|The Green Man||Monday March 14 2022|
Patrick Connolly – The Green Man Ultra race review
I had a long and glorious career at Clifton St Vincent’s. I joined the club after finishing university having been dragged along by Rich Bevins and Ken Clifford. In my early years I played alongside Ray King in midfield and tried to model my game on his.
According to stats produced by Rich Bevins, if I remember correctly, I played about 250 games for the club and scored 25 goals. That’s quite prolific for somebody who rarely left the centre-circle. I was also captain of the A team that won the All Saints Cup in 1994-95. That was the ‘glorious’ bit.
I stopped playing in my mid-thirties (I think) and started running to keep fit. In fairness, I was always better at running than kicking a football, which is saying something when you consider that I rarely left the centre-circle.
I joined Emersons Green Running Club in 2016. I’ve plodded along since then. I did a couple of marathons, but that was a few years ago when I was much fitter.
On Tuesday 11 January 2022, at age 52, after persuasion from Rich and Kerri from my running club, I signed up to run the Green Man Ultra with them. They’ve both done the race a few times before and said that would look after me.
About the race
The Green Man is a 46-mile race around the Bristol Community Forest Path.
There is a 30-mile version of the race called The Green Boy. Perhaps I should have signed up for that, but one is called ‘Man’ and the other is called ‘Boy’.
I didn’t know any of the route and had never run more than a marathon before. I wasn’t particularly fit and so I knew that I needed to work on that.
On Sunday 23 January, I ran the Doynton Hard Half Marathon. On Saturday 29 January I did a 3 Peaks recce with Rich, which was 17-miles. On Saturday 6 February I did a Green Man recce with Rich from Shortwood to Ashton, about 25 miles. At the same time, I was also going to running club in the week. My legs were really tired, and they weren’t getting time to recover. Rich told me that this was a good thing. It didn’t feel so good.
On Sunday 13 February, I did the Dursley Dozen. It was only 12-miles but I found it really hard and so I stopped midweek running so my legs could rest a bit. On Sunday 20 February I did a club social run of 12-miles, but I added some more afterwards to get up to 16. I had to stop then because my legs were really tired.
At this social run, Kerri was clearly injured. I was relying on her to guide me around the course because Rich has had some injury issues and I wasn’t so certain he would be able to complete the course. Kerri assured me that she would be taking it easy to ensure she was fit. That made me feel a bit better.
One week before Green Man, and my legs were still tired and so I did just a gentle 7-mile run. I say gentle, but I found it hard. I’d got used to walking up hills and eating snacks along the way. I like walking and eating. In the evening I went to club birthday party and Kerri was limping. She said that she had injured herself jumping off boxes. I wasn’t convinced that taking it easy to protect her injury meant jumping off boxes. She said that she would take it easy now to ensure that she was fit. A few days later she got in touch to say that she wouldn’t be running the Green Man as she had injured herself again, this time jumping off a climbing wall!!
9 reasons why I was nervous about the race
1. It is 46 miles
2. I’ve never ran this far before.
3. I ran 16 miles a couple of weeks beforehand and my legs hurt, and 16 miles is not very close to 45 miles
4. The terrain is nearly all cross country which means lots of undulations and lots of mud
5. It has been raining lots, which means even more mud and lots of stodgy fields
6. It is 46 miles
7. I didn’t know the route. It is self-navigation, there is only very limited signage, and my sense of direction isn’t great.
8. If I am still in one piece, it will get dark, I didn’t know the course, there is limited signage, and my sense of direction isn’t great.
9. It is 46 miles
My alarm went off at 5am. I had slept well despite my son, who was back from university for the weekend, rolling in drunk and waking me up at 1.30am. Rich picked me up at 6.25am and then the first panic started. I had lost my new watch, which I had bought so it would help me navigate the course. We headed out and then back to my house again to try and find my watch, but no joy. It was gone.
We arrived at Ashton Park School and, guess what, I found my watch – it was in my bag!
I wasn’t feeling so confident, but I had posted on Facebook that I was doing the race and told everybody at my work. I really didn’t think I could do 46 miles, but I had to achieve respectability. If only I could get close to marathon distance and then pull out, that would be fine.
