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No. 174 August 2007

Editor: Sue Francis



In brief

·        Thursday night schedules for August and September

·        Correspondence received in July


·        Thanks to all seven Harriers who contributed to this month’s issue

·        Copy date for September’s Harriers Herald:  Wednesday 29th August


Features and reports

·        Ridgeway Relay – the Harriers team members describe their experiences of a memorable day

·        The ‘Lumpy Bumpy’ - Sus reports on one of her favourite races

·        The Compton Canter – Martin and Lucy sum up another successful Compton Harriers race

·        Milton Keynes Half – a good run for Kirsty

·        A trip to the Podiatrist – a new pair of orthotics for Sue

·        Website Update – Mo investigates the history of GPS, and how it works

·        Events Diary – Mo’s choice of races for late summer, and autumn



Thursday night schedule for August

Thurs    2nd        Peter L to lead

Thurs    9th        Handicap Race

Thurs    16th      Lucy to lead

Thurs    23rd      Tom to lead

Thurs    30th      Ryan to lead


Thursday night schedule for September

Thurs    6th        Kev to lead     

Thurs    13th        Pete H to lead

Thurs    20th      Martin to lead

Thurs    27th      Mo to lead



Correspondence received


Subject matter


Road Running Leadership Group

New licensing system for road running


Copied to Martin & Dick


Info. update #108; Treasurer’s report & accounts for SEAA AGM


England Athletics

Newssheet; list of benefits of England Athletics membership; S.E. Eng. Ath. Staff contacts; nominations for regional awards; club-to-club workshop


England Athletics

S.E. regional education booklet: H&S workshops, courses for coaches & officials



Ridgeway Relay, 17th June


Compton Harriers finished the 89.3-mile race 13th out of 41 teams, in a total time of 11:25:41


Martin, Leg 1: Ivinghoe Beacon to Wendover Church, 11.2M, 1:18:42

As in previous years I had the privilege of kicking off the Compton Harriers annual Ridgeway Relay Challenge. Leg 1 itself offers a varied 11 mile jaunt through some very nice countryside and gets the business end of the day over and done with in a timely fashion.  Cos’ I have been unable to do any quality training recently, my race plan was to set off in a sensible fashion and stay injury free.  Needless to say, a repetition of the injury I sustained when Ryan callously threw me into the ditch on the Marlborough Challenge would have severely compromised my time and the team’s honour.  As it was I had to endure my own private hell as a very shapely lady ran past me on the approach to Wigginton; in my impotence I could do nothing about it.  All in all I was pleased to be able to pass the baton onto Sus in 1:18:42, well over 8 minutes slower that last year but it could have been a lot worse!  Mission accomplished I was able to enjoy the rest of the day - same again next year?


Susanne, Leg 2: Wendover Church to White Leaf Hill, 5.8M, 50:38

I was ready for it, all I needed now was Martin and there he was looking like he had been suffering for some time – I went storming down towards the Church, only to get caught by a car which was coming in the opposite direction. I obviously did not want to give way resulting in meeting up at a very narrow gap.  I think there was more panic in his eyes than mine when he realized what he had done.  Reaching the High Street, Peter H was already there to offer the first drink of water; that is what I call team spirit.  The next thing on the agenda was the Monument.  Having practised the route several times I have learned that you do not have to go all the way up to the Monument I can turn off slightly earlier which I did only to find another runner having a pee, he must have thought that I was lost because he kindly guided me in the right direction and I went along with it hoping he would not reveal my little secret.

Somehow my lovely proper hill towards the end seemed smaller than I remembered so, when I finally reached the end trying to catch a few more runners, I was convinced that I must have had a good time but no, I was 9 sec. slower that last year.  Which made me think: I have app. 10-12 stiles/gates along the route.  I have never really practiced gates.  I must be able to improve on this just a second per gate will give me a better time – so watch this space for next year where I will be an expert in gateways!


Peter L (Ridgeway Virgin), Leg 3: White Leaf Hill to Lewknor, 9.44 M, 1:11:55

What a great event!  I felt like a pioneer - just me and the elements (and 40 runners and the whole Harriers team just around every corner).  It's much more fun than running in a big circle.

