Buckinghamshire County Cross Country Championships 2018

Nev 110 hardy Redway Runner souls ventured into deepest darkest Bedfordshire on Saturday afternoon for a frolic in the mud at the Combined Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire County cross country championships. Held in the palatial grounds of The Manor House in Shuttleworth we were surrounded by 425 acres of beautiful parkland and a stunning building designed by prominent Victorian architect Henry Clutton. Apparently, the building contains many fine examples of 19th Century Victorian paintings by artists such as Sir Frank Dicksee and George Cole, sadly we had little time to appreciate the architecture or the artwork as we slogged our way around the 425 acres of ‘gently undulating’ parkland.

 

Nev 2

 

 

Those familiar with cross country will be aware that course measurement is somewhat subjective and one always arrives at a course with the hope that the officials have overestimated the distance rather than underestimated it and that the undulations are rather gentle as opposed to ridiculous long drags. Well dear readers and fellow Redway runners, the officials in this particular race had certainly used the beautiful landscape to its maximum potential by making us run up any slope, hill or incline. These included incredibly long painful drags that went on for ever and short sharp climbs just to make the legs and the lungs burn right at the point one was ready to give up.

 

 

 

Nev 4

Nev 3

 

And as for the distances, well, one would have thought that with two counties worth of officials then the distance would be vaguely close to the estimate Oh how wrong we were…. It became clear after the first lap of the men’s race that the ‘estimate’ of 11km was considerably out in what eventually became a 25% under estimate with the eventual distance being almost 14 km !!! Talk about hanging on during the last lap !!! The ladies faired no better and were equally faced with a 25% underestimate where they were supposed to run 8km but actually ran 10km !! But where would the fun be in cross country without mud, hills and vague guestimates of the distances to be run.

We had a solid turn out in the men’s team, with 8 hardy souls competing, in the combined Senior men’s/V40/V50 race the men were led home by Dan Hippy in 19th place and 5th in his age category , next in was Adrian Maidment in 23rd place and 9th in category, Andrew Dodds followed close on Aidys heels in 26th place and was the first of the Senior men in 15th place in category and Ben Munns chased him in 36th place and 20th in the youngsters category, Neville Rowles chased Ben home to finish in 41st and 5th in the V50 category closely followed by Richard Doherty in 46th place and 18th in category, Kevin Taylor brought the team home in a fantastic 50th place and 10th in category.

As the observant of you will note, there were eight men competing and so far, we have only mentioned 7, well one of our members was lucky, it seems that the officials were treating him with special dispensation, he had a bright red line across his number and that indicated that he belonged to a different class of runner. Luckily for him that meant he didn’t have to run as far and did one less lap than us !!! Once we realised how far we had to run, it was incredibly tempting to find a pen and put a red line across our numbers and join Derek on his shorter run !! Mind you, Derek didn’t have it all his own way as he had to still do the hills, rain, wind and mud 3 times and finished a fantastic 3rd place in his age category.

The ladies were brilliant in their vocal support of the men and clearly enjoyed the suffering that we endured, but clearly didn’t have to be too gleeful as their time was yet to come !! Redway runners were represented by two brave ladies who ventured out to Bedfordshire, both runners did fantastically well, battling not only the landscape but the weather conditions which had turned somewhat damp and chilly by the time their race started !! Rachel Edwards was first home in 9th place and 1st in her age category and Victoria Berry, running for the first time ever in spikes (brightest ones I have ever seen ) chased Rachel home in 10th place overall and 3rd in her category.

With regards to overall team positions we had enough to score in the Men’s race and finished 5th team overall with a combined time of 5.57.25 and in the Veterans race Redway were 3rd team overall with 3.59.18. Target for next year is a podium finish in the Seniors team and to win the vets category by making sure we have a full-strength team

Fantastic performance by all, well done. Onwards to the next Chiltern League race at Keysoe on Saturday !!

 

Neville Rowles

January 2018

2017 Review of the Year, Kevin Tilley

By the end of 2016 I had been running for a few months and somehow getting caught up in all the excitement led to me booking my place in 2 marathons!! I had never really run with people other than Parkrun’s of which I’d completed 29 and after forging ahead managed to complete the winter half (my first half and longest run) in a respectable 1.49 before the close of that year but I knew 2017 would present some challenges….

The year started with a huge high, after some Strava banter I met up with a fan of mine Nicky. She made quite the impression during our first parkrun together, swearing most of the way round! I then took up the New Year’s Day opportunity to run to Willen and complete my second parkrun of the day. I think this was the main difference (there’s been a few) with my running this year, having the confidence to run to runs or put in additional miles before or after planned outings.

At this time Nicky was running with Sweatshop running club and I joined her for a couple of their evening runs…… after a couple of conversations with Martin I took the plunge and joined Redway Runners. I picked RR due to the huge amount of different runs starting all through the week, it just worked with me and my shifts at work – Martin had also mentioned they would be doing marathon training, just what I needed. I attended my first run on the 8th Jan, a Sunday club run hour…. plus a bit extra! This was my introduction to the colossal size of the club and Martins time keeping!! January also saw me on the track for the first time since …. School probably, another dimension to the club runs and one I utterly enjoyed.

