October 2010 Reports


Congleton Half

There was a great turnout of Trentham Runners for the Congleton Half Marathon on Sunday with a good number helping make up the field of 670 runners. Conditions were perfect on Sunday being one of the nicest days we've had of late and the wind had all but disappeared. One of the Trentham Runners to take part, and finish as first Trentham Runner, was Roger Grand who has decided to pen his first ever race report to celebrate the occasion. Let's hope there's many more to come:

I arrived roughly 9am and found some familiar faces thankfully, who all seemed quite relaxed at the little jog ahead, this one of my favourite runs for scenery and not just car laden roads, I managed to get near the front just as they started the count down, so we were off its a nice enough start till you get to just after a mile where you go up an unwelcome incline, seriously very unwelcome! After that its quite flat & I started to find my rhythm, my only concern was the sun had decided to make an appearance & I was soon targeting the people with the biggest water cups for one big mouthful while the rest went over my head which took my breath every time as I swore out loud!
 Now the only part of this & other runs I don't like is the stupid hill somewhere near the end they make you run up!!! Cost me a place as a young whippet seem to coast past me, little f*#@#*!!!!!! I knew from here the end wasn't far so I kept an eye over my shoulder while trying to make up time on the runner who was getting closer, I just managed to muster a burst of energy for one last effort & took him just before the finish line.
 30 secs later Rob Tab' came in, soon to be followed by Adele & Stan. I came 27th with a time of 1hr 24 dead was well chuffed, definitely be back next year.

Thanks for that Roger, a great effort and always a bit of prestige to be first Trentham Runner home. Next report comes in from a certain Mr Ken Pearson, who's post race reports have been read with much interest this season. As you will know, Ken has been having a right battle at the top of group F in the NSRRA this season and this being one of the last races it was make or break time:

The group position is that after Ipstones 5 Iím only 2 points in the lead in F group but my main rival can win if he wins the last 2 races. There are too many possible combinations of places and points but the only sure thing is that if I finish in front of him in the last two races I win the Group. Thatís easier said than done and he has always started the longer races at a faster pace than Iím comfortable with and Iíve had to chase him and rely on being stronger at the end.

Friday night.
Iím nervous, Iíve been on the net to look at pre-race foods, bought carbohydrate energy drinks (tropical flavour), a pack of 6 Lucozade drinks and some jelly babies!! Iíve already put my race number and group letter on my vest. Not sure how to run the race yet, sit behind him or just do my own thing.

Saturday night
Iím nervous.  I have a few glasses of red wine, mix up the energy drink and put it in the fridge. Iíve decided my race strategy is just do my own thing and run at 8 minute miles and see what happens. With the extra training I should be OK at that pace with a bit to spare.

Sunday morning
I canít remember the last time I was awake at 7:30am on a Sunday. I have my usual breakfast but with an added round of toast and a banana as per the pre race diet instructions. I remember the drink in the fridge and drive the 40 miles up the motorway. Not too early at the school and there are a lot of runners already there but parking is no problem so I grab my drink and wander towards the start to see who is about. Nice to see the usual Trentham crowd and supporters and surprisingly Sharon has come for a run. Must be her first race this year. She admits to being nervous but Iím OK now and just want to get on with the race. A good piece of news from Gerry is that if the Group points are level at the end of the year itís decided on the number of first places so I only need one additional point to win. My worst score is a third so I just need to finish second today or at the Flying Fox.

Back to the car and a warm up and stretching. I ditch the last of the energy drink. We wander to the start and I try to get near to the front, the F group opposition are already there. It looks like its going to be busy for the first few hundred yards, the crowd is up to the kerb and some of the runners, including me are on the verge. Off we go and the expected congestion doesnít materialise so I get a good start. First mile in 07:19 but thatís OK so long as I donít carry on at that pace. Second mile up the hill in 8:02 which is spot on but Darren has already come past and quickly opens up a gap of 30m or so. Situation normal!

I stick to my own pace and the gap stays the same so thatís encouraging. As we get to 3 miles we catch Steve and we all run about 20-30m apart for the next few miles. My game plan was to run at my own pace but thatís difficult with these two so close and I donít want them to get too far in front. We are running at 7:45 pace which is faster than I planned but it feels comfortable.  We get to the drinks station at 6 in 46:18 but Iím feeling good and I think I can overtake them whenever I want to. I slowly catch up and have a quick chat with Steve, he always look so relaxed. I pass him but stay the same 20-30m behind Darren.
At about 8 miles I seem to have a good mile and catch Darren, Iím going noticeably faster than him and quickly pass him, hopefully, he is slowing down. He tells me to get the tea in at the finish! About half a mile after I overtake him there is a sharp right turn so I have a look back (which I never do!) to see where he is but I canít see him, where the hell is he? Heís not to my right or left, them I see him, must be 100m back at least. Excellent!! Iím still averaging 7:45 and feeling good so I debate whether to up the pace and go for a fast time but winning is the goal not a PB.

