Chris Elsley reports,
33 Stafford Harriers were among a field of 432 runners who turned out on a wet and windy Sunday morning in the Potteries to tackle the Newcastle 10k road race.
The race forms part of the North Staffs series and is also included in the Harriers Challenge, both of which encourage a good entry from the local club.
It was a wet start but not too cold – perfect conditions for me but I understand not to the liking a good number of my fellow Harriers!
My new running shoes were given their race debut. They had attracted several comments during the club runs in the week and though they may not be quite so bright now, I think you will still see me coming for some weeks yet.
We set off from outside Newcastle College and I was soon passed by Ian & Jack Hodkinson with Ian complaining that he had been ‘cut up by someone with earphones’.
Much of the first half of the race is an uphill climb, taking in the long drag to Alsager’s Bank. Having reached the top of the final climb into Scot Hay, runners then have the welcome downhill towards Silverdale and back along a disused railway track to the finish.
I took the climb steady but at a fair pace and passed more than I was passed by. Somewhere near Alsager’s Bank, I caught a guy from Trentham who then proceeded to re-take me on any downhill. At Scot Hay, the final climbing is over and a nice downhill – into the headwind! I felt strong and with Darren Mattocks in my sights I pressed on, eventually catching him at around 7k. A week earlier, Darren had crossed the finish line of the Stafford Half a couple of yards ahead of me yet I was given a faster time and higher placing. I wasn’t complaining at that but at least here I beat him fair and square, as JC Solutions will confirm!
My Trentham colleague was still just ahead of me but as we hit the disused railway line with a little over 2k to go, I decided to up the pace for the finish and left him behind for the last time.
It was great to see Esther Batho, Gill Hodkinson and Mark Oliver braving the elements to give their support near the end – thanks.
This is certainly a great race to try, particularly if you are new to racing, but if you fancy entering it next year, get your entry in early as it did fill up.
The race was won by Felix McGrath of Westbury Harriers in a time of 33m 27 secs with Wendy Millineux (Heanor RC) the first lady back in 38:24.
Steve Jackson was the first Harrier home, finishing in 49th place in a time of 41:25 with Ian Hodkinson coming home in 57th, 18 seconds later.
Other Harrier finishers were:
Michael Dobson 58th 42.03
Keith Skelton 67th 42.25
Paul Bosson 73rd 42.33
Jack Hodkinson 75th 42.41 (1st U16 M)
Tracey Jones 78th 42.54 (1st L45)
Jim Smith 87th 43.03
Chris Elsley 105th 44.22
Darren Mattocks 118th 45.04
Mark Bentley 160th 46.47
Chris Skellern 177th 47.39 (2nd W50)
Angela Brookes 183rd 47.56 PB
Tracy Ridings 189th 48.15
Paul Morris 191st 48.33
David Taylor 199th 49.02
Shelley Burns 201st 49.03 (3rd L30)
Zoe Marklew 217th 50.13
Eddie Smith 223rd 50.33
Justine Hall 240th 51.39
Sandra Smith 249th 52.07
Karen Murray 255th 52.35
Amy Oliver 265th 53.16 (1st U16 F) PB
Joanne Oliver 269th 53.18
Dave Mantel 276th 53.44
Jane Bisiker 277th 53.46
Sarah Johnson 312th 56.18 PB
Gael Earp 351st 59.18
Julie Nokes 357th 59.30
Marie-Claire D’Arcy-Barron 370th 1.00.44
Mike Jones 393rd 1.04.02
Bill Whitworth 400th 1.05.08
Stuart Fowlie 403rd 1.05.24
Frank Evans 426th 1.17.37
This race was also the Staffordshire 10K Championships and Tracey Jones won the Bronze Medal as 3rd Lady overall in the race. Chris Skellern won the Gold medal in the L50 group.
Stafford Half Marathon
We have found 104 Harriers that appear in the results and 29 pb’s. If you are missing or got pb’s then let us know. The positions are as you crossed the line and the times are chip times, so in some cases they don’t always follow on, you may be behind someone who ran slower or in front of someone who ran faster.
12 ex Harriers have had their times removed and their PB not counted as they haven’t renewed their membership.
|698||Chris Skellern||1.43.49||3rd L50|
|1644||Karen D Murray||2.03.40|
|2332||Val Stuart||2.34.13||2nd L70|
Thanks to Bryan Dale here are our first seven coming along the river.
Lidl Kingston Breakfast Run 8.2 or 16 miles
Doing this race was like a trial run for London with getting up at 6.00am leaving Godalming at 7.00 and arriving at Kingston on Thames at 7.45 for the 8.30 start. I was doing the 8.2 with my daughter Caroline while my son in law Shane did the 16 which was twice round while Sue entertained Gabriel aged six and Reuben aged four.
Although quite cool it was dry for the start in the town centre. We went off in waves with Shane going with the six minute runners me with the eight minute and Caroline with the ten minute. After running through the town centre we crossed Kingston bridge and headed along the footpath next to the Thames which was the best part of the race. I love running by the river and when my son Richard lived in Clapham I would run through Battersea park over Albert bridge and back by Chelsea bridge. After about three miles we passed the gilded gates and gardens of Hampton Court Palace, ie Henry VIII and Wolf Hall, and then crossed over Hampton court bridge and headed towards Esher and then back towards Kingston with the Thames on our left. As we were solely on the footpath it got quite congested and there were endless lamp posts and road signs to impede your running. We then headed back into the town centre and I got quite confused when my garmin showed eight miles and I could not see the finish until I remembered it was 8.2 miles.
As I entered the finishing straight the commentator announced my name from Stafford Harriers and said it was a long way back up the M6 which amused me. The last time I did an eight mile race was the Crewe 8 which used to be in the NSRRA. All finishers received a mug and a large goody bag filled with food and refreshments from Lidl. There were no changing facilities so we changed in Macdonalds and then met my son and his family and had a lovely Mothers day lunch by the river.
The winner of the 8.2 race was Peter Orme unattached in 49.43, first lady was Rachel Jones also unattached in 52.36. My time was 1.10.27 first MV65, Caroline did 1.23.20 which I thought was good on very limited training. The winner of the 16 mile was Nathan Smeaton of Clapham Chasers RC in 1.31.32 and first lady Sara Kingston of Worthing Harriers in 1.40.17. Shane was 21st of 737 runners in 1.45.40
Report by Graham Williams
Lilleshall Monumental 10K
15th March 2015
organised by Newport and District Running Club (part of the Fourmidables Multi Terrain race series).
