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Samantha Amend - GB & England Marathon and Ultra Distance Runner

Seville Marathon -17th February 2019

by Sam Amend - 17th February 2019 | General News, Race Reports

Wow, that time already it feels like the ” 3 Amigos” had only not long come back from Valencia in December.  I was still looking forward to Seville, training had been going really well but the lead upto the depature  sadness..

Having been on a whistle stop tour to Sweden via Copenhagen with customers on the Tuesday 12th, then rushing straight to the vets due to poorly rescue Xana dying.  It was the most dramatic drive ever from Heathrow to the Vets.  Tired, exhausted and emotional and then saying goodbye to my loyal side kick .  Watching over the space of just over a week going from what was thought to be an infection, to rat poisoning and then after full scan results ” tumors”.  Terrible pain that dog was in and seeing her bleeding through her noise and the Vitamin K hadnt successfully clotted her blood.  There was the sad goodbye as our darling little baby was put to sleep and knowing we were there and she had stayed alive for me to get to the vets was a blessing.

Emotions for the rest of the week were like a roller-coaster, on what should have been an easy week, and excitement to go to Seville was very tough.  Truth be told my head was all over the place and as much as I love going with my pals I felt empty, tired and to top it off also started that damn Menstrual cycle.  I had no idea how I was going to race but just knew I needed to run to the finish.  What I was pleased to have done was get Jo my best pal to commit to racing.  What a great result that turned out to be.

I put my thoughts aside and enjoyed a few days in the Spanish sun, amazing Vegan food and then on race day just turned up with ” see what happens”.  I knew from the off after a few miles I felt tight and laboured, however thought this may ease.  I was getting lower back pain which was limiting me to run with a high gait and a tight hamstring.  Running a temperature, feeling stressed I didnt take in much of the course just tried to prevent drifting back too much as I watched the 2:45 pacer go past with a pack of runners.  This was a a time which 6:18 pace should have been achievable, certainly sub 2:50.  Sadly it wasn’t to be In the last few miles I struggled in the sun and the weaving tight turns and long run into the finish, clocking 2:52:37.  Anyway, I was disappointed and felt robbed of a time I deserved and in my mind was Xana , that just was all I had on the day.  Onto Jo, my girl managed to crack out her first sub 4hrs in 3:49.11 which is the best she has run in years.

Every race is a journey and a memory and despite not feeling ” on it” I had a great time with special friends.

 

Above: Towards the final 2 miles in Seville Marathon

IAU GB World 24hr Championships ” Im In!”

by Sam Amend - 7th February 2019 | General News, Race Reports

Albi, France 24hr

Expecting to hear something  just before travelling to Seville  week of 11th , from a hard week I got the email the email I had been waiting so patiently from mid January.

My CV had been sent to the selectors on Jan 7th and then a month later I got the best news after a very stressful week and whilst one of my dearest dogs had been poorly.  Elated to say the effort in the Belfast 24hr June 2018 had been worthwhile.  Have run now for GB 50k, GB 100k last year and now another vest and something to be proud of. Watch this space as the training commences along the way with races such as Barry40, GB 6hr track, Comrades and hopefully  the GB 50k having qualified for this event twice.

A reminder of my enjoyment of the 24hr event:

https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/news-and-features/12-british-athletes-selected-for-24-hour-world-championships/

Chichester Priory 10k – Sunday 3rd February 2019

by Sam Amend - 4th February 2019 | General News, Race Reports

On a cold Sunday February morning,

Race line up with a classy Elite athletes ( including Steph Twell in fine form) along with some GB/ England runners looking to find speed ahead of  marathons.   After what was a terrible few days of snow for most of the country, and the one safest place that hadn’t been dumped with it.  It was certainly the first below freezing temperatures and shivering before the start.  I went with Alex and friend Trevor who decided to come as I mentioned it was a good course, although a few changes from when I last raced it.  Truth be told, I wasn’t in 10k PB shape and it was early in my race season but always good progress. I needed to put in a good time in to contribute for a block of hard racing and training.   Focus was also on the long distance key races which you will hear about along the 2019 journey.

I also knew that my next 10k  wouldn’t be until May time before Comrades.  The next few months was all about track long distance races, the marathon and then a build up for the autumn GB events.  Back to the race de-brief, I had a few crazy moments of dashing to the toilet for last minute nerves ( a common trend with me, anyone that knows me!) before we had a long walk to the start which was in a side road of the Goodwood track ( Chichester).  Without further thought and unexpected I didn’t hear a gun just a few mutters ” Go” and off we trailed down nice smooth  country roads with a few climbs.

During the race I went from cold to hot as the morning started to warm up and initially a little distressed when seeing all the females racing past me and ones I didn’t recognize in the first few K.  Relief had it that after the charge I started to pull back in some of the runners.  Just a little too late but maintained my pace in the last few k’s which was on the track.

