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2011 NEWS ARCHIVE

DECEMBER 29th 2011
A last post for 2011...so a chance to wish all Royton Road Runners a very happy & prosperous New Year. Thanks to all members for their contribution to another hugely successful year for the club - whether it's turning up regularly for training nights & track sessions, representing the club in races or contributing to events & fundraising for Dr Kershaw's Hospice. Congratulations to everyone who has set new PBs or achieved their running goals in 2011 - I know that applies to lots of you! So many people have done great things for RRR this year - reflected in the fact that 18 different individuals were nominated as 'Club Runner of the Year' - but there are a few who deserve a special mention:
     - June Allingan & Ian McBride, who jointly topped that 'Runner of the Year' poll
     - Brian Moore, for his great efforts in developing the weekly track sessions
     - Colin Green, for all the work he’s done with the 'Greenfield Greyhounds'
     - Des Thorpe, for brilliantly organising our teams for the Pennine Bridleway Relay
     - Ray McBride, for his wonderful contribution as 'club photographer'
     - John Sweeney, only the second person ever to complete all club races in a season
     - Bernie Goodwin, the first & so far only member of the '100 Club'
     - Ray Shaw, for his support & encouragement at countless races throughout the year
     - Ian McBride, Stuart Carroll & Ian Bishop, who each set a new club marathon record.   

DECEMBER 27th 2011
A few suggestions for club members during the 'Chrimbo Limbo' between Christmas & New Year...if you already have a Runner Profile on the website, why not update it (with, for example, your revised 'running ambitions' for 2012)? Just send an e-mail with details of any answers you want to change. If you haven't yet submitted your profile, this is the ideal time to complete the questionnaire on that page. I'm also looking for photos of members in official RRR kit to put on the Merchandise page - if you'd like to appear there in glorious technicolour, just e-mail your photos & I'll choose the best!  

DECEMBER 26th 2011
If you haven't yet entered the Southport Mad Dog 10K - new first race in next year's Club Championship, takes place on Sunday 12th February - please note that the website reports that the race is filling up fast! Maximum number of runners is 1200, they're reporting that it is already over 50% full & 25-30 entries a day are being received. You can enter online (for a small additional fee) or by post - entries on the day are not accepted. 

DECEMBER 24th 2011
The 'Marathons' page on this website has been updated to show all the 2012 marathons that I'm aware of. Please e-mail details of any additional marathons you're planning to run - or let me know of any that I've got wrong! There are two main reasons for getting your marathons added to the list - it lets fellow club members know who is running which races & (more importantly) ensures that Brian Moore is aware of planned races & can include them in the results.

Talking of marathons...we've now had confirmation from the organisers of the first Greater Manchester Marathon on 29th April 2012 that we can run an official Royton Road Runners drinks station during the race. We need a team of at least 15, to be available between 9am & 3pm (depending where we are located on the course). Not only will each volunteer get a GMM T-shirt & refreshments on the day, but the organisers will also make a per person donation to the club. From my previous request we already have 10 volunteers - please let me know if you'd like to join the best drinks station team next year! 

I understand that there have been some questions about the way that the annual Club Handicap prize is awarded - so it's probably worth clarifying the criteria! In principle it's quite straightforward - a comparison of each individual's time at this year's Royton Trail against their best time in the race in either 2009 & 2010, with the biggest improvement winning the prize. However it's never quite that simple, as not everyone has a previous Royton Trail time for comparison. If that's the case an alternative time is taken (in this order) & compared to their 2011 Royton Trail time:
   - their best (adjusted) Club Championship 10K time from 2009-2011
   - their best (adjusted) Club Championship 5K time from 2009-2011
If any runner has not previously run the Royton Trail or previously competed in a Club Championship 5K or 10K then they do not have a 'qualifying time'. Hope this makes sense - but if you have any queries please let me know.

There's a new website for the Chester Half Marathon (13th May 2012) & Full Marathon (7th October 2012). Both races are now open for entries - although please note that it has not yet been confirmed whether the Half Marathon will be included again in the Club Championship.

The schedule for Andy O'Sullivan's races in 2012 has been confirmed - starting with the Joe Salt New Year’s Day Multi-Terrain Awakener (from the Red Lion at Whitworth, 1st January 2012) right through to the Lynne Edmondson Memorial Cowm Reservoir Race (from the Sportman at Whitworth on 16th December 2012). Details of all these races can be found on the UK Results website.   

DECEMBER 21st 2011
It's Sports Personality of the Year tomorrow evening (Thursday). The 10 sportsmen that we can vote for (and they are all men, as many people have pointed out) include three blokes with funny trousers who make a living hitting a ball with a stick. Since this is sure to split the golfing vote, it may increase the chance of a truly great athlete winning the award. So it's time for us to step up to the mark & help Mo Farah to win. Do the right thing. Vote Mo!     

DECEMBER 17th 2011
This coming Thursday 22nd December will be the last club training session of the year, with usual service resuming on Thursday 5th January 2012. But if you get itchy feet, there's a pack run planned for 10am on Thursday 29th December from Ogden Reservoir (see news item on 13th December below)...and don't forget the Hot Toddy road race in Todmorden on 27th. And If you're really desperate to get out of the house, on the morning of Wednesday 28th December a few of us will be putting the finishing touches to the new changing room at the cricket club - all help welcome!

Further to the message requesting volunteers to help out at the first Greater Manchester Marathon in 2012 (see news item on 3rd December below), we may have the opportunity to operate our own Royton Road Runners drinks station at the event. Great publicity for the club...plus everyone who helps out will get a GMM T-shirt & refreshments on the day. We'd need 20+ marshals in total - if you're interested in being part of 'Team RRR' on 29th April please let me know by e-mail

A message from Mark Emmett, Chairman of Radcliffe AC: "Last month Terry Norley, the president of our club, died at home after a long battle with cancer. As a senior coach of 50 years standing & former president of Bolton United Harriers, former secretary of the South East Lancs Cross Country League & 23 years dedication to Radcliffe Athletic Club we felt it appropriate that we name our 10-mile multi-terrain race after Terry. Terry was extremely well known throughout the running community & will be missed by many people especially at cross-country races where he was ever-present up to the first race of this year." Unfortunately this race clashes with the Great North West Half Marathon in February 2012 - but for more details click here

Looking for a marathon with a difference? Ever fancied running a marathon in a city which gets 300 days of sun a year, has 450 bars & restaurants & miles of sandy beaches? You're right, it's not Manchester...Blue Line Travel ("the UK's No 1 agent to Israel") is offering tailor-made packages to the Tel Aviv Marathon on 30th March 2012. Prices start from £695 per person including flights & three nights B&B. For more information contact Blue Line Travel on 0208 3465955.   

DECEMBER 14th 2011
For those not able to attend the Presentation Night...it was announced that Dr Kershaw's Hospice has again won the vote of the membership & will therefore be the RRR Charity of the Year for 2012. Here's a message from Lisa Pearson, Appeals Manager: "I’m thrilled the Presentation Night went well & I know Jackie [Conboy, Executive Manager] enjoyed herself. On behalf of Jackie & the rest of the team I’d like to thank you for your support to date & your decision to continue to support the hospice next year. May I wish all members of RRR & your families & friends a very Merry Christmas & a happy, healthy & prosperous New Year."

DECEMBER 13th 2011
We are planning a pack run between Christmas and New Year - Thursday 29th December, meeting 10am at Ogden for a run of around two hours, then going to the Bull's Head for food. Similar to the summer evening pack runs but a slightly longer duration run. If there is only me to lead a group we will go at the speed of the slowest person, but if others come who are happy to lead a slower or faster group then we can split-up. I've checked with the Bull's Head & they are open for lunches that day, so food will be available. If you could give me an indication that you are likely to turn-up that would be great! [Shiela Waite]

DECEMBER 11th 2011
Thanks to everyone who attended last night's Presentation Night - it certainly looked like you were all enjoying yourself, I'm sure we're all looking forward to seeing Ray McBride's photos! Thanks also to everyone involved in organising the event & to Chris & the band for the usual spectacular set. Who knew that Bernie Cassidy could sing? Many congratulations to all the prize-winners (see the 'Annual Awards' page for details), especially our joint 2011 Club Runners of the Year June Allingan & Ian McBride. If you have any feedback or suggestions for anything we could do differently next year, the committee would love to hear from you - just send an e-mail

DECEMBER 10th 2011
A couple of big events coming up at Royton Cricket Club - on Sunday 18th December a Children's Christmas Party (from 2pm) & then (on 31st December, surprisingly enough) a New Year's Eve Party. Tickets for both available now behind the bar. Please support the club - click on the links for more details.

We're all aware of the many health benefits from running...so I guess we should also be aware of the potential risks. The Belfast Telegraph this week reported that "running marathons could permanently damage the hearts of some endurance athletes...new research suggests extreme physical activity can scar the right ventricle of the heart in susceptible individuals. Athletes taking part in high-endurance activities, such as marathons or triathlons, could be at risk without knowing it. Scientists in Australia & Belgium studied 40 elite athletes who were planning to compete in one of four endurance events. All were highly trained with no known heart problems. Test results showed that immediately after racing the athletes' hearts had changed shape & right-ventricle function decreased. The right ventricle, one of the heart's four chambers, pumps blood to the lungs. Right-ventricle function recovered in most athletes after a week, but in five there was evidence of potentially permanent scarring. Study leader Dr Andre La Gerche, from the University of Melbourne, Australia, said: 'Virtually all of the changes in the athletes' hearts had resolved one week after having taken part in a competitive event. In most athletes, a combination of sensible training & adequate recovery should cause an improvement in heart-muscle function. The question from our research is whether there are some athletes in whom extreme exercise may cause injury from which the heart does not recover completely. If this occurs, affected athletes may be at risk of reduced performance or it may cause arrhythmias (erratic heart beats).'"   

DECEMBER 7th 2011
Dr Kershaw's Hospice Santa Stroll postponed - due to unforeseen circumstances we are postponing the Santa Stroll until Sunday 15th January 2012 & changing the venue to Alexandra Park, Oldham. We sincerely apologise to everyone who has already registered for any inconvenience this may cause & hope you are able to join us in January 2012.  [Dave Ellis]

DECEMBER 3rd 2011
The organisers of next year's Manchester Marathon (Sunday 29th April 2012) are currently recruiting volunteers to be part of the race support team. There are numerous roles including course marshals, drink station marshals, start/finish line marshals, set-up team & registration/Expo (from Friday 27th April). As part of the Greater Manchester Marathon Support Team you will be provided with Greater Manchester Marathon attire, on the days you help out you will be provided with a breakfast or lunch & there will be three training opportunities in March/April so that you can receive all the information you need to enjoy the day. Click here for more information & registration.

