Race Report July to September 2008

Macclesfield Half Marathon


…Some hilly route!

The course profile shown on the race web site looked very daunting, but I entered the race because I hadn’t done it before.
Then the race Starter warned everyone to run within themselves for the first half because “there are 3 good hills to cope with”.
In the event the course was hardish but not too bad. The profile was ‘squeezed’ to make the hills look more severe. And there were some good downhill stretches to make up for the climbs.
The race was won by Andi Jones of Salford Harriers in a decent time of 1:07:51, with the first lady finishing in 1:19:24
I fiinished 41st from 803 finishers in a time of 1:26:26 and was 2nd MV60 (beaten by 19secs by someone from Aberdeen!) – with only 2 MV50’s and no MV55’s in front of me.
Karen Davies finished 397th in 1:50:39 and Frank Grant finished 712th in 2:15:05.
Both Frank and myself beat our own existing Club Age Group records.

Report by Pete Sarson

Walsal Rotary 10k


An interesting and challenging course of mixed terain, which starts in the parkland of Walsall Arboretum then rural and scenic roads, that are marshaled and have drinking stations, returning to parkland for the finish.
The race, with 402 finishers, was won by Paul Ward of Wrekin Road Runners in a time of 33:34.
Only 3 Harriers competed in the race:
Steve Turner 99th in 46:16
Eric Lander 151st in 48:50
John Hateley 325th in 1:00:10



Chris Ross travelled to Anglesey for this marathon to test his fitness after returning to more regular training.

The race was won in 2:39:07 by Dennis Walmsley of Bourton Road Runners and Chris came in 39th position in 3:24:33. A total of 248 finished the race.

Wife Jill opted for the easier half – running in a time of 2-01-28, – 211 finished.

Meerbrook 15k – 21/09/08

Philip Chritchlow of Beaumont Leys won the race in 54:11 and Julia Myatt of Newcastle Staffs AC was first lady home in 01:02:38. Harrier placings and times were: …… Full results table at: http://ukresults.net/2008/meer15k.html

Midland Counties Road Relays


As ever, run in Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield and well supported by all Clubs in the Midland Counties.
There’s a Ladies 4 stage relay and a Mens 6 stage relay. Our club runners and times were as follows:

Ladies 4 Stage
33rd of 80 team Stafford Harriers 1:16:02

1 Ruth Umerah (41) 18:11
2 Michelle Rushton- Fox (33) 17:57
3 Esther Purdy (43) 20:31
4 Chris Skellern (33) 19:23

Mens 6 Stage
71st of 106 teams Stafford Harriers 2:23:17

Mike St-Dunn (76) 22:16
Paul Douglas (69) 22:44
Mike Harris (78) 25:26
Tom Hobbins (68) 21:20
Jason Littlewood (69) 25:39
Steve Turner (71) 25:52

Supplied by Pete Burns

Ruth at Sutton Park in 2007Paul at Sutton Park in 2007

Nottingham Marathon


Keith Skelton finished 315th from 1128 finishers in a time of 03:39:47. John Finney finished 492nd in a time of 03:56:34 (7th MV60).

Gawsworth 10k


Damian Nicholls of Wilmslow RC won this off-road race in 35:00 and the first lady home was Olivia Walwyn from City Of Norwich in 39:49. Our own Kate Burge came 10th overall and was 1st LV35 in a time of 40:21. 332 finished.

Buntzen Lake 10k, Canada


It was only just before we set off for the race that we read that the total elevation on the race was 1049 metres and then wished that we hadn’t done the Grouse Grind the day before. This was a beautiful off road race set in the mountains around Buntzen lake. Although it was the hardest 10k I have ever done the scenery made up for it, with paths winding up through the forest and across streams – as did the free drinks, fruit and sandwiches at the end. We might not have won the race but we did win the price for travelling the furthest distance to run the race. I finished in 1 hour 11 minutes (91st out of 215) and Richard in 1 hour and 33 minutes (200th). This is one of 5 off road races in a series held in British Columbia and I would recommend any of them if you happen to be in Canada. If anyone feels like an even better adventure we just missed out on an off road race in Alaska that is a relay running the 120 mile route of the goldrush from Skagway to the Yukon. It takes most of a day so involves running through the night – and just to keep you alert there is the risk of running into bears. Anyone fancy it for next year? Report from Jane Bisiker And here’s some of the scenery !

