Report by Chris Elsley
Despite the summer heat, Stafford Harriers’ members have been busy taking on the challenges of a variety of races in recent days.
Ashbourne Half Marathon
8th July 2018
19 year old Beth Darke took part in her first ever half marathon and rather than chose a nice flat course, she entered the Ashbourne Half Marathon. This is a notoriously testing route with plenty of ups and downs. The race starts east of the town with a steady climb for about a mile before levelling out for the next. Runners then tackle the Dales passing through the village of Thorpe and descend into the Valley of Ilam and then a climb to Blood Pastures. The last part of the race is through Okeover Park before runners make their way to finish in the historic town of Ashbourne.
Beth came 92nd out of 189 finishers in a time of 2h 02m 26 secs and, although disappointed not to break the 2 hour barrier, she was pleased to finish ahead of father Michael who was three minutes further behind.
Thursday 12th July 2018
The JCB5 at Rocester was once again a well attended race with 27 Harriers among the field of 193 runners. The course consists of two laps around the outside of the JCB factory
Phil Hilsdon lead the Harriers home with 4th place overall in a time of 30m 15s, with Justin Green also making the top 10, finishing 9th in a time of 32:03.
Just a couple of places further down was George Hodkinson (32:49) while Ian Heath (14th – 33:40), Paul Higginson (19th – 33:58) and Jake Oliver (20th – 34:00) all made the top 20.
It was a night when the Harriers featured strongly and other finishers were:
Liam Duggan – 23rd – 34:19
Spencer Holland – 25th – 34:33
Ian Hodkinson – 26th – 34:34
Nia Nokes – 33rd – 36:06 (3rd lady overall)
Jason Littlewood – 35th – 36:45
Ian Wood – 36th – 36:48
Dean Hibbit – 41st – 37:17
Simon Bromley – 52nd – 38:27
Chris Skellern – 62nd – 39:07
Alan Jones – 72nd – 40:04
Steve Turner – 93rd – 41:08
Peter Williams – 95th – 41:17
Ben Deakin – 96th – 41:30
Richard Booth – 98th – 42:02
Mel Deakin – 109th – 42:49
Caroline Nichol – 110th – 43:03
Graham Williams – 135th – 45:21
Karen Murray – 154th – 46:40
Liz Shillito – 175th – 50:08
Julie Nokes – 176th – 50:46
Stephen Farrant – 182nd – 53:15
The race was won by Mark Dalkins of Cheadle RC in 28:41 with Jenny Dalkins making it a double success by taking the ladies race in 34:13
The shorter 2 mile event is mainly competed for by junior athletes and the Harriers were again on form taking 3 of the top 5 places.
Jack Heath was second home in 13m 22s followed by Murphy Hamilton (4th – 13:47) and Matthew Hilsdon (5th – 13:50).
Other Harriers included Ben Green (9th – 15:21), Shauna Hamilton (17th – 17:32), Harley Farrant (19th – 18:18), Jess Farrant (22nd – 18:24) and Keeley Hamilton (36th – 22:37).
Stoke on Trent Festival of Running
Sunday 15th July 2018
Wendy Sears ran in the 5k event on Sunday, finishing 40th in a time of 28:46.
14th July 2018
Report by Mark Oliver
Here are the Harrier Games Results from Saturday afternoon, held at Rowley Park. Well done to all who took part on what turned out to be another fantastic and fun event and then afterwards at the Cricket Club, in what turned out to be glorious weather. A big thank you to all who helped out and made it happen – especially to Ian Hodkinson for organising the event
|2018||Number||1 mile||PO||100M||PO||800 m||PO||200m||PO||400m||PO||3000M||PO||TOTAL||PLACE||MEDAL|
|Jamie Lee Taylor||97||0||14.78||1||0||31.63||1||0||16.26||2||4||1||G|
Staffs Moorlands AC Summer Series Race 6
Biddulph Grange Country Park 4 miles.
12th July 2018
Report by Dave Marsden
A 2-lap race which starts by the visitor centre, climbs alongside a stream through woodland before levelling off and a welcome descent. I mistakenly assumed this would return us to the visitor centre to start the second lap but they turned us back up another stiff little climb. After this we did descend through the woods, round a pool and then out on to open fields to the turning point for the second lap.
It was dry, dusty and the uneven ground was hard and unyielding. Although only 4 miles I felt this race was the hardest of the series so far. This may be due to a combination of the temperature, the humidity and the climbing.
