Five weeks to go: Vet runners offer their tips for the Berkhamsted Five Mile Race

Catherine Davies, centre, won the 2014 Berko Five Mile race
Catherine Davies, centre, won the 2014 Berko Five Mile race

It’s just over a month now until the gun goes for the start of the 2015 Berkhamsted Half Marathon and Five Mile Race.

With the shorter event doubling as the HCAA Herts Veterans Five Mile Championships, it’s time to check in with some of the county’s top veteran runners to see how they’re preparing for the big day.

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This week, the reigning Herts overall male and female vets champions – along with other top contenders – explain how to tackle the five-mile distance and what they’re doing to be as sharp as possible for the challenging course.

Matt Adcock and Angela Halford, both of Watford Harriers, were the top finishers in last year’s Herts Vets Championships over the five-mile distance, which was staged at the Pednor 5 race in Bucks.

Adcock finished fourth overall in the men’s race, and was first vet overall, in a remarkably fast time of 29:23, while Halford was sixth overall in the ladies’ race and first female vet from Hertfordshire, in an equally impressive time of 33:54.

At this point in the season, five weeks before race day, Adcock and Halford say their race plan will consist of a mid-week speed session comprising short reps, with a longer speed session or a race on Saturday, and a long training run on Sunday.

The pair say they’re not doing any specific training to prepare for the mile-long Bullbeggars hill just after mile one of the course, but feel that they’ll be in good shape for it after completing the five-leg Chiltern League cross country over the winter months.

Clare Bonnick of Watford Joggers, winner of the county title in the VF45 category, advises runners to prepare for the course with some hill work, with long hill reps of a minute or so, with a recovery jog back down.

She also suggests practising running fast downhill, adding: “A lot of runners fail to maximise the natural advantage you get and actually try to slow themselves down. Relax, lift your knees a bit higher and go with the flow!”

The ladies’ winner of the 2014 Berkhamsted Five Miler, local vet runner Catherine Davies, of Dacorum & Tring AC, is also back this year, and has been preparing for the race with 800m-1,500m intervals on the track and road, as well as tempo runs on the roads around Berkhamsted.

She says she is looking forward to the added challenge that will come from the race doubling as the county championships.

All four athletes are delighted that the race will be held in the lovely surroundings of Berkhamsted and the Ashridge Estate and urge their fellow vet runners to lace up on the day. To sign up, visit www.berkorun.com

> The 5-mile race incorporates the Hertfordshire Veteran’s County Road Racing Championship.

Medals will be presented to individuals in the MV40, MV50, MV60, MV70, FV35, FV45, FV55 and FV65 categories and team medals to the first three male and first three female teams.