Tag Archives: Run Through

The Run Through Battersea Park 5k

On Saturday 6th January I took part in the Run Through Battersea Park 5k. I signed up in December because I knew it would be a good opportunity to see what sort of shape I was in ahead of marathon training. Having banked some consistent mileage over the 5-6 weeks leading up to Christmas I was confident of clocking a time close to my PB of 16:30. During the week I completed a few tough sessions so I knew I would be racing on tired legs. However, in December I took part in a few parkruns and managed to clock times below 17 minutes on courses with hills and sharp corners.

I woke up on the Saturday morning really excited to race. Having not raced much over the last few months I couldn’t wait to push the pace and see what I could do. In recent weeks I have definitely started to enjoy racing 5ks more. This is probably thanks to some tough but great track sessions. I also feel as though I’m starting to embrace suffering more than I have over the past couple of years.

I decided to jog the 4km from home to Battersea Park to “warm up”. It was absolutely freezing! Arriving in plenty of time I picked up my race number without having to queue at all. With it pinned to my Iffley Road vest and having attached the timing chip to my trainers, I was ready to go. I jogged around the park for a short while to keep warm and then headed to the start line for the 9:30am start.

The Run Through races are great because you can choose which distance you want to do on the day. I opted for the 5k in this instance because a) it was cold and I wanted to get it done quickly and b) I wasn’t feeling 100% after a long tiring Friday moving offices. Two others and myself bolted off the start line. A runner in a Belgrave Harriers vest took to the front and opened up a gap pretty quickly, I was alongside the other runner for the first kilometre or so and then he dropped back. For the first lap I was in no-mans land but worked hard to hold around 3:20min/km pace. At first I struggled to get into my stride, in hindsight before the start I should have done some strides to wake the legs up.

Representing #TeamIffley in the Track White / Blue Lancaster Striped Vest

Mentally it was tough to see the first runner heading off into the distance and not have anyone to chase but over the last few months I have done quite a few tempos and been getting used to pushing the pace and embracing the struggle on my own. I kept thinking “don’t ease up, you can hold this pace”. Going into the second lap I knew I had a lot of work to do to get closer to my PB. With 2km left I knew I could afford to go for it. I upped my pace and found it motivational running passed the runners taking part in the 10k; it was great to hear a few shouts from friends. I got my head down and made the most of the final kilometre being slightly downhill.

I crossed the line in second place in 16:45. It would have been great to claim a new PB but in the circumstances I am really happy with the result. Overall it was a great event, Run Through always do a stellar job. I cannot recommend the Battersea Park race enough if you are looking to better your 5k or 10k PBs. Thanks to finishing second I have been given a free race entry to another of the Run Through races so I will probably be at the Lee Valley Park 5k/10k/half marathon on the 27th of January. I’m not sure which distance I’m going to do yet but it should be fun either way. Let me know if you’re going to be there or if you have any other Run Through races lined up. I hope those of you that took part in the Battersea race enjoyed it as much as I did and got the times you wanted.

This week has been a bit of a write off training wise due to the office move and struggling with a bug but I’m hoping to be back training hard soon. The London Marathon isn’t going to run itself and it is less than one hundred days away now!

See a lot of you soon.



Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon 2017

On Sunday the 19th of March I took part in the Hampton Court Palace Half. I signed up because Lorna, her sister Rachel, Marie (Lorna’s manager) and her husband Quentin had decided to run. As the race was organised by Run Through I knew it would be good, I was looking forward to running along the river and finishing just outside Hampton Court Palace. I didn’t really have a race plan as I knew my legs would be tired from the Escape to trail run, organised by Dean, on Saturday.

Despite the trail run I thought it would be good training to see how quickly I could get round. At the end of the day in Boston I will no doubt get to a point where my legs are feeling heavy and need to try and hold on to a decent pace.
We woke up at around 6am on Sunday morning so we could enjoy breakfast and get organised. Furthermore, we wanted to leave ours at 7am to make it to the palace in good time to park the car and walk to the race village. Lorna and Rachel were excited to see what time they could achieve. Rachel hadn’t raced since the London Marathon 14 years ago but had increased her mileage well over the few months before the race so we were all pretty confident she would run well. Ideally she wanted to beat Phil’s time of 1:43 from Colchester Half the previous weekend. We bumped into Tom (@tom.runs) and had a catch up before dropping our bags off. I headed to the start line and had a quick chat with Joe while we positioned ourselves near the front.

