WHEATON ASTON 10K
report from Mike Jones
On wet morning, 30 Harriers travelled through the flooded roads to Wheaton Aston, to run a good fast 10K races, except this year we ran through floods which were very cold, and at least we all got our shoes cleaned, this did not stop 7 Harriers getting PB’S.
12th Nathan Sabin 35-59 PB 1st U21
58th Paul Bosson 40-34 3rd M50
69th Chris Ross 41-18
87th Alan Cook 42-13
91st Ian Hodkinson 42-25 PB
92nd Richard Caley 42-25 PB
104th Dave Payling 43-05
119th Alan Griffin 43-52 PB
146th Steph Clayton 45-21
152nd Chris Skellern 45-37 1st L50
153rd Tracey Gee 45-38
155th Michelle Fox 45-43
157th Martin Moore 45-47
159th Chris Pearce 45-49
166th Eddie Smith 46-24
183rd Mark Bentley 47-21
203rd Adam Morris 48-22
234th Chris Elsley 49-35
271st Graham Williams 51-44
275th Angela Brookes 51-57 PB
288th Joe Atherton 52-39
296th Karen Sabin 53-27
314th Liz Cook 54-13
352nd Mike Jones 56-15
387th Anne Coghlan 59-16
408th Holly Wright 61-39
412th Amanda Pearce 62-21 PB
418th Anthony Pine 63-26
419th Rachel Pine 63-26
445th Bobbie Phillips 68-32
Just 4 Harriers made the short journey across the Shropshire boarder for the Telford 10k, which was split into two races, “elite” and “masses”.
Three of us (myself, Phil Hilsdon and Matt Woodman) were entered into the elite race, which you had to have run under 40 mins in a previous 10k race to qualify for and the other harrier was John Hateley who ran in the masses race.
The course itself is a very flat, fast, two lap race set around the Telford town park on paths and on the old railway line so it’s completely traffic free and has massive P.B potential. The race had 1000 entrants in total and the elite race had even attracted a few Olympic athletes!!
The first 8 runners managed to finish in under 30 mins which gives you an idea of the quality on show with the winner, Olympian Andy Baddeley, finishing in a time of 29.08 and just outside the course record with fellow Olympian Nick McCormick coming in second!!
The first lady home was Laura Whittle in a time of 34.14 mins.
The three Harriers on show did the club proud in the elite race, all posting excellent times in what was a very tough field.
64th Matt Woodman 33:50 (P.B)
117th Mark Bridgwood 37.05 (P.B)
130th Phil Hilsdon 37.51
624th John Hateley 60.55
To see the full results list and race report go to :- http://www.westmidlandsrunningscene.co.uk/
NORTH STAFFS CROSS COUNTRY LEAGUE
The final fixture in the North Staffs Cross Country took place at everyones favourite course. Leek!! with Killer Hill in all its glory.
The start this year had been moved to the top of the hill making it a downhill start but the hills didn’t change they were all there. It was a very successful day for the Harriers with lots of trophies head Staffords way.
And the winners are
Will Sammons collected the third place prize in the Under 13 Boys.
The Boys Under 15 Team collected the 2nd place team prize.
The Girls Under 15 Team collected the 3rd place team prize.
Nathan Sabin won the Under 17 individual prize.
Chris Skellern won the L50 prize
Eddie Smith won the 2nd place M 55 prize
Paul Douglas won the M60 prize.
The mens M50 team took the second place team prize and
The mens team won the second division and have been promoted.
The ladies team secured another season in the 1st Division.
It was a particularly good performance by all members of the mens team that overturned a 78 point lead held by Telford AC into a massive 174 point win.
It was the best points return that the Harriers had all season and it was not just the counters that secured it, the number of Harriers that turned out pushed the other teams back.
Well Done to all that ran the races during the season.
For the full results go to the NSCCL page
BIRMINGHAM LEAGUE CROSS COUNTRY
Report from Mark Bridgwood
On arrival at St Leonard’s I was greeted by the sight of just 3 Harriers waiting by the minibus for our trip to Nueaten for the next round of the Birmingham x/c. What made things worse was the fact that one of the three was Keith Skelton who I knew was injured so he was only driving the bus! (cheers for that by the way Keith!!) I asked the other two Harriers (Rich Caley and Darren Mattocks) if they knew
of anybody else that was coming and they said that Joe Atherton should be meeting us at the venue.
I knew that new Harrier Phil Hilsdon had mentioned an interest in coming but could be struggling as he part runs a kids football team on a Saturday morning. I gave him a ring and he said that he was back at home and just getting his gear together so I said we’d pick him up on route. After getting Phil we set off for Nuneaton in the hope that another Harrier would meet us at the venue so we could put a team of 6 out otherwise our finishing positions wouldn’t count!!
When we arrived at Nuneaton a new set of problems arose! Firstly, the lack of parking!! In the end Keith dropped us just across from the start area and said he’d try and find a parking space.
