Home » Ich bin ein Berliner

Ich bin ein Berliner

Marathons have a mystery to them.  Almost like quantum Mechanics, it seems that strange unpredictable things can happen, despite 16 weeks and 600 miles of training.

Over the Summer, with careful planning and race selection, I had been able without too much trouble to bring down my times and get personal best times on every distance up to the half marathon, but I knew the marathon would be different.

My previous two marathons couldn’t have been more different.  The debut in Paris somehow went perfectly.  I only realised I’d missed the good for age time by 46 seconds when some-one told me back in England.  Brighton however was horrible.  I’d trained hard and was set for 3hrs 10 minutes, which was gettable, based on my other recent race times.  Then however things started to go wrong.  It was the hottest day of the year by far at that point, so much so that several thousands of entrants didn’t even turn up.  Brighton’s course was also surprisingly hilly.  I also found that I’d gone out too quick and consequently died (figuratively) at 22 miles.  I was determined not to repeat the experience of struggling along the sea front in burning heat with no wind, hating every second.

So, to Berlin.  I’d tried to correct my mistakes.  In case of overhead sun, I’d bought a cap with a long peak and ventilated sides.  I’d carefully planned to use gels that I’d had experience of and to actually rehydrate at water stations, taking 6 to 8 gulps at least for the first 20 miles.  My training had been different too,  in that I was conscious I hadn’t done enough long runs for Brighton, having done only two 18 milers, and one 22 miler apart from several 12 to 16 milers.  It seems clear that MILEAGE IS EVERYTHING in doing a successful marathon, so I made sure of one 24 miler lasting 3hrs 40 mins, a 20 mile race, two 22 milers and then several 14 to 18 milers.

Finally and probably most importantly, I managed to resist going for Glory and decided on running the whole marathon at 13.3 km per hour which was going to bring me home around 3hrs 12 mins.

Marathon’s being marathons though, events started to conspire against me.  During my training which was nearly all off-road, I was starting to get a sciatic twinge in my left hip after 8 miles or doing a fast session.  I could get this to go away by concentrating on running steadily, but it was a worry and temporarily slowed me down.  This appears to be due to the piriformus rubbing against the sciatic nerve.

To try and sort this out, I went to a physio, who, to give her credit was pretty good at locating the problem and the cause.  Mostly it seems to stem from decades of slouching and bad posture and favouring my right side.  So I had a crash course of stretches and balancing exercises to help remedy the problem.

Then of course there was the heat.   The weather in Berlin can be anything from high heat up to 30 degrees, to torrential rain right into late September.  Knowing I’m not brilliant in the heat, I was praying for something around 18 degrees.  I was slightly concerned when the forecast went from 21 degrees at the 5 day stage to 23 degrees at the two day stage and then 24 degrees at the expo the day before.

Then there was the problem that we still have imperial measurements in England.  In Paris, there were mile and kilometre markers, but in Berlin there were no concessions to British and American runners.  Only finding this out at the Expo meant last minute changes to my speed and lap times as well as re-setting my Garmin on the S-Bahn on the way to the Race.

Even German efficiency couldn’t overcome the problem of 40,000 people waiting to use the toilet before the race, so amazingly there were still queues of 50 or more people 20 minutes before the start of one of the biggest races in the world.  I hope that one day race organisers will have a large field filled with hundreds of very basic porta-cabins.  Its all we need .

The race itself though went beautifully to plan. Being in the 3hrs 10 minutes area seemed to give me a bit more space than I’d remembered from Paris, and from the start line I was able to keep a steady pace.  We went through West Berlin, crossing the Spree river 4 times, back into the old East Berlin, down to the South circling round Kreuzberg, and then back out West taking in the lovely Charlottenberg area.  The second race, or the last 6 miles were on a nicely varied and surprisingly shaded part of central Berlin, which meandered back to the Unter den Linden street, the Brandenburg gate and then 300 metres to the ‘Ziel’ (finishing line).

Looking back, I probably only made two significant mistakes.  Somehow I’d convinced myself, the Brandenburg gate was the finish, and sprinted for it only to see no officials or clock and a crowd of people 300 metres down the road.  This led to the hardest 300 I’d done all year.  The interval training at Kings School Field came to mind though, and I knew I could get to the line in time.

