Race Report October to December 2018

Click here to read Older Race Reports

Weaton Aston 10K

27th December 2018

Race Report Chris Elsley

Taking place just a couple of days after Christmas, the Wheaton Aston 10k gave around 500 runners the chance to burn off a few of the extra calories that they may have taken in over the festive period.

This popular event starts from just outside its HQ at St Mary’s Primary School and heads out towards Longnor before turning left, skirting Little Onn, then turning back through Marston and towards the finish in the school grounds.

Conditions were ideal and it was visiting athlete Patrick Roddy from Thames Hare & Hounds who found them most to his liking, finishing in 1st place in a time of 31m 55s, more than a minute ahead of his nearest rival Lloyd Biddell. Sarah Mackness (Notts AC) was the firsdt lady home in 36m 41s (16th overall).

John Scott was Stafford Harriers’ leading runner as he finished in 67th place (42m 37s) followed by Alan Jones (110th – 46m 11s).

Leading lady for the Harriers was Chris Skellern (134th) whose time of 47m 31s put her first in her F55 group category.

Race results

Position Name Time PB
67 John Scott 42:37 PB
110 Alan Jones 46:11  
134 Chris Skellern 47:31  
215 Chris Elsley 52:16  
222 Bryan Hynes 52:41 PB
294 Simon Groom 55:54  
328 Charlotte Ward 58:10  
376 Shirley Smith 01:02:22  
391 Alice Hawkins 01:04:44 PB
423 Sarah Gray 01:09:38  

 Harriers Christmas Handicap

23rd December 2018

A morning on the chase in the winter rain. What could be better ?

Many thanks to Ed and the helpers.

Position Name Time Handicap Net Time
1 Michael Dobson 37:49:00 11:15:00 26:34:00
2 Phil Hilsdon 38:57:00 13:45:00 25:12:00
3 Spencer Holland 39:13:00 11:30:00 27:43:00
4 Chris Skellern 39:29:00 7:00:00 32:29:00
5 Richard Crump 39:47:00 10:30:00 29:17:00
6 Matt Woodman 40:22:00 14:45:00 25:37:00
7 Ian Heath 40:26:00 11:30:00 28:56:00
8 Jim Smith 41:05:00 8:00:00 33:05:00
9 Julie Nokes 41:15:00 0:00:00 41:15:00
10 Alan Jones 41:34:00 8:30:00 33:04:00
11 Suzzanne Brotherhood 41:45:00 2:30:00 39:15:00
12 Ian Williams 41:52:00 8:00:00 33:52:00
13 Jack Heath 42:15:00 8:30:00 33:45:00
14 Chris Elsley 42:54:00 8:00:00 34:54:00
15 Mel Gorman 43:07:00 2:30:00 40:37:00
16 Matthew Hilsdon 43:30:00 9:00:00 34:30:00
17 Adam Morris 44:00:00 4:00:00 40:00:00
18 Mark Bentley 52:36:00 4:00:00 48:36:00

The winners

Photos of the brave (sorry if I missed you but not all photos came out).


Turkey Trot

16th December 2018

Race Report Mel Deakin

After missing this event last year, it was great to get back to this festive race run from Aldersley Stadium near Wolverhampton. This is the race where you literally run for your dinner, as all finishers get a frozen turkey.  I have run this race a couple of times before and it is not flat or easy but it is a course where I always seem to run a good time. This year the conditions were the most challenging I have known them. The race starts on the running track and this year it resembled in places an ice rink. The lap and a half of the track to start was very interesting, especially if like me you had racing slicks on! However everyone seemed to get around without mishap and we were soon out onto the road where things were much better. The course loops around the area with ups and downs along the way, then back into the stadium to do another 300m on the track which was still very slippy then to the finish. I was a minute slower than last time I ran here but given the conditions and my training levels I was really pleased. Alas I wasn’t first Harrier home or even second Harrier home. I wish I could have seen the duel between Alan and Ben for the honour of first Harrier, but of course they were a few minutes ahead of me so I missed it all- I must run faster! From what I hear, Alan drew level with Ben as they approached the running track, both sprinted to the finish, Ben just pipping Alan by 3 seconds – so close! A really good event, very well organised and definitely one I will look to run again.