The second and much bigger problem was registering and getting our race numbers, as we stupidly assumed that registration would be near the start line, WRONG!! It turned out that it was a good ten minute walk across the golf course at the school!! Myself, Rich and Phil set off at a brisk jog as it was now 14:10pm and the race started at 14:30pm! As we got to the edge of the golf course the school was still no where to be seen so Phil decided to ask some golfers on the other side of the fairway for directions.
After a brief chat Phil pointed that the school was through some trees over on his side of the fairway so without hesitation Rich set off across the fairway just as some golfers were playing shots down to the nearby green!! Luckily he just about made it across and they disappeared into the trees. I decided to go back and see if we actually had a full team to start the race. Back at the start I met up with Darren and as we chatted Keith walked over to us with our race numbers and following him was Chris Ross! They had been to the school in the minibus to get the numbers. We now just needed Joe to turn up and for the other two to finish their ramble around the golf course and come back!!
With 5 minutes to go Phil and Rich appeared as they had been given a lift back with one of the marshals as they would never have made the start in time! Then, with the officials telling us to take to the start line Joe arrived and quickly got his number on so we now finally had a full team of six!!
As the start whistle was blown it became very apparent that this was going to be yet another very muddy cross country, within the first 100 metres a chap along side myself and Phil went flying on his bottom along the muddy grass!! After running/sliding for what seemed an eternity Phil told me that we “Hadn’t even done
a mile yet”!! At that point I knew it was going to be a long race!! Myself and Phil had a mini battle going on and we overtook each other on several occasions throughout the three laps.
The course was a mix of open fields and woodland trails but thankfully no real hills to speak of as the mud was making it particularly tough going under foot! By the time we started the third lap I was still keeping up with Phil and so I decided to try and push ahead of him as I knew he has a good sprint finish. I wasn’t sliding around as much as Phil because I was wearing spikes and he was only wearing trail shoes so I knew I could grip better in the mud. I was feeling tired with half a lap to go but knew that Phil was just behind me so I dug deep and kept my pace up. With the finish line in sight I looked back for the first time to see where he was. Luckily I’d managed to make a little gap between us but then the runner behind me made a kick for home so I put a sprint finish in and managed to hold him off and crossed the line in 30th place. Phil came through a few seconds later in 36th place. I think the difference between us on the day was purely footwear selection. The rest of the Harriers filtered through and we then made our way to the bus for the journey home.
Here are the Harriers results.
30th Mark Bridgwood 42:24
36th Phil Hilsdon 42:33
58th Chris Ross 43:49
71st Darren Mattocks 44:29
117th Rich Caley 48:27
153rd Joe Atherton 52:25
We were 11th out of 17 teams.
It would be really good to get some more runners out for the next one!!
Here is a link to the full results page.
Fom Liz Stanyer
The more hardy of the Harriers decided that Suicide 6 was a little tame for them this year so opted for the more difficult challenge of 2 laps ( a very tough long mile ) around the rocky roads of Stafford town centre. A serious warm up was welcomed as runners got nervous whilst being jostled by elite Santas waiting at the start. A steady pace was required due to the beastly nature of the course, hampered by the weighty Santa suits that were mandatory for all runners. 2 laps of the town with sprint finishes from all who took it seriously (and there were a few!) greeted with a medal and a mince pie for conquering a race which is now recognised as one of the most challenging on the race circuit.
Suicide 6? For wimps. Santa dash? Hardcore! Ho! Ho! Ho!
To View the photos Click on SANTA DASH
Report form Craig Baxter
As Liz pointed out, quite a few Harriers decided against the tough Santa Dash to take on the much easier Suicide 6 at Baggeridge Park. All the talk in the week leading up to the race was the stream crossing. Sadly due to the horrendous weather it was decided by the organisers that it was too dangerous to cross. Most were a little disappointed not to tackle the crossing but given the state if the rest of the route it may have been a blessing. The mud was unrelenting, the uphills hard and the downhills treacherous, which Chris Skellern found to her cost, having to have stitches in a nasty gash after a fall. Yes, Chris did finish the race. Yet again the Harriers and supporting Harriers were amazing, all helping each other, even when valuable Challenge points were up for grabs. I have to say, having run this for a second time, I’m starting to feel the love for this race. This might surprise a few people after my rants at the Cross Country the previous week. I was so pleased to have chosen the easier race of the day and not that killer Santa Dash where the hardcore runners were. All I can say, do it once then decide whether you love it or hate.
Here are the results with 28 Harrier (wimps) among the 650 finishers.
NORTH STAFFS CROSS COUNTRY
No report as yet but here are some photos.
and here are the results.
