Race Report October to December 2015


Wheaton Aston 10K


37 Stafford Harriers took to the roads of Wheaton Aston to shed any excess pounds in the annual 10k race on Sunday 27th.
Conditions on the day were ideal for running and the floods experienced on the course over the past couple of years were lacking.

Will Taylor was the first Harrier home, finishing 21st overall in a chip time of 37.13.
Ian Hodkinson was next in (41:23 64th) with Will Sammons finishing in 41:26 (62nd), while also just making the top 100 was Michelle Fox (43:25 – 3rd L40).

Other finishers (chip times shown) were:
John Gomersall (44:56 128th)
Chris Elsley (45.20 136th)
Simon Groom (45:26 139th)
Alan Jones (46:19 149th)
Alan Cook (46:12 150th)
Jack Hodkinson (45:59 152nd)
Craig Baxter (46:26 155th)
Will Gray (46:33 164th)
Chris Skellern (46:50 168th – 1st L50)
Natalie Godfrey (46:53 169th)
Melonie Deakin (50:21 214th)
Justine Hall (50:56 227th)
Anne Coghlan (51:09 236th)
Tracy Ridings (51:12 238th)
Kieran Mogey (51:18 243rd)
Ed Smith (52:02 252nd)
Liz Simcox (52:30 259th)
Sarah Johnson (53:53 287th)
Natalie Boswell (54:05 288th)
Ange Brookes (55:09 307th)
Sarah Johnson (55:20 320th)
David Plant (59:07 385th)
Annabel Evans (60:52 401st)
Heather Bennett (61:00 403rd)
Julie Mogey (63:47 422nd)
Mick Jones (64:30 433rd)
Karen Jones (66:22 452nd)
Charlotte Ward (66:58 454th)
Lindsay Ashforth (67:01 456th)
Mike Bamber (69:03 466th)
Sara Broome (70:40 482nd)
Sarah Gray (74:05 494th)
Holly Wright (75:13 497th)

The race was won by Chris Perrin of Cannock & Stafford in 33.28 with Scottish international runner Laura Whittle of Royal Sutton AC the leading lady and 2nd overall (33.56).




Harriers Christmas Handicap


Report from Liz Stanyer

31 Harriers and 2 dogs took part in the last Handicap of 2015, which was also the final challenge race of 2015. It was a cool clear morning and there was a minor delay in the cold for our runners as Frank Evans turned up after the 11am start to run and being as he would be ‘the hare’, the runners times had to be pushed back a little further, whilst waiting for Frank to start. However Frank has to take his time, shoes laces to tie, and a little warm up, cue lots of moaning and goading from the rest of the runners.

As predicted by his Mum, George Hodkinson came storming through to take 1st place by a mighty big margin of over a minute from Richard Rea in 2nd and 30 seconds later Spencer Holland in 3rd. The rest of the runners then came through thick and fast with the exception of the last runner through, a record slowest time of 64 minutes and 11 minutes behind the previous runner, our very own hare Frank.

As is now tradition there was a race debrief, drinks and hot food back at the cricket club, with everyone wearing a wide array of Christmas jumpers. There were a few extra prizes for Christmas, in addition to the mug every runner received.


1st Place – George Hodkinson

2nd Place – Rich Rea

3rd Place – Spencer Holland


Fastest Female – Natalie Godfrey (sadly Natalie wasn’t at the club after so the prize went to 2nd fastest female and that was Chris Skellern, it wasn’t alcohol Natalie so don’t worry!)

Fastest Male – Rich Rea

Slowest Runner – Frank Evans

Quickest Runner who was at the Harriers Christmas party the night before – Chris Ross

Most Charitable Runner – Chris Elsely for running back to run in with Frank Evans

Harriers Helper Extraordinaire – Gill Hodkinson who has helped out at almost every Handicap since I have taken it on.

Many thanks to Ian Hodkinson, Gill Hodkinson, Brian Langston, Ian Talbot, Millie Stanyer, Hannah Talbot, Archie Johnson and Spencers daughter (sorry I didn’t get her name) for marshaling, helping us hand out mugs, take numbers and generally keep us entertained in the cold waiting for the runners to come through. It can be a thankless task and yet without the helpers this event wouldn’t take place. It has been difficult to get enough helpers this year and the last 2 races have seen a runner have to step down to help marshal. For such a big club it seems a shame that we can’t get the 6 helpers needed to assist with a great little club event.

And so I hand over the handicap baton and wish the successors every luck with taking the handicap forward in to 2016 and beyond. I know for sure the results will be highly efficient and come out a lot quicker!!

I think the handicap is a fantastic event, as I witnessed on Sunday, and comes with a whole lot of fun and banter. It really should be on every Harriers race list regardless of ability, and encouraged by coaches and run leaders.

Thank you for the support and incredible amount of arguing and dispute over handicap times over the last 2 years. I found the whole thing highly entertaining, and like my predecessor, I remained completely unfazed by a wide range of bribes and novel threats to alter handicap times. Good luck to my successors!

We should all say a great big thank you to Liz for all her efforts since taking on the Handicap two years ago. It is a major task, not only on the day but all the unseen work on results and handicap formula as well as trying to get folks to help out. Since she has taken over, the charge up the valley to the finish has got closer and closer.

