The Civil Service Sports Council are our biggest financial sponsor, contributing most of the money (£1,500-£2,000) we need each year to keep OS Runners running and do all the various activities we undertake such as Sports Day, Club Champs awards, kit subsidies etc.
The Annual 10k race (which is actually a bit more like 10.2k) round the former Olympic Park in East London is probably their biggest running event and OS always have a great turnout – this year 16 of us took part, making up ~ 9% of the field – not bad for a relatively small organisation in Southampton.
Having come away with quite a few medals last year, we were hopeful of achieving a similar level of success this year, but I don’t think anyone anticipated what transpired …
It was a small, but fairly elite field for today’s 30 minute challenge, which resulted in the highest ever average distance covered – 6.85km, beating the previous best of 6.73km from 20 September 2018.
It was a new route today, beginners loop with the bottom end of the handicap. Its 2.5 round the loop and back to start, so 5 miles if you complete it, which so very nearly happened
For the 5th year running, OSR Club Championships have taken place at parkrun (any parkrun) on a Saturday in May. Most people tend to run at Southampton, but in all we had 17 different events with an OS Runner in their results.
There are several prizes up for grabs – Fastest Male, Fastest Female, WAVA Male, WAVA Female and Most Improved, all of which are keenly fought over and tend to result in a bit more effort being expended than on a usual Saturday, even for those who are unlikely to be winning a trophy – as its a nice benchmark of your improvement (or not!) over the last 12 months. The Club Champs also mark the culmination of the Participation Award year.
The Combe Gibbet is one of those races that’s been around since we were all but a twinkle in our parents eyes. It’s a 16 mile cross country which starts from the hangman’s cross at Combe Gibbet on the North Wessex Downs and finishes in Overton. Most of the run is on mud, trail, unmade farm tracks, with around 2km on tarmac
The Road Relays is a pretty simple concept, 4 in a team, each person running 2 laps of Finsbury Park (~ 2.8 miles) before handing over to their team mate and collapsing in a heap
With each lap being only 2.8 miles there is very little pacing or common sense involved, go out really hard, just try and hang on up the hill, stretch your legs out and push on the down hill, then onto the finish straight (every one is watching can’t slow down now), then do it all again. If you were hurting on the first lap the second will feel like agony. If you weren’t hurting on the first lap you probably weren’t going fast enough!
Baz and Alan didn’t know any of this, as they were first timers to the Road Relays, but all the rest of us have run multiple times so were more accustomed to the pain-train.
Teams were established before we left OS, James C, Mark A, Mark S and Tony K in one team and Baz, Matt, James N and Alan in the other. What was discussed in more detail was the running order. Theoretically there is a fastest order (usually fastest last as it is better to be chasing down than be chased), but there is also a certain amount of horse trading as to who would like to run when. After negotiations were complete the order was Mark A, Tony K, Mark S, James C and Baz, Matt, James N, Alan.
At about 5 past 2, the race started, with Mark and Baz both running strong legs, with Mark handing over in 3rd place and Baz just a couple of minutes behind the first place B team. Tony K lost one place (but crucially stayed in clear sight of 3rd), while Matt gained a place. James N ran almost 2 1/2 minutes quicker than last year, but was unable to hold off the National Crime Agency (who had their fastest runner in 3rd position), while Mark regained 3rd overall. Over to James C, who was being chased down by George Dollner (HASSRA) a previous ‘fastest lap’ winner, while James N handed to Alan, who managed to maintain the gap to NCA. James crossed the line in 3rd place overall (with George just 13 seconds behind him), with Alan bringing the B team home in a commendable 87:20 (for 11.2 miles)
A few performances to particularly draw out
James C ran the fourth fastest leg overall (15:46)
Tony K ran 1:18 faster than last year
James Norris ran 2:25 faster than last year
Now for the running pictures, thank you to Baz for being compos mentis enough to take pictures after he’d run