Run, Sam, Run!

Samantha Amend - GB & England Marathon and Ultra Distance Runner

Reigate Cross Country Relays- Saturday 3rd November 2018

by Sam Amend - 3rd November 2018 | General News, Race Reports

Team outing out for Belgrave with Alex and I both in attendance for Belgrave.  Another relay thriller! This time at Reigate with the Belles consolidating on our  bronze at Wormwood scrubs 2 weeks, we flipped our order from the Scrubs and held Saron back until the last leg to catch a small gap I lost.

I was on leg 2 and he was on leg 4 with the men needing a team of 4.  l have always run well at this event and typically each year my 2nd cross country of the season and a firm favourite.  A punchy 2.5 mile hilly race in the hills and some fast sections that you can pick up the sluggish legs from the hill climbs that start in the first 800m.  First out was Keri Mack well known for her speedy 1500m so a long day out, she came around in 3rd place to handover to me and  then proceeded to climb a few places into lead position until being  overtaken in the last 1.5k but still retaining a massive lead on the 3rd place team.

Then onto our last leg which was our speedy fireball Saron, she managed to gain back the lead and storm home with the fastest leg of the day and we came away with team Gold.  The men also with Alex in the team managed to get a fine Silver but proving too hard to hold off the Dorking team who had some international level athletes.  Great team spirit and day out at Reigate…. Next mission to get through a 22 miler tomorrow.

Clockwise from top left: James Morris, Phil Wicks, Mhairi Hall, Steph Hewitt, Emma Howsham, Paskar Owor, Keri Mackenzie, Mhairi McDonald, Saron Haileselase, Charlie Dickinson, Jurgita Levertavičiūtė, Samantha Hudson Amend,Alexander Charles Miller, Ivy Cockerell, Simon Haileselase

Gloucester 10k – 28th October 2018

by Sam Amend - 28th October 2018 | General News, Race Reports

With some back to back racing and the “ Clock also going back”  and a frost on the ground anything could happen today.

I wasn’t particularly high spirits  getting up in the morning and knowing that I had a long drive and to support Norman ( my coach)  and his event.  I managed to get there an hour to the start, picked up my race number  and disappeared for the warm up and also say a quick hello to Emma Stepto who was managing the team from Cornwall AC, someone I hadn’t seen for a while and always great to catch up with since our trip to Toronto Marathon 2012.  During the race which was very busy with over 800 +runners.  The pressure was off knowing there were some speedy runners and I paced the race well, continued to run through the field finishing a comfortable 6th place in 37.09 which is the fastest and a season best for the year.

Gloucester 10k Results 2018

Race to the finish ! 

SEAA Cross Country Relay Champs – 20th October 2018, Wormwood Scrubs

by Sam Amend - 20th October 2018 | General News

Always a pleasure to run in London and have done for a few years now.  A great introduction to Cross Country and on a good day the ability to get some speed-work in.  Both our team managers work paid off with us having five complete Belles teams and 3  were in the top 10.

With the short 3km lap on an almost flat grassland course, this event suits middle distance track runners happy to supplement the usual distance crowd but the turnout this year was our biggest.  Medals have frequently been won too, but we haven’t  actually won since 2012 which was the team I was part of but always aim to medal.

Saron leading the field by almost 30 seconds and handing over to me with a lead to try to keep around the course.  For me I surprised myself and ran quicker than expected. It wasn’t too far off my best a few years ago having run a sub 12 minutes and today I ran  a fine 12:03. Handing over to my then team mate Katie she had the unenviable task of bringing our A team home being chased by International Pippa Woolven of Wycombe and 2;01 800m runner Katie Snowdon of Herne Hill. The lead was just not enough for her and we ended up with a credible bronze from a fantastic battle in South of England.



1 Wycombe 34:48;  2 Herne Hill 35:11; 3 Belgrave A 35:22 (S Haileselase 11:11; S Amend 12:03; K-E French 12:08)… 9 Belgrave B 37:52 (E Howsham 12:33; J Leverticiute 13:12; G Fenn 12:07); 10. Belgrave C 38:17 (K Mackenzie 12:23; M. Hall 12:47; S Hewitt 13:07);  17 Belgrave D 40:31 (L Goldie-Scot 14:06; F Maddocks 12:59; R O’ Brien 13:27);  24 Belgrave E 43:09 (M Corden-Lloyd 13:22; M McDonald 15:35; M Corden-Lloyd 14:12).





