April News 2013


South Cheshire 10K

Sunday 31st March was the South Cheshire 10k around Crewe. Quite a few Trentham Runners went along including Mandy Vernon who won the Ladies Race in a tremendous time of 36.40 and Stephan Whalley who finished 6th overall in a time of 34.30 There were plenty more running too and one of them was men's captain Dave Pickstock who has sent us this report:

After doing the Stafford Half and blowing up after 5 miles, I needed to run a good race to prove to my team mates that what we have been doing over the last couple of months was not a waste of time. As everyone knows, I was way too confident and excited at Stafford. Seeing Pete 'The Machine' Dutton fly off like a rocket ruined my race. But hopefully I have learned from my mistakes.
All week I hadn't been thinking about this race. On the Saturday morning I went along to watch the park run but ended up doing it. Which was not easy by the way!!! Then in the afternoon I decided to do a 5 mile walk up Dovedale. Which was not the ideal preparation the day before a race.

On the race day morning I arranged to pick Mandy and Steph up. As we drove up there having a laugh and a chat I felt nice and relaxed, not really interested in the race. A quick little warm up then down to the start line to join my fellow team mates. I knew Mandy was going to be at the front and there was no way I was going anywhere near her or else I would be in a race with her and end up dying after a couple of miles. So using my brain, I positioned myself at the back of the field, where I got chatting to the Bowmans.

The race started and I was in no mood to go off like a lunatic. So I took the first mile with my team partner Jon Bowman. After the first mile and going easy I thought it was about time I showed Jon my heels and made a move, knowing he was more then capable of staying with me and even beating me. At the 5km point I caught up with my friend Rebecca Harrison. She previously destroyed me at Stafford and it was time to return the favour. At this point I was thinking I was running my perfect race. The sun was out, my legs were fine and my breathing was ok. Everyone in front of me I was going past pretty easily. With not wearing a watch I didn't know of the time I was running. I was hoping to break 40 minutes, and still thinking Jon was on my shoulder, he would break it aswell.

Coming to the last 2km I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Mandy on the horizon. I was starting to think breaking 40 minute was on. Digging in deep and approaching the last corner it was the great support from Sammy and Kriston that got me over the line. I asked Julian Goodwin in front of me what time he had got and it was 37.42!!!!! I couldn't believe it. Smashing my PB by 4 minutes is one of the best feelings ever. Knowing all the hard work that me and my team had put in on Campbell Road was finally paying off. After completing the race, I thought it would be a good idea to watch my fellow team mates come in. First in was Jon who was looking strong and comfortable smashing his PB too. Second in was Dan who was having a great battle with Ed - it was good to see them getting their PBs aswell. Well done to Mandy, Mat and Jill who also got their PBs!

Thanks for the report Dave and well done on the pb. Results for the South Cheshire 10k can be found HERE!

Mow Cop Hill Race

Sunday 07th April was the Mow Cop Hill Race organised by Mow Cop Runners. Not a great many Trentham Runners in this one being more of a fell race but thankfully one of those that was there (Adam Grew) has sent us this report:

Last November, whilst recovering from a niggling foot injury, I took a trip to the excellent running shop Derby Runner to get my gait videoed and new trainers purchased. Along with my shiny new shoes I also picked up a copy of Feet in the Clouds by Richard Askwith to ensure I did not lose the running bug (which Dale later told me was the Fell Running bible) and after the first page I was totally hooked.
So, 2013 was goodbye roads hello fells, I re-joined the Fell Runners Association (£10/year, bargain) and started to plan races to enter. The legendary Edale Skyline at 21miles and 4,500ft ascent was firmly in mind and when the entries opened I was up at 0600hrs to post my online entry; it was also good to see that a D Colclough had also entered as he had previous experience (google "youtube edale skyline 2007")

Unfortunately the March snow ensured Edale was cancelled so 2013 passed meaning little racing had been done. Maybe I should have done the normal Stafford/Wilmslow/half/20...
In order to keep the faith I went back to Derby Runner and replaced my old trail shoes with a pair of Innov8 Mudclaw 300's and took them to Wales to try them out on the mountains of Southern Snowdonia. In summary - awesome and I can now see why other runners sped off on muddy/uphil/downhill sections.

Anyway, back home I noticed from the 5min mail that the Dougie Mac 5k was on but I knew that a good Trentham turnout would be present so thought I'd fly the green vest and represent it at the 2013 Mow Cop Hill Race. The race is classified as a class A medium (6.5miles and 1312 feet ascent) and although it's a low key event it does attract some good local talent.
It was good to see another Trenthamite/Trentonian/Trenthamiam (????) in Malcolm Rushton line up with the 100 starters and we were off for a long slog uphill to Mow Cop - at least we were rewarded at the top with great views of the plains of Staffordshire & Cheshire at the top (well worth a visit). At the top and along you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the Gritstone Peak District and some heavily boggy ground and muddy sections did their best to slow progress. A long, quick downhill was then replaced with a short road section before a long trek uphill through woods and a good dollop of snow. Eventually we arrived back at Mow Cop for the final downhill dash to the line and it was nice to see that I was able to pick off the guy who had passed me on the uphill (hey, in my mind I looked a hero vaulting the stile).

Final result was 14th place in 52:04 which sounds ok but is actually a smidge over 10 mins down on 1st place. It was however nice not to be beaten again by those pesky Trentham ladies (fyi, Adele's 2012 female course record was broken by 11 seconds).

Thanks Adam and well done and also very good luck for the spring treble races which I know you enjoy. I have also read the book you mentioned and indeed it is very stirring stuff.

The results for the 2013 Mow Cop Hill race can be found HERE!

Blackpool Marathon

It seems traditional that Trentham Running Club are always represented at Blackpool Marathon with Jill Phillips, Ken Bloor, Paul Burslem all having fantastic runs there in the past. Paul Burslem didn't let the side down this year either and has also sent us this report:

Once again it was my yearly ritual of trying to defy nature. Its a hell of a long time to train for a race, and this year 16 weeks seemed like a long time in the snow and ice.
The plan was to go Blackpool on the Saturday, get the number and chill till Sunday, but unfortunately life is not that simple. Got a call at work that my Dad had been readmitted to hospital, but fortunately he had a good recovery and my Dad told me to go and do the race. Had discussions with nurses and doctors, and they assured me I wasn’t selfish in doing the race. Finally got to bed at 2 Saturday morning after been up at half 5 Friday morning, not my best prep for a race !!
Got up at eightish Saturday, packed the car and popped in to see my dad on the way.
The hotel we stopped at was the Blackpool FC hotel which was picked because the race started and finished there, 41 inch plasma in the room !! well fastened to the wall though !!! and them fluffy towels that dry you, not like the sandpaper ones in our house !!!
After getting our number (I say our number because Ann and I are a team) we went for a walk into the town and went in Tausauds. The evening meal was the standard Pasta binge, but it was at a brilliant restaurant called SATORI, well recommended.
On the race morning I got up at half 6 and had my porridge pot and a couple of bananas ,then at 8 I went down to the restaurant with Ann while she had her brekkie and I had a few coffees. Loads of runners in there, in my opinion far too late for breakfast, and there was one bloke having 4 hard boiled eggs, never known that for a pre half/marathon.
The race was due to start at 9.30 so went back to my room for a chill, went for a stretch and checked the start area at 9, then the best thing about having a room there is the fact you can have a poo when you want one !! The luxury ,no queuing !!!
The race started about 9.40 when the police gave us permission to go on the prom,
My plan was to go around 6.45 pace till I didn’t !!! The first mile wasn’t bad, only had a few people who were horribly out of position and were mobile chicanes !!
The course took us down to Starrgate then around and back up to the North pier. The crowd were brilliant, and all cheering and supportive (think most of the the one tooth maximums must have been still in bed or the cells !)
I saw Ann at 4 miles and give her a high five, After the North pier the route took us up a concrete path and I was still holding 6.45 easy, from 9 miles I started to go past half marathoners who had gone too fast and some who had timed themselves better came past me,
At 12 miles we had the same lap to do again. While I was doing this, Ann was running to all different spots to see me.
At around 19 miles I started to fade, which I was disappointed at as my long distance training had gone well and I was hoping to get to at least 22 miles at this pace, but got to 22 and I'd slowed down to 7.30 pace and I was trying hard to keep it up,
Finally got to the finish in just under 3.03 chip time. Will use this time as gun time was slightly over,
Still my fastest time in 3 years, so next year a bit lighter, I hope to get there.
Now its time to drop my mileage get some leg strengthening done and get my legs going faster !