The other mistake was the blue line.  I ran the whole 26.2 miles without even noticing the blue line showing the shortest route.  It was only when I saw the TV coverage and Steve Cramm pointed it out that I became aware of it.  I think this is worth noting though, as I’d already done 10.2k by the 10k marker, and about 42.4 at the end.  I’d done the same thing at Brighton and thought my Garmin was playing tricks.  Note to self – stop weaving through the field.

The most rewarding part of the race was looking through my splits afterwards:

Distance                  time                                    speed                  (km per hour)

5k                                        22:44                                    13.2

10k                                    22:52                                    13.1

15k                                    22:24                                    13.4

20k                                    22:36                                    13.3

25k                                    22:55                                    13.1

30k                                    22:28                                    13.3

35k                                    23:17                                    12.9

40k                                    23:50                                    12.6

42.2                                    10:12                                    12.9

I may never run a better marathon.

Home » Harriers AGM Rough Common Village Hall Thursday 10th November

Harriers AGM Rough Common Village Hall Thursday 10th November

The club AGM will be held at ROUGH COMMON VILLAGE HALL on Rough Common Road starting at 1900 hours on Thursday 10th November. Following the AGM there will be a free buffet at the Dog and Bear Inn on Rough Common Road.

Because of the AGM there will be no club training session on Thursday 10th November

Home » London Marathon 2012 Club Ballot

London Marathon 2012 Club Ballot

Each year the club receives three guaranteed places in the London Marathon and each year a draw is held at the Club Presentation evening to allocate the places.

This years draw for club places in the 2012 London Marathon will be held at the presentation evening which is on Saturday 3rd December.

To qualify for the draw applicants must have been First Claim members of the club for a minimum of six months by the date of the draw and must have renewed their membership of the club for the year 2011-2012 by the date of the draw.


Those who qualify and wish to participate in the draw should get their rejection slips to me as soon as possible, before the date of the draw, with their full names clearly written on the slips.

Many thanks


Home » Injury, what injury!…..

Injury, what injury!…..

We get all injuries from time to time, whether a minor niggle, inherent weakness, or a long term injury. It can be a depressing time if we allow negative thoughts to outweigh our normal well adjusted approach to running. So here, gained from long experience of being on the sidelines, are Ed’s do’s of managing an injury.

1 Get an early diagnosis so that you are not left wondering where the  problem rests. It may cost a few pounds for physio advice but it will pay off in the longer term through having pinpointed the problem and the steps to recovery
2 Follow the advice given, including the usual routine of exercises that are inevitably part of the diagnosis and treatment.
3 Try other forms of exercise that complement the recovery such as swimming, pilates, yoga, gym work, cycling, press ups, stretching, walking – the list is endless. Indeed it might be worth including these newly found pursuits long after the injury has gone.
4 Begin your comeback slowly and enjoy the gradual feeling of fitness returning.
5 Appreciate the pleasure of returning to running and vow never to again ignore the niggles that frequently can lead to longer term injury.
6 Support fellow club runners even when you are not running yourself – attend races to lend encouragement and help out at events (and take some photos!).
7 Come to Kings to socialise before, or after, training sessions to keep in  touch with club affairs and your fellow runners. After x-country races come to The Elephant to enjoy the ‘reliving the race’ moments even if unable to run your self. In the summer come along to the pub runs  – there is often a small group to join who are doing a walk rather than the run.
8 Attend a coaching course to gain an important road running qualification and support the club’s training programme.
9 Stay positive – there are loads of things worse than being injured (as we all know from what life throws at us a from time to time)
10 Discuss your injury and treatment with others to gain ideas on what others have experienced but resist boring people with over-telling your own injury tale!
11  And finally, plan your recovery and future race goals and always remain  patient during recovery.


Home » Harrier Autumn Newsletter

Harrier Autumn Newsletter

And so dear Harrier another summer of warm sunshine with occasional showers begins to wane as the shortening evenings draw their shadowy tentacles across the early evening sky, indicating the stark message that autumn and the cross-country season beckon…..

