January News


Well, Happy New Year Folks and wishing all Trentham Runners a pleasant and injury free running year.

No reports through as yet but something of interest has appeared in the inbox. Daniel Bowman joined the club in January last year and has really enjoyed his first season with us, and we've all had the pleasure of reading his reports. Dan has decided to compile a list of his most noteworthy events of 2010 and send them in so here is his year in review:

In a weeks time it’ll be one whole year since I joined Trentham RC. Before I joined I was just a camp flabby thing who occasionally wobbled around races. A year on and I’m a married camp flabby thing that wobbles around races slightly faster. As such I thought I’d compile a list of some noteworthy notes of things that I’ve noted from my first year at the club (of which there are many) and send it in. It’d perhaps be nice if others sent in their 2010 highlights too but if not you can feast upon my mind instead. I’ve tried to make them roughly chronological. Here goes:

My first run down at the club in early January saw about 20 runners turn up due to the terrible weather. I went out with a slow/middle group hybrid and struggled to stay on my feet. I also struck up my first new friendship in meeting Ken Pearson. I immediately liked his beard and hoped to meet many more beards throughout the year. I was to be disappointed, Trentham is a very clean shaven club.

Turned up at the Alsager 5 to run my first race for the club. Came away with a new PB. No one really knew my name so people just greeted me with phrases like “Good morrow young scamp” and “I like your vest it is like mine it is, yes very green, what ho” What a boring race. I have no idea why all the quick runners battle to be crowned king/queen of Alsager.
First spoke to Lee on a midweek club run. I learned that he goes to the toilet a lot, mainly in pubs and on grass.

Got my first half marathon PB of the year at Brighton – 1:41

Entered three races on consecutive Sundays. The world’s first “Kilomathon” the Stafford half and the Liverpool half all within 14 days – yikes

Ran the Kilomathon in 2:08. Another Trentham runner called Neil or possibly Nigel ran it and we had a closely contested race to become the first Trentham runner ever to complete a Kilomathon. I edged it in the final 200 meters. Technically I hold the worst club record in Trentham history I suppose.

Ran the Stafford half in 1:42, disappointing. Lee ran 1:47 in his first ever half marathon but got announced as Jim by the PA as he crossed the line because they didn’t process his number transfer properly. Weather was pretty hot for the time of year. Sarah pulled a magnificent rabbit out of the hat to finish 2nd lady. I remember this was the first time I’d met Rose. We battled in the last 2 miles and eventually I just about edged it. There’s a photo on Bryan Dale of us running together. I’ve since discovered that she’s a nice lady but that photo suggests she wanted to set fire to my face.

Ran the Liverpool half with a stinking cold but somehow managed to get my first ever sub 1:40 time though I had my watch robbed half way round so there was a price to pay. It could have been worse though, I passed some runners who were on bricks, having had their shoes stolen.
Discovered that Ian was in his mid thirties. This surprised me a great deal as I’d seen him at loads of races before and always thought he was 14 or so. I think it’s his great hair. He’d go down a treat in prison.

Signed up for the Chester marathon, along with Del, Kat, Jill and the Bloorpedo.
Met Adam for the first time at the spring treble. Congratulated Del on winning the Blackpool marathon. Ian and Jo both came second as I recall.
Watched London marathon on the telly. Spotted Ben Gamble amongst the elite men at the start. He came 32nd place overall which is phenomenal, strangely he would remain largely absent from racing for the remainder of the year.

Was with Deanne in ASDA and saw Jo at the checkout. Deanne commented on how pretty Jo was. That’s nice thought I.

Ran Chester marathon in a PB time of 3:56 which I wasn’t happy with but I didn’t train particularly well so it’s my own fault really.

Club barbeque. Deanne again commented on Jo being pretty. Started to wonder if Deanne was on the turn. Had worrying thoughts of her jilting me at the altar to run off with a bricklayer called Beryl. Also of note, Ryan tied me to Chris Mosiuk’s brother using an un-untyable knot. We won the three legged race but although I’ve never admitted it to anyone before, we cheated! MWAHAHAHA! Our laces snapped within a few steps and we ran the race with four limbs! I felt guilty about it until I received my sweet #1 sticker and I was like “HA suckas!”
Met Lee’s lovely family. Deanne hit it off straight away with his wife Sammy which I was happy about because Deanne from this point wouldn’t mind coming to races with me.

Ran Potters arf after a night on the pizza and beer having watched England draw against USA in the world cup. Regretted it after suffering with stomach cramps after just 2 miles. Had my first ever mid race wee. 1:41. Got my silver medal I suppose. Going to try for gold in 2011.
The race victories continued to stack up for Sarah. Meanwhile Carl and Adam closed in on Ian’s status as fastest club runner.

