Looking for some running inspiration?

As the nights are drawing in and the weather is turning bleak, we thought we would try and cheer you up by reminiscing about sunnier, hotter times. We are also no strangers to the difficulty of finding motivation to train in the rain (and wind and darkness!), so thought a few race reports and an event to sign up to might just do the trick.

Whilst we’ve got a long list of exciting races for the remainder of 2023 and the whole of 2024 lined up here, the main club event for 2024 is our licensed Jersey Cancer Relief Half Marathon on Sunday 8th September 2024. Why not sign up, put it in your diary and start planning your training… a PB awaits!

If you’re not convinced yet, or even if you are but are just seeking some additional motivation, keep reading and hear from a few senior JSAC members, about their experiences running the Canaccord Jersey Half Marathon in June 2023. The members note how valuable regular group training sessions are. JSAC have a Tuesday evening interval session at 6pm at the Freedom Tree, Elizabeth Marina. It’s free for all, why not come along and try it out? Once a month there is a 5km race from West Park instead of the Tuesday training. See our events calendar for further details.

Now, onto the reports:

Justin & Kimberley Lloyd-Jones – Canaccord Jersey Half Marathon 2023

So, the 11th of June arrived far quicker than both Kimberley and I had thought it would. A landmark in the racing calendar for a lot of runners in Jersey and further afield. The Canaccord Jersey Half Marathon. An expertly organised race if ever there was one. We had seen many incarnations of this race and route changes along with that too. This year’s course had been altered to cater for those less comfortable with running on trails. This shows this race director is one with ears and a heart that listens to the feedback of its patrons.

Like any race, it is an opportunity for a runner to flex their running muscles with a show of strength and endurance not just physically but also mentally. After all, that Five Mile road is not for the feint hearted in any race, let alone when the sun is beating down on you. It can be like a never-ending road. A mirage that you never quite get to the end of.

Last year Kimberley was injured and so, unable to run the race and was stuck on the side-lines but there to support me and her friends and soak up the high energy but also, to experience that runner’s envy that I’m sure most Runners will know what I’m talking about. Last year had been a slight disaster for me having gone out way too fast like a puppy running with the faster runners but then blowing up halfway round and collapsing in a heap at the end. There is always a lesson to be learnt hey!

So, this year, for me, was about rewriting history and to not make the same mistake twice.  For Kimberley this was the first time to run this route and she had heard all the chat about how tough it was but this didn’t deter her. Like most runners we both love a challenge. If it was easy, we say, then everyone would do it! After all, we had done all the proper training for this hadn’t we?…hadn’t we?

Kimberley and I never feel like we have done enough training for any of the races we do. If we were to wait until we felt we were properly ready then we would never enter a race ever. As a lot of runners will tell you though, the best way is to just put your name down on the dotted line and not think too hard about it. Chris Evans said once ‘Anyone can do a half marathon but training makes it a lot more comfortable’.

When we thought hard about it and added up all the running we do in the week, just as part of our routine, we were surprised at how easily the milage clocks up. We do Parkrun on a Saturday, a long trail run on a Sunday and Spartans Interval training with Dave Woodsford and Glenn Springate on  Tuesdays. Interval training is such an important part of your running cycle and is a great way to push further than you thought you could but in a fun way. Glenn and Dave make it enjoyable with their nuggets of wisdom and interesting anecdotes to help you visualise the benefits of running in the Spartans group. That along with surrounding yourself with such positive genuinely lovely like-minded individuals makes it a recipe for success. I thoroughly recommend anyone to come along on a Tuesday night by the Freedom Tree near to the Radisson at 6pm where you will always get a warm welcome, no matter what your ability.

Anyway, back to the race. We made our way, on the Sunday, fully ‘carbed’ up having stuffed 2 bananas down us in the car on the way. Checking we had everything we needed. Mainly our race number and of course, more importantly our Garmin watches. Oops ..Oh no, catastrophe! Kimberley noticed at the bottom of La Haule Hill that, in all the excitement of putting on of suncream and making sure we had enough gels strapped to our waist, that Kimberley had left her Garmin Watch behind. So, we did a hard U-turn and exchanged a few thoughts on the matter and high tailed it back to our house. Thankfully (thanks to me) we had left at the crack of dawn anyway and so just about had enough time to arrive at the start line in time.  

Kimberley was hoping for under two hours for her Half Marathon and I was hoping for under 1.47 minutes for mine. In fact, I’d have settled for just not dying on the finish line. Digby spoke to the crowd through his Tannoy. An encouraging pep talk with some humour thrown in then the gun fired followed by a mass pressing of the start button on watches everywhere and we were off.

