2013 NEWS

2013 News

The Telford 10k proved rich pickings with all Whippets doing brilliantly. Bob Wilson set a Club Age 40 record while there were PBs for Dean Richards, Graeme Alexander, James Marsh, Stephen Hall, James Rainbow and Gill Rich! Phew, well done the lot of you.

Elsewhere, Christine Henderson had her best run for a few years racing in the Great Langdale Xmas Pudding 10k. Christine was 5th lady over 60.
Very quiet on the racing front at the moment. Just one Park Run to report from Saturday. Bob Wilson placed 11th in the Shrewsbury Park Run recording a new PB of 18:34. Well done, Bob!
Saturday saw round 3 of this year's North Wales XC league take place at Wrexham. Conditions were ideal, and the flat circuit saw Dean Richards record his best ever League performance. Dean was first home for us in 38th place at a pace that would probably have merited a 10k pb! Dean was backed up by John Dillon (74), Simon Phillips(82) and James Rainbow(139).Thanks, guys.

We were all frustrated at the lack of a full team at what was a local fixture in great conditions! Surely, we can do better in the next fixture at Lilleshall. Cross country running was where the sport started and if you haven't tried it - it is a great altenrative to Road Racing during the winter months. Better still, you don't have to worry about PBs as you can't really compare countrry circuits! If you can run under 52 minutes for 10k (Men) or sub 60 minutes (Women) we'd love to see you at the next fixture in January. All you need is a club vest and a smidge of enthusiasm!

On Sunday Keith Cotton and John Rowlands romped round the Conway Half Marathon. Keith ran 1:52:23 and John 2:23:48. I'm still waiting to be told of any other results.
It looks like it was a quiet racing weekend with only a result for Tracey Green in the Shrewsbury Park Run on Saturday. Tracey set a new PB of 26:19 - well done! Let me know if you did race somewhere.
Last night saw close on 50 people enjoy the club's 6th Birthday Bash at the "Archie". The Cottage Pie and 3 Bean Chilli were up to their usual high standard and this year there was the addition of chips to keep John Dillon happy!

Adam Richards not only tested us with a Monopoly based quiz but also baked some really good cakes! A man of many talents!

The raffle was once again well supplied with prizes thanks to the generosity of club members. I never got to see all the prizes but one of the highlights must have been the T-Shirt autographed by Paula Radcliffe and donated by Shane Connolly. Cheers, Shane!

Last year saw the men win all the places in the Marathon draw, this year it was the turn of the ladies. Places were won by Heather Stewart, Vicky Leese and Charlotte Wainwright. And good luck to them all!

As usual the evening included the presentation of the club awards and the winners were...

Most improved male James Walker
Most improved female Sharon English
Most improved beginner Sue Read - John Rowlands Cup
Summer Handicap James Walker - Don Wilbraham Cup
Female Club Champion Jo Meadowcroft
Male Club Champion John Dillon


My thanks go to everyone involved in making it yet another good club do!
A small group enjoyed fine sunny weather for a run from Newcott's Fish and Chip restaurant. Jon Morgan wished he hadn't run there first, as he was dragged round by the fast group of Dean, Simon and John Dillon. He cheered up after a deserved post run cider in the restaurant! Fiona Dillon and myself had a more gentle excursion round Ash and Brown Moss, although Fiona was heard to complain that we were running too fast - but it was her leading, honest guv!
The main event saw 8 Whippets contest a very chilly Mad Jack's 5. A race that includes an infamous run through freezing water near the end. Dean Richards was delighted to knock up his first win over new dad Gareth Dodd. Time to get your training boots on again, Gareth! It was also good to see Kate Windor in action again.

Earlier that day, Fiona Dillon took the opportunity to try out the revised Delamere Park Run course. She reports improved car parking and toilets! A race to consider if you can think of nothing better to do at 9:00 am on a Saturday morning!
A busy weekend with Whippets racing at distances from 5k to the Marathon!

On Saturday Tracey Green did the Shrewsbury Park Run, improving on her run of a week ago.

Sunday saw Brian Hickson, Laura Fisher and Juliet Jones complete the Deja Vue Track run. Hopefully they ran the right number of laps - all 105 of them!

Congratulations are due to Laura who was 1st lady home! Juliet was 7th lady while Brian was 10th overall. Great running, folks!

Dave and Sarah Wilson completed their NSRAA campaign for the year in the Flying Fox 10. Sarah winning her age group - a tremendous achievement and well deserved! She writes:

"Today, John Rowlands, Dave and I all ran in the muddy and wet Flying Fox 10 mile race. Dave was first home in 65.18 and in 22 place, I was home in 72.49, and 69th place and John finished in 107.07.

Both Dave and I achieved new course PB’s both knocking over 2 min’s off from last year at the same event.

I have successfully finished 3rd in the NSRRA league and managed to win my age group which is something that I did not think was possible this year. A great end to the season for both of us."

Sunday also saw Fiona Challinor and Laura Turner in action in the Capethorne Half Marathon. Fiona writes:

Laura Turner and I both completed the Capethorne Half this morning. The weather had made the course very wet and quite muddy in places, and intermittent downpours meant running with wet feet and, for me at least, the accompanying blisters! Still, the weather couldn’t be helped and I would rather that than it be too warm.

