Birmingham League Cross Country
The latest round of the
Birmingham Cross Country League took place on the first
weekend in December following the wettest November on record
according to the MET office, and that's official!!!!
The Men's team were in division
3 action down in Leamington, probably the furthest venue
away from us, and we managed to get 8 gents out following
the good results at Senneleys Park for round 1. The course
at Leamington was a good mixture of Fields, Paths, Riverside
walks and Muddy Tracks and consisted of three laps which
took in the much maligned Beacon Hill.
The hill was a short but VERY steep dash up to the highest
point of the course and was a test for both breathing
apparatus and legs alike before the equally steep descent back
to level ground! Unusually for cross country races there were
also adequate changing facilities including at least a dozen
changing rooms, showers, toilets and a cafe all located
inside a large brick building. No wonder then that
Trentham's (Dan's) small tent was only 1 of two gracing the
fields around the venue. Each team could have been allocated
their own private changing room, but as Paul Burslem had
been on the Abbot Ale the night before, at was probably just
as well we hadn't and had instead got ready to race in the
Ian Yates led the way home for Trentham followed by Jason
Thomas, Paul Gibbings and Paul Burslem. 5th and 6th counters
were Dan Clowes and Dale Colclough. The team did enough to
ensure that we finished 2nd on the day and hold on to 2nd
overall heading into the Christmas Break. Well done to all
of those who ran.
Full results will be available soon on
the Cross Country Page!
Meanwhile in the
Ladies race taking place in Birchfield it was touch and go
as to weather the ladies would even get a team out but after
some ringing around salvation was indeed found. Adela, Jo,
Sarah and Louise all headed to North Birmingham to take on
the areas finest across muddy fields. Del kindly sent in
The second race of the Midland
Ladies League took place on Saturday, and with Christmas
fast approaching, it was looking doubtful as to whether we
would be able to muster together a full ladies team.
Thankfully, Jo Donnelly, Sarah Johnson and Louise Clowes
saved the day, and along with myself, we travelled down to
Perry Park, Birmingham, to fly the Trentham flag for the
The Midland League is very competitive - not least because
of all the youngsters taking part from the regional unis
(notably Birmingham and Loughborough) - plus the likes of
Telford, Birchfield and Tipton all in the mix, but Trentham
ladies did the club proud by finishing a full ladies team
AND a veteran ladies team (yes, us oldies weren't put off by
the lean and mean looking whipper snappers!)
The course itself - which I seem to remember reading will be
used for the inter-counties next year rather that the usual
Nottingham course - wasn't too bad, and consisted of 2 laps
around parkland with some nice wooded areas and some open
playing fields which were muddy but not too heavy going. It
was also relatively flat with just a couple of small slopes
rather than hills.
Surprisingly, I was actually the first Trentham lady over
the line (probably because it wasn't hilly!!) and finished
in 34th place, followed by Jo Donnelly in 39th and Sarah
Johnson in 50th, whilst Louise Clowes (who ran with the
lurgy and wasn't feeling 100%) finished in 117th and was the
final counter for the lady vets team . When you think
how well Jo and Sarah have been running recently (with no
disrespect to Lou or myself!), it puts things into
perspective about the quality of competition that we faced
From a personal point of view, I would like to say a huge
THANK YOU to Jo, Sarah and Louise as without them, we
wouldn't have had a full team. The results usually take a
few days before appearing but cross fingers we've managed to
move a little further up the table, and hopefully we can get
a full team out to the next race in January and keep the
Thanks again ladies - and see you next time!
Well done Girls
and enjoy the Christmas Break before the next round on 16th
Apedale - Dales dash 10K
On Sunday the Dales Dash 10 K
took part in Apedale Country Park near Newcastle Under Lyme.
It was very wet under foot and there was a lot of boggy
ground to cover for all the runners. Quite a few of the
competitors had taken part in The Birmingham Cross Country
series the day before and were already a little tired before
Jo Donnelly has sent in this
Having taken part in the Midland Cross Country
League on Saturday I headed out to Apedale on Sunday
morning with sore legs and very little motivation.
