Font Romeu 2017 – ICXCAC Summer Tour to the Pyrenees

On Wednesday 23rd August Imperial College’s Cross Country and Athletics team began to make their journey to their international summer tour. Their destination was Font-Romeu – 1800m above sea-level in the Pyrenees and a 2 ½ hour 1€ bus journey from the airport in Perpignan. Upon arrival it was discovered that they were to be sharing an apartment complex with athletes of a similar caliber to their own – the Korean triathlon team. The stunning views and impressive peaks visible from the balconies whet their appetite for a week of gruelling hills, tricky trails, challenging climbs.
The training began with a steady group run to explore the local area, taking in sights such as the “museum without walls”, athletics track, and summer downhill land-ski slope.
The next day they set their sights on a destination with a purpose – a local lake for an alpine swim. They took a steady walk there, swam across a portion of the lake much to the surprise of the locals and then split into groups for the journey back. One group opted to walk back, one to run back and another to run back with a large detour (featuring an ice cream and drink stop!).
Having travelled to the south of France to make it an international tour, members weren’t content with visiting merely 2 countries on the trip, and so the following day they set off for the town of Llivia in the nearby Spanish enclave – with one group running the 10km there and another (larger) group opting to run back. It was a long, tough journey, descending to around 1200m above sea level. Once across the border one particularly athletic member climbed a flag pole to signal our arrival, and then the groups met up in one of the Spanish bars for some well-deserved beverages and lunch. Tapas and sangria (I barely even know her!) were still flowing when most of the group decided to start the equally long and much more elevated return, leaving behind a sensible handful of members to digest their food before making the trip back.
After a much-needed rest day (on which serveral members opted for a recovery-turned-tempo run) a surprisingly high number of members were keen to set their alarms for a super-early sunrise-searching run which they were able to view from a vantage point by the ruins of a nearby castle.
With only a couple of days in the mountains remaining, the team headed for the local athletics track for a session led by next year’s club captain – Alex Mundell. After a lengthy period of drills featuring moves that would look more at home in a discotheque than on an athletics tracks, the group was split into three balanced teams for a continuous 200m relay. This appealed to everyone’s competitive nature and was a thoroughly challenging and enjoyable session, as well as quite a spectacle for the spectating Korean triathletes.
The final full day saw a visit to Europe’s largest solar furnace and a group run to a small pond, featuring some questionable race-walking and some attempts at ranking highly on some of the nearby Strava segments. The team also stopped halfway by the lake’s drinking fountain to catch their breath and play a game of “ninja”.
Of course, the tour didn’t consist solely of running! During the week, the four rooms took turns to host a “come dine with me” style evening of food, drink and entertainment. The week began with the girls room opting for a wedding theme and serving garlic bread as a starter, a concoction of three types of pasta for the main, and a delicious apple crumble served with ice cream to finish. Their entertainment – a spin on the game Mr & Mrs – revealed a lot about some of the club members!
The second night of antics was entitled “big, girthy Greek dinner” and was served by Greek gods (and a bearded Aphrodite) in the little-known Greek enclave of Mount Olympus. Stuffed peppers preceded a mouth-watering moussaka and Greek doughnuts. The entertainment was a round of the “name game” which caused great amusement with highlights including boneless pizza, Thomas the T. Dank Engine, and Tony ‘War Criminal’ Blair.
The penultimate room-hosted night was provided by the “sesh gremlins” who created a Wetherspoons atmosphere with a homemade curry following nachos and rounded off by a fantastic sticky toffee pudding. Naturally, the night continued with a pub quiz, featuring embarrassing past Facebook statuses from tour members and a size comparison between Big Ben, a Mini Cooper, a King-sized bed, the Taj Mahal, and the penis of a blue whale.
Lastly, tour members were treated to some of the local cuisine in a French-themed evening. With everyone adopting French names for the dinner and an interesting photo-booth installation (consisting of a mirror and attached beret and moustache), the food began with a selection of canapés. The main course was a potato-based pie (the name of which eludes me…) and the dessert a delicious chocolate mousse with strawberries and cream. The game of the evening was the “saucepan game” (although no saucepans were involved) with the hosts winning easily, and the second place team of girls disqualified after being caught violating a number of rules. To celebrate the end of the successful hosting and the high quality of food, the team headed for a late night rave by one of the larger statues in the outdoor statue walk.
Besides all this, the week saw countless games of Perudu, questionable uses for bags of flour and large portions of banter – sometimes reaching dangerously high levels!
The club would like to thank outgoing club captain Will Jones for fantastic work in organising the trip and wish all members of the club graduating/leaving all the best for the future. Fingers crossed for another successful year under the helm of Alex Mundell!21432690_1738157676486615_4919682768490694694_n