Had my best race so far in 2010 by runner a PB time of 34:30 at JCB 5. Was cheered into a sprint finish by Adam, cheers for that amigo!

Got married in August at Sandon hall. I was genuinely touched by the amount of Trentham guys who turned up at the pub afterwards, on a Thursday no less! Love you guys for that, made the day complete!

Went on my honeymoon to Kenya. Went for a run on my first morning there. Managed 5 miles but almost passed out so didn’t run again. Played beach volleyball instead which I’m pretty good at as it turned out.

Returned from Kenya about a stone heavier. Went to Guy and Eva’s wedding on the Friday night, thinking Ipstones 5 was on the Sunday. It wasn’t, it was the following day. Thanks to the amazing free bar I had 6 pints and unsurprisingly had my worst race of the year at Ipstones. I also couldn’t find my running shorts so turned up in beach shorts and looked a right mess.

Ran Congleton and missed out on a half mara PB by 5 seconds. Was still quite out of shape from honeymoon at this point. Went for lunch with Lee and his family afterward which was nice.

A former Trentham runner David, who I didn’t get chance to meet passed away, and I thought the respect shown to him was touching, even by those who like myself, hadn’t met him.
On a Tuesday night muster, Becky Austin introduced herself and expressed her fondness of my race reports. “Your stuff makes me cry!” She exclaimed, which I’m very grateful wasn’t overheard by a passer-by.

Ran Birmingham half after some decent training and ran a big PB of 1:34. Had a really good day but the big news was that Sarah ran 1:18, which the Sentinel would later say was the quickest half marathon ran by an English <20 female in 2010. That’s pretty special right there.

Failed to get into the London marathon at the club ballot. 3 places, 4 applicants and I didn’t get pulled out of the hat. Initially gutted but happy for the people who got in.
Tottenham defeated Inter Milan at White Hart lane.

Marshalled a race for the first time. Had a scary moment at the end where a runner was having chest pains so I had to run to get a park ranger type bloke but then on my way back up I fell into a massive muddy puddle, so any heroism I’d built up went straight back out of the window.

Ran my first ever cross country race in road shoes. It wasn’t pretty but the team spirit really was amazing.

Ran a 10k PB of 43 mins at the Cheddleton pudding run. I ran most of the race with Debbie and am really grateful for the support/pacemaking cheers amigo!
My team came second in the Christmas party pub quiz.
Eased off with the running toward the end of the year. Made an appearance at the Christmas cracker where I positioned 34th out of 252 runners. My best ever position. Had an amazing day in the snow with other Trentham’ers who were dressed like plebs for the day.

And that’s my first year with Trentham. I think 2011 is going to be even better from a personal point of view and also for the club in general. If Ian gets back to full fitness, Adam, Carl and Paul will be a formidable unit in team events. Sarah could very well get her first half marathon victory, the ladies will do well in the cross country as usual, Del will probably win a marathon etc.
Personally, I’ve entered NSRRA and my targets are sub 90 minute half, sub 40 minute 10k and sub 31 minutes for 5 miles. I’ll also do a marathon at some point and aim for 3:30.
So in summary, I’ve had an amazing year, joining Trentham is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve met some amazing people and look forward to seeing/beating you all in 2011. All the best for the new year.

Thanks for that Dan, and Happy New Year to you too!!!

Staffs Cross Country Championships

Saturday was the annual Staffordshire County Cross Country Championships which took place on Stafford Common, for a change, and although due to illness and injury the Men probably wouldn't have a team out the Ladies most certainly did with a very strong team heading down to Stafford.

The Men only managed to get 5 out with Dale Colclough, Sam Newton, Paul Burslem, Gerry Calvert and Malcolm Rushton among the finishers. Unfortunately this was not enough to give a team result requiring 6 finishers, but I'm sure they all gave good accounts of themselves.

In The Ladies it was a different story with a strong team on show sure to challenge for the top honours. Sarah Johnson once again had a fantastic run to come 2nd in both the U20's and the Open Ladies just pipped to the line by Stoke AC runner kate Holt. Next across the line was Jo Donnelly in 9th Place just over a minute behind Sarah and then next over the line was Mandy Vernon in 12th place about 20 seconds behind Jo.

This gave Trentham a team score of 23 points and easily the best score of the day which meant that Trentham Ladies were crowned Staffordshire AAA champions in cross country for 2011.

Also doing the club proud for the ladies were Jayne Dickens(15th), Del Salt(17th), Rose Wilson(29th) and Jacquie McPhail(54th) so congratulations and well done to all of those that ran. The Ladies also managed to scoop the Ladies Veterans Team prize with Jo, Mandy and Jayne finishing a whopping 40 points better off than Newcastle AC in 2nd so well done on that too!

Results for the races can be found HERE!

