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.
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?
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.
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.