REPORTS

Wepre parkrun August 2016

Car Parking: Free parking on site

Toilets: Open early near the visitor’s centre

Refreshments: Visitor Centre opens at 9:30am and sells all the usual hot drinks plus cake etc.

At the start, which was by a waterfall, the run director called over those who were new to this parkrun. As I walked over I just caught the words ‘one of the hilliest parkruns’, and the warning to watch out for tree roots along the way.

The start wasn’t too congested and the runners soon spread out, on checking the results later I saw that there were 93 finishers in total.

The course consists of one and a half small laps followed by 2 large laps. From the start it’s along the path up the short sharp hill towards the carpark with a left turn at the top. Here the path narrows to single file before widening slightly and dropping back down to go through the start again. On the second trip up this short hill we were directed to the second and larger loop from the top of the hill. We were soon directed off the main path and on to a hilly woodland path up to a lake where there were a few slightly bemused fishermen looking on. Just as I was going past this lake, I heard a runner hit the ground and so I walked with her for a bit until she was jogging again and we reached a marshal. A bit further on and another incline, this time I looked up and over the 200 yards or so in front of me every one else was walking too so I didn’t feel too bad about taking this breather. Once it flattened out at the top we soon met the long descent, and it was brilliant! What goes up must come down so they say and this made the previous hill worth it. There were 2 laps of this so back up the hill and the long descent again and the finish was in sight.

The run was mainly on gravel paths and wooded areas so I would suggest that trail shoes would be needed on anything but the driest of days. All in all, one of my favourite parkruns so far!

Adidas 24 Hour Thunder Run July 2013

Dean Richards writes:

What can I say, that was the hardest race I've ever done!

The 2013 thunder run team consisted of; Simon Phillips, Rob sharam, Graham Jones, Juliet Jones, Jo Meadowcroft, Emily Dove and myself.

Simon lead the team away on the 1st lap in near perfect running conditions (if not a little warm). After a rotation of laps Emily, Rob and myself decided to take the "night shift" and do 3 laps each to give the others on the team time to have a proper rest. Unfortunately as Emily started her first lap the heavens opened and a huge thunder storm started. As the night went on, and rain (which can only be described as biblical) continued, the course became extremely difficult (as can be seen from the lap time). At points during the night the entire course was submerged in water so running was just on instinct and hoping there were no unseen hazards! Despite the adverse weather we appeared to be coping better than the other teams (with many teams not chancing running in the rain at night) as we steadily climbed the leader board.

As morning approached Simon came to relieve the "night shift" and for the first time in 6 hours the rain stopped (not that I'm bitter!!!). However the well rested half of the team were greeted with a very different course to the one of the day before with very slippery mud all of the way around.

The floods of the evening rain receded in the morning sun to leave heavy and sticky mud to contend with!

The team finished with a total of 28 laps to finish in a very respectable position.

Thanks to my teammates for an unforgettable weekend of racing!

Shawbury 10k 7th July 2013

Sunday saw the inaugural running of the RAF Shawbury Airfield 10k. Since it was just myself, Gareth Dodd and James Rainbow from the Whippets braving the baking conditions, thought I'd do a quick race report to help anyone thinking of running it next year. The race took place on the runways of the airfield and to be honest, with cloudless skies and temperatures in the mid to high 20s (with the 'runway temperature' probably much higher than that, as the 'track temperature' always seems to be in Formula 1) it was a bit of a brutal race. Yes, it's flat - hills not generally being conducive to safe landing of aeroplanes (though there are some slight inclines), but it's also totally exposed with no shelter - again, trees, runways and planes don't mix that well! What little wind there was was in our faces running up the inclines, but seemed to disappear totally after we turned around! There isn't much visual interest to the course (except a few big planes) and because it's flat and open, you can see exactly how much further you have left to run, which wasn't that great! Race was organised well and had chip timing. The water cannon at the end was very welcome! The 'goody bag' included 2 shirts (1 technical) and a medal as well as a substantial tray of Muller rice/yoghurt. They were accepting entries on the day, so if they do the same next year, I'd probably wait until the day itself to decide. If it was typical British summer weather (cold, cloud, rain) I'd definitely run it again. But if the weather's like this year, I think I'd just sit in the garden with a beer! Does have PB potential, but only in the right conditions. As for the times, the less said about that the better (certainly for me - any chance of a handicap downgrade.....?) though I'm sure they'll be on the website in all their glory soon

Conti 12 hour Lightning Run 29th June 2013

Simon Phillips writes.

