Race Report October to December 2018

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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