Running – 2016

Running – 2016

Happy New Year – Срећна Нова година

These are the races that I took part in during 2016, starting in Palić around the lake, and ending running around a horse racing track in Belgrade!

Since starting running again in September 2014, upon completion of my chemotherapy and after a gap of seven years, in 2016 I ran more than in any other year. This was even with gaps in my training for sickness/work/personal commitments. The total I ran can be seen at the bottom of this post; I did run further than my target 🙂

Palić Half Marathon – 5 March 2016

We had a lovely family holiday in Palić (as always), and whilst it was a bit on the day of the race the setting was lovely. 3 laps of a course taking in a lot of the lake. Best part was that my 11 year old son ran the 5 km race (lap 1) with me achieving an excellent time of 26:23. I ran the race in 1:42:16 which I was very happy with 🙂

Palic event picture

 

2. Spring Rolls (8 km) – 20 March 2016

My 11 year old son joined me for this run too. We ran alongside the Sava river, in very muddy conditions on a 2 lap course. Great fun, with the bonus of it being a run for charity so others benefitted from us taking part.

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Belgrade Marathon – 16 April 2016

Entered the full marathon, but having run the first half in just under 2 hours was not feeling well and at around 24 km pulled up, was sick in the bushes and walked home. So a DNF for me; such is life. A very hot day and I just did not feel that it worked for me. Always next year, the 30th running of the event (though think I’ll stick to the half)…

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Wings For Life (vs. car) – 8 May 2016

This is a novel idea, everyone starts running, and then after half an hour either a real or virtual car starts after you. It starts slowly, then starts to speed up the further you go. As there was no actual race in Belgrade I was running against a virtual car using an app on my phone. Bit of trouble with the app, it worked on my phone, but not my son’s, meaning we spent the first few minutes trying to resolve the problem (the race starts at the same time throughout the world, 13:00 CET) rather than running. Managed 18.9 km of my 21.1 km target before the virtual car caught me, he managed 11.5 km.wfl-logo

 

Sombor Half Marathon – 15 May 2016

Long day this one, caught bus at 05:30 on a chilly, light rainy day. The bus stopped at Novi Sad, before arriving in Sombor. However, the race itself was great in that I managed to keep going well after 16 km, instead of slowing down, helped by the very flat nature of the race (zero m elevation!). As such I finished the race in 1:40:13, my best time since completing the chemotherapy.

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Novi Sad Night Half Marathon – 25 June 2016

Second consecutive year I’ve run this half marathon. Start at 21:45 in very hot and humid conditions with 3 laps. Each lap is half on road surface, half on running track surface. Still have no idea how to run this race, and whilst it is a great event I still don’t seem to do well in running it; as my time of 2:04 shows. But still plan to do it again…

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Rakovica Half Marathon – 2 July 2016

A lovely run around Rakovica, on the outskirts of Belgrade, ending up (after going up a hill at the end of the race) at the monastery. Again, due to it being summer, the race was in the evening. A slow race as I went out of my way to run slowly after Novi Sad and enjoy the evening. Still very enjoyable, but with a finish time of 2:09 there is room for improvement next year!event-pic

 

Bath Long Half Marathon – 24 July 2016

Hilly, hilly, and even more hilly! 25.5 km (a long half-marathon!), with 650 m of elevation, mostly up small forest tracks as this was for a large part a trail race. Hence a finish time of 2:53 which I was happy with. Great to do a run back in the UK, and as we had a weekend away in Bath managed to be a tourist as well. Part of a series of races organised by Relish Running Races, well organised, with what has to be the friendliest marshals of all the races I’ve run this year.

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Gloucester Marathon – 7 August 2016

So pleased to make it to the inaugural Gloucester Marathon – my home city. A lovely flat race they said, going through the city and then out into the countryside. All true, except for one huge hill just two thirds of the way through! Though this was 42.2 km with 66 m of climbing (compare that to the Bath race). First half in 1:50 but then found it tough and finished in 4:29 (walked some of the second half!) Still better time than previous marathons, Belgrade earlier on in the year and London 2015 so have to be happy with the result.

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Hvar Half Marathon – 20 August 2016

Holiday time – great place to have a family holiday; on a beautiful island off the coast of Croatia. We went with the excellent specialist running travel company, Active Traveling, so everything was organised for us. At the end of a lovely week the race took place. This is a straight up, then straight down race – 571 m up and quiet a bit down. Very tiring, but the views are worth it – fantastic views on a very hot afternoon. Finished in 2:08.hvar-logo

 

We Run Belgrade (10 km) – 4 September 2016

A run around Belgrade, from Ušće park, though to the centre and back again. The race was free (probably why only half those registered actually race the race), and with several thousand taking part it was a great event to run in. Many of those running it was clear had not done much running; why my time of 47:24 put me in the top 20% of times. As I finished in the same time as my age it was a good race for me.

