Harlow Running Club

Road & Cross Country Running (UKA 2658068)

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Ely NYE 10K - 31st December 2010

Posted by Jon Steadman on December 31, 2010 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Ely NYE 10K – 31st December

Race Length: 10K

Course Best: 42.56 (December 2007)

PB: 40:40 at Harlow MWL 10K (June 2009)

Target Time: 43 mins

Outcome: 44.01

Nemesis Score: 0 (no runners)


This was never going to be a fast one due to the excesses of Christmas and having just got over the flu.


The course is essentially flat in the fens with a decent at the start and climb at ~8.5K, which to be honest looks worse than it is as everything else is so flat.  If conditions are windy, then it can be very exposed, but today ws cold and still - perfect really.  The race plan was to attempt a 43 minute 10K, something that I could do in my sleep earlier in the year.


I started the run down the hill trying desperately to congratulate a runner on the birth of her son earlier in the year.  For the 1st 2K, I was about 3 metres behind and unable to close the gap.  I had to let them go just after the 2Km marker as she was running at @40min pace - too fast for me! :roll:


I slowed down to the 4:18 min/Km I needed, but come 4K it was very apparent that I was not going to be able to hold this.  I was overtaken by a bloke pushing a baby jogger!  :(I slowed towards 4:25-30 in an effort to recover, concentrating on form for the run through Pymoore and the run in for home. 


The 8K point sees the start of the slight climb towards a bag piper who is always stationed at the top - and that is supposed to encourage you up!  Rested, I decided to put on an effort and it was time to identify the person who I was no tgoing to let beat me.  At that moment, someone came along side to overtake, so it had to be them.  we climbed steadily together, but at the top they were able to regain speed faster and pulled out a few metres.  As I hit the final Km, it was time to go for it a bit morem so I realed them in.  The finish is a little twisty and comes upon you very quickly.  The final 200m or so is over a rough grass field.  Previous runners had made the centre muddy so I went to the left where there was better traction.  I got along side and we were reeling the guy infront in too.  As we got to the line, they made one last effort and just got ahead by the smallest margin.  Awarded the same time, but I was that 1 place behind...


Once out of the finishing funnel, I went back to see who was now finishing.  I was horrified to see my new race nemesis finishing in ~45 minutes.  What makes this nemesis more unusual is that THEY ARE A DOG!!!.  Finishing not far behind me was a Saffron runner AND her dog...  To be fair the Saffron runner is only just slower than me at the moment - but to run that speed WITH a dog is simply amazing!


In all, not a good performance in terms of time, but I was able to run a positive finish, so something to build on. 

XCOUNTRY: Harlow (Race 3 of 4)

Posted by Jon Steadman on December 6, 2010 at 3:41 PM Comments comments (0)

XCOUNTRY: Harlow (Race 3 of 4) – 5th December

Race Length: 4.92 miles

Course Best: 39.09 in 2007

Target Time: 37 mins

Outcome: 42nd in 37.37

Nemesis Score: -3 (4 runners)

Splits: 6:43 8:08 8:01 7:37 (7:02 - 0.92 miles)


So on to our home cross country event.  Having now started to get back in to some sort of training regime, I was hoping to make some sort of improvement here, startng easy and then finishing strongly.


The course is essentally an out an back.  It starts off narrow so getting some good position is important, so although I wanted to hold back, I needed to go of a little hard in the first mile.  The course then crosses a brook before heading on a long uphiil drag to the Church Langley woods.  A few twists and turns and a quick climb up tetetubby hill ( a mound in a park ~10m tall that you "could" go around), sees you head back down hill to the brook.  You then have the flat run in to the finish.  The plan was to stick with the 2nd lady for as long as possible, finishing ahead of 2 clubmates and the lady I chickend out of out sprinting to the line at Ware.


I set off well and was even insight of a previous nemesis, but a split of 6:43 definately indicated I was going too fast. I was ahead of all my nemeses but on the long drag to woods, the 2nd lady went past.  I track her through the woods where she almost came a cropper in the ditch, now part of the course as the path through them had been rerouted in the week. I went up teletubby hill well, but as I went back in to the woods, the rise in HR caught up wth me and I was slowing.  My quarry was moving away.  I decided to limit the damage, take a breather on the way back down the hill and be fighting at the end.


On the downhill, JT, JB and P went passed me.  JT flew past but  was able to latch on to JP and P.  Also along side me was a 'Stortford runer who I know from the interweb.  As we approached the brook, P mentioned that there were 3 strotford runners massing as I went back past.  Now in the narrow secrion on the run in, we took a breather.  As the finish came in sight, we started to wind it up.  P went past as we got to the road, but I was very concous of the stortford runners.  Phil from the interweb was on my shoulder and 2 others were just behind him - and closing.  I shouted to P to get a move on and the sprint was on.  JB was just too far infront to catch but  wanted to overtake P.  I pulled out to try it (also now nicely forming a wall to stop the 3 stortford runners) but just could not do it.


