Tag Archives: Team Iffley

Colchester Half Marathon 2019

On Sunday the 24th of March I took part in the Colchester Half Marathon. It was my fourth time running the race; it is easy logistically because Lorna’s parents live a mile from the start/finish. As the event was 5 weeks after the Seville Marathon I was a little apprehensive as I didn’t know if my legs had fully recovered and I hadn’t ran at or quicker than half marathon pace for a long time. However, with the London Marathon coming up I was keen to see what shape I was in. In the week leading up to the race I was in two minds whether to race it or run it at marathon pace. As the weather forecast looked good, I decided to ease off training and make a call on the day.

The Colchester Half Marathon is always a competitive affair for the Elliott family, this year was no different with Lorna, Alex, Rob, Rachel and Phil all taking part. We opted for an easy 5k shake out run on Saturday morning to loosen the legs up. I was looking forward to seeing how everyone else would get on, knowing they had been training well. Most of the group, including Robbie, Smithy, Helen and Andy were gunning for PBs. Our good friend Simon made the trip to Essex to take part in the race, with Abi and Beau as cheer crew. Despite losing to Lorna’s Dad we had fun playing crazy golf in the afternoon and then fueled up on Nandos (plainish, if you were wondering) in the evening before getting an early night.

With the race starting at 9am we woke up at 7am to have breakfast and get our race kit ready. I slept well and my legs felt good. Over the last few years I finished the Colchester Half within 75 minutes, qualifying for London Marathon Championship entry. As the conditions were perfect, I decided to aim for sub 75 again. I figured it isn’t very often you get the chance to race in good weather so wanted to make the most of it. I also thought if I can hold 3:30 min/km pace for a half then marathon pace would feel more comfortable in the following weeks once recovered. We all headed to Colchester Community Stadium to drop our bags and get on the start line.

Having finished 2nd and 3rd in 2017 and 2018 respectively I positioned myself near the front. Last year I opted to attack the first 5k and bank some time, on this occasion I settled into 3:30min/km pace and held back on the downhill sections. I remembered suffering through the last 5k or so in the race previously, so I tried to conserve energy.

As the first couple of kilometers are flat/gradually downhill I kept an eye on my watch to check I was on the correct pace. With half marathons it’s incredibly easy to go out quick and suffer trying to hold on. Luckily, I felt really relaxed in the opening stages, my legs felt fresh and I knew if I could get through the first 10-11k on goal pace I would do well as the second half is relatively flat.

I managed to keep a consistent pace despite the short sharp North Hill. I always push up the hill and then get back into my stride down through the High Street. As always, the support was great. Heading along Ipswich Road, which is a gradual uphill, I was still holding goal pace and feeling comfortable. In contrast to the last few years I had a couple of other runners for company which was nice. I was soon winding my way through the industrial estate and got a few cheers from friends around the course.

Running along Langham Lane and Dedham Road it is quieter. Luckily, I had closed the gap to a runner, so I worked with them from 16k onwards. My legs were starting to tighten but they didn’t feel half as bad as they did in 2017 and 2018 along this part of the route. I turned onto Straight Road which lasts for a good 4 to 5 kilometers. I knew this was where I needed to focus and work hard. The long straight road is demoralising but Lorna’s parents live a mile from the stadium so I always look forward to support from her family and know I can grit my teeth to the finish line.

Nearing the football stadium I checked my watch to see I was still holding 3:30min/km on average so I knew I was going to clock inside 75 minutes. I managed a sprint finish to cross the line in 73:58 in 9th position.

Iffley Road Lancaster Vest, adidas Split Shorts, Stance Socks & adidas Adios.

I congratulated runners nearby before grabbing my bag to watch everyone finish with Abi and Beau. There were some cracking performances including personal bests from Robbie (1:22:53), Alex (1:25:20), Helen (1:29:39), Smithy (1:32:04), Andy (1:33:52) and Rob (1:39:49). Lorna clocked another great time (1:33:52) while pacing Smithy and Andy for parts of the race.

The squad: Me, Andy, Helen, Phil, Alex, Smithy, Rob, Lorna, Rachel and Simon.

Another couple of Colchester Half Marathon medals to add to our collection.

Overall it was a great event, no doubt I will be back in 2020 to try and go quicker.

Steve

Team Iffley

I have been part of Team Iffley for over a year now and think it is about time I explained how and why I partner with Iffley Road as well as letting you know about my favourite pieces of kit.