The day finally for my last marathon of this year (10). Luton a three lap course. It is part of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire marathon championships and also a uka gold grade event, so I was hoping it would be a fast decent course. Slightly disappointed first 2 miles on footpaths around housings estates, finally onto roads then last 2 miles of the lap back onto footpaths it is a well organised race,well marshalled. Had a bit of a bad start, switch on my watch to locate satellites when I noticed hardly had any power left, so decided to use it as just a watch. With not knowing what my pace was and distance all the time I was doing just over 7min mile splits until 19m when I stumbled on a road ripple and splat. I was partially to blame, first time I wore the trainers on dry roads at race pace and they are just to griipy. At 22m my legs started to tire. So stumbling became worse. Epically running on footpaths. With this being the last marathon I was hoping to go out with a high, not quite 3.15.04, pleased with time as it was only three weeks since snowden.two things I have learnt from just concentrating on marathons, 26.2m is a long way and you have to be mentally strong, because if you start having doubts, you have to battle through it, so failure doesn’t become an option, which on a couple of times I could have given up.
Will I being doing 10 next year? Got planned 5/6
On a cold, crisp November morning, 35 Harriers made the short journey to Standon for the “Flying Fox 10”. As this was the last road race in the “Harriers Challenge” there were points up for grabs in all the respective leagues.
Myself and Ian Talbot made our way from the school hall up to the start line some 10 mins away which was quite nice as we used it as our warm up for the race, We were met there by Nathan who arrived just before the off! The start is on a small country lane so when the whistle went to start the race there was lots of elbowing and pushing to get a good running line but that wasn’t working for myself, Ian & Nathan so we ended up running down the grass verge!!
At this point Ian and Nathan pushed on with the front of the pack so I settled into my own running pace.
The 1st few miles take you away from the school but you kind of do a loop which takes you on a fast down hill past the road for the school and past the car park. We then crossed a railway bridge and turned left running parallel with the train line. This road seems to go on forever as it’s fairly flat and straight until you are about halfway through the race. At this point you are directed onto a side road which starts a gradual, steady climb until you reach the waterlogged part of the course!!
As you turn a bend you are greeted by the sight of a straight bit of road with raised sides and the entire road surface is under dark brown murky water!! I myself opted for the wet feet option and ploughed on through the middle.(some Harriers decided to use the hedge bank to avoid getting wet, you know who you are!!) This then led to a hill that never seemed to end until you reached the water station but then it carried on climbing for probably another half mile or so.
Finally, at this stage there was a bit of relief with a down hill section!! it was steady at first but then got a lot steeper which made you run at a flat out pace!! This then led to guess what? yes, another bl**dy hill!! I kept pushing on until I noticed that Ian was
not too far ahead (I think he had heavy legs from the x/c relays the day before!) so I made it my mission to try and beat him!!
Bit by bit I was getting closer until at about 8 and a half miles I pulled along side and asked if he was ok. He said he was tired so I upped my pace slightly to try and lose him but he came with me!! After about 30 secs to my relief he said “it was mine today” and I pulled slightly clear of him. It was at this stage that I realised that I was on for a P.B so I tried to keep the pace up as I knew from 9 miles it was all downhill until almost the finish. As I came around the last bend I could see the the “portaloo’s” by the school entrance so I dug deep and kept going until I crossed the line in a time of 63 mins 12 secs and was handed a spot prize bottle of beer (which I swapped for a bottle of cider!!) and a “quality” calendar for my troubles!!
I managed to get a P.B by over a minute which I was delighted with as my previous best was on the very flat trackless 10.
I would recommend this race to anyone as it has a bit of everything, (unless you only run to collect quality race memento’s!!)
It’s not easy but a great race to end the road running year on.
Our very own Matt Woodman finished in second place overall and Nathan had another excellent race finishing 8th and will no doubt break the 60 minute barrier very soon for 10 miles. Paul Douglas was the 1st M60, Chris Skellern was 1st F50 and Tracey Gee was
the1st F40 so well done to them and to everyone that finished.
Here are all the Harriers results.
Position Time Name
2 58:26 Matt Woodman
8 60:51 Nathan Sabin
16 63:12 Mark Bridgwood (P.B)
17 63:22 Ian Talbot
32 67:32 Paul Douglas (1st M60)
42 69:45 Neil Martin (P.B)
46 70:26 Alan Cook
48 71:03 Darren Mattocks
52 71:23 Dave Payling
61 73:05 Mike Saint-Dunn
70 74:49 Chris Skellern (1st F50)
82 76:08 Mark Bentley
88 76:55 Eddie Smith
90 77:05 Tracey Gee (1st F40)
96 78:30 Chris Elsley
98 78:34 Steve Babb
103 79:30 Ralph Wedlock
114 81:20 Joe Atherton
122 83:14 Craig Baxter
129 85:07 David Stephens
135 87:14 Emma Waldron
137 87:31 Graham Williams
141 88:29 Shelley Burns
144 89:29 John Greatholder
149 91:17 Amy Wilshaw
153 92:05 Michael Jones
154 92:33 Karen Murray
163 95:45 Joanne Oliver
164 95:45 Karen Sabin
168 96:45 Gael Earp
184 104:43 Kellie Lee
187 105:13 John Hateley
194 108:52 Julie Mogey
195 108:52 Rachel Pine
198 120:13 Valerie Stuart
The race was won by Carl Moulton of Boalloy in a time of 56:00
1st lady home was Deborah Thomas of Trentham in a time of 64:00
201 completed the race.
