Hello Green Army
Not much going on this week, only the one report, and that’s about a Swim as well. Don’t forget without reports we cannot put much in the blog, send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Would be great to get some new writers as well.
As i’m typing this i’m reading on Social Media that Gaz O’Connor (who should have done the blog this week) has just completed the Deadwater Ultra Marathon, 225 miles from Scotland to Wales, running for 6 consecutive days. Sure we will hear about it next week, but I for one want to congratulate you, what an amazing achievement, well done mate.
Park run seen runners out in Bramhall, Pheonix, Chester, Medina I.O.W, Delamere, Shrewsbury, & Widnes. Full consolidated results below
Right over to CBH for the only report of the week, Helsby Swim Run club we will be known as soon. (note; i always get a mention in his reports, he must be missing me)
Another weekend, another SwimRun! This time I stayed in the country and travelled up to Keswick for Breca Buttermere. To say the course was ambitious would be an understatement… after 21.9k of running, 4k of swimming over 7 swims, and all the transitions in between, the race heads up from Buttermere to Robinson along for a further 14.5k of the Anniversary Waltz route before dropping down to Derwent water for 2 swims (1500m total) separated by an island hop and a final 900m run to the finish. Phew! Check it out here: https://tinyurl.com/y8ad46k2
This time I was partnered with Tin Wilcock, my long-term partner in endurance sport, and what a privilege it was to spend time out with the him. We’ve done so many races together now, from our first ultra, through mountain marathons to UTMB, to winning the inaugural ‘Escape from Meriden’, I knew I was going to have a great day out in his company.
These days I find I don’t just want to rock up to an ultra unless I get to share it with one of the friends I’ve made through the club or through all my previous events; I see them as adventures to be enjoyed, sure I’ll compete, but that’s not the primary goal anymore, it’s the challenge, the adventure, the beauty and sharing it with friends that makes it for me.
Lining up I clocked Ben Abdelnoor and immediately thought the race was won if he has a half decent partner, there wasn’t much time for such thoughts as we set off and immediately got caught out by a dodgy course marking! Right from the first run I was feeling knackered, but we squeaked over the rollercoaster terrain and transitioned well into our first swim.
Sizing up other swimmers and knowing where other team’s strengths is a really important part of SwimRun, assuming you are racing (rather than just enjoying a day out). We’d decided that we were going to start off well and see how things went. The second swim was 1k and boy was it choppy! We bobbed up and down like corks and it felt for quite some time that we were not moving. Added to this a number of the other team’s ahead insisted on swimming banana shaped routes to the flags which kept making me question whether I was losing the ability to swim straight in the choppy waters; I wasn’t.
It’s the little wins that give you strength. Knowing that others were swimming extra distance, or didn’t have a swim tow rope (Tin and I consider this mandatory kit), spanking people in the swim so they know they must get well ahead in the run to maintain position (Liz and I were on the opposite side of this in Engadin!) bantering with other teams for dropping things repeatedly, or hearing the team argue. Focusing on the bits that are working for you, rather than the bits that aren’t, can bullet proof your psyche.
Every event requires a nemesis to keep things interesting and ours came in the form of one half of a mixed team. He clearly had a problem harnessing his competitive nature and was not only totally out of sync with his partner (and not even remotely interested in adjusting for the greater good) but he certainly didn’t like being overtaken due to dropping his goggles. His reaction was to elbow me out of the way on a narrow path; mine was to try and raise my jaw back up from astonishment. We’re all competitive, but these long endurance events just aren’t the place for that kind of behaviour… certainly not in the first few K. He instantly became a comedy figure and one we’d be quite happy to finish in front of.
Setting off up the climb to Robinson we spent extra time in transition whilst our comedy nemesis and his partner panicked their way through the aid station following our overtake of them in the swim. We suited down, topped up fluids, got fruit and gels in then cracked on. We were soon overtaken by a couple of farmers, one of which was a Sheppard… no prizes for guessing who could walk up a mountain quickest!
