Storm Dennis washes out races in the region

The Inspire Thetford Forest Trail 10K and Marriott’s Way Marathon and Half Marathon in Norfolk were casualties of Storm Dennis over the weekend. Quite a few Newmarket Joggers were entered into the 3rd of the Thetford Winter Trail 10K series of three, which has been re-scheduled for 23rd February and the Marriott’s Way event has been postponed until March 8th. Not ideally, both these dates clash with popular, high profile races for Newmarket Joggers, namely the Tarpley 10/20 mile event at Beyton School near Bury St Edmunds on Feb 23rd and the Cambridge Half Marathon on March 8th. Over 50 Joggers are likely to run in the Cambridge event.

Despite the inclement weather, club members are hard in training for the Cambridge Half and for various marathon races to follow in the spring, such as London, Brighton, Manchester and Liverpool. It is notable that 4 of our leading male distance runners, i.e. Neil Pollard, Chris Gay, Jimmy Smith and Mark Hayward, covered between them a total of 325 miles in training last week, so plenty of preparation going on. Smith and Hayward are both entered for the Tarpley 10, along with Clive Purbrook and Nicole Smith, while Paul Dockerill, Richard Groom, Sianie Painter and Alan Shand are all entered for the Tarpley 20. Good luck to them and we hope for success over the coming weeks and months for all our club members who are hard at work with their training plans.

London Marathon: Bookings are now open for the London Marathon Coach. See: London Marathon Coach Booking  Book Now! which leaves at 06:00 am sharp from Newmarket High St on Sunday 26th April and will wait for no one, so be in good time! It will take runners and supporters first to the start of the Virgin Money London Marathon at Blackheath and then any supporters onward to a spectator point near Tower Bridge/Tower of London if they so wish. This catches runners at about 12.5 miles and again at 22.5 miles but is very noisy and crowded and a good viewpoint is not easy to find, with runners often a whole road width away and behind barriers. For taking in the whole marathon scene it is a worthwhile experience.

The start of the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2018, thanks to

In good weather, supporters may wish instead to walk the mile or so from Blackheath to the Cutty Sark area (just south of the Thames) to watch the leading runners come through at the ~6 mile/10K point. Then they could continue through the foot tunnel underneath the River Thames from the Cutty Sark to the Isle of Dogs and take a leisurely stroll northwards up to Mudchute or thereabouts, to watch runners come through at around 17 miles. Although the scenery is not exactly iconic here, there is a lot more elbow room than at Tower Bridge and there is the chance to catch the eye and call out to friends as they come past, very close to view. Just a slight warning: If you wait for slower friends to come through at the Cutty Sark you may miss the race leaders coming through the Isle of Dogs!

There is a DLR (Docklands Light Railway) station at Mudchute that links with the London Underground system to take you onwards to the marathon finish area or to the coach pickup point etc. Take the DLR to Tower Gateway and then the District & Circle underground line from Tower Hill to Embankment.  Alternatively, to avoid long tube queues and take in the atmosphere and the music, including the fabulous All Hallows-by-the-Tower bell ringing, just proceed on foot beside the marathon route and Cycle Superhighway from Tower Hill to the Victoria Embankment, about 2 miles; this also applies to those dropped off at Tower Bridge earlier in the day. Once you reach the Embankment you could watch runners pass by at about the 25 mile point or head to the finish area to meet them, which is about a 15 minute walk. The Golden Jubilee Bridge is right next to the Embankment station to take you over to the coach pickup point near the London Eye.

The Cutty Sark is a good viewpoint to watch the leaders come through the 6 miles/10K point and only about a mile walk from the start area. Photo: Chris Aylmer

Unless you wish to turn into a pumpkin or country bumpkin, you need to be ready to board the return coach by 5:20 pm. It leaves from Belvedere Rd, behind Jubilee Gardens, not far from the London Eye.

Some Joggers tend to gather to have a drink or some food and wait for the coach at All Bar One in Chicheley St, just off Belvedere Rd, opposite Jubilee Gardens and very close to the pickup point. If you’re running in the Marathon, make sure you know beforehand how to get to Belvedere Rd from the finish in The Mall. You should continue up The Mall through Admiralty Arch to Trafalgar Square, then head down Northumberland Ave towards the river and cross over the Thames on the pedestrian Golden Jubilee Bridge. You’ll see the London Eye on the other side of the river to the right of the bridge, which will guide you to Jubilee Gardens and Belvedere Rd.

NB: If you take 5h:30m or more to complete the marathon (13:00+ min/mile) you may not be in time for the coach. According to starting time plans for 2019, it would be 10:48 am before a runner in the slowest Zone 8 reaches the chip mat and start line for all three (Red, Blue and Green) starting areas, so with a chip time of 5:30, you might not finish until 4:18 pm. Then it could take maybe 30 minutes to recover, collect baggage and exit the finish area, plus another 30 minutes to get to the pickup point, so you might be too late to get to the coach by 5:20 pm. The coach will not wait any later. Please bear this in mind before booking the coach. Do keep a credit card and a mobile phone on you during the race so that in unforeseen circumstances (such as injury, sickness or a slower time than expected) you are not left high and dry in central London! Also make sure the club has your phone number and you have the number of the club member in charge of the coach trip on the day, so that we all know the situation and may be able to give help or advice.