Now she is hanging up her computer we should be able to see her running it again?




Telford 10K


Sunday saw the popular Telford 10k which always attracts a top quality field.

In an event won by GB international runner Ryan McLeod of Tipton Harriers in 29.40, Richard Rea finished 179th in a time of 37.09 to be the first Harrier home. Spencer Holland came in 250th in 40.25 while Ian Williams was 338th in 43.45.

Other Harriers to finish were: Alan Jones (408th 46.22), Melonie Deakin (508th 49.59), Natalie Boswell 634th 54.33), Rachel Darbey (655th 55.34), Karen Jones (888th 68.52)


Turkey Trot 5 mile race and 1k fun run

Aldersley Stadium Wolverhampton
Sunday 20th December 2015


Report by Mel Deakin

Four Harriers made the trip to Aldersley Stadium on the edge of Wolverhampton for the seasonal Turkey Trot. The main event is the five mile road race which forms part of the Four Seasons series organised by Wolves and Bilston AC. Sara Broome and John Hateley are series entrants. I was also running in the five mile race, and junior Harrier Ben Deakin was competing in the fun run.
The 1k fun run started at 10am and was two and a half laps of the running track. Ben started strongly and led the field until half way around the last lap when he was overtaken. He then produced an amazing sprint down the home straight to finish first for the Harriers, swiftly followed by several Wolves and Bilston young athletes. This was a proud mum moment, but also it was inspirational to see so many young people running fantastic times.
Down to earth – it was 10:30 and time to start the main race. This started on the track for half a lap before exiting at the back of the track and up the hill onto the main road. For the next five miles we ran through the local area, some of the race was on the road, some on the footpaths. It is a long time since I have run a five mile race but it seemed to go by in a flash and before I knew it we were running back towards Aldersley Leisure village, looping around the way we went out to finish on the track. Turkey goodie bag given to all finishers.
Compared to races I have done of late, the weather for this event was good, sunny and dry with a cool breeze, excellent for the time of year – yay! Would I do this race again? Yes, loved it and got a 5 mile race PB. Excellent facilities (and Costa Costa coffee on site!) The only thing I would say is it is a road race and we had to run on the road and cross a lot of roads. The marshals were excellent but they really had their work cut out for them making sure we were safe – thank you all!
1st Michael Aspinall unattached 25:39
17th and first lady Sarah Mackness Telford AC 30:30
174th Melonie Deakin Stafford Harriers 41:33 PB
256th John Hateley 48:40
311th Sara Broome 58:27


1k Fun run:

1st Ben Deakin Stafford Harriers 3:36


North Staffs Cross Country

Uttoxeter 12/12/15


Last Saturday saw the final races of the North Staffs Cross Country League, taking place at the new venue of Uttoxeter Racecourse.

In the U11 boys race, Stafford Harriers had two runners in the U11 boys race with Matthew Hilsdon (32nd) and Harry Beckett (42nd) completing the course.

There was a better turnout from the U13 boys who saw Mark Leigh (26th) lead his team home to a 7th place finish. Ben Cook, Ben Jones (36 & 37th respectively), Jake Oliver (46th), Harrison Rogers (47th) and James Withington were the other finishers.

In the U15 boys, George Hodkinson (20th) finished just ahead of Matt Soames (25th) and Matt Bonney (26th) to give the boys a 6th place finish. Also finishing were Kian Arnott (33rd) and Ben Deakin (35th).

Will Sammons (11th) and Kieran Mogey 17th)were only two Harriers who ran the U17 boys event.

In the U11 girls, Freya Haycock-Hall finished 37th, ahead of team mates Amelia Holland (44th), Isobelle Beckett (48th), Rose White (50th), Lucy Taylor (51st) and Caitlin Saunders (54th) to secure 9th spot.

Jess Locke (39th) was the only Harrier to enter the U13 girls race and it was the same for Amy Oliver (17th) in the Girls U17 event but the U15 girls secured Runners Up spot in their league after Taygen Pike (25th), Gabby Lufton (28th), Chloe Burrows, Olivia Black and Ellie Withington (30th, 31st & 32nd) secured the points with a 5th place finish overall on the day.

In the Senior Ladies race, Chris Skellern was the first Harrier home, finishing 65th, followed by Tracy Ridings (80th), Natalie Godfrey (83rd), Debbie McDermott (104th), Emma Withington (109th), Melonie Deakin (123rd), Jane Bisiker (128th), Jill Ross (135th) and Joanne Oliver (149th) to give the team 7th place on the day.

The Senior mens race saw Phil Hilsdon (35th) finish just ahead of Richard Rea (37th) while Jim Smith came home in 123rd.

Spencer Holland (142nd),Tony Haycock (144th), Chris Ross (155th), Ian Hodkinson (157th), Ian Wood (163rd), Mark Oliver (175th), Darren Mattock (186th), Leon Stringer (219th), Graham Young (231st), Roy Clay (232nd), Mark Bentley (234th), Craig Baxter(237th), Dave Mantle (247th), David Taylor (249th) were the other finishers as the men’s team finished 10th overall in Division One.


Chris Elsley

Start of U11 Girls race

Press release

5 Dec 15

By Chris Elsley

There was just one race on the local running calendar last weekend with competitors heading to the Potteries for the Newcastle Dales Dash.

