From Dublin to the Desert.


Matt Sims – right.
This week we have a report from Matt Sims on his 100k run in the Arizona Desert just over 6 months after he completed the Marathon des Sables.

Tim Hutchinson reports on his annual participation in the Snowdonia Marathon.

A big thank you to both Matt and Tim for the fabulous reports they sent to me on these two events. I suspect that reports such as these and Ryan’s last week, written from the perspective of the competitor, make for a much more enjoyable reading experience. It also makes my life a bit easier ! So remember, if you have competed in an event and you would like other members to know about it, please do send me a report.

James Cusack is a regular competitor in the Dublin Marathon and this year he was joined by Emma Bexson and Emily Adams.

Just a week after representing her country in the York Marathon, Kate Sergent competed in one of her favourite races, the Shepton Mallet 10k and finally Paul Hawkins was in action at Warwick University, in the 2nd fixture of this season’s Midland Racewalk League.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Best Wishes

David Jones
Top – The Saguaro Cactus.
Below – Matt’s buckle for completing the race
The Javelina Jundred – Arizona.

Report – Matt Sims.

I travelled to the US last week for this, my final ultra of the year.

The 100k course incorporate loops on the Pemberton, Shallmo & Cinch trails, with part of the first loop also being on the Escondido trail.

Trails featured rolling single track through the Sonoran Desert, passing the giant Saguaro Cactus, granite boulders and dry wash-beds and touring the most popular trail of McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

The event is billed as a ‘party race’ and the atmosphere was electric. Fancy dress for runners was encouraged and there was a bar at one of the aid stations, jackass junction, along with an outside dance floor complete with a DJ. Alcohol was available if that was your thing….

I only had expectations of enjoying the event and ran with a friend. Taking in the scenery and atmosphere is always important for me in longer runs.

The course was circuits in what the US call ‘washing machine style’, which means you go one way then go in reverse on the next one and so on. The 100km distance gave us 3 laps to complete, with the first one being slightly longer, so that the field could spread out.

Loops of the same course can be a bit dull but when we hit the 3rd loop it was getting dark so what we had seen on loop 1 was not invisible to us, so we concentrated on staying upright on a reasonably technical trail. The sounds of the coyotes were a bit daunting but I was assured they were more scared than me!

Thankfully my Marathon des Sables race meant I was ready for the heat and it did rise to around 88 degrees. The hottest part of the day is around 4pm but to be honest it was hot after around 10am. What did surprise me was the cold after dark. We navigated the final 2 aid stations, just managing to see off hypothermia by putting jackets on whilst we took on water and food.

Overall nearly 35% of participants dropped out of the 311 starters. We weren’t in that statistic and finished 41st overall with a time of 14 hours and 6 minutes.

This gave me my first US race finishers belt buckle…they don’t give medals in the US, as I found out. The race gives me some points towards the Western States 100 which is definitely a bucket list race so let’s see!
Tim Hutchinson.

Marathon Eryri – Snowdonia Marathon.

Report – Tim Hutchinson.

I don’t usually check the forecast until a day or two before the race but this year I looked early in the week. The forecast was for 18mph winds, showers and 12 degrees, at least one bit was good, it would have been a perfect running temperature! This forecast changed many times to include torrential rain, hail, 5 degrees and worst of all 47 mph winds.

By Friday this had settled to being 5-6 degrees, 7 mph wind but 100% chance of heavy rain until 1.00 pm.

As it turned out the forecast got the temperature right, although it did rain heavily but only for the first 5 miles.

A year of continuing injury meant training had not been the best. I had several goals this year and these were;

1 Get around the full course – tick

2 Get to the top of Pen y Pass in the same time as the last couple of years – tick ( I did this again for the third year running with a runner from Worcester Athletic club ).

3 Sub 90 minute first half – tick

4 Finish in or under 3:15 – tick (almost – 3:16.17)

5 top 100 finish – tick ( 79th overall – 11th in my age category )

So all in all it was a good day of racing. It was made so much better due to having not just the usual support on the course, which is brilliant but also my daughter Edie had come down from Bangor Uni with a friend and supported me near Nant Peris and at the finish. Also Emma and Dave Parkin were there. Emma unfortunately couldn’t run due to injury but as they were there they came to support. Hopefully Emma will be ok for next year!

It really does makes a difference knowing that you have your own support on the course.

The race was won by Callum Rowlinson in 2:34.15 and 2317 runners completed the course.

Fingers crossed for getting an entry next year, as once again the entry system is changing, this time to a ballot. To be honest I liked the old system of midnight on New Years eve!

James Cusack, Emma Bexson and Emily Adams.
Dublin Marathon.

Report – Phil Brennan.

The 40th Dublin Marathon was a massive affair, with over 22,000 entries and big crowd support.

Three of the club’s best distance runners took on the challenge.

The near-zero temperatures and avoidable delays before the start didn’t help but all three managed praiseworthy performances.

James Cusack, running in his hometown, was delighted with a 3:18:45, just outside his London time but he felt the pain in the later stages.

Emma Bexson is probably one of the few people who would even start a marathon with a chest infection, but even she had to adjust her goals after 10 miles, settling for a “slow” 3:45:50.

Emily Adams struggled to get a rhythm in the beginning. She was happy with the vocal support which helped her through the later stages and more than happy with a finishing time of 3:52:43.

Kate Sergent.
Shepton Mallet 10k.

Report – Phil Brennan.

Not a marathon for once but one of her favourite runs for Kate Sergent.

She reported “challenging, muddy, hilly but rewarding, with wonderful views of Somerset” and was pleased to finish in roughly the same time as last year, 1:01:44, 5th in her age category and all this only a week after representing England in the Yorkshire marathon.

Midland Racewalk League 10k.

Report – Sally Bliss.


Paul Hawkins was once again in action on Sunday at Warwick University.

It was 10 laps of 1k including a couple of tight turns. Unfortunately, he was full of cold so not at his best but decided to give it a go.

Paul was fifth early on then and overtook John Constandinou from Birchfield after 6k and on the last lap moved into third place to finish in 63.17.

He was pleased to be only seven seconds slower than two weeks ago.

The race was won by Graham Chapman of Headington in 58.44.

Track Spikes Sale.
The club have been sent this email from Ray Morgan of Warwickshire County Athletics Association
Coventry Runner is a very good friend of Warwickshire County AA and the Warwickshire Road Race League.

They have sponsored our championships and events for a number of years now.

The shop has a sale on of track spikes at knock down bargain prices.
The link to the info is right here:

Please let your club members know so they can benefit from the deals.

The shop details are :-

Coventry Runner
223 Burnaby Road
Tel: 02476 668498