1st Jonathan Morris Wolves and Bilston 26:54

1st Female Hannah Pearson Wolves and Bilston 32:23

61st Ben Deakin 37:15

63rd Alan Jones 37:18

103rd Mel Deakin 40:42

204th John Hateley 52:55

212nd Liz Shillito 54:08

Lanzarote Half Marathon and 10k

8th December 2018

Report Phil Hilsdon

What started off as a tipsy Sunday evening text to our friends Tony and Claire about coming to Lanzarote to watch me run, turned into a fabulous long weekend, running in the sun and enjoying the hydration afterwards! The original idea was just for me to run the half, we arrived too late on the Friday for the kids races, and the minimum age for entry to the 10k was 16 (Matthew is only 13). I decided to chance my arm and contact the race organiser to see if I could get Matthew into the 10k, after an exchange of friendly emails, it was agreed that Matthew could run as long as I sent over the obligatory “full responsibility” disclaimer. Once it was agreed that Matthew could enter, Karen had no choice but to join him! We left rainy Stafford early on Friday to head to Manchester, we’d decided to treat ourselves to the airport lounge, probably not the best idea when you’re racing the next day though! We arrived in Lanzarote mid-afternoon, and headed straight to the Expo at Sands Beach Resort to collect our race numbers. The race weekend is centred round the full marathon, it’s really great though that it offers a range of distances to cater for all. We were staying in Costa Teguise, which was the start for the marathon, the start for the 10k was in Arrecife and the half was in Puerto Del Carmen. Free busses were provided from Sands to the various starting points to get you there in good time. The marathon started at 8, the half at 10:30 and the 10k at midday. I headed for my bus at 8 to see the marathon runners streaming past our apartments, Karen and Matthew headed out at about half 9. I arrived in Puerto Del Carmen and almost immediately ran into a posse of Stone Master Marathoners runners, they informed me that they had a large group there this year. I had a really good chat with Paul Swan, his tactics of working his way into the race seemed much more sensible than mine of going hard out from the start! This proved to be the case in the end. Karen and Matthew had a coach full of Aldridge runners on their way to the start, they also had a large contingent there for the weekend. The start of the half was at the turnaround point for the marathon, watching the runners come through got the adrenalin going, although it became apparent that the heat was taking its toll on many of the runners! It was very warm when we started (around 24 degrees I believe) and there was a headwind that was going to blight us for the entire race! I went out at sub 1:20 pace, it became apparent fairly early on though that I was not going to be able to sustain this. The race takes you along the coastline promenade past the airport on your way to Arrecife. Coming through Arrecife I saw Karen and Matthew, I was struggling a bit by this point so that helped. I called to Matthew to go easy, it was much warmer than I expected it to be. Coming out of Arrecife was about the 8 mile mark, here there was a testing little hill that the 10k course would also follow, I had a little chuckle to myself because I’d told Matthew the course was flat! From then to the finish was a real struggle, I think Paul passed me at about 10 miles and I told him I was goosed! I kept going in the hope I’d pick up again, it didn’t happen. I was so relieved when we arrived in Costa Teguise, I knew the last 1k was a little downhill and had been looking forward to it. As I came towards the finish I could hear Claire screaming at me to go faster, I was just thinking about the beer at the end! I mustered up a sprint, of sorts, with a guy from London but we both went too early and found ourselves trudging down the finishing mat! I grabbed my medal and headed towards the refreshments area (bar), had a quick chat with Paul about how much better he’d ran, grabbed a beer and then went to meet Claire and Tony. We grabbed another beer at the pop up bar that was blaring out some great tunes, then it was time for me to head back out on course to run in with Matthew. I started back out on course, heading through the mix of marathoners, half marathoners and 10k runners finishing their races. I ran past Fiona Bradley from Stone and Scott Zikmanis of Newcastle running together on the 10k and was so surprised to see Matthew not too far behind them, he was going like a train and I was so proud. As I approached him he had plenty of energy to talk, his first words were “you told me it was flat!!”, I laughed and told him it was……on the flat parts. By this point he had about half a mile to go, I told him to finish strong. We came down towards the overhead inflatable arch taking us to the finish, again Claire was in fine voice cheering Matthew on, and she revealed she was crying with pride too! At this point I pulled off the course and told Matthew to enjoy his deserved adulation, with this he hit the afterburners, like his old man though, and he peaked too soon and found himself trotting down the finishing mat!! lol. I headed into the finishers area to find Matthew, again pride was the overriding emotion (as he always does) he’d given it his all and for once I could tell he was rightly pleased with himself! Just like his dad would, he informed me straight away that the course was over, it transpires that the organisers took the route past the marina to advertise it before they hit the timing mat. We grabbed another beer before heading back onto course to see Karen finish, she was still going strong down to the finish but the heat had definitely taken its toll! Overall the event was fantastically organised, plenty of water/feed stations, brilliantly supported and a great t-shirt and medal. Matthew was the star of the show though, by far the youngest competitor and absolutely did his mum and dad proud! I’ll be watching my back from this point forward, plenty more to come from this young man (he’s got some catching up to do on the drinking stakes with his old man though!) The half had around 900 finishers and the 10k around 600. I know they’re not Harriers, but we have to give a big thanks to Tony and Claire for supporting us and enjoying a fantastic break with us. Apologies for the long report, but we had a fantastic time and Matthew was an absolute star! We’d definitely recommend this event as a Harriers away day.


Half Marathon

Phil – 1:26:16 – 19th place


Matthew – 53:23 (chip 50:24) 100th place

Karen – 1:15:56 (chip 1:11:25) 398th place


Apedale Dash (Newcastle Dales Dash)

2nd December 2018

Race Report Chris Elsley
There were ideal running conditions on Sunday for the Apedale Dash – a 10k run off road around Apedale and Lymedale in Newcastle.
The start and finish is from the Apedale Heritage Centre just off Loomer Road and runners faced a number of challenging climbs while in parts conditions underfoot were as muddy as ever.
Eighteen members of Stafford Harriers were in the field of just over 200 runners and Justin Green was first of the Harriers to complete the course finishing 19th in 43m 42s. He was followed in by 15 year old Jake Oliver who finished 29th (46:09) just pipping club mate Spencer Holland (30th – 46:10) in a sprint finish at the end.

Harriers to finish were:

Name Pos Time
Justin Green 19th 43:42
Jake Oliver 29th 46:09
Spencer Holland 30th 46:10
Liam Duggan 33rd 46:53
Matt Sargent 38th 48:00
Darren Mattocks 54th 48:55
Jason Littlewood 70th 50:59
Peter Williams 81st 52:12
Dave Marsden 88th 52:26
Chris Skellern 97th 53:25
Steve Turner 98th 53:40
Mark Oliver 108th 54:15
Alan Jones 116th 55:20
Debbie McDermott 117th 55:26
Ed Smith 144th 59:31
Jo Oliver 168th 62:48
Mark Bentley 184th 66:31
Julie Nokes 200th 72:07

Race winner was Simon Bailey (Mercia Fell Runners) who finished in 37:58 – almost two minutes ahead of his nearest rival. Wendy Swift (Trentham) took the Ladies prize in 44:36.

Race Report Peter Williams

Organised by Newcastle (Staffs) AC, The Newcastle Dales Dash is an off-road multi-terrain 10k route that undulates through a delightful community country park in woodland over meadows and adjacent to pools. The surface includes; tarmac, limestone, grass and a wooden bridge. There are a number of interesting features such as steep narrow muddy paths ideal for the sure footed and brave runners. The total elevation gain and loss is 675 ft each which requires strong legs and good footwear on such a course.

