Early on Sunday morning Karen Dare and Isobel Clarke took on the gruelling challenge of the Marlow Half Iron distance triathlon. The plan was hatched in January 2014: Karen hadn't swum nor ridden a bike in years but fancied a change from 'just' running, Isobel had done a few sprint triathlons but wanted to go longer. Six months of heavy training and both were as ready as they could be...
The heatwave of the week before was worrying but the day started overcast and slightly cooler. After no sleep and a very early start the girls arrived at 6am and set up transition kit in a very crowded area.
The 1.9km swim was to take place in the Thames over a 1 lap course. A last minute change made it 2 shorter laps with men starting 15mins ahead of the women (you can see what's going to happen!). The start was frantic with arms and legs flailing in all directions, there were several stops and direction adjustments before swimming happened. Isobel found clear water and had an uneventful swim. Karen found a patch of diesel, swam into a swan, got kicked in the head, arm and leg, had a leaky goggle and was swum over the top of by the leading men on their second lap! Both finished the swim in one piece and ran slowly into transition, once Karen had regained use of her legs.
Off on the bike route - 86km (that's 54 miles). The 'fast and flat' course had been changed due to roadworks and was now 3 laps of a slightly undulating course with a nasty hill. The homemade flapjacks worked a treat (ask Karen for the recipe) and coupled with energy gels both girls were well nourished. Isobel drank too much water and had to stop for a wee, Karen didn't drink enough. Isobel stormed the bike leg, Karen was more steady (ie: slower).
Off on the 4 lap run. By now the temperature was hotting up but the sky was still overcast so neither girl put their hat on - oops. Isobel had a steady run with a couple of wee stops and heart issues. Karen was smiling as she started sying to supporters that it was her favourite part. Karen was gaining some time on Isobel but then the sun came out, the temperature soared and after a good 8 miles started to have chest problems forcing her to stop; walk/running while tipping bottles of water over her head became the best she could mange in order to complete the event in one piece. Isobel stormed across the line in a fantastic 6hrs 3mins. Karen finished a bit later but alive. Both girls were completely elated but absolutely shattered.
Despite telling Isobel and MM supporters that she was going to sell her bike and wetsuit on Ebay, Karen will be attempting another half ironman next year. But she will drink on the bike, use her legs more swimming, doing core exercises and putting her hat on for the run. Isobel will be drinking and visiting the loo less in an attempt to break into the sub-6hr category!
The pair would like to thank the MM supporters (Paula, Sharon, Kathryn and Anne) for being there on the day - you've no idea how good it was to see you many times during the event and for taking care of us afterwards. To all the other MMs who helped along the way with training runs, advice, support and positivity although most of you told us we were mad! Thanks to Sam for the triathlon and fitness advice and everything else.
Bewl 15 - 6th July
A decent turn out from Mel's Milers at this mostly trail run around Bewl Water. Congratulations to Alistair Fitzgerald (2:16:46), Sue Endacott (2:24:26), Anne Billingham (2:24:56), Fiona Mcdougall (2:26:03) and Anna Ramage (2:32:45).
Cranleigh 10k - 6th July
A new route saw the end of jostling for position at the beginning of this year's race. The early part no longer follows the Down's Link and farmland, but is on road for about 6k (with a lovely little hill very early on!). As in previous years, the final few kilometers head back along the Link towards the recreation ground allowing for a good view of finishers over their last hundred yards. Congratulations to the three Mel's Milers at this one - Liz Hutchinson (48:52), Paula Lintott (58:08) and Jo Doran (65:16).
Weald Challenge Ultra - 25th May
Four brave Mel's Milers took on this new 50k challenge... Clare Browning (6:25:37), Tina Fowler (6:26:38), Anna Ramage (6:27:29) and Rick Duffy (6:36:02). From the smiles (mostly!) on their faces as they crossed the finish line, a good time was had by all; or they were just very happy it was over! If you want to make your own mind up, you can watch them on the video available on the Weald Challenge website (our runners feature at about 5:25mins).