BIRMINGHAM LEAGUE CROSS COUNTRY
Here are some photos
Harriers Success after weekend training camp
Report from Emma Hollinshead.
Sally Gray, Lisa Percox and Emma Hollinshead were part of a group of Stafford Harriers, coached by Chris Hollinshead, recently made the trip to Norfolk to take part in a weekend training camp. On a windswept Saturday morning the athletes completed a sand dunes session on Wells beach in scenes reminiscent of Lawrence of Arabia. The afternoon was a run and circuits based session in the pine woodland behind the beach which was certainly more sheltered! A visit to the local pub for the evening meal and a few games in the amusement arcade was a nice way to round off the day.
Sunday saw 3 of the group take part in the Bakers & Larners Holt 10k. Although the weather was cold the showers held off for the road race around Holt. Sally Gray was the winner of the ladies race with a time of 40mins 14secs, while Chris Hollinshead was second in the men’s race with a time of 34 mins 35 secs. Emma Hollinshead finished the race 109th in a new personal best time of 49 mins 47 secs.
NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY RELAYS
9 Junior Harriers and a male team of 4 made the trip for the cross country relays via a mini bus provided by the club. Myself, Craig Baxter, Rich Caley and Ian Hodgkinson making up the men’s team.
The course was a two lap 5K run for each runner. The juniors all ran 2K legs for their races. This event brought together some of the Elite cross country runners in the country. Steve Vernon, Jamie Walsh, Steph Twell, Jessica Judd to name a few, and then there was us. Lol
I did the first leg, setting off at the back of the pack, it was fast and furious but I managed to complete my leg in 18.57 just a massive 3 minutes 40 seconds behind Steve Vernon( GB cross country runner and English National Champion) Craig took over from me completing his leg in 24 mins 4 seconds, before passing on to Rich who ran 21.48. The final leg was a group start if not started already and Ian brought us home completing his leg in 21.20. Giving us a total time of 1hr 26.11 sec. As a team we finished 140th out of 157. Belgrave Harriers won the event in 1 hr 02.18 secs with the help of two Spanish Internationals.
The junior teams all had good runs, and will have benefited from the experience. As an event it was excellent and it would be great if we could get lots of teams going next year.
Thanks to Craig for driving the bus and to Chris Skellern for looking after the kids. Also to Pete Burns who sorted us out whilst we were there.
Next up in February is the national cross country champs in Sunderland
Report from ECCA
CC Relays more popular than ever
A total of 2869 athletes completed their leg in the Saucony Cross Country Relays at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield this year as the event continues to grow.
This record total which any Cross Country meeting would be pleased with leave alone a Relay was notched up as the event was staged for the 25th time at Mansfield and the 27th overall. The first two were held in the grounds of Crystal Palace – the first in 1985.
The date now for the event, early in the Cross Country calendar means that athletes can have a good test over a comparatively short course compared with a normal length one and at Berry Hill Park they get a cleverly built, well prepared course which gives the athlete of all standards a good test.
Record size fields were achieved this year in five of the ten races that took place with a mammoth 189 teams taking part in the Senior Men’s 4 x 5K event (just 9 teams down on last years record). In the Senior Women’s event 120 teams started just 2 off the record.
It is the younger age groups where growth continues; both the under 13 Girls and under 13 Boys showed improved numbers with 100 and 96 teams starting respectively. These numbers do cause problems at the first take-overs as over a 2K leg the runners are not spread out enough to allow a clear hand over. The officials are continually giving thought to improving things here but occasionally things go wrong for the odd runner or two which is regrettable.
The under 15 girls race also had a record field with 114 starting and though some clubs can’t field full teams, especially where B & C teams are involved in this race 96 completed the 3 legs. The under 17 Women’s race was up with 72 teams starting and 60 completing, while on the male side the Junior Men also had 72 starting with a record 58 finishing full teams.
Other races with numbers just a few off their record were Junior Women – 44 starting and 26 teams finishing 3 legs, under 15 Boys – 105 starting 81 finishing, and under 17 Men – 89 starting 70 finishing.
So a highly successful event with top quality racing which athletes want to attend.
NORTH STAFFS CROSS COUNTRY
Report from Tracey Gee
The second fixture took place on bright sunny day, although there was a definite chill to the wind. This course consists of stony paths and grassy field areas, it was dry and mostly firm underfoot most would say a little tougher than the previous race as there are three decent hills within in a lap.
Two laps (3.33 miles) for the ladies and 3 laps (6.26 miles) of a larger loop for the men.
A good turnout again from both squads.
It was good to see Caroline Nichol return to the team, the ladies all had a good run with nearly all of them improving on their positions in the first race, in particular Sandra Smith who ran herself into a team counter position. (Note the way they packed from 66 to 70 covered by 21 seconds) Chris Skellern led the team home with Tracey Gee and Esther Batho making up the other counters.