Thanks for the report Paul and well done on achieving such a good time. Great support from Mrs Boslem too, so well done Anne :-)

Results for the Blackpool Marathon can be found HERE!

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Spring Treble 1 (Hanchurch)

A good few Trentham Runners out as usual, and there could well have been more had these races not fallen either side of the London Marathon. We've had two reports in so far from Janson Heath and firstly from the ladies perspective with Deb Thomas:

The first of the Treble series took place on Thursday night at Hanchurch woods. This is my third time competing in the series and the first race is my favourite. I travelled to the race with Becky Austin and we decided to park the car at the bottom of the big hill to give us a good warm up and to save queuing to get off the car park after the race. We lined up on the start line, chatting to team mates and other friends, and conditions were quite cool with no wind which was ideal. 7pm off we started along the path before a left turn and downhill for a good descent before a stretch of flat, more downhill, with the ups mostly in the second half of the race.

I was in first lady position but very aware of the girl behind when the marshals cheered “well done ladies” and she was like a monkey on my back the whole race. We had to jump over four fallen trees along the course which took some negotiating! About half way there is a very long drag up a hill and part of the trail is split and sandy so you really have to be careful where you put your feet. Coming into the last hill I was still being pursued and although I tried my hardest to push up the hill to put a little distance between me and my shadow, at the peak she bolted past me and crossed the line, beating me by 4 seconds!!! Pleased to be 15th overall though. It has taken a few days, but I have now come down off the ceiling (a little bit) and I’m ready for round two this week at Milford where there very well might be a murder if she tries those tactics again!! Ha ha!! Fair play to her though.

Big well done to all Trentham runners, in the ladies team we had me 2nd, Jo Donnelly 4th, Lisa Heath 7th and Becky Austin 11th. There is a team prize after the three races, and at the moment I reckon Trentham is in the lead…. !! Well done to the guys as well, some good runs from you with Adam Grew first back in 12th… The results don’t state the club name so I can’t pick out the names of everyone who ran, but there was a really good turnout for the club.

Well done Deb, sounds like you need a bit of work on your 'race-craft' so you can beat her next time round, and well done to the rest of the ladies and good luck for the next two races. Thanks also for sending the report which actually gives us a feel for the course. Nice to have something that isn't just everyone's mile splits and who they were overtaking.

Next report is from Janson Heath who despite being a new member has already submitted some great reports:

Well I was a little apprehensive on running this so close to London, as as a few of you know I’m nursing an hernia and I know that on trail and fell runs I cant resist downhill which forces it to pop out…..sorry to share that with you. A nice little turnout by the green Army, Myself, The wife, Debbie Thomas, Dale Colclough, John Guest, Jo Donnelly, Becky Austin and Ken Pearson and a few others.

The weather was just right for this and it had been dry for a long period so I couldn’t make my mind up for footwear and plumped for my Salomon Hybrids which suited the course fine.
My plan was to run even and steady all the way round and just keep up with our lot the best I could. Nope, off like a train I went as usual and I felt this later in the race due to a similar speed session on the Tuesday at training. I must learn that there are no Medals in training!!!

Debbie Thomas was the first Trentham Runner home, unfortunately she was pipped on the last corner to have first lady plucked from her. The winner had shadowed her all the way round and sat on her shoulder and beat her in a sprint finish. If you look at the race photos your can see the sly little fox sitting and waiting to pounce Grrrrrr…..Next in was Dale Colclough, who passed me on about 2 mile and said he’d had to work some to catch me….obviously not that much as he glided past me ;-). Then John Guest, Jo donnelly and myself. Less than a minute between the four of us. We then had Lisa Heath, Becky Austin and Ken Pearson. Lisa and Becky look very evenly matched this year on both road and trail. They are also near enough exactly the same age, just another useless stat for ya.

A nice little race, probably not enough hills in it for my liking but I shall be doing again. I’m not used to these little short sharp runs but will adapt. Off to the campervan I trotted to eat tea with the wife and then proceed to work for a 10 hour shift which is the downside of night races for me unfortunately


Thanks Jansen, great effort just before London and Manchester Marathons. Hope you're not thinking of doing Milford and Barlaston too like I did a few years ago. You'll certainly notice the difference in your form at Barlaston if you do :-) Well done to all of the Green Army that did the Hanchurch Hilly and if you're doing the others good luck for those too.

Results for the first race can be found HERE -----> MALE - FEMALE


Newcastle 10K

Thanks to Andrew Vickerman for this report from the newly re-jigged race that used to be Newcastle 7. Always a crowd puller with the Green Army with some epic turnouts in the past and this time round was no exception with some great runs offered up by the boys and girls in Green. Stephan Whalley had a great run to finish 2nd overall, not sure about the age group prizes though. Here is Andy's report:

With the Newcastle 10k being the week before London I was in 2 minds whether to run this race or not. I decided with it being a NSRRA race I would enter just to keep the points ticking over, getting another race in, just in case I am struggling to make the 12 come season end. I could always drop it if I do more than 12 races. Added to this is the fact, everyone who I run with was doing it and it goes past my house. It would of been just rude not to.

I planned not to run hard at all (although I was tempted). After a long debate with myself, I agreed a comfortable first 7:30 mile, 8:30’s up the hill and then start a tempo. My warm up was a 2 mile jog from home, the first thing I noticed how warm but windy it was. Bumped into Martin Hull, was chatting with him until the start, so only spotted a few green army before we were off. I started the first ½ mile with Greg, but it was a little too comfortable and upped it slightly. 7:39 first mile.

The hill was relatively easy this year as there was no pressure to bust a gut up it, miles 2 & 3, 8:09 & 8:10. I was ahead of schedule ready to start my tempo run, feeling not three bad.
Just after I upped the pace on the way down to Scot Hay I got a twinge in my maximus. NO RISKS, knocked it right back and even stopped for a second. 7:54 for mile 4! Downhill!!
Decided to just cruise in after this. Greg came past me at about mile 5 saying ‘I have got to get this D runner’ who was just in front of me. I wished him well and said there were a few more just ahead, which I hope spurred him on.

With 800 metres to go I also had one of my group in front of me. I had the dilemma of whether to take him and trying to hold him off, or sit on his shoulder. As I hadn’t been pushing hard I decided to take him, got to his shoulder and kicked, he didn’t respond.
7:10’s for the final 2 miles with the obligatory sprint finish on the final 0.2. Lucky really as turns out I had somebody sitting on my shoulder waiting to pounce.

I thought the new route was good, although I can imagine it will be a bit messy on wet years.
A bit disappointed with the time, although I know where I will be making the time up at Clayton. Coming to get you Janson! The main thing though, my bum seems ok now, roll on the cup final on Sunday. All the hard work comes to and end, until the following Tuesday! Sad news about Boston tonight

Thanks Andy for the report and all the very best of luck for Sunday's London Marathon. I'm sure I can speak for all the Green Army in wishing all our runners the very best of luck for Sunday and we hope you all get across that finish line in your target times. I look forward to reading the reports.

