September 2021 Newsletter (No. 451)

Apologies for the delay in the production of this month’s newsletter as the entire editorial team was away on holiday at the end of September / beginning of October floating about on the Ionian Sea around Corfu. But fear not, we will all be in place for the October edition when, hopefully, we will have plenty of reports and photographs from those who ran the Virgin London Marathon. In the meantime, we have Steve hill’s excellent report on the Tadworth team’s Thames Path relay along with Mark Todd’s updated TAC records. We are also fast approaching TAC’s flagship event, the Tadworth Ten and we have an important update from the race director, Peter Cattermole. There is also a reminder of the Surrey League Cross-Country fixtures this month and we must all do our best to support team captains, Dan and Laura. Yours truly took himself along to Battersea Park in September to witness a very unusual running event. You can read all about it in these pages. We are also very grateful to Hazel for compiling the Autumn / Winter training plan which can also be found in this edition.

Training Schedule

TAC records by Mark Todd

New Members

We are delighted to welcome the following new members to TAC this month:

Barry Panayi

Adam Stockwell

We look forward to seeing them at future club events.

Pilates Classes

A few months ago we posted in the newsletter details of Nanda Mahler’s Pilates classes which she feels might benefit runners. Some TAC members already attend these classes. This week Nanda sent us the following message, I’m going to start evening Pilates classes in Langley Vale Hall and I’m wondering if it would suit the runners more.

Starting on Wednesday 3rd November at 6.00pm at Langley Vale Hall, 25 Rosebery Road, KT18 6AF

Tadworth Ten Update by Peter Cattermole

The Tad10 is going to be back on the Downs and, as we all know, is really important to the club. We wanted to get a reminder out early this year and make sure everybody was available. More information soon on the roles we are requesting people to pick up, but at this point please make sure the date is in your diary.  

If you are able to distribute flyers at any upcoming races you are attending please let me know and I’ll get them to you.

If for any reason you can’t be there please try and find a replacement from the club who is not already volunteering and let me know.

If you are running in any of the races on the attached list over the next couple of months let me know and I’ll get some Tad10 leaflets to you to hand out or put on car windscreens. If you are a ParkRunner let me know and I’ll let you have some leaflets for the carpark.

Thames River Relay by Steve Hill

Sunday 5th September 2021

When Ian circulated information about the Thames River Relay I was keen to be involved in some way. I’ve always enjoyed being by the Thames where, in my childhood, my father regularly took my brother, sisters and I for walks, and whenever I am by the river it brings back fond memories. I initially thought my involvement in this event would be as a support driver ferrying TAC runners to and from their stages along the 26.6 mile course. However, as each team was required to have at least one veteran runner as well as a minimum of one female member, and we could only muster six club members who were interested in this event, I found myself as a running member of our team, alongside Ian Matthews, Jane Munn, Simon Booth and Sam Rohde, with Sharon Matthews taking on the driving duties.

… well that was how it was meant to be until the evening beforehand when, sadly, Simon had to withdraw due to family illness. All the careful preparation of memorising our routes on a course which had no marshals had to be jettisoned after Ian drafted in Sharon to run as well as drive. Together they devised a cunning plan which involved them sharing the driving and re-jigging the first four runners. And so it was that Jane became Ian, Sharon became Steve, Ian avoided transitioning but lost a few years to become Simon and I became Jane. (Fortunately, in these gender-fluid times I don’t think anyone noticed, at least not until Ian corrected the published results!) Sam sensibly avoided all this by heading straight to the start of the final leg which was not too far from his home.

Ian required us to convene at the Tea Hut on Epsom Downs at 7.15am for the journey out to Boveney. We were grateful for our fleeces at that time against the chill wind blowing across the downs, but little did we know how that was to change and we’d end up wondering why we’d worn them. The first leg started at 9am. We made it with ample time to marvel at the beauty of the river at Boveney, the tranquillity of the water providing a mirror image of the foliage on the banks, and to admire the astonishing 12th Century Church of St Mary Magdelene which used to serve the Bargees when there was a wharf nearby and freight was regularly ferried down the river.