Report by Mel Deakin
I thought this race may take me out of my comfort zone. Why have yucky mud, playful hills and stiles to negotiate when you can run on lovely flat tarmac roads? Alas a friend convinced me I needed a challenge of doing something a bit different so I went for it.
On the morning of the race it was dry and very cool with a slight breeze –just what I like so a good start. I was wearing my Harriers vest for the first time and hoped it would bring me luck. I talked myself through the facts. This isn’t a course for PB’s. A good time for me would be to get round in one piece in an hour. The hills will hurt but no pain no gain and all that. It doesn’t matter if my new shoes get muddy!
It was about a 40 minute drive to Lilleshall and there was plenty of parking. I allowed extra time as it was collect your number on the day, but there were no queues and plenty of marshals to assist. For those that don’t want to tackle the 10k there is a shorter ‘fun’ run before the main race. I say ‘fun’ as it is the most challenging fun run I have ever seen. It goes to the top of the Lilleshall Monument hill (more about that later) and back, a fantastic achievement. While waiting for the fun run to finish and the main race to start I chatted to some fellow Harriers, thank you all for keeping my nerves at bay.
We were off. The first mile or so is on the tarmac roads, and although I had my new trail shoes on I got a good fast start. Then the terrain changed as we moved onto tracks and through fields. I would like to say at this point I am grateful to the farmers who let us run over their land and give us the opportunity of seeing some spectacular scenery. But at the time I did have to mentally dig in. It was undoubtedly very muddy. It was hard to ignore the strong manure smell as we ran past the edge of some farm buildings (which made me feel as if I was going to be sick), and even more difficult to avoid running through the manure on the ground, but that didn’t last for long thank goodness. Running over a stile was a new thing for me, quite an art in not covering the stile or yourself in mud from your shoes. The playful hills or gentle inclines or whatever you want to call them weren’t that bad individually, the challenge was they were relentless and just kept coming one after another. I was really glad when there was a short flat respite leading back to Lilleshall. We then ran through the churchyard, uphill of course, and back towards the school. I looked up, up, up, towards the monument and could see other runners there and looked at my watch – not far to go, and this was reinforced by the marshals cheering us all on. However, here comes the sting in the tail. The path up to the monument is steep, more steep, and then steeper still. Running up it was, as the title of the race suggests a monumental herculean effort for me. I slowed down to little more than a walk and just kept counting 1-2-3-1-2-3 (thank you Chris for this tip) while my legs screamed at me to stop. The top – yay! Not enough time to stop and look at the view, as I looked at my watch and realised if I dug deep I had a chance of finishing under the hour. Running down the hill was tricky as it was so steep, then the last 500m was back on the tarmac and into the school grounds to finish. My Garmin watch stopped at 59 minutes 41 seconds. Water, banana, towel and flowers were given out on finishing thank you. Well done everyone, especially all the Stafford Harriers that took part.
I would recommend this race to anyone who wants a challenge that pushes you in a different way to running a fast flat 10k. The setting is beautiful. It is well organised and it is excellent value for money to enter. But I think it is a challenge. It will be interesting to see how the next race in the series, the Sherrifhales Shuffle on 3rd May compares. The course is described as fairly dry with a few minor hills. I will see!
Race was won by Robin Sedman Smith of Newport Running Club in 38:54
first lady, Sarah Mackness of Telford AC in 45:20
Harriers times were.
Christopher Ross 46:00
Jim Smith 46:11
Michelle Fox 46:31
Ralph Wedlock 55:25
Melonie Deakin 59:31
Jillian Ross 60:41
Sara Broome 80:25
MILTON KEYENS FESTIVAL OF RUNNING
To Milton Keynes (City of the Future) for their Festival of Running which this year offered 5K, 10K, half marathon and 20 mile races. I’d entered the 20 miler over New Year but then thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew. Fortunately they were very nice about me wimping out to the half. There was an excellent turn-out (1,921 for the half) with runners and families huddled in the warmth of the shopping centre entertained by a local radio DJ with appropriate tracks and shout-outs. It was about 10ºC, overcast but dry, with a steady cold wind which made you worry you’d made the wrong choice about what to wear. Once we were off it was warm enough with lots of local support along the route. People think Milton Keynes is a flat, concrete landscape but the route covered surrounding villages with nice churches, thatched cottages, and landscaped parks, with a fair amount of undulation as you pass under roads and over the canal. The main downside was congestion during the first few miles; if you’re a quick runner, you’ll want to start near the front. The wind made it hard going at times and being out-paced by the 20 mile runners (who’d started earlier) is certainly galling. I came in at 1:50:20. All in all a good experience and well-run event with different distance options for people who don’t fancy Weston Bank multiple times on a cold Sunday.
T-shirt of the day: “Sweat is just fat crying”!
Report from Liz Stanyer.
18 Harriers took on what is commonly known as ‘The Beast’ in the race calendar. The Stafford 20. Now prepare yourself for something amazing and very rare with my report, but I actually loved it! Sorry to disappoint, for there will be very little moaning! The weather at the start was perfect for me, cool and a light dusting of rain. It soon changed with heavy driving rain for the 3rd lap but I like running in the rain so still no moaning!
The start is a bit messy with lots of weaving around the university with ramps and bollards a plenty, so I was glad to get on the road to start the climb up Weston Bank. And from then on I just settled and ran the same pace for the entire duration of those long 20 miles. Boring, but that’s me.
I had a battle right from the university start, all the way with a Trentham lady in my NSRRA group, but she was very encouraging and friendly and told me (too late) that I had dropped a gel on Weston bank. I told off an unattached male runner at the end of the second lap after being heartily sick of his surges every time I overtook. So when he chopped my stride by cutting in for the 100th time I really let rip at him! Bless, he looked terrified, apologised and then I never saw him again!
So 3 laps of this course is a real test of your mental strength. The hills in Salt on the 1st lap are always an unpleasant surprise and really hammer those legs early on. But it’s the monotony of the route and knowing it’s all coming again, AND AGAIN that is the toughie.
Luckily I was feeling positive so got myself comfortably in the zone and relaxed and enjoyed myself in the rain, just ticking the miles off, but I have been utterly broken by this race before so I do know how it feels to lose the mental battle.
