September News & Reports

 

Wolverhampton Marathon & Half

As part of the NSRRA series quite a few Trentham Runners headed south for the Wolverhampton Marathon & Half Marathon. Some of whom confessed to slightly better preparation than others. The conditions were perfect for running being cool but just managing to stay dry. A couple of reports have landed in the post and the first one comes from the pocket rocket, Deb Thomas:

Iíd been feeling more nervous than I usually would about the Wolverhampton Marathon and on the morning of the race I had a huge knot in my stomach, so digesting my porridge and honey was not easily done in the car on the journey down!! I put my nerves down to the fact itís been two years since my last marathon and Iíve also not done as many long runs as I would normally do, so my confidence was unsettled. We arrived at West Park around 8.30am and met up with fellow Trenthamers for a mingle and chat before the start at 9.15am. Everyone was feeling very anxious and eager to get going, and we were all wondering why the heck we hadnít just stayed in bedÖ.!!
Thankfully the weather started out cool, cloudy and light rain which was ideal. After many trips to the toilets/bushes we were all lined up on the start line with 5 minutes to go. I pushed my way through towards the front and stood next to Paul B, not wanting a repeat of the last time I did the race and we missed the start gun!! Starting off I glanced at my Garmin to control my pace over the first miles when it is easy to be pulled along with the half marathoners. I start off with 7.12 for my first mile and similar for my second; which was 3 hr 10 mins pace roughly.
Just after mile two my Garmin (despite being charged overnight) decided that the battery had run out and promptly turned itself off!! Luckily I had printed off a pace band so I knew, mile by mile, what time I should be at (3 hrs 15 mins was target). Just before mile three Iím needing to Ďwater the gardení, so I dash in between two cars parked on the road and, well, water the plantsÖahem! I sprint off to get myself back in place and am able to carry on without worrying about that now! Shortly after, Iím caught up and overtaken by two lady marathoners and for a few miles I keep them in sight, one being only a few metres in front and the other a little further. At mile four I ask a chap to my left what the mile split was and he kindly informs me it was around 7.10, which is feeling good. We stick together for a good 14 miles after this and have a little chat (his name was Stuart and he ran for Sphinx AC).
The course had completely changed since the last time I did Wolves, and this time it was far less on the main roads and more in parks, canal paths and housing estates. I enjoyed this winding and twisting course for the first 8 miles or so before we are lead back onto the main road for some undulation; miles 10-13, and again at 23-26 in particular!
Water stations every 2.5 miles are well placed and much needed as despite the clouds it is still a bit warm: I take a bottle at every stop, tip Ĺ over my head and drink the rest. (Good idea at the time, however, in the post-race shower I realise my wet clothing had chaffed my skin, namely under my sports bra and along my shorts waistband Ė ouch!!)
Circling around the park at half way, we can hear the half marathoners finishing, and me and Stuart laugh at how cruel it is!! Iíd arranged with Adam for him to pass me another sports bottle of isotonic at this point, and there he is, my knight in shining armour, and he runs a few metres alongside us to swap bottles and offer Lucozade (thank you Breo!) He also tells me Iím in fourth lady position. Then Stuart shrieks outloud due to cramp in his calf but manages to carry on with me up to mile seventeen when he tells me to go on without him as he needs to slow down. Shame as he was hoping for 3 hrs 15 mins as well.
I had been starting to feel fatigued but strangely when Iím on my own I experience a sudden spurt and manage to catch up a chap in front!! Winding around the parks and paths Iím grateful for the shouts of encouragement from local residents still out waiting for us, and Iím told again Iím in fourth lady position. Mile twenty and Iím feeling reasonably ok. Walter is out on course around about here and he gently tells me the third lady is catchable, but there was just no way I would have caught her, my legs were buggered and I only care about finishing!
Mile twenty three and here come the climbs again; long drags but thankfully down hills follow just after to reboot the old legs. A bit further on and there is my knight again, waiting with bottles of energy drink. Adam joins me to run in the last three miles, and bless him is giving me verbal encouragement, but Iím hurting and feeling moody and I have to tell him to shut up talking at me!! (He was saying all the right things but the pain was making me irritable, sorry Breo!) Mile twenty five and my head is telling me to STOP because it hurts so much but there is only 1.2 miles to go and Iíll be damned if I walk now!!
Adam is still with me as we circle ĺ of the way around the park again, and I can hear the finish is close but I canít see it just yet, and then, thank the heavens, I see the chap in front of me enter the park gate to the finish, and as I follow him in and hit the grass to the finish I can see the clock on 3.15 and tickingÖ.The cheers from the crowd and the announcement of my name and position over the tannoy lift me and Iím through in 3 hrs 15 mins and 42 seconds!!

Once over the line I immediately hit the ground; my lower back, legs and butt are tight and sore and I need to sit!! Iím pleased to have met my target, despite slowing on the second lap, and Iím reasonably happy with fourth lady (though quite exasperated that last yearís lady winner was 3 hrs 32 mins, and every year I turn up here there are faster ladies, damn it!!! Ha ha!!) I look up and see Rob standing over the railings and Adam is shouting well done at me and heís so proud. I manage to get up and head over to collect my water, goody bag, t-shirt and medal. Then me and Rob hobble over to the leisure centre for a quick shower before the presentation at 1.00pm when Iím awarded a voucher for fourth and I also receive gold Staffordshire AAA medal for first Staffordshire lady home! Iím well pleased with myself, but when I hear that the third lady was 3 hrs 14 mins and the second lady 3 hrs 13 mins I can also kick myself for not pushing on Ė so close!!! However, the winning lady was 3 hrs 6 mins so Iím not so mad about that!!!! 

Well, in all in it was a great day for all Trenthamers Ė we all finished and we all ran our hearts out. Well done everyone, respect!! Congratulations to Paul B on 3 hrs 3 mins and eleventh overall (wow!) and Rob for managing 3 hrs and 8 mins despite no training and also winning MV50!! Massive well done to Lee Jones on his first ever marathon (3 hrs 46 mins!!) and also Chris Mosiuk (3hrs 58 mins despite suffering mega cramp) and Jill Phillips (sub 4 hours (canít find name in result!)) You should all be proud!! And thanks to Sammy and girls and Adam for the support en route; it made a massive difference and was most greatly appreciated!!

Well done Pitstop, a great effort there and 4th is a result to be proud of. I'm sure the shower with Rob at the end made up for missing 3rd place. Great report there and the next one comes from Mr 3:03 himself Paul Burslem:

On Sunday it was the annual North Staffs pilgrimage to Wolverhampton.

On the way to the park saw Debs and Adam in there car, a few minutes later Debs was walking with the family and me, after  leaving Adam to park. At the park it was good to see plenty of toilets !!  but couldnít see many North Staffs folk [whats up with people, don't they like running 26 miles without BBC coverage!] We had a chat to some of the other Trentham runners including the Jones Clan !! Lee was taking a professional approach by having a mate on a  bike supplying him with gels.

As we made our way down to the start I thought my plan was simple, just keep to around 6.50min/miles till I couldnít. The race started, I could see Pete Mallanson and thought there's no way I am following him. I could see Rob pulling away as well but thought I'll just keep to my plan, To be honest thought the first few miles were a struggle it felt very humid to me.