A report has come through from Stafford Common from our Ultra Runner Extrordinaire Adela Salt who has kindly sent in this offering:

Before I start, this isn't about me - it's about a fantastic team that just keeps getting better and better, and I'm so proud to be a part of it!

On Saturday it was the county cross country championships, and what better place to have it than on the Common in the county town of Stafford. In the absence of team captain and manager Mr O'Keeffe, I'd stepped in as his deputy to make sure we had the club tent and collected the numbers, which isn't half stressful when you also have to focus on racing as well. Thankfully I had the company of Deb Thomas (who was unfortunately unable to run), and she not only helped to put the tent up with me, but also did 2 hours of doggy sitting, was tremendous support giving us all a shout during the race AND provided post-race refreshments in the form of the customary donuts.

Despite the absence of some of our regulars (Chris and Becky were both poorly, and Debs is injured), Trentham ladies still had a pretty good turnout in the form of young startlet and surely a future international for the club - Sarah Johnson, the not-so-new-now newcomer Mandy Vernon, the ever tenacious Joanne Donnelly, the I-am-never-having-another-foot-operation-as-cycling's-not-the-same Jayne Dickens, the ever smiling Rose Wilson, Jackie Macphail and finally me who still claims to be a long-distance plodder (which is becoming more and more apparent!)

The course had actually changed this time to include the top section of the common, and with recent snow melt and rain, some parts were certainly heavy going in the mud. There was even a proper ditch section with a bit of a scramble up the other side, and I have to say that even though I felt like poo and was tired today, I did actually enjoy this new course.

Shortly after the start, most of my team mates had already stormed ahead and were just dots on the landscape, although I could still see Jayne having a battle with Bec Harrison from Cheadle not too far ahead. The finish line for me couldn't have come sooner, and surprisingly I was handed a reserve letter for the county team at the Inter-Counties in March (which I won't be doing as I've got an ultra planned that month!) What was even more pleasing for me was that even though I wasn't a counter for our team this time, the other Trentham ladies ahead of me had done absolutely brilliant! For the second time in the club's 20+ years history, the ladies team came away as County Champions, beating the likes of Tipton Harriers and Wolverhampton and Bilston. In addition, the vets team were also crowned champions, whilst it was individual silver for Sarah in the under 20's and open race, and individual bronze in the veteran race for Jo. So, as I said at the beginning, this isn't about me, but more about what a fantastic ladies team we have at Trentham which I'm sure will go from strength to strength.

Unfortunately the gents struggled to get a team out due to injury, illness, and would you believe it football???!!!! However, it was great to see Dale Colclough, Sam Newton, Paul Burslem, Gerry Calvert and Malcolm Rushton out there representing the club and having good runs, and also giving us encouraging shouts whilst we were racing, along with Mark Hughes and Carl Platt who joined Debs as spectators and offered their support.

So although it was a disappointing race for me personally, from a team point of view it couldn't have been better - and that's what I love about Trentham!

Thanks for that Del, and well done on your run at Stafford.
If anyone else would like to send in a report then please feel free! The more the better!

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Trig Points Race

The tough off-road race that is the Trig Points Challenge took place on the tracks and trails of Cannock Chase on Sunday. Fortunately the skies were blue and the snow and ice had mostly melted away, not like last year. One of the Runners taking part was one of our newer members Adam Grew. He has kindly sent us in this report:

Having popped down the club on a Tuesday evening a few times in November and been made to feel most welcome I sent off my membership form to join TRC in December. Unfortunately, December was not a great month for running thanks to icy pavements, a winter cold and the Christmas break. However, 2011 dawned and having signed up for the Wilmslow 1/2 in March (fast course = PB) I wanted to start the new year on a positive note.
Last Tuesday I picked up my race vest from Lionel and today found myself entering the annual Cannock Chase Trig race knowing that my 6 mile lunchtime runs were not ideal preparation. I've done this race twice before and know it is quite tough even though previously I'd bungied myself to the dog and got her to pull me round (it's not really cheating if you're battling for 50th place is it?). This year, however, the dog picked up an injury on the previous Sundays run, the race start had moved and race distance extended to 16 miles - this could be tough.
On the start line a chap spotted me in my bright green T-shirt and said hello and I realised it was Dale looking every inch the hardened fell runner and representing Mercia Fell Runners. At the start everyone set off and soon went off in just about every direction you could go - the course is unmarked so you decide how you are going to visit each of the 8 checkpoints. The sun was out and going good thanks to the overnight frost and I soon found myself passing Dale although I knew his endurance would make it difficult to keep him behind. Rather than waste time navigating I opted to trust the people in front knew where they were going and use my basic knowledge of the Chase. This did not seem to pay off as I hit checkpoint 2 and seemed to be too far down the field and overtaking a lot of other runners.

