Race Report July to September 2015



The Running Form Mile series

30th September 2015
Shobnall Leisure Complex, Burton on Trent.


Report by Mel Deakin.


This is a new race on the calendar and was advertised as a mile race, individual or relay as a team of four. The individual mile race splits into three time bands, 9 minutes +, 7-8 minutes and 6 minutes or less. Whilst driving to Burton on a school/work night to run a mile may seem slightly mad, I thought it would be fun for the four of us to run together like we did in the Shugborough Relays so Ben, Tom, Mark and I entered in advance in the team relay category.
Slight hiccup on the day – Tom was ill. We went along anyway hoping to transfer to the individual race. The organisers were really good about it and said as the entries were very low we could do the individual race and make up a scratch relay at no extra cost. Mark and I chose the 7-8 minute category, and Ben went for 6 minutes or less.
The first race was at 7:30pm and by then the temperature had dropped and there was a cold breeze. I stood on the start line with Mark and the other runners in my thin Harriers vest with my teeth chattering hoping to run under 7:30. As usual I went off fast – well fast for me – and kept up with Mark for the first lap. He then stepped up a gear and pulled away in front. The four laps of the track seemed to go by in a flash – so different from the 5k or 10k’s I am used to. Mark finished first and was pleased to run just under 7 minutes. I finished in third place very happy with 7:08.
Ben’s race was next. His field was bigger and looked a lot more competitive and serious. He was right with the front runners for the first two laps and was half way in well under 3 minutes. Then he suddenly started to grimace and slow down. I kept everything crossed he wasn’t sick on the track. He finished in 6:30. Ben said he ran the last two laps with stitch so he was pleased but annoyed as he knows he can run faster.
12 months ago I would have thought going to an event like this to run such a relatively short distance wasn’t worth the effort, but now I would do it again in an instant. We all really enjoyed the event, it was well organised, people were friendly, the Shobnall Leisure Complex is amazing. The only thing that was missing was more runners. Anyone like to join us next time?

Sub 7 minute mile : 1st Tim Neville 5:14, Ben Deakin (Stafford Harriers) 6:30

7-9 minute mile: 1st Mark Deakin (Stafford Harriers) 6:48, 3rd Melonie Deakin (Stafford Harriers) 7:08

9 minute + mile: 1st Mark Gardener 9:03



Macclesfield Half Marathon.



On Sunday, two Harriers tackled the Macclesfield Half Marathon with husband and wife team Chris and Jill Ross making the trip to Cheshire.

Chris finished 81st overall in a time of 1:37:18 while Jill came home in 421st in a time of 2:02:13.

The race was won by James Scott-Buccleuch (Stockport Harriers) in 1:14:32


Chris Elsely


North Staffs Cross Country League


Report from Chris Elsely


A warm sun greeted the opening fixture in the North Staffs Cross Country League which took place at Winsford on Saturday.

The event consisted of a series of races over a gruelling course, covering age groups from Under 11 up to Senior level.

At junior level, teams need three runners in each race to count while the senior women require four runners and the men six. The U13 boys finished in 9th place just a few points behind Cannock & Stafford while the U15 Boys finished 6th in a close fought competition.

In the girls competition, the U15 team finished in 9th place

The Senior Women finished in 7th place in Division One while the men finished 9th in Division One, just ahead of Congleton Harriers.


Full results:

U11 Boys Ben Marsh 33rd, Matthew Hilsdon 43rd,

U13 Boys Ben Cook 37th, Mark Leigh 39th, Hayden Leigh 49th, Jake Oliver 52nd, Robert Gray 55th

U15 Boys George Hodkinson 13th, Robbie Gorman 18th, Matt Boney 23rd, Joe Turton 39th

U17 Boys Kieran Mogey 21st, Nathan Hine 22nd

U11 Girls Lucy Taylor 56th

U13 Girls Katie Taylor 63rd

U15 Girls Gabby Lufton 32nd, Taygen Pike 34th, Olivia Black 42nd, Evie White 43rd

U17 Girls Amy Oliver 15th

Senior Women

Chris Skellern 55th, Natalie Godfrey 72nd, Jane Bisiker 115th, Jill Ross 127th, Caryl Gibson 142nd, Joanne Oliver 154th, Julie Nokes 176th

Senior Men

Will Taylor 21st, Phil Hilsdon 33rd, Chris Ross 143rd, Ian Hodkinson 144th, Spencer Holland 147th, Jim Smith 175th, Dave Marsden 186th, Mark Oliver 201st, Darren Mattocks 211th, Leon Stringer 217th, Mark Bentley 227th, Roy Clay 241st, Joe Atherton 258th, Ed Smith 263rd, David Taylor 265th, Dave Mantle 267th, Bill Whitworth 296th




September Handicap



20 Harriers completed the last evening Handicap of the year with a slightly earlier start to ensure all runners got back before darkness fell.
It was a perfect evening for running, not for time keeping or marshalling though as we were absolutely freezing!
So it was Alan Jones who sprinted in the final stretch past Natalie Godfrey, who very graciously didn’t fight back declaring herself disqualified for taking a wrong turn somewhere along the route.
Well done Alan for winning the handicap, the first one he hasn’t complained about his handicap time! With Natalie disqualifying herself that left Richard Rea to claim second and Robert Motram-Jones 3rd.
Thank you as always to the helpers who were Angela and Mel (our only Marshalls) and Ian and Ange time keepers and number takers.

The last handicap of the year will be the Christmas handicap which I believe is now also a challenge race so hopefully a great one for me to finish on.