Massive Harrier support perfectly placed which really made a huge difference. Too many to mention by name but my Trentham rival made a comment to me that there were Stafford Harriers cheerleaders everywhere. And she was right! Thank you all for braving awful weather to make a real difference to the race for us.
So that you don’t think I’ve changed personality dramatically and made this report too joyful, let’s talk about the finish. Oh my!! How cruel! Due to roadworks it was moved to the top (as in top of a HILL top) car park at the University. It was steep and unforgiving and I had to work as no idea if my Trentham rival was catching or not. A very harsh end to a tough race.
So a big well done to all who conquered The Beast and those who got great Pbs.
Also 3 Harriers won Staffs County gold medals, Robert Motram Jones male over 50, Ros Bould lady over 50, and me, lady over 35 (presented wrongly to my Trentham rival initially!)
12th Phil Hilsdon 2.06.30
16 Matthew Woodman 2.07.19
35 Ryan Nokes 2.14.57
37 Robert Mottram-Jones 2.15.08
51 Mark Bridgwood 2.18.01
80 Michael Dobson 2.24.35
93 Ian Hodkinson 2.26.32
180 Ros Bould 2.41.57
181 Liz Stanyer 2.42.15
193 Chris Elsley 2.44.09
203 Mark Oliver 2.45.38
251 Mark Bentley 2.54.04
255 Tracy Ridings 2.54.40
272 Angela Brookes 2.56.59
279 Shelley Burns 2.58.04
297 Natalie Godfrey 3.00.24
306 Karen Murray 3.02.49
336 Anne Coghlan 3.12.26
Here are some photos from Bryan Dale
Not wanting to sound repetitive with every report I write, but mud and hills feature in this race strongly again. I had rose tinted spectacles when I got a place for this race. In 2012 I ran it and loved it and got a very respectable time. This year a whole different world. Fourteen minutes slower, enough said. Saying that I still feel it’s a brilliant race that I would encourage lots of people to try. The first couple of miles are flat and are very muddy. Then just as your legs are tiring from the mud, the climb up Bosley Cloud starts. Needless to say to get my monies worth I walked up the “Cloud” and took in the beautiful scenery and views around. To my amazement Anne from Race Photos was at the top taking snaps. She refused to take a photo unless I ran, which I duly obliged as I’m not one to suffer from camera shyness. The achievement to get to the top is tempered slightly when you realise there is another five miles of the race to go. The downhill then starts. It’s how brave you are feeling that determines the rate of descent. I went for it with no fear in my mind. Passing three or four people on the descent, who then passed me later again, a chap walking the other way passed comment that I was an accident waiting to happen. Thanks for your support mate. Once at the bottom its quite a nice final three or so miles but your legs feel like its double that. Just to rub salt into the wounds, there is yet more mud with two miles to go. With half a mile to go I heard the shout of Bingo, it was Ian Hodkinson who had come to greet me and help me in. With one last push and a sprint finish I was done as well as done in.
The marshalling on this race is brilliant. They are all so supportive and ready to offer advice like “try running” they were brilliant and the soup at the end was a very welcome sight. Well done Congleton Harriers. Please give it a go at least once. Yes it hurts but it’s worth it.
1st Male – Carl Moulton – 56:27 – Boalloy
1st Female – Olivia Walwyn – 1:03:34 – Macclesfield Harriers
Stafford Harriers –
75th (6th Lady) – Michelle Rushton Fox – 1:15:21
78th – Ian Hodkinson – 1:15:58
114th – Darren Mattocks – 1:19:43
225th – Jane Bisiker – 1:37:05
230th – Caryl Gibson – 1:37:53
231st – Joe Atherton – 1:37:55
244th – Craig Baxter – 1:42:25
246th – Lynn Geoghegan – 1:45:49
Total finishers 258
MARCH HAIR RAISER
10 Harriers made the journey to Albrighton near Wolverhampton for the annual March Hair Raiser 10k multi terrain run. Luckily the rain stayed away until the race had finished but we were treated to some nice cold winds. The race starts and finishes on a lane to a farm and then you go down the side of fields and then onto bridle paths. There were one or two large stretches of mud (and a stile) and being at the back I had to pass a couple of horses. Winner of the race was Ross Jones of Wolves and Bilston in 33:38, first female Audrey Wilson, also of Wolves and Bilston, in 42:53. Chris Ross was the first Harriers home in 43:41
Chris Ross 43:41
Dave Payling 45:02
Chris Skellern 50:21 (1st F45)
Nigel Addison 53:48
Anne Coghlan 55:57
Jill Ross 56:14
Julie Addison 58:14
John Hateley 66:04
Amanda Pearce 69:00
Sara Broome 73:32
Sunday 22 Feb 2015
Chris Elsley reports
16 members of Stafford Harriers were among 449 finishers in the Action Heart 5 mile road race on Sunday with several recording PB’s (Ian Hodkinson, Chris Elsley, Mark Oliver, Shelley Burns, Gill Hodkinson and Joanne Oliver)
The race starts and finishes in the grounds of Russell’s Hall Hospital in Dudley with a one-lap loop around the local road network.
As we arrived, conditions underfoot were a little icy but by the time the race had started, most of it had cleared and there were only one or two patches where you needed to be careful.
The route basically consists of two climbs either side of one downhill. The first two miles combine a bit of flat with some long gradual climbs but then you get a mile of downhill and a bit more flat before the final mile climb back to the hospital and the finish.
Ian Hodkinson was first Harrier home and 34th overall in a time of 33.36, beating son Jack (42nd 34:27) for the first time. Alan Griffin (44th 34:4) came in just behind.
Other Harrier finishers were:
Chris Elsley 61st 35:57
Mark Oliver 65th 36:27
Chris Skellern 92nd 37:49 (1st female 50-59)
Shelley Burns 106th 38:42
Gill Hodkinson 128th 39:36
Caryl Gibson 196th 42:54
Joe Atherton 199th 43:04
Craig Baxter 212th 43:49
Joanne Oliver 215th 43:46
Debbie McDermott 216th 43:47
Marie Claire D’Arcy Barron 307th 48:12
Val Stuart 416th 57:29 (1st female 70+)
Frank Evans 438th 62:28
The race was won by Sam Lloyd-Perks (Halesowen) 27:30 with Tessa Clarke of Wolves & Bilston the first lady home (11th overall) in 29:36
There was some concern at the finish line as we spotted the medical team treating someone. Apparently he been taking part in the walking event (same course, starts half an hour earlier) and collapsed at the finish. Happy to report that the West Midlands Running Scene says he has recovered.
