Run, Sam, Run!

Samantha Amend - GB & England Marathon and Ultra Distance Runner

SEAA Cross Country, Brighton – Saturday 27th January 2018

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


The venue at Stanmer Park is usually a favourite of Belgrave Harriers with happy memories from the last visit in 2015 when both men and women’s teams won silver team medals.  This year, however, proved very different. Travel to the venue proved lengthy with both rail replacement and M23 closures, in fact, some clubs didn’t even bother to come. The course far softer than three years before became increasingly difficult as the afternoon progressed with drizzle before the start of the women’s race becoming increasingly heavy throughout the rest of the afternoon. By the end of both women’s and men’s races, the surface had become very muddy.
The highlight of the afternoon was my teammate finishing in 6th place by Sophie who moved up on the first of the two large laps to track the leading group of five.  Saron Haileselase started well, looking strong on the hills and flying on the downhill sections. On the first lap she was lying roughly in the top twenty which would have put the Belles higher up in the finishing teams.
However, on the far side of the course on the second lap she was struck with agonising stitch on the sharp downhill section and had to pull out finding it difficult to breathe. She was helped and driven back to the Belgrave tent by St John Ambulance very upset.  I sadly witnessed this coming round on my last lap and knew I needed to finish to give the team the best finish possible.  Also, a lot lower down in the field than I wanted feeling sluggish and tight from the long car journey sadly and previously finished this race in 16th & 19th.

I had a blinder three years ago and usually love this course with its rolling hills and fast downhill sections. Not this year though. Still building up fitness after a long period illness, lacking any training over the hills/ offroad in prep for 100k.   Safe to say I struggled in the slippery mud but nevertheless stuck to the task and gave her best in her usual determined fashion.

Photo Credit: Pat McDougall – 375 Runners in the ladies field and can just make me out in mid pack  ( Overall Finish 68th)


RESULTS: SEAA XC Results 2018

  1. P. Law (K&P)  28.56,  2.  E. Hosker-Thornhill (AFD)  29.18,  3.  C. Christenson (C&C)  29.19,   6. S. Harris  29:56,  68. S. Amend  34:25,  74.  M. Hall  34:48,  128. L. Goldie-Scot  37:14,  246. M. McDonald  43:18.  351 finished
  1. AFD  33,  2.  C & C 68,  3.  Serpentine 148,  9. Belgrave Harriers 271.

Gloucester 50k – Sunday 14th January 2018

by Sam Amend - 14th January 2018 | General News

What can I say on a windy/cold day and feeling somewhat underprepared for 50k and nervous  I didn’t know what to expect.  We started with a false start and then had to get into my head on how I could tackle 5 laps and stay sane.  From the offset, I stayed in the first position and never looked back, when I struggled I knew others would be battling the 900+ ft of climb, the headwind, and lonely roads.


Gloucester Ultra-Marathon








The best news was to top the finish off in one piece and on this course, solo run a course a pb for 50k 3hrs 30.56 and a win to top it off:…

More importantly, informed my time put me into the top ten ” all time” women’s 50k time.



New Years Eve 10 miler – 31st January 2018

by Sam Amend - 31st December 2017 | General News, Race Reports

Decided on racing one of Norman’s races to finish the end of the year to try and build morale from the last month so trying to find my form.  Norman has been providing me support/guidance and aligning to Rodger my coach to get me on track to run a qualifying 100k.  Sadly from May 2017, the year hasn’t gone as expected after the ACP 100k and since  Norman has offered to put my Ultra training together.

Anyway as a thank you, and also to support his local race my partner Alex, best friend Jo and I headed to Gloucester for the 10-mile event.  I felt very tired and exhausted from the house move, hectic Christmas and poor sleep but regardless wanted to race as best I could and with a respectable 62.02 for the second place with 6.11 pace overall for an undulating 10 mile.  Progress, along with Alex finishing 3rd place in 55:55 the men’s and Jo setting herself an unexpected PB of 79:22 for the 10 miles.  So for us, all a great day out winter running.