Two Whippet teams took part in the postponed Conti Lightning 12 Hour Run this Sunday. This year saw a change of venue from the very hilly Eastor Castle to the more undulating Catton Park, home of the 24 Hour Thunder Run, but on a different course.

The team of Dean Richards, Emily Dove, Brian Hickson and Simon Phillips would be contesting in the mixed team category. Whereas Laura Fisher and Jo Meadowcroft would be clocking up some serious miles each in the Women’s Pair.

With the race due to start at 6am, Dean and Laura lined up with the other competitors. However Dean made a lonely figure in the sub-40 minute 10K area as no one else wanted to show their true running credentials. With only the start/finish area being visible, the rest of the team hoped Dean would be able to keep it at a sensible pace as he headed off in first place and out of sight. With Dean arriving a minute or so behind the first few runners, it was looking like a good start to the day.

After two laps from each team an announcement came over the PA we weren’t expecting. The Whippets were leading both categories. Laura and Jo had a simple strategy for the day, one or two laps each then hand over to the other. However the mixed team would start with a very busy Emily running alternate laps to finish early, followed by the remaining team members completing the rest.

As the day wore on, the temperature rose, but also the lead in each category. The girls eking out a minute or two every lap and the mixed team looking like the safety of being a lap ahead may be possible by the end of the race.

The hot summer sun certainly made the undulating twisty course more energy sapping than we’d expected, but as the 12 hour cut-off approached it was down to Brian to complete an extra lap just for team pride and one final lap for Jo to make sure of a double victory. The mixed team had completed 16 laps (90 miles) and the ladies a very impressive 14 laps (79 miles).

Mercia Hill Trial 20th January 2013

Simon Phillips writes.

Four Whippets made the trip to Church Stretton to take part in the inaugural Mercia Hil Trial this weekend. On arrival we quickly made a few team choices. Brian was going solo, due to his knowledge of the area and better navigation skills, whilst Rob Sharam and myself would make one pairing, with Emily Dove and Rob Dunn the other.

The race starts with each solo or pair leaving at two minute plus intervals, where you are given the map for the first time containing the checkpoints to visit and then head out to find them. Brian, keen to start went first, heading off down the street reading the instructions, followed by the two pairings several minutes apart.

With perfect timing light snow started and we all thought it could get a bit challenging on top of the Long Mynd. However the conditions were great for running, although with all the white stuff around following streams became one of the safer navigational choices. The scenery was great and the descents fantastic in the snow.

We all saw each other at various points around the Long Mynd, but Brian had decided on a clockwise route, whilst Rob and myself had gone the other way around. Unfortunately Emily and Rob had started in one direction, but made an error and ended up then going the other.

Brian finished a very respectable 10th in 1:35:10. Rob and myself finished 15th in 1:46:55 after getting a bit lost trying to find checkpoint 2. Emily and Rob finished 41st in 2:24:23 after taking a major detour and missing one of the checkpoints.

The weather certainly added to the enjoyment of this new event and I'm sure we'll be having a go again next year.

Mad Jack's Five 10th November 2012

Myself, Dean, Bob Wilson and two of Bob’s friends (And Emily!) had a really enjoyable ride over to the race at Attingham Park.

We met Dave Wilson, Simon Phillips and Stephanie Beeston at the race, and also Emily Dove who was late to Clive - and so had to cycle on her own.

6 of us did the race (Dean wimped out!), it was very wet and muddy but really good fun, at the end there was a 30 meter pond that you had to wade through which was extremely energy sapping!!

After the race we headed to the Corbet Arms at Upton Magna for a beer and a bite to eat. Kate Waterhouse and Keith met us at the pub on their bikes

After a nice lunch and a pint we headed for home, dropping Emily of in Clive where her car was parked.

I think it worked out at about 50 miles on the bike and a 5.25 mile run.

All in all a great day, and hopefully cycling to events will be a more common occurrence in the warmer months.