I like this type of course to run on, although physically and mentally demanding in parts I find recovery much quicker than on an equivalent road course due to the softer underfoot conditions.

Cheddleton 10K Christmas Pudding Race

24th November 2018

Race Report by Dave Marsden
I have probably reported on this race in previous years so apologies for this repetition.
This being its 35th year, it must be one of the longest established races in the area. It’s a 3 lap course on traffic free lanes around Cheddleton, providing 3 good climbs and 3 steep descents. Today, the weather was better than I can recall it ever being for this event. It was mild, still and with hazy sunshine, ideal running conditions.
Before the start, Ken Rushton requested a brief applause for Dave Edwards who recently passed away. Dave had been much involved in the local running community including the Alsager 5 organisation. Then we were off and up the first of the 3 climbs. At the top, Jonathan Whilock, Staffs Moorlands AC’s bag-piper, attired in his Highland tartan, piped us over the summit. He was still there when I completed the second ascent but had retired by the time I stumbled up for the third and final time.
It’s a good, testing race, well organised by Stan Winterton, with some funds going to Cancer Research. And, a Christmas pudding to all finishers.
1st male Matt Clowes Cardiff AC 30:51
1st lady Amy Neill Newcastle AC 40:37
Dave Marsden, 90th, 47:58. 1st M60.
229 finishers.

The 3rd NSCCL Race – Park Hall

18th November 2018

Race Report By Peter Williams

I don’t know about you but I love a bargain. Taking part in the NSCCL’s four cross country events fits into this category. As paid up members of the Harriers its free to take part, by my reckoning the value of being able to run these races exceeds the cost of my annual membership. A bargain.

I like everything about cross country, its one of my favourite forms of running. I think the fact they take part in autumn has something to do with it. The rich colours of trees, grass and earth intensified by mellow sunlight, with just enough warmth in the sun to ward off the chill from the east, the bright colours of the various club vests, the shrill of supporters and finally the euphoria you feel after completing a race.

What struck me during my inspection of the Park Hall course was how varied the route is, “something for everybody” I thought to myself. 4.2 mile, mixed terrain, various conditions under foot and two laps which enabled some planning for a race strategy possible.

The men’s course started with a wide start line on a flat grass area and quickly narrowed to a narrow track so after a manic scramble to get a good position we were forced in to walking pace until the line of runners stretched out and pace picked up. After a roll over a slight brow down a pathway we were led into a narrow gully, what struck me on this section was the amount of dead leaves carpeting broken ground making footwork difficult on downward slopes. Here I managed to pass Mark Oliver and we wished each other a good race. Running through a narrow glade blinded by the rays from the autumn sun sparkling through the overhead canopy of trees we were led up a short sharp steep strength sapping section to a plateau with wonderful views from the high spot to the south. Then dashing through a line of hawthorn hedging we ran down an open grass area only to rise again and be met by another strength sapping section leading to a narrow path through a gorse copse. A sharp turn left brought us down by the site of old quarry workings after which an undulating section competed lap one. So, feeling good I push the pace a little, up the steep section to the plateau through the hedge, down the grassy slope. It was here I heard Mark Oliver behind me “crickey Pete” he said “I didn’t think I was going to keep up with you back there”, no sooner he said that he pulled past me, I tried to respond but to no avail my earlier push had taken its toll. I kept Mark in my sight but couldn’t muster the extra effort. After what seemed to be a real slog over the last ½ mile through the finish. Catching up with Mark later he commented he’d knocked 2-3 min off last years’ time.

The event was staged by Trentham Running Club. Reasonable free parking at the site, and the course well signposted and marshalled were necessary. Following a reasonably dry spell, the course was dry and firm.


Race Position Name Age group Time
U11 Girls 49 Willow Heath   11.28
U11 Girls 50 Edie White   11.31
U13 Girls 23 Isla Fraser   10.24
U17 Women 12 Saffron Latham   14.41
U11 Boys 33 Reuben Wilson   10.16
U11 Boys 57 Oliver Cummings   12.21
U13 Boys 33 Lucas Wilson   10.54
U13 Boys 35 Jack Heath   10.58
U13 Boys 46 Ben Green   11.15
U13 Boys 47 Matthew Black   11.19
U13 Boys 49 Leo Nicholl   11.33
U17 Men 13 George Hodkinson   21.13
U17 Men 16 Benjamin Cook   21.59
U17 Men 17 Robert Gorman   22.22
U17 Men 20 Jake Oliver   23.01
Senior Women 72 Kerry Hall W35 27.25
Senior Women 85 Debbie McDermott W45 27.46
Senior Women 94 Chris Skellern W55 28.08
Senior Women 151 Jo Oliver W45 32.51
Senior Women 178 Mel Gorman W45 35.41
Senior Women 185 Julie Nokes W55 36.29
Senior Women 203 Sarah Gray W60 39.54
Senior Men 45 Phillip Hilsdon M40 26.28
Senior Men 79 Justin Green M45 27.55
Senior Men 97 Michael Dobson M50 28.33
Senior Men 143 Spencer Holland M45 30.27
Senior Men 146 Richard Crump SM 30.33
Senior Men 147 Liam Duggan SM 30.39
Senior Men 172 Ian Hodkinson M45 31.54
Senior Men 178 Jason Littlewood SM 32.03
Senior Men 191 Darren Mattocks M40 32.42
Senior Men 196 Simon Bromley M40 33.07
Senior Men 224 Mark Oliver M45 34.39
Senior Men 234 Peter Williams M65 35.02
Senior Men 236 Steve Turner M55 35.15
Senior Men 239 Dave Marsden M60 35.28
Senior Men 281 Ed Smith M65 40.17
Senior Men 287 Mark Bentley M55 42.22
Senior Men 295 Bryan Dale M75 51.39


Cannock Chase Parkrun

10th November 2018

Although we help manage the Cannock Chase parkrun we don’t normally report the results here on our web site. This week it was included in the Challenge and so we have made an exception.

