Tag Archives: Bramley

Race Report: Bramley 20/10 2017

Last year, Jodie, myself and a couple of other club mates ran the Bramley 20/10 – a pair of races in Bramley (near Basingstoke) organised by Reading Roadrunners. This year, we wanted to do it again. Jodie and I live quite locally so its easy for us to get to, but also we really enjoyed it last year. It was really well organised and had great marshals with some decent support for a local race.

It’s a 10 mile loop, run twice for the 20 mile race, and is great timing for those doing spring marathons or halves. It’s also a pretty flat course, with only a couple of climbs at mile 6 (and 16) and 8 (and 18). Last year, I ran a massive 10 mile PB.

This year, the club brought a slightly bigger contingent of mainly spring marathoners (Jan, Dave, Mary) looking to use it as good training, but with a couple of them looking for a speedy 10 (Simon and Mark). Mary was late so couldn’t make the pic below.

Jodie and I were doing the 20 and I was happy that regardless of my time I’d at least be setting a PB as it was my first race at this distance. That said, my intention for the race was to run it at my target marathon pace. That’s < 7.04 per mile (For a sub 3.05). I was far from convinced I would get it, but I knew if I could get to the 16 mile point (first climb on the second lap) I may be able to ease off the hills and speed up a bit for the downhill last mile or so. That was the plan at least. I joked on Strava beforehand that I may be crumpled in a heap by 16 miles, but it wasn’t that much of a joke. Given how my previous marathon pace sessions had left me, and that was only running 10 miles (of 16) at MP. It was a real concern.

Pre-race

There are two parking areas, one was half a mile from the start, the other was a mile. Both quite chunky walks. Last year we parked in the farther, but this year we were wise and drove straight past it and got in the nearer one. It was £2 in either car park, and the organisers did a lot to prevent local aggravation by putting up signs anywhere that was LIKELY to be parked, a hi-vis “No Race Parking” sign.

The race village was very busy, with the queue for the toilets being as long as any other queue I’ve seen at a race (loooooong) but its part and parcel of most races now. You can have enough toilets for one per entrant and there would STILL be a queue!

The start zone was pretty much unrestricted, though there were signs suggesting to people where to start based upon their estimated finish time. One of the benefits of this race is that it’s mostly experienced club runners and people with multiple races under their belts – so most have a good idea of their estimated finish times.

Race

We exchanged some race strategies in the start pens before Jodie headed backwards, and the 10 milers headed forwards. Before long there was a shuffle forward, and without too much fanfare, we were off. I managed to find my pace pretty quickly (it was a little fast) and I could see Simon and Mark ahead running together.

The route is a bit of a lopsided bowtie. There is a pinch point in the middle at about 2 miles in (out) and 9 miles in (back) where runners pass each other very briefly. It was a gentle climb up til the pinch point, where we were lucky enough to have Mac and Lauren cheering us on. When you reach the pinch point, you head out on a big loop around Strathfield Saye.

There are water stations at 3,5, and 8.5 miles on the route, excellently attended by I think local army cadets – they did a brilliant job. Unfortunately the water was in cups which I’m not a fan of but the “pinch and funnel” technique worked ok. They did have an isotonic option but I wasn’t sure what it was so didn’t try it.

I caught Mary in her Bristol and West top after around 4 miles who explained she as late, but I wanted to keep my pace so didn’t have much time for a chat.

It levels off a bit after that up until 6 mile where there is a bit of a lengthy climb up to the main road. I remember it levelling off after that, but I think I looked back with rose-tinted glasses, as from 5.5 – 8 it just seemed to be a very gentle uphill all the way along!

From there, there’s a little dip with a sharp uphill followed by a gentle downhill all the way back to the start finish. Passing the pinch point our supporters were out in force, and it was a good little spectating area, many people had the same idea to support there. Just as I passed it, the lead car went by – so it was about 3 miles ahead of – they were shifting!

Passing by the start/finish I saw Mark and Simon – I managed to hear they ran 65 minutes for the 10 mile! Great running! After the race I heard they ran together for the whole race and had a relentless sprint finish for the end – with Simon just coming out on top by a fraction of a second (Though the chip times report the same time – 65.41). They took down my club record by just over a minute!

 

 

I headed into the second lap feeling OK. It suddenly became very lonely though! From running in a reasonable group of people, as I crossed the start/finish line I was running alone with no-one for 20 yards in front or behind. This made it a bit tougher.

I was pleased I’d sustained the pace and my next goal was the get to 12 miles, as 12 @ MP was the intended session for the day. Then I targeted getting to the HM point. Then 14. Then 15 as it was 75% distance, and then 16, my last gel point. I also knew that the first bigger hill would be done by then. And the hills did seem MUCH harder the second time round!