As for the race itself, the course was very flat, as advertised, on rural quiet lanes and I would say a really good PB course for anyone going for a time.

I would say that one or two things should be ironed out if they hold it again next year. It was not chip timed as advertised, not a problem, but when you have paid an entry fee that reflects chip timing it felt a bit of a let down and made it an expensive race (never mind that my Garmin says 1:59:57 - it won’t be under 2 hrs. officially). They also ran out of water at the third water station, which I was quite ready for at that point so disappointed in that. It was also planned to charge £5 parking for anyone with a non runner in the car, I am not sure if they went ahead with this in the end though.

In all a mixed review but could potentially be a good race in the future if they get it all sorted out. "
As the Birthday Bash approaches it's time to whet your appetites by listing the award nominees:

Most improved male
Daren Peacock
Dean Richards
James Walker

Most improved female
Katherine Clarke
Rachel Prince
Sharon English
Laura Turner

Most improved beginner
Becky Tee
Karen Blakemore
Sue Read

Other award winners include Club Champions John Dillon and Jo Meadowcroft with 2nd and 3rd placings Richard Stewart, John Morgan, Rachael Foster and Heather Stewart. The Don Wilbraham Handicap was won by Jamie Walker with Stephen Hall 2nd and Keith Cotton 3rd.
A reasonably quiet weekend, with Bob and Tracey doing the Shrewbury Park Run on Saturday before Bob joined his brother Dave, Brian Hickson, Graeme Alexander and Ken Robbins in the mud bath that is the Halloweeen Hellraiser. They claim to have enjoyed themselves - this I can believe, because I suspect a three way tie indicates a lack of competitive spirit!! Dave, Bob and Brian all finished on 1:18:53 which looks damn suspicious to me! Please let me know if you were all fighting hard to the finish line!
The Dogs are back from their Autumn tour to Amsterdam. Dean writes:

"The 2013 whippets tour took in the sights, sounds and "smells"of Amsterdam over the weekend. There were three different race distances on offer - marathon (Laura), half marathon (Bob, Simon, Brian and Juliet) and 8km (me, John, Richard, Heather, Tracey and Claire). The races had different start positions and times but all finished with 200m on the athletics track inside of the Olympic stadium. Running down the home straight with crowds cheering from the stands was a great experience!)

A post race steak and chips followed, giving everyone a chance to compare the different races. The tour also took in a guided bicycle tour and a visit to the temporary fun fair in Dam Square in front of the palace.

The destination of the 2014 tour is likely to be Tallinn in Estonia with a 10k, half marathon and marathon on offer."
The Dogs on Tour completed their Amsterdam race program yesterday. Over the weekend, members of the touring party had competed over 3 different distances with Laura Fisher even braving the Mizuna Amsterdam Marathon. Not something for the faint-hearted after one or two lemonades too many!

Otherwise the tour party split themselves between a Half-marathon and an 8km race. There will be a proper write uo from the tour group later. I'll just satisify your thirst for information by reporting that Dean Richards and John Dillon were 24th and 26th in the 8k - a feat they had been promising in advance! Not bad out of 4333 runners!

While the Dogs were busy in Amsterdam, Alison Birch saw fit to take part in the largest Birmingham Half Marathon to date. I'm not aware of any other Whippet results - but let me know if you did race somewhere I've missed!
With the majority of our XC team on the continent, two plucky Whippets made their way to St David's college, Llandudno to keep the flag flying. James Rainbow made his debut in the league in 142nd place just ahead of Ken Robbins in 144th.

Normal service will be resumed on 23rd November at Wrexham. But it would still be great to see some more Whippets taking part.

Saturday also saw Dave Wilson run in the Shrewsbuy Park Run. Dave was 6th in 19:14
At the moment I'm only aware of Whippets having raced in the Sandbach 10k on Sunday and the Delamere Park Run on Saturday.

At Delamere, Dean Richards just shaded John Dillon - 19:22 to 19:30. I'm sure John will be out looking for revenge in due course - or has the old King now been succeeded by the young Prince!

The Sandbach 10k saw Rachel Prince and Gillan Fowles set Pbs with Fiona Dillon not too far off her best on a challenging course.
Yesterday saw Whippets in action in the Chester Marathon and the Congleton Half Marathon. Jo Meadowcroft set a new Club Record at Chester while there was also a PB for Daren Peacock. Paul Dobson did well to get round after recent injury problems.

John Rowlands claimed the M65 Age Record at Congleton while there were also PBs for Dave and Sarah Wilson. Dave writes:

Today Sarah and I raced at Congleton Half. I managed a PB which was a nice surprise as I haven’t done much fast work this year, Sarah had a really good run knocking over two minutes of her PB, claiming 50 NSRRA points and winning a prize. With only the Flying Fox 10 to go, Sarah is in 2nd position in the top group for ladies and 1st in her age group.

The North Wales Cross Country league kicked off at Bangor in warm sunny conditions. Despite the fine weather, heavy rain earlier in the week left the ground very soft underfoot, which pleased Simon Phillips if not the rest of us. Sadly, we were one man short of a full team - but this season was always going to be tricky without Rob Sharam and Graham Jones.