The event is a 10k multi-terrain race across the reclaimed coal mining landscape west of Newcastle-under-Lyme. The route of the race takes in most of Apedale, a Community Country Park with woodlands, meadows and pools. The race then takes a turn around Lymedale, once site of the Brymbo pit but now a solar panelled business park with wetlands and fishing ponds incorporated.

Russell Barron was the first of 10 Stafford Harriers to complete the course, finishing 19th overall in a time of 43.20.

Anthony Haycock finished 39th in 46.46 with Chris Ross 44th in 47.20. Other finishers included Jim Smith (49th 47.49), Leon Stringer (101th 52.43), Mark Preston (118th 54.29), Chris Skellern (121st 54.52 (also 1st female over 50)), Bill Chidlow (142nd 59.20), Melonie Deakin (147th 60.59) and Jill Ross (151st 61.28).

Race winner was Simon Myatt (Trentham RC) in a time of 36.30 while Amber Reed of Blackheath and Bromley Harriers was the first female to finish in 43.12.

Press release

30 Nov 15

By Chris Elsley


A number of Stafford Harriers collected an early Christmas Pudding for a running 10k on Saturday.

There were two races offering the reward with the Cheddleton event near Leek with a similar event at Chasewater.
There were four Harriers who competed at Cheddleton on a three lap course around the village, starting from St Edwards School.
Nia Nokes produced a 10k pb to finish in 48.19 (112th overall), pipping Craig Baxter (49.03 – 125th) to the sought after claim of being first Harrier home.
Frank Chidlow (56.08 – 202nd) and Julie Nokes (63.06 – 255th) were the other Harriers to finish among the field of 287.
The race was won by Mark Powell of Leicester Coritanians in 33.41 with Mandy Vernon of Trentham the first lady in 38.33.
The Chasewater Christmas Pudding Dash was run on an undulating course around the Reservoir and saw Richard Caley finish in 56th place in a time of 49.42, ahead of Melonie Deakin (68th – 51.36) and Andy Bourne (106th – 54.51).
Matt Adcock (Hermitage Runners) was first across the line in 37.23 with Tracie Trueman of Lawley RC the first lady in 42.12.
On Sunday there was a good turnout of 23 Harriers who travelled to Baggeridge Country Park for the Suicide 6.
Slips and slides are almost compulsory as the course takes runners up hill and down dale, through sticky clay and, favourite among the crowds, through a three foot deep brook. Despite the hazards, the event remains a favourite on the local running scene, selling out several weeks in advance.
Chris Ross was the leading Harrier on the day, coming home in 47.23 to finish 65th overall. Jim Smith was just two places and 25 seconds behind while Ian Hodkinson came home in 48.05 (71st)
Other Harriers among the 393 to complete the gruelling course were:

Michelle Rushton-Fox (48.20 – 74th)
Jack Hodkinson (49.24 – 83rd)
Alan Griffin (49.24 – 84th)
Mark Oliver (49.47 – 92nd)
Mark White (52.15 – 118th)
Chris Elsley (53.19 – 131st)
Tracy Ridings (54.49 – 154th)
Chris Skellern (56.59 – 184th)
Debbie McDermott (58.06 – 196th)
Alan Jones (58.13 – 197th)
Jane Bisiker (60.52 – 225th)
Anne Coghlan (61.56 – 243rd)
Jill Ross (62.54 – 259th)
Caryl Gibson (64.52 – 273rd)
Joe Atherton (64.52 – 274th)
Sally Burns (64.57 – 275th)
Amy Oliver (67.14 – 291st)
Joanne Oliver (68.01 – 296th)
Brian Langston (69.02 – 310th)
Amanda Pearce (71.27 – 334th)


The Chasewater Christmas Pudding 5k and 10k

Saturday 28th November 2015.

Mel Deakin reports:
This Christmas pudding race is the same course and organisers as the Easter Egg race that was held in April which Ben and I ran and enjoyed. Multi terrain, chip timed, option of 5k (1 lap) or 10k (2 laps), scenic, excellent facilities and fairly local – all good. We returned hoping to improve our times although on the day the conditions couldn’t have been more different; sunshine in April was replaced by a cold dull day with a strong bitter wind. At least it wasn’t raining.
The start was a little bit disorganised. Through luck rather than planning, Ben and I ended up right at the front which meant a great start for us. Ben stormed away and it wasn’t long before I lost sight of him. The course was wet with a fair few puddles and muddy bits to negotiate and a couple of short sharp hills, but not that bad. The thing I struggled with was the head wind on the exposed parts of the course. It was like running into an icy blast and it took me ages to feel warm and sort my breathing out. Two laps later I finished to be given a medal and loads of goodies. It was great to catch up with Holly and Richard at the finish. We all ran so well in the conditions and I thought we all looked super smart in our new Harrier jackets.
I was very pleased with my time. It wasn’t a 10k PB, or the sub 50 I want, but well over two minutes faster that I ran in April. The icing on the cake was Ben finishing 3rd out of 132 runners in the 5k and he got a prize.
Ben Deakin reports:
I decided to do this race to see how much I had improved from the last time I ran the course which was the Easter Egg 5k in April. We got there and it was windy and cold. The start could have been better because everyone was pushing backwards to get behind the start line and no one seemed to know how far to go back. But I ended up at the front so it allowed me to go faster at the start. Last time I ran 26:18. This time I ran 23:06 so I was pleased. Like last time my watch said it was over 5k which I was not happy about as it is meant to be a 5k race. My 5k time on my watch was 22:23 which is my fastest yet. I want to get under 20 minutes at the Easter Egg race next year.
5k results:
1st Sean Greasley unattached 21:14
2nd and first lady Rebecca Loundes Wolves and Bilston 22:57
3rd Ben Deakin Stafford Harriers 23:06
56th Holly Wright Stafford Harriers 36:16
78th Jennifer Beckett Stafford Harriers 39:03
10k results:
1st Matt Adcock Hermitage Harriers 37:23
15th and first lady Olivia Worth Halesowen 43:15
55th Richard Caley Stafford Harriers 50:18
67th Melonie Deakin Stafford Harriers 51:37
104th Andy Bourne Stafford Harriers 54:42

