• London Marathon 2022

    London Marathon is the event everyone wants to run. It’s the World’s largest fund raising event and is one of the Abbot World Marathon Majors. It’s renowned for being…

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  • Conti Conti Conti!

    You’ve got me running in circles Each July a rural spot in south Derbyshire hosts the Continental (‘Conti’) Thunder Run, where competitors aim to complete as many laps of a…

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  • Running in the hot hot heat

    Running in the hot hot heat Luton Airport Runway Sunrise 5K, 6 July 2022 By Nolan Johnson Friday 6 July saw Ann Hopper, Scott Myford, Linda Rotich, Heidi Buck, Lynda Peacock, Wayne Walker, Samantha Evans, Selena Bremmer and myself meeting at Luton Airport at 3.30am to run the Luton Airport Runway Sunrise 5km charity run. The entrance fee was circa £20 and there were approximately 200 runners taking part. As the gun went off (I'm not sure how they got a gun through airport security!) 200 high-vizzers sprinted off into the sunrise. The distance was more like 4.5km but it didn't matter, it was exactly what it was meant to be – FUN! You would probably not want to put this run into your calendar yearly due to the silly-o-clock run time! But it’s definitely a unique experience, and we were blessed to have an amazing sunrise. Had it been 4.30am, chucking it down with rain, I'm not sure we would have been so keen! I highly recommend it for the experience. Beds AAA 10k, 8 July 2022 By Andy Heale The annual Beds AAA 10k took place on the warm evening of Friday 8 July in Bedford. Unusually I was the only LFR member running this year -– in the past it has been quite popular with club members. This is a super flat course, with great PB potential and a relatively small number of entrants with only 96 this year. Race HQ is a the grandly named Bedford International Stadium where numbers were collected and then a short walk to the start; the not so grand car park of Premier Inn in Priory Country Park. The route is basically out along a gravel path, over a footbridge to cross the A421 (this is the only incline), a loop around the woods and back again, with a very welcome water station about halfway. Normally I would not stop for water on a 10k, but it was warm, and I was thirsty, probably not helped by the poor decision to have garlic bread for my tea before rushing out. I had hoped to test myself and was aiming for an average pace of seven-minute miles, and although I did not quite manage to achieve that, I was pretty pleased with my time, coming in at 44min 40secs, albeit someway behind the winner from Dunstable Lions at 33min 13secs. But that’s what I enjoy about running, it’s not about beating others, it’s about you. This may not the most glamorous race with no medals, T-shirts, chipped timing or any other paraphernalia, but is a great course and you are running with like-minded people from other clubs on a Friday evening and all for a very reasonable entry fee. I would recommend this to anyone, particularly if you are looking to test yourself on a 10k.   Waddesdon Manor 5K, 20 July 2022 By Heidi Buck On the evening of 20 July, myself, Megan Francis, Charlie Lawson and Keith Phillips took part in the Waddesdon Manor 5K Road Race. We were very pleased that there had been a drop in the temperature compared to the previous two days and even more welcome were the rain showers just prior to the start. Megan and Keith had taken part in the event before and hinted that there could possibly be a little bit of a hill at the start??! It turns out that you do not realise how much of a hill until you are running back down it for the last 2K! The climb up is well worth it though as you then get treated by the fantastic views of the Manor House. Megan, despite being a very tired teacher, managed to clock another impressive sub-25-minute performance. Watch this space for sub 24 minutes!! Another tired teacher performance from myself. I was more than happy to watch Megan zoom off during the climb up the hill and disappear into a small red, black, and white blur! It also pays to let the youngsters get ahead and finish early as Megan was then able to capture my flying feet as I headed towards the finish – great photo Megan, thank you. I have not spent any time in the company of the legend that is Keith Phillips before. Listening to all his achievements whilst we were waiting at the start was very inspiring. Keith put in a very strong performance coming 6th in his age category. Despite being nervous at the sight of all the ‘serious looking club runners’, Charlie managed to run her best 5K time in a while.  She was very tempted to stop as she ran by the Manor House and take pictures but was determined not to stop and kept going. Not a medal for our efforts, but a nice mug which we were all pleased with. Overall, a great evening; the only disappointment being all the green and purple (Dacorum) and not enough red, black, and white! We are all keen to take part again next year and it would be brilliant to be joined by even more LFRs. Bearbrook 10k, 7 August 2022 By Kevin Hare The Bearbrook 10K is a local running club event which is widely popular with other running clubs as it is part of their club championships. I arrived in time to collect my running number and to get myself sorted. While chatting to one of the marshals, I spotted fellow LFR members Jim Buttleman, Jon Hull and Heidi Buck, who arrived with her family as support crew. As we were called to the start, we wished each other good luck and I took a High 5 gel as they usually kick in three miles later. I usually situate myself about a quarter of the way in as it is a good place to be – furthest away from the mad rush when the race starts but allows me to start at a pace of my choice. The horn sounded and off we all went. As we came out of the carpark we turned right and run towards Weston Turnville as I ran along the road to the cheers of the local people who had come out to cheer and the marshals. I turned left onto Worlds End Lane and slowly pushed on threading through other runners, as we run up the road. Then you turn left again on to Aylesbury Road which leads us into Wendover. After another left turn you are onto Tring road which is the three-mile mark and you can see the hill which you have to run up. The hill is on mile four and is a stepped one – you run up the first part, it flattens out and then there is the last climb up the second part. Once at the top you run past the Halton camp on your right then the old RAF Hunter aircraft. From just past here you can start to push the pace as the finish is not far now. It’s right at the T junction and you are back at the rugby club. You’re not quite done yet though – the final part of the course is on grass and around the field. I did a quick check of my watch to see if I was on target. You run 2/3 of the way round the field and as I approached the last corner I could hear Jim Buttleman cheering me on. One final push and I could see the clock and knew I was going to get the time I was chasing. I crossed the line, stopped my watch and could see that I had not only beaten the time I was aiming for but by quite a nice time and a new 10k PB. Jon Hull came in next and shortly after him was Heidi Buck (her first time running the Bearbrook 10k) and we could see her overtaking a couple of runners coming around the field. I would highly recommend this race as it has potential of a PB, if you are chasing it, or as a normal and local 10k race.   Richmond Park Half Marathon, 14 August 2022 By Adam Carter I ran the Richmond Park Half Marathon on 14 August. I stayed over in London the night before and had a nose around the park which was massive. I kept thinking it was going to be postponed due to the heat but they said there would be plenty of water stops and asked us to bring our own drinks. The morning of the race dawned and it was four laps in the park. It was the hardest run I have done for a while. The heat was draining – I was pleased to complete it. Luckily some of the run was in the shade and had a few uphills and a few down hills. As a sign of how hard the conditions were, quite a few had to have medical assistance and we even had the air ambulance land. I completed the run in 2hr 18min which was the best I could have hoped for. I would recommend the run, but maybe not in the heat!  