‘Stay Calm Justin, don’t run ahead, don’t go crackers’ my inner voice said to me and amazingly my body listened this time. I remembered wishing Kimberley good luck as I pulled away. Much cheering and clapping could be heard as we navigated the well-marked course. Plenty of ups and downs on this road only race. I remember all the people outside their houses wishing everyone good luck and telling them how well they were doing. A silent shared pain from most runners as they ploughed on with the odd comment here and there about how hot and tough it was with nods of agreement when they couldn’t speak. Water stops were a welcome break where I decided to stop to drink the water from the cup instead of running and throwing half of it up my nose and down my T-shirt. This proved a sensible move and gave me much needed hydration and a brief breather before pushing on. Also, I used the water to clean my hands that were sticky from the Gel. Why and how does that Gel get everywhere!!! I tried to grab a Jelly Baby at the halfway point but couldn’t quite grab one as I passed by but the kind volunteer ran after me with the tub and I managed grasp a couple which fuelled me nicely for little while. The Pulente hill felt as long as it always does but the victory of reaching the top felt sweet.  As we turned onto the Railway walk we were greeted by the most amazing sight… The water stop was manned by all the lovely friendly faces from Spartans that we knew. All giving us a massive cheer which helped power us up what we thought was the final stretch. A cruel twist at the end was a last lap of the Parkrun cycle track which felt like it went on forever. I ran for all I was worth towards the finishing line, ignoring the cramp in my calves that made a nasty appearance, but I managed to finish in 1.44 mins, much to my pleasure.

Once I had got my breath back and downed a cup of cold water, I waited eagerly looking at my watch waiting for Kimberley to turn that corner and, god willing, make it over the line in under two hours. I checked my watch 1.57 then 1.58 …squinting in the sun to that far corner and as if my magic Kimberley appeared going faster than I had ever seen her run. I could almost hear the theme music to Chariots of Fire. I yelled “Come on Kimberley, Dig in. Run, run, run” Jubilantly Kimberley flew over the line with only 46 seconds to go till the clock hit two hours. Cheers and clapping could be heard for miles. Celebration all round followed my much congratulating of each other and our running friends.

What a fantastic race it had been, and not more than a day had passed when I notice an email pop in my inbox…registration for next year!

Ben Watts – Canaccord Jersey Half Marathon 2023

Going into the Canaccord Half Marathon, I had made a conscious decision to adapt to the challenges the course posed, rather than get to hung up on a time goal (although I would be lying if said time was irrelevant).  

Having not long come out of a Marathon training block for Boston in April, my strength and endurance was in a good place, although my speed less so.  

Conditions on the morning of the race were good, there was a touch of humidity but nothing to make it overly uncomfortable, and the decision to start a Summer Half Marathon at 8am is a good one.  

I began at a steady pace, trying not to let race day adrenaline get the better of me, and soon got into a rhythm, trying to be aware of who was around me (without looking round). I was thankful for the first water station past L’Etacq, if I am being critical came a little late into the race.  

As we progressed onto the Five Mile Road, (thankfully there was no wind) it was apparent that I was running with eventual first lady and triathlete Kim Garrett whom I had also had a similar contest within Last March’s Hospice to Hospice Half Marathon.  

Kim put in a significant burst of pace and put in a gap of 30-40 metres at around 9 miles.

As we approached the final climb at La Pulente I dug in and tried to stay in touch.  

As we turned onto the Railway track, the final water station was a welcome sight both the hydration and the support. As we progressed along the Railway track, I eventually drew level with Kim and we returned to the Cycle track shoulder to shoulder, it took every effort I could muster to finish ahead of such a strong competitor, and I crossed the line in 12th place in 1:26:05.

I genuinely believe being part of a club in the last few years has increased my consistency and level of performance through a variety of distances.  

Be it the Tuesday night speedwork sessions led by Dave and Glenn, which enables you to find a peer performer to either push or be pushed by, and the added extra of the social aspect, which is of genuine benefit to mental and emotional health as well as physical.  

The opportunity to be able to compete in regular club races also provides a uniquely intimate experience with a smaller field and is a great confidence booster to those who initially do not want to participate in large mass events.  

For a beginner’s perspective, please see this engaging post by, senior JSAC member, Lisa Garrett.

Hopefully reading about running half marathons has left you feeling inspired and craving one to sign up to…

…so, here’s the link for the Jersey Cancer Relief Half Marathon 2024 on Sunday 8th September 2024 – one of the only races in the East of the island! Sign up now to take advantage of the Early Bird rates.

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