Dean Richards was first Whippet home in 50th place with Simon Phillips well up in 71st. It was also good to see James Walker (125) and Ken Robbins (127) in action. In fact, I watched them all the way round from 133rd position!

The next fixture will be tricky as it clashes with the Club's Amsterdam trip. We still hope to persuade a few people to join James and Ken at Llandudno on the 19th October. St David's college is a great venue, and it's closer than Bangor - so please give it some thought!

Elsewhere there were Whippets in action at the Delamere and Shrewsbury Park Runs. John Dillon made sure he had his watch on and grabbed the V55 age record at Delamere. There were also PBs for Bob Wilson at Shrewsbury and Gillian Fowles at Delamere.
Ken Robbins writes:

Helen and I ran in the Llyn Brenig Trail Race on Sat Sept 28th a 9+mile multi terrain event.

Organised by Denbigh Harriers. I was 3rd Vet 60 in 1hr 22 36 and Helen was 1st lady over 60 in 1hr 33 19.
The weekend saw Whippets in action in Park Run events at Shrewsbury and Delamere as well as in the Cheshire 10k at Arley Hall.

The Park Run at Shrewsbury was the first to be held there, and featured the Wilson twins and Simon Parsons. 259 runners contested the inaugural race with Dave Wilson coming home first for the Whippets in 19:11. I was just pleased to be back in Jones' coffeee shop by 10:15! The run itself featured two hill loops in the quarry and flat runs along the river. A good location but a shame about the hills!

At Delamere, John Dillon just missed out on an age record for the event - running a swift 19:33

The Cheshire 10k at Arley Hall saw good performances from Rachel Prince, Adam Richards and Fiona Dillon, with Rachel and Adam both setting PBs.

A few more results to report from the weekend. Sarah Wilson was 4th lady home in the St Thomas 7 in a new PB while Pippa Mahen ran in the Natterjack Seaside 10k. Pippa reports that while she may not have had her best ever race, our club did get a good mention over the p.a for its name!

I'm still waiting for the results from the Seven Bridges 10k as I know Fiona Challinor and Laura Turner raced a 10k somewhere.
It was touch and go, but we finally managed to scrape a team together to make our debut in the Midland Counties Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park - Sutton Coldfield. We were faced with glorious late summer weather and a circuit that some have described as undulating. I've been to Sutton Park on a number of occasions to watch Relays and jogged parts of the circuit - clearly I'd never bothered jogging the hills! Racing the 5,847m course was definitely challenging! It started with a long steep hill and then just seemed to carry on climbing. It is a great environment to run in, but people were concentrating so hard they didn't get to appreciate the scenery!

Our team ran as expected and we finished 74th out of 86 teams - our only real ambition going in to the race had been to avoid coming last! With a strengthened team next year we could even challenge for a top 70 position! The standard is very high - to give you some perspective, Dean ran our fastest leg in a time that ranked 315th overall!!

Elsewhere, Fiona Dillon completed the Delamere Park Run in 30:25
Yesterday saw 17 Whippets brave the rain and gales to race the Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon. Dean was first man home with a new PB of 1:26:01. Jo Meadowcroft was our first lady also recording a new PB of 1:32:27. Jo's time was also a new Age Record.

Age Records were also set by Simon Phillips, John Dillon and Ken Robbins. PBs were also set by Paul Dobson, Gillian Fowles, Christine Henderson, James Walker and Kate Windsor. All in all, a great days racing. Chip timing has clearly helped.

The race was the final qualifying competition in the club championship and saw Jo Meadowcroft and John Dillon take the honours. John just missing out on his aim of breaking the 250 point barrier by the smallest of fractions! Full details here.

Elsewhere, Dave and Sarah Wilson challenged themselves over the South Cheshire 20 with Sarah knocking a good chunk off her previous best performance.Sarah writes:

"South Cheshire 20 completed in 2.34. With a new PB..Very pleased! Knocked 8 mins off from Stafford 20! A tough course with what seemed more ups than downs. The rain held off but the wind never seemed to ease up and always running into it."
Fi Challinor was a lone Whippet in the Warrington set English Half Marathon, running 2:03:09.

Elsewhere, eight Whippets contested the Tilston 10k with PBs being set by James Walker, Pippa Mahen, Sharon English and Rachel Price. Sharon said she was just trying to get round! I had a sneaky feeling she would post a good time.
Sarah Wilson raced the Ipstones 5 and writes:

"Yesterday I ran Ipstones 5 and managed to finish in 36.09 which I am very happy with on such an unforgiving course. Last year I ran this and finished in 39.09."
Daren Peacock and John Rowlands competed in the Wolverhampton Half Marathon with Daren setting a new PB of 1:31:12.
Last night saw the final race in the Don Wilbraham Summer Handicap series. It turned out to be a deservedly tight finish to the series with James Walker hanging on to claim the title. James was hounded by Stephen Hall thoughout the series and thoroughly deserved his victory.Bad luck, Stephen - better luck next year!

Sue Read one of this year's beginners was the first person home with Dean Richards and Jo Meadowcroft claiming the fastest times. There was also a very impressive debut from Libby Dudleston - despite me setting her off late with an even bigger handicap!

Thirty-six members contested this year's series and my thanks go to Simon Phillips for his excellent handicapping and all of the people who helped on the finishing line.

