July 2011

 

Shifnal Half

A good number of Trentham Runners headed across the border to Shropshire to take part in the Shifnal Half, part of the club championship calendar. First home for Trentham was Stephan Walley in a time of 1:30:57, but it also seems there were a number of runners having a 'fun run' and not taking it too seriously. One of those was Lee Jones who sent us this report:

 Right....I've got an hour to spare before we head off to Berryhill 10k. I have just come back from the dentist where I have had to have 2 fillings replaced. I do try and look after my teeth but I've had these fillings for about 10yrs & they both fell out within a week of each other. I don't mind dentist's, not bothered about needles or even the high pitched whiny drill. It's the one that sounds like a grinder that I don't like. Anyway, the plan was to go back to work after, but as I sound like Daffy Duck when I speak I thought it best not to bother. So it was a good excuse to come home early and do my report about Shifnal Half. The morning was already warm as I was walking my dog (Diefer) at 7am, and it was promising to be a scorcher like last week at St Michaels. I had arranged to meet Walter at the club and follow him to Shifnal because I didn't know the way (yes I know I'm a taxi driver) When we arrived Jill, Chris, Dave & a new member to the club Stephan Walley were there as well as Walt, then we all loaded into two cars & made the 50minute journey to Shifnal.
I forgot to mention that sammy & Lara were with me, but you could probably guess that anyway.
As Walt was behind the lens today taking photo's for Bryan Dale, Sammy asked if she could tag along with him & cheer us on at different points around the course.
We had to walk about a mile to the start, everyone was moaning already about the heat, but I had a secret weapon. I had bought along my blue denim fishing hat (the one I had abandoned last week) and it was soaked with water. People were giving me strange looks, but I could tell that most of them would have brought it off me if I were to sell it.
HUH, why cant I do short reports, got to go in a min.
We set of. As this race isn't part of the NSRRA I wasn't bothered about a good finishing time, so didn't go blasting off like normal & settled in for a good training run. Within the 1st mile Chris had caught up, I was ready to wish him well as he overtook but he stayed with me. He wasn't fussed about a good finish time either so we decided we would run together.
DAMN got to go....to be continued.

Ok I'm back, phew, that Berryhill 10k was a toughy but a goody.
Anyway...Shifnal. So we decided to run together. It was good fun, we kept up a reasonable comfy pace and chatted the miles away. There was water stations every 2 miles which was great because it gave me a chance to soak my hat. The 1st time we passed Bryan taking pics a guy in front of us pulled a silly pose, I missed the opportunity, but we hatched a plan to do a double hitter when we went past Walt. Having done this race before,Chris knew exactly where his dad would be. There was a runner in front of us as we approached Walter, so we had to let him get out of the way before we both stopped in front of the camera and pulled our best Bruce Forsyth impressions before running on. Sammy & Lara were around the next corner sitting in the shade of a tree. They looked amused as we plodded past (they are used to seeing Chris about 5mins in front of me, whilst I puff past sweating like a pig).

By now we had done about 8 miles, we had taken to actually stopping at the water stations to drink & soak the hat. I remember a guy who kept going past us when we were drinking only for us to overtake him until we got to the next station then he would come past again, he never stopped running once. I think he kept up with us as we went past and we dragged him around the course station by station.
When we finally hit the 10 mile mark I looked at my watch, I started to worry that I wouldn't even beat my 1st half time of 1:47 at Stafford, so we upped the pace a bit. We went through a gate turned a corner & there was Bryan clicking away with his camera. We did a Eric & Ernie style dance towards him & carried on. The last mile was through the town & by now I was expecting one of our Trentham buddies to come up behind. I kept looking back because I wasn't about to get beat by a club member (Dave) running the race of his life. Although this wasn't NSRRA it was part of the club championships, so I was still ready to fight for my points. I relaxed as we went into the field that led us into the finish, we had one last photo from Walt (no pose) and crossed the line together in 1:44:04. About a minute later Dave came running in having just done a P.B time. He said he had us in his sights, so a last minute sprint might have been on the cards.
Would like to say thanks to Chris for running with me and making this a memorable race/run. Well done to all who ran especially the little band of Trentham runners. I really enjoyed this race & look forward to doing it again next year (I might try a bit harder next time)

Well, thanks for the report Lee and hope we get one for the Berryhill which rudely interupted your ramblings from Shifnal. Results for the Shifnal Half can be found HERE whilst pictures can be seen on Bryan Dale's site HERE. The ones of Chris & Lee are well worth seeing.


Berryhill 10K

Normally a very popular race with the Trentham Runners and as befits a warm Wednesday in July it's usually hammering down with rain. Not sure what the weather was like but it wasn't too warm an evening making for good running conditions. Looks like Mandy Vernon won the ladies race whilst Rob Tabbanor was first home for Trentham just in front of Stephan Walley. Also Stan Winterton walked away with the V65 prize as did Alan Lewis in the V70 so a good show for all Trentham Runners, including young Dan Mosely running in the junior race. Gary Payne has kindly sent in this report:

So im sitting here day after berryhill 10k a couple of guiness and a bit of home brew so why not use the frothy yeast for an inspiration to write a bit about the race!!!
so after downing tools at my bathroom of which im in the process of decorating i decide time to see if my speed training ive being doing is working target time is 42.59 which i did in 2009 when i was running pretty good by my standards.
i turn up and after struggling with parking i sign in (if i ran there it wouldve been quicker).
i meet up with the (3Cs and an E) and we talk about the course and they tell me theyve never done this race , so i think advantage to me, then give the course away hmmmm
this is my training ground so off to the race i go with the 3cs and an e.
the first lap was steady and i bunch up with chris the top c runner, craig is the other top runner and is poorly (hope he gets well soon) and nigel payne was up there too.
i raced nigel in 2009 and beat him on the last lap so i thought i would hang back.
2nd lap was a bit slow think i slowed too much as chris and nigel were now about 100 yards infront still i though hang in and wait for the fade
also another tip(i dont know why i give these away) but on berryhill the grassy bit with the sand in (basically off road) you have to run on the very edge you get better traction.
i could see that the front 2 were running in the middle and wasting energy so the last lap was for me .
into the last lap and cramp sets im not sure why and after 8 years of running and internet research i still dont know so i have to slow, a shame as i was making good ground on chris and nigel.
still onto the final bit of offroad and john corbet a good vet distance runner pulls alongside me and i all i thought was not this time as every race for the last 3 months he has beaten me so i kicked hard the stitch went and the 2 runners infront were mine i got both and finished 3rd in group c my best since alsager.
chuffed with that and my pace was back too what it used to be.
well done too chris i had the best seat in the house to see him take the points. and i will be working hard to make the season an exciting finish.
loved the race again 6th time i think would recommened to anyone.
now time for another glass of beer
cheers green army for the training and support so far
(oh by the way target time 42.59 of 2009 official 2011 time 42,59. Winner)

Thanks for that Gary, and well done. Results for the 10K can be found HERE!

 


Summer Series - Rudyard

Adam Brearley has tried to do every Summer Series race he can so far, and this his report from the latest one at Rudyard:

Had been debating whether to race this week’s Summer Series for a couple of reasons, firstly was unsure whether 2 races in a week is what I need at the moment, and secondly it was Club BBQ night!. Eventually I decided that, to get where I want to be, I need to get myself out there competing. Got to Rudyard nice and early, got registered and did a mile or so warm up. Haven’t done this particular course before, just knew it was a 5 mile around the lake. Having checked last year’s results I gave myself a rough target of about 31:30 which is where I’m at just now. Bumped into the guy from Congleton that was close to last week and asked him what the course was like. He responded by saying that it was like Oakamoor, the opposite way around. I.e. flat for 1st half and full of hills 2nd half. Great !

Set off and the field quickly settled, with young Ryan from Moorlands and another guy heading off into the distance, another 4-5 guys not far behind and a group of roughly 6-7 of us in the chasing pack. Felt pretty good and was into a decent stride as we pulled away from a couple from the group after about a mile. In our pack of 4 there was now myself, Kelvin from SMAC, a guy called Dean from Mow Cop Runners (only know his name as he seemed to have supporters all around the course shouting his name which was getting on my nerves), and a fella from Congleton. The pace was starting to quicken up now and at around 2 miles I was having to dig in, Kelvin and Dean taking the lead in turns. I was conscious of the guy at the beginning telling me it was all hills on the way back, so was happy to hang in now then try and push on for the hilly part of the race.

At this stage I hadn’t looked at my watch once which I was pleased with as was purely focused on the race. As we started to head back from the top end of the lake there were a couple of gradual climbs, again the pace seemed to be quickening even more. It was at this point I guessed that if I finished 1st out of our group then there was a possibility I would make the top 10. For the first time I looked at the watch and had been out for just over 20 minutes. It was now that I decided that there was no way I was going to let any of these guys beat me, so took on the mantle and really started to push. Dean stayed with me as we started hitting some downhill stretches, and I started wondering where these bl00dy hills were !!

Eventually as we were about a mile or so from the finish, we hit a couple of short sharp climbs. Really got stuck into them and left my mate. As we approached the dam I knew I was around a minute from the finish so gave it one last push. Crossed the line in 9th, 30:41. Well pleased overall, one position up on last week and beat a couple of guys that had pipped me as well, also this was my first top 10 finish in these series, and next year I know there are hardly any hills in this race after all !! Definite aim to keep pushing on which am confident I can do, to get the green vest right in amongst all the yellow of SMAC !!Back to the club for a burger and pint, happy days !!

Well done Adam and thanks for the report. You can catch up with how the Summer Series is panning out HERE!

 


Cheadle 4

 

A good day's racing for Trentham Runners at the Cheadle 4, with Paul Gibbings finishing 4th and only missing out on 2nd by 1 second, what a finish! You could have thrown a blanket over the next three Trentham finishers with Mandy Vernon winning the ladies race just behind Rob Tabbanor and Stephan Walley. Stan Winterton won the V65 cat and Alan lewis the V70+ and Rose won the LV50. There were a good few others out racing too and one of them, John Guest, has sent in this report:

Looking for a PB on this course, 29:08 in 2009 to beat, I decided upon my ultra-light, 134 gram, Asics Piranha flats for this the shortest race in the NSRRA calendar. I arrived at Cheadle in time for a good warm up, plus a few stretches and of course, time to check out which of my NSRRA rivals were racing. All the main group 'E' contenders were there, including the group leader and club colleague, Lee (the machine) Jones, Nick Hacket from S Cheshire, plus Bill Stevenson and John Wood from Michelin.
Lee refers to me as his "Nemesis" but It seems the accurate definition is "The nemesis of a person or thing is something or someone which causes their downfall or defeat. ..." now, because Lee has beaten me in every NSRRA race so far this season surely that makes him my Nemesis. Anyway onto the race........

I was determined not to go off too fast, but failed again and completed the first mile in 6:09, I spotted Lee's allotment-bronzed shiny head bobbing away in front, but he was moving away, so must've really been pushing it. Mandy Vernon breezed past early on and I could see Chris Mosiuk and also Gary Payne who appeared to be running really well.
We started the gradual climb up the hill at 1.5 miles before it flattens out briefly then climbs up again. Half way up the main climb and I hear Debbie Thomas closing in on me - I knew who it was and said "Hi Debbie" even before she came alongside, as I recognise the sound of that very efficient, deceptive short stride she has. I say deceptive because I tried matching my stride pattern and even with my longer legs she still eased away! But this gives me a lift and as we turn the corner I see Gary Payne ahead who appears to be struggling up the hill and I say "Come on Gary" as I pass.

