STONE ST MICHAELS 10K
A great turnout on Sunday saw 70
Harriers complete the popular Stone St Michaels race. It was nice to see so many trying their first race and I am sure the encouragement by all the spectators helped them enjoy the experience.
We had two Harriers running in the unusual colours of green vests. This was because Matt Woodman and Tracey Gee were selected to run in an inter-county competition and were running in Staffordshire vests. Well done to both.
Matt was the first Harrier home in 17th place in 30-02 and it was good to see that our flying junior Nathan Sabin was next home in 26th place in 37-33.
Our first Lady home, and proving a special birthday doesn’t slow her down, was Chris Skellern in 43-30 and 1st L50. Age catagory prizes also went to Paul Douglas 2nd M60, Tracey Gee 2nd L40 and Bill Whitworth 2nd M70.
Also in the prizes were our Ladies team of Chris Skellern, Tracey Gee and Steph Clayton who finished 2nd out of 26 teams.
Our mens team, Matt Woodman, Natan Sabin and Ian Talbot were 5th out of 37 teams.
Below are all the times of the Harriers that ran but we haven’t got round to pb’s yet.
|104||Paul Douglas||42-49||2 nd M60|
|117||Chris Skellern||43-30||1 st L50|
|121||Tracey Gee||43-58||2 nd L40|
|341||Bill Whitworth||54-33||2 nd M70|
TRAIL MARATHON WALES
This is the first running of the Wales trail marathon at Coed y Brenin in the Snowdonia national park. On forestry roads, single tracks, grass and a bit of tarmac Also billed was a half, due to the bad weather this week the full followed the half route for 11m,then did an independent loop then got back onto the half at 5m point to the finish. So in theory you did a 1.5 half-marathon loop. The race started with a climb on a decent forestry road, then a tricky uphill section on a single path with exposed rocks and tree roots, a bit of downhill, followed by a very tricky single heavily wooded path. This how most of the race panned out, long up sections and short tricky descents. At 16m there was a murderous uphill grassy section, which would have suited, fell runners, as it was so steep you had to walk. So it was a mixture of trail/fell running. This was an extremely challenging race, but I felt comfortable because after the mile I decided that time was going to immaterial, so ran at a comfortable pace and walked up severe gradients of which there were many. If I don’t fall over once on a off-road course I feel I didn’t try hard enough, first fall tripped on tree root and an another competitor landed on top, next fall face first after slipping on rock, this time it was more painful. The course was well signposted, drink/feed station numerous but due to nature a course were at random distances. There were no distance markers due to revised course Finished in a time of 4.23.45.your reply is going to be, that is slow for you Chris. Winner’s time was 3.03.45 and only 30 finished under 4hrs. I finished 60th, 14th m40+ 730 entered for half/full. Only 505 started race. Snowdon marathon is billed as one the hardest marathons; this I think could replace this By the way there was over 3800′ elevation gain (people say potters half is hard, only 750′).
A great event which saw all the clubs from the network running together and the juniors from the clubs competeing in a Quad Kids event. Some Harriers were gutted. Because they had run so fast they had to spend three quarters of an hour in a pub on the side of the canal before they could start running into Burton.
Here are some photos of the day.
LLANDUDNO 10 MILES
Report from Martin Moore.
A June day beside the seaside in North Wales felt like an antidote to our non-summer (except for a blisteringly hot May 27th, which coincided with the Burton 10!), so a chance to redeem slow pootling in East Staffordshire, with a (maybe) slightly less slow bimbling in Llandudno…(these are well researched scientific terms within the runners lexicon!)
As far as I can see, three Harriers (much reduced from the usual annual day trip hordes) lined up for the earlier than usual start at 10.00 on the prom, prom, prom.
The course was much changed from the delayed wind blown sand blasting of last year, promising faster and flatter. Despite this I nobely adopted the rear gunner position (not too difficult when running with Chris and Sally!)
The race did indeed prove fast and flat, and, despite the odd Mrs Miggins wallking her daschunds slowly across the course, and the slightly incongrous British Legion service at the end of the prom (‘Bread of Heaven’ at six miles…for inspiration?) definitely lends itself to potential pb’s.
Approximately 600 started in clement weather. Two laps isn’t to all tastes (including mine), but is difficult to grumble with when it means running next to the sea for half of the race. Well marshalled, and with your name printed on the number, I was wondering if my noteriety had spread this far or friends and family had organised surprise day trips to watch…until thicky me clicked, and realised I was but another name on another numbered vest….But enjoyed the kids at the drink station trying to name everyone who passed, like a speeded up audio tape AND pass drinks out at the same time.
Chris Hollinshead – 56:45 (11th)
Sally Gray – 1:04:40 (69th) (pb)
Martin Moore – 1:14:18 (218th) (pb)
HARRIERS SUMMER HANDICAP
A record 54 Harriers turned out for this handicap race which was part of the harriers Challenge. The winner was Nicola Prestel. Below is a pdf of the results that have been sorted into time order in order to work out the Challenge points.
Handicap Times and Positions
GRASMERE GALLOP 10K
9th June 2012
Report by Jane Bisiker
This time last year I was in the lake district, having a gentle run round Rydal water and Grasmere when I found myself on a race course with 10 minutes to get into Grasmere before several hundred runners came at me on the narrow paths above the lake. I thought this year I ought to come and do the race the correct way round. Just before we started I was pleased to meet up with Sue Johnson. From the registration field you are bag piped to the start line in the centre of the village, which gets the spirits going. Then it’s off up the red hill out of the village until you get onto the tracks which go up over the hills, past caves and eventually down to the shore of Rydal water and then Grasmere. Some of the paths are rocky so you have to concentrate on where you are going rather than the beautiful scenery. Eventually you come back into the village, but just as you think you are nearly at the finish, you get directed in the opposite direction and through some park land around Grasmere before going all the way round the field to the finish line.
Despite all the rain we have had recently it kept dry, but the best bit was the drink and cake at the end. A well organised trail race with great scenery. A must for next year and well worth a weekend trip up to the lakes.
Winner – Jim Bullman 35:56
Sue Johnson – 56:03
Jane Bisiker – 59:36
The Harriers Games again proved to be a great family day out with lots of the juniors turning out to show the seniors the way to do it. Moving to Blessed William Howard School sports field was a great move and we were fortunate that the weather held off until the last race had finished. Even though the rain came for the BBQ and presentations at the MRI it didn’t put a dampner on the day. A big thanks must go to Craig Baxter for fixing it all up and to Mike Jones for sorting all the results out.
Lets hope that next year a few more seniors turn up to run.
|NAME||1 mile||PO||100M||PO||800 m||PO||200m||PO||400m||PO||3000M||PO||TOTAL|
|Nathan Sabin 41||5.01.65||1||2.17.85||1||61.65||1||3|
|Mark Bridgwood 40||5.44.01||3||13.56||3||11.07||1||7|
|Ian Talbot 36||13.37||2||2.36.55||3||66.47||2||7|
|Russell Barron 141||5.16.89||2||2.24.84||2||87.34||3||7|
|Tom Exton 42||12.83||1||injured||1|
|Chris Pearce 132||6.00.30||1||13.89||1||68.19||1||3|
|Tom Sabin 46||14.30||2||2.44.97||1||31.94||1||4|
|Jim Smith 89||6.20.63||3||2.49.17||2||72.24||2||7|
|Eddie Smith 90||17.60||5||34.93||2||13.38||1||8|
|George Wilcox 47||14.59||3||2.53.60||3||74.56||3||9|
|Joe Smith 52||6.08.18||2||2.54.64||4||80.21||5||11|
|Will Sammons 130||15.45||4||3.00.26||5||79.50||4||13|
|Ellie Baxter 117||15.33||2||2.51.82||1||79.34||1||4|
|Richard Caley 33||6.14.78||1||80.45||3||12.44||1||5|
|Andrew Stickland 140||6.33.63||3||14.10||1||31.32||1||5|
|Hanah Talbot 129||6.17.30||2||32.74||3||80.24||2||7|
|Graham Williams 35||18.30||4||3.26.74||4||8|
|Craig Baxter 145||3.08.04||2||32.23||2||88.64||5||9|
|Lauren Gee 37||15.63||3||3.20.60||3||85.77||4||10|
|Ellie Stanyer 109||16.65||1||3.30.95||1||36.76||1||3|
|Vicki Talbot 39||7.57.12||1||3.37.42||2||95.15||1||4|
|Mike Jones 31||8.05.60||2||98.64||2||15.54||1||5|
|Millie Stanyer 115||17.83||2||3.47.76||3||39.97||2||7|
|Keron Mogey 131||18.16||3||4.13.84||4||117.24||3||10|
|Jerry Franklyn 34||8.49.79||3||19.29||4||4.14.08||5||12|
|Kelly Lee 32||8.44.38||1||17.27||1||102.62||1||3|
|Sam Taker 48||17.66||2||4.10.74||2||16.20||1||5|
|Julie Mogey 49||18.34||3||3.55.29||1||109.33||2||6|
|Juniors team one|
|Cieran Coghlan 128||17.95||1||41.47||1||1.42.48||1||3|
|Jay Nixon 43||20.10||2||46.09||2||1.52.17||2||6|
|Sophia Bridgwood 44||24.36||3||53.27||3||2.01.38||3||9|
|Reece Bridgwood 45||31.15||4||68.05||4||2.41.42||4||12|
At the BBQ afterwards the juniors made a presentation to their coach to celebrate a birthday.