February and March saw the introduction of Beat the Street in Milton Keynes and it’s fair to say no-one embraced this more than Martin, with runs being centred around collecting as many points from the blasted things!! After a little bit of moaning I managed to steal Nicky away from Sweatshop to her new home with the Redway runners and set a PB of 45mins for my 10km during the chicks & chaps series.

In the run up to my marathons I tried my hand at a mixture of the runs being offered by the club including Friday mornings, Sunday social, weekday intervals and tried to go to parkrun as often as I could. Me and Nicky would often hashtag runs and ensure selfies were taken while getting as much enjoyment from every run. In the first few months of 2017 I got at least 5 of my non running friends to lace up and join me, which I am very proud of!

March saw my first real run with a target for the year, Silverstone Half! I don’t normally set targets, and I certainly don’t advertise them ( fear of failing I think) but I set a target of 1.45 which after my winter half time I thought was realistic, I was very happy with my 1.41 but also with the way I still felt strong in the closing stages. It was also great seeing a few friendly RR faces there.

Kevin Tilley 4April was about one thing….. BRIGHTON marathon and after completing all my training during the chilly months you can imagine my excitement at the announcement that it would be run during a heat wave yay!! And WOW was it hot! I adjusted my game plan slightly walking through the water stops towards the end and made it,…. Just! 26.1 miles is a LONG way and do not let anyone tell you different! Completing under 4 hours was a huge buzz (3.51) as was the support from the crowds and Nicky who made the trip. The beer afterwards nearly knocked me off my feet! I was surprised how uncomfortable running was for the next few days but with the support of Nicky and the club runs I did get moving and eventually back to something that resembled a run, about time to because May brought with it the MK marathon! Although I may have felt ready for this, looking back I don’t think my body had long enough to recover from Brighton however I completed it and that really was the target for this one, I surprised myself a bit with the time, in that it was exactly the same as the previous one.… Mr consistent! Annette’s beginners group had a surprising amount of ‘helpers’ the following day.

Kevin Tilley 2The following months saw me helping at beginners groups, completing a round MK relay, marshalling and tourist running at a couple of different parkrun’s including Northampton, Rushmere, Buckingham.

In July and August I tried to do a bit of speed work, on one occasion I got Nicky on her bike to pace me which was certainly an interesting experience and I was on the track again which I hope to see more of in the new year.

I managed to find to time to set a fastest mile of 6.21 during the RR green mile but also have lots of fun during every run I got to including both mine and Nicky’s 50th Parkrun, which was made extra special with an appearance from Greg Rutherford.

Kevin Tilley 1

 

September saw my next challenge in the Bedford half. It’s fair to say I was not feeling this, very much under the weather in the run up to it, struggled massively after 8 miles but found some strength towards the end and completed in 1.39! mixed up things towards the end of sept by attending a few of Katie’s killer classes. October brought along the fun of a treasure hunt, dressing up and winning costume award at Halloween parkrun.

 

 

November I dragged myself to the 6.40 club…. Thanks Paul, man those guys are fast, pushed myself and very happy I did, getting quicker is certainly a target for 2018. Sadly in December the winter half was cancelled due to snow….. and yes it did actually snow, very disappointed I went out and completed 15 miles anyway and it was beautiful. That’s about my year, December has seen more dressing up, (and down). I have wound down my running miles but still completed over 1,300 miles this year.

Kevin Tilley 32017 has been a fantastic first year for me and running, aside from a couple of small injuries I have smiled, laughed, and giggled more times than I could even try to count. I’ve met some lovely people and made some amazing new friends for which there are so many memories from Janet stripping in the woods to Nicky running down Bow Brickhill hill quicker than I ever seen anyone move. I’ve been introduced to the social fun side of what I still believe ‘outsiders’ think we are crazy for doing. (sometimes I even get close to agreeing with them!)

2017 Review of the Year, Jane Ball

I joined Redway Runners in March 2017 after graduating from Steve’s Saturday morning beginners group.

 

Back in December 2016, I’d just moved to Milton Keynes and decided that my New Years resolution would be to meet new friends get healthier and fitter….and today, the shocking realisation is that 2017, has been the only year I actually stuck to a resolution!!

 

I’d made my own attempt at the ‘Couch to 5k’ program and I have to be honest, hated every step of the way – up to and including a crawl around Park Run.  However, a friend of a friend mentioned Redway Runners and I thought I’d have a look.  Being inspired by other views of the club and the shared success stories – that sensible part of me watched as the crazy part sign up a beginners course.  Whaaaattt….  a course in running, are you serious….???

 

The ten weeks went so quickly but with the gradual increase in distance, I found I started to enjoy it (that’s more of a shock to me than I realised!)

 

Jane Ball 1

From the graduation Park Run in March, I then completed the Rocket 5k and got my first running medal.  It’s now hung proudly on my home office wall along with other ‘bling’ I’ve picked up over the past year.

 

Part way through the beginners group, a very dear friend lost her battle with Cancer, so I decided that if she can go through what she did (6yrs of chemo, surgery and radiotherapy), then there’s absolutely no reason why I cant go through the pain of training for a 10k to raise funds for Cancer Research.