In the mens race we had an excellent turnout and team counters Tom Sandy, Steve Vaughan, Ian Talbot and newcomer Phil Hilsdon produced an improved team total by over 50 points, unfortunately so did some of the other teams so we have just slipped into second place by 2 points but are still in contention for promotion.
Results as follows:
129 ran. The team remains in 5th place in Division 1.
233 ran. The team is currently 2nd of 17 in Division 2.
Top four places are
Telford AC 406
Stafford Harriers 408
Colwyn Bay 479
Knutsford Tri 485
Again there was great support between the teams. Keep up the good work.
Next race is 17th November 2012 on Stafford Common, Stafford, please speak to Ed or Tracey your team managers, or view the North Staffs Cross Country League website for further information.
Full results below.
Report from Craig Baxter
It’s that time of year when all like minded competitive Harriers start to look at the Harrier Challenge table and know they need run, they need the points and make sure they beat their fellow Harriers. That’s why this Cross Country season is getting a great turnout and why the teams are doing so well in their respective leagues. This Saturday was especially great, the competition and camaraderie were in full force. I have to give a special mention to Liz Stanyer and Caroline Nichol who seemed to be everywhere on the course and at places where I most needed it. The Harrier ladies have been great so far this season staying and supporting and out cheering all the other clubs. Cross Country is something I find very tough but it is made much easier by the support of my fellow Harriers, thanks all. I would also like to say well done to Ralph who properly kicked my backside this week, after our dual the week before at the Trackless 10 where I came out on top on that occasion. I will see you at the Flying Fox, all great fun.
I wasn’t sure how this race was going to pan out, last marathon dreadful and I didn’t have a comfortable run for the trackless 10,but this road course which I prefer. Had a bit of a dilemma at the start, what to wear, it was warm with a slight breeze, so decided on compression shorts and just a vest, a bit chilly to begin with, but I knew I would soon warm up. Started off at a reasonable pace, not to quick as the first 3.5m is uphill, when I got to the top of this climb I felt so relaxed and I knew the next 3m was downhill. . Usually at this stage I start to struggle, but this didn’t happen until 14m where there is a uphill section for about 2 mile. At 22m the course gets very interesting a a 1.5m steep uphill section, managed to keep running for virtually the whole length, if you could call it running, but decided to decided to walk the last 200m to the summit to try to conserve energy. The last 1.5m are down hill; first part off road then a very steep road section, of which both I hate. This is a nice marathon, challenging yes (4500′ elevation gain) with nice crowd support in populated areas. The only trouble is the last 4m and you have to enter before the end of January as it fills up so quickly.
Finished in a time of 3.25.41
Also Clair Mackellar 4.14.44
BELLS OF PATTINGHAM
Report from Sally Burns
On Sunday 14 October we made the trek over to Pattingham to complete the 23rd Bells of Pattingham Race. The race was started and remains a charity event. The first run, back in 1990, was organised to raise money to replace the old wooden bell frame in the belfry of St. Chad’s church in Pattingham. The proceeds from the races are used for local charities, such as the West Midlands Air Ambulance, and also to help St. Chad’s church funds.
As we left Rugeley the thermometer stated 1oC (a bit chilly for my liking), but the sun was on its way out. The race is a 7 mile off road multi terrain course with over 600 people taking part. The course was beautifully scenic with a few hills and bit of mud. There was a fantastic atmosphere with fellow runners and the marshals were very friendly and encouraging. Ross Jones, from the Tipton Harriers, crossing the line first in 37 minutes 30 seconds. Our very own Chris Skellern was first female back Over 50 with a time of 54minutes 50seconds (I can only dream of getting a time like that).
All runners receive a ‘Bells Run’ brass that has a different design on each year, and to top it off, the race was finished in true style with a cup of tea and a piece of cake. This is a lovely event with fantastic community spirit and if the race, the tea and the cake weren’t enough the pub over the road serves an excellent pint J.
Chris Skellern 0.54.50
Jane Bisiker 1.05.40
Sally Burns 1.06.18
Leslie Smith 1.13.32
Allison Kelly 1.15.56
Trackless 10 Mile
|84||1:07:03||4||James||Simpson||M||M40||1||South Cheshire Harriers|
|56||1:07:19||5||Roger||Taylor||M||Sen||4||Stone Master Marathoners|
|85||1:07:55||6||Rob||Valentine||M||M45||1||South Cheshire Harriers|
|114||1:15:25||16||Stephen||Burrows||M||M50||2||Trentham A C|
|104||1:20:23||21||Andy||Osgathorpe||M||M50||3||Stone Master Marathoners|
|107||1:39:57||33||Julia||Dando||F||F50||3||Stone Master Marathoners|
BIRMINGHAM BUPA HALF MARATHON
There were 18000 entries for this years race. Awaiting report but here are the times of the 13 we can find. If there are more let us know.