I finished 42nd, behind 3 of the 4 runners I wanted to beat (the Ware lady came in ~20 secs behind), but was very pleased.  I finished ths race in a condition to be aware of what was going on around me and act upon it fir the team.  Had this been Ware or Stortford, I would have been a mess at the end.  The final results also showed that I was only 2 minutes behind an old nemesis this time - getting closer!


X-COUNTRY:Bishops Stortford (Race 2 of 4)

Posted by Jon Steadman on November 22, 2010 at 7:44 AM Comments comments (0)

XCOUNTRY: Bishops Stortfrod (Race 2 of 4) – 21st November

Race Length: 4.77 miles

Course Best:

Target Time:

Outcome: 37.22

Nemesis Score: -1 (1 runner)

Splits: 6:55 8:14 7:30 7:54 (6:18 - 0.77M)


A belated blog entry as this was such a poor performance, I just did not gaet around to it...


I can summarise this race with the following...  A year ago today, I ran the 2009 St Neots Half Marathon in 1:30:45 just beating a nemesis to the line.  Today that same person ran the 2010 race a minute faster where had I been there too, based on todays performance, I would have struggled for 1:40.


I set off trying to keep with a runner that I do battle with over local 10K's and kept with them up until the end of the horrible ploughed field on the uphill climb away from the motorway.  At the top of the hill, they started to pull away, and I found myself completely on my own on the track back towards the start.  I felt isolated, was hurting and started to go backwards.  I got caught by SA, JB and MJ on the second loop.  I tried desperately to hang on to them, but to no avail.  I just finished fast enough to prevent anyone else overtaking.


Not impressed...



XCOUNTRY: Ware Joggers (Race 1 of 4)

Posted by Jon Steadman on October 31, 2010 at 12:39 PM Comments comments (0)

XCOUNTRY: Ware Joggers (Race 1 of 4) – 31st October

Race Length: 5 miles

Course Best: 36.52 in 2008

Target Time: 37 mins

Outcome: 39th in 37.45

Nemesis Score: -2 (2 runners)

Splits: 7:06 7:24 7:28 8:11 7:37


Conditions for the first cross country race of the season were pretty much perfect;   A little drizzle, not too cold/hot and a little 'give' in the ground rather than last years mud fest.  Given my  lack of fitness the race plan was to go off a little easier than normal, keeping track of those I should be keeping up with, then see what I had.


The start was the normal mad rush accross the field to a narrow adverse camber section 100m later on.  If this is muddy then the casulaty rate is pretty high, but I was very solid in my new MudClaw 330's.  Things settled down as we ran downhill to the stream.  My usual race nemesis was way infront and stretching away - given how they are doing at the moment I would have no chance of catching.  Around me was another, so I adjusted to just keep infront of them.


I was not feeling to bad on the first half of the race - a series of gentle climbs on tracks/muddy fields.   I was very glad that these were not too muddy (unlike last year).  Things were all good until just over half way where there is a steep climb out of a valley on a track.  A club mate passed me and a local 10K nemesis came on my shoulder.  I relaxed a bit on the down hill through the common allowing her to come past, but tagged on behind to negotoate the series of swing gates and bridges that litter this ection of the course.  I felt better for the break and for the fact that with just over a mile to go, I was probably in my correct position given the company.  What I did not bank on was how much out of me the next section took.


There is one killer hill on this course and what makes it worse is the fact that it is often ploughed.  It had been and recently!  This had made the earth soft, so runners in front had created steps.  All I can say is thank god it was not as wet as last year.  I have not walked the last section of this for some years, but my lest were shot very quickly.  My nemesis seemed to bound up the hill, and what was worse, once at the top, they seemed to run away from me very quickly.


The run in is along a road before a muddy field leading to the tracks on the out section.  Given my state, I was unlikely to catch anyone now, so I looked around to settle for position.  I was strangely on my own, just 2 women behind and no men at all - lucky as I would not have to go for a sprint to the line.  I pushed on through the winding tracks, but got concerned as when the twists and turns straightened, the Ware lady was catching.  As we got back to the slippery slope 100m out, she went past. Unusually I did not even attempt a sprint.  I preferred the gentlemanly pull aside to let her run, as to be honest, she may well have won it - a definate dent on male pride!  I will ensure I beat them next time! The other Safron lady had also closed by more than was comfortable.