I can see Lee with Chris just behind, but not too far ahead, (Chris obviously taking it steady), and set myself a target to reach them before the top of the hill at about 2.5 miles. Just as we get to the top, I'm within touching distance of Lee when I'm nearly blown over by the rush of air as Gary storms past, (tile adhesive fuelled methinks!), obviously not struggling on the hill, merely saving himself for the downhill section as he quickly zoomed away into the distance.
Moving down the hill I close in on Lee and decide to sit in, rather than get into Fernando Alonso's, aka Gary Payne's raging slipstream, (used up all of my Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) on the hill). I check my watch and know that the PB is on as I draw alongside and we exchange pleasantries, which involves Lee trying his mind games technique telling me "it's all yours". I know he's fiercely competitive so take this with a pinch of salt, but know that if I can stick with him until close to the finish, I have a chance with my sprint. I also know that he knows, I know, he knows, I know, he knows, I know this, (mind-boggling eh?), so I take the initiative and try a couple of spurts up the last mini incline and up to the corner, but Lee pushes, stays with me and it's not until halfway along the road to the park that I open up a 4 metre gap. Into the park and I spot another rare opportunity, to also finish ahead of the legendary Stan Winterton.

Well done to all the Trentham prize winners and thanks to the boost from the Trentham runners mentioned above I get my PB finishing in 27:26, over a minute and a half off my previous best on this course, plus a bonus of the NSRRA group winner dish!

Well done John, and congratulations on the silverware! The results for Cheadle 4 can be seen HERE and well done to all who took part in the race.

 

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World Trail Running Champs

As many of you will already know Adela Salt travelled across to Ireland last weekend to take part in the World Trail Running Championships representing GB and as she found out, wasn't quite what she was expecting, read on:

Last weekend, I travelled to Connemara in County Galway, Ireland, to take part in the World Trail Running Championships as a member of the Great Britain team. The race was approximately 47 miles, but due to heavy rain in the preceding week, the course was changed to include climbing 2 mountains twice, giving about 7000 feet of ascent during the race. One of the mountains – Benbaun – is the highest in County Galway and with a height of 2,400 feet, had grade 5 ascents/descents which meant scrambling up the mountain on hands and knees due to the severity of the incline.

The course was also extremely boggy in parts, and several athletes – myself included – ended up waist deep in smelly bog water and mud on more than one occasion. Despite nearly 140 starters, a quarter of the field dropped out due to the conditions underfoot or due to broken bones and injury. I’m pleased to say that I finished the race in one piece, and was 2nd British lady home, and 18th in the World Championship, whilst the British ladies team finished a respectable 4th against counties that are fortunate to have athletes living and training at altitude in the mountains!!

It was a fantastic experience and one that I will remember forever. Next big one for me is the Commonwealth Trail Running Championships in Anglesey at the end of September which I’m told will be a trail race rather than a mountain race, and will involve running across a beach at high tide – best take my flippers next time then! If you want to read a more detailed report about my Irish adventure, I will be posting on my blog over the next couple of days (www.delsalt.blogspot.co.uk). Thanks to all at Trentham who supported me and wished me well leading up to the race – it was greatly appreciated, and I hope I didn’t let you all down!

Thanks for the report Del and well done on a fine race in difficult conditions. Results for the race can be found HERE and below is a piccy of Del in action.

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JCB 5

The race around Rocester, otherwise known as the JCB 5 took place on Thursday and one person that went along was Debbie Thomas who sent us this:

I enjoyed the JCB 5 last year, even though at the time I was only just getting back into racing after a long period of setbacks and the course almost killed me, it was a great atmosphere and nice run. So come 2011 and I send off my entry looking forward(ish) to the challenge. However, having done a 10 mile and 12 mile run two days before the race, I almost withdrew on the day due to feeling slightly ‘flat’, and not at all in the mindset for a hard run, but on the day the sunshine came out and I thought why the heck not, it’s ‘only 5 miles’!

Arriving with Carl, we don’t spot many green vests at first, but then out they come – Paul Burslem, Chris Mosiuk, Mandy Vernon, Paul Clinton, Ken Pearson, Ken Bloor, Lee Jones, Gary Payne…(sorry if I missed anyone!) After a mile and half warm up with PaulB and Carl we get ourselves ready on the start line about 5-10 minutes before the off at 7pm. Smile for the photograph and then GO! The 2 x two mile laps take in a short steep climb and then a long drag before a steep descent, a small little climb, another descent and then flat and around the lake before going around again, with the finish an out and back alongside one of the lakes. I started off about 4-5 rows back in the crowd and try and take the uphills easy-ish to save my legs for the second time round.

Around mile two I catch Lee Jones (quick starter!) and we run together for 1/2 mile or so. Lee tells me to push on as he’s steadying his pace and I focus on pushing hard on the flat but not too hard on the hills. I lose about 45 seconds on the hills this time but tell myself that’s fine as they are hard and I can use the downhill’s to retrieve some seconds. Back on to the flat and I’m next to Gary Payne. We run side by side for a mile or so before I scrape past him coming into the last mile. The last ½ mile involves running along one side of the lake and then back on yourself with the finish in view. Running as hard as I can along this flat stretch I then hear rapid footsteps approaching behind me before Gary has caught me and flown past at lightning speed!! and I cannot go with him.

I cross the line in 33.59, a whole 1 minute 1 second faster than last year, but also beaten by a couple of ladies I normally pass! Massive well done to Carl (first Trentham home) and finishing around 17th (welcome back!) and Mandy for 2nd lady on the night (also running with a swollen hand and on antibiotics from a wasp sting on Thursday!) go girl!!, and all other Trentham clubbers who took part; all ran brilliantly!! Thanks to Rose and Jackie for the shouts on the night too! And thanks to Carl for the lifts and letting me talk you to death on the way home!!

Well done Debs and to all the others that turned up to race. One of the others was Carl Platt who has made a welcome return to racing again. Here is Carl's report:

After having a real bright start to the year I had all these plans of what I was going to do. That soon came to an end after a Holiday In GOA and I had a real bad reaction on Anti maleria tablet's. Its been 4 months since I last raced.

I was using this race to see where I am at with my training, I have had about about 4 weeks training behind me and to be fair I have not been feeling to bad. So I got home from work and went to pick Deb up then off to JCB. We got there and bumped Into Paul Burslem then we went for a nice warm up around the lake. As we were at the start line my Plan was to stick with Kelvin because this is not a race that you can run even pace and was not to sure about what pace to go off at. The 1st mile is all up hill I went through at 6:13 pace then a nice down hill stretch mile 2 5:33 pace then back round again this time mile 3 was 6:34 pace then 5:42 pace. At this point I was about 8 seconds behind Kelvin but there was no way I was going catch him I just could not go any faster. The last mile come in at 6:05 pace and finished in a time of 30:05 and came 17th I was told but not seen the offical results yet.

Well It was good to feel my lungs and legs hurting again and also good to get that competitve edge back. Cant wait for my next race it is MANCHESTER In two weeks, Its a 5 k if any one fancies it. Its pay on the night. Some great runs from the green army. I know Deb was a minute faster than last year which is impresive seen she had ran 12 mile yesterday. Cant remeber all the times but another one that stood out was Lee Jones who got a PB and won is group again. I also found out he's quite a good swimmer as I turned round I thought who's that swimming in the lake, It was Lee haha. If anyone wants to do the 5k sizzler In MANCHESTER give me a shout.

Well done Carl, great effort and thanks for the report. The results are now out and show that first Trentham runner home was indeed Mr Platt mentioned above in an official time of 30:07, not far behind Mandy Vernon was only just pipped to the post by Catherine Dulla but still came away 2nd overall and 1st L40. Also seems that Chris Mosiuk has prematurely aged, but did walk away with the MV55 prize?!?
Not sure how the prizes were awarded, but Stan Winterton came 1st in the over 65 age group but seems to be listed as MV60 so not sure if he won anything.
Other Trentham Runners were Lee, Phil, Deb, Ken B & P, Paul B & C, Gary & Sam.
The results can be scrutinised HERE!

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Trentham 10

Well, what a day for it, the forecast was for rain and at first it looked as though we might get away with it, but it wasn't to be as the rainclouds came rolling over. This did nothing to dampen the spirits of the 250 or so runners taking part, nor the marshals it seems. Before we have the usual race reports I thought it might be nice to see some of the feedback given on the race from other competitors. I won't disclose the full details but his comes from someone known as Silke:

I did the Trentham 10 today for the first time and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it! I have done quite a lot of races but this one really stood out - the course was lovely but what made it so special were the marshals. I think every single one cheered as though every runner was in the lead! Please thank them from me!
I have never written to an organising club after a race, but today's marshals were so amazing, I just felt I had to...

This also came in from someone known only as John:

Just a thought for either today's race report or even a letter in the road runners mag.

You can quote me. I have been running for over 25yrs and Trentham running club should be proud  and pat themselves on their backs. It was a credit to the club to see so many of you're members ,who were not running the race, out in force Marshalling and supporting their fellow runners, especially considering the poor weather conditions

We are sometimes quick to complain about poor race organisation but rarely praise when it is outstanding

 Well done Trentham

Well there you have it folks, well done to ALL those that marshalled, helped out in the village hall, on the drinks stations or whatever you did. You all did a great job and as is shown above, it is greatly appreciated. Well after that general praise of our efforts here is the first report coming from Lee Jones, who was out enjoying the watery conditions for the second time in a week:

Oh my days, my life is full just lately!.
As well as working I am also trying to decorate my house, clear my allotment, keep up my training & also compete in all the NSRRA races that are coming thick and fast at the moment. No wonder I've been slacking on my race reports. So I decide that I must at least report on our own club race Trentham 10, but I'll try & bring us up to date first.
My last report was from Shifnal Half, which was just a lark about really (as the photo's show)
Then the Tuesday after that it was Berryhill 10k which was a different kettle of fish. I was nervous about this because I thought Nick Hackett (an E group runner, who I had never beat until Potters) would be out for revenge, also Trentham's very own John Guest was on form and threatening to beat me in a road race instead of an offroad one. Anyway I ran my heart out in 43:50 and won the group.
The Sunday after that was Cheadle 4 which I basically failed on. I did the 1st mile in 6mins (to fast) then we had to do a mile climb (not good) That's when John Guest came along side, pushed me all the way to 100yds off the finish then sprinted the line to claim that win.GRRRRR, well done John. My time then was 27:33 a P.B (never done a 4 mile race before)
Then just last Thursday was JCB Lakeside which turned out to be one of my favourite races of the year. I ran really well, knocked 15 seconds of my P.B 34:30, got my 50points, which I'm sure is only because John pulled up part way around with a torn calf muscle (sorry about that John) and then went SWIMMING in the lake with Phil Thomas. It was great, at first we were just calling each others bluff then we just went for it. Hope it's just as hot next year because I'm taking a lilo if it is.
Wow, 3 reports in 3 paragraphs, not bad.....Anyhow.
The weather was crap today as forecast. We headed out early because Sammy & Lara had volunteered to Marshall the race. We met up with Richard to see where they would be standing, I think Sammy was a bit nervous when she was told she would be giving out the water at the first station, she knew then that she was going to get wet, if not from the rain then definitely from runners going past grabbing the full cups & sloshing it everywhere. They put on there yellow bibs & went with Lionel in his car to their station (personally I think they should have walked up the hill, but it would have took Lara all day & probably most of the night)
As the crowd started to gather I began to get my pre race nerves, I hate the standing about getting ready to start the race, I just want to get going. I managed to get in my usual start position on the front row right at the edge so as not to get in the way of the really fast starters, then it was a quick word from Ken and we were off.
Although it is a down hill start I knew we had the climb up past Beech Caves to do more or less straight away so I didn't go belting off like normal. I knew that my arch enemy John Guest was not racing due to his recent injury & I hadn't spotted Nick Hackett either so I knew I could relax a bit. I still wanted to have a good run and beat my time from last year of 1:18:22. Before I knew it I was nearing the top of the hill & saying hi to Phil Thomas (my swimming partner) who was marshalling & cheering us on, then just a few more yards to where Gareth was turning us left along the main road. I was recovering from the hill trying to run in a straight line when down came the blessed rain. I love running in the rain, and it quickly reminded me of Potter's where I had 1 of my best runs of the year. With this in mind & also now being on the flat I soon settled into a steady 6:30ish minute mile pace. As I ran past Sammy and grabbed at my water I tried not to slow my pace, she looked to be enjoying the experience but she was already very wet. Lara was also there, filling up the cups (which cost me a KFC later in the day) also there was Lionel & Christine (Carl's better half) each working just as hard. On I ran, going quite steady but not flat out, Gary Payne came past looking well, he told me earlier that he was going for sub 70 & the way he was running he looked like he was on for it. I turned the next corner where Dan & Deanne Bowman were happily marshalling (cheers guys) then started the long straight down to the beginning of the next lap & that bloody hill again.
Before I got to the start of the hill Walter was there taking pics, I attempted to recreate the famous star jump pose created by Malcolm Rushton last year but I'm not sure I pulled it off. Going up the hill for the 2nd time I felt really good so I tried to keep a good pace I even started to catch up with Gaz and Stan Winterton who had also came past me about a mile back. Just past the caves we turned left where Del was there urging us on, then up past Phil again who was actually shouting at the runners like a sergeant Major saying things like "Come on you've conquered the hill now" & "well done, keep running" (Great encouragement Phil, cheers).
Phew, the hill was over, I was on the flat running down towards Sammy & Lara again & feeling good. I thought I would try to cheer them up by singing an excerpt from Joseph & his Technicolour Dreamcoat as I went past. By now they were completely soaked but still in good spirits.
I carried on, high fived Dan Maddox as I went past, then a mile later told Dan Bowman that I was starting to hurt ( I wasn't really, I was just after sympathy). Last mile, 1 more time past Bryan (cheers mate) down the hill to where Adam, Carl & Kerry where cheering us on (love you guys) then 1 more time past Walt (Cheers Walt, Superstar) & on up the bank before running down the other side into the finish at 1:12:03 which I'm a bit gutted about because if I'd just looked at my watch as I was running in I could have knocked 3sec's off my time..
Despite the weather it was a great event, brilliantly organized & excellently marshalled, although I must say that the best looking marshall was at the 1st water station....I've always fancied Christine....Ha ha (Just kidding Sammy, Carl) and thanks very much to ALL the marshals I didn't mention here.
Well done to all who ran and a big Thank You to all who helped out.
I Love running, I Love Racing, I love wearing the green vest. PROUD TO BE TRENTHAM