Report from Ian Talbot
Six Harriers headed up to Liverpool for the Marathon. Myself, Steve Vaughan, Mark Bridgwood, Neil Martin, Ed Smith and Kellie Lee. Mark, Ed, Tracey and myself went up on the Saturday with Neil meeting us at the station soon after.
A few beers were taken at lunch time before we all met for dinner down at the docks to be joined by our support team i.e. ‘The Stanyers.’
Dinner was eaten at Bella Italia where we stocked up on beer, sorry I mean pasta.
After a decent nights sleep we all met up on the morning of the race at the park where the start was. Steve joined us after making the trek up from Stafford.
Lots of banter pre race was followed by good luck wishes as we all set off to join our start area.
Myself, I decided that I was going to give it a good go early on in the hope that I would be able to hang in for the last six miles.
The early part of the race was combined with a 10k race.
The first half of the race was flat, if a little boring, the best bit being the run through the Mersey Tunnel, although this did really mess everyones watches up, as not full distance was measured. On leaving the tunnel, we were greeted by dancers and drummers which was nice as previously not much going on. Tracey, Liz, Simon and Millie were on the course loads of times and a big mention must go to them as the support they gave all of us was so fantastic and very much needed.
At halfway I was going well and went through in around 1 hr. 26 mins. but we all knew the second half was going to be a tougher one. At around 18 miles we all went up the ‘Heartbreak Hill,’ my legs were starting to feel very tired. I took my final gel at 20 miles, gave it a kiss before using it (weird I know), saying “come on I need you now.”
My 20 mile time was 2 hrs. 13 mins. Which I was chuffed with, but they do say this is where your marathon begins.
Along the route we had all seen each other a few times due to the design of the course, which was a bonus.
The support on the race was not massive, and at times it was quite a lonely race.
From 20 miles I dug deep and tried to focus on not letting my times really drift, like in my previous two marathons.
The end of the race was on the docks and a 1½ mile downhill/flat finish.
Again, the Stafford Harriers’ cheerleaders played a massive part in pushing us all on in the final stages.
Big mentions must go to all the other five Harriers who ran:-
Steve Vaughan 3 Hours 12 Sec. (PB) (57th)
Mark Bridgwood 3 Hours 16 Mins. 04 Sec (1st time) (149th)
Neil Martin 3 Hours 37 Mins. 41 Sec. (1st Time) (494th)
Ed Smith 3 Hours 47 Mins. 39 Sec. (737th)
Kellie Lee 5 Hours 23 Mins. 07 Sec. (2911th)
Myself, I managed to dip under the 3 hours in 2.59.26 secs. and finish in 54th place.
Gutted for Steve just missing sub 3 by 12 seconds. I’m sure come London he will be way under.
As a race, not the best supported, the water stations were brilliant and numerous and it did have a really good finish to the race.
Once again, massive thanks to all who supported us.
After the race we all headed off to the local pub, where we enjoyed chatting?
about the race long into the night.?
Report from Steve Vaughan
With the other Harriers making a weekend of it, I decided to leave at 6am on the Sunday morning. I didn’t really want to be eating more than 3 hours before the start so had to force something down on route, which was a little uncomfortable. I got dropped at Birkenhead Park at about 8am and was shortly followed by Ed and Tracy. The others turned up about half hour later. It was soon time to make our way to the start. I was planning on heading off a little slower than my target pace which Ian stuck with for about 800m before he got bored and pulled away. It was tempting to go with him but I kept my pace. The plan was to get to halfway in about 1.29 which was much slower than usual. The half way point was in the middle of the tunnel and with lost gps signal I soon realised I was at half way in over 1.30. It was time to pick the pace up a little. I pushed onto 20 mile with some good splits, even ‘heartbreak hill’ wasn’t a bad split. I reached 20 mile in just over 2.17. I had less than 43 minutes to run the last 10k. I pushed so hard from then and If I’m honest expected to reel Ian in but he was nowhere to been seen. He had run a blinder. Up to the 26 miler marker I thought I was going to break 3 hours by the skin of my teeth but then glanced at my watch and it was on 2.59. 0.2 of a mile in less than 60 seconds, after 26 miles of running was not going to happen but I still gave it my best shot. I crossed the line in 3.00.12. I couldn’t believe it. I was gutted to be honest and have wondered If I had run the first half quicker could I have broke 3 hours. However it’s a marathon and If I had done that then maybe I wouldn’t have had a strong second half and the last 10k had some of my quickest miles. Im chuffed to bits that Ian nailed a sub 3 and the others all ran fantastic. All in all a successful day for the Harriers.
I have to say a huge thanks to all those that came up to support us all. It made such a difference.
Photos from Liz Stanyer
More photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/7697975@N02/sets/72157631785945192/
Aviemore Half-Marathon & 10k
by Mark Bentley
So, on to the latest ‘Harriers International’ trip, this time North of the Border for the 3rd Aviemore Half-Marathon & Autumn Colour Spectacular ably organised by Bill Whitworth and George Singh. Our coach party this year consisted of Stafford Harriers, Trentham RC, Chase Harriers, South Cheshire Harriers and City of Stoke AC runners plus various spouses and partners. The weather was fine on the way up until it started raining near Perth. At Perth, Joe Atherton, Rich Caley and myself decided not to go into Dobbie’s Garden Centre for our break. We went to the pub next door, as did Colin Pheasant. Much nicer.