Fittingly a Stafford Harriers (Phil Hilsdon) was first across the line and  a number of PB’s were achieved.

Without the volunteers this event wouldn’t take place, please consider helping out when you can.


Pos parkrunner Time Age Cat Age Grade Gender Gender Pos Note Total Runs
1 Phil HILSDON 17:30 VM40-44 78.00% M 1   28
7 Justin GREEN 18:53 VM45-49 76.26% M 7 New PB! 55
8 Michael DOBSON 19:05 VM50-54 79.21% M 8   65
10 George HODKINSON 19:31 JM15-17 70.20% M 10   1
11 Richard CRUMP 19:38 SM30-34 66.04% M 11   38
14 Spencer HOLLAND 19:45 VM45-49 74.09% M 14 New PB! 6
15 Nick BECKETT 19:52 VM40-44 69.21% M 15   73
16 Liam DUGGAN 19:54 VM35-39 66.67% M 16   46
18 Jake OLIVER 20:27 JM15-17 68.05% M 18   13
23 Matthew SARGENT 20:52 SM25-29 61.82% M 23   31
27 Daniel FINDLAY-ROBINSON 21:11 VM35-39 63.02% M 27   72
29 Ian HODKINSON 21:16 VM45-49 67.71% M 29   6
30 Darren MATTOCKS 21:22 VM45-49 66.38% M 30   14
37 Jason LITTLEWOOD 21:44 SM25-29 59.36% M 36   13
39 Ian WOOD 21:51 VM55-59 70.33% M 38   45
41 Alan JONES 22:01 VM50-54 68.05% M 40   101
44 Matthew HILSDON 22:10 JM11-14 65.41% M 43   20
51 Simon BROMLEY 22:31 VM40-44 62.03% M 49   13
55 Jennifer BECKETT 22:38 VW35-39 67.16% F 3   65
66 Richard BOOTH 23:07 VM40-44 60.85% M 62   21
67 Ben GREEN 23:09 JM11-14 62.63% M 63   63
73 Harry BECKETT 23:28 JM11-14 63.35% M 69   65
79 Mark OLIVER 23:48 VM45-49 61.48% M 73   10
84 Peter WILLIAMS 24:11 VM65-69 71.33% M 77   49
104 Chris ELSLEY 24:34 VM50-54 60.52% M 97   15
115 Isabel MCCLOSKEY 25:03 SW25-29 59.08% F 9   27
116 Isabelle BECKETT 25:04 JW11-14 64.96% F 10 New PB! 63
170 Jo OLIVER 26:58 VW45-49 60.69% F 24   11
175 Lynda ABELL 27:00 VW45-49 61.36% F 25   1
196 Peter MCCLOSKEY 27:48 VM60-64 58.69% M 163   19
208 Graham WILLIAMS 28:19 VM70-74 64.80% M 171 New PB! 6
245 Julie NOKES 30:20 VW55-59 61.32% F 57   48
259 Liz SHILLITO 30:52 VW45-49 51.46% F 67   113
261 Karen HILSDON 31:02 VW50-54 54.03% F 69   19
327 Andrew LANGSTON 34:47 VM45-49 41.73% M 216   31
416 Michael JONES 55:09 VM75-79 34.36% M 254   50


Flying Fox 10

4th November 2018

Race Report by Peter Williams

First held 15 years ago in 2003, this challenging race signals the end of the North Staffs Road Runners Association annual programme. It is organised by Stone Master Marathoners.
The course takes place on quiet lanes in mid Staffordshire. It is a scenic and undulating course based around the small village of Standon.
The race HQ is based at Standon Primary School, there is plenty of parking nearby and facilities include baggage storage, WCs and refreshments.
The race begins about 600m away from the primary school. The first mile or so is up a gentle hill after which a sharp left turn leads to a steep descent where speed is quickly gained over the next few miles. At 4-5 miles a flattish section leads to another ascent between the 6-7mile section and then drops in to a very steep descent to mile 8. From there the course undulates before arriving at the final downhill to the finish by the race HQ.
The course offers opportunity to do some quite speedy running on the steep downhill sections, certainly for those who are sure footed.
On reaching the race HQ to collect my bib number and race chip I was greeted by the smell of bacon being cooked, very tempting as they are, bacon sandwiches are not a good choice shortly before a race so reluctantly skipped having one. However, after drinking a warming cup of coffee I noticed that fellow runners started to arrive and greet each other. Overall there were 22 Stafford Harrier runners, a good turn out and clearly a popular race event.
I caught up with Debbie McDermott and after wishing her a happy birthday set off for the start. We discussed our race strategy. Debbie suggested we take first mile easy; check out where key NSRRA competitors were and how well they were running; speed up on the down hill section then increase tempo between 4-5 miles; take on board a gel for that extra energy for the hill climb to mile 7 then see how it goes. I agreed that this was a good race plan and we could stick together on that basis at least to the 9th mile after which “we go for it”.
We set off up the first mile at a steady pace, I noted most of my NSRRA competitors were behind us from the start which gave me a little anxiety as it hard to respond to someone catching up from behind on such a long race. Nerves soon settled down as the pace picked up in the first steep downhill section to the 3 mile point where a left turn took us along a fairly flat section.
We kept a steady pace, staying relaxed up to the 5th mile, often providing encouraging words to each other or making observations about the course and scenery. After taking on gels as planned we dug in to confront the next hill. By this stage the line of runners had stretched out and it felt that we were amongst runners we had not encountered in previous races. For me this increased anxiety a little, were we going too fast or too slow? Just past mile 6 we caught up with Steve Turner. He appeared to be in some pain and was walking, on asking if he was ok he informed us that he had a hamstring problem, was ok and would get back without assistance. At around mile 8 we caught up with Michael Birtles one of my main NSRRA competitors. I sensed that if we could overtake him I could secure another win in Group F. Debbie and I overtook him with a short burst of pace which we maintained for half a mile or so until it was obvious he would not catch us up. At the 9th mile Mick Jones gave us encouragement in his inimitable style “just throw yourself at it, its downhill from here”. Between miles 9 and 10 despite encouragement from Debbie to “go for it” my earlier fast pace started to take effect and I felt fatigue kicking in. Debbie pushed on ahead to get her PB. Despite my own fatigue I also got a new PB by over 3 min.
A well organised event over a challenging course.