Craig Baxter reports
I thought I’d best get my backside in gear and get entering some of the 2015 Challenge races. Little did I know that this race was the day after the National Cross Country Championships. Dragging myself out of bed at 7am for a 9.30am race start in Dudley was not the easiest thing I’ve ever done after the mud the previous day. I got down to the race venue in plenty of time to be greeted by black ice in the start and finish areas and panic started to set in.
Anyway onto the race. Starting in the grounds of Russells Hall Hospital, my fellow Harriers and me jostled into position on a quite tight start line and headed off. I had heard contrasting stories about the make up of the course. Basically in one word its “hilly.” The first two miles is a gradual climb around the local streeets followed by a long downhill to the three mile point. At this stage my legs were starting to feel the previous days exertions as I watched Joe and Caryl (in my challenge group) dissappear. In my mind I knew we would have to climb again given to location of the hospital. As we got to the four mile point we turned a corner and there was the hill I expected. Quite a long drag. I kept Debbie Mcdermott insight going up the hill and managed to catch her at the top where I tried to encourage her to kick on to the finish line. As I crossed the line I realised how close I’d been to being caught by Jo Oliver, who had, had an exceptional run.
I would highly recommend this race to other Harriers who are looking for a challenging five miler. It can’t have been too tough given the amount of PB’s by my fellow Harriers. Also nice to collect the Veteran Female award for Chris Skellern and the Harriers to be recognised with a certificate in the presentaion for putting in the amount of runners we did. Well done all that went.
Ian Hodkinson reports.
It was a cold fresh morning with a good ground frost and slippy conditions under foot, on the way to the start at least !
However, with the pleasant black country biting wind, it soon cleared up during the race which was actually ran in fine racing conditions.
Starting from the grounds of Russell Hall Hospital, we negotiated several (well marshalled) speed bumps out of the rear of the grounds and then uphill back onto the main dual carriage way.
Then we enjoyed a series of uphill drags, one after another, until almost the halfway point where we then enjoyed a welcome downhill stretch unfortunately followed by another steady uphill climb.
Overall a good race, well organised by the very friendly Action Heart team with reasonably fast times recorded despite the climbs.
16 Harriers made the early morning trip over to Dudley helping us to pick up a silver award for the 2nd best attended club (after local DK Running)
National Cross Country Championships
Amy Oliver reports:
I arrived at Parliament Hill apprehensive, as I had never been there before. It was a shock to see how muddy it was and also how hilly the start was! My race was at 11.00am so I went into my pen at around 10.50am. It was intimidating as there was so many people in my race and I was the only Harrier. The start was a slow incline, which was very tough on my legs, but there was then a downhill section which was good as a recovery. Over the whole course, the mud was thick and the hills kept on coming. This was very hard and I am glad I had ran in spikes. The last 200m was a downhill section but was extremely muddy. However, I picked the pace up and finished with a time of 30:30 with a position of 229th.
Jake Oliver reports:
Parliament Hill was an outstanding atmosphere for me because I had never been in a race so big. I had to wait until 2.05 pm to march onto the starting line and wait to hear the gun go so that meant I was rather warm and managed to watch a lot of races before. I got some advice from the other 2 juniors who were Hannah Talbot and my sister Amy. Because my race was one of the later ones, by time I was running there was mud almost everywhere, especially the last bit, which was good because it was downhill, but not so good because it was the muddiest bit on the course. Overall I think I did very well and managed to finish with a position of 336th and managed to get a time of 16:03 which I was pleased with.
Craig Baxters report
I have allowed myself a couple of days grace before writing this report. One thing “mud,” not much more can be said but I will. A few hardy Harriers made the trip down to London via bus, trains and automobiles. It is quite a stunning setting on Parliament Hill with a fantastic backdrop of the City of London. Having run this event three years ago I was quite excited to be back again, but that excitement was being tempered with a message from Pete Burns regarding the state of the course. He was not kidding.
We watched the juniors with much pride and respect for them after seeing how muddy they were and how difficult the course was proving to be. Well done to Jake Oliver, Amy Oliver and Hannah Talbot for an amazing effort. Then it was our ladies and as usual Liz couldn’t wait to get out there!!!!!! They made it look so easy, this wasn’t helping. Then it was us. I walked down to the start of the race with Mick Jones and Dave Marsden and I was struggling to keep my balance just heading down to the start. We all lined up with a couple of thousand other runners who were about to experience seven miles of mud. Then we were off, in what could only be described as a scene from Braveheart, up the hill and into the mud. In never got any better. A two lap course. Was I pleased to see our support crew after lap one, although they didn’t do a great job of stifling their laughter as I skated past like Bambi on ice. At this point I was having a sense of humour failure and a bout of tourettes. I was adamant I was going to finish so got my head down and tried to slide on. The second lap was just a surreal 3.5 miles. I went through a range of emotions from despair to cracking up. Into the final stages of the race and as expected they were there…. The Harrier Army. I was so happy to see them and they were waiting for me to fall over, which I didn’t. They were amazing, they cheered me all the way into the finish line. Love them all. Thanks guys.
Yes I would do it again, yes I would encourage people to do it. Running can be about being part of a team and that’s why I will be back again. Come on folks show #HarrierSpirit
Here is what a running journalist thought of the race.
Now the report you have all been waiting for. Liz Stanyer says
Before reading this report please note that this is a report all about me, my opinions, my experiences, my thoughts on the National Cross Country Championships. It’s not any other Harrier opinions or comments.
It’s all about me (yes some will say it always is!)
Quagmire was the word that greeted me at Parliament Hill (please note the ‘hill’ word).
Quagmire – noun – ‘a soft boggy area of land that gives way underfoot’.
Not even close to describing what lay ahead.
Our first sight on the way to camp was of a junior men’s race and I thought ‘why are they all wearing tights?’ Not tights. Mud. Right up to their thighs. Oh joy.
So we set up ‘camp’ on a hillside with a fabulous London city skyline as a backdrop. I use the word camp very loosely as basically it was Harrier bags dumped in a sort of circle whilst standing looking at each other knowing this is it for the day but pretending to be really happy about it. See attached photo of Harrier base camp (mmm do you see Mo Farah doing his mobot joined us?)