1st Felix McGrath Newcastle AC 24:11
1st lady Leah Whiston Newcastle AC 28:54
Dave Marsden 100th 36:35
Black Country Half
7th July 2018
The times say it all…. the hottest day of the year and it looks like it was a battle to finish. Well done.
Results so far
Staffs Moorlands AC 8-Race Summer Series
Race 5 Rudyard Lake 5 Miles.
5th July 2018
Report by Dave Marsden
As this glorious summer continues, another hot and sunny evening for this event. The race starts on the track on the east side of the lake at the lower end, adjacent to the dam. The Rudyard railway runs alongside the track. We ran for 2 miles, passing the end of the water before turning back to the top of lake and then up into the trees and the track back down the west side, finishing on the dam. If we were hot, spare thought for Jonathan Whilock of Staffs Moorlands AC who stood at the entrance to Cliffe Park Hall playing his bagpipes in full Highland dress as we ran/staggered passed. The actual distance was 4.7 miles. Another excellent event organised by the Moorlands club.
1st male Jack Ross SMAC 27:16
1st lady Leah Whiston Newcastle AC 31:12
Dave Marsden 91st 36:34
Sunday 1st July 2018
Report by Mel Deakin
Back to Newmarket for Ben and I to meet up with my sister and a few other runners for the Newmarket 10k. Last year Ben won the Sean Harper cup here for winning the U21 age group, so we were back to return the cup and compete in the race again. We arrived in blisteringly hot weather and to clear blue skies. This was going to be tough! The first part of the course is on road, a few ups and downs then a section on a bridle path. No issues here last year, but this time the path was so dry heaps of orange dust was being thrown into the air and I was glad to get through that bit and back onto road. It wasn’t long before we hit the last downhill then the long drag, about 3k uphill to the finish. Not surprisingly due to the conditions on the day and our fitness levels Ben and I both ran slower this year than last which is what we expected. However, this year I was 3rd in my age group whereas last year I was 4th. Ben again won his age group and retained the cup which we get to keep for another year. I guess there is a lesson in there, you can only beat those that turn up on the day and run. We hope to be back in 2019.
1st Michael Gilbert Haverhill RC 36:15
1st female Kelly Mepham Haverhill RC 41:36
117th Melonie Deakin 55:03
121st Ben Deakin 55:20
Cotswold Way (Bath to Cheltenham) Challenge 2018
Part 3 of 8 Ultras
30th June / 1st July
Report by Stuart Fowlie
5 weeks has passed since I left Brighton Race Course, having completed my second 100km jolly. I feel I have recovered, the feet have just about healed, still minus toe nails, but they will be back.
Team Fowlie, having arrived at the start area early doors, Dr Gaynor set about strapping my feet up for what was to come. We then started bumping into the running family, yes there is more than one nutter doing more than one of these 7 Ultra Challenge races. Not sure how many are attempting all 7 but there is bound to be more than just me, isn’t there?
So, stood on the start line in Bath taking in the view of the Royal Crescent, it was Selfie time. The gossip amongst the group is about what lays ahead. Everyone agreed that this is going to be the toughest of all the 100 kilometres, in the Ultra Challenge series, with just a mere 7500 feet of climbing. But as they say, whatever goes up must come down, I hope.
7am on the dot and were off making our way to the first check point Bath Race Course situated high up on the road into the city. Ouch that first 10km’s hurt, but I managed to maintain a steady pace and got up the first of the 9 severe climbs. Grabbing a couple of bananas, I quickly got on my way, keeping in touch with a group of six other runners all going at a nice steady pace.
The next few kilometres found us cutting across fields dodgy deer or were the deer dodging us. All making good time, especially as the sun was yet to show its face. We next were dodging traffic but there was no sympathy shown to any of us runners by the drivers. Then came the second of those 9 climbs as we skirted round Dyrham Park. At this point I started to lose touch with the group of 6 plus that big yellow monster also started to make an appearance, stick to Plan A Stuart I told myself. The temperature soon rocketed to the high 20’s in minutes. Having reach the crest of the hill, I suddenly realised how high we had climbed, the view out across the countryside was fantastic, with the Severn Bridge crossing very visible, plus it was a good opportunity to catch one’s breath or two. Pushing on I reach the second check point to be greeted by Dr Gaynor. Instructed to sit in her Matron like voice, feet were checked over fresh strapping applied and only then was I allowed to exit, along with another 2 litres of water having already consumed 2ltrs.