NOVEMBER 30th 2011
If you haven’t registered for Dr Kershaw's Santa Stroll on 11th December, time is ticking away! For the event to go ahead we urgently need at least 100 more Santas, so please register before Monday 5th December. Registration is only £12 per adult and £6 per child. Please don’t let the sponsorship deter you from registering, we need you! Tel: 0161 624 9984 or send an e-mail.  [Dave Ellis]

NOVEMBER 27th 2011
As 2012 approaches, it must be time to go that extra 1.609 kilometres for Dr Kershaw's, who may cease to be our club's chosen charity in a month's time, depending on the ballot result to be announced at the awards night. If you need any Christmas cards or a 2012 calendar, I'm bringing some Dr Kershaw's merchandise to the club on Thursday 1st December. All proceeds to the hospice.  [Bill Balmer]

NOVEMBER 22nd 2011
Early notice of a date for your diary - the RRR Annual General Meeting will take place on Friday 3rd February 2012 at Royton Cricket Club. Full details to be confirmed nearer the time.

Club races for 2012 (Part One): as mentioned previously (see 'News' for 31st October), the Dewsbury 10K will not be in next year's Club Championship. A replacement has now been confirmed - it's the 'Mad Dog Seaside 10K' in Southport on February 12th 2012. Although it's not a cheap race to enter (£17 for affiliated pre-entries), it comes highly recommended - last year's race was rated one of the best 10Ks in the country on Runner's World, finishers get a well-stocked goody bag plus high-quality Technical T-shirt (worth £20) & all race proceeds go to charity.

Club races for 2012 (Part Two): for those who like to get their race entries in early, we can also confirm that the Great North West Half Marathon (26th February 2012) remains in the Club Championship & will as usual be the second race in the club calendar. The full list of 17 races will be confirmed at the AGM on 3rd February.

A further 'decorating date' has been set for putting the finishing touches to the new changing room. If anyone has an hour or two free (or is looking for a chance to get out of the house?) on the morning of Wednesday 29th December, your help would be very welcome. Paintbush or roller essential, mince pies optional!

If you've been rejected for a place in next year's Virgin London Marathon & wish to be entered in the ballot for club places that takes place on Presentation Night (10th December), please make sure you give a copy of your rejection slip to Marilyn Guest as soon as possible. Entries on the night will not be accepted!     

NOVEMBER 18th 2011
Postscript to the news below (November 13th) about June's plans to pull together a Christmas hamper for the Presentation Night raffle...there's now a notice up in the ladies' changing room for people to record what they'd like to contribute. Hopefully this will avoid us ending up with a hamper containing nothing but 1,000 mince pies (although come to think of it, that doesn't sound too bad - you can never have enough mince pies as far as I'm concerned).

If you're having trouble getting into the Members Page to register your vote for Club Runner of the Year 2011/Charity of the Year 2012, please don't give up! It's definitely working OK, as plenty of votes have been submitted. You might first want to click on the 'Forgot your password?' link & have a new password sent to you by e-mail. If that doesn't work, please send an e-mail & I'll delete your current log-in details so that you can register again. As a last resort, I will accept votes by e-mail, or on paper...even by carrier pigeon if that's your preference!    

NOVEMBER 15th 2011
Dr Kershaw's Hospice, our Charity of the Year, will be holding their annual Santa race on Sunday 11th December this year. There's a change of name & venue - it's now a Santa Stroll & will start/finish at the Hospice on Turf Lane. Entry fee is £12 for adults, £6 for children, (plus minimum £10 sponsorship pledge) which includes a Santa suit, medal, mince pies & refreshments. Click here for further details & a registration form - it'll be great to have a mass turnout of RRR Santas, possibly with hangovers as it's the morning after the RRR Presentation Night!

You may or may not have noticed that I am taking part in 'Movember' - growing a (silly) 'tash for the whole of the month of November [raising vital funds & awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer & other cancers that affect men]. I was wondering if any RRR members would like to contribute? All you have to do is to go to the Movember website, click on the 'donate' link & type in 'Elliot Stone' (part of the North Chadderton School team) to donate.  [Elliot Stone]

A message from Bernard Wade of Royton Cricket Club: "Changing rooms look great, please pass on our thanks to all who helped out." 

NOVEMBER 13th 2011
June Allingan - always full of good ideas - is planning to make up a Christmas hamper for the raffle on Presentation Night. If anyone wishes to donate something (chocolates, biscuits, booze, Christmas pudding, tinned goods etc) you can give them to June or Diane on club training nights.

NOVEMBER 10th 2011
Tickets are now on sale for the legendary RRR Presentation Night, to be held on Saturday 10th December at Royton Cricket Club. Tickets are priced at £12. Please see Bernie Goodwin at the club before they sell out!

Talking of the Presentation Night...don't forget to cast your vote for the RRR 2011 Club Runner of the Year (Rod Bowers Trophy) & the charity we will support in 2012. Simply go to the Members Page - you'll need to register if you haven't previously done so, which just takes a few seconds - to complete the short on-line form. Deadline for voting is 30th November & results will be announced at the Presentation Night. For those new to the club, with the 'Club Runner of the Year' award we're looking to recognise the person who has made the greatest overall contribution to Royton Road Runners in 2011. In voting for the official club charity (introduced for the first time this year, which we've supported through fundraising at events such as the quiz nights, as well as our Community Day at Dr Kershaw's Hospice in June) you can choose between the two charities that have been nominated by club members following a request in September - either we continue to support Dr Kershaw's Hospice, or switch instead to The Christie. Please take a few minutes to cast your vote - if you're having any problems getting onto the Members Page or completing the form, please let me know.

You may remember earlier this year that Royton Cricket Club introduced a Loan Scheme, whereby members were asked to loan the club £100 & a weekly draw would take place with the winning member receiving their £100 back. The money is being used to offset the club's overdraft. Having originally attracted 56 volunteers, the scheme is now being extended & RRR members are invited to join. Click here for full details of the scheme & here to download a form if you wish to join the scheme (to be returned to Bernard Wade). If you wish to donate to the club instead then click here for a Gift Aid declaration.  

NOVEMBER 6th 2011
Today's New York Marathon - 10 years on from the 9/11 attacks & featuring many runners for whom the race is an act of remembrance - prompted the BBC website to reflect on 'running as therapy'. Amongst the 47,000 taking part in New York was Kiki Homer, whose brother LeRoy was the co-pilot on Flight 93, the plane that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to overpower the hijackers. Homer says, "It was very easy post-9/11 to find myself in a daze & unable to process what was going on. Just the physical act of getting up & getting out there running was life reaffirming." Dr Mark Nesti of Liverpool John Moores University has worked with endurance athletes & believes the extreme nature of events like the marathon can offer moments where people may feel closer to those they have lost. "The main reason that endurance events, marathons in particular, are special counter-cultural experiences in today's world is that you get to a point where, quite frankly, your body and mind are telling you to stop," he says. "Your mind tells you it can't find the reason to go on, even after you've thought about the charity you are running for, or the memory of a loved one who has died. You get to a point where you are empty & not sure why you should go on. I think that is a deeply personal thing & a powerful moment. You have to make a sacrifice of everything you've got, but what you've done is joined in the suffering & the pain in a voluntary way & that could make you feel closer to the person you have lost."

NOVEMBER 5th 2011
Thanks to everyone who turned up at the Cricket Club this morning to help with the decorating of the changing rooms - it still needs at least one more coat, but it's already looking much better. In addition to members of the committee who wielded a brush or roller to great effect (Dave Phillips, Bryan Lawton, Stuart Carroll, Richard Fiddling, George Meynell & David Emanuel), it was great to have the assistance of Ray Shaw, Debbie Fiddling & Bill Balmer. Thanks to all! 

NOVEMBER 3rd 2011
If you've raised money for Dr Kershaw's Hospice this year through your running, please could you let me know the details? We know how much we've donated through club events such as the Quiz Nights, but I'd like to be able to announce an overall total at the Presentation Night, including individual fundraising efforts. Thanks!  [David Emanuel]

A date for your diary (well for Chris Eavers & I, anyway) - the 2012 UK Backward Running Championships will be held earlier than usual, on Sunday 27th May, but still in Heaton Park, Manchester. Click here for more details.

Looking for a new marathon to run in 2012? Manchester too close to home? Then the Torshavn Marathon might be just what you're looking for! The race takes place in the Faroe Islands on 2nd September 2012 & apparently offers "clean air & rugged nature".   

OCTOBER 31st 2011
Royton Road Runner On Tour: a fantastic performance by Barry Greaves in the Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday - Barry finished in 3:14:08, 32nd in his age category in a large & quality field, with the race won by Wilson Kipsang of Kenya in a time of 2:03:42 that was extremely close to the world record. Many congratulations to Barry!

Just in case you're thinking of getting next year's race entries in early...although the RRR 2012 Club Championship races have not yet been finalised, we can confirm that the Dewsbury 10K will not be included, as it clashes with the Pennine Bridleway Relay in which we hope to have three teams of 10 runners taking part.

OCTOBER 30th 2011
For the many people travelling to Keswick on 6th November for the RRR end-of-season race & celebrations...the giganti-coach will be leaving from Royton Assembly Hall car park at 7.45am. Please don't be late!

OCTOBER 29th 2011
It's that time of year again - and your chance to have your say! Voting is now open for the RRR 2011 Club Runner of the Year (Rod Bowers Trophy) & the charity we will support in 2012. Simply go to the Members Page - you'll need to register if you haven't previously done so, which just takes a few seconds - to complete the short on-line form. Results will be announced at the Presentation Night on Saturday 10th December. For those new to the club, with the 'Club Runner of the Year' award we're looking to recognise the person who has made the greatest overall contribution to Royton Road Runners in 2011. In voting for the official club charity (introduced for the first time this year, which we've supported through fundraising at events such as the quiz nights, as well as our Community Day at Dr Kershaw's Hospice in June) you can choose between the two charities that have been nominated by club members - either we continue to support Dr Kershaw's Hospice, or switch instead to The Christie. Please take a few minutes to cast your vote - if you're having any problems getting onto the Members Page or completing the form, please let me know.        

OCTOBER 26th 2011
If you have volunteered to take part in next year's Pennine Bridleway Relay, you'll want to have a read of Des Thorpe's recent posts on the website forums (under 'Events'). Des is to start picking the teams soon, so make sure you let him know if you have any preferences for who you run with!

