Home » Canterbury Harriers – Ordering Club Kit during the Pandemic

Canterbury Harriers – Ordering Club Kit during the Pandemic

11 Oct 2020

Kit manager FIOUSE CORBEIL reminds us that while the Harriers’ shop at Birley’s Pavilion remains closed during the pandemic, a full list of club kit together with current pricing is listed on this website’s kit page.  All your stash will be sent to you by post; please contact Fiouse.  Details of how to order are on the Canterbury Harriers Facebook site as well as here on the website kit page.

Home » Team of Five Runs Virtual London Marathon – Chairwoman’s First Marathon Distance

Team of Five Runs Virtual London Marathon – Chairwoman’s First Marathon Distance

8 Oct 2020

Five Harrier ladies set out to run Virtual VLM 2020 in east Kent last Sunday.   SIAN SMITH-KEARY reports:

The day began for me at 6:30am, looking out of the window and only seeing darkness and the rain pouring down — not exactly the conditions you want for running a marathon.  I watched the elite women start their race at 7:15am and am always in awe of the ease with which they run.  It makes me laugh as the commentators say they had a slow last mile at a mere 5:08 /mi.  We certainly wouldn’t be doing anything like that today.  We’d decided on a very sensible 10:30 pace.  Our group of Emma, Gemma, Deb, Lidia and I had planned our 26.2 mile round route to go out towards Herne and Reculver before looping back to Blean for the finish.  Emma, Deb and Lidia are very gifted and seasoned marathon runners, Gemma was setting out on her first ever marathon distance, and I, only a few weeks previously, had vowed I would never ever run a marathon EVER again after this one.  It’s just not my distance!  But this was London, and I was stubbornly determined it was not going to pass me by for a third time.

We set off from Emma’s at 8:00am after making sure we were ready to go with the app.  It was quite nice as it cheered you on every mile, or at least, the others’ apps did…mine didn’t play ball and I was about 4 miles out and it didn’t cheer at me at all.  I didn’t let the rejection get to me though.  It was fairly early on in the run I realised that perhaps planning a trail route wasn’t the smartest idea as rain hammered down on us for the first part of the run.  Nevertheless, we were at a steady 10:30ish pace despite the mud, hills and fallen down trees.  We managed to negotiate East Blean Woods and a stile at a farm: it felt like you had to abseil down, it was so high! I was not looking forward to having to go over that on the way back at mile 21.

Spirits were high as we ran; it was so lovely running with such good company.

At various points along the way, walkers clapped and cheered us on which meant so much.  Occasionally when we actually ran on road, cars beeped us and waved when they saw our running numbers.

Our route took us along one of the Saxon Shore Relay legs into Reculver, which was probably the most challenging bit – it was super hilly and windy and a field nearly defeated us as the mud clogged up our trainers until we were carrying a few extra kilos on our feet.  Sadly Lidia was starting to struggle with a previous injury and by the time we’d looped back to Herne she realised that she would not be able to finish.  It was really sad to have to leave her to be picked up, she’s part of the team!  She still did an incredible 20 miles, only a month or so after a groin tear.

We stopped quickly at Gemma’s parents’ house and were tempted by home-made carrot cake but despite the desire to stop we ploughed on the final 10k back to Blean. It was hard-going, and I was just willing Deb’s and Emma’s backpacks to start cheering which meant another mile down.  I was increasingly struggling with some of my previous injuries but eventually as we entered Clowes Wood the apps hit 26.2 miles and we had made it! Gemma never stopped running so fast! Our elapsed time was over six hours all in all, but our actual time spent running was 4:40:27 so kudos all round.  Special congrats to Gemma for completing her first ever marathon (and last, she swears) and to the whole group despite injury and not enough time to train.  It was a great day and a lot of fun.



Home » Vet 60 Joins Runners and Completes Virtual London Marathon by Accident

Vet 60 Joins Runners and Completes Virtual London Marathon by Accident

8 Oct 2020

Vet 60 IAN STOKES sends in this report via Facebook:

I accidentally ran a marathon on Sunday; met up with a group who were doing the virtual London, so tagged along with the intention of dropping out.. but I didn’t know where I was, so just kept with them.  It was certainly relaxed.  The route went out from Ash to Deal via Sandwich, then back the same way again.

Editor:   Here they are; I don’t see any race numbers — it’s certainly relaxed and cheerful.


Home » Yiannis Christodoulou Sets Course Record at Channel Sprint Triathlon

Yiannis Christodoulou Sets Course Record at Channel Sprint Triathlon

26 Sep 2020

Please accept our apologies for not posting this report from MELANIE CHRISTODOULOU earlier:

Yiannis Christodoulou of Canterbury Harriers competed in the Channel Sprint Triathlon in Folkestone on Sunday 13 September 2020. It was his first triathlon in nearly a year, owing to the pandemic.  In the course of the race he was sent the wrong way on the run by a marshal, costing him 1 minute 27 seconds, but even so managed to break the course record.

