Author Archive: erradmin

Wokingham Half Marathon Report, by Richard Hume

Wokingham Half Marathon

The fleeting joy that emerged at Wednesday’s club run - further to Roger’s exclamation that I had won a bottle of wine - was immediately stifled by the realisation that I had to write a blog on a race that took part back in February; needless to say, my memory is not what it used to be.

Anyway, I digress before I’ve even started. So let’s talk Wokingham….!

Being the first race since injury, my expectations were as low as my perceived fitness and consequently I was actually quite looking forward to it; treating it as a tester for the later White Horse Half.  Having never run it before I was enticed by the tales from the Eynsham Roadrunner stalwarts about the race being fast and flat. Nobody mentioned the two overpasses and the uphill finish but, as we have already discovered, I am not one to judge on recollection of races or routes.

It was “a glorious day for running” according to the Chairman’s results bulletin. I take his word for this; of course, I can’t remember.  On arrival in said Chairman’s environmentally-sound new car (that’s not relevant but good to know that we minimised our ecological footprint on a longer than usual journey to a club champs racing fixture), I had expected the turnout of Eynsham Roadrunners to be below average due to the lack of pre-race conversation I had encountered in the build up to the race. I even toyed with the idea of playing my joker. That decision was immediately revoked on sight of at least 6 or 7 of Eynsham’s elite limbering up in the field by the race start. Even the men’s captain, having declared himself unfit to run just 24 hours before, bounded in with more enthusiasm than Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout (perhaps one for the older readers). Joker firmly locked up for another day.

 Despite having heard very little about the Wokingham Half Marathon, it soon became clear that this was a popular race with participants numbering into the thousands rather than the hundreds. Having received a Wokingham Half T-Shirt pre-race and a lower race number than all the other ERRs, I momentarily feared I had been mistaken for one of the elite runners in some kind of name mix-up and that I would be ushered to the front row at the start line. Memories of having Mo Farah in my sights in ‘starting pen 1’ of the London Marathon heat fest last year came flooding back.  I digress…

My “name mix-up” theory was quashed by the realisation that this was no Hornton 6 - the megaphone announcements, refreshment tents, baggage drop area and chip timing technology indicated that this was a slightly more well-attended and – dare I say it - professional affair. No V40 and V50 Bob Stoney’s here.

After all the usual pre-race nervous banter we were under starters orders and we were off. I started quite relaxed and wasn’t put off by the fact there was quite a lot of barging and colliding at the beginning of the race. After all, this was just a tester for the White Horse Half. I think it was this uncharacteristic lack of pressure that I put on myself that resulted in me feeling much better than expected mid-race. And never wishing to capitalise on the sufferings of fellow runners, I must confess to being spurred on by a few of the aforementioned ERR elites within my sights. A very rare occurrence after 7 or 8 miles. I pushed on….

By mile 10 my lack of training started to punish me, but I was desperate to hold on as I was on PB pace. Then it was just a case of mind over matter and for once the mind won out. I crossed the line with a very unexpected PB, which made it all the more rewarding. However, I soon realised that it’s all relative; as I was punching the air with delight, one of the Eynsham A listers was throwing his number away in disgust at his performance, having done virtually the same time as me.

I wasn’t the only one to have a good day. Even better results for Kate Allred and Katherine Bates who both won age category club records and PBs for Tom Baker and Colin Hancox.  A great race, a great group of people and a great turnout. I should have played the joker after all……

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Banbury 15 Report, by Alison Craggs

Thank you for the Chardonnay, which I very much enjoyed.  I also enjoyed running the Banbury 15.  It was my first time at this event and I’d definitely run it again and encourage others to do so.  Here are my reasons why:

·         Joker – even if you are not the best runner in the club you can score well in the league with this race, especially if everyone else is at the Jolly Boys and Giggly Girls. 

·         Value for money – it only costs £1 a mile to enter.

·         Quick and easy to get to with parking right next to the start/finish line and race HQ which is the Spiceball Park leisure centre.

·         The leisure centre has plenty of lockers for your bags and loads of toilets, so no need to queue before the race.

·         It’s a fairly fast out and back course so even if you have never run it before you know what to expect, at least on the way back.  It’s described as having some “sizeable hills”, but when you have done Wytham woods and Botley hills it’s practically flat.