Time Handicap Net time
Alan Jones 0:42:33 0:11:30 0:31:03
Natalie Godfrey 0:42:36 0:12:00 0:30:36
Richard Rea 0:42:57 0:19:30 0:23:27
Robert Motram-Jones 0:43:03 0:18:00 0:25:03
Jill Ross 0:43:04 0:09:00 0:34:04
Jane Bisiker 0:43:11 0:09:30 0:33:41
Spencer Holland 0:43:12 0:17:00 0:26:12 1st time
Ian Hodkinson 0:43:39 0:17:00 0:26:39
Chris Skellern 0:44:05 0:13:15 0:30:50
Andrew Langston 0:44:09 0:06:00 0:38:09
Chris Ross 0:44:31 0:17:00 0:27:31
Joe Atherton 0:44:33 0:13:15 0:31:18
Jason Littlewood 0:44:37 0:16:00 0:28:37
Mark Bentley 0:44:48 0:13:30 0:31:18
Craig Baxter 0:45:02 0:14:30 0:30:32
Mick Jones 0:45:28 0:05:15 0:40:13
Dave Payling 0:45:46 0:17:00 0:28:46
Chris Elsely 0:46:36 0:15:00 0:31:36
Sara Broome 0:47:46 0:00:00 0:47:46
Jim Smith 0:48:11 0:17:00 0:31:11




St Thomas’ 7 Road Race

20th Sept
Report by Chris Elsley
Last Sunday’s local road race saw runners travel to Upper Tean for the St Thomas’ 7, raising funds for the local primary school. 163 runners finished the 7 mile course with Carl Moulton of Boalloy first over the line in 39:00.

First Stafford Harrier home was Ian Wood who came home in 37th place in a time of 49:28 with Alan Griffin just 27 seconds further back.

Jim Smith (51:08) just pipped club mate Dave Payling (51:14) while Dave Marsden was the fifth Harrier to finish in 52:10.

Chris Skellern (54:36) took top spot in the F50 category while other Harrier times were Darren Mattocks (54:01), Tracey Ridings (54:36), Mark Bentley (54:53), Craig Baxter (56:36), Dave Mantle (58:38), Fred Chidlow (1:01:25), Gael Earp (1:05:54), Graham Williams (1:07:06), Julie Nokes (1:11:30), Bill Whitworth (1:15:55) and Michael Bamber (1:21:15)


This was also the latest event in the Harriers Challenge. As we come to the final few races, significant points were scored in three groups. In Group 2 Alan Griffin and Jim Smith both made ground on current leader Darren Mattocks while Tracey Ridings strengthened her position at the top of Group 4. Group 5 saw Julie Nokes take over top spot from Joanne Oliver.



Great North Run

Sunday 13th September
Race Report by Chris Elsley


12 members of Stafford Harriers made the journey up to the North East to take part in the Great North Run last Sunday.

The televised Half Marathon was won by Great Britain’s Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champion Mo Farrah in a time of 59.22.

First home for the Harriers was Richard Rea in a time of 1:25:52 (402nd place) with Ian Hodkinson crossing the line just over nine minutes later in 1:35:01. Alan Griffin also posted a sub 1:40 time (1:36:42) while the other Harriers to finish were John Gomersall (1:40:52), Tim Hough (1:41:00), Mark Oliver (1:51:10), Alan Jones (1:53:26), Anne Coghlan (1:54:12), Shelley Burns (1:54:44), Debbie McDermott (1:59:21), Gina Brown (2:08:10) and Julie Mogey (2:30:37).


There may have been more but the above listed are the ones who had Stafford Harriers listed in the results (except for Alan Jones who I know ran because I saw him on tv!!)



Lichfield 10k and Family Fun Run

Sunday 13th September 2015


Report by Mel Deakin

On a gorgeous sunny morning the four of us made the short journey to Lichfield. I was running the 10k, Ben and Tom were running in the 2k fun run and Mark chose to watch.

Both the fun run and the 10k race started at 10:30 from King Edward leisure centre. Each race had a separate start line and most of the courses were separate but they came together at the end and shared the finish line. This may sound confusing, but it seemed to work well.

Lichfield Running Club said there were 350 entered in the fun run, wow! As you would expect there was a strong showing from the home club at the front. Ben ran well and finished in 11th place, Tom was a bit further back but was pleased with his time. Both said the course was hilly!

Meanwhile I was enjoying running in the sun on the 10k course along with 1074 others. The road at the start was wide and the traffic was temporarily stopped for us which was great and I felt very safe although there were a lot of people to dodge around until we spread out a bit. The course then turned off the main road and went through some country lanes, a few ups and downs along the way. I will only say positive things about the sunshine as we really haven’t seen enough of it this summer, but I was very glad to see the water station which was between 5 and 6km. I ran on and before long was back in Lichfield and weaved around a housing estate before re-joining the main road to the finish.

For me Lichfield is a course where I won’t get a PB but it is enough of a challenge to be interesting without being horrible. It is undulating, someone described the hills as cheeky which made me laugh. When I entered this race I did pull a face a bit over the cost, £17 for the 10k and £5 each for the fun run. However, I really can’t fault the organisation of the event in any way, it ran like clockwork and the results were on-line by mid afternoon, so on reflection well worth it.

The race was won by Matt Adcock from Hermitage Harriers 33:37. First lady home was Mel Woodward from Royal Sutton Coldfield 38:03.

Harriers times (chip)

Harry Perkins 00:40:41
Spencer Holland 00:43:12
Neil Martin 00:43:37
Steven Copnall 00:43:41
Simon Groom 00:45:04
Leon Stringer 00:45:41
Chris Elsley 00:46:40
Chris Skellern 00:47:52
Will Gray 00:48:38
Mike Evans 00:49:50
Claire James 00:51:08
Melonie Deakin 00:53:20
Paul Dunlavey 00:54:09
Rebecca Martin 00:55:34
Gemma Gray 01:02:17
Marie Evans 01:04:30
Alex Hill 01:06:07
Lindsay Ashforth 01:06:41
Holly Wright 01:07:25
Karen Murray 01:08:07
Charlotte Ward 01:13:40
Sarah Gray 01:15:06
Helen Holt 01:15:39
Andrew Carter 01:15:40


No results issued for the family fun run.

