Gosport Golden 24 – support

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The Gosport Golden 24 is a new event that started on Saturday 12 noon and finished Sunday 12 noon today. The basic idea was to use the measured Golden mile that’s already an established race and simply¬†invite runners to contribute both miles and money to charity. The¬†coastal tarmac route is¬†a scenic mile of Stokes Bay,¬†close to Gosport itself and also offers great views of the Isle of White. As this photo suggests some runners were more tired than others ūüôā

Clothing sales had generated the majority of sponsorship before the event even started with the funds going to Depression Friends and the Brathay trust …..¬†“GG24”

When I arrived at 8am for an hours recovery run after last weekends Purbeck marathon¬†all I had to do was add my name to the ever growing list. A variety of local club running vests were in evidence and it wasn’t long before I bumped into Johnny that I’d met at and Absolute Running¬†5.45 evening. Unfortunately the reason I struck up a conversation was because Johnny had clearly injured himself.

If Johnny did need rescuing we were in the right palace !!

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As we walk/jogged while Johnny¬†and I were talking both Shane and Roman from the Endurance Hub¬†came into view so it was a hello and good morning to them and then I set off running again. Naturally with the route being a mile out and back you saw people on a¬†regular basis. Ben Jarvis from Gosport Road Runners (GRR) was the next person I recognised, Ben did last weeks Purbeck marathon and when we talked later he’d run a 50K¬†yesterday too.

By now the sailors were getting their yachts organised for racing out on the water and the junior run was being organised too. It was at this point I saw Lee Rhodes from Bayside Tri club who use Stokes Bay for their open water swimming but today he was a supportive parent.

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The friendly nature of this low key event certainly came through with numerous “well done” and “morning” comments. As I¬†came to the end of my hour¬†I could see quite a few runners gathered at the start/finish HQ¬†tent. I signed¬†for my mileage and almost immediately saw Paul Pickford (Blue top), Fareham Crusaders new men’s captain for the 2017/8 season. We only had a quick chat as Paul was just about to set off running but there was still time for a couple of photos with Shaun and Ronan (Blue caps) &¬†Ben (thumbs up).

DSC00669DSC00668DSC00670By all accounts there’d been a great response from runners attending on the Saturday and into the night. As I left more people were arriving so all in all the event sounds like its been a huge success. The number of a thousand miles had been mentioned as the target for the 24 hours, I may have only contributed a small amount to this but I felt part of the great effort everyone made.

Well done to the three organisers Terry, Steve and Rob for harnessing the community spirit that our local runners possess. If the event is repeated in 2018 I’ll be back for a much longer run ūüôā

Running Awards Best Blog 2018

 

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The voting for Best Blog has opened. I would be very grateful if you would consider voting.

Just follow this vote link ……¬†¬†Vote¬†

The Publications & Online category then has a Blog¬†section, just scroll down to irunoffroad¬†& vote. You do have to register if you haven’t voted before but it doesn’t take long and you won’t be pestered with lots of spam emails.

Thanks & enjoy your running

Roger

Purbeck Marathon #tough #scenic

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The Purbeck marathon has it all … narrow technical trails with mud and stones to negotiate, coastal hills (with amazing views) and inland hills (with amazing views). The 26.7 miles were a tad longer than a standard marathon but that’s trail running for you ūüôā

My running buddy Paul¬†and I travelled down to Dorset to find a sleepy Swanage.¬†Our first sight was¬†the¬†sea lapping up against the beach and the second was the promise of the rolling hills that we’d¬†driven past being our challenge for the day.¬†Registration was at the foot of our first hill and as we made our way up to the start the scenic views had¬†begun before the race had !!

DSC00639Today we were joined by fellow Fareham Crusaders Dave, Kate, Nikki and Thom as well as Dean from Pompey Joggers and Ben from Gosport Runners.

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The sun was shining on a perfect¬†early Autumn morning and after our race briefing I couldn’t resist a photo with the official starter.¬†My pre race anticipation was slightly tempered with knowing I haven’t done the volume of miles recently but when determination is¬†required, I’ve got buckets of it¬†ūüôā

DSC00643Our first sight of the coast and the endless sea that really did look like it stretched out for ever was at about 1 & 1/2 miles. The lighthouse was an impressive sight but very quickly we had to concentrate on the trail ahead of us. The track was only two feet wide in places, there were numerous stones that jutted out from the soil and the cliff edge was quite often uncomfortably close !! It was certainly noticeable that the banter and chat between all the runners around use quickly changed to focusing on the job at hand.

Once through the worst of the technical section the path widened out and I joined Kate and Dave queuing for one of the frequent gates and styles that are a feature of this area which combined National Trust land and military firing ranges.

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With better running conditions underfoot we could start to appreciate the stunning landscape more. The deep blue sea contrasted with the light blue sky and both were offset with the lush green cliff top.

Our first significant hill took us inland at about five miles. As trail runners you are often presented with big hills, the accepted practise is to try and combine some running and some walking because you can be sure there will be lots more ahead !! The sheep and cows that we passed would also be a common feature for the rest of the race.

A section of narrow country lanes then brought us out again onto the coast by about the eight mile mark and from then on we steadily climbed up and away from the coast. The views here were once again stunning.

DSC00648coastAnother feature of this part of the area are these yellow poles that you need to stay between as they mark the route through the firing ranges !!! Thanks to Dave Fuller for this photo.

Dropping down to Tyneham (a village that was taken over by the army for training purposes) we were past half way and approaching a very steep climb that lasted well over a mile. I considered taking a photo but to be honest I decided getting to the top was my priority !! Luckily Paul and Ben took a photo so thanks to them for this one.

