Tuesday 26 February 2013

Brutal Bordon and Pewsey Terminator 2013 now live

The 2013 Brutal run through the mud at the Bordon Health Spa is now available here:


The results are available here:  http://brutalrun.co.uk/results/

The 2013 Pewsey Terminator Gallery is now live here:

The race website is here, but we've not see the results yet: http://www.pewseyvalerunningclub.org/races_theterminator.aspx

The Fourth round of the Thetford MTB series is now live and online here

So one day of the weekend at a time - Saturday

getting Grr for the Brutalisation to follow

Brutal 10, Bordon Heath. Saturday. Working hours 6am to 1am. Gallery live 11pm.

There is not a lot to add to the commentary that has been going on the Brutal Facebook page - these superbly organised races are a challenge for everyone and enjoyable for most - suffice to say it was cold, but warmer in the woods out of the wind, and even warmer in the fermenting mud. Fast young things with no real body mass basically had the upper hand as they floated over the mud like gazelles leaping from alligators, whilst some preferred to take the more intimate approach as used by other wild animals of the African continental shelf when faced with a mudbath...

Either way, I can confirm that when you are kneeling in it, cold, and smelly, shivering and getting patted on the shoulder with muddy hands by runners as they wade past whilst trying to keep the lens clean - the only way to stay warm and fight off hypothermia is to shout. Loudly. and immerse yourself in your own world of dark humour. Well that's what I do ;-)

So, to all those who took the not very muddy route which was some 20 yards round the long way and so far off the course I could hardly see you for the trees - to whom I was hurling the insults of "woosy" and "lightweights", I apologise. I have not catalogued your images with those terms as threatened - but you will still have the humiliation of having to explain to your friends at work who you show the pictures to just exactly why you weren't covered in mud, yet the other person in the picture can only be seen from the waist up. But as I said, shouting loudly at you did keep me warm, so for that I thank you.

As usualy the exceptional organisation of the Brutal has given it the reputation it deserves from the experience itself to the smoothness of the nearby carparking, toilets logistics and the on site catering from Tom.  David, Colin and Allan will be having another one soon at the next Brutal at Windmill Hill on the 16th of March - and you can enter that here http://brutalrun.co.uk/

So, you're asking how muddy was it. Well - here's a little look, more if you see lower down.
Cheaper than a health spa, and just as relaxing


Pewsey Terminator, Sunday Working hours 6:30am to 12:30am, 9am - Gallery live Monday 3:20pm.

It was our first time to cover this race so a new experience for us at the Terminator. You can always get a good feeling for a race from the organisation when you start to approach an HQ. With Marshals and signs to car parking and the HQ from about a mile away, you know it's all going to be a slick team operation - and so it proved to be.
After checking in with Robert (quite how we can now walk into a crowded sports hall, and find a race director who has no identifying marks on him as the first person we talk to I don't know, must be 10 years practice), it was a quick course update, and then off to our various points on the course (here's a map - http://goo.gl/maps/5lQPJ )

Unfortunately the stream leap at 4km was cancelled due to the landowners concerns about some of the current drainage, and despite walking through the area to get a shot just minutes before the lead runners arrived - the route marking didn't show them going through the bog after the old stream leap - it showed the route over the bridge and out up to the field - so we took shots a little further up the hill after it. You can imagine we are still a bit confused when we saw some other photos of people running through the bog. To be honest, it was only ankle deep, and not really anything compared to the River crossing near the finish, and compared to the Brutal the day before - it was simply a puddle in relative terms - but it's a shame we did miss it and we're still scratching our heads as to how that could have been. All explanations welcome - including ninja marshals changing the route at the last minute !
Royal Navy going clear at the front

Sunday was as cold as Saturday, but with added wind to make it even more very cold indeed. Even at the canal, with the wind on my back any exposed skin or layers that didn't stop the wind - were painful very quickly. Even two coats didn't quite cut it for me. The ice on the canal was a clue as to how cold it was when sat still doing nothing major in terms of body movement. One weird sight (which I should have photographed) was a crab claw (or crayfish claw) about three inches long and 1.5inches wide - next to what I hope was an otter burrow hole in the bank, and just further along was a pile of muscle shells. Clearly a well fed otter...