I crossed the line blown, but I was not really expecting much from recent training/performances.  I know what has to be done next time...

Fairlands Valley Relays ? 20th July

Posted by Jon Steadman on July 31, 2010 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Fairlands Valley Relays – 20th July

Race Length: 3 Km

PB: 11.31

Course Best: 11.31

Target Time: 11.30

Outcome: 11.36


This race is a bit different to the norm in that it is a team relay event rather than a straight run. The distance is that little bit shorter too! It is all good fun (as far as the pain of 3 Km flat out is), but with no chance of glory as the shorter distance attracts a lot of athletic club types that run 3 Km in 8-9 minutes!


The course is undulating around the lakes of Fairlands Valley Park in Stevenage. Until I raced there, I never realised how undulating being close to a lake can be, but the course does have some short climbs. You start off from the relay box (yes you do have to tag the next runner) and head slightly downhill, a sharp climb brings you to the 1 Km marker, then comes section of gentle winding undulations, but mostly downhill. Just beyond the 2Km marker sees a cheeky short climb then slight drop, before the relatively flat run in.


The plan was to go off hard and keep it that way, but try and relax a bit on the 1-2Km stretch ready for the final push to the finish line and the changeover to runner 3.


I set off as the second runner of the team of 5 just behind our first ladies team. I got in to my stride quickly and flew past her on the downhill. As the downhill ran out, people around me started to settle in to their race pace, but I was still passing people, especially on the climb through 1K and feeling pretty good. I did relax a bit on the middle Km, but was still passing people, although a little more slowly. At the 2 Km point, it was now starting to hurt and on the climb out of the park I slowed, but still managed to pass someone. I tried to relax again afterwards to take one last rest before the final push, except it felt like someone was standing on my chest. I picked up a bit on the run in, but was not winding it up as fast as I wanted, but did manage a sprint to ensure a fast take over. I was thoroughly blown at the end though!


My time was 11.36, some 5 seconds slower than last time, which surprised me as I felt that I had run most of the race much better. Looking back after the event on Sports tracks at last year’s race, I did run the first 2Km a little slower, but made up for it on the final Km. I do not think that I got my pacing too far wrong though as I was NEVER passed by anyone or retaken at the end. 1-2 second/Km slower over 3 KM after is just a blink of the eye.

Midweek League: Welwyn (Race 4 of 4) - 30th June

Posted by Jon Steadman on July 6, 2010 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Midweek League: Welwyn (Race 4 of 4) – 30th June

Race Length: 5 miles

PB: 33.17

Course Best: 33.17

Target Time: 32.59

Outcome: 47th in 33.18

Nemesis Score: -2 (3 runners)



This was the last race of the series where a good performance could see Harlow RC promoted to division one of the league for next year. Despite never running well here, I was going to run as hard as possible for the team.


The course is 2 laps consisting of a long gradual uphill drag for ~1mile to a short flat section that leads in to a long gradual downhill. The bottom of the course has some cheeky little undulations before returning to a short uphill section back to the start/finish area. I always go off to fast as the gradual up hill/downhill section on the first lap feels easy. Even the start of the second lap climb is not too bad, however come the top of the hill on lap 2, things are starting to hurt! Come the undulations at mile 4… :/ This race is always hot and humid plus allsorts of bugs eat you alive, adding to the difficulty, but it was a little kinder this year.


The start is congested with the chance of taking a car wing mirror in the midriff (and it off:roll:) if you are not careful. Going off a little fast to get position is not such a bad plan as you can always rest on the downhill, but going at 6.05 pace was a little excessive. There was a big group of us including DC (who was having a storming race). I held back a bit on the downhill but as the undulating section came, it was clear I had gone too fast as I was suffering earlier than expected. :/I was striding ahead of race nemeses.:)

I climbed well in to the second lap, but at the top was pretty much spent and getting very hot. I took too much of a rest here as several clubmates and other runners went past.:( 7:20 for mile 3-4! And a lot of this is downhill!


The undulating section hurt even more, but as I turned in to the final 400m uphill, I tried to hit the gas to catch the runner in front, but it just was not happening and he was going away. A look over my shoulder saw AF goes past. Having tried to out sprint him before with disastrous result, I let him go. I was clear of other clubs behind so there was not need to go for it. I switched off for a few seconds and slowed. I looked at my watch and thought shit – my PB was close! :/ Up until now, I thought that it was always going to finish ahead of it given the first 3 miles. I had not realised how much that 7:20 mile had taken out of my time. I tried to find something in the last few metres, but finished with the line with the line marshal calling “18” – 1 second out! Very annoying, but was my own stupid fault. :(


I am disappointed, but it was hot and humid. The course is also deceptive and going out too fast did not help. I cannot explain my lack of ‘will’ towards the end of the race other than my race confidence is at a low at the moment as I am struggling to do paces for 10K that I have done for an entire half marathon earlier in the year. Taking some positives: I am at the same point I was last year without having done lots of speed work. I have still only just started it this summer. If I want the 40 min 10K, I will have to focus more on it – personal life allowing.