15At around 16 miles my spirits were lifted by running along the¬†top of the¬†downs and Nikkie Yeo catching me up. By 18 miles Nikki and I had combined with 100 marathons Nigel, Julie from Billericay and her running partner (it’s good to talk to strangers !!)

Running as a group, offering encouragement and collectively feeling the pain of¬†our challenge meant that the miles passed quicker and in no time were approaching¬†Corfe Castle. I have to say Julie’s constant talking was a delight,¬†… one of Essex’s finest ūüôā and just the sort of personality that inspires you to press on.

DSC00651Running through Corfe village itself I lost Nikkie for a while (she stopped at a shop to buy a bottle of coke),¬†the rest of us laughed that this was where Julie was staying for the night but she couldn’t drop out as the accommodation key was in the car at the¬†finish.¬†Next we crossed a railway line. Yes, that’s right, a railway line !! There’s an old steam train which runs down to the coast.

“All that remained now” were miles 21 to 24 that had three¬†long gradual hills¬†and then we’d drop down to the seafront. The three miles of hills took their toll on me and even though I made some ground up on the downhill I joined the seafront with a likely five and a half hours finish time.

In true running club tradition Paul, Kate and Nikki were waiting at the finish line and ran with me in the last couple of hundred metres shouting encouragements.¬†I was impressed with the medal, t shirt and¬†even a bottle of cider that came in the¬†race goody¬†bag. We celebrated with a burger and coffee, I thanked the runners who’d I ran with in the latter stages and on reflection our times ranged from 4.29 to my 5.33 so I wasn’t too far off the¬†pace on a tough course.

Great running by all of our local runners that headed down to Dorset. The other positive to take from today was that five and a half hours of effort will be a great springboard for future weeks.

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Many thanks to the organisers for “so many” marshals, a fantastic course¬†(ever hill is a challenge that makes you stronger) and¬†the stunning scenery.

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For those of you that are on Strava here’s the link to the 26.7 miles Strava Download¬†

This is the Purbeck marathon¬†course profile¬†. Trail running can be tough but it’s a pleasure and a privilege to experience our Great British countryside with like minded souls. If this post has inspired you to try trail running then my job is done. Join us, but beware, once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked like us ūüôā

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19 miles, Tailwind, hills, & drizzle : Loved it !!

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It’s only two weeks now to the Purbeck marathon so today needed to be a descent test of my form. I managed just over 19 miles with 2,170 feet elevation in quite Autumnal conditions. Also my Tailwind¬†trial moved into its second week which you can read about further down.

Todays added bonuses were bumping into Ray Gunner from Stubbington Green who I haven’t seen for ages and Rosie from my club Fareham Crusaders who again I haven’t seen for quite a while. On my way home at about 18.5 miles with two lanes of heavy traffic to my left I also spotted the bright red Absolute Running¬†van¬†with owners¬†Nick and Kim in it, so that was a great “pick me up” with waves and shouts of encouragement.

Well, September is with us, the football posts were up next to the cricket boundary, the leaves have started falling onto the path and todays drizzle was (although refreshing to begin with) fairly constant from mile 6.

However, none of the above dampened my spirits because today was the furthest I’ve run since June and being on the move for¬†over three hours gives you “belief”.

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As the initial miles ticked by¬†I contemplated on my liquids and nutrition strategy. I’d filled three 500ml soft flaks and only packed one gel and one¬†energy bar. Ordinarily for a 3 hour + run I’d have taken three or four gels as well as a couple of SIS energy bars so¬†it was going to be “sink or swim” time. Granted I was running conservatively but¬†when I say the first time I thought I may need something extra was at 15 miles then that’s a big thumbs up to Tailwind. You read the recommendations but it’s¬†always¬†best to try it for yourself. I’ll come back to this later.

The first 6 or so miles were¬†really an introduction before I reached Portchester Lane. This Lane is a favourite of mine due to 3/4 of a mile giving you 270 feet elevation. I set myself 4 reps and I wasn’t alone as a number of cyclists passed me too. As I mentioned earlier Ray Gunner passed me going up one of¬†them. Ray¬†has always been quick and he¬†was on good form as he easily caught me up.

I really believe hill reps are an essential part of any runners training regardless of their race distances. The strength work really pays off physically and mentally.

DSC00619The route¬†may be tarmac which isn’t idea and it is open to traffic but generally¬†on an early Sunday morning its quiet. As you can see it’s a hill that just keeps giving as it snakes¬†up to the horizon.

The fields to the right had wheat growing three weeks ago but that’s all been harvested so¬†this was another reminder that Summer is disappearing.

I generally use a “bump bag” these days that I swivel around when I want something. My preferred choice of liquid containers¬†are soft flasks because once empty they take up no room at all, they can be rolled up like an empty toothpaste tube.

Once heading down Portsdown Hill there’s a section with no pavement and it was starting to get busier as the morning progressed. I always like to run towards the traffic on these sections as I’d rather see them and move out of their way. Naturally I avoid doing this wherever possible.

Once heading for the creek at about 15.5 miles I’d taken a gel just for good measure and¬†it was all flat from now on. Passing my friend Rosie was a surprise and then waving to Nick & Kim was a great motivator.¬†At 17.5 miles I had the energy bar just to be on the safe side but to be fair I was still feeling good on the back of the Tailwind. Is¬†Tailwind the answer to all our running needs ?? I will let you know over the coming weeks, however, the signs are promising.

Finally,¬†I thought this sign from our local council was well thought out by aiming it at the kids ūüôā Although to be fair most people are pretty good.

DSC00615So, great miles, plenty of hills, more Tailwind feedback and a few surprise friends¬†along the way. “Good Times”