I always find running on the Chase deceptively tough, it's not as daunting as a fell race but you seem to put a lot of effort in yet the mile splits are way down you would expect, maybe it's all those road miles. The drag up to Castle Ring and the halfway point was as tough as usual although I was feeling quite good especially with the "Come on Trentham!" shouts of encouragement from passing walkers.
About 400 metres from the Beaudesert checkpoint I spotted Dale coming the other way, he'd obviously used some racecraft to use a more efficient route and overtake me. I decided to see if I could catch him and took on a gel. I didn't see him all the way down from Castle Ring and by mile 12 my lack of long runs were starting to make themselves known. Hitting the final checkpoint with an annoying stitch and tired, plodding legs I'd definitely had enough and found myself on my own - time to set the GPS to "Back to Start" mode. I finally crossed the line in 2hrs 21mins in 42nd place having completed the course in a very inefficient 17.25miles. Dale finished a strong 21st in 2:11. I was just glad I didn't win this time as the organisers managed to get my surname wrong though on the results - Adam Green should read Adam Grew.
Not my finest race but seeing as I didn't see any other Trentham runners on the list I thought I'd send in my first race report. Happy running.

Thanks for the report Adam and well done in what can be a very challenging race. Hope your training for Wilmslow goes well and we look forward to reading some more of your preparation race reports in the meantime.

Results for the Trig Points are here!

Dale Colclough has also sent in this report from the Trig Points race, which he was running as a Mercia Fell Runner. read on:

This was the 25th running of the annual Trig Points race, 137 runnners started in bright winter sunshine, conditions underfoot varied from sheet ice to ankle deep mud, with that together with an added complication of a new finish, there must have been 137 different routes used, stories at the finish were full of tales of adventures (or misadventures)as the course wound its way round the Chase.
The entry above is care of Mercia Fell runners web site.

I thought a report wouldn’t go a miss as I have not submitted anything just lately.

This race is a must for Fell runners and road runner alike as it it combines good trails, big climbs some road and good navigational skill. Combined with great value will never get at Road races. £5.50 entry fee for a 16 mile race included a bottle of beer at registration and soup, roll and cake as well as tea and coffee at the finish.

Having run at Stafford in the County champs xc on Saturday I turned up at the Chase feeling a little tired and stiff legged Not the ideal preparation for a 16 mile fell race ). I didn’t have to wash my Trentham vest as I pulled on my fell colours of Mercia. I was joined by our new member Adam Green who was proudly wearing his new Trentham vest.
We were all give a bottle of beer at Registration to celebrate the 25th running of the event. Do we drink it now or put in our bum bags??

The start was haled by the usual fell race shout of “Off you go” and the 137 starters set off up about five different tracks. Interesting to say the least. I set off at my usual sedate pace and by control 1 was down in about 40th spot. Having climbed to the half way point at Castle ring I was pleased to see that with out passing any one I was elevated to about 25th place. Navigational skill and local knowledge came in useful for a change. I kept on line all the way back to the finish but was followed ( owing to my Mercia vest ) by a runner who turned out to be a V50 runner. He nipped in front and beat me to the prize ( drat ) . I will where my Trentham vest next time. I came home in 21st and second V50 so not to bad. Adam found some navigational challenge and slipped back from top 20 place to 42nd. Great day out and great weather even if a bit cold.

Get it in your diary for next year - it’s a must.

Thanks for the report Dale and well done, even though you JUST missed that MV50 prize. I'm sure you'll get it next time.

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Blymhill 10K

This was the first EVER Blymhill 10K which I believe is somewhere near Wolverhampton. One of our newer members, Andrew Vickerman was the only Trentham Runner to take part, and he has kindly sent in this report for us to read:

My story isn’t going to have the usual creativity of Dan Bowmans report, or have any incidents like Kens watch and battles in the NSRRA. It was however, the first of a series of races against my brother-in-law. Currently, we are entered in the Telford 10K and Stafford Half too. He used to do quite a lot of running, but the last couple of years has only done an odd race.
The pre-race info had said that it was multi-terrain and if wet muddy, but not suitable for spikes. Prepared as ever, I forgot my off road trainers, hat (an essential for any baldy) and gloves. The club uniform red trainers didn’t know what was about to hit them!!
We got to the race, just in time to nab the last car parking space and walked around to the school the size of my house. At least it said it was a school but I am sure it had a big snooker table in it. We spoke to a few people who work with my brother in law, although I hadn’t got a clue what they were saying because of their thick Wolvo accents.

We got to the start point and there was about ten people standing around, I remember thinking great a top ten finish! The masses were behind us. We took up position and were started pretty quickly. My plan was to get a gap on my Brother-in-law and try to hang on. Not to be, the first 3.5 miles were pure muddy tracks. I saw a few people lose a trainer and fall over, but my Sunday runs with Lionel had conditioned me and my red trainers to it.

