2017 Review of the Year, Ben Munns

Another winter had passed with no running and I had signed up for the Festival of Running Half Marathon, my first race at this distance. I wasn’t a member of the running club at this point nor had much exposure to it as I was only running 50miles or so a year. It’s a race I won’t ever forget, my last one before joining the club and one with many mistakes. I remember the flooded underpass at mile 1, wearing too many layers, the heavy wind, poor pacing, seeing Nev cheering at the Redway station and being so surprised at the amount of cheers going to all of their runners despite the horrible weather and then the 2hr pace setter overtook me near the finish. I finished a broken man in 2hr 2mins and enough was enough – I was running with Redway Runners the very next week.

Ben Munns 1

 

With the motivation of the wedding coming up everything changed and I was hooked. With two months of running with the club I met lots of new faces and soon got into a routine of running. I signed up for the MK Half which was on the 1st of May with a goal of just setting a new best time. It was such a great experience and well supported half. I quickly found myself running in a group with the 1h 45min pacesetter and it felt tough as we approached the centre of Milton Keynes. I found my rhythm and even managed to pull away from the pacesetter as we approached the halfway point.

The great support continued and with it being my first race in the club colours I soon began to understand what a family it is and what a difference having your name on the top really makes. ‘Come on Munns, ‘Come on Redway’ it was awesome and really push me through the middle phase with some quick splits. As I approached mile 10 I began to struggle with the pace slipping back to 8minute miles but still ahead on the 1m 45 pacer and now on the homestretch. I remember running into the stadium for the finish like it was only yesterday, such a fun way to finish the half. James Fuller one of the club runners was there with his family and cheered me on to finish strong, I found some more speed and overtook a few runners near the line and finish in just under 1h 43mins, the best feeling ever.

Ben Munns 2

One of the toughest moments of the year was near the finish at the Bedford Half, which was the first weekend after the honeymoon. I’d stopped for the third time at 12.5 miles, the PB was no longer in sight and I was broken. Like a ray of light out of nowhere Julie from the club appeared and gave me a simple ‘come on Ben, jog it home’ She was taking it easy as part of her Marathon training for New York and the Chester Metric but it was such a massive help to get me over the line – Thanks again Julie!

Joining the Chiltern cross country league on Neville’s recommendation was another great experience, it’s a great way to keep running over the winter and it’s just so different to any other form of running. The best thing about cross country is the support we get from the Redway women who always hang around to give us encouragement.

Ben Munns 3

In 2017 I received the fantastic news that I had been given the opportunity to run in the London Marathon 2018 on behalf of Cats Protection and progress one of my life goals. I was in complete shock to get the good news, such a scary proposition to run 26.2 miles especially after only recently joining a running club and having such a tough time managing only half the distance

Anyone who knows me will be aware that I adore cats and the Milton Keynes branch is all run by volunteers in their spare time and own homes. All your kind donations will go towards helping cats who are desperately in need of your support.

Please, please, please be so kind and sponsor me if you can! Every donation, no matter how big or small, will go a long way in helping me to achieve my fundraising target.

As an extra bit of fun anyone who donates £30 can choose ANY song for me to listen to on my run. I will pop round to see you so can add this my marathon playlist (Please be kind) and I won’t look at it before the big day!

If you would like to sponsor me, I have a Just Giving page here:

www.justgiving.com/BenMunns

Ben Munns 4On the 6th on November it became Facebook official, I had been selected as a sponsored athlete for 2018 with The Treatment Lab and Clean Coach Katie. It felt great to get this good news and it gave me such a boost knowing that Rudi and Katie will be invested there time in me and my marathon journey. The prize consisted of monthly treatments with Rudi with more nearer the marathon, PT sessions with Katie and access to the weekly classes. Having this support is great especially with me having the added pressure of fundraising for the marathon. As part of the sponsored athlete programme it advised we should make a blog to diarise our progress but since starting this I have actually really enjoyed recapping my year so if anyone wants to hear more of my rambling visit my blog at the http://thegreenrunner.co.uk/ it’s still very much a work in progress but it’d be great to get anyone’s thoughts.

Ben Munns 5It’s hard to really quantify what a difference the club has made me but in simple terms it meant I could lose weight, marry the women of my dreams and feel great on my wedding day, all down to the club and for £5 a year, wow what a bargain. As well as that I have met some fantastic people, I remember looking at Strava and it told me I’ve spent 41hours running with Maff, 27 with Jen and didn’t even know them until May. I have made some great friends in such a short space of time especially with the small but awesome Wednesday 5am group. Everyone from the club has been so supportive and invested in me, even Martin seems to know when I’m running a cross country event despite the club having over 1400 members and even made comment at the latest club run that I’ve had a good year which was fantastic to hear.

Ben Munns 6

I’ve been rambling on for ages now and not even mentioned the sub 20 parkrun or dirt half race – for those you can visit my blog but for those who like numbers here’s a statistical representation of before and after joining the club:

5k – 25:25 down to 19:48

10k – 54:32 down to 44:19

Half – 2:02:52 down to 1:36

Mileage in 2016 – 36

Mileage in 2017 – 1007

Plan for 2018? Complete my first Marathon, beat all of the above and make more friends with the club trying to give back more with parkrun’s and supporting the graduations

Ben Munns 7

Wormwood scrubs but for all the right reasons

We have a race report from Neville Rowles from the South East of England Cross Country relays. Redway Runners didn’t win it but we got there and did well and were the first team from Bucks!!


