April 2011

Dougie Mac 5k

Welcome to Spring everyone and the first race of the month (pinch, punch and all that) took place amongst the familiar surroundings, especially those that do the Club Time Trial, of Wedgwood. The race starts and finishes adjacent to the factory and helps raise much needed funds for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice just up the road. It turned out to be a fantastic day for running (at the time of the race anyway) and there was a good turnout as usual. First finisher for Trentham was Ryan Procter in 16th place followed by Stan Winterton, who would surely have won a veteran prize had there been one in 25th. Stan also managed a new Road Runners Record for his age group. Lee Jones finished in 28th ahead of Alan Lewis who was 12 seconds off also achieving a new V70 standard for 5k. Other Trentham runners included Ken Bloor, Terry Parton, Jason Thomas, Jacquie MacPhail and a certain Mark Day who has kindly sent in this report:

For me, the Dougie Mac 5K is a 'must do' on my race calendar and should be for most other locals. It's such a deserving cause, and you're effectively donating £10 to charity and getting a run through the country lanes at a time of the year when spring is definitely springing. You can't beat it !

This morning was another great spring morning, with none of the forecast heavy showers having got themselves out of bed in time to give us all a soaking. My plan was to run from home to the start and had planned to leave home at 8:45, an hour before the race was due to start.
Without going into details, my plans were delayed by several unscheduled visits to the bathroom. So at 9:08, I left home, not in the car (why!!!??), and still presuming I'd have enough time to run there.
It wasn't the best race-prep though. I realise now I'd underestimated the distance from home by about a mile, and with my stomach gurgling away I had to run at race pace to get there. Winding my way through the country lanes, the time on my Garmin saying 9:33, it was going to be close. I was now quite prepared to thumb a lift from the next person who drove past me.
Fortunately, the next person who drove up behind me was Kerry, who, despite the temptation of shouting abuse and driving straight past, offered me a lift! What a life saver, thanks Kerry!
So, I made it, just. I'd thought this sort of prep wasn't going to get me a time I'd be happy with though, never mind, I'd live to fight another day.
Regarding those time targets, at the moment I'm still not trying to beat any records, but having done the club Time Trial on Tuesday night, I realised I'm not that far away from PB's if I put some effort into training.
So, the competitive spirit threatens to rise once more from where it has been laying dormant during the winter months, and that meant I did put some thought into what sort of pace to run at today. Last year I wasn't doing any road running at all and did the Dougie 5K in 23:51. I realistically expected to beat that easily, and would have bet on myself coming in under 22:30

Anyway, to the race itself.
This years race got underway on time, with club runners, non-attached runners, overgrown sunflowers and charity runners all going for it at the start.
You always see less regular runners going out hell for leather at the start of these type of events (I'd probably do the same if I was in their position) but as we all know, that adrenaline rush doesn't carry you through, especially when most of the first mile is uphill. I settled in about a quarter of the way back in the pack, and ran up the Wedgwood hill with Terry, both of us gradually passing people who were now regretting that flying start. My first mile was about what I'd expected, and having said goodbye to the hills, it gets faster from here.
From the end of the avenue that runs past the hall, you turn left along the 'Ladies Mile'. Now, I've no idea why its called that by locals, but my wife's family come from down that way and they insist that's what its called.
So having entered the ladies.....mile (careful) I began to realise that my mad run to the start hadn't done me too much harm after all. My legs were pretty well warmed up at least, and I knew I'd be gradually picking up pace all the way to the finish.

And that's pretty much how it turned out. I continued to pick off runners all the way to the line, and crossed it at 22:05 (by my own timing). I didn't have anything left at the end, which I guess was down to that dodgy prep, but hey, no complaints, I'd done far better than I thought regardless. That's only 50 seconds off my PB, which considering the challenge of this course and my lack of targeted training is very pleasing indeed.

So that's it, I think I'm getting the bug again...........Damn you Trentham Running Club........why do you keep doing this to me......!!
Oh, one final thing. Thanks again to Kerry for the lift to the start, Emma for the lift home afterwards, and everyone else who came and supported. It was a good turnout from the Green Machine and I'm sure before long there'll be a team photo appearing just about.....here....

Thanks for the report Mark - and here is that team Photo:

Due to the rarity of races run by the Webmaster himself these days I thought I better do a report myself as I expect everyone else to be sending them in so here it is:

I always intended to do this run anyway, but after seeing Adam Brearley was returning his number due to recent injury I thought I might as well make use of it and gave him my tenner entry fee rather than him return it. Unfortunately since getting Adam's number I have received the news that his calf injury has once again returned to haunt him and another spell on the sidelines awaits. Anyway to the race.
As I awoke on Sunday I was relieved to see relative bright sunshine rather than the heavy showers that had been forecast. I was planning to run home (indirectly) after the race so drove down there with Emma in tow so she could bring the car home afterwards and also to lend a little support. Parked on the roadside near to the finish and headed down towards the start. Saw a few familiar faces milling around including Rose, who's son was running, and Paul Thomas (surely one of the club's nicest guys) who was with his son Ben supporting his wife.

The pre-race shuffling of feet and jumping around settled down as Ken made his little speech before the hi-tech start of 3,2,1,go! Off we went amid the usual clammer for position to be first out onto the road amid the adrenaline fuelled masses, as mentioned in the previous report. I always hold back in this race knowing, especially at the moment, how poor I run on the hills and that the first mile is almost completely uphill. After the burnout of the initial burst by the frontrunners I slowly started to pick up places as we neared the top of the climb and flashed my ample belly to race photographer and all round Mr nice guy Bryan Dale. I was told afterwards that Lee  also did the same thing. Spotted Emma, Kerry and Mark Churton on the climb who all wished me good luck and I managed a pleasant smile and thank you for all of them.

Over the top of the hill and round the corner by the Octagon House and I completely forgot to look how the pace was going at the mile marker. I always think this next bit is a little cruel as folks must think after climbing the long Wedgwood Hill that they're at the top, but there is that nasty little incline before the next right hander and a welcome downhill section to the junction. By this time I had passed Lee and Stan and a few other runners and was sort of settled into my 'spot' in the field. Passing the 2nd milepost before the right hand turn into the long Wedgwood Drive my watch said 12:45 so I knew I was doing much better than I expected to, to be honest. I felt good on this slight incline before the road drops down toward the bridge so pushed on a bit to break away from the two runners behind and close up to the next runner in front.