Results for the Newcastle 10k can be found HERE!

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Spring Treble Milford Murder

Whilst a few were turning their attention towards the capital for Sunday's London Marathon there were also a good few Trentham Runners fully focussed on the second race of the spring treble series organised by Stone Master Marathoners. This round was held on Cannock Chase starting near Milford Common. One of those in attendance was Deb Thomas who came 2nd lady last time round, could she now go one better?

The second of the Spring Trebles took place at Milford Common on Thursday night. The conditions were fine sunshine and cool breeze which was ideal and thankfully the course would be dry as the rain had stayed away. I completed a good warm up with Becky, Dale, Jo and Roger before lining up for 7pm start. This course is over distance at 5.5miles and starts off with a mild incline, a brief descent and then a really steep incline for about a half mile before another descent and then a gradual incline which I’d say is about ¾ mile.

I found myself starting off just behind my opponent of last week (Emma Gould, West Brom AC) and once over the first steep climbs we were alongside each other. We remained side by side up to the first long descent where she just breezed down the rocky path whilst I was cautious about where my feet were going and also not letting my legs go too fast because there was still a long way to go. This course is really challenging so I planned to keep my pace constant rather than speeding up much before the last half mile. At the bottom of the hill there is a ½ mile flattish section and it was here I found myself catching her up and again we ran side by side up the steady hill.

I found her company useful and I was less stressed to be beside her than have her about 2 inches behind me like at Hanchurch. I also knew that she’d bolt the second time we hit the long descent, and when she went I couldn’t let myself go with her. The last half mile takes us back over the steep hills we started on, obviously the opposite way round, and Emma was about 10 seconds in front but walking up the hill in parts. I was hoping to get closer to her, but my steps were short due to the climbing and again I stalled on the steep descent down because I felt like I was slipping. I finished about 20 seconds behind her, 16th overall.

Unfortunately Jo Donnelly had to pull out of the race with a sore knee but otherwise she was in 4th lady position. Big well done to my fellow green people, Becky 9th lady and all the guys who had great runs again. One more to go…

Well done Debbie on another solid 2nd and the way you ran at Barlaston last year I'm sure you will get that elusive win next time round. Running downhill is a real art and some people are just natural downhillers. Well done to all of those who ran at Milford. The overall positions are HERE for those who wish to see the story so far.......

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Virgin London Marathon

There were a good few Trentham Runners down in the capital for this one and the atmosphere and support out on course was fantastic with the excellent weather and the support shown for the tragic events at Boston the week before. There were a few VLM virgins too with Andrew Vickerman, Janson Heath, Kirsten Owen and Gregson Julian doing their first London Marathons.

My race report from London, this was my first Marathon and I wasn’t sure what to expect, I had put in the training miles and had a good couple of race results recently. Oh this might be a long post so go and get a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits.

Saturday Morning as I headed off for the coach with Jill and Sean it was all getting a little real, my 1st ever marathon, but I wasn’t worried just excited!! Being on the coach with all the other runners and spectators added to the mounting excitement, there was plenty of banter on the coach and there was a good mixture of local clubs represented; Newcastle, Potters Trotters and Stone MM to name but a few. Fortunately the Trentham lot had been put together so we could have some friendly banter between ourselves and share in everyone’s packed lunch, well mainly Jill and Debbie who seemed to have packed enough for the entire weekend!

Sunday morning came around fast; I had pinned my number to my shirt, tagged my shoe and had a hearty breakfast and I was ready to go. Looking at Facebook it was clear that Lee, Mat and Dave had also had an early start (3am) and were making their way down to support us…who could ask for better club mates.

On the coach we were frantically checking Facebook and twitter to make arrangements to try and met up with Craig and Greg, unfortunately for me I was RED start with having a charity place so I was going to be heading off on my own….ahh Andy and I wandered to the Blue zone entrance and then I made my lonely way to the RED zone ahhhhh (feeling sorry for me yet??)
Well I only had an hour or so to wait and I soon made some new friends, the 30 seconds of silence was very moving so many people and so quiet, it made the loud cheer and clapping at the end quite deafening.

Next thing you knew we were off……….well eventually we slowly walked to the starting mats and then I remembered I need to use the loos again, better do it before I cross the timing mat so I ran against the runners and used the facilities for one last time! And then I was off!! The crowds of runners helped me not go off too quick and the miles soon passed by, I was feeling good, confident and happy. I hadn’t really studied the course but I knew around 5 miles we would meet up with the other zones, I can’t tell you much about where I ran, but what I can say is that the crowd support was brilliant and there were enough drink stations, fuel stations and loos (should you need them).

Running over Tower Bridge signalled half way I was still feeling good but the crowds of runners was getting me down and I found at times it was like running in mud, not getting anywhere fast. I am not sure that it would have made much difference to my time if I had more space but it will be interesting to compare.
I was feeling good up until around 21-22 miles but then I really started to tired but I was determined not to walk and to carry on, after the motivation tunnel it was a little over 2 miles to go and I knew I was going to finish. My dreams of Good For Age (sub 3:50) had gone and I was waving goodbye to my Sub 4:00, but I was holding on to the fact that I was going to finish and get over the line un aided and that I did in 4:03:04.

I stumbled through the finishing enclosure and made my way to bag pick up and then headed off to the T zone to meet up with everyone else, who were waiting for me, there was hugs and hearty pats on the back for everyone and a group photo. Great results for Jill, Greg, Dan, Ryan, Craig, Rob, Janson and I think most were happy with their time and some were really happy Jill!!

I was well and truly shattered and these were my thoughts in the last 5 miles
mile 21 I am never going to run a marathon again,
mile 22 I am going to spectate at Edinburgh Marathon rather than run it,
mile 23 why on earth anyone would run further than 26.2 miles
mile 24 I could not imagine running a marathon after 2.11 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride (aka an ironman),
mile 25 not long now and
at 26.2 miles stick a fork in me I’m done!
at 2 hours post marathon finish looking forward to Edinburgh Marathon!

Just would like to say a very BIG THANK YOU to everyone on at the club those who came down and those who were tracking us at home and letting everyone know how we was getting on, this is what it means to be part of something truly great and I am proud to be a Trentham Runner !!

Thanks for the report Kirsten and very well done on completing your first Marathon and London as well, and in such a good time, and we are wishing you all the very best of luck for Edinburgh in a few weeks time. Think of London as your Edinburgh training run, haha! As I (Ryan) enjoyed the London Marathon so much myself I have also decided to do a report:

It is fair to say that my VLM2013 preparation could have been much better. As the weeks ticked by from October last year I knew I would have to start training for London in April, indeed I would have to start running again. I managed a few throughout the winter period but nothing consistent and probably averaged at about 1 run every two weeks. Into January, I did start to make more effort to attend club training sessions and was getting out twice a week, but still no effective London Marathon training. The big training day was on the day of the Alsager 5 when I agreed to run home with Jill, Kirsten, Lee, Greg and Andy. The distance to Lightwood was 17 miles and this was to be my longest run pre-London.

Fast forward a couple of months and I finally realised I need to do at least some distance so I managed a couple of 10-12 milers on my own and gratefully a couple with Paul Hickman and  new Member Matt Burley (who I was trying to raise some money for, as his daughter has a brain tumour) so feel free to sponsor him HERE please in his own cause, so thanks to you guys for the Saturday Morning runs we did together.