I first became aware of Iffley Road back in 2015, I was attending an event celebrating the first birthday of Like the Wind Magazine and got talking to founders Claire & Bill. As I was in the middle of training for my first marathon I asked them for advice on balancing speed sessions and long runs. They were both really helpful and I could tell how passionate they were about running straight away. Subsequently Claire emailed me a few book recommendations that have been great. Following the event I started following Iffley Road on social media and kept a close eye on what kit they were releasing. I was really impressed with the brand image and the functionality of the apparel.

I love their “Icons” video: https://youtu.be/Z5Tuats6HtU

My opportunity to work with the brand arose when they were looking for ambassadors through the Freestak platform. I applied straight away and was lucky that Claire and Bill liked my ideas and thought I would work well in the team. Since then I have written a number of pieces, sketched some of my favourite London landscapes and worn their kit for hundreds of miles in training and racing.

I am really excited to work with Iffley Road in 2018. Team Iffley includes Ben Fogle, James Beckinsale, Tom Wheatley & Sam Pearce.

My favourite Iffley Road kit

Marlow Running Jacket Night Sky Orange

I practically live in my Marlow jacket. It is really lightweight for a water proof jacket and the sizeable back pocket is perfect for cards, keys and phone. The elasticated cuffs and hem ensure it fits nicely, there is a good amount of room for swinging your arms and there isn’t too much excess material which can be typical of other waterproof jackets.

Hove Running Top Night Sky

I have been wearing the Hove long sleeve top for the last few months and it fast became one of my favourite pieces of Iffley apparel. It is the perfect top for cooler weather and is incredibly functional thanks to the tri-stripe hanging loop and in-seam pocket for a card and keys.

Cambrian Chevron Running T-Shirt Vivo Red

Last year Iffley Road designed kit for the Vivo elite race team. As it was popular the two brands have created a limited edition range perfect for chasing PBs. I have raced a lot in my Cambrian Chevron T-Shirt; it is really lightweight, soft and breathable. As with the Hove Running Top it features an in-seam pocket so it is ideal for long training runs.

Lancaster Striped Running Vest Track White Blue

The Lancaster Vest is great in hot weather. I wore mine on holiday in Barcelona last year when it was 30 degrees and it wicked well and dried quickly. I have found that all my Iffley tops dry really quickly which is excellent.

Thompson 6” Running Shorts

Whenever I’m running and just need a card and keys I always opt for my Thompson Shorts. They are really comfortable and feature side pockets as well as a zipped inner pocket. As they are relatively short I often wear them to race in.

Admittedly Iffley Road running wear is often a little more expensive than other brands. However, having ran in most of their range I think it is good value as it is durable, functional and more often than not becomes a favourite that you will wear on a regular basis. Personally I see running kit as a good investment, the more you can run in comfort the better.

I hope you have found this piece insightful. If you would like any specific information about any of the Iffley kit please don’t hesitate to comment or write to me on Twitter or Instagram (@SteveSkinner_).

Steve

The Bideford 10k 2017 

On Sunday the 14th of May I took part in the Bideford 10k. Lorna and I signed up because my mum and cousin Tilly (alongside Uncle Andrew) were taking part in their first 10k races. I never imagined that my mum would take up running but a few months back she started training. She ran the Tamar Lakes parkrun before increasing her mileage gradually. I loved getting texts like “Am really enjoying running in this fab weather. Did 5 miles this morning. Have ran 47.5 miles so far this month!” I think she must’ve been inspired by reading Jo Pavey’s book This Mum Runs, I managed to get it signed when Jo came into The Running Works and sent it to mum for Christmas. It was also great to know Tilly and Uncle Andrew were training well; I could see they were increasing their mileage sensibly, thanks Strava. My Auntie Hannah decided not to do the 10k as she wanted to cheer but she has recently started running as well. She is a regular parkrunner and has been really enjoying it; she’s lost a lot of weight and knocked a massive amount of time off her parkrun PB in the last few months. I’m really proud of all of them for starting running and making so much progress.

It had been 8 months since I had last been in Devon so this trip was well overdue. We got the train to Exeter on Friday night to get a lift to Pyworthy with Sarah (my sister).