A Reading Roadrunner pulled me along most of the leg at a good pace, but the last two miles were my idea of hell – puddles the size of lakes and nothing but slippery mud (and just my road shoes: got to have one excuse). I dropped more than a minute a mile here and felt like crap at the end.  My legs still ache a week later.

I'd do it again, of course!  I'm only sorry that I had to leave early.  Thx to Andy, Lucy and Martin for taking me for a recce the weekend before.

Garmin record, as ever, online.  Also, if you have Google Earth, do try the link on the page, it's fascinating.


Kev, Leg 4: Lewknor to Swyncombe, 5.4M, 46:09

Well, after having run this leg last year I knew what I was in for this year and I was fairly confident of a good performance.  Waiting for Peter L to pop out from under the M40, I was really starting to sweat up and was just so, so, so ready to go!  Saw Pete, moved into the path, tagged and off we go.  A Bearbrook lady set off just in front of me and I really tried to catch her as the course climbs easily off into the wooded section.  I caught her as we entered the wood but then she looked behind and saw me and put on a spurt and was gone (I have this effect on all women J ).

I had gone far too fast and needed to ease off a little as I crossed the first road and carried on, the path really deteriorated from here on with little to run on as it was ground down by 4x4 tracks.  I tried running on the peaks but after all the rain just kept on slipping off into troughs.  I tried running in the troughs but these were full of pace-sapping sticky mud.  So I just ploughed on leaping about and caught a runner who was running while talking on his mobile phone.  I put him in his place and then concentrated on putting distance between us so he couldn’t use me as his “navigator”.

A few road crossings and more muddy track later I passed the Harriers, took on water and ran up to the farm. This is the only place where you can get lost on my leg; I cut left through the farm and into an open glade.  I pushed really hard as the path climbed right up in front and then it bears right and kicks up to the top of the hill.  Just at the top I did die a little and had to stop running and stride out for a few seconds.  Once I could breathe again I nipped through the wood and saw the finish.  I could hear Andy from here (big gob!).  I flew down into the valley, windmilling all the way and then made a conscious effort to really pick up the pace and make small fast steps up to the finish.  I couldn’t see Sue till the last second but then locked on, lunged and tagged her.  Job done.


Sue, Leg 5: Swyncombe to South Stoke, 10.1M, 1:15:36

On the Saturday night, I went to bed early, feeling uncharacteristically nervous about my stage of the Ridgeway Relay.   I hadn’t run further than 8 miles for several months, and I was worried about my ability to keep up the concentration and the pace in the event that I had no other competitors to race.  However, on race day itself, I was really ‘up for it’.  Having made good use of Dick’s new chemical toilet, I waited at my starting point from where I had a good view of Kev’s fast approach into the dip, then his long slog up the hill towards me.  Conditions were good for me – not too hot or cold, and very little mud.  I paced myself sensibly and felt comfortable by the time I reached Nuffield Church.  Mo was there to give me water (he’d deliberately avoided taking Pete H with him this year!) to set me up for the 3-mile stretch down Grim’s ditch.  I think I took on a bit too much water when I next saw the Harriers, as I developed quite a nasty stitch, which persisted for ten minutes, and I felt I slowed considerably.  However, once across the main road, and heading for Carmel College, I saw another competitor for the first time since setting off.  I seemed to be slowly reeling him in and, by the time I reached North Stoke, I was convinced I could catch him before the end of my leg and this gave me something to focus on.  As it happened, he sped up a bit and the distance between us remained the same.  However, I did pass another competitor along the riverbank (I later discovered that he’d taken a detour) then pushed on to the end to hand to Andy at The Perch & Pike, just 36 seconds slower than the time Martin had predicted for me.


Andy, Leg 6: South Stoke to Bury Down, 10.4M, 1:17:45


Pete H, Leg 7: Bury Down to SW of Wantage, 9.1M, 1:12:22

Whilst culturally lacking - no churches were visited - this year's event again succeeded in being an enjoyable day out.  Once more the six team-members preceding me ran fast stages and were well within the cut-off time set for the changeover at South Stoke.  Consequently I set off some 11 minutes after the mass start and for much of my leg there were no other runners in sight.  At times it felt a bit like a training run.  That was until I was passed by Owain Bristow who was running at 5:33 pace and looked so comfortable that he could have kept running for several more miles without drawing breath.  Eventually I did catch six tailenders, albeit that it looked doubtful if two of them would actually complete the leg due to their lack of fitness.  The end of the leg came somewhat sooner than I expected so I decided to use up my remaining energy with a sprint finish.