Horsham 10k - 18th May
Congratulations to Colin Shaw for a fantastic performance at this years race, taking the M70 1st prize finishing in 52:12, over a minute ahead of his closest rival!
Just two idiots were foolish enough to think 50 miles on the North Downs Way was a good idea, Sharon Frankland and Liz Hutchinson (12:07:13). The steps up Box Hill after 25 miles almost put paid to any positivity (temporarily of course!). Good weather, fabulous views and an aid station with ice cream made this a great run. Huge respect to Sharon for cycling to Horsham rugby club the following morning to support Horsham 10k!
Five Mel's Milers completed the London Marathon this year with the most improved runner being Sharon Frankland, who completed the race in 3hrs 59mins. Other members were Sarah Curran (4hrs 01min), Fiona McDougall (4hrs 11mins), Robin Fairhurst (4hrs 31mins) and Magic Martin Sanderson (4hrs 40mins). Well done to all of them for making it to the end despite some wobbly moments !
Worthing Christmas Cracker : 5th December 2009
To get Christmas off to a good start twelve little elves from Mel's Milers ran the ladies only 10k race along the seafront at Worthing. The red shorts and pointy ears got them noticed and did not detract from some good running performances. They also got a few odd looks in Costas afterwards !
Barns Green Half Marathon : 1st November 2009
A good turn-out of Mel's Milers this year at our local race despite the awful weather. Well done to the everyone who ran, and the club supporters, who were nicely distributed along the course keeping the spirits up and trying to stay dry. Special mentions for Paula who easily managed her target of sub-two hours and Queenie for a fine PB of 1:44. Stamina awards for Tina who was running on 7 glasses of wine from the night before, and Dawn who had a close encounter with the tarmac in the first mile !
London Duathlon : 13th September 2009
This summer saw a rush of bike buying as all those pub cycle rides turned some runners into a bunch of budding duathloners. An impressive 9 club members made it to the start line of the London Duathlon in Richmond Park on 13th September, and all finished the race in good times with no spills. Some of the times for the final 5k run were pretty amazing, but the transition times were rather slow in some cases. (What were you doing Ed ?) Room for improvements next year so keep up the spinning everyone !
Southwater Triathlon : 6th September 2009
Well done to the three Mel's Milers who took the plunge in this year's local triathlon relay. Anna, Clare and Victoria - we admire your bravery in getting into that cold, murky lake. Glad you made it to the other side !
South Downs Marathon Relay : 13th June 2009
Two ladies' teams of four were entered for this trail run along the South Downs Way. The race started at Slindon College and finished at Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield, with three change-over points along the way, which added the extra challenge of driving the team members between the different points. The route was tough but scenic, and both teams managed to find their way and each other without too much difficulty. Mel's Merry Milers finished the marathon course in 3 hours 59 minutes, and Mel's Extra Milers in 4 hours 8 minutes, giving them overall positions of 45th and 52nd out of 81 teams. The eight girls enjoyed the race and well deserved lunch on the way home, and are hoping to be back next year.
Bluebell 10k, Angmering : April 2009
The Bluebell 10k is a popular one to start the Spring racing season, as you can always enjoy the flowers even if you're not enjoying the run ! All six Milers look quite happy after the race, and have obviously already forgotten that killer hill at the end !
London Marathon : April 2009
Well done to this year's group of Milers who completed the marathon in London with the usual support from other club members. Wendy and Sue deserve special congratulations for being first-timers and raising lots of money for their charities.
Paris Marathon : April 2009
Congratulations also to Sharon and Tony who decided to try the Paris marathon instead. By all accounts it was a good one, with wider roads than London, and they were both very pleased with their times, helped along by the shouts of 'Allez Sharon' !
Leith Hill Half Marathon : March 2009
Sharon and Dawn decided to have a go at this lethal sounding race in its second year. With an ascent of over 1800 feet, and subsequent descent, it was never going to be fast or easy. However the girls enjoyed the friendly race on a scenic course and finished tired but elated. The cooked breakfast afterwards made it all worthwhile, and the event got the thumbs up.
Mel's Milers 10k 2014 , Sunday 30th March, results now online. See 2014 10k Results page.