Harriers International

Join the Harriers….see the world

The Club usually arranges at least one overseas running party each year – each visit incorporating marathon / half / 10k races. In recent years members have visited Paris, Cyprus, Vancouver, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Dublin, Cuba, Vietnam, Amsterdam, Lanzarote & Benidorm.

In 2008 Harriers re-visited the Dublin marathon and another group travelled all the way to Cuba for that country’s major marathon race.

In 2009 Harriers ran the Hong Kong marathon , a small contingent to Prague in March for the Half Marathon. Harriers travelled into deepest Scotland to run the Aviemore Half marathon.

In 2010 Harriers travelled to Prague, Vietnam, Aviemore in Scotland

In 2011 Harriers went to the Berlin Half Marathon in April.

In 2012 there were trips to Madrid and Aviemore.

In 2013 The Harriers went to Lisbon and Aviemore.

In 2014 its Cyprus and Aviemore.

In 2015 Prague, Croatia, Kate Burge (Isle of Man) and Aviemore

In 2016 Barcelona and Aviemore

In 2017 Florence Half

In 2018 Majorca

 

 

Majorca Half Marathon and 10K 2018

Report by Graham Williams

At 5.00am 17 Harriers including partners left Stafford for Birmingham airport to fly to Majorca for the Magaluf Half and 10K. We stayed at the Fergus Style Palma Nova hotel, which was situated right by the beach. The hotel was excellent with wonderful food and caring staff. Some people swam in the sea most mornings while others ran three miles along the promenade to the local castle.

The race was at 5.30pm on Saturday and on Friday we walked to registration at the local athletics stadium. Race day was strange due to the late start with people unsure what to eat and how much to drink. To save our legs we took a taxi to the start though Ed walked. We arrived early and passed the time listening to the local drum band and talking to other British runners. By 5.30 the air was getting really warm. Both races started together on the main road with the 10K on the left and the half on the right. After approximately half a mile they parted. The 10K route basically followed the road to Palma Nova where we ran past our hotel twice and had great support. Generally the course was flat apart from a nasty hill near the hotel. The half included quite a bit of the same route and also went past the hotel. The finish was over an astro turf area before finishing on the beach in Magaluf. The 10k runners did some rehydrating while waiting for the two half marathon runners (Debbie and Ed). Debbie was first female over 45 and was so exhausted by the effort that she hardly spoke all evening to such an extent I thought I had gone deaf! Ed was third over 65 and would have been second if he hadn’t stopped for a call of nature!

The week included two games of crazy golf on an amazing course and a brilliant bike ride along the coast. We also had a trip to Palma and visited the cathedral and took a train and tram to Puerto Soller. While we were there it was my birthday and as a treat, Richard took Sue and me on a flight in a four seater plane. The flight, weather and scenery were excellent and we buzzed our fellow guests at the hotel who waved at us. The weather was kind to us and an enjoyable week was had by all.

Results 10K:

Chris Ross 49.51
John Finney 55.44
Jill Ross 56.12
Graham Williams 57.57
Jane Bisiker 1.00.44 3rd over 55
Peter Williams 1.01.21
Richard Bisiker 1.24.31
Gary Steed 1.24.31

Results Half:

Debbie McDermott 1.55.34 1st over 45
Ed Smith 2.00.41 3rd over 65

Florence Half Marathon 2017

 

HARRIERS INTERNATIONAL

9th April

 

Report by Jane Bisiker

By the time the race day had arrived we had already seen many of the splendid sites but we’re ready for them again. The hotel was 2 minutes walk from the start and finish in Santa Croce square. The Kenyans were warming up and at first we thought we would take them on. Then realised it was a 2 lap course so if we went a bit slower they could catch us up and run with us ( well ok past us!!!!). The course truly took in the sites of Florence. We ran past the duomo, past David bearing all, over the ponte vecchio and past the piazza palace. There was good support and we actually looked forward to running down the narrow streets to get a bit of shade as at 24 degrees it was a bit hotter then expected. Not many uk runners which was a shame. The Kenyans glided past me by the ponte vecchio and if you are going to get overtaken by a Kenyan there is no where better.
In true Italian style the results aren’t out yet so these are the unofficial times. Thought I had better do the race report now before the drinking starts.