Race Report by Graham Williams

On a pleasant Sunday morning twenty one Stafford Harriers travelled to All Saints First School Standon to run the Flying Fox ten mile race. This was the last race in the NSRRA series and the last road race in the Harrier’s Challenge so there were points to be gained. As usual I met other Harriers at Holmcroft Library and I drove Chris Skellern and Ed while Karen drove Caroline and Mick Jones, who grew up in the area and would walk part of the course while we ran. We all met at the school, collected our numbers and chips and discussed our ailments and problems! It was perfect running weather and vests were the order of the day for most people. The start was a ten minute walk away and after a short delay for a passing car, we started. The course is on country lanes of varying width and is termed undulating which means several sharp hills and downhill sections. The race which was organised by Stone Master Marathoners was well marshalled with a water station at seven miles. The finish was in the school grounds. After the presentation where Chris Skellern won the gold Staffordshire medal for her age group, we drove to the Fitzherbet Arms in Swynnerton to celebrate Deb’s 50th birthday. Deb and Mike provided a lovely buffet and Karen baked a cake in Harriers’ colours. It was a lovely end to a very pleasant day.

The race winner was Carl Moulton of Boalloy Running Club in a time of 56.17. The first lady was Sarah Mackness unattached in 1.05.42. Harriers’ times with final NSRRA positions were as follows:


Position Name Time   NSRRA PB
3rd Matt Woodman 58:37      
11th Phil Hilsdon 01:02:12 1st M40 4th Group A  
27th Justin Green 01:06:30 2nd M45 4th Group B PB
61st Liam Duggan 01:11:35      
68th Ian Hodkinson 01:12:35      
69th Ian Wood 01:12:45 4th M50    
72nd Spencer Holland 01:12:57      
83rd John Scott 01:14:20      
96th Darren Mattocks 01:17:36   4th Group E  
113rd Jason Littlewood 01:19:08      
115th Alan Jones 01:19:26     PB
117th Dave Marsden 01:19:48      
120th Chris Skellern 01:20:24 3rd L55    
130th Debbie McDermott 01:21:34     PB
132nd Peter Williams 01:21:55 3rd M65 2nd Group F PB
161st Mel Deakin 01:27:43      
170th Caroline Nichol 01:29:37      
189th Mark Bentley 01:32:26      
197th Eddie Smith 01:35:00      
213th Karen Murray 01:38:11 3rd L50    
220th Graham Williams 01:39:32 4th M70    
244th Steve Turner 01:49:33      

The 2nd NSCCL Race – Stafford Common

27th October 2018

Many thanks to all the people that helped set-up, marshalled and helped take-down.

The female team showing an “addition” to club kit….

Report by Peter Williams

Stafford Common XC is the second 2018 event of the North Staffs Cross County League. It also happens to feature in the Harrier’s Challenge and provided an excellent opportunity, free to all paid up members of the Harriers, to compete in the League’s race events no matter what their age or ability.

Stafford Common XC is hosted by Stafford Harriers on behalf of the League and presents a great opportunity for the club to showcase how well it can support local runners. Equally important to the running is the role of volunteers in laying out the course, marshalling and clearing up at the end of the day.

It was obvious from weather reports earlier in the week that Saturday was going to be cold, we were not disappointed. Never-the-less a great sporting day event was achieved.

Volunteers started to arrive at the Common just before 9.00am with temperatures at around freezing point. Doubled wrapped, hats and gloves donned we were dispatched with bags of steel spikes and bunting to lay out the course according to the sketch plan. There was initial concern that the ground would be too hard to fix the steel spikes following a prolonged dry spell but this proved not to be the case and by 11.00am the course was laid out completely.

Underfoot conditions proved to be good in the main, it was dry and firm and with some long grass in a few stretches but nothing likely to have been troublesome later in the races.

Around 11.15am a slight flurry of snow and light rain fell for half an hour chilling the air making it feel much cooler than freezing temperature. It was around this time that the volunteer marshals were briefed on which stations they were required to be at and dispatched to the far cold reaches of the course. Some of the junior runners were walking the course under guidance of their club coaches receiving hints and tips and useful advice on how to race the course.

From 11.30am onward junior runners were taking the sensible precaution of doing warm up exercises and at 12.00pm the first of 14 race events commenced. The final race started at 14.10pm finishing around 15.00pm. All competitors put in a tremendous effort in completing the course in what would be the coldest day of the year so far.

A huge thanks should go out to the volunteers some of whom would have been in cold conditions for upwards of 7 hours with little chance of warming themselves. It is sometimes easy to forget the contribution that volunteers give in enabling such an event to take place.

Overall the Stafford Common XC event for 2018 should be seen as another success by Stafford Harriers as well as by the runners.