 

 

Jane Ball 2Not only did I train properly for the distance, for the first time, I blogged about the whole experience.  In reflection, I think that sharing with family and friends what I was doing – the good, the bad and the ugly parts of training, was tougher than the run itself.  Hugely motivational and inspiring but very exposing!

 

The end result of this was that by harnessing the power of social media, I managed to raise in excess of £4,000 for Cancer Research and I was now firmly hooked by the running bug.

 

For the reminder of the year, I completed the Treasure Hunt 10k , The Furzton Relay,  the virtual MK50 and of course, the Santa Dash.

 

My motivation dropped a little in October when I managed to pick up a knee injury (twisted it getting out of the car in a hurry!).  But now with the help of Rudi Chaplin at the Treatment Lab and training plan from Clean Coach Katie – I’m inspired to plan my running for the next year.

Jane Ball 3

 

As I look back over the past 12months now 3 stone lighter and at the small collection of running medals, I get a real sense of achievement.   None of this would have been possible without the great community and support from RRs and the great friends I’ve made along the way.

 

Looking forward to seeing what 2018 has to offer.

 

Best wishes

Jane

2017 Review of the Year, Karen Cobbett

For years I have been aware of the Redway Runners. Firstly my brother Neil Goodwin joined and then my husband Paul and then my sister in law Charlotte. I never got it and thought I could never run. I mean this most sincerely. I hadn’t run since PE at school and I didn’t enjoy it then! Paul mentioned about starting running and I made an attempt early this year to do the couch to 5k. It was nothing short of disastrous and I ended up injured and gave up, reaffirming running was not for me.

 

Mother’s Day this year, we parked at the Pagoda car park and walked up the zig-zags. I was out of breath by the top. Paul said ‘I run up this on parkrun’ and I thought ‘how?!’.

 

Karen Cobbett group

 

In April I decided to give running a try and joined Martin P’s beginners group. It was his first time as a group lead so I think we were both a little apprehensive! I wanted to get fit and to do something for me. I was far from keen but knew I would give it my best shot. My one aim was to be able to run 5k without stopping and to be able to do Junior park run with my 4 year old son without struggling.

 

 

 

And so my journey began. I still didn’t enjoy it but what made it was the support from the buddy’s but the lovely people I met on my course. We were all in the same boat and there was no feeling or panic about failure. It was pure encouragement. I began to very slowly believe in myself and my confidence grew not only in my ability to run but my self confidence. I was always glad when a run had finished but the buzz I got when I looked at my Garmin was (and is) amazing. I did it! I’m doing it! Martin P was a real inspiration and support (and continues to be).

 

So moving on, I began to improve slowly and started on occasions to enjoy running. I signed up to my first 5k race – Emily’s star and loved seeing the green army turnout. Such a sense of belonging (although mental note to self, NEVER have 3 coffees prior to a run. Needless to say I had quite a good time!) I did some virtual races and started step up with the lovely Sophie which I still enjoy. First 10k was NSPCC and then on to Rockingham 10 miles. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, firstly it’s cold and secondly it’s 3 and a half laps round the track but I decided not to check my Garmin and just enjoy which I did.

 

After this, I had runners lethargy. I didn’t run for a couple of months for one reason or another and I got to the stage I felt I had left it too long to get back to. There was only one way to find out. I ran last Monday and managed 4 miles without stopping. I felt great. Since then I have run almost every other day and managed the first parkrun in ages. And so I’m happy to say my journey has resumed. I am looking forward to upping my personal game in 2018 and am looking forward to starting the course along with my best friend Tracey in January with Katie Tucker to increase my speed. In addition I have signed up to her 30 day challenge which I will embrace.

 

I have so much to thank the Redway Runners for and I’m proud to be running in my green t-shirt. Thank you to Martin L for managing the club so well and to the leaders and buddy’s who give up their time to help people like me.

 

Looking forward to seeing everyone in the new year.

 

Karen

 

2017 Review of the Year, Martin Palmieri

This has been my first full year as a Redway Runner and what a year it has been!

I started the year mentoring Gill Firmin, as she prepared for her first half-marathon. At the same time I started to train for the Liverpool marathon.

The new year also gave me the opportunity to get involved with beginners for the first time, being a regular helper when Ros Crawley’s group. After running Gill’s first half with her at the mk festival of running, I then took on the mighty Oakley 20, which was a huge milestone for me. I had not run that far since the MK marathon in 2012.

Whilst marathon training, I continued to notch up parkruns in a variety of places and achieved a huge PB in Bedford in March. I achieved my 50 at the end of April. This was around the time I took on my own beginners group and was delighted to have such a great bunch, some of whom have become good friends. I also ran the MK half in May, buddying Elaine Wells.

Martin P Liverpool Dec 17

 

The high point of my year came on 28 May, when I ran the Liverpool Marathon in 4:29:37, which was 70 minutes quicker than my one and only marathon 5 years earlier. It was my first club trip and the whole weekend was incredible.

 

So as not to stop running, I did the half at the RR festival of running in June. Soon after, my beginners graduated, which for me was a huge and emotional experience. Further half-marathons followed in Bedford and Bournemouth, as well as the treasure hunt half and the NSPCC half. I also ran the Great South Run and Rockingham 10, which were my first 10 mile events. I took a break from leading beginners, but kept my hand in by leading the homework run.