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  • Summer running, had me a blast

    Summer running, had me a blast Hathersage Hurtle – 21 May 2022 By Jamie Stamp This is a great super friendly relaxed race. 20 miles with 2800ft ascent in the glorious Peak District. It’s a challenging course but has great cake stops on the route to help get you round! I’d definitely recommend and all the money raised goes to the local school. Coombe Hill Fell Run – 7 June 2022 By Andy Heale The Coombe Hill Fell Race is billed as the toughest fell run in Buckinghamshire, (okay so there aren’t any others listed on the Fell Runners Website in Bucks…!) on a typical cold damp Bank Holiday Sunday a small group of LFRs (Jim Buttleman, Martin Oborue, Wayne Walker, myself and I’m going to include my daughter Emily) headed out to the wilds of Wendover to see what it was all about. When I looked up what the difference was between a fell run and a trail run it said fell runs are typically self-navigation (GPS strictly forbidden) and often do not follow a path. They are graded according to distance and difficulty (which is mainly about distance climbed). Coombe Hill is classed as BS – B meaning middling difficulty, while S means short. Fortunately for me, Coombe Hill is not self-navigation, with plenty of marshals from Tring Running Club who were absolutely brilliant, including Michelle’s brother Brian. Having arrived ridiculously early, paid the £5 entry fee (which included a free pint afterwards), registered my car for free parking and signed some forms saying I accepted all responsibility and had read some Ts&Cs (no idea where they were), sat back in the car and waited for the 11am start time, only to realise I had to find the start line. I got some hurried directions and headed up, with some other late stragglers. I just love the grass roots nature of these events, with the pre-race briefing taking place on the start line, which was on a bridge over a busy dual carriageway with the guy shouting over the noise of the wind and traffic. I heard “blah blah blah, zoom, head up…steep…car park…steep…mud…no trails shoes better off on roller skates…zoom, zoom, climb to top…careful blah blah blah…” Then we were off!  I had not even started my watch. The course takes you around the pretty area of Coombe Hill, with a total climb of 220 metres. The first section was a gentle climb and followed a narrow path with little chance of getting past anyone. But soon it opened up as we headed through the woods, the path disappeared, and we ran randomly through the mud and woods. We came to a steep – and I mean very steep – descent which was basically just mud. This was what the “roller skate” comment in the race briefing referred to, and I gingerly made my way down, whilst others overtook me. A few people hit the mud along this point, including Jim, but I managed to stay upright and gather an extra few pounds of mud to my shoes. I looked at my watch, this was only a 4.3-mile race (or 7 km) and at about 3 miles I thought, “not too far to go, surely we can’t have done all the hills”. I was right, we hadn’t. After a sharp turn with a cheery “all the way to the top” from the marshal I headed up after the others, a route which had no consideration for the contour lines. After about 100 yards or so, I fell into a walk, as with everyone else and then more of a scramble to the top where the monument stood in the mist. The memorial apparently is one of the first and largest examples of a war memorial erected to honour the named individual men. Prior to this war memorials were built to celebrate victories, remembering the dead was a secondary consideration. This was built in 1904 in memory of 148 men from Buckinghamshire who died in the second Boer war. Anyway, I digress. It was then an ‘easy’ run down the hill to the finish line, being cheered home by the marshals and runners who had already finished. There were 126 runners, the winner coming home in an amazing 28 minutes 19 Seconds, Jim lead the LFR gang in with 36m 41s, I made it in 40m 40s, Martin in 41m 23s, Emily in 42m 36s (picking up a prize) and Wayne at 46m 59s. I would certainly recommend this race to anyone. It’s so laid back, good value and only a half hour drive away at a very civilised time of day.   St. Albans Half - 12th June 2022 By Emily McClelland Having gone to school in St Albans, St Albans half has been on my race bucket list for sometime. It always falls in June and is known to be hot, it also has a reputation for hills, oh and ice lollies!  The event is run by Active Training World so you know you’re in for a well supported and marshalled race. On the day five LFR ladies turned up to take on the course; Selena Bremmer, Sally Dickinson, Alice Fauvel and Cherie Cunningham. This race was only two weeks after my RideLondon 100-mile bike ride, and therefore I had no time in mind and was just looking forward to running the distance without any self added pressure. For Selena it was her first half marathon. I really enjoyed the route; yes it has hills, but it’s rolling, nicely undulating but does not consist of any nasty steep shockers (it’s definitely less hilly than Berko half in March). It was a warm day but I decided not to carry water and instead made good use of the well placed water stations on route. I was pleased with my running throughout the course and finished with some nice negative split pacing. Selena ran the first 9 miles with me but then dropped back (it won’t be long and she’ll be sticking on!). In the final mile you run up Bluehouse Hill around a hairpin at the top and come part way down to turn off into the park. On the way down you pass the other runners, which is where I saw Sally and then Selena hot on her heels. Cherie’s fiancé Stuart Hall was on this corner cheering us in, with Cherie not far behind. Alice came in not long after having run a strong race considering she’s been suffering with shin splints, I’m not sure her shins thanked her for the run but I know the rest of her was very pleased to have completed it. Well done to all the ladies!!!    