Cabbage Patch 10 miler – 14 October 2018, Twickenham

by Sam Amend - 14th October 2018 | General News

Very overwhelmed to win Cabbage Patch 10 miler a  classy top race, and come away also with a vet prize ( 2 crates of 24’s, 2 cabbages and prize money for me).

Whilst it wasn’t my fastest time 60.58 but definitely progress.  In a solo race and in wet slippery tough conditions it made it a challenge. Normally a challenge to get into the top 10 but to lead from the start to finish was a massive bonus and happy with the outcome and the progress getting my times into a better state.  The weather was less than ideal with heavy downpours , multiple crashes on the motorway but for me it was a great morning of racing.

Cabbage Patch Results 2018

ERRA 4 Stage Women’s National 4 –14th October 2018,Sutton Park Birmingham

by Sam Amend - | General News, Race Reports

A great day out with the Belles and only a month after the GB 100k in Croatia.  Still feeling laboured and far from my usual speed but a pleasure to be part of the A team.  Nervous taking over from Saron and worried about being slow my worst nightmare happened…  Up the climb to the handover point  where I saw Saron in 3rd place and being chased.  Truth be told, I knew I couldn’t sustain the pace or the placing, so it was a case of hanging on as long as possible.  I handed over then to Jane in 8th Place and she managed to maintain the same place for the final relay leg and  hand over to our other speedster Sophie.  She managed to chase down places to finish 7th  and in the top 10.  We equal our best ever National 4 stage for the Belles! And so nearly the best since 2001 and only short by a few seconds for 6th place.

National Relay Results 2018


L:R  Charlie Dickinson, Sam Amend, Jurgita, JoJo, Katie Ellen, Saron, Lizzie, Sophie, Jane V

GB 100k World Championships Croatia  -8th September 2018

by Sam Amend - 9th September 2018 | General News, Race Reports

“Well what can I say, it was a pleasure to be reigned the British 100k champion at the end of March this year in a new PB of 7.53.57 and to top it off also recovered from a disastrous racing year in 2017 due to Glandular Fever and being picked up by Norman Wilson who now coaches me in the ultra distance and plans my training.
Some months later waiting with baited breath was the decision of selection for the World 100k Champs in Croatia for GB.  Agonisingly this was delayed until after the Comrades in June so I decided to focus on a 24hr race in Belfast in preparation to get the selection criteria for 2019.
Then the icing on the cherry happened on the week of the 24hr ( June 21st 2018) that week the announcement from British Athletics and the IAU that the team had been selected and yes ” I was part of it”…
Honestly, I cried and had the shakes mainly due to the privilege, overcoming illness, fighting strength to win the Anglo Celtic Plate and get my second selection.  Over the moon doesn’t even come close especially when I am reaching my 40’s and always had a dream to represent my country in athletics.
Then reality then sunk in.. Christ now training really starts, this in fairness was and still is my hardest distance to run due to pace and also being 62 miles on tarmac.  At this stage we didnt know the course, we just knew it was in Croatia.  The place for many years I have wanted to visit but wanted to ” earn it”.    So there it was training started and then a few races in between but not mass load in top speed just very specific long runs of the back of all my races to make sure the endurance stayed.
Without elaborating on the finer details too much, we flew out on Thursday 6th September, not great with my son going back to school but a great bargaining tool for football fans ( you won’t be happy) was a Croatian football shirt.  My teenager was more interested in her new college and bringing back chocolate and a pending artic monkeys concert.  The travel wasn’t without its bumps/hiccups, the Heathrow crew were okay, we had no issues but for Lee in Spain and Joasia ( Team Management) heavy delays and baggage loss.
We were however fortunate to have a strong and well-known support team across other ultra teams with John Pares, Adrian Stott ( Trail) and Joasia Zakrzewski( Ultrarunner for 50,100k & Trail).
The location in Sveti Martin ( about 1.5hrs from Zagreb) was very remote, we soon got to see the roads we would be running on watching the South Africans who had already arrived.  Yes it wasnt flat it was up and down, but hey we all had to run it and not like the UK the service lacked the usual potholes galore.  Being teamed up with Clapham Chasers, Carla who has an amazing top 10 finish at Comrades we ran the course a few days prior and until the day pretty much vegetated.  The race was very early at 7am ( 6am UK)  but the benefit due to the humidity was definitely our saving grace for the early few hours.
Onto the race itself, the GB team ( Ant Clark, Rob Turner, Lee Grantham, Carla Molinaro, Sue Harrison and myself) set ourselves in the calling room a few minutes before the event, nerves sitting with me, the stress of the commitment and expectation that D-day finally came.  My plan was always to run my own race, my coach and I changed the planned paced on the course and I was cracking though upto 40 miles then the last 22 miles in the humidity, rolling hills became very challenging.
This was the same for many apart from the Japanese who started to work through the field and end with winning the team prizes and multiple podium finishes. I was determined however to finish, change my race strategy and aim for top brit in the team.  Whilst my performance dipped in those latter stages, so did the  PB opportunity.  From the positive takeaways, I came through in a very respectable 15th in the World Champs with a time of 8.01.11, first lady for Great Britain and delighted another championship under my belt.  I won’t deny, craved to make that top 10 but take positivity from still having the lead British 100k and 50k time for 2018, I  felt my race nutrition, minimal aid station time, proper toilet stops all worked as a benefit.  To change for the next time would be more hill training, strength work, and heat acclimatization, a lot of what could not be predicted until the race weekend.  It’s like an anti-climax now, such a great experience but left wanting more and thinking ” what’s next??”… apart from recovery.

