DKH_2016

Dame Kelly Holmes at Run Reigate


Last week’s blog was all about inspiration.  As our thoughts turn to the Olympics,  there are few more inspirational runners than Dame Kelly Holmes…

Dame Kelly Holmes is a legend in many ways.  Winner of gold in the 800m and 1500m distances at the 2004 Athens Olympics and she is still the holder of the 600m, 800m and 1,000m British records.  She has been an inspiration for thousands of young people to take up middle distance running.  Dame Kelly also spent 6 years as the President of the English Commonwealth Games.  She is a great supporter of charitable work and has set up her own, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust – more about this later.

Helping to Make Run Reigate Even More Special

It will be amazing to have Dame Kelly with us on the big day and we’ll be keeping her really busy!  Ranging from starting our races, awarding prizes to the winners and handing medals out to some of the kids in their events.  If at any point you see her jogging between roles, please do not take this as an opportunity to race her.  It will be embarrassing for everyone concerned, especially when she beats you…

Dame Kelly Holmes

Your Chance to Meet Dame Kelly Holmes

Yes, you can have the chance to meet her in person!  Dame Kelly Holmes will be hosting an exclusive Race Reception with 30 winners.  The raffle is open to all registered runners, you just have to buy a £3 ticket to be entered into the draw.

The “VIP Race Reception”:

  • Only open to the 30 winners of the raffle
  • You will hear exclusive background and tips from this Olympic legend
  • Be hosted in a VIP tented marquee
  • Ask questions and get photos with a national running hero
  • Get your Run Reigate exclusive finishers t-shirt signed
  • Drinks and light refreshments also provided

Tickets are £3 each or 4 for £10

To sign up for the raffle you must be registered for this year’s event, then enter at https://register.canbook.me/e/shop/10199.   If you haven’t signed up yet, you can buy tickets when you book your place online.  Entries close 11.59pm on Sunday 4th September and winners will be notified within 24 hours.  You can enter as many times as you like (no one will judge you for stalking).

Kelly’s Heroes

All proceeds, and we’re hoping to raise a great deal of raffle prize money, will be given directly to Dame Kelly’s charities, for whom she is hoping to raise a staggering £250,000 this year.  These are all organisations that are close to her heart which she calls Kelly’s heroes because of the time and care they give to people in need.  For more information about each of the charities, including her own Trust, which supports disadvantaged young people, please click on the links below:

The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust

Mind UK

Myeloma

Hospice in the Weald

Pickering Cancer Care Charity

Run Reigate are delighted to be able to support all of these community charities and would greatly appreciate it if you could dig deep in your pockets to support them too.  However if you’re not one of the lucky winners, don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to see her around and about at the event.

We’re more excited than ever about the big day now and we hope you are too!  If you haven’t entered either the 10K or half-marathon don’t worry, there’s still time to sign-up and join in the fun.  2016 is going to be Run Reigate’s best event yet!

 

Former Olympic runner Shireen Bailey with her family and Steve Cram at the Olympian’s Westminster mile earlier this year where Cram won the race and Shireen came 2nd

Shireen Bailey: Why I love Run Reigate!


“Just fabulous!” are the words Shireen Bailey, the former Olympic runner, uses to describe Reigate’s first half marathon event last year.

She believes last September’s inaugural race, which attracted 4000 runners and raised £150,000 for charity has been great for inspiring locals to start running or up their game. “It gave everyone a goal and focus,” she explains. If people weren’t running it, they were volunteering or talking about it! So many people took part. And everyone who’d previously thought they couldn’t run were suddenly coming out to try.”

Clearly very passionate about the event, Bailey describes 2014’s Race Day as “lovely with an amazing carnival, festival-like atmosphere, a local and family-feel”. “I started the event up on stage and I was buzzing! The atmosphere was contagious! I remember talking to a guy working near me who said: ‘Oh my god, I just feel like getting my tracksuit on now too and running!’”

A local resident for many years, Bailey says Reigate and the surrounding areas are so good for running and perfect for a half marathon. Her favourite, regular routes tend to take in Priory Park and Reigate Heath. “Reigate is so pretty – especially around the park at the start and end of the race – and there’s so many nice restaurants to choose from to go to afterwards!”

Bailey, who now runs individual and group coaching sessions at Nutfield Priory’s Running Club, says she has seen a growth in local running clubs and this has helped running to become more fun and sociable.

“When I started coaching 20 or so years ago, I was the only one in the area doing it but now there’s several,” she notes. And she’s pleased that running is appealing more to older people than before: “More people than ever are realising that you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to run!”