On the long straight downhill I widened my stride and overtook the runner I caught up with and pushed on. Turning into the Cricket Field I felt I may have pushed a little too hard and was relieved to see the finish gantry across the other side of the pitch. My 2nd pose for Bryan Dale was not as successful. I pulled my shirt over my head and ran like that for a number of yards (which he completely missed) but he did get me as I was pulling it back and as you would see from the photo also pulled my glasses off my face with it. (What a NUMPTY) So as the glasses fell to the floor I had to stop, backtrack about 10 yards and set off again. This all meant that I now had to fend off the bloody runner I'd just worked so hard to gap.

Onto the grass (I hate that bit) and around the final bend before the undulating final straight to the finish. It's really hard to sprint when the grass is rolling up and down but I did try really hard to maintain my position, in truth I think he was spent anyway and I crossed the line in 19:32. By no means a PB (I did 18:02 here a couple of years ago) but just as satisfying.

After getting my bottle of water and mug I went to cheer on the other Trentham Runners approaching the finish and all of them looked really great as they came towards the line. Once we had the team photo and had my drink part two of the mornings run was in order A few miles along the canal to Etruria (accompanied by Lee & Phil) before turning along the Cauldon branch and tackling the Beryhill 10K loop in reverse to find a new direct way home from school across the fields. A really fantastic morning run with great company and just got in the pub before the heavy showers finally made an appearance.

Results for the DM5 can be found HERE!

Brighton Marathon

Kathryn Ambrose was down on the South Coast at the weekend to take part in the Brighton Marathon. I'm sure this is a popular event with folks that are unsuccessful with their applications for London. It was also one that Dan Bowman was due to race, but unfortunately this wasn't to be so Kathryn was left to fly the flag for Trentham and here is her story:

Well, I can't promise that this report will be as entertaining as one of Dan's, but in honour of the fact that he was originally down to do this race, I will make it as interesting as possible :) Due to my self-imposed Facebook exile during term time, I hadn't realised that he wasn't running and I spent a good few miles on the switchback sections looking out for him and his brightly-coloured regalia! Ah well, at least it kept me entertained - hope you're fighting fit soon, Dan :)

Up until March, my preparations for the race had been going really well. I was averaging 35-40 miles a week with no problems and my long runs were getting faster. However, I then seemed to pick up every virus under the sun and my training took a huge hit (last few weeks' mileage tells the story - 23 (including a 20 miler), 3 (!), 21, 6.5, and then race week, in which I spent two days in bed with 'flu and only managed a 2 mile plod on the Friday to see if my legs still worked :( Guess that's what you get for working with snotty kids! So realistically, I knew in my heart of hearts that I wasn't going to achieve the sub-4.30 that I wanted and know that I am capable of, but I set out with the intention of having a go at it anyway.

Set off bright and early on the Saturday morning with my support crew in tow - very grateful to Ben for doing all the driving! John-Paul enjoyed his trip to the seaside too; even though he was initially disappointed by the lack of sand, he was soon consoled by the fact that he could throw stones into the sea. Our hotel was right on the seafront and only about a mile or so from the finish line, but believe me, it felt like a lot longer than that yesterday! Met up with some friends who were also racing for a nice Italian meal on the Saturday night - risotto was the meal of choice, not pasta, which I'd already eaten so much of I felt like it was coming out of my ears. Had a really early night, not least because we had to be really quiet once John-Paul had gone to sleep! I'm sure this did me good though.

Race day dawned and I felt surprisingly calm (I am usually a bag of nerves before races - I could certainly give Lee a run for his money in the dodgy guts stakes!). Headed down for breakfast of porridge and a couple of white rolls with honey, then did all of the last minute checks (timing chip on shoe, race number on vest, energy tablets in pouch - I don't do gels, they make me vomit!). Met up with my friend in reception and we got a taxi to Preston Park, where the start was. Lined up in my pen - I was on the pink start. Took 8 minutes to cross the start line and then we were off. Mile 1 was pretty slow due to crowds but then picked it up as we headed through the city centre for a nice little loop around. Although the course features a lot of out and back loops, I really enjoyed it as the crowd support was never failing. It was also great to have my name shouted (even if it's not my real name that I had on my vest!) when things got tough. Up to about Mile 6, I felt amazing and thought that today was going to be my day. My planned pace felt easy and I felt really strong. However, this was the point at which the heat (the high was 25C in exposed places, which there were many of on the course) really started to get to me and my pace suffered. I took the decision after about 8 miles that if I was going to finish (and I was damned if I was going to drop out, because I have raised lots of money for charity - I would have to be dragged off the course!) then I would have to slow down.

I have to say, I then started to really appreciate the crowd support even more. I got chatting to some other people running for my charity and it was lovely to swap moans about our ailing muscles! By just over halfway, my left calf was starting to really cramp up - this is something I NEVER usually suffer with, so that is probably a good indication of how hot it was and how much fluid I was losing. I took on Powerade at every station, but felt like I needed a drip by the end! Mile 18 saw me get a taste of the dreaded Wall, but that was soon sorted with a vanilla Power bar and some jelly beans, and from Mile 20 onwards I actually managed to speed up and felt really strong in the last 10K. I overtook loads of people, which was great but in many ways was also frustrating because I know that I am so much better than my final time suggests.

So, I crossed the line in a chip time of 5.28 and a few seconds (not sure exactly how many because the official times aren't up yet), which is a whole hour slower than my target and 36 minutes off my PB, but in the end, I was so pleased to have finished. It is still my second fastest marathon ever (out of the three that I've done) and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I would definitely recommend that anyone has a go at this one next year - the organisation is super slick and the crowd support is phenomenal. A fantastic alternative to London, and I will be there next year. As for other marathons, I feel I really have a point to prove now and will be entering another one in the autumn, venue TBC!

