Working the Bon Jovi Spot

Some of the SLGR gang were out marshalling this Saturday at Shoreham Wood 10k, which is a very pretty but rather hilly course. We also had two team members running it, Stephen Burgess and Gary Clements. We had a bit of drama with a missing fallen runner who wasn’t actually missing at all and a disqualification after the leader went the wrong way, not the fault of the marshals or the organisers I might add, he just completely missed the large red arrows pointing right, plus no one was listening to Mark shout “Careful down the steps and then sharp left” they all carried on straight ahead into the field instead. Doh !

I was in charge of the Bon Jovi spot which meant a lot of singing on my part, not something I am good at but it did seem to make the runners move faster to get past me yelling “Whoa, your half way there, whoa Livin’ on a Prayer” Some of them were hoping that I meant that they were half way up the hill, but I soon disappointed them on that score as I was pretty much at the bottom of a very long, very steep hill.

Lots of people commented on the lovely views on the course, funnily enough, no one commented on the lovely singing but ever since running a race with Jo Conway a few years ago, I have always had that song in my head at half way of any race so I just had to share it on Saturday. Apologies to all concerned and any local wildlife that I scared off.

The disqualified lead runner took his mishap well and was promised a free place next year so that he can come back and finish the race. Steve Burgess was first SLoGgeR home and Clements managed second. Well done to both of them.

I have never run this one despite marshalling twice, it’s a tough race and the leaders took around 25 minutes to get to me at the 5k point so it’s definitely not one for a PB but if you like a challenge and can cope with my singing, maybe give it a go next year.

A race of two halves

Team SLGR turned the Dartford 10k Orange and Black this morning and there were some amazing times on a pretty tough course.

The first half was predominately down hill or flat but just after the 5k point was the first hill and it was a big one, followed by an undulating Roman Villa Road, a cheeky downhill to Green Street Green and then the final long climb up Trolling Down Hill. If anyone managed a negative split on that, you deserve an extra medal.

First man home was James Merry who managed to claim the 10k team record in 43.23 with Steve Burgess close behind on 44.02. We had 5 runners under 50 minutes and 18 under the hour. First female was Lesley Pilson again in 51.35 and 7th team member home, she’s having a cracking year. Hot on her heels were Fleur, Suzanne, Natasha, Sarah Honour and Janet all under the hour. Great work from the whole team.

We did have a couple of casualties with Darren and Luke pulling up with injuries but they both managed to hobble to the finish and Janet having a wobble at the finish. The First Aid team were fabulous and there were also plenty of really good marshals out on the course. Hopefully everyone will be on the mend soon and fighting fit.

I had a chat with Stuart Wood from Road Runners at the finish and unfortunately they didn’t have as many runners as they had last year and actually made a loss with the cost of the event coming in at around £5500. Hopefully next year they can still afford to do it and we can rope some more runners in to join us. Incidentally the ice creams were his idea and they were definitely a hit and an improvement on the meat pie that we got last year.

I have pillaged some of the photos from Facebook.

It’s only two weeks until our next GP event, the Wingham 10k. I need to pull my finger out and get a better time as this was the longest I have run since May and everyone’s overtaking me.

Well done Team SLGR


Mud, Sweat and Beers at Harvel 5

Oh how I love my team.

I hope you don’t mind but I have picked up some of the photos from your posts and gathered them together on this blog. We had almost 40 runners at Harvel 5 today and we made one hell of an impression. We had a few brave souls who went for the fancy dress and loads of orange and black. Hats off to Darren, Gavin and the Allchurch brothers for what must have been incredibly hot outfits on a scorching Saturday afternoon. As always, getting a team pic before and after the race is a challenge, but here are a selection of the before.



Then it was off and the beer began to flow as fast as the runners. For quite a few of us, this was a recovery run after marathons, half marathons and a hot 10k on Monday so we wanted to have a bit of fun and enjoy the hospitality that you only get a Harvel.

There was even a bit of running, Of course Les had to combine the running with the beer.

And then there was some celebrating reaching the finish before we tried to get a finishers photo.

And the celebrations went on for some time, in the pub and then another pub. I will leave this last pic to speak for it’s self. All I can say is. Priceless !


A little something on the Darent Valley 10k from David Cooper

SLGR - Dartford Running Club Team Photo

SLGR AKA #teamSLGR AKA Orange and Black Army is one of, if not the best running clubs for welcoming newcomers and supporting fellow runners, we have been at races of all distances and always waited to cheer the last runner over the line and in some cases run the last bit of the race with them.

On Sunday we had 27 runners at The Darent Valley 10K, it is a local race so a great chance to show off our orange & black shirts. The course is not an easy one with a very tough hill about 7k into the run.

