There's no good reason why Oakley should be cursed; it's challenging, sure, but it's beautiful, varied and well-marshalled, and it should be just the thing for a good marathon tune-up. The event HQ is way too small, and runners circulate round it like blood cells round the chambers of a hypertensive heart - though much slower - but the day has essentially everything we'd need, and Bedford Harriers make sure of that. Unfortunately it IS cursed, and every year, however well or badly you've trained, the wicked Oakley Gremlin will bite you on the legs round about the point where you pass the finish after the first lap, and you end up crying in Pavenham.
Or is that just me?
None of this makes sense when I look at the results; what a belting set of C&C performances on a day of high wind, though the promised heavy rain mostly held off. No fewer than 24 of us there, and at least a 50 percent PB rate. Most awesome gent and lady were Neil White (2:14) and Stacy Wheat (2:29 and ninth female), with top-five category placings for Jon Anderson (2:15), Emma Buckland (2:34) and fellow curse victim Dave Mail (3:03). Have a look at the full set of results - you will be properly impressed.
The famous hoody was black this year, to match my mood.
Savona Half Marathon
A flying trip home to Savona for Ben Baldelli to pick up some silverware - first V45 prize (top three overall not counting for that) and a trip to an actual podium, clocking 1:16:37. Congratulazioni, Benvenuto! (hope that's right - sounds right anyway...)
European Masters Indoor Athletics Championships
A jam-packed week of races at the European Masters Indoor Championships last week with my mother (Margaret Phillips) running in the 3000m and 1500m. She isn't the one to go round telling anyone about it but I think she deserves a mention. She came away with a PB in the 1500m and a GOLD medal in the 3000m. We have a European champion! The whole experience was incredibly inspiring. I think the highlight (apart from my mother's gold) has to be the V55 lady running 26.13s for 200m for a world record- incredible!
For anyone interested the world outdoor masters championships are in Lyon this year during the first two weeks of August. If you're over 35 check it out!
VLM post race get together
After the London Marathon on 26th April, we'll be meeting up at The Porterhouse, 21-22 Maiden Lane,
London WC2E 7NA for post race food drink, chat and post mortem. Runners and spectators all welcome!
No doubt runners will be sorting their own logistics, but it would be fun for the spectators to get together for a fun day out. If you are making your own way there, we'll meet at around mile 13/22. (look out for the C&C banner). Anybody wanting to travel together, let me know here and we'll get organised.
Club Night Special Tuesday 14th April-the XC Awards
Club Night tomorrow features the Cross Country awards for the recently completed season. Bar open from 8 pm, help us celebrate the successes of a really great XC season for the club. A unique opportunity to applaud the runners and coaches who made it all happen, particularly our awesome senior and junior teams. If you make one Club Night this year, make it this one, so see you there after training.
Billy Bland Recce 1 Weekend
While many of you were relaxing over the weekend in prep for Sunday races, there were 7 C&C'ers running around the Western Fells of the Lake District. We followed Scott's carefully laid out plan with a Friday evening 5m run & 1,900ft ascent over Harter Fell in Eskdale. Now we were warmed up, Saturday was a mere 16m with 6,000ft of ascent over Bowfell and Scafell Pike followed on Sunday with another 14 miles with 6,100ft of ascent over Yewbarrow and finishing on Great Gable. The weather and Emma's food were fantastic, the rest of the crew included Katie, Nev, Kris, Lee and Pete(Katie's mountain goat uncle who lives in the Lakes) who joined in the Billy Bland bracken, boulders and boggy fun. There are 2 more Recce weekends coming on 18th/19th April & 9th/10th May followed by the Billy Bland challenge over the bank holiday weekend on 23rd/24th May. If you have read this and seen the pictures on facebook and like a challenge you are welcome to join us by contacting myself or Scott White.
Marathons and Halves - Catch-Up
Belated news from the Barcelona Marathon, where Anna Riu blasted a 3:24 PB, and Clare Garvey followed up with a sharp 3:39 - really classy racing by both. And whilst catching up on the news of the Long Stuff, hats off to Dan Hurst for his 16th place (1:22) in the Newton's Fraction Half up in Lincs, to Kieran O'Holleran for PB-ing with 1:24 over the same distance in Alloa, and to Ian Richardson, yet another PB, 2:19 in the Essex 20. Seems like the whole club is in seriously good endurance nick.
Swavesey Half and Five-Miler
Up and down the country there are many small, community-flavoured races to sample, and my village lays on a particularly nice one, based at, and run by, the highly-reputed Swavesey Village College. There's a friendly vibe, a pretty rural course which skirts the excellent RSPB nature reserve, and a keen and vocal band of marshals and helpers. Perhaps you won't always be pointed the right way, but you'll head blindly up number 43's driveway with a cheers ringing in your ears and a smile on your face. One of those lovely events. A large C&C squad certainly enjoyed the day, with the north wind abating and the sun trying its hardest, and there were some stunning successes on the two flat but tricky courses. In the half-marathon, Alastair Hodges pulled off a brilliant victory in 1:15, beating past champion Mike Salt by half a minute; congratulations to both. Matt Slater eased off the throttle slightly post-Cambridge but still clocked 1:20 for fifth place, and there was an excellent ninth place for Bart Hommels (1:26). Excellence too in the women's race, where Anna Douglas took second place in a rather fine 1:32; congratulations, Anna. In the five-miler, Ben Baldelli blew everyone away, winning easily in 27:51, and Giulio Cinque finished narrowly off the podium in 33:31. Plenty more fine performances (and some training runs) via the results link - well done all, and well done the SVC staff, kids and helpers. Finally, there was a category second place for the illustrious Alex Downie in what he swears was his final half-marathon. Surely not?
Silverstone Half Marathon
A few of us made the journey to the Silverstone Half Marathon on the weekend. Chris Poole, Michael Hartley and myself crossed the line within a few minutes of each other. In addition to this it was a pleasure to meet Will Mycroft who casually informed us he'd won the race sporting the blue and white vest - go Will!
This was a great race which is incredibly well organised for a race consisting of 7000 runners. The course is flat and the atmosphere is fun. If you miss out on a place for Cambridge half I would recommend this as an alternative.
Cross Country News
A round up of the action over the last two weeks can be found by clicking here. Two of our junior men were representing the South of England in the Home Counties International in Antrim, N. Ireland.
There's one last opportunity to run cross country next Sunday at Ryston Grand Prix. If you have finished the 5K and 9K course then run next weekend to complete the series with a 6.5K. The series prize giving will be held at the village hall after the race. Refreshments available.
Make a note of Tuesday 14th April in your diary - Club Night will be combined with the Cross Country Awards Evening. Cross country is a team sport and C&C have a lot to celebrate this season. (8pm onwards - the bar will be open).
Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon. !
. Thank you to everyone who helped make the fourth Cambridge half marathon another great success! Runners , volunteers and spectators...C and C did Cambridge proud.
Cambridge Half After Party
I have booked a table for 20 at the Old Spring for a lunch/celebration after the Cambridge Half this Sunday. Please list below if you would like to be one of the "elect". It sounded like it was going to be very busy for some reason! The places are booked for 12.30.
Details for pub: http://www.theoldspring.co.uk
The Cambridge Boundary Run
On Sunday the 2015 edition of The Cambridge Boundary Run saw some changes whilst keeping-up some favoured old traditions. The changes were a shift in the start to the new University Sports Centre on the West Cambridge Site and a course taking an anti-clockwise route. The tradition of setting a tough course designed to catch-out the under-prepared was, however, splendidly maintained. The day started bright and sunny with the promise of a strong headwind over the finishing 5 miles. The combination of headwind, mud and the only hill in Cambridge all in the last 5 miles was genius and combined with some carefully discrete route markings made the 2015 event a real classic - in a good way. It was all very well judged! The preliminary results have been posted, but still contain some 'issues'. The leading group, not C&Cers, are missing from the top of the list since they decided to make the marathon into an ultra, and as a result C&C did rather well!