Well done Lee and thanks for the great report. I'm sure the way things are going you'll be well under 1:12 next time around ;-) Just one thing though, Malcolm Rushton's 'star jump' was in fact a re-creation of my original Star Jump from the Staffs Knot 5 2009. Haha, just thought you should know that! Next one comes from our evergreen Ever Green Alan Lewis, who has given us this update from the 'grandad section':

The Trentham 10 saw the end of a hectic period for Stan and Ollie being the fifth race in about three weeks if we'd done them all. As it happens Stan missed the Stone 10k as he was still recovering from his pulled muscle picked up at Shugborough whilst Ollie missed the JCB as he wanted to make a good job of the TT and felt he wouldn't have recovered sufficiently in two and a half days bearing in mind his ever ageing body. A good spell has seen Stan win his group at Berryhill, Cheadle and JCB. Unfortunately no over 65 prizes at BH or JCB 'bout time that was sorted out, especially as they are both now on the NSRRA calendar!!

Meanwhile Ollie was pleased with his performances at Stone, Berryhill and Cheadle picking up over 70 prizes in all three and producing times comparing favourably with his last outings in these three events when he was a young man of 68. A big bonus was the defeat of his arch rival Mike Whitmore in all three events which was a real boost. Afterwards Mike said he would not be competing against him again until September as he has other commitments. Ollie thinks however that he is going to do some secret training, probably at altitude abroad and will be back later in the year to sort him out. Anyway Ollie intends to make hay whilst the sun shines.
On to the Trentham 10. Stan was not too happy with the weather conditions and had forgotten to bring his spare vest. His spare frame as you all know has no insulating properties so he bullied Ollie into lending him his long sleeved Helly Hensen (a side of Stan you didn't know about you see, you all thought Ollie was the one who made Stan do things he didn't want to do, but not so) Anyway Ollie was forced to give up his top but fortunately having the extra layers of fat he doesn't feel the cold. Then would you believe Stan decided to not wear the top as it wasn't as cold as he thought it was. Instead of offering it back he hid it in a bush near the start line so that he could put it on at the finish leaving Ollie to stand shivering in his wet Trentham vest at the end of the race!! And everyone has always thought they were good mates!
Anyway, on to the race. Easiest bit of this course is the downhill start so important not to rush off too quickly and then pay for it on the mile or more long climb up to the top of Beech. Both Stan and Ollie managed to achieve this, not worrying too much about being overtaken on the long climb with the expectation of reeling some of these greyhounds in during the later stages of the race. Ollie reached the top in reasonable shape and was able to accelerate along the next section, flat and downhill to the roundabout at Clifford's Wood 9 (note the local knowledge, he used to cycle these roads as a lad when there was not much traffic, mainly ponies and traps on these roads). Another climb but held his own pretty well on this one. By this time was having a right tussle with 'young' Ed Smith (Stafford Harriers), one of several this season which was to last right through to the finishing line, even managed to stay with Brian Mackey at hits stage but did not expect this to last (he was right).

Over the motorway bridge and onto the lovely downhill section back to the beginning of the loop. Really motoring on this section, helped of course by the extra weight and gravity and managed to gain a few more places. Then that climb again but Ollie was really pleased to get up without losing much ground managing to keep Ed who had re-passed him for the umpteenth time at the start of the climb in his sights. Started peeing down near the top but didn't mind as he likes rain. Stanley probably cursing and wishing he hadn't hidden the HH in the bush, serves him right, another fine mess he'd got himself into. Now at the top and motoring along but Ed still in front. This time no climb up from the roundabout so this lap a little easier from now on apart from the finishing hill.

Caught Mike Horton on the downhill section (a young 63 year old in my group with whom I often have a battle. Tested him a couple of times with little 40 yard accelerations and third time he weakened and dropped away. Just the hill to the finish now. Ed just in front but Ollie prepared to give everything. Caught him near the top and was encouraged by turncoat Stanley who was with one of his girlfriends, preening himself on having finished the race some minutes earlier. Gave me an encouraging shout (trying to get round me, still not wearing the HH. perhaps he's lost it). Joined by another youngster so all three of us straining every sinew. Just failed to beat Ed, the extra power in his younger muscles just prevailed but managed to hold off the other guy.

Great race, pleased with time of 77 minutes, almost as quick as 2 years ago (out of action last season due to leg injuries). Far cry from 60 minutes as a 50 year old but hey, Ollie so lucky to be able to run like this at his age considering the weight problem. Meanwhile back at headquarters Stanley managed to wheedle his way back into favour by returning my HH. buying me a cup of tea and offering him one of his Oatie biscuits. in return Ollie gave him a crisp so they are now good mates again. Talking to him afterwards he was quite pleased with his run especially considering he did JCB on Thursday. Both Stan and Ollie are glad of the three week respite before the next NSRRA event which is of course the notorious and hellish Meerbrook 15K.

Now back to 'normality' Stan (the real one this time) has asked me to mention his Saturday training run once again, over the hills and far away from his farm at Cheddleton to Ipstones and back. I know he does plug it but those who haven't tried it are missing a treat. This weekend would be a great time to try it with Meerbrook approaching and no local races. It is superb training for hilly courses like Meerbrook and Leek (more about that in a minute). The full course is around 14 miles but there are two cut off points for anyone requiring something a bit shorter. Stan or me can give directions to the farm Stan's number is 01538 360296 and mine is 01538 754208. Anyone who does it I can promise will not regret it and there is a nice cup of tea to look forward to at the end. I think Stan wants one or two faster runners to chase rather than waiting for old slowcoach so come on ,put him out of his misery.

Finally the LEEK half in August, you may or may not know is hosting the National Masters(Vets to the uninitiated) Half Marathon Champs this year. There are National Medals to be won and it would be great to see a Trentham entry. Stan and I have already entered or will shortly be doing so. To qualify you must be a member of Midland Masters AC (£10 and worth every penny). Don't think because you are not the best you have no chance, lots don't enter. Stan and I and several other members hold National medals. We have some excellent vets in the club and the ladies we feel would do particularly well. Some may know all this and may even be members but if not talk to me or Stan or Ken (Rushton ) and they will point you in the right direction.

Brilliant report Alan, err, I mean Ollie and I'm sure you'll have some takers for those Saturday runs, I might even join you myself sometime.

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JCB Junior Race

Following the recent JCB 5 race we have had a report in from one of our Junior members at Trentham, Megan Hickman. Some of you may remember Paul, her dad running for Trentham some years ago as well as her Mum who runs for Potter's Trotters and it seems that Hickman Junior is following in their footsteps and just back from holiday plunged straight back into it with the JCB Junior race. Here is how it went for Meg:

I did JCB last year and really enjoyed it. Whilst we were on holiday my mum realised it took place just after we got back so asked her friend Liz to enter us.

I turned up on the Thursday and met my Nan and granddad, who had come to watch me.  We spoke to some people and had a little catch up. Then I went to the start line. I started off pacing myself and I could see many people behind met that I'd made myself a target to try and beat.

The first lake was quite nice. It was just nice weather for it as well. As you come to the end of the lake you run up like a little bank kind of thing. That is fine but then straight away you have to run down some steps and they are pretty dangerous as I trip over a couple of times.

As you come to the end of the first lake you go on to the road and then go round  a fountain. There wasn’t really a Marshall there so I didn’t know where to go.

On the second lake I had to walk a little bit just to catch my breath back.  I could see the finish and I could hear all the support. I sprinted and I went over the clock at 20.44 but the clock wasn’t at the finish. I wasn’t really that happy that the clack wasn’t at the finish but I suppose it would be in the way.

I really enjoyed this race and would definitely do it again. I was pleased with my time as well. The weather was really good as well.

Well done Meg and I'm sure with all the good training and effort you'll soon be catching mum. Thanks for the report.

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Summer Series - Biddulph

Adam Brearley has been sending us regular updates from the Summer Series hosted by the Staffs Moorlands Club. The latest round on Thursday was the relatively short journey to Biddulph and after the recent rain would be interesting to see how it went:

This is my 3rd Summer Series race in a row now, and having done (and struggled) at Biddulph last year, had a determination to make sure I did myself justice this time around. The last few weeks training have been going well, and having made a conscious decision to get out by myself once every couple of weeks up Hanchurch to work on the hills, have slowly started to feel stronger. Don’t really want to tell a whole story for this race (like the last couple of reports!), but set myself a target of being around 30 seconds or so, slower than my time last year over the course. This was 29:54 over 5 miles and finished 17th. Main reason for this target is that I was (I think) fitter this time last year, although I now feel fresher after being out injured so long, and with a different outlook and focus on where I want to be.

Met up with Sam, having done 1 lap warm up on my own, and set off on the 1st lap up the long climb through the woods. Right throughout the race I felt strong and focused, not allowing any negative thoughts to enter my head, even when I started to struggle up the hills on lap 2. Thought from the beginning that I was in the top 10, and spent most of the race behind a guy from Congleton, with Kelvin from Moorlands catching me halfway round the last lap. This is where, even though I was struggling, was determined to at least to hold onto my position at the worst.
As we dropped down from the top of the woods and approached the lake I decided to make a move on the Congleton chap, with roughly around 2 minutes from the finish line. Felt strong and thought I would just go for it, and if he was quicker than me then so be it. Managed to hold off the challenge of both of them to cross the line in 5th, 29:30, 26 seconds quicker than last year.
Was obviously happy with the run, but more pleasing than anything is that the fellow from Congleton beat me by around a minute at Oakamoor, then over 20 seconds last week, so feel am really bridging some gaps. Sam also had a cracking run, finishing 13th, well done mate, so 2 Trentham finishers in the top 15 is a start. Know there is a lot of hard work ahead, but only have one outlook, and that is you get out what you put in. Looking forward to the rest of the season and hopefully getting my Trentham vest into the higher positions, as would never want to run for any other club.

