AGM and your 2019 Committee

A little bit late, I know but thank you to everyone who attended the AGM in January, it was another successful evening and I think you’ll all agree that we’ve had a pretty great year.

For anyone who missed it, here are some of the points discussed and questions raised.

Membership fees will be going up slightly this year in line with the increase from England Athletics, we haven’t increased our club fee since we started in 2014 despite increases from EA and it’s still only £32 per year including your affiliation fee which I am sure you will agree is an absolute bargain to be part of the best team in Kent if not the world. There is also an option to renew membership through the EA portal which started last year and quite a few of us renewed that way, but it charges the club a handling fee so we would much prefer it if you paid your fees direct into the club account if possible. We’ll send details out when renewals are due.

Accounts were submitted and approved.

We are being asked about running a couch to 5k type programme to encourage new runners and hopefully grow our membership. The committee will discuss and see the best way to organise this. We may hold a meet the team session for new runners to try us out.

We will look at ways to promote the club, possibly Instagram, local Facebook groups etc. This is also to grow the club.

Website is looking great, many thanks to Stephen Burgess for his continued work on this.

Our inaugural SLGR race in January went well and was well received. Looking to repeat and expand next year to include runners from outside SLGR and So Let’s Go Running. Thanks to everyone who took part as either a runner or a marshal.

It was discussed whether to stick with the Golf Club for the 2019 Christmas party, generally the reply was yes, the entertainment team may put a poll out for confirmation but we have a provisional date reserved at the club just in case.

As a committee, we have to stand down each year and, if you want us back, we get re-elected, if you don’t want us back, fair enough. Luckily we seem to have done okay as everyone was re-elected and only one person resigned. We have got a replacement for the resignee and we had a slight switch around of roles adding two new people to the mix.

First of all, we are very sad to be losing Carol Penny as our Secretary, she’s done an amazing job over the last three years and we will miss her but she is moving on to take up the Chairperson role at Bexley Mind so doesn’t have the time to do both roles.  I am sure you will all wish her luck and thanks for all her hard work. She will still be running with us of course so she hasn’t escaped completely. Carol says thanks for the flowers.

Mandie Lockwood has agreed to replace Carol as secretary and hand over the role of Welfare officer to someone new. I am sure Mandie will do a great job of keeping us all in line. The role deals with all of the admin side of the club and dealing with England Athletics for things like our marathon place.

You have also decided to keep Chris Preston as your Chairperson, he’s here to deal with any issues arising and to make sure the rest of us are doing our jobs. He smooths things over, shovels what needs shovelling and generally manages everything.

Clive Penny is still membership secretary, he’ll be very busy soon when the new season starts on April 1st. Any questions about your membership, please contact Clive.

Club Financial Secretary is still Lynne Hill. Payment questions to her please if you are not sure of anything. Nothing gets passed her, she runs a very tight ship.

Kay is staying on as DBS checker, she’s the one who makes sure that all of our security checks are up to date.

With Mandie relinquishing control of the Welfare role, we have a new member of the committee, Fleur Ashley has agreed to step up to become Female Welfare alongside David Cooper as Male Welfare. The job is exactly what it suggests, looking after your welfare, please, please talk to either of them about any concerns for your own of someone else’s welfare within the club. I’m sure you will all agree that they are both very approachable and lovely.

We also have Andrea Hudson and Mark Browne as Liaison Officers, they are our ears within the club, any suggestions or issues with anything club related, please talk to them.


Andrea also deals with our kit, so if you need a new top, please let her know. We do currently have some stock on vests and tees so hopefully she will be able to accommodate you quite quickly.

Mel Preston had a busy year arranging lots of great social stuff so has taken on some help in the form of Keith Allchurch. They are already in discussions of what we could do next, any suggestions or requests, let them know.

And that just leaves me, you crazy sadistic lot have agreed to let me torture you for another year. Cue Vincent Price crazy cackle. If anyone has suggestions of new sessions, I am all ears, I also welcome feedback on which ones you like and don’t like, so fire away with the insults, I can take it.

Although these are our job titles, everybody on the committee does so much more that you don’t necessarily see, from race selection and research for the GP and tour, to uploading info on the website, co-ordinating merchandise orders, balancing the books, fighting the EA portal and loads more, we know you all appreciate it and we really want you all to get the best out of your club so I can’t stress enough how important it is for us to know how you guys feel and what you think. If we don’t know, we can’t do anything about it, so please talk to us, we’re a dodgy looking bunch but we don’t bite.