Bedford 10K – 26 June 2022 By Chloe Collins A quartet of Leighton Fun Runners made it over to Bedford for the Blues Foundation Bedford 10k on 26 June. The sun was shining and 300 or so entrants turned out to participate in the race. Unusually numbers were distributed on the day on a first-come-first-served basis, it worked well and registration was completed swiftly and smoothly. Matt and Chloe participated in the warm up, part way through deciding that the coach was most definitely trying to see how many silly moves he could get the crowd to do. Then, promptly at 9:30am, we were off! The course was flat and took us around some of Bedford’s beauty spots, along the embankment and around Priory county park. The waterside run benefitted from a delightful cool breeze which was most welcome on the bright sunny day. Matt finished in an impressive 41min 06secs – 16th overall and 4th in his category. Julie was next in 57m 11s. Chloe, despite missing the progress markers along the route and navigating some of the dodgy signposts, achieved a PB of 1h 01m 27s. Marina completed her first 10k race with an amazing PB of 1h 06m 02s. Well done all! It would be great to see more Fun Runners next year – this is definitely one for achieving some PBs!   Race to the Tower – 25/26 June 2022 By Anne Graeff The last weekend in June saw me take on my first ever double marathon – a very hilly marathon in the Cotswolds on Saturday 25 June, followed by another on Sunday 26 June. My sister and I started out at 8am on a lovely, sunny morning, and it wasn't long before we were climbing the first hill and experiencing the first of many wonderful views across the beautiful Cotswold countryside. That first hill was just a taster of what was to come, and there were very few flat sections at all on Saturday, just lots of steep uphills and downhills. The amazing scenery and picturesque villages, alongside good company and well stocked pit stops, helped the miles go by fairly quickly though and as the day one finish line approached the legs felt pretty good. Once at 'basecamp' we were allocated our tents for the night, collected our bags, then sought out the showers. I must say I was very impressed by the heat and power of the temporary showers available in a field, and it was very welcome. Next stop after the shower was food, before sorting out sleeping arrangements for the night, clothing for the next day, getting more food etc. Despite a mild night, neither of us slept well and we were up again just after 5am. It was a bit chilly, but a dry morning and after some breakfast, packing up our stuff and dropping it off for transport to the finish, we were ready to go by 6.30am. That's the earliest I've ever started a race event (not so for my sister, but she's done all sorts of crazy stuff!) Day two followed a similarly hilly pattern to day one and although my legs felt pretty good when we started out they started to feel the strain of the miles and the hills as the morning went on. Nevertheless, we carried on and followed a similar pattern to Saturday – walking when we wanted/needed to, stopping to enjoy the scenery and take photos, and generally enjoying the journey. The event finished at Broadway Tower and despite Wes having warned me that you can't see the tower until you near the top, it really did seem to take forever for it to appear. It's a mile or so uphill, which the legs really didn't need by that point! Finally, the finish flags came in to view and we crossed the line smiling. We'd made it! I'm not sure if I'll ever do an event like this again, but really pleased I managed to complete it. It was a very tough undertaking! Newport Pagnell 5k – 2 July 2022 By Nolan Johnson Saturday 2 July saw the Newport Pagnell 5km race, which is part of their carnival weekend. There are three 5km runs over the weekend. On Saturday, the 'serious' 5km kicks off at 12pm, with the family run starting 10 minutes later with children, dogs, families running. I chose the 'serious' 5km, and as you can see from my race picture, I took it very seriously! But on a serious note, it's the best 5km race I've ever run, with me managing to get my second fastest time ever. The support was relentless, even through the brief spells running through the residential areas. The race was chip timed with free race photos and there was an event shirt at a very reasonable £8. The finish line was in a field which was packed with food and drink outlets including beer tents. I was the sole LFR there, and it would be great to see a takeover attempt last year, especially as such a great race is only a few miles away! See you there! Asics 10K – 10 July 2022 By Thom Smith I had a good result in the Asics 10K in London today and managed to PB by about a minute with a finishing time of 39:37. Next races for me are Standard Chartered 5K and then back onto half marathon prep, leading up to the London Big Half in September. The above is nothing really compared to all the mad ultras and things people are doing. That is a hard nope from me!! Ludlow 10K - 10 July 2022 By Tom Webster What do you do if you get the grandparents to babysit on a Saturday evening? In times past we would have hotfooted it to a nearby pub, and straight to the beer garden on an evening as glorious as that on 10 July but instead Liz and I headed to the start line of the Ludlow 10K in Shropshire. The promo pictures for the event are all lit up in glorious sunshine and the weather was exactly as advertised, with warm ups taking place in shadows around the town's castle before a 7.15pm start time. With most normal people choosing to spend their Saturday evening enjoying a cold drink or a BBQ or similar, it was little surprise that the entry field was a roll call of local, rural running clubs. Some with charmingly understated names - the Shropshire Shufflers - and others with a moniker to live up to, like the Oswestry Olympians. We were, unsurprisingly, the only LFR members in attendance, but our shirts were recognised by a fellow tourist from Milton Keynes! The course itself is a two lapper, which is scenic if largely unremarkable for the large part, although running on closed roads always feels a bit thrilling. The route goes gently up and down a little through town, looping around until you cross the bridge over the Severn river. At this point it all changes and you head up a section known as the 'Latic Ladder'. Tight, off road and up some irregular steps, it is certainly a challenge with many resorting to walking but the reward of the views from the top makes it all worthwhile. The route down is as precarious and steep as the ascent and you are then treated to one final kick up past the castle before the finish. We managed to make it around together for the large part and headed straight for a celebratory beer and a burger. It's a course that offers something a little different and is in stunning surroundings, but don't go expecting a PB!  