As usual we waited until everyone had finished so we could get an ‘after photo’ to go with the ‘before one’. A special mention must goes to Luke Oxlade who has recently joined us and Sunday was his first 10K race and he was pleased with his time and is eagerly looking to book his next one, which is always a good thing.

Watch out for us at other races across the area and also further afield.

We don’t only support each other at races but over the last couple of years we have organised training programs for runners doing 1/2 Marathons, Marathons and a little run in the country called the North Downs Run.

Last year a group of about 14 went up to Inverness to run in The Loch Ness Marathon and the 10k, we all did the long training runs together as much as possible which normally ended in a well earned breakfast. The same is happening this year with the Edinburgh Marathon and half Marathon and this time we have even more runners going.

SLGR - Dartford Running Club Team photo SLGR - Dartford Running Club Team photo SLGR - Dartford Running Club Team photo SLGR - Dartford Running Club Team photo SLGR - Dartford Running Club Team photo  SLGR - Dartford Running Club Team photo  SLGR - Dartford Running Club Team photoSLGR - Dartford Running Club Team photo

#TeamSLGR – Dartford Running Club

Running Buddies

I started running again the day after the London Marathon in April 2000 having not run since I was about 15. I did it to relieve work related stress and to do something for me. It was the best decision I ever made but initially I kept it a secret, waiting for my husband Mark to leave for work before venturing out with a slightly reluctant dog for a very slow jog around the nearby lake. I had been doing that every morning for about 6 weeks before Mark found out, by which time I was a new person. I had entered a Women’s 5k run in Hyde Park in July and was so overjoyed with my 29 minute time that I entered the 2001 London marathon ballot which in those days was a postal form with a few tick boxes open for a couple of months in the Summer before the ballot in October. It wasn’t any easier to get in then either though so I explored the charity option and was offered a place with the NSPCC team before my rejection letter arrived.

So the training began and I have to say that Mark was great, having never run before, he joined me for all of my short runs and met up with me towards the end of my long ones when I was really flagging. At the time, I had no clue about running clubs, nutrition etc. I was winging it with a few copies of Runners World and a lot of enthusiasm and determination. Race day didn’t quite go to plan as I dislocated three vertebrae along the way and finished very wonky in 6 hours 4 minutes, the course gets very lonely when you are that far back and as much as I loved the experience it was really tough until I met up with someone else running for the same charity in Docklands and we decided to finish it together. Having a running buddy for the later stages got me through.

By 2004 Mark and I were old hands having run a couple of half marathons, a few 10ks and become regular runners so when I got a ballot place for London we decided to get Mark a charity one so that we could do it together. Still with no club support we trained together and it was so much easier until race day when it was Mark’s turn to suffer when his IT Band suddenly started to scream in pain at 17 miles. We have since realised that it was probably him trying to run at my pace, not running his natural stride was probably what caused it to flare up. We finished in 5 hours and 4 minutes so I had managed a PB by knocking a whole hour off my previous time.

I hadn’t planned to run another marathon until after joining SLGR and getting talked in to running the 2016 Brighton Marathon with a whole load of the team. Joining the team has meant that Mark’s running had definitely improved as he was running with guys of his own pace and pushing himself more, I’m not sure it improved mine that much at first as I stopped trying to keep up with him and settled in with others of a similar pace but it did mean that when training for this marathon, we both had the support of the team on long runs and on the day. That day, Mark ran with Chris Preston and Dave Reid for the first 18 miles, then his back went, Chris had a knee issue and Dave flew in to the distance on the worst part of the course. They all got great times, but it was so much harder when they split up. I fell in to step beside Mandie Lockwood, it wasn’t planned, we just chatted, paced one another, she counted down in kilometres, I did miles, so it felt like we were ticking off more achievements and we laughed all the way to the finish line. I got a PB, Mandie finished her first marathon in a very respectable time of 4.53.

In 2017 the team talked about doing a half marathon over seas, making a weekend of it. We ended up with 15 runners at the Loch Ness Marathon ! Group training went well despite the challenge of training through a hot Summer and off we went. The race started on a freezing cold mountain top overlooking the loch, a few of us were together for a while before the group started to split up and I ran around 6 miles alone before Michelle Smith caught me up at 12 miles when I stopped to take a photo of the view. By that point, the view had been pretty much the same for 4 or 5 miles and stayed the same for another 4 or 5 and Michelle wasn’t feeling the love for it, it was trees and loch and very little else, there wasn’t much support and it was very tough going so we decided to stick together from then on. It was seriously tough going but having Michelle beside me definitely helped get us both to the finish.