 

Illness forced me to withdraw from the Dirt Half and the Winter Half was postponed, but I have kept the mileage up, as I start preparing for the Milton Keynes Marathon in May.

I finished the year by starting a group within the club to help people to address mental health difficulties.

I have some very good friends in the club who have helped me with so many things. I would be foolish to try and list people, but I must single out Martin Lawrence, who has given me the support and confidence to achieve what I have achieved.

Here’s to a 2018 full of running and happiness.

 

Martin Palmieri

 

A Visit to the Palace and not to meet the Queen

We asked Neville for a update from the races at Crystal Palace, but Katie also did a video from the event which is at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pmmhZehSEM

This is Neville’s report

After many month of planning and much cajoling, Sunday morning arrived and the merry gang met at a deserted carpark in Tongwell at 10am to venture down to the Big Smoke to mix it with the bigger boys and girls of the running world. Representing Redway runners in the ladies’ team were Julie Martin, Sarah Buck, Abi Gooch and Katie ‘Clean Coach’ Tucker, the senior men’s were Genci Pepaj, Andy Peak, Dan Hippey, James Down, Andrew Dodds and Ben Fairhall, the Vets team (those who should know better) were led out by Adrian Maidment, followed by Paul Clifford Jones, Neville Rowles and then Genci Pepaj.

Spirits were high as we boarded the fun bus in the sun and prepared for the trek down the M1 to Crystal Palace, unfortunately we were ‘one down’ due to injury and debate ensued as to who would ‘take one for the team’ and do a double session. The debate didn’t last long as despite putting my hand up to have a go, I was ousted from volunteering by the very fast Genci and happily let him step into the fold of a double trip on the pain train !! We were also rather nervous at this point as two members of the team were making their own way, one because he had been visiting friends in London the night before (Ben) and one because he was struggling to return from holiday courtesy of the Ryan Air rescheduling challenges (Andrew)… the fear amongst the senior men’s team could be both felt and smelt as they worried who may have to step into the breach and do a double !!

After a painless if slow journey down and the usual stop for coffee we arrived at the once grand Crystal Palace and prepared ourselves for the racing. We sought out numbers and prepared our teams for the onslaught by calmly finding seats in the stand and having a general chit chat !! Nerves were clearly showing in different ways as we looked at the activities going on around us. There were lots of people hanging around and some (most ) of them looked very fast.

Soon the ladies were called to the start line and after a brief interlude, Abi was launched into the fray and set off around the track and out of the stadium, cantering off on the alleged 4500 meter course. Apparently it was a trek up the hill , a little loop then across the flat and back down the hill and into the stadium for a lap of the track for the handover. Before we knew it the leaders appeared, closely chased by a red faced Abi completing her leg in 15.27 who handed over to Sarah, it wasn’t long before Sarah too was back, again red faced and sweaty in 16.42 who handed over to Jules, completing a much shorter event than usual, by now the leaders were chasing around in what can only be described as ridiculous speeds and were starting their final legs, I began my warm up outside of the stadium, so missed Jules coming in but was passed shortly by the fantastic ‘Clean Coach Katie’ as she shot off up the hill. Checking the results, Jules finished in 16.09 and Clean Coach did exactly as the last leg runner should do and did the fastest leg in 15.05. An amazing result from the ladies finishing 56th out of 82 teams and only just being pipped by local rivals Marshal Milton Keynes.

Now that the ladies had done their graft it was time for the men to step up to the plate and do our shift, we had a slightly different course, allegedly 6,000 meters and was two big laps of the circuit. We had split into two teams for the events, one over 40s team and one Senior men’s team, thankfully, yours truly was in the over 40s which gave me an excuse to be able to run slower!! The course was a fascinating one for us all as we shot off around the track and out of the stadium along a lovely flat road and, as most would agree, probably did the first half mile way too fast as adrenalin and nerves took over. Worry not, there was a hill, a steep one through the trees that took the speed from the legs and slowed us right down to a more realistic pace, just as one crested the hill and the slope eased we realised that it was an optical illusion akin to the old watering hole in the desert as it kept on going up but just at a more gentle pace, we then proceeded to run along a flat bit at the top of the park before coming back down the hill in a less scenic part of the park and were teased with the stadium before being sent off to do it all again !!

The senior men came in at 65th out of 91 with the times as Genci 16.16, Andy P at 18.44, Dan at 18.59 , JD at 19.04, Andy D at 18.44 and Ben at 16.45. An absolutely cracking result all told. The vets did an amazing job with Aidy finishing in 19.01, Paul CJ at 18.59 and Nev at 19.39. Unfortunately the SEAAA were unable to sort their timing process out and somehow Gencis time was not recorded so we were left as an incomplete so finishing 29th from 30 teams but Gencis watch time would have got us to 15th which would have been fabulous. SEAAA have yet to respond for their incompetence!!

We sat and watched the rest of the seniors race taking place and cheered on Ben and Andy whilst gorging ourselves on ice-cream and watching as Genci proceeded to run around and around just to get his mileage up!!