Chris Ross 1.37.33
Debs McDermot 1.53.28
Jane Bisiker 1.57.28
Jill Ross. 2.05.24
Brian Langston 2.18.15

Rich Bisiker did the 8 k on a last minute whim in about an hour but did keep stopping to film himself running round all the sites.






Kate’s Race

15/10/16

We have received the following email from Sean regarding this years Kate’s Race to be held on the Isle of Man in Memory of our much loved Kate Burge who was tragically killed in a road accident last year.

 

Hi Pete,

I would like to draw your attention (and via you, the Stafford Harriers) of the imminent 2nd Kate’s Race.

It’s a unique event; touching a hand in the sea at Laxey, before winding your way up to the finish on the summit of Snaefell. 6 miles, 3000ft of ascent. There will then be a tram ride from the summit back to Laxey (included in the entrance fee) for tea and cake (and beer!).

This is on the 15th October; Kate’s Birthday. It’s also a Saturday instead of a Sunday as I thought this would be more convenient for people coming across from the UK. I’m organising an evening ‘Do’ for runners and partners with a ceili and other live music, so it should be a real celebration.

Last year was very well received. I think this year will be even better.

More information and entry forms on www.katesrace.co.uk

Best wishes,

Sean

Barcelona Half Marathon 2016

14/2/16

Before the run. Notice the smiles. We don’t have an after photo. Perhaps it’s as well.

A party of 21 Stafford Harriers went on this trip and really super weekend was had by all. Good weather, a great hotel very close to the centre of everything  To cap it ten of the party went to the Nou Camp with 75,570 others to watch, what some sports commentators declared, the best football match ever to be seen there.

Pos Name Time
2064th Chris Ross 1:34:10
4139th Mark Bentley 1:41:58
7559th John Finney 1:52:46
7936th Ed Smith 1:54:02
8416th Debbie McDermott 1:55:41
8922nd Jill Ross 1:57:21
9456th Jane Bisiker 1:59:04
10360th Rachel Darby 2:02:27 PB
10379th Gina Brown 2:02:32
11771st Brian Langston 2:10:22
13801st Frank Evans 2:51:33

Men’s winner was Vincent Kipruto of Kenya in 1:02:54
Ladies’ winner was Florence Kiplagat of Kenya in 1:09:19

There were 17,569 finishers.

 

Here is the Harriers view of that Messi penalty.

 

 

Aviemore 2016

 

Sunday 17.10.16

Report by Ruth Edwards

Bill’s annual Aviemore trip set off bright and early on Friday 14th October with approximately 23 Stafford Harriers travelling up for the Aviemore half marathon and 10k races.  Usual eventful trip up with small amount of alcohol consumption (after all we are a drinking club with a running problem), stop at Gretna Green followed by sounds of the 80’s by the Harriers singing club – not ready to audition for the X Factor just yet.  Arrived at our destination in village of Newtonmore at approx. 5 pm.  After a fairly late night up early the next morning for the hours or so trip to Inverness.   Ed, Ian, Craig and Michael had an earlier start with a run in the dark following the infamous wild cat trail (don’t ask) and managed to traverse a broken bridge not reading the sign until they were all across.  Due to the inclement weather conditions, the ladies headed for the shopping centre and men to the ……. nearest Wetherspoons followed by trip back to Aviemore to collect race numbers.  Thereby followed plans to sabotage Ed’s race the following day by plying him with the free tots of whisky on top of numerous pints during the day and to ensure Gill would beat him the next day in a long-standing rivalry.  Plans worked extremely well and lost count of the amount of tots he managed to consume.  Back to hotel for a fairly quiet evening by some of the more serious athletes!

Sunday morning dawned dry and crisp with temperature of 4 degrees, made our way to Aviemore on the coach followed by a further coach trip up to the Badaguish adventure centre holding on to our hoodies and sweatshirts until the last minute due to the cold.  Warmed up slightly by the mass warm up in the outdoor shed which swiftly turned into a dance session by Mark.  Holly and Rich’s friend Craig managed to leave his bag in the outdoor shed, he was finally reunited with it the next morning after a lovely old lady drove to the hotel to drop it off.