On Saturday morning Lorna and I went for a 6k shakeout run, the weather was great and it was nice to be out in the fresh air. After freshening up we popped up to see my gran and grandad. As Lorna hadn’t been to their house before I showed her the shed where I used to help grandad with odd jobs and play darts. It was great to be back there, it was funny because in my mind the kitchen and shed were a lot bigger but I guess I remember them through a small persons eyes. After a good catch up Sarah, Lorna and I travelled down to Bude for lunch and an ice cream.

When we got back my stepsisters Nic and Kelly and my nephew Caleb had arrived. It was great to see them and play trains with Caleb; it’s amazing how much he has grown and he can speak so well. The day was flying by, we chilled for a little bit and then went out for a meal. We all carb loaded up for the race, and then we watched some TV and got an early night.

Race day arrived; I woke up around 7am feeling fresh and raring to go. With the race not starting until 10:30am we had plenty of time for breakfast and to sort race kit.

I opted for my new Iffley Road Lancaster Maple Stripe Vest, Thompson Gravel Black Shorts, Stance Uncommon Solids Crew socks and my trusty Adidas Adios.

We arrived in Bideford an hour before the start, this allowed us to catch up with everyone and do a little bit of a warm up. In the lead up to the race I was feeling really relaxed, I think it always helps having either friends or family around. Also, I hadn’t really set a goal time or trained specifically for the race so there was no added stress. I was excited for my mum and Tilly and couldn’t wait to see how they’d get on. As 10:30 neared we all positioned ourselves on the road side, no start corrals here. Having looked at the results from 2016 and knowing the route narrowed over a bridge in the first kilometre I decided it would be good to start on the line.

After training for and completing the Boston Marathon my legs were feeling good. In the weeks since the marathon I did the Hackney Half, went to track a couple of times and have started to increase the mileage again. With my 10k PB being 34:50 I decided to aim for 3:30min/km pace and go from there. Joining everyone else in speeding off the line I went through the first kilometre in 3:21. This was a little quick however knowing there was a short sharp incline at the start of the second kilometre I was happy to bank a few seconds. After the climb I settled into my target pace, I was in about 9th position but after a few more kilometres I passed a few runners. The front two were off into the distance, not to be seen again but there was a small group that I could try and reel in. I was closing the gap, probably around 200m or so behind them at the turn at Instow (5k in). After making the turn the wind was blowing straight into my face, I decided to close up on the group and tuck in behind for a while. I eased off a bit and this cost me a few seconds, my 7th kilometre took 3:44. Despite the wind it was nice to be running alongside the River Torridge. When there were openings in the trees on my left I tried to spot Lorna, Tilly, Uncle Andrew or mum on the road to see how they were getting on. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of them. My legs were feeling good, I passed the group of runners and set my sights on trying to catch 3rd place. One of the runners from the group upped his pace and stayed on my heels. I picked the pace up a little clocking 3:37 and 3:34 for my 8th and 9th kilometres. I crossed the bridge and dodged an elderly couple with bikes at the traffic lights. With 400m to go I moved through the gears, I couldn’t catch the runner ahead but I made sure not to be overtaken. I crossed the line in 35:02, 4th position.


I had a quick chat with Sarah, Auntie Hannah, Eliza (cousin/chief cheerer), Auntie June, Nic, Caleb, Auntie Kath, Uncle Dave & Bex before running down the home straight with Lorna, cheering her in. She finished in 43:58, 90th overall and 4th in her category.

I met her after she came through the finish line, we then ran down the finishing straight with Tilly and Uncle Andrew. She was still running really well and my uncle was encouraging her all the way.

She crossed the line in 51:58, 354th position, 4th in her age category. Well done Tilly (and Uncle Andrew)! Lorna and I ran to the bridge again to wait for my mum to cross the river. We were looking out for her pink high-vis top. She took the corner smiling and waving at us. She asked how we’d got on whilst upping her pace in the last 400m. I went ahead to get a good position to cheer her in, I gave her a high five and she crossed the line in 1:01:24, 708th overall, 32nd in her age category.

It was such an awesome moment and I’m so proud of her for putting in the training and finishing the race.


Overall it was an awesome race and a great day. Here’s a link to a video of the race: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mTb__u4gh1w.

I’m hoping we can all do a race again soon and I’m looking forward to seeing how much they all progress in the next few months with other events coming up.

Next up for me: Night of the 10,000m PBs (20/5) and the Westminster Mile (28/5)
See a lot of you soon

Steve