With a concert in London/fireworks in the evening, I decided with a long day to do a further run to top up 18 miles and then 16 on the following day.


New Years Eve 10 Mile Results

South Of Thames 7.5 Miles XC – Saturday 16th December 2017

by Sam Amend - 16th December 2017 | General News, Race Reports

“Silver Medal for Belle’s”

Belgrave have a fine recent record in this popular Championship race in which many teams struggle to find a strong scoring six runners. With many of the team suffering from illness or injury, the 13 Belles who were entered ended up with only the bare six on the day, with co-skipper  Megan James clearly not well but agreeing to run for the sake of the team. Others were struggling too, Lizzie Goldie-Scott just back from injury with a painful stitch all the way around myself still not back to full fitness,  in the middle of moving house and feeling off-colour but said ‘if I say I’ll run, I’ll run’.

We had probably the bravest team performance from the Belles ever with what was  ” 13 ” expected starters to the only six so every finish counted. We were able to also celebrate with an outstanding win from Sophie  in what must have been her best ever race and place.  I then came in a strong reliable race for sixth place, then Mhairi Hall who ran most of the race in company with Christina Pennock, in sadly what will be her last race for the Belles, but Mhairi’s final strong lap made up several places to finish 14th. Then finally, Lizzie Goldi-Scott and Megan James who on any other day would have dropped out, but they both soldiered on to the end to earn the team silver medals.

A truly memorable day, guts, determination, and Belles laying themselves on the line for the sake of the team.



  1. S. Harris: 42.31,  2. N. Taylor (Tonbridge) 43:14,  3. G. Bruinvels (AFD) 43:39, ……. 6. S. Amend 46:33,  14. M. Hall50:31,  16. C. Pennock  50:48,  39. L.Goldie-Scot 55:25,  47. M. James 58:06.
  1. Kent AC 114,  2. Belgrave Harriers 123,  3. SLH 144.


by Sam Amend - 9th December 2017 | General News

The opportunity for a County Vest for Buckinghamshire again, although I felt unfit on the X country front wanted to test the fitness and continue to build up my racing.  Having run here in the past was hoping I could run a reasonable race. Sadly the start was a mass field and ended up running into the posts a few times and getting caught up in a bottleneck.  Sadly chest was still tight and I struggled with form and momentum.

Anyway, as a team we didn’t finish in the top 3,  I came 46th overall out of 75 runners.  Onwards and upwards !


Picture:  Jenny Roberts, Ashley Berry, Sam Amend, Lara Bromilow. Mel Wilkins

Bucks Cross Country Results 2017

Valencia Marathon – 19th November 2017

by Sam Amend - 19th November 2017 | General News

This wasn’t the way I wanted to start a marathon or finish 2017 but a step in the right direction.  Most of you will know I have had a battle with Glandular fever which truth be told probably started mid-December but wasn’t diagnosed until my wobble and DNF in Seville February 2017.

Since then its been a battle with acceptance and also grit and determination to overcome what I have felt my biggest demon ” REST”.  So, in essence, to cut a long story short its been a roller coaster of DNS and DNF’s all through the year and do something that nearly had my quit competitive running and reduced me to tears.

I had therefore written off the year of racing and done a few less stressful ” team events” to build up and being the headstrong person I am refused to let ” Valencia” drop off the calendar despite recommendation wanted to complete.

Slight problem another challenge… 1.5 weeks out I saw the sign of a virus (not a hypochondriac) and resulted in bed rest for a few nights/days off running but seemed to improve but by last weekend was in a terrible state and feverish which scared me to believe ” GF is back and with vengeance”, Having had stomach cramping and unable to run from Sunday to Wednesday I was close to withdrawing and to draw a line in the sand as of Friday 17th.  Somehow I got off her death bed still not 100%  and squeezed in from Thursday 3 days worth of eating carbs in the hope it may salvage something.

Onto the race still feeling dizzy light headed Friday improving each day I had made the decision to get to the startline and still in the front section and run a different race…. This was going to be hard for me, no gels, no funny race pre-nerve antics!