ONLY FOOLS RACE HORSES
Man v Horse 9 June 2012 -Ian Talbot
After hearing a lot of good things about this race from Ed Smith and Joe Atherton, who have done the race many times, myself and Richard Caley decided to join them and see what it was all about.
We headed down on the Friday and checked into our lovely hostel (Not).
We then went to the pasta party in one of the local pubs which filled a hole. We were told that due to the high levels of rain that the race had been put back an hour and would now start at 12.00pm. This was not good news as it gave us 1 hour extra drinking time pre race and 1 hour less post race. The night turned into a good old Harriers session once we were joined by John Greatholder and Karen Davies and after the clocks went past midnight we decided we were hydrated enough to tackle the 22 mile course the following morning.
The weather on the day was very pleasant although after such heavy rain during the week we were told that the conditions were very heavy and quite slippery under foot, even one of the river crossings was cancelled due to the high levels of water. After a parade through the town square by the 38 horses in the race we were off .15 minutes later the horses began.
The course, as I had been told, was very scenic but also very hilly. It seemed that on most hills walking came into play, they were all very long climbs which seemed everlasting. At around 9 miles the first horse went past me, with the rider giving encouragement as they went by. It was really great being involved in such a different race and the sportsmanship between man and rider was excellent.
There were many stream crossings along the way and most of the grass fields and pathways seemed like small streams due to the boggy conditions. Up to around 10 mile I felt strong but each hill that came along was more of a struggle as the miles went by. The water stations on the course were regular and much needed as the sun stayed out for most of the race. As we hit the final hill around two miles from the finish my aim was to try and get a time between 3.15 and 3.20, which gave me around 20 minutes for the last two miles, which I seriously need as I crossed the small uphill finish in a time of 3hr 19mins 38 secs. The other finishing times were:
Ed Smith 3hr 53. 40
Joe Atherton 3hr 55.56
Karen Davies 4hr 2.47
Rich Caley 4hr 23.04
John Greatholder 4 hr 32.42
Great efforts by all the team in such tough conditions
The race was won by a horse in 2hr and 51 secs, the first runner back was the first ever runner to win Man v Horse, Huw Lobb who completed the course in 2hr 25.57.
After sandwiches and drinks provided by the local community we were able to head back into the village where the real after race party began, all the bars were packed with a couple of bands and an excellent evening was had by us all as we partied into the night.
I would highly recommend this race and even though it is so tough we can maybe get an even bigger group to head to Wales next year. One word of advice would be to avoid the local hostel as not the most desirable accommodation in the world, and luckily we managed to ditch it after one night and book into the hotel where we ate and drank.
Great company, great laughs and a truly memorable race.
Below are some photos of the gang. Not much running but mucho drinking.
Here are the provisional results for the Harriers that ran the potters ‘arf on Sunday. There was a problem with the chip system that they used and Craig Baxter and Jon Loft did not appear in the results. We have them all now.
|174th||Paul Douglas||1-38-55||4th V60|
|182nd||Chris Skellern||1-39-06||4th L45|
Here are the results from the Wincle Trout that this year was held on the “Easier Course”
A great effort from all the Harriers who took part but a special mention to Nathan Sabin who finished in a very impressive 6th overall. Also well done to Chris Skellern 2nd L40 and Sue Johnson 3rd F50.
All Harriers times below.
|104th||Chris Skellern||53-35||3rd L40|
|174th||Sue Johnson||59-00||3rd L50|
MERSEY TUNNEL 10K
Report from Liz Stanyer, (with Scouse accent)
A family trip to our flat in New Brighton to take in the Mersey Tunnel 10k, which has been on my ‘to do’ list for a while. After moaning to Simon about the cold, blustery conditions on Saturday( Me? Moan? Surely not!) I was thrilled to wake up Sunday morning and see sunshine and calm weather.
The start was so well organised, calm, no queues for portaloos and full of really friendly fellow runners. So many came chatting to me after seeing my Stafford Harriers vest.
I put my baggage on the double decker bus and listened to the announcements telling us there were 3,000 entrants, with the eldest being 84, over 1,200 runners from outside Mersyside and most importantly the air conditioning in the tunnel had been on since 3am so air quality was good! Phew.
The start at 930am was slick and opened almost immediately to a wide road, so despite the numbers, there was very little congestion. A bit of winding around the steets, then sharp left and there was the mouth of the tunnel. It was a surrel experience as at first you are alongside the traffic coming out of the tunnel who are all beeping their horns at you, which in a tunnel is very loud!
So down, down, down into the tunnel and despite me telling myself to not get too carried away, I couldn’t help it and ended up tanking it down hill with all the others, including a man in a kaftan and sandals!
What goes down must go up. So up, up and up we go as there are cheers rebounding off the tunnel walls from the runners ahead who have approached the exit of the tunnel, and yes the light coming from the exit is a welcome sight. However, you still have at least 2 Radford Banks to climb upon exiting the tunnel which is a bit of a mental battle!
At 6k, with my legs screaming at me after the tunnel climb, I hit the promenade with a full view of the Albert Dock and Liverpool seafront over the water. And you can also see the finish……4k away!!!
I can safely say my wheels fell off along here and the finish just never got any closer, but the support was great and the Liverpool banter from fellow runners kept me amused.And then joy, I see Simon and the girls cheering and I am finally crossing the finish which loomed so far away for so long.The finish was as efficient as the start, with a medal, technical T-shirt, water and a choice of fresh fruit all given within seconds of finishing. I collected my bag off the bus and had a text with my finishing time and position within 5 minutes of finishing. I have never experienced such a well organised race considering the number of runners, and it was a great finish area with grassy banks to recover on overlooking the seafront.I wanted to run this to test my post marathon ‘sea’ legs and although not quite there yet, I really enjoyed myself, and that is surely what its all about?
My chip time was 51.04, I was 780th and amazingly 6th F40 (maybe they don’t run at such an old age in Liverpool)
I would absolutely recommend this 10k, if for the organisation alone. Its different and surprisingly tough on the flat bits, but has a real sense of a massive event without all the stress and pressure.
GO GREEN CHESHIRE TRIATHALON
Not strictly a running race!! But a couple of Harriers have expressed an interest in triathlon so though I would do a report.
So last year I decided that I would enter a triathlon!!, not sure why but it seemed like a good idea. I entered the Cheshire Sprint Triathlon for two reasons, it was close in Nantwich and the pool element was in an outdoor swimming pool (not brave enough for open water yet!!). A sprint triathlon is 500m swim, 20km bike then 5 km run. I bought a bike last September and have been out with the Stafford Road Club since practicing my bike skills and amazingly getting faster – not that fast though. I have carried on my running however the swimming has been a bit hit and miss (I’ve been in the pool twice this year!!). So as usual I followed no training plan and just did my own thing!!