ICXCAC Recent Achievements

Holidays? What? Outside of term time ICXCAC are still out and about doing incredible things. Such as..

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Yesterday Women’s captain Anna Lawson ran the Kenilworth Half Marathon in a truly INCREDIBLE PB time of 1 hour and 28 minutes! This meant she ran splits of 4 minutes 13 seconds per kilometre! All this after a 6 hour run the previous day… madness!

Jessica Prior took part in a relay down the river Thames with each team consisting of 5 runners, each running 4-5 miles. The entire course stretched from Eton to Kingston. Jess’ team won the entire event and are waiting to hear back to see if they won the prize for being the closest team to guessing their overall time (they were only 18 seconds off!) To top it off this means the team have won £1000 at least for their chosen charity!

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Not long ago Catherine Spurin and Tom Raven did the Wimbledon Common Chase the Sun 10k. Catherine was aiming to break the 46 minute barrier but the weather had different ideas (it turned out Chase the Rain 10k may have been a more appropriate name). However, Imperial athletes are made of tough stuff and no torrential rain could put them off! Catherine even came home in 6th place in her time of 50 minutes!

Interview with Michael Crone on Orientieering

Reflecting back on a very successful weekend for ICXCAC, today we chatted to Orienteering star Michael Crone after his storming performance in Estonia in the World Orienteering Championships:

When did you get into orienteering?
I started orienteering just after high school. We had been invited to events, but they always clashed with other sport so I didn’t ever have a chance to go. When I started university I decided that would try it and I have loved it ever since. I was lucky that one of my brother’s friends ran the university club and so it was not very daunting.

How do you suggest that people get into orienteering?
In the UK it is much easier. Most cities have active orienteering clubs. There are two orienteering clubs in London. I am a part of south London orienteers (SLOW). There are generally events up to three times a week

What is your favourite thing about the sport?
It is both a mental and physical challenge. It doesn’t help to just run fast. It teaches you to make quick decisions under extreme pressure, instantly punishing you for mistakes.
It also takes you to unique places where you know very few people get to go.

What skills do you need to succeed?
Be able to run very fast in any terrain. Think fallen trees, through marshes, over rocky terrain. Have some sense of direction. Overall I think that you just need determination and dedication. As with anything it is quite frustrating when you start because you can run a lot faster than you can navigate.
My perfect races are always when my running speed matches my navigation speed

Tell us about your most enjoyable race.
Orienteering is a sport that is all about making mistakes. Nobody is perfect, everyone makes an error. Some are just measured in seconds rather than minutes. Every race starts off with the goal of minimising those mistakes. To do this you often get into a space of mind that just feels like magic. Bear in mind that every race that you do is somewhere new, the map made by a different mapper. You have no idea if you and the mapper will think in the same way so in the first few minutes of the race your brain adjusts to this. If this happens in a race it suddenly feels like magic. Everything begins to make sense and you can run as fast as you like and not make many mistakes. This is my ultimate goal in a race and I’ve been lucky to achieve it in two world championship races five years apart. First in Lausanne in 2012 and now in Tartu. It’s an extraordinary feeling that only an Orienteer understands. It’s one of the reasons why we are such a tightly knit community.