So, Saturday Morning came around and bleary eyed made my way with Emma up to Newcastle for the County Staff Club Coach Trip that we had booked onto. Met up with Jill, Andy and Emily, Deb, Kirsten and Sean, Dan and Izzy, and Lisa and Emma (who is one of the parents of the juniors at Trentham) who was also running her first Marathon. We left promptly at 8:00am and after one final stop in Stone it was all the way to London. We arrived at the Expo on Saturday afternoon to collect our race numbers and do a bit of 'marathon shopping'. I absolutely nailed it with the freebies picking up 2 technical T-Shirts, a race bottle, towel and other goodies, so did feel obliged to actually buy something, which I did in the form of an Adidas VLM tracksuit top which I really like, and a D0 Running Hoody.

Outside met up with a few others from other clubs including my training (ahem) pal Paul Hickman and wife Bobbie (Both running for Donna Louise) and Graham Cope who was telling us about Amy and Ben's baby. I'd just like to send my best wishes to both of them and their little daughter. Back on the coach to the hotel and after unpacking and a lie down went for a loosener in the pool and a relax in the Jacuzzi. I was thinking of a very short and steady run on Sat afternoon but decided instead to have a swim in the hotel pool which meant I hadn't run since the club run over Hanchurch on Tuesday. A very pleasant evening in the hotel, and there seemed to be a bit of a competition at dinner time to see who could eat the most slices of cake. I thing Andy Vickerman won with 3 slices, together with fruit and cream :-0

As most people will tell you I am definitely not a morning person and it usually takes me an hour plus to wake up properly. The 5:45 alarm was definitely not welcome and as we trudged down for breakfast I could have been anywhere. I needed Emma as a guide walker with tether. It was all too soon time to board the coach for the start and we were soon off on our way to Blackheath. I was on the Blue start with Dan & Andy off our coach, but I never managed to see Andy again before the race to wish him luck. Bumped into Dan and them met up with Bobbie and Paul to pass the time. A few pics and a chat helped the time pass and I was eventually starting to wake up.

One thing I did not have for the race was a time in mind, the reason for this is that I had no idea whatsoever what pace I could run at or for how long. My 'tactic' if you could call it that was just to run comfy. I also decided the week before that I was going to run with my camera phone and snap pics on the way round and just have fun :-) After a few visits to the urinals it was time to get into the pen. This is when the nerves start to bite especially as the dividing tapes go up and you start to shuffle forwards. After the 30 seconds silence for the casualties of the Boston Bombing the hooter went and off we went!!!

I like the first mile or two as the pace is really gentle and you can use it as the race warm up, although getting a natural stride is difficult. Managed to see Lee, Matt and Dave at the roadside within the first mile and they gave a welcome cheer. Almost got caught out by the speed humps on Charlton Park Road despite the signs at the roadside and marshals shouting 'Hump'. The next point of note is where the Red and Blue starts meet and run along side each other for 1/2 mile or so before converging. Normally there's booing each other going on here but not as loud as I remember from previous VLM's. All good banter which raises the spirits. Saw DML (Dave, Matt & Lee) again just before Cutty Sark and this is where I did my first pics. I'd been running well up to this point and was enjoying it hugely and after a slow first mile the others were all under 7:40min/mile pace and felt steady.

Passed several more bands and thousands of cheering spectators with a permanent grin etched upon my face. Having great fun so far.... It had been quite cool in the morning, in fact, when I looked out of the hotel window there was a frost, but it was certainly much warmer now and temperatures were well into double figures. I took a sip at every drinks station almost and being so warm, my playful side came out as I started squirting the spectators on roadside as I passed with my water bottles, haha, I thought this was great fun, and despite the screams I think they thought it was too. Over Tower Bridge was AWESOME, I always love this part of the race the most, even more than seeing the Mall. I actually shot a video on my phone crossing Tower Bridge so you can have a look HERE if you like :-)

The next bit is a bit disheartening as you can see the elite runners coming the other way and you realise you're 9 miles behind them. Managed to see eventual race winner Kebede going very rapidly in the opposite direction. Narrow Street is another spectator hotspot with thousands of people crammed into the galleries and pavements cheering on, Very emotional. Round the Isle Of Dogs ticking the miles off and passed DML again cheering on from the roadside. I bet they wish they hadn't cheered as I stopped to give them a sweaty hug and kiss before carrying on. Amazingly I was still going quite well here and even had time to 'Check In' on Facebook at mile 19, just as I came up to Rob Tab. I'm sure Rob won't mind me saying when I passed him he was having a bad spell and I tried to encourage him the best I could and ran with him for a while. He told me he'd been run/walking for a while but he was still going. I left Rob and carried on at my own pace again.

I was now waiting for the point to come where my legs said "no more" and was well into the 'Unknown Zone', I'd been there since mile 15, but I was still managing to keep running. I started with an energy gel tucked in my shorts but actually finished with it there too. I forgot to take it but used the free giveaway ones on the course. Again, I was sipping at every station including the lucozade ones and was now in the place where I saw Kebede a few miles back. This time it was the people going the other way who were wishing they were where I was. I saw some terrible outfits must have been a guy about 65 in a mankini (oooh) and a guy in a gorilla suit that must have been dying inside, I was amazed that I only overtook him at 22 miles.

Reached the 'Oggy-Oggy' tunnel, but again, no Oggy this year for some reason. As always, lots of people walking here but although my pace had slowed somewhat I was still plodding along. I love reaching Embankment as it's here you know you can finish, even though those last 2.2 miles are so hard and hellish. Saw Emma waiting at 25 and gave her a big kiss before carrying on to Westminster. It was here I saw DML for the 4th time and they appeared to be on a high podium or on a wall or something, but to be honest I wasn't all there at this point.

Round the back of St.James's Park on Birdcage seems to last forever and the crossing point can do your head in. Changing direction at this stage is much harder than you might think. Your legs are almost on auto-pilot and to have to make a conscious decision is hard work. Anyway, round to the bridge with '365 Yards To Go' on it (quick pic) and then past Bucks Palace and onto the Mall, another couple of quick pics and then I see that the clock on the finish says 3:29 and I knew I was officially about 1 min quicker than this so I wanted to make sure I crossed before it said 3:30 and then I'd have 3:28 something which is what I did 2 years ago.

I did cross the line in an official time of 3:28:45, two seconds quicker than my last one 2 years ago, when I was seemingly much fitter but equally unprepared.
I was WELL chuffed :-)
Having crossed the line I met up firstly with Richard Branson, and then with Rob Tabbanor who had a fantastic final run in to finish only 5 seconds behind me, then with all the team and the supporters at the 'T-Tree' as Jill puts it. Some magnificent times from the rest of the Trentham Crew: Janson, Greg, Jill, Kirsten, Andy, Rob, Dan, with Craig getting 3:12:34 and Jill setting a new LV50 Marathon record in a time of 3:33:36, brilliant stuff.

After a lie on the grass and a battle to get up again we managed to get a table and a couple of pints in a nearby pub before getting on the coach home. Fantastic weekend and everyone did very well indeed, and one final thing. Good Luck to Janson in the Great Manchester Next week, Nutjob!!!!