So being as this report is all about me I shall tell you I was utterly perished on that mountainside. I couldn’t feel my feet but that’s as much to do with a bad idea of wearing really thick bed socks which made my wellies too tight therefore cutting off all circulation. Also my beautifully colour coordinated, multi layered outfit failed to warm me whilst attracting ridicule from so called friends. It’s always a pleasure to head into a race absolutely frozen, and of course not helped by squeezing my numbed feet into spikes a size too small. I felt like I was running on stumps as my feet had clearly left me.
So the 4 Harrier ladies started at 2.20pm on the dot looking every inch the national athletes. Refer back to the ‘hill’ word. There was a big fat one right ahead of us. A massive charge, jostling, pushing, up the incredibly large, increasingly steep hill.
Full of mud. A hilly muddy hill. And so for those of you who are busy and need to get on you can leave this report now as primarily there is a recurring theme. See if you can guess what it is.
After the hill there is a downhill on the right but straight into deeper, thicker mud. I tried weaving around, find a less sticky section but realised pretty quickly how pointless my efforts were. And just because they can, let’s throw in some swamps, some watery slurry, and some stinking cesspits to negotiate.
So let’s get back to the hills which I was told wrongly, very wrongly (you know who you are!) weren’t too challenging. The hill in the far section that stretched on and on and got steeper was bad enough. Then do it again on your second lap. Then add in sharper steeper inclines with tree roots and thicker gloopy mud in the wooded areas. Then let’s take you back down a hill you’ve just climbed and just for a laugh, because it’s clearly brilliant fun, double back and take you back up the same hill again. To say I lost the will to live would be a massive understatement. I spent most of the race thinking how I would explain to fellow Harriers, family and friends that I just had to pull out of the race because I had twisted my ankle/been terribly spiked/developed a serious but temporary medical condition/got mud poisoning. But saving the shame of quitting for another day I carried on.
To add to my distress I was being followed by someone called Eva. Now Eva appeared to have a relentless support crew around the entire course who were incredibly loud. Having completely misjudged the length of the second lap I was in no mood to hear repeated versions of ‘come on Eva’ ‘you’re doing great Eva’ (she wasn’t that great surely?) but unfortunately I did.
And so my moaning is nearly over. The finish. A long downhill slurry slipping and sliding but I didn’t care, I just didn’t want to be in that race a second longer. Then towards the finishing straight which is like running the wrong way along a conveyor belt. It just didn’t get any nearer! I laughed (not really) at a man shouting to Eva to sprint finish on the grass. What grass?? Good luck with that one Eva. It was almost as funny as the man asking me for my chip when I had finished. Firstly I wanted to vomit, secondly where was that chip as it was buried underneath so much mud I couldn’t find it.
So if you’re thinking of running the cross country championships please don’t let this report put you off.
However, if you’re still with me, I would like to offer some top tips
1. Don’t wear white socks (massive error)
2. Don’t ask your team captain about hills. She lies.
3. Bed socks are not good for keeping feet warm in wellies.
4. Avoid starting a race anywhere near someone called Eva.
5. Don’t take your best bath towel from home.
6. Tall people look foolish running in mud.
7. Never ever expect sympathy from Mick Jones.
8. Or Pete Burns.
9. Do laugh your head off at the chairman attempting to negotiate hills and mud. It’s really very funny.
10.Just don’t do it.
(Massive thanks as always to the support from the Harrier crew. Brilliant as ever)
Start of Ladies Race
Keep your eyes peeled for our for Ladies starting the race. They are all on the video.
Footnote from Pete Burns
The Championship Committee have had lots of emails from clubs and runners thanking them for a great event. So I have forwarded Liz’s report to all of the committee just to set the record straight. They are trying to get Eva from Tonbridge’s views.
Just to finish off on the Nationals and you have all heard the war stories from those that were there about the mud. Well here is the photo gallery from the English Cross Country Association’s website. It does show some damp conditions.
PRACTICE STAFFORD HALF
Report Colin Mitchell
Well done every one. We had 51 people today. Everyone did 13.2 miles with mustering some of the front runners did 15 to 18 miles.A few ran down to the club and back home, as part of their training plan for London.
It was great see so many running. thanks Jo and Rachel for the water stations.
Thanks Chris, Brain, Bill, Mark, and Craig for taking us round.
Report by Chris Elsley
One of my favourite races, the Stourbridge Stagger is becoming increasingly popular – I only just got my entry in before the ‘House Full’ signs went up (500 entries).
This year’s Stagger was part of the Harriers Challenge but that still didn’t encourage many entries from the Harriers. Understandable as it clashed with the Alsager 5 which is part of the North Staffs series but such a shame as I know many would love this, especially if you like the Suicide 6.
I travelled down with Keith and Michelle and we weren’t aware of any other Harriers running – a relaxed run and some good challenge points were in the offering but Michelle’s hopes of a maximum haul were dashed by the sight of Ian Hodkinson limbering up around the start area. We also saw Caryl Gibson and Joe Atherton (who had no number but decided to run ‘incognito’ with Caryl) and Natalie Godfrey who was all set to do this event for the first time.
There was a cold wind blowing at the start and I decided on hat, gloves and two layers, knowing that some parts of the course are a bit exposed to the elements.
The race (approx 10.3 miles) starts with a lap round Mary Stevens Park in the centre of the town. Just as a warning of things to come there is a short sharp climb just before you leave the park.
We then head out of town past a couple of football pitches, through a housing estate, over the golf course, up a short stretch of road eventually on to a sandy trackway known as Dinosaur Beach. Towards the end of this track is where it starts to get a bit muddy.
A sharp left into a wetter, muddier path which, according to the OS map, is the course of a Roman Road. I always thought the Romans were clever – you would have thought they would have built some proper drainage!
The race continues down a series of tracks and paths with a variety of widths and depths of mud, up a stepped climb, through gates and over stiles, until we get to a steep hill on a field which many (including me) walked.
A few more tracks and paths (mainly downhill) then some respite from the mud as we hit the tarmac taking us into the village of Churchill (some nice not so cheap looking properties there). It was to be small relief as the hardest, muddiest gullies were still to come. Here I used some gentlemanly etiquette as I allowed a lady to go first through the mud as she wanted to trying running it whereas I had already decided to walk it.
The last couple of miles or so is mainly flat or downhill and relatively mud free and takes us back across the golf course and the football field, through the housing estate and to the finish in Mary Stevens Park.