5K Time Trial

9th Spet 15
Results Mark Oliver


Thank you to all that ran in tonight’s 5K Time Trial, and for those who helped out, we hope you enjoyed running it, and a big well done. Here are the times for tonight and also previous time trials, so you can see how you are doing:-




First Name Surname 29-Apr 08-Jul 09-Sep
Will Salmons 19.51 20.55
Robert Motram Jones 19.52
Jack Hodkinson 20.43 22.48
Ewan Jackson 20.48
Liam Duggan 20.57 21.25
Adam Morris 21.05
Hannah Talbot 21.08
Mark Oliver 21.12
Jake Oliver 22.36 23.06 23.45
Chris Elsely 22.41 23.05 22.23
Gabby Lufton 23.32 23.26 25.49
Ali Morgan 23.39
Kieron Mogey 23.42 27.45 25.56
Nigel Smith 23.46
Chris McCrady 23.47
Matthew Hilsdon 23.48 24.10
Alan Jones 23.50 23.33
Libby Gonsalves 23.58
Craig Baxter 24.02
Steve McHugh 24.08
Ben Deakin 24.18 23.05 24.10
Harry Dale 24.49
Robert Gray 24.49 23.52 24.08
Amy Oliver 25.01 27.30
Mel Deakin 25.17 25.44 26.10
Sarah Johnson 26.41
Lucy Payne 27.28
Helen Underwood 29.01 32.00
Ellie Smith (Blue) 29.01
Rachel Darby 29.12
David Plant 29.33 28.40
Louise Morgan 29.55
Karen Hilsdon 30.26 30.21
Cathy Behan 30.39
Amanda Pearce 30.59 29.55 30.42
Anabel Evans 30.59
Lindsay Ashforth 31.59 33.16
Angie Charlesworth 32.01 33.02
Chantel Sandford 32.10
Gemma Gray 32.11
Debbie Garcia 32.27
Sarah Gray 32.52 34.15
Ian Williams 21.00
George Hodkinson 22.47
Beth Darke 23.30
Taygen Pike 24.21 24.13
Ollie Patrick 25.30
Debbie McDermot 25.32
Olivia Black 27.36 27.16
Ryan Ashforth 17.52
Spencer Holland 20.32
Robbie Gorman 21.18
Michelle Fox 21.19
Dave Payling 21.26
Jim Smith 21.30
Chris Owen 22.00
Evan Davies-Fuller 22.30
Matthew Bonney 22.52
Mark Deakin 25.17
Nathan Hine 25.40
Jane Bisiker 26.11
James Black 29.41
Polly Pye 30.09
Julie Mogey 30.30
Cieron Coghlan 32.48
Matthew Black 33.09


South Cheshire 20

Reports from Chris Elsley



The South Cheshire 20 road race took place last Sunday with 9 Stafford Harriers among the 198 finishers.
On a testing course described by the organiser’s as frequently hilly, runners set out from Shavington Sports Centre near Crewe, passing through country lanes in nearby villages such as Betley, Wrinehill and Barthomley.
First home for the Harriers was Michelle Fox (56th overall ) in 2 hours 32 mins 31 secs. Ian Hodkinson (70th) followed in some six minutes later while Tracy Ridings (112th 2:53:51) and Natalie Godfrey (124th 2:58:19) also broke 3 hours.
Other finishers were Anne Coghlan (137th 3:05:12), Darren Mattocks (145th 3:10:20), Caryl Gibson (158th 3:18:38), Karen Murray (169th 3:26:36) and Julie Nokes (177th 3:36:05).
The race was won by Daniel Kestrel of Barnsley AC in a time of 1:55:07 with Jay Jennions the first lady home in 2:28:14.



Meanwhile, in Wolverhampton there was a triple distance event where runners had the choice of taking on either the 10k, half marathon of the full marathon distance.
Richard Rea, Ian Williams & Wendy Sears took on the 13.1 mile half marathon course with Rea completing the distance in 1:24:46 to finish in 17th place. Williams finished in 138th (1:43:31) and Sears 439th in 2:09:52. Martin Williams (Wolves & Bilston) won the race in a time of 1:11:04.
Robert Mottram Jones was the only Harrier to tackle the full distance, finishing 7th in 2:59:57 in a race won by Mark Cawardine of Centurion AC in 2:47:19.


Dave Clarke 5

20 August 2015
Report by Graham Williams

Following the cancellation of the Leek Half Marathon the Dave Clarke 5K became a

qualifying race within the NSRRA. The race starts and finishes at Trentham Rugby

Club where Trentham Running Club meet. The facilities are very good with

extensive changing and shower areas and a good bar and lounge. Due to problems

with the building of a new Tesco the route was changed with not as much off road

as previously. The race started on the rugby ground and then straight out on to

the road with a few twisty bits before joining the canal where it was a bit

congested this was followed by some grassy areas before doing a figure of eight

on the rugby ground and finishing with a little sharp hill. The winner was Ben

Gamble of Tipton in 15.34 with first lady Lucy Holt of City of Stoke in 18.21.

The Nokes family was well represented with Ryan Nokes the first Harrier



25 Ryan Nokes 18.31

78 Darren Mattocks 21.09

103 Nia Nokes 22.15

117 Chris Skellern 23.09 3rd L50

136 Bill Chidlow 25.02 2nd M65

143 Graham Williams 25.39 3rd M70

159 Karen Murray 26.43 3rd Group W 2nd L45

173 Gael Earp 28.14

182 Julie Nokes 28.42 3rd Group X 1st L55

187 Bill Whitworth 29.52 3rd Group G




Mark Vaz with the Harriers



Mark Vaz joined the improver’s group at Rowley Park on Monday 17th August

Mark was on run 42 of his quest to run 90 marathons in 90 days. He was at 21 miles for the day and so it was a privilege to be with him as he crossed todays target.


He is raising money for Katherine House Hospice as well as Tommy’s baby charity.