This race was also part of the Club Championship and saw Jo Meadowcroft hit the top of the Ladies Championship with just Lake Vyrnwy to go.John Dillon still heads the Men's Championship.
It was a surprisingly small group of Whippets in action at the Ellesmere 10k on Sunday. There were only 9 of us - well down on previous years. The weather was good but quite humid. Dean Richards was first home for us - revelling in the disappearance of Rob Sharam and Graham Jones. Sadly, Simon Phillips has been missed from the results so I won't be updating the Club Championship just yet.

Here are the results I do have:

45 Dean Richards 38:39
105 Richard Stewart 43:42
189 James Walker 47:42
220 Rachael Foster 48:54
243 Stephen Hall 50:12
266 Simon Parsons 51:!2
268 Paul Dobson 51:22
432 Gillian Fowles 62:01

From my records it loooks like there were PBs for James Walker and Stephen Hall, the rest of fared less well!

Brian Hickson and Laura Fisher were also in action at the weekend, racing the Netwick 10k. Brian ran 45:17 with Laura just a bit further back in 46:46
Sarah Wilson reports that she ran the Meerbrook 15 on the 27th July in 1:18:04 and the Leek Half Marathon on 18th August in 1:42:02.
One more result to add from the weekend. Graham Jones ran 18:19 in the Milton Keynes Park Run to place 5th. Sadly, Graham has now left us to live and work in Milton Keynes but we wish him well in his new life.
The results from the Birchwood 10k are already in. Two self confessed "Stokies" Gareth Dodd and Fiona Challinor took part from the Whippets. Soon to be dad, Gareth recorded 39:04 while Fi Challinor was no doubt very pleased to get round after a recent calf injury in 56:03.
Instead of getting on a train and having a pleasant ride through the Welsh countryside some mad folk prefer to race the puff puff over hill and dale! In the latest installment of the the Race The Train, Daren Peacock, Jon Morgan and Mel Oulton attempted to beat the train over the 14 mile course. Daren was first back breaking two hours with a 1:58:38 clocking. Daren writes:

"Really enjoyed Race the Train despite the conditions. Highlights include losing my shoe in 1ft of mud (which was not easy to extract btw); falling on my arse countless times; forgetting to bring my chip; having to carry my race number that had disintegrated; not stopping my watch at the finish (both hands were occupied with said race number and my glasses); I think my time was 1.55 ish so pleased to get under 2 hours."
Results for Ironman as promised.

Dave Wilson - 1:15.44(swim), 7:00:27(bike), 3:48.21 (run)

Bob Wilson - 1:09:49, 7:00:54, 3:57:54

They finished together in 12:22:27 in 432/433 position - Bob just getting the nod!
Bob and Dave Wilson completed their first Iron Man, the IRONMAN UK in Bolton, finishing together. More tomorrow, but very well done lads!

We've been offered a discount Chiropractic service by a Chiropractor working with the Rugby club. Full details here.
The Adidas 24 hour Thunder Run results are now out and show that we finished 13th in the Mixed team of 6 class. Dean rightly says this was not bad going as there were 253 teams! The team managed 29 10k laps in the 24 hours!
A fast group and a slow group ventured over to Bickerton for runs. I don't know what the fast group did, but we ran a very enjoyable 4.5 miles with plenty of walk breaks. Half a dozen stayed on for drinks and a bite to eat.
I'm still waiting for the official result for the Adidas 24 hour Thunder Run, but in the meantime Dean has written a great report here... It rather looks like the fine summer weather ran out half way through the race! Dean has also told me that the race was more popular than last year and the team ran even better!
Slightly cooler weather saw Sarah Wilson break her 10 mile PB in the Trentham 10 miler. Sarah was 79th in 75:10 with Dave Wilson 38th in 68:39.
Unsurprisingly, the hot weather did for fast times in the 3rd of this year's Don Wilbraham handicap races. Despite the heat, 16 members thrashed the hot tarmac. First home was Sharon English - beating the handicapper by almost 90 seconds! Fastest on the night was Rob Sharam with a time of 17:52. With just one race to go, James Walker holds an 8 point lead from both Keith Cotton and Stephen Hall.

The final race is on Thursday the 29th August.
Graham Jones came frustratingly close to the club 5K record with a fine run in the Vic Musgrove 5k. Graham's time of 17:12 gained him 13th place just 2 seconds off the club record he set in the same race this time last year! Graham was joined in the race by Keith Cotton who completed the distance in 24:09.
A group of around twenty Whippets enjoyed the fine evening sun with a run from the Horse Jockey.A good number then stayed on for food and drink.
Just a couple of race results to report from the weekend. On Saturday Graham Jones improved on his previous performances in the Delamere Park Run to come 2nd in 17:15.

On Sunday, Dave and Sarah Wilson competed in the Cheadle 4. Dave reports that it was very hot and very hilly. (Ed. In other words just perfect!).
Wow! The Dearnford Lake Relay last night was everything we wanted the race to be! Glorious weather, and 78 teams racing - exactly double that of the first year. Thirty-three Whippets ran in 19 teams - helping take the number of community teams to 23. We even had the winning Mixed team comprising: Emily Dove, John Dillon and Dean Richards.