Former Olympic runner Shireen Bailey with family and Steve Cram at the recent Westminster Olympian's Mile - Cram won the race and Shireen came 2nd
SIMPLY THE BEST… Shireen Bailey with family and fellow Olympic runner Steve Cram at the recent Westminster Olympian’s Mile – Cram won the race and Bailey came second

So what inspired Bailey to start running? She credits her PE teacher following a ‘brilliant’ report at her school open evening. “I was just glad to be good at something, she jokes!” She was just 12 at the time and shortly afterwards joined Croydon Athletics Running Club where she tried out for an 800m race.

“My parents knew nothing about running”, she laughs “and gave me a huge roast dinner and syrup sponge pudding before the race. My dad’s only advice was: ‘Never let a leader get a few metres in front of you!’ So, during the race when he shouted out: ‘There’s a leader too far in front of you!’, I quickly responded by sprinting to catch up but then threw up my whole dinner!” Fortunately, Bailey managed to put her embarrassment to one side, went back to the club and then went on to become an Olympian.

Olympic success

Making the Olympic team was “as amazing as you can imagine” and the proudest moment in her running career. “And so of course was running my fastest time in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea having gone through all the heats to get there,” she adds, bursting with pride. She reached the 800m semi-finals, running 1:59.94, before reaching the final of the 1500 metres, running a lifetime best of 4:02.32. Bailey’s 800 metres best of 1.58.97, ranks ninth on the UK all-time list.

Four years prior to that was her biggest race disappointment when she failed to earn selection for the Los Angeles Olympic Games. “It was the worst moment of my life!” she confesses. “I was ranked No.1 but messed up at my Olympic trials then had to wait four whole years to qualify. I was absolutely terrified in that race; the pressure was so intense. My mum had her head down the whole time and couldn’t watch me but luckily I made the first two. I learned that you can’t let a bad experience put you off.”

She now transfers those experiences as an athlete into her work coaching runners. “A lot of it is mental – I know what they are feeling – I’ve been there… I know what it feels like to work yourself so hard you feel sick. And I’ve learned from silly things I’ve done like overtraining and burning out and can make sure it doesn’t happen.”

Bailey is not a fan of generic plans – only tailored plans designed to push the individual. “I’m not working from a textbook! I know when they are ready or not ready to work harder.”

Although famed for being a middle distance runner, Bailey points out that she regularly ran 10 miles as part of her training sessions to help with stamina and averages a 6-minute mile at longer distances. “At 55, I’m more careful now and tend to run shorter distances, given the level of training I’ve done over the years, plus I’m running and exercising while working.”

So which runner does Bailey most admire most? “It has to be Kelly Holmes – she ran my distances too – for her sheer guts and determination and all the hard work she put in.”

Reigate’s 2nd half marathon and new 10K race takes place on 20 September 2015 – sign up here 


Training advice from an Olympian 

Shireen Bailey answers your questions…

What’s your general training advice for 10Kers/half marathoners?

It obviously depends what you’ve done up to that point. Learning about pace is critical so you don’t burn out in a race; that’s what really makes the difference.

What words of encouragement would you give to a first-timer?

It’s great to try! Take your time, don’t rush and don’t worry about using a watch. I think people are too obsessed with their Garmin watches etc these days anyway. Time yourself but once you do know your pace, go and run and let your body get fitter gradually, don’t push too hard. The first six weeks are the worst for beginners – every step can hurt. Train with someone to keep you motivated and make it more fun.

How can having a running coach help?

Obviously not everyone wants a coach but they are great for the bad times and getting you through disappointments, not just for getting you brilliant! They know whether you are doing too much or not enough, help you get to know your body and listen to your breathing. It’s not about standard training programmes.

What does a coaching session involve?

Training is specific and tailored to the individual or group. Typically, I’ll take someone who has been running the same pace and same route. I’ll introduce fartlek training and interval training – a watered down version of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – which I’ve been doing for about 30 years! There’s always a proper warm up and cool down. They dread and love it all at the same time. I work them hard!

What advice would you give to more experienced runners looking to smash their PB?

First, I’d ask whether they are doing enough training. It needs to be a mixed bag of strength, hill and fartlek training – working at 70% or 90% of maximum heart rate. Make sure you’re not overtraining. Having enough rest days to recover is really important too as you are doing microscopic damage.

How important is speed training?

Very important as you need to push your lactate threshold (the exercise intensity at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in the blood stream). Less mileage is needed if you do a mix of training – that’s what my coach believed and so do I.

How can you stay focused?

The race does that for you, it gives you a goal.

How can you fit runs into busy schedules?

Obviously it depends on your working patterns and days off but going for longer runs early in the morning or on days off and squeezing in interval training in the evenings is usually more manageable.

Tips for a great finish?

Think of the camera, looking good, and all your friends and family smiling as you sprint to the finish!

Shireen Bailey

Good luck to you all


It’s less than a week now which means all the hard training has been done (and if it hasn’t don’t try doing it this week!) It’s an easy week where rest and just a few easy runs are the best thing. Read More