RiTF, Manchester Marathon & Derby 10k

Busy, busy, busy!!

It was one of the busiest Sunday’s of the season for the Club with racing action on three fronts and those not running helping to stage the first race in this year’s Burton and District Summer Road Racing League at Conkers. In almost perfect running conditions it was an excellent start to the season for the Club with both men’s and women’s teams finishing on top of the pile. It was a particularly solid performance from the Club’s women with Jenny Laing, after leading for most of the deceptively challenging 5 miles, finishing 2nd in 31:29, Louise Insley, stopping the clock in an excellent 34:17 for 3rd and Christina Hawtin running well for 4th in 35:02. While it was frustrating for Jenny to lose out close to the finish she had the satisfaction of knowing it took a distance PB from Peel’s Emma Pick to take the spoils. Great team support was also provided by triathlete Lisa Wright in 37:59, the improving Hazel O’Brien in 39:12 and a promising debut from Katarina Compton, who stopped the clock in 40:47. Becky Lenaghan, Mary Sharp, Anna Casey and Pauline Cooper also figured prominently as they recorded 45:41, 51:14, 53:06 and 54:26 respectively.   

Men’s Club Captain Andy Orme did well in getting a strong men’s team on the start line with Chris Pearson, James Farmer and Rob Eaton packing brilliantly in 5th, 6th and 7th places in times of 28:48, 29:14 and 29:49 respectively. Stuart Halsey was next in a well-run 31:17 for 15th with relative newcomer Nathan Holmes gaining more valuable racing experience in recording 32:19. Seeing the benefit of an unbroken run of training, Matt Clemson recorded 32:31 with Nathan Fagan crossing the line in 25th place in 33:20. Chris Elsegood, another who is working hard to improve, finished in 36:53 with James Cobb and Paul Hudson next home in 38:08 and 39:01. Three of the Club’s most experienced athletes Gary Price, David Lunn and the evergreen Tony Phillips, gave their usual maximum effort in completing the Club’s finishers in the men’s race in very respectable times of 41:45, 44:13 and 45:14.

For 13 of the Club’s runners it was the culmination of hard post-Christmas training and for some, their first attempt at tackling the 26.2 miles of the marathon, with the first major British marathon of the spring in Manchester. Dave Clarke, Rich Miller and Sam Bassett all managed to duck under the magical 3 hour benchmark with Dave recording 02:56:59, Rich 02:59:12 and Sam 02:59:32. However, there was mixed emotions from the trio with Dave slightly disappointed with his time and Rich and Sam extremely happy to have achieved their goal. Ben Holmes ran well for his chip time of 03:09:45 with Tim Rhodes, on home territory, one of a number to overcome the usual mix of illness and injury, to achieve a distance PB of 03:27:45. Ultra-distance specialist Andy Windle recorded 03:30:51 with Paul Glover and Romain Chambard close on 03:38:20 and 03:39:32 respectively. Tracey Glover and Barry Saunders also finished relatively closely on 03:47:25 and 03:49:25. Marathon debutant Katie Dennis did brilliantly to finish in 03:54:50 as did Andy Meadows and John Pegg as they recorded 04:03:10 and 04:48:58.

There was a much different challenge on offer in the Derby 10k but for a number of the Club’s runners the challenge was accepted with PB performances. This was particularly the case with Ross Clarke and Ross Ballinger who were elated to record distance PBs of 37:53 and 45:08 respectively. Lizi Hunt and Holly Holland ran superbly in recording 46:17 and 47:52 with super vet Graham Blackshaw stopping the clock in 53:54 and Philip Hughes in 63:09 completing the Club’s finishers on a very busy running day

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Desford and Coniston

BST starts with a bang!!!!

The weather was set fair and the mud of cross country was firmly forgotten as 20 runners from the Club joined 550 others in tackling the third race in this year’s Leicestershire Road Running League, the Desford 5. In common with most Leicestershire courses ‘undulating’ was the name of the game. Current Men’s Club Champion and Chairperson, Andy Hawtin led the group home with an excellent chip time of 30:10 for 35th place with London Marathon bound Jenny Laing showing she is in excellent form with 31:22 for a superb 4th place in the women’s race. Nathan Holmes was next across the line in a well-run 32:52 with Louise Insley close behind in 33:16, which was good enough for 1st in her age group and 5th place overall. Andy Orme was his normal ultra-consistent self as he stopped the clock in 33:53 with strong man Romain Chambard and the improving Matt Long recording 34:40 and 35:25 respectively. In one of the performances of the morning Kev Clarke rolled back the years in recording 36:01 with Ross Ballinger and Chris Elsegood showing no ill effects from the recent Ashby 20 with solid 36:52 and 37:42 performances.   Hazel Ferris and John Pegg had the closest inter-club battle as they recorded chip times of 39:24 and 39:28 respectively with Joe Baldwin also in close attendance on 40:02. Gary Price and Mark Murkin gave everything in recording 42:46 and 43:36 with Becky Lenaghan, Emma Sharp, Anna Casey, Helen Clarke and Pauline Cooper all relishing the return to tarmac and sunshine as they recorded excellent times of 47:32, 49:40, 51:10, 52:16 and 54:16 respectively.