As the start approached a large number of Trentham
runners appeared which was really good, but there
did seem to be a general theme of tiredness and too
many beers the night before!!!!
As the race got underway Richard Ogden and Rob set
off well for Trentham men and Sarah headed off into
the lead for the women. As well as being pretty
undulating, the course was very wet and boggy so my
feet were soon wet, muddy and cold. Within the first
couple of Kilometres, Paul Burslem came past me,
moving through the field comfortably and - it was
noted Paul – doing quite a bit of chatting as he
Within the women’s race, Jackie Slack from Newcastle
had soon moved into the lead and me and Sarah were
running pretty much together in 2nd and
3rd. As we headed up the big climb to the exposed
top, I must admit I was blowing pretty heavily and
feeling sick. The flat path at about 6.5k was a
welcome relief, as was the singing “go Sarah, go Jo”
drifting up from behind. Yes, Ryan was catching us
fast and encouraging us all the way – well, I think
his calls, to stop talking about shopping and start
running were encouragement!!!!
As Ryan came through at 7K I decided to try and go
with him and moved clear into 2nd place.
This however was where the fun started!!!
Unfortunately one of the arrows at a corner had spun
around to point right instead of left and a number
of runners had headed off the wrong way and me Ryan,
Sarah and others were following. Luckily for me Ryan
quickly realised that things were not right and we
doubled back to the course whilst trying to shout
those ahead who were still heading off into the
Although we hadn’t gone too far wrong, by the time
we got back to the course we had lost quite a few
places. Luckily there were few kilometres to go and
with a burst of adrenaline I was able to gain some
lost ground taking me back into what I thought was
second place. I was soon to realise however that
Jackie Slack was one of the runners taking in the
sights of Chesterton so I was in first place!!!!
Obviously the detour for some runners distorted the
results slightly but it seemed to me to be another
dominant display for ‘Team Trentham’. I haven’t
seen the results but Richard, Rob and Paul were at
the front end of the field and myself and Sarah were
first and second in the ladies. Well done to all and
I’ll certainly be studying the course map before
for the report Jo, it made me smile for sure,
something I wasn't doing on Sunday after the race as
the little detour cost me a 4th place finish amongst
Trentham Runners for the team prize, which we won
quite comfortably ahead of Staffs Moorlands and
also a double for the team prizes as the Ladies also
came first ahead of Stafford Harriers with Jo, Sarah
and Kiri counting 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively!
Trentham Results below.
Saturday 12th December was the last race in
the North Staffs Cross Country Championships series at
Westwood School in Leek. Deb Thomas has Kindly sent in this
School in Leek hosts the final cross country run in the
North Staffs League. Most people regard this course at
the most authentic cross-country run out of the league
as it involves a few good hills and lots of mud.
This year the course had been altered slightly and took
out one of the main hilly fields. For the ladies race
the course was one large and two small laps,
criss-crossing the bottom flat field once and taking in
the big steep hill three times; and for the gents it was
four big laps, and four times up the big steep hill! For
once the weather was kind in Leek (rare) and we had
sunshine with little wind but a cold air.
underfoot was firm but there were a couple of big
puddles up top which were very cold! For a majority of
ladies it was their first time on the course but despite
all the nerves they ran brilliantly and managed to get
up that hill all three times! First lady back for the
club was Jo Donnelly followed in by Sara, Del, Debbie,
Mel, Kiri, Hayley, Kerry, Rose and Louise. This gave the
team a total of 39 points and ensured we took first
place again and first vets team!