My other significant contribution to the team on the day was to get an attractive lady runner to stop for a drink and a chat on Kevin's leg - unfortunately the pause did not slow her down enough for him to catch up!


Ricky, Leg 8: SW of Wantage to Charlbury Hill, 7.8M, 59:10


Nigel, Leg 9: Charlbury Hill to Barbury Castle, 10.7M, 1:11:22

Now I'm aware that dedicated athletes and particularly endurance ones regularly travel long distances to compete in big city marathons, but never before had I even entertained the idea of travelling across the pond to participate in a running event.  However, this was something altogether different, it was the Ridgeway Relay, an event which I first entered 9 years ago, and one which I still feel rather privileged to be part of. 

I appear to have leg 9 all to myself these days, such is the generosity of our team captain! Every year I seem to take over from someone different and this year was to be no exception.  The newcomer was a relative youngster by the name of Ricky who had a broad northern accent which I recognised immediately, and who behaved like some deranged animal at the beginning of his leg.  The pace at which he set off made me rather nervous and more eager than ever to get to my start at Charlbury Hill.

Ricky finished as he'd started and I took over fully aware of what lay ahead.  There is something rather comforting about knowing the exact route, it gives the runner a certain confidence from the outset. 
I reached
Liddington Castle
in reasonable time, having completed what I consider to be the most unpleasant part of the leg (tarmac). The run along the ridge to the track overlooking Ogbourne St George is relatively flat and it's possible to establish a nice rhythm and contemplate reeling in the runners in front.

I must have been about half way in to the leg before I reached the runner directly in front of me, but this is always rather satisfying and it gave me the impetus to push on. I managed to pick off several more runners on the route through Ogbourne St George before the final assault on the climb to the finish.
As always, support from the Harriers was fantastic and enabled me to finish the leg in my fastest ever time.


Lucy, Leg 10: Barbury Castle to Marlborough, 9.4M, 1:22:02

Leg 10 is a great choice in the Ridgeway relay – a net downhill gradient, superb views, cool temperatures and of course, bringing home the baton for the Glorious Compton Harriers!  Although I wasn’t quite up to speed (my last race averaged 17 minute miles) I was determined to give it my all.  Fortunately Ash’s heavenly flab-jack had reached my mitochondria by the time Nigel flew up the last few yards to Barbuary Castle, and I lit off like a frightened badger.  Unfortunately, my race speed was only around 9 minute miles, and one runner after another jogged past and disappeared into the distance.  Without my trusty Garmin (to save weight) I kept the pace up by counting seconds down from 3600, since I figured I had an hour of running to go.  The turn off to the Herepath was marshalled, so no-one got lost this year (those that did got time penalties!) and when I got to the next turning at the reservoir Pete, Rich and Martin were cheerleading, having driven right out of their way to bring me water.  I broke off my counting (at 1200) to stuff jelly babies in my mouth and ran the next couple of miles under the watchful gaze of either the Humphreymobile or the Snail.  They directed me to the next turn and left me to battle an overgrown path, the big dip (not so big when you get up close) and finally the fast descent to a kissing gate.  A quick right turn and I was on the home strait, battling both speed bumps and (as it sounded) emphysema to get to the finish.  In the end, the cheering Harriers made me feel like a champion and my lungs made me feel I’d done a PB – which was all I really wanted!


Lumpy Bumpy, 15th July



What an excellent race!  Will probably in the future stand as one of my favourites!