Delighted to reach the finish line #Croatia1ookGBTEAM

MotaVation Race 5, Oxford City – 30 August 2018

by Sam Amend - 30th August 2018 | Race Reports

What could go wrong, another speed session off a positive race win on Sunday at Headington?

Mainly my head, it wasn’t in race mode but I had committed to do the race. The weather also seemed to improve dramatically which meant a sticky evening of racing, on a positive I told myself its a warm-up, just over 4 miles.

Wow, over 300 + runners locally with so many competitive clubs with handfuls of runners looking to get the team prizes and more importantly probably looking forward to the bar in the clubhouse.  My hayfever started as I came out of the car due to the grass but very little I could do arriving without tablets.  Like initially on Sunday my heart was at home and the head was saying I needed to do it.  Having paid for the full series of 5 races I had only made two.  ” Get a grip, warm up and get it over with !”.  So that’s what I did, a crowded start with elbows everywhere, I knew Diane was likely to win being in good shape for the series and on the track.  It took pressure off me and I also knew there were 100’s of ultra miles in my legs and my focus was on my championship.

The course was similar to Headington 5 but a bit more windy and had to be careful on and off the pavement/underpasses and also the long cycle paths. Definitely felt more laboured than Sunday’s race but dug in deep and reminded myself in the big scheme of things it was ” training”.  Knowing I was in second place I wanted to remain there and still see Di in my sights.  Please with the 6.06 pace to take me into 2nd with a time of 24.27 for just over 4 miles.  For the hard work, I ended up with a bottle of wine, not drinking Alex got the benefit of my hard graft.

A great course and atmosphere to a race series, my goal will be next year to try and make them all rather than missing the early ones.  Being Thursday evenings a lot depends on work and also being a morning runner I struggle with evening events and not running in the daytime.  Last race done time to reduce the miles and focus on the big event GB Croatia 100k.

Photo Credit : Barry Cornelius  -“Off to a flying start ! “

Headington 5 Mile -26th August

by Sam Amend - 26th August 2018 | General News, Race Reports

Ouch, another punchy race was my thought of getting ready to leave to my now ” local” race.  I love racing in Oxford as they are well organized and have good competition at the top end.  I wasn’t sure how the race was going to pan out, to be honest, the last few days at work had been stressful,  felt flat in training and still dealing with a niggling hip flexor and achilies.  With all the miles in my legs over the last few months, a bit worried that my top end speed was non-existent, I had felt this also in training. Come back 5.45’s/5.50’s soon as I miss you…..

One of the ladies at the start shot of like a rocket, I had also caught the eye of Mara Yamauchi ( quite rightly with number 1 on her bib) and wondered whether she was still racing hard.  I settled comfortably in 2nd place with the front lady in view and just pushed myself to my ability.  Strangely with all the winding sections and on and off pavements it wasn’t until the long bypass straight about 2 miles in I started to reel her back in.  Once past and I had made my move there was no turning back or even looking to see how close the next person was.