The Train 5.5 Mile Offroad Race

15 August 15
Report by Cieran Coghlan
This race was held in Twyn, Wales, on Saturday 15 August. It starts in open field and you run to beat the train back to Twyn. The first few miles were bumpy, hilly and a bit muddy. Not far from the start you have to run sideways as the field slopes. The weather was bright and dry. There were 3 drink stations with some bins that you are meant to put the empty cups in. Halfway through the race there is a ford, that you can run through or take the stones on the side and dodge it. Walking around the water is a bad choice because the water makes your legs feel better. There is a hill that is quite hard to get up I walked up that hill because I am not strong at running up hills, but you can run up that hill if you are good at running up hills. My Dad did the run and said that the hill was “mountainous”. There is another hill on the course, that is not as steep just after the ford. It is a tough course.



Near the end we ran past the honey ice cream factory but this made me feel good because it was honey and I don’t like honey. The last bit you can do a sprint finish, if you can after that long run. I did. You may hear a few beeps when you come across the finish line. That is the tag on your foot beeping to record your finishing time. I got a goody bag full of weird food which you might like, I did not. Nuts, water, a-shirt a medal and a few leaflets to talk about the place where you are, known as Twyn. The medal is really big. The train is very fast and you need to be really, really fit to beat it – like Ian Dale.


Report by Jill Ross

I am writing this report as a forfeit for losing at the crabbing competition, which it has to be said was far more competitive than any race I have entered & considering some people were supposed to be novices (Mr & Mrs Langston) like myself they seemed to be pretty nifty with a bucket, bait & net, enough said – here is my report.

The race takes place in Twywn Wales & the aim is to beat the steam train which sets of the same time as the runners at 2:05pm. As a rough guide in order to beat the train the 14 mile course needs to be completed before 1Hr 50 mins.

The worst part of the race is the late start as nerves are on edge for a lot longer than a normal race start time but we were fortunate to have runners in the earlier starting 5 mile race & it was great to be there to support them. Well done to Ian & Cieran Coghlan & Richard Bisiker & family – needless to say the youngsters looking much better at the finish than the more mature runners of the group!

So it was that we waited in a field for our race to start having met up with Ed Smith & Dave Mantle who had travelled down that morning. As we waited it became obvious that for the first time in 10 years the race was going to be run on a dry, warm day. We moved to the start area on the road next to the station, the train whistle blew & we were off.

The first mile takes you out of town so its on tarmac & easy running then through a ford & up a fairly steep hill with very wet feet. The first half then takes you through fields, miles of them the only obstacle being a locked metal farmers gate which we duly had to climb over! So to run out for 7 miles we had to turn & run a further 7.

The second half is far more technical than the first mainly on a narrow track which makes passing difficult. In order to clear the airways there were a couple of rotting sheep carcasses at the start of it which cleared the nose but turned the stomach a little.
I was aware of the train at times with shouts of encouragement coming from the carriages & thought what a great way to support a race by seeing the runners on such a lot of the course. After the tricky side path there was a stepped section, a boggy section & finally a marshall to give out the words of last hill ahead. That was the last sight of team mate Jane Bisiker as my legs started to wobble & realising even though I’d passed the 13 mile mark there was still another whole mile to go!

As I approached the town I knew I’d soon have sight of Brenda & Sue always there to cheer us on at the last when the incline to the finish line had become a mountain. Then that lovely after race feeling when all the team are back hot & sweaty but well & the time for the race stories to be told. Times below reflect how tough the course is (apart from mountain goat Chris who beat the train again despite the 9+ years inbetween, a great achievement) Another good result for the damaged knee, deaf OAP who was 1st male 70 Graham Williams.


185 Chris Ross 1.46.42
573 Dave Mantle 2.11.20
628 Eddie Smith 2.14.44
672 Jane Bisiker 2.18.44
691 Jill Ross 2.20.40
760 Anne Coghlan 2.27.35
824 Graham Williams 2.36.13
865 Brain Langston 2.46.49

If you don’t like off road running this is a race to be avoided but If you want to try something different & compete against a train rather than people , give it a go its one of the best marshalled & fuelled races I’ve run in & yes I would run it again.

Some things noted about the weekend, nothing to do with running but helped make it a special weekend. The Ross Hobbit Hole room (yes I did book late). The Coghlans Penthouse apartment booked early, the early bird does catch the worm. Chris & Rich sporting their bodies in wetsuits showing how rubber can enhance? the male form. Richards guitar playing during pre dinner drinks & tunes we recognised. Chris getting friendly with the chef in order to retrieve his cars wing mirror from the bottom of the cliff & to Graham & Brian for showing the true male British seaside spirit is not dead by entering the sea in swimshorts.
My thanks go to Jane who sent the initial e-mail for the idea of the weekend because If no-one makes a suggestion nothing gets done & a big thankyou to Mr Sun who remembered it was August & came out to play for the whole weekend.






Merebrook 15K


Pos Name Time
26 Robert Mottram-Jones 01:05:11
58 Ian Wood 01:12:27
118 Natalie Godfrey 01:24:23
123 Shelley Burns 01:26:10
125 Eddie Smith 01:27:24
140 Graham Williams 01:33:15
149 Julie Nokes 01:39:30
157 Michael Jones 01:51:12



Staffs Knot


Last Wednesday saw almost 50 members of Stafford Harriers compete in the Staffs Knot 5, a popular event organised by us which takes place at Marquis Drive on Cannock Chase.

Once again, Phil Hilsdon turned in an impressive performance to be the first Harrier to complete the course. He finished in a time of 28:56. In a race won by Tipton’s Ben Gamble (26:13), Hilsdon finished 8th overall.

Richard Rea and Des Desborough also recorded good times to finish inside the top 35 of 332 runners.

Once again, Telford’s Claire Martin was the first lady to complete the course, finishing in a time of 29:57. The first Harrier lady to finish was Chris Skellern in a time of 37:41.