Stafford Cross Country Results

Women’s Results

Overall Position Name Time
58 Kerry Hall 23:19
60 Stella Denniss 23:21
72 Debbie McDermott 23:52
79 Chris Skellern 24:06
177 Mel Gorman 29:50
198 Sarah Gray 32:04
199 Julie Nokes 32:08

227 Runners Overall Winner Rebecca Twardochleb of Newcastle Staffs AC 18:28

Men’s Results

Overall Position Name Time
38 Phil Hilsdon 26:44
81 Justin Green 28:30
118 Michael Dobson 29:52
126 Spencer Holland 30:03
130 Wayne Gallagher 30:09
147 Gareth Davies 31:05
155 Liam Duggan 31:32
174 Gareth Hudson 32:12
186 Jason Littlewood 32:52
212 Steve Turner 33:50
213 Dave Marsden 33:51
237 Peter Williams 34:57
244 Richard Booth 35:24
297 Mark Bentley 43:12
300 Graham Williams 44:43
306 Bryan Dale 48:50

308 Runners Overall Winner Hassan Ben Tiba of Keele University AC 24:21

Manchester Half

14th October 2018

No race report

Position Name Time PB
6861 Wendy Sears 02:10:34  
9530 Sarah Gray 02:37:23  

Pattingham Bells 10K and 5K

14th October 2018

Race report by Leon Stringer

To Pattingham in South Staffordshire, about 40 minutes by car. I’d entered this race mid-week when the forecast was looking dry but come the day it was cold, wet and muddy. Number collection was at the village hall so fortunately we could shelter there before the start, wondering why we were doing this!

Then a short walk to the start in the corner of a field already soaked and muddy so your feet were wet from the start. Some jogging to keep warm then form up at the start line and go. The course is largely footpaths at the edge of fields with some woodland trails and one tarmacked path. Because of the type of terrain overtaking on this race is always a bit difficult, but this time more so as runners were trying to stick to the line with the most grip. The course is undulating which wore you down in the mud. I’m sure there were more climbs than descents!

A runner nearby was giving off lots of positive vibes to encourage not only her friend but everyone around her, on days like this it was good to have someone like that keeping your spirits up. Dig in, keep going and eventually you’ll hear St Chad’s church ringing a peal to guide you to the finish. Then across the line for coffee, cake and the traditional souvenir horse brass. Despite the weather and mud I’m glad I did it, it was a good atmosphere. There were lots of marshals around the course so thanks are due to them for standing out in the elements.

It was then announced that “a large batch of 10k runners were sent the wrong way and completed the 5k run instead”. This affected the leading runners, nearly a third of entrants. There was an unreserved apology from the organisers but this will have been pretty frustrating for those affected. Another issue on the day: car park ‘A’ (where I was) is a field so unsurprisingly a few cars were having trouble getting out. I was lucky but well done to the poor marshals staying on to help push those who were slipping and sliding as they tried to get away.

Due to the confusion with the course the results were split into three: 10K runners sent on the correct course, “accidental 5K”: runners who entered the 10K but were sent on the 5K course, and the 5K runners. Congratulations to Adam Lightfoot on 2nd place in the 5K. Provisional results (all chip times):

10K (230 finishers)
1st Craig Parry (Unaffiliated) 0:51:21 (1st M)
16th Lisa Abbott (Sphinx AC) 0:54:38 (1st F)

23rd Stephen Turner 0:55:13
84th Leon Stringer 0:59:48
99th Brian Hynes 1:01:56

“Accidental 5K” (103 finishers)
1st Martin Williams (Tipton Harriers) 0:19:54 (1st M)
12th Tessa Clarke (Wolves & Bilston AC) 0:23:20 (1st F)

73rd Alex Langford 0:28:20

5K (52 finishers)
1st Charlie Jones (Unaffiliated) 0:24:34 (1st M)
4th Lillian Wilcox (Unaffiliated) 0:25:58 (1st F)

2nd Adam Lightfoot 0:24:53 (Cat pos 1st)

Birmingham Half

14th October 2018
Race report by Richard Booth

The sound of a torrential downpour woke me up just after 6am on Sunday and shortly afterwards the noise abated and for a moment I thought we might get away with a relatively dry Birmingham Half Marathon. I couldn’t have been more wrong….

Pulling up at Sandwell and Dudley Train station car park later that morning I was seriously thinking that this could be a serious challenge to navigate 13.1 miles in weather more suited for scuba gear. Despite that I had a score to settle with the distance following my 1st Half in June (Black Country Half) which was run in temperatures pushing 30 °C. I was determined to get close to my target time of 1hr 55 – 2hr.

A quick diversion in the city to meet up with a work colleague who was running for charity and we were ready in the holding pen waiting for the White wave to start. Probably the only poor experience of the day was standing and waiting, getting drenched for almost 25 minutes and getting cold to boot !!

We started at 10:43 dodging the numerous puddles and flooded roads. The support from the crowds despite the rain was amazing and certainly helped us along. A quick shout to Alan Jones who passed on the opposite side of Pershore Road and before we knew it we were climbing up and down through Bourneville.

Back onto Pershore Road and the rain still lashing down we carried on the push into the City centre. With my watch stopping 2/3 of the way round I’d lost my bearings of how I was doing by felt good in that I’d caught up with the 1hr 50min pacer.

I finished the race oblivious of the finish time and it was only 15 minutes later, wrapped in a space blanket that I checked my phone to find I’d finished in just over 1hr 47min. It was a great day, and I’ll certainly be thinking about running it next year.

The male winner was Kadar Abdullahi of Birchfield Harriers in 01:06:06. Leading lady was Nicola Sykes of Bournville Harriers in 01:19:57.

Well done to all the Harriers who took part and I hope you’ve dried out !!

