RACE REPORTS 2018
CALDER VALE COUNTRY 10 MILER - 30th MARCH 2018
"What we gonna do?"
"I don’t know, what do you wanna do?"
"I don’t know, what d’you wanna do?"
Bernadette & I sounded like the vultures off Jungle Book thinking about this Good Friday. We checked for runs over the holiday & as the Salford 10K & Hale 5K were both full, we booked on the Calder Vale 10 miler. We all know Calderdale & there is Calderstones in Liverpool, but I had never heard of this place. Even Google Maps had to think for a bit.
Calder is a Celtic word that means 'from a stony river'. Anyway, the village is just inside the Forest of Bowland & it’s like finding human habitation in the Lost World, a tiny hamlet on both sides of a deep v-shaped wooded valley. After Bernadette & I had played Top Trumps for forgotten kit - gloves & club vest (doh!) - we picked up our numbers in a village hall that hadn’t changed since Ronnie Quinn was in the cubs.
The race set off alongside the village’s cenotaph & this run is a toughie. A look at the race profile will show that you run progressively uphill most of the way - but remembering Alex Critcher’s comment at the start of the Wrexham Half that "you need the uphills so as to catch the downhills", there were some steepish descents. My legs, however, wanted to turn back before the 2nd mile & my lungs wanted to join them. It’s always a bad sign when runners go past & then pointedly check their watches just in front of you like they’re not even in their red zone yet. But it’s a good buzz at the end when you are running down to a finish that you can see below you. Bernadette was pleased with her time, being very unsure that she had the stamina to complete the course after suffering from a persistent virus.
The big surprise was the medal, which was as big as a drinks
coaster, attractively designed & not without some heft to it. There were pie
'n' peas, hot drinks & a great choice of cakes back at the hall, as the locals
maximised their revenue-raising opportunity from these incomers. I could
easily envisage fellow RRRs chilling there at the end of the race. Where else would anyone
need to rush off to on a Good Friday?
So a challenging but rewarding away day run & only £12 for affiliated runners.
"Well what are we gonna do tomorrow?"
"Now don’t start that
DENTDALE RUN - 10th MARCH 2018
Now in its 34th year, the breathtaking scenery of the Dentdale Run attracts runners from far & wide. With RRR being attracted to that sort of thing, not to mention to any village with its own brewery, it is a well-established fixture in the RRR championship. The ‘secret’ Yorkshire dale of Dent, nestled in the Howgills right on the Cumbria/ Yorkshire border, always offers RRR a hearty welcome. Maybe one year they’ll even hire a pub band that can play a decent tune.
The 14.2 mile, figure-of-8 course literally goes up & down the dale (& some hills), out one side of the small village of Dent & back in the other. The scenery is outstanding & the course is tough. Whoever 1st said the last mile is the hardest had probably run the race at some point.
The run was ‘sold out’ & over 400 finished the long race, including 39 RRRs. Paul Cooke (2:09:25) was the standout achiever, completing his 50th club race. This makes him the 38th current member of the prestigious ’50 Club’ & earns him the equally impressive gold-embossed 50 Club polo shirt.
In the main event, Jarrod Gritt (1:26:50) claimed full championship points again & finished a very creditable 7th overall. He was followed home by Shane Reading (1:31:25) who also finished 2nd in the MV40 category. In the MV50 grouping Dave Peart (1:33:01), who is preparing for both the Manchester & London marathons in April (2 weeks apart!) claimed 2nd and 21st overall. This leading trio just missed out on the men's team prize, by less than a minute.
In the ladies race Janet Jobey (1:49:04) grabbed maximum points & finished 3rd in the FV45s. Well done also to Claire Timms (2:30:02) who amongst many setting new PBs for this course managed to knock a remarkable 11 minutes off her previous time.
For those on the coach you might have failed to notice, if you had your eyes & ears closed all the way home, that in the ‘fun run’ shorter 7 mile race there was a magnificent men's team victory for Andy Schofield (17th, 59:36), Steve Shaw (19th, 1:00:53) & Adam Farrell (28th, 1:03:55) - Adam picking up a prize in only his 2nd race as an RRR. There were some people who said the prize of 3 bottles of wine went quicker than the lads ran the race, but as Steve so rightly said, "Jealousy is a terrible thing."