My legs felt like lead weights after about 2.5 miles when we got a welcome stretch of road, passed a few others but after a couple of hundred were back in the fields wading. Out of the fields we hit a woodland area, my brother-in-law was still right beside me. At this point I decided to let him do the work, just hang on and go for the sprint (well quicker plod) finish.

We went over 5 or 6 styals at which point he kept opening a gap which I had to work to get back to him. Through some more fields and out on to the road. I was struggling at this point and some Dudley fella overtook asking where the Trentham man with the red shorts is. I just laughed, he must have thought I was a bit weird, but I was in no mood for talking. Into the final straight I just managed to pull away and win by 2 seconds officially (think it was a bit more). Slow time of 55.27 but given the terrain and styals I am quite pleased, overall 105th out of 216. The winner finished in 38, so a good opportunity for a win with some club runners.

Good medal, well organised and great marshals. Probably one of the most fun races I have done yet, although I haven’t done many as I only joined the club 8 months ago.

Well done Andrew, especially going one nil up on your brother-in-law. It's great to get these reports, especially on the newer/less well known races as it gives the other members an opportunity to find out about them.

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Birmingham & Midland Cross Country

The 3rd races of the 4 race series took place on Saturday in both the Birmingham League for the Men at Wolverhampton and the Midland League for the Ladies at Coventry.

Things aren't going too well for the Men's team this season, and with a number of injuries affecting the male runners it was always going to be tough going this year. We did manage to get a team out for the race, as we have just about managed for all three fixtures, but even this could not prevent the team from slipping to the bottom of Division 2. The illustrious Gladiators out on Saturday were Roger Grand (82nd), Ian Yates (101st), Adam Brearley (112th), Carl Plat (116th), Paul Gibbings (119th) and Phil Mainwaring (123rd). Dale Colclough, Sam Newton, Adam Grew & Paul Burslem also ran and on the whole our counters were finishing higher up the field than a lot of teams above.
Yet to have a report from the Men's race, but with 10 of them running I'd hope at least one could pen a few lines to appear here -->

Well HUGE thanks to Roger Grand and Adam Brearley for sending in these reports which are hot off the press. Roger's first:

Well eight of us initially met up at the club and I don't think there was 1 of us who wasn't coming back from injury, got a niggle etc. We all said its been disappointing how this years XC had gone but we were in good spirits and said a points score of 450 might give us a fighting chance, the journey wasn't too long & if Paul Burslem & a blue JAG had come together going for the same lane it might have been different!
When we arrived we quickly paid a visit to the little boys room & grabbed a drink, Dale turned up & we got changed for a look at the course and to warm up, the course raised a few eyebrows on how it zigged & zagged back on itself, about 15mins before the start Adam Grew appeared to give us 10 runners :-)
We lined up for the start & bang we were off, didn't have a game plan really just hoped I could improve, it was good seeing Trentham green every time you either had too zig or zag, on lap 1 roughly gathered I was around the mid 60's, lap 2 my legs I think had other ideas on how fast I should run as I started to drop back, lap 3 my legs realised I had temporary charge I held my position & on a slight rise before the home Sprint I thought stuff it & went for broke as could tell the 5 in front were waiting till after the bank before the Sprint, it worked :-) came in 82nd & then came back & gave encouragement to who I could, we never managed 450 we got 653, but we all enjoyed it & all came through unscathed.

Thanks Roger, and this from Adam:

Only decided to race the XC on Friday for a couple of reasons. Firstly because after Stafford Common when I had to pull out with calf trouble again I vowed to concentrate on building up the strength and getting fit and leaving XC for this season. Secondly it was an excuse to get out of settee shopping all day with Deb. Only one winner there then !!
Firstly, was most impressed with our turnout, 10 in total. Although Captain Dan’s optimism that we had a ‘great’ team out was slightly off the mark, as most of us were either lame, or just coming back to fitness ! So on paper maybe, but in reality not quite !
So off we all travelled from the club. Myself, Carl, Roger and Paul Gibbings’ in Roger’s giant people carrier. Although not much room for us thanks to Carl’s Peter Crouch legs winding their way around all of the seats ;) And then there was Paul Burslem, Yatesey, Sam & Phil narrowly escaping death on the M6 on the way up.
Having met Dale there, Yatesey telling our new recruit Adam to find a club (when he is already with us) !! and Paul G realizing he had forgot his club vest off we set for the 6 mile, 3 lap course. Both me and Carl had decided to treat today as a good training run, for reason as explained earlier for myself and Carl just coming back from his hamstring injury.
So the first 2 laps we went steady on a quite undulating, but enjoyable course. Yatsey’s ‘steady run’ was clearly already quicker than most of our race paces as we saw him disappear into the distance led by Roger, Phil and the 2 Pauls. Dale and Sam were in close attendance with Dale periodically telling us to ‘stick to the plan’. Was already beginning to think that this was more of a proper XC course, as opposed to some of the open fields we have run around this year. A couple of long steady climbs with short steep hill thrown in, I was actually starting to enjoy this !!!
As we approached the 3rd lap we began, heeded by Dale’s shout, to push on. One by one we started to pick people off, eventually passing Phil and Paul but with no hope of catching Yatesey on his ‘steady run’ or Roger who was having a great run.
Eventually came over the finishing line in a somewhat disappointing position of 112, but having stuck to the original plan and not got carried away was relatively happy that this was out of the way and under the belt. Because it was such a good course I felt myself wishing afterwards that I had actually raced it, but having felt my calves on Monday so tight I am glad that the brain took over for a change !!!
Unfortunately it now looks a certainty that our Men’s team are relegated. It has been a really frustrating time for quite a few of us with injuries, meaning we have not once put out our strongest team when all fit. So the immediate aim is to bounce straight back up next year, and start to prove that us men can compete like our fantastic ladies !!!