I started off fairly near to the back with Lindsey, Jo and Sarah which was our race strategy so as to hopefully do a bit of overtaking along the way.  Traditional Scottish piper started the race off (should have brought my ear plugs!).  Nice flattish downhill stretch for the first 2 miles, then a bit of a bottleneck at the bridge with a fair bit of mud along the way due to the previous days’ rain.   Lovely scenic route through the woods similar to Cannock Chase then cross over the main road at 4 miles to hit the killer hill and a lot of swearing to get up it.   Race meandered around the loch (fair bit of discussion as to what’s the difference between a loch and a lake).   Quote of the day for me was Sarah ‘I think we’re pegging it too fast’ around the loch, understatement when I looked at my watch ‘er yes I think we are’.  Good support along the way with some great banners ‘Run like Donald Trump is behind you’ being my personal favourite as well as ‘You’re my favourite runner’.    Reached the main road again and 6 miles downhill or so we thought, not all entirely downhill, think my memory has erased the bad bits from last year.  Kept thinking we’d peaked too soon, but managed to keep up the steady pace and played chase the next runner in front, was meant to be chase the harrier but we had no chance as all the faster runners were way ahead of us.  Overtook the man in the kilt and resisted the usual question!  Last mile was a killer, but kept going, had a massive lift when we heard the war cry ‘come on Harriers’ and there were our faithful supporters who had already finished or who had done the 10k race – which incidentally turned out to be the 8k race due to marshall error but that’s another story.  Sarah and I crossed the line at 1.59.17, a pb for me (by 27 seconds) with huge congratulations to Sarah on her amazing time in her first half marathon.   I said at the end its only taken you a year to get to his stage, its taken me as a super vet nearly 5 years!   Not looking forward to reaching the vintage category – still not sure what age you have to be but figured out its old!

Some memorable hilarious moments from the whole weekend included the entertainment on Sunday night at the hotel from the Killiecrankies which proved to be a bit too much for some of the party, Mrs. Crankie’s diagnosis of Tracy’s injury, dancing to the slosh, birdie song and the annual stomp round the dance floor to I will walk 500 miles, Mr and Mrs. Foster’s daily cold showers and disabled facilities, the nocturnal activities, creaky floorboards and clanking pipes, the missing Mark Bentley, Bill’s strict timetable for boarding the coach without which the whole trip wouldn’t have run so smoothly, the misbehaving men who couldn’t adhere to this, the loooong journey home, Michael googling the history of road painting and laybys to pass the time as well as his Cannock Market carrier bag lined up alongside the more expensive sports bags, the funicular railway trip – not sure who put the fun in funicular but think it would have been more memorable on a clear day, the only views we had were of 2 JCB’s waiting to clear the inevitable snow, luckily there was mulled wine and beer at the top to numb the cold.  Arrived back on terra firma and the sun came out through the clouds with a rainbow – typical!

Results as follows:

HALF MARATHON

Ian Hodkinson                      1.32.40
Mark Orchard                        1.35.02
Gill Hodkinson                     1.49.41
Angela Brookes                   1.50.36
Ed Smith                                1.52.13
Craig Baxter                          1.58.38
Sarah Whyte                         1.59.17
Ruth Edwards                      1.59.17    PB
Lindsey Foster                      2.01.13   PB
Alan Griffin                           2.01.53
Rachel Darbey                     2.01.53   PB
Joanne Oliver                       2.02.13
Tracy Burrows                      2.27.02
Michael Bamber                   2.27.03
Andrew Carter                      2.42.12

10k, but it wasn’t a 10k

Richard Caley                      40.35
Gael Earp                              44.37
Austin Whyte                        47.35
Paul Foster                            49.07
Mark Oliver                           49.07
Joanne Carson                       48.54
Liz Shillito                             49.03
Holly Wright                          1.21.21
(walking)

Kate’s Race

11/10/15

 

Kate Burge the Runner

Here is a description of the race

‘In memory of Kate Burge; athlete, comic, poet….vibrant, fun, unique. Start with a hand in the sea, finish on the highest point on the Isle of Man. Why? – because it’s a journey and it’s hard!
Toilets at start. No dogs. Trams may be available for return to Laxey, but participants should be prepared to run 8km back to Laxey or organize their own transport from the Bungalow.’