The 2 mile fun run attracted 35 entrants and was dominated by Harriers Juniors who filled the top three places and six of the top ten.

George Hodkinson won the race in 12:04with Ben Deakin and Jake Oliver completing the ‘podium’.


Chris Elsley


5 Mile Race Results 2015


Thunder Run

25th-26th July 2015
Here are the gang before the start of this years Thunder Run.

Report Amanda Pearce

When I signed up for the Thunder Run 2015, I was thinking, I can run 10k comfortably, it can’t be that difficult. A friend suggested that, in preparation, I should try running two 10ks in one day and see how that felt. So, I followed a Friday evening Harriers Chase run with a Saturday 06:00 run around Penkridge. My first mistake was to roll out of bed, into my kit and leave the house without so much as a sip of water! It’s surprising what you learn. A tiny, niggling discomfort that is no trouble when you run this distance several times a week, can be exaggerated when repeating the distance with only hours in which to recover. I soon realised that the Thunder Run was going to be a challenge for me.
It is only a 30 minute drive from home to Catton Park, as long as you ignore the yellow diversion signs, that is. I arrived on site, in pouring rain, mid afternoon on Friday to find all the hardwork had been done. The gazebos were up, the sound system and lights sorted and the kettle was on. Brilliant effort by Joe Atherton and the forward reconnaissance team. It rained all Friday evening and into the night, making the course really wet and muddy. We sat in the dry, the envy of passers by. I love the sound of rain drops on the canvas when I am snuggled up in my sleeping bag. So pleased to be here.
Saturday morning the sun was out and there was a gentle, drying breeze. The weather was hot, but not uncomfortably so. Harriers arriving thick and fast all morning, squeezing more tents into an already full pitch. Val Stuart got her pinnie on and started serving food and drinks. We all trooped down to the runners briefing and to watch the start at 12:00. People run in teams of eight (the slightly mad), or five (madder) or two (really mad), or solo (insane!). The idea is for each team to complete as many laps of the course as possible, in a non-stop 24 hours. Yes, all through the night too.
Back at the Harrier City, we all sat down to watch the race, as our pitch was just 10 yards from the 9kish point of the course. Race leaders came past looking a tad muddy, and not just their legs, there had clearly been a few tumbles. As each harrier came past, the cheers from team mates could be heard across the campsite! Fantastic team spirit. The early runners came in with horror stories of slippery surfaces and tricky turns. I was at leg 7 for my team and set off for the handover area at 17:30. The handovers worked very smoothly. The ‘baton’ is a slap band. Although there are nowhere near the number of teams at the Thunder Run as we have at Shugborough, I think we could learn something from the way the Thunder Run handover works.
Now to describe the course. The early runners had found the course extremely wet, muddy and slippery, but by the time I started out, it had dried up considerably, and been flattened down, rather than churned up by the runners. First section is flat and grassy, then a sharp turn up the first, and only real hill. There are far more challenging hills on Cannock Chase. The path was narrow and winding, but the climb was broken by flatter sections. Along some forest tracks then back down through one of the campsites, where other runners, were very supportive. The next ascent was long and shallow across grass, easier than Radford Bank. On my first run, at the 6k mark, there was a short hill sprint. It was only open between 18:00 and 19:00. The fastest over that 50m section won a free pair of trainers for each of their team members. Sorry folks, I was well beaten by the runners around me. 7k to 8k section took in the woodland, twisty tracks, dodging in between trees and jumping over roots, but flat. At 9k, we came back down on to the track beside the campsite. Stafford Harriers sail visible during the day. The last 200m involved a short climb up a farm track, then a glide down the grass slope on the other side, picking up enough momentum to manage a (near) sprint finish. Slap the baton on to Steve McHugh’s waiting wrist and wish him luck, and remember to stop the Garmin. First lap over. The course was well marked and marshalled and there was a water stop at 6k.
Now to try out the showers. Wonderful! Clean and hot. Then back for a dish of rice and chilli, mug of tea and cakes. Catch up with everyone else about how their run had gone. Update my team Captain, Darren, and the whiteboard with my time. Check when my next lap is due to start and then off to bed for three whole hours!
My second lap started at 02:15 on Sunday morning. It was little bit chilly, but no breeze or rain. I was so anxious not to miss the handover, I was ready and waiting at the start far too early. Gave me plenty of time to question my sanity. But then a solo woman came through, starting her (cannot remember how many‘th) lap. Someone shouted out that she had just turned 40 and a spontaneous chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ rang out from the waiting runners. Every time a solo came through, and there were quite a few, everyone cheered. You will all have seen the well deserved praise for Stuart Fowlie and I would like to add my own tribute to the physical and mental stamina he displayed. Apart from the once a lap cheers (day time only) from the Harrier City and the encouragement from passing runners, he was out there on his own. A stunning achievement to keep going for the 24 hours.
OK, so tackling the course in the dark. Apart from the handover area, the course is not lit and it was a moonless night. I wore one head torch and carried another, so I could check ahead and watch where I was putting my feet. I felt relaxed and decided that safety was more important than speed. There were plenty of other runners around me at all times and the marshals and water station operated through the night. I did hear an owl, but unlike Cannock Chase, no deer or foxes. At the halfway point, my hip joints started to ache, ‘Enough!’ they were saying to me. See what I mean about cramming multiple 10ks into one day? And I developed a small blister. No cheers from Harrier City after dark, but there was the welcome sight of Esther’s 5m high twinkling light mast. As I passed by, I glanced across to see people being served food and hot drinks, the kitchen never closed. Steve was waiting at handover again and I was away for another shower, food and couple of hours kip. All in all, I enjoyed the night run. Only five-ish minutes slower than my first lap.
Sunday dawned dull but pleasant. I had a bowl of porridge and swapped running in the dark stories with everyone. The ache in my hips had vanished, but I took a couple of Ibuprofen, just to make sure. Got to the handover at just the right time, only had to wait five minutes for Jill. The challenge is nearly over. If I was a little slower this time, then Darren would not have to do a fourth lap. I felt comfortable and I was pleased that I had got this far and enjoyed it. At the 5k point, I overtook Stuart, still looking good. It was mostly solo runners that I overtook. The Harriers roar was immense this time, as I punched the air. And, would you believe it, I think my third lap was my fastest, I have not seen the official times yet. I got back with 1hr 12 mins of the race to go, Steve put in a good time, and Darren got to run a fourth lap. When I finished, the first few drops of rain had started to fall. By the time I got to the showers, it was chucking it down. Back at Harrier City, we stood in the shelter and watched the runners going by looking more sodden and muddier by the minute. The last few harriers were a magnificent sight. All smiles despite the dreadful conditions. Then down to the finish line to accompany Joe, last man standing, as he completed the Harriers Thunder Run Campaign 2015.
Would I do it again? You bet, put me down now for the 2016 event please.