Ipstones 5ml


This latest NSRRA race was won by Ben Gamble of Stone MM in a time of 27:15; the first Lady runner being Ruth Watchorn-Rice of Cheadle AC in 32:20. Report from Mark Bentley: Eighteen Harriers made it to sunny Ipstones this year for the tough annual 5 miler. I\’d forgotten just how hard the initial climb is over the first mile, only having done this race once before, in 2000. The road soon gave way to along downhill stretch on rocky farm tracks until you rejoined the road at just after the 3 mile point, before tackling the final hill a 4 miles ,and caning it hell-for-leather to the finish. Ben Gamble of Stone Master Marathoners won the race in 27.15, whilst the ladies winner was Ruth Watchorn-Rice of Cheadle RC in 32:20. Chris Ross was first Harrier home in a creditable 32.28, whilst Chris Skellern won the 1st F45 prize. Harriers placings and times were: Congratulations to Lucy Earnshaw for her 1st Senior lady position – and all those other Harriers who were well up in their age group.



A good turnout of Harriers, it was nice to see some Monday nighters giving a go, and they seemed to enjoy it.

Jason Littlewood showed his improved form, after knocking over minute off his PB in the Staffs Knot, he won this handicap by 52 seconds from Karen D Murray who ran a PB tine 33-07. Colin Mitchell all so ran a PB of 36-49.


Just a reminder, you have to run a handicap to get a handicap time to win it, this applies to Harriers who have run it in the past, but have not run it in the last two years, you have to run again to get a handicap time.

Clapham Common 10k


Graham Williams was in London for the weekend and, after enjoying his son’s wedding, took the opportunity to run a local race. The race website says that it is a 3 lap course on flat terrain with some hilly areas, running on both grass and concrete paths. The race was won in 33:54 and Graham finished in 50:06 – 129th from 358 runners. Well done Graham.

Lichfield 10k


While some Harriers were off in Wolverhampton enjoying themselves running the Marathon and Half, some Harriers whimped out and only raced 10k.
What do you think to that !
A course of undulations – nothing serious but cumluatively tiring.
The race was won by Thomas Payn of Winchester AC in 31:14 ! and the first lady home was Sian Slade of Birchfield Harriers in a time of 38:26
Stafford Harriers runners results were:

ALSO: Andrew Carter ran his first 10k at Lichfield. He was 700th in 1.07.28.
Missed from the table above as he was listed in the results as Unattached – but he is a new member Harrier !
PB’s for Kirsty Stephenson, Liz Stanyer & Allison Kelly

Wolverhampton Marathon & Half


The race was won by Colin Gel of Sale Harriers in a time of 2:40:01 & first lady home was Julia Myatt of Newcastle Staffs. AC in a time of 2:25:41
Stafford Harrier positions and times for the full marathon were:
…….293 finished
PB’s for Mike Saint-Dunn & Judith Colman.

In the Half marathon Ruth Umerah was 1st LV40 (7th Female and 166th overall), finishing in 1:38:59 and John Hateley finished 7th MV65 in 2:25:47. 1261 finished the race

Here’s a report from one of the ‘Half’ runners, Ruth Umerah:

This was my third attempt at the Wolverhampton Half-Marathon which should, in theory, be a breeze following so closely the hilly Leek Half. Despite this I have never heard anybody say they have run it well; I am always drawn to it as the route takes me down many streets of my student days where I lived, partied and (occasionally) studied. It certainly makes me feel better about getting older as I am now capable of running, at a reasonable pace, the streets I could once only stagger!

Last Sunday the weather was amazingly kind. Perfect running conditions prevailed at an event that can be uncomfortable hot and, had it been a day earlier, more than uncomfortably wet. After queuing to park and then paying (money to charity admittedly) £2 for the privilege I did feel a little irritated as I had already had to collect my number from the sorting office and pay additional postage of nearly £2 because the organisers had miscalculated the weight. I followed the crowds to West Park where the start had been moved this year. After asking several people where it was I was directed to a man holding a lollipop stick and instructed to wait behind him. I have to say, I’m still none the wiser about the location of the start! I have never experience a race start quite like it. I was, as usual, chatting to friends and as we chatted we strolled behind the lollipop man to, where we believed, was the starting line. After a couple of minutes somebody near us shouted “we’ve started” – I tried, unsuccessfully, to increase my pace and only realised on turning a corner that we were virtually at the back! We ran around the park several times slipping and sliding into bushes and trees and desperately trying to overtake the fun-runners! Eventually we hit the road and after what I’ve now calculated must have been about 11 minutes, passed the first mile marker… bang went my PB!