Rich and I decided to run close to the 11-hour time lord and we set off towards checkpoint 1. The first 8 miles was quite hilly, up over Dundry or Pensford or somewhere near there. I told you my sense of direction isn’t great. It was all friendly, but Rich was clearly feeling good as he kept pushing ahead of me. At checkpoint 1 Rich said that we were going too fast.
I found the section to checkpoint 2 in Keynsham to be hard and was even wondering if I should pull out when I got there. But I couldn’t complete just 16 miles in an ultra. That would be pretty rubbish.
Arriving at Keynsham I decided that I would drag myself along to checkpoint 3, at the White Horse in Hambrook and probably stop there. That would be a marathon and that would be respectable. I could then go home, collapse on the sofa and watch football. This was my brilliant plan!
One of the pins had come off my race number. Number 213. My number was flapping around all over the place and this also distracted me.
Rich told me that we were going too fast and I would feel better if we slowed down. This section seemed to go on for a very long way. I started speaking more with other runners and they were very encouraging, and I knew that we were a long way ahead of the 12-hour cut off time.
Our pace slowed and any slight incline was treated as a hill, which meant that I could walk it. Running was uncomfortable but walking was fine. I wanted more hills. I wanted more walking.
There were lots of hills up to Shortwood. That was nice. But then we started running again, which wasn’t so good. Neil (from my running club) was waiting for us on the course and he had some pins, as all runners do in their cars, and he fixed my number for me. Perhaps quite a small thing, but really appreciated.
We kept going forwards and then Adrian (also from my running club) came and joined us and ran alongside me. That was also appreciated, and it helped me. We arrived at checkpoint 3 – decision time. I was really tired, but nothing was hurting too much, and I decided to keep going for just a bit longer. We were up to 28 miles. This was already the furthest I had ever run, and every extra mile would improve my personal best.
We headed off again and something happened. I realised I could keep going. Not fast and not so comfortably but I knew that I could keep moving forwards. At about mile 32, for the first time, I thought “I’m going to do this”. We were ahead of the 12-hour schedule, in fact we were still ahead of the 11-hour time lord, and so I just had to keep moving forwards. I could do that.
I had a little radio with me and tuned it to Radio Bristol at 2.59pm to listed to Bristol City. That would inspire me. At 3.01pm they were losing 1-0. At 3.12pm they were losing 2-0. I turned off Radio Bristol.
Adrian left us at Aztec West. Rich said that he was hurting now and that we could afford to slow down more. He then sprinted off again into the distance. I let him go this time as there were other runners around who were going slower and seemed to know the way. I didn’t want to go any faster. At this pace, slow running and walking on hills and muddier bits, I knew that I could keep going.
I arrived at checkpoint 4 at Blaise Castle. This was 40 miles. Rich was waiting but asked if I minded if he went ahead. I didn’t mind at all, as I’d been feeling a bit guilty about holding him back. I was going to finish this race at my pace and that meant very slowly. A quick banana, couple of bites of a pasty and a pack of ready salted crisps and I was off again.
Some people around me were struggling with injuries and limping along but I felt fine. I had this! The climb up to The Downs was hard, but once I was there, I knew that I was nearly home. There were no other runners in sight as I trudged across The Downs, reliving the highlights of my football career. It didn’t take so long – although I do remember Martin Stanleigh (Marts Stanners) once saying that I scored a good goal.
It was getting dark and so I put on my head torch heading up towards Clifton. People were out and about for the evening and I was the strange person doing something crazy. I wondered how I had become the strange person. I’m pretty sure that I was never the strange person before.
Across the Suspension Bridge and into Ashton Court. It was at this point that I realised my head torch wasn’t very bright. I entered the deer park and headed downwards. I then had a moment. I stopped. I was all alone in the dark. I looked over the city of Bristol, including Ashton Gate (the home of football), and I felt proud that I had done this. It was a really nice moment.
My moment soon ended. It was dark, my headtorch wasn’t very bright and I didn’t know where I was going. I had visions of missing the 12-hour cut off because I got lost. I started heading right, this seemed logical, but I was guessing where to go. I found a path and then in the distance I saw another head torch. I headed toward it, hoping to ask for directions. I thought it could be somebody out for an evening walk, or perhaps another lost runner. Maybe there were lots of lost runners all over Ashton Court. A voice then called out my name. It was Kerri. She had come up to find me and guide me home. I was so pleased and relieved to see her. She guided me down to the finish. I’m not at all sure I would ever have found it on my own. I ran to the finish and over the line. 46.1 miles in 11 hours and 1 minute.