On leaving the housing estate, I heard the encouraging shouts of Keith and Ian and decided to kick on for the last 100 metres or so, passing half a dozen runners on the way to the line. I finished in 122nd in a time of 1:28:02, more than a minute inside my previous best for this event and over five minutes quicker than last year.
The race was won by Karl Welborn of BRAT in 1:04:52, just one second ahead of Matthew Harrold from Warley Woods Pacers. Leading lady was Jenny Latham (17th overall) of Wakefield District H&AC in 1:12:27.
Ian Hodkinson was first Harrier home, finishing in 56th place with a time of 1.19.03 while Keith Skelton (66th – 1:19:59) just pipped Michelle Rushton-Fox (67th – 1:20:01).
Natalie Godfrey came in 277th (1:44:02), Kate Waterhouse 298th (1:46:22) and Caryl Gibson 312th (1:47:40). There were 425 finishers.
Also running alongside the Stagger is a Ladies Only 7km race which starts off at the same time on the same course but the Ladies take an alternative (and, I suspect, drier) route about a mile or so into the race. There were 119 finishers with Natalie McHale (Unatt) first across the line in 29:10.
Report by Ian Hodkinson
The latest race in this year’s Harrier’s Challenge took us off down to Sunny, but chilly, Stourbridge for the 10mile Stagger.
This aptly named race was new to the challenge diary and a first for many, but an old favourite for a few.
In fact it was sold out early as it proved such a popular event with runners turning up from all over.
The course was very different to a lot other races we normally get to run in, such as taking in Hills, Trails, paths, Gully’s with gates & styles over forest, fields, streets & even football pitches.
To sum it up best, I would describe it as a 10mile cross country race, but with a nice start & finish in the park.
Oh, I nearly forgot ….. LOADS of MUD !!! (Quote from Natalie “worse than Suicide 6 and nobody warned me about it” unquote)
Only 6 official Harrier entries made it (plus Joe Atherton, minus a number)
All seemed to enjoy it (in a funny sort of way!) with creditable performances.
Results as follows;
56th Ian Hodkinson 1hr 19.03 min
66th Keith Skelton 1hr 19.59 min
67th Michelle Rushton-Fox 1hr 20.01 min
122th Chris Elsley 1hr 28.02 min
277th Natalie Godfrey 1hr 44.02 min
312th Carol Gibson 1hr 47.40 min
(not placed – Joe Atherton – approx. 1hr 47.40 min)
Out of 425 finishers
If you want a Sunday run that’s a little bit different & just under an hour away, give it a shot next year!
Get your entry in early next year !
The NSRRA series consists of twenty races between February and November with the best twelve counting towards points in the group and age awards. Distances range from four miles to marathon. Twenty three Harriers ran this first event the Alsager 5 which is an important race in the calendar as it is a flat fast course with nearly nine hundred finishers. It was a cold clear morning with plenty of woolly hats and gloves to be seen. Despite wearing chips it was a fast start and remained so throughout the race and there were quite a few chances to cut the odd corner. After a couple of miles the sun came out which must have affected those that were heavily dressed. The winner was Ieuan Thomas of Cardiff AC in 24.04 and first lady Helen Clitheroe of Preston Harriers in 27.15
First harrier was Michael Dobson in 32.22 and first lady Ros Bould in 35.29. Hannah Talbot in her first five mile race ran a great time of 35.45. Oliver Nokes the other son of Julie ran a superb 28.55 and it would be good to see him race against Ryan. Other harrier times with their NSRRA positions are as follows
Report by Graham Williams
Liz Stanyer reports.
23 Harriers took part in the Alsager 5 on a very cold 1st February. This is the first race of the year on many peoples calendar and with it notorious for being a fast flat course, it attracts some of the best runners in the country, not just the area.
The start as always was a little warm up jog away from race HQ and is in a residential road where residents can and do drive along right up until the start.
The start is very fast, but with chip timing there wasn’t quite the mad jostling and frantic racing off at the start as I have found in previous years. I started with Hannah Talbot, running the first 2 miles with her before she decided she could push on a bit harder and ditched me. She had a great race and is making the transition to senior road racing look easy.
One big lap and one small lap can leave you a bit disorientated and the long flats are exactly that, very very long, and flat. Its not the most inspiring course but people aren’t running this one for the scenary as its all about nailing that fast 5 mile time on a course which allows you to do just that. Hursts like mad though!
The finish is back at race HQ with a decent straight to use anything you have left for a sprint finish.
The race was won by Ieuan Thomas Cardiff AC 24.04
1st lady Helen Clitheroe Preston Harriers 27.15
Harrier positions and times
|Position||Gun Time||Chip time|
|281||Jim Smith||34.45||34.35 PB|
|307||Ros Bould||35.33||35.29 1st L50|
|326||Hannah Talbot||35.59||35.45 PB|
|355||Chris Skellern||36.36||36.22 2nd L50|
|362||Liz Stanyer||36.41||36.27 PB|
|409||Tracy Ridings||38.02||37.44 PB 3rd Group M|
|551||Graham Williams||41.12||40.53 2nd M65|
|579||Karen Murray||42.11||41.53 1st Group W|
|600||Karen D Murray||43.06||42.47|
|784||Julie Nokes||48.58||48.30 3rd L55|
|789||Michael Jones||49.07||48.36 3rd M70|
MIDLAND AREA CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Woolaton Park 24/1/15
We had 16 Seniors & 12 juniors competing in this years’ Midland Area Championships on a sunny but cold day.
The course was laid out on the beautiful parkland of Woolaton with some great climbs in front of the imposing old hall and some sticky mud at the rear of the coppice, the sting in the tail at the end of each lap!
Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience with most taking the team bus option, and making a day of it calling in the pub on the way home for a chance to share stories & experiences over a meal& a pint or two. They all had good races in what was a very challenging field of some of the Midlands best athletes.
No prizes this time, no doubt due to the step up in class, but some very credible times & places. Despite managing to lose a few shoes on the way round.