Midweek League: Harlow (Race 3 of 4) - 16th June

Posted by Jon Steadman on July 6, 2010 at 3:43 AM Comments comments (0)

Midweek League: Harlow (Race 3 of 4) – 16th June

Race Length: 10 Km

PB: 40.44 at Harlow MWL (June 2009)

Course Best 40.44

Target Time: 41.00

Outcome: 40th in 40:50

Nemesis Score: 0 (2 runners)


Given that I have been running about 30 seconds off my 10K pace compared to last year, my target for this race was to try and improve on this deficit. My course best was 40.44 in 2009, so anything close to this would be fantastic, going sub 41 great and 41.10, an improvement.


I set off reasonably fast (sub 40 pace) as the first Km can be pretty congested and was well up the field. On the 2nd/3rd Km passed the water tower, I reined it in a little to the 4.04 required for my course best. The first lady from Barnet (who won the ‘Stortford 10K last week) and some faster club mates went past and I tried to latch on, but it was clear If I carried on, I would suffer later, especially as the toughest part of the course was coming.


The 4-6K section sees some undulations and a track section where it is hard to get your footing on the mixture of gravel and ruts. The sun is also in your eyes (even with sunglasses) going repeatedly from bright light to shade. I slowed to 4:15’s, but once at the top you are back on to the road home. Here I regained my rhythm and started to think about the finish. ;)


In front were a group of ‘Stortford runners and one from Barnet. Behind was pretty clear apart from a clubmate, AT who was trailing me. I began to relax and recovered enough to start to push a bit on the return leg past the water tower to 8K. At 8K I started to make a concerted push. I was gaining on the group in front and caught the Barnet runner. There was a bit of tooing and frowing, but I knew he was out of it. ;) Given the closeness of the race series between us and Bishops Stortford, if AT and I could pass these runners, it could have a major effect on our score.


Passing the 9Km marker, AT was on my shoulder and I went for the Stortford runners. Unfortunately they had also accelerated and my chances of catching were limited - apart from one. There was a slight chance to get him as I went inside the final 500m, but he kicked. The final 300m saw us break on to the field and sight the finish. I started gaining and thought I may do it, but he had enough to hold the gap. Safe behind (scoring wise) I let off the sprint a bit which I think gave AT the chance to go past me in the closing metres. :roll:


I finished in 40th place with a time of 40:50, only 6 seconds outside last year. This is 50 seconds away from where I want to be, but I feel that I am back on track, and if I can get the quality speed/hill sessions in, I should be in a position to chip away at it.

Tilty Hilly 5 - 6th June

Posted by Jon Steadman on July 5, 2010 at 3:48 AM Comments comments (0)

Tilty Hilly 5 – 6th June

Race Length: 5 miles

PB: 33.17 at Welwyn MWL June 2009

Course Best 33.22 in June 2009

Target time: 34.00

Outcome: in 33.59

Nemesis Score: -1 (1 runner)


This is usually a very a tough race due to the climbs and this year the weather conditions were very muggy. When the sun half broke though the haze it got very warm, especially when you were out of the wind, so tougher than usual.


The race plan was to attempt a time as near to my PB as possible and see how recent training had addressed my speed issues as this would be the first comparator race of the summer 5K-10K season. I did not have any club mates to really race in this one, but in previous years I have watched the women’s race develop around me, so planned to keep up with them.


The start is fast downhill, so I tried to concentrate on letting the hill take me, then start to relax on the flat section before the left turn to the first climb. Here I tucked in a 5 metres behind the leading women and closed right in on the climb. A sharp downhill saw them go away from me a little (I should learn to run down hill properly), but I caught again on the climb to the water station.


At this point I was starting to feel the speed, was tiring and started to lose ground. On the downhill return, they stared to go further away with the leader stretching out on the second placed lady. Several men went past (still need to run down hill better), but the next short sharp climb saw me go back past them again. (I can climb :)). I was making no impact on the leading women who by now were well stretched out in front of me. A gradual downhill saw me prepare for the final onslaught that is the hill to the finish - it was a case of just digging in. At the top I turned on to the grass path where a runner started to sprint. Normally I would have responded, but I had no real reason to and was knackered. I crossed the line some 30 seconds off last year’s pace.