Cracking run Adam, I'm sure I speak for a few others when I say how pleasing it is to see you enjoying your running again. Looks like you're bouncing back even stronger than before. If you want to follow Adam and the other's progress you can find the series results HERE but it might be a few days before the latest results appear.

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Sale Sizzler 5k

We are all prone to doing mad things and Carl Platt is no different. He entered this very fast flat racea while ago along with Paul Gibbings, and then found himself wondering why? With this in mind Carl headed north with Paul and new member Stephan Walley to race the 3rd in the 4 race series. Here is how he got on:

 

Yesterday Me, Paul, Stephan and Sarah all went up to Manchester to do the 5k sizzler. It's well known for being a fast race and has a number of International runners.

We went for a warm up then off to the start. The gun went and for the next seventeen minutes my lungs and legs were in pain. The only way to describe the race is: its a flat 5k around the park. But it is a very well organised event and I would recommend it to anyone. Paul Gibbings came home 1st for Trentham. He ran 16:45 , Stephen the new kid on the block who is just full of natural talent ran his 1st 5k in 16:58 (what a time for your 1st 5k race  ).

I ran 17:06 which is a PB for me by 20 seconds, a bit gutted not to run under seventeen though, although I guess I'm kinda happy as I did run 5:30 pace. Sarah ran 17:15 and won the under 20's ladies category. The race itself was won in something like 14.28. The 1st three men all being international runners. Best keep training hey!!!

Thanks Carl and well done mate, that's a magnificent effort by all three of you guys, and especially by Sarah, winning the Junior Female race and 5th lady overall. HERE are the results for the race which show Paul G as unattached for some reason.

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Thunder Run

 

After weeks of planning a group of 8 Trentham Runners set off for deepest Derbyshire to take part in a 24hr running event. We've had a few epic race reports from a few of the runners so you may want to go and make a (flask of) coffee before reading, no seriously! haha - Read on, first one from Deb Thomas:

Basically the Thunder Run is a 24 hour race whether you take part solely, in pairs or in teams of 4 to 8. There always has to be one team member on the course and you can take as long as you like and complete as many 10k laps as you like until 12pm Sunday when the race is over. Whoever is running has to wear their own chip and also has to wear the wrist band which then gets passed to the next person running. The event is massively well organised and there is a brilliant atmosphere throughout the 24 hours. Saturday morning 8.30am I’m kindly picked up from home by Rob with Jill passengering in the front of the van. I have my own special seat in the back of the van, surrounded by bags, kit and food, and it’s hard not to start devouring Jill’s famous energy bars already!! A 50 minute journey down the A50 and we arrive at Catton Park in hot sunshine (even though it’s only 9.30am!) Lee and family, Ken and Del and Andy had all pitched tents on the Friday and stayed over so we were arriving after all the hard work had been done! I had to register on arrival which involved signing against my name and collecting a wonderful goody bag full of SIS supplies and a fabulous technical adidas running top, in almost Trentham-vest-green! Up at the start/finish were lots of tents of the likes adidas, Hope lighting, and photographs, and one big tent for food, and myself and Jill had a quick nosey around to get our bearings and try and figure out how the handover would go about. Back to the campsite and Dan and Kerry arrive all keen and eager. Kerry unfortunately is unwell with a throat infection and eventually has to come to the difficult decision of pulling out of the race. After we’d all settled in (me, Jill and Dan in one massive luxury tent (thanks Del!)) we had to attend a race briefing before the race start (12pm) at 11.30am where the handover process was explained and we were given some safety advice, encouragement, etc. The rapid Rob was first in the line up and at 12pm (in extremely hot midday sun) he galloped his way around the 10k course in around 41 minutes before handing over to the nippy Del. Del came back after about 42-43 mins and handed over to me. The time was now around 1.20pm and I was already feeling very hot, having been in the sunshine most of the morning already; however, I thought 10k wouldn’t be too difficult in the heat... Del came back in and after passing on the wrist band off I went. The start of the run involves heading out along a slightly descending grassy route before hitting a steep climb at about ½ km. At the top of the climb just coming into 2km the course, thankfully, it levels off and is mildly undulating to 3km which then takes in some more ups and downs. Before 4km you enjoy a nice steady descent before taking a sharp left and heading up another climb to 5km where there is a slightly misplaced drinks station and you take a sharp left up another steady climb before veering around and heading into the woods at around 6km. This part is extremely tricky as you’re running in between trees and dodging over tree roots as well as trying to keep the pace going and avoiding other runners! In this part I almost crash into the back of a lady runner who is listening to headphones and did not hear me approaching from behind! After some silent cursing I get past her and enjoy a brief descent before the 7km marker takes me up a short climb before again levelling off. 8km and the course takes me on another steep descent, levels off, another steep descent and then from now on the course is mostly flat. Just past 9km all the others have gathered to give me a massive shout of encouragement, I pass them and head up through the campsite before another short sharp climb at about 9 ½ km before coming down into the finish line and handing over to Dan. I must say I did not enjoy this first lap as the sunshine was extremely intense and I’d felt over-hot from about 4km, my legs feeling like jelly! To show-off I also experienced a mini nose bleed after this lap to prove how hard I’d ran, ha ha!! Taking over from me was the trendy Dan Bowman (check out his shoes!) who then passed to the swift Lee Jones, then to the speedy Ken Pearson, then to the vivacious Jill and back to Rob. My second run was at around 6.55pm and I enjoyed this run so much better as the temperature had dropped extremely and the whole run felt a lot easier. I matched my time (bar a few seconds) of my first lap of 45 minutes. No loss of blood from this run! In the meantime we had visits from some fellow Trenthamers who had come to give support as well as to see how the event was going. The gorgeous Adam Brearley popped up for an hour in the early afternoon and roared some good encouragement to the runners, then there was Kerry’s partner Joe who stayed overnight to look after her, the fantastic Jackie who had made us a massive vat of soup (very delicious!!) and Walter and Mrs Mosiuk who trekked out on course to cheer us. Dave Pickstock and Laura turned up later in the day and, as Kerry had decided not to run due to being unwell, and even though we could run as a team of 7, the incredible Mr Pickstock pulled on a vest and borrowed some kit to bomb around under Kerry’s name to enable us to still compete as an 8-man team. Thanks very, very much to Dave, that was extremely lovely of you J As it turned to dark, I attempted to settle in by pod to try and get some shut-eye. However, a campsite or café further down the road were churning out some particularly loud Eurovision-type music that was so cheesy it resulted in myself and Dan Bowman (in pod next to me) staying awake until my next run at 1.20am, laughing and singing!! The night time runs meant you had to wear a head torch and I was slightly apprehensive about running the course in the pitch black to be honest. Anyway, I took over from Del and started off along the route, trying to recall the line of running in my mind and also just staring at the spotlight in front, which gave me a short distance view. I noticed I was running cautiously especially on the turns and downhills and was occasionally veering off the course (I had been running the shortest route) but apart from that I managed to keep a good pace. The temperature was very cool now but pretty much ideal for running. The tricky part of the run in the woods was actually ok; this section is extremely tight and twisty turney so your eyes are everywhere; where you’re treading (mind the tree roots!), who’s in front, who’s catching up behind, dodging the trees, etc. Once out of the woods (literally) the course is more open and there are less hazards, until the steep descent at about 8 ½ km as the torch does not show the steepness! Back into the finish to handover to a keen Dan B, and I’m feeling rather alert and switched on, possibly due to the high adrenaline level I felt all the way round, and my time is only 3 mins slower than before – 48 mins. Back to the campsite to cram some fruit cake and drink down me, before climbing back into my pod and managing to get about 3 hours sleep, on and off. My final run at around 7am was the most lethargic, as I think the sleep I did get made my body realise how tired I really was. However, I set off, my thighs burning on the first climb, and manage to get around in 45 mins again. I’m pleased with the run and when I get back to the campsite and am asked how it felt, I can’t actually think of any suitable terms or words! Relieved, exhausted, pleased, sad and spaced-out are all ways of describing it now when I think back; relieved it was over but also sad that was my last lap! Eventually the clock stops at 12pm (with little Jill still out on course!) and we had totalled 30 laps between us, finishing 12th team out of 147 mixed teams of 8!! We’re all elated and buzzing, and it’s at the finish where we receive our Thunder Run medals, which are massive and quite heavy, and we enjoy the atmosphere and the sunshine. At about 1.30pm-ish we begin to pack up, and head home feeling very tired but also extremely proud of ourselves! Well that’s my so called ‘brief’ story of the Thunder Run 2011. I would like to say a gigantic ‘thank you ever so much’ to Sammy Jones who took charge of the campsite catering, ensuring that we all got fed and watered and hardly had to lift a finger. She was an absolute angel and didn’t even want to accept any praise!! She played a colossal part of the weekend and made the whole experience thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you also to Chloe and Lara Jones for supporting us and being part of the weekend without any complaints or tears even when they were also sleep deprived and hot! Thank you to the Trenthamers who visited us and gave us much needed support, those already mentioned above, and also Mark Hughes for popping down on Sunday. Thanks to the partners of the runners, Andy (Mr Salt, or Smithy-Poppalopodous, or however he is known!), Joe (Mr Kerry) and of course the Jones’s for being there too. I’m still buzzing from the weekend, and we’re already making plans for next year! The race event is very well organised, and there even showers provided to freshen up after the runs! No complaints whatsoever!! Well done to everyone, and thank you!!

Thanks for that Debs, next one from Ken Pearson:

There was so much going on for this race I have done this report in two parts. The first part is more personal and the second is a bit detailed. 
 

Personal bit

I really had a great weekend, it was challenging and exciting as expected but it was made much better than that because of the other runners and their families and pets and the supporters who came to watch. A great bunch of people. Thank you for being there. The race was well organised and very friendly. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and you could have a chat to anyone at any time, even 4 in the morning. The solo runners were amazing, I almost felt guilty running past them in the dark and they always let you pass on the narrow bits.

My lap times for the 10k were approximately 52, 51, 53, and 59 minutes. I was disappointed with my first lap but the night runs made up for it. They were brilliant, I think I will give up daylight running!! The last lap was as expected as I was tired and it was hot and I probably hadn’t done enough distance training.

But what a great result. 

As you would expect everyone just got on but Sammy and Kerry were the stars, always doing something for someone. We had plenty of varied food and encouragement to eat and drink even at 4am. I’m surprised how I managed to get into a completely different routine of running, sleeping, eating and drinking so quickly but you can have too much of drinking energy drinks. Our personal hygiene was possibly a bit lacking towards the end except for Rob who managed a shower after each race and got his shirt washed as well! Dans poo story was interesting! Would I do it again? Something tells me that the race weekend was as good as it gets and anything else would be a disappointment. In any case I wouldn’t get in the Team next year, they will bring in  a couple of fit youngsters and Jill and I will be demoted to mixed pairs!! 

There are too many things to mention and too many people to thank so if you want any more details, read the other reports or catch me in the bar! 

Detailed bit.