I'm sure plenty of you will have spotted the deliberate mistake below (October 9th) when I commented on the Liverpool & Chester marathon results. As Brian Moore's latest marathon table shows, Dave McBride's marathon debut was in fact the eighth sub-three hour marathon this year, by the fourth different club member. Amazing performances - one thing I am sure about is my original assertion that this hasn't happened before!    

OCTOBER 22nd 2011
For all those who have booked places on the coach trip to Keswick on 6th November for the 'season finale' that is the Derwentwater 10...our treasurer Richard Fiddling will be at club training on Monday 24th October if you'd like to pay for the trip (£15 per head). It will still be possible to pay on the day, but it makes life easier if we can collect some of the money in advance. Thanks for your help!

As you're probably aware by now, we're planning to spend the morning before the Keswick trip (Saturday 5th November) decorating the new changing room at the cricket club. We're looking at two teams, one from about 9am & the other from 11am. Anyone welcome if you'd like to help - but what we really need is someone with contacts 'in the trade' who can help us get the paint at a decent price. Please e-mail if you're able to help with this!

A second successful RRR Quiz Night took place on Friday 21st October - many thanks to everyone who came along & took part, with particular praise to June Allingan (the tough quizmistress) & Bernie Goodwin (raffle man) for organising the event. More than £400 was collected on the night - so there'll be another sizeable donation to Dr Kershaw's Hospice - & we'll all be looking at several RRR rears in a new light after June's picture round! Next club social event is the Presentation Night on Saturday 10th December - tickets go on sale soon. We're already planning a Race Night for early next year, as well as another Quiz Night to be organised by members of last night's winning team Quiz Akabusi.  

OCTOBER 14th 2011
If you're struggling to come to terms with the disappointment of missing out in the ballot for the 2012 Virgin London Marathon, don't despair! If you're new to the club, you may not be aware that as a club affiliated to England Athletics we receive a couple of guaranteed places each year. These are allocated through a draw at our annual Presentation Night (the social event of the year!), which takes place on Saturday 10th December this year. All you need to do is provide Marilyn Guest with a copy of your VLM rejection letter beforehand & you'll be entered in the draw.

I'm sure that you're all studying hard for the RRR Quiz Night on 21st October (7.30pm start at Royton Cricket Club, maximum five people per team, non-RRR members welcome, entry £6 per head to include the quiz, supper, 'Stand Up Bingo' & a lucky number draw). I'd be grateful if you could e-mail me if you plan to enter a team, as it'll help with catering arrangements. We'd also really appreciate any raffle prizes that you can bring along on the night - proceeds to Dr Kershaw's Hospice. Thanks!  

OCTOBER 12th 2011
For anyone disappointed with their marathon time at Chester or Liverpool at the weekend, at least you can take satisfaction in the fact that you actually ran the whole course - unlike a certain Rob Sloan of Sunderland Harriers! As reported on today's Telegraph website: "Rob Sloan claimed third place in the Kielder Marathon after completing the 26.2 mile course in an impressive time of 2:51:00. But suspicions were raised by fellow runners bemused that they had not seen Sloan pass them during Sunday’s race. After initially denying any wrongdoing, Sloan admitted to hopping onto a bus at the 20-mile mark because he was feeling tired. He then re-emerged from a wooded area of the course & picked up the bronze medal. Witnesses reported seeing him hide behind a tree until the first & second placed runners went past, then rejoining the race behind them. The 31-year-old now faces dismissal from his club, Sunderland Harriers, and could be banned from taking part in future marathons. Sloan, a former Army mechanic, was seen boasting to reporters minutes after completing the event. He described the race as 'absolutely, unbelievably tough'. When his placing was brought into doubt, he was indignant. 'I’m upset and angry that someone wants to cast these aspersions. It’s laughable, is what it is,' he insisted. However, after organisers launched an investigation, he confessed to hitching a ride. The bus was one of 12 laid on to ferry spectators around the lakeside course."

OCTOBER 9th 2011
Congratulations to all Royton Road Runners who completed the Liverpool & Chester Marathons today. Early indications are that we had 17 finishers in these two events - and yet there were still lots of our green & yellow vests on show at the Congleton Half Marathon! Looks like there were some excellent marathon performances, but special mention for those racing 26.2 miles for the first time - Bill Balmer (3:41:18 at Liverpool), Chris Lowe (3:07:48 at Chester) & Dave McBride (2:58:10, also at Chester). With brother Ian's excellent 14th place in 2:45:05, Dave McBride's magnificent performance is the club's fifth sub-three hour marathon in 2011 - I'm pretty sure this has never happened before, and Stuart Carroll can add a sixth at Abingdon next weekend (no pressure then, Stuart). If anyone would like to write a report on either of the today's marathons for our 'Race Reports' page, please e-mail me.     

SEPTEMBER 25th 2011
All the headlines from today's Berlin Marathon will be about the return of Paula Radcliffe, as she finished in third place & recorded a time well inside the qualifying mark for London 2012. Yet the real news came in the men's race - not just a new world record (2:03:38) by Kenyan Patrick Makau, but a stunning debut marathon by Britain's Scott Overall as he finished fifth in 2:10:55. Scott - who runs for Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC & is the son of Mrs Overall, former employee of Acorn Antiques - also achieved the Olympic qualifying time & proved himself a master of understatement in his post-race interview: "I was on my own from halfway & think that if I had a pacemaker possibly may have gone quicker. All in all, not a bad debut." Salford Harrier Andi Jones finished 21st in 2:18:34. Something to chase for those running at Chester & Liverpool in October!  

SEPTEMBER 14th 2011
There's a post in the RRR forums (under 'Marathons') regarding the possibility of organising a minibus for the Chester Marathon. If you're one of those taking part in the race, please have a read & get in touch with Andy Schofield if you're interested. 

SEPTEMBER 11th 2011
Rochdale Tri Club are holding an end-of-season aquathlon at Heywood Sports Village on 24th September. Entry is just £5 & there are places available for senior, juniors & ParaTriathletes. Seniors have the chance to either enter the complete novice event (100m swim/1km run) or the 'open standard' race (200m swim/5km run). For more details & entry click here.

The 'Runner Profiles' page of this website now shows information about more than 50 of our members - but that means there's still more than half of you missing! If you haven't submitted your profile, why not go to that page & do so today? If you've previously submitted your profile but not sent in a picture to go with it, please e-mail a picture that can be added to your page. And if you have already a profile & picture, why not have a quick check & make sure all the information is up-to-date?  

SEPTEMBER 9th 2011
Some of you may remember the guitarist at the RRR Presentation Night last Christmas - he is my brother Peter. In early 2010 his wife, my sister-in-law Caroline, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour & subsequently given two years to live. She had all the radiotherapy she could have & after being found to be allergic to the chemotheraphy she has seemingly defied the odds & some 20 months down the line is very much alive & kicking, as bright as a button & full of laughs as ever. A month or so ago a brain scan at the Christie revealed the tumour had halved in size from six months earlier! In the early, dark days after the tumour was diagnosed, our Pete, a talented musician, gifted poet/songwriter (remember the Manc rap!) & wordsmith (he got all that, I got the hair & play the drums) penned a beautiful song, the words & tune of which he played to me & the rest of our family in May 2010. It's called "You Will Win" & is an inspirational song for anyone, not just Caroline, who is up against the odds. I know I'm biased - but it is a great song in its own right, not just a worthy charity fundraising song. 12 months ago, virtually to the week, in a tiny studio in the front room of a house in Levenshulme, we kicked it off & recorded the bass & drum tracks. Vocals were provided by my own & Caroline's families & finally a 50-voice choir joined in the chorus, recorded at the Heald Green theatre. Pete even let me sing! But I must add the cherubic little voices at the end do not include me, but are in fact our Pete & Caroline's two young daughters. A year on on we have a CD of the song which we are selling for £5 each, with all proceeds going to the Christie. I know Dr Kershaw's Hospice is our designated charity, but I hope as many as possible will buy this beautiful song. If you would like a copy please contact me, either in person at the club or by e-mail, or phone 07713073545. There's also a website where you can read more about the song, hear a preview or buy a copy.  [Chris Eavers]

With effect from 12th September, the Monday night track sessions at Kingsway Park High School will start at 7pm. For those who haven't yet sampled these sessions - which are becoming increasingly popular - they are run by Brian Moore on the excellent running track at what used to be Springhill School in Turf Hill Road (off Kingsway), Rochdale OL16 4XA (not far from Gordon Rigg's Garden Centre). Use of the track costs £2 a head - payable on the night - unless you have Link4Life or Track Training Club membership. Simply park in the school car park & follow the signs through to the Athletics Arena behind the school. Excellent shower & changing facilities are available in the Sports Centre!  

SEPTEMBER 8th 2011
Some dates for your diary, as confirmed at an RRR committee meeting this week:

Friday 21st October: Following the very successful first RRR Quiz Night in June, another chance to demonstrate your quizzing expertise! 7.30pm start at Royton Cricket Club. Maximum five people per team (non-RRR members welcome). Entry £6 per head, to include the quiz, supper, 'Stand Up Bingo' & a lucky number draw. Raffle prizes welcome - proceeds to Dr Kershaw's Hospice. A notice will go up at the club shortly – but you can e-mail me with your team details & I’ll add you to the list.

Saturday 5th November: We’d like to take the opportunity (on the ‘rest day’ prior to the Derwentwater 10) to give the new changing room a lick of paint. Having seen people in action at our ‘community day’ at Dr Kershaw’s Hospice in June, I know we’ve got some skilful & hard-working decorators amongst our membership! We’ll aim to get started at around 8am, but people are welcome to come along & help at any time during the morning – we expect to be finished by lunchtime. Please e-mail to let me know if you’ll be able to help & what equipment you could bring along (brushes, rollers, ladder, etc).

Sunday 6th November: Our annual invasion of the Lake District for the Derwentwater 10, the last race in the club championship. We’re planning to take one big coach this year – £15 per head, first come first served. A notice for this will go up at the club shortly – but again you can e-mail me if you prefer & I’ll get you on the list.

Saturday 10th December: The social event of the year – the annual RRR Presentation Night. 7.30pm start at Royton Cricket Club. Once all the trophies have been handed out, there’ll be a raffle, supper, live music, a late bar & maybe a few surprises. We’re hoping to have a representative from Dr Kershaw’s Hospice (our charity of the year) present to receive our year-end donation. Tickets on sale soon, watch this page for details.

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice was chosen as our charity for 2011, but we agreed to hold a vote each year to allow the membership to choose where our support & donations should be directed. This ballot will take place alongside the ‘Club Runner of the Year’ vote in advance of the Presentation Night. For now, nominations are requested for charities to be included in the ballot. If you’d like to suggest your favourite charity, please e-mail me with your nomination by the end of September.