Despite the crazy start however, for the first time I really enjoyed the race. Michelle Rushton (second claimer) overtook me after about 3 miles but I kept her within my sight and was so determined that no other woman was going to come between us that I even managed to overtake a cheeky female that ran passed me just before the finish. One of the nicest things about the race was passing all the full marathon runners on their second lap out as I was coming in. This isn’t because I’m really mean, honestly, but it was great to be able to shout support to them and Mike Saint-Dunn and I even managed a high five as we passed (he looked a lot more energetic than I did).

In the end my official finishing time was 5 minutes faster than last time despite actually running 13 ½ miles and the silly start. Next year I’ll do Lichfield I think!.


10,000 metres Track Relay Competition


The waiting was over, the rain had eased and at 7pm the inaugural relay commenced with four teams participating, containing runners from both Stafford Harriers and Cannock and Stafford Athletics Club. Watched over by our intrepid officials, Mick Jones, Mick Bradbury, Pete Burns and Simon Evans the first leg runners of set off into the unknown, or at least the first of 25 laps. While the first team always had a commanding lead the race for second and third was always close, with the Harriers eventually finishing 7 seconds ahead of Cannock. As is customary on occasions of high importance like this, the presentation of Gold medals was made to the winning team by Pete Burns, and they were delicious. Well I always said it would be fun! The challenge has been set for next year can your team beat 31.57.8 minutes for 10,000 metres?

1st Hollinshead Harriers (Chris Hollinshead, Sam Evans and Tom Hobbins = 31.57.8 minutes)
2nd Stafford Harriers (Pete Sarson, Mike Saint-Dunn and Mike Downes = 34.27.4 minutes)
3rd Cannock and Stafford (Paul Lester, Dave Constance and Brian Peacock = 34.34.6 minutes)
4th Stafford Harriers (Ed Smith, Tracey Gee and Nigel Addison = 40.31.8 minutes)

The winning team – with their (choc) Gold Medals

Belvedere 10k


Organised by Hatton Darts Running Club in Burton upon Trent, this is a new race for me and well enjoyable. Harriers should put it in their diaries for next year – especially as it’s fairly local and there were no other local races this weekend so far as I am aware. The race starts very close to Burton Hospital on a slight upward incline for 0.75km, then a steep climb for 0.75km followed by a further slight incline to complete the first 2k of the race. Fortunately we then moved into gentle undulations for the next 4k and then a good steep 2k of downhill running, before leveling out and finishing flat in Shobnall Fields Sports Grounds. The race was won in a very respectable 33:55 by Dave Stevens of Tamworth, with the first lady Lisa Palmer of Heanor RC in 38:59.

Only 2 Harriers ran this year, myself and Natalie Mountford. I finished 19th overall in 39:13 (1st MV60) and natalie was 154th overall in 56:22 (35th lady). 225 finished the race Report by Pete Sarson

Thornbury 10ml


Chris Hollinshead finished an excellent 2nd place (1st M40) in the Thornbury (nr Bristol) 10 miles road race last Sunday.
In a strong field of over 400 starters that included the local Avon County Championships, Chris finished in a time of 55.17 minutes (PB whilst Harrier). After holding back at the start, Chris began to move through the field from 4 miles, before accelerating clear into second place. The course was entirely flat, virtually traffic free apart from a tractor, and run on country roads near the Severn estuary.
Following the race it was onto a local inn for a Sunday roast!

Leek Half Marathon


A pleasant morning for running, warmish but not too hot (unlike the Olympic Marathon run earlier this morning in 80°F+ temperatures) and with a very light touch of rain part way around. The course as tough as ever with 1220′ of climbing overall – you never really remember how hard the hills are from the previous year, particularly the last quarter mile long climb to the finish line.
The race was won by Ben Gamble of SMM in 1:15:14, with Julia Myatt of Stoke AC first lady in 1:28:23 (new course record for LV40).
South Cheshire picked up the team prize.