For the triathlon itself you can make it as expensive or as cheap as you want – I bought myself a Giant road bike, but lots of people were on the course using hybrids or mountain bikes, I bought myself a cheap tri-suit of ebay, but again people were in all sorts – it just depends how long you want to take in transition, and as with running some competitors looked very professional but lots were just having a go… I think the key is to be organized and have the right shoes/equipment etc in the right place, though I forgot to put my shoes in Transition 2 so Nick was stood with them to hand over as I came in from the bike course.
So the day itself was very sunny, my start time was 11.48:20 which I thought very civilized and meant I didn’t have to get out of bed to early. Nick came with me and we got to Nantwich nice and early, registered, had numbers written on my arm and legs – then we made our way to T1 to put in my bike. The swim element was great really enjoyed it and using breast stroke I completed the 500m is 13 minutes, then its straight onto the bike, the course was undulating but very enjoyable and the 20km shot by in 50 minutes. Then came the run!!!!! and it all went to pot – I had no energy left and the run was terrible, 5km in 35 minutes – can’t believe how bad I was. Still I loved the event and have entered the Blithfield Tri at the end of July – mainly so I can beat my run time!!
SHEFFIELD HALF MARATHON
Sunday 27th May
Report from Dave Payling
I decided to do this race some time last year after missing the entry deadline for 2011 shortly after the Stafford Half. It’s my home City and the thought of running through the middle of town sounded like a good idea. There were 2 problems about the race. One was that it started at 9am so I didn’t know if to stop over or drive up early in the morning and the second was it coincided with the heatwave. Not a lot I could do about the second and I decided to drive up early Sunday morning.
Waking up at 5.30am with the alarm set for 6 wasn’t the best way of getting a good rest but I managed to arrive at the race car park a little after 8. It then took me about 50 minutes to get to Don Valley Stadium, drop my bag off and make my way to the start line. The race starts and finishes on the running track in the stadium and with nearly 6,000 runners there was a great atmosphere before the gun. It wasn’t long before the road opened up and I could get into my stride and about half a mile in 2 guys in a camel suit came running along side me. I was thinking I was either running too slow or they were running too fast! There’s no way they could keep it up in the heat. I thought my prediction had come true when not long after this they tripped up on a kerb and looked to be out of the race as a few people helped them back to their feet. I thought I had seen the last of them and carried on trying to up my pace hoping I wouldn’t get beat by a camel. The first few miles are fairly straight and flat on the way into the town centre but the temperature was starting to get up which didn’t help matters. Anyway around mile 3 the camel re-appeared alongside me and I heard someone say there were 2 of them so I’m not sure it was the one that tripped. But soon after that they ran under a street sign and the camels head got bashed and nearly knocked them over again! They stopped for a drink, surely that was the end of them.
Once you hit town the crowds are lining the street in largish numbers. The race takes you past Ponds Forge sports centre, through the bus station down to Brammall Lane and back up and down Ecclesall Road which is where the biggest crowds are. There were loads of people, cheerleaders and live bands that really took my mind off the heat and the aching legs. It’s a gentle incline going up and it doubles back to a nice steady run to a drink station back near the bottom. There were a few drinks before this and a couple of sponge stations with wet sponges that you grab and squish on all your hot bits. After this it meanders right through the middle of the City past the Town Hall and Crucible Theatre and back onto the long stretch towards the stadium finish. This is where it started to get tougher with very few people cheering you on and the scenery is a bit drab but if you were feeling good (I wasn’t) I’m sure you could really open up and fly down the straight open roads.
Once the stadium is back in sight it still read I had a mile to go on the Garmin and I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. It seemed a long mile! It loops around the back of the top of the stadium, then drops back down onto the track for the finish. I didn’t really have much left for a sprint at this point but got through with the clock reading about 1hr42 and I was just glad to get home. As I was getting my breath everyone started to cheer and the announcer was shouting something I couldn’t make out. I turned round to see what was happening and the camel came flying through just after me! That was a great run after all it had been through. Must have been something to do with its training in the desert? I collected my goodie bag, shirt and medal and bag from the bagging area which was very well organised as was the race in general. I didn’t see any other Stafford Harriers either during the race or on the results so I think I was the only one. It’s a good race and surprisingly for Sheffield not very hilly at all so I would be up for doing it again.
WHITE PEAKS MARATHON
Keith Skelton and I headed to the other side of Ashbourne to do the White Peaks Marathon. If somebody said white peaks marathon ,you would expect it to be hilly of which it isn’t, virtually the opposite. It is a point to point race on the Tissington Trail and White Peak trail which are disused railways. For the 20 miles it is either flat or very gently rising. Then are 3 major sharp descents with the one at 24miles being the worst. Tack conditions varied, first 11 miles it was smooth and compact, the rest varied ,but it was still compact
Keith’s strategy for race was 7min splits for as long as poss, so I followed his strategy, for at least 2miles, then decided 7.15min splits. After 6miles both schedules went south, just didn’t have anything in the tank, so it was just a question of finishing. the trouble was I was under a bit of pressure as we both had to get back to the MRI suited and booted for the social outing. The descent at 24miles was murder, I had no choice but to walk.
Kieth’s time 3.17.22 and mine a disappointing 3.38.57
Would I do it again ,maybe not
MARKET DRAYTON 10K
A fantastic turn out of 63 Harriers for the Market Drayton 10K and no fewer than 19 pb’s. (Some cries of short course but it wasn’t). The times listed are the chip times and they don’t convert the positions. However for the Harriers Challenge we do take the Chip Time for the scores.
First home for the Harriers in 9th place was Matt Woodman in 35-36 and he was followed in by our flying junior Nathan Sabin in a pb time of 37-13.
First Harrier Lady was Steph Clayton in 43-21 and that was a remarkable 5th lady overall. Prizes went to Michelle Fox 1st L35, Chris Skellern 1st L45 , Val Stuart 2nd L65 and Bill Whitworth 3rd M70.
Kellie Lee was down in the prizes as well but the organsiers had forgotten to change her details as she didn’t run. She would have been pleased with 41-28 though.
After the race there was a very sucessful ‘after the race’ dinner. 48 Harriers turned up for that and managed to raise £48 for the Harriers Charities. So a good day all round.
Here are the timings of all Harriers.
|53||Paul Bosson||40-03||4 th M50|
|144||Michelle Fox||43-49||1 st L35 pb|
|163||Chris Skellern||44-13||1 st L45|
|370||Graham Williams||49-18||4 th M65|
|529||Bill Whitworth||54-15||3 rd M70|
|591||Karen D Murray||55-07|
|861||Val Stuart||65-45||2nd L65 pb|
LICHFIELD HALF MARATHON
Report from Mark Bridgwood
On a lovely, sunny Sunday morning just 8 Harriers made the short journey across to Lichfield for the half marathon as most other harriers were doing the Uttoxeter half. I fancied this race over Uttoxeter as I’d heard it was fairly flat so had P.B potential and also Uttoxeter nearly finished me off last year!!
You start the race in the King Edwards school grounds and head off out of the town onto scenic country lanes and to be honest that is pretty much what the race is about. There are no big hills to mention (unlike Uttoxeter!!) but there are lots of small gradual inclines around the course. A nice touch is finishing on the grounds in front of the cathedral with lots of people cheering you on.
I enjoyed the race overall and would do it again as I managed to get a P.B!!
Here are the Harrier times.
UTTOXETER HALF MARATHON
What a difference a week makes. After the tales of woe that the weather caused in races around the country last week at last a pleasant sunny morning. It was ideal running conditions for the Thirty Two Harriers who took part in this years Uttoxeter Half Marathon. A lot is said about the hills in this race but it didn’t stop five of our runners getting pb’s. Leading the Harriers home in 19th place was Henry Mtonga in a pb time of 1-22-50 and the first Harrier lady was of course Chris Skellern who was 2 nd L45.
Here are the times and positions of the Harriers.
|96||Mike St Dunn||1-38-39|
|114||Chris Skellern||1-40-27||2nd L45|
|200||Graham Williams||1-53-35||3rd V65|
|250||Bill Whitworth||2-01-21||2nd V70|
Lakeland Hawkshead 17k Trail race
Report by Joe Atherton
I was the only Harrier to compete in this last Saturday. I meet my brother Rab once or twice a year for a run somewhere and we picked this one because it’s about half way and it looked “fun”!