Speaking of summer gone the very popular Friday summer pub runs have been very well attended with a record turn out at ‘The Local’ organised by Jenny and Neil. However, the food bill placed a large hole in club funds and the pub owner has retired to Barbados for the autumn. Thanks then also to Iain (Hop Pocket), Bob (The Elephant) and Joe (Queens Head and Rose and Crow), Jo (Cat & Custard) and Francis (The Rose) for excellent runs and Friday evening company. It was also good to see non-club members joining the throng and adding to the good cheer and club conviviality.






July saw the running of our own Mt Ephraim 10K race now billed as a ‘tour of the delightful Kent countryside’ to tactfully describe the rather hilly contours! It was generally acknowledged from the field that it was once again a well organised and very enjoyable event. Inside the newsletter Bob writes about the ‘French connection’ that is now a race feature and Tim, as Race Director, gives his view of proceedings at the sharp end.

The recent summer period also saw the annual August Le Touquet trip organised, once again, by Roy. This year’s trip was of special significance as it celebrated Roy’s 20th consecutive run at Le Touquet and the occasion  is duly marked in the newsletter.

As autumn draws nearer the club AGM will be held at **7.00pm on Thursday 10th November** at the village hall, Blean. There will not be the customary Thursday training that evening as it is expected that as many members as possible will come along to the AGM to hear and discuss club affairs (‘it’s not what your country can do for you’ etc). High on the agenda is to seek members views on a development plan covering future years. Suggestions for the plan include encouraging more members to become accredited as road running coach, seeking nominations as Race Director and looking at ways of usefully investing the clubs funds into further member benefits. Please make a note of the date and come along to contribute to important proposals to make your membership even more fulfilling.

Although we all spend a lot of time running it would be interesting to note the amount of time that we are injured and unable to run. From Ed’s experience of being injured (i.e. most of the time) it is easy to slip into seeing everything associated with an injury as glum and a real downer. Of course no one likes being injured but there can be  a positive mindset that will maintain motivation whilst the muscles, tendons or whatever heal. Read inside for the tips on ‘Injury, what injury’ to aid recovery  – and all with a smile.

Talking about injuries one of the most common parts of the body to react to training is the humble knee as it is calculated that every step we take whilst running is equivalent to the weight of 14 elephants. Well, if not exactly true (it may only be 12 elephants!) the point is that the knees take a massive force and largely without complaint. The humble knee is rather a clever piece of body kit as it is basically a hinge joint, allowing backwards and forwards motion, but it is also able to rotate slightly in on itself. The bending and straightening of the knee is controlled by the hamstring and quadriceps muscles at the back and front of the thigh bone respectively, and their size and position affects the angles the legs move at, and particularly the way that the patella (kneecap) moves. Our anatomy and the patterns of muscle use also determine the injuries that we might get. In celebration of the humble knee information on what can go wrong and how to strengthen the knee’s working parts is highlighted inside.

As ever it is recommended that professional advice be sought in the early stages of any kind of injury.

Other mouth watering articles in this issue include information about registering your race results (previously circulated by e-mail but well worth another airing) and a spotlight feature on Phil Wyard who is making a great impression with a series of recent PB’s. Tim still has time to run (outside of his Race Director duties) and reviews his run in the Fairlands Valley Marathon whilst Francis gives his special version of running the Heptonstall Fell race.

Of all the recent club achievements John Hartley’s bike ride from Lands End to John O’Groats stands at the summit. But John is in danger of surpassing that achievement with his (and for the most past with Steve) almost completed walk from Dover to Cape Wrath. Read about this epic journey, the stages, the ecstasy and agony, and how John and Steve laid their plans. Well done both.

And finally, last but very much not least, following his announcement last year that 2011 would be his final year in office Marco reflects on his six years as Chairman. The Club has been very fortunate in having a stream of extremely capable Chairmen and Marco with his panache, outstanding good sense, expression of club values and commitment on all fronts has very definitely been no exception. There will be many other opportunities to express thanks to Marco (and to Heather) but let the Newsletter be the first to say THANK YOU for  a job superbly completed and for leaving the baton ready for the next incumbent – Ed

Download the full Harrier Autumn Newsletter now!