Stuart Halsey, Emily Atkins and Becky Atkins were in running action much further afield on Saturday in one of the most scenic races in the country, the Coniston 14. Stuart, one of the top MV50 vets locally ran well for a chip time of 1:31:34, with daughter edging out mum in the battle of the Atkins with excellent times of 2:20:04 and 2:30:23 respectively.

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Bosworth, Belvoir, Cambridge & Tokyo

Farmer ploughs through the bog!!!

It’s been a long season but Sunday’s Derby Runner Cross Country race at Bosworth Battlefield brought this year’s Leicestershire based campaign to a fitting climax. Next Sunday at Sinai Park, Burton sees the final fixture in this year’s Staffs/Derby’s version of the league. The Club’s man of the moment, James Farmer continued his upward trajectory as he led the Club’s contingent home in the men’s race with an excellent 20th place finish. Next home was Rob Eaton in a hard run 55th place after he’d tried to wear Farmer out by running to the venue with him. Shane Chapman, who has had a really consistent series, collected the 69th place token with endurance triathlete Christian Glover not far behind in 73rd place. Club Captain, Andy Orme in 121st managed to hold off the challenge of a resurgent Matt Long in 136th with Nigel Atkins and Chris Elsegood running well to complete the men’s team finishers in 140th and 164th respectively. Tom Eyre and Mark Nixon had the closest inter-club finish as they finished in 218th and 220th places with Mark Murkin in 229th and Robin Thorne in 249th giving everything as they completed the Club’s finishers in the men’s race.

Christina Hawtin ran superbly to lead the Club’s women home in 24th with Nikki Reeves in 55th, Lisa Wright in 69th and U20 Emily Atkins in 93rd completing the team finishers in the women’s race with Rebecca Lenaghan giving her usual maximum effort to finish in 126th. A number of the Club’s women were amongst those forced to stop as they retrieved lost shoes in a section of shin deep mud.

In many ways sections of mud for some of the Club’s runners were a minor test of their endurance because the day before at least four who raced the cross country had tackled the 15 mile version of the 2019 Belvoir Challenge. With 15 mile and 26 mile versions on offer and checkpoints offering refuelling options, including home-made cake and jelly babies, the approach to the challenge varies with some treating it as important training for spring marathons while others used it as a challenging social run. In the 15 mile version Christian Glover emphasised his current peak condition as he finished 9th overall in an excellent 01:51:22. Andy Lindley finished in 02:33:55 with Chris Hanman, Chris Elsegood and Nikki Reeves close behind in 02:34:22, 02:37:39 and 02:42:07 respectively. There then came a group comprising Lisa Wright (02:44:51), Sam Skidmore (02:44:53), Romain Chambard (02:44:55) and Becky Moult (02:44:57) who crossed the line together.

London Marathon bound Jenny Laing warmed up for her main spring training focus with a 3rd place finish in the women’s race of the 26 mile option in a superb 03:52:35. Tracey and Paul Glover also enhanced their endurance with excellent times of 04:50:19 and 04:50:25 respectively. Gary Price, who relishes this type of event, recorded 05:35:01 with Alison Shearer and Carolyn Ife sharing the cake and the pain as they crossed the line together in 07:21:46 and 07:21:49 respectively.

Kat Smith was back on home soil as she tackled the Cambridge Half Marathon and should be well pleased with her chip time of 02:09:12.

Last but not least South Derbyshire’s ‘man for all seasons’ Mark Harriott, was on the other side of the world tackling one of world’s marathon majors, the Tokyo Marathon. Needless to say this most consistent of runners recorded an excellent time of 03:05:25.

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Grace Dieu, Rugeley and Prestwold Hall

Farmer milks the applause !!