The Thunder Run takes place in Catton Park near Burton on Trent and is a 24 hour relay race over a cross country course. The course was a bit like running through Trentham woods over the top and on to the Tittensor monument. It was a bit of a narrow twisty climb to 1k undulating to 5k, up and through the woods to 6k, very narrow twisty bits through trees to 7k, flat along a ridge and down through fields and the campsite to 9k, a bit of a rise at 9.5k and then down to the finish. Last year was muddy but this year was bone dry and you could have run in ordinary trainers. The route was marked with tape, direction signs and glow sticks at night, with marshals at regular intervals and a drinks station and hose at 5k. Classes are for solos, pairs, teams of five and eight, male , female of mixed. See www.tr24.co.uk for photos and more info! 
Having signed up to run I think most of us wondered how we would perform at something we had never done before. In my usual methodical way I devised a spreadsheet to calculate possible lap times based on best 10k times with some allowance for getting tired and then see what our position might be based on last years results. Real finger in the air stuff but something like 28 laps might be possible and that would have been between 11 and 14 in our category in 2010. The solo winner did 20 laps last year and the mixed 8’s 35 laps. This year there were far more runners and the competition would be greater but at least we had an idea.  
With eight runners we would each do at least 3 laps with the faster runners doing 4 laps. I wasn’t disappointed to find I would only do 3 laps. We would all have to do at least 1 run in the dark and I had never run at night across fields and through woods before. I bought a new Petzl head torch, recommended by lots of people on the web, very bright and lots of functions to play with. For my first few hundred yards of my first night run I tried out the old head torch - waste of time, the new one - excellent, the hand torch - not necessary as the beam waved about too much. I picked a route on narrow lanes, paths and through woods but only 3 miles or so. The run was uneventful except that I chased the beam all the way round and ran much too fast!  The rest of my training centred on 10k distances but doing two a day on a couple of weekends to get used to the repetition and running tired. I also tried another late night run for 7 miles on Cannock Chase followed by an early run the next morning. That seemed to go well but I found it difficult getting up early morning and running straight away. 
The lucky racers met to sort out food and tents and my race list was adopted as the running order. We needed estimated start and finish times for the night runs so that was added to the spreadsheet. After my last offroad run the week before, I found both soles of my trail shoes had come unstuck again so I bought another pair that could be used for the cross country races later in the year if I decided to do any of them. 
The idea was to go over on the Friday and set up the tents with some staying overnight and the others coming over on the Saturday. The Trentham Tent was duly borrowed and we arranged to meet early Friday afternoon at the camp site. I arrived really early and found that Lee and Kerry and families would be another hour so I found a reasonable spot and erected the Trentham Tent and pitched my own tent. However “those that must be obeyed” arrived and decided on a different camp area so the Trentham Tent was carried up the camp site to its new location half way between the toilet blocks but more in the middle of the camping area and very near to the part of the race course that went through the site and we were only a couple of hundred yards from the start/finish area. The campsite filled up very quickly and by Saturday morning was quite crowded but we managed to not get too hemmed in.

We were disappointed that Kerry wasn’t well and unlikely to do her laps but she would be able to get at least 1 lap in so a quick change to the race plan meant that we would do 4 laps each with maybe one lucky runner getting 5 laps. The paper copy of the race plan was duly altered and for the night runs the returning runner would wake the next runner up. Race order was Rob, Del, Debbie, Dan, Lee, me and Jill with Kerry fitting in a single lap whenever she felt able to. Friday night we looked at the first few kilometres of the course, registered and got the goody bag and T shirts, race numbers, timing chips and baton (wrist band). A few beers were drunk and I slept quite well until the toilets were emptied about 6am!

All the Team arrived on time and we found that we had enough food and drink for a week.

We went to the race briefing and watched Rob start his lap. As the course wandered round the camp area and the woods it was easy to watch at 2k, 5k, 6k, 9k and the finish. I wont bore you with the details of everyones times but even with the heat, at the end of our first laps we were in front of where we thought we would be. The faster runners did better than predicted and I did worse, I blame the heat and my age!

We had hoped Kerry would be able to do a lap but she wasn’t keen and we found that the organisers would not insist on her running and we could either run as a 7 or have a substitute. The sub could be male or female but it was suggested that it would be better if the sub male he should run in drag! It was great to see Trentham supporters visiting us and Lee persuaded Dave Pickstock to run instead of Kerry. He wouldn’t run in drag but did run in a size 14 Trentham shirt and Dels shoes. He had a great run and I think that gave us a lift as we now just had to complete our own runs.

Thankfully the evening runs were much cooler. Surprisingly the overall times for the second laps weren’t much different from the first round, probably because of the better temperatures and we found that were in the top 15 teams with our position changing slightly as each runner came in. For me the night runs through the woods were absolutely fantastic. I loved them. I did the 10 to 10:45 pm slot and the 4 to 4:45 am slot. The first totally in the dark and in the second the sun came up as I left the woods after about 7k. In fact my fastest time was in the dark.

As each run progressed we found that our times didn’t deteriorate as we thought and we were between 12th and 14th in our mixed 8 category and just in the top 20!!! In fact as the night progressed the race plan had to be revised and we had to get up earlier than expected. We also found that could get 30 laps in and so Del was slotted in to do the 10:30 am lap after me with Jill following Del and doing the last lap.

My fourth and last lap I found really hard and decided to walk up some of the hills and got to 5k in over 29 minutes. Out of the woods overlooking the campsite I felt better and the downhill to 8km helped as did the Trentham support over the last 2k. I did a disappointing 59+ minutes but at least I got round and handed over to Del knowing she would finish by about 11:30 and we would get 30 laps in. Jill was certain she was going to have a difficult last lap as it was hot again so we weren’t sure what to expect but at 12:30 we were all waiting at the finish when her little smiling face appeared round the last bend and she ran in comfortably to complete our race. That was quite emotional. We got our medals, took the team photos and checked our final position, 12 in category and 19th overall. Fantastic!

Thanks Ken, and now this one from Lee Jones:

When I was first asked if I wanted to do the Thunder Run 24, a 24hr 8 man relay race I said no. I didn't think I was fit enough and I also thought It would clash with my NSRRA races. When I realised that it didn't clash I began to regret saying no. I knew I would be gutted if I missed out on such a special event. Although I run for team Trentham all my races have been individual runs, where only my time effects my result at the end. How would I feel knowing that 7 other people depended on me to give my best & not let the 'TEAM' down. Also I have never ran at night, through woods in the pitch black with only a head-torch for guidance. So I was chuffed when my plea of temporary insanity was accepted and I was added to the team. I was also pleased that I could take my family along as well, even the dog.
The race started 12 midday on Saturday but the camp-site was open on Friday so that the runners could get settled before the event. So on Friday we met up with Kerry Widdowson and her son Stanley & went in convoy to the site. When we arrived Ken Pearson was already there so we picked a good spot not to far from the race start/finish and close to part of the race route itself (part of the route wound itself through the camp-site) this was great because we could see our runners coming along and give them some support & then (if we were quick) get to the start/finish to see them come in and do the change over of the baton.
When we had set up the tents it was still early so Me, Chloe, ken, Kerry & Diefer (the dog) went to check out the Arena. This is where the start/finish was and also a holding pen for runners waiting for there team-mates to come through the finish and hand them the baton so they can start their run. It was called a baton but it was just a green rubber band that you wore on your arm, the idea was that as you were running into the Arena you took it off (whilst still running) go through the finish & hand the band/baton to the next runner. We then checked out some of the route by walking the first 2k. The beginning bit was flat as it went through the camp-site then parallel to a road this didn't last long however before it turned a sharp right and went up a steep path into the woods. The path was taped off on both sides so it was easy to follow as it twisted, turned and climbed through the trees. Because we were walking it seemed to take ages to reach the first 1k marker which was just before the path cleared the woods for a short spell before entering again and going back towards the start.
When we got back to camp Del & her partner Andy had arrived with their dogs Wilson & Sam, much to Lara's delight as she was busy fussing them. Jill & Rob were there as well, but were just checking out the site & putting Rob's little pod tent up, and to also register for the race. Unfortunately kerry had been ill all week & she was concerned that she wouldn't be able to run. Each team member was required to do at least 1 lap so we all said that she could do her lap when she felt ready for it, and we would cover the rest of the runs for her. It was such a shame because I know how much she was looking forward to this event.
Jill, Rob, Kerry & Stanley left us for the night, buzzing with excitement for the next day, which left Me & my brood, Del, Andy, Ken & the three dogs to settle in for the night. We took the dogs for a walk in the woods and checked out a bit more of the route. Afterwards we were entertained by Andy who played us some tunes on his guitar. The night grew cold so we went to bed early to get some sleep for the next day (so we thought)
At 2:30am I woke, dying for a wee. me and Sammy were in a double sleeping bag and I was naked as I can't sleep in clothes. My dilemma, I didn't want to wake anyone but I needed a wee, I was naked but I needed a wee, I was on the wall side of our pod/bedroom but I needed a WEE. I did have a zip on my side of the sleeping bag so I was contemplating making a hole in the side of the wall and poking the old man out into the night, but in the end I crawled over Sammy, noisily unzipped the tent door and had a naked wee under the stars by the side of my car.
Then it started to go wrong, as I got back into bed Lara started her barking cough. She has slight asthma, and because the night had turned damp & cold, the change in atmosphere had set her off and the more she coughed the more she panicked. We ended up with Lara in bed with Sammy, trying to keep her calm & breathing right. Luckily we had lots of her inhaler with us, which stops her pipes from closing. Sammy told me to take Lara's bed and to get some sleep, which I was reluctant to do as I was worried for my girl. For the next 4hrs I was in and out of sleep, all the time aware of Lara coughing and Sammy trying to keep her calm.
Then at 6:30 I was woken completely by a huge droning noise as the porta-loos were being sucked empty, I know this was a good thing to happen and it was appreciated, but at 6:30 in the morning it was a bit much to take. Sammy said that she wanted to take Lara home because she had, had no sleep at all. I said I would take them then come back before the start of the race. We got in the car ready to go, I turned the key and my car wouldn't start!!! I have had my car for over a year and it has never let me down. Sammy took this as fate that we weren't meant to leave, so we decided that we should wait till after my 1st run then I would have hopefully got my car started and I could take them home then come back for my next run.
Because it was early, and Lara was getting her breathing back to normal I decided to walk the rest of the course with the dog. We started at the 3k point and followed the route up and down hills, twisting and turning through the woods until finally it exited the trees for the last time at about 7k, then it went along the top of a rise for a while before dropping down and doing a U turn and heading back towards the camp-site. The next part was flat and wound through the site, we were staying near the 9k marker so I headed back into camp.
By this time Jill, Rob and Deb's had arrived and all talk was of the race. Rob jump started my car and I moved it to a better position in case I needed to exit in the night. Sammy had been up to the fist aid guys and they reassured her that they would be there to help Lara in the night if she needed it, and they weren't just there for the runners. So with her mind at rest, Sammy quickly took on the role of Mother Hen and was fussing everyone making sure they all had drinks & food. When Dan & Kerry arrived the team was complete.
Kerry said she was still feeling ill and asked if she could do her lap on the Sunday, of course we all agreed and prepared ourselves for doing 4 laps each instead of the planned 3. We had a team brief and decided on the race order which was Rob to start then Del, Deb's, Dan, Me, Ken and then Jill. We also said that when a person has finished their run and handed over the baton, it was then their job to make sure the next runner is ready and to say what time the runner on the course started there run so as to estimate what time they need to be at the start/finish. It was getting exciting, we were called to the Arena for 11:30 but before we went there was just time for a team photo.
Dear reader, I'm sorry if this has dragged on a bit but it was a full weekend. I'll get to the running part now :)
The one thing I have forgot to mention was how hot the day was, erm the day was very hot. As they lined up to start there was a buzz of excitement, there were a few words from the sponsors & race organizers then after a 15second count down? they were off. It wasn't like a normal race because only the front guys went racing away, the rest just jogged off waving and clapping to the crowd, there were even two at the very back who were walking, I hoped they were solo runners and not in a team. We were officially racing, all the team were in there vests and numbers ready to go, but we all went back to camp. It would be a good 40mins before Del was due to go, but as the time drew near I went with her to the start to see Rob come in and do the change over. We didn't have to wait long as the first guy came in to a massive cheer. Only a few minutes later Rob came in, crossed the line and passed the baton to Del who went striding off. Rob said it was tough, especially in the heat but he also said he enjoyed it.
We went back to tell Deb's to get ready and to say what time to expect to be running, then me and Chloe went to cheer Del on as she ran past close to the tents. As well as our team members we also cheered on other runners, especially those whose number was less than 130 because these were SOLO runners and had our full respect.
Del came back glowing with sweat but looking very happy, she loves cross country running so for her this course was a breeze & 10k is just a warm up, she did say that the course was hard underfoot, dusty and very hot. It was Dan's turn next and he was looking nervous but ready, Me and Chloe went with him and watched deb's come in and do the change over. She went straight and sat in the shade when she finished and said how hot it was. GULP it was my turn next, I had decided to keep my trusty denim fishing hat on, which I soaked with water to keep me cool. 30 minutes later I was in the holding pen waiting for my turn, Sammy, Chloe & Lara were there to see me off. You could see the runners coming to the finish if you looked over the catering tents, the route went up a slight rise before coming down to the finish, so as I saw Dan going over this rise I got my watch ready, kissed all my girls and said a quick prayer to the running gods to keep me safe and on my feet, then Dan was there I had the baton and I was on my way.
The first thing I noticed was how slow everyone was going, I'm used to people overtaking me at the start of my races. The flat part before the woods didn't seem as long as yesterday when we walked it, so in no time I had made the right turn and entered the woods. I had on my new trail shoes and they helped me make light work of the dusty narrow path through the woods overtaking people all the time. There was a water point at the 5k mark so I took the chance to grab a quick swallow and to soak my hat (all without stopping of course). I knew that all the main hills were in the first half of the run so now the hard work was done I started to relax. After 6k the route enters another part of the woods, but not only that, it twists and turns through the trees like a maze only you know the right path and just have to follow it as it's taped off on both sides, until eventually it breaks through the trees and you are running down the straight again.
When I came out of the woods the sun was still beating down and it was blinding as I had got used to the dark shade from the trees. I knew there was no more shade to be had so I told myself to get finished as quick as possible. As I ran through the field towards the camp-site I tried to increase my pace, I wanted a time of sub 45 but I also had to save myself for my other runs. I ran towards the camp and my team-mates were there to cheer me on, including Chloe who then ran a little way with me. The little rise I mentioned earlier seemed to have grown as I ran up it then it was down the hill, a turn to the left and into the finish. As I ran in I already had the baton in my hand and was looking for Ken before I crossed the line, he was there waiting to take it as I wished him well and sent him on his way. My time was 46:22 which I was a bit gutted about. Chloe was there to greet me and together we walked back to camp.
I did my job by telling Jill what time Ken had set off, then I went for a shower. When I got back, Jacquie and her son Finley had turned up to support us. She had made some soup for us all, so I had a big bowl (which was very nice) & some pasta then had a little sleep in the shade of the tent. When I woke up Walter and his lovely wife Carolyn had turned up to support which was great, there was bad news however.
Kerry was feeling no better, she had been to the first aid guys who had advised her not to run at all. So she went to the race organizers who said we could still run as a team of Severn or we could get someone to run in her place, but it was to late to change the names over, either way we wouldn't be disqualified. Everyone was gutted for her. As Walter was there I tried to talk him into doing a lap, I could see he was thinking about it when Dave Pickstock and his better half Laura turned up. At this time Dan was running and it was my turn again. Walter said he would run only the time scale was wrong and he had to be back in stoke so he couldn't complete the run in time. Dave tried to make every excuse not to run, but I convinced him that if he went away without running he would regret it. The funniest thing was when he pulled six gels out of his pocket, as if he'd been expecting to be asked to run. So he borrowed trainers and a vest off Del and shorts and a head-lamp off me, because it was dusk. Then I took him to the start while Walt went along the route to head off Dan and tell him he would be handing the baton to Dave and not me. I told Dave about the change over procedure and stayed with him till Dan came in. As Dave left I shouted "Go on Kerry" :)
I went back to camp with Dan but I couldn't stay long because now it really was my turn to run next and I had to wait for Dave/Kerry to come in. My trusty side-kick Chloe was with me and as I saw Dave going over the rise I told her to walk back to the camp with him, then I got ready to go. Because he was only doing 1 lap he could afford to really push it and get a good time, so when he came sprinting through the finish I knew he had put his best effort in (great work Dave)
I was off and into my 2nd run. I felt good, not to stiff or sore and I knew what to expect this time around. I had my head-torch on but it wasn't completely dark yet. I decided to push it a bit and try and get a sub 45. Again I was overtaking loads of people and no one was coming past me, this gave me the confidence to push on. I praised every runner as I went past them and thanked them as they moved out of my way. By the time I got to the woods after the 6k mark it was getting really dark and I felt I was slower going though the maze part than before. When I came out of the woods it was still light enough to see my footing so I pushed on again through the fields towards the camp-site where I was once again cheered on by my team-mates which gave me another boost as I ran over the rise. As I came into the finish I thought Ken might not be able to see me behind my light so I held the baton out and shouted "Trentham" as I ran over the line and past the baton over. My time was 45:30. and I was gutted again. I was only a minute faster than my 1st lap. I put it down to being held up in the woods GRRR.
Me and Chloe headed back into camp and I told Jill to get ready to run within the hour. Because Me, Sammy & Lara had little sleep last night we all went to bed. Deb's was going to wake me when she came back from her run and Chloe asked me to wake her so she could come with me. Sammy & Lara were sharing again and because the night was warmer than last night Lara's chest was clearer which was great news. Chloe was sharing with Diefer, I think she got the worst of the deal because his butt was facing her and he kept farting. The time between runs was going to be shorter this time around because Dave wasn't here to do another lap. I was drifting off to sleep whilst listening to Dan & Deb's laughing at the German music coming from the camp-site across the road, when I heard a beeping noise at random times. It took me a while to realise that it was the timing chips of the runners as they came over the line. The last thing I remember was hearing Ken as he was telling everyone that he had a great run and had knocked 90sec's off his last time, great work Ken.
I had been asleep for what seemed like a moment, I had just turned over to get more comfy when I heard a really soft voice saying "Lee...Lee...you awake" huh It couldn't be Deb's already, but it was. I had one of those got to get up for work moments where you close your eyes for a split second and then jolt yourself awake cuz you think you've gone back to sleep and missed your bus, except this would be much worse because Dan would be running in to no-one and would have to go around again. I tried not to wake Chloe but she heard me and got up to come with me, I think she was glad of the fresh air from Diefer farts. Bless Chloe, she was brilliant, she had come with me to every start and was there at every finish as well (Love you babe). My legs were a little stiff but I was looking forward to my night run. The night was quite warm but I put my base layer on under my vest. It was impossible to see the runners coming over the rise but the finishing straight was floodlit so it was easy to spot Dan as he came running in. We had another good change over and I was off on my 3rd lap.
This one was completely different to the last, the night was totally black. Still I tried to maintain a good pace and continued to overtake other runners as before. To their credit, everyone who heard me coming moved out of my way or stopped to let me past, I thanked them as I past and made sure I gave praise & encouragement to the SOLO runners. It was weird running through the woods in the pitch black, your world is reduced to the size of your head-lamp beam and the ground it shows you a second before you run on to it. I ran past a bloke whose light had stopped working, he was stumbling around in the woods. I asked him if he wanted stay with me but he told me to go on. Going through the maze part was no better, the tapes glowed in the beams from the torch so my focus kept shifting from the floor to the tapes and back again. Eventually I was out of the woods and into the open air. I regretted putting my base layer on because I was boiling hot. As I went past the tents I saw people standing and watching the runners, I didn't think it would be anyone waiting for me but I said "Go on Trentham" as I approached and was surprised to see Sammy and Rob quietly cheering me on (thanks guys) then it was up and over the rise once more. To make sure Ken knew I was coming, as I ran into the Arena, again I shouted "Trentham". I need not have worried, Ken was there in the corner of the pen, waiting to do his run. My time was 51:07 which I was ok with because it was a lot harder in the dark. Me and Chloe headed back into camp where Sammy was waiting to tell me that Lara's chest was fine and she was having a good sleep, then we went straight to bed. Diefer greeted Chloe with a fart as she climbed into her sleeping bag, much to her delight.
I managed a full 2hrs sleep before being woken by the men sucking out the toilets at 6:30 (how rude). I was really aching and stiff legged but I tried to shrug it off as I knew I had to run again. I mooched about for a while, saw Del run past the Tents then about 45mins later cheered Deb's on as she ran past. Then me and Chloe walked up to the start so as I could begin my last lap. By now it was fully light again so I watched as Dan trudged over the rise for his last time. It seemed to take him a bit longer to appear on the finishing straight but we did a successful baton change over and I was away.
I tried not to think about the pain I was in as I was running along. It really helped me when I went past a SOLO runner, these guys all looked knackered, they had slumped shoulders and were just about putting one foot in front of the other, except for one guy in full combat gear wearing a massive pack on his back, he was actually still running albeit very slowly. I told him he was awesome and that I loved him a little bit, which made him laugh. I also went past Sarah Gardner-Hall who was also having an amazing run and ended up finishing the 2nd solo female (brilliant). As for my run, it was only 9am and it was already hot, the hills seemed twice as long but I was determined not to walk. I loved reaching the 5k point knowing that the hills were all done. Going through the woods was easier, and I knew I was faster in the maze than my night time run. I tried to keep up a good pace heading through the fields towards the camp, but I was slightly broken hearted when no one was there to urge me on. Then as I approached the last rise before the finish I saw an angel in the form of Sammy who told me she was saving me a place in the front of the shower queue (I love that woman). I ran into the finish and past the baton on to Ken for the last time who went galloping off at a fine pace. My time was 49:04 which I was well chuffed with because I thought it would be my worst race time.
There was still a lot going on though, Del was going to do a 5th lap, so she was taking the baton off ken then going to hopefully do a good lap time and get back in before midday so that Jill could do the finishing lap. While this was going on I went for a well earned shower. Del came back in good time and Jill went on her way. The whole team gathered to wait for Jill to return, which she did 58mins later to a massive cheer and loads of hugs from the Trentham massive. Together we had done 30 laps, 5 by Del, 4 each from Rob, Deb, Dan, Me, Ken & Jill and 1 from Dave/Kerry or should I say Darry. 30 laps is 300k or over 180miles.
I know this has dragged on a bit, and if you are still reading at this point then, Thank You. I would like to say a MASSIVE Thank You to Del, Rob, Deb, Dan, Kerry, Ken and Jill for letting me be a part of the team, Thanks also to my beautiful wife Sammy & also Kerry who both played mother hen to the lot of us, making us tea and food and even washing all the teams vests. Thanks to Jacquie for the soup (it was lovely) also to Walter for driving all that way to show your support & for running 2k with Dan. Thanks to Dave, for stepping into the breach and doing a Lap (if it wasn't for you, I might have been made to do another one). A big THANKS to Chloe for being my side-kick and coming with me to every start and finish of every run, I LOVE YOU X x Thanks to Lara for being a good girl, and even though you were poorly you never complained, and you looked after the dogs too :) OH one last thing, Thanks to the team for making my family a part of your family. I'm sure I've forgotten some one, for which I'm sorry. Anyway I'm still so PROUD TO BE TRENTHAM. Oh yes... Great fruit cake Jill, and get well soon Kerry

Thanks Lee, and finally, this one from danny Bowman:

I apologies in advance for the lack of teh funnehz but I don’t want to cheapen memories of this weekend with my usual ego-jaculations so…
Oh man. I feel so, so, so rough. I have actually never been as tired as I was yesterday. I went to bed at 6 last night, slept for 13 hours solid and I still feel like poop. As I sit here typing this whilst eating Chinese takeaway and enjoying a cold can of Fosters, my ailments include:

Exhaustion
Sore thighs
3 blisters
Sunburn
A headache

But I’m not going to moan one bit because this weekend was absolutely AMAZING!
So, the event was the Adidas TR24 (Thunder run 24 hour) a relay race which started at noon on Saturday and finished at noon on Sunday. Trentham took along a team to compete in the mixed 8’s category and included myself, Lee, Rob, Del, Jill, Ken, Rob and Kerry. Thanks to Ken things took a turn for the mathematical when he worked out that based on predicted times we’d be looking at a target of 28 laps.
So, fastforward to the day of the race and I’m in alright shape. Berryhill 10k was the kick up the arse that I needed and I’ve been putting the miles in this past few weeks. Got to Kerry’s at half 9 Sat morning and we set off. Kerry had come down with a chest infection so she’s decided to only do 1 lap which was fine because each team member had to run only once, so in theory we could have all ran on the Saturday, left Del to do the remaining 21 and just got smashed back at the campsite.
Kerry said that Jill and the other were a little worried about me getting there in time to register. We had to stop off at Tescos on the way (09:45) and registration closed at 11.00. Whilst in there I had call from Debbie. “Tell them you’re at mine having a cup of tea” Kerry said. I thought this was hilarious but when I told Deb she relayed the info and Jill in the background sounded for all the world like King Kong drowning in lava. We felt bad after this (well, I did anyway) and we got a move on.
I got registered at 10:40 and went to find the tent. I arrived to find the team already there, in various states on undress. I don’t know what the weather was like here in Stoke but in Derbyshire it was absolutely sweltering. I don’t usually take off my top in public as I have the skin of a leper covered in walnuts but within minutes I was as naked as is legally acceptable.
I was amazed at the contents of the Trentham tent, our canteen for the weekend. There was every type of carbohydrate under the sun, as well as a stove, toaster, kettle and little table and chairs. Del and Andy had kindly let me sleep in a room in their tent, Jill had borrered me (As they say in Stoke) a blow up bed and Lee and Sammy had crashed me a sleeping bed.
We all made our way to the brief at 11:30 (please don’t die etc) then we bid Rob adieu as he was up first. Anyway, noon was nearly upon us. 3,2,1... QUEEEEEEEEF!!!! And we were off. 24 hours where there would always be a member of our team on the course.
In the blistering heat, Rob romped home in 41 minutes. A great time considering the heat and the mostly grass course. Rob passed over to Del, who came in at 44 minutes. For everyone’s first lap the rest of the team went to the finish/start area to cheer them on but after that we decided to take better care of our legs and opted to cheer them on at the bit of course that ran 50m from our campsite. Deb was up next with a time of 45 minutes. As she passed the baton over to me she said “It’s bloody hot Dan” which completely put me at ease for my lap (sarcasm)
Off I went. The first 600m were along a slightly downhill grassy bit before you turned right and up into a steep winding uphill. I was passing someone every couple of minutes it seemed, which made sense considering we were in the 8’s category. I had decided weeks ago to just go with what was comfortable rather than go all out every lap as I figured I’d be grateful come my 3rd and 4th laps. Even running at the reduced pace however I was still sweating like a (insert authority figure here) at a (place which would make said authority figure feel uncomfortable)
The course was really up and down, though after 7.5k it was mostly downhill and you ran through the campsite so there was always good support. I crossed the line in 48 mins and passed the baton (rubber bracelet) to Lee. 48 mins is slow for me but my legs felt fine. I even contemplated doing 5 laps I felt so ache free. In retrospect I am so, so glad I stayed at a comfortable pace because the weekend would catch up with me eventually.
My vest was so saturated with sweat that I couldn’t get it off so Kerry had to unenviable task of peeling the disgusting thing off me. Sorry about that Kez.
Lee came in at 46 minutes, passing to Ken who ran 52 mins, then to Jill who ran a 54. Things were going swimmingly at this point but now came the second round of laps, on account of Kerry not doing hers til the morning.
So second lap time. My dad had come to say hello so we wandered up to see Rob come in. He ran a very impressive 42 mins to put us onto 8 laps completed. We were ahead of schedule so far, well on target for our 28 laps.
Del ran around 44 again, Deb ran 45-ish and passed over to me to start my second lap. This one was more tolerable because it was now 7pm and it had started to cool down a little. I tried to stick to my pace from the earlier lap. At 9k Walter appeared and began running with me, he informed me that I was now passing on to Dave Pickstock who had turned up and was running with Kerry’s chip to register an 8th time. This was cleared with the race organisers. I’m really glad Walt warned me too otherwise I would have come down the finishing straight wondering why Lee was a foot shorter and less bald. I finished in 48 mins again. Paced perfectly if I do say so myself.
Dave blazed round in 49 mins, which is amazing since he’d borrowed Del’s shoes and vest and his his missus said he’d been in the pub all afternoon. Dave, you are a legend!
I don’t think Dave’s missus was too happy about his unexpected 8pm cross country race but that’s a small price for being his name being etched into the history of erm… the weekend.
Dave to Lee, and it was now getting dark. Lee was the first one of us to do the head torch run. It wasn’t pitch black but it was definitely dusky and he seemed to be in his element, running just under 46 mins. Ken and Jill also got a dusky late nighter in before the dreaded portion of the weekend arrived. The stupid o’clock pitch black run. Rob went out first, at midnight (exactly 12 hours after his first run)
Rob ran 43 minutes making it look like a walk in the park, handing over to Del who ran another consistent time of around 45 mins. Del woke me up when she got back and I reluctantly got up from my deflated bed and jumper pillow. I borrowed a head torch from Del but opted out of having a hand torch also. This was eerie. Firstly the campsite was deathly quiet, except for fellow zombies shuffling their way to the unknown.
I arrive 20 mins early and propped myself up on a railing whilst waiting for Deb to come in. At 02:10 she came round the corner and off I went.
There are no words to explain how weird this was. After leaving the floodlit area of the changeover area it was pitch black. The only light I could see was the halo coming from my head. At first I struggled to figure out where I was going but then I caught up with some other folks, their head torches acting as beacons, guiding me where to head to next. I then turned into the woods. Oh my goodness this was an experience. Twisting paths in pitch black and almost dead silence. Eeerie. I was taking my time through the wooded paths then opening up on the fields. I was running pretty quickly all things considering because it was cold and I couldn’t see the tops of the hills.
At one point I was all alone, no one else in sight, running parallel to a field. I heard a large animal running through it alongside me but couldn’t see quite what it was. All I had was my halo of sight. Other than that, nothing.
There was another really surreal bit where you keep turning back on yourself in the woods, around trees and whatnot but I was bunched together with about 5 other runners and I couldn’t see who was where as such, just loads of lights bouncing around the trees in different directions.
Everyone must do this in my opinion. I’m glad I only had to do it the once but was one of the most memorable things I’ve done in my entire life. So, so different to anything I’ve done before in my three years of running. I passed over to Lee having run the course in 50 mins. Pretty consistent really and not too shabby considering the added difficulty of not being able to see much. Had a look at the leader board and me and Deb had gotten us up to twelfth! Excitedly went back to the campsite but no one was awake for me to tell. Woke Ken up for his 3rd lap and went to bed.
This time I got to sleep! Hallelujah! The downside to this was that the next thing I knew Deb was waking me up for my last run. I honestly cannot tell you how much I didn’t feel like doing a 10k. There were rumours that Del might be doing two laps in a row and I was praying that she would so I had an extra 45 mins to rest but she opted to do a fifth later on instead so at 7:50am there I was in the paddock waiting for the now familiar sight of Deb coming round the corner. She came in at 46 mins or so and off I went. Very slowly. After feeling ok for my first three laps it had now caught up with me. I had a headache, a tummy ache, sunburn, I felt exhausted, could barely move my legs, had a chaffed bottom (due to my XXL booty) and I still had another 10 bloody kilometers ahead of me.
I slowly made my way up through the woods and to the top of the hill, glancing at my watch I was running close to 1hr pace. I didn’t want to let the team down so I pushed myself on and eventually slugged my way around the course in an all time personal worst of 54 mins. I wasn’t bothered though as this was the absolute best I could do. I passed over to Lee then had to steady myself as I was really dehydrated now. Grabbed some water and slowly made my way back to the campsite. Lee ran 49 mins and we were now on 27 laps completed, we were definitely going to get to 28 laps, and probably 29 but the magic 30 was possible too! Bearing in mind we’d have been happy with 28, 30 was almost like a dream. Ken went round and struggled like the rest of us because it was getting freaking boiling by this point. Me, Kerry and Mark Hughes went to cheer him on though and he edged in under the hour, passing over to Del to do a fifth. Del came in with 20 mins remaining on the clock allowing Jill to get over the line and complete lap number 30! There was much rejoicing and we all watched the clock tick down, 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and there it was! 24 hours! It was over! Now all the people out on the course were allowed to finish and the last lap was counted toward the total. I knew I would be happy seeing Jill cross the line but little did I know it would bring a tear to the old eye! As she came round the corner and over the line I got all emotional. I was worried about losing my cool til I saw Ken and Lee welling up too. The sense of achievement was absolutely amazing. We all got our medals and took various photos, celebrating and the such. We then presented Kerry’s medal to Sammy because she’d been an absolute Godsend to us all. She even washed our sweaty vests for us!
Before I wrap this up, I’ll list my favourite moments/highlights of the weekend.

- Me asking if anyone would like to borrow my hat, only to see everyone trying to think of an excuse to not have to wear my crap hat.
- The psychadelic music ADIDAS played at the changeover area, David Bowie, The doors etc
- Having a go on Andy’s guitar on Saturday night, playing Stairway to heaven and rightly getting grief for it (there is a rule amongst guitarists that you do not under any circumstance play stairway to heaven of Sweet child of mine)
- Me and Adam, upon spotting a bloke who looked like Lee, cheering him on shouting GOOOOOOARN LEE! GO LEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Only to see the actual Lee standing 20m away looking at us like 'What?'
- Jacqui’s lovely soup that she drove all the way from Stoke to get to us.
- Some weird blonde bird in a dress trying to chat me up on the Saturday then smiling at me/creeping me out for the rest of the weekend.
- Trying to get to sleep before my 2am run but not being able to because of a Greek/German rock n roll bar across the road playing classics such as “Rollin like a river” and “Haya Buki Buki” all night, keeping me and Deb awake, although we did end up singing along since we had no chance of sleeping.
- Jill putting on a sexy show for me n Deb, getting changed behind her closed pod door but with her headlight on. We could see her silhouette clear as day, but her arms were about 8 foot long !)
- Jill asking me if she should hang her bra on the washing line but then changing her mind when I asked her if she honestly expected to get up in the morning and not find Lee wearing it on his head.
- Dave the legend.
- Dave the legend’s missus, who didn’t see too happy about her husband’s spontaneous late night cross country session
- My breakfast on Sunday morning - Bombay mix and Powerade.
- Kerry’s snoring keeping the ENTIRE campsite awake.
- Kerry driving home in a fake moustache, and stopping to wave at men who were puzzled to say the least. The tache suited her actually.
- Kez also buying me a chocolate milkshake from Maccy D’s on the way home.
- That wonderful Watermelon flavoured water you could get in the changeover paddock.
- Deb’s story about the seagull (ask her about this, it’s hilarious)
- Meeting Pottering marathon legend Mark Hughes.
- Lara asking me “Dan, why is your back so spotty? In front of about 10 people who were probably wondering the same thing. There’s a reason my shirt doesn’t come off too often haha : )
- Lara and Chloe being absolutely amazing, supporting us all and not acting the least bit bored. Chloe even brought me a jumper at 3:05am!
- Coming 12th in the 8X category and 19th overall. Considering there were over a hundred teams, this is amazing!

So there you go. I could go on for hours but I’ll finish by saying if I could round up why I love being a member of this running club it’s seeing Jill cross that line and seeing full grown men with a tear in their eye. Thanks everyone for a great weekend. I love you all

Thanks Dan, and finally only a week after the event (good for Jill) haha, here is the final race report from Thunder Run 24:

I first heard about the Thunder Run 12 months ago, reading on facebook about Sarah Gardiner-Hall who’d done it as a mixed pair with her dad. It looked like a fantastic event and I knew I just had to do it. So when Del said she wanted to do it too the hunt began for 6 other willing victims (I mean participants). After some deliberation, I entered a team of 8 consisting of me, Del, Deb, Kerry, Ken, Rob, Dan and Lee. The idea of camping sounded fun (almost as much as the race itself!), with everyone contributing to the equipment and food. We borrowed the Trentham tent to use as the mess tent, very useful, especially with how much food we took between us. Ken created a spreadsheet with predicted lap times, showing the start and finish time of each lap which was really useful and not far off correct. It was agreed to run in order of ability, fastest down to slowest, which meant I’d run last and we’d do at least 3 laps each with the 4 fastest probably doing 4, giving us 28 laps.

