30 June 2013


Team Harlequins @ Harvester 2013
(click on the photos for a full size version)

7 leg night orienteering relay: I am on first leg @ 00:05, time to hydrate - what? The rest of my team are drinking wine!

...and sharing Sticky Toffee Pudding

Researching the final control - I got the fastest split on my gaffle/gaffel

Originally organised by friends who "combined to harvest trophies"

Cake-Of-Mortality Section

No captions - just observe the expressions 

Normal Service Resumed

Add caption

Padre Brian gestures a blessing to map and next leg runner

Another course, another deep and muddy marsh

Post title explained
I ran 11.5km (gps) for an 8.5km (nominal) course - when normally I would expect to only be about 10% over as measured by gps.  Explanation:

A) There was a lot of bracken - so I went round most of the time
B) There was a lot of bracken and the controls were hung very low indeed

This was mostly my fault - having crossed the ride, end of the spur and noted the pit I was mislead by what I think is an un-marked very shallow north-south ditch and then wallowed around in head high bracken for 5 further minutes (now absolutely last and did not see another competitor for 20 minutes

Careful bearing from the wide ride/path junction and then pace in... what no control?  Look up and down the re-entrant - nope - relocate off the path and marsh to the south.  The control kite was VERY low down in the vegetation.

Getting just a little miffed with the control visibility.  Relocated off the path to the west and then down the raised area.  Never saw the shallow gully at all.

 Here is the whole course (click for larger size)

22 June 2013

I love it when a plan comes togeth... err oops!

Training this month has been all about running a PB at my 50th parkrun - and at my home parkrun - Cannon Hill.  A fast run at Aberystwyth, followed by tapering down this week had me in good shape for a Saturday morning sub 19:30.  I even had written down my target splits on a scrap of paper and adjusted my Garmin to show lap speeds (target 3:49)

And then what did Birmingham Parks Department do?

Build two two metre high fences across the parkrun course - no explanatory notices - just a fence by The Mac and another on the small bridge some 200m further north.  No chance to safely squeeze round this second and no way parkrun can go ahead on its official measured 5000m route.  A great way serve ~350 rate paying residents.

It has been rumoured several times that Birmingham City Council do not like parkrun - which may explain why in a city of a million souls there is just Cannon Hill.

What to do?  I paced out an alternate route and then the standard route tracks either side of the bridge.  6 double paces difference - that ~10 metres - times two because we normally cross the bridge twice - and the organisers moved the start back 12 of my paces.

Result?  PB of 19:22 and on my 50th parkrun - so it is cakes next week - when I will be tail-runner and will get a PW*

...and with that all out of the way - it is time to start training for Poland (http://www.ardf2013.pl/) in September

...training for Poland...

*Personal Worst.

15 June 2013

Travelling the country in search of the shortest 5k? Aberystwyth Parkrun!

Its a flat, sheltered and smooth course - but with 8 hairpin bends

A satisfied customer - up at 03:50AM, 130 miles over mountain and dale, 5km in 19:22 - that is 15 seconds faster than my best at Cannon Hill

GPS tracklog - make sure you have good cornering shoes on

14 June 2013

Bomber Who?

I know of two blokes called 'Bomber'- my colleague Mike Lancaster and...

Bomber Harris

Because of continuing controversy around the government policy of "area bombing" in WW2 there has never been a proper memorial to the 55,000 air crew plus greater numbers of civilians who died as a result of taking part in and suffering from bombing raids.  Nowadays we could just take out the bridges, railways, motorways and strategic communication hubs - back in 1940 "only one in three attacking aircraft got within five miles of their target"

Recently, and still controversial, a memorial has been built in Green Park.
Having seen the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight on Sunday and coming across this statue on my way back to Euston station I thought I should go and pay my respects.

Four Merlins and a Griffon

There was a big police presence positioned in the streets around Leicester Square - expecting some form of trouble or demonstration? Said one PC: "No, it is the Superman premiere ...and Russel Crowe is in town"

The memorial is at the West end of Green Park

There were a great many people paying their respects and discussing the bombing campaign and the part played in it by family members and others (My physics teacher was a Lancaster navigator).  Also the shame that it took nearly 70 years for the memorial to be authorised and constructed.

I found it all very calm, peaceful and I suffered a bit of welling up - especially on reading the note pinned to the roses...

It reads

 "To the brave men of Bomber Command on 70th anniversary of the Dambusters raids - thank you for our freedom.  I will never forget.  Joanna Lampard"


There is a 24 hour police guard at the memorial - I asked why and was directed to...


"but police are not sure if it was carried out by Muslim protesters or far-right groups trying to stir up trouble"