Thanks for the reports boys and as you say, with the quality we do have at the club I'm sure we can challenge for promotion again next season.
Results HERE!

In the Midland League the story is a very different one for the Ladies. Results are not up at time of writing but it sounds like once again they had a day to remember down in Coventry. Adela Salt has kindly sent in her report:

The penultimate race in the Midland Ladies Cross Country League took place on Saturday at a very gusty and quite muddy Wyken Park in Coventry. Numbers for Trentham ladies were a little depleted due to injury or other commitments, but we still managed to get 5 ladies out along with an extremely enthusiastic and vocal supporter in the form of Chris Holmes, who made sure we didn't slack off.
The course isn't exactly hilly, but it is bumpy and quite twisty, and with the tufty grass, made things a little hard going in parts.
Young Sarah Johnson (who was named Lady Runner of the Year at the NSRRA Presentation Evening last night!) had yet another fantastic run to finish in 10th position, whilst Mandy Vernon and Adela Salt had their best runs in the league so far to finish 20th and 26th respectively, giving the team a total score of 56 points on the day. With Mandy and Del being the first 2 over the line for the vets team, it was Jayne Dickens that was the 3rd counter for the vets, finishing in 30th position. This gave the "old ladies" a team score of 76, which will hopefully close the gap on Telford in the overall competition, meaning a fight to the finish in the final race next month at Bourneville to be league Veteran Champs for a second year running. Rose Wilson also ran today, and finished a creditable 122nd out of almost 300 runners.

The final fixture is at Bourneville on 12th February, and it would be great if we could get as many ladies out as possible to strengthen our chances of moving up the results table. There should also be plenty of support at the next race, as Trentham gents are at the same venue, which I'm sure will make it a very enjoyable day out. If you are interested in running, please let me know!
In the meantime, well done Trentham ladies yet again - a brilliant start to the year so far, and the road season hasn't even started yet :-)

Thanks for the report Del and Del also has provided this addendum to the above report:

Results are out for the ladies XC at the weekend, and we did overtake Telford in the vets, and are now leading the league by 40 points! We finished 4th open team on Saturday which probably puts us 5th overall, whilst Sarah is leading the Junior individual competition as you need to do 3 out of the 4 races to get an award, and she's teh only one to do all 3 so far, so brilliant news all round for the ladies.

Results can be seen here, but not the standings!

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Gloucester 50K

As most of you will know Adela Salt was off down in Gloucester at the weekend to take part in the Gloucester 50K which is also a selection race she needed to do well in. Read her story here:

Having got back in to the ultra running in the latter half of last year, I'd made the decision that my main goal for 2011 would be the World 100km Champs in September. This would involve numerous selection/qualification races along the way, starting in January at the Gloucester 50km. Gloucester was the selection race for the England 100km team at the Anglo-Celtic Plate in March, and not only did I have to run under 3.50 to gain selection, but also finish in the top 2. To put things into perspective, 50km is just over 31 miles, and I needed to run at an average 7.15 pace to qualify.

Sunday morning dawned, and an early 7am start saw Andy and I travel down to Gloucester. Whilst I've done several 50k races in my time, I had never done this one, although I knew it was a little undulating, something akin to the Stafford 20 or the Stafford Half. I also knew that whilst there wouldn't be many in the race, I would have some competition from a couple of other ladies who have previously ran internationally, and although I had been told that it was just a "training run", I knew it wouldn't be a walk in the park.

One of the ladies running was Karen Rushton, who was my room mate at the World 50k champs in Galway last year. She had a PB of 3.41 and whilst my PB for the distance is actually 3.24, more recently my best for 50k is around 3.38. Needless to say, I had a sneaky feeling that for the best part of the race, Karen and I would be battling against eachother for that first race victory of the year!