Cannock Chase Rotary Club 10K


7 members of Stafford Harriers were among over 220 runners who braved the freezing temperatures last Sunday for a 10k event organised by Cannock Rotary Club.

The race began at the popular Marquis Drive venue and was run along the surrounding roads.

Spencer Holland was the first Harrier home, finishing 31st overall in a time of 43.07. He was closely followed by Ian Wood (35th 43.41) while Natalie Godfrey finished 64th in 48.33.

Also completing the testing course for the local club were David Taylor (74th 49.37), Stella Dennis (81st 49.56), Chris Lakin (94th 51.05) and Chris Carroll (138th 56.48).

The race was won by Matthew Williams of Nott’s AC in 34.14 while Birchfield Harriers’ Remi Flavell was the first lady to finish in a time of 40.26.

Chris Elsley


National Cross Country Relays


This year’s Saucony English Cross Country Relays proved once again how exciting this event is.

It also gives lots of Clubs a taste of being at the front of the field and from a total of 31 legs 18 different Clubs led at the end of each of the legs.

The most exciting race was the Senior Men’s with Derby & County leading on leg 1, Reading on leg 2, Bristol & West leg 3 and Morpeth finally on leg 4. Other races where there was a different Team ahead at the end of each leg were the Under 13 Girls won by Herne Hill Harriers, the Under 17 Men won by Tonbridge and Under 17 Women won by Aldershot, Farnham & District, while no Club led a race throughout.

Aldershot, Farnham & District won the most medals taking home 3 golds, 1 silver and 2 bronze ahead of Tonbridge with 2 golds and 1 bronze and Herne Hill 1 gold and 1 bronze. Again there was a diversity of Clubs winning medals with 18 different doing so.

At the end of the day 724 complete and 132 incomplete Teams started the Relays and a total of 2581 athletes took part not a record but a very healthy number. There were no new records however the Women’s race had 102 teams finish while a further 20 started but failed to finish equalling the previous best.


Once again the biggest field of day started in the Senior Men’s race where 178 runners toed the start line while the smallest as usual was the Junior Women’s where a field of 33 Teams started

In the younger age groups the biggest field was 85 complete and 6 incomplete Teams in the Under 15 Girls race while there was 74 complete and 15 incomplete in the Under 15 Boys relay.

The Course was slightly altered this year to accommodate more car parking but as Course records have not been kept for some years now this made no difference, however the distances are accurately measured each year.




Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon


Report from Julie Nokes

This was my third marathon and my training had definitely been considerably better than the previous two. (For these two marathons I went with a Jeff Galloway run/walk plan -London 5.05.37 and Berlin 5.11) I managed two x 13 mile runs, the South Cheshire 20 in 3 hours 36 mins and a final run of 15.6 miles.
I travelled up to York on the Saturday on my own. I attended the Evensong service in York Minister before returning to my B&B with an M&S risotto.
I prepared all my kit and settled into bed for an early night. I woke at 6.00am after a fairly unsettled night, breakfast consisted of weetabix, 2 rounds of bread and jam with a small glass of orange juice and a green tea.
The race start was at York University. The park and ride bus service, although expensive at £7.50 was very efficient and organised, especially compared to the travel chaos at the Ironman 70.3K