In Yiannis’s own words: “It’s great to be racing again. Today’s race let me see how much I have improved over the winter. I have been sensible not to overtrain during lockdown; in fact I backed off training for a bit. I am very much looking forward to 2021 and making my debut for the GB triathlon team in my age group for the European Sprint Triathlon championships.”

Yiannis added that he really enjoyed the event, despite being sent the wrong way, and was very happy to take the win and course record even with the increased running distance.

Home » First Lady at Wingham 5k

First Lady at Wingham 5k

22 Sep 2020

Congratulations to Harrier SAMMY-JO FOSTER, who came in at 6th place out of 43 finishers at the recent 5km event at Wingham, where a 10km race was held on the same day, organized by Sporting Events UK.   She also finished first lady.

Sammy-Jo writes:

On Sunday 13th September I ran the Wingham 5k — where you get 15% extra as the distance was more like 5.7km!  To my surprise I came in first lady. This is my first ever race win and I am very pleased.  I have had a few back issues lately so I wasn’t sure how it would go; hence why I entered the 5k rather than 10k, as I just wanted to be able to support a local race. Racing during a pandemic is a very strange experience as you set off in waves so you are never sure exactly who you are racing against.  The Sporting Events UK team did another brilliant job of making everyone feel safe and I really enjoyed the morning.

To see the results, go to https://resultscui.active.com/events/thewinghamrun1

Home » Cross Country Nostalgia… and Recent Training

Cross Country Nostalgia… and Recent Training

9 Sep 2020

Whatever the developing situation may bring in days to come, here is a nostalgic photo reminder of what was probably Canterbury Harriers’ last cosy social gathering.

The occasion? Fish and chips, courtesy of the club, plus beer at Minnis Bay after a Kent Fitness League cross country fixture on January 12th. The sun was shining, the atmosphere convivial, and national conversation still probably more Brexit than Covid-19.  Club conversation hinged on forthcoming fixtures, such as Harriers-hosted Blean Woods, the last KFL event of the season …

Meanwhile, fast forwarding to more recent times, September Tuesday running training has continued apace: yesterday two groups ran again at Birley’s, under the experienced coaching of Steve Clark and Tina Jones. The whistle session involved warm up, 12 x 60 sec off 60 sec round the rugby pitch and cool down with Steve, while Tina’s squad ran reps down the long side of the field. Words of encouragement were shouted. Whistles were blown. Bubble policies were strictly observed. Participants were happy and fed off each others’ motivation. Training successfully completed, the groups self-sanitized and dispersed into the gathering dusk.

Home » Running into Storm Francis

Running into Storm Francis

27 Aug 2020
Coach CLAIRE PLUCKROSE reports on this week’s tough & turbulent workout at Birley’s Field.
‘Tuesday night was my first session coaching under the new COVID safety measures and it’s a testament to Yiannis and the committee that the systems and procedures put in place made this a safe and seamless environment to work in.
My session was 12 x 60 sec. hard efforts with a 60 sec. recovery interval between each rep.  The focus of the session was to turn on the fast twitch muscles and fibres and get the body used to switching from a comfortable pace to race effort.
There were six in my group —  a great group, all working well together but maintaining a nice safe distance.
Storm Francis made the session even more challenging for those efforts into the wind, as well as hearing the whistle (!), but Harriers aren’t beaten by a bit of wind.  12 efforts completed; warm down, stretch, sanitize, and straight home.
Great to be back ….  and transitioning from our virtual world into a new normal while running together … perfect!’

Home » A New World of Racing

A New World of Racing

19 Aug 2020

MATTHEW NORTHOVER experiences the excitement of the first race in the new order…

The day had finally arrived with all the anticipation and excitement of Christmas — and even some nerves thrown into the mix: a real race and not some contrived virtual nonsense. A race with actual people! Having read the race guidelines with some intrigue I felt confident of a successful event. Arriving at the car park for the University of Kent 10k I was greeted by a marshal wearing a facemask doing his best to give instructions, smile, and keep his mask in the appropriate position all at the same time.  Nothing was being overlooked.

In previous years the distribution of race numbers had been done inside the pavilion; in the new world this is arranged outside on tables. The only big change is that you now need to provide ID; for this a photo of your driving licence on your phone is acceptable.

Right on cue the quartet of Emma, Gemma, Sian, and Lidia arrived bursting with excitement. Having already parked at Emma’s they had run half the course as a warm up — as you do!

The now mandatory group photo was taken (see previous article below) and we readied ourselves for the off. On your race number was also a group number from 1 to 6, as the field was divided up according to predicted finish times. At exactly 10:00 Barry Hopkins called the first group. This was to be a rolling start, and without any need for reminders all maintained social distance… and they were off! The remaining groups departed at two minute intervals thereafter.