With the Club competing in both divisions of the Derby Runner Cross Country League it has been a long, drawn out campaign for cross country regulars. Sunday’s race, over a challenging, technical course at Grace Dieu, was in the more competitive Leicestershire Division and again it was the in-form James Farmer who led the Club’s contingent home with a superb 12th place finish. Next back was Rob Eaton, who despite a great deal of heavy mileage training in his legs, ran well for 22nd place with Tom Bradley, making his racing debut as a second claim runner for the Club, next to cross the line in 23rd.   In what was arguably the performance of the day Mark Harriott battled round, after a fall, to finish in an excellent 43rd place.  Shane Chapman showed his class by finishing in 59th before Christian Glover and Nathan Fagan had their own inter-club battle as they finished in 67th and 69th places respectively. Andy Orme and Matt Long gave their usual maximum effort to complete the men’s team finishers in 116th and 127th places while Tom Eyre showed a great deal of determination to battle round in 212th with Robin Thorne in 252nd completing the Club’s finishers in the men’s race.

The Club’s women’s team resources were significantly stretched with the four finishers making up the scoring team. Nikki Reeves led the way home in 42nd with Emily Atkins and Rebecca Lenaghan close together in 120th and 122nd. Becky Atkins showed a great deal of grit and determination as she, despite injury, completed the finishing team in 139th.

Eight of the Club’s runners took to the roads as they tackled the challenging Rugeley 10 miler. Showing good form and clearly benefitting from his marathon training Paul Glover led the contingent home in 78:19 with Lisa Wright also performing superbly to stop the clock in 79:52. Tracey Glover in 81:00 was next on chip time just edging out Chris Elsegood in 81:04. Becky Moult was not far behind in 82:15 with Karen Wilks, Ellie Dickson and Carolyn Ife giving everything to finish in 92:31, 96:35 and 114:49 respectively.

Rich Miller and Steve Leafe were in action in the Leicestershire Half Marathon on a flat course at the popular racing venue of Prestwold Hall. Both performed excellently with Rich recording a chip time of 84:15 and Steve 94:31.  

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Anslow, Draycote Water Park & Cannock Chase

Debut boys do the business!!

A return visit to Anslow was the venue for the latest leg of the Derbyshire/Staffordshire section of the Derby Runner Cross Country League with 19 runners of the Club’s runners lining up on the start line in wet conditions. When the racing started it was again the determined 18 year old James Farmer who led the way home with a superb 3rd place finish. The Club will certainly miss James when, if everything goes to plan, he decamps to university in September. Reigning Club Champion, Andy Hawtin was next in 4th place with cross country debutant’s Tom Ward in 10th, Dave Hobbs in 18th and Ben Holmes in 23rd all contributing superbly to a terrific team performance. Sandwiched between them was top MV50, Stuart Halsey in 14th with Sam Bassett and team captain Andy Orme bringing the team home in 28th and 33rd places respectively. The improving Matt Long was next in 39th place before great packing from Nigel Atkins in 50th, strongman Rom Chambard in 52nd and Adie Middleton in 55th. Paul Glover, one of numerous runners from the Club training for a spring marathon or beyond, defied his tired legs to finish in 73rd before Tony Richards and Mark Nixon completed the Club’s finishers in the men’s race in 84th and 93rd places.

In the women’s race Tracey Glover in 13th, Emily Atkins in 29th, Rebecca Lenaghan in 41st and Emma Sharp in 50th gave everything to the team cause to make up superbly for the unavoidable absence of some of the more usual team scorers.

Kat Smith was in 10k action at a cold and wet Draycote Water Park and should be pleased with a chip time of 57:04 and finishing position of 56th in the women’s race. Four others of the Club’s intrepid runners found themselves in more rugged countryside in the Cannock Chase 10 miler. For Chris Pearson, in a brilliant 2nd place in a chip time of 65:16, and Shane Chapman, in 8th place in 70:52, this type of countryside is very familiar and their preferred environment be it mountain biking or running. Andy Allsop ran well for 17th place in 73:33 with second claimer Mitch Timms finishing in 149th in 98:32 sealing an unexpected but well deserved team prize for the quartet.

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Allestree, 4 Villages and Coed y Brenin

Onwards and upwards for James

Cross country fixtures are coming thick and fast at this time of year particularly with South Derbyshire Road Runners involvement in both area versions of the Derby Runner League. On Sunday it was the turn of the Derby/Staffordshire version with 31 members completing a 2 lap course of approximately 6 miles in total at Allestree Park. Again, it was 18 year old James Farmer who led the men’s team home with a superb 2nd place finish. A day after celebrating completing 250 parkruns, mainly at Rosliston, he had the satisfaction here of edging out his regular training partner and motivator, Chris Pearson who ran brilliantly for 4th place. Ross Clarke, who is having a terrific series, was next in 8th place with Stuart Halsey producing another quality run in 12th. Nathan Fagan and team captain Andy Orme collected the 27th and 33rd place finishing tokens with strongman Romain Chambard and a resurgent Matt Long completing the men’s team finishers in 41st and 47th places respectively.