Okay, that’s it, you’re stuck with us for another year. You’ve seen the mug shots and you know who to contact. Happy running Team SLGR 2019

2019 Award Winners

We had a great turn out for the SLGR AGM last month, apologies that this has taken a while to publish but we had one more award to give out and we only managed to do that yesterday.

There will be a separate post on your new committee and the AGM notes will be emailed soon.

For now, the good bit, The team awards.

The committee come together about a month before Christmas to discuss who we think should win the awards for Male and Female Runners of the Year and Most Improved, we all come with opinions and reasons and we lay them on the table and battle it out before we take a vote. We add to that, anyone who has really stood out for a possible Outstanding Achievement award. I think we all had quite clear winners in mind this year and thankfully they all matched so it didn’t take too long.

Female Runner of the Year went to Leslie Pilson

Leslie was first SLGR female home in every one of the GP events that she took part in last year; she’s been smashing out great performances all year despite a couple of injury niggles and asthma. On top of that, Leslie is willing to help and encourage others and is a great team player.

Male Runner of the Year was Gavin Mundy

Gavin ran his first marathon this year in Edinburgh and he did it in a black and orange kilt. He has performed well throughout the year at all distances and is another great team player, encouraging, supportive and wiling to run with anyone who needs a run buddy. A genuinely lovely guy whose running has improved throughout the year.

Most Improved went to Suzanne Curran

Suzanne started the year saying that she couldn’t run and finished it with several half marathons under her belt and is now training for the London Marathon. Her times have improved month on month and she even managed to bag first lady home in her age group at the Wimbledon half. She is super competitive to the point where she admits to racing the person on the next self-checkout at the supermarket.

Outstanding Achievement Award went to Hilary Jones

Hilary took over the running of “So Let’s Go Running (Gravesend)” about 2 ½ years ago.  At that time it was a small group of people running from Cascades in the capable hands of Lynne Wheeler.  Often you could count on your hands how many attended.  Since this time Hilary has built up the group and recently there were 60+ people attending a Tuesday session.

Hilary is an extremely good motivator to all that run with her, encouraging them to enter races and push themselves to their next target.  She has helped foster a really friendly atmosphere within the group and keeps an eye of her runner’s achievements, encouraging and congratulating all.  She has a strong social media presence and uses this to instruct and encourage the runners during the week.  She has set up a 0 – 5k course that she runs on a regular basis within the Tuesday and Thursday “So Let’s Go Running” sessions.  The course last for 12 weeks and she encourages the participants to use Parkrun as an additional training session.  They have a “graduation” at the end of the course and are supported by the whole group.

Hilary is a regular volunteer at Junior Parkrun Gravesend and recently has started following this with a casual long run along the river for any runners who want to join in.  As if this didn’t take up enough time she has pushed her own personal running development and completed 10 half marathons in 10 days with SVN last August.  It is a testament to the loyalty she has developed with her running group that every day she was joined by someone to run all or part of the course with her.  I know she is doing another SVN event, three consecutive days, 1-3 Feb and is hoping to perhaps do more than a half at each of these so she continues to push herself.

She’s done us proud.

Runner’s Runner Awards

The votes were coming in thick and fast this year with quite a few people getting voted for which shows what a great bunch we all are but in the end there were two runners who really stood out and ended up in a dead tie for your votes. There was nothing else for it but to award two trophies. Fleur was there to collect her award on the night but it’s taken us nearly three weeks to finally catch Darren to give him his trophy, hence the delay in getting these pics out.

Below are just some of the lovely comments received for Fleur and Darren

Fleur Ashley for Runners Runner:

She’s great with the beginners, has encouraged a few new members to step up and join the club.  She’s very supportive…an absolute star’

‘She’s always giving encouragement to fellow SLGR’s – especially at race finish lines – she’ll also shout out encouragement to anyone that runs past!’

‘Not only improved her own running this year but very encouraging of new runners and happy to run with slower runners – a real team player’

 

Darren Alyward for Runners Runner:

‘He’s done so well coming back from injury and keeping his weight under control’

‘His grit and determination inspired me this year’

‘He inspires me to get my arse back into gear – his results since changing his lifestyle have been awesome’

GP Results

It was quite close at the top, I will try to upload the full document but here is the list with scores and the number of events run. There are a couple of people who could probably have made the top three if they had run more events or weren’t dressed as gorillas and pirates for some of the events.