Our nice new Happy Days coach made it to the Highlander Hotel at Newtonmore for 5:30pm, but not without some worries about non-functioning windscreen wipers. These were promptly fixed at the hotel by a Scania Assist team whom George and Bill had called out. Joe’s brothers Rab and Tam were also staying at the hotel with their wives. Rab was also racing in the Half.
The next day dawned damp and drizzly and we headed to Inverness. The James Pringle Woollen Mill there had a small museum by its entrance-a museum that took you all of five minutes to pass through, straight into a glorified retail outlet. Joe, Rich and I were distinctly underwhelmed by this and decided to walk back along the banks of a very swollen and fast-flowing River Ness to the city centre. There, we went to a Smith & Jones hostelry, The Caledonian, where Joe was very disappointed by the late arrival of his potato wedges, so much so we decided to visit the pub next door, The Gellions Bar, which purported to be the oldest pub in Inverness. This was much more to our liking and I enjoyed a tuna sandwich which didn’t take an age to arrive.
On the way back, we called in at the Macdonald Highland Hotel in Aviemore to register and have some pre-race pasta plus a free wee dram. Here, Rose Wilson got me to fill in her running general knowledge quiz form for the prize draw as well as me filling in my own. Funny how the answers on both were the same (Rose was very confident we’d win). I’ve not heard anything from the organisers yet.
The race day dawned bright and breezy, the shuttle bus from Aviemore dropped us off at the Badaguish Outdoor Centre, then about forty minutes later, we were led to the start of the Half by a piper. Then we were off, running along undulating stony paths through the Cairgorms National Park for the first seven miles taking care to watch your footing so you didn’t stub your toes on an embedded boulder, as you took in the wonderful scenery. At seven miles, you hit the main road for the long descent back to Aviemore. Quite a relief after the rocky section.
There were quite a few successes amongst our party. In the Half, Darren Washington of City of Stoke AC was first M45 in 1:20:45, whilst Mandy Vernon of Trentham RC set a new ladies’ course record of 1:20:40. First Stafford Harrier home was the ever-improving Rich Caley in a PB time of 1:32:24, also the first time he’s been first Harrier home. Darren Taylor also made his debut as a Stafford Harrier in 1:46:07.
In the 10k, Colin Earp of South Cheshire Harriers was first home for our party in 52:43, while wife Gael got a PB of 52:57 to become first Stafford Harrier home.
The Half was won by Keith Hood of Corstophine AAC 1:14:38, whilst ladies’ winner was Mandy Vernon (see above). 888 finished.
The 10 k was won by William Richardson of Irvine AC in 32:50, whilst the ladies’ winner was Susan McRitchie of Forres Harriers in 40:52. 443 finished.
Times for our party are given below;
|10th||Darren Washington||City of Stoke AC||1:20:25|
|11th||Mandy Vernon||Trentham RC||1:20:40|
|86th||Richard Caley||Stafford Harriers||1:32:24|
|161st||Ken Bloor||Trentham RC||1:38:52|
|193rd||Rose Wilson||Trentham RC||1:41:15|
|203rd||Joe Atherton||Stafford Harriers||1:41:21|
|217th||Mark Bentley||Stafford Harriers||1:42:23|
|227th||Jill Phillips||Trentham RC||1:43:30|
|276th||Darren Taylor||Stafford Harriers||1:46:07|
|357th||Dave Stephens||Stafford Harriers||1:50:39|
|503rd||Brian Langston||Stafford Harriers||1:58:13|
|550th||Mick Jones||Stafford Harriers||2:01:04|
|692nd||Julie Morgan-Bell||Chase Harriers||2:07:25|
|730th||Colin Pheasant||Chase Harriers||2:10:25|
|785th||Amanda Pearce||Stafford Harriers||2:15:44|
|786th||Sandra Elcock||Stafford Harriers||2:17:40|
|816th||Ann Morgan||Chase Harriers||2:20:58|
|181st||Colin Earp||South Cheshire Harriers||52:43|
|186th||Gael Earp||Stafford Harriers||52:57|
|192nd||Bill Whitworth||Stafford Harriers||53:22|
|294th||George Singh||Stafford Harriers||55:20|
|434th||Andrew Carter||Stafford Harriers||1:15:07|
After the race, we made our way to the coach where we had our packed lunch before being driven the short distance to Aviemore railway station for a one-way steam train trip to Broomhill
(pulled by 113-year old Caledonian Railway locomotive No.828, for all you trainspotters out there. Hello, Bill!). The train journey was a nice way to relax after the race.