Amin of Stoke ac came past and asked me where Rob was and I told him he was way ahead, Felt a lot better when I had got to 6-7 miles, The only problem I had was trying to keep my pace down, very hard to do when you have got half marathoners pushing the pace. I managed to get back to Rob and Amin after around 11 miles up one of the climbs, and it was there turn to follow me for a while.

As we come back to the park for the first half I was told I was in 21st place and had big big cheers off the Jones clan !! complete with cow bells. As the 2nd lap starts it his you how quiet it is now, Just have to knuckle down and do the last lap. At 14 miles I went past Rob Mottram Jones [ one of the vegetarian runners] then Rob Tabbanor came past me, Rob started pulling away then, I had give my 6.50 plan up by then and just wanted to pad my miles out easily, We caught a couple of runners up around 15 miles and went past one of them and the other one woke up and stayed at our pace,

Got to 16 miles and thought just ten more !! I began to pull away from Rob at this point and I could see the leading lady ahead with her motorbike escort and made her my next target.
At 18 miles I had got past her and had my last gel, I couldnít see anymore marathon runners  so had to just soldier on. Saw my next marathon runner at around 22 miles and he was a North Staffs to boot ! Got past him going up a bad climb [didnít seem as bad on the first lap!] It was Nick Hackett of Cheshire who has only been running a year !!  donít think I'll be going past him much next year
.

With the last couple of miles to do I could see a trio of runners in front and thought to myself a bit too late to catch them, but coming into the last mile I could two of them flagging quite badly and just went straight past them, buggered if they coming past me in the last mile!!Coming to the park there were big big big cheers off the Jones clan again and a just sprinted up the last climb and into the park and there was another marathoner and I just sprinted for the line and got another place,

According to my Garmin my first half was 90.13 and second half 93.37 so not that much slower for the second half. Trentham runners in the full were Rob Tabbanor, Debbie Thomas, Lee Jones ,Chris Mosiuk and Jill Phillips and not forgetting Andrew Vickerman, Greg Julian, David Piper and Bobbie Hickman of the Potters Trotters, Sorry if I've missed anyone off.

Well done Paul. Another great marathon effort and a fantastic report too. I think you just about got everyone in there. Just to mention again that Rob won the M50 prize and Jill just missed out on the F50 coming 2nd. Her report is slightly delayed but will appear here soon. In the meantime here's the results for the marathon and here for the half marathon. And here is Jill's report:

I hadn't planned on doing Wolverhampton Marathon because I was due to do a steady 50km training run about 12 days before. Unfortunately my training partner decided to try surfing and cracked his ribs. He couldn't�t run 50 yards so I couldn't�t really make him run 50km. So, with less than 2 weeks to go and just in time to meet the closing date for postal entries, I decided to do Wolverhampton .

 

I hadn't raced very well recently and also hadn't�t done the training I normally do before a marathon, so my aim was to use this as a training run and finish it feeling comfortable so I felt able to continue for another 5 miles (because I REALLY want to do a 50km in the next year). I didn't want to put myself under pressure, I just wanted to run and enjoy. But at the back of my mind was the fact that, as I am now 50, I get an extra 10 mins to get a Good for Age time for London , under 4 hours. If I got to 20 miles under 3 hours I could possible dip under 4.

 

Bright and early Sunday morning Rob Tabbanor called to pick me up, along with Gary Jones from Michelin, and we arrived in Wolverhampton in plenty of time. We met up with the rest of the green army and after a couple of photos and trips to the loo with Debs we headed for the start (nipping behind bushes on the way to make sure!!!).

 

The weather was perfect; cool, cloudy with a bit of drizzle here and there, then the sun breaking through for the final couple of miles. I started off nice and relaxed and steady, reminding myself not to get dragged along as most of the runners would be doing the half. Lee�s support crew were there in the form of Sammy and the girls, shouting encouragement as usual, and Adam spurring me on with a drink ready if needed, thanks guys.

 

I didn't�t look at my watch every mile, I run how I feel then the time is a bonus. I got to 10 miles in 85 mins a bit faster then I thought, then 13 in 1:53. This is where the field thins out as the half marathoners head for home. I enjoyed the second lap, settled at my pace knowing that everyone now was doing the full marathon. When I got to 20 miles just under 3 hours, that little thought at the back of my mind came to the forefront with the prospect of doing under 4 hours to qualify for London again. I slowed a bit on some of the inclines but kept a check on my pace, re-calculating as I was going. I passed Brian Dale for the second time and when he said that Chris and Walter weren't far in front and when it clicked in what he�d said I thought �where the hell did Walter come from?!!!�

 

I caught them up at 25 miles, Chris had stopped due to cramp and I tried to encourage him to continue with me. My time was 3:46 at this point so I upped my pace a bit to maintain 9 minute miling as I didn't�t want to just miss the 4 hour mark. I crossed the line in 3:57 getting my Good for Age for London . Also I felt as though I could carry on and jogged over to where the presentations were as, as I crossed the finish line, I heard them award Rob 1 st M50 in a time of 3:08, giving Rob a Good for Age time also for London . Chris finished just behind me, well done on struggling through and apparently Walter had driven down later a met Chris to run the last few miles with him. Well done to everyone else who ran the marathon: Paul, Deb, Lee on his maiden voyage and also to Dave Piper�s mum Liz, who has ran with the club a few times. This was her first marathon and had told me she�d be happy with under 6 hours. She did 4:18, was 1 st F55 and only 3 mins off a qualifying time for London , great going. Also well done to Andy, Greg and Dave for doing the half.

 

This race went better than I thought it would, achieving both my goals. So. my next biggy is Gloucester 50km in January 2012. And Dan please stay away from surf boards as we've got a lot of training to put in

Thanks Jill, got here eventually :-)


Lichfield 10K and Weekend Roundup

Quite a few races going on this weekend but none around here really. The closest one was the Lichfield 10K, but more about that later. Further afield was the Bristol Half Marathon and Sarah Johnson was running for Trentham. Sarah finished 70th overall in a huge field of 9,000 and 8th Lady in a time of 1:18:30. The time speaks for itself and is a great result in what is a truly quality field so well done Sarah and hopefully she can summon up enough energy to let us know how it went.

Anyway, on to the Lichfield 10K and a fantastic effort for the girls with a 1,2,3. Mandy Vernon, Chris Holmes and Deb Thomas followed each other across the line in that order spurred on by the Captain Mrs, Richard O'Keeffe who also had a great run coming 2nd in the M60 age group with 44:52 and also Jill Phillips who had a good run to finish 2nd LV50 with 50:20. Needless to say the first 3 ladies also won the team prize. After waiting a week for the Wolverhampton Report, Jill has been much more punctual this week and has kindly sent in this report:
 

Another last minute decision to race was at the Lichfield 10k. Deb Thomas had been ordered by Richard O'Keeffe to replace Becky Austin as she was no longer able to run. Mandy Vernon and Christine Holmes were also doing it and Richard thought they'd have a good chance of wining the ladies team. I'd never done Lichfield and Barry Smith had got a number going spare. So I thought I'd go along for a jolly to support our elite ladies and bring up the rear instead of doing Ipstones on the Saturday. Richard was also racing, his 2nd race in 9 years, so this I had to see :-)

 

Richard dutifully picked us all up and we got there in plenty of time to change the details for mine and Debs numbers. Think Deb was a tad nervous having done the marathon the week before, as had I, but I was quite relaxed because I wasn't under any pressure!  

