Tag Archives: charity

Race for Life Hastings 10km

On a nice, bright and warm Sunday morning I took myself for a walk down to the park and signed up last minute for the 10km distance of the local Race for Life. After turning my bad ankle, yet again, at a training session I had wanted to wait and see how strong I was feeling before deciding on the distance. I had arranged to meet my friend and training partner Linda before the race and we decided to run together.

With Linda and some of the other RPCC girls before the start
With Linda and some of the other RPCC girls, Sarah, Sara, Lucy and Lucy before the start

As they called over the runners to the start line, before the joggers and walkers, we edged our way as close to the start point as possible, before they counted us down and we set off.

Linda and I edged around the runners at the front, leaving only a few people in front of us, as we made our way on our first lap of the park. It was a route I’m now fairly familiar with after our frequent virtual runs round the park. We pushed up the hill, around the play park where people were cheering and  we edged around a few more people but as we headed towards the reservoir around the back of the park we heard some people gaining on us, this turned out to be fellow RPCCer Amy Moore and her friend Kelly. They breezed past us, and Linda turned to me and said “They are going to be first, we are going to come joint second!”

As we made our way back down towards the main part of the park, we picked up a bit of speed down a hill, but my ankle was aching a bit, I might have moaned that I wished I had only signed up for one lap, but we pushed on, Linda never once looking annoyed at me slowing the pace. We ran around the end of the park back up towards the start line and took the left hand path to continue for a second lap, the Heart FM MC giving us a shout out from the stage as we ran past.

As we started our second lap and hit the worst hill the park has to offer, I felt like I was really struggling, with some cramp in my stomach and a dull ache in my ankle, but Linda wouldn’t let me stop and insisted we keep running. She was determined no one was overtaking us, and that we would be finishing together. As we got around the back of the play park for the second time we started to catch up with the people that were walking, this slowed us down as we weaved in and out of people yelling “excuse me, excuse me” as we passed.

The people we passed were really encouraging, cheering us on as we ran past them. The closer we got to the finish, the more we had to dodge other people, the main part of the park being particularly busy with both participants and spectators. As we headed towards the finish for the final time, we grabbed hands and sprinted to the end. We hadn’t been passed and so had completed in second place behind Amy and Kelly for the 10km distance.

Finished joint 2nd with Linda, after Amy and Kelly who were joint 1st

We had managed to finish the run in 52mins which is only one minute slower than my quickest 10km, despite the weaving around people and painful ankle, Linda having really made me work as she is a much faster runner than me. This was the first time I have run Race for Life and I really enjoyed it, running with Linda is always good fun and it was a lovely day, with the added bonus that it is a run for charity, raising vital funds for cancer research, a cause very close to my heart.

There was a lovely atmosphere in the park, from the hundreds of ladies running, jogging or walking in pink, to the support from the spectators, and it’s defiantly a run I would do again and encourage others to take part in too.

Once we were finished we hung around in the park enjoying the sunshine, until hunger got the better of us and we headed off our separate ways to go home and get something eat!

Linda and I enjoying the sun in the park
Linda and I enjoying the sun in the park


Pukka Races: World War Run

Third and Final race in June, and bringing the first half of this year to a close was Pukka Races World War Run, a race to commemorate 100 years since World War 1. This race was set in East Grinsted, not far from home,  and with an 11am start it meant that for once it didn’t require a crack of dawn start.

Race Description

This race was a 5mile (8km) obstacle race, with a WW1 theme, which as well as the usual clambering through mud, through woods, streams and obstacles, also included a section where you got shot at by paint balls – not something I was looking forward to if I’m honest.

The RPCC crew were out in force again today, with somewhere in the region of 40 members of RPCC, as well as a few friends from further afield joining us to race. Thanks to a deal on last minute entries we ended up with a really good turn out for RPCC on the day.

Some of the RPCC crew getting ready to race
Some of the RPCC crew getting ready to race

Registration was straightforward and painless, there was a decent warm up, only I need to stop standing at the back of these as I never know what is going on, and the only thing I think they could have done with was a few more toilets (there were only 4!)

Before the race, with Bob Cornford, Kevin Coda and Cat Denning
Before the race, with Bob Cornford, Kevin Coda and Cat Denning

The Race

We set off at 11am, it was a warm day, not as hot as last week, but still warm enough, through a field, into some woods and pretty quickly through some mud, and when I say mud, think thick, deep clay like mud that sticks to you like glue, and that you disappear into up to your knees. There was an awful lot of this mud throughout the 5mile course, where you think you are going to be OK and next thing you know you are almost up to your waist.

I seemed to have real trouble remaining on my feet in this race, losing my balance in the mud quite frequently and having to crawl my way out. I found the first half of this race really tough, I wasn’t feeling too well and I felt like I was running at a snails pace.

There was a sandbag carry up a quite long hill, before coming back down the other side to drop it off, then having to run back up the hill to carry on, and later in the race you were required to carry an ammo box up and down a hill as well.

Other obstacles included scaling a few different types of walls – a couple of very high timber frames, a tyre wall and a very tall wall that had a grips on it to help you out. If you have read any of my other blogs you would probably already know that I am not really a fan of heights, but I just went for it today and scaled each obstacle without too much drama. I did require two attempts and help from a couple of friends (Bob Cornford and David Beatty) and a marshal to get me over the top (and back down the other side) but I did it, and I’m quite proud of myself for not giving up.

