At just over 56 miles and a field of 20,000 the Comrades marathon is the biggest Ultra in the world and is run in South Africa between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. This is my experience of the race they say humbles you and leaves you a different person at the finish to the one who started:
Toeing the line at 5:30 am on Sunday 10th June was the end of a long journey that began 4 years earlier on a Summer’s day in 2014.
That particular day I was in a hospital bed after a heart attack, just back from theatre where I’d had 2 stents fitted in a blocked coronary artery. I thought about my uncertain future. A big goal was to get back running. Was it pie in the sky to think I’d even be able to run again? What was going to be realistic, 5K, 10K, HM?? I promised myself that if ever I recovered enough then I had to run the epic ‘Ultimate Human Race’, the Comrades Marathon.
Fast forward through the tentative slow walks to Dorridge and back. The first walk/jog/walk praying that the dodgy ticker would hold out. Plenty of people had asked me what I would do now instead of running, but I was determined to come back fighting. At last a 5K parkrun, a 10K, and even a HM ticked off before 2014 was out. I was making great progress, much better than I could have hoped for, but in the back of my mind thoughts of Comrades were nagging away and the promise I’d made myself in that hospital bed.
By 2017, despite having run no further than a half marathon since my comeback, I reckoned I was fit enough to realistically think about entering the race. After getting medical advice and a positive comprehensive heart scan, I signed up for the 2018 race and on August 1st, 10 months of hard training began.
Building the mileage through late Summer and Autumn, I battled on through the fog and damp of autumn, the snow and ice of winter, the first few rays of Spring sunshine and finally the odd hot Summer’s day. Two marathons along the way, my first Ultra, and finally, with over 1800 miles under my belt, and 1000 since January 1st, it was time to board the plane for Africa.
I had a fantastic time in the build up to the race, being looked after amazingly by Kevin Boake’s family, the man who had inspired me to want to do this race in the first place. A few days in Johannesburg, then a move down to the lovely seaside resort of Ballito outside Durban for the final preparation. But D-Day was coming! The night before the race was spent bunked up at a friend of the
We may not be able to get access to the hall tonight. You may want to leave valuables at home etc. If we don't have access then we'll just meet outside and go from there.
DarrenClick to Read More...
The Arden 9 is the club's showpiece event. This year more volunteers than ever stepped forward to support Mark Cordiner-Barton so firstly, before the results, a huge thank you to everyone who helped in any way, shape or form.
This year was buzzing as we welcomed runners from across our friends in Warwickshire. The buzz this year was surrounding a serious crack at the course record, held by Toby Spencer in a super-fast 45:30 (2015). England International & Notts AC's Doug Musson (and local Helix Sport emloyee) had been lined up. Doug Musson shattered the old course record running a sensational 45:04. The lead bikers being made to pedal hard and jaws left on the grass as he stormed into Hampton Sports Club grounds for the final 400m. Congratulations on the course record.
Spurred on by Doug Musson, K&D's Chris Sharp and Leamington's Paul Andrew had a ding dong derby battle for second and third. Home-town hero Chris Sharp emerging victorious in 48:52.
Congratulations go to Nuneaton's Eleanor Fowler who backed up a superb Wednesday Sphinx run with the win at Arden in 54:15. Just pipping Bournville's Nicola Sykes and Leamington's Kelly Edwards.
Congratulations also go to all the category age winners: Sarah Rose (Kenilworth), Jenny Jeeves ( Leamington C&AC), Theresa Woolley (Centurion), Pauline Dable (Kenilworth), Mark Ryall (Milton Keynes), Richard Merrell (Leamington C&AC), Thomas Healy (Centurions), Stan Alexander (Kenilworth).
The team competitions were won by Kenilworth in both men's and women's categories. K&D Men finished 2nd overall followed by Spa. Leamington C&AC women took 2nd while K&D women took 3rd.
Congratulations to all our winners.
K&D Fielded 43 runners with Chris Sharp leading the team home. 2nd K&D man was Darren John in 53:19 who put recent poor form behind him with a 9 mile PB and Torsten Roesler who ran 54:23; also a PB.
Rosie Marsh led like a Captain from the front and ran 6 minutes faster than last year. Rosie's 1:00:34 was tantalisingly close to the hour mark and good for 5th Woman overall. Emma Lowe took second K&D Woman in 1:03:04 with a sore knee. She also set an excellent standard putting the course signs up the day before. Clare Magee continued her excellent running and looked fabulous in a sparkly green ra-ra skirt thing (along with Kathy). Clare's 1:04:44 kept Emma and Rosie on their toes.
Results are not quite on Power of 10 or runbritain yet so apologies for not listing all the PB's etc. There were bloody loads of them though! Thank you to everyone at K&D for your support in making this a sensational edition of the Arden 9. And finally a huge thank you to Mark Cordiner-Barton who's organisational skills ensure the event continues to evolve and improve year on year.Click to Read More...
So many PB's we're losing track! Glorious PB's Galore.
For most of you this will be a two weekend spell for you to rest, recover from racing loads and get in a couple of quality sessions along the way.
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Provisional results for The Arden 9 held on Sunday 17th June can be found here:
Congratulations to everyone who competed on Sunday. We had PB's, course records demolished, great team competitions, cake and ice cream. Full Results including a write up on the astonishing new course record by Doug Musson (45:04), and various awards winners, PB's etc. etc. will be written up in our usual irreverent style over the coming days.
If you spot any issues with names or times please feel free to contact us on Facebook or Email (email@example.com). Again, yes.. that does say 45:04 for 1st place. That isn't an error.
Thank you again for your amazing support and we hope you enjoyed the Arden 9 2018.Click to Read More...
Thank you to everyone who ran, volunteered, sponsored, massaged, smiled and supported today during The Arden 9. A massive thanks to Hampton in Arden Sports Club who so kindly host us annually.
We're fortunate to be supported by two great sports stores who made up your lead bikers:
Both local indepedent sports stores ran by people passionate and invested in their sports. They both have the K&D seal of approval.
Thanks also to Hitchcock's Motorcycles who supported us and supply spares, performance parts and accessories for Royal Enfield motorcycles. Beautiful machines.
Thanks also to Collin's Chartered Accountants who have kept a watchful eye on the books and stop the race directors buying a Zeppelin and a Giraffe for the finish line... Next year!
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