We made our way down to Manchester from our Lakeland base early on a foggy Sunday morning. Traffic was light from this direction and heading into Manchester you would have no idea that a big city marathon was taking place. Signs for official car parking were soon evident, which was good, as there was no way of spotting Old Trafford through the murk. Some opportunistic local entrepreneurs attempted to divert the traffic from a roundabout with ‘Official Car Park’ signs and hi-viz jackets, but their set-up in a small industrial unit just didn’t quite cut it.
By the time we parked next to the home of MUFC, the weather was lifting and conditions seemed ideal for distance running. A short walk towards the cricket ground and suddenly we were in amongst the 13,000 runners and their supporters.
The legendary Ron Hill gave a pre-race pep-talk and we were away at 9:00. The first 3 miles was a loop around before heading south from Old Trafford. The main issue here was avoiding the minefield of potholes, which was no mean feat in the early congested stages. The field started to spread as we headed towards Stretford and Sale and I settled into my goal pace. The route crossed the Mersey into Cheshire, down to Timperley and Altrincham, before doubling back.
The crowds and atmosphere were brilliant and were similar to the Great North Run, with copious amounts of sweets and high-fives being handed out. All of the different areas try to outdo each other with the entertainment and noise and it was a real motivator by the time 16 miles had been completed. It was also great to hear a friendly shout from Tim Evans, who was supporting wife Karen.
The route headed out in a north-western direction to Carrington and Urmston and it was around this time that I started to feel the gap in my training plan. However, I reached the 20 Mile mark bang on target at 2:30 and thought that a 3:20 could be achievable.
The last 6.2 miles was a struggle though and I had a short walk at 22 miles before a painful finish with cramp and burning thighs. The level of encouragement from the other competitors, marshals and spectators was amazing and without it I may just have got a tram home! The finish line came into view and the final run-in seemed to go on forever. I was a bit of an emotional and physical wreck by the time I crossed the line and can hardly remember grabbing my tee shirt and medal: It was then time to eat and drink everything in sight after meeting-up with Barbara, who was in coach-mode and insisted that I do my stretches.
Karen Evans was not far behind in an absolutely superb 4:25:12 on her Marathon debut: What a great advertisement for the Jags Couch to 10k course that Karen completed just last year!
So, Manchester: The course was flat and fast as promised (if you discount the potholes!), the atmosphere was electric and the people were friendly. Would I do it again? Why not?!
|Neil Button||3.27.48||YES & New Age Group Record||SILVER|
Sunday 8th April 2018 – Full Marathon / Half Marathon / 10km / Fun Run
Venue – Maltings Meadow, Nr Bungay, Suffollk NR35 2RT
I was pleased, having opened my curtains on Sunday morning, to a drizzly cool day. I knew that hanging around waiting for the start may be a little chilly but the temperature and the greyness would only bode well. It started with a road trip – Racheal Cole, Ruthie Roo, Charlotte Reed and I set at 08.30, knowing that the race would start at 11am, but giving ourselves good time to park, register and enjoy the atmosphere.
Getting to Bungay took less time than expected. As we entered Bungay it was clear that there was an abundance of marshalls and signage for both the car parks and the start line.
The 10k was starting and we saw a couple of jags including Nicola Lambert John starting off (more about her later!). We registered, it was a bit muddy by then, but nothing too worrying. Registration was straightforward, and there were ample stewards telling us what to do, and where to go, if we needed anything. The only fiddly bit was the chip timer. Nicola finished the 10k shouting ‘it’s difficult’, which made me worry a little. She immediately put me at my ease by explaining that she meant was it had been difficult for her to hold back, on the 10k, because she had entered the double doggy (both the 10k and the half marathon).
As we started some of the later 10k runners came in, and there was a lot of cheering (don’t we love our running community), and also the marathon runners were going around again from the start position.
From the off I had decided to do my own pace, this being my first half in 3 years, and not being as fit as I once was. I snuggled down at the back of the pack determined not to be pushed along because I have been out of action due to injury – my run was all about getting round! Racheal soon left me behind which was absolutely fine with me. She has been amazingly supportive in my journey to running a half and I didn’t want to hold anyone back. A slight incline into the centre of Bungay and then out on the road towards Mettingham. We were talking in the car earlier and that we all thought the route was going to be hilly. The first 6 miles was definitely undulating but not undoable. There were no real steep hills, more slow inclines which, if taken easily didn’t prove to be difficult.