The route up is great as it affords competitors with good views of any teams ahead. For the first time in the race I realised that we could now see third place… unfortunately we could also see fourth, fifth and sixth too!
Hitting the ridge line, I realised I had absolutely nothing to give. By the time we saw Dale head we were a good 7-10 minutes behind 3rd-6th and spoke about how happy we’d be with a top ten finish. Dropping from Dale head we could see that one of the teams were really struggling. Their ‘beaten’ body language was set against the beauty of the Newlands valley… Tin got inspired.
Tin chased and I did everything I could to hold on. We finally took them on Maiden moor and put on our best cheery conversational voices (psychology is everything). To our utter astonishment they were still fully suited and wearing caps and goggles on their heads – I was roasting and I was fully suited down, goggles around my arm and cap in hand! The trip out to the Anni Waltz to cheer on Helsby runners earlier in the season left me with a nice bit of knowledge of the best line of Maiden moor; we were running free.
Descending to Derwent water allowed us to pick off another team (triathletes can’t descend Fitzy J) suddenly we were in 5th and not planning on relinquishing it. Hitting the road disaster struck, we’d lost the markers and were off course, a quick backtrack and we managed to finally find them again. To our astonishment we also found our comedy nemesis (much to his dismay). Overtaking them and heading to the final two swims I was confident we could seal 4th.
We… ok, I, had an enormous faff getting into the penultimate swim. I literally couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Thrashing away in the swim were the farmers and the comedy nemesis and his partner. The four teams had been so far ahead, but had taken it in turns to break like wet KitkKats! At this point Tin was wondering what I was doing and I was just making sure nothing was going to need fixing whilst in the water. We set off to the island just ~ 100 swimming metres behind third and fourth.
Arriving at the island I started to get concerned… had I been over confident of our swimming prowess? We hadn’t appeared to take much out of them and Tin was doing his shoe lace up which he hadn’t thought he had time to do before the last swim. I desperately wanted to get moving. We got into the final swim 60+ metres behind the two teams with me stating the obvious, “We’ve got to go balls out on this one Tin!”
The water had got choppy. Waves attacked us from behind whilst I tried to time my stroke so I could surf in on the wave… I don’t believe I ever sussed it! Within the first 200m we’d taken the farmers. Without a tow rope they were struggling in the water, and really struggled with the chop. Just the comedy nemesis to go.
The biggest problem we had on the swim was the concertina effect of the tow rope and the waves. This manifested in me going to breathe, Tin being pulled backwards on the wave and me being pulled underwater by the rope. It was killing me! We exited the water a couple of minutes ahead and Tin confessed to being wobbly – it wasn’t over yet, but I was confident we could walk the 900m to the finish and still snatch third. Job done!
Amazing event, recommended to anybody with a sense of adventure that can swim!
Epilogue – we met our nemesis later at the prize giving (they won the mixed), he introduced himself and got chatting to Tin. Blamed his partner for being so slow and made out like he would have beaten us soundly if it wasn’t for her. There was definitely one loser there this weekend!
Yet again superb photo’s
Shout out from our Chair Jackie, lets rally the troops
Interclub Fell Championship Counters between Helsby, Spectrum, Warrington & Delamere Spartans).
Consists of 3 races, the first one was last month’s Wobbler. Spectrum are still computing the results for this which gives points for absolute positions, all finishers plus extra veteran points, so everyone counts & the more runners the merrier!
We have a titles to defend as we have won these interclub fell champs every year so far… the remaining races are:
Wednesday 23-Aug-2017 7:30pm Harrock Hill (nr Parbold) 8.4k / 275m 5.2 miles / 902ft
Saturday 16-Sep-2017 11am King John’s Castle (nr Mold) 7.4k / 264m 4.6 miles / 866ft
Let’s retain the title again!
Sure there will be a mass of Green at both events
And last of all well done Jane Ashbrook, picture of Jane and Charlie at At the @ActiveCheshire, pass on your passion celebration for inspirational women in sport
That’s it for this week, hope to see you all soon