Harriers placings and times were:

Wroxham 5km


As unusual as it is, Chris Hollinshead followed up the Chase 5 with a 5km race in Wroxham, Norfolk. On a flat tree lined course, Chris finished in 9th position (first M40) in a time of 16.19 minutes. The early fast pace took its toll on Chris who felt as though he was treading water and swimming against the tide by 4km. Not a pleasant feeling is it? Anyway the post race fish and chips were excellent.

Thanks Chris



A series of 4 races held on Tuesday evenings – not well supported by the Harriers this year due to everyone enjoying the Club runs so much! Dave Marsden and John Leese have been our stalwarts running in all 4 races, joined by Kim Preece for the last race. They are short, fast & furious; but we ought to get more members out there next year. They are REALLY enjoyable. Results of the races have been:

Belper Rugy Rover 30km


This is a challenging 30km multi-terrain walk / run starting in Belper Rugby Club’s grounds in Derbyshire, which follows the Midshires Way via Roman roads, public footpaths and bridleways across fields , hills and valleys. The first mile is quite flat alongside a riverbank, but then starts climbing diagonally across fields for about 400′(of climb). A stretch of gentle downhill bridleway leads to a few other undulations before the start of another long and steepish climb (another 400′). Just when you think it’s all over (the climbing), the trail leads to another LONG steady climb across fields and stiles, before the steady downhill stretch starts. Only just over half way now ! Just before the 20km mark we descend quite steeply through Shining Cliff Woods, the path wet and a little awkward. At the bottom of the hill the path veers right to follow the bottom edge of the woods, then left to run out of the woods to daylight. Unfortunateley, at this point I was hot on the heels of a youngster, a mere slip of a youth, who missed the signs and turned right instead of left – and I followed him! It wasn’t until the youth was out of sight and I had climbed a boggy path strewn with awkward tree roots that I reached the top of the hill where the runners were entering the woods and realised the error of my ways. So, turn around and return back downhill looking for the turnoff point, get back on route and catch up with three lady walkers that I had passed ten minutes earlier! Exactly at that point Chris Ross came tearing up the path, passed me and left me for dead – disappearing ahead within minutes. Feeling somewhat despondent at that stage and tired as well I jog/walked slowly up this latest incline and out of the woods to eventually reach the 22km mark. A good drink at the water station there refreshed me a little and it appeared that all the climbing was over so I began to make a little more effort again, with a good stream of other runners ahead to chase. Eventually I got into a better flow and caught Chris Ross about 1km from the finish, while he was struggling as a result of his lack of mileage training. Some 2319′ of climbing overall (2500′ for me!). First Man home was John Wanjohi of Doncaster AC in an impressive 2hrs 04:24 and First lady was Nicola Clay of Stilton Strider in 2hrs 24:32. I finished 74th in 2hrs 42:36 with Chris 84th in 2hrs 45:51. Report from Pete Sarson.

25th Annual Race The Train


From Tywyn, a coal fired narrow gauge steam train takes you seven miles into the Snowdonia National Park, on a two and a half hour round trip, with the chance to stop for a forest walk or a picnic beside a tumbling waterfall. Every year they hold a cross-country race over part of the train route to see how many runners can beat the train back to the station. Harriers positions and times were as below. Hope to receive a race report from one of the participants, when they have time.

Oakamoor Veterans Team races


A race from Oakamoor (just north of Cheadle) Cricket Club runs along a disused railway for 2mls then climbs through woods for half a mile, emerging close to Alton Towers walling. A sharp left turn and through a stile leads to a field pathway then onto a woodland track which meanders for a couple of miles back towards the Club grounds. A steep downhill grass path brings us back to the old rail line and a circuit of the cricket club grounds. A really enjoyable 4.75mls! The lady runners turned off the railway path after 1ml and climbed the woodland hill to join the woodland path and return home ahead of the men (both start at the same time). I think everyone enjoyed themselves!

Our Harrier lady team runners were Chris Skellern 24:32, Vicky Lowndes 25:35 , Carole Dredge 28:15 and Jill Ross 28:27.