App. 10 miles (I measured it to 9.71).  First year that it was organized and it had absolutely everything: real hills like Streatley Hill level, lovely woods, grass fields, towpath and a bit of road. The finish was a few minutes from the start, which got runners talking and reflecting on the day’s race before heading for the car.  None of the route was the same as the Terminator or the Rough and Tumble.  The marshals must have come from perhaps the same old peoples’ home, they were all similar ages and did an absolutely brilliant job.  At the prize giving we were welcomed by the biggest cake table I have ever seen!  Our race number was used as a raffle ticket for a pair of running shoes – so how more exciting could it get!  Though I did not win anything, I went home with a full stomach and a race that definitely must be tried again next year!


1st man home Gary Brien 1:03.02

1st lady home Nikki Hazzard 1:17:08

Me 4th lady home in 1:20:25

208 finished the race.


The Compton Canter,  7th July

Martin and Lucy


From an organisers point of view, this year’s Compton Canter was a resounding success.  Not least because we attracted more race entrants (37) than marshals (15, plus a dog) while dispensing with the unseemly spectacle of a mercy dash to the Royal Berks.


Despite the modest turn out the event was well received by all those that took part, several of whom had come back following the inaugural event.  Clearly, we have all the ingredients for a first class race, plus the added attraction of a pleasant village fete to entertain friends and family who may accompany the runners.


We hope to host the event again next year, following the same format.  However, we would like to increase the event’s popularity and thought that a name change might be appropriate, the ‘Compton Canter’ sounds a bit soft.  Any thoughts?


Many thanks to Steve Lambert-Gibbs, Sue, Mo, Sus, Peter, Tom, Kevin, Dick, Jan, Veronica Carr, Simon, Andy, Ryan and Jenna (the dog) for giving up your Saturday to help out.


The race was won by Tim Hughes (White Horse Harriers) in 34:54, first lady was Lisa Godding (unattached) in 40:04, and first Compton man (6th overall) was our own Matt Forster (39:46).


Milton Keynes Half Marathon, 22nd July


Kirsty completed the Milton Keynes Half Marathon, her first since the arrival of Lola three years ago, in a good time of 1:57.


A trip to the Podiatrist



Following a string of non-serious, but persistent, niggles in my lower back, knees and feet, my physiotherapist suggested I consider a visit to a podiatrist to be fitted up with some new orthotics.  As I’d made my current pair of orthotics last since 1992, I agreed it would be sensible to invest in something to help keep my limbs injury-free into my veteran running years.  I made an appointment to see Geraldine Watkins, the podiatrist at ‘Activ VIII’ in Henley.  I’ve always been a little sceptical about this sort of assessment, but this one was very thorough and the technology used allowed me to see for myself the faults in my running style and how they might be corrected.


My 80-minute appointment began with a discussion about my past and current injuries – predominantly my feet, which have given me problems on-and-off over the last 20 years and, more recently, the aches in the patellar tendons under my kneecaps.


Observing my posture in standing position, Geraldine said that, although my knees turn inwards, I have a ‘varus leg axis’ meaning that when I stand with my feet together my legs are bowed apart.  I then had to run barefoot across the footscan pressure pad.  On the digital images of my feet, the points of pressure were highlighted in different colours.  Both feet showed over-pronation while running, but standing still on the footscan showed that (although I have fairly low arches) my feet are generally good meaning that the problems arise from higher up the leg.  She used a gonometer to measure various angles on my hips, knees and feet.  She told me I have ‘femoral neck anteversion’, which means the joint of my thighbone and hip is further forward than ‘normal’ (something I would have been born with) and is the root of my problems.


For the final stage of the assessment I had to run barefoot on a treadmill, while being filmed, at my ‘usual’ pace.  I cockily set the treadmill at 800m-pace, but began to regret this as I had to repeat the exercise while being filmed from the side, then the back, then the front….then repeat it all while wearing my trainers!  The ‘motionQuest’ software allowed her to replay the film in slow motion, while overlaying it with lines to show how much my movements deviated from the longitudinal axis.  I have a fair idea of my deviant running actions from various still photos taken over the years, but the video was quite enlightening!  First we looked at the side-view, which was quite impressive, showing a good posture and stride.  However, the back view showed a high degree of inward rotation of each leg, leading to over-pronation, turning in of my knees, and flicking out of my lower leg during the propulsive phase.  The front view also showed that my feet ‘over-cross’, meaning that the left foot hits the ground on the right side of my body midline, and vice versa.  Geraldine explained how this running style is principally a result of the femoral neck anteversion, and would cause high stress forces in my knees and feet.  I’d never really thought about this before, but it makes sense.  The video also clearly showed that my pelvis rocks from side to side whilst running, instead of remaining level.  This was particularly pronounced over the right side, making me lurch to the right – this explains why I often feel I am being dragged into the gutter when running on the right hand side of the road!  This pelvic instability is apparently due to weakness in the gluteal muscles.