RUNNER

TOTAL

EVENTS

POSITION

JANET COOPER

399.82

6

1

PHIL BACHELOR

375.37

6

2

SUZANNE CURRAN

373.85

6

3

MARK BROWNE

368.13

6

4

JAMES MERRY

365.05

6

5

JONATHON ALGAR

359.75

6

6

ANDREW CORNFORD

353.30

6

7

LESLEY PILSON

346.21

6

8

DARREN ALYWARD

343.12

6

9

MARION BROWNE

341.82

6

10

GAVIN MUNDY

338.19

6

11

CHRIS PRESTON

335.51

6

12

NATASHA GODFREY

335.44

6

13

DAVID COOPER

322.27

6

14

KAY KAPSALIS

315.38

6

15

SARAH HONOUR

310.58

6

16

FLEUR HALSEY

310.39

6

17

ALEX SLATER

296.40

5

18

WENDY CHATMAN

281.50

5

19

DAVE REID

258.99

5

20

STEPHEN BURGESS

250.87

4

21

MEL PRESTON

242.93

6

22

HILARY JONES

237.14

4

23

MATTHEW WOOLSTON

222.22

4

24

ALAN G SMITH

220.23

4

25

KEITH ALLCHURCH

192.84

5

26

WENDY LE COMBER

188.56

4

27

SARAH COOPER

178.83

4

28

JO CONWAY

172.55

4

29

MICHELLE LOADER

146.26

3

30

NATALIE HANNABAS

146.10

3

31

JANICE ALGAR

145.45

4

32

ELAINE OXLADE

142.85

3

33

ALAN SMITH

138.82

3

34

MAUREEN BARTLETT

135.99

3

35

KATE SHUTT

135.77

4

36

IAN CHAPMAN

116.33

2

37

SUE HOOK

115.72

2

38

ALEC MARTIN

114.41

2

39

STEVE SMITH

111.42

2

40

JANE REID

109.80

2

41

LAUREN WELLBELOVED

104.59

2

42

LUKE OXLADE

103.35

3

43

CAROL PENNY

94.03

2

44

KATIE BATES

92.33

2

45

MANDIE LOCKWOOD

88.85

2

46

CAROLINE RENNIE

68.19

1

47

DAWN ANNETT

59.75

1

48

COLIN HONOUR

58.04

1

49

LISA BISSETT

56.44

1

50

JUIA FAHERTY

55.54

1

51

KARL HEBBLEWHITE

55.11

1

52

FAY WHYBROW

52.33

1

53

RON HOOK

50.14

1

54

MICHELLE SMITH

49.67

1

55

DANIEL PEASTON

49.09

1

56

SUSAN NEAL

46.80

1

57

AARON BARDOE

46.53

1

58

ANDREW LANGDON

45.61

1

59

LYNNE HILL

44.58

1

60

SARAH POYNTER

44.14

1

61

GLEN BLOW

42.33

1

62

GARY CLEMENTS

42.13

1

63

SAMANTHA BROSZEK

40.56

1

64

RILEY CULLUM

39.66

1

65

ANDREA LITTLE

39.04

1

66

ANN LANGDON

38.15

1

67

In the end Janet Cooper absolutely smashed it again, I can’t even run that fast and I’m ten years younger, she’s definitely the runner that all of us females aspire to be. Phil has also maintained his impressive form, stepping up one place from last year and Suzanne Curran just sneaked in to third place knocking Mark Browne out of the top three and in to fourth, with James making an impressive and hard fought fifth.

The results are age graded, so the percentage listed on the full sheet is what percentage you have achieved against the best time for this year of a runner or your age at the same distance. As an example, if you run a 10k in 60 minutes when the best time for the year of someone of your age is 30 minutes, your percentage would be 50%.

Well done to everyone who took part, it was great to mix it up a bit with the fancy dress at Harvel and the Christmas run, so we’ll maybe do that again this year.

We still have to confirm races from April onwards, so if you have any suggestions and requests, please let us know.

#TeamSLGR

Anniversary 5 Miler

Wow, it has been a busy month at TeamSLGR with preparations for our first ever race, a mob match and the AGM. It’s all go. I don’t think we realised just how much there is to think about when organising a race but thankfully it all went off without a hitch.