 

SEAA XC Relays car

 

A brave band of merry men and women met at the Ship Ashore in WIllen to prepare to embrace hurricane Brian in full force for the Southern Area cross country relays. A trip down to the smoke ensued with a visit to the Linford Christie Stadium and Wormwood scrubs!! Thankfully most attendees had a clear record and the only ‘time’ they would be doing would be the race around the field taking on the ups,downs and mud familiar to those who undertake the lovely art of cross country !!

 

 

 

We registered and collected our numbers and grabbed a map to take a gentle jog around the course. It soon became clear that this was a course with a difference as it was lacking the usual hills and undulations and had plenty of flat and fast bits but had the usual mud!! The ladies had 3 x 3km and the men had 4 x 5k, with pretty much all of the team members being Marathon or Ultra Marathon competitors , the short distances would be barely a warm up but would certainly shake a few cobwebs from the legs !!. The course started with a gentle uphill directly into the wind before launching left towards the prison and skirting the walls, we then sought shelter from the wind in the trees and passed a beautiful crescent of housing before coming across a muddy and slippery trail on the edge of an industrial estate. At this point the men were sent off in search of more wind and heathland to round some trees and a rugby pitch and battle with the elements on the return journey. The course then re-joined the ladies route and a gentle and relaxing amble through the woods ensued where shelter was provided and footing was secure, before we knew it we were out of the woods and running in gaps between the trees and in the full force of Brian before a sharp right took us slightly uphill and into the full force of the wind to the handover area.

The ladies teams warmed up and went to the start line with Captain Coops and Jen Sangster leading the two teams off for their 3k sprint. Both runners did a stunning job with Jen handing over to Julie Martin and Captain Coops to Jenny Dowling, returning runners looking exhausted but outgoing runners looking nervous, the wind continued to blow but the sun shone and it wasn’t long before the second leg runners returned sending Sarah Jane Bird out for team one and Jenny Moorhouse out for team two.

SEAA XC Relays archWhilst this was all happening, the lead runners for the men gathered in the pen, Nev and Aidy were somewhat nervous as, just like the ladies, we were probably 20 years older than the average age !! Before we knew it we were called to the line and the gun sounded and off we trotted, like a fool, I went off like a bullet trying to ‘keep up with the faster boys’… shortly after Aidy passed me with the encouraging words of ‘you’re second from last’ !! There was life in the old dog and the stubborn git tried to hang onto Aidys coat tails for all of 50 meters before realising that it wasn’t going to happen today!! Aidy handed over to the competent hands of JD and I crawled into the finish area desperately passing the baton to Martyn Douglas. JD held his own and Martyn managed to right some of my early pacing errors and gained us a place or two before they launched Simon and Denis respectively into the force of Brian, both runners competed exceptionally well and held their positions and by now, just like the ladies race, the field was somewhat spread out before the final runners set off, for team one, Dan Hippey took the lead and sped off into the bleak landscape and before we knew it , grumpy Al was sent to do his bit. All runners returned unharmed and uninjured except for Simon who still had a hangover from the beer festival the night before!!

The strategic parking at the ship ashore allowed for some post event review and the great news is that 1. We were there and we completed it. 2. The opposition were all very serious and very young 3. The national champs were actually easier as there was a more varied age group and less of the ‘bigger boys and girls’ 3. We had a fantastic time competing at a very high level and did the club proud 4. We were the only team from Buckinghamshire who actually turned up and can therefore declare that we are the Bucks winners !! 5. We had team members who had never competed at this type of event and they were absolutely buzzing and loved it.

For those that are interested we plan on entering the County Cross Country Championships on the 6th January , the Southern area cross country championships which this year will be held in Brighton on 27th January 2018, we will also enter the National Championships which will be held at Parliament hill fields London on the 24th February. To be included you need to be an active /paid member of Redway Runners and also have UKA affiliation (first claim). Cross country is back to the roots of running, is a great base for any marathon training plan and will really help develop your running for the spring marathon and summer road races. Why not come along and have a go

Well done to everyone who came along, gave of their time and congratulations to you all, you did Redway runners proud with the guts, determination and bloody mindedness to get the job done.

From the women we have Jen Sangster 52 from 137 in 13.32, Sarah Bird 70 from 137 in 14.04, Julie Martin 97 from 137 in 15.04 , Jenny Dowling 119 in 16.15. Jenny Moorhouse 120 in 16.41 and Kerry Cooper 121 in 17.10. In the women’s race for some reason they have not counted the B teams, but if they did so we would have team A (Jen, Sarah and Jules ) 25th in 42.40 and team B (Coops, Jenny and Jenny ) 37th in 50.06 from 47 teams entered

Mens results from 185 runners completing the course we were : 96th Dan Hippey in 16.21 , 106th Aidy Maidment in 16.32, 126th James Down in 17.00 , 140th Simon Read in 17.17, 157th Martyn Douglas in 18.02, 163rd Nev Rowles in 18.13, 175th Al Humphries in 19.00, 181st Dennis Verhoeven in 20.08.

In the ladies Wycombe Phoenix were 9th so we were 2nd and 3rd Bucks teams, in the Men’s we were the first and second bucks teams so can proudly call ourselves Southern area county champions

 

Full Results at:

http://www.seaa.org.uk/index.php/results/cross-country

 

SEAA XC Relays