I definitely hadn’t planned to run another marathon but somehow found myself agreeing to run the Edinburgh marathon with the team after everyone except Mark got rejected by London again. The timing has meant that the team have gone out with Mark and Jonathan Algar who got the team London place to train with them, they were 5 weeks ahead but we could arrange runs so that they could do a bit extra but have the team there for support most of the way while we built our training runs up too. The London Boys were pretty well paced so planned to stick together on the day. It turned out to be a scorcher and incredibly tough but the boys were doing really well until half way when they managed to lose one another when Mark stopped to stretch, it got tough for both of them after that. The Edinburgh crew have been hit with injury after injury and quite a few people have dropped down to running the half instead, it’s now just me and Natasha Godfrey and 9 guys running the full marathon so its a bit of a relief that I have someone of a similar pace to hopefully stick with in Edinburgh. Natasha has been amazing having only decided to sign up after the Dartford half, she’s like the Duracell bunny who just never stops, she has been beside me on all of our long runs except one and I really missed her that day. She was my shadow around Paddock Wood half and pushed me on our 3 hour training run yesterday, she just wants to keep going so I don’t feel like I should stop either and unless I stop, she doesn’t. If I can keep up with her for 26.2 miles we could be on for a good time.

My point is that a running buddy can make so much difference, they add security so you are not running alone, they challenge you to push yourself and I have been lucky enough to have had great company and a great laugh on some very long runs. I can highly recommend it. Go grab a buddy and run.

SLGR - Dartford Running Club Team photo

#TeamSLGR – Dartford Running Club

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

Having run both Spring and Autumn marathons I’m not sure which is the better option. Spring ones means training through the worst of the Winter and this has been a particularly tough one with one of our long runs being so cold that it took your breathe away, we’ve also had snow and ice to contend with and it hasn’t been fun. Last year, a few of us did an Autumn one which meant training through the hottest part of the Summer with our longest runs in August, we had to get up and out very early to miss the worst of the heat but it was still exhausting. The problem is that race day weather is so unpredictable as we saw this weekend at the London Marathon when temperatures hit a record breaking 24 degrees and at Loch Ness Marathon last September when it dropped like a stone and left us freezing on top of a Scottish mountain.

Unfortunately the weather this weekend meant over a hundred people were taken to hospital in a serious condition and one sadly died. Matt Campbell was an experienced and very good runner as were many of the other people who were seriously affected by the heat. I was on the elite water station at three and a half miles and people were struggling even then because it was already scorching by 10.30 am, a couple of hours later I was on the Embankment waiting for our runners to come through 25 miles and there were lots of runners in serious trouble; the legs had gone and they were staggering all over the place. We saw runners that we knew like Terry Merry and Jonathan Algar who were so focused on putting one foot in front of the other and getting through that they couldn’t hear a dozen of us yelling their names and almost missed us. There were a lot of broken people out there and anyone who went the distance should be immensely proud of themselves just for finishing.

It’s unforgivable that the water stations at 8, 9 and 10 miles ran out of water. My nephew was on water station duty at 9 miles with the sea cadets and didn’t think that they had anywhere near as much water as in previous years and ran out after only about a third of the runners had been through, it took an hour to replenish stocks and with no water at the next one either, many runners would have gone from mile 7 to 11 with no water. Having said that, many runners were taking two or three bottles at each stop without considering anyone else and I’m sure at least some of that ended up being chucked aside so I guess we have to take some responsibility for that as runners.

We didn’t have many SLGR out there but the ones that were did us proud. Jonathan was the first SLoGgeR home in 4.32 having lost his running buddy Mark Browne on Tower Bridge. Mark came in at 5.15 after struggling with his achilles, then Susan Neal in 6.20, Alex Slater in 6.38 and Kate Shutt in 7.02. You should all be very pleased with your times in that heat, especially as most of you had never done a marathon before. Please send us some of your pics and we’ll post them on the blog.

Entry opens on Monday for next year’s London Marathon and I am sure many of you will be applying yet again, let’s hope we have a few more successful applicants next year than we did this year but for those of you who get rejected, please keep a copy of either your entry or rejection emails if you want to be entered in to the team ballot and make sure your subscription is paid up or you won’t be eligible.

Once again, a massive well done to everyone who finished the 2018 London Marathon #SLGRheroes

#TeamSLGR – Dartford Running Club

2018 Members Welcome Pack

Hi Team,

Thank you to everyone who has already renewed their membership and to those who haven’t yet, what are you waiting for ?

We have had a great year and have lots of exciting new stuff going on for the coming year. We have updated the Welcome Pack as attached above and look forward to having you all with us for another year.

Many thanks for being part of the team.

#TeamSLGR – Dartford Running Club

Have you played Runner’s Top Trumps

SLGR are a very sociable bunch who like nothing better than a post-race chow down like we had after Dartford Half in March when a load of us headed to the pub for lunch, but like a bunch of teenagers everyone was soon huddled over their phones. They weren’t being anti-social and checking out Facebook or Twitter, they were checking Strava stats. Pace, elevation, calories, times etc. Now while this may be the kind of thing you would expect to see from elite athletes figuring out where it went right or wrong, where they could hone their technique, that wasn’t quite what the team were doing. One of the first things that we all look at is how many calories we have burned, so we know we’ve earned the lunch we are about to consume.