Our Harrier mens team comprised Pete Sarson 33:27, Chris Ross 33:36, Bob Dredge 34:21, Keith Skelton 35:11, Paul Douglas 35:53, Dave Marsden 36:03 and Ed Smith 38:32.

The team results were:
1. Cheadle RC – 06 points
2. Stone MM – 26 points
3 Stafford H – 27 points
4. Staffs. Moor – 36 points
1 Staffs Moor – 14 points
2. Stone MM – 44 points
3. Stafford H – 52 points
4. Cheadle RC – 65 points
5. Staffs. Moor B – 71 points
6. Uttoxeter RR – 142 points
7. Longton H – 146 points

Staffs. Knot 5


FIFTY SIX ! Harriers ran this 21st running of the event.
It was a pleasantly dry and mild evening, though slightly breezy.
Won for the 5th time by Tom Humphries, this year in 24min 05 secs – bettering his previous course record.
First lady home this year was our own kate Burge in 30:34
Cannock & Stafford won the male team competition and Stafford Harriers won the ladies team competition.

Harriers positions & times were:

New Club Age Group Bests were claimed tonight by C Hollinshead, K. Burge & P. Sarson
Anyone claiming a personal best for 5mls from tonights performance ? Let me know please.


Ulverston Summer 10k


Whilst on our hols in the Lakes, Lydia and I had a go at the Ulverston Summer 10k in southern Cumbria, organised by the Hoad Hill Harriers. It’s a fairly flat out and back course, apart from an incline for around half a mile as you loop round before heading back. It was a pleasant evening and a nice run all on road just outside the town, going past the Conishead Priory at the half way point. There were 227 runners and I managed to come eighth with a pb time of 35.03. Lydia came in at 52.46 (176th). The winner was Alasdair Russell from Kendal AC in 33.20.

Cheers, Tom Hobbins

Indian Queens Half marathon


For once, it was not the usual hot and sunny weather; instead a liberal sprinkling of the wet stuff and a bit of a breeze in places. And this on holiday in Newquay ! Tim Hough and Rob Proctor travelled to this popular seaside event to race against 467 others. Tim finished 197th in 1:43:24 and Rob finished 242nd in 1:48:00. Hope to get a report and some pics from Tim sometime soon.

Dovedale Dipper Challenge


Seven Harriers took part in this 15ml or 25.6 mile trail walk & run. Steve & Helen Littlewood (with dog Domino) walked the seriously undulating route; while myself and Lew Badger were the only ones foolhardy enough to run it. I have run it a couple of times before so I knew what I was letting myself in for. Frank & Jackie Grant and Mike Moore opted for the lower mileage, though similarly hilly, 15ml event
The 26ml route starts in Hartington, goes north to Longnor – partly along the Tissington Trail – then turns south up onto the Staffordshire Moorlands before crossing the Manifold Valley and over into Wolfscote Dale before turning north back to Hartington. Participants get a fully detailed description of the route and are guided also by signs and red/white tape, so there’s not much chance of getting lost. Six checkpoints provide drinks & cake or biscuits and at the finish there’s a baked potato dinner and fruit salad sweet.
The weather was great; starting bright but with a refreshing breeze and not getting too hot until about 2/3 rds of the way round (for me that is).
Walkers started at 9 am and runners at 10 pm.

Finishing times and positions :
26mile challenge – 260 finished
12th…….Pete Sarson………………………4hrs 17min
73rd…….Lew Badger………………………5hrs 42min
135th…..Steve & Helen Littlewood…….7hrs 10min
15mile ramble – 132 finished
96th……..Frank Grant……6hr 34min
97th=……Jaquie Grant…..6hr 35min
97th=……Mike Moore…..6hr 35min

…. The church right next to the start and finish line
Report by P Sarson

39th Trentham 10ml


This race is often blessed with very warm weather, but today was fresh and breezy. Short showers preceded the race, but the rain kept away during the run. The breeze was sufficient to keep us reasonably cool but not strong enough to affect times. What did affect times – as ever – was the mile-long hill stretching over the 2nd and 6th mile (2 lap course); rather steep in places! Not forgetting the short but steep ‘hillock’ at 9 3/4 miles.

Race winner was Scott Hazell of Coventry Godiva Harriers in 53:33, with Ben Gamble of Stone MM 38secs behind.

