Elstead Marathon – It’s only a Race?

The first sunny Friday in July …… 3rd July 2015. After 103 years of the Elstead Marathon, Blackwater Valley Runners once again decided to grace the event with our presence, the blue and yellow t-shirts would once again be worn in solidarity!

This event is always tough “it’s a marathon” well actually just over 5 miles, but always a very entertaining 5 miles.

Elstead Marathon starts in an alleyway beside the Woolpack pub, goes straight onto tarmac roads for about 1 mile, first obstacle car wing mirrors and parked cars, dodging these can be tricky, this year an added hosepipe to dampen us down! This leads onto the Elstead Common, where runners meet the second obstacle – horse poop (you know the No 1 club rule “if it smells – don’t run through it!”) skilfully most experienced runners missed! As you pass the moat after another mile the first signs of “normal people” supporters cheering, across the road into obstacle number three – badly rutted track, at the end of this is a much needed water stop, it always seems hot on this race.

Once refreshed you are back on your way to Hankley Common towards obstacle number four – a hill -not a big one, but seems to catch your breath out?! Down the other side you reach the sand for the fifth obstacle, keep to the right? Seems a hard surface! Suddenly this changes into deep sand! Go to the left? and changes again! This soon leads onto the bumpy track which has been worn away by 20ft puddles, luckily dry this year, these craters go up and down like a rollercoaster this goes on for ages, suddenly you are going towards a field…a nice grass field? NO a pampas grass field of lumps and bumps, go too fast and you keel over, slow down and you are overtaken by a daredevil not concerned for his or her future running career, once over the barbed wire 12 inch tripwire, you are onto the weir gates, you can hear the crowds cheering people on, or is it in! You are a couple of seconds away from a public soaking … splash! Straight into the river Wey to cheers from the baying crowds, not wanting to look too silly you go over to a very steep slippery mud bank, EVERYONE is watching you!!! Eventually you get a grip with people screaming around you to hurry up!! Once up the bank it’s along the last 300 metres to the finish on the green (I was overtaken with 100 metres to go and accepted my defeat …. however I saw this runner slow down as she headed towards the line … my thoughts changed “I am wearing BVR colours”, “I can do this!” … head down, I sped past my target.. YES VICTORY!!!!, I spent the next two minutes saying sorry to the runner, “it’s only a race”, I had been in her position ☺ it hurts!).


But at the end of the day ….it’s not just a race it’s “the Elstead Marathon”.
103 years of history have made this race interesting, challenging for all, with a great supporting atmosphere. Many a race director could learn from this old race! We followed the race in the traditional way and went to the pub, another happy memory with BVR.

Scott Kennedy obviously did not find it as hard as myself in an amazing 3rd place, Alex Radford 20th, Andy Ratcliffe 50th place.
A great turnout of 35+ Blackwater Valley Runners, three years ago there was just four of us doing this race!

Off to the Surrey Hills Again


So on a warm and sunny Sunday morning a mass of Blackwater Valley Runners turned up for the latest instalment in the MABAC series. This time we were at Farley Heath. In excess of 20 runners enjoyed the sunshine in the woods. We were even met by bluebells as well. For the first time in a while we had a couple of juniors run the 1 lap course so we were there as a club en masse.

So we all lined up to begin having been warned there was water across the full length of the course towards the back end and we were off. Starting with a big down hill we ran through the sandy ground and charged off all thinking, we’ll pay for this later. So we reached the bottom and then started our first climb, and then got onto the longest straight I’ve ever seen on a MABAC. You could literally see 600m or more in front of you and see the full group leading you in the distance. Soon after we start down again, and find a bit of tarmac to run down, then we’re back into the woods and then come across the puddle. It’s big enough to swim through. We could have used it for the first part of the Crondall Triathlon, ok it’s not in Crondall… Round we went and then started the final climb to the finish which starts steep, and then we climb up and it levels off and goes again! Eventually we break out of the forest and a quick left turn and we’re back to the start again. Rinse and repeat and lo and behold we’ve finished. Quite a long race at well over 5.7 miles, tough course in warm weather.

So how did we all do, start with the juniors, Nicholas Radford was 1st round for the juniors and Alaistair Radford was 5th or 6th. Well done to them both for a great run. Shame you got a stitch Al.. we will fix it, Doc Chazzo that’s one for you!

So the seniors… Scott Kennedy was 2nd overall with Steve Low 6th. At the time of writing times are not available. More good runs from those two. Really good runs from everyone, Vanessa did a good time, William Hurley ran really well and Paddy fought hard to beat Steve Bailey. And then Dave Porter beat Holly in a sprint for the line. It was all happening today. Every other runner seemed to be from BVR today. Great attendance and great company.

Anyway onto the important stuff that everyone really cares about, Coffee and Cake. Today’s home made selection was Lemon Drizzle Cake from Melissa, and chocolate and non-chocolate flapjacks from Paddy. I can attest that they were all fantastic. YUM!!! As well as that there was carrot cake, mini millionaires shortbread and chocolate fudge cake. Flasks of Coffee and Tea were also available as well as fizzy drink. What more could you want from your Sunday morning run? A run through the forest and then cake.. It’s the way to go.

Next up is Holmwood on 14th June 2015, more coffee and cake and a small matter of a run thrown into the bargain. Look forward to seeing you there for the next episode!!! Have fun all!


Fleet Half

BVR Fleet Half Race Report – A PB fest!

One of the club’s favourite events in the calendar each year is the Fleet Half Marathon – fleethalfmarathon.com.

It is a long-standing local event organised by one of our fellow local clubs Fleet and Crookham AC. Offering a great course (mild undulations, closed roads, good support and atmosphere) and a strong – club runner heavy – field of around 3,000 runners it is a good opportunity for BVR to turn out in force in their blue and yellow shirts and chase a few PBs.