10 miles in 1:17 and I again debate what to do for the last few miles, Iím sure Darren canít catch me so the group win looks likely even if Steve catches me up. I want to win so I decide to get a bit more aggressive and bite the heads off a few jelly babies to get me up the hill and push on to the finish. Iím overtaking a few runners now and itís all going well until that last hill. Iím quite slow up it and a few others come past but itís not as bad as I expected and I soon get back into my stride as the road flattens out again. Iím still passing a few people but the last half mile is hard until I see the finish and it all becomes easy! Job done, whereís the Champagne?
Thatís one of my most pleasing races of the year, a good run, nice course and weather, a half marathon PB for the year by nearly 2 minutes and of course getting one hand on the Group F trophy. Next task is to try and beat a certain Rose Wilson in at least one club championship race this year.

Well done Ken, sounds like you had a great race and have virtually sewn up the Group with one race to go. Well done to everyone else who took part at Congleton. The results for the race can be found here!


A couple of questions from the Congleton Half at the weekend. Firstly, Sam Newton doing the 1/4 Marathon. What's that all about? He'll come up with some excuse about training for cross country at that distance no-doubt!!! Ha ha!

Secondly, if you scroll all the way down to 490th place in the results you will notice a Certain Mr I. Yates just ( and I mean just) dipping under the 2 hour mark! Did anyone spot the lesser known Half Marathon runner on Sunday???


Carlisle Half

Four Trentham Runners were up North at the weekend for a clash on the borders. Carl, Christine, Adam & Debs all took part in the Carlisle Half Marathon and Carl has kindly sent in this report:

On the 8th of October me Christine, Adam and Debbie all set off for Carlisle, to tackle the Great Cumbrian run. The race was on Sunday but we all decided to make a weekend of it. On Saturday the girls went shopping, while me and Adam went to watch Carlisle play football..........or that is what its supposed to of been. They played Notts County it was far from a classic, Its one of the coldest grounds I have ever been to.

 Well Race day soon came round, I was up at 8.00 clock, Straight for a hot shower then downstairs for Toast and honey and black tea with one Sugar. The house was buzzing as there was also Christine's sister doing the race as well as the Trentham 4 haha. We stepped outside and our warm up was a jog to Carlisle castle. The conditions were OK could of asked for a little bit less wind but I think that's just been greedy.
This is a big race up north with about 2000 runners all crammed In Carlisle castle. Right,15 Min's from the start I feel a little bit nervous but excited at the same time, I want to run a 6:15 pace which will give me 1:22:00. Bang the gun goes and were off. The 1st couple of mile's is a long drag with a slight incline my 1st mile 6:06 not to bad. 2nd mile 6:28, 3rd mile 6:14, the 4th mile 6:38 this was the hardest part of the race for me.
My legs were feeling heavy and I started having slight doubts about my time I was after. I ran mile 5 and 6 at 6:15 I started to relax a bit more mile 7,8 and 9 was when my confidence started to grow, I was over taking people and my splits were very good 6:02, 6:06,6:08. This might sound a bit big headed but I knew at this point I was going to get my target, I was relaxed and kept over taking people mile 11 and 12 was pretty tough but I had felt like this before and was telling my head we will get through this.

The last 1.1 mile was tough but this is where the support was brilliant, then it was on to the track I nearly crept under 1:22:00 but got 1:22:04. I was over the moon. I had a PB of 6 and a half Min's from my last half marathon In Telford In march, a minute a month not bad hey. I got told by Christine's dad I was In the top twenty but later found out I came 23rd. Adam came In with a great 1st half marathon time with 1:24:18, Deb had a great run of 1:33:07. But the star runner from Trentham was Christine who came 4th lady, which is a massive achievement In such a big race with a time of 1:28:37 also a big PB.
Great day all round, on the way back me and Adam lost the girls and found our selves in a pub in Carlisle haha, must say the Guinness was lovely. Then we hit Carlisle town a great weekend all round. I must say how much me and Christine are loving life at Trentham running club. Its a great club and one I'm proud to be a member of.

Well done the four of you. All really good performances. With results like this it can only help spread the name of Trentham far and wide.