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  • May’s racing delights, including our very own Watchless 5

    May's racing delights, including our very own Watchless 5 Rat Race Dirty Weekend 2022 – Saturday 7 May 2022 By Sam Heady Back in 2019 Richard and I, together with some friends, booked to take part in the 2020 Rat Race Dirty Weekend. But then, like so many events, the race was postponed due to Covid. So, three years and two virtual Dirty Weekends later we made it! Our team consisted of Richard and myself, some university friends, some school friends and a few friends of friends – in total there were eight of us plus around 4,500 others ready to tackle the 20 miles and 200 obstacles that made up the ‘World’s biggest obstacle race’ on Saturday 7 May 2022. And what a day it was. Thankfully the sun made an appearance so although soaked through for most of it, thanks to all the water obstacles, we didn’t get too cold. Burghley House was the backdrop for the race and the undulating course included a lake swim and numerous water obstacles, including a seven-metre jump into somewhat murky water. I might add I was lucky not to be knocked out here, as somehow Richard landed on me in the water, but alas I was fine to continue the race. The day saw us wading through (quite frankly stinking) ponds up to our shoulders, climbing scaffolding, wooden and tyre structures and making our way across wooden villages of obstacles. We climbed, shuffled, hopped, swam, swung and tunnelled our way around the course. Some obstacles were so big we needed to work as a team to get over them, most were fun, nearly all were challenging and some were utterly terrifying.  Think heights, small spaces, dark tunnels and deep cold water. Richard deserves a special mention here for completing 150 metres of monkey bars. As far as we know this is the longest set of monkey bars in the world, and it was his personal mission to complete the lot. We could see his exhaustion when he had about 20 metres to go, but collective cheering and screeches of encouragement on our part and grim determination on his part saw him swing his way to the very end. Massive well done to Richard! Our team stuck together and we made it to the final obstacles after about six and a half hours. All of us found some of the final miles gruelling. Tired legs from the miles, and general fatigue from the physical challenge meant each of us had to pull on some inner strength reserves (and a few jelly babies and gels) to get us through the last few miles. The crowds were cheering as we tackled the penultimate obstacle – the travellator, to mixed success. Then it was one final huge climb to the top of an inflatable slide, all the way to the finish. A decent level of running fitness was needed for this event, but it was a pleasure to take part in a race that was so much more than ‘a race’. The finish line was what we all wanted, much less important was the finish time. Sadly, this was the last ever Dirty Weekend, so we cannot revisit it, which is a shame because I think nearly all our team would have signed up again, and I’m sure we could have convinced a few LFRs to join us!!!?? But there are similar events around, so if you like the sound of this I would definitely encourage you to have a go, it was so much fun and a genuine challenge, completely different to a typical running race. Battersea Park Half – Saturday 14 May 2022 By Nolan Johnson This was a bit of a last-minute decision. I love the half-marathon distance and as the Milton Keynes NSPCC Half had been postponed until next year, I really fancied a final race before my marathon training starts in June. Plus, running has been a fantastic avoidance strategy to prevent me from doing university work, and I had a lot to do! For those who have never come across them, RunThrough host a series of races throughout the year at locations all over the UK. In London, they host races in the likes of Victoria Park, Regents Park, the Olympic Park, Hyde Park and  Battersea Park. The races are fairly reasonably priced, although I noted an approximate £5 increase to £30 on this event. RunThrough events are very well organised, the volunteers are super friendly and its founder Mark can often be seen walking around the course with his huge smile cheering everyone on. The capacity for this event was 500 runners. I really enjoyed the race. It’s a very simple flat course of approximately eight laps. There was a huge warm up although I always seemed to be out of sync with the others and ended up looking like a confused toddler dancing on their own at a birthday party trying to mimic others moves! There were water stops and there was also a choir banging out a bit of Whitney Houston en route! It was a very warm and sunny day, but a lot of the course is in the shade. However, after 17km I struggled and my pace dropped, finishing in a reasonable 1hr 52. I'm still chasing a half marathon PB from three years ago, so when the time is right, I think I'll take myself off to Battersea again!   Buckingham half – Sunday 15 May 2022 By Will Langdon Five LFRs headed to the Buckingham for what someone had informed Paul Thomas was a flat half marathon race. Someone lied. After Saturday's bright sunshine we were wary of an unpleasantly hot run, but that wasn't to be and anyone still on the course after two hours was caught in a downpour. Chairman Andy Heale led the LFR pack in, followed by Will Langdon and Dan Lovelock then a soggy Paul Thomas and Dawn Kennedy completed the course. This is a brilliant local event put on by Buckingham and Stowe running club, the Marshalls were all encouraging and friendly all the way around.   