One thing that I should mention before the report-proper – we cycled from Coniston where we were staying to the start at Hawkshead, over Hawkshead hill. We were pretty nadgered by the time that we even got to the start; it was a real mother of a hill with hair-pin bends and lots of false summits.
Entertainment was in full swing when we got to the start. Registration was painless, and there was a definite buzz around the place. About 15 minutes before the start a 16 piece drum band sparked up, which was perfect motivational music for us all. Just under 300 of us got going at around 2:00. We meandered through a few fields to get warmed up, and then the climbing began. The first hill was baad. We climbed almost constantly for about 10 minutes. After that the route was undulating, through woodland and heath. The views were stunning in places, and the route was almost entirely in unspoiled countryside. Early in the race I realised that the midsole of my off-road right shoe was knackered and every little pebble and bump was getting more and more painful on the sole of my foot. It became so severe that I was just above walking pace on the downhill sections, much to my chagrin when some of the runners that I had managed to pass on the uphill consequently flew past me. There was a lovely picturesque descent at 10k down to the shores of Windermere, which we followed for about 2k.
At 12k we came to the infamous ‘Coffin Trail’. We had been warned to expect it, but even so it was a belter!
At a mile long and a challenging gradient, even the whippety-looking guys broke into a walk at times. Once this was out of the way then the last 3ish kilometers were flat or downhill. The last 500 metres were across grassy fields to the finish, which was the first time that I could confidently run on my right foot without pain. Such was the relief that I must have covered this part in sub-6 minute miling!
It was virtually all off-road and very pretty. There were lots of marshals and 2 drinks stations along the way. The start / finish were well organised with refreshments and burger vans. The entertainment alone was in fact worth going to see on its own. Support along the way was very patchy, but there again what do you expect of a trails race? The finishers’ T-shirt is a techy, and with not a trace of advertising!
Lessons to be learned:
- If your off-roaders are 12 years old, send em to running-shoe-heaven and get a new pair.
- Don’t do a strenuous event like this without taking beer money. If I ever needed a pint it was after this!
- Me – 165th on 1:38
- Bro Rab 249th on 1:52.
- Run 10/10
- Organisation 9/10
- Fun factor 7/10
- Challenging 9/10
- Would I do it again 7/10
SOUTH CHESHIRE 20
Report from Martin Moore
Two of us represented the Harriers in South Cheshire for this 20 mile bimble around the lanes and byways between Crewe and Audley. Described as ‘frequently hilly’, I thought I’d take issue until we hit mile 9, when for 4 miles it was er, frequently hilly, which sapped legs and gels.
We tip-toed out of the Leisure Centre at Shavington with thoughts of the Manchester crew marathoning just up the road, into the rain/torrential rain/heavy rain/wind and rain/driving rain (delete as appropriate)….but didn’t really matter, as we were soaked within the first 500 yards, and became a small, happy band of 95 stragglers, bemusing the locals (watching, appropriately from within houses and cars)
Still I really enjoyed it. The marshals were fantastically organised and relentlessly upbeat, but no support to speak of (understandably!), except one youg girl (around 14 miles) standing in the rain, who’d made a tray of toffee/fudge/stuff, which looked wonderful, but due to no feeling in my fingers, I managed to drop 3 pieces, manouvering none into my mouth!!…but it looked great, thank you! I think with that offering my 20th mile might not have become a bumble rather than bimble…hey ho!
Anyway, a great marathon tune up which I’m sure would have been top scenery on a better day, but at least there were hot showers at the end amid the tales of endeavour, woe and cold. The winner clocked 2:10:33 and the first lady, 2:22:02. Harriers results:
Mike Saint-Dunn..2:30:29 (17th)
Martin Moore..2:44:05 (42nd)
MILTON KEYNES MARATHON
Report from Ian Hodkinson
As far as I know there were just two Harriers entered into the 1st ever Milton Keynes Marathon, both finished in respectable times despite the cold, wet, blustery conditions and partially flooded course over the Redways (cycle & pedestrian paths). Starting just outside the MK Dons stadium and then finishing inside on the track, James Thorpe finished in 4.22.11 & myself in 3.31.30.
This being the first ever running meant that there were quite a few lessons to be learnt by the organisers not least to allow for the unpredictable British weather. Apart from the chaos at the stadium at the beginning it was a fairly well organised event spoilt only by the weather. Thoughts have to go out to all of the fantastic marshals stuck outside for hours.
As I mentioned the Redways are designed to keep the people away from the roads, however at every junction or island there are underpasses of which about half were flooded from the overnight rain. Together with the few paths going though parks (which were also flooded) it was more like a cross country then your regular marathon.
I left the relative shelter of the stadium and shivered over to the starting pens, the staggered start helped to ease any congestion and I soon got into my running and warmed up after 4 quick miles. My race plan was to take it steady and average close to 8 min/mile pace, but I couldn’t help myself and ran at my normal pace and equalled my 5m, 10km, half & 20m PB’s so I knew I was quicker than planned.
So the plan changed to try to stay below 8min/mile pace and definitely get my PB.
I was doing fine until about 24mile, then legs got tighter, my energy level dropped and the slightest undulation became a steep hill effort.
Finally the stadium was in sight, only half a mile to go and I was full of running (with just occasional cramps in thighs & hamstrings) but I dragged myself round to the entrance, down the tunnel and entered the stadium. It was a great finish with lots of spectators in the stands, shouting & cheering and as you ran the track around the outside of the pitch you could see yourself on the big screen.
This was my first marathon since joining the Harriers and wearing the vest made a big difference. It felt like I was in Stafford with all Harriers supporting me – I had so many shouts for “go on Stafford” & “well done Stafford Harriers” from complete strangers, it really did help spur me on. I would like to say a big thank you to all Harriers for help, advise, training tips & those winter cross country races. Altogether, this has helped me to not only complete a sub 4 marathon but knock 40 mins off last years time ! I’m so chuffed and put it all down to joining the Harriers. Finally, a big well done to all Harriers who have completed a spring marathon this year !
STRATFORD HALF MARATHON
Report from Tony Baker
I took part in the Stratford half marathon on Sunday, the conditions were worst I have ever know it , it wasn’t the pouring rain but the cold, the wind and the hales and gales we had to encounter. Even at the start everyone was huddled in Starbucks to keep warm(lucky enough they didn’t charge us for the price of a mocha !). They cancelled the full marathon at the start and it was touch and go whether the race would be ran at all. We got used to the rain at about 2 miles but I was feeling absolutely frozen on my back and legs by 8 miles, at 10 to 12 miles we ran along the Greenway which was an old deserted railway track which was open to the elements with the added dimension of mud and puddles, the wind was knocking people over. I struggled round , the 13th mile probably my best as I just wanted to finish I came in at 2.11 ( I ran under another’s name who pulled out!) I was just ahead of my fellow Aldridge runner Chris. I did see one harrier who passed me, I shouted go on Stafford, he acknowledged me however I didn’t recognise him!! What’s worse was the 15 minute walk back to the car park from the finish. It’s a pity as this would have been a great race in good conditions , it was well marshalled
Now we will all go down with colds
Seven Harriers braved the awful conditions of Manchester so it is quite remarkable that they all came up with great times. Even 3 pb’s amogst them.
|Karen Murray||4-08-10||1st Time|
|2560||Richard Caley||4-17-19||1 st time|
4499 finished the race and many, many more started but didn’t finish.
Lots of reports below.
This must be the most race reports we have ever had for one race. There must be something about Manchester.
Report form Tracey Gee
Having been unsuccessful in a place for London I was one of 7 Harriers who decided that Manchester Marathon would be the alternative, only a week after London so there would be plenty of training buddies around. This was my 4th marathon but following a debilitating back injury in 2007 this was to be as much a test as the first; due to constant struggles with injury and niggles in my return to running I was never really sure if I would be able to tackle the distance again. However, after 18 months of generally injury free running, along with some inspiration from fellow Harriers I thought this was as good a time as any to check the situation out. Although I can’t say the looks on the faces of my chiropractor and sports therapist when I broke the news to them were that of agreement.