I found this race tough and hot but a good platform to build from

Fetch Hard B@*stards Mile - 5th June

Posted by Jon Steadman on June 30, 2010 at 4:11 AM Comments comments (0)

Fetch Hard B@*stards Mile - 5th June


These races are completely unofficial and organisd by the internet site www.fetcheveryone.com. They are always good fun events as I rarely get to race over short track distances. If nothing else, this was going to be a good track interval type session to kick start my summer training regime.


Race Length: 1 mile

PB: 5.40

Target Time: 5.39

Outcome: 5.39

Nemesis Score: 0 (potential nemesis overslept - running scared I say!)

Splits: 1.22 1.22 1.27 1.27


 This was always going to be a tough ask as 1 mile flat out on a track seriously hurts.


Initially, I thought that I was going to be running alongside a lady of approximately my speed (although she is much faster over 5 miles – marathon distance). She unfortunately slept in, and the others in the race were either 20-30 seconds faster, or 20-30 seconds slower, so I was also essentially going to be running this one on my own. To get the best out of such a short distance, you need to have someone near you. When I set my PB at the last fetch mile, there were other runners to keep the pressure on. There was one faster, but only just such that you think you can get them. Another would be a few seconds behind breathing down my neck. There was another runner who put a massive sprint from nowhere, beating me on the line, but no doubt enabled me to eek out another second! These things push you forward when it hurts.


Although I got a PB (just), the race did not go as I wanted. I was hurting from halfway and could not put on a final sprint until I realised it was going to be very close.


Race Length: 800m

PB: 2.44

Target Time: 2.40

Outcome: 2.35

Splits: 1.15, 1.19


The first lap of this race went very well. I was hanging just off the back of the faster mile runners, so clearly I had gone off too fast! The second lap was slower, despite a sprint. Perhaps with better pacing, I could have gone a little faster overall; however I did get a very good PB 


Race Length: 400m

PB: 1.11

Target Time: 1.10

Outcome: 1.09


I so hate this distance! You have to go out hard and try and hold it. Get it wrong and your time will be either very slow, or you blow up. It was painful and I had tunnel vision from 200m, but I did manage a power sprint to the line. I won the race too in a PB time. (OK the faster 2 runners sat this one out…;)



PB: 0.15

Target Tiime: 0.14

Outcome: 0.14


Not much to say on this as I am not a sprinter! It was just a case of head down and just go! My time is to the nearest second as there were not enough timekeepers to take every runner.

Midweek League: Orion (Race 1 of 4) - 2nd June 2010

Posted by Jon Steadman on June 30, 2010 at 4:06 AM Comments comments (0)

Midweek League: Orion (Race 1 of 4) - 2nd June 2010

Race length: ~6.6 Miles

PB: n/a

Course best: n/a

Predicted time: (min/mile) based on 1:28.30, Great Bentley Half, February 2010

Target time: (min/mile)

Outcome: 39th in 45.34 (min/mile)

Nemesis score: +1 (3 runners)


Other race splits:


I have been a bit behind with blogs recently due to all the non running stuff going on (house move, no internet access, getting nursery ready etc.), so apologies if things look a bit ‘out if date’.

I was looking forward to this race as it was the first Midweek league race on a fine summers evening. I had not run this course before, but it turned out to be a scenic course through Epping Forest. I went in to it feeling under raced with recent training lacking on faster runs. The race plan was to head out easy and just see what happened.

I set off OK in pursuit of DA and AF, but started to drop back just beyond mile 2. I was not feeling that tired, but my legs were not turning over. We came to a steep downhill where the first lady plus some men went past. The lady was roughly my speed having gone to the line in a sprint at Ware Cross country earlier this year, so I wanted to keep up. I knew a big hill was coming but was surprised when the road went around sharp left corner only to continue down. Guess what this means… Then it hit. I climb pretty well so went back past those that overtook downhill. I was gaining on clubmates AF and RS, but it kept on going! It was one of those hills that make you think walking is faster towards the end. I kept up cadence and got back in to stride at the top – at least my marathon training had given me some endurance.

As I approached the final Km, I wanted to push but once again my fitness said yes, but my legs just did not want to turnover. In the closing stages the 1st lady came back alongside me plus a nemesis from the Harlow MWL last year. I had run the last half of a 10K alongside him and managed to outsprint him them, so was not going to allow the tables to turn here. I beat both to the line so I do have some speed when I need it 

Overall I was happy with the performance. I am way off the 40min 10K that I want this summer, but it is a good platform to build from. If nothing else, it was a very pleasant (but hard) run in the forest on a fine summers evening.