The organizers had little choice but to amend the course, incorporating a lap of the university before heading out on the Crab and Winkle Way. At one stage there was a no overtaking section. Rumours were rife post-race that one of the quartet struggled with this concept, such was her enthusiasm… (blonde hair!)

With the staggered start, at no time did the race feel uncomfortable or crowded, and the absence of a water station was probably not such a problem for club runners over a 10km distance. Someone new to the distance or perhaps still building their fitness might have been uncomfortable; likewise there was no water provided at the finish line, for sanitary reasons. Medals were given out in advance (yes, you read that right), together with your race number. After the race, competitors dispersed more quickly than usual, partly perhaps to rehydrate at their cars.

Overall, Barry put on an excellent event: nothing is perfect but I believe the races will evolve and with small compromises we can all enjoy racing together again.

Home » Racing Reality Returns with University of Kent 10K

Racing Reality Returns with University of Kent 10K

17 Aug 2020

A local 10km event at the University of Kent yesterday was the first chance in five months for Canterbury Harriers to run a race together, along with nearly 150 other entrants.

This was NOT a virtual run!  Pictured here on local territory close to the university gym and sports centre are (chip times in brackets): L to R front row: Emma Greatrix (47:01), Lidia Modzelewska (52:01), Gemma Jeffrey (47:28), Sian Smith-Keary (47:01); L to R back row: Matthew Northover (51:27), Colin Kent (46:08), Andy Farrant (51:10), David Dunn (50:58), Richard Hudson (54:40) and Glenn Wilson (53:36).

Sammy-Jo Foster and Paul Thompson volunteered as marshals for the race, appropriately kitted with hi-viz and masks.

David Dunn summed it all up afterwards: “It was great to be back racing and it was lovely seeing so many familiar faces — many we haven’t seen since lockdown started. The event was brilliantly organized too.” 

Last but not least, additional congratulations to Colin Kent: the race happened to be on his birthday.

Yesterday’s event was hosted by Sporting Events UK. The route starts at the university pavilion and takes in the Crab and Winkle Way with views across the countryside.

What will be the next race to run and report on?

Home » Heat & Humidity? No Sweat! We Love Training Together

Heat & Humidity? No Sweat! We Love Training Together

12 Aug 2020

Birley’s Field Training: 2nd week since re-opening

Another well-organized and effective training evening yesterday on Birley’s Field, with 20 runners and 2 coaches in the field in humid August conditions and everyone very happy to be back and running together.  Jon and Steph had prepared excellent interval training for the two separate groups or ‘bubbles’, briefing their squads clearly at the start and offering cheerful encouragement throughout.

The safety arrangements and effectiveness of the training are working really very well in parallel, with necessary guidance sent out to participating runners in advance of each session and attending club members showing appreciation of the efforts made on everyone’s behalf.  It was lovely to be back.  Most have kept up or even exceeded their usual training in recent months but what everyone loved and commented on most was the extra dimension of running together as a club once more. Thank you to the coaches for planning great sessions and to Yiannis Christodoulou and the Committee for all the preparation that has gone into reassuring everyone that we can train as safely as possible.

To join a training session: Harriers must contact Yiannis by e-mail between Saturday 9:00 a.m. and Sunday 12:00 noon for Tuesday training.  Notification of your success or otherwise will be sent to you by Monday. Adherence to the Covid-19 precautions and arrangements is mandatory; please check your club official e-mail.


Home » Tuesday Training Is Back at Birley’s – Safe & Successful First Session

Tuesday Training Is Back at Birley’s – Safe & Successful First Session

5 Aug 2020

After a pause of more than four months because of coronavirus lockdown measures, Canterbury Harriers have reopened Tuesday night training at Birley’s Field.

Taking full account of all Covid-compliant safety measures the Committee gave the green light to interim Head Coach Yiannis Christodoulou’s temporary training package with rules that meet England Athletic requirements.  Finishing the first training class on 4th August, club member Simon Collins remarked: “Great session. Thanks to Yiannis and all the Committee who worked out a way we could train again safely.  To anyone worried about being able to maintain social distancing, it was actually quite easy and I think everyone who attended had a great time… we felt happy that the measures kept us all safe without affecting the benefits of the training.”

Others present also commented how well everyone kept to social distancing measures, how good it felt to meet up, and above all how exciting it was to train as a club once more.  “Biggest buzz I’ve had in a long time,” was Fiouse Corbeil’s verdict — a comment that brought on the usual Facebook banter.

Members should all have received details of the safety rules and temporary booking system in an e-mail sent out by Yiannis on 28th July. These arrangements will remain in force until such a time as conditions allow change. For further clarification please check your club e-mail or ask Yiannis for information.

Harriers should note that club training is meanwhile only scheduled for Tuesday evenings and that everyone given a training place should adhere to the timings circulated by e-mail.  No Thursday evenings at present and — regrettably — new members may not yet attend. Further information will be posted here on the website front page as and when circumstances change.

Pause for the Record: First Harriers training class since lockdown