Off the start I went out pretty quickly, I was through the first kilometre in around 3:35 (75 minute pace) alongside Joe and a handful of others. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold that pace for long but decided to go with it and see what happened. I stayed with the group for a couple of kilometres but then I started to open up a little gap, first place was no longer visible but I could still just about see second place. I decided I was going to try and stay in third place and keep him in view for as long as possible. My legs were already feeling pretty heavy and tight from around 5k but I could still hold a decent pace, I was around 3:40-3:45 pace at this point. I knew it was going to be a long 16k but I wanted to have to dig deep and test the legs.

As I was on my own it was tough going especially running into the wind along the river. I didn’t turn around at all to see if I was being caught but when running past big crowds I could hear how close the runners were behind me. The support along the river was great.

Going from running on concrete to running on the towpath my legs were not happy especially having been on my feet for 4 hours, running 27k the previous day. I was relieved to make it to within 5k from the finish line and knew I could suffer for just less than 20 minutes to get it done. The final few kilometres were into the wind, which wasn’t great, but I just couldn’t wait to see the finish line and the palace. With 800m or so to go someone let me know there was a runner about 30m or so behind me, I upped my pace a bit to make sure no one was going to overtake me and then I was on the home straight. I crossed the line in 1:18:55 in 3rd, job done.

I cheered Tom, Hanif, Lorna, Rachel, Marie & Quentin through the finish. Lorna and Rachel smashed it finishing in 1:42 to beat Phil’s time. We went for a nice roast and then chilled for the rest of the day.

Overall it was a great day, if you’re looking for a quick scenic half next year I’d definitely recommend considering the Palace Half. The route was scenic and relatively flat, the crowds were good and the medal was cool (as to be expected from a Run Through event).

After racing the last four weekends in a row I’m looking forward to doing a steady long run at the weekend before tapering ahead of the Boston Marathon. I hope those of you that raced or had long training runs at the weekend enjoyed it and got the results/times you wanted. I love this time of year when everyone is racing and training hard. It’s inspiring to see so many great performances every weekend.

See a lot of you soon.


The Run Through Chase The Sun Battersea Park 10k

On the 14th of September I took part in the Run Through Chase The Sun Battersea Park 10k. I wasn’t planning on racing in this event but decided to get a late race entry on the evening. The initial plan was to run from work to Battersea Park to watch and cheer on Michalis and Lorna running the 10k. Michalis is training for the Athens Marathon and was using the race to gauge his fitness and as Lorna runs at a similar pace she was going to pace him. Unfortunately after running at Track on Tuesday Lorna picked up an injury and was unable to take part but we were still going along to cheer him on. As I hadn’t raced in a while I decided it would be good to see where my fitness was.

It was a nice evening for it.

Having not ran at track or done decent mileage consistently over the last couple of months I knew I wouldn’t be anywhere near my PB. Add to that the fact I had done the work run club at lunchtime (8k) and ran to Battersea Park (10k) then I couldn’t expect a super quick time. However, I thought it would be a good test of my fitness to try and do a quick 10k having done track the previous day and a fair few miles in the day. I decided I would pace myself to try and aim for 36 minutes. Having done a Run Through Battersea Park 10k before I knew the route was nice and flat and that there weren’t many corners to slow me down. Before the start I was excited to be racing again after a while off. Having picked up my race number and dropped my bag off, Michalis and I went for a little jog to warm up. I was already pretty well warmed up from the run across the city. Before we knew it we were off, I started on 36 minute pace and felt comfortable over the first lap. It was good to see friendly faces on the route, David Gardiner was marshalling so I saw him on the first corner every lap and Lorna was positioned just after the bandstand so it was nice to have her there cheering me on and taking snaps.