Halloween Hellraiser 28th October 2012

Brian Hickson writes:

Myself and Dave Wilson headed over to the Crewe and Nantwich Vagrants Club to take part in the Halloween Hellraiser on Sunday. We had a support crew of Sarah and Archie.

This is the second year we have raced together and I have to say 9.4 miles flew by as we were chatting the whole way. We both thoroughly enjoyed the race, Dave wore his brand new £100 shiny Salomon trainers - let’s just say they no longer look new! There was a real variety of terrain, from roads, wet muddy fields, tracks, recently ploughed fields which were tough under foot and also grave stones that seconded as steps. There were several runners on the course trying to find lost footwear as they ran through the mud and left a shoe behind!

The event really is very well organised with marshals directing you all the way round the challenging course, jelly babies and also water stations. At the end of the race we had a bacon butty and cup of tea which were well earned, I saved the special Halloween Hellraiser beer that was in the goody bag for the evening, which I must say went down a treat!!

We crossed the line together in a time of 1hr 11mins 47 seconds and in a very respectable 22nd and 23rd place out of 130 entrants. The numbers were down this year which was a shame as it is a great race, maybe more Whippets will join us next year!!

Asics Berlin Grand 10k 14th October 2012

Thanks go to Graham Jones for this excellent write up

After months of planning and excited anticipation, the Whippets’ trip to Berlin finally got under way on Saturday 13th October. A team of 11 set off at 5:15am to Liverpool John Lennon Airport, but, as nobody had brought their boots and shin pads, we had to settle for running in the Berlin 10k rather than playing Fussball. The Whippets who made the trip were: Graham Jones (that’s me), Bob Wilson, Tracey Green, Colin Jones, John Dillon, Dean Richards, Simon Parsons, Simon Phillips, Brian Hickson, Laura Fisher and Vicky Leese.

After arriving in Berlin we used the local public transport to get to the Leonardo hotel, which was to be our accommodation for the four days. There were no complaints, as Simon Phillips had found us a reasonably priced and pleasant place to stay. During our time there we made good, and in some cases excessive, use of the breakfast buffet, and spent a fair bit of time in the hotel bar area.

Something that attracted great interest amongst the group was the fact that Dean and Vicky shared a room. What went on behind that hotel room door only they know, but others never tired of speculating.

Our first priority on arrival was to pick up our numbers etc. from the roof terrace of a rather large Karstadt Sports shop. After wandering in the general direction of the shop, and passing through a food market en route, we eventually found it and collected our race packs. With that taken care of, the fun could begin.

On the first night the team went out into the Charlottenberg area near the hotel to fuel up for the next day’s race. My German language skills were put to good use ordering drinks for the group in the characterful Zum Hecht bar. Drinking pilsner beer is probably not ideal race preparation, but most of us threw caution to the wind. Our pre-race dinner was similarly unconventional – boxes of noodles and rice from a cheap Chinese takeaway joint.

Next came the big day – Sunday 14th October, and the Berlin 10k. After breakfast we walked to the start at Charlottenberg Palace, and eventually lined up alongside over 5,000 other runners for the race. The course was wonderfully flat, and took in sights such as the Siegesaule monument, and the Zoo (where some managed to see rhinos and tigers). John Dillon in particular was oblivious to the surroundings, but, in his defence, when you run at his pace monuments come and go in a flash.

I was struggling with injury, which ultimately robbed the spectators of what might have been a close race between me and 10k world record holder Leonard Komon. As it was, he won comfortably in 27:46. Getting back to reality, I did indeed struggle round, and a club record was way above what I could manage on this occasion. In fact, despite the perfectly flat course, Simon Phillips and Tracey were the only Whippets to achieve a PB. Simon had an excellent race, breaking his own club M40 age record by 40 seconds. Also, to be fair, Brian looked in good form, clocking his fastest time of the year. The full results were as follows:

Men

97Graham JonesM37:3271.54%
141Robert WilsonM3538:4372.84%
158John DillonM5538:5982.73%
250Dean RichardsM40:4166.00%
287Simon PhillipsM4041:0970.64%
355Brian HicksonM42:0864.48%
459Colin JonesM43:1662.37%
1735Simon ParsonsM5051:3561.49%

Women

55Vicky LeeseL44:1268.63%
179Laura FisherL49:2161.63%
328Tracey GreenL52:1458.10%

After the Market Drayton 10k the exhausted finisher has nothing but a free six pack of yoghurts with which to celebrate. The Germans, on the other hand, know how to organize a race properly, and so we were able to help ourselves to free beer after crossing the finish line. Needless to say most of us took full advantage, and Laura was happy with the free tea that was also available.