The Watchless 5 – Sunday 22 May 2022 By Liz Webster Sunday 22 May was a gorgeously warm and sunny morning – some might have argued too warm – for this year’s iteration of the Watchless 5. The course went out for 2.5 miles – over parts of LB that I certainly didn’t know existed before – until you got to Dougie, ensconced in trees at the halfway mark, and then 2.5 miles (thankfully downhill) back to the start. For this first-timer, the Watchless 5 is what LFR does best: a really fun event with loads of support, incredible volunteers and CAKE! As usual, there was a huge mix of people taking part, from social runners to those mad people running the route in under 40 minutes. Julia Gallie started us off at 9.52am, with Jim Buttleman the final runner to take to the route at 10.22am. I only know of one person doing a bush wee who missed their start time, but there may have been others…! The 2022 Watchless 5 was won by Janet Langdon, an incredible two seconds off her estimated time. AMAZING! In fact, the top five places were all within 10 seconds; what incredible pacing from everyone. Kyra Michael picked up this year’s Wooden Spoon. Sadly, I didn’t keep the Webster flag flying this year – sorry Tom. As well as doing super work on the start line, it was also James Smith’s 50th birthday, which led to him being presented with a Colin the Caterpillar and a rousing LFR Happy Birthday to the bemusement of a couple of people who had just come around the corner walking their dog. Thanks to everyone who ran and volunteered this year for making it such a fantastic event. Pick ‘n’ Mix – Sunday 29 May 2022 By John Kirwin Pick ‘n’ Mix is an LDWA (Long Distance Walkers Association) event that allows runners to enter. Starting from a school in the lovely village of Great Missenden, they offer a choice of loops starting and finishing at the school. This year on offer was 1 x 12 miles, 3 x 8 miles, 1 x 6 miles and 1 x 5 miles and you can do as many loops as you want in the 10-hour time limit. I set off just before 8.00am with four ex-LFRs, Verity, Marianne, Paul D and Mark B. The loops are not marked and navigation is done by following a route instruction narrative sheet, which can make for some interesting debate in the middle of sections of unknown woods! I had last done this event in 2018 and so some of us had my Strava GPX on our watches, hoping the loops would be the same. What could go wrong?! We shot out of the school, taking selfies as we ran, only to realise after a few hundred metres we had already gone wrong… Making our way back to the start we ran the gauntlet of smiles from the walkers, who are used to runners charging past and then heading back as they try to find the route. We did the 12-mile loop first, the most scenic, hilliest and a lovely run, after which Verity left as she only wanted a short run. Next up we picked the Blue eight miler and the four of us made steady progress with just a couple of head scratching moments out on the trails. I showed Marianne how to use a compass on this loop as the instructions contain a number of compass bearings to follow. Pleased she could now ‘put the red in the shed’, she took over navigation and guided us back to the school for the second time. Here we said goodbye to Marianne and Mark, as 20 miles was enough for them. Doyley and I were after marathon distance so our day was not over yet. One of the charms of an LDWA event is the cakes, sandwiches and hot drinks available at the checkpoints and we certainly got our money’s worth out of the £9 entry fee before heading out for loop three, the six miler. The legs were feeling it now and the final leg was a matter of grinding it out. We teamed up with a couple of 100 marathon club runners that I knew and we ran as a four to finish on 27 miles. As we enjoyed the post-race buffet and collected our certificates and badges, we saw Carrie T and Debbie R from LFR, who had walked the 12-mile loop with another friend and Glyn Raymen who had just completed the 12 miler twice and was heading out to make it 30 miles for the day. I cannot recommend this event enough, it’s a low key, social run or walk, with lovely views and a bargain entry fee.   And finally, because we embrace all sports at LFR, especially those that involve Strava and cake, time for something a little different as some of our members, including Captain Emily, swapped running shoes for clipless pedals as they took on a very special century… Ride London 2022 – Sunday 29 May 2022 By Emily McClelland The last time Ride London took place, in August 2019 it was on the Surrey route, but 2022 saw the iconic cycling event take place on a new route out to Essex and back with over 20,000 riders taking part, two of which were little old LFRs! This event was particularly important for Michelle as, if she completed it, it would mean she would complete the London Classics. What are the London Classics I hear you say?! This includes completing the three major London events – The London Marathon, Swim Serpentine (2 miles) and Ride London (100 miles). Though I would like to point out that this year’s ride was in fact 102 miles!!! Race day, Sunday 29 May we arrived in London via super taxi Dougie by 7:30am, it was cold but sunny. It took us the best part of two hours to get to the start line as we queued up with many (a scary number) other riders. By the time we reached the start we were cold from waiting in the shade and feeling the wind blow down the streets... and then we were off, filled with a few nerves and plenty of excitement. It took 15 miles to get out of London winding our way by Canary Wharf, Bow, Stratford, Hackney Wick including some interesting sections on the A12 with a few tunnels before we reached Epping Forest. From here we got onto some nice rolling Essex roads, snaking through woodland, farm fields and picturesque villages. The wind was somewhat stronger than we would have liked and the rain showers were not appreciated! The miles slipped on by with Michelle and I passing each other, I'd overtake her on the ups and she'd fly past me on the downs. At Great Dunmow the route started to loop back and then we stopped at the mile 53 welfare stop, grabbing some snacks and a water refill but not hanging around as we were getting too cold. The next 49 miles actually went pretty well, both fuelling with tailwind for the duration, the sun making a very welcome appearance. Cycling back through Chipping Ongar and Chigwell the support from the crowds was awesome. Joining back on the A12 the wind battered my nerves a bit, slightly lightened by the singing pubgoers in Hackney Wick. The final tunnel had the riders whooping making echo sounds before we had to contend with a very naughty steep hill coming out at mile 95, happy to say that both Michelle and I cycled it, whilst many others opted to walk the bike up it. Six miles later we swung around a corner to a big "Go LFR" shout and there was a happy cheering Dougie, and around the next corner was the finish line, AKA Tower Bridge. Over the line, a big relief, a bigger hug for each other and an even bigger smile! We did it, our longest bike ride, Ride London done and in the bag, and for Michelle... London Classics, completed it mate!    

