From flat to fells 

Last week I was lucky enough to take part in two fun short distance races. The first of the two races was the LBH relays. I was asked by Kip, at work, to run for team run-fast and do one of the four legs. I apprehensively said yes as I’ve recently been trying to get more miles in than I have ever done before, so knew I wouldn’t be fresh. This is because I am now less than 3 weeks away from Race to the Stones. I was also apprehensive to say yes because I knew team run-fast had won the event the previous two years in course record times and we were aiming to do the same again. On the flip side to that I also knew I would have Kip (a 2:17 marathoner), Pete Huck (a sub 30min 10ker) and Vincent (a Ugandan) on my side. This meant if I could do a time of around 13 minutes we would probably break the record.  

 The race was really good fun. You start opposite Westminster and run along the river to Vauxhall Bridge. Having not raced 2.3 miles before I tried to think about the efforts I would put in for mile and 5k races and stay between the two. In hindsight I probably went off a bit quick considering I’d ran 20 miles in total the day before but luckily I could hold on to a decent pace. That was despite the steps at Vauxhall Bridge and some relatively tight turns over the bridges. Overall it was a really fun race and I finished my leg in 12:24 and handed over to Pete Huck inside the top 10. I was relieved to have done my part and could then relax as Pete tore around the route and amazingly took the lead just before handing over to Vincent. Vincent and Kip then brought home the win and new course record. It’s awesome to run with people that can run inside 11 minutes for 2.3 miles and it makes me want to get a lot quicker in the next few years. Here’s the team results and individual times:  

 Due to Race to the Stones 100k creeping up on me I decided to get another 20 miles in on Thursday. This comprised of running in to work for The Running Works Run Club at 1pm doing the run and running home again. This totals about 9 miles. I then chilled for a few hours before running with the Victoria Park Harriers. We did approximately 8.5 miles, I then added a loop of the park and ran home. 

The second race of the week was the Orion Harriers John Clarke memorial Fell Race on Friday night. Again not feeling fresh I had no idea what I would be capable of, especially being my first fell race. It is the only fell race within the M25 so I couldn’t pass up the oppportunity of running it. It is a 5k route including 951ft of climbing. I knew this before the race but found it hard to visualise just how steep this meant the inclines would be given it was just a 5k race. I started in the middle of the pack on the start line and my plan was to try and pace myself and move up through the field (pun intended!) This soon went out the window. The course started straight up a hill and I just decided to go for it and pay the price later on. Some of the descents were incredible. It’s hard to put into words how it felt to fly down the hills through the trees. I found myself thinking “how on earth am I still on my feet going this fast down here!” There is a certain art to running downhill really quickly and I am nowhere near mastering it but luckily I didn’t end up flat on my face. 

As the race went on the descents became harder to negotiate as I felt myself braking more due to feeling fatigued a) from the race itself and b) from the cumulative fatigue from the previous couple of days (and probably weeks). Of course the finish line was positioned at the top of a hill! I just about had enough strength to get/crawl up there and to my surprise finish in the top 10. I managed a time of 23:08. Funnily on the start line the announcer said “I hope you enjoy the course because the guy that thought of it is dead” Bit of a strange thing to say but luckily John Clarke made a great race. As you may have spotted in the results a certain Mr Ronnie O’Sullivan was running aswell and it was pretty cool to have a chat with him about his running at the finish line. He finished in a good time and was so casual just wearing board shorts and a loose fitting t-shirt ha 

Since the race I have found myself being pulled towards the hills in London. I’ve done a few long runs along the canal, up Primrose, Haverstock and Parliament Hills. I’ve also added in Swains Lane just for “fun”. The hills are definitely worth it for the views! Check out my Instagram page to see where I’ve been: @StephenSkinner6 

 

 Over the weekend I also went and cheered the girls on at the Nike 10k in Victoria Park. I supported with Cheer Dem Crew who are always a roudy bunch! Well done to everyone that ran and congrats to those of you that PBd. I find it strange being the other side of the barrier for a change but it is inspiring to see people reach their goals. As mentioned on Helenas @the_fitadvisor blog we also found out my long arms are handy (pun intended) when it comes to taking selfies. I also learnt I’m a better photographer than I thought! Ha Watch out Matt aka @thebaldrunner I’m after your job! 

See and speak to a lot of you soon! 

Steve 

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