A great afternoon competing with the ‘sharp end’ of Road racing and despite the SEAAA trying to ensure that the clarity in results was clouded in mystery we had a great time and all representing green did an outstanding job. A special mention to Aidy for driving the fun bus and taking us on the longest route ever through southwest London to return home, to Abi for the provision of the essential refreshments after of prosecco and for Genci for taking one for the team and doing a double leg, despite the SEAAA not actually recording the time of his final effort. Nice job

Our Jen runs for England

On Sunday 8 October Jen Sangster from the club had the honour of running for England at the Chester Marathon, we asked her how it went, it must have gone well as she has qualified to run for England again next year this is her report;


Jen groupI had the huge honour of qualifying to run for England today at the Chester marathon. I was nervous… very nervous, but I woke up to an amazing morning with the sun shining and met everyone for a huge England team photo at 7.30am – right in the middle of the paddocks at Chester racecourse with everyone in their red and white kit. Couldn’t stop smiling

It was lovely to see my family and so many people from the club there both running and supporting and I needed the hugs to calm me down but once the horn went, I was off and feeling good.

Jen runningWell, it was an interesting marathon. I went off too fast but I was feeling good so spur of the moment decision was to try something new and see how long I could keep the pace and hold it for. Not sure how good this was on a new course and when running for England but hey, that’s just me!

At half way I had a half marathon PB under my belt but by 18 miles I was starting to struggle. The rest of the run was just one foot in front of the other and trying to shake off the jelly legs. The thought of everyone’s support at the club and the messages I knew would be going on Facebook drive me on. The last 3 miles consisted of me chanting “come on Jen, come on Jen” over and over again and trying to stop my head dropping back and closing my eyes (what I do when I’m exhausted). I didn’t even acknowledge Tim and Gillian at 1.5 miles from the end and don’t quite know how I crossed the line on my feet. The last 500 metres was on energy sapping grass – jelly legs is a huge understatement!

But I did it – 3.03.09 – a 2 min PB and 5th in my age group!

Jen podium
Lessons learnt but every run is different and that’s what makes it such a special sport. You are constantly learning about yourself. Training the brain and believing in yourself is just as important as getting the miles in.

Bring on New York in 4 weeks time!
Well done Jen

 

Theresa’s running journey

We asked Theresa Randall for her running journey – this is below:

 


 

On the 11 IMG_0375March 2015 I decided to start running. It all came about because my youngest Son (Justin) kept on at me to do something to keep fit and he said running was a good way to do it. I was 57 and yet to be convinced. All my life I had avoided anything that involved exercise. I enjoyed Tennis and Netball at school but never saw the fun in running around the playing field getting wet and cold. I preferred to be in the gym, hanging upside down on the exercise bar! I’ve joined a few gym’s over the years, but as soon as the novelty wore off I’d be bored.

So, I challenged Justin to help me start running, he flatly refused. Right then, I thought, I’ll show you, I’ll do it myself. With the help of my oldest Son (Jason) and the encouragement of my Brother (Steve), I took the plunge and downloaded the NHS Couch to 5K app and did my first ‘run’ to see how I got on. I did about 3K and it took me 35 minutes. I was out of breath, my wobbly bits wobbled a bit too much for my liking and I ached all over once I got home. I did two more ‘runs’ then I went on Holiday for a week. Walking round New York for five days and I had time to reflect on whether I wanted to take this running lark seriously, and I decided that yes, I did. I got back from Holiday and took myself off to Sweatshop and got kitted out with running shoes and a sturdy support bra.

17218340_1323218897765159_3356125156782223321_o

That was it, on the 6 April 2015 I became a ‘runner’ I gave myself a goal and signed up to the St Albans Half Marathon 5K that was taking place on 14 June 2015. Steve was running in this and I knew Justin was thinking about doing it, I just had to make sure he did. I never told him what I was doing so all my training had to be done in secret and the occasions where we ‘crossed’ on the doorstep I had to pretend to be going to Zumba, or a brisk walk.

I’d seen people running around Milton Keynes in green tops with Redway Runners across the front, but hadn’t really taken much notice of them. I thought they were an elitist running club and not to be approached by the likes of me. How wrong was I. Jason had found out that they were starting a beginner’s course, so a few weeks before the St Albans event we joined, and it was the best thing I could have done. The club were so welcoming and encouraged everyone to take things at their own pace. Glen’s Beginners Course ran for 10 weeks and taught me how to warm up / warm down, and what I should be doing to make it work for me. At the end of the 10 weeks was a graduation 5K parkrun, eek! My first training session 5K was on 7 June 2015 and I did that in 51 minutes.

Meanwhile, my secret training was paying off and the day had come to go to St Albans and put into practice everything I had been training myself for. Justin still had no idea what I was doing until the morning of the event. I couldn’t sleep the night before due to excitement and nerves all rolled into one. I was up and getting ready before he had surfaced and when he did, he asked me what I was doing up so early on a Sunday morning, I then had to tell him that ‘some of us have a run to do today’ The look on his face was priceless. Off we trundled in the car down the M1 and by this time more and more people were becoming aware of what I was going to do. Messages of encouragement and good luck were pouring through by text and Facebook, I felt really chuffed with myself that I’d managed to keep the secret for so long. Arrived at the event and it was raining, but I didn’t care, I was here to do my best. I’d set myself a target of 50 minutes, I completed the 5K in 45:50, result!