As the laps went by my legs were tightening and it became harder to stay on 36 minute pace, the last two laps were especially hard. I was feeling the effects of track the previous day but after all it was the plan to push it and see what I could do on tired legs. Over the last couple of kilometres I eased up as I didn’t want to risk an injury so close to the Cologne Marathon. I managed to finish in 4th in 36:20 which I was really happy with, I thought I had lost more fitness since the London Marathon.

After crossing the line I picked up a drink, some flapjack and this cool medal:

 Lorna and I then cheered Michalis through the line. He ran through the finish looking really strong, smashing his PB. Over the last few months he has put in great training, I’m excited to see what he can do in the Athens Marathon in a few weeks. A massive shout out has to go to Paul Piper who won the 5k in 15:49, rapid! Also Martin White who I run with at The Running Works Run Club ran really well clocking 18:31 on tired legs having raced loads over the last couple of months.

Overall it was a productive and enjoyable Wednesday evening. I always enjoy the Run Through events. They are well organised, the route in Battersea Park is perfect for a fast time and the goodies at the finish line are great. If you haven’t done any of their races before I definitely recommend you check out what they’ve got coming up, no doubt they will be organising a race in a park/area near you in the not too distant future. Their website is: http://www.runthrough.co.uk. I will be trying to make it to more of their events soon.

Hope everyone’s running is going well. See a lot of you soon


The Run Through Battersea Park 10k January 16th 2016

On Saturday I took part in my first race of the year. I signed up with a group of friends, mainly because we enjoyed the Run Through Battersea Park 5k near the end of 2015. Being in marathon training I’ve been doing relatively high mileage weeks and therefore I didn’t set a goal time and was definitely not aiming for a PB. In December I ran a lot, mainly because I was doing Advent Running and I wanted to get in good mileage which would equate to base fitness to start marathon training. On Saturday morning I woke up quite early to head across the city, I was really excited to be racing again. I got to Battersea Park in plenty of time so I collected my number with ease, the Run Through races are always well organised in regards to number collection, bag drop etc. I met with friends and went through the normal “How are you feeling? Are you aiming for a time?” pre-race chat. We did a little bit of a jog to warm up and headed to the start line.
Once we got to the start we all positioned ourselves according to our expected finish times. Myself and Jonny went near the front knowing we’d run about 37-38 minutes or so and that we’d finish quite near the front. I bumped into George Lloyd on the start line; he’d been in The Running Works on a couple of occasions. He was a speaker at our Beyond 26.2 (ultramarathon) running event with OMM and for a triathlon seminar. We had a quick catch up before the start but then we were off. A few runners went out in front and opened up a gap quickly. Myself and Jonny set off around 3:45 min/km pace. We held this pace for the majority of the race and this meant we overtook a few people on the third lap.
Having already run 90k+ throughout the week my legs were starting to feel a bit cranky on the third lap. Just after going through the finish area for the third time I could see George through the trees around a corner. He was probably about 400-500 metres in front of me and Jonny. I was in two minds as to whether to go for it and try and catch him or just hold the 3:45 min/km pace I was around. I took the corner where I’d seen George and decided to start upping it, even if I couldn’t catch him it would mean the race would be done quicker. Also I’m pretty competitive and like a challenge. As I kept pushing the pace I was closing the gap, I got onto the long home straight about 50-100m behind him and went up another gear to catch him. With 50m or so to go I was on his shoulder, he must’ve heard my footsteps as he turned around and said “Shit, Steve!” It was a funny moment. He upped his pace but because I was already sprinting I went passed and finished just a few seconds before him. 

After the race we had a chat and George let me know he got a 10k PB, I love it when people race each other and then that results in someone getting a personal best. If you’re reading this George, well done, especially considering the cold.

I really enjoy the Run Through Battersea Park races, they are perfect for getting PBs and testing your speed. Shortly after crossing the line Jonny came storming through, he smashed his 10k PB finishing in around 36:30. A lot of the group achieved personal bests; I think Mark knocked a bit of time off, being paced by Bart. Hanif, Michalis & Alice all finished strongly and in great times too. Lorna and Liv also did really well. Liv has recently started running due to living with Lorna, she took part in Advent Running and then Lorna signed her up for the 10k, her first race. They were aiming for around 46 minutes; Lorna’s chip time was 46:01 I think, pretty impressive pacing. They both looked as though they enjoyed the run as they flew over the finish line. It was cool to be there to cheer them in. 