Firstly, the mob match between the four Dartford based clubs. It was run at Lullingstone which is a brutal course. Every runner from each club was counted and points were awarded based on their position within the overall Park Run results, so if there were 300 runners, the first place runner would be awarded 300 points and the last 1 point. They then took the scores for each team and added them together. We had the smallest team with 30 runners, Road Runners had 67 runners with CPA and Harriers somewhere in between, we were never going to win on points but as always we won on team spirit, encouragement and support. We all stayed to cheer the rest of the team home and any other runners and a group of us ran out to bring our last couple of runners in to the finish line, while all of the other teams drifted off to the café, we showed them how it should be done. So proud to be part of SLGR and we also had lots of cake courtesy of Gavin and Kay. They are planning on making it an annual event, hopefully at a different course and possibly scored in a different way, however and where ever, I know we will bring just as much spirit as we always do.

On to our first race, it had been advertised around the So Let’s Go Running groups and SLGR to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the first ever So Let’s Go Running session at Dartford but we hadn’t put it out to the general public, we wanted to test it all out on a relatively small field first before it’s bigger and better next time. We also made it our January GP event to encourage as many of you as possible to come along and be our guinea pigs. It was a challenging 5 miler run on the offsite path at Cyclopark, the first 1.5 miles on the lower section and the rest up the hill, across the A2, looping through some fields, back across the A2 further up before a nice long downhill finish.

Chris and I have been a bit nervous about a lot of things over the past few weeks; would anyone turn up, would the mugs and race numbers arrive in time, have we got pins, let’s run the race route 5 times to double, double check everything, where to put the marshals, have we got enough of them, the water station, course markers, can we get a gate open, what happens if we can’t, have we got water and cups, have we got enough entry forms for people entering on the day, race timing, jelly babies, Jaffa cakes and biscuits, prizes, first aid kits the weather, I had spreadsheets for who had signed up, who had paid, finish times. ARHHH !!!! I don’t think either of us slept particularly well in the weeks before and we messaged one another several times a day with updates and worries. In the end almost everything went without a hitch.

The day before Chris, Mark, Steve Lucas, Clive and myself went out to mark the route and run it one more time just to triple check, Clive was to lead the way on race day on his bike so we had to make sure he knew where he was going, we put in mile markers and arrows and hoped that they would still be there the following morning. Job done.

Race day dawned and it was freezing but a beautiful crisp morning with a clear blue sky. We had just over 30 runners already registered and were hoping for more on the day, we ended up with 46 runners and a tail runner. Just enough to make it competitive but manageable and just about break even on cost. That was a big relief. We had plenty of marshals and they headed off to their spots, the water station crew Dave Reid and Ian Pullen headed off to set up, they had to move from where we had planned them to be as it was a private road and the locals got a bit antsy but it worked out in the end. Chris gave his pre-race briefing and they were off. We hadn’t managed to get the gate open at the side of Cyclopark so our first worry was whether we could get 47 runners and a bike through the small gate at the side without a hiccup. Luckily they had just enough of a run up to the gate to spread out and not cause a bottleneck, no one got hurt.

Our first marshal was Lynne Hill at the 0.75 mile turnaround point who was messaging just before the start to ask where she should be, I said it was marked and should be easy to find, well it would have been if the marker hadn’t been stolen from that bit of the course. Clive pointed her in the right direction as he lead the first runners through, she made it in time for the main bulk of the runners and all was back on track.

As the first runners came back through past the start at 1.5 miles it was neck and neck between Alan G Smith and James Merry as they headed up the hill towards the bridge and our next marshal. Each marshal was letting us know as the leaders came through and the tail runner so that the could clear their stations and head back. They were all brilliant and thankfully no one got lost or injured along the way.

I was stood at the last crossing ready to stop the traffic when we spotted the first runners heading down the hill, I got ready with the camera, Dawn, John, Chris, Lynne and Stephen Burgess were at the finish line to record times and positions, give out mugs and refreshments but who was going to take the title of winner of our first race ?