Af19598436_10154451625411567_6910098321701246673_nter St Albans, I threw myself into the Redway Runners beginners course working towards the graduation parkrun on 25 July 2015. Over the weeks I was getting stronger and a bit faster session by session. Graduation day arrived and I paired up with my run buddie and off we went. Half way round, and Justin came back to run with me once he’d finished his parkrun. Between the three of us I managed a finish time of 43:03. I became a fully-fledged member of Redway Runners and I carried on with parkrun, even finding one in Eastleigh when I went to see a friend for the weekend. I have now done 18 parkruns and managed to get six PB’s, my best being 38:49. I invested in some EVB shorts which I saw advertised in Women’s Running magazine – yes, I’ve even gone as far as to become a subscriber – and they support your core as well as hold everything in place! I wouldn’t be without them. The magazine is brilliant, full of tips and inspiration, it’s become my Bible.

I went on Holiday in October 2015 to Antigua and took my running gear with me. I managed to do some training up and down the beach at 7am before the sun was too hot.

November 2015 saw me take part in the Milton Keynes 5K MoRun with a finish time of 39:59.

I hurt my back just before New Year so put myself out for about seven weeks. Got back in time to start training for the 6 March 2016 Milton Keynes Festival of Running 5K which I have just taken part in with a time of 38:57.

So far, I have managed to knock about 13 minutes of my 5K run time from that first attempt in June 2015. I have more 5K runs lined up this year but want to progress onto 10K’s. I said I’d give myself a year of 5K’s then start to go a bit further. I’ve tentatively said I will be ready to sign up for my first 10K at the Milton Keynes event in March 2017, I don’t like to rush things.

Who’d IMG_0180have thought a year ago I would be where I am now, I certainly didn’t. Anyone that says to me ‘I don’t know how you do it, I couldn’t’ I tell them to start with the Couch to 5K programme and find a good running club. If I can do it, anyone can. Once I’d taken the steps to do this for myself, Justin has given me some great support and encouragement. He’s been there when I’ve felt I can’t do it, he’s run with me to push me to get PB’s and we spur each other on now. He is my inspiration to do better each time. The support from Glen and the Redway Runners has been phenomenal. It’s just one big happy family with no egos to get in the way, we all want the same thing and that is to keep fit and stay healthy. Jason gave up after we’d run St Albans but still supports and encourages me to be better. Steve just keeps going and he has made me a medal hanger which holds 20 medals, I have 3 at the moment so a long way to go to fill it up.

I love my running life, I just wish I’d found it sooner.

Updated 07.08.17

After the 2016 Milton Keynes Festival of Running, I met another Redway Runner (Di) who seemed to be about the same pace as me. We started to do parkruns together and became Runbud’s. Di wanted to step up to 10K as well so we decided to start training and signed up to do the Bournemouth 10K in the October of 2016. We were both nervous on the day but we had great support from fellow Redway Runners, who we now know as ‘The Green Army’ The weather was great, the sun was shining but not too warm and then we were off. We stuck together as much as we could and really enjoyed the run. Based on my average parkrun time I was aiming for a finish time of 1hr 20mins, I managed 1hr 15mins! I was over the moon and so was Di as we crossed the finish line together.

Since tIMG_4847 Croppedhen I’ve completed another 5K MoRun and knocked just over 2 minutes off my previous time. I’ve done 2 MK Rocket 5K’s with a PB of 34:32 and Women’s Running 5K in 2016. So far this year I have completed the Milton Keynes Festival of Running 10K, numerous virtual runs with Virtual Runner, Women’s’ Running 10K, with Cosford Spitfire 10K with my brother and Bournemouth 10K with Di again to come, hoping we can beat last years time. Justin is still running with Redway Runners and we usually meet up at the club runs on a Monday. Jason ran the Milton Keynes Half Marathon this year and Steve completed the London Marathon.

I’ve helped out at new beginners courses run by Redway Runners and buddied runners at their graduation parkrun, as well as marshalled parkrun, Silverstone Half and Milton Keynes Marathon weekend. I get just as much satisfaction helping someone else achieve their goal as I do achieving my own. Redway Runners set up their own virtual run over Christmas 2016 which they called the 12K’s of Christmas, I completed mine by running Christmas Eve parkrun, Christmas Day parkrun and I even made Jason run the last 2K with me on Boxing Day before I went to a friend’s wedding!

I’ve suffered with a bad back for so many years, which was my excuse for not running, but apart from the seven weeks break I had because I was being lazy over Christmas and New Year, I’ve had no problems since.

This year I completed my 50th park run and turned 60 so I had a 50/60 run to celebrate, with cake of course, and spent the morning with my running family. I now have 11 parkrun PB’s and my best stands at 36:45 which is 15 minutes quicker than my first 5K on 7 June 2015. It might not soundXmas Day Linford Wood parkrun 2016 a lot but I’m proud of what I have achieved.

So far I have encouraged 2 of my friends to start with the beginners course and my Husband (Eric) will be joining the course starting in September.

I don’t profess to be the best or the fastest and I will increase to half marathon distance eventually, but if my story inspires anyone else to get off the sofa and start running that’s a job well done! What started as a bit of a laugh to prove a point, has now turned into a way of life I don’t want to give up.

Running to some stones in the middle of nowhere

The alarm clocks rang at houses across Milton Keynes at ridiculous o’clock this Saturday morning, so early in fact that it was still dark!! The skies outside were cloudy and grey as we clambered into our chariots to make our way to some little village in Oxfordshire called Lucknow where we were to start a running race across some trail path to somewhere in deepest darkest Wiltshire and a circle of ancient stones.

Our Saturday group consisted on Pet Hedges, Kerry Cooper, Chris Mahoney , Sean O’Leary, Paul Jones, Steve Morris, Stephen Dunham, Mick Bates and Neville Rowles with Janet Maidment and Mary Morris coordinating the much needed ‘support and encouragement crew’. The Sunday team of Zaid Alani, Niam Hani and Louise Bailey were lucky as they were having an extra days rest We were also missing a few with Kevin Ferris, Amanda ‘one leg’ Holland and Ros Crawley having fallen by the wayside being sadly beset by injury. Rumour has it that ‘one leg was still considering running the event just a few weeks out despite being encased in plaster !!

We stood around, collected numbers, took photos and went for a wee in the usual chaos of a start area, filling bladders, grabbing snacks, slapping on Vaseline, bandages, rock tape kinesio tape, talcum powder and the lucky underpants. Paul was uttering quiet words of encouragement, Steve was still packing his bag (how he would cope without Mary is beyond me ) and Sean rocked up a little behind schedule. A few announcements were made and off the first group went with Chris, Mick and ‘Captain’ Kerry Cooper up running in the staggered start process. Pet then led us astray and we sneaked into the pen as most of us were in the second group to go and after a brief chat, decided in typical Redway Runners fashion that we didn’t need to hang around for the warm up and just shot off on our own about 5 minutes behind the first group

Now at this point it began to dawn on us what a silly stupid foolhardy idea this had been, usually most of us race 10Ks and Half marathons and so the longest we race most of the time would be for two hours or so. To make it worse, there were a couple of seasoned Ultra/trail veterans with us in Paul and Pet who a) Should have known better b) Should have talked sense to us !! So, anyway, down the leafy lane we went chatting away with either a mere 50k or 100k to go !!! After about 30 minutes Stephen dropped me, but having run with him before I was convinced his pacing strategy was all wrong and he would come back to me, oh how wrong I was !!!

I could waffle on about the event and give a description of what was going through each of our minds at various stages of the event but that has probably been well documented by our Facebook feeds and Janet and myself using Facebook live and Sean’s hilarious write up about his singing Frenchman. Anyway, needless to say the Redway team did an amazing job, the support guys were brilliant and seeing them pop up at some remarkably random places as one sprang out of the bush was superb. It was fantastic to see Carol and Mike Webber along. The weather to start with was warm with drizzle which was fantastic except for the point when we came across the first stretch of downhill chalk path (memo to self, compact chalk + water = slippery as a slippery thing )

The aid stations/pit stops were superb and I think it is fair to say that most of us made a damned good effort to replace every calorie that we had lost in the previous stretch. The selection available was amazing and would have tickled the fancy of many a Redway Runner with energy bars, cake, nuts, cake, gels, cake, chocolate, cake, oranges, cake , I think you get the picture. After going along a bit and down to the Thames valley and trotting through the lovely village of Goring we all knew what was coming and it was up, up, up. Anyway, not soon after half way was reached where some of us stopped, some of us finished for the day and some of us were starting the next morning. Unfortunately, I was in the group of extremely foolhardy ones who in our naivety had decided that as we can run a marathon, to chuck a few extra KM to do 100km non-stop on would be a piece of cake. For us there was no respite, no tent, no bar, no massage to have but more of the awesome undulating scenery of the Ridgeway. Apparently, we trudged through the Vale of the white Horse, the North Wessex downs, Grims Ditch and much more, according to all of the information we were given, ‘when you cross the Thames and head into the downs the scenery changes as it opens out into the classic sweeping views’ I honestly can say that I can’t remember them and I was barely looking further than 20 feet in front!

I think we all made new friends and chatted and ran with various individuals from other parts of the country and world just to keep us moving and spirits up. I think we all had really energised moments and we all had really terrible ‘what the heck am I doing this for moments’, but the best part is, all who started finished, which is a fantastic achievement. If you want to see how we did then the results are here, but this really is one occasion where speed doesn’t matter and getting it done does (well perhaps except for Chris who was first of our group !!) https://www.resultsbase.net/event/4047/results

So why did we do it? Well, all of us ran for charity, Stephen ran for MK Bridgebuilder trust, I ran for Cancer Research Uk and everyone else ran for the club charity Milton Keynes Hospital Charity. No that the muscles are beginning to recover, the chaffing is disappearing and the calories are being replaced it was really good fun.

There’s loads of photos available on our Facebook pages, so have a look to see what is going on there. The finishers were:

100km in one bash: Chris Mahoney, Stephen Dunham, Neville Rowles, Sean O’Leary, Paul Jones, Steve Morris.

100km in two days: Kerry Cooper, Pet Hedges

50km Day one: Mick Bates

50km Day two: Niam Hani, Zaid Alani, Janet Maidment, Louise Bailey.