Oswestry once again won the Senior Men's race - but were chased hard by a team from Stoke A.C. Telford Ladies took the Women's prize. The community race went to the Slaughtered Monks of Combermere Abbey for the second year running. A young team from Vale Royal took the Junior title. Fastest legs were run by Paul Jones, Claire Martin, Jimmy Kershaw (Junior) and Danielle Murray (Junior).

It was also very pleasing to see graduates of our recent beginner's course racing! Roll on next year - but can I have a bit of a break first?

Many thanks to everyone who helped make it such a fantastic event.
A blistering hot weekend saw Whippets racing in the Wenlock Games Marathon, the Black Country Half Marathon, the Shifnal Half Marathon and the brand new Shawbury 10K.

Best result of the weekend was Rob Sharam's 2nd place in the Wenlock Marathon, which he says he led for 22 miles! Sadly results aren't out yet. Jon Morgan and Jon Rowlands sweated round the Shifnal Half Marathon, but so far the results don't show any times! Alison Birch was happy just to get round the Black Country Half on Saturday - and very pleased that they were showered on the course!

The Shawbury 10k was probably even hotter because of all the tarmac! Gareth Dodd, James Rainbow and James Walker tested the course for the club. James Walker has provided a great report here...
Colin Williamson of Shropshire Shufflers writes: We intend starting a ‘parkrun’, a free, timed, weekly 5k race in Shrewsbury. We are having a first meeting on Wednesday, July 10th at 19:30 hrs at the Admiral Benbow pub in town and I would be delighted if you and others from the Whippets could attend. We need to show the Council that there is support within the Shrewsbury clubs for the event, in order to convince them that we are worth funding. Please could you pass this email on to whomsoever you think might be interested I look forward to seeing you there, meanwhile, for more info we have a FaceBook presence as Shrewsbury weekly 5k run
Sarah Wilson writes: Last night Dave and I both ran Berryhill 10k one of the NSRRA races. It's not a course you run for a time, more of a complete and finish. I managed to knock 1min 54 off from last years time finishing in 45.42 and 4th lady, whilst Dave ran the course as part of his Iron Man training and finished in a respectable 41.56
The Whippets have done it again, competing in the postponed Conti 12 hour lightning run, both teams notched up impressive category wins! Simon Phillips' full report is here...
Sunday saw the first running of the Shrewsbury Half and full Marathon races. Five members took part in the two lap Half - it doesn't look like anyone fancied the full 4 laps! However, it sounds like they all enjoyed the race and would do it again. For the record those that ran were: Brian Hickson, Laura Fisher, Richard Steward, Heather Stewart and Alison Birch

Also in action on Sunday were Gareth Dodd, Daren Peacock and Sarah Wilson, who competed in the Stone 10k. For once it wasn't blistering hot.
Simon Phillips writes: "Emily Dove, Dean Richards and myself ventured over to Tattenhall on Friday evening to take part in the Tough Team race, described by the organisers as "a gruelling 9 miles on the road, on the trail and of course on the railway". It’s for teams of three with the time given on the last member to finish.

The good weather, team dynamics and varying terrain certainly made for an enjoyable event. We finished together in a time of 67:53, a respectable 10th place and 3rd in category."
Last night saw 20 Whippets contest the 2nd race in this year's handicap series. It's fair to say that the very humid conditions made it a challenging experience and few people improved on their last performance. First home was Rachel Prince who did record a good improvement. Fastest times of the day were set by John Dillon and Rachael Foster.

After 2 races the Handicap series is led by James Walker with Keith Cotton and Stephen Hall nipping at his heels! The next race is on Thursday 18th July.

The Handicap was also one of the club Championship races. The Mens Championship looks fairly done and dusted - but who knows, it's still possible for a new member to take the laurels! The Ladies Championship is more open at the moment with the two top contenders still to set a performance in the Handicap!
A hot sunny weekend didn't put hardy Whippets off racing in Newport or Stoke. Graham Jones was 3rd in the Newport 10k on Saturday. Graham was joined by Jon Morgan , Keith Cotton and Gillian Fowles.

Sunday saw a group compete in the hilly Potter's Arf. Fiona Challinor writes: "A very hot race, but Laura and I took it easy with me stopping to give my knee a break every now and then, we treated it as a training run, lots of stops for drinks and jelly babies from the locals and got under every hosepipe going!"
A fairly quiet racing weekend with just two known results to report. On Saturday, Graham Jones placed 3rd in the Delamere Park Run, while on Sunday, Sarah Wilson had yet another good run in the North Staffs Road series. This time Sarah was racing in the Westbridge 5 where she recorded a very tidy 35:58.
Bank holiday Monday saw Dean richards and Simon Phillips compete in the madness that is the Trefonen Hill Run, John Dillon's favourite race - not! In form Dean just held off Simon who was rather more concerned with beating the runner dressed as a Ninja Turtle! I'm pleased to report that Simon won that battle by some 33 seconds.
A quiet Bank Holiday on the racing front. On Sunday Janis Taylor completed the Bupa Great Manchester 10k. I'm still waiting for results from Monday's Mynydd Myfyr hill run at Trefonen.
I've just learnt that Dave and Sarah Wilson both ran in the Clayton 10k last Wednesday. Dave was 40th in 40:10 while Sarah recorded 43.14 to place 4th lady. Sarah was delighted with her prize and run, knocking 69 seconds off last year's time on a tough undulating 2 lap course.
Near perfect conditions saw 21 Whippets contest the first of this year's Handicap races. Fastest time of the day was recorded by Dean Richards who completed the challenging 3 mile circuit in 17:42.