Thanks also to Mark Day for coming to feed the cats whilst we were away. It was very much appreciated :-D

Well there is my effort and do not be shy, why not send in your story too. I love putting your race reports on so whether it's another London Job or from Manchester next week, let's have 'em!!!!! Thanks to Gregson Julian for this report from London too:

In May 2012 I found out I have won a place through a competition I entered on the Fullers Pride of London Facebook page. I was on a scout camp at that moment and upon reading the email from Fullers I jumped up and down much to amusement of my fellow scout leaders.
I did say I would never do a marathon due to the training commitment, but having thought about it how could I turn this down knowing how hard it is to get in.
I started my training at the beginning of December. I couldn’t follow a proper training plan due to being a family man and being self-employed so I made up my own and speaking to other experienced marathoners I wasn’t far off anyway.
Fast forward now to the big weekend in London. I travelled down on Friday with all my family and met up with my sister and Brother in-law at Euston station. We got ourselves across London to the hotel which was at Greenwich. We checked in and dropped our bags off and went straight to the Expo so I could register. The buzz and excitement was starting to build. I purchased some more shorts and a Tee shirt with the 2013 logo on and met up with the Fullers Rep. Thought I might get a crate of beer, but not on this occasion. We spent a good couple of hours looking around at all the stalls, the kids loved it grabbing as many freebies as they could.
On Saturday we went on a trip to Westfield Shopping Centre where we saw the Olympic park again after our visit to it in August 2012, it was a sad sight and had such a different feel to it. Everything was getting converted or knocked down especially the swimming pool which was where we saw a diving event the previous year. In the afternoon we made our way to Greenwich Park to see my start area. I was in the green area. Luckily I had only about a mile to walk from our hotel. After my last bowl of pasta for tea we went back to the hotel where I did the traditional race prep, number on vest, timing chip on trainer and lay all my kit out ready for the next day.

Early Sunday morning I woke up well before the alarm which was set for 06.30, I lay there pondering on how the day would pan out, it seemed to be ages before I was up for breakfast. I had porridge, a banana and a cup of tea.
After a photo call outside the hotel with my family and a hug and kiss goodbye I was on my way to the start. I arrived at 8.15 where I met up with Jill. We chatted and watched all the other runners arrive some in fancy dress, some old and some young. Jill spotted one fella lying down who appeared to be asleep, he must have been having a very good dream, either that or he was playing tents! We had a bit of a giggle. After my pre-race drink, Bourneville and 5 wee’s I was in my start pen. There was about 5 minutes to go when all I heard was GREGGLE S!! GREGGLES!! It was Lee. The Mad Hatter! Everyone around me must of thought who the hell is this. He was so excited. It was great to see him, Matt and Chloe. Although he was the only one I heard.

From where I was stood to the start it only took 2 minutes which was great. My start area was the smallest and it just felt that I was in a half marathon start not the London Marathon. I was soon into an even pace and having a chat with a few people around me. I met up with Mike Bushell from BBC Breakfast and I’m even featured on his video he took while running round. At 6 ½ miles I saw my family who cheered me on and I hi fived them as I went by. It was a great to see them even though it was only for a few seconds. I knew they would be there as the day before we had pre-arranged to see each other here.
The run carried on with no end to the cheering crowds and when I got to Tower Bridge I was truly amazed with what I saw. People that have done this marathon before told me that the crowds are great but I really didn’t expect them to overwhelm me so much. Wow it was really something to take in.

Running through the Canary Wharf was the quietest part of the route and it was on the way out at mile 19 /20 that I felt my legs start to tire. At mile 21 I hit the wall. I have never felt this before although I have heard many people talking about it. By mile 22 I wanted to stop but I saw Lorna yet again, shouting encouragement along with the rest of my family, she handed me my pre-made energy drink which carried me through to mile 24. At mile 23 I heard GREGGLES !!GEGGLES!!. I was amazed. How did he manage to scream Greggles! over the noise of all that crowd. Yes you guessed it, it was Lee but I was so tired I couldn’t respond .
Mile 24 to 25 was my slowest and I slumped to a 10 minute mile and my mind was in a place it has never been in before. My body was on auto pilot, my legs were just going forward with no control over them. With Big Ben in sight I managed to pick myself up knowing the end was in sight. The crowd over Tower Bridge was unbelievable, but it was nothing compared to coming down the Mall.

I was so overcome with emotion that when I crossed the finish line I could hardly console myself. I collected my medal and goodie bag and made my way towards the meeting point which I had pre arranged was going to be the letter T. I met Keith my brother-in-law and Harry on the way who had come to look for me. When I saw Lorna and gave her a hug and that was it, I couldn’t hold the tears back any longer. After having a drink, a photo and excited conversations with the other Trentham runners and supporters it was time to head of home.
I arrived home late evening and it took me ages to get to sleep, my head still buzzing with the day’s events. We was full of conversation about the day and the lengths my family had gone to, to try to get to the different locations in order to get to see me and cheer me on.
Running the London Marathon ranks in the top four of achievements in my life and it will remain in my memory for as long as I live.

My official time was 3hrs 52 min 41 sec which I am absolutely delighted with. I doubt I will  do another marathon again. A once in a life time experience I think. Thanks for all the support and congratulations given to me. Also thanks for all the sponsors, I have raised about £1200 for the Longton Stroke Assosiation Support Group.

Thanks Greg, Great report and it does go some way to capturing the emotion of London. First time I ran it I was blubbering all the way round and had a re-kindling of that this time round too. It is really hard to put it down in words, the sense of kinship you feel when running London, it's almost like the whole crowd are your one big family cheering you on. Well done for the first Marathon Greg and as they say, never say never :-)

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Barlaston Ups and Downs

The 3rd and final Spring Treble race was at Oulton Cricket Club and ran around Barlaston Downs on Thursday. Deb Thomas writes:

Barlaston is the final race of the Treble series and it starts at Oulton Cricket Club, at the top of a very long hill. I arrived via dad-taxi and it was bloody freezing up there when I got out of the car so I hastily headed to the warmth of the cricket club with Ruth Watchorn-Rice where we also bumped into the lovely Ruth Barry who was racing for the first time in two years and first time as a Trenthamer. We completed a warm up on the road but every direction headed down a hill so we turned back and completed a few circuits of the cricket pitch instead. 7pm soon came and we were lined up on the start line; strangely everyone seemed to be further back from the line than normal, so me and Ruth and a few guys were the only ones right at the front!

It was announced that there was a race within the race for the fastest first mile, as the first 0.8/mile is sharply downhill. Then we were off with a short run across the grass and then onto the road and downhill all the way to the ford bridge at the Downs. I saw Emma Gould shoot down the hill (no surprises there) and I was about 10 secs behind when we went through the gate into the Downs. The course follows the stream along for about half a mile or so and then a steep uphill to the trig point, downhill again, then flat back onto the road, then a right turn back over the bridge to repeat the same circuit.

On the first climb in the Downs Emma was walking up in parts, and I managed to get up close to her, but then the second downhill came and off she went again. I was feeling ok in myself, I think my road shoes would have felt better though as the ground was quite hard and my trail shoes didn’t offer much cushioning. Heading into the second lap I was still within a reasonable distance of Emma but I think she knew I was stronger on the uphill parts as once up and over the trig point again, she sped along the flat part before taking the left turn back up the long hill we started on so she had put further distance between us. I didn’t find the hill too challenging and before I knew it I was at the top and heading back into the field to finish.

I maybe could have ran a little harder back up the hill, but there wasn’t any chance I’d have caught Emma anyway, she was just not catchable! I was pleased to have been second throughout and second overall. Ruth WR came through in third again and Ruth B came flying through in fourth lady!! Becky Austin, who had been getting stronger with each race, finished in ninth overall, which was brilliant, and had we had a third lady at Milford, Trentham would have claimed the team prize!! At the presentation (where there was a free buffet!!) Steve Locker won his age prize and I know that Adam Grew, John Guest, Steve Burrowes, Dale Colclough, Brian Tonks… and everyone else all had good runs too, whether just for Barlaston or overall from the three races. Well done to all who took part, they’ve been hard work but very enjoyable.

Thanks for that Deb, results for the complete series and the prize winners can be found HERE, and also thanks go to Debbie for the next report from this smaller lesser know race near Morecombe:

The first question people ask is “where is Wray?!” It’s about 100 miles North of Stoke on the M6, not too distant from Morecambe and Kendal, so right up close to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Richard O’Keeffe had spotted this race and asked for a ladies team to head up, if anyone was interested. In the end only myself and Mandy Vernon could make it, and Richard; who was hoping to improve on his 10k time since Blackpool earlier this year.