So 4 months of training later and race day had arrived. Now whilst I had trained in the cold, on rainy days and probably windy ones too. It was soon clear that we were about to face all 3 combined!! On the way to the start Richard asked why I was so quiet. Usually before a race it’s with nerves but I think a numb face had as much to do with it!
The race started and a mixture of dodging the deepest puddles, perfecting the sideways crab manoeuvre in an attempt to avoid the full force of hail into your face and various other tactics in a bid to deal with the conditions, plus keeping an eye on Ed to make sure he didn’t stray too far ahead of me, actually seemed to tick the miles away quite quickly. The crowd support for the race was really good especially considering the appalling weather. Somewhere after 10 miles we commenced the fantastic section of Harrier supporters. Families Baxter and Oliver were the first to greet us, further along were family Bourne and Mark Bentley nearby, shortly after that I had the shock of my life when I was greeted by my daughter, sister and mum who I had left back in Stafford the previous day (I’ll never trust a word any of them tell me again) it was an amazing surprise, the Stanyer family were the last of the cheerleaders to send us on our way to the half way mark, still buzzing. It was a good job as a bit of a low point came around 15 miles when you went cross country and lost the fight against fully submerging your trainers ankle deep in muddy water, just as you were trying to regain your stride with waterlogged trainers, an icy wind blasted you sideways and completed the numbing of all limbs.
It was at this stage Ed moved ahead of me by some distance so I thought he was going to win our little battle of the race! However a few miles further on I got back with him and after 19 miles the roles reversed. Having got through 20+ miles the survival instincts come into play, my battle of mind over matter was nicely interrupted by a rousing cheer from the Murray family around 22 miles. The Stanyers were perfectly placed after 23miles, I’m sure I could still hear Liz yelling as I went through 24!! I spotted my family again at 25 miles, next I knew I was in the finishing straight where support teams Baxter and Oliver were still on form. Job done!! It wasn’t my fastest marathon time but it wasn’t a PW either.
The marathon high was slightly marred by the complete lack of a system in the baggage area, it was miserable having to find your own bags before you could get some warm dry clothes (the organisers have promised this will be sorted for next year). Obviously one thing they can’t control is the weather, on the whole I enjoyed the race and think it is a good local marathon to do.
The race was won by Dave Norman in 2:24, first lady was Rebecca Johnson 3:05.
Congratulations to Karen Murray and Richard Caley on completing their marathon debut in great times, also to Chris Owen, Ian Talbot and Wayne Vaughan on getting a PB.
A huge round of applause for the brilliant support given by fellow Harriers (especially on such a miserable day), much appreciated and makes you proud to be a Harrier. The post race de-brief with them in the warmth of a pub was much needed and enjoyed.
Thanks to Ian and Richard for being good company and entertainment throughout the weekend!
By now you will be relieved to know I think that’s all I have to say. Oh did I mention the weather!!!
Report from Wayne Vaughan
I almost didn’t do this one. Training has been awful and my head just wasn’t in it. We also normally stay over at a hotel for these big races but I’d decided Manchester wasn’t too far to drive on the morning of a race. When I saw the weather I just wanted to go back to bed. Today was going to be a long hard slog. The walk to the Longford Park from the car park seemed like miles in the freezing rain. I’d dragged my poor girls along for support and felt really guilty about that, especially as the little one was in tears because of the cold.
When I left them to go to the start, sans coat and fleece, I couldn’t believe how cold it was. I did some kind of funny dance/jumping on the spot to try and keep warm. Then Ron Hill (I think it was him) pushed past me to get to the start to get the race under way. We finally got going and I quickly got into my stride. This was my fourth attempt at a marathon after blowing up in the other three. I knew I had a 3:30 in my legs but today wasn’t going to be that day. The training just hadn’t gone to plan. The last couple of months had seen me struggle to do 30 miles a week. I really struggled in the last five miles of my last 20 miler just a few weeks ago. I’d set off at 8 min mile pace and see how long I could hold it. I thought I’d get to 16 and that would be that. It would be a long walk back to the finish in those conditions.
The miles flew by. I think the sideways rain, hail and flooded lanes helped take my mind off it, although the numbness in my fingers and toes were a bit concerning. I got to 16 miles and had caught the 3:30 pace team. It took a while to get past them as they were all running in a line, but when I did I pushed on. I knocked out my quickest miles at 19 and 20. I got to 23 miles averaging around 7:51 pace and could see Tony Audenshaw up ahead (my Marathon Talk hero). I was ‘avin’ him!! But at that point I think someone sneakily shortened my hamstrings by about two inches. My legs went stiff and I slowed quite drastically. Over and over in my head I kept saying “just keep the legs moving”. In previous marathon I had given in too easily. I wasn’t going to stop and walk this time. 3:30 was well within reach. I caught Tony at about 25 miles.
The finish was in sight. I saw my family on the corner and someone shot me in my hamstring. I sort of galloped the rest of the way, tears in my eyes and crossed the line. 3:27:38. New PB by around 27 minutes.
I’m not one for showing my emotions I but haven’t stopped smiling since. Apart from when I tried to go down the stairs this morning. Tony beat me on chip time.
Report from Ian Talbot.
Seven Harriers ran the first Manchester marathon for ten years. Ed Smith, Tracey Gee Richard Caley and myself made a long weekend out of it and headed up the day before.
Most of Saturday we were watched the weather forecasts looking for any possible changes to the predicted awful conditions.
On the morning we got what we were expecting, torrential rain and gusting winds. After dropping bags at the drop off point the race started at 9am. My intention was to run for as hard as I could for as long as I could and hope I could get through the last six miles when as I am finding out the marathon really starts. I got through the start after around 2 minutes and made good progress , arriving at 10k in 42mins, 10 mile in 69, halfway in 1hr 31 and 20mile in 2hr 20. The course was pretty flat the odd hill thrown in. Some of it fell like a cross country going through lanes and mud pools. The wind was very cold on the hands and at some points blew you sideways. At around the 22 mile point the pain started to take its toll and my average mile started to drop quite quickly. Being my second marathon I was determined that I would not walk in this one unlike Chester, but I certainly wanted to. The support given to us by the army of Harriers who had made the journey up on the Sunday morning was invaluable and needed. At all the right points there seemed to be somebody on the course to give you a shout. My last four miles were very hard but I managed to get through the finish in a new PB of 3h 14mins and 4seconds which I was delighted about. Just need to get my last 10k a little better and could hopefully one day get under 3hr 10.
The other Harriers in the race also produced great runs.
Chris Owen, Wayne Vaughan, Karen Murray, Ed, Tracey and Richard Caley (First Marathon).
Massive Thanks to the following harriers for the support during the race and for the drinking after the race.
Hopefully not missed anybody.
Richard Caley thought that we would be off drinking on the night into Manchester but had not realised how much a marathon can take out of you. By 10.15pm he was asleep at the pub table, photo enclosed. Great effort mate.
Only bad side was the terrible organisation of the bag drop, where we had to search for around hours through around 4000 bags to find our dry clothes etc. Not good Manchester.
Report from Karen Murray
I had been unlucky in the ballot for the London Marathon and missed out on a place in the club draw also. I was disappointed as I was feeling fitter than I had for some time. I kept progressing my distance running and heard about the Manchester Marathon. I completed the Stafford 20 with a PB and thought “ go for it” and entered the marathon. I did as many runs as I could with the club on Tuesdays and Sundays and sought advice from many of the experienced Marathon runners, read “Women’s Running Magazine” and studied my “Run a Marathon” book. Despite the difficulties we all face when juggling a family, work and training , I did my best to stick to a training plan. The taper time was most difficult and it felt wrong but I stuck with the plan. The weather forecast was awful.