Well done Kathryn on completing the course after such a tumultuous build up and the conditions on the day. And we can confirm that those few seconds were thirteen as the results can now be found HERE which shows Kathryn finishing in a time of 5:28:13


Newcastle 7

A lovely Spring morning fit for a hilly 7 mile race, and as if by magic one pops up! Newcastle 7 is always popular with Trentham Runners and there was no difference this time around with a good number making the short journey to our neighbouring town. One of them was Paul Gibbings who had a fantastic race to come 3rd overall and first MV45. Stan Winterton won his age group as did Alan Lewis. In the Ladies race there was a win for Sharleen Hollinshead with Mandy Vernon coming in second. Rose Wilson also managed to win her age group prize as did Adela Salt. The Trentham Ladies Team again scooped victory in the Ladies Team Prize. Here is the first report coming from 3rd place man Paul Gibbings:

It's not very often that I send in reports, and with so many Trentham runners competing I'm sure there will be plenty of others coming in, but I'm pretty pleased with my run, and I didn't get lost on my warm up.

My fitness has been improving recently, and I was looking forward to this race, until Tuesday and the hill session at Wedgwood where Sam & Sarah both managed to hammer me. For the rest of the week my legs were feeling pretty heavy, but I woke up Sunday morning feeling pretty good and determined to give it a go. I went off pretty fast and was surprised to find myself in front of the leading group after half a mile. I relaxed a bit and let myself drift back into 4th place.

The dreaded hill came soon, and the leading 3 started to just drift slightly away. Soon we went past Walter taking photo's, great I thought that must be the top of the hill, it was easier than I thought, until I looked up and realised we weren't even half way. Thoughts of Wedgewood came back, and by the time we got to the real top I had dropped to 8th. At the time I thought I'd be happy to there, but as the road dropped down I realised that others in front were starting to suffer, and apart from Mark Neeld everyone was coming back to me. By the 5 mile mark I had worked my way back to third place, and although feeling tired was catching Carl Moulton in second place, with the 4th place runner on my shoulder. The next mile & a half things stayed pretty much the same, but I felt I was struggling and in my mind had settled for 4th. As we turned into the final road with 100m to go the old competitive spirit came out, and I started what felt like a sprint, but most probably didn't look like one. I swept back into 3rd place and was rapidly catching 2nd place, but it was too little too late and I had to settle for 3rd place stopping my watch at 40:10.

Definitely a pleasing run for me, but there were many other great Trentham performances, once again our Ladies dominated but I'm sure someone else can give a better report than me.

Well, I'm not sure they can Paul, but 'By Jingo' they're gonna try anyway. Next report to land on the doormat comes from Lee Jones:

What a glorious day, the sun was out, the sky was blue and there was just a hint of a breeze blowing through the trees. This was at 8:30 am as I was walking my dog (diefer) along Silverdale rd, wondering what I would feel like in a few hours time when I would be running along the same road heading to the finish of the Newcastle 7. Because the race is so close to my house I avoided the usual early morning rush of trying to gather my support crew (Sammy & Lara) and get out of the house in time to make it to the start of the race. So at 9:15 I was ready. My vest was numbered & lettered, crotch & nips were oiled & my yellow race shoes were on.
As I left the house to run the 1/4mile to the race start I had to run past a few of my neighbours and because I don't really speak to them other than to say hi and bye, they looked at me like I was daft, and muttered something as I went past which I didn't hear. I would like to think it was "wow look how fit and athletic he is" (yeah right)
Although it was still early quite a few people had turned up to take advantage of the running track near the start. The green vests of Trentham were out in force and seemed to be magnetically grouping together. I saw, Ken, Kerry, Chris, Gary, Del, Rose, Becky, Andrew, John, Lee, Rodger, Rob, Paul and Stan (my hero) plus a few people in Trentham vests who I didn't know. I did a couple of laps of the track, by which time Sammy & Lara-Honey had arrived with Sarah & Hope (next door neighbours) . I quickly tried to gather a bunch of the Trentham lot for a group photo .
Before I knew it we were being called to the start, and that's when the nerves kicked in. I don't know about anyone else but every time i line up for a race i get a little pain in my belly and a sickly feeling. Becky said she was going to run with me, so we lined up close to the front. I tried to get close to stan because it was my aim to stay with him at least as long as i could. Then we were off.
I had set myself a target time of sub 50mins and I knew if i ran at 7 minute miles i would come in at 49:00, however there was Black Bank to deal with. Black Bank is actually called Alsager's Bank. In the past it ran between Apedale open cast and Silverdale colliery, and because it was always black with coal or SLAG it was known locally as Black Bank. It runs up hill for a 1.5 miles and nowadays its green on both sides so it should be renamed Green Bank. Anyway. Because I knew Black, Green, Alsagers Bank was at the start of mile 2, I wanted to run a quick 1st mile. I managed to keep Speedy Chris in spitting range until my watch beeped for the 1st mile 6:42 so far so good. At this point I was still with Stan but as the bank started to take its toll he started to slip away I managed to pull a funny pose for Walter as he was taking photo's for Bryan Dale's web site. I was beginning to struggle, and as more and more people came past me I started to regret my fast 1st mile. My watched beeped mile 2.... 7:32 not bad. I still had 1/2 a mile to go up the bank but i could see the top so i tried not to slow my pace any more.
Beep mile 3...7:45 even though I was done with the bank i was still slowing down, I made an effort to run faster which was helped by the fact that we were on Lycett lane which is either flat or down. I started to feel better and even took over a few people. Scot-hay road is the start of a long down bank that goes into Silverdale so i went through mile 4 at 7:06, much better.
I started to dig deep. The person in front of me was about 20ft away so I made an effort to go past him, next was a lady who I went past as well. There was a huge gap to the next person but by the time we went through the 5 mile mark I had halved it. My P.B for 5 miles is 35:26 so i was pleased when my watch read 35:10 & 6:39 for the mile. It seemed to take me ages to gain on the next runner, I felt myself starting to flag again. I knew the 6 mile mark was just through the traffic lights at Silverdale, so I set my sights on them and was determined to overtake the running fool in front.
O.M.G mile 6 (why do we put ourselves through this torture?) my watch read 7:10 for the mile, time 42:36, I had just over 7mins to go sub 50. Silverdale road is a long road with a dogleg in the middle. I kept my focus on the bend and watched as it crawled slowly towards me. As I went around the bend (literally) I could see a crowd gathered by the school at the last corner. Walter was there for the next photo, which I must look really bad on. Also there was Adam who really cheered me on and told me there was someone 4 paces behind me and catching up, Noooooo. I was completely knackered but as I rounded the last corner I found another gear and sprinted up Castle Hill road to the finish. I stopped my watch 49:53 WOOP, WOOP. There were lots of back slapping and hand shakes all round and people seemed pleased with their times. We stayed around for a while to cheer on the runners coming in.
This was a great race and I really enjoyed it (although not at the time) I was told we were getting mugs as prizes, but the only mugs I saw were those running the race :) This is the 1st time i've made my predicted target time, so im really pleased. Well done to all runners, no matter what time we finish in, we are all winners

Well done Lee, and quite right we are all winners. There's a lot of people out there who wouldn't walk up Black Bank, never mind run it so well done to everybody!