The course consisted of 4 laps along lovely country lanes, and although the weather was cool and murkey, it was still quite a nice, scenic route. Surprisingly there was plenty of support, probably because the race was run alongside a marathon, so plenty of encouragement on the way round. I'd gone into the race in the hope of running 3.40 which would be around 7.00 pace, which funnily enough was also Karen's aim!

For the first 2 laps, whether intentional or not, we ran together and were knocking out consistant 5k splits. It was actually quite nice to have a bit of company - I've spent so many of these longer races in isolation and talking to myself! - but today was different, and whilst we didn't chat, we did share the odd word and encouragement. We both knew that we were leading the ladies' race, and every so often, I would pull away from Karen on the flat, and she would pull away from me on the hills. I'm not so naive to think that we would cross the finish line together, and had the feeling that the victory would come from some crazy sprint finish that quite frankly, after 30 odd miles of running, I didn't really fancy.

Half way around the 3rd lap and with just over 13 miles to go, I started to think that one of us needed to make that break soon. The trouble was that to do so, we would need to run a much faster pace to open a gap, and then hold a decent pace to make sure we weren't caught. Karen is much stronger on hills compared to me, so I knew that if I went for it, it would come down to my sheer determination, stubborness and experience. Before I knew it, I had speeded up and was now running around 6.45 pace, I could sense that Karen hadn't gone with me, and admit I was a little surprised. I passed Andy a mile or so later, and he later told me that I had already opened a 30 second gap, but it wasn't enough. I just needed to start the final lap, and if I could maintain my lead until then, I knew I could do it.

The last lap flew by, and I found myself overtaking so many other runners who were now struggling, but they still had the energy to offer loads of encouragement as I passed. I went through the marathon distance in 3.02 (I'd done the half in 1.31 so it was my first ever evenly paced marathon!!), and started to think that if I could just hold things together, I could run under my target of 3.40.

The final mile or so seemed to go on forever, and although I was obviously tired, I was still feeling strong in the legs. I was so chuffed to cross the finish line in 3.37.08 - a minute faster than my 50k season best last year, and on a much hillier course. Not only that, but I'd also won my first road race of the year, and gained England selection for the 100km at the end of March.

Karen had a fantastic run to finish about 4 minutes behind me and very close to her PB, so she will be joining me on the England team in March where hopefully we will reclaim the Anglo Celtic Plate for England. In the meantime, at the other end of the scale, I've got Alsager 5 in a couple of weeks (please don't expect too much!), and then maybe the Barry 40 at the end of Feb as part of my prep for the big one - 161 laps of an athletics track! And who says ultra runners aren't crazy??!!!

So a big well done to Del and don't forget if you also raced this weekend then let's have it....... in the meantime here's a photo of Del in action.

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Midland XC

Saturday was the Midland Counties XC championship and a group of Trentham Ladies went along to do the muddy field thing. One of them was Joanne Donnelly who has kindly sent in this report after apparently being 'nominated':

A hardy group of ladies headed down to Leamington on Saturday for the annual Midlands Cross Country Champs. We have done some cross countries in all conditions this year, but Saturday beat them all as it was absolutely freezing.

We raced at Leamington earlier in the year and at one point of the course there was a small ditch/stream to jump over. No problem. As we arrived at the course on Saturday, we were curious to see why there was a large crowd of people gather by the ditch. As we got closer, we soon realised that the small ditch/stream was now a very large, muddy, freezing river, and that the gathered crowd were having much fun laughing at the poor runners who fell. Mick Hall has posted some videos of the ditch on his Facebook page which are quite entertaining.

Sarah was first off in the Junior ladies race over a rather short 5k. The race started at a very fast pace and unfortunately Sarah got a bit left behind and found herself in about 30th position at the end of the first field and having to fight her way past lots of runners. Sarah soon got into her running however and stormed through the field to finish a very credible 5th place.

A few races later it was the turn of the senior ladies, who were racing over 8km. As with the junior ladies, the lead runners were off like whippets, but all of the Trentham ladies started steadily as usual and aimed to work through the field. The course was pretty muddy and slippery, but on the whole fairly flat, apart from one short sharp hill. Thankfully there were no dramas on ‘the ditch’ for the Trentham ladies.

I was first home for Trentham in 38th position, very closely followed by a fast finishing Mandy in 40th. (I think it’s only a matter of time until she gets me!!!!) The versatile Del was next in 49th -50k one week and 8k the next!!!! Becky Austin finished in 102nd position after impressively sprinting past 4 people in the finishing straight and Rose showed many, much younger ladies a clean pair of heals to finish in 111th.

In the team event we finished 9th overall, which we were really please with, especially as we are all vets.

Personally, I was pleased with my run as I beat some ladies that have beaten me in the Midland League races and I finished strongly. I think the extra distance was an advantage for me. I must admit though that I am getting fed up of cross country and cant wait to race over the road.