Harrier times

Position Name Time PB
1681 Richard Booth 01:47:05 PB
1725 Alan Jones 01:47:20  
3039 Kerry Robertson 01:56:50  
4333 Sarah Ann Johnson 02:06:54  
6545 Liz Shillito 02:30:33  


Werrington 10K

14th October 2018

Report by Graham Williams

On a very wet Sunday morning, fifteen Harriers travelled to Werrington for the penultimate race in the NSRRA series of twenty races. Some runners were trying to get their twelve qualifying races in. I travelled with two young (!) ladies and it rained all the way there throughout the race and all the way home. The race starts and finishes at Moorside High School and is run on country lanes around Werrington. We assembled on the tennis courts for a short briefing including an ovation for Colin Pheasant a long time member of NSRRA who recently had a heart attack while doing the Walsall Park Run. He is currently recovering in hospital – we all wished him well, On leaving the school we turned right and followed the main road before continuing on pleasant country lanes. There was endless running water underfoot and although wet we were not cold. There were several undulations but nothing too severe. Having run approximately three miles out, we turned for home finishing on the tennis court.

There were several good performances with a fantastic third place from Phil Hilsdon. Stafford Harriers also won the male team comprising Phil Hilsdon, Justin Green, Spencer Holland and Michael Dobson.

Report by Peter Williams

As I grew into running and the joys of racing, I developed the belief it was all about taking part, neither winning nor losing. So, I was a little taken aback shortly after I got home after the race, when one of my grandchildren asked how I got on? I replied “I came 81st out of a field of runners of nearly 200”. I felt a little proud of that. My grandchild then went on to say “I’m really sorry you lost grandpa.”

I don’t think I have ever won a race, certainly since leaving school decades ago. At times I’ve had a good run and at other times not so good. I have a number of PBs, they are not great but I did them and they are mine. I know it’s most unlikely I’ll win a race in the future; I don’t think I’m defeatist but honest, there are some good runners out there. Let’s face it I’m in the majority.

So, where am I? Well I train hard to run the best I can to remain injury free, I don’t feel like I’m a loser either. Does it matter? I asked myself. Today I ran very hard, very very hard for me. I even got a PB.

You know the rollercoaster one goes through with competitors ahead and others overtaking. Its hard to keep a steady pace, to stay focused, to run intelligently. At times I wanted to dash off and when I did I was left feeling drained. I realise nothing serious depended on the race outcome, maybe a loss of pride so why did I get so anxious? As Brian Langston tells me “running should be fun”.

Running a 10k race like this required endeavour, commitment, drive and resilience all of which my rivals experience. Equally the prospect of me winning is out, not even close so why bother race at all?

My grandchild’s simple sympathy towards me “I’m sorry you lost” taught me a lot on reflection. I concluded that doing my best against the odds is not such a bad thing and counters all the negative feelings I had during and after the race. I did my best and I came away with the belief that was good enough for me.

I was reminded that as we, that is Team Stafford Harriers, were assembled in the dry of the school sports hall before the race. I asked Phil Hilsdon why he liked racing, he replied “well…… I love to run, but I hate racing…….. but I like doing the best I can” If it’s good enough for Phil it’ll do for me as well.

More on the day itself. On the way to Werrington I heard on the radio all the best wishes to runners taking part in ½ marathons taking place on this day. With Manchester and Great Birmingham being particularly mentioned. I’m sure several other Harriers would have participated in some of these other races. (Richard Booth and Alan Jones completed Birmingham ½ in very credible times (1:47:00ish) well done both)


Position Name Time NSRRA PB
3rd Phil Hilsdon 35:56 1st M40. 1st Group A  
12th Justin Green 38:44 2nd Group B. 3rd M45  
23rd Spencer Holland 40:52    
24th Michael Dobson 41:02    
53rd Ian Wood 44:55 1st M55  
58th Darren Mattocks 45:43 2nd Group E  
68th Dave Marsden 46:45    
71st Chris Skellern 47:09 2nd L55  
81st Peter Williams 48:29 1st Group F. 2nd M65 PB
82nd Debbie McDermott 48:41 3rd L45 PB
100th Mel Deakin 50:59    
132nd Graham Williams 56:44 3rd M70  
134th Mark Bentley 57:13    
138th Karen Murray 58:33    
140th Julie Nokes 59:09    

Stafford Harriers Notables

2nd FSen Nia Nokes, 2nd F55 Chris Skellern

1st M.40 Phil Hilsdon, 2nd M50 Michael Dobson, 1st M55 Ian Wood, 2nd M65 Peter Williams

Debbie McDermott New PB.

All of the Harriers team put in a great effort against some tough competitors many of which are chasing key points as part of the NSRRA league. Particularly bearing in mind it was raining quite heavy and cold (7 deg C) for most of the race.

Overall Winners

1st Mark Coulthard, South Cheshire Harriers. Gun Time 34:49

1st Female (13th) Sophie Goodfellow, Newcastle (Staffs) AC. Gun Time. 39:40.

Race Overview

Werrington 10k is the penultimate race of the NSRRA League. It starts at Moorside High School. Werrington is organised by Trentham Running Club. It is an undulating course, mainly run on semi-rural roads. It was well marshalled and signposted to enable good pace setting.

Chester Marathon

7th October 2018

No race report

Harriers results


Position Name Time PB
607 Ian Hodkinson 03:24:29  
1494 Alan Jones 03:58:55 PB


Katharine House 10K

7th October 2018

We have been told that the race course was less than 10KM and so we have removed people’s PB.

Results (not confirmed)


Position Name Time PB
1 Matt Woodman 37:32  
3 Spencer Holland 39:44  
18 Jason Littlewood 43:09  
36 Richard Booth 46:11  
37 Chris Skellern 46:24  
61 Claire Jackson 49:40  
74 Bryan Hynes 51:47  
98 Scott Kelsall 53:30  
105 Lindsey Foster 54:11  
111 Ruth Edwards 55:06  
189 Sarah Gray 01:07:16  


Congleton Half Marathon

7th October 2018

Race Report by Peter Williams

I’m feeling warm and cosy, wrapped up in my duvet I become slowly aware of my i-phone alarm buzzing away, I can’t doze off again because of that irritating blue light it gives off, no matter how much you try to shut it out it just seems to get to you doesn’t it?