Next report comes from Ken Pearson:

Did anyone else buy the heart rate monitor from Lidl on 28 March? At £14.99 it was a bargain and I have been confusing myself since I bought one. I’ve managed to get my resting pulse down to the low 50s and my maximum is supposed to be about 170. It gets above that in the early part of runs but settles down to something that matches the information you can get from the internet. There is lots of conflicting information about so I’m not sure what’s most useful yet. Its quite interesting running in a different way and I’ve found that tempo runs feel harder now if I run based on a heart rate not at what I think is the right pace. I’ve also tried it on the motorbike but I can’t get it as high as the MOTOGP racers, must try harder!

I have been using a training schedule for London and it said the runs last week should be only 50 minutes or so but we did 80 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. I wasn’t too keen on that distance on Thursday but the run through Clayton and Hanchurch was really nice as usual. My schedule for Sunday says 1 hour easy, so I had decided just to run Newcastle 7 at marathon pace and get round in around an hour or so. On Saturday I decided that I would just see what happens but not race too hard.

I remember to get the energy drink out of the fridge and arrive early to register and leave some Trentham 10 race entry forms on the tables. For a change its bright sunshine but not that hot so I don’t use the sun tan lotion. Registration takes only seconds and I spot the finishers mugs, I have to admit to not being in favour of them. There are so many Trentham runners about, some I don’t recognise and the conversation is about how well the ladies team did at the relays, London marathon and the usual what pace are you going to run at?” I also become safety pin monitor as there don’t seem to be any at the race and I warm up by collecting pins from my car a couple of times, for Mandy and John. Lee organises the pre race picture and it’s off to the start.

The start is really good with a nice wide road and no problems with getting past people. For a change there are no fun runners or people in fancy dress to get in the way. This is the first time I’ve raced with the heart rate monitor so it will be interesting to see what happens. I don’t bother looking for the E group runners as it’s not my intention to race any of them, just to get a reasonable number of points. First mile in 7:15 which is in a different league to the 8:45 I was going to run at but it doesn’t feel too fast.  My heart rate is about 150 so I decide to run at that for the rest of the race. Quite a few of the Trentham runners have come past me and I can see a few more further in front but the race has settled down and the field is strung out. Alan Lewis is not far in front and Rose just behind. Mile 2 up the hill in 7:45 and still reasonably relaxed. Final mile up the hill is 8:45 and the heart rate at the top has gone up to 155 ish. As the road levels off it drops back to below 150 but the time is quite good, 7:15 for mile 4. I don’t feel like I’m putting too much effort in which is exactly what I wanted but I have to push a bit to stop the heart rate falling. It feels like I’m probably working harder on the run down to Silverdale than I would normally do and I overtake a few runners on mile 5 (6.57) but some different ones (mostly female) come past in mile 6 (7:11) including Rose. Maybe on a good day I would chase Rose but I stick to my heart rate plan and lose a bit of ground to her but only one other runner comes past in the last mile. I have a nice relaxed run up the hill to the finish and feel that it was quite a relaxed run without too much effort. Surprisingly my time was 53:14, about 20 seconds faster than last year so the training must be working!

There is a sea of green at the finish with all the Trentham runners having a chat and it was nice to see other Trentham faces on the route supporting us and giving encouragement as well as Ken on his bike. I decide to collect a mug after all and also get a book about the North Staffordshire Hospital. What’s all that about???  Actually I found it quite interesting as it covers some other areas of local history!

As far as the E group is concerned, I’ve not been looking at the other runners today, I know the ones who moved up a group but I don’t know the current front runners except Lee who is too far in front to worry about. I passed a couple up the Black bank and saw a few finish after me so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was 5th in group with Lee winning. 

Monday will be the last visit to Stafford Chiropractic Clinic to sort the frozen shoulder out. The mobility is much better and running doesn’t give any problems but it still aches after an hour on the motor bike. Thursday is the first of the Spring Treble runs at Hanchurch and then its London Marathon weekend

Thanks for the report Ken. Next Report comes in from self proclaimed 'Golden Oldie' Alan Lewis:

Following our sojourn into virgin territory last week at Dougie Mac( neither of us having done it before!) this week's Newcastle 7 was a different kettle of fish. As previously mentioned Stan had an excellent run at DM beating Don Brookes' NSRRA record by some 20 secs, congrats Stan. We had both entered the race with thoughts of beating both his over 65 and over 70 times and as stated had no knowledge of the course. We both felt it was quite tough and gave little away until the final stages with the off road finish making it that little bit more difficult. For my part, although failing to beat the over 70 time by some 11secs, I was very pleased with my run and time and feel that on the right course,if I can find one I might get inside Don's time.

Anyway ,back to Newcastle 7.Both of us by contrast have been involved in this race since the 1980's and its original incarnation as the Maxim's 7.Some will not be familiar with that event which although run on a somewhat different course was equally tough and both of us have run most of them over more than 25 years. No age group records to be attempted this time as this one, being a less common distance does not figure in the local NSRRA listings. However in Stan's case he had John Keeling. one of our infrequently seen members to contend with. John does not run often for Trentham but is a very talented 66 year old who has the ability to suddenly appear out of the woodwork, despite little or no racing and put in a stunning performance. He and Stan have had many battles over 30 years or so ,sometimes with success for John so Stan knew he would have to run well.