And so to the race …

We cheered Jane off on the first stage of 5.6 miles and then dashed back to the car to get to the start of the second leg at Old Windsor, astutely ignoring our Chairman’s advice about where to park, which was a long way from the handover point. Jane was running 0.7 miles further than her original scheduled leg and got us off to an excellent start with a time of 48.37. Although as a team, we found ourselves in 43rd place out of 59 Jane was 8th out of the 18 women running the first leg.

Sharon took over for the second leg of 4.4 miles to Staines which she completed in a commendable 44.31. This would have been faster had she not followed others to the wrong side of a busy road consequently losing time waiting to get across, but Sharon still came 18th out of the 38 women running the second leg. We headed off to meet her in Staines in plenty of time for Ian to cast off his role of chauffeur and prepare for his 6.5 mile leg to Shepperton. 

Unfortunately, Ian’s preparations were more of the physical kind than memorising the route of his new leg, which led to him losing a bit of momentum as he had to consult his map while running. Despite this Ian completed the longest leg of the race at 6.5 miles in 45.15, coming 12th out of the 45 men running the leg and improving our overall team race position from 48th to 39th. This wasn’t the only thing going up; the temperature was most definitely on the rise.

After a swift recovery, Sharon drove Jane and myself to Shepperton where I awaited Ian’s arrival. I could tell from his sweaty appearance at the handover that it wasn’t just the superb effort he’d put into his run, but the heat was now starting to have an impact on the runners. Halfway along my 4.9 mile leg to East Molesey I was very tempted to jump into the Thames to cool off but, not wanting to let my team mates down, I ploughed on seeking out what little shade I could find along the way and avoiding the growing number of pedestrians that had been attracted to a stroll by the river on a warm late summer’s day. Thoughts of pleasant childhood walks with my father receded to the back of my mind as I focused on getting to the finish, trying to overtake the few runners I could see in front of me and not allowing myself to be overtaken. The sight of the handover point in Hurst Park encouraged me to empty everything I had left over the last 400 metres and I was just able to muster a “Go on Sam” before collapsing to get my breath back. Jane was apparently very disappointed that I managed to get up before she’d taken a picture of me. Although I only finished 14th out of the 25 Men running the 4th leg, in a time of 41.09, I managed to move the team up to 35th overall.

And so Ian, Sharon, Jane and I set off to get to the end of the race at Kingston before Sam did. Unfortunately, we found ourselves stuck in a very long traffic jam and weren’t there to cheer him in. Sam had to endure the worst of the heat as the temperatures rose to the mid-twenties, and, no doubt, the worst of dodging pedestrians as the towpath got increasingly crowded on such a glorious day. He completed his 5.2 mile leg in 40.56, was the 25th out of 36 male runners on the final leg and moved the team up a place to 34th with an overall time of 3 hours 40minutes and 27 seconds. The full team got together for the first time in the day to enjoy some well earned drink, food and convivial chat at The Boaters Inn, and only the fear of getting a parking fine led to our departure, and Ian having to do even more running!

Now I know that there are club members who have run this distance as individuals quicker than we did as a team, but this was an event for teams of mixed genders, ages and abilities. We all did our best on the day and were as competitive as we could be. Most importantly it was a very enjoyable day out, with great company, a beautiful setting to run in, and, for me, some very happy memories and nostalgic moments. My only surprise was that more club members weren’t attracted by the prospect of running in this race and I hope we can get several teams out if it is on next year. 

Much thanks to Ian for organising our team, and along with Sharon, for all the driving and the cunning plan that ensured we were all in the right place at the right time. Thanks to all my fellow team members for making it such a fun team to be part of, and, finally, much thanks to the Stragglers Running Club for putting on such an enjoyable event. 

