Weekly Serpie round-up, 12 September 2018

This week's round-up combines the best of Serpiedom - with tales from the sharp end of endurance running and triathlon competition to fun- (and wine-) filled escapades in the Surrey Hills. Enjoy!

Picture from Weekly Serpie round-up, 12 September 2018

Asian Games Marathon, 25 August

A delayed race report for the 2018 Asian Games where I competed in the marathon for Thailand on 25 August. I finally saw a start list for the race 3 days prior (there was no information anywhere!) and it was quite daunting. 24 entered with 15 runners having PBs of 2:14 or faster (including 4 runners sub 2:10), headlined by Japan’s 2:06 man Hirito Inoue. My 2:19 PB ranked me 16th fastest in the field.

The race started at Gelora Bung Karno national stadium in Jakarta – which seats 76,000 but at 6am for the gun there was a whopping zero fans in attendance. The call process for the marathon was comical, the officials were obsessed with putting us in order (they did this 3 times). By the time we got onto the track, we had to all jog 100m to the start as we were going to miss the scheduled TV start time (we did miss it by 2 minutes). The course was one lap of the track, then 2 laps of 10km out and back along one of the main arterial roads in Jakarta – which was re-paved for the Games.

The weather was oppressive. It was 26C and 80% humidity for the 6am start. It only got warmer from there as the sun rose. Jakarta’s air quality is also notoriously bad, but thankfully the smog wasn’t awful. After the gun, the field was jogging, so I led the first lap on the track so that I could run the inside bend (and so I thought was my only opportunity to lead). The first 1km was a 3:40 split, but from there the pace increased to around 3:20/km so I sat back into the pack.

At the first 5km drink station, I couldn't see the Thai official and unfortunately ran past him. I was panicking, every drink station was so important in these conditions, especially early. I was about 10m past him and I stopped and gestured to him to throw it (I don't speak much Thai and the official doesn't speak English). All the Asian Games officials were yelling, NO NO NO, but he ignored them and threw it my way. I thankfully caught it and it was a crisis averted.

During the first 10-12km, there were some big surges, mainly from 2:08 man, Mongolian “Ziggy” Ser-Od, but then the pace would slow down, and I would catch the leaders again. At 15km the pace picked up dramatically and I was dropped by almost everyone (I was now 3rd to last). The sun was out now, and it was getting hot. Thoughts of “why am I here?” started to creep in. 

I powered on and maintained the same pace for the next 10km and passed runner after runner, until (to, my huge surprise) I caught the lead pack which was now 9 runners and had slowed dramatically. After catching the leaders, instead of sitting in, I kept running the same 3:20 pace and took the lead. I woke the sleeping bear and the pace started to ramp up and up.

At the 28km mark, the leaders really pushed on to low 3:00/km pace which is a class beyond me. I actually slowed to around 3:30 pace over the last 10km with a bit of stitch from taking on so much fluid. However, I managed to pass Pak Chol, a 2:12 North Korean at 39km to secure my 8th position in 2:24:52 – the best result for Thailand in the marathon at the Asian Games since the 90s. Japan’s Hirito Inoue won in 2:18:22 from Bahrain’s Elabbassi (formerly Morroco) in a dramatic sprint that was dubbed controversial. I thought it was pretty clear that the Bahraini athlete tried to pass on the inside where there was only half a lane – so he initiated the contact. The result stood as is.

Personally, I was very happy to execute a good race, run better than my ranking and finish within about 1 minute of a 2:08 runner and two 2:11 guys. Also, I managed to beat both South Koreans (2:13 and 2:14 PBs) who were based in Colorado  where I was also training during my build-up. I saw them every other day whilst there and built up a rivalry in my mind with them! Despite the early start, the many Jakarta locals were on the streets to support the race – in parts of the course it was absolutely packed. It was an invaluable championship experience. Next for me is the Frankfurt Marathon in late October where I hope it is a little cooler than Jakarta and this year’s London Marathon. (Report & photo: Tony Payne)

Ecotrail Brussels, 8 September

Aga, Hilary and Margaret on a recce ride in Sardinia BayThe unfortunate who currently has the dubious pleasure of being my girlfriend likes craft beer and running. So as a birthday gift we headed off to Brussels for one of their beer festivals, which coincided with a trail running festival. They had a variety of distances, and we opted for the half marathon. Crucially, given that the beer element was of equal importance to the run, the race was on the Saturday. The race was almost completely off road, mainly in the forests near to the site of the battle of Waterloo. With the ground rock hard, there was no need for Wellingtons!

With quite a bit of climbing and a narrow track for much of the race it was a bit frustrating trying to overtake. But overall a well organised race with excellent eco-credentials, and a great bar at the finish. So for the minority of Serpies who like their beer this is one to consider. (Report: Kevin Murray)

World 70.3 Triathlon Championships, South Africa, 1-2 September

Eight Serpies arrived in Port Elizabeth raring to race the IM 70.3 World Championships. The friendly and windy city lived up to its name on both counts. The event organisation was superb with prior route familiarisation, as well as on race days, including the medical services that picked an unconscious Hilary up from the tarmac and took good care of her until we tracked her down in hospital! Frustratingly for Aga, a viral infection prevented her from even starting. The rest of us finished happily, sporting heavy medals. The later starters had less choppy water and more beach run as the tide receded. A long run up soft sand via wetsuit peelers, a sharp slope from the bike mount line and then a steady 11k climb into a head wind for the women on Saturday and rain for the men on Sunday. Fabulous scenery (yes, I know it was a race!), a few more ups and speedy downs returned us to T2 90K later to embark on a hot (or wet) half marathon. All four seasons in one day are quite normal! GB Lucy Charles and Ali Brownlee were both 2nd elites. (Report & photo: Margaret Sills)