I had to run fast at the start with a very strong field of Kenyan’s and international athletes and 20,000+ other runners the only way was forward and fast.  Barely taking my heart rate over 130 bpm  I just ran how I felt, treating almost like a sunday run without pressure, couldn’t believe I even had this in me and time to ” high five!”.  Although I hit halfway at 1.24 it was due to a fast first few miles but my goal was sub 3hrs and I didnt care as long as it was a decent pace still.    What I do know is that its more congested some 10 + mins down from my usual and it motivated me in the future to run faster and I know I can.  The clock finished on 2hrs 56.00 and I kept the pace steady to the end.   this is my slowest in some years but the emotional journey of this year, the satisfaction of completing and not DNf’ing was worth any win.  It felt like I had won and walked away not hobbling or as if I had run 26.2 miles, if only every post race could feel that way !

Onwards and upwards and advice would always be, there is always a comeback, don’t be despondent for long!  What Glandular has taught me is never abuse your body and reminds me a few days rest or backing off isnt a bad thing.

Valencia Results 2017

Reigate Priory Relays – Saturday 4th November

by Sam Amend - 9th November 2017 | General News


The Priory Relays have become one of the club’s favorite events over the past few years. Set in the beautiful location of the Priory Park with the backdrop of the trees on the hill with their golden Autumn leaves, the shortish but challenging course always offers the chance of medals for our team. In fact, the Belles had won here the last three years.  This year, the overnight rain and damp atmosphere made the course a lot more challenging than in recent years, in fact, it was quite muddy in places which proved a big problem for some of our runners without spikes or trail shoes. The temperature was a little cool too so the runners were very glad to have the tent kindly brought by Aidan Grace and Rose O’Brien.

Three Belle’s teams completed the race. Saron immediately went ahead of all the other women mixing it with the leading men.  She finished a long way clear of the second team with the overall second fastest time of the afternoon.   Katie-Ellen  then took over from Saron for the A team and although as a specialist track athlete struggled with the mud and hills, she did maintain the team’s position and justified her selection.   On the final leg was me, I set off with a lead for the A team, but lacking hill training after glandular and the worrying thought of the in-form Isobel Brinsdon of Epsom and Ewell chasing my tail.  I did my very best as always does but the conditions and lack of Cross Country fitness proved just a bit too much and the Belles had to settle for second place.

Team Photo

L:R  Charlie, Saron, Maddy, Carl, Mhari, Katie-Ellen, Megan, Mhari D, Sam, (Simon) Lizzie, Rose, JoJo, Andy, Nick, Aiden, Robert


1.Epsom and Ewell;  48.53,  2.  Belgrave  A;  49.26, (Saron Haileselase 15.29, Katie-Ellen French 17.22, Samantha Amend 16.35) 3.  Guildford and Godalming, 50.39; ….  7. Belgrave B; 53.40,  (Mhairi Hall 17.37, Maddy Shott 17.52, Rose O’Brien 18.11), … 12.  Belgrave  C; 57.45, (Megan James 18.30, Jojo Rhodes 18.05, Mhairi McDonald 21.11).


1. Isobel Brinsden, (E & E), 15.20,  2.  Saron Haileselase, (Belgrave Harriers) 15.29,  Fiona Clark, (Reigate Priory)  16.04.

Here are the Belle’s results from recent years;

2013  1st;  51.12.  (Rose O’Brien 17.35,  Catherine Lovegrove 17.13,  Keri MacKenzie  16.35).

2014  1st;  51.43.  (Lizzie Goldie-Scott  18.25,  Jojo Rhodes 16.46,  Zoe Smith 16.32).

2015  1st;  48.19.  (Sam Amend, Becky O Kill, Zoe Smith)

South of England AA Relays – Saturday 21st October 2017

by Sam Amend - 21st October 2017 | General News, Race Reports

My come back race after a disastrous year of not finishing or starting races sadly including an attempt at 100k in Winshouten.  I thought the best way after a 6-week race break was to do a team event with less pressure.  40 mile hr winds greeted no less than twelve Belgrave women starting the 3-Stage cross-country relay at Wormwood Scrubs. The largely flat circuit of just over 3km on grassland appeals to track, road and cross country runners alike so it was four teams that completed the race.   With Belles out in force ( and the wind) the hard work paid off for the A team winning a well-deserved silver medal which I was part of.