First lady home was Felicity Hart of Stamford Striders in a time of 63:59

New Club age group bests set by P. Douglas & P. Sarson.
A PB for Karen Davies.
And a PB for Rob Proctor, beating last year’s time by 1min 49 secs

ALSO, new member Kirsty Stephenson who finished 92nd overall in 73:25. Brilliant run Kirsty !!

Chasewater Challenge 10k


Race winner was Oliver Harradence in 32:45. First lady was Debbie Walters of Birchfield Harriers in 36:14

Harrier places and times were:

294 finished

Twenty Fifth JCB Lakeside ‘5’


Only 9 Harriers were willing to forego their Thursday evening training run to race in this local event.
Run from the main JCB factory at Rocester, it’s a two lap course with a steep but short hill at the start of each lap. contiinuing with a further half mile of steady uphill climb before reaching a short stretch of deep downhill, then flatish most of the rest.
Although it rained an hour before the start, the rain clouds blew away and conditions were fine for the race itself.
The race was won by Ben Gamble of Stone MM in 26:04, 40secs ahead of Mark Dalkins from Tipton, and first lady home was Adele Salt of Trentham in 30:55


Good to see Steve Littlewood running strongly after such a long injury absence.

The official results show a Stafford Harrier at 205 position I can’t remember seeing anyone other than those named, so apologies to whoever it was – if it was please let me know.

Cheadle 4ml


Nice to see Mick Bradbury racing again, finishing 145th in 32:04 – somehow missed from the results listed below.

A fine sunny and warm day greeted the 214 runners for this year’s race – a record number I believe.
The race was won by Chris Davies of telford AC in 20mins dead, with Sharleen Hollinshead of Cheadle RC the first lady home in 24:10

The 21 Harriers placings & times were:


Wyre Forest Half


Last year this race clashed width Shifnal and this year with Cheadle but I think it is worth considering as an alternative next year. It is certainly a hard run with around 1800 foot of climb according to the profile pinned up at the start – and plenty of mud. However, this is made up for by the beautiful scenery and well marshalled course. The best bit is the visitors centre at the end which serves a mean cup of coffee and cake. It was won by Matthew Simms of Oxford university in 1 hour and 22 mins and first lady home was Rachel Cook of Birchfield in 1 hour and 37 minutes. Jane Bisiker was first Harrier home (well it sounds better than only harrier!!) in 1 hour and 59 minutes. Report from Jane Bisiker

Crown Classic 10k


Three Harriers ventured accross to Dawley, Nr. Telford for this “classic” race. Won by Mike James of Shrewsbury AC in 32:52, there were 125 finishers. Tom Hobbins had a great run to finish 6th overall in a time of 36:49 and was followed by Mike Down in 40:44 (23rd) and Keith Skelton in 42:26. ….


Shifnal “Steeplechase” Half


The recent rash of heavy showers didn’t prevent fourteen hardy Harriers making the short trip out to Shifnal for this unique half on-road, half off-road half-marathon (that’s all the halves out of the way.) We got soaked on the 10-minute walk to the start, when the rain suddenly decided to stop.The rain held off for the race, but boy, was it muggy.Also there was a fair amount of standing water on the roads and some of the off-road trails were a bit muddy underfoot. Another soaking was the order of the day after finishing, just as most people were heading for the changing rooms. Tom Hobbins was first Harrier home in fine style in 1:24:06, being 12th overall. Well done to Sally Burns, too, for getting a PB with Brian Langston’s help. The winner was Wayne Dashper of Telford AC in 1:16:10, the ladies winner was Claire Martin, also of Telford AC, in 1:18:23. If you fancy something a little different next Summer, give this race a try. You won’t be disappointed. ….

Spring Treble


Berryhill Fields 10k


The heaven’s opened about 15mins before the start of the 10k and torrential rain caught quite a few runners who were out on the course warming up. But by the start of the race the rain had more or less stopped, so those who had avoided the downpour didn’t get too wet. Three times across the grassy hills took its toll from most, though Ray Plant seemed to manage pretty well – finishing 1st in 34:22 (40secs ahead of the second finisher). Michelle Buckle of Newcastle AC was the 1st lady home, in time of 40:29.

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