Race Day – After not sleeping a wink, I had porridge and headed toward Longford Park in the wind & rain. We had a bit of a walk from the car park to the running village. I was thankful for my Harriers waterproof. Baggage was delivered to the army cadets and I was parted from my waterproof and belongings. I was thankful for the plastic bag I was sent by Cancer Research UK for whom I was running. As always I was regretting running in my vest & cut offs, but grateful I kept my trusty gloves on. After a long queue for the toilets I made my way shivering to the start line and settled in the 4hrs 30 mins section (hoping to meet that time with a lot of luck). I couldn’t hear the race start but as we started to move forward slowly I ripped off the plastic bag. It was cold and I couldn’t wait to get running. It wasn’t too crowded and plenty of space to pick up a pace quite quickly. I aimed to settle into a steady pace. The crowd support, despite the rain, winds, and hail, were fantastic throughout the race. The cross country mud bath in Dunham Park was horrendous and made your trainers heavy but I think it stopped me getting blisters. Drink stations and gels were plentiful and organised. It was great to see the shock on my family’s faces when I reached the 22 miles earlier than expected. Wearing a Charity vest with my name on got me lots of personalised support which could have been from the Harriers that were there. I got a hug from Liz and Simon at 23 miles but may have ignored others unintentionally. I kept waiting to hit the wall but it never arrived and whether I was hypothermic or just lucky, I was able to keep up my pace and managed to complete my first marathon in 4hrs 8mins 10secs, way beyond expectations. I thank the support from my friends in the Harriers with their advice & encouragement, my two prezzies from my hubby (Garmin and marathon book) and the support and encouragement from my family. I have managed to raise over £400 for Cancer Research UK. Thanks to all those who sponsored me. Congratulations to the other Harriers who weathered the northern storm and finished the Manchester Marathon.
Report from Chris Owen
This is just a quick report as I suspect others will follow and also results can only be searched by name/no not club
Started about 30yrds from start in cold/wet conditions. There was no count down as it was mentioned. Ron Hill was going to do the start, there was just a starters pistol which caught most of us out. Meaning I started a bit further back than normal I wasn’t compelled to go stupidly fast and got into my rhythm virtually straight away with 6.40splits instead of 6.20,which I kept up until about 11miles where a hill appeared. About 20 I was numb from elbows to hands and also thighs were starting to cramp due to the cold wind/rain. At 24 I nearly lost it emotionally virtually bursting into tears. Think reason for this I was on pace for a sub 3.10 despite conditions as I was only hoping for a sub 3.15.eventually finished in 3.10.56 a pb by over 2min so a gfa for London. Trouble is I mispelt my name in registration and hoping this can be corrected.
Support was overwhelming despite weather and I apologise to all Harrier supporters for not acknowledging them of which there was small army
Report from Mark Bentley
Braving the high winds and torrential rain, I drove up to Altrincham to watch the Manchester Marathon, having run the London Marathon the previous week. It’s nice to return the favour of those Harriers who came to watch at London, even though the weather was abysmal today. With a temperature of only 4°C, you definitely needed to wear a Helly Hansen and gloves if you were running .
I arrived at Tesco in Altrincham, parked up, and proceeded through the store, and out over a little bridge the other side, which led to the course.
I saw Ian Talbot, Wayne Vaughan, Ed Smith, Tracey Gee, Richard Caley and Karen Murray all go through, and I cheered them all on. I bumped into Andy Bourne and family and chatted to them for a bit.
He said Liz and Simon Stanyer were also watching from another point in the town centre. Craig Baxter had said earlier in the week that he was also going up to Altrincham to watch, so from a Harriers point of view, Altrincham was a popular vantage point.
When all the Harriers had gone through, I beat hasty retreat into the Tesco cafe along with many other bedraggled spectators, for a coffee and scone, and to dry out a bit. Then it was back home to Stafford with the car heater on maximum.
Here are a few photos. Its the weather not my camera.
THREE PEAKS RACE CHALLENGE
Return to the Three Peaks;
report from Karen Davies
A merry group of Stafford Harriers returned to the Yorkshire Dales to face their second Three Peaks Fell Race challenge. This time, we knew what we were up against and had a different strategy.
Ralf’s strategy was to catch the flu just before the Stafford Half and, losing fitness and preparation, take on the role of Support Team, along with Edward, key provider (and eater) of jelly beans at the Checkpoints. John’s strategy was to find every bog possible between Pen Y Ghent and Ribblehead and do somersaults into each one. Thus, tackling half the course to retire at the Checkpoint. He is planning the ascent up the leg numbing Whernside on another date tbc.
Having run London just 6 days before my legs could have been in any condition, so I didn’t know what to expect. But, wow!!! I got round, though there was a longer detour coming off Pen Y Ghent, and I found some of the bogs that John didn’t and the wind was cold and was strong enough in places to blast runners off their feet! However, well supported and supplied with jelly beans I made it to the finish in 5 hours ten with a massive feeling of ‘made it!’
Joe Symonds, 28, of Hunters Bog Trotters in Edinburgh, finished the 23-mile race over the summits of Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales in 2hrs 55mins 58secs.
“After several days of heavy rain, Saturday dawned dry, but there was a bitter cold easterly wind and the temperature barely lifted above three degrees on the summits. The 745 starters from an entry of 1,000 found themselves battling against showers of sleet”.
“As well as winning the race, Hunters Bog Trotters also supplied the fastest woman competitor. Sarah O’Neil, 25, finished in 3hrs 28mins 43secs. Second placed lady was Emelie Forsberg, of Salomon International, who finished in 3hrs 43mins 52sec. Third was Welsh international fell runner Sarah Ridgway, 38, in 3hrs 45mins 51secs”.
“It was an indication of the difficult conditions that only 641 of the 745 starters finished the race. The Race organisers expressed their gratitude to the marshals and radio operators, some of whom endured up to six hours on the summits in poor weather conditions until all the runners were safely at the finish.
“Race Director Paul Dennison and his team woke on Sunday morning to watch gale force winds destroy two marquees which had been vital on the previous day. A marquee used for the medical and first aid staff was blown 200 yards across the event field and the race control marquee was flattened”.
For a full race report, see: http://www.threepeaksrace.org.uk/report2012.html
For race results, see: http://www.threepeaksrace.org.uk/results2012.html
Congratulations to Mark Bridgwood who was 1st M35, also Chris Skellern 1st L45, Sue Johnson 1st L55. Paul Bosson was 2nd M50, Amanda Clay 3rd L40 qnd Jane Bisiker 3rd L45.
The final Harriers placings for this years Spring treble are below.
|Mark||Bridgwood||16th 33-37||12th 38-20||9th 33-45|
|Paul||Bosson||30th 35-26||30th 41-31||27th 36-58|
|Darren||Mattocks||37th 36-36||36th 42-42||34th 38-04|
|Steve||Cooper||48th 37-40||40th 43-26|
|Mark||Bentley||51st 37-53||56th 40-38|
|Chris||Skellern||54th 38-05||43rd 44-09||40th 38-55|
|Chris||Pearce||56th 38-11||49th 45-18||44th 39-32|
|Eddie||Smith||59th 38-34||55th 46-00|
|Dave||Marsden||70th 39-25||64th 47-40||67th 43-39|
|Chris||Elsley||75th 40-10||61st 47-07||47th 40-06|
|Mark||Oliver||80th 40-46||61st 41-19|
|Ralph||Wedlock||82nd 40-55||66th 42-58|
|Amanda||Clay||84th 41-02||71st 50-16||68th 43-42|
|Sue||Johnson||90th 42-20||76th 51-58||64th 42-30|
|Amy||Wilshaw||93rd 43-26||73rd 45-19|
|Esther||Batho||94th 43-22||75th 51-31||78th 45-40|
|Graham||Williams||96th 43-48||72nd 50-37|
|Jane||Bisiker||98th 44-17||80th 53-20||80th 46-36|
|John||Greatholder||103rd 45-09||77th 45-39|
|Bryan||Dale||112th 46-22||88th 48-01|
|Shelley||Burns||117th 47-44||93rd 48-49|
|Mike||Jones||119th 48-09||96th 57-24||95th 49-38|
|Kellie||Lee||124th 59-46||97th 49-59|
|Jo||Oliver||129th 50-53||101st 51-18|
|Amanda||Pearce||138th 52-29||107th 63-09||110th 55-10|
|Mike||Moore||141st 53-55||118th 57-46|
LONDON MARATHON 2012
Report from Lisa Percox
Having the chance to take part in the London Marathon in the year of the London Olympics was very exciting. I was thrilled to get given a club place at the Christmas disco and will always be grateful for this opportunity.