A swift journey up the motorway we arrived in good time for the race start of 1.15pm (the afternoon start is because the race is part of the Scarecrow festival) and we joked when we got there, as there were no other runners about, that there might only be 20 people in the race so we’d have to run even harder then, so as not to be last! The village was very small and pretty and the finishing area had balloons and there were scarecrows all around the village, some were brilliant (George and the Dragon) in someone’s front garden especially, and some were 7ft tall! As time went on the other runners arrived and in the end there were 91 finishers.

We had no idea of the course for this race, I had questioned a marshal on arrival who happily told us “the first mile is flat, then you hit the killer hill which I normally have to walk up”!! Not what we wanted to hear, especially me as my quads and calves were still sore from Thursday night’s race. I had also overheard someone say that “once you’ve got to 4 miles you’re over the worst” so that didn’t sound encouraging! We stripped to our race kit, circled around again to keep warmed up; the weather was lovely sunshine but cool breeze, ideal. We lined up on the start and then “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO!!” we started along the road, and this so called first mile was not flat at all, it was undulating from the off! Mandy headed off in pursuit of the girl who had powered in front, and I was alongside two other lady runners. By mile one I was in third lady position, the two ladies dropped right off, and I could see Mandy and her rival running close together in front.

The steep climb came at about a mile ¼ and was about 400m long. I took this steady-ish as I had no idea what the rest of the course was and it was too early on to be pushing hard. Miles two and three were more than undulating, the ups were hills not little bumps as you’d usually expect! As we were so high up there were lovely views of the Dales, and with the sunshine it looked just stunning, wow! Mandy by now had overtaken and was well in front of second lady, who was coming back to me slowly, although not at a catchable distance. I’d say the course was similar to the second half of the Flying Fox for the hills, maybe slightly hillier; it was up and down all the way. I had assumed that mile four meant that the course would get easier. WRONG! Mile four was a steep climb, which my already-stiff-before-I-started legs did not enjoy!! A good downhill did follow but if I thought that was the hardest parts done, the course continued to roll with the hills and a guy runner who past me, who tried to encourage me to stick with him, told me that there was another uphill before the end..!! AAahhh!!!!

The final half mile loops back through the village so you run past the small crowd and into the finish. I clocked 40.21 for my time (14th overall), nowhere near a PB but all things considered a good result, and this is not a PB course! Mandy brilliantly won the ladies race in 38.35 (7th overall), Amy Green was second in 39.58 so Mandy had an easy win; not bad for feeling tired and yawning beforehand eh Mandy, ha ha!! Richard came through in a new recent PB of 46.35 (33rd overall) and Mandy also won her age prize. All in all a lovely race, the scenery was beautiful and the other runners were really friendly, and we were also lucky with the weather. Before the presentation we went into the village hall for a brew (proper cup and saucer style) and although the cakes were very lovely, they were not as enticing such as those at the Christmas Pudding..!!
Big thanks to Richard for driving the distance and arranging us to do the race in the first place (cheap entry £5, bargain!) And well done to us all… It was a fun, lovely day out.!!

Thanks Deb and well done to both you and Mandy. Results for the Wray Scarecrow Festival 10K can be found HERE!

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Derby 10K

Thanks to Adam Grew for submitting this race report also a little out of the area in Derby. It was Adam's first 10k road race so read to see how he got on:

Having never ran a 10k before, I took the opportunity of getting a PB by entering the annual Derby 10k. I'd heard good things about the race from my neighbour - 4000 entry, town centre course, finish inside Pride Park stadium and good 3k fun run for which I'd also talked Megan, my daughter, into entering. I was looking for something between 37 - 38 minutes and on race morning was feeling quietly confident after banking the three tough Spring Treble races (well done Deb (that pesky 1st lady also mugged me on the last hill in the last two races...))

Getting to the race was easy and parking was fine, I guess they are used to dealing with large match day crowds. Being a 0930hrs start the weather was cool but I decided on the vest/shorts rather than overheating. Lining up in Pen B was a little intimidating as everyone except me was wearing racing flats and the guy next to me pointed out the international steeplechaser at the front. Anyway, at the bell we were off and I tried to hold it back and not race off.

Despite a slight uphill/downhill to Westfield I clocked 5.55 for the 1st mile (good) before the course led us through the main shopping district; this was nice but rather twisty and not ideal for a decent time. Miles two and three passed by with similar times and I clocked 5k in 18:10 which is close to PB time. I do also have to mention the great support from spectators and they cheered the runners on. Mile 4 had a drag up the hill we'd come down and I dropped to 06:13. I knew I needed to keep focused for the last part and despite a couple of occasions whereby they interrupted your rhythm by sending you out and doubling back round a cone I started to feel the pull of the finish line.

Coming into Pride Park for the finish line and obligatory sprint finish I came in in 37:55 and 62nd place. Pretty pleased with that but I reckon a decent course will save 30 seconds. What was nice was that spectators could sit in the stands and get a great view of the finishers.

1st male was Richard Weir in 30:41, down on his Trafford 10k time of 29:51 (Trafford is a quick course). 1st female was Calli Thackery in 35:46 but I dare say it helps having a dad (Carl) who ran a 1/2m in 61:04. Now that is a good Power of 10 profile

I then went over to watch the fun run as Megan and Eleanor, her friend, started their first ever race. I'd told her to start of steady and build from there and she did just that. Meeting up after the race she had ran the whole way, overtook a few other runners and managed a sprint finish. She really enjoyed the race and the buzz it gave. Maybe we get a bit hung up on times sometimes and should just enjoy it!

Thanks Adam, sounds like a really good event with so may people and the atmosphere finishing inside Pride Park must have been brilliant with over 3,500 finishers. Great new pb as well, and now you have a target to aim for in future 10k's well done to you, Megan and Eleanor, sounds like a couple of new junior members in the making too.

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Manchester Marathon

One week after London there were also another few Trentham Runners taking part in another Big City Marathon, this time Manchester. One even did both in the form of Janson Heath. We have had a few reports in, so in order they arrived firstly from Matt Plant:

Here's my race report for the Greater Manchester Marathon. Bear with me, it goes on for a bit :-). Having only started running 3 years ago, running a marathon was always something I'd dreamed of doing. Sunday was the big day, and I was a bag of nerves. My training had been good and although I felt ready for it, the fear of the unknown worried me a bit. Initially I was hoping for a sub 4 hour time, but Lee (Jones) who was targeting a sub 3:30 convinced me that I should go for this time too. We decided to run together, although we both agreed that should one of us flag a bit, the other would carry on.

Having travelled up with Lee (who had very kindly offered me a lift with his family) we met the fellow Trentham runners in the race village. Everyone was in good spirits, as we all made our way to the start line and dropped into the appropriate pens. It wasn't long before the gun sounded and we were off. To my surprise we weren't that far from the front, and it only took us 30 seconds or so to officially start. The plan was to run 8 minute miles which would bring us the time we were both after, and the first few miles went past pretty quick. The route included several switch backs at the start, and it was great cheering on our fellow Trenthamers and the other runners too. For some reason I felt a bit achy in the opening miles but as we got to 6 miles, that had gone and I started to get into a good rhythm. We were running slightly quicker than the planned pace, but we both felt good, and we'd banked a few minutes already.