With all these events coming up, you’ll inevitably want to be looking at your very best…so check out the new ‘technical’ club t-shirts – in white, bearing the RRR logo, available at the bargain price of £10. Available in all sizes from Bryan Lawton at club training nights – but don’t wait too long, they’re selling fast!

An opportunity! We're looking for someone to represent RRR at the regular Royton Cricket Club meetings, which take place on the first Thursday evening of each month. Please e-mail if you'd be interested.

SEPTEMBER 1st 2011
Royton Cricket Club is holding a family fun day & 6-a-side fancy dress cricket tournament on Saturday 17th September in aid of our own Charity of the Year, Dr Kershaw's Hospice. If you'd like to support this great cause - maybe even enter a team & show them how the game should be played - click here for further details.

AUGUST 25th 2011
Anxious not to miss out on his weekly torturing of RRR members, Brian Moore has offered to run an extra track session at Kingsway Park High School on Wednesday 31st August (starting at 7.00pm NOT 7.30pm), since there's not one on Bank Holiday Monday. If anyone would like to take up this kind offer, please e-mail Brian to let him know you'll be there.

I know that Chris Eavers & I have been banging on about backwards running for over a year now - and we were still the only two RRR participants in this month's race in Heaton Park! - but that won't stop us trying to persuade you that it's worth giving it a go. I particularly liked this article extract sent to us by Sally, one of the backward race organisers: "Doing a lot of backwards running will rapidly get you in condition to run long distances. Incorporating backwards running into your conditioning program also reduces the chance you'll ever injure your knee. These are the two most striking ways backwards running benefits the long-distance runner...Mike Pulido got in condition for his first marathon in a mere 6 weeks. Before making the big effort, Pulido had run infrequently at best; a 10K race was his only previous running competition. It was obvious to Pulido that, especially with his limited racing background, he had to devise a unique training regimen if he were to get in shape for a marathon only 6 weeks away. What he came up with was a training regimen which had him 1) running uphill backwards whenever he came to a hill & 2) often running 4-6 miles backwards during his workouts. Pulido tells his story this way: 'I ran in the City of Orange Marathon back in January 1979. At the time I was an engineering student at California State University, Fullerton & had 6 weeks off between semesters. So I decided to try to run a marathon at the end of that period. In those 6 weeks that I had, I ran at first no more than 2 or 3 miles a day. I then worked up to 7-10 miles every other day. During these workouts, whenever I came to a hill, I'd turn around & run up it backwards. About 2 weeks before the marathon I went on some 15 mile runs & anywhere from 4-6 miles of that I ran backwards. The 4-6 miles I ran backwards were mostly hills & it took a long time; the whole workout would take 3 hours. The backwards running was very tough initially; it was so tough I couldn't run backwards more than a few hundred yards at first. It was hard on the ankle and the joints in the lower portion of the foot, since you're on your toes all the time. But I stuck with it, & soon my joints became very strong. When I ran the marathon, I had hopes only of finishing. However I did very well & finished under 3 hours 20 minutes — this being my first & so far only marathon.' The choice is now yours: 1) you can decide that backwards running is not for you, although possibly it might be something you'll want to try later on; or 2) you can take up backwards running immediately. This is an opportunity for you to adopt a super exercise while you still have the time to derive & apply its enormous benefits. Backwards running has helped make champions out of regular athletes & makes its practitioners happier, more physically fit persons. Give it a try & you'll see that it can do the same for you."  

AUGUST 23rd 2011
Apologies for any confusion over plans for an 'away night' at Ogden Reservoir/Bull's Head this Thursday 25th August! This is an 'optional' final away run of the summer - not required because of a clash with a cricket fixture - so it's still possible to run from the Cricket Club if you wish. However, for those who like a bit of variety & some wholesome pub grub, please join us for an off-road pack run around the reservoir, setting off at 7pm, with food in the Bull's Head afterwards. Further details & directions on the 'Away Nights' page. 

As reported last month, some club members have been preparing for a new club challenge - to run up the hill from Mytholmroyd through Cragg Vale, which is claimed to be the longest continuous hill in England. It's all now confirmed - if you're interested in taking part, then join the happy throng at 8am on Saturday September 3rd in the car park at the bottom of Cragg Road, Mytholmroyd. Alternatively you could turn up a bit later & see them all looking a lot less happy...

Another date for your diary...following the successful first RRR Quiz Night in June, a follow-up event has been booked for Friday 21st October, to be held again at Royton Cricket Club. More details to follow...but I understand that the Curly Wurlys, winners last time, will be setting the questions - expect it to be tough!   

AUGUST 16th 2011
Thanks to everyone who has kindly donated to Dr Kershaw's Hospice for Colin Green & David Emanuel's 4-day, 109-mile run of the Cleveland Way. Just to remind you that you will hopefully be able to see day-by-day updates from Thursday on Facebook - just search for the group 'Dave and Colin run the Cleveland Way'. There's also still time to enter the competition to win a hamper by correctly guessing how long the run will take - submit your prediction via our JustGiving page here.

Yet another tough but enjoyable track session on Monday night organised by Brian Moore. If you fancy joining the next session at Kingsway Park Athletics Arena on 22nd August, Brian has provided a sneak preview of the planned session - click here for details!

Although it's still quite a long way off, we need to start thinking about whether we're going to enter a team (or teams) in the next Pennine Bridleway Relay on 5th February 2012. There's a new topic under 'Events' in the website forums - if you'd be interested in taking part, please add a post to get your name on the list.

Race organiser Brian Varley is keen for feedback on last week's Saddleworth 6: "Will anyone with any views on how the race was for them this year, on the course itself, the Race HQ or on any other aspect of the event, please let me know by e-mail". 

Next Tuesday 23rd August it will be 30 years since Stan Curran won the 1st British Marathon, on his 34th birthday, in Bolton! To mark this occasion Andy O'sullivan has organised the Stan Curran Birthday Reservoir 5K Race in Whitworth. Click here for details & an entry form.

AUGUST 14th 2011
Apologies for the delay, but my holiday got in the way...Brian Moore has kindly produced all the details of our 400m reps at the 'track taster session' on 25th July. Click here to read a full analysis of your performance!

Brian Moore (who some may think has too much time on his hands, but I'd never suggest such a thing) has also carried out a neat analysis of the number of runners we've had in club championship races over the last five years. Makes really interesting reading - it shows the steady increase in participation as the club has grown, but also indicates which are the most popular races in our calendar. Click here to have a read!

A Middleton Harriers runner lost their green club hoodie at the Saddleworth 6 on Wednesday last week. It's a long shot...but if anyone did pick up the wrong hoodie after the race, please contact David Emanuel & we'll get it to it's rightful owner.  

If there's anyone who isn't planning to run in the Chester/Liverpool Marathons or the Congleton Half, you may be interested in this! On Saturday 8th October the University of Manchester Athletics & Cross Country Club is holding the 45th running of the Manchester Relays on a grass course entirely enclosed on the University of Manchester Wythenshawe Playing Fields complex. The format will be the usual teams of six men or three ladies each completing a 2.1 mile leg on a traffic-free course suitable for spikes. Click here for full information.

Can't wait until the Ron Hill 5K, the next club championship race? Then you may fancy the next race organised by our friends at Kiwi Classic Events, the Tameside 10K on 4th September. Race HQ is the Red House pub, host to a recent RRR 'away night' & the race charity is the wonderful Willow Wood Hospice. Details & an entry form can be found here.  

JULY 30th 2011
Between 18th & 21st August Colin Green & Dave Emanuel will be running the 109-mile Cleveland Way, to raise funds for Dr Kershaw’s Hospice in Royton. With support from the Co-operative store in Royton we're offering the prize of a hamper to whoever guesses closest to the total time the run takes. Predictions can be made at the same time as making a donation via our JustGiving site. It seems only fair to offer a little assistance to those having a guess - so it may help to know that last year’s Hadrian’s Wall Path (84 miles) took Dave (on his own) 16hrs 10mins 27secs over three days; that the 109 miles of the Cleveland Way goes from Helmsley to Filey in North Yorkshire, reaching heights of 1500ft, with about half the distance along the cliff coast path from Saltburn; that they'll be cosily resting up in Colin's caravan between each day's run; & that Richard Fiddling is hoping to join in for the last two days of running. Many thanks (in anticipation) for your support! If you've nothing better to do at the time, you'll be able to follow their progress each day by following the Facebook Group "Dave and Colin run the Cleveland Way (109 miles!!!).

CORRECTION! The full Wardle Off-Road Triathlon mentioned below is actually 160-metre swim, 20K bike & 8K trail run. The distances I mentioned are for the 'mini' event. Hope I didn't mislead anyone too much!

Here's a performance that deserves a mention - Club President Dave Phillips has been in such impressive form of late that in just 17 days he's run six races & finished 1st Vet 65 in all six! The races in question were Gin Pit 5K (10th July), Royton Trail (13th), Leigh 10K (17th), Ian Terry 5K (19th), Moonraker 10K (24th) & Linda Crabtree 6.6K (27th). Time to add an extension to the trophy cabinet? Readers of Friday's Oldham Chronicle will have been able to admire Ray McBride's great picture of Dave approaching the finishing line of the Moonraker, which can also be seen in our Photo Gallery.

Obviously enjoying his running, Dave has suggested a new club challenge - to run up the hill from Mytholmroyd through Cragg Vale, which is claimed to be the longest continuous hill in England! We're thinking that this might take place on a Saturday morning in early September, in that big gap between club races. I've set up a new topic under 'Events' in our website Forums...if you fancy joining in with this challenge, please contribute to the discussion!   

JULY 29th 2011
Des Thorpe has entered the Wardle Off-Road Triathlon, which, as previously mentioned here, takes place on 6th August - & in the interest of healthy competition, he's noticed that it's also possible to enter as a relay team if anyone fancies taking him on! This 'sprint distance' event, starting at 2pm, involves a 160-metre swim in Wardle High School pool, a 10K mountain bike ride on the West Pennine Moors & a 4K trail run on footpaths & tracks.

JULY 28th 2011
If you haven't yet entered the UK Backwards Running Championships - which take place on Sunday 14th August in Heaton Park - then I can only assume that you've just not got around to it yet. So be warned - entries close in just NINE DAYS time. This year there are men's, women's & senior categories on offer, so there's even more chance to win...plus for those who just want to give it a go, they have introduced a charity fun run. Apparently someone called Gavin from Daybreak TV (no, I don't know either) took part in the recent London Backward Run & said this was in the top five events he had entered. Click here for more information & to enter.