After staggering back to the hotel to shower and change, the rest of Sunday was spent wandering around some of the sights; namely the Siegesaule, Tiergarten, and Brandenburg Gate. This was followed by dinner in a Spanish steakhouse, where we were served by an attractive waitress called Manjana (as in mañana – get it?). Well, Dean and I thought it was funny anyway.

The next day was free from all the nonsense of running, and we were determined to get out and see the city. Simon Parsons had already drawn up his own itinerary with sites of Nazi significance that he wanted to see (probably best not to ask), and he went off to do his own thing.

The rest of us went on a bike tour of Berlin, leaving from Alexander Platz. This turned out to be a very good idea (well done Laura!) and we were led round on our bikes by a very knowledgeable young tour guide called Neil. His knowledge of Berlin’s history taught us all a lot of interesting facts, and drew our attention to sights that might otherwise have seemed somewhat unremarkable. Vicky seemed particularly fascinated by Neil, but that might have had more to do with his height and physique. The tour was punctuated by lunch in a beer garden where Dean discovered a taste for Berliner Weiße with raspberry syrup, one of the more unusual beers. The bike tour was also notable for the childish behaviour of Dean, Bob and Colin who left skid marks all over Berlin, the sad demise of Colin’s sunglasses when Brian rode over them, and Simon Phillips riding Jessica all day and playing with her squeaky fish.

On our final night in Berlin we headed into town for one last time. A nice meal in an Italian restaurant was followed by a visit to Kilkenny’s Irish Pub. Not exactly engaging with German culture, but Berlin is a cosmopolitan place, and who can resist a Guinness? On the S-Bahn back to the hotel we were treated to a song by a ‘talented’ musician with a harmonica and guitar, who assured us we’d have good karma if we gave him some money.

Tuesday was a familiar tale of a final day blighted by time constraints – first checking out, and then getting to the airport on time. Those who were keen enough and weren’t crippled after the race went out for an early morning run in the park behind the palace. After breakfast six of us decided to go out into the Tiergarten parkland for a final time and climb the Siegesaule, while the rest went souvenir shopping.

Overall the consensus was that it had been a really good trip, and the atmosphere within the team was terrific. The race was very much secondary to discovering the city and the general shennanigans of the Whippets on tour. I would recommend going on any future Whippets trip abroad, and in all likelihood there will be more to come after the success of this year’s in Berlin.

Race the Train 2012

From Laura Fisher

Laura Fisher, Brian Hickson, Jon Morgan and Dean Richards all travelled to Twywn for Race The Train this weekend. This is a 14 mile off road race which (as the title suggests) is a race against a train.

With the sun out in force I thought the weather conditions were significantly better than last year although I was outnumbered by the boys who all hoped for rain!!!! (why people want rain and mud when running is beyond me!)

The race starts at 2:05pm when the train leaves the station and is a 7mile out and back route. It is without a doubt the toughest race I've done (and I've done 2 thunder runs and a lightening run) but Bri thrived on the off road terrain and the mud! Both Jon and Dean found the route tougher this year with Jon sporting an injury and Dean suffering with cramp.

However (and I'm probably biased) the big congratulations go to Bri who was the first whippet back beating his time last year by 5mins 32secs and was only 2 minutes off beating the train!

The Buff Lightning 12hr Run

Two teams from the Whippets entered this year's Buff Lightning 12 Hour race, one consisting of Rob Sharam, Graham Jones, Dean Richards and myself entered in the Male 5 category and one of Brian Hickson, Laura Fisher, Vicky Leese and Antony a friend of the Whippets in the Mixed 5.

The course had changed slightly from last year with each lap now an accurate 10K, rather than just over 9K previously, but it had kept 2K steep climb at the start and all the elevation changes you'd expect for a course around the Malvern hills.