There was a lot of mud, I’ve mentioned it already but it bares repeating. There were places where you had to run through it, wade through it, and crawl through it, sometimes with barbed wire over the top to force you down onto your front and forcing you to crawl. At one point I almost lost my shoe – and considering how much it would cost to replace my inov-8’s this could have been a disaster! Luckily David came to my rescue once again and helped me out of the mud, along with my shoe.

At the paintball section you were handed a face mask to protect your eyes and sent off round a short section of running, I jogged up the first side, then paused behind a bush to catch my breath… then ran like hell! I had to hold the mask on as it was too big, and it was awkward to breath so heavily in as you ran, but thankfully I made it to the end of the section without taking a hit – Many of my RPCC friends were not so lucky, I’m sure there will be some good bruises tomorrow.

By this time the marshals had started to tell me I was about the 5th or 6th girl through, this really spurred me on, along with the constant encouragement of David, whom I seemed to be playing tag with.

There were stretches of running, and a few hay bails to clamber over, and some welcome streams to try and remove the mud. The only real criticism of the race I could make was the one water station part way round was unmanned, not obvious, and someone said empty – I just ran straight past it, even though I could have done with a gulp of water.

As we neared the end, I caught sight of the finishing arch and decided to give it everything I had left… and promptly tripped over a tree root and did the most spectacular face plant into the dirt- think a tree falling! After a bit of a giggle on the ground and shouting back to the spectators who seemed both concerned and amused, I got up and pushed on.

Just before the finish was a set of monkey bars. I have never completed a set before but this time… was no different. My hands were slick with mud, as were the bars, and I managed two before falling to the ground, leaving nothing left but to head to the finish.

Falling off the Monkey Bars - At least I tried!
Falling off the Monkey Bars – At least I tried!

Crossed the line, and grabbed a hug from my friend Linda, who always seems to pip me to the post by a minute or two, and another hug from David, who was amazing in keeping me motivated in the second part of the race, then it was time for a quick wash down.

This race, like last weekend, actually had a shower, it was cold, but it was there, and it was nice to strip out of my muddy top and have a wash down. Then it was time for the post race war stories, and general posing and sillyness as we cheered on the people coming in behind us.

Some of the RPCC girls, smashing some top 10 spots, and our friend David Beatty
Some of the RPCC girls, smashing some top 10 spots, and our friend David Beatty

Pugging my number into the computer at the end of the race, I was really pleased with my time, especially as I wasn’t feeling all that great to begin with. 54mins, with a place of 56th overall and 6th place girl.

Myself and Linda Zeberga  Finishing in 5th (Linda) and 6th (me) place for the girls
Myself and Linda Zeberga Finishing in 5th (Linda) and 6th (me) place for the girls

In the end, despite having had a bit of an iffy start, a combination of not feeling fully fit, and some personal issues I had been having in the week, I had a really great day. I had a lot of fun, especially at the end of the race, and got to catch up with some people I don’t get to see often. I’m looking forward to running another Pukka Races event next month, but next up is The Obstacle next weekend – after I’ve been at a wedding the day before – the next one could be messy! Bring on July!

Human Race Trailman 6K

My second race in March was the postponed Trailman run that was originally scheduled for February.

Race Description

This race was held in the beautiful countryside of Eridge Park, in Kent. Again I was joined by my good friend Viki Stapley, and another of our RPCC buddies Kate Collins.

This race is actually part of a duathlon series, and there were several options to chose from. We were all taking part in the 6km trail run.

Again this race was well organised, it was easy to register and pick up your race pack, and t-shirt.

It was a really bright sunny day, although it felt cold standing on the start line, once we were into the running and more sheltered it really was quite warm (I regretted my base layer).

Waiting on the start line From left to right, myself, Viki Stapley and Kate Collins (Picture courtesy of Pete Lawless)
Waiting on the start line
From left to right, myself, Viki Stapley and Kate Collins
(Picture courtesy of Pete Lawless)

This time I chose to wear my Royal Marsden running vest to publicise the charity I’m running for a bit. Again sporting my trusty Inov8 Mudclaw trainers.

The Race

After a quick briefing on the start line, we were counted down, the horn was blown and we were off. I started off sprinting down hill, before hitting the first of the mud at the bottom, through a gate and straight onto the first hill.

We had joked about this race a bit on the way, saying it was only 6km and we would run that on a Saturday anyway, but boy had we underestimated how tough this would be!

The first hill was a killer, it was really long and even the front runners were walking it after a while. It was steep, long and muddy and you really had to push yourself up it. Once you finally got to the top there was a nice flat stretch that you could get a good pace going (if you had any energy left after that hill).

This run took you through some really beautiful woodland and countryside, but woe betide you if you had not tied your shoes, several people had to stop as their shoes had come off in the mud!

There were lots of hills – It really felt like it was all uphill, although there has to have been downs as well!

The final hill was another long one, then a gradual accent to the finish.

This was a really enjoyable little race, which was tougher than I had anticipated, and would be really challenging if you had picked the 13km or duathlon versions.

Me just about to cross the line (Picture courtesy of Pete Lawless)
Me just about to cross the line
(Picture courtesy of Pete Lawless)

At the end of the race you could grab a VitaCoCo drink to rehydrate, and a flapjack bar and bag of crisps.

The race also automatically sent a text with your race time which was a great little feature. I completed the run in 42mins.

Viki, Myself and Kate at the end of the race
Viki, Myself and Kate at the end of the race

After getting home I checked out the race results and had another shocker – I had placed 1st Female. Kate and Viki also finished in the top 10 – its fair to say we were all pretty chuffed. (I got another surprise in the post a few weeks later, prize money, which has been donated to my charity)

1st Place was a nice surprise
1st Place was a nice surprise