The date of next year's Windermere Marathon has been announced - this spectacular race takes place on Sunday 20th May 2012. If you're looking for a tough but enjoyable marathon for next year, there can't be many better options - I'm certainly planning to be back for the sixth year in a row. Click here for more details & an entry form.

If anybody is interested in following Ian Bishop's progress in the Lakeland 100, which takes place this Friday 29th July at 5.30 pm, you can track his progress online - once on the home page you will be able to pick up the live link from the start of the event. The Lakeland 100  'Ultra Tour of the Lake District' is probably the most spectacular long distance trail race ever to have taken place in the UK. A circular route, it encompasses the whole of the Lakeland fells & includes over 23,000 feet of ascent. It is a continuous race with a 40-hour time limit & 14 compulsory manned checkpoints to visit. The 40 hours available to complete the course seem manageable upon first calculations, but don't be fooled! The climb, descent, rugged terrain, darkness & tricky navigation generally ensure a 60-70% failure rate. 

JULY 26th 2011
Thanks to everyone who came along to Kingsway Park High School for the 'track taster session' on Monday evening - including a few newbies! Everyone seemed to enjoy the tough programme of 400m reps, so special thanks to Brian Moore & son Liam for organising, timekeeping & keeping us all focused on the task in hand (most of the time). Typical responses included: "Tough but I really enjoyed it!", "Great session!", "Is that Chris Eavers running backwards?" & "You want me to do how many laps?" I'll publish details of everyone's times here as soon as I receive them.

JULY 22nd 2011
What better way to recover from Sunday's Moonraker 10K than to come along for the second track 'taster session' on Monday 25th July? A proper warm-up, followed by a structured interval session designed for all ability levels, finishing with a warm-down & stretches. All the fun starts at 7.30pm on the track at Kingsway Park High School (formerly Springhill), Turf Hill Road (off Kingsway), Rochdale OL16 4XA - not far from Gordon Rigg's Garden Centre. The session usually lasts about an hour, although the track is open from 7pm for anyone who wants to have a look around & get a few laps in first. Use of the track costs £2 a head - payable on the night - unless you have Link4Life or Track Training Club membership. Simply park in the school car park & follow the signs through to the Athletics Arena behind the school. Excellent shower & changing facilities are available in the Sports Centre.

JULY 21st 2011
We're now 10 races into our club championship season...since the 10 races have been exactly the same as last year, our stats man Brian Moore (as if he had nothing better to do) thought it might be interesting to compare the season so far to the last...& he was right! In the first 10 races of 2011 there have been 386 RRR participants, last year the figure was 292. If you cluster the races into two distinct groups - Dent & the half marathons equating to long races, the remainder as short races - the average for long & short races this year stands at 29 & 45 respectively, compared to 20 & 35.5 last year. In total in 2010 there were 501 RRR participants over a 16 race championship; as the championship is over 17 races this year (16 of which are the same as last year, the newcomer being the Congleton Half) if you assume that the last seven races will attract their respective average thus far this year then the final participant figure is likely to be over 600, possibly pushing close to 650.

Of course it's not all about the club championship...for those who like a bit more variety in their competition, there are two local events coming up, organised by Rochdale Tri Club - the Heywood Children's Aquathon (swim/run event for kids aged 8-16) at Heywood Sports Village on Saturday 23rd July & the Wardle Off-Road Triathlon from Wardle High School on Saturday 6th August. The club are looking for competitors & marshals - if anyone is interested please call Bryan Lawton on 0161-6523881 or Rochdale Tri Club on 01706-844890.  

JULY 13th 2011
A couple of very different races coming up later this month that may be of interest. The Joan Rhodes & Fred Norris Memorial 5K Race in Radcliffe, staged by St Ann's Hospice with the assistance of members of Radcliffe AC, tales place on Thursday 21st July at 7.15pm - click here for an entry form. Meanwhile the Manchester Urbanathlon takes place on Sunday 31st July: "You’ll run, climb, crawl, slip, slide, scramble & dangle through a challenging, totally original urban-obstacle course around East Manchester…start on the 2002 Commonwealth Games track, stagger up the 'Stairway to Heaven' at the MCFC stadium, take on the fireman’s water slide, pick your way through the spider's web, scramble up the giant haystack, attack the rock climbing wall, vault over derelict cars & much, much more". Early start times are now full so entry is only available from 1.45pm onwards - click here to read more.

According to the organisers of the Chester Marathon (9th October) we now have 14 club members entered - which must mean that some people are keeping it a secret, as I only know about eight of you! It seems that if we get 15 entries (so one more to go) they will pay £50 towards our marathon championship trophies - so if you're currently thinking of entering an autumn marathon, why not make it this one? Full details available here.

JULY 8th 2011
Thanks to everyone who went along to the King Bill pub at Shore, Littleborough for the latest 'away night' on Thursday. Despite having to endure the hardest hailstones in history, everyone seemed to enjoy the run...or at least the food & drink afterwards. There are already some pictures on the King Bill website taken (in the dry) before we set off. Incidentally, there's still one 'away night' date free (Monday 1st August) if anyone would like to atrange something!

JULY 6th 2011
There’s a lot of activity for RRR over the next week – and it’s all taking place away from the cricket club! First we have two 'away nights' - on Thursday 7th July there's a run around Watergrove Reservoir from the King William IV pub, Shore Rd, Littleborough (OL15 9LW), followed by a recce run of the Royton Trail course on Monday 11th July (7pm from the Tandle Hill Tavern, Thornham Lane, Middleton M24 2SD). Then on Wednesday 13th July it's the Royton Trail itself, where we're hoping to exceed the 186 finishers in last year's race. Please come along to help & support even if you're not able to run - & please bring along a prize for the post-race raffle. 

We don't very often get to report on outright race victories...so many congratulations to Colin Green for his 1st place in the Oldham parkrun 5K on Saturday 2nd July. Colin crossed the line ahead of the field in a time of 19mins 32secs, having made life just a touch more difficult for himself by running to the race from his home in Greenfield. He celebrated this success with another 6-mile run back the other way. Top man! 

JULY 2nd 2011
Just taken delivery of a 'starter pack' of the latest recipe for improved running performance - Hornet Juice! Not sure if it's made much difference yet, but at least I haven't felt the urge to sting anybody. More details at the home of Hornet Juice here...but I'd strongly recommend this article by the brilliant Dave Barry from the Miami Herald - tells you everything you need to know!  

JUNE 23rd 2011
For no particular reason...here's 10 ways to tell if you've become a running obsessive:
1. 6am counts as a lie-in.
2. The number of toes & toenails you have is not equal.
3. You drink from a water bottle at the dinner table.
4. You plan family holidays around races (and vice versa).
5. You try to tie double knots in your work shoes.
6. The only time any household chores get done is during 'taper' or 'race recovery'.
7. You have a separate wardrobe/room/shed for race T-shirts & other bits of running gear.
8. You have a running shoe collection that would make Imleda Marcos envious.
9. When you drive past road signs showing the number of miles to your destination, you immediately think of your PB for that distance (or when you last ran that far in a training run).
10. Your wife/husband/partner occasionally has to introduce you to your children/pets & tell you their names.

JUNE 22nd 2011
The good news - there's going to be a new marathon in Manchester in 2012! The 'Greater Manchester Marathon in Trafford', organised by Xtra Mile Events (best known for triathlons), will start & finish in Longford Park, Stretford & will be run over what is described as "a fast, flat route good for PBs & novices". The bad news (for some of us) - the race has been scheduled for 29th April 2012, just a week after the Virgin London Marathon. Still, a great alternative if you miss out on a London place...

JUNE 21st 2011
Thanks to everyone who came along to the Kingsway Park High School track on Monday night for our first 'taster session'. Not quite the mass turnout we were hoping for...but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves (despite the increasingly heavy rain!) & several of the first-timers indicated that they're keen to return occasionally to the regular Monday night track sessions, to gain the benefits of speed work & as a bit of variety from running on the road. In the absence of Mark Kelly, currently indisposed, many thanks to Don Kerley (formerly of Middleton Harriers) for coming out of 'coaching retirement' to organise a very enjoyable session. We have another 'taster session' planned for Monday 25th July - why not give it a try?  

JUNE 17th 2011
There will be no club training runs from Royton Cricket Club next Monday (20th June) due to a cricket fixture. Instead we've planned an 'away night with a difference' - a taster session on the track at Kingsway Park High School (formerly Springhill), Turf Hill Road (off Kingsway), Rochdale OL16 4XA, not far from Gordon Rigg's Garden Centre. Mark Kelly, our club coach, will be running a session designed for all standards & abilities, to give everyone a feel for what happens every Monday night at the track. For those running in the Freckleton Half Marathon on Sunday this will be perfect for post-race recovery! The session formally starts at 7.30pm & usually lasts about an hour, although the track is open from 7pm for anyone who wants to have a look around & get a few laps in first. Use of the track costs £2 a head - payable to Mark Kelly on the night - unless you have Link4Life or Track Training Club membership. Simply park in the school car park & follow the signs through to the Athletics Arena behind the school. Excellent shower & changing facilities are available in the Sports Centre. We haven't made any formal post-training arrangements, but the Spring Inn in Broad Lane (OL16 4PR) is not far away if you feel the need for refreshments. Hope to see plenty of you there!

Eagle-eyed users of this website will have noticed that at some point on the evening of 16th June we reached a grand total of 50,000 visitors since our launch in February 2008...not bad for a little running club! I think the site (just like the club itself) has come a long way in those three years - witness the ever-expanding Photo Gallery, the active use of the Forums, 52 Runner Profiles & (new this year) several people contributing their entertaining Race Reports. However we're always looking to make it even better - so if you can think of anything that would improve our site, please drop me an e-mail.  [David Emanuel]             

JUNE 14th 2011
Have you thought about nominating someone to be a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer? The London 2012 team are seeking 8,000 "truly inspirational...ordinary people doing extraordinary things...truly incredible individuals whose personal stories will inspire millions of people watching the Olympic Torch Relay". That sounds like at least half of the membership of Royton Road Runners! The nomination process is really straightforward via the 2012 website, but the closing date (29th June) is approaching fast...

The Saddleworth 6 was cancelled...but now it's back on again! Race organiser Brian Varley has been in touch to advise that "it will be on 10th August over largely the same course, but with a different start & finish and Race HQ...I will be putting much more information on the race website & on John Schofield's UK Results site as soon as possible". It only seems right to restore the race to our Club Championship, so we're now back up to a full complement of 17 races.    

JUNE 6th 2011
Following the BIG WEEKEND activity (see below), I've received a message of thanks from Barry Ulyatt at Dr Kershaw's Hospice: "Everyone did a great job - the fences all look as though they belong to someone now, visitors can park without encountering overhanging shrubs & the front of the hospice is looking far more welcoming. Many thanks to all who helped on Sunday & to everyone at Royton Road Runners for their fundraising efforts and support, it is very much appreciated."