Shugborough earlier in the year.
The only very minor complaint was the length of time it took to drop your bag.
I took my place towards the back of the runners in the sub 5 hours box.
The morning was cool and the sun was trying to break through. Later I was pleased I had made the decision to wear sunglasses.
I knew that I needed to stick to a steady 11.00-11.30 min per mile pace and I would achieve my goal and finish in under 5 hours!
There is a nice downhill start and then very quickly we were running up The Shambles and past the Minster. The support around the city was loud and enthusiastic.
I settled early into a nice steady pace as we ran through the villages of York, chatting to other runners throughout the race.
My legs started aching after only 8 miles so I took 2 paracetamol, the lace on my right shoe was digging in the top of my foot….I was undecided whether to plod on or stop and sort it out. I opted for the latter and managed to last the 26.2 miles.
One of the highlights was a vicar standing outside his church cheering and giving hi-fives to the runners. The Steve Way banner # Don’t be sh*t, brought a smile to my face as did the lady who shouted you’ve come all the way from Stafford to support this!
At 16 miles my knees were starting to ache, I had a sachet of pain gel in my gel belt so rubbed this into my knees!
Shortly after this was the worst part of the race for me a stretch where we seemed to run for ever before turning to run back on ourselves!
At 19 miles I took a SIS gel with caffeine to try and avoid hitting the wall. Whether it had a physical effect or psychological effect I’m not sure but it lifted me and I started to gain in confidence knowing that as long as I kept going that sub 5 hour marathon was in reach.
I slowly gained on the 5 hour pacemaker and his runners.
The final stretch had a climb back into the University and my legs just couldn’t manage to keep going. Reaching the top it was then a welcome downhill run to the finish. 4.53.33 I was delighted and beaming. A lovely pink medal and black t shirt as a memento of the day.
My chip time splits were 10k – 1.08.40, 20k – 2.17.30, half way – 2.26, 30k – 3.28.34, 40k – 4.37.59 Finish 4.53.33
A 12 minute PB with even pacing and a strong finish I really couldn’t have asked for more.

New York City Marathon,

1 Nov 2015


Report Anne Coghlan

50,235 starters, 49,617 finishers

The route starts at the foot of the Verazzano Narrows Bridge taking you over 5 road bridges through 5 NYC Boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Manhatten) to finish at The Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Throughout, it introduces you to the highs and lows of the city, openly sharing its diversity and putting you directly in touch with the amazing spirit, warmth and heart of its inhabitants. Mental, heartwarming, deafeningly loud, indescribably hard and totally unforgettable. People knee deep on every sidewalk the whole way round. Hanging off bridges, balconies, rooftops, cranes, shouting, singing, dancing, playing drums, pipes, live bands, banners, karaoke machines, lots of support and lots of uniforms (police and fire) to high 5 with – Happiness.

I had prepared for it to be hilly and it was. Not the soft, rolling green of The Chase, of course, but plenty of long, endless concrete stretches. I had prepared for it to be cold and it wasn’t. Not by a long shot! Mile 18 was a low point. The travel, the sightseeing (you gotta see it all), the early start and the enormity of the crowds were hitting home. Still to come was the notorious uphill to the finish. The start with the American anthem, the NY skyline shining on the left while Frank Sinatra stranded us with ‘New York, New York’ felt like days ago. I think I pretty much ran backwards after that point, but it got me to the finish. Ian was on the final stretch which was a welcome surprise as he was due to be up the Empire State and then in the pub.

A huge, huge and exciting adventure and something everyone should take on – not this in particular – but definitely and unreservedly put your heart into what you want to do and go for it. We all started nowhere, you are already a Harrier, go out, achieve and enjoy. We are all behind you xx
Especially you Alan Griffiths – you are already a Winner!

Best sign – Never trust a Trump, esp after 15 miles
Best shout – Anne: that’s my Momma’s name; I love my Momma
Best sight – Achilles International (Runners) – A group which provides athletes with disabilities the support to run, and they were out in their hundreds on the course.


Ballot opens Jan 2016 – TCS New York Marathon Website


Anne Coghlan – Stafford Harriers (48F) – 4:17 ; overall place 18,725
Ethan Hawke – Rather nice Movie Star (44M) – 4:25 ; overall place 21,687




The Stafford Harriers team of Chris Skellern, Julie Nokes, Karen Murray and Tracy Riddings have won the ladies team prize for 2015, well done ladies.


Individual results are as follows


Tracy Riddings Third group M, 2nd F40

Karen Murray First group W, 2nd F45

Julie Nokes Third group X, 2nd F55

Chris Skellern 2nd F50

Bill Whitworth 2nd M70

Mike Jones 3rd M70


English National Cross Country Relays



Reports from Chris Elsley

Stafford Harriers sent a number of runners over to Mansfield to compete in a variety of events ranging from U13 boys to Senior Women’s races.

Although three (junior and ladies) or four (men) runners are required to make a team, incomplete teams are also able to participate to ensure everyone gets an opportunity to run.

For the Harriers, the U13 boys trio of Hayden Leigh (8.50), Mark Leigh (8.41) and Jake Oliver (8.55) finished 66th in their section while the U15 boys team of Robbie Gorman (7.27), Matt Bonney (7.56) and George Hodkinson (7.26) finished 67th. Both races were run over at 2k route.

Unfortunately, the U17 boys could only field two runners with Will Sammons (11.38) and Kieran Mogey (13.48) running for the Harriers over the 3k course.

In the girls events there were five Harriers running at U15 level (2k) with Chloe Burrows (10.32), Lizzie Jasper (9.54) and Taygen Pike (9.15) finishing 84th while the incomplete B team consisted of Olivia Black (10.33) and Caitlin Boldock (10.38).

Taygen also ran in the girls U17 race over 2.5k in a time of 11.26 to help the team to finish 48th along with Polly Pye (13.18) and Amy Oliver (12.54).

There were only two representing the Harriers in the Senior Women’s event with Chris Skellern (13.25) and Debbie McDermott (14.43) representing the club. Debbie having the task of running the same leg as International Steph Twell.

Numbers were a little better in the Senior Men’s event where the Harriers were able to field three teams running 5k each leg.