There are some beautiful houses on the route and lovely scenery. The route took us round on the main road from Bungay to Beccles. There were ample first aid points, water points and stewards. The road wasn’t closed so we were busily running along with cars whizzing past which I found slightly daunting and had to keep an eye over my shoulder.
There was lots of signage along the route and you could hardly go wrong (although I managed it … I was told to go left at Beccles and carried on over the turning….) Which caused much merriment with the marshalls. It could only happen to me!
Once you dropped down to the broad at Beccles it was a lovely flat route … because the full marathon signage was close to the half marathon it was easy to pick off the miles. The water stations were well stewarded and everyone was encouraging ‘go jaguar you’re doing brilliantly’. The last 2 miles was on a muddy pathway but the 9km sign loomed (it was the same final leg as the 10k) and I knew I wanted to finish before 2hours 30 minutes (my goal). It was then easy to do a bit of a sprint finish with lots of lovely cheering to spur me on, on the home straight.
The medal is lovely and hefty (exactly what I like). The goody bag was a bag of crisps, an energy bar and a bottle of water. There were so many marshals, so many friendly encouraging faces and so much enthusiasm for the runners I would definitely recommend this route.
Nicola Lambert John was an absolute inspiration winning the first female in the Double Doggy …. Lovely person inside and out and a real inspiration.
The Bungay Black Dog Running Club did themselves proud and it is a brilliant event, with lots of encouragement – let’s see more Jags there next year!
|KIDS RACE 0.8 MILE|
|RALPH LAMBERT- JOHN||7:54||N/A|
1/2 MARTHON +10K
|NICOLA LAMBERT-JOHN||N/A||1ST LADY|
Luckily we managed to avoid the rain for the first in the series of this year’s Nelson Knee Nobbler races, the first at Caister on Sea. It was cold waiting around at the start but lots of fun watching the very noisy canicross get under way! Shortly after this was the start for the 3 Jags taking part – James Lambert and Nicola Lambert-John doing the 10k and Jackie Gooch opting for the 5k on the day. The race brief said the first 5k was the hardest and that was very true. A couple of miles were deep soft sand and the third mile was this plus a strong head wind. The second half of the race was across the dunes heading towards Great Yarmouth, before turning back and running along the water’s edge. A hard but fun course with supportive marshals and relaxed atmosphere.
|James Lambert||10K 51:56||25th|
|Nicola Lambert-John||10K 52:30||33rd|
|Jackie Gooch||5k 37:55||45th|
Fakenham put on its third ( I think) annual events day. It starts with the 5k race and is followed by a fun run, a tots and trikes run and lots of cycle criteriums (criteria?) which last throughout the day. The route is a one kilometre lap of the town none of which is flat but neither is it steep. Surprisingly for a fastish, town centre route only two Jaguars turned out – plus one noble supporter, thanks Jenny. Both ran better than they might have expected. A new PB for Annette Yeomanson and a new age group record (best run for about 2 years) for Ken Bowman. Luckily for us the rain held off until the cycle races but you have to feel sorry for those poor pedallers. It’s a good circuit and a potentially fun day so it would be nice to have more of us there next year. Come on you Jags!
|Ken Bowman||20.36||New age group record||Platinum|
After several weeks of wintry weather, perfect running conditions arrived in time for this race. There were 17 Jags taking part, some as part of their spring marathon training and some just for fun! It was also a grand prix event, attracting 371 runners in total, some wearing fancy dress!
The route comprised of 2 laps around a rural, gently undulating course out to the village of Deopham with a rather naughty uphill on mile 19 back into Wymondham. It was well-marshalled with regular water stops and jelly beans for those in need of a sugar boost. There were also several Jags out on the course supporting their fellow runners, which was greatly appreciated.