 

The weather was lovely and sunny just a bit on the windy side. I thought the course was really nice taking us through country lanes, nicely undulating with downs compensating the ups. There were a couple of spots where the wind was quite strong but all in all it was an enjoyable, comfortable race and I did it in 50:20, not bad a week after a marathon.

 

I met up with the others to the fantastic news that we'd got 1st , 2nd and 3rd ladies which obviously also gave them the ladies team prize. Mandy did 39:18, Christine 41:26 and Debs 41:53. Richard did 44:52 and was surprised to find out he'd won 3rd prize in the MV55-65, there's life in the old dog yet ;-))). Really well done all, proud to be there to see it, a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Thanks Jill, all Trentham Runners in the top 250(ish) in a field of 800 so well done all of you. I'm hoping that Richard will find the time to furnish us with his first race report for 9 years, but as a man of few words I may be living in hope. In the meantime HERE are the full results and searchable results HERE!

 


20/20 Cricket

Friday Evening saw a great social night take place at the club with the Trentham 'Trenty/20' Cricket competition. It was billed as a night of entertainment and socialising which it very much was but we all knew that there was a game to be won here and Daniel Jordan has sent us this report:

What a fantastic night for the Trentham RC 20/20 cricket match.  After choosing teams we got to field first which I really enjoyed.  I was one of the 6 bowlers but knew I wouldnít be too good at it; just avoid the Wides by not trying too hard was my plan.  We started off and I was wicket keeper, which is a really tiring position to play, but great fun.  Took most of the balls that came my way, but no edges unfortunately.  Their wickets started falling quite early on, Mark and Dave out for 2 runs, but then Kev Day stayed in for a while with a number of different batters to increase the score markedly.  I had a spell of bowling and Ryan took over as wicket keeper so I went at first slip and after no edges all match, suddenly a beauty to me that I took, what a lovely feeling!  In the end we bowled them out for 36, and I thought weíd won already. 

We knew we would have a break as Bella was batting at number 5 and me at 8 so we went to the bar to get a drink and then came straight down to watch our opening batsmen, but instead heard shouts of ďIsabellaĒ.  Three of ours had fallen already!  I knew Izzy was competent with the bat, but the pace of the bowling was faster than she is used to from me, so instead of hitting it everywhere she defended a lot of shots.  This was brilliant because Guy was at the other end knocking it everywhere and between them they put on 13 runs, the best partnership.  Izzy also scored a run herself which made her our 4th highest scorer! 

Ryan and Guy then put on 10 together, but unfortunately Ryan got ďinjuredĒ which left me, Debbie and Lionel to finish off, and at the end I was by myself, left on 35, needing two runs, and not being able to run a single as I was the last batter.  From it being a fun, relaxed match I know felt the pressure as all my team where encouraging me and the only person who could lose the match was me!! 

Anyway, I managed to connect with one and started running but Eva fielded it and I had to scramble back to my crease.  Left a few and then hit another that got me there and back to then be mobbed by the rest of my team as we jumped around celebrating.  After the post-match photos we went up to the bar for refreshments and sandwiches and pool.  Phil gave a thank you speech for the whip-around, we all drank too much and it was a great night.  Thanks Ryan for organising it all and doing the sandwiches, we all had a great time.  Cricketers we aint, but what a laugh!

Thanks for the report Dan and it really was a fun night. Some may scoff at these things but after several members' recent bad times I know this was a real pick-me-up for those guys and much fun was had by all. Thanks to everyone who came along and made it such a fun night and especially to our Umpires Claire & Tom, and our Scorer Mrs Payne.

  


Ipstones 5

Saturday was the Ipstones 5 out in the Staffordshire Moorlands, no flat bits there then, and several of our members went along to race. Some for NSRRA points, some for the Club Championships, some for fun and some to banish memories of the recent Marathon. One of the members who went along was Dan Jordan who also took his daughter Isabella to do the junior race. Here's his tale:
 

We got to the race early to sign up both for me and my daughter for the fun run.  We both did it last year and we also enjoyed the fun day around the fire station. 

 

At 2:45 the fun run went off and I thought they were going far too fast up the hill, looked like some of them were sprinting.  I then realised Isabella was at the front!!  About ten minutes later and the first ones started coming round the corner and down the hill.  Six boys and then a lolloping girl, had to be mine.  She was being chased down quite hard by the girl behind and so with some gentle encouragement (!) I helped her on her way and she finished in 7th place overall, 1st girl.  I am very proud!!  (She told me afterwards that if she runs constant pace she loses, so a sprint at the start helps to mess the others up Ė nice tactics)

 

The main race went at 3:30, and I pushed hard up the hill, not too far behind Chris, but started losing him over the flat after a mile and lost sight of him completely on the long downhill.  It all felt very hard and I could tell Iíd had a month off.  The guy in front was from Michelin and I just tried to stick with him all the way, ready for my sprint finish to get past him.  Unfortunately he still had it in his legs as well and I couldnít catch him but held my position to come in 25th in 35:50.  It was 50secs slower than last year, but Iím pleased with that.

Well done Daniel and many congratulations to Isabella who won her box of chox for winning the girl's race. First runner home for Trentham was Paul Burslem in 33:25 and not far behind, Chris Mosiuk winning his group race in NSRRA in a time of 34:12. Gerry Calvert also won the M70 age group prize. Full results HERE!


Lake Vernwy Half

Our veteran friends 'Stan & Ollie' otherwise known as Alan Lewis and Stan Winterton travelled down to Mid Wales to compete in the Lake Vernwy Half Marathon at the weekend. Here is how they got on:

I have only done this race on one previous occasion way back in 1991, when I was a young man of 50. On that occasion I had a great run and went round in 77minutes and 40 seconds. Today both Stan and I were hoping for good runs and times albeit much slower than the above owing of course to advancing years rather than lack of endeavour. Stan had never previously done the event but knew that the course was essentially flat apart from the climb from the village headquarters at Llanwddyn up to the dam across the end of the lake. For anyone interested the race was started in 1988 to commemorate the centenary of the flooding of the valley to form the reservoir  supplying Liverpool with water. The ruins of the original village of Llandudno now lie beneath the lake and the present village was built by Liverpool Corporation to re-house the Victorian villagers. From a few hundred the entry has now grown to almost 2000 and all the money raised is ploughed back into local charities and the local community. Anyway that's the history lesson over so onto the race.

Great atmosphere when we arrived, even though this was 90minutes before the start. Most of the men directing traffic appeared to be farmers and the whole thing immediately has a homespun feel with people selling cakes etc and speaking in lovely lilting Welsh accents. Anyway we sussed out the start,showers(2) etc talked to a few from our area, Mark Hughes, Kelvin Amos, Darren Washington, Ken Bloor (the only other Trentham runner as far as I know )and then went back to Stan's car and dozed for 45 minutes to conserve energy. Tip; why waste energy standing around on your feet when you should be resting before the race?

Time for a quick warm up 15minutes before the start preceded by a pee in the bushes and then join the excited throng ready to go. Lost Stan at this point but wouldn't see him anyway till after the race so no matter.