 

Aviemore 2015

No race report

 

AVIEMORE 2014


19th October 2014
By Bill Whitworth

A hardy group of Harriers ventured up to the Highlands of Scotland to take part in the Aviemore Half Marathon and 10K races, the fifth time they have supported this event.
Starting up in the Cairngorms, the races travels through woodland paths and road ways to descend to the town of Aviemore and several runners reported having been occasionally distracted by the magnificent scenery, but it did not prevent several achieving personal best times for the distance.

Harriers taking part in the Half Marathon were

 

Name Place Time
Mark Bridgewood 16 1:22:05 pb
Ian Hodkinson 48 1:29:51
Tracey Jones 104 1:35:22
Ian Talbot 129 1:37:26
Chris Ross 170 1:39:42
Liz Stanyer 158 1:39:19 pb
Mark Oliver 199 1:41:30 pb
Mark Orchard 206 1:42:04
Gill Hodkinson 211 1:42:35
Eddie Smith 251 1:44:41
Tracy Ridings 271 1:46:23 pb
Sandra Smith 333 1:49:28 pb
Graham Williams 408 1:53:16
Jill Ross 476 1:56:11
Jo Oliver 532 1:58:50
Lindsey Foster 591 2:02:34
Brian Langston 662 2:06:35
Craig Baxter 663 2:06:38
Holly Wright 854 2:27:20

 

While in the 10K race, Harrier runners were.
George Singh 1:01:01
Bill Whitworth 1:03:55










 

CYPRUS 2014

9/3/14

Meanwhile, a small contingent of Harriers had enjoyed the warmth of Cyprus preparing for the Paphos Marathon and Half Marathon. On Sunday, race day, after several days of sweltering weather the runners were pleased to see cloud cover first thing. Fortunately, the Marathon started at 7.30am and the Half Marathon an hour later at 8.30am. The clouds lasted until lunchtime and once the running was finished the sun came out again, just in time for the runners to return to the hotel pool and to seek well earned refreshment. They couldn’t have arranged it better.
In the Marathon Chris Ross finished in 24th place in 3:32:22 (4th V45) and wife Jill was 62nd in 4:07:18 winning the 3rd L45 trophy.
In the half marathon John Finney was 64th in 1:50:32 (4th V 65), Graham Williams was 96th in 1:58:10 (5th V65) Brian Langston was 97th in 1:58:39 (4th V70)

This lot seem to have had to much fun in Cyprus.

Can you spot Jill’s Trophy?

Aviemore 2013


Sunday 13th October 2013

Report Jean & Bill Whitworth

While the rain poured down in Staffordshire, a contingent of local runners and their loyal supporters headed for the Highlands of Scotland to take part in the 10K and Half Marathon in Aviemore. Starting up in the Queen’s Forest at Badaguish, close to the base of the Cairngorm Mountains and along the shores of Loch Morlich, this event is a mixture of forest trail and road running. In fact it claims to be downhill all the way! The concerned faces of the pre- race coach travel from the hotel were replaced by wide smiles (and a few painful grimaces) as everyone exchanged their tales and ‘ifs’ ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’ post-race.

Aviemore 10K Race results

 

Darren Taylor (Stafford Harriers) 48:06
Colin Earp (South Cheshire) 50:23 (SB)
Gael Earp (Stafford Harriers) 52:42 (SB)
Bill Whitworth (Stafford Harriers) 55:47
Elaine Morgan (Chase Harriers) 1:01:00
Andrew Carter (Stafford Harriers) 1:07:00 (Chuffed to be back!)
Kath Swingwood (Chase Harriers) 1:49:00

Aviemore Half Marathon results

 