The gents had a
fantastic turnout as well and managed to get themselves
around the tough course with great finishes: Ian Yates
was first Trentham back followed by Paul Gibbings,
Jason, Dale, Paul Burslem, Dan, Sam, Paul Thomas, Steve
Burrowes, Andy, Ken Bloor, Gerry and Malcolm. Overall
the gents team were 4th on the day, and there were some
very strong performances.
race was also the venue for the overall league
presentations. Main prize winners were as below:
1st Ladies Team
Trentham - 1st Vets Ladies Team
3rd Vets Gents Team 40+
– 3rd Lady Overall
Jo Donnelly – 2nd W35 Overall
Rose Wilson – 1st W50 Overall
Gibbings – 3rd M45 Overall
Thanks for the report Deb.
The race also was the last in the Club Cross Country
Championships and the final standings for these can also be
found on the Cross Country Page (in the navigation section
on the left of the webpage).
A number of Trentham members turned out for
the annual scramble over The Roaches, only to be told on the
day that we would instead be running the course that makes
up the Summer Series race around Tittersworth reservoir.
This was because of the Wintery Conditions and poor
visibility on the top of The Roaches which forced the
organisers to cancel the race for the first time in memory.
Unfortunately it was also the 25th anniversary of the
Christmas Cracker which made it even more disappointing.
However, the poor conditions did not deter
the hardy souls that did turn out, many in fancy dress, in
fact, those that were NOT in fancy dress were definitely in
the minority! Two runners that had good races were Dale
Colclough and Adela Salt and Adela sent us in this report:
Waking up to ice
and snow on Sunday morning and having heard that the Telford
10k had already been cancelled, I set off for Tittersworth
near Leek hoping that the Christmas Cracker wouldn't suffer
the same fate. This one is my favourite race of the year
where you can relax and just enjoy the fantastic Christmassy
atmosphere and know that you are in good company with 300 or
so other loony runners in fancy dress, eager to tackle the
Roaches, come what may.
Today was a little different. Snow had been falling on and
off all night and was still falling quite heavily when we
arrived at the car park, and with freezing temperatures, the
Buxton Mountain Rescue had advised against sending us up the
Roaches. The rumblings of a course change filtered through -
we would now be running around the lake instead, a distance
of just 5 miles instead of the usual 8 and a rather mild and
tame course compared to what we would normally do.
Hmmmm.....a few grumblings, a few comments of "let's go up
anyway and protest" but realising that the moors can be
deceiving and even experienced runners could easily slip on
ice, injure themselves and be a victim to hyperthermia
whilst waiting for medical attention, common sense prevailed
and we all eagerly awaited the start of the 25th Roaches
Despite it being clearly stated that we would be going
around the lake, it was apparent after the first half mile
or so that the lead runners had gone the wrong way, and
almost 300 other Santas, fairies, elves, reindeer, men
dressed as women and women dressed as men, plus a few
goodness knows whats had followed. A swift decision by our
own Dale Colclough saw some of us do an about-turn, which
immediately resulted in all the tail runners realising the
mistake, and so it became a battle trying to get through the
crowds. Dale and I seized the opportunity to blast to the
front but it wasn't long before the faster runners caught us
again and went gliding past.
The route around the lake was actually quite undulating and
with the snow underfoot, it was slippery and a little hard
going in places, but it was extremely picturesque with some
fantastic views. Dale had gone storming away from me, and it
wasn't long before Christine Howard soon caught me which was
to be expected as she's an exceptional runner. From then on,
I maintained my position and finished the race as 2nd lady
which I was really pleased with, as I now know I am on my
way back to full fitness following a year that has been
plagued by injury.
A massive well done to the other Trentham runners that I
spotted all running together - Ryan, Mel, Deb and John, plus
Ken Bloor and Malcolm Rushton, Kiri Johnson, and of course
Jill Phillips who was there spectating and giving us all a
shout when it mattered.
Yet again a fantastic race, and one that I will certainly be
back to do again - no matter what the weather.
Well done Del and
thanks for the report. Well done also to all the other
Trentham runners who turned out and had fun joining in with
snowball fights and skating along the way!
The results can be
here and photos from the race can be seen