Off we go, good brisk start  but first mile is tough and as expected lose some places climbing up to the dam so glad when I reach the top and cross the dam wall ready to begin circuit of the lake. No downhill at the top, nothing to whiz down so have to be content with gradually building up a rhythm. Had in mind a target of 1hr 36m at the outset but quickly realised this was really tough although on target in early stages. Although flat, like all such courses there is no respite and you must keep working so in some respects I find it no easier than courses with hills especially now I'm older. Soon get into a rhythm as the race thins out a little and batting along quite well despite the agony but glad to throw a bottle of water over my head at three miles.At 5 or thereabouts am running alongside a guy who looks quite old but don't think he's 70+ (more about him later)

Starting to feel tired at 7 and begin to lose a bit of ground on the aforementioned guy and a few others (he seems to be a very good runner I'm thinking). Quite a blustery headwind at times on this side of the lake and it is certainly going to affect my final time The thought that the last mile or so is mainly downhill sustains me in the latter stages as I really begin to feel it at 10/11 miles. Thoughts of a 1:36 time have long vanished and am now looking at 1:39ish. Cheeky young lady gives me encouragement just before 12 telling me to keep going as I have unknowingly paced her for much of the race. Into last downhill mile and although shattered pass some "youngsters" and notice I am closing on the old guy mentioned earlier but have no real hope of catching him inside the distance remaining. Finally stagger over the line absolutely shattered and staggering a bit through funnel but  with the satisfaction of knowing I could have done no more, also three places in front of the young lady mentioned above. Time 1h 39m 28s seems a little disappointing at this stage but later I will revise this opinion.

Go back to Stan's car and meet him on way coming back with his stuff to have a shower. Tells me he's done 1 34 something so am only five minutes behind him and confirms my target of 1:36 was unrealistic since there's no way I'm going to finish within 2mins of him over half marathon distance taking the 5yr age difference etc into account, first hint that I may have had a good run. Anyway quick shower and then eat food we've brought with us while awaiting results. Stan knows he's won o' 65 but sheet containing me isn't up so don't know how I've done when prize giving starts. Some local prize winners, Mark Dalkins 4th overall and unsurprisingly first V40, Mike Hatton 1st V50 followed by Kelvin Amos 2nd V50 then Stan of course 1st V65. First V70 is, yes you've guessed it, Ted Orrell from Clayton le Moors AC( Lancs), the guy I mentioned earlier, followed 5secs behind by yours truly. They announced it as the closest race of the day which I suppose it was and I received a nice bottle of wine for my pains. However on looking on power of 10 site later find that at the Sutton Park Relays in May Ted did his leg in a time which was 1min 38secs faster than mine over the three mile distance and some of his performances over the years are very impressive so getting within 5secs of such a good athlete over half marathon must have been a good effort and confirms my good run. Stan reasonably happy with his run and we now have four weeks to sharpen up for the Congleton Half. Oh incidentally "young" Ken did 1:31ish so a good run considering the number of races he does. 

Really good day out and was really pleased to go back to this great race after all these years- an event well worth doing.

Well done Alan and thanks very much for the report. Great efforts by Alan and Stan there and not a shoddy time from Ken either so well done to all. Results can be found HERE!


St Thomas 7

Trentham Massif descended upon Tean on Sunday for the St.Thomas 7 mile race sponsored by The Raddle Inn and no less than 16 Green Army runners turned out in a field of 102 finishers. I'm sure the race organisers appreciate our support. Prize winners for Trentham were Stephan Walley (3rd overall) Sharleen Hollinshead (Female Winner) Jill Phillips (F50) & Rob Tabbenor (M50).

The M50 group prize winner has kindly sent in this race report, ably typed by his secretary:

After missing this race for the last 2 years through injury, I have finally managed to do it this year along with a good number of other Trentham runners. Having been persuaded to do this race and then run home afterwards, by Jill Phillips, we needed to get a lift over to Tean for the 10:30am start, so we arranged to meet at Jillís house from where we would get a ride from Dan Jordan.

 

On arrival at the school, which is the race HQ and finish, we met and chatted with familiar faces. You know the usual thing, everyone giving reasons as to why they wouldnít be having a very good run today because of their various ailments. It was good to see Stephan Walley there after struggling these last few weeks with a knee injury and I was confident that he would be well up at the front of the field providing his knee held out.

 

The race is run through quiet lanes in some lovely countryside with plenty of ups and downs but nothing too difficult and the course changes every few minutes with no real long stretches to get bored with.

 At the start Stephan set off with half a dozen or so other fast trappers and I was running as 2nd Trenthamer in about 12th place, until Paul Burslem came pass me at mile 3 ish. Paul was running well as normal and he commented that the chap in front of us was supposed to be running alongside him, but had gone off quicker at the start and that although he was running unattached he was planning to join our club (a good addition if he does). I managed to stay just a short way behind Paul and it was at about mile 6 that we both passed the unattached guy. The last mile is mostly downhill apart from a short climb up to the finish inside the school grounds.

 

Although, as always with me, the race hurt, it was very enjoyable and I am pleased that this year I was able to do it. With regards to the final placings for the Trentham runners (apologies to anyone not mentioned) Stephan did indeed do very well finishing in 3rd place (about 41 mins), Paul Burslem just in front of me (about 45 mins), Dan Jordan (47 mins and despite bike ride and night out partying on Saturday) which he was well pleased with. Sharleen Hollinshead won the ladies race, South African Dan did well despite having had the flu lately. Chris Mosiuk came home strong and there were other great efforts from Ryan Procter, Gary Payne, Lee Jones, Ken Bloor, John Guest, Ken Pearson, Gregson Julian, Phil Thomas, Jill Phillips (despite bike ride and night out partying on Saturday too) and Linsey Hughes.

 

Both Jill and I won our age group (mine due to the fact that Eddie Whitaker finished in 2nd place with a vet 50 course record of 40 mins and took the open prize).

 I donít quite know how Lee Jonesí missus, Sammi, and daughter Lara managed to give us all a cheer at Ĺ mile and later at about the 2 mile point, but it was well appreciated, and if they did run between these 2 points then they are wasted as cheerleaders and need to be racing!

 

Dan Jordan decided to join Jill and I on the run home, which was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, although I did have to stop and stretch my tightening legs a few times.

 All in all a good day, good company and even good weather with the only rain coming while we were inside having the presentation. One last thing, the goodie bag at the finish contained 6 oatcakes, a decent Tee Shirt and some other stuff as well, not bad at all for £8 entry fee.

 

Finally thanks to Jill for sending this in for me as I am not very good with computers.

Thanks for the report Rob and another great run again to pick up some silverware. Next report is from another veteran runner Ken Pearson who is also running very well and enjoying his racing:

I havenít done this race before and to be honest I wasnít particularly keen to enter but it was a reason to go for a run and get a bit more training in before the Congleton half. Today I tried the Ryan training method which consisted of a few beers the night before at Ollies wedding do.
I found a parking spot in the haulage yard and had a good sniff of the diesel fuel to wake me up before walking up to the hill to the school to register. Lots of Trentham runners were already there as well as family and photographers. Even Ryan and Greg were racing. I registered and had a look at the course map, it didnít seem too bad apart from the first mile and the hill up to the school right at the end. There is a long downhill stretch and a long uphill bit in the middle but they are undulating rather than steep.

Itís a bit of a walk to the start but that is added chatting time and weighing up the opposition time. I have given up believing anything people tell me at the start about how they are going to run. ďIím just treating it as a training runĒ is the most common lie.

