January News & Reports

Birmingham League Cross Country

Captain Dale has sent us this brief summary of events down in Birmingham for the 3rd race of the series:

Our men’s team were well placed going in to the third fixture of the Birmingham league,  but a spate of injuries and illness had left the team light and looking a bit vulnerable. 

The coarse at Baggeridge Park ( Dudley)  was on the site of a colliery and needless to say was a series of ups and downs of the old pit mounds.   A very testing and difficult coarse didn’t put the guys off and they put in a superb effort.  Stephan once again lead the way only just conceding 2nd place in the last mile. By his own admittance he got his tactics wrong and I'm sure he will get it right in the final fixture.    Good team packing from   Carl , Ian  Jason and Adam was backed up by  Sam , Phil , Rob, Roger and Paul and we once again came out on top winning the fixture by a clear margin    A welcome return to form for Ian and special thanks to Rob and Roger who came in to the team on Friday knowing we were short.

 Run of the day though goes to Sam who put in a real gutsy performance.  

Stafford sees the final fixture where if we can put in a good performance we should gain promotion and go up as champions   

Stephan  Walley   3rd - Carl Platt  10th -   Ian Yates  11th  -   Jason Thomas   13th -           Adam Brearley   14th  -   Sam Newton 35th -      Phil Mainwaring 37th -    Rob Tabbanor 41st   Roger Grand 45th -   Paul Clinton  91st

Well done to the men's team who seem to have more or less wrapped up the top spot in Div3. I think the ladies are currently 7th overall but the results are notoriously slow at coming out and Jill tells me the Ladies Vets may have moved up to 3rd, although this is not yet confirmed.

Trig Points Race

There were only two Trentham runners out in this race, well that's not strictly true, Adam Grew was running with his dog (Meg I think) so there were 8 Trentham legs running and some fared better than others. Since I don't do many races I decided to write this report to encourage others to do likewise (please):

I decided to enter this race long ago as it's one that I really enjoy. There's no fuss, no advertising banners, no chip timers, not even a whistle to start. Just a loud 'GO' from the race organiser's gob! Being a fell race there's no set course as such. You have to navigate yourself from point to point around the chase but in reality you can usually follow someone who actually knows the chase well for the first few miles. Well that's the theory.....

'GO', we were off, but off where? After about 25 yards of the race the group split 3 ways so which one to follow? I opted for the middle and I knew roughly where they were headed so felt comfortable enough following these. Approaching the first checkpoint there were some quicker runners coming past so I guess the middle route was a bit shorter. After this checkpoint there's about 2 miles of open country to the next one at the Rail Crossing so it was follow the leaders once more. I was sauntering along with a group of runners from Wolves & Bilston who were out doing it for training and decided to follow these for a while. It was getting a bit strung out now and again runners went in different directions.

It was one of those 'why?' moments for me. I knew from doing the race before that the most obvious route was the one heading towards Marquis Drive, but for some reason I followed these guys down a different track, along with a few others I might add, thinking it would be a short cut. This was short lived rather than short cut. Soon the maps & compasses were all coming out, they're compulsory along with waterproof and whistle,  as people slowed to a walk or stop. Some turned round, some headed off right through the undergrowth and a few, carried on down for a bit before finding a trail to the right, I was with these. Eventually we came out on Marquis Drive but a lot of people were way ahead guessing by the slower runners now around us.

I say slower runners but it's all relative, I was slow myself, but these were just slightly slower (and I mean slightly). After the checkpoint it was on to the highest point on the course, and furthest from the start at Milford Common. The climb up to Castle Ring is a killer and you realise how far you've gone as you're almost in Chasetown on the far south of the chase. My trail shoes were becoming a little uncomfortable too as the ground was frozen hard and with minimal cushioning my feet were a bit sore.
Check 5 was in a car park and for some reason I thought I knew a quicker route back to the minor road which led back to check 3 (also check 6) but I was sorely mistaken. After scrambling through gorse and undergrowth for a few minutes I did find it but was now prickled, scratched and covered in them HUGE sticky buds. they looked like giant spiders and as I tried to remove them just stuck to my gloves.

I suppose this helped take my mind off the race for the next ten minutes as I was passing sticky bud from glove to glove in a vain attempt at removing them. From checkpoint 6, back at the rail crossing, it's a bloody awful climb up towards the visitor centre and I must confess that I walked a lot of it and I mean a lot. Probably 3- 4 minutes of walking. Strangely though not that many were coming past as it was that strung out by now with people taking different routes and it was just that steep that those running weren't really pulling away too much.