 Another great Run Through medal added to the collection

Overall it was a great first race in 2016. Next up is the South trailscape marathon on Saturday; I’m looking forward to hitting the trails and racing with the Advent Running trail team again. I hope everyone had a good weekend whether you were racing or training.

See a lot of you soon

Mo Santa Olympic Park thingy 

Yesterday I took part in the Queen Elizabeth OR Mo Santa Olympic Park 10k race (I have no idea what the actual official name of this race is/was!). I signed up a while ago because a lot of friends wanted to race it. Originally the plan was to dress up and do it for fun but as the event got closer I wanted to see what time I could get. Myself, Jonny and Alan were going to dress up as Mary, Joseph and Jesus but Alan didn’t race in the end. I decided to wear a Santa hat and some tinsel to get into the festive spirit as well as race. Lorna, Emily and I got on the tube to head over to the Olympic Park, due to the weather we were not looking forward to the run. However knowing the rest of the Bartpack were going to be there we knew it would be fun even in the cold and rain.

Racing in the 10k was Lorna, Emily, Freya, Mary (I mean Jonny!), Toni, Greig, Michalis, Eilidh and a very weary Steve, 11 days into Advent Running. A lot of the group signed up to the race aiming for certain times. With tinsel attached to trainers and a Santa hat squeezed on my head we made our way to the start line. Queue a couple of pre-race photos:   

Greig, me, Lorna, Freya, Eilidh, Toni, Michalis, Emily and Mary… I mean Jonny.  

Due to wanting to see how fast I could run the 10k, I snuck my way towards the front of the field. Once near the front I bumped into a runner that has been reading my blog, it’s quite strange when you meet people that know you via social media. Joe had stumbled across my blog when researching the Thames Meander Marathon and he did really well in the November race finishing in 3:06. I’d done the August race which I loved, mainly because I got a personal best and finally went sub 3. We had a quick chat and then the race started. My legs were feeling a little ropey from the trailscape marathon the previous Saturday but I was hoping after a mile or two I would settle into a good pace and be able to do a time somewhere around 36 minutes. Luckily this ended up being the case; the route was nice and relatively flat. Also the weather was good for running in, just not standing around before and after the race. I set off at around 6 minute mile pace aiming for that 36 finishing time. I was in about 10th place or so and made it an aim to chase as many runners down as possible. In recent races I’ve found it much nicer to chase people down and move forward as the miles go by. In order to achieve a PB in shorter races I’ve found you have to enter the suffer zone as I like to call it. I spent a long time in that zone for Bristol 10k when I did 35:31 earlier in the year. Due to going to track for the last few months and racing a fair bit my fitness has improved quite a lot and therefore holding a pace of sub 6 minutes per mile felt relatively comfortable in the early stages of the 10k. As the race went on I felt strong and focussed on overtaking the runner in front. I enjoyed the route as it was two laps and due to zig-zagging around the Olympic park you got to see lots of other runners and give them a shout.

The first lap went to plan and I felt I still had a lot left in the tank to go through the gears over second 5k. Mark was feeling a bit under the weather (maybe hungover from last Saturday like Alan!? Haha) so he was there supporting instead of racing. It was good to see him at halfway; he got some good photos of everyone. Here’s my mobot:   

 I had a couple of runners to chase down and with 3 miles to go I started thinking about how many minutes I would have left to suffer for. I kept thinking “the quicker I run the quicker I’m in warm clothes and eating food” ha. I quite enjoy routes that are two laps, probably because I’m not the biggest fan of surprises, especially surprises like massive hills around corners on races (you all know what I mean). I also enjoyed the route because it weaved around the Olympic park; I find it boring and tedious running long straight sections of road, so this broke it up in to chunks.  