I start with Greg and John Guest who I just beat at Ipstones. My plan is to stay with John who is a bit quicker over the longer runs but he goes off like a scalded cat and I never see him until the finish. Greg and I stay together until a couple of miles and a Newcastle runner comes past so I go with him and we chat together for a few miles until the turn by the house covered in knitted stuff, when he starts to pull away. Itís a lonely race after that as Iím by myself but I can see a couple of runners 50m or so in front so that gives me a bit of a target over the last 2 miles but I cant gain on them. I try and catch up on the downhill at the end but still cant close the gap. The last steep downhill is very welcome but not the hill up to the school after it!

So I finish in 54:24 which is a bit quicker that I was expecting. Greg was only a bit behind as was the ever improving Phil. The goody bag was well named and the oatcakes a bit of a surprise. I think the last interesting food I got after a race was a jar of Shippams meat paste in the Chichester 10k a few years ago.

The usual attempt to round up all the Trentham runners for the group photo failed so its missing a few but it was starting to rain and I had to get home to watch the motor bike racing and finish painting the small bedroom. If you havenít done the race before have a go next year. Itís a friendly race, interesting course and well worth it for the goody bag.

Well done Ken and thanks for the report. As I'm always asking people for race reports and It was my first race in 4 months I decided to make the effort to do a race report myself as the next one could be a long time coming:

Well, when I awoke on Sunday morning at Stupid o'clock (about 7:45am) I was wondering why on earth I'd decided to do the St.Thomas 7 and then I remembered. It was a great course and a nice atmosphere and well organised by racing friend Mark Churton of Stone MM. Peering through the blinds with squinting eyes it looked like it would be declared a 'Wet Race' so softer compound full cut shoes were on standby.

On arrival in Tean the weather was holding up nicely and although dull and overcast the rain stayed away. After registering and all the usual hello's it was great to catch up with some of my old 'racing buddies' who these days are circulating a lot quicker than I. Ryan Holroyd of Staffs Moorlands was being his usual reserved modest self, but I did remind him that the course record was there to be broken. And it was nice to catch up with the two Mark's of Moorlands (Woody and Stoddy) who had turned to doing more triathlon these days and after renaming the race the St.Phil Thomas VII it was time to take the short walk to the start.

Anyway warming up on the way up to the start I actually got out of breath just heading up there, not a good sign as I remember the course having quite a few hills and I don't seem to do hills anymore. A couple of 'Guard Of Honours' later for passing cars and a dog & walker we were off. There were plenty of 'startled rabbit' runners as usual hounding away down the road but I decided to just settle in at a steady pace and see if I could hit my pre-race target of sub-50 and also enjoy it.

After a couple of miles I caught up with Mark Stoddard and we seemed to settle into a good pace and having a chat. Took a quick slurp from the drinks station just after we passed Lee's Wife Sammy and Gary's wife Rachel who shouted something like 'don't let that fat git beat you' to Gary who we'd just passed. I remember the right turn after the drinks station from last time and remember this is when the undulating hills started. My memory was right and as we took the left turn with about a mile and a half left I was pooped. In fact, I remember shouting to Alan Lewis who was cheering us on that "I feel as old as you look Alan", to which I got some abuse in return, haha!

On the last uphill before the very steep downhill Mike Beardmore of Cheadle came storming past along with another runner in white and they pulled out quite a gap with Stoddy now some way in front. On the downhill as you drop into Tean I thought, "I'm buggered if I'm letting those two beat me in the last half mile without a fight", so on the turn up the hill to the school I positively sprinted up the hill and almost caught Mark up as well. I really don't know where that finish came from as my legs were tired, but yay, a good finish.

Crossed the line happy that I'd got sub-50 and collected my EXCELLENT goody bag stuffed with Oatcakes, T-shirt, water bottle and penguin as well as a couple of drinks sachets. Managed to round up almost everyone for a team photo but some had disappeared into the ether, just as that rain that threatened came down in abundance. Stayed for the presentations and Jill had a big whoop whoop as she got her prize and Stephan was trying a little to hard to get 'into politics'. Well done all and see you in another few months :-)

Well, there you have it. Results for the St.Thomas 7 can be found HERE and here is the team photo (minus a few) at the finish.

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High Peak 40

Adam Grew has sent us this race report from the High Peak race he did last weekend. Thanks Adam, here it is:

Maybe it is a definite sign that I am getting slower, older or both but I am far more motivated by races that offer something different rather than attaining a PB at a race distance that I have ran numerous times. For me running is about trying as many different challenges and experiences as possible and, with this thought firmly in mind, last August I was keen to get another challenging race completed before the winter takes hold.

I've never ran further than a marathon in a single race before (the 2010 1 day Scottish Coast to Coast I did included a good dose of biking) so going past 26.2 miles did seem strangely appealing. After a bit of Googling I stumbled on the High Peak 40 Challenge and after speaking to a few colleagues at work who had completed it I sent the application off - nothing like pre-entering to focus the mind.

The race was due to start in just over 8 weeks and I knew training for this sort of event would be a little difficult to balance with other normal  commitments  so I opted for the well known denial technique. This meant doing as little as possible although by race day I'd done a 17 and 21 miler and also an unknown distance but 3.5hrs total in Wales. This was all on the roads though - not ideal.

The race itself starts in Buxton and does a 40 mile loop through the Peak District finishing back in Buxton and just to give it some added bite there is a total elevation of over just under 5000ft with a similar amount downhill. 

I arrived early in Buxton for registration and the 0800hrs race start still in two minds about what to wear. It was raining heavily but not cold although you could not be sure what conditions would be like in the Peak. Either way I had opted to travel light - no liquid, 1 energy gel, 1 power bar, fell running jacket, bumbag instead of Camelback - as there were a number of checkpoints en route providing refreshments.

At race start I decided to not go off too fast and to just get comfortable and enjoy if whilst it was enjoyable as opposed to painful. All was going well up as I cruised past 10 miles taking in some glorious views. I completed the half marathon in 1hr 53mins which was surprising though as I know I can knock a real good chunk off that on the roads. The rain had stopped and been replaced by sunshine which was good but, being quite warm now, I could feel myself losing a lot of liquid especially on the uphills. Due to the remote location I decided to lose the long sleeve for a period and just run bare-chested - not a great sight but it was a lot cooler. At around 17 miles I'd been taking on food and drink for a while as we ascended Mam Tor and then descended down into Castleton. This was the 20 mile halfway mark and I still felt pretty good and confident of a reasonable time of around 7hrs (ish). The longhill drag up Cave Dale was scenic (you run between ancient coral reefs) although the wind had got up by now and was pushing you back. At 26.1 miles I was 4hrs 18 mins in which was ok considering the hills and race distance and at 26.2 I did something you don't often do as a runner - run past the furthest distance you have ever ran and into the unknown. Awesome....

By this stage I was on the roads and exiting Tideswell. I was trying to play the mental games and tell myself to get to 30 and then just start counting down and I also was keen to push on as my wife and son were waiting at the finish line. By 30 miles in I really was getting rather tired and the poor training was taking it's toll. As we exited a forest just over 30 miles I must have not been concentrating and following another runner as after 1.5 miles of mainly downhill I had a bad feeling at an unsigned crossroads that I'd gone wrong. With no other option I trudged back uphill and re-traced my steps and, noticing the sign that I missed, I re-joined the correct route. Progress was slow by this stage and the mood further worsened when I was told I had 7.5 miles to go rather than the 4.5 I thought. This included a long drag up a road section and by this stage I was firmly into walk-run (ok, shuffle)-walk territory. However, a text from the wife arrived telling me to hurry up so I tried to inject some pace which only resulted in me lying in the road with my thigh muscles in involuntary spasm. The last checkpoint loomed at 37.5 miles before which we had to climb into and out of a vicious but beautiful RSPB gorge and I could have quite easily caught a lift back to the start if one of the fantastic final-checkpoint marshals had offered. 