The final checkpoint of the race is the Glacial Boulder and I have bad memories of this one from last time I did it. I went the wrong way before and it cost me the chance of a sub 2hr finish and a respectable result so I was not going to make the same mistake again. In fact, I wasn't going quick enough to make the same mistake again as the tussocks were not exactly flying by. A lot of walking and jogging later I passed the final checkpoint and then headed towards the finish, about a mile and a half away. For some reason I just blew up here. I had no energy left and found it a real struggle to run or even shuffle along so I opted mostly for Striding the uphill and flat bits and a slow jog on the downhills.

Fortunately is was mostly downhill but I even had to walk the last 100 metres to the line as it was uphill. A shocking performance really and in many ways a race to forget, but I can honestly say I really enjoyed it. Just being out there on the chase not worrying about the result and enjoying the open country was great. After the finish I went back to the car for a quick change before heading down to the club for the post race celebrations.

Now this is the real treat. The race cost £5 to enter, was one of the most scenic you could do and at the club house free soup and a roll, free teas and coffee, free jaffa cakes, free flapjacks & cake. What more could you ask for? Had a chat with the ladies race winner Kate Bailey who runs for Moorlands and just happens to be the partner of my vet who was also running it. No sign of Adam at the finish, but to be fair he had finished over half an hour earlier. On reflection I really enjoyed it despite my very poor performance, but it has given me an idea of what I need to do if I want to improve and I am definitely doing more off-road stuff this year. Great fun!

Please send in your race reports for this year too, even if you do crap like me it  still makes for an interesting read.


Blymhill 10K

Last year Andy Vickerman was the only Trentham Runner to take part in this race but did report what a delightful race it was. He didn't do it this year but another Trentham Gent, John Guest, did make the trip to Shropshire to take part in what was only the 2nd ever Blymhill 10K and has also sent us a report:

Having picked up a slight throat infection and not having run since TRC 'Pyramid' training on Tuesday night, I wasn't particularly looking forward to the Blymhill 10k, a trail race in Shifnal I'd only heard about recently.

I'd been looking for a race to lead up to the Alsager 5 in a couple of weeks time, but after my warm up, I sat in the car before the race listening to the wind howling through the trees and just felt like curling up with the heater on and giving the race a miss. Just then, I heard an announcement calling runners to the start and reluctantly made my way with the rest of the shivering masses.

Trentham's Andrew Vickerman had mentioned that this was a trail race, likely to be muddy and not to expect a PB, plus I'd read that the start could get a bit congested. However, we were assembled in a field, spread out with a start line that was around 30 metres wide, and therefore all fairly close to the line. At the end of the field about 300 metres away, there was a sign with an arrow pointing right that we were told to head for. So it was a bit of a stampede to get there, as I think we all knew that the course was unlikely to remain at 30 metres wide for the length of the course. Sure enough, just after the right turn at the sign we went through a gate and onto a narrow path where it all got a little too intimate, with 'fun runners' apologising to each other with every slight nudge! After extricating my arm from someone else's running vest, (yes it was a lady and I promise not to do it again), I managed to find a few passing points and made some headway through the pack.

The course consisted of overgrown trails and rutted fields, but surprisingly not too soft underfoot, occasionally crossing over country roads and into another field or track, with the last 1k mainly country road. The marshalls were many, encouraging and well organised, as there was never any doubt as to the correct route to take.

You usually get to a point after overtaking some of the fast-starters where you find your true position in a race and if you haven't gone off too fast yourself are able to maintain a good pace with the runners around you. It was at this point that I noticed I'd made the silly mistake of not fastening my laces properly as I had to stop and tie one of them, losing around 10 positions in the process! Annoyed with myself and eager to recover my original position I pushed on too hard and started to struggle to maintain the pace. Luckily, there were three styles in close proximity that allowed me to catch my breath and get my rhythm back and I pushed on well to the finish. I even managed a sprint to hold off what I thought was the fast approaching teenage runner I'd passed earlier, from taking me before the line. Feeling pleased with myself at repelling the young buck, while gasping for breath in the funnel I turned around and saw that my finishing straight rival was at least 15 years my senior and certainly wasn't as breathless as I was!

An enjoyable multi-terrain race, well organised, with a village hall full of "free" (donations requested), cakes and hot drinks. Not one of my quickest times for a 10k at 48:06, but given my "throat infection" excuse, the terrain, the congested start and it being a non-serious race + the fact that I'm all out of excuses - I'll have to be satisfied with that.

No excuses for your time there John. Sounds like a very good effort and 73 of 320 runners is always a good result. I think this is definitely one to add to the race diary for next year, what with a reasonable entry fee, free cake and hot drinks, sounds just like my cup of tea, so to speak. Well done John and thanks for the report.