Home » Mount Ephraim 10k – The French Connection

Mount Ephraim 10k – The French Connection

There will no doubt be other accounts of the Mount Ephraim 10k event elsewhere.  This article focuses on the many visitors it was a privilege to host from Canterbury’s and Whitstable’s respective French twin towns of Reims and Dainville.  26 of the 169 finishers in the Mount Ephraim 10k were from Northern France, and there were many more visitors accompanying them.

I should say that while I have written this article, praise should go to Marco for masterminding the logistics of accommodating such a large group of people.  Answers on a postcard as to how many times  Marco shuttled between Whitstable and Canterbury on the Saturday!

Marco, Phil Wyard, his wife Carolyn, myself and my family met Terese, President of the Reims Canterbury Twinning Association, and two of her colleagues at the newly restored Whitstable Castle Orangery on the Saturday for a cream tea before Marco took them off to Canterbury.  Phil and myself stayed on at the Castle in order to meet the contingent from Dainville who consisted of the Mairie, Francoise Rossignol, the Deputy Mairie – Philippe Quadrelle and his wife Caroline, together with their colleague Herve Havet, Daniel Capel, President of the event five Harriers ran in April (Foulees Dainvilloises), and his wife plus two of their colleagues from the town.










We then gave them a whistle stop tour of the town and harbour, taking in some shopping in Harbour Street, Squeeze Gut Alley and a drink outside the Old Neptune before escorting them to their accommodation at Canterbury Christchurch University’s Halls of Residence at Lanfranc in Northgate where the Reims party had also been billeted.  All of this was organised by Marco.

We then all attended an evening reception and BBQ at the Dominican Priory in St Peter’s Lane which was hosted by the Canterbury-Reims Twinning Association.  We finished the evening off with a visit to the Parrot pub in St Peter’s Lane where everyone enjoyed an English beer or two.

As already noted, 26 French runners completed the 10k course.  20 were from the L’Union newspaper group on the outskirts of Reims where numerous Harriers have in the past enjoyed champagne receptions as part of our annual visit to the city to take part in the ‘Reims a toute jambes’ 10k and half marathon events.  The families associated with L’Union have also provided Harriers with B&B facilities, saving us the cost of hotels.  Another 4 runners from the Reims Athletics Club – EFSRA – also completed the course,

placing 3rd man and 3rd woman overall, which was a fantastic result.  Harriers have also enjoyed beer and champagne receptions at the ‘Reims a toutes jambes’ Expo hosted by EFSRA at their stand.  The group supporting all of these runners have in the past been instrumental in arranging visits to champagne houses and producers and hosted evening meals for us in local restaurants.  2 runners from the town of Dainville completed the 10k included the Deputy Mairie.  Philippe and his family hosted Tony McParland and myself when we visited Dainville in April and laid on a fantastic evening meal for all of the visiting Harriers.

Afterwards, everyone enjoyed a sumptuous buffet in the spectacular grounds of Mount Ephraim where we got our visitors to sample some Chapel Down Sparkling Wine which had kindly been provided by the Mount Ephraim 10k sponsors, Baileys Nissan of Canterbury.

Over the past couple of years, we have established really strong links between the towns of Reims and Dainville and both are ready to welcome larger numbers of Harriers to take part in their events in October and April respectively.  If you have never run abroad before, or only have experience of running the Le Touquet 10k, I would urge you to give one of these events a try.  The hospitality provided and the opportunity to establish links with kindred spirits a short distance away on the other side of the channel is a fantastic opportunity.  I am really proud that Canterbury Harriers have been able once again to reciprocate the fantastic hospitality we have experienced both in Reims and Dainville in recent years.   Long may it continue!   Allez, allez, allez!


Home » Cross Country Presentation Evening

Cross Country Presentation Evening

With winter a distant memory the exploits in the mud and cold of the last cross country season were  celebrated in style at the club’s presentation evening held on 21st April. Awards were made by chairman Marco Keir to the most improved male and female runners, for age related performances in the Kent Fitness League, and for members completing a minimum of 6 races overall during the season.

