No Paris or Mondon marathons - but that doesn't stop Borders athletes in their tracks

Haslemere Borders members, like those at all sports clubs, have seen their regular training sessions and races cancelled during lockdown.

Friday, 12th June 2020, 10:00 am
Members of the Haslemere club's Get Up And Run group

But this has not deterred them from continuing their training and maintaining their fitness levels, while adhering to the rules.

Weekly training sessions have been provided by the club’s coaches and individual members have attempted to follow them, maintaining social distancing guidelines.

Social media has enabled runners to keep in contact with others, set individual fun challenges and follow achievements in a virtual world.

Despite the cancellation of many races, months of marathon training was not wasted as members set about participating in their own ‘marathon’.

The disappointment of the Paris marathon being cancelled did not deter Caroline Snape, who completed the 26.2 miles by cycling and running. On April 26, when the streets of London should have been full of crowds cheering on the London Marathon runners, Colin Butfield chose to run the ‘VLM’ around Haslemere, and with less support and a few more hills the route was a lot harder.

Others took part in a high-intensity interval training session, with 26 intense anaerobic exercises, repeated 26 times.

Individual challenges have seen members complete a number of virtual races, with many choosing to participate in ‘virtual’ events supporting the NHS and other good causes.

Other challenges have seen locations being set with the challenge of running, cycling or walking to the location. The opportunity to discover new local areas, trails or to try out different sports have all been taken.

One notable personal achievement saw Philomel Bennett completing the ‘Ben Nevis’ challenge. The idea was to run the same hill as many times as it takes to run the whole elevation of Ben Nevis 4421ft (1348m) elevation over a number of days.

Farnham Lane was the setting for Bennett to take on the challenge, and 15 hill reps wererequired to reach the 4421ft elevation. Always one to rise to the challenge she set off at 6.30am and completed all 15 hill reps, a total distance of 56.70 km, in an incredible time of 5:47:58, achieving a PB for 50km.

Lockdown has also given some the time to fully recover from niggling injuries and it has been great to see some back out exercising again.

Club runner Steve King has built up his fitness after injury by cycling 50k to work and back every day, enjoying traffic-free roads, and is now back to running again. Dave Bateman joined King and Peter Varnes at Longmoor to complete his first 10k for 16 weeks.

The club’s new Get Up And Run group for those new to running had been due to complete their ten-week course run by HBAC coaches on the March 21 with a parkrun at Alice Holt.

Despite lockdown delaying the completion of their course, the group have kept running and all chose to complete their 5k run on Wednesday June 3, Global Running Day.

The triumphant group of Sarah Chapman, Janice Brittain, Nicky Bateman, Phil O’Connor, Caroline Cullen and Julian Smith all completed the virtual 5k and eventually received their first running medal.

It is a great credit to them that they have kept running during this period and Haslemere Border AC are looking forward to welcoming them to the club when they are allowed to start training again.