Her first recommendation was that I should have new orthotics which, by raising the arches of my feet, should help to align the hips and knees.  However, she did say that my hip/knee alignment is so far out that I would need my arches raising by an impossible amount to fully correct the problem!  Her second recommendation was that I also should address the pelvic instability by intensive dynamic gluteal strengthening exercises.


Two weeks after my visit, I received a thorough set of information on my assessment including still pictures of my running action, a print-out of the footscan pressures, recommended running shoes to suit me, recommended stretching exercises and strengthening exercises for gluteus muscles.  Shortly afterwards, I collected my orthotics, which I am now breaking in for a couple of hours a day before attempting to run in them.  Hopefully, I will soon notice fewer injuries and you will notice an improvement in my style…..!


Website update…



As several Harriers now regularly use GPS receivers to determine distance, time pace etc when running, I thought it would be a good idea to find out a little bit more about these devices and how they work.  I have picked up information from a variety of sources so I have listed web references at the end of my article if you want to read in more depth.

What is GPS?

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense.  The first satellite was placed in orbit in 1978 and the last in 1994. The satellites are divided into six groups of four and each group is assigned a different path to follow. This creates six orbital planes which completely surround the Earth.  GPS was originally intended for military applications, but following the shooting down of a Korean Passenger plane that had strayed into Soviet airspace in 1983, US president Reagan made the system available for civilian use to avoid such tragedies happening again. GPS works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges to use GPS.  The 24 satellites are orbiting the earth about 12,000 miles above us, travelling at speeds of roughly 7,000 miles an hour making two complete orbits in less than 24 hours.  GPS satellites are powered by solar energy, but have backup batteries onboard to keep them running in the event of a solar eclipse, when there's no solar power. Small rocket boosters on each satellite keep them flying on the correct path.

How does it work?

GPS satellites transmit radio signals to earth and GPS receivers use this information to calculate the user's exact location. Essentially, the GPS receiver compares the time a signal was transmitted by a satellite with the time it was received. The time difference tells the GPS receiver how far away the satellite is. Now, with distance measurements from a few more satellites, the receiver can determine the user's position and display it on the unit's electronic map.

A GPS receiver must be locked on to the signal of at least three satellites to calculate a 2D position (latitude and longitude) and track movement. With four or more satellites in view, the receiver can determine the user's 3D position (latitude, longitude and altitude). Once the user's position has been determined, the GPS unit can calculate other information, such as speed, bearing, track, trip distance, distance to destination, sunrise and sunset time and more.

The GPS satellite system

Here are some other interesting facts about the GPS satellites (also called NAVSTAR, the official U.S. Department of Defense name for GPS):

·         The first GPS satellite was launched in 1978.

·         A full constellation of 24 satellites was achieved in 1994 and the system announced as fully functional in 1995.

·         Each satellite is built to last about 10 years. Replacements are constantly being launched into orbit.

·         A GPS satellite weighs approx 2,000 pounds (1 US ton) and is about 17 feet across with the solar panels extended.

·         Transmitter power is only 50 watts or less.

How accurate is GPS?

Normally you can expect accuracy to be within a few feet, but it depends on the number of satellites from which it is receiving a good signal and it also depends where those satellites are in the sky. If they are all in the same part of the sky, then the result will not be as accurate.  The satellite signals will not pass through buildings (or mountains!), so if you are out of the direct view of a satellite you might get a signal from it, but reflected off another building or mountain. In this case the signal will have travelled further and so your calculated position will be wrong. This is called multipath error. It's a particular problem in cities. Most modern GPS units can recognise and discard really bad reflected signals, and it's not nearly so much of a problem in moving vehicles.

Does the weather affect GPS?