On our first leg for the A team, Saron Haileselase sensibly held back over the first kilometer or so, happy to sit in the pack in about sixth place being protected from the wind. She made her move on the far side of the course easily moving up to the far away leader passing all the other runners on the way. Saron hates the wind but battled her way against it up the final straight to finish a close second in a terrific time, the third fastest of the day, and a very long way ahead of the third place athlete. Her run certainly set the team up with a chance of a medal.

Katie took over from Saron and although she had not felt 100% during the week, ran a very strong leg to maintain second place handing over to me as our anchor leg. Although there was a large gap to the likes of Chloe Tighe of Herne Hill and Stefanie Davies of Clapham Chasers chasing hard for the medals, there is no one more reliable than Sammi in this situation, and the Belle’s second-fastest leg of the day easily brought the team home safely to secure well-deserved silver medals.

Saron, Katie & Sam  ( Team Silver)

Boys n Belles out in Force! 


  1. Chelmsford 36.37,   2,  Belgrave A 36.59, (S. Haileselase 11.43, K-E. French 12.50, S. Amend 12.26)  3.  London Heathside  37.10, ……  13. Belgarve B  40.24, (J. Rhodes 14.00, I. Cousland 13.18, L. Goldie-Scot 13.06),  16.  Belgrave C  40.35 (F. Maddocks 13.28, K. MacKenzie 13.31, R. O’Brien 13.26) ,   20.  Belgrave D  41.10 (M.Hall 13.44, M. James 14.08, J. Levertaviciute 13.18).


  1. H. Archer (West Suffolk)  11.36,   2.  S. Davis (CC) 11.37,   =3. S. Haileselase (Belgrave) and K. Johnson (Chelmsford) 11.43,

Fighting the elements of Glandular….

by Sam Amend - 19th July 2017 | General News

The plan from Now until September From March being diagnosed with glandular fever has been my biggest battle yet despite also having capsulitis and also hamstring issues.  The list goes on with the band aids over the body and the body is fragile.

Things started to improve in April and the reason I went ahead to run the Anglo Celtic plate which sadly had to retire 75k in due to hamstring and achillies issues.  Long and short of it was I thought I could defy my body and it keeps coming back.

In July I went to visit an Olympic doctor to get advice and he basically said you need to get well and in essence all the pills and potions there is no magic fix and you need to take rest.  Deep down amongst a long discussion spoke with Norman Wilson who is working alongside my coach Rodger to help build up my endurance and push my ability with the 100k.  I know the rest and recoup is on the cards but we agreed one more chase for the World Champs qualifying time in Winschouten.  The race is on the 9th Sept, agreed also that after the race to take 4 week’s off running to try and combat the glandular once and for all.  So there are now no heavy fast pace work, just what’s needed to get me through the training.  I need to sleep more, eat well and do everything I can to get to the start line in 1 piece in just under 8 weeks time.

I have stopped enjoying racing and not achieving what I am capable of so we agreed I need to take away that pressure and focus on training.

Another 3000m & 5000m – 2nd/8th July 2017

by Sam Amend - 8th July 2017 | General News, Race Reports

2nd July  – British Masters 3000m

Running in the area match the same race I ran last year and won comfortably despite having come straight from packing up my race. Another hot one and didn’t feel alert and having got sunburnt knew I may struggle.  A few stronger girls this time and had to settle for 3rd in a time of 10.40.  Along way for disappointment but needed points scored for the masters.


8th July  –  Southern Athletics League Battersea 5,000m

My biggest battle is the track again and going slightly longer where I already knew 3000m I was struggling.  I put my fighting spirit on and ensured that I just kept going to finish strong.  I always wanted to finish with 17 something but realistic with a relapse of Glandular, feeling very emotional that it was a case of focusing on my race.  I also didn’t want to be lapped and pushed myself round in 18:26.