In the end we had a fairly clear winner in Alan G Smith a whole minute ahead of James Merry with Steve Lucas taking third. Bringing it home for the ladies were Rene Marie Young, an ex SLGR member, Suzanne Curran and Janet Cooper. Great effort by all. There were some very quick times including a couple of PB’s and a very happy Luke Oxlade who made it home in under an hour. The weather was perfect, the marshals and runners were great and the only complaint that I have heard is that the jelly babies were frozen, if that was the worse thing that happened, we’ll take that. Jo Conway managed to drop her mug but miraculously it bounced, just shows that SLGR are made of tough stuff.

Thank you all for coming out and making our first event a huge success.

I have added a few of the photos here, the rest are on the So Let’s Go Running Facebook page.

We would love any feedback so that we can learn from it for next time, good or bad, all helps.

That just left breakfast for the hungry runners and crew before we went and put our feet up for the afternoon and started thinking about the AGM.

The trophies are in, the votes have been counted and we hope to see you all there on Monday.

Horrible History of Dartford Run

Sorry, it’s taken a couple of weeks but here, finally is the Horrible History Run notes and some of the photos.

STARTING AT DUNHELM Car Park

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen

I am the White Lady of the Tower, formerly known as Lady Constance Hall. I can be seen in the old part of Hall Place. I haunt the halls following the death of my husband who had his innards gored out by a stag that he was hunting. I am not alone though; the musicians can still be heard playing in the Minstrel’s Gallery from time to time and there is a weeping woman in the attic who is searching for her lost child. But the one that you don’t want to meet is The Black Prince. He was the son of Edward III and said to be one of the finest knights of his time, showing great courage and chivalry in many battles throughout the 100 years war. He died of dysentery before becoming king and it is said to be a very bad omen to see his ghost. The last owner, Lady Limerick had an agreement with the local police, that if the ghosts got too lively, she could call them for help.

Now, onwards to our next stop.

HEATH

Welcome to Dartford Heath, come closer as there are all sorts of evil in these parts including the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin. Turpin was born in Essex in 1705, he began working as a butcher like his father before turning to a life of crime, at first it was just poaching but after getting in with a gang of more serious criminals, he moved on to horse theft, burglary and assault. The gang travelled across the home counties, breaking in to houses and torturing the occupants until they handed over their riches. Most of Turpin’s gang were rounded up in 1737, they were tried and hung at Tyburn until dead, their heads were then cut off and placed on pikes along the road to discourage others from turning to crime. Turpin went to ground before resurfacing with a new accomplice who he “accidently” shot and killed, he fled North on his horse Black Bess but was later captured and tried for horse theft, he was found guilty and hanged in York. His coffin was filled with limestone to prevent the body snatchers from taking any trophies. His ghost is said to haunt the Heath and also the Dartford Crossing which a local councillor recently started a petition to have renamed Dick Turpin Way as it joins his home county with one of his old stomping grounds and as a tongue in cheek dig that the toll fees are highway robbery. Next time you do a park run here, remember to watch your valuables just in case Dick is about.

Onwards to town, please follow the guides closely, we don’t want to lose you.

Workhouse on West Hill

First built in 1729 the workhouse was rebuilt after the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, the act ensured that no able-bodied person could get poor relief unless they lived in the workhouse. The poor had to earn their keep. The government didn’t want to encourage idle spongers and malingerers, so they made sure that it was somewhere that was feared enough that people would do anything to stay out of it. Men, women and children had separate living areas, families were split up and punished if they even tried to speak to one another. The children were educated in the skills required to become servants and could even find themselves hired out to work in factories and mines. Upon entering the workhouse, they were stripped, bathed and made to wear a uniform, much like criminals so everyone outside knew that they lived in the workhouse. The food was the same, tasteless gruel day after day which they had to eat with their hands. Jobs included gardening, spinning and cooking but there were also some hard, unpleasant jobs usually used as a punishment for breaking the rules like breaking rocks or oakum picking.