That night I hardly slept at all because my legs were aching so much. I still had a very big smile on my face!!
|ALL GAMES OFF SATURDAY 8TH JANUARY 2022||Monday January 17 2022|
|ALL BRISTOL DOWNS LEAGUE GAMES ON SATURDAY 8TH JANUARY 2022 ARE OFF DUE TO WATERLOGGED PITCHES|
|Martin Dagger Memorial Game||Sunday January 2 2022|
|Teams; Martin Dagger Select XI vs Presidents XI|
Date; 29th December 2021
Venue; Lockleaze Sports Centre
Kick Off; 11.00am
Martin Dagger was our friend. One of the many close to us whom we’ve collectively lost in one form or another through Covid. But, today, we celebrated his life in the way which typifies the great club we all play for and love. We dedicated the Vincent’s traditional Christmas match to his memory, and invited his family to join us so they could see for themselves how we felt about losing our brother.
With Coronavirus and festive season exigencies having depleted the squads somewhat the last of the brave took to the field. Conditions didn’t promise quality football. A wicked wind blew the ball off heads and toes, and made for a few comedy moments. The Martin Dagger Select XI won the toss and chose to play with the wind, but some good play on the deck quickly gave the President’s XI a 2-0 lead, which was pulled back to 2-2 by half-time.
With early first half injuries having taken their toll, those left standing had to play the whole of the second half!
The Select XI battered the President’s XI goal only to be denied time and time again by the acrobatics of Yusuf Demirer, rightly voted Man of the Match. Seven or eight top-drawer saves gave the President’s XI the impetus to push on and win the game [6-3]. The Martin Dagger Select XI struggled to find an effective way to play into the wind which invited a high press, from which the President’s XI stole the winning margin. Great wing play, short balls across the midfield and into feet, and some truly astonishing goalkeeping were the real deciding factors. In reality, though, there wasn’t that much in it.
In the end a sad but happy day and one in celebration of Martin’s life. Everyone enjoyed the game and the craic and we’re pretty sure that Martin would have enjoyed it too.
Martin Dagger Select XI.
D Day, S Mooney, A Kevern, C Rastell, W Dodds, Josh Stevens, S Aldis, M Stanleigh, M Murison, M. Wilson, R Todd, R Thompson, (+A Brown) Goals; Josh Stevens , A Brown President’s XI,
Y Demirer, W Mitchell, M Wride, O Gadd, Jon Sevens, M Chaillet, C Wiltshire, O Palmer, T Clarke, A Brown, O Grant, F Devoy. Goals; M Chaillet 2, F Devoy 2, ??
|Website launch||Thursday November 25 2021|
Welcome on board for the new season covid free we all hope! All of you should be proud of the way you coped with difficult conditions last season and managed to play the style of football we all enjoy at St. Vincent’s.
To the new players this season if you need a chat about the history of the club or football generally talk to Paul Davies or Mike Wride, legends of the club, and of course Ray King our secretary of state, 5000 phone calls 10000 texts; that's what he told me during covid, joking of course, Well done Ray. May I wish you the very best for this season with all 4 teams in the top 6 and qualifying for Europe next season!
On a sombre note the club has lost three top players from the past, Tony Smedley, Bobby Gibbons, Nigel Whittle. Bob’s wake was held at Dinder Village Hall, a super little Village opposite Wells Cathedral. Many ex V’s and Brislington cricketers were present. Mike Stephens, Ian Philpott, Martin Sims, Brian York, Paul Bawn, Woody, John Thompson, Ray King. Players from Nigel’s era gathered at the Eldon House. Thanks Rab Clarke!, Names from the past who were there and what a great team they would have made - Russ Mahoney, Barry Pearce, Mike Hedges, Dobie, Frank Devoy, Rab, Seb, Buck, Mike Wride, Paul Davies, Neil Davies, Ray King, Paul Phillips and The Boy.
I think that’s about all for now boys, look out for each other.
Looking forward to seeing you soon.
|New Website||Thursday November 11 2021|
|Welcome to the new Clifton St. Vincent's AFC website, we hope you like what you see.
Any content additions or suggestions for the website can be directed to Mike Wride, with our social media links at the bottom of the page.
Contact Mike Wride at: