final push to get under the 3.03 mark.  Final official chip time was 3.02.50, nearly 8 minutes of my time from six years ago. And some proof that I haven't peaked yet! On the plus side, it will also allow me to qualify for the Boston Marathon either for 2013 or 2014, which is another tick on my bucket list!!!  Unfortunately, not quite sub 3 and 2 minutes 50 secs is also just too near to the sub-3 that I now have to try for it again.grrrrr!  Overall, I was very pleased with the time but with a sense of unfinished business. 

For those interested in my training schedule:

Started training consciously 8 months ahead of the race.  Longest weeks were no more than a maximum of 50 miles in total, which I built up to gradually over the 8 months.  My longest run was a misjudged 23 miler but other than that my longest runs were 20 miles. Each week I did a maximum of 4 runs but many weeks only 3 runs per week.  This often included a long run (12 miles building to 20 miles as the weeks progressed), regular hilly tempo run off-road - 8 miles, faster short run (6 miles with some extended intervals), occasionally a 10 mile run or a treadmill session but each week was judged according to niggles, workload, family commitments etc. Part of my training was entering races, which were essential as gauges of being on track plus a nice intermediate goal along the way.

It is also worth mentioning my footwear, as I used my Inov-8 F-lites, which are 195 gramme shoes.  These are among the most minimalist shoes out there and, compared to 'marathon' shoes I have used in the past, I can honestly say that I feel no worse on the day after than in any other shoes.  Also, no blisters at all or black toes. I have been running in fairly minimalist shoes over shorter distances for years, so I think that I am now fully conditioned for them, but it shows that they can really work at any distance. It's about all about fitness, conditioning and technique and not support shoes.


Club Records click here