Below are the results;
71st Michelle Rushton-Fox 34.50 mins
91st Tracey Jones 36.02 mins
113th Liz Stanyer 36.47 mins
134th Chris Skellern 38.07 mins
141st Julie Addison 38.29 mins
(266 finishers, 17th team overall)
177th Mark Bridgwood 46.51 mins
285th Chris Ross 51.10 mins
286th Michael Dobson 51.11 mins
288th Jim Smith 51.19 mins
296th Ian Hodkinson 51.40 mins
343rd Dave Marsden 54.17 mins
353rd Alan Griffin 54.43 mins
385th Mark Oliver 57.05 mins
428th Ed Smith 1.01.26 mins
448th Craig Baxter 1.07.51 mins
(456 finishers, 30th place team overall)
48th George Hodkinson 12.09 mins
97th Will Buckley 13.13 mins
103rd Jake Oliver 13.29 mins
118th Taygen Pike 16.55 mins
76th Kieran Mogey 21.18 mins
57th Hannah Talbot 17.14 mins
96th Gabby Lufton 19.03 mins
98th Ellie Smith 19.39 mins
69th Jack Hodkinson 25.24 mins
48th Beth Darke 22.42 mins
59th Amy Oliver 26.20 mins
Well done to everyone, especially the “Happy Days Groupies” who offered tremendous support to all of our runners (you know who you are !)
2014 NSRRA AWARDS
At the 2014 NSRRA Awards night Stafford Harriers were well represented.
Tracy Ridings First Group X and winner of the Ann Nowicki Memorial Award
Michelle Fox second L35
Tracey Jones second L40
Karen Murray third L45
Chris Skellern Lady Veteran of the year, First L50.
Robert Mottram Jones second M50
Eddie Smith third M60
Graham Williams third group F, third M65
Mick Jones second group G,third M70
Bill Whitworth third M70
Here are some photos of our winners.
Capital Runners Richmond Park 10K
11 January 2015 10:00
To Richmond Park in South West London for the first of Capital Runners’ 10K series for 2015. It was a cold but sunny morning, around 5°C with a bitter westerly wind and a field of nearly 200 runners. The surface was mixed (tarmac and hardcore paths) and the distance wasn’t certified due to the “multi terrain nature”.
Unfortunately the organisers had power problems so I don’t think the chip timing was working which is a shame but not the end of the world. However the runners were keen and we set off into the headwind but soon warmed up in the sunshine going up the first incline. The going was good and we shared the route with pedestrians and other runners (and some grumpy cyclists).
The course was two laps which I always find makes for a better second half as I know what’s coming: where to step up the pace and when to ease off a bit. I came in at 0:48:32 to a medal, water and Jaffa Cakes™.
All-in-all a very pleasant race, power problems aside. 8/10
The Trig Race
Report by Liz Stanyer
19 Harriers took on what, in my humble opinion, is the toughest race on the calendar, but I also think it’s one of the best. So we all meet in the cricket club to get our ‘dibbers’ and have the usual panic that we are not carrying the required kit of waterproofs, full body cover, hat and gloves, compass, maps and a whistle. Cue lots of Harrier ideas on how we can make hats out of coats, pretend our watches are compasses and how will we pass whistles down the line if we get checked.
170 runners started and I find it amazing how quickly runners head off in completely different directions. Very soon the field thins out and you have to have courage to stick to your chosen route when everyone seems to have gone elsewhere.
The first trig point is after a tough slog up the hill to the rifle ranges. Then a long run to the next one, (thanks to Jane for braving the winds on Marquis Drive) and down kitbag hill. I’m rubbish on downhill and this one is hard as it’s lumpy and steep and fills you with horror knowing you have to crawl back up it much later in the race.
A 2 minute rest time is allowed at Morse Gorse, the 2nd trig point and welcome water station. Good to see Pete, Brian and Amanda here giving much needed encouragement. Then this is where I really had to believe in my route as everyone around me took the right and I took the left at the barrier. So I’m totally alone running up hill and then get greeted by the path being completely blocked in 3 parts by massive fallen trees. My legs didn’t feel the love of the hurdling at all. Maybe I should have gone right after all!
So 3rd trig point Castle Ring. Oh Castle Ring how I love you. What a total beast. But this is where you get to see all the other runners and more importantly other Harriers. Seeing fellow Harriers is so encouraging and I apologise to those I couldn’t speak to on the way up but your words were noted.
4th trig point is a road run to Brereton, then there is some very welcome downhill to the 5th trig point at Morse Gorse again.
So a big breather before tackling the leg sapping, lung dropping drag back back back up kitbag hill. How lovely to see Jim Smith here with a camera. Of all the areas of the chase to choose he picks there!
My personal difficulties came along Marquis Drive as everything mentally and physically was screaming with tiredness and there was a strong head wind. All I saw ahead was a painful long stretch of concrete. Special thanks to the forestry commission for having a huge fire along here choking the area and runners with a heavy thick smoke.
Breaking the race down I knew there was really only one hill left to tackle so settled down and enjoyed taking some of the more tired runners. Big fat head winds along here to the last trig point which is the glacial boulder. Hoorah!!
From here on in I kind of throw myself down the hills home. There’s no style, no energy, no legs, no lungs, no focus except just get myself home!
Brilliant to see Ian and Caroline shouting, telling me my position, and then closer to that glorious finish to see The Oliver’s, Gill H and Karen Murray (except I didn’t did I Karen!)
I was utterly exhausted, more than a little nauseas but chuffed to bits to complete it all without incident and in a time I didn’t dare expect.
This race is a beauty and I love it. It’s big. Its long. It’s such a challenge tackling some monster hills over Cannock chase, but it’s a fantastically varied race over wonderful countryside and a massive achievement of which everyone who took part should be very proud.
Report by Chris Elsley
I’d made various promises over the last couple of years to run this race but due to other commitments, I’ve not been able to make it. This year, I had no excuses so lined up with 170 other runners just up the hill from Milford Common.
Four of us (Mark Oliver, Chris Skellern and Keith Skelton) had decided to run together and we set off together along a familiar trail used in various Thursday night and Sunday mornings. As reported by Liz, a number of runners decided to take alternative routes but most appeared to prefer the muddy gully up to Mere Pool. Here, a good number peeled off left while we continued along the old railway track to Brocton Coppice.
Runners started to merge from their chosen paths to check in at the first Trig Point at the Rifle Range and our group of four were still together.
We proceeded down towards Moor’s Gorse. ‘Be careful not to go too quick’ was Chris’ warning as we descended Kitbag Hill and then she proceeded to leave us trailing!
A two minute break at the crossing and then we moved on towards Castle Ring. We met the leading Harriers as they passed us on their way up to Stile Cop. I still felt ok but at the climb up to Castle Ring I started to lose a few yards on the others without them getting too far ahead.