The A team of Will Taylor (17.52), Richard Rea (18.59), Ian Hodkinson (21.22) and Spencer Holland (20.56) finished 113th, the B team of Mark Oliver (21.46), Jason Littlewood (23.34), Liam Duggan (21.48) and Will Taylor (18.16) finished 129th and the C team of Ian Dale (22.33), Roy Clay (24.30), Ed Smith (26.24) and Craig Baxter (24.39) finished 149th.

Stafford Harriers are looking for more members to participate in the cross country events so if you fancy getting involved, contact info@staffordharriers.co.uk for more details.


Flying Fox 10 Mile



Closer to home and Sunday saw the Flying Fox event – a challenging road race run around the lanes of Standon, Chapel Chorlton and Maer.

A foggy morning greeted the runners which made the temperatures ideal and unusually for the event, there were no floods on the lanes!

The race was won by Carl Moulton of Boalloy in 55.10 while Newcastle’s Michelle Buckle (69.00) won the women’s event. Harriers runner Matt Woodman came in fourth overall in a time of 58.38 which earned him a bronze medal in the Staffordshire Championships. Chris Skellern (116th – 80.36) won gold in the F50 category.

Other Harriers among the 234 finishers were:

Richard Rea 15th 63.21

Ian Wood 38th 70.01

Ian Hodkinson 42nd 70.46

Andrew Locke 44th 71.16

Jim Smith 66th 75.06

Mark Bentley 81st 75.49

Leon Stringer 101st 78.34

Chris Elsley 114th 80.25

Craig Baxter 136th 83.08

Darren Mattocks 144th 84.10

Debbie McDermott 153rd 86.28

Shelley Burns 161st 88.10

Karen Murray 170th 91.39

Bill Chidlow 171st 92.08

Graham Williams 179th 94.57


Coven Canter

25th October 2015


Report by Sara Broome
Just 5 Harriers made the trip up the A449 to Fordhouses Cricket Club for the annual Coven Canter 10K race. This race starts and finishes in the i54 business park across the road from the cricket club and is mainly run on tarmac roads. The race started by going through a small wooded area and then over the M54 and onto a short track. After a short trip down Bell lane we approached the A449. Running back towards Stafford was a novelty for me as I drive down this road on my way to work and back. It’s a lot quicker in the car! At the double roundabout we turned towards Coven and after the drinks station we then turned down a lane heading back towards the M54 and Fordhouses. This is the ‘undulating’ part of the course and for once the description was true. A turn left at the top of one of the undulating turned us back towards the i54 business park and the finish. Just when you think you know how far it is to the finish the marshalls turn you onto a short cycle path up the side of the road for one last small hill, round the roundabout and then head towards the finish. First home Richard White of Halesowen AC in 33:10 and first lady and 4th overall, Tess Clarke of Wolves and Bilston AC in 35:54.


Robert Mottram-Jones 38:22 1st M50
Mel Deakin 50:19 PB
John Hateley 61:52 1st M70
Sara Broome 73:51
Sarah Humphreys 74:00


North Staffs Cross Country – Stafford Common

24th October

Race results reported by Chris Elsley

The opening date of the North Staffs Cross Country League brought hundreds of runners of all ages to Stafford Common last week. Wintry conditions greeted the runners with the junior events getting the worst of the conditions.

Stafford Harriers were represented in all the races and the U11 boys comprising of Oliver Patrick, Ben Marsh and Matthew Hilsden finished 8th in a keenly contested race, being pipped by local rivals Cannock & Stafford by just one point.


The Under 13 boys also finished 8th in their group with
Jake Oliver 31st,
Ben Jones 38th,
Evan Davis-Fuller 43rd,
Robert Gray 49th,
Mark Leigh 51st
Harry Dale 55th


The Under 15 boys fared slightly better, finishing in 5th place thanks to the efforts of
George Hodkinson 15th,
Robbie Gorman 20th,
Ben Deakin 31st,
Matt Boney 33rd,
Joe Turton 35th
Kian Arnott 36th


Only Will Sammons (20th) and Kieran Mogey (23rd) competed in the U17 boys event – three runners are needed to score for the team event.


In the U11 girls, the Harriers grouped well with
Isobelle Beckett 47th,
Rose White 48th
Amelia Holland 49th
Just behind them was Lucy Taylor 51st.
The team finished 10th.


Katie Taylor (46th) was the only Harrier entrant in the U13 Girls race and it was a similar story in the U17 Girls where Amy Oliver finished 17th


There was a better turnout in the U15 Girls with the Harriers finishing 7th.
Taygen Pike 26th,
Gabby Lufton 32nd,
Chloe Burrows 39th
and Ellie Withington 41st were the finishers.