There have been 2 further reports to hit the inbox, from Husband and Wife duo Adam & Debs. Obviously not speaking to each other lately as they've both done separate reports. (I'll get killed for that). Here they are, Adam's first:

Having been good and had no beers at all on Friday and Saturday in preparation for the race, I was hoping that it would pay off! Anyway, this being my first half marathon, and with training not having gone particularly well due to my really annoying calf problem, I approached this with not much of an idea what to expect. Thought that had better set a target of some description, so went for 1:30 and thought that anything less would definitely be a bonus !
As we set off from the beautiful setting of Carlisle castle, myself, Carl, Deb, Christine and Ruth (Christineís twin sister) had managed to get near to the front to avoid the congestion. We set off through the town centre and for about the first mile I kept praying that the calf would hold out and that I wouldnít have to pull out of the race. I then decided that if it was going to happen then there would be nothing I could do about it, so banished all negative thoughts out of my mind and was determined to try and enjoy it.
Miles 2-4 were quite tough with a couple of steep, if not too long, hills, but felt was settling into my stride ok. After mile 6, I started to feel pretty good, but had probably lost quite a bit of ground with my over cautious start. The next few miles became enjoyable as I got into a good rhythm and started passing a few runners. A couple of young lads shouted at me Ď51í at around 9 miles, which I took as my position but thought they could well have just been taking the Michael! After managing to maintain the pace I knew that I would be around the 1:25 mark, so now my focus was to beat it. As we came to sight of the finish I heard Carl and Christineís family shouting encouragement which gave me a final push and just managed to do it by getting 1:24:18. Really happy with time and must admit that this was probably my most enjoyable race since I joined Trentham back in January. Carl got a brilliant PB of 1:22:04, and Christine was so close to a podium finish as 4th lady, a fantastic achievement. Debs came in 11th lady and also had a really good run, know you are getting there now Deb J
Me and Carl took a detour to the pub on the way back, and a few pints of Guinness later meant we slept a bit that afternoon! A great weekend in all and would definitely recommend to our fellow Trentham runners.

Thanks Adam, and here's Debbie's take on events:

For me, the Carlisle half marathon was not a target race as such but more of a ďsee how I feel on the dayĒ run. This was my first half marathon of 2010 and I just wanted to enjoy the run out and see what pace I could maintain. The start at the castle was fantastic Ė they asked any runners who wanted sub-1.30 to place themselves at the front and everyone else behind. So me, Adam, Carl and Christine all stood pretty much together near to the front, with Christineís sister Ruth not too far behind. Then we were walked down to the start line with a bagpiper blasting out a tune; it felt like we were being walked to war! After a short race briefing (the usual ďkeep to the leftĒ, etc) the gun blasted and off we started. As Carl mentions, the first four miles took in at least six steady climbs and it felt that we were going up and up without the relief of any down hills.
I was using a lady runner in front of me to pace me out for the first few miles as she seemed to be running very consistently, and although she led me to a quick first mile (6.48) the pace then steadied off to around 7.00 to 7.10 min/miles, a little more comfortable. The fourth hill we encountered was one of the steeper climbs and my split for that mile dropped to 7.28 but I wasnít concerned at that point and I just told myself that it would help to keep me steady in the early stages. We carried on through some lovely country lanes (wind blockers!) for about 6 miles or so and I made a point of having a quick look around every now and then, as we ran through some fancy housing estates.
My splits were varying between 6.54 and 7.05 and I was feeling good and was mostly running on my own by now. Support on route was good, but sometimes the spectators were doing only that rather than applauding or encouraging us along! However most the time it was brilliant and I remember at around mile 9, when I was just overtaking a male runner, a young lad on the pavement shouted that we were ď128th and 129th !! Through the last few miles I managed to get past at least three lady runners and about half a dozen male runners. At around mile 10 we took in a sharp incline but thankfully this was followed by a steep downhill and I remember shouting out with relief!!! Miles 11 to 13 took us past the football stadium and through a lovely big park and at this point I was still feeling quite good, though the last half mile, which involved finishing with 300m around the track was painful!!
A gentleman runner came past me in the last 500m and tried to pull me along with him but there was just no way I could push on! Coming into the home straight, Christine and her family, Carl and Adam shouted me along and I managed to clock 1.33.08 or thereabouts and 11th lady. Overall it was a fantastic race with a lovely route that was interesting and very well marshalled. Big well done to Carl, Adam and Christine who all ran pbís and also Ruth who got around in 1.38 and managed to outsprint a male runner in the last 100m Ė brilliant!!!

I must say a massive thank you to Christine and her family for inviting us to Carlisle and putting us up (and putting up with us ha ha!) we had a great weekend and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Dad Ken made sure we all had a decent pasta meal the evening before the race and Christine and Ruth baked some gorgeous rocky road and chocolate brownies for us to race back home for!! Yum!!

Christine has now also sent in a report which means we now have race reports from ALL FOUR Trentham runners who took part. Great stuff:

Hi, as the other 3 who ran the Cumbrian run have sent in their reports, I thought I might as well add my little bit too. So here goes: this is the race id been training for, for the last 12 weeks. My target Ė to get 1.30. Having ran my very first half there 2 years ago and beaten my time by about 8 minutes last year, I thought Iíd try again this year. My training was going pretty well, and having run the great north run 2 weeks earlier with my sis in 1.35 and feeling pretty comfy at the end, I knew I was in with a pretty good chance of reaching my target. The weekend before the Carlisle half I was in Cardiff taking part in the mensí health survival of the fittest and man did I ache the day after. In fact I ached for a few days after and in places I never knew I had muscles!!! Just hoped I could recover in time for the weekend ahead. A nice sports massage would surely help!
The runs an Ďabout 10kí run with obstacles roughly about every k. A really fun run thatís definitely worth doing (although id probably do the Nottingham one again and not the 1 in Cardiff Ė too far to travel!!). The guys do take it a bit too serious though and didnít really like the fact that me and Ruth were running past them (the fact they sped up hearing us approach and us still passing them made for some quite amusing faces for me and Ruth to look at......anyway thatís another story!! but it is a run I would recommend for those who want something a little crazy and different from your typical road race.
Anyway back to the Cumbrian run. So all weekend I had Carl stressing to me not to go off too fast and to keep an eye on my speed for the first mile (Iíve been known to go off way to fast in races at the start and be quite disappointed when I fail to reach my target). Anyway race day arrives. We have a little gentle jog up to the castle. What feels like 10 million trips to the loo, then get called up to the start line. Gun goes. Off we go. Carl and Adam were off like rockets (quite glad I didnít know Adam was initially aiming for 1.30. if Iíd have tried to keep up with him at the start I think I wouldíve died half way round!!). I went off nice and steady and actually managed to complete the first mile just under my target race pace (a first for me I think) the next 6 miles seemed to drag.....think it mightíve had something to do with the fact I was clock watching the whole time. Not a good idea if you actually want to enjoy the run. So at about mile 7 I caught up with Hewitt, a mate from Carlisle who was running. He pushed me on for the next 2 miles, got me into a comfy rhythm that i kept up until about mile 10. Slowed down slightly here but then spotted another girl in front me, thought Iíd give it a push see if I could take her. Which I did with about 250m to go, just as we got to the track. With one final push on the track (all those track sessions didnít go to waste on this run) I ended up finishing in 4th place with a new PB of 1.28.38. Pretty pleased with myself I crawled to where me Dad, Carl, Adam etc were waiting to cheer the others on. Everyone ran brill. Overall it was a fab weekend and a run Iíd recommend others to do. The route was slightly changed this time but for the better... a little longer in the park at the end and less on the street heading to the football ground!

Thanks Deb, and well done to all four of you. That lad shouting out the positions must have been well hoarse by the time he got to 1,500 and all of you guys in the top 150. Brilliant. Results can be seen HERE!

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Aviemore Half Marathon

A few club members headed North of the border at the weekend to tackle the Aviemore Half. Here is Deb Thomas's report on how things went:

As part of a really brilliant weekend up in the Scottish highlands, a few of us from Trentham lot took part in the Aviemore half marathon. We travelled up by coach, c/o Stafford Harriers, on Friday morning and arrived at the Highlander Hotel in Newtonmore by 5.30pm, having had stop offs at services and Gretna Green on the way up. On the coach from Trentham was myself, Jill Phillips, Rosemary Wilson, Ken Bloor and Chris Bradbury, and we were all looking forward to what we had been told was a ďdownhillĒ half marathon. On Saturday we were dropped off in Inverness for a few hours to mooch around before travelling to the historic battle site of Culloden. Then it was off to race HQ to collect numbers, chips and race info.

Sunday was race day with an early-ish start with breakfast at 7.45am. The coach dropped us off at the finish as no vehicles were allowed up to the start; only shuttle buses which we had to board ASAP. It was a cool start to the day with cloud and the odd bit of breeze so conditions seemed fair for the run. After a brief warm up with Rose and Jill we headed down to the start line for 10.45am Ė the race due to start at 11.00am. Stood on the start line the wind seemed to be picking up and even though we were all huddled together (being asked to line up in finish time order, starting with 1.10-1.20 etc) I personally was getting rather cold! I started to jump around on the spot and rub my legs to keep them warm but when the gun sounded just after 11.00am I still felt a little stiff. We had been told by a source that the race was basically 6 to 7 miles on forest trail paths and the last 5 miles involved a long steady downhill, with a tiny climb just before the finish, so all sounded good and easy. Starting off in the 1st mile, it was quite awkward to run hard on the trail path as it was sandy and rocky and you had to watch where you placed your foot down. I was hoping to better my time after Carlisle the week before and was hoping to average dot on 7 min/miling. My 1st mile clocked 7.08 and my 2nd 7.09 but I told myself there was still time to make up for it at the end of the race.

