Jersey Farm parkrun and St Neots half marathon

Posted on: 25 Nov 2018

Two months since my last post here so I’m well overdue for this.

Being part of the realbuzz support team at the London Marathon back in April gave me such a buzz.  I hadn’t bothered entering the ballot for the last two years having had five years of rejection but the experience of that day back in April meant that I just had to give it a go this year.  Roll onto October and the wait for the magazine to drop through the letterbox. 

The magazine was duly delivered, I opened the wrapper and my mouth dropped open.  Finally after 8 years, I was going to be on the other side of the barrier and running!

I haven’t run a marathon since Brighton in 2015 so know that I need to get some serious training under my belt and get my head around what I have to do.  Luckily I have developed a training plan which in previous years has delivered sub 4 hour finishes so will be digging that out again.  I’ll post a few tips on here over the coming months should anyone care to give it a go.  I hope that you enjoy Guinness and red wine as a lot of the pre-run carb loading involves those two!

So back to business and getting some miles into the legs.

I had been fortunate enough to get an entry in the St Neots half marathon which sells out within hours and this would be a good kick start and enable me to see where I am with distance running.

A quick blast up the A1 and in no time at all I was at the start for only my second half marathon in over two years.  My aim was to get around the whole way without stopping.

It was one of those mornings when the weather was just right for running, around 8c, dry and sunny with just a light wind.  The course is well known for being fast and has great PB potential hence why it is such a popular race.  No thoughts of a PB for me today, I am some way off of that kind of form.  I am taking things slowly, one step at a time so setting realistic goals such as today’s.  Even during runs of around 8 miles I have had to stop for a bit so to get around in one go would be an achievement.

I had travelled up with Kate from the running club, the chatting in the car on the way up revealed that she was looking for a new PB.  I started the race alongside her and just about kept up with her through miles 1 and 2, both were at a sub 8 minute mile pace and during mile 3 I knew that to be confident of not stopping I needed to rein it back a bit and not try to keep up with her.  I settled into a comfortable pace between 3 and 10 miles and then wound it up slowly with my fastest mile being mile 13 in 7.37.  The course has a sharp left turn and a straight run to the finish arch.  I could see the clock approaching 1.48 so desperately ran to get there while it still had a 47 showing.  At that point I heard my name being shouted from the crowd of spectators.

I was chuffed to find that my mother and aunt had made the trip from nearby St Ives where they live, to come and give me a bit of support right when I needed it. They must have made a difference as I crossed the line with the clock on 1.47.59!

I was really pleased with my run, I had done the whole distance without stopping, I regulated my pace without any difficulty and at 10 miles when I made the decision to go a bit faster I felt that if I had held my pace as it was then I could have run at least a couple of miles more.

I certainly feel a lot more confident now that I will be able to do London justice, however there is a long way to go yet.  The running gods have many tricks up their sleeves to test a runner’s resolve and there is a winter to train through ahead.

As for St Neots half marathon, I would highly recommend it, a well organised event, a nice course with good support in the villages it passes through.  I will look out for when entries open for 2019, who knows, a new PB might just be within grasp?

Looking through the results I noticed that a certain Gaelle Bryant had also run that day, maybe a few more Buzzers may also be tempted in future?

Onto the second part of the title, Jersey Farm parkrun.  I finally got the chance to do a parkrun before Nick had been there!

It’s a new parkrun, started just three weeks ago and was born out of the ashes of the former Heartwood Forest parkrun.  What is more the start line is just under a mile from my house! It’s a bridleway to get there so no roads to worry about either.

The round trip is bang on 5 miles, that is with the warm up run to the start and the warm down run back home added to the 5k.  The run is two laps of the Jersey Farm Woodland Park, it’s not the easiest course but is already proving popular.  It’s a trail with just the shortest section on tarmac, the rest is gravel or grass and there are no flat bits, you are either going up or down.

The facilities are extremely limited, there is no parking, no toilets and no café so just as well I have all these things at home just an 8 minute run away.  If anyone wants to do this one let me know and I will try to join you and make you a cuppa afterwards!

The great thing is now though I have until 8.30 on a Saturday morning to decide if I want to do a parkrun.  I have run more parkruns this year than I have since 2013.  I ran my fiftieth in 2015 and then just 9 in the next two years.  I have now got the 100 milestone in my sights and have a great opportunity to get there in the next year.

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