The Senior Women came in 7th with
Stella Dennis 62nd,
Chris Skellern 71st,
Natalie Godfrey 109th,
Jill Ross 127th,
Jane Bisiker 130th,
Emma Withington 144th,
Caryl Gibson 156th


There were good numbers in the Senior Mens race where 25 Harriers took part to earn the team an 8th place finish:
Will Taylor 37th,
Phil Hilsdon 41st,
Richard Rea 67th,
David Clarke 122nd,
Spencer Holland 138th,
Rob Mottram-Jones 145th,
Jim Smith 146th,
Ian Hodkinson 149th,
Ian Wood 169th,
Chris Ross 170th,
Dave Payling 180th,
Chris Owen 196th,
Darren Mattocks 203rd,
Dave Marsden 216th,
Leon Springer 224th,
Adam Morris 230th,
Jason Littlewood 240th,
Ian Dale 242nd,
Mark Bentley 251st,
Joe Atherton 270th,
Roy Clay 272nd,
Ed Smith 273rd,
David Taylor 281st,
Nick Beckett 283rd,
Dave Mantle 287th


Report Colin Mitchell

The forecast for Saturday was not promising, cold wind and rain. The first challenge was what to wear. The second Stafford traffic, arriving late (10am) to help setup the course I was shocked by the lack of Harriers. 2 hours to the fist race. The team setting up the Harriers tents had already finished. The refreshment tent was nearing completion.

However the course was still far from finished. The course consists of a number of sections that are combined to make 1.5km, 1.7km, 3km, 4km, 5km and 10km races. As always people were on hand to explain small jobs. My first was to help Ian setup the men’s finishing loop. Once finished we went back for an other task. Very simple – no previous knowledge required. Things were looking up still sunny but cold.We moved to the finishing straight, I was shocked to find other running clubs already arriving and we were still putting the course up. The reason a total lack of Harriers to help.

30 minutes for the first race – Marshal briefing total count 4 of marshals!!! So off to point B, C, D, and F with Brain and John.

As always it was very inspiring to see the juniors totally focused and surviving the rain and cold.

3.5 hours of light drizzle and bitter wind the race was over. The reward was to see some truly talented runners from a wide age range and the joy of taking down the course. Thankfully a number of the Harrier runners stayed behind to help.
Cold and tired I dragged the bags of barrier posts back across the common to be loaded into a van.

I must say that this was by far the least supported race that the Harrier has ever put on. Thanks to everyone that helped out on the day.

It is a sad reflection on modern life that even with so many members, it always falls to the same 20 or so people. Sad so Sad.

In January the club puts on our most difficult event of the year, The Midland Regional Cross Country Championships, with the need to tape both sides of the whole route (approx 10km of tape) a small army is required. I wonder if we will be up to it.



Pete Burns reports,

It is with a little dismay that I note Colin’s report. For the first time in sixteen years I was not on the Common to help out at the North Staffs League meeting. The reason being I was in Derby representing the Midland Cross Country Association and Stafford Harriers at an England Cross Country Association General Meeting.

The Midland fixture that we are hosting on the Common on Saturday the 30th January 2016 was discussed at the England meeting. There are only three venues in the Midlands used to host these prestigious Championships and we are one of them. We receive a generous donation for hosting them and with the money made from refreshments added to this, it helps the club keep down the club membership fees.

The last time we hosted these Championships we had an army of helpers and we received favourable comments from Officials and representatives of many clubs throughout the Midland region. This was mainly that because of some bad weather and also other Regional Championships were cancelled. Many pages of reports and photographs were in Athletics Weekly covering the Championships and many daily newspapers also published the results.

We will shortly be putting out lists for folks to help at this event so don’t be shy come along and help out and see what its all about. Even if you have never helped out before there will be something you can do. Put the date in your diary/smart phone/tablet.

Come and do your bit for the club.


You will get to see some of the top runners in the country here on Stafford Common, in our own back yard. In the past we have had some previous winners of the National Championships qualifying on the Common.


Bells of Pattingham

Sunday 11th October

Report by Sara Broome

Two Harriers made the trip to Pattingham for the 26th Bells of Pattingham 7 mile multi terrain race. I realised asking Chris Skellern what the course was like may have been a mistake as she discribed it a little too well. The start was a little bit strange as we just appeared to start running across a field, 431 ruuners heading for a small gap on the far side must have been fun to watch. The course went round fields and down lanes and at 2 miles we went up a hill past the 4 mile markers, this is when I realised it was an out and back course. Half way up the hill, the front runners were on their way back down. Round a few more fields and through a farm yard got you back to the top of the hill. Knowing that the 4 mile point was at the bottom was encouraging. Having started to go back the way we came, we were turned off down a lane and the back onto a track, this was were the only mud was on the course and I can imagine it could be quite muddy if it had been raining. Over more fields and eventually back to the finish for a well earned slice of cake and a tea/coffee. You also get a unique ‘Bells’ horse brass which is a different design every year. First home was Ross Jones of Wolves and Bilston (39:12) and first Lady was Tessa Clarke also of Wolves and Bilston(46:32).


Harrier Times

Chris Skellern 59:57 1st LV50
Sara Broome 1:41:20


Grantchester 10k

Sunday 11th October 2015

Report by Mel Deakin

While other Harriers were competing in several different events all over the country, I ventured south to Cambridgeshire to run the Grantchester 10K. A bit further than I would usually travel for a 10k but my sister lives in this neck of the woods and she asked me if I wanted to enter this race with her as it would be her first ever 10k. I didn’t know much about the course in advance other than the website said ‘flat, fast and no road crossings’. I had focused on the ‘flat’, possible PB and put my racing shoes on, and totally overlooked the clue that ‘no road crossings’ meant the course was all off road! Very much a multi terrain course, it crossed farmland, through some woodland, we crossed a footbridge over the M11 and back. Quite narrow in places and difficult to overtake, it reminded me a lot of the Sheriffhales Shuffle race I did last spring only much flatter and we were fortunate it was so dry and warm. I think the course would be much more challenging and different in wet conditions.