Tell us about your experience up to and during the World Championships in Estonia.
My build up to world champs wasn’t that great. I was only told in May that I had been invited to take part. I hadn’t been planning on going this year. In Orienteering it is as much about mental as physical preparation. My physical training went really well up to that point and I had also been lucky that I have competed in some international competitions in Denmark and Italy in the lead up to world champs. One aspect where I really felt underprepared though was in preparing for the specific area that I was running in. I had an old map of the area, but usually around 6 months in advance I would have started using street view to get an idea of the area and the various challenges that I faced (you aren’t allowed to enter the competition area until you start your race). I had some people help me do some preparation, but it was definitely less than I would have liked. And I also had a lot going on with my various projects at Imperial so it was difficult to keep up with everything.

This didn’t seem to matter too much in the qualification, races that are notoriously quick and less technically difficult, but it was definitely a problem in the final!
This is my fourth world champs experience. This one was slightly different because I didn’t have anyone else from my own country which can make it slightly more challenging since there are often a lot of thoughts going on in your head!
Every one of them has been very special for me and this one is not really any different
I’m quite glad that I came because I was considering turning down the offer.

I think that a part of me has always thought that I couldn’t replicate my qualification in 2012 where I became the first south African (and first African) to ever qualify for a world orienteering championship final). There’s a part of you that feels like you probably reached your peak and it’s all downhill after that.

Which is a pretty horrible feeling to have to be honest
This year we also saw who was in our heat, so there were even more nerves and it was the first time that I was using this specific version of touch free timing.
We had been training in some of the forest areas so the tapering wasn’t going well at all! I just felt like I hadn’t rested enough.

But suddenly when you pick up your map, turn it over and you feel the magic then there is nothing that will stop you. My race wasn’t mistake free, but I scraped into the final. Placing joint 15th with a Norwegian (Norwegians are very good at orienteering). One second slower and I wouldn’t have made it.

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So after that there were suddenly no other expectations… I had already achieved more than I could have ever dreamed.

40th Surrey Hills Race

On Sunday 11th June, 8 elite members of ICXC’s trail inclined cohort headed to the hills. South London Orienteers and Wayfarers (SLOW) were hosting the 40th edition of the Surrey Hills Trail Challenge, with ‘minimum’ race distances of 30 km, 16 km and 10 km.

The distances were given as minimum since this event was an orienteering race, where map reading was an advantage (as many found to their peril). The races required ‘dibbing’ at between a number of checkpoints.

Callum Matthews, Merissa Lim and Henry Hart set off first in the 10 km category, shortly followed by Emma McCracken, Robert Salawa, Fergus Johnson, Jack McKeon and Henry Maynard in the 16 km.

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In the 16 km, the Imperial pack of Robert, Fergus and Jack were having a storming first half, just off the lead, until they discovered they had fallen foul of the race’s nature to deceive and soon found themselves a little off track. This resulted in a 3 km detour, leading them to finish the race behind slower runners whom they might have beaten. However, they did not win the prize (unofficial) for the longest race of the day. That accolade went to Emma who clocked 23 km at the finish having got within a kilometer of the line efficiently, only to run in circles to find the last checkpoint and finish line! Despite this, Emma still managed to bring home some beer for being the fastest U23 Woman! Henry Maynard only got slightly lost and so came in as the first Imperial runner in the 16 km race with an impressive 13th overall.

In the 10 km race, Callum and Merissa had a solid race with few mishaps to finish 14th and 15th. As the Imperial pack in the 16 km course demonstrated, trying to navigate this course for the first time alone is risky. The author decided to run with a fast local, before kicking to win by 1 second.

It was a successful outing for ICXC, running some excellent trails above Dorking. We look forward to going back next year. In addition, we look to make trips out to the hilly surroundings of London more regular; Box Hill and Lewknor will feature heavily. Like ICXCAC’s Facebook page for relevant updates!