As already reported by Liz and Craig, we were all blessed with sunshine as we gathered in the starting area. Meeting up with other Harriers helped keep my nerves under control. Before I knew it our bags were loaded onto the lorries and we were off!
The first 14 miles were, for me, simply a case of holding a steady pace and not getting carried away with the speed of group around me. Too many experienced Harriers had told me that going off too fast would lead to early fatigue and I found myself running with a member of Chase Harriers, talking about the Trig race, and various Stafford Harriers that she knew – Yvonne says hi to Chris and Brian! Most people knew that I was hoping for a sub-4, having narrowly missed it the previous year by 4 seconds!
Unfortunately for me, a Marathon takes no prisoners and if you have a weakness it will expose it. 4 weeks earlier, on my final 20 mile run, I had developed an injury – diagnosed finally as hamstring tendonitis. I had taken advice and rested it for a week and then gently tried out some short runs. My 12 mile run the Sunday before London had been alright so I had high hopes that all was well. At 14 miles the familiar tightness came back and by 15 miles my stride felt severely restricted. I knew I would see my family at this point and was able to tell them all was not well. To be honest the tears were both pain and disappointment at this stage.
What happened next will definitely always stay with me. With my personal goal no longer achievable I decided to finish what I had started and set new goals– to get to the end, smile at my family at Mile 18 and 25, see Buckingham Palace (having missed it on my previous 3 London Marathons!) and feel proud of raising over £900 for Children with Cancer.
Running with pain is not enjoyable and I prayed that my injury would not get worse from tackling the next 11 miles. My memory from then is how amazing all the runners around me were. Every one wanted the best for each other. The crowd support was amazing – hearing people willing you to keep going is so motivational – it is true that having your name on your vest helps. I saw my family two more times before the end – which was a long time coming, finishing in my personal worst time of 4 hours 23 minutes for the London Marathon.
I decided to write this report as a memory for me that no matter what training you do, when you tackle a Marathon you have to be prepared that anything can happen. In the final days I had watched the weather forecast, avoided friends and family with colds, eaten only good things and tried to be in control! On the day, it just wasn’t to be. I had declared that I would never try another marathon but this feels like unfinished business! If, however I am lucky enough to get the chance to try again I will start with more than one goal.
My congratulations go to everyone who finished the London 2012 Marathon, especially those who achieved their personal best times. Thanks also to Dave Preece for his sticker assistance!
If you ever get the chance to read the book on Rosie Swale Pope – who ran around the world in four and a half years, I highly recommend it. In it she says that when you think you have got nothing left to give, you still have 80% capacity – I thought about that for 11 miles and hoped she was right!
If you are wondering why it has taken me a week to post this report – well, I collected our new Labrador puppy the day after the Marathon. Let me share with you that if you think running a marathon is hard, this last week has been an equal challenge!
Report by Nevil Bland
Just a quick note to say many thanks to all the Harriers team for the last 8 months of support and friendship leading up to my first marathon in London. I joined the Harriers after getting in the event on the ballot (first time of trying I’m afraid!) and it made the training really interesting.
I write a weekly column and have attached it here if anyone’s interested in reading it just
Brocton Hall Golf Club
Report from Liz Stanyer
Here is a little (not really!) report from me about the marathon, and no I am not going to include any details of SIMONS hotel booking error!
The Gods were looking down on the Harriers at the start of the London Marathon 2012 as bright clear sunshine beat down on us (instead of the forecasted and expected heavy cold rain) whilst we sat in the field at Blackheath hours before the start. We had managed to get rid of Frank Evans, despite him following us to the Blue start area, when he was in Green, so we could all relax a bit and enjoy the atmosphere. Sat around on bin bags with Dave & Kim Preece, Rob Proctor, Tim Hough, Lisa Percox and Pedro (along for the ride with 48 hours notice) the conversation was relaxed and calm but somehow kept steering around to imodium, they must do a roaring trade in the marathon season! Joined by Craig Baxter in the last ten minutes, we were all good to go!
The Harriers Starting Pen Allocations Officer had done yet another sterling job and we all went off to our ‘chosen’ pen. I was in pen 2 and stayed right at the back remembering the almighty surge and fast pace at the front of pen 2 last year. However in pen 2 you do have to put up with a constant view of men weeing all around you as they are not prepared to lose their space and I had my first ever sighting of a lady standing next to me peeing into a drinks bottle. Good aim!
And we were off, and less than a mile in there is this almighty cartoon sounding ‘thwack!’ as some poor runner splats into the central reservation bollard. Lots of ooh’s from fellow runners and I turn see that it is our own Rob Proctor! Fortunately he was ok and managed to get up and carry on, but speaking with him later it did shake him up. I found the first 10k very busy and very hot and it felt difficult to establish a decent rhythm, so it was great to hear a huge ‘LIZ’ being shouted to my left and see a beaming Craig with his thumbs up, clearly enjoying himself so far. Along the way runners from local cubs all say hello and have a quick chat, and a couple of runners told me they used to run for the Harriers as we went along. There is such a sense of camaraderie.
The first half of the marathon doesn’t have many landmarks so it was great to be able to run around the Cutty Sark this year which was absolutely heaving with spectators. So that makes it even more remarkable that I saw Joan Preece and Dot Evans. Sorry did I say saw? I think I meant ‘heard’. Great shouting Joan! (poor Dave). There is a bit of a climb up Tower Bridge (just before half way) and it was so very packed here as runners appear to slow down and you feel almost claustraphobic with the huge crowds so close around you. I ran alongside a man carrying a cello on his back, as you do, and we discussed chaffing for a few minutes…..which was fun. After Tower Bridge the running gets difficult due to congestion and there seemed to be so many people who were walking at this stage, which means you are always having to weave around. So it was brilliant to have a moral boosting Harrier support team at 14 miles, Ed, Tracey, Simon and my girls. I think Mick and Karen were there also but sorry I didn’t see you!
I was glad to get past the 16 miles as it appeared to be less busy and the running became easier. I saw Joan and Dot again, Joans voice still holding out, then into Canary Wharf. Wow what can I say?!! It was, for me, the most uplifting section of the whole marathon. I have never experienced crowd volume, noise, atmosphere or enthusiasm like it. It was huge and constant and loud and it made me feel like I was a super star. I had goosebumps and a massive smile throughout all that section.
Then it is the home run, the last 10k. This time I did see Mick Jones, then a bit further Ed and Tracey, but I had to screach out to Tracey who was looking somewhere else in the distance so that she could see me. This section is a head down keep going kind of place as you are so near yet so far. I saw Dave Cook and mumbled something about ‘keep going, nearly there’ which I know are two of the worst phrases we runners hear, but my brain was in self preservation mode and it was the only thing I could think of to say, sorry Dave!
Out onto Embankment and it feels like the home run. Except it isn’t. It goes on forever! Thankfully the crowds here are brilliant and because they know you need all the help you can get, they give it. I had my only race wobble at the end of embankment and that was at 25 miles. I had lost track of my timings ( future tip, Garmins don’t do tunnels! ) and I knew I was cutting it fine and racing the clock at this late stage. Whether it was panic or just the nature of the marathon beast, but my legs started to go and I felt sick and faint. Not now I shouted in my head. Legs do not fail me now! A quick slug of a gel and sheer gritting of teeth I kept pushing. And so down The Mall, what a glorious finish, and I did sprint, yes sprint down there, sprinting all the way through to the finish ( I hope there is no video footage as I think it would translate on screen as a shuffle, crawl type motion).
A big medal from the wonderful enthusiatic marathon team who make you feel like you are the only one to have completed the marathon. Then on to The Chandos to meet up with all the Harrier support team and fellow runners, and to attempt, but sadly fail, to drink a much desired beer. I did make up for it later!Apologies to Pete Burns, Anneli and Ellie Baxter and Allison Kelly, all of whom were supporting but I didn’t see.A huge well done to all the other runners and a big thanks to the spectators. Simon had to have a lie down when we got back to the Hotel, he found it all a very tiring experience!
Here are the positions and time of the sixteen Harriers who ran this year.
One missing from the list is Karen Davies who finished in 3-45-30.
