Fewer attendees this month due to lots of the OS Runners team being on their Great British Summer holidays. Matt was taking a trip around Great Britain on his bicycle starting from Lands End and finishing at John o’ Groats. What an achievement – congratulations Matt! Helen did her run post-holiday break and cycling back from the New forest. This proves she has endurance and stamina, to be able to do any form of exercise after a night of camping.
There are seven OS runners who are doing Marathon training, therefore a few were unable to fit in the handicap due to the love/hate priority of the long distance endurance training at the weekends. Energy and legs have to be saved! Karen still had the strength to fit in her handicap alongside new entrant Matt King who did his first virtual OS 5k handicap in an impressive time of 18:32. We also had two new PBs Jon 20:45 an astonishing 1 minute and 13s faster than his previous PB. Jon was very happy with his PB even though he suffered from a stitch around the 1.8 mile mark and tailed off too early! Just maybe the stitch worked wonders and pushed him past the finishing line faster than expected. Well done to Peter who’s running plateaued during lockdown despite running regularly three times a week. Additionally Peter had Covid last January who said ‘it has been a struggle to get back to any kind of form, this was the first time I felt back to normal and I was very focused and it was a good run for me!’ Peters focus got him a new PB at 30:29 being 7 seconds faster than his previous.
All the runs were virtual from across the fields of Southampton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth. Viv mixed up her route which included part of old and new OS handicap routes. Loving the hills, there’s a downhill for every uphill! Kevin did a painful solo, which left Naomi and James to run in Bournemouth separately this month. It reminded Kevin why he never runs this distance normally – too short, too fast, too breathless and never warmed up enough!! Wes did a park run with his little boy in an incredible 30m 11s. Baz did his virtual handicap at an airfield in a great time of 27m 54s. Neil is doing a fantastic job of keeping up his running and being a committed member of OS Runners even though he is loving retirement alongside gardening, reading and grandparent duties.
Unfortunately Mark Stileman couldn’t attend due to recovering from injury. Get better soon Mark! Hope to see you in September for another OS Handicap along with Matt (who has now recovered from injury) and as many other OS Runners.
After repeated promises, but no delivery of ice cream by the Bournemouth crew, James Norris had had enough. He’s taken his ball running trainers and come to HQ to run the handicap, where he managed to get a fantastic photo
It remains to be seen if the Bournemouth crew try and entice him back, but if they are to be successful they might need to deliver something like this;
James and Naomi also maintained their 100% handicap attendance in 2021, with Jo and Neil both missing just 1 event each. Jo is also 1 of 5 people who have run all their 2021 handicaps at Explorer House, the others being Me – 5 events, David Ball – 2 events, Helen Newman & Mark Stileman – 1 event.
Onto the results for this month, congratulations Caroline and Egbe who both ran personal bests. Egbe is already thinking about a sub 30:00, while Caroline’s speed is a bi-product of training for the London Marathon on 3 October.
As you’ll see from the results, I aren’t able to run yet, ankle is getting better and I could run the handicap, but am taking a steady as she goes approach to rehabilitation – hoping to join in again in September.
August handicap will be organised by Jo, as I’m on leave, so she’ll be sending out invite, processing results and authoring the write up.
After the cancellation of the 20-21 season entirely and the abandonment mid way through 19-20 (when the author of this was on target for ‘I did all 12’ t-shirt), it great to see that the Hampshire Road Race League is back for 21-22.
I certainly hadn’t until Thursday evening, but it’s the reason James Norris & Naomi Stanley are now the undisputed and deserved champions of current consecutive handicaps – being the only athletes to run every event in 2021. In 3rd place is Joanne Miles, who hasn’t missed an event since January 2021.
The sun finally came out at the end of May ready for ‘handicap week’ which will continue to be the last week of the month whilst we work out what the new normal looks like for working/not working at OSHQ. The bonus of being able to run anywhere at any time is that lots of people who perhaps no longer work with us, can still join in, so shout out to Claire Savage, Jon R-B, Peter Baker and Viv who joined in the handicap fun this month.
Rather than write about how morose I feel organising handicaps for a small handful of runners and how it used to be much more fun when we had a dozen or more people all on the start line, I thought I’d look back, as April 2021 was the 100th running of the OS Handicap
The first run was on 24 April 2012, for those of you that are newer to OS this was on a 5.6k course, that started by nursery, up Redbridge Lane and Romsey Road, over the Motorway, down Upton Lane, left onto Station Road, then back up by Tesco’s and down the path. The modern equivalent of this route would be slightly different due to the rerouting of path just over the motorway on Romsey Road and the path to 4 Horseshoes