LUCA Outdoors Championships 2017

Saturday 27th May saw the final event in the London Universities and Colleges Athletics (LUCA) outdoors championship take place. The series of 3 athletics meets between the London universities had previously visited St. Mary’s and Woodford athletics tracks, and the destination for the final was Battersea’s Millennium Arena.

luca2The warm but windy day began with a 1-2 for Imperial in an excellent women’s 1500m led home by Kate Olding in a time of 4:57.16, closely followed by Sarah Johnson in 5:03.29 and Ophélie Meuriot finishing 5th in 6:11.17.

The men’s race saw some good performances too, with Fergus Johnson (4:54.13) and Duncan Hunter (4:58.90) competing in the first heat, and Duncan Ingram (5:01.51) and Lawrence Tse (5:48.01) running in the second.

Meanwhile, 5 Imperial athletes competed in the long jump; David Fong leapt 5.94m – enough to finish 2nd on the day – with multi-eventer Hunter jumping 4.49m and Jack McKeon 4.22m. In the women’s event, Zhen Wang-Koh flew 2.99m and Meuriot reached 2.84m shortly after her 1500m. Wang-Koh later went on to clear 1.20m in the high jump.

18699866_269059920224076_806913222841257939_nIn the 100m sprints, Imperial’s Paul Guillon ran 12.83, with Stefan Renstrom finishing in a rapid 12.21, and Hunter running an impressive 13.07 after his 1500m and long jump. Hunter and Guillon then went on to run the 200m in times of 26.86 and 26.01 respectively. Not satisfied with 2 sprint events, Guillon next ran the notoriously difficult 400m to post an impressive 56.20.

In the even more difficult women’s 400m hurdles, Jenny Lea ran 1:36.16, despite having never jumped over a hurdle before! She also hopped, skipped and jumped valiantly in the triple jump.

With the sun beating down on the Battersea track, a water station was set up for the longest event of the day – the 5000m. In her 3rd of 6 events, Ophélie Meuriot finished strongly to run 23:55.77, just ahead of Catherine Spurin’s 24:14.17.

In the men’s event, McKeon posted a new personal best of 18:04.92 despite the heat, gusts on the back straight of the track, and suspect water delivery from his teammates.

McKeon then went on to compete in the 800m, running 2:28.71, just behind Duncan Ingram’s 2:27.58, finishing 3rd and 2nd respectively in the second heat. Imperial’s future athletics captain Max Thorp earlier posted a speedy 2:10.46 to finish 5th in the first heat.

In the women’s 800m, women’s captain Alex Mundell ran extremely well to finish 3rd in 2:24.16.

Next was the turn of the spectators’ favourite – the steeplechase. This event involves hurdling 5 large barriers (91.4cm for men) per lap over 2km or 3km, with water jumps to contend with each lap too. A crowd typically gather around the water jump, with plenty of splashes and tumbles occurring during each race. Representing Imperial in the men’s race was Duncan Ingram, who went on to finish in 12:31.00 after a surge in pace on the penultimate lap to ensure he was not lapped by the eventual winner!

Over in the field events, Athletics Captain Raul Rinken came 2nd in the shot put, throwing 10.47m, while James Davis reached 7.70m and multi-eventer Ingram threw 5.86m. Davis and Ingram also competed in the javelin, with throws of 26.81m and 20.04m respectively. Davis also entered the discus, throwing 17.69m, while Rinken won the event by over 7m with a huge throw of 36.38m.

18740287_269060183557383_9221667256603695248_nIn the women’s events Liv Papaioannou came 5th in shot put with 7.21m, ahead of Mundell with 5.79m. Both Papaioannou and Mundell also threw the javelin along with Meuriot, with Papaioannou finishing 3rd with 23.91m, ahead of Mundell’s 15.88m, and Meuriot’s 8.50m. Meuriot’s final event was the discus, in which she threw 9.45m.

