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Gavin’s Virtual Marathon Challenge Results

I tell you, you lot are a psychologist’s dream! says Gavin Collett.

Lockdown 2.0 Week 1, go out and run 5K at anytime in the week, 29 finishers.

Week 3, cover 26.2 miles anyhow you like at anytime in the week, 35 finishers.

Analyse that!

First of all congratulations to James Laing, our winner in 2:28:27. James had been due to participate in the Dorney Marathon last Sunday, but for our challenge he spread his effort over three days:

Mon – 11.2 miles in 1:04:47

Tue – 5 x 1 mile (off 1 min recovery) in 26:00

Wed – 10 miles in 57:40

I would suggest there was still plenty of room for improvement there for James, but also note a magnificent effort by Shaun Lazzari with 2:33:14 for second place.

It was very interesting to learn of the differing approaches to this challenge.

Madsters of the week goes to Debbie Brown, Dennis Carey and Steve Edwards who knocked off the challenge in one go (see previous note about psychologist’s!).

Then there was those who rose to the challenge of covering that far in a week, as in they don’t normally run that far. In this category, step forward Doug Milsom, 81 years young, an inspiration to us all. Quote: “Age grade if I’d run it in one chunk: 60%. A bit disappointing!”

For some it was about survival and took to off-road, slower but kinder on the body.

And then there were the competitive souls amongst us, who plotted and schemed and, arguably, out-performed. I even had reports of someone doing reps DOWN Honey Hill!

Prime examples were Andy Wood (thanks for the spreadsheet) and Iain Betson (first vet), who claimed several scalps they will be delighted with.

Zoe Dobbs (Martin who?) rose to the challenge to pip Kathy Carruthers for first woman, whist Pauline Fischer should be rightfully chuffed with her effort.

A selection of quotes from the week for you:

  • Ran a full marathon distance today with Dennis, am sure you have seen his video already on Facebook, never a dull moment with him around the crazy man!!! 
  • Feeling quite pleased with myself!
  • To be honest I was both very pleased and surprised how I felt.
  • I surprised myself and managed to complete it, thanks to having a running buddy for all but the last 5k. I would never have run a 12 miler without this challenge!
  • Grateful thanks to you Gavin for providing the motivation, and to the inventor of compression socks for enabling my calf muscles to just about last out!
  • Your marathon challenge this week made me do the highest weekly mileage in ages! Thank you for setting the challenge. Through it I found a new long route round Ruislip woods and fields!  It also underlined for me again how great it is to have them on our doorstep, a place of infinite variety with each season and a forgiving running surface which allows my old feet to do long runs.
  • For some extraordinary reason I ran the full distance in woods, over cross country courses, and Parkruns. Not the best way to achieve a fast time!!!!!!
  • I did some Excel jiggery pokery
  • Thanks Gavin, as always I really enjoyed the challenge you set.
  • Split into 8 activities across 6 days. Glad that week’s over!
  • Not sure how that’s comparable but it’s the effort that counts I guess?!
  • An interesting exercise. I have to remember that it was a lot easier for me than for anyone with a full-time job so I could split it over 6 days. Some of the days I went over somewhat muddy countryside and sometimes it was on roads, and it was interesting to see the differences that led to in speeds.
  • This was a fun, but (potentially) gruelling challenge!  A marathon in a week sounds easy, but however many reps you do, if you ‘race’ them, it’s a tough week.  4 x 10k in 7 days at something near a 10k race pace, is tough for example. I thought I’d try to do it in 5k’s, but mix them up a bit.  I perhaps started a bit too conservatively, but towards the end I was struggling for energy for 5k’s, but ok for shorter reps! The challenge allowed for different strategies, so it was interesting seeing how other people were doing along the way – wondering if they had over/under paced, or if I had in comparison! Thanks for the great challenge Gavin, but I’m looking forward to putting my feet up for a bit!
  • Thank you for organising my kind of marathon-3 separate runs on a pancake flat surface!

And so to what looks like (hopefully) the last week of our Virtual Challenges, the Hillingdon ‘5’, 5 miles or 8.05K. None of that multi-day nonsense this week, back to one-off efforts! Your permitted period of exercise can be taken from home, in the woods, round your garden, anywhere permitted under government guidelines. Then send your time (minutes & seconds) and date of birth by email to gavin.collett@jti.com by midnight next Wednesday 2nd December and I’ll produce a “race” result next Thursday.

There is no need to send me any proof, description of course or links to any others site such as Garmin, Strava, I won’t open them. I trust you all!

Any ages, any standard, for members, friends and family of Hillingdon AC.

Did you know? Hillingdon AC used to organise one of the premier 5 mile road races in the country. The course was not flat, one lap of the old Finchley ‘20’ course, but gained a reputation as an outstanding race that top athletes travelled far and wide to compete in. It was held 35 times between 1968 and 2004 and winners included Dave Bedford, Tony Simmons, Julian Goater and Eamonn Martin. The course record was 22:41 by Rob Denmark in 1995 and the Hillingdon AC record 23:01 by Tony Jackson in 1991.

There was also a separate Hillingdon Ladies ‘5’, held nine time between 1980 and 1992. The course record was 26:59 by Anne Ford in 1985, though Liz Yelling ran 26:09 in a mixed race in 2000.

Both races fell victim to the increased traffic on the roads that prevented 400 runners blocking it off, even for just 45 minutes.

Good luck with this week’s challenge and I’ll hopefully see you all soon!


November 2020 Week 3 Virtual Marathon