FRC round up #3: FRC goes global — From Tokyo to Gran Canaria, via Nottingham and Craven Cottage

This weekend FRC was represented internationally, nationally and locally in a jam-packed weekend

It’s been a busy week for you lot, hasn’t it? As if I didn’t need a holiday enough already, I’ve spent all week watching running tourism appearing in my Strava feed from South Africa, Germany, Australia and Italy— all of which has been making me feel rather jealous! But I did get to experience an FRC night out on the town in Nottingham this weekend so it’s still been a pretty good week regardless.

Anyway, aside from all that holiday-ing, there has also been some pretty serious race tourism happening as well — so let’s jump right in with who has been up to what.

Tokyo Marathon

Known for his love of bimbling, Bob Empson was certainly not taking it easy out in Japan on Sunday as he tackled his second to last of the World Mathaton Majors (I believe he only has New York left to go now).

Bob with his finishing towel and bling (photo: Bob Empson)

As I’m sure you all know, club stalwart Bob has been training incredibly hard for this marathon, and we were all rooting from him from wherever we were. (Including by sending him dubious support videos from Nottingham at 2am to help him along the way…)

Despite a couple of set backs (unfortunately his pacer couldn’t run in the end and issues with sketchy GPS signal meant he was essentially running blind) Bob still managed a cracking time of 3.42. And most importantly he was still smiling at the end! He also left us a little race report on Facebook:

Great conditions: cool, only a slight breeze and sunny! I didn’t hit my target of sub 3:30… it was doable but not today. I finished with 3:42:19. For all of you who do Tokyo in the future… it’s a tricky one to race: poor/wonky GPS due to big buildings; km signs usually difficult to see (I missed numerous)… so one is running fairly blind on the data angle. Also, except for elites, abilities seem to be completely mixed up; I was in pen E (A — L) and was surrounded by folk aiming for eg 4:30… so the start was crowded and relatively slow. I started Ok, at the half I was a couple of minutes short (actually long) and I just didn’t have it in me to negative split the second half. So I settled for sub 3:45. Thanks to everyone at FRC who has been so supportive along the way in so many ways…. the training journey to Tokyo has been fabulous and I achieved many things I would not have dreamed possible with help from the folk at FRC. Now time for beer… ! #GoFRC
— Bob Empson

Last I heard Bob was still stuck in Japan as his flight was delayed by a day already, but hopefully he should be back by this Thursday to delight us all with his tales of the East.

おめでとうございます Bob!

Transgrancanaria Ultra

“Always time for a cheeky mid-race shot.” (photo: Ilsuk Han)

Sticking with our international theme, Ilsuk Han and Dudley Desborough were also racing abroad this weekend in this mind-bogglingly hard event out in the Canary Islands.

To give some context as to how tough this race is; for the 125km route, 216 of the 740 starters withdrew — that’s a drop out rate of nearly 30%!

Happily our two FRC runners* were not in their number and both successfully finished their distances, with Dudley posting 39th place overall in the 82km race (not sixth as I said before!) and Ilsuk running for over 25 hours and climbing 8000m over 125k to finish 21st in his category. Hats off to you both!

Transgrananaria — 125KM / 8000M+

  • Ilsuk HAN — 25:34:02

Advanced — 82KM / 4300M+

  • Dudley DESBOROUGH — 10:23:52

*Dudley is technically a Serpie, but as Ilsuk pointed out he drinks beer with us at socials so he qualifies as a member by default

Salsomaggiore 30k

STILL we continue on our world tour — this time in the home town of Parma Ham no less — where Emanuela Castelnuovo was racing the 30k ‘Prince’ distance at the Verdi Marathon event this Sunday. This isn’t Emanuela’s first time running this race and she tells us on Facebook;

“This time the strong ladies did turn up surely lured by pics of deli provisions that I took home in previous editions.
By the time I crossed the line 11th of women the goodies had all been assigned but I was happy nonetheless as I hit MP to the second without even trying.”

Emanuela — have I understood correctly? The prize money is cured meat and cheese?! Get me to this race next year!

  • Emanuela Castelnuovo — 02:14:35 (11th lady)

Cross country nationals

Back on English soil now and in Nottingham for the fourth stop on our FRC ‘tiki tour’, where 22 members of the club gathered this weekend for the 2017 Saucony English National Cross Country Champs.

I see our ladies’ cross country captain has already done an excellent race report on her blog, which I highly recommend, but suffice to say there was mud, mud and more mud, happy faces and and more mud for good measure!

The ladies’ start line (photo: Tom Stevens)

Once we’d all arrived, checked in to our hotel and prepared ourselves, it was time to head on over to the venue at Wollaton Park for the races where we were greeted by hoards of juniors who, frankly, looked like they had just been rolling around in the mud rather than running a race. Intimidated? Us? Never!

An unfortunate trip during her warm up meant that Amy twisted an ankle and sadly couldn’t run. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been after making the journey all the way there, but she insisted on hobbling to the sidelines to cheer us all off before she’d even get herself an ice pack. Amy — your positivity and encouragement even at times like this are an inspiration to all your ladies! We wish you well and hope you’ll be running again very, very soon.

Hearing the cheers from Amy, the boys and the other supporters who had come all that way just to cheer, kept us all going through the bogs and ditches, finishing in the 33rd ladies team out of 93 which at National level is a real achievement!