Darren Washington (City of Stoke) 1:21:24 (80th Half Marathon in 11years)
Chris Ross (Stafford Harriers) 1:27:13
Mark Orchard (Stafford Harriers) 1:30:06 (PB)
Alan Burt (Chase Harriers) 1:35:50
Chris Owen (Stafford Harriers) 1:36:41
Angela Brookes (Stafford Harriers) 1:50:19 (PB)
Jill Ross (Stafford Harriers) 1:50:31
Ken Bloor (Trentham) 1:51:54
Colin Pheasant (Chase Harriers) 1:55:28
Graham Williams (Stafford Harriers) 2:00:11
Brian Langston (Stafford Harriers) 2:00:42
George Singh (Stafford Harriers) 2:02:29
Janice Wainwright (Chase Harriers) 2:05:01
Marie Burt (Chase Harriers) 2:40:35 (PB)
Angela Allison (Chase Harriers) 2:55:20 (first race in 18 years!)

 

 

LISBON HALF MARATHON 2013

22 -26 March 2013

Report bu Craig Baxter.

After all the talk of threatened strikes by Portuguese Airlines, Harriers International finally made it to Lisbon.  Four Harriers had already spent three days there on a scouting mission to find the best places to visit (bars).  This, by looking at the state of them, they had done very successfully.  The new arrivals soon fitted into the fold well and set off to final registration.  The registration area gave us the first view of the iconic bridge that we would be crossing in two days time.
After registration it was felt we needed to start the pre-race hydration, this continued for most of the weekend (as many of you have seen from the photos flying around the social network world).  The talk in the bars was of a potential PB course with it being flat and the forecast was looking favourable for this as well.  As a veteran of the International tours I knew this may have been pre-race bravado.  A few of us felt the need to keep hydrating long into the night, (Saturday morning actually).  It was at this point I could see the confidence and colour draining away as the reality that drinking, late nights and running really don’t mix, dawned on my fellow runners.  So we did what needed to be done, drink.  I am actually shocked and a little saddened to report that we all had early nights in preparation for the morning’s half marathon.
Sunday morning soon came around and Chris Ross took control and guided us all onto the metro and train to get us to the start line (I won’t mention that we nearly got off at the wrong stop).  On arrival at the station nearest the start line, we suddenly realised how big this event was.  With so many runners, the scrap to the toilets started.  Not known for their shyness a few Harrier ladies decided to use the gents with a gallant male Harrier as door monitor.  The wander up to the start line was an amazing experience.  We made it to the start line and the first site of the bridge.  Then the race begins.
The start was a free for all, no timing zones, so walkers were mixing with runners which caused a massive bottle neck and a very slow start.  So it was at this point that you really had chance to take in your surroundings and the breath taking view from the bridge. This slow pace continued for most of the race, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.  It was a very flat course with quite a few twists and turns, but that gave the chance to watch the African race leader sprinting down the road in the opposite direction to where I was going, what a sight.  What was great about the course was the chance to see fellow Harriers going the other way and give them a shout.  Yet again, it doesn’t matter where you go the travelling support was amazing.  Everywhere on the course there seemed to be a friendly face, thank you for the support again.
The finish to the race was a two mile stretch that seemed to go on forever, but the finishing memento was probably the most welcome one I’ve ever had, a Magnum Ice Cream (Ken Rushton take note).  As suspected my time was slow but was comforted to see that most of my fellow Harriers had the same problems and just decided to try and enjoy the race atmosphere.    It’s probably not the best race I’ve run but for atmosphere its right near the top.
As is customary we decided the best way to discuss the day’s race we needed to find a bar.  Traditionally after the race all of the group go and eat together then go onto a few bars.  It was probably one of my highlights of the weekend.  The newcomers mixing with the older Harriers, it was lovely to see.  So the rehydrating continued, with lots of funny sun glasses being purchased and lots of incriminating photo evidence being produced, (may I add, not just the youngsters). I think there may have been a few tired wobbly legs this night, so tiring that one decided to have a little nap.
The next day a dozen were booked on a city bike tour, sadly two never made it (Wright and Caley).  This tour gave, if we could award it already, a champagne moment.  Whilst the tour leader was giving a talk about a historic square we were in, I glanced to my right to see a Harrier falling over his bike and getting tangled up in it.  It has to be one of the funniest things I have ever seen, which Jane, Jill and Steph will all agree on, watching me cry with laughter.  Further on in the tour it was pointed out to me that the guilty faller needed ET putting in his basket to complete the look.  Towards the end of the bike tour the wind had really whipped up and we were told not to stand the bikes on their stands or they will fall over, so we laid our bikes down, or did we.  CLATTER, one person hadn’t listened and the wind knocked the bike over.  Yes you’ve guessed it, it was our faller again. Brilliant.
All I can say about this tour and the previous one, if you are ever in doubt just how good our club is, please attend one of the Harrier International trips, friends for life. Please try and go, you won’t regret it.
A massive thank you to Pete Burns for his patience and the girls at Regent Travel for their persistence in making this tour happen.