I managed to pick up the pace quite a bit and finished 7th with a time of 34:58 on the chip. This meant I’d got a new personal best by 33 seconds. I’m really happy with that result, especially after the trailscape marathon in Cuxton the week before and I’d done a relatively high number of miles in the week due to the Advent Running streak. After finishing, I caught up with the cheer crew (Mark). We cheered in the rest of the Bartpack; they all did really well. A lot of them got personal bests, well done Lorna, Emily (knocked a massive 3 minutes off her PB), Freya (went sub 40 mins for the first time), Toni (finished first female) and Michalis. Greig and Jonny also had really strong races. Jonny went sub 40 which is a great effort in that attire:   

 Mary and Freya on sub 40 pace

 Post race selfie with Lorna (@lorns_runs)

Overall the race was well organised, Run Through always do things well. My only constructive criticism would be for them to put a sheet under the bags in the bag drop tent, as afterwards when I wanted to be in warm dry clothes I ended up having to wear wet jeans, not great. I would also try and position the finish line on a straight so runners don’t have to change direction when sprinting through the line and over the timing mats. This is something that I have found a little frustrating when doing the Battersea races but overall the route was good, the marshals were really supportive and the finisher’s tees and race medals are great.  
That’s my racing for 2015 done; it’s been great fun doing races from one mile to 100k and everything in between. Thanks to all of you that I’ve run and raced with this year. Here’s the medal collection:  

 Which of these races have you done this year and what is your favourite race and/or medal? Comment on here or contact me on Twitter/Instagram @StephenSkinner6.

I will be writing a blog post soon about which races and events I’m doing next year and what goals I am setting. See a lot of you soon


Photos courtesy of Mark and Lorna. 

Sometimes not racing

Over the last few weeks I haven’t raced much. Having run quite a few events throughout the year I felt as though it would be good to have a week or so not pushing myself and to relax a little. I have still been running around 60 miles a week including track which is pretty big and I did a few long runs with friends on the Sundays between the Isle of Wight Fell running series and now.  Two weeks not racing was good, it was a little strange but it was actually great fun to be the other side of the barriers cheering on friends at the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday 11th October. Myself and Lorna used the app to track everyone and make sure we were in the right place at the right time to see everyone fly passed. Having taken it relatively easy for a couple weeks I decided to have a weekend of 5ks. I had already signed up to the Battersea Park 5k on Sunday 18th and also decided to do the Hilly Fields parkrun on Saturday.

Since joining The Running Works/ Run Fast and finishing Race to the Stones 100k I have been going to Mile End Stadium for Track Tuesday consistently, sometimes just a couple days after a race. My times on track have been coming down and therefore I knew I was due a 5k PB at some point. This was mainly because I hadn’t done a flat fast 5k in a while. I went to Hilly Fields parkrun on Saturday because I knew it would be great fun, having been a few times over the last couple years to promote the London Marathon Store when I was working there. As well as being fun I knew it was Hilly as the name suggests so wasn’t aiming for a PB but a course PB. Feeling well rested I went out with the lead pack and managed to hold a good pace hitting the inclines. I guess the training weekend on the South Downs Way, running over Seven Sisters and doing the Isle of Wight Fell running series has helped me in terms of getting stronger running up hills. I was pushing the pace but felt good so went with it. I managed to open up a gap at the front and finish in a time of 17:05. I love runs when you surprise yourself, this was one of those runs as I felt strong and managed to get a personal best by one second. 

   Having clocked a new PB I was wondering whether I would feel tired for the Run Through Battersea 5k or whether I would feel stronger because of the hill running. Luckily I woke up on Sunday feeling good. A few friends had signed up to the race, Jonny & Mark (aka Freya) for the 5k and Anna doing the 10k. Jonny has been training for Dublin Marathon and therefore is in great shape at the moment. Due to having to pay the same amount of money for the 5 or 10k not many people do the 5k so I had a feeling it might be me and Jonny running together at the front.  

 We sped off pretty quick, we were running at about 5:30 min/mile pace and ran together for most of the first lap. Having done 18k the previous day Jonny couldn’t quite hold the pace so I pulled away a little and managed to keep a consistent pace for the race. Generally when I’ve raced in the past I sit on someone’s shoulder and then try and take them near the end but on Sunday I wanted a PB and to push myself well under 17 minutes so I went for it. It was good to have Jonny racing, I felt under pressure to hold the pace and get across the line first. I managed to finish in 16:34 knocking 31 seconds off my 1 day old personal best. 