 Leading up to the race my running took a bit of a dip, with Achilles trouble and feeling lethargic probably due to the fact I was having trouble sleeping (a woman thing!). I did manage to run twice a day 4 times to try and simulate the race but I never went out in the dark with a head torch. I was excited but apprehensive as though I knew I was capable of going the distance, it’s not normally in 10k chunks and I was worried about the night run as, most of you know, I trip over in broad daylight.

The weekend arrived and I travelled to Catton Park with Rob on the Friday afternoon to help set up the tents and get registered. It was a great atmosphere, bit like Glastonbury for runners, and I wished I’d decided to stay the Friday night but I really needed to try and have a good night’s sleep. So Saturday morning arrived, nice and hot and Rob picked me up again and we went to get Debs. We got there in plenty of time for Deb to get registered but I was getting worried as I wasn’t sure if Dan would arrive in time to register before 11am. But when Deb registered they also gave us Dan’s number but I forgot to tell Dan so when he arrived with 10 minutes to spare he rushed straight to the registration tent, unnecessarily.

It was great to see everyone mulling around, getting excited. Del, Andy and their dogs. Kerry still not well with a throat and ear infection but still wanting to take part, if only for 1 lap. Ken re-organising the running schedule to omit Kerry. Lee with his girls and dog. Sammy with a teacloth on her shoulder organising the mess tent. She did panic a couple of times over the weekend when she lost the teacloth (think it’s her comfort blanket!). I showed Debs to our tent, a large 8 man one courtesy of Del with 2 separate pods, bedrooms for me and Deb. A complete contrast to Rob’s, a tiny 1 man tent, where he couldn’t decide whether to let his feet hang out or his head!!

11:30am came and after a team photo we went to the start area for the instructions on the race changeover etc. before the high noon start and to see Rob off on the first lap. And god it was scorching hot. We went back to the changeover area to see Rob pass over to Del. Rob came storming in dripping with sweat and the first words he uttered were “It’s tough!”.” OH… MY.. GOD..” I thought, if Robs thinks it’s tough I’ve got no chance. And what with the heat too I was feeling a bit anxious!!!! As I was last on the rota to run I’d got nearly 4 hours to wait so I went back to try and find somewhere to sit out of the sun so as not to get sunstroke. I ended up behind the Trentham tent with the dogs!

At 4:30pm I was in the changeover area waiting to take over from Ken and start my 1 st lap and it was still scorching. A few more minutes and I was off. Took it steady in anticipation of what was to come. I did enjoy it though, especially zig zagging through the trees. It wasn’t quite as bad as I thought and I felt ok. Then when I got to 9km where the route goes through the campsite it seemed like there was half of the running club there, with the additions of Walter, Carolyn, Adam, Jaquie & Finley, all cheering me on – fantastic. I finished my lap and passed over to Rob. It took me 54 mins, which I was well chuffed with. I jogged back to the others to sample Jaquie’s fab minestrone soup and to Sammy and Kerry fussing over me to make me a drink, get me food and trying to get my vest off my back to wash it. Kerry was still not well and on the advice of the first aiders decide not to run, but Dave Pickstock who was just visiting us donned Del’s trainers and running vest and did a lap as Kerry. He seemed really keen to do it and when he whipped 6 energy gels out of his pocket looked like he’d come prepared (but he did say they were intended for us – yeah right J )lol.

My next run was at 11pm when it had turned quite chilly, almost a complete contrast from my 1 st run. Head torch on and a hard torch at the ready (taking no chances) I set off. It was absolutely fantastic, I loved it. It was so surreal, pitch black and eerie in places and quiet, except for 1 point where I could here music drifting up from the campsite below. Didn’t trip up as I made sure I was alert and careful. I did this lap in 57mins despite feeling like I was running faster. Wanted to do it again J

Just before midnight I passed over to Rob again and went and woke Del up. Had a quick bite to eat and went to get some sleep. Deb and Dan were still awake laughing and chatting, I think I may have admonished them a little as Deb was due to run after Del, my mothering instinct! I tried to get changed discreetly in my pod, but after reading Dan’s report doesn’t seem to have worked! I had about 2 hours sleep and woke up hearing Dan waking Ken saying Lee went at 5 past 3 so I decided to get up and get ready for my next lap. Rob was already up and there was Sammy, who’d just seen Lee off, kettle at the ready to make me a coffee, what a star!

4:30am and I was back in the changeover area. As it was not quite completely daylight I had to wear my head torch, though I only really needed it in the trees. I had a very comfortable run and felt quite fresh and did this one in 55 mins. I tagged Del and went off for a shower. When I came back everyone was up and I tried out Ken’s toaster before having a cat nap before it got too hot to stay in the tent as it looked like it was going to be another scorcher.

It looked like we were on for doing 30 laps instead of the estimated 28, all of us doing 4 laps, Del doing 5 and the 1 Dave did. As I wasn’t sure how I’d fair on the last lap and in case I ran well over the hour, which I thought I might, Del would run before me and I’d go last at about 11:30am. It was extremely hot and again I tried to keep in the shade.

Just after 11:30 and I was off again. I decided I would take it really easy up, even walk, the first couple of hills to make sure I’d get round ok, I was convinced it would take me well over the hour. It took a couple of km’s for my legs to wake up again and once I’d passed the drink station at 5k and got up that bank I knew I’d be ok. I carried on conservatively because of the heat but after 7km knew it would be easier except for the climb just before the finish, may have to walk that one. Del was waiting just after 9km to spur me on. And where was Lee? Half way up the last hill – bugger!!! I had to run it. I paused at the top of the hill as a group from Chase Harriers asked me how many were in our team, when I told them 8 they looked a bit worried. I then legged it the last bit to the finish to cross the line in 58 mins and greeted with a handshake from the race organiser. And the team were all there to greet me, some of whom had gotten a little emotional I believe. I must have been grinning from ear to ear.

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

We’d done 30 laps, came  12 th in the Teams of 8 (Chase Harriers were 2 places behind us) and 19 th overall. It was an absolutely fantastic experience and I SHALL be there again next year. The great thing was the camaraderie of everyone, not just those of us running but everyone who came down to support. Sammy for mothering us all despite having the kids and dog to look after and not having any sleep on Friday due to Lara being poorly. Kerry, despite still being ill herself, was there looking after us, making drinks, washing clothes, stripping men of their running vests ;-) Jacqui and her soup, Walter, Carolyn, Adam, Dave, Laura, Mark who came all that way  to see us. What a team!!!!!

Well done everyone and thanks for taking the time to send in the reports. Here's a couple of pics from the event:

 

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Ultra Tour of the Lake District 100

Dale Colclough did this epic adventure of a race recently and here is his account of the events, quality stuff:

Where do you start to tell this tail. Well Coniston as it happens as the 100 starts and finishes in this wonderful Lakeland village. Preperation for this epic race should be meticulous as its not a race for the faint hearted. There is 22,500 ft of assent and decent to negotiate as well as the 105miles ( Yes 105 miles ) As a race the organisers set out rules that allow for no outside support and mandatory safety kit to include full waterproofs and additional body cover. Food drink map road book and compass. So all this means hauling some wait around with you.

My preparation certainly wasn’t meticulous, which is not like me, I just couldn’t get my head round it as my initial application had been to late and I was on the reserve list. Any way after being 30th on the reserve list my entry was excepted with about 8 weeks to go. ( Best get training then ) The Race started at 5.30pm on Friday evening and 230 starters lined up following an earlier 30 minutes briefing including some wise words from Guest of honour fell running legend Jos Naylor. Off we set on the first 8 mile section to the village hall in the dudden valley. There was 14 controls in total that were also points at which sustenance was available. An electronic dibber system was set up to ensure that each control was visited and so that each individual can be tracked for safety.

The atmosphere was one of great camaraderie as everyone was nervous about the ordeal to come. My legs felt really heavy and tired for the first 20 miles or so that took us to Wasdale head. I was already contemplating early retirement and felt pretty low. A plastic cup of mushroom soup at the 3rd control revived me some what and the climb up to black sail pass brought me to live just as it was getting dark. Head torches on and down in to Ennerdale then over scarf gap and down to the next control at Buttermere. Doesn’t sound far but it was now 12 O’clock midnight and I had covered 26.3 miles a marathon down and just the three to go. The weather forecast was spot on and a cloud free sky revealed the most breath taking sight. I was now enjoying the steady progress and had moved from 75th at the 1st control to 30th by the time I reached Keswick. Onwards and upwards ( and downwards ) I progressed on to the Blencathra centre and then the first signs of Saturdays day light at around 43 miles! My legs were starting to get tired but I have been used to 10 hrs out so not bad at this stage and onwards across the old coach road towards Dalemain house at Ullswater. ( This was the control that had been deamed the half way point although at 59miles.

I was glad we were now on the way back. The day was to be warm clear and sunny and it was really starting to heat up as I reached Howtown ( 66 miles ) I trundled on feeling ok and still on schedule for a sub 29hr finish all the way to Kent mere. This is where the wheels came off and my lack of experience in this type of event started to show. I had developed a terrible stabbing pain in my left knee and every foot fall had become a hardship. Just the 23 miles to go then and limping along was about all I could muster. The next control was Ambleside which was reached at around 7pm Saturday evening. As always the streets were heaving and every one was either cheering us on or looking at us as if we were insane ( that’s about right ) I was determined that I was going to finish but was mindful of the cut off times so had to keep moving ( limping ) onward along Langdale and after another 600 ft climb we came down to the valley and ran the next 3 miles along the path which followed the valley. Two people stopped me to ask what I was up to and were totally blown away when I told them.

I haven’t mentioned to this point but at least I wasn’t alone as my mate from Manchester George was with me, so at least I had company. The only trouble was he was in the same state as me ( His feet were in bits). We had seven miles to reach the least control and then a further 3.5 miles to the finish. 10.5 miles? That rang a bell. I know I was reading the club archives last week and our old handicap route was exatly that 10.5 miles. I remember my time for the handicap being 59 minutes.I worked it out that on that basis we should be able make it back in no more than 3 hours. This didn’t seem to bad apart from the fact we had now been going 27hrs plus and it was starting to get dark again. As the darkness fell and tiredness really set in both George and I started to see and hear things that weren’t there. I had been told about the possibility of hallucinating before hand, but just laughed it off. Now it was happening , it was most strange.

We climbed on up to Tilberthwaite the last control across the most horrible rocky and marshy ground eventually reaching it at 11.30am, best part of 3hours to do 7 miles. Just 3.5 miles to go and we were energised by the prospect of getting back. A huge climb out of the quarries went well then a mile or so across boggy moor land lead us to the track that descended back to coniston and the finish. What we hadn’t anticipated was the difficulty in descending the last 1200ft to the village. The last 3.5 miles took us 1hour 54 minutes, which gives you some idea of the state we were in. I think that finish line will be one I will remember for along time. It was 1.30am Sunday morning and hundreds of well wishers were there to see us finish.

What a relief and a certain degree of pride for making it to the finish in 31hrs 55mins. I was weighed at the finish along with all the other competitors and was told I had lost 9lbs wow some diet. 47th overall and 4th over 50. Have a go if you are daft enough , it really was an amazing raise. The pain has gone away now and I am just left with some very swollen joints , but no lasting damage. Ill be Back to some short stuff in readiness for cross country very soon.

Well done Dale, that really is some feat. I remember reading the epic story of the Bob Graham Round some years ago and this one seems even more challenging. Thanks for the report.

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Page last updated 07 August 2011

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