Some of the most exciting races of the day were the relay races. Imperial’s 4x100m teams finished in 48.84 and 63.82, and the men’s 4x400m team came home in 4:19.19.

In the medley relay, a special event which has 200m, 400m and 800m legs and both men and women competing in one event, Imperial assembled a strong team enough team to podium; finishing 3rd in 7:49.55.

As the event was the 3rd and final meet of the series, medals were presented for the highest points scored in each discipline over the course of the championship.

Overall, bronze medals went to Women’s Captain Alex Mundell for 800m and our medley relay team, silver medals to next year’s Athletics Captain Max Thorp for 800m, Liv Papaioannou for javelin, David Fong for long jump, and Athletics Captain Raul Rinken for shotput and gold medals to Kate Olding for the 1500m and Raul for discus.

In the final standings, Imperial managed a respectable 4th place out of all the competing universities and colleges, behind UCL, King’s and LSE.

luca1Special thanks go to Imperial’s Matt Douthwaite and Shiv Patel for all their hard work and dedication in organising the championships.

Interview With Imperial Speed Demon Chris Olley

Despite being on a year abroad, Chris Olley still is making time to show off his Imperial vest. This weekend he ran in the U23 European 5k trials up in Manchester and after a smashing race came home in 4th with an incredible time of 14minutes 3seconds – only 8 seconds off the qualifying time! See here to watch the race for yourself!

We wanted to find out what was behind Chris’ ongoing success having made waves across the running scene ever since coming to Imperial three years ago…

18700202_1698978780404505_3786494175142612626_nWhat started you off in running?
I actually started running to train for a completely different sport, ice-hockey! This is while I lived in Finland, everyone in the team was given a cross-training schedule for the off-season to stay fit, and that’s when I started going on (very short) runs with my dad. I was about 9 or 10 at the time.

What is your favourite thing about running?
I think one of my favourite things about running is that its so minimalist, compared to other sports. I mean this in the sense that no matter where you are, usually all you need to train to the best of your ability is a pair of trainers, and the surrounding environment becomes your training ground. I think this is one of the things that attracted me to running in the first place as its possible to improve to a good standard without requiring lots of equipment or lessons.

So you’ve been at Imperial quite a few years now – what has been your highlight of competing for ICXCAC?
So far I have to say my individual highlight is coming second at the BUCS indoor 3k this year. However, I also really enjoy any event where there is a big ICXCAC turn out, like BUCS XC, as there’s always such a fun atmosphere.

How has your running been affected by doing a year abroad?
Its certainly been a big change, as I’ve had to find a new group out here and it’s not always easy to find someone to train with. However the team I’ve been involved with out here (LAC Freiburg) have been very supportive in fitting my sessions into their programme and have helped me to find races here in Germany.

Talk us through a typical training week.
In the summer I usually run around 80 miles in a non racing week, with 2-3 hard sessions and a long run of 13-15 miles. The track sessions vary between 1500 target sessions and longer distance 5k sessions, and I usually do some faster work off the track at least once a week too. In the winter its pretty similar but with longer sessions, more often off road, and up to 100 miles a week for a non-racing week.

What do you reckon is the key to your success over the last few years?
I think I’ve managed to build up my mileage well over the last years without getting injured, and that consistency certainly helps. Having my coach Mark Hookway to advise me and give me sessions that are in line with my aims is also obviously a massive help. Also just not taking things too seriously and running for the enjoyment of racing fast as opposed to putting too much pressure on yourself.

What was your pre-race meal?
My proper pre race meal is usually breakfast, followed by sandwiches or something light for lunch if racing in the afternoon or evening. Last time I raced I had a full English with pancakes as my race wasn’t until 9pm! If my race is in the morning I usually eat quite a lot the night before as I don’t want to be eating too much on the day.