This race is one of the qualifying races for the Club Championship and the results see John Dillon topping the Men's Championship havinmg completed at least one race over all 3 distances. The Ladies Championship is still led by Emily Dove but no lady has yet to complete all the required distances. Sue Taylor has sneaked into 3rd place with her handicap run but needs to run at Lake Vyrnwy to complete the set!
Three Whippets took part in the popular and fast Christleton 5K last night. First home for us was Graham Jones in 17.22. Gareth Dodd continued his return to form with a fine 17.51 while Dean Richards knocked nearly 45 seconds off his PB! Well done Whippets.

For those that like these things - the race was won in a very fast 13:59!
Gail Graham also ran the Chester Half Marathon, running a PB and coming home 3rd F60. Gail's time of 1:54:40 is also a new Club Age Record. Her age percentage also puts her well up as a contender for the Club Championship - just a 10k (Ellesmere?) and Handicap race needed! Well done, Gail! I'm too modest to say I helped her with a useful final training session last week!
There were two key Club Championship races today. Some 36 Whippets ran in the Market Drayton 10k, while another half dozen took part in the Chester Half Marathon.

The cool weather and new course at Market Drayton seems to have resulted in a large number of Personal and Seasonal Bests as well as Club Age Group Records for Rob Sharam, Daren Peacock and Ken Robbins. There really were too many great performances for me to comment on individually but I was particularly struck by the runs of Ken Robbins and Rachael Foster. It was also good to see a nummber of new and returning faces! Our first man home was Gareth Dodd, while Vicky Leese led home the ladies.

The star at Chester was Emily Dove who came home in 171st place - 5th lady! Emily Ran 1:28.04. Emily was joined by James Walker, Stephen Cope, Jackie Eccleston, Keith Cotton and James Marsh.It looks like there might have been PBs for Jackie Eccleston and James Marsh.

After those two races the top 3 in the Men's Championship are John Dillon, Richard Stewart and Rob Sharam while the leading ladies are Emily Dove, Jo Medowcroft and Sarah Owen. The next race in the series - the first 5k - is the Club Handicap on Tuesday 21st May.
Graham Jones warmed up for the forthcoming christleton 5k with 2nd place in the Delamere Park Run. Graham ran 18:04
Only a few results to report so far from the Bank Holiday weekend. Dean Richards and James Walker took the opportunity to run in Park Runs at Delamere and Harrogate on Saturday. While on Sunday, Neil and Jenny Spencer backed up Gareth Dodd in the Keith Ivison Memorial 5k
Highlight of the weekend was the Manchester Marathon which saw Jo Meadowcroft run a superb PB and set a new Age Record. Paul Dobson was the only other Whippet to complete the course - as far as I can see - Paul ran 4:26:13.

Elsewhere, Heather Stewart continued her rich vein of form setting a new PB in the Plymouth Half Marathon while Jon Morgan was 15th in the Telford Park Run on Saturday.

This morning Mel Oulton got in touch to say that she also completed the London Marathon - running for a charity which is why we missed her performance! Mel ran 4:22:35.
Near perfect conditions saw 6 Whippets battle their way round the London Marathon. Rob Sharam was first back, sneaking inside the 3 hour barrier with just one second to spare - I bet that was a frantic last 50m sprint! Rob's time was an Age Record as was Fiona Challinor's new PB of 4:24:07. Dave Wilson also set a new Personal best by running 3:01:03. A post moprtem over a few beers will be needed to find out what happened to Dean, Richard and Keith. Well done to all the Whippets!
Great to see the sun again - and not freeze! Sadly a fairly quiet racing weekend. I only know about two races featuring Whippets. Rachel Prince debuted over 10k with Fiona Dillon in the Whitley 10k, while Daren Peacock forced his body round the Newcastle(Staffs) 10k.
Three Whippets tackled the new Wrexham Roadrunner 10k yesterday. The trio were led home by Gareth Dodd who finished 11th in 38:06. Gail Graham had an excellent race setting a new Age Record while Daren Peacock's consistency showed his current good form.

On Saturday, James Walker and Pippa Mahen ran in the Harrogate Park Run.
It may not have been warm, but conditions were good for fast times in the Air Products 10k. Bob Wilson was first male Whippet home in 41st place recording a time of 38:51. First lady home was Heather Stewart who knocked more than three minutes off her 10k best! Simon Phillips is playing a more cagey game - slicing just 2 seconds off his age record! There were also PB's for Daren Peacock, Claire Stewart and Sue Taylor.

This day also saw the running of the postponed Ironbridge Half Marathon, although it doesn't look like any Whippets ran. Please correct me if you know otherwise.

The next races in the Club Championship are the Chester Half and Market Drayton 10k - both on the 12th May.
Yesterday saw the club's AGM. The only key business was the appointment of the committee for the new year. I'm afraid that you're stuck with me as Chairman for another two years! But there have been other changes.