At Broomhill (a.k.a. ‘Glenbogle’ if you’re a ‘Monarch of the Glen’ fan-I’m not.), we disembarked and some of our party posed for photos by the ficticious station sign, before being met by George with the coach for a 5-minute journey to the Speyside Heather Centre where we took refreshments in the form of tea or coffee and sandwiches and a slice of clootie dumpling plus custard or cream. We then went outside to look for red squirrels, and managed to see a couple.
Back at Newtonmore it was Highland Night, and haggis plus tatties and neeps was served as a starter before the main course. What was strange this year was that the ritual piping-in and ‘slaughtering’ of the haggis took place after the meal and not before. Oh well, such is life. After the meal there was dancing, the Trentham ladies acquitting themselves admirably, rather like in the race, and singing –‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’-led by Bill. When the accordionist packed up and people began to drift slowly away to their rooms, Joe, Rich and I decided to visit the pub down the road from us, the Balavil Hotel, in search of more refreshment. We set off without coats and Joe’s brother Rab in tow (it was his birthday), the chill night air getting to us somewhat. Once inside and seated with our pints we heard the party behind us speaking in a strange tongue. Gaelic? No. Dutch? No. We couldn’t fathom out what they were saying until one of them went to the bar and talked to the landlord in English and Rich said to him ‘Excuse me, are you Welsh?’ to which the reply was, surprisingly, ‘Yes’. Well done, Rich, we’d never have guessed.
By now the landlord was calling last orders and Rich was nodding off. Joe, Rab and I managed to wake him so he could finish his last pint. I’ve been guilty of similar behaviour after the London Marathon. Then it was back through the chilly air to the Highlander for some much-needed sleep before the long journey home in the morning.
Report Martin Moore
It was a wonderful day for running as three Harriers journeyed north to Chester for their first marathons (I think this is right..apologies to Jeff if I am mistaken).
With training bagged, the weather was coolish with no rain and little wind to speak of, as we lined up for the 9am start. The organisation was spot on at the racecourse start and we were duly penned while the town cryer wittered away about er, dunno, maybe omlettes or something!
Crowds were initially good as friends and families cheered us through some town history, and after a couple of miles we were heading out on to the byways of Cheshire and Wales. The course was largely flattish with a couple of rises/banks but nothing you could really call a hill. Great support in the villages we passed through (about 20 high5’s with 8 year olds…inc one who kept running past me each time to do it again…by the fourth time it’d started to wear a bit thin) and the marshalls at the drink stations enthusiastically encouraging (think they’d had training from kids TV presenters!)
The sun was shining and all was well with us band of stragglers.
Personally, the first 20 miles went to plan, but at mile 22 I started to cramp horribly, and had two periods of lying on the floor in agony with my leg, solid as a rock and pointing at odd angles, being stretched out by fellow runners (thanks so much whoever you were!). I then walked, hobbled and shuffled (mile 24 was a 16 min mile!) for a couple more until at mile 25 it seemed to ease off and I was almost able to run again into the finish.
Great crowds of fed, shopped out, coffee’d out friendly faces cheering wonderfully, welcomed us back on to the racecourse for the final .2 to the finish line. Managed to dip under my target of sub 4 hours and hope Jeff and Ange enjoyed the experience as much as I did (have now booked my second!). I’d recommend it muchly to anybody looking to run the full 26.2…great organisation and a nice course, even if we were blessed with the weather. 2070 finished with, typically, tired legs and beaming grins!
Martin Moore 3:51:50 (875th)
Jeff Martin 4:11:31 (1271st)
Ange Brookes 4:21:17 (1437th)
Katherine House 10K
7th October 2012
23 Harriers have been identified, please drop us an email if we have missed anyone .
Please find the Full Race results here
7 October 2012
Report by Chris Owen
this is a race which i shouldn’t have really run as i am just getting over a dose of life threatening case of man flue, the morning of the race was cloud free,no wind,sunny but cold with a frost.the race started at 10.30 so it did warm up considerably. the race is around the reservoir of which norththumberland water have put a cycle route around . you would have thought it would be quite level but it is consistently undulating,nothing severe bu energy sapping. the start is around service roads at one of the visitor centers for the first mile before getting on the cycle track to spread the field out. my race started out well, felt comfortable, usual pattern quick first 3m, knackered until 7m,second wind found, expect at 11m my legs were starting to turn to jelly (effects of man flue). the route of the course wasn’t really helping as it kept going in and out of the forest around the lake, where in the shade there was still a nip in the air but out of the tree is was blazing sunshine. at 18m legs were totalled so staring walking ,gave me self a good talking to and managed to get myself running again.had another walking stage at 22m, i was so glad when the finish came. i am glad i did make the journey up north as the organisers bills it the “the most scenic marathon” and i would agree, the path is compact and rut free but still challenging with the undulations. it is very well organised with a park and ride to the start/finish which was very slick, the local wi provide refreshments which is quite unusual for a high profile race
finished in a time of 3.51.01, which i wasn’t displeased with as it is offroad, so add 20min , so i was only about 20min of pace