Hello Green Army
Not a lot in the inbox at all this week so it’s a quiet one, well apart from another chapter in CBH’s auto-biography.
A quick note from Laura
ESSAR 4 Villages Half Marathon
The Four Villages Half Marathon which is on Sunday 21st January opens for entries on 1st October for what will be the 35th race. You can enter online from 1st October at https://helsbyrunningclub.niftyentries.com/35th-ESSAR-Four-Villages-Half-Marathon.
Popular half marathon on rural roads around Helsby, Cheshire. A great race to keep you training over the festive period and as preparation for Marathon season in the spring.
For new members, this race is organised by Helsby Running Club and is a popular race in the running calendar. As a reminder if you are a Helsby member and would like to run then we kindly ask that you nominate a volunteer to help out on race day or that you help out on Saturday 20th January. We are only able to put on this race with the help of all club members and the income from the race enables us to keep subs lower than they would otherwise have to be. The race also supports lots of local community groups and charities! I have kept a number of places in reserve for club members to give you time to organise your volunteer for race day. Any questions then give me (Laura@baynham-hughes.com) a shout. And of course if you are able to help out in the run up to the race then please let me know as there is lots to do!
Finally please spread the word once we are open as it would be great to get record numbers running for our 35th race!
I believe we have a fell and road counter this weekend, Saturday 16th is King John’s Castle Fell race, and Sunday 17th is the Sutton 6 road race.
All the previous seasons results can be found here so would be great to get good turn out’s this weekend.
Park run seen runners out in Pheonix, Delamere, Ellesmere Port, & Widnes, Full consolidated results below
Big mention to Ste Wiggins and Col Thompson, both running their 100th park runs within the last week, well done guys. Col celebrated with a win at Pheonix whilst Wiggo celebrated with a biscuit, along with a few others from the Green Army
CBH has been swimming again (and a bit of running) although after watching the highlights and seeing some of it live, i can honestly say i would not have ventured out in a boat, never mind swim in the conditions he did. Over to Chris
It’s swimming, but not as I’ve ever known it!
What a few days! On Sunday I found myself on a boat on my way to Sandhamn in the Stockholm archipelago. Sitting two hours from Stockholm itself amidst over the 3000 islands that make up the archipelago Sandhamn is beautiful and well worth a visit in its own right, but we arrived with the sole purpose of making our way to Utö, some 75km away. Taking in 24 runs (65k) and 22 swims (10k+!) it is a truly epic adventure. The runs were a mixture of wet and dry rocks, “trail” (from walking as we ducked branches and moved around trees through to nice forest trails) through to fire road and even a bit of Road (you’d have loved it Fitzy) and the swims were… well… something else!
This little video gives an impression of the conditions ( https://www.facebook.com/otillorace/videos/1417863121644623/ ), but the conditions on here are pretty benign compared to other parts of the water. The longer swims had the exits marked by a powerful strobe, but frequently we were unable to see them due to the size of the swell, having to tread water for a few moments to confirm we were heading in the right direction and weren’t drifting/ being pulled of course by the currents. The swell made breathing difficult, not least because of a concertina effect that as I went to breathe Liz would get pulled back by the wave and I would get pulled under before I could catch my breath, the elastic would then propel Liz forward onto my feet, dunking my legs so I couldn’t make any progress in the swim! On the swim linked above Liz was being propelled so far forward that her goggles were bouncing off my feet! Without doubt these were the most challenging conditions I’ve ever swum in.
The first swim found my style deeply mismatched to the conditions. One of the strange things about swimrun is that competitors are allowed to use aids; e.g., many run with pull buoys (floats that sit between the thighs) and almost everybody uses hand paddles. Paddles slow down your stroke and the larger the paddle the slower the stroke; however the swimrunner must balance this against a natural slowing of their stroke over the course of the event, so the paddles make a real difference later on. Due to this I use large hand paddles and my technique is therefore based upon a very streamlined, slow, but very powerful, stroke for maximum efficiency. As Helmuth Graf von Moltke, famously said; “No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy” Moltke is less well remembered for saying; “a slow stroke doesn’t help you survive in 1.5-2m swell and currents from all angles!” Missed strokes and getting a mouthful of brackish water were the order of the day.
Considering that the vast majority of competitors are now qualified or highly experienced (there is a point system to gain entry) the already high failure rate needs to be considered in that context. The organisers stated that the swims would be ~15 degrees which is quite warm, but they were certainly much colder. With so many swims and so many short runs, keeping warm was a challenge and we saw a number of competitors dropping because they simply couldn’t warm up. Thankfully I’d listened to one of the teams on the boat in this regard and had put on my neoprene vest, or we could have quite easily become one of the statistics. The ‘pig swim’ at 1.4k is followed by a number of short island hops and saw many teams desperately trying to get beyond them to the half marathon stage. At 20k it’s just short, but once past the 2k of ducking branches, climbing over fallen trees and desperately trying not to rip our wetsuits we were able to get into a real groove. Forrest tracks punctuated by traditional Swedish architecture ranging from ‘love shacks’ to seriously impressive properties gave way to a road and we started to really eat up the teams. We might not have been quick, but we were consistent!
Once the half marathon has been ticked off we figured we were just a hop and a skip from the finish, but the swims took on a whole new experience. With strong currents from our left, but wind and waves from our right it was totally confusing. Starting further up the island to adjust for the current, but still finding ourselves swimming almost perpendicular to the current and ‘ferry gliding’ across gave cause for concern. At one point I became convinced we were going to miss the island and buried myself physically to make it to the exit point; I have never hugged a rock so hard! We survived and made it to the finish in Utö in 11th place in the mixed category in 11h 21m 53s. I think we were first Brits and only one non-Swedish team finished ahead of us. Against the best in the world I’ll take that!
The winning team took less than 8 hours to complete the course. Just to put that into context, the winners covered 75k, 10k of which was swim, and I reckon maybe 30-40k was heads up running rather than rock hopping, tree dodging, etc. They have to manage getting in and out of the swim, swim in shoes and run in a wetsuit…. At nearly 10k per hour. If that is not just mind blowing then I don’t know what is!
An incredible adventure, absolute bucket list race and certainly one of the more ridiculous things I’ve done. One more way to take on mother nature and see just how small we really are!
Well done CBH great work.
I know a few others had races last weekend, Ian Rutherford and Richard Hankins both did Lake Vyrnwy, with Ian coming in 1st V45 and Rich getting a PB, well done guys.
Last Thursday seen quite a few of us do the 1st Steve Saunders Multi-terrain race over on the Wirral, this being my first one, and it was extremely enjoyable, they are on every Tuesday in September and are a massive £1 to enter. Results and fixtures below
That’s it for this week. See you all soon