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  • LFR at Flitwick 10k

    Racing into spring – London, Brighton, Prague and more!

    Racing into spring - London, Brighton, Prague and more! The races are coming thick and fast now we're into April, with loads of LFRs heading out in the spring sunshine and making the most of those miles banked over winter. The red and black has been popping up all over the local area and beyond, with Adam Carter getting the prize for the most far-flung event this time around. Read on for reports from London, Hughenden and snowy Prague and so much more! Race Reports by Tom Webster London Landmarks half - 3 April 2022 Ann Hopper, Heidi Buck and Nolan Johnson headed down to London on 3 April to go sightseeing courtesy of the London Landmarks Half Marathon. Over to Nolan for more from the day: "I was supposed to be running this race last year but Covid had other ideas, but after hearing the amazing experiences of LFRs who did the race last year, I was really excited to be taking part. "The race goes through the heart of the City of London, through the West End along the embankment and past the Tower of London. This year 12,000 runners took part and the weather was perfect for it. Along the course the support was non stop. There were choirs from the musicals, a rock choir, Roman warriors, steel drums, brass bands along with thousands of spectators along the route." "A personal highlight of mine was the Bow Bells ringing as we ran through the East End and also being greeted by Chelsea Pensioners at the finish line. I was way off a PB, but it didn't matter as I ran comfortably and was able to soak up the atmosphere. By far, the most enjoyable half marathon I have ever ran. And a few hundred raised for charity along the way. You can register your interest online now. Go for it!" Ann had a great time too, saying: "I did it, whoop! And I smashed over 3 mins off my previous time! It was such a nice day and I managed to see my husband at three different points, being my support crew and personal photographer." Heidi made the most of her training too, saying: "Well that was good fun! I raised over £500 for Breast Cancer Now. I could not have ran like I did without all of the LFR runs and support." Prague Half Marathon - 3 April 2022 Adam Carter added another half marathon to the list for 2022, with April's in a location that is sure to be on many peoples' bucket list as he headed to the Czech Republic's capital city of Prague. He joined a field of about 8,000 who braved the chilly temperatures - Adam reports that there was snow falling but thankfully it wasn't settling. The route took in the amazing scenery in the centre of the city and there was a fantastic level of support all round the route. Despite the cold, Adam stormed around in 2 hours 1 minute and thoroughly recommends the trip! Hughenden 1/4 marathon - 3 April 2022 By Jo Secker I raced in the Hughenden 1/4 marathon on 3 April. There were two options, a 1/4 and 1/2 marathon. The 1/4 was was one loop of some lovely trails through the Hughenden National Trust estate. It was very hilly and quite tough in places. Overall it was a well organised, small, friendly event by Runaway Racing. The Kew Half - 10 April 2022 By Alice Tame I had a very early start on 10 April as I had to make the drive down to Kew Gardens in south west London to make the 8.30 start of the inaugural Kew Half. The event had previously been the Richmond Half and took place alongside a 10K (on the Saturday) and a family mile option on the Sunday. Five miles of the route was inside Kew gardens which was very scenic, going past the glasshouses and through woodlands, and then the remaining eight miles were down the Thames in the sunshine to Richmond and back again with the finishing line just outside Kew. The route was really beautiful and incredibly flat, which felt very nice after months of hilly Leighton Buzzard training runs. The scenery kept my mind off mile counting for my first half. This was my first half marathon so I guess anything counts as a PB! I completed the course in 2hr 08min - within my target time of sub 2hr 15min. Would definitely recommend the run and am thinking about doing it again next year as it has real PB potential if I do less chatting and more running. It's great for supporters, too, with lots of opportunities to catch runners on the route inside Kew and there is free entry to Kew all day for spectators (although my legs were a bit tired for walking round the gardens too much afterwards!) Flitwick 10K - 10 April 2022 By Emily McClelland Super sunny Sunday saw the Flitwick 10k run by friendly local running club the Flitwick & Ampthill Flyers. In the end, 23 LFR’s turned up to tackle the lumpy bumpy road course, making it a true LFR takeover. The weather was perfect, warm enough for a few vest tops to make an appearance, but cool enough that it didn’t turn into a sweat fest. The LFR spirit was at its best with everybody staying till the end to cheer everyone over the finish line and under the rather large finishing arch. There were some awesome sprints, jubilant smiles and serious game faces, I fear I took on the latter. Coach Matt led the team home in an impressive time for the undulating course, Sagar was less than 2 minutes behind running himself a PB. I managed to lead the LFR ladies home and after that, the rest weren’t far behind. Nicky Moore ran herself a PB, perfectly paced after taking advice from Coach Matt. Sam Booth put in a great finish as did Lynda Murray. Julia Gallie reported that the ups and downs were definitely not equal to one another! I have to agree! Jim Buttleman was out on course to support, appearing in 2 places - nothing beats some on course support, thank you Jim!    Derby 10K - 10 April 2022 By Dougie Although I was very jealous of all the team fun at Flitwick at the weekend, I had a responsibility, nay duty, to my northern/midlands roots to run my local road race – the Derby 10k. This was the first ever route and race that I took part in all the way back in 2016, and it has now become a tradition to attend annually. I ran with a couple of friends on the day to keep up this routine, suitably prepared with takeaway and beers the night before. I sadly missed the past two years, one closed by covid, the other was double booked with the Great South Run. The sun was shining, Derby TV Live was broadcasting the event online and welcoming almost 2,400 runners on Sunday morning. Based in Derby, starting at the famous Pride Park football stadium for Derby County Football Club, this is a serious PB potential course. It is fast and flat with only 162ft elevation gain throughout the whole 6.2 miles. There is a small out-and-back for the first couple of kilometres and then you head along wide and closed roads to the town centre. You take in a small cultural tour of the cathedral, Iron Gate, Quad theatre and the Derwent river, head back out alongside the A52 and back to finish at the stadium. The crowd and supporters were great throughout and at the finish line. The end was greeted with a medal, water and chocolate brownies; not forgetting the silky-smooth lime green shirt that arrived by post before the event. Personally, a great success as I got both a course and all-time PB. My course previous best was 46 mins while my 10k PB (from the Dirt Half) was 44 mins. I'm so, so pleased with new time of 40:45. I recommend it to you all – who fancies joining me? Bring on next year, I'm itchy for a sub-40 now… The big one - The Brighton Marathon - 10 April 2022 By Gavin Prechner Most people go to Brighton to wander along the pier, paddle in the sea, join a stag/hen do, or, in Ian’s case, ferry the youngest back and forth to University. Not us! Six LFRs decided that Brighton was the perfect place to take on a marathon. As it turned out, Brighton could just have been the perfect place to run one on Sunday 10 April. One day out from race day Strava confirmed the arrival of a few LFRs in sunny Sussex as ‘casual’ parkruns appeared on various profiles. There were no flying times posted but a tourism opportunity can’t be missed can it? I have to admit, I did one, I also nearly fell over twice getting to my parkrun. The consequences of injury so close to race day are unthinkable, let alone explaining to the wife and child. For those of you that have not heard anything about Brighton marathon, the event is one of the major marathon events in the UK with up to 10,000 entrants of all abilities. It goes without saying that charity entrants make up a good chunk of the entrants, which means a lot on money will have been raised for good causes. Race entrants must collect their race numbers from the ‘Beach Village’ on Saturday, which gives everyone a chance to take in the atmosphere, pick up some free stuff and have a sneak peek at the finish line, which will no doubt feel like another world away at mile 22. Race day Sunday – race day. The race started in the biggest park (in a city) outside of London – Preston Park. Kudos to the race organisers, the event was brilliantly planned out and they had thought of just about everything. I have never seen so many portable toilets in a field, I could have easily had six nervous wees and not had to queue. Given that there were close on 10,000 participants, I was only able to meet up with Will Ellis and partner Ruby before entering the pens for the start. Into the first couple of miles, the nerves started to settle and I was able to find my rhythm. Garmin said 8.15 pace – spot on for now. The crowds at the start were three to four deep and the noise was incredible. The entire course was on closed roads which meant all you had to do was focus on your run and avoid the kerbs.    Ian Bisby had got his starting pen slightly wrong so after about three miles he snuck up behind me, to my surprise. After a quick selfie, he pushed on. After a few loops around the city centre passing Brighton Pavilion the course headed out onto the coast towards the marina. The weather couldn’t have been better – bright, cool, little breeze. No excuses then. As the course double backs on itself a few times I was able to shout encouragement to others as I passed them which was great to do. Sorry Megan if I terrified you at mile whatever it was, I was just excited to see a fellow club runner! Breaking through 'The wall' As the course meanders along the coast road, there is always a ‘dark bit’ in a marathon, typically around the mile 20 mark and this one was no exception. The course takes in the power station and industrial area before turning back for home. This was the tough part and thankfully for me I was scooped up by a fellow charity runner that gave me the lift I needed to get me back along the promenade to the finish. What a finish it was too, the support was again layers deep, drums, DJs, rattles, all sorts. Everything you need to get you over the line. Post finish, a dip in the sea had already been agreed between Ian and I, which was invigorating to say the least. The main casualty was my flip flops which broke. After that, the saltiest chips I have ever had and a well-earned cider. PBs and notable finishes galore Huge congratulations to all the LFRs that took part, it was lovely to see some of you en route and afterwards, you all did an absolutely amazing job. First home was Ian Bisby in 3hr 24min – a mind boggling time frankly. Second home was Gavin Prechner in 3hr 45min, followed by Will Ellis in 4hr 3min. Will was off to a live gig afterwards, what a legend! Next home was Megan in 4hr 19min, a fantastic achievement for your first ever marathon! Dale Smissen was over the line in an equally impressive 4hr 39min supported by his little boy. Was this your first?! Finally, seasoned marathon runner Lesley Wes Barnard crossed the line in 5hr 27 to complete her 93rd marathon. Utterly bonkers and hugely impressive. If you do choose to do a marathon, you really can’t go wrong with entering Brighton, the level of support is comparable to London I would say and the course is probably as flat and forgiving as they come. Going back to my opening lines, it was just about the most perfect place and conditions. Go on, if I can do it…