Most club members will have read or heard something about the Greenfield Running Group, started by Colin Green earlier this year (see 'News' item below - February 13th). Here's Colin's latest update: "The group continues to go from strength to strength, with 11 of the runners completing the recent Great Manchester 10K run. This was a great achievement for a group that only started running in January this year. We have now had two group members attending Royton Road Runners as a result of the Greenfield Group, with Jen Hanson running with the ‘proper’ club on Thursdays. Kirsty White is now a regular RRR with reports of long runs being taken in her stride. Due to popular demand I have decided to start another 'Absolute Beginners' session on Tuesday 14th June for a 10-week period, building up to an Oldham parkrun (5K). If you know anybody who would like to start running but would not be able to manage RRR club runs yet, then this group may help. I am in the process of formalising links between the Greenfield Group & RRR, so very happy for anyone to come along & run with us on a Tuesday night. The only stipulation is that the runs are aimed at beginners – so no show-offs allowed! Anyone interested in helping out with this group would be very welcome. We will be meeting at Greenfield Conservative Club, Chew Valley Road, Greenfield, Oldham on Tuesday nights from 6-7pm, followed by the established ‘intermediate’ group from 7-8.15pm. Please contact Colin Green for more details on 07803933760 or by e-mail."

JUNE 5th 2011
So that's the inaugural Royton Road Runners BIG WEEKEND over - I think we can consider it a great success! Many thanks to everyone who came along to Dr Kershaw's Hospice today, all working like men & women possessed; the fences & gardens looked so much better when we'd finished. Friday's quiz night was really well attended, enjoyed by all & pretty competitive too - congratulations to the Curly Wurlys (Eileen Ingham, Dave Ellis, Jenny Wood, Julie Greenwood & Lisa Day) who romped to victory & therefore have the (dubious) pleasure of organising the next quiz. Special thanks to June Allingan & Bernie Goodwin for arranging the evening, especially for June's no-nonsense quizmastering! The inspired final round was based on information provided by club members in their 'Runner Profiles', which you'll find on this site...which gives me an opportunity to ask everyone who has not yet submitted their profile, please could you spend a few minutes doing so this week? With entry fees & the raffle we collected more than £400 on the night - deducting the cost of the (excellent) food & adding in the money collected from the sale of Colin Green's race DVDs at the AGM, we were today able to present Dr Kershaw's with a donation of £250. Give yourselves a pat on the back!  

Stainland Lions, organisers of last month's Blubell Trail race much-loved by many RRR members, have confirmed that this year's Stainland 7 will take place on Sunday 4th September. This undulating road race "might not have a river crossing or the dreaded Trooper Lane, but you can rely on lots of friendly marshalls, a few hills here & there, seven miles of Yorkshire scenery & a quality goody bag". Click here for an entry form.    

JUNE 1st 2011
If you've been hiding in a cave, or maybe visiting another planet, you may have missed the news that we're fast approaching the Royton Road Runners BIG WEEKEND! On Friday 3rd June it's our first ever Quiz Night - 7.30pm start at Royton Cricket Club, maximum five per team, entry £6 including the quiz, supper, 'Stand Up Bingo' & a lucky number draw (raffle prizes welcome, proceeds to Dr Kershaw's Hospice). As if that wasn't enough excitement, from 10am on Sunday we're hoping for sunshine & a big turnout at Dr Kershaw's on Turf Lane for our first 'Community Day' - painting fences, smartening up the gardens & formally presenting a cheque for the money we've raised for our Charity of the Year to date.

If you're coming along to either of these events, it'll also be an ideal opportunity to get your entry in for this year's Royton Trail, which is now only six weeks away. Just £5 to enter, I'll be bringing plenty of forms along!  

If you've not already entered the 2011 UK Backward Running Championships in Heaton Park on 14th August, Mark Kelly has passed on details of an exclusive £10 promotional entry fee (a £5 saving) available to parkrun members only. I haven't included a copy of the special entry form here, as the offer is only available until 11th June...but please contact Mark if you're interested in taking advantage of this great deal. Even if you're not, it's worth visiting the Reverse Running website for the video of last year's race, including extensive footage of Royton's two representatives (and age-category champions!).     

MAY 24th 2011
Message from George Meynell: "Just received a call from Royton Cricket to inform us that their under-13s have progressed to the next round of one of their cup comps & have a match at home this Thursday evening. I have okayed that they can use the changing room because the alternative would have been to have them change on the car park, which in my opinion would have been a bigger problem for us. It's far to late to contact everyone & arrange another 'away night' & I'm sure we can manage." Main problem is probably going to be an overcrowded car park, so probably advisable to get to the club earlier than usual on Thursday.

As mentioned here before (see 8th May), this year's Saddleworth Fell Race takes place on Sunday 29th May. It's a three-mile course, with separate races for juniors & seniors. Click here for further details.

Brian Moore has discovered that the Edinburgh Marathon operates a 'Good for Age' system similar to London, which this year offered a guaranteed place up until 1st April. Qualifying times look about the same as London. May be worth bearing in mind for next year!

MAY 22nd 2011
It's been predicted for some time...but many congratulations to Ian McBride on setting a new club marathon record. Ian's time of 2:40:00 earned him 14th place in the Edinburgh Marathon & knocked a full 10 minutes off the record set by Stuart Carroll only last month in London. Well done to everyone who ran at Edinburgh today - looks like there were a few PBs in there, no doubt we'll get a full race report in due course!

MAY 21st 2011
Sadly, this year's Saddleworth 6 has been cancelled. The message from race organiser Brian Varley says "Since we were last in touch, circumstances beyond the club's control mean that we have had to cancel the event this year. The Satellite Centre, the Race HQ of course, is undergoing very considerable refurbishment work at the moment. I was hoping that the work would have been done & dusted well in time but I have just been informed that its availability on 10th August can’t now be guaranteed. Furthermore, you may have read that it is likely that the Council will, by then, have dug up the track! I am in the process of posting a notice on the race website & on John Schofield's UK Results site. Please accept & pass on my apologies to your club colleagues. I have always been grateful for the club's ongoing support of the race over the years. However, we will be back next year on the second Wednesday in August & I hope to see you all then." It's too early at this stage to say whether we'll try to find a replacement race or leave the club championship at 16 races this year - as soon as a decision is made by the committee I'll let you know.

MAY 15th 2011
Our 'Links' page now includes a link to the Oldham Outdoor Pursuits website. The OOP network & the website are designed to promote outdoor activities to the communities of Oldham & beyond, also supporting instructors,volunteers, clubs & organisations who deliver these activities. They've promised to include a link to our website on a new 'running activities' page & are keen to develop relationships with ourselves & other local clubs & groups.  

Alice's Run, a picturesque 10K from Mytholmroyd (near Hebden Bridge) organised by Epilepsy Action, takes place this year on Sunday 4th September. This is a scenic multi-terrain race & having taken part last year I can recommend it as a challenging, well-organised race. Click here for further details. 

MAY 11th 2011
HELP WANTED! Andy O'Sullivan is looking for a couple of willing volunteers to assist with timekeeping at the Ian Casey 5K race at Cown Reservoir next Thursday. Obviously we want as many club members as possible to run this race in Ian's memory, but if you're not planning to run - maybe due to injury, or perhaps you've got a big marathon north of the border just a few days later - then this is a great way to be involved. Our very own Brian Moore is on results duty too! Please let me know by e-mail if you'd like to help.  

Early notification of one of Andy O'sullivan's popular Littleborough races... the Ian Terry Memorial 5K race on Tuesday 19th July, start time 7pm from the Falcon Inn, is held each year in memory of the Greater Manchester Police firearms officer Ian Terry & all proceeds from the race go to Care of Police Survivors. Click here for more details & an entry form.

MAY 10th 2011
You wait all year for club social events to come along & then you get two in the same weekend! In addition to the Community Day at Dr Kershaw's Hospice on Sunday 5th June, we now have confirmation of the first RRR Quiz Night to be held at Royton Cricket Club on Friday 3rd June. Starting at 7.30pm, we'll be accepting teams of up to five people, with entry at £6 per person to include the quiz, supper, 'Stand Up Bingo' & a lucky number draw. Everyone welcome, please bring along a raffle prize if possible (proceeds of raffle to Dr Kershaw's Hospice). A list will go up on the club noticeboard on Thursday for you to add your name/team...but feel free to send an e-mail if you prefer & I'll add you to the list!  

MAY 8th 2011
For all those getting a taste for the 'off road' stuff...Saddleworth Runners are holding this year's Saddleworth Fell Race on 29th May this year. The race, starting from Waterside Mill in Greenfield, is three miles long but includes 950ft of climb. The club is particularly keen to promote the junior races - there are several categories from under-8s to under-18s, with lots of mdeals & prizes to be won in all categories. Entry fee is £4 on the day - click here for more details.

MAY 6th 2011
If backward running didn't appeal to you, here's another local 'novelty event' that might...the UK educational charity Gemin-i is organising a 5K Sumo Run, taking place in Heaton Park, Manchester on Saturday 2nd July. This event, which follows successful similar events in London, involves (you won't be surprised to hear) participants running whilst dressed up in inflatable sumo suits - you can see a video of last year's record-breaking run here. Since this is a charity event, you must commit to raising a minimum £250 for Gemin-i when you enter...but they have offered RRR club members free registration (which normally costs £25 & includes your very own Sumo suit that you get to keep forever!). All you need to do is enter promotional code RC100 when completing the registration form. For more details & registration, click here.

Radcliffe Athletic Club is holding its annual 3-Day Challenge on 14th-16th July this year. The event consists of the 5.5-mile Bull Hill Fell Race, 5-mile Summer Cross Country & a 5-mile Trail Race (although you can enter the races individually). What better way could there be to 'wind down' after the Royton Trail? Click here for more details & an entry form.  

APRIL 27th 2011
Facilities update from Bernard Wade of Royton Cricket Club: "The new portacabin is now operational & showers working, slight issue with pressure when all three showers are being used. Seating is plastic chairs at present but we are going to put wooden seating all the way round, which would create plenty of seating." There are also some finishing touches & decorating to be completed.

APRIL 25th 2011
If you were still thinking of entering the Freckleton Half Marathon in June...I'm afraid you may have left it too late, but there is one last option. The race website advises: "Entry for the 2011 race is now closed. However, we will accept number transfers. If you cannot run please offer your number for someone else to use. If you are looking for a number please contact the number transfer office."