Well done ladies and well done Jo. As Joanne said, it is almost time for the road racing season to commence with Alsager just around the corner so I expect a plethora of race reports from this ever popular event. In the meantime here's one from this weekend

Shifnal Gallop 10K

On a cold but gloriously sunny Sunday the second ever Shifnal Gallop 10k took place around quiet country lanes, quiet being a bit of an understatement, and farm tracks around Idsall School in Shifnal near Telford. Almost all the race entry fee goes to the Midland Air Ambulance based at RAF Cosford. Two intrepid explorers in the shape of Ryan Procter & Mark Day (and what a shape they are) set off nice and early with Mark's lovely wife Nicola in tow to cheer on the boys. Here is Mark's report of the day's events:

Today, I ventured out to Shifnal for their 10K, accompanied by a certain Mr Ryan Procter and ably supported by my wife Nicky.
This was my first race since the Dougie Mac 5K in April 2010. As many of you will know, I spent last year training for the decathlon that I did for charity in September. Having dragged my body through that despite Achilles trouble, I decided that 2011 would be about enjoying my running and not aiming for PB's, and no races longer than 10K. So when Ryan asked me about the Shifnal 10K I was more than willing to give it a go.

The drive to Shifnal was eventful for two reasons. Firstly, even though I didn't think I drove quickly, we somehow managed to warp space-time and arrived in December. That's the only way that I can explain Shifnal town centre being adorned with Christmas decorations, shoppers busily doing their last minute shopping, and carol singers greeting us with a chorus of "silent night" as we pulled up at our destination. OK, so only one of those is actually true, but not the one you might think. OK, so it is the one you've might think. Anyway........where was I?

Oh yes, a race report, but first the second reason for the journey being eventful. As we travelled on the 50 minute journey from Stoke to Shifnal, my passengers battled to the death over a game of scrabble on Nicky's iPad. After much deliberating and gnashing of teeth, Ryan triumphed, with a clear margin of victory. I won't say any more on the matter, as Nicky is within arms length of me as I type this, and I don't want another black eye to go with one I got earlier in the week after a clash of heads with one of our dogs (yes you did read that right!)

Finally then the race.....

We registered, collected our numbers and headed out onto the school field for a very brief warm up before the start at 10:30AM
I set my Garmin for a pace of 9:00 minute miles, as this was about the best that I expected without pushing myself.
The starter set us on our way and the first part of the race was on fields around the school grounds. I took it easy, keeping up with my aim of running within my ability and was enjoying it. We passed by Nicky just as we headed out on the road, and climbed the country lane past the mile marker and uphill towards the first turn onto a track through fields. I clocked my first mile in 8:40 and settled in nicely, slowly gaining on a big group of runners as we continued climbing up towards the 2 mile marker.
The next couple of miles passed really quickly, and was a mixture of tracks through fields and quiet lanes. I steadily picked people off as these two miles passed, and had done them in around 8:20 and 8:05
I was really enjoying the run by this point and quite happily eased off a little in the next couple of miles and took in the scenery, which was pretty darned good. We passed down more lanes and along the edge of a large area of woodland, before hitting the road once more with about 2 miles to go. After seeing the 5th mile marker come and go I had a surge of adrenaline, which then faded as I rounded the corner and saw a steady climb. By this point I was feeling the legs get heavier as 5 miles is about as far as I've been running lately.
Fortunately the last ¾  mile was all downhill, with the last 200 yards or so being back on the school fields. Normally, I'm able to put in a bit of a sprint at the end, and with Ryan and Nicky cheering me on I pushed the pace up to the line where I collected my medal and bottle of water. A glance at the watch showed I'd clocked 51:08, which was absolutely great considering I'd taken it steady.
Ryan also really enjoyed his run and he clocked something around 42 mins

Aprez-10k was a plentiful supply of free tee/coffee and an all you could eat buffet consisting solely of flapjack! Who could ask for more.

So, in summary, the Shifnal 10K is a brilliant race. Put it in your diary for next year. It's a really lovely quiet course with great scenery, friendly marshals and a good community feel to it.
I've just been pondering, and I enjoyed this race so much that I've decided it ranks in my all time top 5 since I started running 3 years ago.

All in all, a great morning out. I'm really pleased to have stuck to my aim of just enjoying the run and will certainly be doing it again next time (which is Alsager 5), so thanks for asking me Mr P.
See you there.

And for those that are wondering (probably no-one if truth be known), Ryan again defeated Nicky at Scrabble on the way home too! Ouch!

Thanks for the report Marko and well done on such a good time, as you say, without really pushing hard, I'm glad you enjoyed the race and I know that Mr P also really enjoyed a fantastic race made all the better by the even more fantastic company :-)

Results for the Shifnal Gallop can be found HERE!

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Page last updated 01 February 2011


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