Due to the clocks moving forward the race started in darkness, but after the first lap Rob ran into the changeover in 2nd place behind Gloucester AC, it seemed like deja vu. However after a few more changeovers we were well clear in the male category and marginally leading the whole race. Meanwhile the mixed team were locked into a battle for 2nd place in the mixed category, lying a close 3rd.

As the sun shone, the temperature rose and the short recovery between each leg, with only having 4 in each team, it started to feel a bit tougher each time out. However the mixed team had moved into a healthy second place in their category and the male team had more than 5 minutes lead overall and 3 laps ahead of the next team in their category. With Gloucester AC about to change over to their best runner and slightly fresher with a full team of 5, we'd all have to run to the very end if we wanted to finish first overall.

As I lined up for the final change over, stood next to the final runner from Gloucester AC, it was looking like it could be a close finish. To be honest I'd been looking forward to a more leisurely last lap. What could only be described as a shattered Dean past the baton over to me and as long as I wasn't passed by anyone I knew we'd win. To my great relief, my less than sparkling sprint finish was required, no one managed to come pass on the last lap so we'd won with Gloucester AC just 1 minute 50 seconds behind. The team had managed 16 laps, a new record for the male category. Laura then ran in to finish a well earned 2nd place in the mixed category, with 14 laps completed.

A very successful day was rounded off with the two teams receiving prizes from the sponsors Buff. We'd certainly all agree that after running with teams of four, it makes the Thunder Run 24 hour seem a lot more sedate.

The Fisher/Hicksons Quiet Weekend 17/18th March 2012

Bri took part in the 40 mile Cannock Chase hike on Saturday 17th march. After being let down by a team member on Friday night his team were not able to enter officially, but due to the amount of times Bri has taken part (13th year!) they agreed the 3 of them could unofficially enter. They completed the event in 7hours 21mins, Bri's best time ever!!!!!!!

Never ones to rest for long we both took part in the 2.5 mile cholmondeley fun run (I had done a 4 hour spinathon on Saturday so was pretty stiff myself!) We entered with our two nephews Ellis (age 13) and Andrew (age 9). I ran with Ellis and completed the course in 16mins 58 secs (average of 07:51 pace which was not the leisurely jog I thought it was going to be!!!!) and Bri ran with Andrew and completed the course in 19mins 32secs (average of 08:45 pace!) ... Both Ellis & Andrew really enjoyed the race and were asking if they could come for a run with the whippets!!!!

The weekend has been nicely finished off with a mothers day Sunday lunch and Bri enjoyed a few well deserved beers!!!!!

Bring on the 12hour lightning race next Sunday!!!!!

Rhayader 20 - 17th March

If you want a nice flat, urban 20 miler then this isn’t the run for you. If you want a hilly but reasonably comfortable run then this still isn’t for you. But If you want the most outstandingly beautiful route conceivable, with views to die for, seeing more red kites than houses and running over hills that go on for 3 miles then this is the one to do.

I’d tagged along with Adele and 5 friends from Shrewsbury, nervously discussing the thundery showers and whether to just go straight to the pub to watch the rubgy instead. But as soon as the gun went the rain stopped and was soon replaced by modest sunshine. By the summit of the first ‘hill’ (480m high!!) crystal clear views for miles around. This was the BIG hill of the day, a 3 mile climb but its not so bad as its early on.

You couldn’t really stop to admire for long as it descended steeper and steeper for nearly 2 miles, watching the leaders far in the distance. It was followed by a slog of a roller coaster around the first 2 reservoirs, with smaller hills and a nagging headwind for the next 4 miles before a very welcome mile descent down past 2 dams to the lower reservoir (Garreg Ddu). If you can struggle over 2 smaller climbs you are rewarded with an ‘easy’ run for at least 3 miles until the next uphill. It saves the worst till last, with a swearingly nasty climb to mile 19 before a well supported run through the town to the finish.

Setting out to not race too hard I was very happy to finish in 2h19 (28th), quite satisfying to beat all the Shufflers, although they did all finish looking impossibly fresh. Adele was happy to knock 8 mins off her time from last year, finishing in 3h40, 323rd. . We made a full day, staying to share stories over some excellent fish and chips that hardly touched the sides.

All 7 of us didn’t hesitate to say we’d be back next year. I cant recommend this race highly enough, its not easy but so worth the effort.