Do you have any pre-race superstitions?
Not really, I find its important to be open to changes in your routine otherwise its quite easy to be put off if something doesn’t go to plan. I think its difficult to always have the same build up to a race as they are all so different.

What do you think about your Strava titles?
I think they’re pretty good…although I haven’t been very good at writing them recently. Its quite difficult of thinking of new ones during a stretch where you’re not doing anything special!
(Follow Chris on Strava here)

How do you maintain your mileage without getting ill or injured?
I think a lot of it is down to being really cautious and backing off straight away if I feel something isn’t right. It’s a difficult balance as you have to be disciplined to get the consistent training but also not be too rigid so that you can allow yourself to take time off if necessary. I try to make sure I eat well and sleep as much as possible. Sleep is a pretty massive factor I think too, I would definitely do it more if I could! In terms of direct prevention, I’ve also been trying to stretch a lot more recently as this has a big impact on preventing niggles.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Running wise, hopefully competing for national titles at a senior level, and qualifying for major international championships. Career/other parts of life wise no idea!

Tell us about the most entertaining moment of your running career.
I think the time I forgot a suitcase containing all my race kit on a train heading to Scotland while travelling for the Euro cross championships qualifier race in Liverpool this year was pretty bad…I ended up being able to replace most of the kit and still have a good race though so goes to show how important it is to be able to adapt!

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Finally tell me about the race in Manchester this weekend and in particular the incredible burn up at the end.
I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go as training hasn’t been brilliant these last few weeks, so it was a bit of unknown territory going out at sub 14 minute pace for 5k. Inevitably, as it was a trial race, the pace slowed a bit in the middle and I was still just about hanging on to the lead pack coming into the last lap. I made a bit of a move with 300 to go and positioned myself quite well but then two others made a massive surge at 200, which I just couldn’t really cover! I was still happy to finish 4th in a pb considering it was only my 2nd race of the season and with a less than ideal build up. I would like to do a couple of 15s next as I think it’s important to work on your speed frequently too. #Sport Imperial

Thanks to Mark Hookway for the photos.

Race Report: Transvulcania Ultra Marathon

18622399_1697055230596860_1016431090106909101_nAs we, that is Charlie, Simon and myself, were approaching La Palma we saw the Caldera and the Roque for the first time. A stunning, yet intimidating view, when you know that in 36 hours you will be running up that very ridge. Looking out the window of the small propeller plane, I told Charlie that our planned undertaking is a bit stupid – but how boring would life be without these stupid events. In short, we had a registered for the Transvulcania ultra marathon, which essentially meant that we paid to run 74.5km and climb 4400 vertical metres.

As is the case before any big race, we tried to distract ourselves as much as possible and gladly took the hour long bus journey from our apartment to Los Llanos to pick up our race numbers. It also gave us a glimpse of the finish line, where we would, if all went well, stand in 24hours. By now Khoa had joined us as well to complete our Imperial Trail Team lineup. Despite brilliant beach weather, we had a rather unexciting afternoon and after an early dinner tried to rest for a couple of hours before the gruellingly early 2:45am alarm would wake us up.

One could begin to question the sanity of half the people on La Palma when at 3:30am runners from all corners and hotels, geared up in full Salomon gear (or Raidlight in our case), are sleepwalking to the pickup location of the bus transfer. After a light breakfast and pseudo sleep on the bus, the hype was getting real when the Lighthouse at Fuencaliente appeared in the light of the full moon. 2000 starters had made their way to the southern most tip of La Palma for what was going to be an epic day.

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At 6am sharp the party at the beach was set free and the race was off. Well, with too many runners for on a too small path it turned out to be more of a hike for the first kilometre or two. Every 5 metres of space were avidly used to overtake and “run”, but the sandy ground made progress for the first 17km of constant uphill slower and tougher than a flatland London runner is used to.