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3 Carrots Irish Pub Half Marathon (!) –  28 September 2016

My charity race for the year – running a half marathon in a pub. The full story is on a previous blog post – https://neil4bc.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/belgrade-record-achieved/

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Coca-Cola Fun Run (5 km) – 15 October 2016

A 5 km race around Ušće park. I ran the race with my eleven year old son, and it was great that there were also some other parents/friends running with their children. We ran fast and hard (sprinting the last 100 m) to cross the line in 26.3 (5.2 km), therefore just a touch over 25 minutes for 5 km. So well done to us both 🙂

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Plavi Krug Oke Ade – 13 November 2016

Cold, cold, no not cold but freezing – what a morning to do a marathon for the benefit of charity. Running around a lake with a bitterly cold wind coming off it, in a sub-zero temperature was never going to be fun. After 26.8 km (3.5 laps) of the lake I called it a day. Good point was 2 of these laps where the fastest I have run around Ada Ciganlija; I ran the first 21.1 km (half-marathon) in 1:53.

Plavi Krug oko Ade

 

Only Fools and Horses (5 km) – 4 December 2016

A fun 5 lap ~5 km run for charity around the Belgrade Hipodrom (horse race track) with my eleven year old son. e had a great time, and I enjoyed pushing him to do well in this race, with a time of 25:32 for 4.9 km. My six year old son, not to be outdone, also did one lap. The two youngest enjoyed their ride on the horses too!

Only Fools and Horses

Pictures from all the events are on my Facebook page – facebook.com/neil4bc – do pay it a visit and Like the Page if you haven’t already.

And that was my running (races) for 2016.

Over the year I managed to reach my target of 1200 km, officially recording, on my Strava account, 1234.5 km.

Total km in 2016

Roll on 2017, lots more (charity) races planned, and targets to aim for (posts to follow showing the what/why/when)…

So once again Happy New Year – Срећна Нова година 🙂

500 dinars per 500 metres

500 dinars per 500 metres

Title picture

Whilst I may not have the time to organise events at the moment, I decided I should still try to raise money for bowel cancer charities.

With 2 races, in Serbia, coming up I therefore set a challenge to raise money related to them:
Palić half marathon – 21 km – 5 March 2016
Belgrade marathon – 42 km – 16 April 2016

Total distance ~ 63 km (to nearest km!)

So I set a target of raising 63.000 dinars (~€510  / ~£400) by asking people to donate 500 dinars (in total, not per 500 m!!) which would cover 500 metres of these races. Therefore if 126 people donate I would raise the target amount.

All monies raised will be split 50/50 between the Serbian colon cancer charity and EuropaColon (who work across Europe, including Serbia).

serb-charity  EuropaColon

2 days after launching this initiative (last Thursday, 4 February, which was World Cancer Day) I had received pledges covering the Palić half marathon race, i.e. 21.000 dinars 🙂

21.000 raised already!

Now I’m looking for donations to cover the 42 km of the Belgrade marathon.
If you can help please send me a message, or email me neil4bc@gmail.com.

Thank you 🙂

Neil4BC Logo

 

 

Life, and running goes on…

It’s 2016, and I haven’t updated this blog for quite a while, so here’s an update…

After the fun of the Ring O’Fire I took a break from running, and then I took a break from Facebook for a  couple of months, and in doing so I really took a break from society. Work continued, as did family life, but what with all the running, the charity activities and the post-cancer life I needed a break from things. I achieved so much last year, in terms of my fitness through running and enjoyment of the races, but also in terms of the money raised for charity with the help and support of so many people. This was all part of my personal recovery from the previous year in hospital.

Then during the Christmas break I decided I needed to start running again as I was missing it, and so with heavy snow on the ground I ran through the local forest on January 3 (having run there the day before with no snow). After a just over an hour long run I returned home to be asked by my wife how many other runners I had seen on this popular route. “None” I said, “That’s because they’ve more sense when its sub-zero with a strong wind, and there is thick snow on the ground” she replied! It was great to be out running and as I enjoyed it I went out a few more times that week, e.g. Snow Run 2.

However, for me to continue to run I need targets, many people don’t but I need to have something to aim for, so I signed up for four races, 2 half-marathons and 2 marathons; well if you are going to have targets make them achievable but tough!

The first race will be in Palić on 5 March:

Palic polumaraton

The second race is the Belgrade Marathon. I ran the half-marathon in 2007, and both want to try the whole marathon as well as support a friend who wants to run her first marathon.

bgmaraton-logoBelgrade Marathon route

As I plan to be back in England this summer for a proper holiday (not the fleeting 3 day for an event visits I had last year) two races appealed to me. The first is a tough half-marathon around Bath on 24 July:

bath-hm1

and the second the Gloucester Marathon on 7 August. Back in my home city I will benefit from having family and friends there to support me.

Gloucester Marathon route

Gloucestere Marathon finisher t-shirts

The charity work, using the neil4bc/Charity Runner Neil I have now put on hold, though it could be revived. I have a new role as Chairman of the British Society of Serbia (BSS), within which we will be having our own charity events as well as supporting and promoting other charity events. One such event, organised by the Belgrade Lions Club is on this Sunday (31 January), a Burns Night event. So there is still a lot going on involving charities, just not with myself being the focal point. I do only have one running vest though, from Bowel Cancer UK so, weather permitting (it rained at the Belgrade Marathon and Palić half-marathon last year) then I will be visibly wearing it.

And that’s the update thus far…thanks for reading 🙂