Alex was out for a hard training session having run the Army champs so he ran alongside me, we aimed for sub 37 and almost made it, although we were confident the 37.01 was sub based on not being on the start – line.

Pleased with my performance and showed progressed…

 

Chichester 10k Results 2019

2019 Results

Promoting British Ultra Running – Sunday Times, 18th January

by Sam Amend - 21st January 2019 | General News, Race Reports

A pleasure to be interviewed by a long standing Sunday Times journalist John Goodbody, who also covers many sports including motor racing and rowing.

Originally I had planned to meet with him during the previous week but due to work changes I wasnt needed in London.  They Sunday Times offered to come and meet me locally at my house and also take running photos by their sports photographer.  We arranged Friday 18th , just before my 50k that weekend.

We went to the local pub where I was interviewed the ” old school” way with a dicta phone, and a pad & paper.  It was a great experience and also provided positivity during the interview on my achievements.  Also finding out he was an exceptional open water swimmer.  We spent about 30 minutes discussing  my ultra journey before moving onto the photography part.

Something that  made me smile as an after thought was during the interview trying to explain to a man in his seventies what ” chicked” meant in terms of  a woman beating a man in running.  Both the photographer and I explained to the puzzled John ( in his seventies), a very humorous moment!  After John departed back for his train to London I  then travelled with the photographer to Wittenham clumps.  During this time we did about 40 minutes of photos, it was a very windy and cold day so challenging to get the photos.

After an afternoon with the Sunday  Times I was excited to see the  finished article produced for that Sunday, along with some photos that were professional to use.

Wittneham Clumps, South Oxfordshire.

Sunday times Article

Gloucester 50k – Sunday 20th January 2019

by Sam Amend - 20th January 2019 | General News

Now what is there to say, I was a little stiff before going and needed a boost as my morale for some reason was low.  Suspect the few nights poor sleep didn’t help.  I travelled with Jo and John who were running the half… lucky them ! also as it was a new course was intrigued on the loop and how challenging it would be.

So busy at the start and weirdly the start of the 50k was tucked away from race HQ so I wasted 20 minutes trying to locate the line.  John decided he didn’t feel well enough to run so we left Jo at the start of her race, wished her luck and trotted to the 50k start.  This was the last race to be started and weirdly I didn’t have huge expectations but a little fearful I would be slower than last year.  Small field but off we went at 10.28 and it wasn’t for a good few miles until I recognised some sections I enjoyed from last year, then I had the rhythm of the loop system.  It took in part of the 10 miler, the 10k and then last years 50k.  It wasn’t flat but it was less of a steep climb on some of the hills than last years.  Frustratingly for me I was solo running as the field was small, lots of passing of marathon runners and the cold was making it a challenge.

Gloucester 50k, Marathon & Half  

I was on the mark for a big PB up until the last 5.5 miles aka loop 5, but started to feel a little disorientated when the cold , what was initially a good thing became tough.  I had warn arm guards but the usual vest and shorts as I struggle wearing too many layers.  That aside I knew the last few miles were going to be tough, so I persevered and continued to push myself to get to the finish.  Regardless of my disappointment what I did know was it was a PB, there was certainly room to improve.  My time of 3:28:07 moved me upto 7th in the all time list. Felt knackered but a worthwhile trip to Gloucester and really pleased it was on the course my coach measured. Whilst multiple loops and not flat I tend to run well at the beginning of the year. Gloucester 50k Results 2019

 

Gloucester 50k, Marathon & Half – 20.1.19 – www.beyondthelimitations.org.uk  Sprint to the finish !

Buckinghamshire Cross Country Championships -Saturday 5th January 2019, Hughenden

by Sam Amend - 5th January 2019 | General News

I was originally suppose to be running the following week a 10k on the 13th but opted instead for a Saturday race to allow me to fit another long run in on Sunday.  I knew this would be a challenge as you use different muscle groups for Cross Country.  Matt my old coach convinced me to run for the county and my coach Norman thought it was a good idea.  I didn’t really have  a really stressful week but from running a long run the Monday ( 31st) a sub 7 minute per mile 10 miler the back end of the week was easy.  I am not great at planning for Cross country races or ones in the afternoon so I tried not to make a big deal as I didn’t feel fit for the hills.  Taking my son with me as he wanted to play football with our local friend Phil also meant he was away from a computer and doing something physical.

Onto the race, It started at 2pm, we arrived around 1pm which was plenty of time for getting my number, a short warm up. It wasn’t a warm day so I was layered up  and imagined my gloves staying on but getting warm so quickly decided just to wear the singlet.  How I felt about the race “odd” was how my spikes also looked, what I mean by this is the spikes had different lengths due to losing a few, and the race was out of my comfort…

Warming up with a few of the Wycombe Phoenix crew for a mile, then the usual ridiculous toilet rituals before stripping down and heading to the start line.  It was great to see the familiar race organiser faces including the Bucks Selector Roger Smith aka “old school” organisation the way I like it!