I want to drift off back to sleep, “for goodness sake who gets up on a Sunday morning when it is as dark as pitch outside?…… Who gets up at six anyway?….. What for?….. what’s so important?” I think to myself.

With bleary eyes, I roll out of bed and take a peep through the curtains. Blackness, silence, I become aware there is a thin fire red line of light on what must be the horizon to the east, “what’s that?” I think. I realise it’s dawn. I notice low lying mist in gardens in the dim light and parked cars covered in ice. Its freezing. The temptation to get back under the duvet is great, then the penny drops, today its Congleton Half Marathon………

The drive up to Congleton from Stafford takes about 45 min, I drive this in silence, outside temperature reads zero. Slowly the day gets lighter, with red, purple and blue hues in the sky. It is still freezing cold, ice blue cold and grey, freezing fog sitting idly in valleys. “It going to be a cold, cold race day, no records today then” I think to myself.

Congleton Half Marathon is one of the races on the NSRRA calendar. There will be around 100 competitors in the NSRRA league of the 400 or so total competitors. There are points to be won and positions to be gained, running will be tactical I felt sure.

The guidance note issued earlier in the week advised competitors to arrive early (7.30am it said) to ensure parking which they said would be in limited supply.

After collecting my bib number, chip and the event tee shirt, I started to get ready, today is going to be a challenge. “Need to apply Deep Heat, loads of it” I think to myself.

In the main hall competitors welcoming old friends from other running clubs; wishing each other a great race; talking about the route; talking of the weather, the cold always the main topic. I reflect on how much I love to see the level of comradeship that takes place despite the competitiveness in the races. Lots of mutual respect I sense.

At around 9.10 we make our way to the starting line which is about 10 minutes walk away. With woolly hat on and arms wrapped round to keep warm and a slight jog we arrive and start to assemble for the off. Vapour leaving our breath in the cold air hanging over the crowd of runners.

Phil and Ian make their way to the front of the pack, they are clearly intent on getting good times. Debbie, Julie and I position ourselves about halfway along the pack. Debbie and I briefly discuss tactics for the day, “a slow start is good” Debbie says “save yourself for the last mile or so”, Julie says ”I’m going to take it easy, using the race as part of her preparation for the Amsterdam Marathon in a few weeks time”.

We move forward to the starting line, listen to race instructions from the course director then…. “3,2,1 you’re off” calls the Congleton Town Mayor. At first, we all move slowly for several hundred yards, jostling and side stepping trying to get a good line, front runners already seemingly hundreds of yards ahead as they get a good start. Debbie and I get separated from Julie as we move forward at what seems to be a slow but steady pace. After a mile or so of flat running we drop down into a river valley then quickly rise up the other side. “That’ll be a killer on the return leg” I think to myself.

The route continues with slight ups and downs, twists and side road junctions all well marshalled. The road is narrow and its difficult to get going, I express my concerns to Debbie she said “this is good and it’ll all start to settle down soon”.

By mile 3 there’s a water station and a slight thining out of runners, but, getting past is still difficult. I see a few of my NSRRA competitors ahead and keen to get past but is takes another mile or so to do so. At mile 6 another water station and after a quick sip of water we move on. It still feels cold. The water even colder.

Debbie and I are still together, we continue to give encouraging words of support to each other, at other times locked into private thoughts, as time progresses the line of runners gets thinner as faster runners stretch ahead, we pick up the pace a little. By 7-8 miles the line of runners is now quite thin and with the twists and turns and undulations in the road, running feels quite isolated at times.

Another drinks station at 9 miles, and a take on a much needed sip of water, it feels warmer now as we go across lovely small valley, Daffodil Dale. I pass one of my main NSRRA competitor and started to feel much more confident, Debbie also passes one or two of her main NSRRA group competitors, this gives us both a boost and we continue to give each other the occasional words of encouragement. We dare not look at our watches, just running by feel instead, not quite max keeping a little in reserve, maintaining a steady cadence.

At mile 12 we are back at the main valley we crossed earlier in the race. It seems that we powered up this, Debbie advises “save a little for the last mile” but I feel the race so far has taken its toll. We keep going, I’m gritting my teeth, fatigue starting to rise, a lift in spirit on sight of the finish, a sign says 400m “lets go for it”, another sign at 300m still going fast, at 200m I feel fatigue taking over again but we are still flying it seems. “come on Pete we can do this” says Debbie. At a 100m I start to fade a little and Debbie starts to pull ahead.

Past the finishing line Debbie asks “did you see the time?”. “not really” I reply. Debbie gives a great big celebratory hug. She says “I got my best ½ marathon time ever 1:49:something, 2 min off my pervious PB”. At first my mind is numb from the exhaustion then realised the last time I did a half anywhere near this time was over 35 years ago!!!!

We both took turns to ring the PB hand bell, I feel jubilant.

I sort of stagger back to the changing area, my hamstrings starting to cease up. After a hot drink we catch up with Phil and Ian. Phil says he got below 1:20:00. Fantastic running. As Julie joins us we wait for the results to be posted. Phil came 9th and first men’s V40. We watched all the presentation awards take place. All of us feeling proud of Phil’s achievement as well as glory a little in our own achievement.

I love going to races, I know I’ll never win one but I always learn something. On this occasion, the mutual support you get from fellow runners at races is invaluable to both. I love to fusion of comradeship and competitiveness. Both achieve something not expected. So that’s why people get up at some unearthly hour.


First Male

Carl Moulton Boalloy Running Club 01:14:08

First Female

Michelle Buckle (45th overall) Newcastle AC 01:28:20



Position Name Time PB
009 Phil Hilsdon 01:18:58  
087 Ian Wood 01:35:18  
200 Debbie McDermott 01:49:45 PB
201 Peter Williams 01:49:50  
369 Julie Nokes 02:18:17  

404 Total number of Runners