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Samantha Amend - GB & England Marathon and Ultra Distance Runner

Anglo Celtic Plate 100k – A Win & A Course Record, 31 March 2018

by Sam Amend - 2nd April 2018 | General News

The  A race, I had been training for since last year failing to finish at Winschouten 100k in September 2017.  This was the second selection for the same distance and this time I was desperate to finish and prove my fitness.

The Anglo Celtic Plate ( ACP) is a yearly event which rotates between England, Scotland & Wales to develop athletes beyond the marathon and into ultra-distance runners..  This year it was Wales’s turn to host under the guidance of Steve and Jackie Brace  – Welsh Athletics.

Photo:  Mike Stocks, Anthony Clark, Jez Bragg, Nathan Montague, Sam Amend, Sophie Carter

Although more experienced with the long distance especially with 50k’s, 50 miles, 100k and 100 mile races under my belt I was still incredibly nervous.  Mainly down to the fact I had spent the whole of 2017 fighting glandular fever and with another relapse at the end of January.   Anyone that has run beyond a marathon will understand it’s a different type of nerves because it isn’t so much the distance its more about how your body is going to react to the nutrition, course and let’s face it a very long way still at speed!

There were 17 runners racing for their home nation and only 2 women for England, both Sophie Carter (former Belgravian) and I, so I hoped to do the club, my coach and myself proud.

Having prayed all week that ” the beast from the east  Part 3″  was due so I was concerned with the limited race options for 100k that the race may indeed after some significant training not be on.  Having had heavy rain back home in Oxford Weds, Thurs, Friday the weather wasn’t looking promising with cold temperature, high winds and guess what ” more rain”!

Depressing… anyway as they say you cant control the weather, it is what it is, think ” Team England” were just worried about the distance.  I arrived with my Support crew on Friday afternoon, the journey “good Friday took”  an hour longer and all I wanted to do was de-stress and suspect it was due to Cardiff hosting the Anthony Joshua fight.  I cracked on in the evening race prepping/team brief and a dinner at a local pub after the exciting (sarcastically said)  course route inspection, which although lots of scattered pubs looked flat and nice.  Only 31 laps eeek !!

Morning of the race I looked like a startled rabbit at 6am ,  nerves had built up with a combination of anxiety from the thoughts of the previous year’s failures to overcome.  My crew Jo, Anne, Trevor and I travelled down with the team at 7am and then the pre-race stresses, several non-stop toilet trips started kicking in.  The race was to start at 8am.

The runners descended off to the start shivering and most started with jackets/gloves/armguards and some leggings and the weather did continue into the afternoon get colder.   The laps felt easy up to the point of 55/60k and I went through halfway in 3hrs 45  but then the hurting started.  Fighting in the wind on some of the long straights, trying to lift up my knees where my cadence had become shorter, slower and then a few laps where I started to lose focus. Regardless was determined to carry on and I managed to lap the female field multiple times so I knew I had a big buffer.  No one looked better than anyone else, we were all digging deep in the conditions either dodging tractors at speed or headwind.  A great spectator course/ also for the aid station being every 2 miles.

The last 12 miles really were the hardest for me as I counted down 6 laps, 5 laps, 4 laps and then the last 2 laps pushed to get through.  Sadly I missed the 7.52 individual time by a minute and suspect my moments of toilet stops/talking at the aid trying to get myself together as all needed was to cross that line.  There is was and in a time of 7hrs 53.57.  Elated however with a pb of 16 minutes,  a course record and my confidence back.

Sadly though I spent straight after 2hrs on the sofa getting medical treatment as I went downhill very quickly with hyperthermia and drifting off,  after some fabulous TLC from St Johns came back to life to make sure I could lift that large trophy !

In the women’s race England retained their team title from 12 months ago.

Athletics Weekly ACP Write up

Power of 10 Results 2018

XNRG Humanity 50k ” Solid Training Run” – Saturday 10th March 2018

by Sam Amend - 10th March 2018 | General News

Slightly nervous on an off-road race, still nursing my temperature and feeling exhausted I did also go and get some blood tests to ensure I wasn’t having still glandular issues.  I was pleased to confirm that the blood count looked good and the temperature likely to be triggered from exhaustion/anxiety and stress.  Almost relief to get clear results! but equally still feeling under the weather with the dark skies, soaked course and the hilly 50k that I would tackle.

I set off from home to pick up Jo who was going to be my aid and also friendly face as I knew it was local and Jo wouldn’t mind driving and popping up in and around the Chilterns.  This race had a staggered start with walkers @8am, slower runners @9am  and then Elite runners @10am.  I hadn’t seen the course but suspected with 17hrs rain non-stop it was going to be a mud bath.  This would mean trying to target the course record wouldn’t be the main target it would be ” hard training run”.

Off we went with Nathan Montague’s (  my fellow England athlete and like me the Ridgeway record with XNRG)  brother speeding off and the first mile being downhill ended up 6.20 pace ( ouch),  that did change as the race went on, self-navigation, warm conditions and tired.