Self Transcendence 24 Hour Track Race by Jim Duffy

Saturday, 18th September

Organised by Sri Chinmoy the Self Transcendence 24 Hour Track Race is an event that has fascinated me since I read a book entitled One Track Mind by Michael Stocks who catalogues his training leading up to the event and his experience in the event itself which was his attempt to qualify for the England 24 hour track team. Prior to this I had absolutely no idea that there was such an event let alone a team of English international runners who competed against like-minded runners from other countries all running countless times round a track for 24 hours. Strange as it may seem I can sort of identify with these guys because during the Coronavirus lockdown I ran multiple laps round my garden and afterwards when restrictions were eased slightly I ran 44 laps round my local running track rather than venturing out into the big, bad world where Covid-19 was rampant, or so we were lead to believe.

The race is restricted to 45 participant for control reasons and not all runners last for the full 24 hours as many just want to run as far as they can for as long as they can. The race starts at 12 noon on the Saturday and the final horn is sounded at 12 noon on the Sunday. Runners are permitted rest stops and some even have a couple of hours sleep. Each runner has his or her support team parked at the edge of the track providing them with drinks, refreshments and encouraging calls such as “Keep it going’, “You’re doing really well” and “You daft bugger!’

The event has traditionally taken place on the running track in Tooting which is just round the corner from my first address in London after I moved there from Glasgow 54 years ago as a callow youth with a full head of hair and an indiscernible accent. I stayed in Tooting for just 3 months before moving on just before another week’s rent became due. In my haste to leave I left behind a couple of sets of underwear so I decided that I could combine my visit to the running track with calling in at my old address to pick up my undergarments. I had planned to go down there for the 2020 event but because of Covid it was cancelled. In the meantime and for some reason the Tooting track failed to meet the race requirements so the 2020 event was moved to Battersea Park which was marginally more convenient for me. I shall have to pick up my undercrackers some other time.

I arrived at Battersea Park at about 11.40am and just in time to hear the pre-race briefing which was little more than instructing the runners that they would run the first dozen laps in a clockwise direction before turning round and running the remaining laps in an anti-clockwise direction. I have no idea why they do this and the runners I spoke to had no idea either. I chatted to a few of the participants to try to establish their expectations but most of them just said that they wanted to do better than last time.

I was initially surprised that there was a lack of warming up as you see at other races but after consideration I concluded that there is really no point of warming up when you plan to run for 24 hours. You can use the first 75 miles as your warm-up and the next 75 as your warm-down. After the race started I stayed around for about half an hour so that I could understand what sort of pace was being established. This varied considerably between about 9 minute miles to walking pace. I then headed back home to pack as I was off on holiday very early the next day. 

 Significant placings and distances:

  1. Peter Abraham  49 years-old     143.551 miles
  2. Jen Coleman                47 years-old     141.495 miles (first female)

32. John Turner                71 years-old    92.158 miles

41. Patricia Seabrook        81 years-old    75.725 milesThe shortest distance covered was 20.878 miles. 

Club Info

Our next newsletter editor is Jim Duffy. 

He can be emailed contributions on . 

The October issue is expected to be out at the beginning of November.

Thanks once again for the invaluable assistance of Stephen Robinson and all other contributors in publishing this newsletter. 

Members with Internet access can download copies of past newsletters in Adobe Acrobat format by going to our members-only website at  

We have an e-mail list which we use to send out important news. If you are not already on the list e-mail us on and we will include you. 

The current Committee comprises:

RoleRole Holder
ChairpersonMark Lowther
TreasurerSteve Hill
General SecretaryAlan Imeson
Running SecretaryIan Matthews
Communications SecretaryDonna Dove & team
Membership & Recruitment SecretaryJane Munn
Committee RoleSupport RoleSupport Role Holder
Running SecretaryCross Country Captain – LadiesLaura Palmer
Road League Captain – LadiesIngrid Mrazova
Cross Country Captain – MenDan Berry
Road League CaptainMenRoland Hogg
Training Co-OrdinatorHazel Imeson
Tadworth Ten Race DirectorClerk Of The CourseZone Managers:Peter CattermoleRoland HoggDave WilliamsonJane MunnMark LowtherMark ToddPhil StevensSteve Hill
n/aWebsite ManagerStephen Robinson