It was around 16 miles my right calf started cramping up periodically too. It was JUST about manageable and only became a real problem after the 19 mile mark. I knew I was tight for time so tried to shake it off. I maintained my pace and overtook quite a few people in the last couple of miles and came home briskly, on target, in 2.20.44. I was absolutely delighted!

Shortly after that came Jan in with 2.28.26…

Followed by Mary in 2.32.04…

Dave in 2.33.59…

And Jodie in 3.14.37.

 

As with every good race was a goody bag. This year in a decent reusable canvas tote bag. It had a medal (Which was the same as last year, disappointingly) some snacks, some drinks and you could also get a banana and a milkshake (I had 2!).

All in all, a good haul from a good race at a reasonable price. Thank you, Reading Roadrunners!

My Race Analysis

To say I was pleased with how my race went would be an understatement. I really wasn’t sure I’d get anywhere near my target, especially as I was still suffering from the back-end of a cough/cold. I managed to keep my splits pretty consistent and if it weren’t for the hills on the second lap, I may have even managed a negative split! Unfortunately they just took too much out of me.

Finishing, I felt like I could have done another mile or two at that pace and whilst I wouldn’t say I felt comfortable, I do think another 10k at that pace is achievable.

This puts me in a terrific position for London. Bang on target pace (If a little too close for comfort!) But with 9 weeks left to go and the fact that the course is flatter and incredibly well supported, I have loads of confidence.

 

 

Greater Manchester Marathon 2016: Week 10 of 18

Well, what an interesting week! The last 7 days has epitomized how running performance often works in “peaks and troughs” starting in pain and finishing in pride.

Midweek

The week started out with what was meant to be an 8m easy run. The pace felt MUCH tougher than it did last week, though this was off the back off a particularly difficult Sunday run as I wrote last week. At the time I shrugged it off and figured I’d be OK tomorrow.

That was until that next day… where I needed to do 8 miles with a set of (6 x 800m Intervals). To start with things were OK, but the 5th interval rep was absolute hell. I even had to have a brief pause midway through such was the agony. I managed to ‘Man Up’ for the last rep but the 4 mile recovery jog afterwards was just awful to the point I could have cried. It was just hideous, my legs were in pieces. Still the set of intervals were in the right ballpark pace range.

6x800

Thursday was a 5 mile recovery which was again, hard work, but I felt a lot better for doing it, and my legs felt fresher come the end.

Thankfully, Friday was a rest day, and I treated myself to a much needed sports massage for my legs. I wanted to stay local, and found Bow House Physiotherapy in Langport, not far from our office. The masseuse was Denise Rees and for the bargain price of £30 I had an hour and twenty minutes deep tissue massage, relatively pain free. I came away feeling so refreshed and relaxed – my legs fel warm for the rest of the day and it was an absolutely pleasure – I highly recommend them!

parkrunday

On saturday as always we went to parkrun, and our tour continued, this week at Maidenhead parkrun.

It was a lovely 2 lap course on gravelly trail and tarmac round a nature reserve. The start and finish were on a pretty muddy field but other than that, road shoes would have been absolutely fine. There was loads of parking (we parked close to the road but there is also a car park MUCH closer to the start), toilets in the Toby Carvery and also at the Athletics stadium.

Newcomers and tourists alike were made to feel most welcome, and the first timers briefing was all about inclusivity – superbly delivered with clarity.

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This really was an excellent parkrun and we will definitely be back! It was made even more interesting by the presence of Karen Weir – one of the original 13 “parkrun pioneers”! Always nice to have a brush with some parkrun royalty!

As for my run, I knew I was racing on Sunday, but wanted to check to see if I had any pace at all given my problems earlier in the week. So I ran it as a progression, right up to my target pace. Felt very comfortable! So either I had recovered fully, or the massage really did work wonders!

Sunday – Bramley 20/10

On Sunday we went to the Bramley 20/10 – a full report on the race can be found here that I wrote for the club.

Going into the race I really wasn’t sure how I would do. I know that sounds like sandbagging, but its totally honest. With how my legs felt on Tuesday and Wednesday I wasn’t hopeful. But I knew that if I wanted to be “on track” for Manchester I needed to run 1:07:59, which is about 6:47 a mile. This was ambitious, as my tempo runs had been just about slower than this, and only for 6 miles. Either way, I set my virtual pacer and went for it. And as you can see…

 

bramleysplits

… I smashed it! The first few mioes flew by pretty comfortably, and after a while i realised I was running at a similar pace to number 278 – he looked and sounded a bit like a short John Bishop!

Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)

I kept plugging along, naturally easing off for the slopes which were on the course, but somehow making the time back up as it rolled downhill.

Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)

With about 3 miles to go I knew that I’d make my goal, and if I could put in a quick last mile not only could I break 1:08, I could also break 1:07 – so I went for it and absolutely nailed it! Official chip time 1:06:44, a PB by 1m46 seconds!

Looking at the race analysis below I can see the consistency really paid off with the first 3 quarters (2.5 mile splits) all within a couple of seconds of each other, then a kick finish down the hill.

bramleyanalysis

To say I’m pleased is an understatement. Its a big sign that the training is working and I now have masses of confidence. Could a sub 3:10 be on the cards at Manchester?
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Time will tell. I’ll assess that after the Cardiff Half. If I can break 1:29 at Cardiff then I’ll seriously think about doing Manchester in 3:09:xx.

Summary

Well frankly I’m bloody delighted. Despite a tough early part of the week I’m on a total high! Now to come back down to earth, focus on the next few weeks training and set my sights on the next tune up race – a 5k parkrun. Surely sub-20 has to be on the cards now?

Extra Bramley Photos

All Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)

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Race Report: Bramley 20/10

Sunday was the date of the Bramley 20/10 – a Road race around the village of Bramley in Hampshire (Just outside of Basingstoke) which is a relatively flat 10 mile loop. 20 milers do the same loop twice.

It’s quite a well-regarded race on the calendar as one of the few 20 mile races around for good marathon preparation, and attracts a field of great runners (And these three reprobates).

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Dave and Simon were in the 20 miler, and I was doing the 10 as that fit better with my training plan. Jodie also took part, and was entered in the 10 mile but wanted to see if she could do the 20 with her sister Lauren, who was using the race as her first 20 miler in training for her first marathon in Manchester. Jodie didn’t want to sign up for the 20 as she wasn’t sure how her pregnancy would affect her ability to run 20 miles.

Getting to the race was easy enough, and the car parks were signposted from the main roads. The only problem we found was that we ended up in the “overspill” car park which was a good 15-20 minute walk to the start – but no big deal.

By the time we got there the HQ was bustling with loads of runners assembling and changing. The organisation here was excellent with plenty of toilets (Though the queues as always before the start of a race, were massive) and great baggage and changing facilities. It was absolutely freezing though, definitely a day for gloves! We of course got the obligatory club pic!

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Start arrangements were pretty good – whilst there were no “pens” there were very clear signs indicating where you were meant to stand based upon your predicted finishing time. Being a good local race with many experienced runners, this seemed (to me) to be pretty well-respected. The only slight problem was we were all too bunched at the front and had to be moved backwards so not to affect the timing mats!

We  were away pretty promptly, and aside from a bottleneck about 50 meters in – thanks to an inconsiderate driver who parked on the course – we were away cleanly.

The course itself is of a reasonably flat profile, with a few climbs (The main one being at 6 miles) but nothing too strenuous, and the rolling nature of the course meant it was pretty fast. There was a small loop then a larger loop – a bit like a lopsided bow tie. The roads were open, but there was very little traffic. Though saying that, I did see one close call between a van and a BMW who ended up nose to nose, 6 inches apart!

bramleysplits

In my race I was neck and neck with number 278, and we chatted regularly throughout keeping each other motivated. He looked and sounded a bit like John Bishop, only shorter!

Thanks to Barry Cornelius of Oxon Races, we got some good action shots.

Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)
Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)

Being the only one doing the 10 miler I saw everyone pass the halfway stage after I collected my bag. I JUST missed Dave but saw him through the fence. Everyone looked really strong at halfway.

Somewhat astonishingly, just before I saw Jodie and Lauren, the winner of the 20 miler came through in 1h40 or something ridiculous like that. Absolutely motoring!

At the finish the goody bag had some decent stuff in it – A “Seed shot”, a mars bar, some Dolmio pasta and cheese, and a decent medal. The other nice touch was they had a “trolley token” key ring – perfect when you need a pound coin for your shopping trolley!

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It was a great race all in all. I was delighted to have PBed, Dave wasn’t too happy after a consistent first lap but a difficult second. Simon maintained a good average but was a bit up and down on his mile splits, and Jodie/Lauren did brilliantly – much faster than we expected them to come through in.

And the scores on the doors:

Bramley 10m
P47 – Matthew Warr – 1:06:44 (PB)
P515 – Jodie Warr – 1:42:16

Bramley 20m
P190 – David Purchase – 2:27:30
P206 – Simon Carney – 2:30:33
P706 – Lauren McCarthy – 3:33:07

All in all a fabulous race, highly recommended!