Where next, a quick glance at the route map, Petty France skirting round the Badminton Horse trails event area. Feeling good, I push on but what I forgot to consider was the two steep climbs either side of Little Sodbury and they were Sod’s. It was heading up the second climb at about 35km I had a little panic. With the heat of the sun I couldn’t tell if I was still sweating or not. Stopping and taking the shade, I took more fluids on and thankfully no sooner did it go in than it was coming out. I began to relax and continued very mindful of that big yellow monster. Check point in sight in I clocked in, greeted as always by my biggest supporter. Whilst sorting one’s self out, cans of ice cold coke start appearing and they felt like life savers. Refreshed and fed plus full of sugar they tried to ban I was on route to the half way mark. The next 10km’s seem to fly by passing through small villages, finally arriving at Wotton Under Edge sports centre half way.
Brilliant we were still on Plan A. With the stop came a complete change of kit, large pieces of carrot cake, plus mugs of tea and yet more tape and padding applied to the feet. Thank you, Dr Gaynor. I was now ready for the next 50km, Coaley Peak here I come.
No sooner had I left the halfway check point and we were climbing, it was one of three steep climbs I would face over the next 15kms. But this first one gave us one of the most impressive views of all. Stood at the foot of the William Tyndale Monument, looking out over to Wales with both Severn bridges in clear view. But with little time to waste I made good time on the down hills and found myself in Dursley. Unfortunately, I had my second wobble of the race, running by some of the local fast food stores. The cooked food smell turned my stomach, and just after 58kms I had to stop. I do not know how I wasn’t sick but I managed to control things. Passing runners checked on me, it is just something we do. With things back under control I fought on and rather than stop and dig out my head torch I blindly bumbled on through the twilight arriving slightly later than expected at the next check point 64.5kms completed.
Darkness had now fallen, runners and walkers alike were grouped together and we set headtorches showing the way through the trees dodging tree roots, falling over styles, avoiding livestock. Talk amongst the group was just about the next climb and how it came not far from the next check point. So, as we came out of the woods and into the village of Selsey we rounded a few bends and at 71kms that climb began. Dig deep Stuart was my mantra. Up we went and up again, it felt like a stage of the tour de France never knowing when you would reach the top as you went around bend after bend. The 75km marker came into view and then suddenly things flatten out, the village sign of Painswick was illuminated by my headtorch. Very apt as my right foot was starting to get painful.
Deciding to take things steady I slowed and made my way to the check point quickly grabbing a coffee and siting down so Gaynor could check me over and change my dressings. Sat around I started to feel the cold, it was after all 3.30am and I had been going over 20 hours by now, maybe a little tired. Jelly baby’s restocked a can of Monster consumed I looked to push on just 20kms to go just less than a Half Marathon we can do this. 13km to the next check point and then the 7km run in to Cheltenham. One last check over by Gaynor, because I wouldn’t see her again until the finish line and I set off.
Dawn broke not sure exactly when as I spent most of the next 13km under the trees, but the sun was up early this fine Sunday morning. Birdlip was the destination and somehow, I was still jogging it looked as if “Plan A” had worked. As I was scanned at the final check point I was informed I was placed 191th, I had managed to move up 10 places in 13kms. Quickly drinking a bottle of flat Coke I set off, I knew this next 7kms. Again, I was still jogging I seemed to fly down to the outskirts of Cheltenham, passing other competitors, that competitive streak was coming out. Down back alleyways cross roads, through Harterley Park, a few more overtakes. A quick morning over the shoulder as I jogged on, then the music at the finish line could be heard. With a tear in the eye I round the last corner to be greeted by the 100km marker and there was the finish line. Yes, massive hugs and cheers from Gaynor we had done it 300kms in the bag.
My body had held up, my stomach not so good, fortunately the old feet have taken another pounding, but thanks to Gaynor I am blister free. My results put me firmly in the middle of the pack.
My official finish time was 25hrs 14mins 51secs placing 172nd out of the 425 runners that finished from a starting line-up of 628 runners at the Royal Crescent in Bath. Not only did the weather claim a few victims, so did the terrain.
The winning runner (Mountain Goat) was: Tom Adams in 10hrs 05mins 18secs and the winning Lady was: Alison Davidson in 14hrs 18mins 28secs.
Resting this week, with a just a few miles to stretch off. The Jurassic Coast Ultra Challenge starts at 6.30am on the 21st July.