The first aid station was in the village of Los Canarios. Everyone was on the streets cheering the runners with never ending “animo”, “venga” and “campeones” chants. A big thank you to all the supporters along the course throughout the whole day is more than necessary at this point – it really makes Transvulcania a special and unique experience.

After a spectacular sunrise and a few more kilometres of uphill, the first major aid station at el Pilar was reached. This is also the end of the half marathon race, and normally a 24km run with “moderate” 2000 vertical metres of climb would have classified as a weekend long run. Today it merely marked the start of the Caldera, the long ridge that we would follow for the next 45 kilometres. With the sun fully up by now, the views were incredible. Transvulcania is the opening race of the Skyrunning calendar, and when running above the clouds, the name Skyrunning fully lives to its name.

At Pico de las Nieves the organisers had a welcoming suprise for the runners – an impromptu shower was set. Given that we had a marathon in our legs by now, it was a welcoming cool down. Shortly after this shower break, I got a tap on my shoulder and to my surprise Charlie had caught up with me. I had expected both him and Simon to be miles ahead of me. We had lost each other in the chaos of the start and I had not even considered it as an option of them being behind me. After a couple of kilometres together, Charlie slowly continued and left me behind. The last few kilometres until the highest point, Roque de los Muchachos, were undulating trail with stunning views down to the ocean 2400m below. Another highlight was to see Luis Alberto overtake one ultra runner at a time – he was comfortably leading the marathon race and was running seemingly effortless through even the steepest of sections.

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When you sign up for Transvulcania you without a doubt instantly startle over the loooooong descent to Tazacorte. 17km with a 2400m elevation drop. And yes, it is as merciless and brutal as it sounds. Even if the trail is varied and passes through forests, plantation fields and the infamous final switchbacks to the ocean, the downhill seems to be never ending. And the slightest loss of concentration is punished instantly, as i found out the hard way after a small trip. Luckily it was only the frustration at myself and I could continue running with no major problems.

While the marathon race finishes at the beach, the ultra runners have the joy of climbing another 350m to reach the finish in Los Llanos. With some sections up to 20% steep, there is only one thought that keeps everyone going by this stage of the race – crossing that damn finish line. When the climb is done, everyone receives their very own lap of honour on hte last kilometre through Los Llanos. With the whole town out on the streets, you are being carried on a wave of cheering and random Spanish support chants that you almost, just almost, forget the pain of the previous 74km and when you turn onto the finish straight red carpet, you remember why you signed up for this truly amazing race.

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With three top 100 finishes and a very respectable 13hrs by Khoa, it is fair to say that our ICXC team result was more than we could have hoped for at the beginning, especially when considering that around 25% of the starters did not even finish.

Interview With BUCS 10,000m Silver Medallist Luke Caldwell

An interview with our very own mysterious to many BUCS 10,000m SILVER MEDALLIST Luke Caldwell after his 9th placing in the British championships this weekend in a crazy time of 29:01…

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What got you into running?
For reasons unknown to anyone, I volunteered to make up numbers in school XC race when I was about 14. Did alright and its slowly taken over my life from there

Why do you enjoy running?
I like the ‘more linear than normal life’ relationship between effort put in and results out. Also the running community is amazing. Almost everyone is incredibly nice

What is your favourite athletics event and why?
5000m? Its long enough to build into it and a story to develop but not so long that you have to avoid looking at lap counter

Talk us through a typical week of training.
I normally run somewhere around 90 miles a week. Thats made up mainly of easy runs with a track session on Tuesday, some fastish strides on a Thursday and another session on Saturday that could be track, tempo or occasionally hills. Mandatory long run on a Sunday

Do you have a special diet?
No. Just try to eat a well balanced diet

What was your build up to the BUCS 10,000m championships like?
I had to have some time off this winter so I started from quite a low point fitness wise at the beginning of the year. But since then, things have gone fairly smoothly.

