Just over a week into 2019 and our plans to mix things up a bit this year are already under way. Apart from the usual New Years Day parkrun (which happened to be Jacquie’s 250th) we have also run a half marathon at Victoria Park and a Street-0 event in Ealing. And as will become obvious we’ve certainly mixed things up by way of results too.

First the Victoria Park half marathon – another Run Through Event (see post on Knebworth Half Marathon). Saturday morning found us in a rather chilly Victoria Park looking very conspicuous in our new bright red Nike Vaporfly 4% (one advantage we found with them is that we could easily spot each other across the park on the course – worth every penny for that!). As it happens Cam ran an amazing PB of 1:36 and I ran 1:50 – my best run for some time giving me an age-category win and an age-graded PB. But it was Cam’s day so over to her…

Cam: On reflection a combination of some recent strong training runs alongside a 1:42 at a hilly half in December indicated that a sub 1:40 half might be possible. Due to our focus on the marathon distance over recent years, I had left myself with disproportionately low PBs at all other distances. In fact I had run faster times during marathons in 2018 for 10K and 21k than I had recorded in races over those distances. I had decided that 2019 would be the year that changed.

On a very cold but beautiful morning and as always in great company – spirits were high as we headed over to Victoria Park. Slightly late for a decent ‘pre-run’ run commonly known as a ‘warm up’ (a term the woman, who swore she would never do one, is struggling to use!), it took a few kilometres to settle into the run. It was a controlled, comfortable run, on pace throughout. I think one of the most valuable things I have come to realise of late (only 200+ races in) is that there is a lot to be said for this even-pacing malarkey (who would have thought it!). The laps didn’t matter and the time ticked away quickly, a strong last few miles saw the average pace drop slightly and I was delighted to cross the line in 1.36.14.

An eager bunch all having had successful runs were desperate to get to the pub but not most pressingly for food and drink – instead a for the post-race Strava stats session. A well-known pastime for runners! We ate good food and rehydrated (at The Crown), laughed and celebrated together.

A lovely start to this year’s race calendar – 2019 we are ready!

Jacquie: To continue – but not quite ready for Street-O – our second event of the year.

Street-O is an orienteering event that takes place on the streets of London and is put on by the aptly named (for us, at least) SLOW (South London Orienteers). Events tend to start and end in local pubs and at the beginning of the evening everyone is given a map of the local area with no street names but with a number of check points marked on which carry varying numbers of points depending on the level of difficulty. The aim of the game is to to visit the check points, answering questions about the point as proof you have been there, collecting as many points as possible. Participants are given an hour to visit 50+ check points and there are severe time penalties for coming in late. 

Cam and I went out as a team. Fair to say this was not our forte. We did actually come last (out of 70+ runners/teams) and although I believe we were robbed – only recorded as getting 50 points which we were pretty certain should have been 80 – this would have only moved us up one place. (To put it in perspective the winners recorded 750+ but we were reliably informed that the British Champion was there!). 

Undaunted we had fun, learnt from our mistakes and are looking forward to the next event. This will never be something we excel at but we can only get better. 

So all in all an enjoyable and relatively successful start to the year. Can’t wait to see what else is in store for us.