Stafford 20 - March 11th 2012

I raced at the Asics Stafford 20 today in 2hrs 25mins 25sec a whole 18 seconds faster than last year!!

The beautiful sunshine (and perhaps another year on the clock) made it feel a much harder run than last year. I felt like I was going to throw up on the 3rd lap which I would put down to dehydration, the 1st water station was at around 6 miles (plastic cups) so it might be worth sending a helpful reminder to club members to work on their hydration strategy before the race, in hindsight I should have taken my hydration belt

Llandegla Dash in the Dark - January 20th 2012

Simon Phillips writes:

Three Whippets and, hopefully, a couple of soon to be Whippets met at Llandegla Forest Visitor Centre for race 1 of the "Dashes in the Dark" series. The series consists of three night races on an off-road course around Llandegla Forest of about 4 miles.

We'd completed night laps as part of the Thunder Run 24hr, but were expecting this to be a more challenging course and we weren't to be disappointed! With over 70 runners lined up in the car park, all with head torches blazing, it was a one lap mad dash around the car park to get a good position before ascending into the forest proper. The course was a perfect mix of different terrain and gradients. From gravel paths, boggy mud, roller coaster boarded paths used by the mountain bikes to branch strewn sections. The course also included technical bits through the trees and even a tiny stream to run across. After several climbs came a very steep descent with heavy mud at the bottom. I don't think I was the only one, lets say politely, to lose my footing at that point! The course was well marked and marshalled, and even I managed to find my way around without getting lost.

Graham Jones was the the first Whippet home, closely followed by Dean Richards and then myself. The official results haven't been published yet, but we may have all been much closer than expected, so it's all on for race 2 on the 10th February.

The race was finished off with a reasonably priced large mug of soup and roll at the visitor's centre. All in all a really enjoyable race and with two more left, maybe we'll see a few more Whippets at the next one.

Mortimer Forest 10 Mile Hill Race - December 4th 2011

Simon Phillips writes:

Myself and Brian headed out to Ludlow to take part in the 10 mile Mortimer Forest Hill Race on Sunday. Well over 300 runners lined up at the bottom in reasonable weather which turned to rain half way around.

I’d say this is one of, if not the toughest race I’ve done, with what feels like relentless climbs and descents, many extremely steep and the ground underfoot deep, thick and slippery mud with all the rocks and tree roots you’d expect in a forest. Just up my street, but perhaps not for some in the club. There are some glorious views en route, although with the concentration required you can’t spend too long looking.

I finished 104th in 94:10 and Brian 138th in 98:34. I’m sure it’ll be one to do again, hopefully we can get a few more Whippets taking part next year.

Helena Tipping 10k - December 4th 2011

It will be one of those trick quiz questions - when was the Helena Tipping 10k run twice in a single year! Fortunately it wasn't iced over this time round; but it was miserably cold and wet by the finish! I'm guessing it was easier to run in than to stand around in!

Anyway, a good twenty-plus whippets assembled on the start line. It was also good to see Adam Richards, Rachel Ashley and Karena Evans in action.

First Whippet home was Graham Jones in 36:58. Next in was John Dillon setting a new Age Record and banishing his racing blues. First lady home for us was Laura Fisher in 46:48. Best female performance of the day though came from Christine Henderson who set a new age record.

The race was the first in the new Club Championship series based on age performances. John Dillon leads the way for the men with Richard Stewart and Jeff Clarke in 2nd and 3rd place. Christine Henderson heads the women with Jean Bancroft and Laura Fisher next. The next qualifying race in the series is the Village Bakery Half Marathon in February. Won't it be great to be back running round the Wrexham Industrial estate!

Stiperstone Time Trial- November 28th 2011

Myself, Simon, Rob and Dean headed off to the Shropshire hills for the Little Stretton to Stiperstones time trial - the aim being to get from point A to point B as quick as you can taking any route you choose. We eventually got to the finish to drop one car off - after Simon and Dean decided to follow the sat nav rather than a map. After about 20 minutes of waiting they arrived and we headed off in one car to make the trip over the Burway to the start. That was quite an experience with a 300 meter drop on my side of the car!!!.

We made it to the start and checked in, me and Simon one team and Rob and Dean the other, a final decision was made about the route and we headed to the start line.