To Joe Atherton and his magic motor home. Whatever the problem, Joe had some bit of kit or gizmo in the van to sort it.
To Esther and Steve for the unlimited supply of cakes.
To Esther for her advice and knowledge of last year’s event.
To Val and team for keeping us all fed and refreshed. I don’t think they left their posts for the whole 24 hours.
To the on-site cleaners, who kept the loos stocked with paper, the floors mopped, and the showers running with constant hot water. The facilities were not the usual busy camp site nightmare.
To Richard, sorry now that the post-race legs are aching, that I did not get a massage.
To the Harriers organising committee for setting the whole thing up to run like clockwork. Without all the careful planning, it would have been a gruelling weekend.
To my fellow harriers for sharing and caring. What a brilliant weekend we had.



Report by Darren Mattocks

Having done this event last year I knew what it was all about and eagerly wanted to assist Esther with this years event but unfortunately her circumstances changed things so with the assistance of Lindsey Foster, Rachel Davis and Joe Atherton we set about organising the event. Well during the following 10 months we went through the entry process having to stay up til 3 am to get all 6 teams in, then all the organising with the catering, sorting out replacement runners and all the last minutes prep it was a real relief when Friday morning came. It was a 7am RVP with Joe and the Bathos before going in convoy to the site where we had to wait in a queue as the campsite didn’t open until 10am. We were fairly near the front and during the next 2 hours many many other cars, caravans and motorhomes joined the queue too. We could see where we wanted to try pitch up camp so its was a bit like Wacky Races when we finally got on site. We headed away from where we thought most people would go trying to get as close to the course as possible. After trying to poach some of Trenthams RCs area (Apologies) we settled on an area very close by so Joe and I quickly laid out stakes and tape to claim what area we could but was it enough, only time would tell.
So began the construction of Harrier City, we were joined very quickly by several other Harriers including Steve Vaughan, Kev Darby, Paul Foster, Mark Oliver, Brian Langston, Graham Williams, Ian Wood and Alan Jones (Sorry if I missed anyone) and between us quickly erected the ‘Hub’ and many Tents including the Hodkinsons mansion of a tent!! during which the rain had started to fall but didn’t dampen the spirits. During the rest of the day the food arrived and what a fantastic spread The Sun had done for us. Some alcohol was consumed by the brave 12 or so Harriers that stayed over Friday night with the usual music provided by Joe encouraging some of the Trentham lot to join us.
Anyway as Saturday arrived so did a hoard of other Harriers both runners, family members and support crew and so at 11.30 all went to the start area for a briefing not that any of us could hear it before the first runners made the way to the start line. These consisted of Steve Vaughan, Russell Barron, Craig Baxter, Rich Caley, Joe Atherton and me. We were joined by soloist Stuart Fowlie what a legend.
At the stroke of midday we were off and running and would be for 24 hours.
Lap 1
I’d made the choice of road shoes as I thought the ground would be good as it had not been trampled on yet, how wrong was I??!!! It was like an ice rink, for the first 3km there was a lot of mud, everyone was slipping and sliding some taking tumbles so it was welcome to get on the grass fields. I felt comfortable for my first lap but because of the initial bottleneck and the mud my time was slower than anticipated. I handed over to Gill Hodkinson warning her of the mud before watching her run off.
Lap 2
This started when I was handed over by Steve Mchugh at 7.30pm where I’d switched to off road shoes due to the mud, how wrong as I again as it had dried up massively but hey ho its all part of running!! I decided to push hard on this one and with the ground being much better I was able to pass alot of runners and knock 5 minutes off my first lap.
Lap 3
This was my night run and started at 3.30am, with my tried and tested head torch and hand torch for good measure I set off at a steady pace not wanting to come a cropper on the many tree roots in the woods. I was amazed by now many people were walking so was able to pass even more people except this one lady runner who was going at a very fast pace simply because her head torch had the power of the sun it was that bright!! Anyway I went unscathed on this lap but the last 2 hills were a struggle as my quads were burning and protesting their disgust at me for wanting to run up then.
I’d had a massage from Rich Bisiker after the first lap which seemed to do wonders for my achilles ache so went for a second one after lap 3 because the timings of my teammates runs was indicating I would have to do a 4th lap around 11.30am.
That time kept getting closer to 12pm as runners went out and came back in but then Steve put in a fast lap (thanks) so much so that I was still sat in my chair at Harrier City when he came running past and Craig quickly pointing out that he wasn’t joking. This meant I had 2 minutes at most to get back to the start for the change over, oh well it was a perfect warmup!!!
So with a little over 10 minutes left on the clock I set off for my last leg.
Lap 4
The rain had held off most of the morning but was coming down heavily by now and it was a welcome relief going into the woods for some shelter. There was still alot of other runners out on the course again alot walking so I tried some encouraging “Come on last lap dig in”
My legs by half way were trashed and I walked up 2 of the hills to try conserve something for that last hill and the run in to the finish. To be greeted by Ann Coghlan on the 9km point and then the big bunch of Harriers cheering at you as you pass Harrier City was just the lift I needed to push to the finish and then again as I got to the finish was a true testament to the Harrier family spirit. I was trashed, I was light headed but I’d been part of a great experience, a great team and a great running club.
There is a great deal I’ve not even covered but I must thank all the support crew for looking after all the runners, everyone who put up and took down Harrier City but a special thanks to head chef Val Stuart who never went to sleep to ensure everyone had food and drinks.
Thunder Run tests your running, physical and mental strength but is well worth it and the highlight has to be when soloist Stuart Fowlie came past Harrier City on his 12th lap, he was suffering big time but everyone lined the course and gave him a massive cheer which brought him to tears. True Harrier Spirit.
If you ever get the chance to do this event, go for it. Yes it is hard but pain is temporary.