There were a few signs in the course that I suspect had been moved from locals.  In particular 5 miles in, I missed a sty and had to run back a distance to lose my place and chase the front pack.  It was like wading through treacle through the churned cattle fields/bridle paths.  Surprisingly some of the course took up the ” Country to Capital 45 miler”  and tough climbs around Chesham, road crossings along with some steep climbs with a streams running down #soakedfeet.  I managed to get myself early on into the lead and also on the few times I took wrong turns ” thanks watch” to get back in the lead up until the last checkpoint.  The overall second place finisher from London managed to get in front for a short time and I thought that was it.  Grimacing to get the last 4.5 miles to the finish unbeknown to see there was a very steep climb towards the end and all the downhill start became the climb to the finish and across the sodden field from the start at Dr Challoners.

Relieved to see the finish line did my best sprint finish possible to get through before gratefully collapsing into a chair,  tough tough race!  It was challenging, muddy hard course than both mentally and physically challenged me.  What was even more delightful was to find I ended up ” winning the race”  as the leader from checkpoint 4 had got lot lost towards the finish section so I had re-taken the lead again.  In fairness, the top 3/4 runners had admitted i was a worthy winner having benefitted from working off me, and the mistakes I had made.  Winning this overall was beyond my expectations but lovely to share my win with Jo and leave on a positive note.

Next year will be back to improve on the time, in hopefully dryer conditions and a bit of hill work under my bet.  My thighs and quads took a hammering!

Prize Giving with Neil Thurborn  -XNRG 50k

Humanity 50k : XNRG Results 2018

Seville Marathon ” Getting The Job Done ” – Sunday 25th February 2018

by Sam Amend - 25th February 2018 | General News, Race Reports

What was going to be my main ” A ” race for me as far as marathons go ended up more about ” getting the job done” and being downgraded.

Sadly, last year I was in the early stages of my glandular fever which meant I had to retire 10k into the race due to stars in my eyes and losing balance.  I was out with my best ” supporter” Jo and this time she was actually racing….  cant believe I convinced her to run!  so for both of us it was to get rid of the demons and in essence a ” hard training run for her marathon in April  and my 100k in March.

We met Ed Catmur who is a seasoned traveller and 100 marathon club man with mutual club friends and also someone we often meet ahead of races.  We were staying right near the beautiful cathedral  ( somewhat worried me with the possible noise)  but turned out to be an amazing venue and hub in the historic part of Seville.  Arriving Friday late we ventured out to the expo the next morning where Ed met a fellow ” 100 miler club”  who was also a Sports Doctor in Sheffield.

Larking around @ the Expo

Baz gave me some great advice on virus’s and handling my second bout of glandular, sadly resulted into me not finishing Wokingham half marathon the week before.  #onwardsandupwards!

Changing my thought process around the race strategy and being around calm people definitely helped.  For the second time ( last year Valencia)  I was going to run controlled and how I felt…  Take the pressure away and aim to improve on last years comeback.  Stupidly something worth noting the evening of the race before bed I smashed all my toes into the corner of the bed, every single toe digit apart from the big toe was in agony, Ouch!!  still very sore and bruised race morning, but with the new car-free attitude and lowered expectations, the goal was to get to the end.

Its an early start these Spanish races so we were up at 5am ( 6am local) with a swift breakfast before meeting Ed midway on our 35 min stroll to the start.  Much better way to arrive than a possibly ” no show taxi” or a ” cramped race bus.  Time flew by after several toilet trips  ( renowned for zillion stops)  its nerves that go once in the race…  We didnt want a repeat of last year fighting through people carnage so we headed over to the start earlier, due to the little English at the expo was surprised to be greeted by ” elite toilets”  , let’s say I was delighted and of course I went and used them ( multiple times).

So off to the  start line crammed in by Kenyan’s Elite Internationals, and worried it was going to be a fast start and potentially being knocked down I was “on guard”.  We were off and yes fast start….  but I settled into a comfortable pace around 6.10 for the first 8/9 miles and then eased back as it warmed up a touch ( about 16/17 degrees), more than last year but still pretty good conditions.  Some running over tram tracks, a few tight corners and some strange park/cobble roundabouts but all in all a pretty good flat/fast course.  I had no idea where I was in the big scheme of the race but stuck to my plan,  I was surprised though to see a fellow Brit around 15/16 miles income past who was on the front of the start and must have pulled out or had medical treatment.  Anyway without boring the readers  I managed to run an average of 6.28  to finish in 2:52 and felt very relaxed and able to move freely, walk back and happy with progress.  Of course Id have liked quicker but ultimately from feeling unwell/ a temperature, bruised toes, trying out brand new trainers for the 100k I would say it was ” Progress”.  Jo also finished in 4:05  something she was aiming for and pleasured also to complete the race  and Ed went through in another sub 3 ” tick”.  Positive weekend, great vegan food, great company…

RESULTS: Seville Marathon 2018

SEAA Cross Country, Brighton – Saturday 27th January 2018

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

A TOUGH DAY ON THE DOWNS

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
TEAMS.
  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: http://www.beyondthelimitations.org.uk/Glos50K_14-01-2018_r…

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.

 

Results;

  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.
Teams;
  1. Kent AC 114,  2. Belgrave Harriers 123,  3. SLH 144.

SOUTH OF ENGLAND INTER COUNTIES, OXFORD, 9 DECEMBER 2017

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

ANOTHER GOOD DAY FOR THE BELLE’S –  SILVER MEDALS AT REIGATE

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

RESULTS;

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).

FASTEST LEGS;

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)