 

Following their efforts in the Stafford Half Marathon, 17 Stafford Harriers and accompanying supporters escaped Britain’s wintry shores to take part in the Lisbon Half Marathon on Sunday. While local races were cancelled due to the arctic conditions, these Harriers basked in sunshine before heading to what one competitor labelled ‘a bonkers start’ with almost 37,000 half marathon and mini-marathon contenders crossing the magnificent Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge and taking in tremendous views all round the course.

The race was won by Kenyan Runner Bernard Koech in a time of 0:59:54, and winner of the ladies’ event was Edna Kiplagat who came in a time of 1:08:46. In this truly International field, Paul Bosson led the male Harriers’ challenge with a time of 1:29:15 and first lady was Steph Clayton in 1:44:24. Steph commented later about the race – “Too hot and too many people for pb’s but what a gorgeous view the whole race”.

 

Other times achieved were:

Mark Orchard 1:36:41

Chris Ross 1:37:02

Joe Atherton 1:44:10

Richard Caley 1:44:35

Mark Bentley 1:50:47

Jill Ross 1:55:29

Craig Baxter 1:55:43

Graham Williams 1:56:42

Jane Bisiker 1:57:55

Angela Brookes 2:00:34

Mark Oliver 2:01:23

Brian Langston 2:03:24

Michael Jones 2:10:02

Tony Baker 2:15:10

Holly Wright 2:27:04

Mark looking pleased with his run.

 

AVIEMORE TRIP 2013

 

No race report

 

 

MADRID HALF MARATHON 2012

Still awaiting report and full results. There appears to have been a lot of photos on facebook but for some reason they all appeared to be about activities other than running. Just to let you know that there was some running done there are photos on the race Not all the runners were seen in the 13,000 that took part but here they all are before the start.

 

 

and here they are after the finish.

 

 

AVIEMORE TRIP 2012

 

No race report

Berlin Half Marathon

3rd April 2011

 

 

Sunday 3rd April saw a party of 15 Harriers in Berlin for the 31st Berlin Half Marathon. It is said to be the fastest half marathon in the world and it is certainly the flattest. This is probably why 28,000 runners started on the day. On a very warm and sunny morning our seven Harriers made their way to the line. A new training method had been tried by a couple of them. The idea is to break a bone before running. Dave Preece managed on a Chase run to trip and do a double somersault with pike and break a rib. Meanwhile Chris Ross broke his little toe in a bedroom related accident which we won’t go into. This along with the bionic man Frank Evans they were never going to trouble the leaders.

 

You won’t be surprised to find out that the winner was a Kenyan. He was Geoffrey Kipsang and he is the World Junior Cross Country Champion. He managed to get round in 1-00-38 beating his fellow countryman Eluid Kiplagat by just 14 seconds. The first ten runners were under 1-02.

 

Our runners got round at a more sedate pace but all did very well in the heat and crowds of runners that were out there. Here are their times.

Dave Preece
1-45-32
John Finney 1-53-38
Chris Ross 1-58-16
Jill Ross 1-58-16
Brian Langston 1-59-11
Sarah Johnson 2-19-38
Frank Evans 2-19-40

Please note that Sarah and Frank did not run together. In fact one finished half an hour before the other but because they started half an hour later the chip times put them together. I am not allowed to say which was which.