Following the trails around beautiful Loch Morlich (Glenmore Forest) we started to take in some steady climbs before tackling a larger one at around mile 4. At this point I was starting to feel a bit tired already with running into headwinds and the trails were zapping my leg energy. I remember thinking Ďthis is taking too much effort to maintain this paceí but I told myself to keep pushing to get the trail running done with as soon as possible and then use the downhill to relax and make up time. Toward the end of the trail section I began to get overtaken but then I found myself being used as a wind blocker by a male runner who had tucked in behind me! I tried to shake him off but he annoyingly remained there for a mile or so until we hit the road then thankfully he buggered off! With 6 miles to go I was still feeling battered from the trail section but I knew that within the next mile I would be enjoying some downhill. At 5 miles to go the course did start to point downwards but not as steeply as I was hoping for and I was still having to push the pace, and still the hills came rolling in every now and then. At 4 miles to go I was really struggling mentally and it was only when a girl at the drinks station told me I was Ď5th ladyí that I perked up a bit. My splits by now were all sub 7 min/miling (even down to 6.39 at one point!) but it was extremely hard work still running into headwinds. I was also tucked into a group of 4 males runners and for the next 3 miles we all remained close. Usually Iím quite chatty in a race if Iím with someone for a while but I was hurting too much, and feeling a little nauseous to boot, so talking was the last thing I felt like for once!! Into the last mile and the course started to level off but I was so exhausted I didnít care about the time anymore.

Just before the last little climb I saw and heard Chris Bradbury shout for me (he couldnít run due to injury) and that helped to keep me going. The last ľ mile was very hard and I was straining to see the finish line, which appeared once I was through the gates back in the leisure centre grounds. I finally finished in a time of 1.32.17 and was actually 6th lady overall, which I was very pleased with, and it was a touch faster than last week. Not long afterwards Ken Bloor came through in 1.35, Rose in 1.41 and Jill in 1.47. All were reasonably pleased with our times (Jill especially running 3 mins faster than at Congleton!) and agreed that the race had taken a lot more hard work and effort than originally thought! It was a very demanding course.

In the afternoon we got taken up into the Cairngorn mountains for an hour before being taken back to the hotel to enjoy a Highlanderís Evening with a bag piper and accordion player. The whole weekend was absolutely brilliant, well organised, and we all had a fun and enjoyable break. Iíd definitely recommend this trip and I hope to go up again next year, all being well. Iíve never raced at altitude before either Ė Aviemore starts off at 1100 ft and finishes at 720 ft so it was a unique experience, and now I know the course isnít as nice and easy as we had thought, Iíll know for next time!

Thanks to Rose and Jill and also Linda and Amanda for a brilliant weekend full of laughter, three course meals and sweets! You lot showed me up on the dancefloor!!

Thanks Deb, The results can be found HERE!


Alderley Bypass 5

They'll do anything to celebrate the opening of something these days, and as Chris Mosiuk found out, even hold a race. Just before the opening of the Alderley Bypass Road, they held a traffic free 5 mile race on the fresh tarmac. Chris sends us this report:

Ryan keeps on at me to write a race report, so I thought it was only fair I finally got round to it. After being drawn first out of the hat for the club's London Marathon places last Tuesday I was really keen to get a race in this weekend. I had been tempted to enter into the Birmingham Half, but with Stoke playing at 1.30 I didn't want to stray too far from home and so opted for the once in a lifetime chance to race on the new Alderley bypass - before it opens to general traffic. Dad picked me up at a rather early 7.30, not quite as early as the Birmingham runners but unheard of for me. We collected Dad's new partner in crime Bryan Dale and arrived an hour before the race. Originally there were to be no entries on the day but I think the rules were relaxed, although Bryan had already sorted me a freebie. I thought I was going to be the only Trentham runner until Andy Vickerman tapped me on the shoulder. We had a quick warm up (and we needed it, it was freezing!) and lined up towards the front of the 867 strong field in our matching red shoes.

The course was a simple 2.5 miles out and the same back on the other side of the road. There were no real hills, but it was slightly undulating between road and railway bridges running overhead. I'd forgotten my watch, and I didn't recognise anyone other than Ryan Holroyd so the plan was just to start well and take the rest as it comes. After the first few hundred yards the road was split into two and I was well within the front runners. On the way out I managed to overtake a few runners and felt really good.

Getting towards the halfway stage I can see the lead car coming back the other way. The clock was just over 13 minutes so I knew I was running pretty quick. Holroyd was way out in front and about 3 mins in front of me. A PB was definitely on the cards, currently 34.13 at JCB last year. I felt pretty comfortable beginning the return leg and spot Andy a few minutes behind and we gave each other a little encouragement. I held my position until 3.5 miles when a couple of runners went passed. A slight downhill just after mile 4 allowed me to stretch my legs and I caught up with a guy and slowly passed.

I had no idea of the time but was hoping to run about 32.30, 6.30 minute miles. I was definitely quick as I did my usual trick of beginning to wretch. Not pretty but something that seems obligatory on shorter distance races. The guy I'd just over taken regains his place as I slow down to try and settle whatever it is that's going wrong. I finally get back into a rhythm with 200 metres to go, conveniently just before Dad with his camera. I had a little bit left for a sprint, overtaking the same guy I was battling and kept it going right though the finish line. I glanced at the clock on my way through which showed 31.11, so a whole 3 minutes off my PB and 4.5 mins quicker than Ipstones a few weeks ago, finishing in 36th place. (These free red shoes for the trainer trials a good few of us are taking part in shoes seem to have worked pretty well, but I got them covered in mud after the race. I'm on the treadmill for my testing tomorrow, so they need cleaning.)

