We train hard – We play hard.

A group of our junior endurance athletes at the final track session of the year.
This week we had a couple of members competing in the Portsmouth Coastal marathon, both with different stories to tell.

For Emma Bexson this was her umpteenth marathon and despite being poorly she still managed to complete the course in a time most of us can only dream of and was also 15th lady to finish.

For Louise Stewart, this was her first marathon, so it was a whole new experience for her, with all of her hard work and training certainly paying dividends.

After the run, Louise was very generous in her praise of fellow club members who have helped her to achieve her goal.

This newsletter also illustrates how, as a club, we train hard but we also play hard.

The junior endurance runner’s enjoyed their last track session of the year by competing in a mince pie and spoon race, a cracker relay and dress the Santa race. You would not believe how competitive they were. On second thoughts, if you know anything about this group of athletes, you probably would believe it.

It was then the club coaches Christmas meal. I’m not sure what the collective noun is for a gathering of coaches but judging by the raucous nature of the event I would suggest “a cacophony of coaches.”

Finally, it was the senior member’s annual Christmas Run, this year held at Kate and Martyn Sergent’s house.

Over 50 members took part, raising £42 plus some food donations for the Stratford Food Bank.

Have a fabulous Christmas.

Best Wishes.

David Jones.

Louise Stewart after her successful Portsmouth Coastal Marathon.
Portsmouth Coastal Marathon.

Emma and Louise’s stories in their own words
 

Emma – In her own words. 

Ha ha what can I say. Not my best run but a solid training run.

I seem to be destined to be ill every time I run a marathon. I had stomach issues from the early morning of the race, which proved challenging in the second half and necessitated lots of dipping into the hedgerows.  It was pretty tough under foot, wet, muddy and with an added half mile detour due the tide still being in at the start. This coupled with a brutal head wind on the return leg meant it turned out to be a slightly tougher run than the last time I did it.

However I had a fairly steady effort, with a time of 3:43.42 for 26:8 miles and finished 15th lady overall, so I guess I have to be happy for the result at this stage in my training.

Legs feel ok so happy days.
 

Louise – In her own words.
 
This was my first marathon and what a route to do!

It was described as multi-terrain, however, I was very grateful for the number of wet and muddy Saturday runs I’ve done which were excellent prep for this.

The weather was perfect, the rain stopped overnight but two weeks of solid rain beforehand meant this was a very wet route, with several places where puddles were deep and unavoidable.

Many parts of the course were quite slippy, with lots of fallers. Thankfully my turn to fall didn’t come until around 24 miles, on the infamous beach, so I’m going to need Father Christmas to bring me some new leggings.
 
I crossed with Emma on the Hayling Island path which was nice. 

I didn’t expect to feel so emotional as I came to the finish, which was a bit of a surprise to me. My time was 4:54.59 and I was 163rd lady which I’m pleased with.

Many thanks are due to my club mates for their amazing support and encouragement over the last year. To be able to get to do this has been a big journey for me and I’m very grateful indeed.

From the top : Ready for the off at this year’s Senior member’s Christmas Run. Some of the food that awaited the runner’s return and muddy trainers after the runs.
Some of the club coaches after their Christmas meal. Don’t ask!