APRIL 20th 2011
On behalf of the many Royton Road Runners to have benefited from his coaching at Monday night track sessions over the last four years or so, a huge thank you to Don Kerley from Middleton Harriers. Don is hanging up his spikes (or his whistle, or stopwatch, or whatever it is that retiring athletics coaches hang up) after many years of dedicated work with Middleton athletes & more recently a motley collection of us from Royton. I have always found Don to be enthusiastic, encouraging & supportive - I feel sure that my race performances have improved as a result of his coaching (although I admit that may not be so obvious to anyone else!). Our own Mark Kelly will be taking over the Monday night sessions (7.30pm, Kingsway Park Athletics Arena, Turf Hill Road, Rochdale OL16 4XA) from 9th May, when we return after the Bank Holidays - I'm sure that Mark will do a great job, having worked alongside Don whilst studying for his coaching exams over recent months.  [David Emanuel]       

APRIL 14th 2011
Technical whizz-kid Colin Green will be taking various bits of fancy kit down to the London Marathon...and plans to file regular audio and/or video updates via the RRR Facebook page over the weekend. If things go according to plan, you should be able to follow our intrepid team of runners & faithful supporters from here (you'll probably need to log-in to Facebook first).

APRIL 13th 2011
If you're thinking of running the Freckleton Half Marathon on 19th June - the oldest half marathon in the UK, no less - you really need to get your entry in very soon! The event website says that the race "is expected to be full by end March 2011" but it seems there are still a few places available. Click here for online entry.

APRIL 10th 2011
Congratulations to Mark Kelly, who has passed his first coaching exams & is now officially licensed to coach runners. Mark says, "I am available to anyone in the club wanting to have a structured training programme...& I can now be a support coach to anyone else wanting to qualify as a coach!"

APRIL 5th 2011
If you're looking for something a bit different...the Rat Race 'Green Belter' events, including a new one near Thirsk in July, offer "a multi-sport mix of biking, running, a wee splash in our kayaks & our trademark mighty 'Green Machine' obstacle course thrown in for good measure". You can enter as an individual or a pair - click here for more details.

APRIL 2nd 2011
This is interesting! If you've got a marathon coming up soon, you might want to have a play with the Runner's World 'Race Time Predictor'. Apparently widely used since 1997, it was devised by Pete Riegel "a research engineer and marathoner" & lets you input an actual race time to see what you should be capable of at another distance. I was feeling quietly confident after my performance at the East Hull 20 a few weeks ago - but the calculator tells me that this will equate to 3:05:51 at London, outside of my target time. Time to get another long run in! 

MARCH 31st 2011
Mark Kelly proved himself capable of multi-tasking as well as running fast at the Vera Hirst 5K, as he combined filming the race with helping out at the finish. See the fine results of his efforts on YouTube.

Bryan Lawton now has race numbers for our club race, the Royton Trail in July, so entries are now being taken. Don't leave it to the last minute - enter now & get a low number!

Bryan has also taken delivery of a new set of hoodies (large size) - but with a couple sold at the Vera Hirst they are already going fast. See Bryan at the club before it's too late! 

MARCH 29th 2011
Anne Jones has unfortunately had to drop out of next month's London Marathon due to injury -
so we now have two train tickets and a hotel room spare. The hotel room can be cancelled if no one wants it, but the train tickets are non-refundable. If you're interested in spending the marathon weekend in London, please contact Stuart Carroll (see the new 'Contacts/Club Officials' page for details) - you have the rest of the week before the hotel room is cancelled.

Do you have any spare time next weekend? With work on the new changing rooms & other improvements progressing well, the Cricket Club is having its annual 'clean up' at the weekend - painting, cleaning, moving notice boards, organising the new umpires/meeting room, etc. Pop along if you would like to lend a hand!

MARCH 27th 2011
We've been contacted by a new company 'Kiwi Classic Events'. Tony & Jason are two local lads & running club members based in the East & South of Manchester who have a vast experience of race organisation. This year they have already organised one successful event & have plans for several more throughout the remainder of the year - including the 'Foolish Five' next weekend & a 10K around Dovestones Reservoir in May. Click here for the website with details of other planned races - a mix of on & off road events, so something to suit everyone. I've added the site to our 'Links' page.

MARCH 26th 2011
Exciting news! Target date for the opening of the new changing rooms at our HQ is 10th April. So if you're at the club on Monday 11th or Thursday 14th you should be able to check out the new facilities.

MARCH 24th 2011
Apologies for the late notice...Shiela Waite is planning an off-road run with torches this evening to celebrate the end of winter running. This was announced on Monday night at the club, but for anyone who missed it - it was an invitation to anyone from any of the groups, so like a 'pack run'. The plan is to run through Tandle Hill Park, down Thornham Lane (evil hill) right down to the canal at Castleton, then along the canal towpath to Chadderton Park & back to the club. Shiela thinks it will be about 7 miles, sticking to "reasonable" underfoot paths but a torch will be useful (Shiela has a couple of spare head torches & will bring these as they are better than hand-helds, but any torch is OK). If the weather holds it should be dry underfoot. There will of course be groups doing the usual road runs, but this is an opportunity for anyone who would like to do something different!

MARCH 18th 2011
Congratulations to Colin Green's 'Run@PhysioMatters' group (see 13th February news item below) - they completed their first parkrun on Saturday morning & I understand all got round in fine style! Full race report to follow. 

MARCH 17th 2011
The latest RRR video, showing some of the many highlights of our trip to Dentdale, is now available on YouTube - many thanks to Jane Tonge & Colin Green, the Kathryn Bigelow & Werner Herzog of Royton Road Runners. You may want to make sure that there are no children in the vicinity of your PC when you get to the Cumberland sausage section...

If you're running anywhere over the weekend - a race, parkrun, a long training run, anything - why not dedicate it to Run For Japan? "Inspired by Japan's great runners, Run For Japan is about bringing together the global running community and showing solidarity & support through dedicating runs around the World to the people of Japan...the challenge [is] to cover 24,901 miles (right around the world) in 28 days, with at least one run dedicated from every country in the world. To achieve this, runners around the globe are being asked to dedicate just one run to the people of Japan & donate at least one unit of their home currency per mile run." Click here for more details, including how to register your run & donate.   

MARCH 16th 2011
Dates have now been agreed by the RRR Committee for five 'away nights' during the summer - see the 'Away Nights' page for details. Nominations are invited for venues for any of these dates. There are also four additional Monday nights when we can't meet at the Cricket Club due to matches taking place - it is proposed that on these evenings (two of which are immediately after Sunday club championship races) members should be invited to 'taster' track sessions at Kingsway Park High School, run by our club coach Mark Kelly. These sessions will be designed for runners of all standards. More details to follow!

SOCIAL EVENTS: after two very successful & enjoyable events in the last couple of years, another Race Night has been booked for Friday 3rd June. Please put this date in your diary - more details will be provided closer to the time. Plans are also being prepared for our first Quiz Night (probably in September), a Community Day at Dr Kershaw's Hospice (hopefully in June) & to get the proposed monthly 'curry nights' started. Watch this space for further information!   

MARCH 15th 2011
I've already mentioned the fact that the UK Backward Running Championships are returning to Heaton Park, Manchester on Sunday 14th August. I've now had an e-mail from race organiser James Bamber: "As one of our valued backwards running friends, we would like to offer you the chance to enter the race in advance of the official launch. We are also offering you a discount off the official price until 31st March. As a special thank you for supporting the sport of backwards running we are also extending this discount to your family, friends, work colleagues & club mates too, so do let them know about the races. Simply make sure that they write in your name in the 'Name of person who offered you early entry discount'  question." To claim your discounted entry, click here for online entry & quote 'David Emanuel' or 'Chris Eavers' in the relevant box. James also advises that "there will only be 75 places available in each category - men's, women's and seniors races", so it's worth entering early!

MARCH 8th 2011
A new race organised by Andy O'Sullivan for your diary - the Harry Kelly Brownhouse Reservoir 5K Race on Wednesday 1st June. The race starts from the Red Lion, The Square, Whitworth, incorporates two laps of Brownhouse Wham Reservoir (no confirmation whether George Michael or Andrew Ridgeley will be in attendance) & is descibed as a "very scenic course". Click here for more details & an entry form.  

MARCH 6th 2011
If you haven't yet paid your annual membership fee, please can you do so as soon as possible. To ensure continuous membership, fees need to be paid before the end of March. Membership for 2011 costs £40 (which covers membership of Royton Cricket, Bowling,Tennis & Running Club, England Athletics membership & provides discounted race entry as well as many other benefits). Payment can be made to Richard Fiddling or George Meynell at the club on Mondays or Thursdays, or by cheque to Richard (16 Cornbrook Close, Wardle, Rochdale, Lancs OL12 9NN).

Bookings are no longer being taken for the coach trip to Dentdale on Saturday 12th March. Cost will be £15 per head, leaving from Royton Assembly Hall at 8.30am, returning after a bit of running & a lot of beer at about 8.30pm. If anyone wants to bring along prizes for the usual on-board competitions they'd be very welcome!

It's been suggested that we introduce a regular club social night - the proposal is for a 'curry night' on the first Monday of each month (perhaps with a shorter run beforehand). Before we approach any local establishments, it would be useful to have an idea of how many members might be interested...so please could you send me an e-mail if this sounds like something that might appeal to you!

After the triumph of last year's inaugural UK Backward Running Championships (I'm sure we're all very proud of the fact that the reigning V40 & V50 champions are both members of Royton Road Runners), the event returns to Heaton Park, Manchester on Sunday 14th August 2011. Everyone who was present last year will vouch for the entertainment value, so put the date in your diary, I'll let you know when entry forms are available!

FEBRUARY 26th 2011
If anybody wondered how "tough" the conditions were for Stuart Carroll's PB performance in the Limassol Marathon last weekend...then have a look at Stuart's pre-race video clip!

Des Thorpe has posted information in the 'Forums' regarding the potential removal of Saddleworth's only athletics track at Churchill Playing Fields - you'll probably know this as the finish of the Saddleworth 6, one of our long-standing club championship races. You'll find a link to a petition in Des's post. I also understand that there's a public meeting taking place at Uppermill Civic Hall on Tuesday 1st March at 7.30pm.    

FEBRUARY 20th 2011
Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team are putting on an Adventure Race this year. The event tales place on 2nd April in Gisburn Forest, is open to pairs or singles & involves "four hours of orienteering, off-road running, walking, mountain biking & a few mystery challenges". I think we've got a few members who would fancy their chances at this one ...click here for further details & an entry form.   