Myself and Simon set off first with a 20 second start over Rob and Dean, I think we were the only teams not to use the favoured route of Ashes Hollow and instead opted for the steeper but flatter route - the top Batch Valley option. Dean and Rob were slightly concerned about our route choice when an old lady shouted out of her kitchen window informing them they were going the wrong way, undeterred we all marched on.

Me and Simon headed the way up and over the Longmynd only losing sight of Dean and Rob once or twice - I was hoping that they would lose sight of us and then take a wrong turning giving us a chance of beating them over the finish line. Running down the Longmynd was exciting having to make split decisions about which part of the heather to run though next. We then hit the road and it was then a straightforward run into Bridges, unfortunately the pub was closed otherwise a swift half might have been had!!.

The next stage of the race was to find a route over the Stipperstones. We opted for the road along the base up into a farm yard and then a nip over the top and down a tarmac path to the finish line. Still Dean and Rob had not caught us and it looked like the unexpected victory was on. Myself and Simon were spurred on by this and continued to run all the way over the Stipperstone and down the other side. A slight wrong turn was taken coming down where I decided to try and ditch my team mate by taking him over a near vertical grass/prickly bush drop which ended in me on by backside!! I picked myself up and it was then a very quick dash to the finish line down an easy tarmac path.

An anxious wait was to ensue, with Rob and Dean eventually arriving 3 minutes behind us which meant the underdogs had won the day. A much needed and well deserved pint was then had in a very crowded Stipperstones Inn. We decided to head back to pick the other car up from the start and eat in one of the Little Stretton pubs, both were fully booked, Simon looked like he was going to start eating his own arm he was that hungry. Eventually we called in at the Pound Inn at Cardington and had a very nice roast beef dinner sat by a lovely open fire.

All in all it was a great day, and is certainly a race to look out for next year, I have been tasked with finding a shorter and quicker route but when I find it I’m not going let Dean or Rob know as I am sure they will be out for revenge.

Simon Phillips adds:

It was a really good relaxed event, well organised, good weather bar the gusty winds and very scenic. I think we'll all be doing it again next year. Highly recommended for those who want a bit of a different challenge. Just a shame I didn't scan the chip a bit quicker at the end which would have moved us up a place.

Simon and Brian were 26th tea in a time of 83 minutes and 18 seconds. Rob and Dean were 32nd in 86 minutes and 3 seconds.

Flying Fox 10 - November 6th 2011

Dave Wilson accompanied by Brian(Brain) Hickson and Laura Fisher ventured over to Stone for the Flying Fox 10. Dave writes:

Well it has been a long season pounding the hills of Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding areas but I ran in the final North Staffs Road Racing of 2011 today. Race number 20 The Flying Fox 10, a tough workout in near perfect conditions I came home in 59th position in 1:10:17.

I’m very pleased to finish my first full year with NSRRA in 5th place overall in group B, having completed 15 out of the 20 events, including 1 marathon, 1 20 miler, 3 X half marathons, a 10 miler, a 15k, a 7 miler, 3 X 10k, 3 X 5 mile and a 4 miler (including 4 races in 2 weeks in July).

Now time to let the IT band make a full recovery and spend some quality time with the family.

Deja Vu Track Marathon Crewe - November 6th 2011

Juliet Salem sneaked over to Crewe to take part in the horrendous sounding 105 lap Track Marathon. Juliet writes:

I completed the Deja Vu Track Marathon in Crewe today in 4 hours 29!!! (I did wear my garmin in the end, but I put some tights over it to stop me from obsessing!). The Garmin says I ran a lap more than I should, but the lap guy insisted I ran another one!! I suppose the watch might have been confused by the laps, but I will wait and see what the results say when they are published.

The race was brilliantly organised, runners were chipped and everyone there was very friendly. The race consisted of 105.5 laps, which despite needing focus and concentration to complete, it was in my opinion the only way to run a marathon! 105 water stops, no hills,a smooth and slightly springy surface, access to your own gels/ drinks without having to carry them and getting to know the runners at the front of the field when I was running near the back!! Oh, and the goody bag was the best I have ever had at an event. The race was only open to 35 runners due to the capacity of the track, but if the Sandbach Striders decide to put the event on again next year, I would reccomend it to anyone - it is definately a race to achieve personal bests.