PRIORY

I am sure you are all familiar with Henry VIII and his many wives. Henry was a spoiled brat who would never have been King if his older brother Arthur wasn’t such a sickly weed. Arthur was married to Catherine of Aragon but died before his father Henry VII and allegedly before consummating the marriage. Henry VII was a miserly old git who didn’t want to let Catherine’s quite substantial dowry go home to Spain so decided that his other son would marry her as well. Henry VIII took to the throne in 1509 with Catherine as his Queen. They were married for24 years but only produced one living child, a daughter, later known as Bloody Queen Mary. Henry took a fancy to Lady Anne Boleyn who had recently returned from the French court, she refused to jump in to Henry’s bed like all the other wenches at court, if he liked it that much, he would have to put a ring on it, so Henry decided that his marriage to Catherine must be cursed or she would have given him a son and he tried to divorce her. The Pope said no so Henry left the Catholic church, declared himself head of his own Protestant Church of England, divorced Catherine, married Anne. The English Catholics were none to pleased about having to change religions, especially when Henry decide to claim all the very extensive land and property owned by the Catholic church including the two monasteries in Dartford and the Priory which housed the only order of Dominican Nuns in the country. Anyone refusing to accept Henry as head of the church or caught practicing Catholicism were tortured or burnt at the stake until they were nice and crispy. The monks and nuns were all thrown out onto the street and Henry took the land and built a new manor house.

Anne only managed to produce a girl as well, later Elizabeth I, so of course Henry decided that she was a floozy who had slept with half the court, including her own brother and she had to be beheaded. As she liked French things so much, Henry sent for a French executioner who chopped off her head with a French sword. Quite dramatic but a bit harder to do so he took three chops to finish the job off, the first one went through her shoulder before he hit the target. Her head was only half way to hitting the floor when Henry was half way through his wedding vows to Jane Seymour. She did produce a son, Edwards VII but died in the process and he was a weak and sickly boy, so Henry’s advisors said he had to keep trying. They ordered up the Tinder of the day, sent portrait painters out across Europe to bring back pictures of the beauties available. He swiped right for Anne of Cleeves but she had apparently been photo shopped by the artist, Henry went through with the ceremony but then said he couldn’t sleep with her as she had a face like a horse, she was nicknamed the Flanders Mare. He divorced her and set her up very nicely in the manor house here In Dartford until her death, she got off lightly. Wife number five was Catherine Howard, another floozy swiftly despatched with a more traditional axe and finally Catherine Parr who out lived him.

When Bloody Queen Mary came to the throne in 1553 she set about getting her own back on the protestants, many were executed including Christopher Wade, a Dartford linen-weaver who was burnt at the stake on the Brent in 1555. The Martyrs’ Memorial on East Hill commemorates Wade and other Kentish Martyrs.

TV POLTERGEISTS – Stop near bottom of East Hill

In 1992 the BBC transmitted a drama that was based on a number of factual reports. It was called Ghostwatch, and it caused a national sensation. It was the story of the rise of the suburban poltergeist from the 1970s onwards, the reports showed where the real ghosts of our society had now gone to live. They are inside television itself – a strange nether world of PR-driven half-truths and synthetic personalities, the programme caused waves of apocalyptic fear. One report said that in January 1977 a poltergeist turned up at 16 Ruskin Road, Dartford in Kent. Ann and Barry Robertson who lived there were terrified and are seen fleeing the house as the programme begins. The suburban couple at the heart of the story turn it into an emotional melodrama

Ann exclaimed “I can’t even face taking the furniture with me because this thing – whatever it is – has interfered with my home. It’s touched my things. And I’m so frightened that I won’t even take the things with me now: we’re back to square one where we started. With nothing

Suddenly suburbia becomes not boring – but sinister, mysterious and epic. The film also interviews the man from Dartford Council who Ann and Barry are demanding rehouse them. He is sympathetic but can’t help – “I’m afraid the Dartford Council Transfer Points Scheme doesn’t recognise ghosts – and therefore they can’t be pointed”.

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH

Henry V marched with his troops from London to the Kent coast through Dartford in 1415 on his way to the Battle of Agincourt where he led his troops and fought in hand to hand combat alongside his men. The British were severely outnumbered 9000 English and Welsh lined up against 36000 French. Our army was made up of 7500 long bowmen and 1500 foot soldiers, the French bought 10000 knights, 1200 on horseback, 26000 infantry, crossbowmen and archers. It was a brutal battle and the French had threatened to cut off the bowmen’s fingers when they won but we were tactically superior and suffered only 600 casualties against 11000 French killed and wounded and 2200 captured. After snatching victory; the bowmen stood on the battlefield waggling their two bow fingers at their enemy in a now famous salute.

Henry remained in France in his captured lands for seven years after the battle until he died in 1422. His body was bought home for burial in England and the cortege stopped in Dartford for the funeral here at Holy Trinity before proceeding on to London for the burial.