Photo Credits: Barry Cornelius

The effort I put in was surprisingly rewarded with 30 mins and 5 seconds race win just missing the heavy downpour and running an average of 6.02 pace.  I walked away with a time I haven’t run for a few years, mainly down to concentrating on very long races.  It raised my confidence and receiving the overall win, vets 35 and Senior lady I was chuffed to bits and also given by Mara herself an Ex Headington runner.  The coach was pleased aswell, maybe it was those fast Nike Pegasus Turbo.  Win’s are a good confidence boost and also these are races leading upto my 100k on the 8th September.   Miles are going down, one more race to go then its the dreaded taper !


Full Results 2018

Salisbury 54321 50k – Sunday 12th August 2018

by Sam Amend - 12th August 2018 | General News

The Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1  trail run was much harder than I expected and I am pretty sure nobody warmed up before the start.  Maybe my mindset wasn’t right from the outset and partly to do with the weather with heavy rain and wind.  Regardless for me less pressure for flat-out speed and focus to remain on getting the mileage and the win for confidence.

Distances  for the race  varied from  5km  –   50k  Ultra  Marathon, hence the 5 = 50k, 4 =42k, 3= 33k, 2=21k and 1=10k.  The routes were over bridges, footpaths,  bridleways and country roads in the  Salisbury Wessex area. I had no idea my competition not recognizing anyone apart from Cat Simpson another local ultra runner who may push me a bit, she also failed to complete back in May the TP100 due to weather conditions.

My coach Norman came also to flyer cars, watch the race and we would have a late lunch after to catch up.  According to his thoughts ( proven to be wrong), he was convinced it was a fast course but I assured him it was definitely not flat!

With the rain not easing, runners hiding for shelter after registration time was now ticking for the announcements.  That part was pretty swift and it was time for us to line up for the start, so I shimmed into a spot close to the front as I knew even for ultra’s especially 50k’s people race off to avoid tight spots.  It was very up and down course through unploughed fields, stiles, chalky based hills and the weather added some interesting challenges.  The nice parts took you through areas of historical and scientific interest and through Country Estates not usually open to the general public.

Dipped massively with energy in the second half, truth be told I thought my flapjacks for breakfast and banana before the start had been enough.  The aid stations were very frequent along the course but didn’t have ” quick grab and run” food so I missed many opportunities and therefore paid dearly and became dehydrated ( story of my life this year).  Sadly I went from 3rd place to 5th and the overall win for the ladies.  Never felt more grateful to see the finish running through the wind and dripping wet clothes.  I won in a time of 3.51 which was a respectable time but hoped closer to 3hrs 40 but in hindsight with a race that involved looking a lot at signs, getting lost in a wood and opening lots of gates ” a win is a win”.  Sadly the race doesn’t go on your athletics profile but a very well organized and challenging event.


Photo from Salisbury 54321 into the finish ” soaked and relieved”

Results 2018

Salisbury Pictures 2018

Bearbrook 10k, Aylesbury -Sunday 5th August 2018

by Sam Amend - 9th August 2018 | General News

Did I tell you I hate 10k’s???

I like that they are over quickly but the pace and especially now moving into ultra’s kills me…  I haven’t been to Bearbrook ( Aylesbury) for some years but always love to visit a well-organized race.

On arrival it was like I had never left, especially meeting the Race Directors and chatting about what I had been upto.  Truth be told today I was feeling tired, not really up for it but again “ Get the job done”  it was a hard training run as I am still lacking flat-out speed and the course has a few winds/turns and climbs.

I knew today I had competition, Charlie somewhat 15 years my junior went off like a rocket.  Annoyingly her finishing time in normal circumstances and marathon training we could have had a very competitive race.  I settled for remaining in second place and to pick up speed when my legs woke up.  The last 3k was my fastest and went down to 5.40 pace something I hadn’t seen for some time and probably also because I knew the end was coming.


















L:R Charlie, Sam & Sean 

I was pleased with my improvement on Wallingford 10k, especially again the topic of conversation regarding our British Weather  “ It was very HOT !” and finishing in 38.25 for second place.  After having a swift bite to eat at home I then set off to go and do my PT Core workout cleaning out the Donkies at the local Sanctuary, like I hadn’t done enough.

Prize giving Bearbrook 10k with Penny the R D