Last Thursday’s JCB5 road race was the latest event in Stafford Harriers Challenge series and as such more than 30 members headed out to Rocester for the event.

Phil Hilsdon enjoyed a good night with a pb over the distance, finishing 3rd overall in a time of 29.02. Not far behind was Richard Rea in 7th (29.55). Alan Griffin (34.21), Michelle Fox (34.23) and Spencer Holland (34.28) also came home in under 35 mins, as did Ian Hodkinson (34.25) despite his late arrival.

The race is run over two laps beginning outside the JCB Lakeside Club and runners face an immediate test with much of the first mile being uphill before a steep downhill section leads back to the JCB grounds ready for lap two.

Chris Patterson (Ashbourne RC) was first to finish in 27.41 with Trentham’s Wendy Mullineux 1st lady in 31.59.


The one lap fun run was also well supported by the Harriers with 10 juniors among the 84 finishers.

George Hodkinson recorded the fastest chip time although his late arrival meant he was only third across the line. Jake Oliver and Matthew Hilsdon also finished in the top 10 while Ben Deakin and Taygen Pike made it 5 Harriers in the top 12.

Trentham 10K

The Trentham 10k took place on Sunday with Spencer Holland the first Harrier home in 43.35 (18th overall). Chris Skellern was the first L50 in 48.13 while John Hateley came home in a respectable 62.44.

Dave Liescomb (unatt) was the race winner in 34.36, some three and a half minutes ahead of the second place runner while Charmaine Wood (Congleton Harriers) was the leading lady (43.31)


Reports from Chris Elsley






Only 25 Harriers took part in the summer handicap on which was a lovely sunny but not baking summers evening. Craig Baxter improved massively on his recent handicap times taking 1st place by well over a minute. Some serious handicap time review needed now!


Jane Bisiker came in 2nd place with 1st timers Nia Nokes and Rich Rea coming in unofficial 3rd and 4th, which resulted in Leon Stringer taking the official 3rd place. There were reasonable time gaps between the first 4 runners but the middle section runners came through thick and fast.


Many thanks to the helpers, and especially to Sara Broome who very generously removed her number and withdrew from the race to go and marshal a section we were unable to cover due to a lack of helpers turning up.



Time Handicap Net time
Craig Baxter 00:40:09 00:10:00 00:30:09
Jane Bisiker 00:41:35 00:08:30 00:33:05
Nia Nokes 00:42:05 00:11:30 00:30:35 1st time
Richard Rea 00:42:38 00:19:00 00:23:38 1st time
Leon Stringer 00:42:47 00:13:30 00:29:17
Alan Jones 00:43:15 00:11:30 00:31:45
Chris Skellern 00:43:25 00:13:15 00:30:10
Ian Williams 00:43:37 00:15:30 00:28:07
Jill Ross 00:43:48 00:09:15 00:34:33
Ian Hodkinson 00:44:05 00:17:00 00:27:05
James Roberts 00:44:09 00:15:30 00:28:39 1st time
Alan Griffin 00:44:10 00:18:00 00:26:10
Mark Bentley 00:44:15 00:13:30 00:30:45
Natalie Godfrey 00:44:18 00:11:30 00:32:48 1st time
Nigel Smith 00:44:28 00:11:30 00:32:58 1st time
Jason Littlewood 00:44:30 00:15:30 00:29:00
Dave Payling 00:44:38 00:17:00 00:27:38
Joe Atherton 00:44:45 00:14:45 00:30:00
Chris Ross 00:44:55 00:17:30 00:27:25
Jez Snazell 00:45:08 00:16:00 00:29:08
Robert Motram-Jones 00:45:14 00:19:00 00:26:14
Jack Hodkinson 00:46:23 00:18:00 00:28:23
Eddie Smith 00:47:00 00:12:15 00:34:45
Julie Nokes 00:47:50 00:05:30 00:42:20
Angela Brookes 00:49:27 00:11:30 00:37:57


Midsummer 6

12 July 2015
Report by Sara Broome

Only two Harriers went up the A449 for the second race in the Four Seasons series hosted by Wolves and Bilston AC. This was a offroad race that was mainly on a very long disused railway line that has been changed into a cycle path. It rained heavily before the start of the race but had stopped by the time we set off. The first part of the race we went past a certain local football clubs indoor training facility and over a sports field and onto the old railway lines. Conditions underfoot were quite muddy in the first part of this section but then you were running on tarmac and then hardcore. We then turned off the tack and into fields and wooded areas and then back onto the track heading back towards the start. Part of the way back we were sent off the track and onto the canal, getting off this part meant having to go up to sets of steps and finally back onto the track. When I finally got back onto the muddy section of the track the heavens opened and it was that bad I couldn’t see the course marked out back over the sports field to the finish. As you can imagine there was no one at the finish other than the 4 timekeepers trying to fit under one umbrella!
The race was won by Phil Nicholls of Wolves & Bilston 32:36 (5 minutes clear of the second place runner)
First lady was Tess Clarke (4th overall) also of Wolves & Bilston 38:06