I was very pleased, and it appears to have been a good day all round for everyone competing in a Trentham vest. Andy came in just after 38 mins which was also a PB. Conditions had been perfect and while not particularly interesting I quite enjoyed the course - it's a shame it's a one off. We stayed for the prize giving which were handed out by Bill Roache - Ken Barlow in that soap even worse than Eastenders. Nice bloke though.

Next up is the Flying Fox 10 before a very very long winter of training before my first marathon next spring.

Tip of the day: Don't eat any cola flavoured gel packs. They were being handed out for free at the finish, and its no wonder. Disgusting is not the word!

Well done on getting a new PB Chris and well done also to Andy.


Chris                                                                                  Andy

EDF Birmingham Half Marathon

Sunday also was the 3rd EDF Birmingham Half Marathon (also known as the 'Race Against Climate Change') Five of Team Trentham's Green Army got up at the sparrow's fart to head down to the Second City. One of them was Webdosser himself Ryan Procter who has penned this report:

Getting up at 6:30 am is not my strongest point to be honest. My Father was picking me up at 7am to head down to Birmingham. We had to stop off at Wednesbury on the way to pick up my sister who was also running the race. It was her first ever race of any description and I was going along to offer some support. We arrived in the City Centre at around 8:15am and managed to find a parking space on one of the car parks. It was extremely busy with runners all trying to get a decent spec.

A quick stop at the toilets (cunningly disguised as a multi-storey car park) and off to find the start. To say it was a little chaotic is a bit of an understatement and something the race organisers need to have a look at. I could not find the opening to the enclosure where I was supposed to be starting from so ended up jumping the barrier, along with everyone else. Looking around it was clear that people were not in their designated areas, and really through no fault of their own. The markers showing different colours which corresponds to your race number were invisible to the naked eye. I was in the right area, but there were people with Orange Numbers, Blue Numbers, Green Numbers all around me, and without wishing to be harsh, clearly not 1:35 runners. (more like 2:35 some of 'em).

Anyway, once Mo Farah had set us off there was a bit of a bottleneck after the start and then it opened up nicely to offer a good chance to get past all the slower runners getting under your feet. It was certainly a chilly morning, but after a couple of miles I was warming up enough not to feel it. It was around this point that Sarah Johnson came hurtling past me moaning about being Boxed In at the start. I almost shouted, "Calm Down A Bit" as she was running away from me very rapidly. I'm glad I didn't now as her time shows.

The race was run about 50% on the Pershore Road heading out to Borneville and around a small loop and back along Pershore Road. it was at this point I saw the leaders heading back in the other direction. I'd done about 4 miles and they were on about 7 I think, and moving extremely quickly. The support along here was very good and every couple of miles there was a band set up in those little red and blue tents, a bit like London Marathon. (Dan won't know about this). The atmosphere was very good and I was enjoying it. After 6 miles I couldn't believe how accurate my pacing was with every mile only a few seconds over or under 7 minute miles. On the way back down the Pershore Road it gave me the opportunity to see all the slower runners heading the other way. I love seeing so many people taking part in these races, and most of them smiling. It made me smile too and almost forget about my own race.

After a while we turned right and ran through Cannon Hill Park next to Edgebaston Cricket Ground and the headed back towards the City Centre. It was at this point around mile 10 my legs started to tire and my pace started to drop off, not least because of a slight hill half way to mile 11. I regained some of my composure but my legs were now tiring. Lack of training lately shows just how race-unfit I have become. Managed to hold on to 7:30 m.m. to the finish and  crossed the line in a time of 1:33:18. Grabbed a quick photo with Mo Farrah who was midway into an interview, ha ha! Grabbed my Goodie Bag, which was full of all the right ingredients. T-Shirt, Medal, Bag of Chocolate Buttons, A Caramel bar, 2 yummy Cereal Bars, (1 covered with chocolate) and a bottle of Lucozade energy drink.

After making my way into Centenary Square I bumped into Danny Bowman who informed me he'd knocked a whopping 2 mins off his P.B. I then saw Lee Jones who also told me he'd got a new P.B. I also ran into a lady who asked me if I'd seen Sarah anywhere as she needed to make her way to the stage for her presentation. Yes, she'd won the Midland Counties Half Marathon Championship in an amazing time of 1:18:40 SMASHING her own PB by a good few minutes and coming 7th lady overall, and all this after a crap start This girl Has got Talent. well done Sarah. I never bumped into the Other Trentham Runner, Sharon Edwards, who was running as a Stafford harrier for the day (someone else's entry) but I know she has enjoyed it too.