The graveyard for Holy Trinity is on the summit or East Hill, which bought about a traditional derogatory rhyme about Dartford folk because you should never bury your dead higher than the steeple of the church. “Dirty Dartford. Filthy people; bury their dead above the steeple”

 

LIBRARY

Opened on the 1st January 1916 the libraries first visitors were convalescing soldiers of WW1 from the nearby hospital. Since then there have been reports of books falling or being pushed from shelves by an alleged spirit, unexplained noises that can be heard within the walls and staff have reported being touched or having clothes pulled in certain parts of the library, most notably the attic.

It’s Oh So Quiet. Shhhh Shhhh. Shhhh

 

BULL AND VIC

The Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel is probably Dartford’s oldest Inn which belonged to the Priory, the Bull in the name is actually a Papal seal and it’s original name was the Holy Bull. It was rebuilt in 1703 with a gallery overlooking the yard for carriages to drive through. Somewhere along it’s history it has acquired a ghost who doesn’t like change. When things are rearranged, she gets rather annoyed and moves them back.

 

Shall we see if she’s in ?

Rejection Blues

Have you been rejected ?

Feeling unloved and unwanted ?

Is luck never on your side ?

It must be London Marathon ballot notification time again and yes, most of us will get a big fat NO !

I have personally entered five times and been rejected on four occasions, I went for the charity option in 2001 when I had to raise £1200 and was lucky enough to get a place in 2004, since then it has gotten harder and harder to get in and the charities are asking a small fortune for their places, I think the average is between £2000 and £2500 per place.

This year 414168 people applied for a ballot place, of that 50% have never run a marathon before and in a turn around from the first race in 1981 when only 300 of the 6300 competitors were female, this year women make up 44% of the applicants. These are great statistics, hopefully it means that there are more people getting off the couch and taking up running. The England Athletics supported Run Together incentive, including our own So Let’s Go Running groups, is giving new runners a safe, structured and encouraging environment to start running and the confidence to move on and take it further with clubs like SLGR where that support continues. There’s also Park Run which gives everyone the opportunity to run a free, timed 5K every week with marshals, great support and a growing community spirit where you can meet other runners and maybe run together during the week. It’s become very sociable and do-able for all, but that also means more and more people realising that they could run a marathon and applying for London which makes it harder and harder to get a place.

The system used to be that your chances increased the more times you entered until your fifth attempt when you automatically got a place, this stopped in 2010 when it became impossible for them to guarantee all of those runners a place, there just weren’t enough places to go around, but it was very fair, it showed you had the endurance needed to get the place and you would hopefully put the work in to train properly after all that effort but all those poor people who thought they were guaranteed a place in 2010 were out of luck. Now it’s pure luck or lack of, whether you get a place or not.

Some marathons require you to have completed at least a half marathon before entering, not a bad idea given the number of people who have no idea that a marathon is 26.2 miles. Some also have a time cut off, including London, where you are only eligible for a medal and an official finish time if you complete the course by 18.40 on race day, giving you just under nine hours, other races are as little as five hours, which means less than 12 minute miles all the way. Yes, that sounds like a long time to some people, but to the novices and walkers, it would be tight and would you have wanted to do four months training to be five minutes late for a medal ?

As one who has been disappointed, I feel your pain and frustration. I have watched from the side lines at Woolwich for many years and seen people walking, slowly at only three miles and an hour and a half after the race started and yes, you want to scream, Do you know how many people wanted that place ? RUN DAMN IT RUN ! But it is open to everyone and everyone has a right to apply, I just wish some of them read the small print first and at least checked how far it is.

So, if you don’t get in, what next ?

There are lots of charity places available, a few with more reasonable requirements and if you follow this route, pick a charity that means something to you because this will make fund raising less of a chore if your heart is behind it. It is a lot of extra stress and hard work on top of training for a marathon so make sure you have a reason to work for it because most of the charities expect you to make up any shortfall.

Consider another race. Yes, London is London and it’s amazing but it’s not the only one. Consider another city marathon and make a weekend of it. Marathon routes are often quite boring in parts with only highlights along the way so do some research and pick a good one.

Finally, you can pray for the club place. We only have one and you need to be a full claim member to qualify and show us your rejection letters. The place will be picked by lucky dip at the Christmas party and we will be with you all the way to help you train how ever you manage to get a place.

Good luck.

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