This year represents the best turn out yet with a massive 52 runners from all sections of the club – that’s nearly half of our membership! Some were attempting their first Half Marathon and others were seasoned runners looking for that elusive PB. The weather was, well, fine. Really bright, a little bit sunny, perfect for running and my personal favourite run of the year so far.

We agreed to meet in the field near the finish at 10am ‎for a club photo – pre-race – given we expected 50+ club shirts we really could manage a group photo worthy of publication! And here’s the result…

As always the usual level of healthy competition exists throughout the club with a bit of friendly banter in the start area and a few people choosing who else in the club to follow as a pacer.

The gun fires at 10:30 and the field takes a full 3 minutes to cross the line. We know this because Nick insisted on being the last to cross the line, having to circle a few times before crossing the line to ‘out do’ the others trying to do the same!

The course passes down the high street twice in the first five miles and this spectacle gathers a huge crowd every year. Bright, sunny weather helps today of course.

A number of our runners had generously volunteered to marshal at the event this year. Without marshals events like this don’t happen so we encourage anyone who can’t run (maybe they have an injury or are ill so need to miss the event) to marshal and support the events members of the club regularly enjoy.

Throughout the route these familiar and friendly faces appeared cheering their fellow club members of with the odd enthusiastic high five too.

So with such bright, pleasant running conditions the odd PB here and there was inevitable. Scott crossed the line in a blistering 1h17m (PB) to claim 40th place followed by Steve in 1h21m (PB) taking first in his age category and Alex setting a PB of 1h26m. Then followed Lawrence 1h32m (PB), Jason 1h34m (PB) Alan 1h35m (PB), myself and Nick nipping at my heels again this year – very impressive having started at the very back of the field!

It didn’t end there… the following people also set PBs! (a long list follows)

Amanda, Chris McW, Karen Jones (PB by 30 mins!), Linda R, Charley W, Sarah F, Zoe B, Linda F, Andy M, Steve M, Michelle B, and Lee J. ‎

Congratulations to ‎Karen M, Tina M, Susie, Kate B, Scott, Lucy E, Jennifer H, Hanne and John Taylor for running their first half marathon too.

And finally a big thanks is due to the members who volunteered, it was great to see your smiling faces en-route! ‎Karine, Steve R, Mary, Claire, Deb, Kay, Ave and Shanie.‎

Same again next year? ;)‎

beat the street bvr

BVR to ‘Beat the Street’ in Aldershot fitness drive

Blackwater Valley Runners (BVR) are helping the Aldershot community reach their 25,000 mile target in the ‘Beat the Street’ challenge.

Alongside many local schools, leisure centres and other organisations, BVR have entered as a team and will be pounding the streets night and day. As well as taking to the roads of Aldershot individually, the club is planning to check in at as many different boxes as they can squeeze in by incorporating it with their club runs on a Wednesday night. Teams of varying abilities will head out for their usual run, taking in the sights of the town and picking up as many points as possible along the way.

The scheme has been designed to encourage and inspire communities to walk to school, to work and to the shops rather than by car. It will run from 2nd March until 31st March 2015 and anyone living or working in Aldershot will be eligible to take part. A player taps their RFID card or key fob at various points on their way to and from work, school and to the shops and tracks their progress online.

There are two team prizes up for grabs, one for total points scored and one for the highest average points per team member.  BVR are only in the competition for fun and don’t want to be considered for either prize.

If you would like to enter as part of the BVR team, you can collect your free card from the Connaught Leisure Centre or Aldershot Library. Once you’ve got it, you’ll need to register on the BTS website. Make sure you put Blackwater Valley Running Club down as your team (it’s under ‘others’).

At the end of the month (Saturday 28th March) BVR will be organising a fun run where everyone can get points for their teams. This will be one of the last chances for the Aldershot community to reach the 25,000 mile target and raise £1000 for the Parkside Charity. Details of the fun run will be posted on the BVR and Beat the Street web sites.

For more Beat the Street info, here’s some links:

The ‘Beat the Street’ website – http://aldershot.beatthestreet.me

Registration – http://aldershot.beatthestreet.me/register

The Rules – http://aldershot.beatthestreet.me/rules

BVR Events on Facebook

Beat the Street on Facebook


BVR On The Radio

BVR on the Radio

Members of Blackwater Valley Runners were on Local forces radio talking about the club, trying to inspire Aldershot Military personnel and their families to join the club and get involved in the local Rushmoor parkrun organised by Blackwater Valley Runners. Paddy, Andy, Linda and Charley join presenter Steve Radcliffe in in the BFBS Studio on Middle hill, Aldershot.

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Blackwater Valley Runners Santa Run 2014

Blackwater Valley Runners raise £1,130 for Phyliss Tuckwell hospice with Barry`s Run

Blackwater Valley Runners did the Santa Run in memory of Barry Tulett, who was a member of the club for a number of years. Barry was liked and respected by all and no-one who met Barry could fail to appreciate his friendship and ‘unique’ sense of humour. Any run would be enlivened by Barry’s jokes and stories. Over the last few years, when he was very unwell, Barry continued to support the club and his strength and fortitude were an inspiration to us all. Never one to feel sorry for himslef and always one of the first to welcome a new member Barry was a huge part of the club and will be missed enormously. Barry supported and valued the work of Phyllis Tuckwell who provide invaluable care to the terminally ill and their families. Your donation will be put to good use. Thank you.

Sponsor Us Here

BVR take on The Eggheads

In 2014, a brave team from Blackwater Valley Runners took on the best quiz team in the country on BBC2’s Eggheads.

Dave revealed has love of the Norwegian ladies and Paddy happily showed us that he’s never been hassled by PPI calls before.

They may not have taken home the prize, but they did the club proud.