Two ex-Harriers, who have moved out of the district, met up with the group in the Chandos Pub. They were Jo O’Dowd who completed in 3-33-47 and Ian Spencer who did 4-15-08. It was great to meet up with them both again.
Further report from Craig Baxter.
Having read Liz’s report it has inspired me to share my memories of the day.
The best way to describe the start of my day was emotional, everything I had eaten, run and spoken about since Christmas was all about this one day, this one race. I left Anneli and Ellie at the entrance to the Blue Start Area and the emotion of the day started to hit home. Just wandering around aimlessly, luckily I bumped into Tim Hough who took me to where the other harriers had positioned themselves. I had been told about Dave Preece’s handy work with pen numbers and I took advantage of this not knowing that, that number two sticker would put me so near to the start line. Standing there I realised I was so out of place with my fellow runners around me, I was right at the front of the number two pen, just behind the elite athletes, oops.
Then the time soon ticked around to 9.45am and we where off. I was being engulfed by everyone around me and I was running way too fast. The surprise on Anneli and Ellie’s faces when I went past the first half a mile was a picture that I will long remember, “what the hell is he doing there” is what Anneli said to Ellie as I ran the first mile in a sub eight minute time. At this point I thought with another twenty five miles to go, I’d best slow down to my planned nine and a half minute mile time. I soon settled into a comfortable pace and got talking to a guy called Chris from Woodbridge Shufflers in Suffolk, who I ran with for the remainder of the race.
The miles started to tick down nicely and the next thing I knew we were at the six mile point and the recently refurbished Cutty Sark, where the crowds were enormous, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up with crowds shouting out your name. Still running with Chris, things were going well. The next milestone I had in mind was twelve miles and Tower Bridge and it didn’t disappoint, what a sight. After Tower Bridge I spotted the first of many Harrier supporters, Simon and the girls, Ed and Tracey and Karen and Mick, I think were there. This was a massive lift with the long road towards Canary Wharf to come. I had been previously told that Canary Wharf can be a bit quiet, that couldn’t be more wrong. The crowds were unreal and I found myself whipping them up and forgetting I had run sixteen miles, always wanting to entertain, I know.
I knew the next few miles were going to be tough and yet again more support from our Harrier supporters was amazing. I really needed that for the drag down the Embankment, my mood was lifted by the amazing sight of Big Ben in the distance knowing there were only a few more miles to go, but, I was starting to wobble. I got to twenty four miles and felt terrible, I think I saw Pete Burns at this point, sorry if I got that wrong, I felt sick, I had to head to the side of the road. Seeing my distress the crowds started to chant my name and with a big roar, I started to run again. I was lifted with another cheer from another fellow Harrier Alison Kelly and her husband and the home seemed so near. I started to lift my pace and managed to, what I believe, sprint the last 400mtrs, it may not have been a sprint, but to me it was. There it was, the Holy Grail, the finish line of the 2012 London Marathon, I had done it and laid the ghost of the Edinburgh Marathon to rest, with a massive PB. This really is a special day, but it doesn’t come easy.
There are so many people I want to thank for getting me to the start line and giving me great advice, so I won’t bother. I was however left with a tip of how to break four hours next time and that tip came from our own Mick Jones in the Chandos Pub, for post race drinks, he said, quote, “there is only one way you will break four hours and that is to lose weight” not what I wanted to hear but it did make me laugh after running twenty six miles. Thanks Mick.
|Mark||Bridgwood||16th 33-37||12th 38-20|
|Paul||Bosson||30th 35-26||30th 41-31|
|Darren||Mattocks||37th 36-36||36th 42-42|
|Steve||Cooper||48th 37-40||40th 43-26|
|Chris||Skellern||54th 38-05||43rd 44-09|
|Chris||Pearce||56th 38-11||49th 45-18|
|Eddie||Smith||59th 38-34||55th 46-00|
|Dave||Marsden||70th 39-25||64th 47-40|
|Chris||Elsley||75th 40-10||61st 47-07|
|Amanda||Clay||84th 41-02||71st 50-16|
|Sue||Johnson||90th 42-20||76th 51-58|
|Esther||Batho||94th 43-22||75th 51-31|
|Graham||Williams||96th 43-48||72nd 50-37|
|Jane||Bisiker||98th 44-17||80th 53-20|
|Mike||Jones||119th 48-09||96th 57-24|
|Amanda||Pearce||138th 52-29||107th 63-09|
|19 th||Steve Vaughan||42-48|
|37 th||Paul Douglas||45-31|
|41 st||Mark Bridgwood||45-44|
|88 th||Steve Cooper||50-00|
|93 rd||Mike St-Dunn||50-21|
|101 st||Chris Skellern||50-49|
|104 th||Darren Mattock||50-54|
|109 th||Ina Hodkinson||51-17|
|121 st||Alan Griffin||52-07|
|128 th||Daniel Cooper||52-30|
|129 th||Mark Bentley||52-38|
|137 th||Chris Elsey||52-57|
|157 th||Craig Baxter||55-02|
|158 th||Ralph Wedlock||55-19|
|163 rd||Dave Stephens||55-44|
|176 th||Esther Batho||56-37|
|186 th||Charlotte Vernon||57-47|
|191 st||Graham Williams||57-47|
|206 th||Karen Sabin||59-30|
|209 th||John Greatholder||59-49|
|213 th||Karen Murray||60-14|
|228 th||Mike Jones||61-37|
|242 nd||Bill Whitworth||63-13|
|256 th||Gael Earp||64-26|
|257 th||Jo Oliver||64-35|
|263 rd||Kellie Lee||65-38|
|276 th||George Singh||67-14|
Here are some photos from Bryan Dale
SPRING TREBLE -TRENTHAM
Thirty two Harriers made the trip up to Trentham for the first race of this years Spring Treble. Known as the Hanchurch Hilly some of the first time runners found out why. A very pleasant evening after the rain and thunder during the day the course was muddy in a few places and the ‘sting in the tail’ still stung.
Mark Bridgwood was first Harrier home in 34-17 with Steph Clayton having a great run to pip Chris Skellern as first Harrier lady in 38-49. There were 148 finishers and here are the Harriers times.
NB. Stone Master Marathoners have issued an apology about the timing of the race. It appears that the times below are out and everyone was a little quicker. They say it doesn’t alter the positions. The distances are not set so it doesn’t effect pb’s.
Here are some photos from Bryan Dale and a video from Pete B
69th PETE HODGETTS HANDICAP
REPORT Mike Jones, your handicapper.
On a damp Easter Sunday, 30 harriers turned out, with Craig Baxter winning in a not quite PB, so all that training for the marathon paid off, he knocked three minutes off his Christmas handicap time, next was Tom Sabin just behind and catching Craig in a PB time of 25-53, next was Chris Owen again in a PB of 26-30.
Next handicap is on Thursday June 14th 6pm for 6-30pm start, and it is in the Harriers challenge.
|Place||First name||Surname||Time||Handicap||net time||new handicap||no|
MADRID HALF MARATHON
I am still awaiting a report but comment has been made that there have been a lot of photos on facebook of the trip but all appear to be of drinking and none of running. So just to prove that there was some running done here is the proof. First the results and then some photos.
IRONBRIDGE HALF MARATHON
1 April 2012
Having to de-ice the car before leaving for Telford, I suspected this might be a race run in long sleeves and gloves but by the time the start arrived, the sun was starting to warm up leaving the weather conditions very similar to those for the Stafford Half a week earlier.
The race starts in Telford Town Park and proceeds through some park tracks before joining a disused railway line to Ironbridge.
The course is slightly undulating except for the big hill just past the 8 mile mark.
The run takes you to Blists Hill then down to Coalport where the River Severn is crossed via a not so well known iron bridge.
We then headed west along the south bank of the Severn to a more famous iron bridge where great crowds gather to encourage the runners.
About a quarter of a mile after crossing the bridge the run takes you up a steep climb for about half a mile (it felt much further) before it’s back down the other side and heading back for Telford Town Park along a combination of pathways tracks and field before rejoing the railway and heading for the finish.
Of the two Harriers running, Michelle Fox took the honours, finishing 111th in a time of 1:39:14 (chip 1:39:00) and taking 2nd place in her category.
I came in at 164th in a time of 1:43:43 (chip 1:43:27).