Kirsteen Smashes The Chippenham Half Marathon
The Chippenham Half Marathon was selected as the event for the SW Inter Counties Road Championships. There were teams from all over the South West in attendance all there with the opportunity of winning team medals writes Hamish Spence.
This half marathon took pace along a fast and pancake flat route and is known for competitors achieving personal best times, as Kirsteen Welch was to find out. The event which is organised by Chippenham Harriers, started by heading through the town centre of Chippenham and out into the rural roads passing through the villages of Stanley The Tythertons, Avon, Kellaways, Langley Burrell and back into the town to finish at the Chippenham Sports Club.
This was a good opportunity for Kirsteen to pit herself against some top county road runners. Her coach, Norman Wilson gave the advice for her to “Go out with the top women, hang on in there and see how you do”. This is exactly what happened.
Annabel Granger representing Bristol went out fast right from the start (a sub 6min/ mile pace). Kirsteen followed her immediately, fully expecting to blow up halfway around. But that never happened. Sticking with Annabel, Kirsteen felt strong and comfortable with the pace. Mile eight passed, both ladies were still averaging a six and a bit min/miles until mile 9 when Kirsteen started to tire. She had dropped back by about 5metres! Giving herself a good talking too, digging deep and embracing the pain, Kirsteen picked up the pace and managed to close the gap. At around mile twelve, Kirsteen took the lead. She manage to hold on to that lead and even extended it all the way to the finish line. With the crowd cheering her on, she took 1st place for the ladies in what was to be a PB time of 1h20m16s. Her previous PB of 1:24:18 which she set back in February this year when taking part in the Gloucester half marathon. She has bittersweet memories of that event as she got injured not long afterwards.
Both Devon teams had a fantastic day, the Ladies taking gold and the Men’s team the silver with Tom Merson also being 1st man across the finish line.
City To Sea Again For Jo
Jo Earlam took part in the City To Sea Marathon on the 7th of September for the second year in succession. This is a very challenging event which starts from the Exeter Riverside and follows the coast path to Babbacombe Downs in Torquay. This event lulls the runner into a very false sense of ease with around twenty miles of relatively flat running along the River Exe, the canal and down the Exe Estuary passing Starcross and Dawlish Warren. It is only after you leave Shaldon and re-join the South West Coastal Path, that the real challenge actually begins.
Jo was keeping up a steady 12 min/mile pace until halfway, then slowed to a jog/walk pace for the next six miles. After Shaldon, for the hilly section which she knew was coming u
p, her pace dropped to a mostly walk pace. Even though she had slowed dramatically for the last six miles, Jo was still passing other competitors. This was Jo’s first run of more than six miles since spraining her ankle back in July. More importantly this was her 71st Marathon to date.
Adrian looking pleased at the end of the Dartmoor Marathon on 31st August. It’s a 26.5 mile off-road race over wild Dartmoor and includes the tops of Yes Tor and High Willhays.
The Mudnificent Seven Obstacle Course Race
On Saturday the 17th of August, Adrian Horne took part in The Mudnificent Seven Obstacle Course Race, a physically exhausting multi terrain race with natural and man made obstacles to navigate. Seven different obstacle course race organisers had set up an obstacle zone each over the whole route. There were in and out of water areas, carrying sand bags and logs, water slides, big A frame climbs, monkey bars, lots of cargo nets to get under and finally jumping a fire pit at the end.
Adrian ran as part of an obstacle course team called The Sons of Mudarchy, one of the largest obstacle course teams, with about 200 members in total, they raise a-lot of money for many different charities. The Sons of Mudarchy had their own team waive start time, with about 80 members running in this event. Adrian finished the event soaked and caked in mud, exhausted, but jubilant, in a time of 3h00m07s with an extremely tiring average running speed of 33:22min/miles.
Laura Broughton and Bex McDonald at the Forest Flyer in Haldon Woods.
Kirsten Welch Takes 1st Lady At The Stur.
Kirsteen Welch took part in The Stur Half on Sunday the 4th of August. The race was organised by The Dorset Doddlers and sponsored by Honeybuns the gluten free bakery. It started at 10:30 from Station Rd in Sturminster Newon and followed a hilly route along the roads of the town and the surrounding area. With six water stations Kirsteen had some great practice on how not to drink water while still running. Good job that she is a star runner who took 1st lady in 1h24m56s.
This year due to a large event at Powderham Castle, Greenbow Running Club decided to hold a one-off time trial instead of the usual Straight Eight race. The normal route was used starting from Starcross and finishing at Exeter Quay using the footpaths along the Exe Estuary, Exeter Canal and the River Exe.
Antony Hall came in 2nd place, beating his previous years time by two minutes in a time of 50m50s and Kat Hall also knocked two minutes from her previous time, crossing the line in 1h16s in 14th place.
David Skinner at the Prusty Plod 5 miles, Stoke Gabriel.
Kirsteen Takes Aim Very High In Snowdonia
Kirsteen Welch was aiming very high in the Always Aim Higher, Snowdon Marathon Trail race on Sunday the 14th of July. With clear skies the conditions were dry underfoot, the higher altitude air slightly cooler which helped make it possible for Kirsteen’s outstanding performance in the Welsh mountains.
She has been training extremely hard this year, winning some very gruelling races along the way. So, it would not come as a surprise to hear that she pushed herself deep into the ‘pain cave’ during this event. Considering the altitude difference between Devon and Snowdonia she ran well and averaged a 9:11minute/mile, climbing a staggering 5,132ft of elevation gain. Also worth noting that many segments of this race she has now claimed as the fastest Lady recorded (Strava time).
She was the 1st Lady across the line coming 22nd over all in just 4h07m52s (chip time). There was an extra incentive to this event for the first two men and the first two ladies across the finish line. It comes in the form of a Team GB Shirt with a place in the World Mountain Running Championships in Argentina later this year. This is a well deserved achievement and the whole of SRC wish Kirsteen the very best of luck.