So the race, yikes 2 large laps of the fields and “yes large” with the hill climbs I practiced with Matt’s Wycombe Phoenix team on the 28th and then a shorter lap for the last.  I was expecting or hopeful for a top 10 as you never know the speed of these youngsters and being an ultra-runner, this was a short day out with 8k.  The race promptly started, and I packed myself in amongst Lucy Rogers & Jenny Roberts of  Wycombe and some other local club runners.  Always remaining in the top 4/5 runners until the first hill where the Marshall Milton young lady broke away from the pack and remained that way with a good lead.  I feel had the race have taken on 10k or longer the endurance may have kicked through, instead I was having my own battle between 2/3/4th places.

I surprised myself that on lap two I started to break away and used the downhill to my advantage and I also listen to the claps and the vocals of spectators to work out roughly my lead ( never looking back).  It came to the last lap and I picked up my pace to push the last climb from the back field to the middle field where I could see the finish line in sight.  Just one more down hill rabbit holed area to get past and push all the way to the finish.  Despite being told “ you have this in t he bag”  I never eased off as I wanted the best time possible and I surprised myself…. Wow…..  I’d done it 32.13, 2nd place overall, first vet and a handshake from the selectors.  So from feeling I don’t want to do this, to then being in medal contention.  Needless to say very pleased with how I raced, unexpected and proud.  Anyone that knows me I do not say this, especially off the back of a rubbish Cross Country race in December for Bucks.  Onwards and upwards to a positive start to 2019 !

 

Bucks Cross Country Results 2018

Gloucester 10 Mile- Sunday 30th December 2018,

by Sam Amend - 30th December 2018 | General News

A good blow out post Christmas period and another race since Mid October as pointed out by Alex I had raced non-stop since then.  Yikes was it really that much with one weekend off and this was the 2nd race in the same week.  Needless to say it had been an event and busy year and the last one before hitting hard training and racing again in 2019 and some tough goals.

I was fortunate enough to have Trevor my running friend offer to drive so one less thing to worry about with Jo and Soraya tagging along to make the quartet off to Gloucester.  Truth be told wasn’t sure how I felt about racing, somewhat tired from a busy year, lots of driving on Boxing day and not really getting much downtime.  Regardless I was there to race and made sure I had some easy days between Poole 10k and Gloucester.  Looked like at least 500 runners, busy at the race HQ and around the car-parks which was also where the start/finish were located.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After warming up with Trevor we headed to the start for another toilet stop, anyone that knows me I get really stressed and spend most of the 30 mins before the start worrying.  It looked like a competitive field looking at the Gloucester AC/Morpeth, and a few London based clubs, for me though this was a race to improve on last years comeback from glandular fever.

The race started on time but very quickly and unexpected the small loop back section x 2 became 3 due to a marshal sending at least the top 10 % of the race back into the clutter of back runners.  I argued it where he was blocking the turn off to the left to follow the car but carried on down as instructed with all the runners.  Very quickly realizing it wasn’t write then sent myself back up as runners went in all directions.  I got back on the course but had no idea my friend Trevor and the other ladies close to me went on a different route.  2 miles in we shouldn’t have been on the industrial estate, a few followed me and I slogged out the course.  It isn’t flat, but exposed but on nice country roads.  Feeling angry and stressed I decided to continue the race and frustratingly every time the watch peeped knew I was beyond that mile marker in reality.

A few of the front runners that followed me did the same route with the 2 hills and the other runners after the first hill came from the right and joined the flat section so its hard to know how much harder we had to run and also the impact on the minute per mile for the hills always hampers the time. It wasn’t the runners fault and some didn’t finish, some went through the finish at 7.5 miles and for most of the front runners either ran half a mile or more.  For a race it’s a big difference by  your end finish time.

I did however run from the front and finished with the win, this was an improvement on 2nd place last year. The times have been rectified to the best ability of Normans and Anne’s capabilities though getting Garmin/Strava details.  For future I know the race won’t have those repetitive loops to save confusion and also having marshals dropping out late in the evening the Saturday didn’t help.  Just shows the importance of marshals listening to their briefings, and staying focused.  I felt disappointed for my coach as a lot of work had gone into the planning and the race, you never want runners to leave disappointed especially as for most the last race before the year ends.

 

My amended time was 61.10 which is a little slower than October’s Cabbage Patch but  need to take into consideration it was a completely different course and have since run a marathon 3 weeks back.  We went onto have lunch (with the race winnings) as a group after so that Norman and the race team could address the timing issues and clearing up the course and then head home.