After Paddock Wood half we were all stood at the finish, welcoming one another in and then the phones came out and the stats were once again discussed in detail and compared to our fellow runners in a game of what Gavin Mundy called Runner’s Top Trumps, pick a stat and compare it, who got the best pace, who got the highest elevation, what distance you got and most importantly, who burned the most calories. It entertained us for ages.

For what we are about to consume, may Strava make us truly deserving.

#TeamSLGR – Dartford Running Club

Busy weekend

What a busy weekend Team SLGR have had

We kicked off with Tropicana Nights on Friday with some amazing 80’s costumes and some very suspect wigs. Thanks Mel Preston for organising.

Saturday morning saw the second KLAN mob match which unfortunately clashed with two other big running events this weekend so we only had a handful of brave souls taking on the other 6 clubs at Hoblingwell Parkrun including three runners who also ran on Sunday and all busted out PB’s which is very impressive. I don’t know what the score was but I’m sure we fought a brave fight against some much bigger opponents and as usual with SLGR it’s more about the taking part and the post run breakfast. Well done to all those who took part, hopefully next time we’ll have a more suitable date and lots more runners.

SLGR - Dartford Running Club Hoblingwell Parkrun photo SLGR - Dartford Running Club Hoblingwell Parkrun photo

Sunday was a double header with the Chatham Maritime 10k April GP event and the Paddock Wood half marathon which fitted in nicely for those training for London and Edinburgh marathons. The rain didn’t stop for either event but there were some very impressive times.

At the Chatham GP event Phil Batchelor and Michelle Loader both managed PB’s. Obviously the mob match was the perfect warm up for Phil. It looks like a nice course and relatively flat.

SLGR - Dartford Running Club Chatham 10K photo

I was at the Paddock Wood half marathon along with quite a few others, I think we got most of them in the photos either before or after but there is always someone in the queue for the loo who misses out. The toilet queues were pretty horrendous with two in a nearby hall that didn’t flush at all and had to be filled with buckets and the ever fragrant portaloos outside with a huge wait. The baggage tent was obviously leaking as our dry warm clothes for after the race were all a bit damp and cold. Apart from those two niggles it was a well organised and well marshalled event. The roads were mostly traffic free despite only the first two miles being closed and those cars we did see were patient and encouraging which makes a nice change.

The route is described as being relatively flat apart from a couple of hump bridges over the railway lines, I think there were actually five or six and they were fairly substantial humps but the rest was pretty flat, apart from the pot holes, there were a lot of puddles to dodge and the view mostly consisted of hedges, occasional houses and a peak at some fields but not a whole lot else. Having said that, it does have PB potential and was a pleasant run with lots of support, orange segments and jelly babies.

Both Gavin Mundy and Lesley Pilson broke the two hour barrier for the first time to claim very impressive PB’s particularly as they were also both at the mob match and Lesley was the only team member to attend three of the four SLGR events this weekend. I also managed a PB by three minutes along with my running buddy Natasha Godfrey who smashed her Dartford half time by six minutes.

SLGR - Dartford Running Club Team photo

It was a good last run before London for Jonathan Algar, Mark Browne, Alex Slatter and Kate Shutt, it’s all about the taper now, take it easy guys and enjoy race day.

Well done all

#TeamSLGR – Dartford Running Club

Thursday Pace Session

So here’s what happens on a regular Thursday night out with the SLGR gang.

With the April GP event, the Chatham 10k and also the Paddock Wood half on Sunday, it’s going to be a busy weekend for SLGR. So it was the perfect time to work on race pacing for these events.

We met at the Premier Inn by the Bridge in Dartford and headed around the corner for our session. With everyone having worked out what pace they should be running at for their chosen event distance we started with 12 minutes at that pace with a 90 second recovery before 4 lots of 3 minutes at threshold pace with 60 second recoveries followed by another 12 minutes at race pace. A tough session but great to get your head around the pacing and the second 12 minutes is also fat burning time as you have used up your store of readily accessible energy on the intervals so the body starts working on the fats instead. It’s a win, win.

We would love to see more of you at our club sessions, they move around but are generally within a set area so that no one gets left behind and everyone works at their own pace and ability. If you are not yet a club member but would like to have a try, we are happy to offer a couple of free trial sessions before you decide, membership packages start from as little as £15 for non affiliated. Keep an eye on Facebook for where we are at each week.

Here’s some slightly blurred pics of our session, you can see everyone is smiling cos they are having soooooooo much fun.