John Hateley 66:38
Sara Broome 79:08


Wyre Forest Half

12 July 2015



Race report by Jill Ross

Alarm bells started ringing last weekend as Chris entered us for this half last week & firstly it wasn’t full & it was £10 to enter. So it was we set off for the race which was about 40 miles away & it was raining heavily!
One thing to have ready for this race is the £3 parking money which applies for more than an hours parking which you’re definitely going to need. The race started at 10:30am & with the only instructions for sub 1hr 40 finishers to move to the front we were off. This race is very like running on the Chase but perhaps muddier in places. It is well marshalled with 3 drinks stations & if you like off road running it is one to do.
There are good downhill sections & of course uphill, the worst being the last half mile to the finish which is a good sharp hill right up to crossing the finishing line just what you need after 12+ miles.
There was a medal upon finishing & flapjack & although challenging I would definitely do it again with perhaps a little more distance training as it started to hurt after the 10 mile mark.
Chris had a good run & of course loved the hills & mud & was pleased with his result being only 16 seconds over his predicted time of 1hr 40!
The winner was 1hr 25 & the last runner came in at 3hrs 17 mins
Chris was 32nd & 4th male 50 & I was 162nd in 2hrs 11 mins & 3rd female 50. 242 entered the race.





Harriers Games

11th July 2015
Please find the results and some photo provided by Paul Dunlavey:-



5K Time Trial, Castlefields

8th July
Report Mark Oliver


Thank you to all those that ran in tonight’s 5K Time Trial, and for those who helped out, we hope you enjoyed running it, and a big well done. Here are the times for tonight and also April, so you can see how you are doing:-

First Name Surname 29-Apr 08-Jul
Will Salmons 19.51 20.55
Robert Motram Jones 19.52
Jack Hodkinson 20.43 22.48
Ewan Jackson 20.48
Liam Duggan 20.57
Adam Morris 21.05
Hannah Talbot 21.08
Mark Oliver 21.12
Jake Oliver 22.36 23.06
Chris Elsely 22.41 23.05
Gabby Lufton 23.32 23.26
Ali Morgan 23.39
Kieron Mogey 23.42 27.45
Nigel Smith 23.46
Chris McCrady 23.47
Matthew Hilsdon 23.48 24.10
Alan Jones 23.50 23.33
Libby Gonsalves 23.58
Craig Baxter 24.02
Steve McHugh 24.08
Ben Deakin 24.18 23.05
Harry Dale 24.49
Robert Gray 24.49 23.52
Amy Oliver 25.01
Mel Deakin 25.17 25.44
Sarah Johnson 26.41
Lucy Payne 27.28
Helen Underwood 29.01
Ellie Smith (Blue) 29.01
Rachel Darby 29.12
David Plant 29.33
Louise Morgan 29.55
Karen Hilsdon 30.26 30.21
Cathy Behan 30.39
Amanda Pearce 30.59 29.55
Anabel Evans 30.59
Lindsay Ashforth 31.59
Angie Charlesworth 32.01 33.02
Chantel Sandford 32.10
Gemma Gray 32.11
Debbie Garcia 32.27
Sarah Gray 32.52
Ian Williams 21.00
George Hodkinson 22.47
Beth Darke 23.30
Taygen Pike 24.21
Ollie Patrick 25.30
Debbie McDermot 25.32
Olivia Black 27.36


Press report

6th July
Report Chris Elsley,


Last weekend saw the return of the Potters Marathon and a number of Stafford Harriers were there to welcome the race back to the road running calendar.

660 runners completed the gruelling 26.2 mile course, with Ryan Nokes the 1st Stafford Harrier to complete the distance, coming home in 3hrs 22m 9 secs, finishing just 31 seconds ahead of clubmate Adam Morris.

Paul Higginson was another top 100 finisher in a time of 3 hrs 29 min 22secs.

Dave Marsden finished in 4 hrs 4 mins 6 secs while Ed Smith completed the course in 4 hrs 27 mins 59 secs. Edwina Gould was the only lady Harrier to complete the race, finishing in 4 hrs 54 mins 29 secs

The race was won by Blackburn’s Ben Fish in 2 hrs 26 mins 14 secs with Hannah Oldroyd of Bingley the first lady home in 2 hrs 57 mins 27 secs.



Over a much shorter distance, a few days earlier, nine Harriers took part in the Berryhill 10k. Results were:

Ian Wood (26th) 45.10

Jim Smith (28th) 46.06

Chris Skellern (49th) 49.37

Darren Mattocks (56th) 50.19

Tracy Ridings (65th) 51.55

Nia Nokes 68th) 53.06

Karen Murray (83rd) 56.09

Bill Chidlow (85th) 56.17

Julie Nokes (108) 67.19


The race was won by Simon Myatt of Trentham in 35m 53 secs while fellow Trentham runner, Wendy Mullineux took the Ladies prize in 41m29s


Potteries Marathon

5th July 2015
Non race report yet but the results are :-


GunPos Bib GunTime Forename Surname M/F Cat Club ChipPos ChipTime
58 264 03:22:20 Ryan Nokes M Stafford Harriers 58 03:22:09
60 263 03:22:51 Adam Morris M Stafford Harriers 60 03:22:40
91 260 03:29:24 Paul Higginson M 40 Stafford Harriers 93 03:29:22
260 261 04:04:18 David Marsden M 60 Stafford Harriers 260 04:04:06
384 930 04:28:11 Eddie Smith M 60 Stafford Harriers 384 04:27:59
505 259 04:55:07 Edwina Gould F 45 Stafford Harriers 506 04:54:29


Harriers at Alexander Stadium.

4th July


Saturday saw 37 Harriers and families make their way to Alexander Stadium in Birmingham for a day of Athletics. A great day was had by all and all the stars were there.


Here are three of our Harriers ladies trying to persuade one of them to join the Harriers.

Seems it worked