Results from the 2012 Blymhill 10K can be found here!

John near the finish (photo courtesy of Brian Smith)

Gloucester 50K

I'm sure most people know by now about Jill and Dan's epic forray into Ultra-Running at Gloucester. Jill has been training for months for this race having never ventured over the classic 26.2, whereas Dan has been err, well, thinking about training for months for this race. Here is Jill's story of how they got on:

Gloucester 50k – My first Ultra

I first had the urge to run an Ultra Marathon in 2008 when I completed the Blackpool Marathon in 3:33 and felt like I wanted to carry on. I enjoy the marathon distance and I often say “I’m built for comfort and not for speed” as I seem to be able to pace myself and keep going. To date I’ve completed 18 marathons, so it was time to push myself “beyond the limitations” (to quote the website for Gloucester).

A couple of years went by and due to injury or lack of training, the ultra wasn’t forthcoming and time was ticking on. So about 12 months ago, after recovering from a sprained ankle over the winter, I felt I had to put this baby to sleep. I was approaching my 50th birthday and thought what would be the ideal way to celebrate my half century: run a 50km Ultra Marathon!!! (yes…. I know a normal person would have gone on some sort of luxurious holiday, but us runners aren’t normal!)

I build my miles back up to do London with the intention of continuing to build for an ultra. It seemed like the minute I turned 50, last May, Mother Nature dealt me a blow and my running took a dive. I’d started with night sweats (which soon progressed to the daytime) and probably due to lack of sleep and hormones my running became very sluggish, my muscles felt really weak and I just couldn’t get going. To say I was annoyed is an understatement, but I was determined to overcome this. After some investigation and reading up on running through the menopause I gave up red wine and caffeine (which included chocolate L) and did some cross training to strengthen my muscles.

By August I seemed to be picking up and the turning point was Wolverhampton Marathon. I thought that if I could complete Wolverhampton and feel like I could carry on then I was ready for my Ultra. I did it in 3:57 with plenty of energy left, but also with a good for age time again for LondonJ. I worked out a training schedule and set to work pounding the pavements building up the miles and when I’d completed my first 24 mile training run in November, I sent off my entry for the Gloucester 50k on 22nd January 2012…..

I was really worried about training through the winter as the previous year I’d sprained my ankle whilst out running in the snow. I was so relieved it was mild as it meant I was able to stick to my schedule with no trips or falls! I was that relieved on New Year’s Eve to do my final long training run of 26.5 miles that I went out and got slightly drunk (plastered actually) and ended up spending New Year’s Day in bed (the first Sunday in a good while I hadn’t been for a run!). The hard work was over it was now time to taper and wait for the big day.

When I mentioned doing an Ultra Dan Jordan said he’d do it too, but unlike me Dan was too busy (or preoccupied ;-)) to get out to do any long runs, I think the furthest he did was 13 miles. I presumed he wouldn’t be doing it, but he said he’d still come with me if he didn’t run to support me.

Now if you think I’m mad……One week before the entry deadline Dan sent off his entry form. He wasn’t sure if he’d managed to do it all but he’d give it a good go !!!!

Dave Pickstock kindly offered to come with us to drive and be our support crew, so at about 7:20am on 22nd January we set off for Gloucester.

The race comprised of a small flat lap followed by 4 undulating laps of under 7 miles then a small leg to the finish. There was a time limit of 5 hours and seeing as my last 2 marathons were just under 4 hours I was hoping to complete it in 4:45, 9:11 pace, leaving just 15 mins to spare. I was worried I wouldn’t finish it in the 5 hour limit. As well as the 50k there was a marathon, which also had a 5 hour limit (bit tough on the 50k runners to do an extra 5 miles in the same time!) but they only did 3 of the larger laps.

We arrived in plenty of time to get organised: trips to the loo, gel belt in place, rucksack with extra gels, chocolate, fig biscuits, hot cross buns and sweets, for Dave to give us when we passed him on each of the laps. I had a chat with another lady doing the 50k, her 3rd time, she was hoping for 4:10 and she was a year younger than me so not in my age group (eyeing up the opposition!). After the race briefing we were lead to the start, the marathon runners first and the hand full of 50k runners after. We would merge in with the marathon at about 3k but there was some confusion at first about where our actual start was. Then as the marathon lead car approached we were off.