Thanks Ryan, A great report there! (LOL)

Now a real quality piece come in from Dan Bowman. Please excuse the ahem, Colourful text:

I had a good start to the year running wise, getting a load of PBís after joining Trentham, then I got married in August and grew a pair of breasts. I upped my pie intake and replaced lucozade with gravy. Iíve not been in the best of shape lately, and a couple of times Iíve chaffed my arse cheeks to the point where a trump feels like Iím getting s0domised by a cactus.
Well just lately Iíve started taking running seriously again and tried to improve my diet. Deanne made me a pie the other day and I picked it up and was like ďDamn woman! Why you gotta be tryiní to fatten me up and sheeeeet?Ē and threw the pie straight out of the window into the path of an oncoming Volvo.
There are a couple of reasons Iím starting to get serious with my running. A) I donít like being chubby and I especially donít like having b0obs, they slap together when I come down the stairs and itís scaring the cats. And B) I want the glory baby! I wanna hear Ben Gamble say ďWhat was that handsome green flash that just went by? And why is there dust in my mouth?Ē
At Ipstones I did terribly, having gotten merry and Guy and Evaís wedding the night before, then at Congleton I just felt unfit and blew up at 8 miles. The Bryan Dale photo of me and the end of Congleton is the single worst photo of any human being ever. I look like a freight container covered in Lurpak.
So Birmingham half marathon, my last half marathon of the year. My PB going into this was 1:37:38 and boy was I determined to beat that into submission with a combination of great running and being not-quite-as-fat I was a few weeks ago. It got to a point where my booty was so ample that I was taller sitting down.
Drove up to Birmingham nice and early with a couple of non club running buddies and the Ďode ball and chain and her sister. Got parked up and stretched my legs a bit. I noted how cold it was, but was thankful that Iíd bought myself an extremely macho skin tight long sleeved vesty thing the day before from JJB. What the heck is the actual proper name for those things? You know the sort of thing, itís made out of lycra or spandex or something and the make is ďunder armourĒ if anyone knows what these things are called please let me know because long sleeved vesty thing doesnít sound right. Remember woolly vests? Canít remember the last time I saw a woolly vest. Then again you rarely ever saw them because they were always worn under old people blouses and frocks and Iím definitely never seen a old man wearing a see through shirt. I remember Mrs Goggins made one for Postman Pat on a video I used to watch when I was little. Also on that video was a Fireman Sam episode where the two kids that arenít Norman Price get stuck on a frozen lake. That episode used to make me cry because I was convinced one day the ice would break before Sam got there and the kids would perish. I used to think that if that ever happened then Trevor Evans the bus driver would probably take his own life because those kids were the only people who spoke to him. Anyway, Iíve digressed slightly so Iíll back on topic.
I wandered around Birmingham looking for signs of Trentham life. Finally located Lee and found that he too had purchased a macho long sleeved vesty thing too! There were 11368 runners taking part and the start and finish were on a not-too-wide street. I sensed shenanigans might arise in the future. We went to the starting pens. I was in the second fastest pen after the elites, but I noticed that no one was really doing the pen thing. It was ridiculous, there was a Caveman on the front line! In amongst the Kenyans, Birchfield and Tipton elite there was Fred Bastard Flintstone!
Anyhooooooooooooooooooooo Mo Farah took to the stage to start the race. I noticed heís tiny. I suppose youíve got to be skinny to be world class but he was miniscule. Seemed like a nice bloke though, all smiles.
TOOOOOOOOOOOOT! Went the starting horn and off we went, straight into a bottle neck. Stood still for 10 seconds or so until we got moving again. For the first two miles I was weaving in and out of what seemed like the entire cast of little Britain. It was downright dangerous. Lee zoomed off as I was stuck behind 3 of the 7 dwarves struggling to get a good pace going.
Anyway my first mile was 7:10 and my second was 6:90. The fun runners had all started walking/passed out so it was plain sailing. Went past Lee and was feeling good! The next few miles were all 7 minuters, went past 5 miles in 35 minutes dead. I was actually overtaking people! I couldnít believe it! There was a stretch where the race leaders were coming back the other way. There were a couple of Kenyans, followed by some Tipton dude I didnít recognise. Martin Williams was in about 8th position, which goes to show the quality of the field. Thought I might have caught sight of Sarah but the road then separated and I went into the loop around Bourneville before heading back. It was evil making us run past Caburys world though, it smelled sooo good. Wanted some choccy in me tum ah did.
Carried out doing 7 minute miles, feeling good and taking it all in. Saw Sharon on the return route up the separated road. I shouted to her but she didnít hear me, I just sounded like Ozzy Osbourne. Saw the Fred Flintstone from earlier walking toward the back of the race. ďNot so elite now are you!?Ē I yelled at him as I threw a bottle of water at his head, knocking him out. I didnít really readers, Iím just checking to see if youíre still paying attention. Now pull up a chair and gather round while I continue of my epic story of moving using my legs.
Got to 10 miles 13 minutes under my PB for that distance, which spurred me on. There were plenty of drinks stations so I was keeping nicely hydrated OOOOH I Ďve just thought of something! I wonder if when Fred Flintstone was filling in his entry form, under Running club he wrote ďYes, an inflatable oneĒ
Anyway, by this point I knew itíd take something drastic to keep me away from making sweet love to my new PB on the finish line, and I thundered on, my fat thighs slapping against each other like an excited walrus eating a Galaxy caramel.
I got back into the town centre and crossed the line inÖ
Whoopee! I walked through and collected my goody bag which contained a t-shirt, medal and other assorted goodies. Wandered round for a bit aimlessly, grinning from ear to ear due to knocking almost 3 minutes off my PB. Saw Ryan in the crowd so I said hello and had a chat. Word through the grapevine was that Sarah had gone under 1:19 which is frankly superhuman but it was unconfirmed. I found Sarah wandering around a few minutes later and it was true! She came 7th lady overall (only 5 minutes after the overall winner) and first midlands lady! Amazing! The smiles soon disappeared though when she tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and has been banned from running for two years. Again, thatís a complete lie, just testing you.
Met up with Lee who had run 1:38, a new PB. He asked me how I went on and when I told him I did 1:34 he spluttered coffee everywhere, which was strange as he wasnít drinking coffee. He didnít see me pass him at the start of the race and thought heíd beaten me. He will beat me at some point though. Heís improving at a quicker rate than me so eventually heíll get get me.
Overall I had a decent day but the runners further back had a nightmare. As I mentioned before, there were 11368 runners and the start finish area was simply too small to accommodate that many runners. The bottle neck at the start was one thing, but there was also so much congestion at the finish when the 2 hour mark hit that people were having to queue for 5 minutes just to cross the finish line/chip pad. Thatís unacceptable for any race, let alone such a high profile one.
Still though, there were some excellent Trentham performances and overall it was a really good day. Discovered later on that my new PB is 4 seconds slower than Mini Mosiuks. Iím closing in on you, you handsome devil!