Around 8K, I thought I would be close to a PB and I really tried to push on. I even managed a sprint in the last 100m and crossed the line…..17 seconds over my PB. Drat! I didn’t have time to dwell on it as I watched and waited for my sister to finish, hoping she would reach her goal of finishing under an hour. She crossed the line in 61:13 – still amazing in the time she has been running. That’s one of the nice things about your first race, you are guaranteed a PB!

The race was organised by the local cricket club with all proceeds going towards Addenbrooke’s Community Trust for the benefit of the local community. For that reason I was happy with no frills such as chip timing or medal and there was a bacon and sausage bap with tea and coffee if you wanted them – but a bottle of water at the finish would have been nice!

The race was won by Sean McKenna in a time of 35:20. First lady home was Rachel Lindley 40:53. I finished in 51:21.


Press release

4th October

Report Chris Elsley

It was a busy weekend for Stafford Harriers with members heading off in all directions to race.

The bulk of members made the short trip to Shugborough Hall for the Katharine House 10k.
As usual Stafford Harriers were well represented with Matt Woodman first across the line in 38:19 although he was running in the Katharine House charity vest.
Richard Rea was the first Harrier vest to cross the line (4th overall in 40:46) with Ian Williams finishing 20th in 46:22.
Starting from in front of the iconic Shugborough Hall, the route takes runners over a multi terrain course across gravel paths, tarmac roads and a cow field before they are met with a challenging climb up through the woods. Once they have been negotiated, the second half of the race takes runners through the fields at the Outdoor Education Centre and sports grounds before heading back to a finish in front of the Hall.
Other Harriers spotted among the 296 runners completing the course were:
Jim Smith (23rd 47:02), James Roberts (25th 47:14), Chris Skellern (42nd 50:17), Chris Elsley (45th 50:44), Mike Evans (67th 53:14), Jason Littlewood (72nd 53:39), Shelley Burns (running in a Staffs Police vest 76th 54:00), David Taylor (83rd 55:16), Melonie Deakin (85th 55:31), Paul Dunlavey (116th 58:31), Annabel Evans (185th 65:59), Lin Bradshaw 197th 67:15), Heather Bennett (240th 71:46), Amanda Taylor (250th 73:05), Angela Charlesworth (251th 73:22), Cheryl Metcalfe (256th 74:38)


Also taking place was a 5k fun run which attracted a field of 132 runners.


Sara Broome made the trip to Enville for the two villages 10K multi terrain event run from Enville Hall near Stourbridge. Proud to be the first Harrier home, Sara finished in a time of 1:20:48 in a race won by Ben Foster of Dudley Kingswinford in 36:53.


Meanwhile, four Harriers chose to head up to Cheshire for the testing Congleton Half Marathon.
Ian Wood came home in an excellent time of 1:31:15 to finish 89th overall while Spencer Holland also made the top 100 with a time of 1:32:31.
Tracey Ridings (230th – 1:44:07) and Karen Murray (396th – 2:04:33) completed the set in a field of 500 finishers.
Carl Moulton (Boalloy) was the race winner in a time of 1:14:57 while Wendy Mullineux of Trentham was the leading lady in a time of 1:23:02.


Not too far away from Congleton, Michelle Fox ran the Chester Marathon, completing the course in an impressive 3:22:06 to finish 22nd lady (298th overall). Also completing the 26.2 miles were Paul Higginson (318th – 3:23:44) and Paul Morris (1236th – 4:07:52)
Travelling to the South Coast were Natalie Godfrey and Nick Beckett who both took part in the Bournemouth Marathon, Natalie finishing 778th in a time of 4:12:37 and Nick 1036th in 4:29:24. Kenyan Boaz Kiprono was the race winner in a new course record of 2:16:00


Two Villages Challenge

4th October 2015


Report Sara Broome
I found myself being the only Harrier taking a trip to Enville for the two villages challenge 10k, a multi terrain race that starts from Enville Hall. The race was started by Steve Bull, ex Stafford Rangers Manager, in glorious sunshine. The race started up a track and then onto fields shared with sheep who were trying to get through the same gate as the runners. A brilliant marshal kept them at bay until we had all gone through. This was the start of the uphill, offroad section that took us up and round a large oak tree on a steep hill. Once off the fields we were on country lanes. Very hilly and picturesque country views then lasted for the next few miles (the KM markers were well out, so had to rely on my GPS to gauge how much further I had to run). At the 9km marker we then turned down a path that then turned into a very sandy path that led us back to the lane we started on. I was disappointed that I only measured 9.67km on my GPS and I know they are not 100% accurate so was unsure if I have run 10km or not. This was a tough but enjoyable race and I would think about doing it again next year. Ben Foster of Dudley Kingwinford RC won the race in 36:53, Victoria Wilkinson of Cheltenham & County Harriers was the first lady home in 42:38.
First and only Harrier home, Sara Broome in 01:20:48

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