With Rob Sharam off to France on a sabbatical this summer Dean Richards has taken up the post of Treasurer. Rob has been an excellent Treasurer and is a great stalwart of the club and he will certainly be missed during his absence. Rob will however be running as a Whippet in France - I look forward to reporting his foreign race results. Dean has a hard act to follow!

Also standing down were Kate Waterhouse (Social Sec) and Ken Robbins. I'd like to record my thanks for their services on the committee over the past years - we certainly enjoyed the social events organised by Kate! Willing replacements have been found in the form of Adam Richards and John Dillon. And I didn't even have to twist any arms! Adam Richards has volunteered to take on the role of Social Secretary and is open to suggestions.

Your new committee comprises:

Simon Parsons (Chairman)
Alison Birch (Secretary)
Jon Morgan (Club Captain and President)
Dean Richards (Treasurer)
Jenny Spencer (Membership Secretary)
Simon Phillips (Handicapper and XC Captain)
Adele Minshall (Welfare Officer)
Adam Richards (Social Secretary)
Sara Rogers (Press and Kit)
John Rowlands
Keith Cotton
John Dillon
Two Half Marathons to report this weekend. Linda Callaghan ran in the Liverpool Half while Fiona Challinor and Dave Wilson completed the Stafford Half. Fiona was delighted to break 2 hours for the first time. While Dave writes:

Another busy weekend starting with a trip to Congleton Parkrun to help a friend from the South Cheshire Harriers return back to fitness following a double broken leg.

Today I raced at the fantastic Stafford Half coming home in 95th position from 2071 runners in a time of 1:26:19
Judging by the snow falls we're still somewhere in Winter, although there was clearly a spring in Rob Sharam's step as he recorded 2:15:59 for the Rhayader Round the Lake 20!
It's been bought to my atttention that the Helena Tipping results from December have been adjusted since I posted them - thanks Fiona! Times have been adjusted for the better for James Walker and later finishers. I've corrected our results accordingly.
The Stafford 20 results are now out and show that 4 Whippets ran yesterday. Dave Wilson was first back and writes:

Sarah and I raced at NSRRA Race number 2, Stafford 20 today. It was Sarah’s first race at the 20 mile distance and the weather couldn’t have been much worse, driving snow, freezing cold and blowing a gale. It didn’t put her off and she did very well, coming home in 2:42. I managed to knock 7 minutes of my 2012 PB coming home in 2:18:20.

We also saw Keith Cotton and Richard Stewart there and I think they came home in around 3:05 and 2:38 respectively.

The spring racing season has started in earnest with Whippets in action at Ellesmere, Fradley, Trafford and Stafford.

The Ellesmere Half Marathon is one of the club's Championship nominated races, and although poorly attended by Whippets this year, did see Mel Oulton and James Marsh post Championship scores. Emily Dove was first Whippet home in 13th place - given her hard race yesterday it's perhaps not surprising that she didn't record a faster time than she ran at The Village Bakery Half!

Daren Peacock ventured over to Fradley for a fast flat 10k, while Dean Richards joined John and Fiona Dillon in the Trafford 10k. Dean was very pleased to set a new 10k PB - knocking 51 seconds off his old time to head this year's 10k rankings.

I haven't yet been able to find times for the Stafford 20 - I'll post results and a report tomorrow.
Big congratulations must go to Emily Dove on representing Shropshire in the National Inter Counties XC Championship at Birmingham. Emily finished in 185th place in the top class field and was the 3rd Shropshire scorer in a team of 6. Heading Emily for Shropshire were Claire Martin and Alison Lavender - so Emily was in excellent company! Shropshire were 28th out of 33 teams.
Saturday saw Dean Richards try out the new Park Run at Delamere forest. Dean was 12th in a time of 19:15 over the 5k course.

Dave and Sarah Wilson, meanwhile, were down in London for the Triathlon show.

Dave writes:

"Sarah and I managed to get a couple of runs in whilst visiting the Triathlon Show at Sandown Park this weekend. First (on Saturday) we joined the masses (904 runners) for the Bushy Park Run which was a fantastic experience. I would recommend it to anyone visiting the area. We ran together for most of the way, I finished in 21:02 and Sarah just behind in 21:34.

Yesterday(Sunday), we both ran in the Tri Show 10k which is a chipped, technical, undulating two lap course on a variety of surfaces around the racecourse and stables, I finished in 39:40 and Sarah finished in 45:47.

Next race for us both will be Stafford 20 next weekend."

To avoid a clash with the Ironbridge 4 on the 3rd July we have taken the decision to move the Dearnford Lake Relay to Thursday 11th July. Same time, same place and same great race!
A very quiet weekend - with just one earlier result to report. Graham Jones was 11th in the rearranged Severn Loop 5k in Shrewsbury on the 17th. Just returning from a dodgy non-running injury, Graham ran the 5k in 18:28.Nearly missed it, sorry Graham!
Sunday's Village Bakery Half saw a good number of great performances, so it's no surprise that a Club Record was set alongside two Age records.

