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Club Trip Kiev, Ukraine - 6th to 11th October 2017

This year a smaller contingent than in recent years headed off to Kiev the Capital City of Ukraine. There were just the 9 of us this year with 4 of us that were going to run on the Sunday. Mike Smith, Linda Edwards and Martha Carrick were running in the half marathon and Lyn Hudson was running in the 10km. There was a also a marathon which attracted some 972 runners. So as usual we all met up outside the Londis shop in Bourton for the mini bus at the early time of 4.30am in the morning.

We got to Heathrow in plenty of time. This year we were all travelling light with just cabin bags, a wise decision this was to turn out to be on the return flight, more of that later. 3 Hours after taking off we landed at the airport, which was one of the smallest I've been to and hardly anyone around. So it didn’t take long to get to the mini bus that was waiting to take us the 20km to the hotel.

This year I have to admit that I excelled in my choice of hotel and its position in the city. The hotel was right in the centre of the city; I mean just literally the centre. The Subway to the underground was a matter of meters away from our hotel. The start of the race was about 200 meters away, there was a McDonalds next door to us and unfortunately a 24 hour bar across the road from us as well, this was purely a coincidence I assure you and had no bearing on my choice of hotel but with beer at £1 a pint! the temptation was too great to resist.

After settling in at the hotel we went out for a meal and we quickly found out that food and drink was very cheap. The food was amazing none of us had a bad meal the whole time. And I must say the famous Chicken Kiev was to die for. Also using the underground and taxis was cheap, a journey on the underground was 5 UAH which equates to 16 pence! In fact for the first time on a holiday I managed to take money back home. I took €260 and came back with €70 you just couldn't spend it, I did try in the 24 hour bar but to no avail. Kiev was the city that kept on giving. The City was just amazing, it was very clean and we all felt safe at night the only trouble I encountered was from people in Disney costumes, there was one in particular who was a minion who Linda got a laugh from ‘Mike and the minions’ was her quote. Anyway I kneed the afore mentioned minion in the nether regions and made a quick getaway. Why couldn’t I be bothered by Snow White or Cinderella instead?

There were loads of small parks, many churches with splendid gold cupolas on top and lots to do and see, honestly 5 days wasn’t enough! They have the deepest underground stations in the world on one of the underground escalators it takes 10 minutes to get to the bottom. There was the Chernobyl museum, WW2 museum, city bus tour we went around the monastery and crypt where all these dead saints were on show. The exhibition of miniatures was nearby which through microscopes you could see such things as a miniature chessboard with pieces that was on a pinhead and a flee that had a pair of gold shoes on. I don’t think the lady looking after the exhibition was very impressed with my very own miniature € tip that I gave her, she said she couldn’t see it without one of the microscopes but I assured her it was there.

We all collected our numbers on the Saturday and Gill managed to get her number transferred to her daughter Martha who was on her first club trip she did a great job at first looking after a load of middle age people behaving badly but after the race she went down with a bad stomach I think it was probably down to the stress of getting us all from a-to-b via the 24 hour bar. We managed to find out the elevation of the route as we were led to believe it was quite hilly, but we learnt from this that it wasn’t as bad as we dreaded. It looked though that the hills were more in the 2nd half of the race. We weren’t quite sure thought if we would have to run on any of the cobbled roads/streets. The half and full marathon started at 9am with Lyn starting at 9.30. It was perfect conditions for running with some sunny intervals at times.

The half marathon went out of the city and down to the the main road bridge over the Dnieper river and back again and up and continuing the loop around back to the finish. Well we started off and yes after a while we were running more down than up. I made the most of the downhill bits and by halfway I was a minute up on my schedule but that was the plan, knowing that later on I would lose that time up the hills, which I did and then some more. I got to the bridge at the 10km point and I think all 3 of us suffered mentally as well as physically. The River is very wide and the bridge seemed to go on forever and on the other side of the bridge it looked very flat but we had to go back the way we came. About halfway back across I spotted Martha with Linda not that far behind her this cheered me up for a bit. After getting back to the other side we had the gradual climb back up around to the finish, by this time I started to get behind on my schedule even more so between 11 ½ to 12 ½ miles where it was all up hill and all of it on cobbles. Well I finished the race and was quite pleased with my time and I think we all enjoyed the race. Social members Mike and Treasa Burton were there at the finish cheering us on and Gill Carrick, Wayne Edwards accompanying Linda on his first club trip and Steve Hudson cheering us on the course in several places. Wayne also accompanied myself and magic Mike Burton around the various bars around Kiev.

In the Half there were 1782 finisher I managed 1:21:48 to be placed 20th and 3rd Vet 40 the 2 in front of me were both 7 years younger so I was the oldest to finish at that point. Martha was next in, she only ran her first half a week before at Cheltenham and this time managed to run 2 minutes quicker! In a time of 1:54:57 Martha was 107th out of the 468 ladies in the race 825th overall and 38th in her age group. Next in was Linda who again just failed to get under the 2 hour-mark but on a tough hilly course this was quite impressive and it will only be a matter of time before she will achieve her goal. Linda was 190th out of the ladies and 921 overall and impressively 5th Vet 50 Lady. Finishing about the same time as me was Lyn Hudson. There were 1121 runners in the 10km race and Lyn’s time was 1 hour and 51 seconds finishing 235th out of the 463 women and 770th overall and she went one better than my position to come in as the 2nd lady Vet 60. Unfortunately there wasn’t a medal for the finishers in the 10km race but Lyn was more than happy to be voted and awarded the Dennis Abbotts trophy later on for the race performance of the day by BRR.

On the Wednesday it was time to come back home the mini bus picked us up just after 11:30am. A sad farewell to the 24 hour bar and to the Great city of Kiev that had been home for the past 5 days. We got to the airport in plenty of time and through security and to our departure gate. And that is when it all went a bit pear shaped. There was a “technical” problem with the British Airways plane and this resulted in a 5½ hour delay. If you recall we only had cabin bags if we had been travelling with hold baggage we would have had to wait the following day so that was something to be thankful for. The next available flight for us was with Ukrainian air getting in to Gatwick at 10pm the only problem was that we were meant to land at Heathrow at 4:05pm where are mini bus was going to be waiting for us. So some mad texts by me to the min bus company and driver to get him to go at the later time to Gatwick. This was done and now all we had to do was wait. At 11pm the motorway was of course dead quite so thankfully we got back into Bourton at 12:45am. Apparently after 3 hours delay we are able to claim €250 in compensation each, this is in process at the time of this report, so hopefully fingers crossed. This certainly was the club trip that kept on giving.

For next years club trip I’m looking at Amsterdam Marathon and Half which is at the beginning of October. Let me know your thoughts. But in the mean time I feel that Kiev was such a great place I feel sorry for the people that didn’t go this time. So if I can get at least 10 people interested I would seriously consider going back for the Spring Half Marathon and 10km and 24hour bar on the 22nd April. It would take little organising using the same Hotel, mini bus and transfer. The cost would be the same £330 each for a twin/double room and £390 for a single room. Again I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks to everyone on this years trip you were all great company and made it again such a wonderful club trip. Mike and Richard (Club Trip Coordinators)



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Mike Smith led home Bourton’s team in the half marathon, 20th overall and 3rd MV40, in 1:21:48. There were 1782 finishers.

Martha was next in in 1:54:57; she only ran her first half a week before at Cheltenham - Kiev was 2 minutes quicker!

Linda Edwards narrowly missed going under 2 hours, finishing 5th LV50.

Lyn Hudson finished 2nd LV60 in the 10k race.



Other reports may be found on our recent race reports page.