·         There is a small field of runners so you are never boxed in.  It’s ideal if you are training for a Spring half marathon or marathon or just want to try a different distance.

·         After party – as you finish the race they call out your name, there’s music playing, the sun was shining, and there are vintage vans offering drinks and food for you to enjoy.

I hope to see the race in the league again next year and see you there!

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Horspath Cross Country Report, by Graham Bridges

Back in the day (4 words in and already sounding like a Creasey), the Horspath Cross Country used to include the full glory of Shotover Hill. You'd leap over/into a muddy ditch, trudge up the hill, then stagger down it at breakneck speed, trying not to trip over the steps and tree roots, then wade through a mile or so of mud before doing it all again. This year, partly because of the dry weather, partly because of something else (health and safety?), Horspath XC seemed positively benign, though not without a few cheeky climbs.When we arrived, there was already a healthy crowd outside our (well, Witney's second) tent, including our 2 juniors, Charlie and Chloe, who announced that she had overtaken loads on the run-in because her legs are built for sprinting. Maybe she could make some sort of motivational speech before the men's race in future. As more of the team arrived, there seemed to be quite a few who claimed to be recovering from injuries, or from Christmas in some cases (who shall remain nameless). Possibly as a result of this, the order of the men's team was a bit of a random affair. The likes of Tom, Dafydd and Mark T took a strangely long time to overtake me, and I went by such notables as Dave and Pete, which is a rare privilege these days. Making the A team used to be a badge of honour for me. These days it's maybe not such a healthy sign, and the ERR men finished 7th in Division 1 on the day.
We then watched the ladies race, which appeared to be dominated by the bright young things of Newbury and Abingdon. Indeed the winner was so far ahead she seemed to be in a different race - maybe that's why she didn't show in the final results. Not too far behind was Hannah, in sadly her last appearance in an Eynsham vest for a while, who finished 12th, just ahead of Liz. A few places further back was Laura, who continued her excellent recent form, and just pipped Kate on the line. This meant we had 4 ladies, including 3 veterans, inside the first 22 finishers, so possibly in contention for a team medal.The main thing to take away from the day was the number of ERRs who took part (37 in total, plus Karen who marshalled), and the number of those who stayed behind for tea/coffee and cakes. It seemed that everyone enjoyed the experience, hopefully including the running part, so let's hope for a similar turn-out at Adderbury.

Roll of Honour:

Bronze LV35: Liz McAllister

Silver LV45: Kate Allred

Silver LV55: Katherine Bates

Gold Veteran Ladies team: (Liz McAllister, Laura Leach, Kate Allred)


Bronze Senior Men's team: (Mark Baker, Tom Baker, Mark Tyrrell, Nick Leach)

Silver MV40: Dan Lewis

Bronze Veteran Men's team (Dan Lewis, Dafydd Warburton, Graham Bridges, Dave Ferrier)

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Broadway Marathon Report, by Nick Sheard

Broadway Marathon, Sunday 18 November, by Nick Sheard

When Salman Rushdie had a fatwa against him from the Iranian government in the 1990s he holed up at The Lygon Arms in Broadway. There is a plaque on the wall of the inn, and it was clearly the place in the UK that the British Government felt he was least likely to be tracked down and killed; Broadway is a very picturesque traditional Cotswold village. ...
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Hanney 5 mile report, by Karen Evans

Hanney 5 – 14th October 2018

  I’ve been running a Parkrun most Saturdays for the last eighteen months, gradually improving so I made a decision at the end of the summer that I needed to start running further and I needed a new challenge.  I decided I would enter the Hanney 5, my sister Tina an experienced runner from the Brackla Harriers said that she would like to run the race with me.   I managed a few weeks of training with my ‘Nike Coach’ on my watch and felt inspired and ready to go. ...
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Hornton 6 Report, by Graham Bridges

Hornton 6 Miles, July 21st

  Checking my previous Strava entries for the Hornton 6, they all seemed to feature the words ‘hot and hilly’ in the title. This tells you 3 things: that I have very little imagination, that the race takes place at the height of summer, and that it’s about as hilly a race as you’ll find in Oxfordshire. This year’s event, the 30th anniversary, was no exception, and the Strava history had the added bonus of indicating how much slower I was than in previous years, but that’s another story. ...
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