The award for most enthusiastic and nonstop grinner though definitely goes to Judith who somehow finished with the least amount of mud splatter in a fabulous 53:25.
— Amy Capper, FRC Ladies’ XC captain

Ladies race (8km) — Top four to score

  • Rose Penfold — 32:50
  • Sophie Kirk— 36.21
  • Sydnee Watlow— 39:25
  • Maddy Marriage — 40:07
  • Lucy Stevens— 51:50
  • Judith Clarkson — 53:25

Women’s full results:

The Men’s race was up before the ladies had even finished and their route proved to be an even muddier affair than ours. The field was incredible, with the fastest runners covering the 12km of uneven terrain faster than I think I could sprint on the track. Regardless of this, our men’s team still placed an amazing 59th out of 181 teams — again, a fantastic result and something to be very, very proud of.

Mens race (12km) — Top six to score

  • Nick Marriage — 48:35
  • Tom Daley —49:51
  • Leo Gebbie — 50:43
  • Andrew Stringer — 51:07
  • Tom Stevens — 51:46
  • Andrew Han — 53:33
  • Nathanial Hicks — 57:44
  • Rick Cannon — 1:08:58
  • John Grigg — 1:14:14

Also running but unfortunately not recorded officially as his chip fell victim to the mud(!) was Nick Thomas, who was third for Fulham and ran around 50.30.

Men’s full results:

Rick Cannon — Selfie King (photo: Rick Cannon)

Before I move on I want to say thanks a million to our captain, Andy Han, for his stellar organisational skills. Through the power of spreadsheets he managed to ensure all of his bandits got to Nottingham, were fed, watered, made it to the race on time, had a great night out and had somewhere to sleep. Not an easy feat with so many people but the weekend really did go without a hitch.

A couple of things we learnt during the weekend:

  • Always ask Andy Stringer or myself which of us is actually navigating or you will end up travelling from Fulham to Kings Cross via Temple
  • In a race from Kings Cross to Fulham, the Piccadilly line and Victoria line take the same amount of time but the Victoria wins if you also need to up your Fitbit step count for the day because you want to beat Lucy
  • Tina Turner can be performed in death metal style
  • FRC members are definitely better at running than they are at competitive food eating
  • National Cross Country champs are FUN and open to all club members who are EA affiliated— best £7 I’ve spent for a while! I highly recommend you think about getting involved next year :)

Brighton Half Marathon

Race bling (photo: Tomoko Kikuchi)

Next up, we’re heading to the south coast now, where Henri and Tomoko were running in the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon.

I hear both of them were very chuffed with the times they posted, which isn’t surprising considering that’s a shiny new PB by seven minutes for Tomoko and I believe only ten seconds or so off Henri’s fastest time as well.

Congratulations to both you of. Ice creams and a swim in the sea all round in celebration of that I say!

  • Henri Placek — 1:35:29
  • Kikuchi Tomoko — 1:48:38

Thorpe Park Half Marathon

Ever wondered how you can get into a theme park for free? Turns out one way is to run a half marathon around it! Justin Bateman was clearly so excited to try all the rides when he finished that he smashed out a new PB at what I believe was the inaugural event. I hope he wasn’t too disappointed when he found out the park was actually now closed for the winter so there are no rides in operations… probably not considering that result!

Amy Tayler was hot on his heels completing the first of her ‘6 for 6’ in a solid 1:51:46 — also a new PB! Amy has signed up to run six half marathons this year, one for each round of chemo that her Mum will be undertaking, and had already raised £700 for the Women’s Cancer Detection Society. Well done Amy, a fantastic result for a worthy cause.

  • Justin Bateman — 01:38:18
  • Amy Tayler — 01:51:46

Dash to the splash

As we get closer and closer to home, despite not making it to the cross country, Tariq and John were not going to be left out when it came to the mud. They hot-footed it over to Wimbledon Common instead for this friendly, local 10k organised by TH&H which takes on many of our favourite Wimbledon Common features (don’t try and tell me you don’t love the Toast rack!) but with an added twist that you have to ‘splash’ through Beverley Brook.

About this race, the website states “We guarantee you’ll have a great morning out, you’ll get to parts of the Common you never knew, and you’ll be smiling all afternoon.” Sold.

I can’t see the results online yet, but from Facebook it looks like John managed a resounding second place — well done!

John taking on ‘The Splash’ (photo: John Devoy)

Read John’s full race report on the Facebook page:

Craven cottage 10k

And finally in the race round up, you can’t really get any more local than this lovely little number that essentially starts from our club meeting point. The Fulham FC 10k event is in its fourth year now and is doubtless going to become a popular local race with the club. Won by Stuart Farmer last year, this time round there were 11 FRC-ers who took to the start line — and then to the pitch!

FRC on the pitch at FFC (photo: Alice Riddell-Webster)

The race report from Sec FRC can also be found on Facebook. But suffice to say, some great performances from all at this home game.


And of course, then there was parkrun. :)

Fulham Palace

367 runners took part this week, of whom 15 are registered as FRC (plus a couple who aren’t but who I spotted in the results).

Thanks to Amy TAYLER, Bob LYNAM, Eliza GAFFNEY, Jennie FARMER and Stuart FARMER who were all volunteering this week at our local event. Why not sign up to the volunteer emails if you haven’t already — it’s a great way to give back and make sure parkrun can always happen.

Then for the parkrun tourists:

Brockwell, Herne Hill



Double PBs for the Miller brothers this week!


Making the most of their trip down to Brighton this weekend, Tomoko and Henri still managed to squeeze in a parkrun on Saturday.


Lloyd Park

Newy (Newcastle in Australia — keeping up the international theme)

Wimbledon Common

Last, but by absolutely no means least, Tariq set a STONKING PB this weekend over at his favourite parkrun, Wimbledon Common.

So there you have it. Well done to all who raced, ran and supported this weekend – wherever you were in the world. #FRC #runlikeyoustoleit

These results were pulled from a combination of the Facebook group, the FRC Strava group and the parkrun consolidated club results. If you, or another runner, competed this weekend in something that I missed and want to be included then get in touch and I can add you in.

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