Cross Country Presentation 2011

Image 1 of 33

The womens team finished league runners up in the Kent Fitness League with 10 of our ladies scoring at different times. Also in the KFL four of our runners gained age related awards for their season long efforts:

Female V50 Champion                   Barbara Wenman

Male V55 Champion                       Steve Clark

Male V40 Champion                       Tony McParland

Male 3RD place overall                     Mark Ford

For their efforts across the whole season the most improved club female runner was Jo Gambrill and amongst the men Phil Wyard. The overall xc champion female was deservedly made to Sarah Maguire and the overall xc champion male award was made to Mark Ford.

If you haven’t yet tried the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ of cross country then next season is definitely the time to start. The season kicks off in October (usually with our home fixture at Blean) and runs right through til March. With the added challenge of a range of varying courses a full season is excellent preparation for competing in spring road races.

Home » Mount Ephraim 10K Entries Now Open

Mount Ephraim 10K Entries Now Open

Mount Ephraim 10K Run

Entries are now open for the Mount Ephraim Summer 10K run on the Sunday 10th July 2011.

A challenging course on Kentish roads, starting and finishing in the beautiful 10 acre Mount Ephraim Gardens – the perfect place for a day out in Kent.

Post race enjoy the tranquillity of the Japanese gardens, take on the challenge of the grass maze or just relax on the Edwardian Tea Room terrace overlooking the topiary and herbaceous border, Mount Ephraim Gardens are a must for the whole family.

For more information and entry forms visit the Mount Ephraim 10K website.


Home » Pub Run Season Returns

Pub Run Season Returns

Summer is rapidly approaching (or have we already had it?) and that can mean only one thing; Yes it is the Pub Run season.

Every couple of weeks on Friday evening Canterbury Harriers reward themselves for their serious training endeavours by holding a pub run on a Friday evening at a variety of local (usually village) pubs.

This is organised by a member who has links (reputable links that is) to the pub in question. He or she reconnoitres a non- challenging off road run of around five miles starting and finishing at the local pub and run at a very easy and sociable pace.

All members are welcome and the club pays for a free buffet after the run.

Details of the individual runs are advised nearer the time by e-mail and provisionally the first Pub Run will be from the Hop Pocket in Bossingham on (wait for it!) Friday 13th of May.


Home » Inter Club Relays

Inter Club Relays

Canterbury Harriers compete each year in the East Kent Inter Club relays. As the name suggest all of the East Kent running clubs take part in these events which are held at fortnightly intervals on Tuesday evenings. All members whatever their standards are encouraged to take part in these events which are friendly and sociable and an excellent form of training.

Teams are divided into Senior/Vet 40/Vet 50 and Vet 60 for the men and Senior /Vet35 /Vet45 /Vet55 for the women and each leg is around 2.5 miles.

Dates/times and locations are as follows:

Folkestone 10/5/11 19:15 start Rotunda area.

Minnis Bay 24/5/11 19:30

Ashford Victoria Park 7/6/11 19:30

Deal Sea Scout Hut 21/6/11 19:30 (venue may change to Fowlmead Park)

Canterbury High Scholl 5/7/11 19:30

All enquiries to Steve Clark ESQ our esteemed Relays Manager


Home » Whitstable 10K Entries Closed

Whitstable 10K Entries Closed

Entries for the ever popular Whitstable 10K Road Race are now closed. Despite the number of entries being raised again this year to 700 entrants, this number was filled well before the 16th April 2011 closing date.

Good luck if you got into the race; It is a very fast course, where many personal best are set each year. If you didn’t manage to enter this year why not come down and support your fellow runners but remember there are strictly no entries on the day.

The beautiful course of the Whitstable 10k Road Race works its way out from Tower Hill, through Swalecliffe to Hampton Pier and then back along past Whitstable’s famous beach huts.

A pound from every Whitstable 10k Road Race entry will go to the Dave Lee’s Happy Holidays children’s charity enabling them to organize holidays for disabled, sick and underprivileged children of Kent and their immediate families.

For more information about the race, as well as previous reults, please visit the Whitstable 10k Road Race website.


Home » Foulées Dainvilloises

Foulées Dainvilloises


5 Harriers ventured across to Dainville on the weekend of 2 and 3 April to take part in the 25th edition of the Foulèes Dainvilloises  running event on the Sunday. Dainville is a suburb of the historic city of Arras in the Nord pas de Calais region of France, about halfway down the A26 towards Rheims. Dainville is one of Whitstable’s many twin towns.