Thanks Daniel, a most revealing insight to your state of mind there. Not sure if we'd like to visit it though..... ha ha! Well done matey and a great report :-)

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Leamington XC (Race 1)

The first race of the Birmingham/Midland League cross country series took place on Saturday with all divisions and Ladies racing at Leamington. The first report to come through is from Adela who has sent in this report on the Ladies race:

The opening race of the Midland Ladies League saw Trentham ladies fielding a strong team, with no less than 7 ladies turning up to tackle the 2 lap Leamington course which included a muddy ditch crossing and a nice steep hill on each lap.

First Trentham lady was Sarah Johnson, who finished 17th followed by Joanne Donnelly in 36th. Close on Jo's heels were Adela Salt and Mandy Vernon who finished 40th and 41st respectively, and with the excellent packing of Jo, Del and Mandy, it puts the veteran ladies team in a good position for medals again at the end of the season (at a guess, Telford may be leading with Trentham in 2nd as things stand!). Christine Holmes had an excellent run in her first cross country race of the season to finish 51st, followed by Deb Thomas in 88th. Completing the team was Becky Austin who finished so strongly in 123rd that we are convinced she only went round once!

Not sure of the full results yet as it can take a few days before they appear, but Trentham certainly held there own against a quality field (which seemed to consist mostly of students from Loughborough and Birmingham Unis - think they made up 75% of the field between them!), so WELL DONE LADIES, and see you all at the next Midlands race on 4th December.

Trentham gents also sent a team down to Leamington and all performed extremely well, but I won't steal their thunder - will let them send in details of their race.

Thanks Adela for that report. Nothing from any of the blokes as yet, but I'm sure something will appear soon.............

................... and indeed it has. Paul Gibbings has sent in this report on the Men's race:

On Tuesday last week, there was a bit of a panic on at the club, as with injuries and unavailability we were not sure if we were going to manage to get a full men's team out for the first Birmingham league match of the year. However come Saturday morning we had 7 members (some even fit) and raring to go. If we needed any inspiration, we had it from the ladies team who performed magnificently.

The first race in the Birmingham league is always a tough event as all 3 divisions run together, meaning the field is well in excess of 600 runners, and working out positions is impossible on the day so we came away on the day with no clue as to how well we had done. Our first 3 scorers all finished pretty close, Jason Thomas being first back hotly pursued down the finishing straight by Carl Platt with Paul Gibbings finishing a further 7 seconds back. Next home was Roger Grand, in his first cross country race for the club, and Paul Burslem making his way back after a long lay off due to injury. Paul was closely followed by Sam Newton and Phil Mainwaring.

With the club being promoted into division 2 this year, we knew it would be tough, and this is reflected in the results, with the team coming 15th out of 18 teams. However the results were very close, and just a marginal improvement could see us move up to mid table.

Full results are HERE!

Thanks Paul for the report :-)





Page last updated 08 November 2010


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