FEBRUARY 16th 2011
There's a highly impressive, 'official' RRR video of the Dewsbury 10K (filmed by Jane Tonge) now available on YouTube (thanks to the patience & technical expertise of Colin Green). Click here for nearly 13 minutes of race action!

I believe that a sheet is now up in the changing rooms at the cricket club to book your place on the coach for the club trip to Dent in March. Places are limited, so please get your name on the list as soon as possible to avoid disappointment!   

FEBRUARY 13th 2011
There's something amazing happening over in Greenfield! Given that it's already provided us with a new RRR member, it seemed the right time to ask Colin Green to tell us a bit about 'Run@Physio Matters'. Here's his report: "Due to several requests from family & friends, I decided to run an 'absolute beginners' running group in the Saddleworth area. Jane Tonge, my wife (for those who didn’t know!), has gained such a lot from the 'Run in England' sessions run by Mark Kelly that I thought we could help other keen newcomers make their first strides in running. The first 'Run@Physio Matters' session was planned for 11th January, meeting at Greenfield Conservative Club at 7pm. I was unsure how many people would turn up & was amazed when new runners kept filing through the door – 15 in total. Mark Kelly was present at the first session to give a talk & also help shepherd the group through the cold, dark streets! The sessions have progressed from run/walk 1 mile to running 2 miles, including speed & hill-work. The importance of warm-up & stretches is stressed, along with running safety tips. The pace of the groups varies between 14 min/mile to 9 min/mile with the focus of the runs being on the newcomer rather than ‘speed merchants’. Numbers have increased with each session, so much so that we now have to restrict ourselves to 25 runners per session. The initial goal after 10 weeks is to run the Oldham Parkrun on 19th March, following which we will be training towards the Great Manchester Run (10K) on 15th May. So what had started as a small group of friends having a run round Greenfield has now progressed to what the members are calling their 'Running Club'. It feels like it has evolved into a very friendly & supportive running community. We meet every Tuesday at 7pm at Greenfield Conservative Club. It has been very encouraging to read the comments from many of the members who are exchanging running tips via the http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_190608350949352&ap=1 facebook page. We have also had our first 'inter-club transfer' with Kirsty White being transferred to Royton Road Runners for an undisclosed fee! I hope that this a regular feature, as people progress to complete 6 miles running, enabling them to join the RRR base group. I would like to thank Mark Kelly, Jane Tonge & Des Thorpe for their assistance with the group so far. Feel free to contact me by email for more information."

FEBRUARY 12th 2011
Future member news! Helen Knight gave birth to baby daughter Olivia on 7th Feb at 6:17pm, weighing in at an impressive (my words not Helen's) 9lbs 5oz, just under two weeks overdue. A sister for son Aaron. Congratulations to Helen & Geoff.  [Chris Eavers]

Manchester Metropolitan University nutrition research needs female runners! Jane Tonge has passed on the following message: "We will be investigating effects of regular consumption of
iron-rich bread, iron status & sports performance in female runners. The study will take place in February/March at Hollings Faculty, Fallowfield, Manchester. We are looking for 18-40 year old female runners, habitually engaged in physical activity (preferably exercising at least three times a week). Please get in touch if you can help - contact either by e-mail or phone 0790 632410/0161-247 2704 for more details about the study."

Need to add some speed work to your training? Several Royton Road Runners attend the Monday night track sessions at Kingsway Park High School (formerly Springhill) organised by Middleton Harriers - our own Mark Kelly is now getting involved in running the sessions. Cost is £2 per night & you can attend as frequently as you wish (e.g. alternate with Monday night runs at the club). Sessions start at 7.30pm on the track behind the school on Turf Hill Road, Rochdale OL16 4XA. Come along & give it a try!

If you've received your race information for the Great North West Half Marathon, don't be confused...the race definitely takes place on Sunday 27th February. Please don't turn up next weekend - you'll be disappointed!   

FEBRUARY 8th 2011
The annual Two Crosses Event has attracted entrants from Royton Road Runners for many years. If you've not come across it before, here's the sales pitch: "Fancy taking part in one of the North West’s most renowned moorland challenges? The East Lancashire Long Distance Walkers Association’s Two Crosses Challenge Event is scheduled to take place on Sunday March 20th. Two courses are on offer, 18 & 25 miles - you can walk or run but the aim is to finish in under nine hours. The start is in Tottington (near Bury) & the circular route takes in many well-known landmarks of the West Pennine Moors. There are checkpoints along the route serving refreshments & a hot meal at the finish. Badges & certificates are available for those who complete the challenge. Entry costs £8 (£6 for LWDA members)." Full details are available on the LDWA website.

FEBRUARY 5th 2011
In advance of the first race of the season at Dewsbury, a full list of the Championship Groups for 2011 is now available on the Members Page.

Message from Richard Fiddling, our new Treasurer: "Just to inform all members that subs are now due & the fee agreed for 2011 is £40. I will be at most club nights, but if you would prefer you can send a cheque directly to my home address at 16 Cornbrook Close, Wardle, Rochdale, Lancs. OL12 9NN."

Entires for the Chester Half Marathon on 15th May, the xth race in our Club Championship calendar, are due to open on 14th February. You may have other (more romantic) things on your mind that day...but as the race website says, "the race fills up quickly, enter early to avoid disappointment". Click here for details.

Another message from Rose Rowson: "Due to circumstances & a long haul recovery, I have a  race number for the Blackpool 1/2 marathon if anyone wants to take it off me. Remember Ronnie & John...I will be back! Happy and safe running to you all." Please e-mail if you're interested & I'll pass the message on to Rose.

JANUARY 30th 2011
Now that we've proved we can run as a team (see the race report on the Pennine Bridleway Relay) this may be of interest...although only for those not making the trip to Dentdale. Nottingham University Athletics Club has invited us to take part in the 7th Ed Prickett Memorial Relays on University Park campus on Saturday 12th March 2011. These long-running relays are run in memory of Ed, a valued club member who was tragically killed in a road traffic accident whilst at the British Universities Track Championships in May 2004. Proceeds from the event will go to the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, a charity that supports young athletes & that Ed benefited from. The day will kick off with the women’s race (3x2 miles) at 1.30pm followed by the men (4x2 miles) at 2.30pm. The race is sponsored by Up and Running and there will be prizes for the fastest legs and fastest teams as well as a professional photographer. Last year, over 200 people took part so this promises to be a wonderful day of competition for runners of all abilities. Click here for further details.

JANUARY 28th 2011
Message from Rose Rowson that unfortunately, due to ongoing hospital treatment, she will be unable to take her place in the Edinburgh Marathon. Rose says, "I was wondering if there were any Royton Runners, who were unlucky not to get a place or hadn't got a number, would want to transfer names and take mine?" Please e-mail me if you're interested & I'll pass the message on. And on behalf of everyone at the club can I wish Rose a speedy recovery.

JANUARY 22nd 2011
An updated list of all of Andy O'Sullivan's scheduled races for 2011 is now available - click here for details. Entry forms can be found for all races on the UK Results website.

A very well-attended & lively AGM took place at Royton Cricket Club on Friday 21st January. Full minutes of the meeting will be available in due course, but here's a brief summary of the main decisions/announcements:
    * Richard Fiddling was voted in unopposed as the new Club Treasurer
    * a new V45 age category has been introduced to the Club Championship for 2011
    * the annual membership fee has increased to £40 (£35 for second claim members), but
       as a result voluntary contributions will no longer be collected on training nights (anyone
       wishing to make additional contributions via Standing Order or occasional lump sum is
       still very welcome to do so!)
    * agreement has been reached with Royton Cricket Club for an RRR contribution to a new
       home/men's changing room (using the portacabins on the car park); the existing
       changing room will therefore become the ladies' changing room on training nights
    * the Road Race/Marathon Championship rules & regulations have been formally
       documented & can be found via a link on the 'Season Results' page; to reflect the
       growing size of the club & increasing race participation, the points system has been
       updated so that the first runner home in a group/vet category will now earn 25 points
    * efforts will be made in the coming months to formalise the Training Groups on Monday/
       Thursday nights, ensuring that group leaders are clearly identified & that simple health
       & safety guidelines are followed.

On the 'health & safety' issue...it has been pointed out that we all have a responsibility to use our common sense when out running, whether with the club or elsewhere, particularly at this time of year. One very simple action we can all take is to ensure that we're wearing high-visibility clothing when running in the dark/on the road - we want all of our runners fit & healthy & competing in races!

JANUARY 16th 2011
The 17th & final race of the 2011 Club Championship has now been confirmed! New for 2011, it's the Congleton Half Marathon on 9th October - which will help fill the BIG gap between the Saddleworth 6 in August & Holmfirth in October, previously only interrupted by the Ron Hill 5K. A few of us ran at Congleton last year & it's a good well-organised race. The course is considerably easier than the Oldham Half it replaces, but they're very proud of the 'sting in the tail', a challenging climb about a mile from the finish.

Colin Green, RRR filmmaker extraordinaire, has produced DVDs of both the Holmfirth 15 & Derwentwater 10. Colin proposes selling them at the price of £4 each, to raise money for the club charity (Dr Kershaw's Hospice). He will bring copies to the AGM on 21st January if he has any orders.

For the four lucky people who gained London Marathon places in the club draw, February 7th is the final date to let Marilyn know if you are dropping out due to injury, etc - as February 11th is the final date for replacement entries to be received at London.  [Marilyn Guest]

JANUARY 11th 2011
If anybody needs a lightweight rucksack for the Pennine Bridleway Relay race (or another reason for that matter), camel packs are on offer for £11.95 at  Tesco on Huddersfield Rd, Oldham (Mike Harrison).

More information regarding the AGM on Friday 21st January - plan is to start at 7.30pm.

JANUARY 9th 2011
A quick reminder that the Royton Road Runners AGM takes place this year on Friday 21st January at Royton Cricket Club. This is your chance to have your say about (and vote on) future developments at the club, but it's also a social occasion, with food provided! It'll be great to see you there - start time to be confirmed shortly.

A new race for 2011! 'The Trotters Five' is a new 5 mile trail race in Bolton, organised by Burnden Road Runners, which takes place on Sunday 6th March. Click here for more details & an entry form.   

JANUARY 1st 2011
Happy New Year to all Royton Road Runners! At the risk of repeating our Chairman's introduction at the Presentation Night, 2010 was a truly spectacular year for the club. To mention just a few of the highlights: record membership, new men's & ladies champions, a new club record for the marathon, first finisher in a race (which also just happened to be Ian McBride's first race at marathon distance!), the biggest Royton Trail yet, team & age category prizes galore, consistently fantastic turnout at races, the invasion of Keswick, our new hoodies, the quickest V40 & V50 backward runners in the country...let's make 2011 even better!