Emily Dove knocked a staggering three minutes and six seconds off Vicky Leese's old record, while Simon Phillips and Jo Meadowcroft both set new Age records!
For once, the weather gods smiled on Wrexham for the Village Bakery Half Marathon. The 2nd race in this year's club championship series saw half a dozen PBs set - with Emily Dove taking a staggering seven minutes off her Half Marathon best! Simon Phillips took two and a half minutes of his best, while there were also Pbs for Dean Richards, Jo Meadowcroft, Paul Dobson and Sarah Owen.

Rob Sharam was our first man home in 59th place with Emily in 97th position. Emily was the 9th lady. Well run, all!

After 2 races in the Championship, the top 3 men and women are:

Men
1.John Dillon 163.30
2.Rob Sharam 147.43
3.Simon Phillips 140.12

Women
1.Emily Dove 151.62
2.Jo Meadowcroft 149.85
3.Sarah Owen 115.48

The next race in the series is the Air Products 10k on the 31st March
Simon Phillips, Rob Sharam and Brian Hickson braved attrocious conditions to take part in the Long Mynd Valleys Race on Sunday.

Simon writes: "I haven't done a race report, as there would be too much swearing"

For the record the results were:

58 Robert Sharam 2:20:43
93 Brian Hickson 2:37:33
99 Simon Phillips 2:40:43
The final results for the North Wales XC League have now been published. As expected, our men finished in 4th place - our highest ever position.

The ladies managed to claim 6th place due to some great placings from Emily Dove - and with good support from Kate Smith, Emily Davies and Stephanie Beecham.

Well done folks, our improvement was noticed in the season's write up by the league organiser - it's going to be even harder to improve next season, but we'll have to give it a go!
The Alsager 5 saw just four Whippets take part this year. This year it was a chipped race, which must have helped with the timing and results as it has been quite a congested race in the past.

First home for us was Dave Wison, followed by Daren Peacock, Sarah Wilson and Alison Birch.
Today saw England trash Scotland at Twickers - sorry, wrong story, I'll start again. Today saw the final fixture in this year's North Wales XC League. A full men's team, but just one lady, travelled to Oswestry for the challenging final match.

Thanks go to James Marsh and John Dillon for completing the team at short notice. It's even rumoured that John enjoyed the mud and hills and can't wait for next season. He goes to see the doctor this week!

All being well the men will have finished in 4th place - our highest ever league position. Thanks are due to Simon Phillips and Kate Smith for their work as Captains.

For the record our finishing positions were:

29 Rob Sharam
43 Dean Richards
65 Simon Phillips
86 Brian Hickson
92 John Dillon
108 James Marsh

Emily Dove finished 8th Lady.
23rd January With just one fixture left, we need one more good performance to cement a great season in the North Wales XC league. The men currently lie in 4th place - our highest ever position, and the women in 6th. So, folks, your last chance to run across lovely green fields marvelling at lambs gambolling in the sun comes next week (2nd Feb) at Oswestry. Please let Simon Phillips or Kate Smith know that you'll be attending! Let's end the season in style.

21st January Caroline Nelson has asked me to let you know about a Quiz Night at the Civic Centre on the 3rd Feb. Details here...

20th January The snow might have cancelled the Helsby Half Marathon, but it didn't stop a few hardy Whippets from romping around the Church Stretton area in the Mercia Hill Trial. Simon Phillips, Rob Sharam, Emily Dove, Rob Dunn and Brian Hickson all took part. A full report from Simon Phillips is here...

12th January It was a day of mixed fortunes at the 4th fixture in the North Wales XC league in Lilleshall. A full ladies team disintegrated on the day due to illness and work demands, leaving Emily davies to run on her own. Thanks Emily, your presence was much appreciated. As a lady, I'm sure you appreciated the free mud pack courtesy of the soggy course!

The men fared much better. Hearty exhortations in the days leading up to the race produced two new team members in Paul Dobson amd James Walker. The result was a complete men's team - making up for the absence of Dean who was "working" in New York!

Our main goal was to keep Prestatyn behind us, and this was accomplished in some style with Graham Jones(23rd) just beating Rob Sharam (25th) Simon Phillips ran his usual steady race while Brian Hickson forced out a manic sprint to take 4 or 5 runners over the last 150 yards! James Walker enjoyed the race but I'm not so sure about Paul; his two fingered gesture when I asked him to confirm the number of laps left could be open to misinterpretation!

But to all who ran, thank you very much. It was a great team effort.

Unofficially our runner's finished as follows:

54 Emily Davies

23 Graham Jones
25 Rob Sharam
60 Simon Phillips
86 Brian Hickson
108 James Walker
114 Paul Dobson

The next and final fixture is on February 2nd at the Marches School, Oswestry.

5th January The Whippets made their first appearance in the County XC Championships at Lilleshall. Despite only sending 5 runners we managed 6th place in both the Men's and Women's Championships through Emily Dove and Graham Jones. Emily was the sole lady Whippet, but Graham was backed up by Rob Sharam (9th), Dean Richards (20th) and Simon Phillips(24th). Hopefully, next year, we'll field full teams!

Photos

1st January 10 Whippets turned up for a morning run to welcome in the New Year - splitting into three smaller groups. A quite drink followed at the White Bear. Dean and Simon promised to be out again in the evening for a 2nd run!

It's been noted that I missed Daren Peacock who also raced the Wheaton Aston 10k, sorry Daren - I hate result lists that don't show clubs!