The Magnificent Seven

Aviemore Half Marathon 2011

Below is a card received from Bill Crystal following the recent Aviemore trip


BENIDORM MARATHON 2010

BENIDORM REVISITED
A Wimp’s Report….. by Bill Whitworth
An early evening call from Mick Jones asks me the question “Fancy a trip to Spain? I can get my 98th Marathon done and then my 99th in Gran Canaria in January, making London 2011 number 100. One week in a Four Star Hotel, scheduled Monarch Flight, Airport transfers for only £244.00, you can do the ‘wimp’s’ half marathon on Saturday Evening.”
Sounded good to me – apart from the 4.00am departure from Stafford!
No delays in check-in, just a computer swipe of your passport and we are on our way and an early arrival into Alicante sunshine by 11:00am. A 45 minute coach transfer to the Hotel Marina and a walk to ‘John & Joseph’s’ with a surprise that all venues are offering a pint of beer for just 1Euro! An afternoon run for about an hour which ended with us unable to find our way back to the hotel despite having been on TEN Harrier trips to Benidorm, resorting finally to asking a Cafe Owner who informs us we are only 100 yards away!
After a three year gap since our last trip here, Benidorm seems a little ‘tired’ and bars like ‘Steptoes’, ‘Sinatras’ and ‘Crazy Colin’ all closed and several others either renamed and/or revamped. Evening entertainment, however, at both our hotel and in particular at ‘Morgan’s Tavern’ was excellent with a Tribute Band to ‘Queen’ from the West End Show ‘We Will Rock You’ and – Yes! “She” is still providing her late night “Sexy Magic Show”!!
At last, the main reason for our visit! Saturday evening’s Half Marathon and I line up with 3,500 maximum race entrants on the starting line in torrential rain – now those of you that know me know I DO NOT LIKE rain or mud and here I was faced with both! – and after a firework display we are on our way in the dark on a three lap, figure of eight course. “Oh no you’re not!” as we suddenly stop to decide how we get through a flooded area of road. Despite the rain, which continued through the race, and the flooded roads the crowds in the town were absolutely fantastic and vocal. A lot of friendship and encouragement during the race get me to the finish in 2hrs 12min 14secs.
Thankfully wrapped in a foil blanket complete with goodie bag, food and water, I headed back to the Hotel…. no point getting changed as I had to negotiate the floods to get there! A hot bath and then off to the bar to meet up with Mick. A race, under street lights, 3 laps of the town would have been excellent apart from the rain! The goodie bag? Good quality racing top, racing hat, racing gloves, zip up shoe bag, commemorative mug, food and drink…Entry fee – 15Euros!
Sunday Morning – Marathon Day. 8.30am start and a chance to see the runners on the first of 2 large laps – the extended figure of eight again – NOT A CLOUD IN THE SKY – and with the hotel only 100yards away, back for a traditional breakfast and a sunny spot on the balcony watching the runners go by. Judge it right then walk back to see the race after 15miles…Jonesie looks good but beginning to ache particularly a foot problem which necessitates him to walk for a spell around the 20 mile mark and the much hoped for good time slipping away and a recorded finishing time of 4hrs 29mins 39secs. Back at the Hotel for the last of the day’s sunshine, settle on a sunbed and – sod’s law – the clouds come over, but never mind it’s Happy Hour at the Hotel at 6.30pm – 2 for the price of 1 – and then with the promise of good entertainment and further price reductions at 8.30pm it’s an incentive to keep you in the hotel which, of course, we appreciated! Let’s have another good day tomorrow – it’s our last day before we leave on Tuesday,
Monday Morning what’s the weather like? Rain and looking awful so a planned trip up the mountain to The Cross was cancelled and replaced by light lunch in ‘John & Joseph’s’ leaving enough time to purchase the usual bottles of Brandy to take home… (purely medicinal of course).
Taking advantage of Happy Hour and a good evening meal, it’s off again to ‘Morgan’s’ for an evening of entertainment. Firstly with “One Vision” – the Queen tribute act, followed by ‘Abbalicious’ and ‘Sister Act’. A short walk back to the hotel and all requests to see the ‘late night magical act’ were declined!
A sunny start to Tuesday and an on time flight home to snowy Birmingham. Train back to Stafford Station whereupon it took longer to get home through the traffic than it took to get from Benidorm to Alicante!
Many thanks to Mick Jones for his organisation and YES, he has promised to do it all over again in NOVEMBER 2011. Watch the website and/or read the Harrier to keep up to date with Mick’s arrangements.