Did you have any expectations coming into the race?
This is my first race in many months so didn’t have many expectations. Was just hoping I’d get to halfway feeling ok and then see what happens. I’d like to go for a Commonwealth Games qualifying time later on in the season and this was kind of about proving to myself that that goal isn’t completely unrealistic

Talk us through the race itself.
I have a history of going out too hard in 10ks and blowing up so given the disrupted winter I was hoping to run a sensible race to hit about 29 mins. I was fortunate to settle into a good group going about that pace and so got through the first 6-7k feeling alright despite windy conditions. The amazing thing about Highgate is how many people you know who are there, everyones shouts made it a lot easier.

What have you got planned next?
Its all a bit up in the air at the moment but will probably do a 5k next

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Luke and hopefully we can all learn a lot from how simple you make it sound to run stupidly fast!

Clare Maurer Wins Pole Vault GOLD at BUCS

The weekend of 29th April – 1st May marked ICXCAC’s representation at the 2017 BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships.

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The third day of the Championships saw Imperial’s very own Clare Maurer clear 3.70m in the women’s pole vault final and bring home the title! Below is an interview with Clare following this incredible achievement:

How did you get into pole vault?
I used to do gymnastics when I was younger and after deciding to stop that my school sports teacher encouraged me to try pole vault as both sports have similar traits. So I decided to give it a go and have loved it ever since!

What was the build up to BUCS like training wise and otherwise?
Training before BUCS went really well and I was fresh back from warm weather training in Spain which was an ideal environment to prepare for the outdoor season (unfortunately the weather in Bedford was quite the opposite to sunny Spain!!)

What expectations did you have coming into the championship?
I don’t like to put too much pressure on myself but I knew training had been going great and I was in good form. I achieved a bronze medal at the indoor championship so I was looking to improve on this but I knew that the competition was going to be tough.

Take us through the whole experience of competing and how it felt to win.
Warm up went well, despite a downpour of rain and cold conditions, so I felt good going into the competition. I knew in a championship like this clearing heights first time was important and after successfully doing this for my opening height, 3.70m and 3.80m, I gave myself a really good chance of winning! I was really determined to clear 3.90 and just clipped the bar, so it wasn’t to be, but I had just been crowned BUCS champion and had achieved an outdoor PB so I was over the moon. It was also great to have support from my coach, team mate and imperial coaching team.

What are your goals going forward?
I’ve just been selected to represent British universities at the Loughborough international on 21st May so I’m really looking forward to that. I’m also hoping to compete at the British championships and jump over 4 metres.

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Find full results from the weekend here.

Trail Taster Session: Easter 2017

Towards the end of the Easter ‘holiday’, two trail team members headed for the Chiltern Hills to experience some thrilling downhills and challenging uphills.

We caught the Oxford tube at 9am from Shepherd’s bush and arrived at Lewknor less than an hour later, and immediately hit the hills. The route took us along much of the Watlington 10k and 10 mile race trails, as well as up alongside the iconic White Mark on Watlington Hill and the brow overlooking the ‘Stokenchurch Gap’, a gorge cut through the hills for the M40.

The route... In all its glory
The route… In all its glory

The hills definitely showed why the Chilterns are classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AOSB). Particularly when the sun came out, the views over the whole of Oxfordshire from a high vantage point were purely breathtaking. The bluebells were in full flower in the woods, resembling a purple carpet in between the trees.

Some lovely scenery
Some lovely scenery

On the way around Hartmoor wood, we spotted a herd of around 100 wild Muntjacs in the adjacent field. They then proceeded to bound right across our path and into the next copse, making for an impressive sight. Many squirrels and even a fox were also spotted on our travels.

 

On the way back, we popped into Ye Olde Leatherne Bottle in Lewknor for a refreshing pint. All in all, we managed to get a beautiful long effort of 25k with 650m of climb for £14 and just 5 hours of our precious revision time.

Rehydrating post-race
Rehydrating post-race

If you are an ICXC member, be sure to look out for the next outing to be posted soon on the facebook group! Pace and course are very negotiable.