I felt nice and relaxed and pleased with myself just to be taking part in my first ultra. I checked my watch in the first few miles and at one point I was running at 8:15 pace, just hoped I wasn’t going too fast, so I decided not to look at it and just run as I feel. Dan said he would stay with me, which at first I wasn’t too sure about as I normally run my races alone, get into my zone and, unlike Debs, don’t really talk to anyone. That way I don’t feel under any pressure to either speed up or slow down, I just run as I feel. Dan promised not to talk to me, in fact he said he’d run behind me if I wanted! But he was a good companion and when the gel belt kept annoying me by twisting round he was the perfect gentleman and wore it for me. He was very tentative to my needs and passed me a gel when I needed it and I passed him the empty back! He ran on ahead to get me a drink and checked what I needed out of the rucksack when we approached Dave.

The 4 main undulating laps were on nice picturesque country lanes, and didn’t seem too bad at all, the wind was a bit strong in places but the temperature was just right. After the first lap I had to stop to remove the tape I’d put over my toenail to stop it lifting as it was rubbing me, that wasted a minute L, I had another gel off Dave, Dan had a hot cross bun and we carried on. After the 2nd lap: some chocolate and another gel for me and some fruit sweets for Dan. Dan couldn’t wait to start the 4th and final lap, the point of no return, then he knew he’d finish it, even if he had to walk it! I had said that on the last lap if we had to we could walk a couple of the hills if we were struggling.

We passed Dave for the last time as we started the final lap, and picked up a couple of gels, fig biscuits and chocolate. We reached the marathon distance in 3:49, 6 minutes faster than my London time last year, so we felt confident we’d finish in the 5 hour time limit, even if we had to walk a bit. We agreed to at least stop at the 2 drink stations to have a good drink. The undulating course had now turned hilly but we didn’t stop! At the last drink station we did walk a little bit half way up the hill, but then kicked in again. With the final lap completed and all the hard work done, there was less than 2 miles to the finish. The last mile seemed to go on for ever (it was no wonder as the last 1 mile was in fact 1.25 miles). Dave joined us with about half a mile left to go, full of encouragement, pushing us along to the finish. He ran on ahead to get ready to take our photo, but he had to be quick as we weren’t that far behind him. As we approached the finish line we picked up the pace and held hands to cross the line together in 4:37:44. We had completed our first Ultra.

The lady I’d spoken to at the start finished 1st, just 9 minutes in front of me and I was in fact 2nd lady, I was over the moon, I couldn’t believe it.
I think Dan was absolutely amazing considering how little training he had done to keep going and not give up, it was a fantastic run.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Dan and Dave for being there for me, their support was invaluable, what a team!!!!

What next? I hear you say….

Well, it’s got to be a 50 miler. So watch out, I’ll be on the hunt for my next victim willing participant:-)

Thank you very much Jill for sending in the report and I'm sure it will give many more of our runners inspiration to have a go at an Ultra-Marathon themselves. Well done to both Jill and Daniel on your achievement. There is some very grainy mobile phone footage of Jill and Dan approaching the finish line (below) and the results from the 50K can be found HERE!


Midland XC Champs

Thanks to Men's Captain Dale Colclough for sending in this report from the Midland Cross Country Championships held on saturday:

We took a men’s team to compete in the Midlands Cross Country championships to take part in what would be the teams 9th Cross country of the season. 

Wollerton Park in Nottingham was the venue and the grounds of Wollerton Hall provides a perfect course for good cross country running.  Four laps for the men over 12K. Each lap had several steep climbs but conditions under foot were good to firm so ideal for fast running.     

A creditable team performance brought us home in 19th out off 44 clubs competing. Stephan Whalley (90), Ian Yates (96) and Carl Platt (97) all in the top 100 and within 20 seconds of each other, were backed up by  Phil Mainwaring (197) ,  Rob Tabbanor (229),  Adam Grew (232),  Sam Newton (237)   and me trailing home ( 319 )

Thanks once again guys for turning out and supporting your club. Ian’s return to form has seen him pushing Carl and Stephan for top spot and he gets my man of the match award. Just two Fixtures to go now,  the final Birmingham league fixture and the National Champs. 

Our Womens team also took part and were very unlucky to miss out on a bronze medal as an injury to Jo forced her to drop out. They still finished a very creditable 6th place

Mandy Vernon 34th , Laura Thompson 41st , Debbie Thomas 42nd , Sharleen Hollinshead 51st ,  Rose Wilson 93 rd

Well done to all those that took part in the race and thanks to Dale for sending us the report. Results and pictures can be found here.





Page last updated 31 January 2012


    Home Page

    About Trentham

    Membership Details

    Training Schedules

    Trentham 10

    Dave Clarke 5 K

    Cross Country

    Junior Section

    Older News & Reports

    Club Championships

    Club Records

    Useful Links

    Contact Details