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  • The Leighton 10k 2022

    The Leighton 10k 2022 By Chairman Andy Heale Sunday was the main event Sunday 27th March was not only Mothers Day and the clocks springing forward but it was also our main club event of the year; Our Leighton 10k race from Long Marston Cricket Club. The race was a sell out event, and despite the clock change all the participants and volunteers made it on time! It was great to see the team spirit of LFR in full force, with an amazing turnout of cakes, biscuits, and goodies for post-race refreshment; and an army of volunteers by 08:00 in the morning, with some particularly keen members turning up earlier in order that they could also run the race. The race starts, and finishes, under the LFR branded arch outside the Cricket Club pavilion with the sounds of the ukulele band (Ukie Tunes) in full swing with a  circuit of the cricket pitch, then out onto the main road heading towards Cheddington cheered on by the enthusiastic marshals who are all in position to man the main road. Runners were directed off the main road by Team Stocks and then picked their way through the village making their way towards the canal at Cooks Wharf and the halfway point water station. The race then takes a slightly different feel as they head along the tow path for about a mile, avoiding the various trip hazards. At the insistence of the canal trust our marshals were armed with throw lines and warned against the dangers of Lymes disease should they fall into the canal. Turning right when coming off the towpath and following the quiet country roads until about a mile outside Long Marston when they join a busier road back to Long Marston where they turn right and through the  Queens Head pub, avoiding the tricky cross roads and head back to the cricket ground for a final lap and finish. Finishers were rewarded with the further sounds of the ukulele band, Dan’s commentary and a distinctive bright pink T-Shirt sporting the creative designs of Anthony Smith and the logos of our sponsors and of course cake and drinks. Thank you and well done to all those involved With around 60 volunteers helping out, its impossible to give everyone a mention, but some special mentions to Mark & Jenny McLoughlin, visiting from Wales, Ian Bisby for leading the way on his bike, Kelly Doyle & Laura Goss as tail runners, Gavin Prechner and Emily McClelland for the photography, Michelle Evans Riches for organising the cakes, Dave Ayres as head marshal and helping take everything back at the end, and of course Dan & Vicky Green for all their work as Race Directors. We had some great running from club members, with many running their first race or first 10k. We had 45 finishers: Bob NICHOL, Carina ARCHER, Caroline CLABBURN, Celia WALKER, Cherie CUNNINGHAM, Clare KLEANTHOUS, Debbie MACPHERSON, Doubec LEVICK, Emily WEINGART, Emma HIBBINS, Gina GURNEY ,Gurpreet TANK, Heidi BUCK, Helen EATON, Ian BICKERS, James BOOTH, Janet LANGDON, Jenna PARKER, Jenny HOGAN, Jim BUTTLEMAN, Jo SECKER, Julia GALLIE, Julie ETHERDEN,Karen BOULTON, Kelly DOYLE ,Laura GOSS, Laura KEYTE, Liz WEBSTER, Lynda MURRAY, Mark KLEANTHOUS, Martin WALKER, Matthew GILBERT, Matthew LADDS , Matthew MA, Nicki ATKINSON, Paul CHEEK,Pauline GLEN, Roy BIRD, Samantha TINGEY, Sophie MARCH, Stephen BUXTON, Stuart LAY, Tasmyn SIMPKINS, Wayne WALKER, Will BURCHELL and William ELLIS. Congratulations to Mark Kleanthous and Janet Langdon taking first place in their respective age categories! A special mention to Emma Hibbins and Gina Gurney who ran this is their first ever race and first ever 10km after only completing the C25K course in December of last year. We had some great feedback on social media posts including Monica Petrosino (first lady) who is an ex GB Ice Hockey player saying “A great race LFR thank you for an awesome and safe race”. Buckingham running club also thanked us, especially the marshals who were so encouraging. 