The Jags results were terrific, with 4 members achieving gold standards, Tony Alborough and Emma Blake both setting new age group records. There were personal best times for Emma Blake and Emma Jordan and also Dee Neal, finishing 4th in her age group despite not eating a proper breakfast! It was a shame that the host club had run out of cake by the time we had all finished!
|Tony Alborough||2.21.41||FT New Age Group Record||GOLD|
|Thomas Lincoln Kemp||2.36.56||FT||SILVER|
|Emma Blake||2.40.28||YES & New Age Group Record||GOLD|
Colchester Half Marathon – Sun 26th March’18. With the race getting underway at 9am, Angela Bell & I had an early 6:45am start (especially after the clocks had gone forward!) to take part in our third consecutive Colchester Half Marathon. The race starts outside the Weston Homes Community Stadium, home of Colchester United & after a lap of the pitch to warm up we joined the rest of the participants on the start line. At 9am we joined a starting pen ready for the off. A number of people had already joined ahead of us, so we slotted in to the 2hrs 10min pen. As the race began we made our way through the first couple of miles, downhill, into the centre of town. Once there we were met with a road aptly named North Hill, a steep incline that leads to a left turn on to Colchester High St. On both the hill and Main Street, crowds were lining the streets cheering the runners on. From there the course undulated through the suburbs and business parks of Colchester until we reached the halfway point, a bridge that crosses the A12. Once over the bridge the course was mainly flat, winding though the quaint village of Langham and on to Boxted. The latter, has a long straight road almost two miles in length, with groups of people cheering you on every 200 metres or so. Once at the end of the road, the stadium appears back in sight and after turning left, crossing a second bridge over the main road, you drop down into the finishing straight. The end of of this race must be one of the best supported half marathons around, with the noise level increasing dramatically as people urge you to push for the finishing line. Having started within the 2:10 pen and Angela running just over the two hour mark, the race was made all the more enjoyable by being able to target and catch those in front of us – it is definitely more motivating to overtake than be overtaken! After crossing the line you are rewarded with a t-shirt, goody bag, along with a great medal that features a different yet brilliant design each year. This is one of our favourite halves – and we would recommend it to all.
We walked to the Start line and I said goodbye to my family as I headed to the race pens. There was only actually one race pen and each wave was supposed to wait their turn but people were just doing what they liked. I got carried along with the crowd and inadvertently ended up in wave 2 instead of 3 but what the heck, I figured I’d be a little faster than my PB of 1:57 which I ran last year at the hilly Broadland Half Marathon.
It took a while to shuffle to the Start line and as the start of the route was so narrow, I couldn’t manage any sort of pace or overtake anyone so just relaxed. As we turned the corner to Trafalgar Square, the crowd blew me away as there were so many people cheering like crazy! The London Landmarks Half Marathon is predominantly a charity event and the cheer squads and entertainment organised by each charity was incredible! I was very close to tears for the first 3k as everything was so overwhelming.
At 5k I took a bottle from the water station and shortly after that saw Mr H and the Mini-H’s who cheered and gave me high-5s.
This gave me such a lift and then I ran through more cheer stations and music. At one point all I could hear was church bells, a huge steel and drum band, whistles and cheers and it was fantastic, overwhelming and emotional all at the same time. There was also a police helicopter hovering closely overhead all through the race which was unnerving but also reassuring.
I had a gel at 9.5k, then grabbed a bottle of Lucozade Sport and saw Mr H and the kids a few more times as they’d found a spot that I’d pass closely about 4 times
I did pass a lot of Landmarks and I tried to take them in but any runner will tell you that it’s hard to look side to side when you’re running! I saw the London Eye, Kings College, Fleet Street, Nelson’s Column, the Thames, MI6, the Shard, the Walkie Talkie, the Tower of London, Big Ben and ran over Waterloo bridge. Somehow I missed St Paul’s Cathedral and realised why when I saw this photo.
There were chip timing mats and cameras at various points around the route and they posted updates and photos to my Facebook page.
My GPS signal was all over the place, probably due to 10000 runners all trying to connect to the same signal! I decided I was going to have to self-pace and that it would be good practice for the marathon in case I could not get a decent pace signal again. I found that the course was pretty much flat and that I sped up with crowd support and music and settled comfortably during the quieter parts.
At about 7 miles I passed the Alzheimer’s Research cheer stations, the reception I got was incredible, the supporters were all screaming my name, whooping, shaking pom-poms and clapping bang-sticks, I loved it!