Miles 6-9 flew by as we ran though Sale, towards Altrincham. At mile10 I began to feel an all to familiar pain in my left knee, I tried to run through it, but after the lap around Altrincham town centre at the 13 miles mark, it was starting to slow me down, and my pace was suffering. Lee was flying and despite his best efforts to drag me along I told him to go alone. Lee quickly disappeared and as i ran through the last switch back, I again spotted Janson, Lisa and Glynn who all seemed to be doing well. The next 3 miles were hard, my knee was hurting and I knew I just had to dig in. My pace had dropped and I began to feel that the sub 3:30 was a pipe dream. At this point I just wanted to cross the finishing line let alone get the time I wanted.

As I got to mile 16, the crowd started to thicken, and the support was fantastic (a special mention to Guy Aartse-Tuyn for his encouragement) I took on water and had a shot block they were giving out. For some reason the pain in my knee started to subside and I began to run a lot more freely. My pace increased and I was getting back to where I wanted it to be. Miles 17-21 went past ok and I was managing to maintain the planned 8 minute miles. I don't know at what point it was, but as I took a right hand turn up a gradual climb I saw Lee in the distance at the top of the climb. I just kept plodding along and at the next water station I caught up with Lee, I told him we could still do the time we wanted and we were soon back up to speed. After about a mile Lee told me to go on as he'd hit the wall. The roles were reversed as I tried to encourage him along this time, but he told me to carry on alone.

Miles 22 to the finish were a struggle and as the roof of one of the Old Trafford stands became visible I knew the finish line was close. I never thought the sight of Old Trafford would be such a welcome one (as the last time I was there Stoke got thrashed 5-0) and as I got closer to the stadium the route took a sharp left, and the finishing line was now in sight. I crossed the line in 3:25:06 by my watch and I've never been so grateful to see a finishing line. I was in a bit of a daze as I collected my medal, goody bag and a handful of Cliff bars. Lee finished shortly after me and we'd both realised our dream and got the sub 3:30's we wanted. The scene in the race village after resembled something from a disaster movie, with people walking around in zombie like states. My legs had completely shut down and I've never experienced pain like it, and I just couldn't get comfortable no matter if I stood, sat or lay down. This eased eventually as we tried, but to no avail to find the other Trenthamers who had also finished.
I went home exhausted, aching, but immensely pleased with how my first Marathon had gone. Although its the most painful thing I've ever done, I can see the attraction of Marathons as no race I've done has compared to it. I would strongly recommend the Greater Manchester to anyone considering one, its not as slick as London, but the course is great and the support was fantastic all the way around.
When I first started running, I read lots of articles online that said joining a running club is the best thing you can do to improve your running. Having joined Trentham less than a year ago I can only reinforce this view. Thanks to everyone at the club for their support, advice and encouragement as I never thought I could do what I did on Sunday. A special thanks to Lee who not only made me believe this time was possible, but also dragged me out on the long training runs required when I was struggling for motivation.

Thanks Matt, great run and great report, well done on getting that sub 3:30 :-) next up from Lisa Heath:

After spectating at London the previous week I was well and truly caught up in Marathon fever and eagerly awaiting my turn at running what would be my 3rd marathon. When I entered Manchester my target was sub 4hrs, 3:59:59 would have been suffice until I heard about GFA 2 weeks ago. I began to wonder if it was achievable for me but after watching London I really wanted it! Janson Heath (Hubby) decided to enter GMM even though it was only a week after he ran London so that he could pace me to achieve my target time. At the time I did wonder if it was a good idea as 1) I hate him telling me what to do!!! And 2) we never run together without arguing and had visions of our marathon turning into something you would see on the Jeremy Kyle show…..

Following a good 19hrs sleep the 2 nights prior to marathon day, I got up at 05.30, spritely and ready for it (unusual for me as I hate mornings)
We arrived at Manchester United’s Theatre of Dreams and met up with fellow club runners, Lee Jones, Matt Plant, Cala Lavery and Glynno Probert. We were all ready for it and it was soon time to drop our bags at the baggage point, don our Pink Recyling plastic bin liners to keep us warm and set off to our various start points. A very moving 26 seconds silence and 26 seconds applause was observed by Runners and Spectators in memory of Boston quickly followed by the start gun and we were off.

The course was flat, weather conditions perfect for a marathon and my planned start pace of 8:40 was soon out of the window and Janson was telling me to slow down, this was where our first row nearly occurred but Janson kept quiet and let me carry on at the pace I was happy with…I was hoping “I told you so” wasn’t going to be murmered from Jansons mouth at the end of the race :-/ At 6 miles Cala Lavery caught up with me having had a different start point and it was here Janson went for a pee stop and left us ladies to run on our own!

We were comfy, enjoying the race, taking in the crowd and having an occasional natter along the way. At roughly half way we saw Lee Jones and Matt Plant at a switch back, high 5’s all round! At about 14 miles Janson rejoined us to check that we had taken on enough fuel and Ok! We were both comfy, enjoying the run and felt great. The three of us continued and before we knew it we were at mile 20, still feeling ok. I had a gel with caffeine and got a turbo boost which I didn’t expect so far into the run. At this point we realised that we had about 6 mins in the bank for us to achieve 3:50 and it was good to know that we could drop down to 9.30 min miles if we needed to and still achieve our time! We didn’t need the extra time, we carried on at a steady pace, didn’t hit “The Wall” and continued to take in the brilliant atmosphere.

As we turned the final turn to head to the finish line next to Old Trafford, I saw the Clock, turned to Janson and Said “Lets do 3:45 and sprint in” I ran down that road as fast as my legs would carry me with a smile on my face and sneaked under the clock as it turned to 3:45!
Hugs all round for me and Cala at the end, both over the moon to have beaten our target time and GFA target of 3:50
I had a fantastic day and the best thing was to run over the finish with the Hubby who I don’t normally see for Dust.
It’s a good job that we did have the extra 5 mins in the bank after all, as later in the evening Ladies GFA changed to 3:45 so I made it by 38 seconds!!!!
Fantastic runs and great times achieved by all of the Green Army running on Sunday and the support from a few local and familiar faces was very appreciated too
For anyone considering running this, it’s a fast flat course great for a PB, with fantastic crowds! Would deffo recommend.

Thanks for the report Lisa, well done on getting that Good For Age place for London and well done on getting such a fantastic time at Manchester. Next up is from Lee Jones:

 After getting my expected rejection letter from London I decided to enter Manchester instead, well, Sammy entered for me as I hate doing forms and when she asked for my expected time I laughed and said 3:30 hoping that this would at least get me closer to the start line. Then I did the math and realized that sub 8min miles would give me that time! I was still doubtful though cuz my last Marathon was Wolverhampton and I didn't respect the distance and struggled in at 3:45:57! That wasn't going to happen this time. I've committed myself to run 2013 miles this year and I started maintaining a sub 8's pace in all my training runs. I ran Alsager then back to Trentham which was 20miles in 2:39 then ran Staffs 20 in 2:38 so a sub 3:30 Marathon was definitely on the cards. Also I've joined Pickles fast group at the club, the structured runs of reps & tempos have really helped with my confidence and I'd like to thank Dave and all the lads for their support.
The weekend before Manchester me, Matt & Dave went to support the Greenarmy in the London Marathon. It was a great day, the atmosphere was brilliant. We darted around on the tubes and saw our runners in a number of places and even cheered them on to the finish :) a few things stuck with me though! We were standing on some railings looking over a fence at birdcage walk 800mtrs from the finish and the runners were going past below us. A man came by well on target for 3:30 but he stopped at our fence, wobbled, sat on his ass then went straight back and cracked his head. The medics went to him and bandaged him up which took about 10 minutes and in that time Janson hobbled past on the far side from us clutching at the back of his left thigh!! He wasn't going to do 3:30 which surprised me and Mr Bandage man wasn't allowed to finish :( on the positive though Andy Vickerman and Greggles came past with steely determination in there strides confident in their targets of sub 4hrs. Seeing Janson like that worried me! Maybe sub 3:30 was to much of an ask.