By this point the running had totally gone out of my legs and walking was even a struggle. Not surprising I guess as my few training runs had been around 3hrs and I was now well over 7. I entered Buxton and asked how far to the school - 1 mile - which seemed like a long way. Rounding the final bend in to the school drive I put broke into a jog so my son wouldn't see me walking I asked him to run to the finish with me. He did this for a while before telling me we were running a walking pace and he's just walk with me. Crossing the line was a relief and I achieved my primary goal of completing an ultra although the Garmin had my distance down as 43.89 miles (like I really needed those extra miles....). My finish time of 8hrs 17mins was a bit slow but not entirely surprising considering my lack of preparation and I came in 83rd out of 200.

The drive home was not too bad and I managed to stop to pick up a celebratory Pizza and beer as part of the recovery routine. I also seemed to stay fairly injury free; some rubbing on my back from the bumbag, seriously muddy feet but no blisters (I really rate the Mizuno Wave trail shoes). Stiff legs on Sunday though a run Monday helped loosen them up.

Would I do a similar event again? Yes but I seriously underestimated the training. There is no point doing 25 miles on road, it is about time on your feet and I'd really need to have all day off-road runs which is difficult to balance with daily life. Dale - Lakeland, 100 miles, 6300m ascent. Respect. See you at the club soon.

Thanks for that great report Adam and a MASSIVE well done for that. Great effort.


Sutton Park Relays

A troop of Trentham Runners headed south for Sutton Park Birmingham for the Midland 4 and 6 stage road relays on Saturday. There were some good performances for Team Trentham, especially the ladies 'A' team who came 5th overall in a combined time of 1.04:43. Sarah (10th fastest on the day), Mandy (15th), Sharleen & Christine made up the team.
The 'B' team (Jill, Laura, Kerry & Rose) came 30th overall in a time of 1.15:41.

The Men's team (Paul, Carl, Rob, Jason, Martin & Stephan) also made a great improvement on recent performances in the road relays coming 38th Overall and all runners finishing under 22 minutes with a combined time of 2.06:45.
Men's captain Dale wrote: "Great result for the Men's Team today following another superb effort by our Ladies team.  Our guys all put in a great effort and were only five places short of qualifying for the national finals.  Our 4 super Vets Paul, Rob Martin and Jason ran great legs in support of the ever improving Carl Platt and new comer Stephan Walley.  Our Men's team are on the way back and just need the support of some more of our younger runners."

The results for the Ladies are HERE whilst the Men's are HERE.

Carl Platt has sent in this report from Birmingham:

On Saturday Me, Steph, Paul, Jase, Mart, Paul, Dale and Den all set off for Sutton park relays. This is a great event and certainly an eye opener. We got there for 12 so we could watch the Ladies race and within about 14 mins the 1st Lady came through at a fantastic pace, not far behind was Sarah who had a battle to the line with a Tipton runner for 3rd place. The rest of the ladies followed and did not disappoint with Sharleen, Christine, and Mandy all running fantastic legs to finish 5th overall.
The B team all ran fantastic too, With Laura, Kerry, Rose and Jill.  Then it was to the mens race and Trentham had a strong side out. 1st off was Paul who has not been feeling too great lately but one thing you can guarantee with Paul as soon as he pulls that Trentham vest on he has got a different mind set. He ran a fantastic Leg in 20:19 a great run and he ran about 3 secs faster than last year. Steph was next and had another great run, he ran 20:45, Then it was Rob (Mr Consistent) who never lets you down, he ran 21:57, Next was Martin who is going to be one to watch out for next year: he ran 21:32, Then it was over to Jase who has just come back from a lengthy time off, but will soon be back to his best. He ran 21:52. Then it was my turn on the last leg.
I came in, in 20:20. Dale also ran the 1st leg on his own, I am a little bit disappointed he did not carry on to run all 6 legs for the B team!!!!. But I'll let him off seen that he has just ran a 100 miler not long ago ;-). We came 38th overall and missed out by 5 places on the nationals.  I'm confident we can qualify next year. A massive Congratulations to the Ladies team and all my fellow runners who all gave 100 percent.

Well done Carl and indeed to all those that ran on Saturday to represent the club.

 


Wild Thing

A few Trentham Runners went to do the 'Wild Thing' a 10k with an obstacle course along the way where getting proper muddy is guaranteed. One of them was Walter Mosiuk who returning from a back injury thought this would be ideal. He has kindly sent us this report:

Chris had to bail out of the Wild Thing 10k Adventure race because heís managed to book a last minute holiday, and Stokeís not good enough for him to propose to his wonderful girlfriend Alex, so always up for challenge, I decide to take his place, but then wonder whether Iíve done the right thing because I donít want to hold back the team of Dan Bowman, Gary Payne and Lee Jones. So, the day gets off to a strange start when my radio controlled clock/alarm goes off at 3.10 am and Iím up and out of bed putting on my socks and thinking itís pretty dark out there, but also thinking that something isnít quite right. Now Iím scratching round for new batteries, re-setting the alarm time and once again back to bed for a few more restless hours.

Firstly the team name, was going to be 3 cís and an e, for reasons which may be obvious, or not!!, but then Dan kindly decides that it should be 2 cís an e and an OAP. Anyway, the team name stayed as the original, and Iím running as Chris Mosiuk, which makes me wonder how well I would have done listed as a veteran. Well if you thought you had to be strong, fit, fast or just stupid, take a look at me Dan, Gary and Lee, or better still take a look at all of the people that were turning up. They were all shapes, sizes and abilities, some even in fancy dress, approximately 1000 runners all to set off in 100ís at 15 minute intervals.

 So then itís off to the 20 minute briefing, telling us how thick the mud is in the swamp of doom and how long and fast the water slide is, and then a look of horror on Danís face with the mention of semi-submerged pipes which we have to go through, and finally the risk of disease and what we are to tell our GP if weíre taken ill in the next 10 days Ö.. now itís becoming real, and scary !!! Now itís time to make our way to the start for a 10 minute warm up, but first a few Ďbeforeí photos all nice and clean and eager to get started. Then the countdown starts, we canít be bothered to push through to the front, so start almost at the back, the pistol fires and weíre off slowly passing runner after runner at a steady 8 minute mile pace in anticipation of whatís to come.

 A long flat stretch across the fields then a few easy obstacles to start, hay bails to clamber over, but enough to put you off your rhythm and then there are some flexible planks over a brook, but Dan jumps on before Lee has got off at the other end and almost catapults him into the next field. Now weíre heading towards the trees and the Ďswamp of doomí, the likes of which I have never experienced before. It doesnít feel cold, just so thick and gooey that you can barely put one leg in front of the other and if you try too quickly, just loose your balance.  Now weíre starting to have a laugh at this point, Lee is in his element and decides to coat his bald head in thick black stinking swamp mud Ö what a picture Ė refer to Facebook. There are more obstacles, two 3ft pipes to crawl through a 15ft high greasy embankment with ropes to assist, a real dodgy cargo net, so slack that itís difficult to find your footing and a tightrope to walk across a little valley, and then we see sight of the girls and another opportunity for a pose and a photo session.