After Castle Ring the tiredness really started to kick in and I walked a few steps back up the hill (I hate walking in any race – defeated L). I was still not far behind the other three as we dibbed at the Trig and hit the track back down to Moor’s Gorse.
Another 2 minute time out at the crossing and I took on a gel (I really should have taken one there the first time around – lesson learned for next time!) but it wasn’t soon enough and I walked again up Kitbag Hill, finally admitting defeat that I wouldn’t catch the others.
But it was here that Ed Smith passed me and that gave me a boost as someone to cling on to. He kept pulling away on the downhill but eventually, as the gel kicked in, I caught him on the path towards the Glacial Boulder and we ran together for a while until he left me again on another downhill.
Although I was cramping up, I was able to pass a few other runners and managed to close the gap on Ed, finally passing him a couple of hundred yards before the finish where I collapsed to the floor exhausted.. As you will see from the results Keith, Mark and Chris were only a minute or so ahead of me so I wasn’t too disappointed.
I would do it again and be better prepared in terms of taking on the gels but won’t be too disappointed if other commitments force me to miss next year!!!
Well done to all the Harriers involved, whether running, volunteering or just supporting – it all helps to get you round this tough course.
|58th||Liz Stanyer||2.26.21||1st L40|
|78th||Chris Skellern||2.33.22||1st L50|
|86th||Eddie Smith||2.35.17||3rd M60|
|142nd||Amanda Clay||3.00.01||2nd L40|
Pictures by Jim Smith
Staffordshire Cross Country Championships
Saturday 3rd January 2015
Report Tracey Jones
Four ladies and fifteen men travelled to Wolverhampton to compete in the Staffordshire Cross Country Championships.
The day started off quite wet, but the rain eventually gave way by the time the senior races took place.
The course was quite muddy in places, with a couple of little water jumps and a few very short steep climbs, but nothing overly testing for the seasoned cross country runner.
The ladies race consisted of 2 laps totalling 3.58 miles, whilst the men tackled a small lap then 3 laps of the larger loop at 5.80 miles.
Tracey Jones was first counter for the ladies team and Mark Bridgwood led the mens team home.
Harriers men won the bronze medal in the veteran team award, the counters were Ian Talbot, Chris Ross, Jim Smith, Ian Hodkinson, Michael Dobson and Dave Marsden.
The team bus had a great atmosphere and most athletes generally seemed to “enjoy” the course.
|69 runners finished Stafford Harriers came 8th out of 8 complete teams|
|116 runners finished
Stafford Harriers came 8th out of 8 complete teams
and were 3rd veteran mens team
Vernon’s Limp Wrist Race.
We had 105 finishers in this years race and some seemed at the start to have celebrated the new year rather well. It was great to see so many turn up and there will be a great donation to Katherine House Hospice.
Message from Mike Jones
“Thank you to all that took part and helped on the limp wrist 2014 we made £456,which we will be taking to Katherine hospice this week, in memory of Vernon Olivant.”
Mike and Carol Jones
Here are the results with alternative results below.
|Pos||No||Club||Pred time||Act Time||Diff|
|3||283||Stephen||Burrows||Trentham Running Club||36:40||0:36:44||00:04|
|7||371||Mike||Cutler||South Cheshire Harriers||48:00||0:47:51||00:09|
|9||199||Jason||Rollinson||Stone Master Marthoners||39:56||0:39:44||00:12|
|14||229||Bill||Stevenson||Michelin A C||42:37||0:43:00||00:23|
|16||250||Simon||Walker||South Cheshire Harriers||39:50||0:40:16||00:26|
|24||213||Lorraine||Rollinson||Stone Master Marthoners||40:06||0:39:24||00:42|
|33||221||John||Guest||Trentham Running Club||36:14||0:35:19||00:55|
|37||381||Russell||Williams||Cheadle R C||39:30||0:38:28||01:02|
|42||238||Julie||Ebrey||Stone Master Marthoners||45:23||0:44:07||01:16|
|50||222||Kevin||Uzzell||Stone Master Marthoners||38:46||0:37:26||01:20|
|53||280||Anne-Marie||Mountford||Stone Master Marthoners||48:20||0:46:47||01:33|
|55||297||Grahame||Cope||Uttoxeter road runners||39:59||0:38:24||01:35|
|59||272||Martin||Stirna||South Cheshire Harriers||57:29||0:55:47||01:42|
|61||302||Bill||Clarke||Stone Master Marthoners||55:50||0:54:07||01:43|
|62||198||Richard||Shaw||Stone Master Marthoners||40:30||0:42:16||01:46|
|67||373||Mac||McCoig||Stone Master Marthoners||46:10||0:48:14||02:04|
|70||383||Tom||Johnson||Stone Master Marthoners||38:50||0:36:44||02:06|
|70||301||Sarah||Capewell||Stone Master Marthoners||56:12||0:54:06||02:06|
|72||299||Anne||Griffiths||Stone Master Marthoners||56:05||0:53:54||02:11|
|77||372||Pam||Davies||Stone Master Marthoners||44:44||0:42:10||02:34|
|80||231||Chris||Barlow||Stone Master Marthoners||45:20||0:48:05||02:45|
|83||300||David||Griffiths||Stone Master Marthoners||50:05||0:47:08||02:57|
|86||355||Karen D||Murray||Stafford Harriers||46:26||0:43:12||03:14|
|94||284||Julie||Boulton||Stone Master Marthoners||53:37||0:48:39||04:58|
|96||51||Kathy||Ling||Wrekin Road Runners||01:06:20||1:11:28||05:08|
For those of you who want to know where you would have come had it have been a normal race then open the PDF below.
What a nice way to start the new year with an ultra. race was based at robin hood bay not far from whitby. it should have been quite easy,basically 6m on a old railway,through whitby up 200 steps to cleveland way which follows the coast back to start,back on railway going in apposite direction for another 6m ,returning to start via cleveland way. the track part was easy expect the 2nd part (explain later). the awful part was the cleveland way, head wind and very muddy path on way out on return wind was blowing you towards the cliff edge and this part of the route was very undulating with numerous steps. i wasn’t the only the harrier,sam came with me who enjoyed it more than me. the only trouble on part of railway a horse and sam got spooked and i got kicked on arm,luckily only badly grazed. Finished in a disappointing time of 6hrs 4mins.
Chris and Sam