Race day and Matt plant turned up at mine at 6:20 then we got whisked to Manchester by Sammy in her trusty fiesta. My arms and shoulders were already aching from the day before's karting event, oh yeh....
CONGRATULATIONS To Chris Mosiuk & Alexandra Harris on your Wedding :) you are the perfect couple and excellent parents and I'm sure you will have many happy and loving years together X x ....Karting event which I didn't win cuz I'm a taxi driver and used to going the long way around :) but my legs were still ok.

We met up with Janson (who was doing his 2nd Marra in 2 weekends!!), Lisa, Cala & Glynno then made our way to the start. Me and Matt were in start C and we tried to push to the front but it was really crowded and packed in. Some guy name Ron Hill? Welcomed us then we had a respectful 26 second silence followed by a 26 second applaud for the victims of the Boston Marathon. Then we were off (at last you say)

Me and Matt had decided to run together and it took us about 15 seconds to cross the line and start our watches. I was licking my chops to go go go probably powered by the beetroot I'd been slurping all morning but straight away Matt reigned me in saying to fast, to fast. There are 3 switch backs on this course and 2 in the first 4 miles! We ran away from the crowd at the start down a duel carriage way size road and it wasn't long before we saw the front runners coming back towards us on the other side, then it was our turn to do the hairpin corner and head back, whooping and cheering at the runners where we had been. We shouted "go on Trentham" to Janson, Lisa, Cala and Glynn as they past then I saw Jamie Williams looking good in green and big Dave Wheatley in orange!!? (somebody get that guy a Trentham vest) and now we were heading back to the crowd, I spied Sammy and Lara for a quick kiss then it was off down a virtually identical road to repeat the process again, clapping the front runners, cheering our guys then looking for the wife and girl to kiss them both (me not Matt)

As we headed away again the crowds were still big then I heard "Lee, Lee, Trentham, TRENTHAM!!" It was Meg Hickman and her Mum Bobbie :) up ahead on the other side of the road. I crossed diagonally through the swath of runners and slapped a row of high 5's from Meg and the crowd with her, LOVED IT.... I felt great! Matt had stopped telling me to slow down and we kept a steady 7:40 pace up and now we were onto the course proper we came to the first water station. These were brilliant and the water was in clear squidgy sachets that you bit with your teeth. I sipped some of mine then sprayed the rest on the crowd and was having so much fun that I didn't notice 5miles slip by but it was well under 40 mins cuz we crossed the 10k split mats in 46 something! Which was scarey. Just then a marshal stepped onto the road pointed with both hands at us and said "It's the Trentham boy's" huh!! We looked at each other then shouted "Billy, Billy" over our shoulders. It was a guy we friended on Twitter who said would look out for us on 6miles. I like making new friends so thanks Billy.

On we ran enjoying the crowd and the event. At 9 miles we saw Guy Aartse-Tuyn and his wife who had come to support us (Thanks, it was great to see you there). This was the start of a huge 7 mile switch back that went down to Altringham and back. The crowd had thinned as we crossed 10 mile in 1:14ish and carried on down a road that stretched never ending into the distance. This whole road was closed cuz we would eventually come back up the other side. I realized how well we were doing as we got further and further down this stretch without seeing the front runners coming up. We started gaining on a guy with a huge orange bum bag that would rival Ken Pearsons on the small of his back! As we went past I asked him if he was planning on camping afterwards cuz he had bought his tent with him!! He looked for all the world like the ginger bearded guy Alan from the Hangover movies :) His name was Andy and he said he was supposed to be doing a fell race but he thought he had broken his foot so was doing this instead!?!?! He also said he lived in Stoke and was going to come run with us on club nights.
As we approached Altringham we saw the front runners coming towards us, the lead guy was way in front and we clapped him as he passed. Not long after we veered away to the left and started our loop of the town. Nearing 13miles we saw a group of school children singing the Rocky song, they were just doing the "watching us now with the eyyyyyyyyeeeeeeee" and me and Matt joined in singing "OF THE TIGERRRRR" as we ran past in perfect timing.
13 miles done in 1:40ish and I felt great, Hangover Andy was still with us but I noticed Matt falling behind. He said his knee was hurting like hell and he told me to go on... Nooooo. I thought we were going great so I was gutted for him. I asked if he was sure then ran on. By now we were on the other side of the switch back and I saw all our Greenarmy again, all smiling and looking good.

I was on my own now but was heading for home, I still felt really good and checked my watch at 15 miles, it read 1:55 which meant I had banked a full 5 minutes. I ran past Guy again at 16 and slapped a high 5 before turning left at the end/start of the switch back. I ran on, the crowd had thinned again and it got more spaced out but I still felt fine, I was going past runners, picking them off one at a time. I went past a South Cheshire lady named Amy who was running amazingly well. I urged her on but she said she was done :( 20 miles went by in 2:33, that's 5minutes quicker than Staffs 20!! I felt good, I could see me getting a 3:20 finish and it felt easy, really easy.

Just past 21 miles we went around a corner and I wondered why the road was tilting from left to right then I literally SMASHED into the wall..... Woah, it was so sudden. I slowed right down and remembered Mr Bandage man from London last week, NO, that wasn't going to happen to me. I shook myself, checked my watch and realized I still had over 40mins to do the next 4 odd miles. I ran on but struggling now, just concentrating on moving. Runners were coming past encouraging me and patting my back. 23 miles seemed to crawl by, I was still running but now a heavy sub 9's, I walked a tad, I couldn't help it, then suddenly Matt was there shouting at me saying "come on, don't let me beat you" this spurred me on and I ran again, told myself I was fine but then my legs started waking on there own!! Damn you legs... I told Matt to carry on, the roles had reversed, then Hangover Andy was there, bless him he said "come on just 2 miles, I'll tow you in. We'll get a sub 3:30 together then clapse in pain" I bloody loved that guy there and then but I wanted to be alone so I walked again and he carried on. I walked and ran, walked and ran then checked my watch at 25 miles 3:19.... I wanted to lie down but I could see a large crowd ahead so I plodded on determined not to stop again.

The path through the crowd seemed really narrow and the noise from the cheering was painful and deafening. Sammy said she was there but my head was down. Bobbie Hickman said I made her cry cuz she saw how hard I was trying but I never saw her either, sorry. At last a turned left and saw the finish, I registered the clock at 3:26something but felt nothing as I crossed the line. I staggered forward and leaned heavily over some railings willing my legs to keep me upright. People were patting and rubbing my back but I couldn't acknowledge them.
Eventually I lurched forward and collected my medal and goodie bag then went to the meet & greet area to find and congratulate Matt on his fine run. Hangover Andy was there and I thanked him loads. Then my beautiful wife Sammy was there and I cried into her shoulder, I was an emotional wreck.
I looked around and it was like a scene from a disaster movie as people were lying around covered in their space blankets or shuffling zombie like around the area :)
I had done it though! A sub 3:30 Marra :) my watch read 3:27:09 and I don't think I switched it off straight away. I absolutely loved this race but I wish the wheels hadn't fallen off me truck.
I'd really like to thank Matt for running with me and I'm chuffed for your time. Thanks also to Hangover Andy :) I hope we meet again soon. Also thanks to Meg & Bobbie Hickman, Guy Aartse-Tuyn and his wife and also Billy the 6 mile Marshall.
This was a great event and I will be back to do it all again for that 3:20 :)

Thanks for the report Lee and well done, great effort to carry on and reach the finish in such a good time. Results for the Manchester Marathon can be found HERE!


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Page last updated 01 May 2013


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