 

Gloucester 10 Mile Results 2018

South of Thames 7.5 Mile XC – Saturday 15th December 2018, Kent

by Sam Amend - 15th December 2018 | General News, Race Reports

This was a day I was “on a mission” I hadn’t raced in Kent for a few years, mainly because the last time 2 years ago they hosted it took Alex and I  3.5hrs in the car and we nearly missed the race.  This year I came solo from Oxfordshire ( moved last year) with multiple train changes across London and out towards Orpington.  I was knackered before the race just in travel and being blown away dogs on their morning run.

The weather got increasingly windy, the rain came down like ice and by 2pm race start (Men and women go off together) we were shivering, sharing clothes and praying it was over!  The race went off to a flying start and I never where a base layer, but it was needed today.  I thought I was in around 4th place at the start but had miscounted where everyone was, therefore thought the leader was Saron but it wasn’t and when caught by Amy (came with me to Doha 50k) it turned out there were 2 runners ahead from Tonbridge.  The course was hilly, exposed, some tough muddy sections even my 12 mil spiked were struggling with along with 2 many path crossings and sodden grass.  By the first of 3 laps my feet were like ice and kept thinking I can’t do this, seeing the others ahead Saron/Georgie I knew I needed to continue as every place counts…..  On the final lap just glad to be seeing the finish but did get chased down from 8th to 9th from a young Dulwich runner, I surged to get to the line before taking a deep breath.

This was short-lived when I turned into a nurse helping Saron who was in tears with pain on her feet and barely able to walk, she had got so cold and started to drift back in the race into 5th.  With Georgie’s mum we carried her safely across the course to the tent (some way on tired legs) to get warm and in clothes.  We didn’t hang around when the Bels and Belles finished we packed up, struggled with the tent blowing away and packing the van with hands that lost feeling.  I went back to the Team Managers for a Christmas dinner with the rest of the training team, I continued to write this blog on the train at 22:58 on the train home after what’s been a very long day……  On a positive the effort was rewarded with “ Team Gold” for Belles, 5th place for Bels and a lovely meal with great company.  Now to rest for 18 mile run tomorrow morning on tight legs, the glory of being a long distance runner!

South of England Masters & Inter Counties – Oxford – 9th December 2018

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

Feeling tired and heavy legged from the marathon and on a mileage week, I didn’t really cut any slack in the lead up to the 6k XC race due to frustration of Valencia’s race and also felt comfortable going back into training.  Quads and ITB despite a massage still felt so tight and what wasn’t expected was all the climbs along with running the race with the under 20’s.  What was nice though was bumping into 2 Surrey runners from my club Belgrave and also the opportunity to run for Buckinghamshire against at the ripe old age of 39.

I was the only one in my race with Off road shoes and no spikes so I started close to the back, something I later regretted due to bottle necks and space to overtake.  The size of the race, changed course ( i.e. lack of hilly training)  left me demoralised and fighting for places.  I ended up finishing 48th but they added all the results together which then made we look like we had run with the masters.  I think however maybe its time for short races to run in the Master races for future.  I had barely warmed up, it was windy and cold and also attempting to rain so a bleak afternoon of Cross country but always good to get some strength work.  My finish time for the 6k was 25:25 which is okay but I had run quicker and even on the hills.

L:R Jenny, Mel, Sam & Alice

 

Valencia Marathon – Sunday 2nd December 2018

by Sam Amend - 2nd December 2018 | General News, Race Reports

As always looking forward to the girls weekend away ( Whirlwind) but love Valencia and always ran well there, weather is on the hot side but it’s a flat/fast and enjoyable course.  You just need to get over the initial surge and find your rhythm.  The Airbnb  with my friends was lovely, great hosts and a short walk to the beach, also somewhere different to where we normally stay so I was hoping quieter.

My mileage was low and ticking over, with a jog the day before and to collect my race number which was crazy queues in itself and getting sunburnt in the process.  We decided to go back to the same eating place as last time which served fabulous Vegan burgers, sadly I think that the Cucumber &  Ginger water with ice was what caused stomach cramping and a very sleepless night.  Not what you need before a marathon, sadly it was what happened but decided regardless I was going to do my best to finish the race as a lot of training, organisation, childcare etc had gone into the preparation.

 

My two friends Jo and Karen ran the 10k and I set off for the marathon, bumping into Tom Stevens a friend now based in Sweden and Steph Twell on her debut for the distance.  For them they had better races, for me the 2nd half was tough burning up and stomach churning.  I picked myself up and took the positives that I wouldn’t DNF and would aim to improve on last years race.  I finished in a respectable time of 2hrs 50.05 ( 34th lady) and still disappointed but need to accept not all races come to plan.  It wasn’t a total wasted trip as we all finished our races, had a great time.

 

Valencia Results 2018