We covered the race from 7 points, Seba made his way from the Canal over to the slopes for a bit of a climb and then the white horse shot, we went from the canal back to the river Avon (stream) crossing and the Finish. If you were out of the wind, it was ok for about two hours, but any longer and the cold penetrated the feet and the circulation starts to shut down, which isn't too nice and takes a further two hours to warm up again.

The runners seemed to fair better,  Charlie Pennington from the Royal Navy - more used to being seen doing triathlons - took to the front and ripped up the course ahead of him with scant regard for gravity or atmospheric conditions. The rest all seemed to be a bit more prepared for a 19km of hard hills, mud and wind and about 2hrs of near lethal cold exposure. The water dip through the River Avon made for a special moment at the end of the race - from full blown two footed jumping into the air and landing, running through, to almost trying to traverse along the wall rather than just stand in ankle deep water !
Scroll down to see a few of the pictures from the day.

Very well done to the race organisers and the team from PVRC on a clockwork execution of the race - the car parking, marshalling, to the check-in hall and the race marking all seemed very well practised - and certainly one I wouldn't hesitate to advise others to enter (it's just that 19k like that is too far for me!, plus I'll be working).

The Back Sweeper team - clearing the route as they ran - makes it hard work !

Up and coming events

The next few weeks need your entries - get in when you can !

This weekend
Next Weekend

The South of England Cross Country Championships gallery is proving to be quite popular - if you were there make sure you get your shots from the day - they will make a lasting memory for your running CV for those at the start of their running careers, or those somewhere in the middle...

So here's a few shots from the weekends action !Brutal first -
Determination into the finish

Gentlemanly conduct

Ladies first !

action man hands froze into place

It's a health spa right ?

Excellent finish line effort

Matching sleeves

The reluctant look of acceptance, another with her eyes shut, and in the background, loyal trust.

Tripping along in the falling snow

anyone seen my spare shoe ? he said talking to the small dog on his arm

yes they came back up for air

Anyone seen my wedding ring ?

Be careful where you put those muddy hands

The swamp alligator kicked up a load of splash with their tail

I'd love to know what 460 was thinking. Meanwhile - it was Hug a Hoodie Marshal !

She must have stubbed her toe on the bottom

nothing like a solid bit of wood to grip onto when it's slippy

He carried his invisible shield and swept all before him

owchy, muddy nail

yes, they threw her in head first to test the depth as a sacrifice
and a bit of termination -
Some decided to swim across

He still had a readybrek glow

walking on water was easy for some

Yet at the same time, all was not smiles

Marshalling - everywhere

Dragging friends through made it more fun

Only ankle deep

Oi ! no stopping !

up the first incline and off to the hills after the mud

Ride the race Gangham style

putting in almost too much at the end

Flying in at the finish

Batman can't fly, so he ran in

The best leopard skin leggings all race

made it up and round the white horse !

Yes, he came back

Running down that hill, Pewsey in the distant background

wolverine and the horse

He decided he was not worthy to keep up with the runners ahead...

So that's it this week,
Until next time - get yourself up and out to those races we cover and I hope to see you sometimes soon, keep warm in the cold !

All the best

Tuesday 19 February 2013

SEAA XC 2013 Championships now live

All the muddy action from this years South of England Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill is now live and online here:


Over 39,000 images have been checked through, catalogued and put online for you to enjoy, compare your team mates endeavours and for you to add to your collection. If there's one thing you will need to prove to your friends, family, kids and grandchildren in the decades to come - it's that you survived the rescheduled Parliament Hill in 2013 and you are a runner !

I think I've found the link to some results - http://mcs.open.ac.uk/mkac/13seaaxcresults.htm

With some seriously deep mud for running through across the spring lined slopes of the hills the rescheduled Southern Champs went off exactly on time in perfect sunny weather conditions for running.