As I neared the last two km, I saw a 2 hour pacer in front of me and as I overtook him, I checked my watch convinced I had gone faster. My watch confirmed that the pacer was from the wave in front of mine and that I was doing great!
At 20.2k I dumped my drink and started to sprint. I passed the 13 mile marker, turned left into Whitehall and ran ecstatic to the Finish line.
As I stopped my watch, I was amazed to see 1:48 flash up on the screen. The last time I had run an official half marathon was March 2017 when I had completed the Broadland Half in 1:57 so I had set myself a target of sub-1.55. A thought of sub-1:50 had briefly crossed my mind due to the Marathon training and this being a flatter course but I’d dismissed that as silly. “You can’t knock over 7 minutes off in a year.” This morning when I was feeling sorry for myself, I’d never have believed that I’d knock 9 minutes off my PB.
I wasn’t happy with the GPS issues though! It messed up my distance so I didn’t get a half marathon Strava PB. Looking at my splits it went wrong at 3k. I’m bloody impressed with the rest of my splits though – wow!
Vikki Harper 1.48.28 YES NEW SILVER
Myself, Elly Young, Sonya Wragg, Joanna Cottrell and Jackie Gooch made the trip down to Thetford for the Hoohah Thetford Forest 10k. Hoohah events raise money for a chosen charity in this case Addenbrookes charitable trust and runners have the option open to them to raise sponsorship although this is completely voluntary and not compulsory.
The race village itself is based at St Helens campsite a short drive from the A11 car parking is on a field so can get interesting if it rains ( as I found out when it came to leave!!), We took the short walk to the start where after picking up our race numbers we met Paul Rodgers bringing the Jags tally up to 6, A line of portaloos is on hand for any last minute calls of nature and a Gazebo is provided for Baggage storage.
At the start line we were met by the very enthusiastic Ben who led us through a very energetic 5 minute warm up before handing us back to the race director who unleashed 511 of us on the forest at 10am, The course winds its way around the forest over the occasional moderate incline on mixed terrain of tarmac and dirt track and is a really nice route to run with a water station at the half way point and people dotted around the course cheering everybody on.
I was first Jag home finishing 12th overall closely followed by the lovely Elly Young who scooped the 2nd lady trophy for her efforts next up was Paul then Sonya followed by Jo who managed to secure a place on the day Jackie completed the Jags charge on the forest finishing shortly after. Post race we were treated to a bag of crisps, bottle of water delicious home made flapjack and of course the race medal. Post race massages are also available as well as a coffee stall we opted for the latter and headed for home all in all a great morning out highly recommended.
|Nick Hudson||43.27||12th place|
|Elly Young||44.22||2nd Female|
|Paul Rogers||45.18||24th place|
The Barcelona Marathon completed & enjoyed by Angela Gallen Bell, Her husband and new member Ian Bell and Clive Cartner. The course is undulating in parts, but it more than makes up for that with some stunning scenery and warm sunshine. Very well organised, with great shiny rewards at the end… Add it to your to do lists!
For Angela this was her 9th marathon and It’s been quite a journey with fighting a virus since before Christmas, meaning she had hardly trained. She felt unfit and unprepared as and only knew she was definitely coming to Barcelona 4 hours prior to leaving England. She cried herself across the start line being full of emotion. But no tears at the end, just relief. She completed in 4:36. She didn’t stop once. Running is all in the head. Have a strong mind and you’re halfway there!
Ian has just completed his third marathon in 6 months. This is amazing considering he only started running 8 months ago. Ian was on track for a 3:15 finish but his leg popped (as he put it) then he walked two miles. He feels a bit hard done by as his Garmin shows a faster time but in the big picture it doesn’t matter. Ian has 2 more marathons coming up to get the result he wants! In the end Ian was just sub 4 but few problems with his chip timing. He also hasn’t trained due to injury. It’s been a really fantastic day!
This was also Clive’s 9th Marathon, he managed to get to 18 miles before the aches kicked in, but having not trained properly it wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be
By chance they were even spotted and photographed by someone from Norfolk watching / looking out for her friends – and was surprised to see a couple of Coltishall Jags run past! A really enjoyable run.
|Ian Bell||4.06.11 not correct awaiting correct time|