Pushing Long all the way were Nigel Atkins in 49th and Ross Ballinger in 53rd with a really tight inter-club battle resulting in Andy Lindley in 60th just edging out Chris Elsegood in 61st and, the Club’s most improved runner, Paul Glover in 63rd. Kev Clarke ran solidly for 81st place before Tony Richards, Gary Price and Dave Walters had their own race within a race as they finished in 95th, 96th and 97th places respectively. Mark Murkin gave everything to complete the men’s finishers in a creditable 113th place.

With Jenny Laing restored to full fitness after missing last week’s race the Club’s women were assured of a great lead out and she didn’t disappoint here as she collected the 3rd place finishing token. Christina Hawtin ran superbly for 5th place with Tracey Glover and the improving Lisa Wright having their own personal battle as they completed the women’s team finishers in 15th and 16th places respectively.

Slowly getting back to form women’s team captain Nikki Reeves was next in 26th place with Sam Skidmore and triathlete Hannah Wintrip both running well to finish in 30th and 48th places.  Rebecca Lenaghan in 56th, Emily Atkins in 59th and Sarah Walters in 65th made light of the conditions before Emma Sharpe, Pauline Cooper and Cath Johnstone gave their usual maximum effort to complete the finishers in the women’s race in 76th, 90th and 96th places respectively.    

Sam Bassett and Kelvin Taylor were much further afield with both tackling the half marathon distance. However, the races couldn’t have been more different with Sam tackling the 37th version of the Essar 4 Villages Half Marathon around the country lanes of Cheshire and Kelvin the forest trails of Coed-y- Brenin in the Buff Winter Trail Half Marathon. What they both had in common though was that they both ran with distinction recording chip times of 01:26:33 and 02:4:37 respectively.

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Bagworth Heath

No obstacle for James

Sunday and Bagworth Heath saw the latest leg of this year’s Derby Runner Cross Country League. For the Club’s contingent of 16 it was the morning after the Club’s presentation evening but for James Farmer it was very much business as usual as he lead the group home in a superb 25th place in the men’s race. On a drizzly morning, and after a relatively dry winter, the course still lived up to its better known name of ‘Bogworth’ Heath. Providing terrific support to James were Ross Clarke in 45th, the redoubtable Shane Chapman in 51st, triathlete Christian Glover in 70th and the Club’s man for all season’s Mark Harriott in 85th. Andy Orme put in a typical captain’s performance to cross the line in 124th with Nigel Atkins and Steve Leafe having their own personal battle as they finished in 140th and 144th respectively. Steve, like a great many in the Club and club’s everywhere is committed to a spring marathon and at this time of year facing the dilemma of whether to race and represent the Club or whether to pound the miles out.  Romain Chambard, Matt Long and Ross Ballinger all ran with distinction as they completed the Club’s finishers in the men’s race in very respectable 167th, 199th and 207th places respectively.

Tracey Glover led the Club’s women home in an excellent 47th place finish with the determined Emily Atkins in 107th, Rebecca Lenaghan in 147th and Emma Sharpe in 206th completing the finishers in a top quality women’s race.

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Christmas Cracker 2018

The year has flown by and it was time to take the annual trip over to the Roaches near Leek, for the Christmas Cracker race.  The weather this year seemed to be milder compared to last year’s snow and ice spectacular.  Although shortly after arriving we were given the news that for the second year running the race had to be run around Tittesworth Reservoir due to icy conditions on top.  However this did not dampen or chill our enthusiasm as we headed out onto the undulating track. The race is famed for its fancy dress and this year did not disappoint with some great team costumes covering everything from the Three Wise Ladies, numerous elves and Santa’s, but I think the 15 Mexican’s were highlight of the day especially as they all waited and finished together to a large round of applause. It’s a deceiving route with very few flat sections, some steep stepped sections and many uphill winding climbs that caught many a runner out. Our happy group stayed well bunched for the first third, chatting away as we went although Jenny and Nathan had started to pull away. It was great to cross back over the reservoir to a Mexican wave, from the high spirited poncho wearing Mexican group! Then soon we were into the final section winding up and down through the woods passing a few on our way, until we were on the path heading to the finish. The final race order was Nathan Fagan (44) and Jenny Laing (45) both with a time of 0:37:03, Ade Middleton (64) came in next 0:40:15, closely followed by Katie Dennis (70) 0:40:47 and Rom Chambard (71) 0:40:48.  Then in came the heavy weights pushing each other for a final dash to the line with Kev Clarke nipping in (73) 0:41:08, Paul Hudson (74) 0:41:09 and Gary Price (75) also in a time of 0:41:09.  Emma Sharp finished like a trooper in (175) 0:52:20.  Maybe next year we will make it over the Roaches and Kev can co-ordinate a team fancy dress theme to compete with the other clubs, we will wait and see!

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