I felt relief that I’d managed the sub 17 and that the track work and reasonably high mileage was paying off. Jonny finished in second in 17:09 which was a massive PB too. Mark knocked one second off his PB as well; basically what I’m saying is if you want to run a PB you should run on track and get involved in the next Run Through 5k/10k in November. If it fits in the race calendar I’ll definitely be back again.

Basking in our glory, a few friends (Emily, Michalis & Mark) met us in Battersea Park to add on a few miles and head for food. We went along the river banking 8 or so miles and rewarded ourselves at Byron burger which is becoming a bit of a regular thing.  

 Around the 5ks at the weekend I chilled out and I now feel ready to take on the Bristol + Bath Marathon at the weekend. There won’t be a PB but it’ll be a nice run and great to have family up from Devon to support me. Luckily I have a week off work next week to recover and then I’ll be gearing up for another marathon, the first of the Trailscape race series on Saturday 31st October.

I would give people shoutouts for incredible achievements over the last couple weeks/weekends but this blog post would be the longest ever. You know who you are, keep being awesome and inspiring!

See a lot of you soon


Richmond Park Half Marathon 2015

Last Sunday I ran the Run Through Richmond Park Half Marathon. As with all the Run Through events it was amazingly well organised and so smooth in terms of picking up my race number, dropping my bag etc. If only I was as organised as them! So I knew there were railworks going on and that I would have to either bus it, walk or run from Hammersmith, but being lazy I didn’t really research the route. I also didn’t take into account how much slower my walking pace is compared to running and therefore left myself a bit short of time getting there. I tweeted the other day saying how I sometimes leave a minimal amount of time to get to a place so it becomes a running challenge. I tend to only do this on occasions when it doesn’t really matter if I’m late but it still feels like a running version of a Top Gear challenge to me!

Right where was I, Sheen gate that’s where I was. Making up for my poor planning skills before, I nipped to the loo, before collecting my race number, as the queue was short. Something my “pacer” didn’t think of doing. I say pacer but if I’m honest we don’t really know who was pacing who and neither of us were aiming for a time. I spontaneously signed up to the race in the middle of the previous week and then Helena followed suit having seen the deer medal. It looks a lot like Bambi but I’m sure it’s probably called Barney or something or looks slightly different for copyright reasons. Casual as you like we headed to the start line having speedily sorted bags etc.  

 Photo of where I finished my run on Saturday, Hampstead Heath. I stopped to start following the Western States 100.

Helena had already run 7 miles to the start and I’d done 17.5 miles the day before so we basically decided to run at “party pace”. This was only the fourth time I’ve run a half marathon with someone else, two times I ran with my uncle and once was to about 10k at the Hackney Half with Alan. It’s good to run with someone and chat all the way round, the miles go quickly. Also because the route was 4 loops I didn’t really seem to notice that which could’ve been annoying if racing. For most of the run it didn’t feel like we were in the middle of a race. I guess that’s due to running steadily and there not being large crowds. That being said though at around halfway we got a rapturous reception from a young boy. When I say rapturous I mean he was clapping. I compared this to the London Marathon Tower Bridge moment! Big! 

I knew that another friend of mine was running and gunning for a PB. Nicolas achieved that PB in around 1:27. He stayed after and gave us high fives just before we started our last lap. We got round the last lap knowing the medal and a roast dinner was waiting for us. We finished in around 2:20, averaging around 10 min/mile, which was a good pace for the both of us and good to get some trail miles in. Helena tried to outsprint me at the finish and although the photo shows she did that, when the results came through we got the same time and I was placed infront, result! I love chip timing!  

 I’m smiling thinking “My chip time will mean I’m higher in the results!” Haha

After crossing the finish line we collected our medals and tucked in to some flapjacks etc which is another reason I love the Run Through events. 

After the race we eventually located a pub that served roasts. Yep that’s right, we came across a pub that didn’t serve roasts on a Sunday, pure madness! The roast was epic and was great recovery food and carb-loading all in one. So much so that after a power nap I was able to do a quick 10 miles around Viccy Park in the evening. 

Overall an enjoyable and pretty busy weekend of running. I hope everyone that’s been running and racing lots recently has been having fun.