 Weíre progressing quite well by now and before you know it weíve reached the water slide, a glorified slippery tarpaulin on a steep 45ft embankment with a torrent of water to blast you down and into a muddy 4ft deep water hole, and as I go down and under water, all I can think about is I donít want this water in my eyes because of my contacts, then itís a wading come swimming action to get across and out at the other side. Somewhere amongst all this lot I forgot to mention the pipes that were semi-submerged, with a layer of grit at the bottom, about 20ft long and barely wide enough to fit in let alone get your arms and legs going to propel yourself through. A nasty piece of work by the course designer. It was very claustrophobic and very cruel to the knees and elbows.

 Now thereís just a run through the woods along a few streams, another cargo net and weíre heading back towards the finish area, some more obstacles and lots of spectators so careful not to trip up, through the tyres, over the wall (well at the 3rd attempt at least), run over a balance beam, crawl under a net commando style, another balance beam, zigzag this time, and then we can see the finish ahead of us. But just as we start veering off left for the second lap a lady on the tannoy has already started saying Ďwell done Trentham Running Club Ė oh! youíre on your second lapí and off we go to do it all again. Well, youíd think the story would be the same again for the second lap, but not quite.

Weíre approaching the Ďswamp of doomí and warning all of the first lappers how bad it is, Lee wants to jump right in the middle where itís deepest but Iíve found a little bit of high ground to the right and get ahead, but in front of me are 2 ladies really struggling so being the gentleman that I am, I come to the rescue of the first lifting her under the arms and helping her to the side with some assistance from Gary behind, but the second lady was truly in a panic, her face was pale and speechless and she was shivering, it was only the lifeline of a rope thrown to her by a marshal that helped her to get out. Having been routed to the spot for a couple of minutes and supporting the weight of others I now find that my leg is firmly set in concrete, and with the first great big effort to lift it, not even the slightest movement, and the same with the second, so now itís one long pull with all the strength Iíve got left and slowly Iím moving and then there are welcoming hands from Lee and Dan to pull me out.

 Onwards and forward and much of the second lap is the same apart from our support crew and photographers are at different points on the course now, and our shoes have more grit in them, oh, and the water slide is broken so we have to jump in the muddy water, Dan and Lee swim across and Gary and I wade through behind them. Knowing that we are getting close to the finish and sensing the crowds around the final corner we lift our game, Lee and Dan are starting to pull away so itís a quick dash over the tyres and now the wall which I failed first go last time Ö damn, I did it again!!

 This time weíre heading straight for the finish so itís hands linked and all cross the line at the same time with Rachel Payne waiting to take that all important photo. Itís over, except Lee wants to go around again saying Ďwell whatís stopping you from going around againí and both Gary and I pointing to our heads Ö.. duuhh !!

 What an experience as we all stand around soaked and muddy posing for photos, drinking Monster energy drinks and talking about memorable parts of the course and comparing cut and bleeding knees, and Lee is obviously still excited, by the look of the bulge in his shorts, so I throw a bit of cold water over him to calm him down. I notice thereís already been a lot of interest on Facebook, but I would certainly recommend this race to anyone. Actually Ďraceí is the wrong word, itís an event, a Ďmammoth eventí, and if you enter with a team one tenth as good as ours, youíll still enjoy it.

Well done Walter and thanks for the report. Well done too Gary, Lee & Dan and here's a pic that Walter has sent in just as they cross the line.

And here is another race report after playing 'Preditor' Lee Jones has scraped the mud off his head and typed up this report:

BEEP BEEP BEEP 6am Sunday morning, my alarm was telling me to get up for work. I hit the snooze button and settled back into my pillow, eyes closed...mmmmm... WAIT, wasn't there something.. WAARRGHHH It's the day of the Wild Thing Adventure race, a 10k assault course run in Derby. I give Sammy a quick shake (well that's what we call it) then burst into Chloe & Lara's room with a WAKEY WAKEY before going to walk the dog. When I got back I was pleased to see that all my girls were bleary eyed but up dressed & having breakfast. I told them that we had to be there for 8am even though I knew my race wasn't till 10:45. 

       So at 7am we were in the car and heading to Derby. When we arrived at the event site we were about the 8th car there, and I think most of the other cars belonged to the event organizers. This was all in my plan however because I wanted to check out the course to find out the best vantage points for taking photos. The route was taped off on both sides for the runners so we followed it into the woods where we saw a cargo net/wall and a tightrope walk over a very muddy stream. I was thinking that it wasn't that bad when we went around a corner and WHAT THE HELL....there was a 10ft wide path that was water logged and in this water were 4 tubes/tunnels that were about 2ft wide at the most & about 20ft long, they had a big mound of earth on top of them to keep them submerged in the water so that only the top halves were visible. Looking at them, it was hard to believe that I would be crawling through them. When we were heading back Gary arrived so I quickly showed him the tunnels then we headed back to the start. 

       People had started to arrive thick and fast and it was suddenly very busy and buzzing with excitement. Dan and Deanne turned up (Deanne looking radiant with her baby bump) then not long after, Walter and Carolyn arrived, and so the newly group named 2 C's an E and a OAP were all together. I showed Dan a photo I had taken of the tunnels which was a mistake because he suddenly seemed nervous and said he was slightly claustrophobic (oop's)  

      At 10am we were called for our safety briefing, where we were really put at ease (NOT) by being told how hard the obstacles were and of all the diseases we could catch from the water. Then we had to do a 10 minute aerobic warm up which I really enjoyed (think I'm going to start doing it on club night's just to see if anyone joins in with me) but just as I was getting into the rhythm of it we were called to the start line. I like to get near the front at the start of races but somehow we ended up right at the back. We had already agreed to stay together and as we set off we found that we were quickly overtaking loads of other runners, I think this was mainly because Dan didn't want to be behind 20 people dressed in florescent tu-tu's and Bee costumes so he applied the pace to get past them and we all followed suit. The Ist part of the run went around the edge of a big field and the 1st obstacle was at about 1k and was just a stack of hey bails to climb over (easy) then another longish run before going over balance beams over a wide ditch (easy peasy) then it all changed!. The route took us back towards the woods, and a part of the course that I hadn't already seen. 

      The path snaked through some trees then suddenly we were faced with a 20/30ft stretch of mud. We didn't know how deep it was so we just went for it. This is where the fun began, when we first jumped in it was up to our knees, yuk, but as we waded further we were getting deeper and deeper. I stayed on the left hand side and tried keep ploughing forward but when it got above my waist I stopped for a breather, the mud seemed to crowd in on me because I stayed still and then I was proper stuck. I had my arms above my head to try and keep them clean, but because Gary was behind me and he was starting to get stuck as well he decided to try and push me forward. That was it!! my arms went in up to my shoulders and my chin was resting on top of the gloop. With a big effort I started pumping my legs like slowly treading water, at the same time trying to grab anything to help me out. I started to move forward again and with great relief pulled myself out. When I stood up I looked like half a swamp monster so I thought I would finish the effect off by covering my whole head and face in the mud. Dan, Gaz & Walt all struggled out then we had to carry on running! The next stage was some biggish tunnels that we had to crawl through, then up a small bank aided by ropes before running on again through the woods to a much larger bank, again with ropes trailing down to help us up. 