Vietnam 2010

So October 2010 saw the Harriers go on their fifth long haul running holiday. The only difference with this one over the others was the fact that after the holiday was booked the race date was changed. This meant that they just had to go and enjoy a holiday without the hassle of a marathon or half marathon. What a shame.

As it happened on arrival in Siagon there were adverts for the 11th Annual Siagon fun run. So without fully knowing the details it was agreed that on the Sunday morning at 6.45am they would all run the big race. It was a big race. Over 7000 people each paid 100,000 Dong to run 4K. That was £3.30. The start was of London Marathon proportions. Thousands of folks lining up in the City Zoo to set off round the streets of Siagon.

We were not expecting a lot as the main organiser was wearing a Stoke City shirt but as it happened everything went smoothly. Chris Ross was the first Harrier home and as he finished some runners were just starting. Even Frank Evans and Pete Burns came in the top third of the race. Then there were drinks, cakes, curries, fruit in fact anything you needed was there. We all got back to the hotel before 8am for breakfast.

Vietnam is a fascinating country and for the next two weeks the group toured around seeing the sights. From Siagon they toured the Meekon Delta and visited the Chu Chi Tunnels and the war museums. Then on to Na Trang for the beach and swimming in the South China Sea. Then the World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay one of natures wonders of the world. Finally Hanoi an amazing city with 8 million people and 5 million motor scooters. I am sure we saw them all.

 

Harriers Team sponsored by Tiger Beer

VIETNAM 4 K FUN RUN

3 October 2010

It should have been a Half Marathon, but the organisers changed the date of that race after we’d booked the trip !!

After a 25 hour journey and two flights we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. We found a 4k fun run on the next day Sunday.
Getting up at 5.15 we walked to the start which was at the local zoo starting at 6.45. Entry fee was 100,000 Dong, just over £3. There was a live stage with music and dancers and a warm up routine. There were a lot of freebies including iced coffee, curry and noodles. The race started on time with seven thousand runners and walkers. We had to negotiate prams and pushchairs and lots of small children. The course was a loop on main streets and we had to stop several times to let hordes of scooters through. It was very humid and we were wet before we started. As we reached the finishing straight people were still walking from the start.
First home was Chris Ross followed by Dave Preece, Graham Williams, Jill Ross, Tony Baker, Frank Evans and Pete Burns. There were lots of free drinks and food at the end and we stocked up on rolls for lunch. Although we were all tired from the journey everybody enjoyed it and the ladies came to support us. It was the 11th race organised by the British Business Group Vietnam.
We are resting today and doing the Mekong Delta tomorrow followed by the tunnels and City Tour the next day.

Graham Williams

 

A number of Harriers nervously waiting with 7000 others for the start of the big race

AVIEMORE HALF MARATHON

17 October 2010

 

A spectacular scenic course on road and excellent forest tracks set in the shadow of the Cairngorm Mountains, around breathtaking Loch Morlich, through stunning Glenmore Forest Park and Rothiemurchus Estate, across the River Spey and finishing in the new Aviemore Highland Resort ’
And it’s downhill, not uphill !
Nearly 1000 runners took part in the 5th running of this event, under pleasant conditions and on a scenic course that was mainly downhill but featuring a steady climb from the 3.5 miles to 4.5 miles points.

Stafford Harriers and Happy Days Coaches made the arrangements for a four day visit to the Highlands of Scotland to allow us to run the races.
It was a really enjoyable trip and great value at only £144 each (which included 3 nights dinner bed and breakfast, excursions on Saturday and Sunday, Highland entertainment on Friday and Sunday nights, packed lunch on Sunday and a special memento mug). On the journey north we visited Gretna Green (where we could only dream “what might have been”) and on Saturday we visited Inverness and a local mill before a quick visit to Culloden Moor Battlefield, then on to race registration.

Harriers International 2002 to 2008

pdf fileHarriers International 2