There was a brief preview of the races in Athletics weekly here and I fully expect to see a total journalistic write up in due course. I however am not a journalist, so here's a brief selection of photos from the day and some observations from the other side of the lens...of what was a great days racing with a few surprises along the way...
click on the pictures to see them a bit larger in your web browser.

Enjoying the experience

Aloof and shoeless, and alas ill he said, as the course claimed it's first victim

Close racing

Too late on the waving 22

The pain of sock running

gliding over the mud

Just a bit unsure of the mud

leading the race with a concentratey face

Stuck in the mud - Steph Twell helps her teamate out during the course walk before coming second in the Senior race.

over the top

Branded locals ran riot

another concentratey face

It's cheating to run with three arms and three legs

The Leading ladies

Careful steps through the mud

At the head of the mens race they held hands for the first lap, which was nice

Not really time for a massage

The local Adam Ant fan club

remember - no club vest and no chip = no team points
(and the dog ran the last 2/3rds of a lap chasing their owner)

The new Shard on the left in the distance adding to the sights

Frank Tickner takes the lead on the start of the last lap

concentratey laser eyes face

Victory at the end - you didn't need to be first to win today!

The BT tower still stands out on the cityscape

An unexpected and welcome victory for Nene Valley Harriers Alex Hampson in the U15 race

Holly Page won the U13 girls for Dartford Harriers AC

by 2 seconds - James Puxty won the u13 Boys for Tonbridge AC

hard racing even for 76th place

The largest ever front row scrum down (you should see it on detail)

that first climb

drop the mobot - Angelina Ballerina all the way

one shoe suffering

All set in the pens

The charge of the light brigade

All in all a very good days racing, with challenging conditions befitting the level of competition the southerns are. Any easier - it wouldn't have been a challenge - any harder and the 15km race for the mens (the longest XC championship race in Europe we think as all the others are 12k) would have been soul destroying. Certainly a days races that everyone involved from racing to organising should be proud to be part of.

The gallery is here
feel free to share or put your comments about it on our facebook page posting here

More than Race Souveniers
I'm minded to share a conversation I had with a marshal at a local off road 10k race the other day as I helped clear the course of signs and gave them a lift back to the HQ. It went a bit like this:
Marshal: Oh yes I've run so much I just look at the photos, but even if they are free downloads I rarely bother to get a copy. I'll only get one of a really special race if it is a PB or something.
Me: That's understandable, nobodys going to buy everything all the time, but the free downloads ? - you should just download them even if you're not going to do anything with them.
Marshal: Why ?
Me: Because they're not for you.

Now some of you will know I can have a particularly dark sense of humour, and like to be cheeky as often as possible, but on this occaision I wasn't joking.
I have two rather old pictures of my previous life as hurdler. Granted, not that good a hurdler, but hell it was ~20 years of my life, and looking down on the parliament hill track on saturday and reminiscing about the 3rd leg of a 4x100m where lets face it - I burnt that track up - is no use because lets face the truth again - that was 20 years ago. But with those photos, my little children know that once, their Daddy was a hurdler, and (was) is a runner. Those pictures are the closest thing I have to immortality for my Hurdling career, and the only thing that my kids will ever have as evidence. Those pictures are only a bit of a memory jog for me (which I enjoy), but mostly - they are for my kids to remember me the way I'd like them to - because apparently I'm not getting any younger or thinner.

So, be mindful when you see race photos from a significant and special race - because whilst the short term memories are for you, it's the long term memories that really define who we are - for those who are important to us.
And if they are free downloads at a race - make sure you fill your boots - you never know what they will be useful for, and Immortality in your own home is a precious commodity.

Now with all that serious deep thought out of the way, I leave you with one final thought.

If the mud wasn't deep enough for you at Parliament hill, then you should get yourselves over to the Brutal at Bordon on Saturday (just down the A3) and find out just how deep, cold and character building mud really can be and discover it's real medicinal properties.

until next time, enjoy the gallery