 

If you want to have a go at it next year I would highly recommend it, it is good fun and details can be found at http://www.racetothestones.com/

 

Thanks to Neville for the report

Neville RTS

On the run with Martin Palmieri

Name: Martin Palmieri

Joined Redway Runners: 16 May 2016

We go on the run with our members and we find out a bit more about them – which we thought would be great to share, this time it is with Martin Palmieri who only joined Redway runners just over a year ago but is now a key part of the club leading a beginners group for us and always helping on runs

Thanks Martin

29 June 2017

**********

CLUB

When did start running and when did you join Redway Runners?

I started running in March 2011 when my best friend from childhood asked me if I wanted to run the NSPCC half-marathon that year. He is the only person who could have talked me into doing something like that! I joined Redway Runners in the middle of May 2016. I had just got back into running after preferring cycling for a couple of years. I ran the Milton Keynes Half-Marathon a couple of weeks earlier and had a dreadful run, losing 25 minutes from my PB of the time. Steve Patey, David Rose, Ros Crawley and Glynis Wiles had all been nagging me to join and this seemed like the right time.

 

How much does running with RR mean to you?

Without sounding too corny, it has changed my life. Running has always been my main way of de-stressing, but I had had enough of running on my own. I had lost all motivation. I have met more people in the past year than I had done in the previous 24 years since moving to Milton Keynes. We are a big family and the care we give each other knows no boundaries. Through all the support I have received along the way, I have achieved an incredible amount in the past year and I feel so much stronger mentally. My wife Nicola is not a runner, but has been welcomed into the family by everyone she has met.

 

Tell us about your first time? (with Redway Runners)

It was the old Monday club run from DL. Helen Wiggins was signing people in, as Stuart was not there. Nathan Rutherford was the first person I met and I ran with Glynis Wiles. I also saw Paul Mizon, who was in my tutor group at school.

 

When and who do you run with the club?

I try to run whenever I can, but school commitments often dictate when I run. I am currently looking after a beginners group, so a lot of my running time is dedicated to them. Parkrun is an essential part of my week, as is the Sunday run. I do the Explorer Run whenever possible, knowing Tim brings cakes!

YOU

What has been you best running achievement?

Without question, it was running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool Marathon in May this year. I ran the very first MK Marathon in 2012 and people who ran that day will remember how awful the weather was. I had a torrid time that day and it shattered my confidence. At Liverpool, I improved my marathon time by over an hour, so I could not be happier with how it went. Redway Runners helped me so much in achieving this goal.

 

Favourite place to run?

Probably in Italy, where my parents live. They live at altitude, so it is very challenging. I always get strange looks from the locals when they see me running up the hill to the next village!

 

What do you love to see while running?

I love to see other people smiling and achieving personal goals.

 

Funniest running moment?

With hindsight it was funny. On my very first Explorer Run a year ago, I slipped over into nettles and hurt myself quite badly. This was my introduction to Spencer, who carried out first aid on me. That evening I met Lucinda, Helen W, Pete & Kath Crawley for the first time. Tim often reminds me of that evening. What a welcome to the club!!

 FMartin P first beeravourite running photo and why?

 I have chosen this one because it was first beer in 5 months, after Liverpool Marathon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you always round up?

Of course! And I always add on a bit as Strava often chops a bit off!

 

What do you think about when you run?

I don’t do a lot of thinking, as I am always talking!!

 

What cross training do you prefer?

I do love road cycling and have done some big sportives, but I haven’t touched my road bike in nearly a year!

 

Would you change your job if the hours didn’t suit running?

That would be impossible being a teacher, though I don’t plan on being a teacher forever. I like the day time runs and do them as much as possible in school holidays.

 

RACE/EVENTS

What was your favourite race and why?

Apart from the Liverpool Marathon, I would say it was NSPCC Half-Marathon 2016, as it was my first as a Redway Runner. I ran it with Tim Giffen and he helped me go sub-2 hours for the first time.

 

Favourite race distance and why?

Probably half-marathon, as I have done 19 and it is a distance for which I feel comfortable training.

 

If you could choose anywhere in the world to run, where would it be?

I would love to run the New York Marathon one day. I have family there and my grandfather was there during the 20s. I have a real affection for the place. Though as a Londoner, my bucket list entry is to do the London Marathon one day.

 

Favourite parkrun and why?

Milton Keynes will always be number one, but I also like Tring for the fact that it is a bit different!

 

What would you prefer, a PB or a win?

A PB without question, as running is a very personal thing. Plus, I will never win anything!!!

Also

Tell us about being a beginners’ run lead?

I was approached by Annette and Jonathan, whilst I was a helper with the previous cohort. I had mentored my friend Gill Firmin to run her first half-marathon in March, so I agreed to have my own group. It has been hard work and a huge learning curve, but as they approach graduation (two already have!), it has been incredible to see the progress they have made over the 10 weeks. The group gelled instantly and they have supported each other through thick and thin. I am very proud of all of them for what they have achieved. The helpers who have turned up week in, week out make all the difference. Of these, two names stand out. Steve Boothby and Sophie Phoenix have been with me throughout the journey and have stepped in when I have not been there. I would not have been able to do it without them.

 

Thanks Martin and good luck

Martin P NSPCC first RR half

First half as a Redway Runner. NSPCC 2016