      As we ran on I could see the first cargo net/wall and I also heard Chloe shouting "come on Trentham" and getting ready with her camera. It was hard to climb the netting because it was very loose, I think they did this on purpose to sap our  strength even more. Then it was on to the tightrope walk which I found quite easy (only because there was a rope running over head to hold on to). Next obstacle was the water slide!. To get to it we had to run up a big muddy hill at the side, me and Dan arrived at the top first. There was a pipe sticking in the air pumping water onto the plastic sheeting which was running down the 50ft bank and into a muddy pond. We sat down pushed off and WHHOOOOOSHH we rocketed down the bank towards the pond. I don't know why but I didn't expect it to be very deep, so I was surprised when I went completely under the water. I never got chance to hold my breath, and because I was laughing going down I ended up snorting loads of muddy pond water. I came up for air coughing and spluttering but still laughing my ass off and just managed to move out of the way of a very fast Walt as he came crashing into the pond quickly followed by Gaz who I'm sure was saying WEEEEEE as he went down.  

      We climbed out and carried on running, we were all a bit cleaner of mud now and in high spirits, talking about the slide and how good it was when we came to the submerged tunnels. We had no time to back out though which is a good thing cuz Dan looked worried. We had to get on our knees and squirm our way in on our belly's, then the only way to progress was to crawl forward using just the forearms & tips of the toes while keeping our heads on the ceiling of the tunnel to keep from ducking in the water. 20ft later I grabbed the sides of the tunnel and boosted myself out. I looked to my left to see that Dan was safely out also. We waited for Walt & Gaz then on we went, Dan said that the tunnels were his worst obstacle and he was dreading doing them again. 

      On to the next cargo net/wall which was just as loose and as lethal as the first one, then it was onto the finishing straight which had a series of obstacles all together, there was a tyre floor, then a 10ft wall which was more like a triangle with a foot bar set about 2ft up and ropes to help with the climb (which I didn't need) next were stepping posts then we commando crawled under a net frame set about 1ft off the floor, then two sets of under and over hurdles before coming to 2 sets of balance beams before finally completing lap 1. 

      The next lap was a lot slower, not because we were tired but because the course was getting busy and at every obstacle people were queuing. I've never queued to jump into a swamp before, it gave the saying "queuing for the bog" a whole new meaning. This time I was determined not to get stuck so I just powered through quite easily. Walter however decided to play the gentleman and help a woman along who was stuck. When she was out she ran away and because Walt had stood still for a while HE was stuck, so me and Dan offered him a hand each and pulled him free. We were caked in mud again and while we were waiting to climb the cargo net/wall I decided to give myself another mud pack as I'd washed the last one off. 

      We went over the tightropes then got together for a group photo (yes, me with a head and face covered in black mud) and then it was on to the water slide. I went to run up the bank only to be stopped by some guy saying that the pump had stopped working and we were to just swim across the pond (GUTTED). As we ran towards the submerged tunnels I thought Dan would bottle it but he just plunged into the water and dived head first into the pipe. Then it was on to the cargo net/wall for the last time before running around to the finishing straight. All of our family's were there taking photos as well as cheering us on with the crowd. After the last obstacle we all lined up and ran through the finishing line together bringing to an end a brilliant, wet and filthy but fun filled run. We also had a great picture taken by Rachel, Gaz's wife going over the line (cheers Rach) 

      I am so glad that I did this event, but even more, I'm glad I did it with Gaz, Walt and Dan who made the whole thing more memorable, so thanks guy's :) I would also like to thank Sammy, Chloe & Lara for once again coming to support & take photos. Also thanks to Carolyn, Rachel, Deanne & bump for also coming to support and take some great photo's. 

      Lastly thanks to Steve walker from AAA - Adventure for organizing a great event. He told me he is planning 4 of these events next year and I hope to do them all. More obstacle's next time please though, oh and more MUD

 

Well done Lee and thanks for sending in the report.

 

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Berlin Marathon

Last week Stephen Burrows ventured into Europe (which these days seems to evoke thoughts of a trip to Kazakhstan) but no, to Sunny Berlin for the Marathon, at least I hope it was sunny. Let's find out:

This was meant to be the year that I retired from running marathons until I reached another one of those milestone ages. The intention was to get in some decent winter mileage, do the Prague Half in April, get a PB on that since I only missed out by a couple of seconds last year, improve on my Belfast Marathon time in May and finally get a sub 3:30 time in Berlin at the end of September. I got all my entries in early, booked flights, sorted out the accommodation and started to look forward to an enjoyable, niggle free, yearís racing.

The arrival of the snow and ice arrived in November knocked all that planning on the head and delivered the knockout blow of a broken arm which put paid to any kind of training for 4 months. I had to cancel both Prague and Belfast and was only able to begin running again in April and it wasnít until May that I managed over 20 miles in one week. By the end of June, I was able to manage 33 slow miles in a week and by the end of July the mileage was up to 41 and some speed was beginning to return. August saw the improvements continue and by the beginning of September Iíd managed a few 20 - 22 mile long Ďeasyí runs along the Shropshire Union Canal. Folk at the club are always supportive and encouraging and this also helped restore some lost confidence on my road to recovery.

By the time I did my final long run on the 11th September, I felt that I could at least manage the 26.2 miles although I had no idea what would be a realistic target. At one stage even completing the distance seemed like quite a challenge given the very low base from which I was starting but as the 25th September drew closer and my endurance and pace began to return, I revised that to somewhere under 3:50. I did harbour a secret hope that I might manage less than 3:40 and so I toyed with the idea of trying to maintain 8:00 min/mile race pace for as long as possible and just seeing what happened.

The 25th arrived and there was none of the stress of last year, when I had to retrieve my race number on the day from someone I barely knew, in a city I didnít know, in a crowd of 40,000 people. To be truthful I felt incredibly apprehensive about the 26.2 miles ahead and Iím not convinced that this level of nerves was a good thing. However, the sun shone, the temperature was comfortable if a little warm and I got to the start line feeling pleased that at least I was there. The organisation of this race is remarkable and despite the huge number of runners, I had crossed the start line only 3 minutes after the gun had been fired and was immediately able to run at somewhere between 8:00 and 9:00 min/ mile. This soon picked up as the people in front of me got into their stride and I was able to settle to a reasonably comfortable 7:45 min/ mile pace.

I had chosen not to carry gels but to use the Powerbar isotonic drinks provided at 5km intervals from 10km onwards. Iíd also planned to take time to flex my left knee as I downed the drink. This all worked and although it did add time, I was able to maintain around a 7:50 min/mile pace overall until around 35 km where the limitations in my preparation began to make themselves physically felt and I slowed dramatically. There is video footage showing me listing slightly to one side at this stage and the last stages were run with gritted teeth.

I was delighted to see the Brandenburg gate and the finish line just beyond it and managed to Ďruní across the finish line and looking at my watch I was delighted to see that Iíd managed 3:39:03 and a distance of 26.7 miles. Clearly Iíd been doing a bit of weaving rather than following the shortest route which was apparently marked with a blue line! Rather like my race distance, this report is quite long enough so I will recommend that you visit Berlin to see the sights for yourselves rather than describe them.

Thanks to all the club members who have encouraged me, offered good advice, run with or ahead of me and set such good examples through their own endeavours.

Well done Stephen, a great effort for your Ultra run there, just running the extra half mile to show off :-) It must have been great to run in the same event as the new World Record Marathon time was set and watching on TV it looked like there were many people from many nations taking part. Thanks for the report and again, well done.

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