In my case I had an even older ghost from the past to contend with. On arrival I was met by Mike Whitmore (Newcastle A C). Mike has suffered injury in recent years but I know if he's here I am in for a tough time. He and I go back some 55years to the time when he ran in Longton High School's cross country team and I in Newcastle High School's back in the 1950's when both were grammar schools and of course before most of you readers were even thought of. It seems remarkable that after all this time we are not only still running well but are actually competing against each other after all this time. Shouldn't think this sort of thing happens very often.
On to the race. I am not the best warm weather runner in the world, particularly when there is a sudden change in conditions as there was last week but I was determined to put these thoughts aside and do my best. in contrast Stan loves these conditions and therefore was beaming like the sun at the thought of warm weather on his back. At least the first mile is flat apart from the climb over the bridge before we come to that 2mile slog up Black Bank. Anyway gritting my teeth and not looking too far in front I managed it without losing too many places and even managed to pick up a few as we reached the top. No idea about the whereabouts of Mike but know he's behind me somewhere since that's where he chose to start. I know that having reached the top in front of him I now have a good chance since downhill running is normally my forte. Trouble with this course, despite all that climbing there are still a couple of nasty undulations before the real downhill is reached. Thankfully managed to hitch a lift with a Stafford harrier over this section which kept me going and a couple of cups of water over my head at the drinks station also helped. Anyway going downhill I managed to overtake a few until we reach the six mile mark. Always find this last mile tough and was definitely beginning to tire but hung on and managed to take a couple more up the finishing hill to come home in 52:14. No sign of Mike so really pleased but he came home only 36 seconds behind me which means i am in for some tough times this season if i am to continue to pick up the over 70 awards.
As for Stan he also had a good run finishing in 48;06, his rival John coming home in 49:26 an excellent run considering he has not previously raced and obviously, like me, Stan will have to be on his mettle if he is to retain his position. He told me afterwards that he was not his usual fluent self coming down the hill so perhaps the hill took something out of him as it did me. Good to see Gerry Calvert turning out, his first race since Alsager and manfully going round in 57 minutes despite his ongoing problems with his feet ,well done Gerry. First appearance for Trevor Goodwin this season and although slowing down continuing to turn out to complete a trio of Trentham over 70's.
Another lovely surprise at the finish when Larry Austin (Becky's dad) suddenly appeared, having watched the finish of the race. If you look in George Kay's book about the first 20 years of NSRRA you will see Larry listed as one of George's stars. He was a founder member of the association and is particularly known for some excellent marathon performances in his younger days. Anyway my association goes back even further as we were both members of Newcastle high School cross country team in the 1950's. This team was outstanding and although I was only a minor player, the team was undefeated for two years. Not only that but the 1950's NHS cross country teams spawned three future Olympians, the best known of whom is probably John Jackson who ran for England in the 3000metre steeplechase. All this under the inspired leadership of our X-country master Dr (Doug) Eyles. Obviously therefore we reminisced and it made for a lovely after race chat but perhaps more of that on a future occasion.
Super turn out of Trentham runners again and plenty of prizes picked up. Congratulations to everyone no matter where you finished. Let's remember that without your input there would be no race!!!
Ps for Ken Pearson if you're reading this. I also have a monitor from Lidl which I bought about 18 months ago. it's quite likely the same and unfortunately I have lost the instructions for mine. I wonder if you could do me a photocopy sometime please if it is' thanks

Thanks for the report Alan and well done to both you and Stan once again. Results from the Newcastle 7 can be found HERE!

Also, whilst you lot were running up Alsager's Bank Sarah Johnson was out setting a new course record at the Air Products 10K so hopefully a report from there to come soon...........


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Air Products 10K

Sarah Johnson had an outstanding run at the Air Products on Sunday to set, not only a new PB for a 10K but also set another new Club Record and also a Course Record on her way to winning the race. The official results aren't out yet but after speaking to her last night the time was 35:30 (give or take a second) which is a fantastic time. Also running on Sunday was Sam Newton, and many thanks Sam for sending in this report:

Seeing as I became a student for the second time around in September last year, I thought I’d have bit more time to pursue running and get back some form. (In October 2007 I tore my ankle ligaments whilst performing some aerial acrobatics over the infamous ditch at Senneleys Park- a lesson learned the hard way (“boo hoo” I hear you say). Since then, a combination of night college courses and bone-idleness has prevented me from visiting the club and training as hard as I’d have wanted to.)

With much training advice taken on board from Dale and Rich (and plenty of motivation from Carl and the others, not forgetting the entire ladies team) I have slowly come into some good form, with 4 PB’s in my last 5 road races, Cheddleton 10k being the one I didn’t PB in. With this in mind, I thought Air Products (Crewe) 10k would give me an excellent opportunity for another PB, being a flat course only 2 miles or so away from my doorstep.

 Having woken up to a flawless blue sky and sunshine, I got to the start to find an eager Sarah bouncing around only 20 hours after the Ladies Team’s fantastic result in the Relays. Due to this and the fact and managed to keep up with Sarah and Paul on the Wedgwood hill on Tuesday night, I thought I stood a reasonable chance of keeping up with her over the distance. However, when the gun sounded, Sarah went off like a shot and I quickly sidelined my hopes of catching her for another day (maybe the day after she’s done an ultra marathon or something?!) (she PB’d again in 35:20 or thereabouts, breaking the course record in the process- phenomenal).

Having chosen to deliberately leave the Garmin at home in favour of racing my own race, I was happy to go through the first K marker in 3:35. I knew that if I could replicate this pace over the distance I should be looking at 36 minutes, which would smash a previous PB of 37:52 at Clayton, 2007. Without boring you all to tears with a report concerning two laps of a tiresome route weaving around Crewe’s industrial estates, I hit the 9k marker- where Laura (my girlfriend) was strategically positioned to urge me on for the final push- on schedule(ish) at 33:35. I turned the corner into the home straight when I got hit by a gut-wrenching stitch which, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t shake off. I ground to a halt bitterly allowing 5 or 6 people to get the better of me before I tenderly plodded on. The finish line was met with a mixture of frustration and relief when I realised I’d managed a time of 37:15- a minute slower than what I was capable of, but another PB in the bag at least. (I think that this was my time anyway- SC Harriers still haven’t got around to putting the results online yet- 4pm on Weds!).

I am now happy to be reaping the rewards of a gruelling winter training schedule and look forward to a year of PBs and helping the men's team achieve some of the many successes that our ladies and vets are so accustomed to. Bring it on!

Thanks again Sam, and as soon as the results are available I will post them HERE!

National 6 stage Relays

I know all the Sunday reports are on first but this is hot off the press, so you will have to mentally time travel back before the Newcastle 7 and the Air Products, to a time when course records were not broken and Sunday was only a glint in the eye of Saturday's midday sun.

Yes Saturday was the National 6 stage relays held at Sutton Park in Birmingham, and with the Ladies Team in overdrive they set off down there to tackle a leg each of the 30K course. One of their number was Debbie Thomas who has sent us this report:

On Saturday the National 6th Stage 5K Relays were held at Sutton Park. Trentham ladies managed to accumulate a talented team consisting of Sara Johnson, Sharleen Hollinshead, Mandy Vernon, Jayne Dickens, Debbie Thomas and Adela Salt to each run a 5K leg. Team Coach Richard O’Keeffe had decided on the sequence of the runners, starting off with Sara on the first leg.
The weather conditions were favourable to begin with; warm, sunny and no breeze but as the race went on the temperature continued to climb and later runners had the hindrance of a sharp breeze to contend with on certain parts of the course as well. The race started at 12.20pm prompt and Sara was off with the other 60-odd runners, coming back in an exceptional 14th position. Sharleen was next to take over and managed to climb one place and finish strongly up the hill to hand over to Mandy who flew around the course and fought us into 10th. Jayne ran strong to keep us at 10th and I managed to keep hold of the position for Del to then finish off the race and gain one more place (despite having 1000 miles in her legs).

The results and times are listed below and we were all extremely excited, happy and proud to finish 8th team overall out of 47 complete teams (we were actually 9th team on the day but another team got disqualified so we were moved up!!) Big thanks to Richard for organising the day and supporting us, and a massive well done to all ladies for our best ever result at the National Relays!! Maybe next time we could get also together a ‘B’ team…..come on ladies!

Total Time was 1:51:33

Sarah Johnson (14) 17:16
S Hollishead (13) 18:03
Mandy Vernon (10) 18:14
Jayne Dickens (10) 18:59
Deborah Thomas (10) 19:46
Adela Salt (9) 19:15

Thanks Deb, and this from Adela:

Saturday was one of those days where team spirits were on a high as the Trentham ladies team had their best ever placing in the national 6 stage road relays at Sutton Park. The team has been going from strength to strength recently, with numerous individual and team wins in cross country and on the roads, and dare I say even on the track, but a top 10 finish in the English National 6 Stage Relays was something that we had never really considered.

Having travelled down to Birmingham together, the nerves were kicking in by the time we arrived, but it was great having team coach and manager Richard there who gave us all loads of encouragement. He also had the belief that we could finish in the top 10, and not wanting to let him down, the team ran brilliantly to actually finish 8th – yes 8th!!! – which is absolutely fantastic when you think that a couple of years ago nobody outside of Stoke-on-Trent had probably heard of Trentham Running Club.

From my own point of view, a 3 mile fast run was pretty tough. I was on the anchor leg and the rest of team had done a brilliant job at keeping us in touch with the leading teams in the top 10, so the pressure was on to keep the position. Thankfully I managed to gain a place and was relieved that although my time was slow compared to previous years, I didn’t let the team down.

Here are the girls in action

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Llanelli Marathon

Paul Burslem trotted over the border to Richard O'Keeffe country at the weekend to take part in the 'Great Welsh Marathon' and Paul has kindly sent us this report from the event:

For this we decided to make a weekend of it, It was Hannahs 16th birthday on the Saturday, so we decided to have a days shopping in Cardiff and a pig out at Pizza Express. When we got to Llanelli later on ,we were delighted to hear that Lenny Henry wasn’t stopping at our premier inn !

After we had unpacked we drove to the sea front to check the course out, it was extremely windy, but a local assured me that Sunday would be Ok. On Sunday morning I had my Sainsbury's sandwiches and Ann drove me to the start (they were going to have a full English and join me later). I was standing in the start area at 8.00 in my vest and shorts thinking this is going to be warm !  I went to sit on a bench overlooking the sea and commented to a couple of runners “what a great spot to chill out and relax” and they just ignored me!   Kept an eye out for them during the race and beat them.

When the race started ,I tried to keep around 6.40-6.45 pace and seemed to be coping quite well with the heat[21 c]

The route followed the millennium path, which followed the coast line apart from one section which went into a small industrial park, and was mostly tarmac with a bit of gravel and hard sand. During the race I had 4 gels ,but when I had my 2nd one at 12 miles it gave me stitch,so I had to slow down for a couple of miles until it went. Run seemed to be going very well until around 18 miles, then I could feel myself slowing, got to 20 miles in 2.15,and felt if I could get myself together sub 3 was still on. But at 22 miles 7.30 pace showed its self, then I just got slower and slower, but still managed to go past some cyclists !!

So happy to see 25 miles and tried to appear like a runner to the people watching. Loads of people at the finish area cheering us in.

Had a free massage after, so not a bad day !  (Apart from the 200 mile drive home after!!!)

Well done Paul, and what Paul doesn't mention is the fact he finished 21st/375 runners in a really good time of 3:04:09 despite his slowing late on, and i'm sure he beet those two ignorant Welshies as well, haha!

Results for the Marathon are HERE!


Virgin London Marathon

Sunday 17th April 2011 was the 30th running of the London Marathon now sponsored by Virgin Money. There were a good few Trentham Runners down in London to take part, some on coach trips and others making their own way. First across the line for Trentham was Adela Salt who completed the 26.2 miles in 3:03 minutes, followed by Ryan Procter in 3:28. Daniel Jordan was next home in a time of 3:42 and not far behind Chris Mosiuk in 3:46. Next to cross the line was Jill Phillips in 3:55 and then Yvette Henshall-Bell in 4:03. Ken Pearson came home in 4:19 and Linsey Hughes finished in 6:18. 

Ryan Procter has written the following report:

For me the London Marathon is more than a race, it is an event, a spectacle and just to be part of that spectacle is an amazing experience. Watched by around 300,000 spectators on the roadside and probably a few million on TV it is your chance to take part in one of the most viewed sporting events in the UK. A record 36,550 runners managed to complete the 26.2 mile course raising millions of pounds for various charities.

For me it was my 3rd London Marathon, my last one being in 2009 when my time of 3:07 managed to get a guaranteed entry for 2 years, so this was my last chance to enter knowing I would get a place. I didn't particularly want to enter this year, but with last year's ballot closing at 125,000 entries within 24hrs I knew that the chance of getting another place anytime soon was slim, so I did enter and decided to just enjoy it with no expectations whatsoever.

On Saturday, after days (ahem) of training it was time to board the coach in Newcastle. After picking Jill up and parking the car we headed round to Jubilee Bath's to find Chris and his partner Alex, Yvette and her daughter, and Lynne Callaghan waiting to board. This was a dual weekend for two of us on the coach, myself and Chris, as after much planning, we were also going to the FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley after the race to watch Stoke City take on Bolton Wanderers. With this in mind it only seemed appropriate to hang a huge Stoke City scarf in the back window of the bus to remind all those Manchester City/United fans that there were more than 2 teams in this cup!

We stopped off briefly in Stafford where we picked up Ken and Caroline, then it was off down the M6/M1/M25 to the Excel Arena in London to collect the race numbers and visit the marathon expo for loads of freebies and other stuff. Managed to spot the "Good Luck Trentham RC runners" message written by Dan Jordan's daughter Isabella on the massive wall and added to it myself before looking round the arena. This was the final day of the Expo and almost all of the clothing was now down to XS or XXL, hardly a medium in sight. I think the 'London Pride' stand had also run out of half pint glasses as they were giving out stupid little shot cups to have a taste (I had 3). After meeting Pingu, Bob the Builder, not Paula Radcliffe and getting a new hoodie and some freebies it was time to board the coach again for the hotel.

This was also a controversial topic as in the information the hotel was named as 'Holiday Inn Brentwood' whereas on the coach window it showed 'Hilton Dartford', a much better hotel than the distinctly average Holiday Inn, however, after boarding the coach the Hilton sign had disappeared and Holiday Inn it was. Chris and I went up the road for a couple of pints and to watch the Man City/United semi before heading back for Dinner. The evening meal was okay with the dessert being the highlight, although the 3 bean salad was also nice.

After a short chat in the lounge and another beer it was off to bed as we had a breakfast deadline of 6:15 am (unheard of for me) to attend. After the breakfast, plenty of choice there, it was on the coach to the start. On arrival at Greenwich we all set off for our respective 'pens'. I bumped into Adela and Linsey on the way and had a quick photo with them before heading to my pen. Both previous Marathons I was on the Blue start so a Red start in the 'Fast Good For Age' pen (their words, not mine) was something new. Very small compared to the huge mass Blue and Red areas (only a few port-a-loos and one urinal block) it was nice and cosy with a few hundred other runners divided into two groups for the front of the red start. I was in group 2 and made sure I was right at the back as I knew I had no chance whatsoever of getting another 'GFA' time. It almost felt as though I was cheating just being there.

3,2,1 BANG and that is much as I remember of a countdown as I was too busy chatting about football with some other runners. I should mention that as it was the same day of Stoke City's FA Cup Semi-Final I had decided to run in my Stoke Shirt and was enjoying the banter with the other football fans, most of whom wanted Stoke to win and wished us luck in the game. So off we were and after about 30 seconds or so I was across the start mats. Now, I'm not sure if the mile markers were slightly out but I definitely didn't start my Garmin until I crossed the line but I was getting a mile up a couple of hundred yards before every mile marker.

Now I will say again, I had no plan, no expectation, no promises but just to run 'comfortable' and if ever I felt uncomfortable I would back off. The first mile was okay and not really being held up (and just one quick roadside pee) saw me clock 7:15 which I thought would do just fine so it was with much surprise that the next 5 miles were all 'sub 7'. I assumed this was because we were dropping down to the riverside and after this for the next 8 miles it was very consistent indeed all coming in between 7.00 and 7.25 up to the 15 mile marker (or just before in my case). I had passed and chatted with Dan Jordan - who to be fair, and I'm sure he will agree, looked like he was struggling a little - and his brother Andy who I know from my second claim club VCAC (vegetarian cycling and athletic club).

I was now feeling the lack of training and had no choice but to ease off a little myself, and the next few miles were all around 8 minutes. At mile 20 there was a Lucozade Gel station and I decided that I would stop whilst I consumed it and have a little rest. Not sure if this was a good move in hindsight as this was the first of a few stops from here to the finish. I didn't stop completely after this but I did walk a few metres at the next mile marker, mile 21. I made a deal with myself that if I ran to every mile marker I would award myself a little 'time-out' with a short walk, and this I did to the end really. after about 21 miles I noticed Mick Hall taking photos and gave him a wave. I still can't believe how good I look on this picture as believe me I was feeling 'S#!T'. At mile 22 I passed Emma and the others and stopped for a brief kiss and hello before carting off again.

I probably should mention also that by running in my Stoke City Shirt I was receiving a lot of attention from football fans, both running and spectating, I ran a short spell with a Villa Fan who was telling me about the previous day's drubbing of West Ham Utd, and how they should now be safe this season. Most of the spectator comments were along the lines of 'COME ON STOKE' to which I was trying to acknowledge every one. I saw lots of people watching with Stoke scarves and flags and shirts and always gave a 'Up The Potters' to every one, that is until I got to Westminster and a bunch of Stokies sang, "we're the famous Stoke City and we're going to Wem-ber-lee", to which I replied in kind with another football chant to the tune of a 1980's hit by the Joy Division.

Not far from the finish now and I was feeling much happier, and the atmosphere along Birdcage walk and around Westminster was amazing. This is why I love the London Marathon, just the spirit of it and the support. On the final stretch down The Mall I saw a runner collapsed about 150mts from the finish so I stopped to offer him a hand to the finish. He refused a couple of times saying he'd got cramp and would be alright in a few minutes. It was at this point I noticed the time was ticking towards 3:30 and although I had no target, and had no plan I suddenly decided I wanted to get under that time, so I left him there at his own request, and jogged across the line and stopped my Garmin on 3:28:47.

At this point I realised that I was very tired indeed, and now I had nothing to run for, I staggered to the chip de-taggers and to collect my bag, which took ages! We agreed to meet up at 'T' for Trentham in the meeting area and when I got there Lynne Callaghan was a welcome friendly face. I sat down and waited for the others to come in. I was getting a little worried about Chris as I'd expected him to be well in front of me, but didn't see him pass me and he wasn't at the 'T'. I later found out that Chris had suffered with cramp and had struggled to keep going, but he finished with a credible 3:46 for his first marathon which is fantastic.

After meeting Jill and Del it was time for me and Chris to make a swift exit to Wetherspoons for a 'washroom brush up' and a pint before catching a tube to Wembley Stadium for the much anticipated FA Cup Semi-Final, but that's another story...................

That is the only report from London so far but well done to all those that ran and if you do feel like sending one in then please do so.

 Here's the results - HERE!

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Manx Mountain Marathon

The Manx Mountain Marathon is a fell race classed as A/Long, a bit of an understatement really, but Philip Mainwaring decided to go along and see what it was all about:

Over the weekend I travelled to the Isle of Man for the Manx Mountain Marathon. This is a 31.5 mile course over twelve peaks covering a total ascent of 8000ft. I caught the ferry across on the Friday and got up for a 06:00 bus ride to the start of the race at Ramsey on Saturday. There were two start times for the race, one at 07:30 and a later one at 09:00 for those expecting to take less than seven hours to complete the course. I chose the early start and tried to pace myself making sure not to lead the way as I had little idea over the route. Most people running had either run the race before or had explored the course before the event while I was merely hoping that Fate would smile upon me. By the time I got to the top of the second mountain I was alone, in a cloud, studying my map and compass, the person I had been following who knew where to go had decided he was faster than me and disappeared into the mist. Visibility was down to about twenty yards and it was surprisingly cold. Fortunately after running around in circles through the gorse, I found a path heading in the right direction and waited for someone else to emerge from the mist running the same way just to be certain of the path. Around three hours into the race I found myself in the same situation except it was raining and I was starting to freeze, so I sat down to take on some food and hoped someone would appear from the mist. After five minutes nobody turned up so I followed an attractive looking path and somehow found the next peak before mercifully being passed by a local runner, who I followed for the next hour.
After four and a half hours I got to the half-way point, realised running was now too painful and consigned myself to a determined shuffle for the rest of the course. After five hours I started to get overtaken by runners from the late start and then about half an hour after that by people running the half marathon. After six hours of running/ walking/ shuffling I was told that there was only five miles left so I joyously increased the speed of my shuffle and tried not to cry with relief that the pain was almost over. Forty five minutes and one mountain later I was told there were six miles left and spent the next hour crying and plotting the murder of the stupid cow who’d raised my hopes. The last mountain was almost impossible to climb; I had sharp stabbing pains running through my legs every time I moved them and the only thing keeping me going was a stash of Jaffa cakes I’d picked up at the previous drinks station. I finished along the beach at Port Erin after 8hrs 5mins 33secs where I received a t-shirt and a free meal before catching a bus back to Douglas.
Overall, this is one of the most tortuous, agonising, and soul destroying things I’ve ever done (after finishing I discovered chafing from my shorts had resulted in blood flowing down each leg and I’d even cracked a tooth while biting down in pain) but the race was well organised and there were copious amounts of Jaffa cakes available.

Thanks Phil and a huge well done. If you'd like to read more about the Manx Mountain Marathon see HERE where you can also find the results.

Anniversary Waltz

The Anniversary Waltz is a very well known Fell Race that takes place in the Lake District of Cumbria. If you are interested in finding out more info about the history of this race then have a look HERE, and one person that wanted to go and see for herself along with husband Nick is Jayne Dickens who has kindly sent us this report:

Nick and I had entered this fell run in February. We both love the wild countryside, especially the beautiful Lake District and as my foot was letting me do up to 8 miles by then I presumed that it would continue to improve so I booked the race, accommodation etc...if I hadn’t my foot would probably of been ok. Well I decided to do it still, foot still swollen 2 days after my 2nd win at Spring Treble, Nick had sensibly decided to drop out as he hadn’t done enough running to merit a decent time and I, in one evening had then got to undergo a crash course in orienteering. After my appalling efforts, Nick thought it best for him to endure the suffering with me the next day else he’d be joining the Mountain Rescue Team trying to find me that night.

We arrived in time on the 23rd April, travelling from Stone the same morning, to find hundreds of proper hard core, stick thin fell runners buzzing around, most wearing buffs around their necks and having proper fell shoes on unlike us. We were checked for carrying our map, compass etc and then allowed to go into the field which was the start.

As we started off, we said we would take it steady, but still did quite well overtaking people on the climb and still having a chat....Nick quite loudly stating how certain people ‘needed a bath’ and so I promptly overtook him before a scrap ensued ...we were quite tightly knit together up the narrow tracks with about 360 people doing the race.  This was quite the opposite going down, descents of 30 percent, my quads were screaming trying to brake for over 20 mins at a time, I was also yelping with the worst pain ever in my foot ever. I had to stop several times to pad it up and also remove my non-fellrunning socks which were causing blisters (but the shoes didn’t help either). The others just had this wonderful technique of running downwards without cracking their head open on the rocks!! We also did a bit of rock climbing and Nick bravely overcame his fear of heights. I nearly fell backwards with the weight of the camelback however!!

The race included 5 mountains which were Robinson, Hindscarth, Dale Head, High Spy and Cat Bells, 3,600 ft of climbing and quite a toughie resembling Long Mynd fell run I was told. There were no drink stations at the checkpoints so it was good we had taken our own provisions, the winner did it in about 1hr 30, 1st  women was about 2 hrs and we did ours in approx 2.40 and 2.55.

We knew after all the climbing and descending that we were in for some future suffering and we still are a wk later. Both of us couldn’t walk down the stairs properly for 3 days afterwards, it was like the London marathon all over again!!

Well on the 4th hill who did we see but our very own Dale Colclough. Quite innocently I exclaimed “Are you taking it easy as well then Dale?” Well the look of disgust was interpreted quite plainly and he then went on the clarify that he had already done 4000 ft of climbing before our race and had started just a little bit earlier than us. This race was called ‘Teenager with an Attitide” and so he was doing a total of 7,600ft climbing that day. I bowed my head in respect and thought I better let him motor on, especially if he was in for an age group prize too!!

It did get quite cold up in the clouds when we reached the summits, thus people having their buffs. Denise gave us a cheer as we finally descended our last climb, my hands up in the air terrified I was going to fall as usual. A welcomed stew awaited and a sigh of relief that mountain rescue weren’t required after all.

So a wk later, with no running, suffering with our quads on the bikes, we live to tell the story. Wonderful scenery and looking at Derwentwater beneath us was particularly beautiful. Well worth a go for everyone I reckon.

Thanks Jane, a real toughie and well done on completing the race!




Page last updated 04 May 2011


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