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  • March brought Twin Lakes & Hardwick X-Stream

    March brought Twin Lakes & Hardwick X-Stream March saw more LFR's out racing at local races. Surprisingly few took part at the MK Festival weekend and just 6 hardy souls took on the Ashridge Boundary run. Here we report on Twin Lakes and Hardwick X-Stream Hardwick X-Stream - 20th March 2022 By Tom Webster The 27th running of the Hardwick X-Stream 10km multi-terrain took place on 20 March and saw four LFR's dig out their trail shoes: Andrew Heale, Mark Kleanthous (who last competed in this event more than 20 years ago), Bob Nichol and Sally Dickinson. It is held in the beautiful undulating countryside, held exclusively within the confines of Manor House Farm in the picturesque Buckinghamshire village of Hardwick. For trail lovers there is plenty to get stuck into, literally in many senses, with lots of mud and several water crossings, ploughed fields and tall uneven grassland. Mark's shoe got stuck in the final mud crossing and he lost his shoe causing him to face plant into the smelly clay mud, then had to put his shoe back on before carrying on. Despite all this, Mark was first finisher in his age category. This was Bob's first run at Hardwick, will he be back next year?! Twin Lakes 10 & 20 Miler - 20th March 2022 By Nolan JOHNSON The Twin Lakes connects Willen Lake and Caldecotte Lake in Milton Keynes. It's a combination of redway, towpath and lakeside running. And it's flat! There were three LFRs running that day: myself and Sagar doing the 10 miler and Megan doing the 20 miler. Personally, I was a bit nervous on race day having had a tough half marathon the week before. However, on race day, the sun was a shining, there was a mild breeze and the visions of being sick halfway around the course from the week before were soon erased from my memory! I was happy with my pace and despite the course being heavily congested for the first 2km, I finished 35th out of 193 runners. Sagar had a great day too, he said: "I managed to Get my 10-mile PB at Twin Lakes 10Miler with a chip time at 1:13:41. I'm now looking forward to a sub 1:40 half marathon!" Once I'd passed the finishing line, I joined Sagar in waiting to see Megan pass her half way mark. We were a bit confused as Megan took a wrong turn but soon re-routed to reach the 10 mile mark of her 20 miler. Megan looked strong at halfway and was somehow smiling despite another 10 miles to go! Megan's commented on her race: "I really enjoyed running the Twin Lakes 20 as my final long run before Brighton Marathon. I started off at my marathon pace but quickly decided to go faster as I was feeling comfortable - looking forward to those 26.2 miles ahead!" Megan certainly provided the inspiration for me as I look ahead to my looming London marathon training, and that's what LFR is about; looking at others achievements and knowing that with a bit of hard work, a dollop of determination and the support of others, anything is possible!  

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  • LFR at Berko

    The Berkhamsted Half & other Racing

    The Berkhamsted Half & other Races Berkhamsted Half Marathon and 5-mile Fun Run By Tom Webster An event with a scenic route through the Hertfordshire countryside? A few ‘undulations’ to test your pacing and training? A direct train link to LB? It’s easy to see why the Berko Half and 5-Mile Fun Run played host to a strong group of red-and-black-clad runners on Sunday 6 March. The 39th running of this well-organised event saw 18 LFRs crossing the start line, taking on both the half and the perhaps deceptively named 5-mile ‘Fun Run’. First off for the half were Adam Carter, Anne Graeff, Dawn Kennedy, Dougie, Emily McClelland, Kevin Hare, Martin Addrison, Matt Gilbert, Matthew Ma, Niki Casey, Steve Ellerton and Will Langdon. Wayne Walker took advantage of the late-registration to sign up not long before the starter’s klaxon sounded. Half an hour later the 5 milers set off, with Jim Buttleman, Lindsey Rigby, Sandra Dunsterville, and Tom Webster lining up alongside Janet Langdon, with Will’s brother Joe joining in to make the event a true Langdon family affair.   Tackling the hills Both distances allow for a short warm up down Berko’s high street before the elevation starts to ramp up when you’ve got a few miles in your legs. It being March, the weather could have been anything from blazing sunshine to blizzards, but runners were treated to brisk and slightly breezy conditions. It was clear that at least some of the advice from the recent England Athletics coaching sessions had been taken in, as shown by Coach Matt Gilbert’s enthusiastic participation in the official event warm up and Martin Addrison’s dedication to keeping his extra layers on until as close to the start as possible. Berkhamsted’s course is, thankfully, proof that what goes up must come down and the downward-sloping final mile saw some storming finishes from the Halvers and 5-milers alike, with Matt Ma and Jim Buttleman the first LFRs to cross the line in each event respectively Beating their best There were strong performances all round, but special kudos goes to anyone setting a personal best on a hilly course like this. Kevin Hare was one of those, with a PB of 1h 35m 55secs in the half, while Janet Langdon improved on her last performance in the 5 miler two years ago. A special tip of an LFR cap to Adam Carter, though, who is in scintillating form and took a full four minutes off his half-marathon PB. No mean feat given the elevation! Finally, thanks go to those LFR friends and family that came to cheer the runners round the final bend, with a particular nod to canal-runners Andy Heale, Gavin Prechner, Ian Bisby, Sagar Kharab and Will Ellis.     Other Races By Emily McClelland Whilst many LFR's were in Berko, Thom Smith was in Paris, which he describes as his second home. Thom said the course is relatively flat, perhaps we need an LFR trip next year? Thom ran a great race running 1hr32, which is fab time, though he said it wasn't a PB... what is your PB Thom?! However, he was really happy with the result as he only properly resumed running this year following a back injury from skiing. He's a relatively new member to LFR and we've enjoyed welcoming him on club runs over the last few months. We love the "pain" photo of Thom below taken just after he crossed the finish line! Back on the 27th February Sally Dickinson was in Norfolk and she ran the Hunny Bell Cross Country. This was approximately 5 miles of what Sally described as "never ending hills"! We thought Norfolk was meant to be flat?! Sally said it was a lovely friendly event serving tea and cake afterwards for a local charity "Break". Despite the hilly terrain, Sally came 3rd in her age category... Well Done! It looks as if the sunshine was shining too looking at her medal selfie. On the same weekend Andy Griggs ran the Wokingham Half marathon, Andy didn't feel prepared for the race, but he still completed it. Well done Andy, those miles still count. Also running a half distance was Dan Lovelock who ran Active Training World's Welwyn Garden City Half under blue, blue skies. ATW are great events always providing free race photos and great medals. We love Dan's smiling race snap.      

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