The Foulèes Dainvilloises is an important community event in the Dainville calendar and comprises a multitude of different running races and walks for distances from 100 metres to 21 kilometres and for all ages from 5 years to veterans born before 1941.

The 5 Harriers all fell somewhere towards the older end of the spectrum! All in all, 862 courers (runners) took part. We all opted to do the 10k event which was the last event of the day.

After a stop off at a very sunny and busy Wimereaux for lunch on the Saturday, we were quickly on the A26 and consulting detailed maps of how to circumnavigate Arras to get to Dainville. We found the Office de Mairie (Mayor’s Office) without any problem. We were greeted by the Mayor of Dainville, Françoise Rossignol and shown around the town hall. The first think to strike us was the preponderance of ducks, matched only by the ‘quacking’ ringtone on Françoise’s mobile phone! The link for this all became clear the following day when we went for a warm-up jog around the park and saw the lake, complete with ducks. Françoise was not only the Mayor of Dainville, but had earlier that week been elected onto the Nord pas de Calais Regional Council – a very prestigious position.


Françoise introduced us to the families who were hosting us and after quickly dropping off our bags we were off for a visit to Arras. We managed to get into the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) before it closed and saw the giant-sized husband, wife and son – the latter resplendent with his giant lollipop! We had a pleasant glass of Leffe sat outside one of the bars while the sun slowly disappeared over the Grand Place. Françoise then showed us around the centre of town before we headed back to Dainville, dropping the Harriers off at their host families as we went. It transpired that all of the hosts, bar Françoise, were teachers, although Françoise used to be a teacher!

The host family Tony and myself stayed with, Phillipe and Caroline and their three boys, laid on a sumptuous evening meal. An education for us was that people in the north of France have a taste for whiskey, and beer in these parts is as important as wine. Phillipe even had a contraption in his kitchen which dispensed draft Leffe! A fantastic evening and great hospitality, even if I was a bit off my food after over-indulging in a welsh complat earlier in Wimereaux. The others said the cheese was to die for.

Tony McParland
Phil Wyard
Colin Kent
Marco Keir
Bob Pullen


After the race, we all got called up onto the stage to receive a trophy from Françoise for our participation and this takes pride of place in the Harriers trophy cabinet. After the presentations, we adjourned to a nearby building which was hosting a drinks and sumptuous buffet reception for all of the people who had helped organise the event and we were made most welcome. It really gave us the opportunity to practice our varying abilities of French, with Phil in his element and learning about the local Ch’it Picardy dialect and even capturing some of this on my mobile phone voice recorder!

Marco made a short speech (in French don’t you know!) thanking everyone for their kind hospitality and inviting them to take part in the Mount Ephraim 10k. We also had the chance to meet and thank Daniel Capel, the President of the Foulées Dainvilloises organising Committee.

We thanked all our hosts, Philippe, Caroline and family, Alain and Monique, Bruno and Sylvie, and of course Françoise, for all of their kind hospitality and for giving us such a great introduction to Dainville and Arras. It wasn’t ‘good-bye’, just ‘bonjour’ as Del Trotter would say.

I also had the opportunity to meet and thank a young lady from Mayor’s office who I had been corresponding with to make all the necessary arrangements for our visit. Poor Virginie had to put up with reams of e-mails from me in appalling French. It was good to learn that her young daughter had run one of the children’s races.

All of the Harriers were of the opinion that this weekend was the start of a long and fruitful relationship between runners in Dainville/Arras and Whitstable/Canterbury. As well as the Mount Ephraim 10k, we are already hatching plans to all take part in an event near Calais in September. I have also got to make a special delivery of whisky to a few people on behalf of Tony when I go out to Dainville again later this summer for a youth football tournament which my son’s team is playing in.


Home » Man on the Run Entries Now Open

Man on the Run Entries Now Open





Man on the Run is a 5k event for men and boys that has been devised to raise awareness of male cancers.  The event is in aid of Cancer Research UK and it is hoped that each runner will help to raise money for Cancer Research in preventing and curing cancer.

For more information visit the Man on the Run website.