Serpie results:
Nicola Kaye 34th of 201 finishers 40-44
Katia Hadaschik 119th of 182 finishers 45-49
Anne Bennett 94th of 125 finishers 50-54
Innes Wright 40th of 267 finishers 50-54
Owen Barder 195th of 267 finishers 50-54
Margaret Sills 7th of 12 finishers 65-69

Serpentine Biathlon, 8 September

The annual Serpentine RC vs Serpentine SC biathlon has run for nearly as long as our club has existed. It consists of a 2 mile run round the Serpentine followed by a 800 yard swim in the Serpentine. Any club members can compete for the individual prizes and the Jan Farmer trophy for the fastest team. It’s a friendly event exemplified this year with a spot prize for the most interesting transition being awarded to the group of ladies who stopped for a chat before swimming.

Tactics were discussed prior to the start - should you run in a swim cap? Most opted not, carrying it in a pocket. We started after a short briefing. My own run was with a chatty pair of swimmers one of whom thought he’d be faster this year as last time he was 2.5 stone heavier in preparation for his channel crossing. Transition was quick, just popping on hat and goggles and leaving shoes behind. Unsurprisingly the channel swimmers left me in their wake once we entered the water. The Serpentine was bearably cold (16 degrees) but my legs felt chillier and chillier as the swim progressed.

The trophy went to the Swimming Club this year and I hope next year there will be a larger Serpie contingent than the 4 of us racing this year. Thanks to Jan Farmer for hosting and Ros Young for time-keeping. (Report: Catharine Sowerby)

Surrey Bacchus Marathon, 8 September

Fun times at the Bacchus Marathon 2018

The best fun since sliced bread - I highly recommend this. This is a beautiful route in and around Denbies Vineyard, opposite Box Hill. It is a very hilly course that takes you through fun and windy woody trails and stunning open hilltop views across the Surrey Hills...and it has 10 wine stations! There was cheese and cake and live music around the route, incredible costumes and an amazing friendly atmosphere. When I decided to pass out with 1 mile to go I was carried down the hill by the T-Birds and Pink Ladies and we crossed the line dancing to Greased Lightning. Most people run the half, but the after party is a must, whichever distance you choose. (Report & photo: David Cull)

>>Your report here<<

Did you achieve a new personal best, compete in your first ever race, hit a milestone or especially enjoy a particular race? Then please get in touch. Whether you are a competitive athlete or take part for the sheer pleasure of it, everybody's contributions are welcome. Deadline: end of Monday; 130 words max. If you send photos, please ask for permission if you use somebody else's and confirm the source. 

Parkrun results for 8 September 2018 (95 runners)

Congratulations to Jonathan Poole and Isabel Clark, 1st and 2nd respectively in this week's UK parkrun top 10. JP ran 14:52 at Gunnersbury parkrun to break his own course record and Izzy wasn't far off her parkrun PB at Bushy parkrun in 17:09.

Top 5 by time and age-graded performance

NameEventTimeGender # NameEventTimeGender # NameAge-graded
Jonathan PooleGunnersbury14:521 Isabel ClarkBushy17:091 Jonathan Poole88.68%
Ryan McCrickerdGuernsey17:001 Rachael EddershawFinsbury22:4611 Isabel Clark86.49%
Joost VogelFinsbury17:042 Sorcha WakelyDulwich23:028 Naomi Stanford84.62%
James GillandersBrockwell, Herne Hill17:103 Sandra AhrensfeldBushy23:4535 Avril Riddell82.72%
Angus BeaumontBushy17:309 Lisa BasiFinsbury23:5615 Andrew Reeves82.25%

Podium Finishers

1st: Jonathan Poole (Gunnersbury) - 14:52, Ryan McCrickerd (Guernsey) - 17:00, Isabel Clark (Bushy) - 17:09
2nd: Joost Vogel (Finsbury) - 17:04, Benjamin Parkes (Burgess) - 17:50, Innes Wright (Franschhoek) - 20:16, Joanne Marshall (Margate) - 24:59
3rd: James Gillanders (Brockwell, Herne Hill) - 17:10, Andrew Reeves (Reigate Priory) - 17:39, Dominic Grise (Crystal Palace) - 18:19, Robert E G Hall (Greenwich) - 19:17, Margaret Greatorex (Minehead) - 24:51, Naomi Stanford (Swaffham) - 25:28

Busiest parkruns (3+ Serpies)

Bushy (8), Dulwich (7), Finsbury (6), Brockwell, Herne Hill (5), Hampstead Heath (4), Burgess (3), Crystal Palace (3), Fulham Palace (3), Hackney Marshes (3), Hilly Fields (3), Mile End (3)

Full consolidated Serpentine results. Can't see yours? Updating your parkrun profile with Serpentine RC as your club should do the trick. (Results: Alex Jeffreys)

Serpentine results database

Check the results database on the club website for other performances not covered here. If your result is missing, you can add it yourself or, if the race isn't listed in the dropdown menu, contact the Results Elves at results@serpentine.org.uk. Even better, add your name to the Race & Event Planner in advance and name SERPENTINE as your club when you enter races to ensure your results can be more easily added to your profile.

With thanks to everyone who contributed to this week's edition!

Eda Korkmaz

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Submitted: 12 September 2018