In poor reception conditions, clouds and rain can weaken signals to the point where they are unusable from particular satellites. Also, although we think of the speed of light as being constant, this is only true in a vacuum. The speed of light in the atmosphere depends on the pressure, humidity and what is going on in the ionosphere, so small position errors of up to 15 feet or so can result.

Why does it take my GPS so long to lock on to the satellites?

The satellites only transmit the information every 12.5 minutes, so the time to lock on to a reasonable number of satellites will always be some fraction of this. Most receivers can also do a 'warm start', where they assume at the beginning that the orbital elements have not changed since last usage. If it's more than one day since you last used it, though, it will most likely do the full 'cold start', collecting the orbital elements from scratch.

Can I use my runner's GPS as a satnav in my car?

Not really. Car satnav units contain both GPS and sophisticated mapping and route planning software. Runner's GPS units lack the latter two essential items. Besides, you should keep your eyes on the road rather than peering at a small LCD display on your wrist!

References:- ; ; ; ;


(Mo – Aug 2007)             

Events Diary: Most entry forms can be downloaded from race websites; others are likely to be on the club notice board.


Wed 01 Aug

PEWSEY MID WEEK 5, Pewsey School, Wilcot Rd., Pewsey

5 miles

Sun 05 Aug

LAMBOURN CARNIVAL  5 & 3m FR, 10.30am, Lambourn

5 miles

See club notice board

EAS CASTLE COMBE 10K, Race Circuit, Nr Chippenham


Sun 12 Aug

SALISBURY 5-4-3-2-1 TRAIL MARATHON, 9.30am, Fire Station


BEARBROOK JOGGERS 10K, 10.00am, Aylesbury Rugby Club


MIDHURST 10K, 11.00am, Grange Center , Midhurst


Sun 19 Aug

BURNHAM BEECHES ½ Mthn, 10.00am, Farnham Common

13.1 miles

ISLE OF WIGHT ½ Mthn, 11.00am, Sandown & Shanklin Rugby Club

13.1 miles

Sat 25 Aug

RIDGEWAY 85 MILE CHALLENGE,  10.00am, Ivinghoe Beacon

85 miles

Sun 26 Aug

PEWSEY ½ MTHN, 10.30am, Pewsey School, Wilcot Rd., Pewsey

13.1 miles

Sat 01 Sep

OVERTON 5M ROAD RACE & FR, 3.00pm, Overton, Hants

5 miles

Sun 02 Sep

THE BEAST 14, 10.30am, Corfe Castle

13 miles

HEADINGTON 10K, 10.30am, Worminghall, Oxford


Sun 09 Sep

PEASEMORE FESTIVAL 5 M, 10.30am, Peasemore, Berks

5 miles

See club notice board

THE GRIZZLY, 10.30AM, Seaton, Devon



Sun 16 Sep

THE BONESHAKER, 10:30am Ardington Sports Club


Sun 23 Sep

CIRENCESTER 10K, 10.00am, Cirencester College, Stroud Road


Sat 29 Sep

WINDSOR 8K, 10.00, Madeira Drive, Windsor Gt Park


Sun 30 Sep

ADP HIGHCLERE 10K M-T RACE, 10.30am , Highclere Castle


Sun 07 Oct

CRICKLADE 10K, ½ MTHN & FR, 10:30am Cricklade, Nr Swindon


Sun 14 Oct

AUTUMN 10M ROAD RACE, 10.00am, Tadley, Hants

10 miles

LUTON NORTH ROTARY CHALLENGE ½ MTHN & 10.3K. TRAIL RACES, + 5K FUN RUN,.10.3k-10am., Half Marathon- 10.45am. 5k. Fun Run- 9.40am. Regional Sports Centre, Stopsley, Luton




See club notice board


Sun 28 Oct

BEACHY HEAD MARATHON, 9.00am, St Bede's School,  Eastbourne

26.2 miles

Sun 25 Nov

EAS CASTLE COMBE 10K, 09.30am, Castle Combe Circuit


Sun 09 Dec

WINTER 5.3 M CROSS COUNTRY, 11.00am, Tadley, Hants

5.3 miles


(Mo – Aug 2007)