All the other RRR finishers(in the 14.2 mile race): Robert Fairbanks (1:36:23), Richard Cummins (1:38:40), Carl O'Callaghan (1:38:43), Neil Brock (1:39:29), Ian Dale (1:41:57), David Emanuel (1:42:28), Elliot Stone (1:43:47), Bernard Goodwin (1:47:03), Valerie Kilburn (1:57:53), Vikki Smith (1:59:10), Howard Dracup (1:59:23), Gary Smith (1:59:30), Robert Nixon (2:00:47), Garry Bower (2:01:28), Alex Critcher (2:01:37), Helen Radcliffe (2:05:22), Jason Keast (2:06:59), Teresa Hollins (3rd FV60, 2:15:20), Andy Chadwick (2:16:02), Jillian Heywood (2:19:06), Simon Howard (2:20:47), Lisa Cummins (2:21:27), Ian Giles (2:30:57), Tom Giles (2:30:57), Lee Higginbottom (2:33:24), Martina Naismith (2:36:29), Jenny O'Callaghan (2:37:03), Bernadette Ball (2:39:27), Sarah Butler (2:53:15), Charlotte Chadwick (2:53:18), Natalie Yates-Bolton (2:53:18), June Allingan (1st FV70, 2:56:10) & Mary Freer (2:56:11).
The next club race will be the 1st of the Hollingworth Lake 5K series in May. 5K – now doesn’t that sound like a lovely distance! [Elliot Stone]
It might have been the fact that we were running in a different country, but the impressive start to the year made at Dewsbury was continued in Wales. The conditions were near-perfect & the course, apart from a dodgy start around an industrial estate, was near-perfect too. 13.1 miles of scenic Welsh countryside in beautiful winter sunshine made running a pleasure for 57 RRRs (more than we've ever had in a Club Championship half marathon, with the exception of Oldham) & the accompanying times backed this up.
Once again, it was a personal best (PB) bonanza & then some. Jenny O’Callaghan (2:11:08) managed to knock off over 8 minutes off her previous best. In the men’s section, Robert Nixon (1:42:20) beat his by over 4 minutes. Even your press officer (1:28:08) succeeded in slicing 90 seconds off his former PB, which was set over 6 years ago. There is life in the old dog yet!
Aside from these great times, in the main race Jarrod Gritt was reinforcing the marker he laid down at Dewsbury by finishing in an astonishing time of 1:14:48. This resulted in him finishing 20th overall, 5th Senior Male, which in a field of 1800 runners is mightily impressive. Following him home was Shane Reading (1:19:32) in 59th place, completing his 81st consecutive club race.
Janet Jobey (1:36:11) maintained her fine start to the season & cemented her place as the woman to beat in this year’s championship by claiming 44th position in the female race, 4th in the FV45 group. Joint best position of the day went to Eileen Ingham (2:08:29), who finished 3rd in the FV65 category, & Teresa Hollins (1:53:05, 3rd FV60).
In the RRR Roll of Honour both Michael Fleming (1:24:31) & Rob Battye (1:25:57) joined the esteemed ‘25 Club', confirming that running is indeed a bug that is very hard to shake off. Andrew Chadwick (1:50:40) joined the ‘10 Club' too, marking himself down into posterity.
A few 'firsts' worth mentioning - Alex Critcher (1:48:20) produced an impressive debut in RRR colours & Amanda Richardson (2:11:33) completed her 1st ever half marathon, while Bernie Goodwin (1:27:23) - closing in on 200 club races - ran for the 1st time as a V50.
After the race & a short trip on the coach, Chester & its Roman walls hosted the large party of RRRs. In Wetherspoons, the world’s longest table was assembled in order for all the food & drink to be swilled down in a hearty manner only matched by pigs around a trough. There were some rumours that a ‘pervert’ had infiltrated the party & had managed to sneak into the women’s changing room earlier on, not once but 4 times. However it seems that the perpetrator was duly named & shamed & might never, ever live the event down!
All the other RRR finishers: Chris Lowe (1:21:19), Robert Fairbanks (1:23:34), Neil Brock (1:25:54), Richard Cummins (1:26:03), Dave Peart (1:28:28), Carl O'Callaghan (1:28:59), David Emanuel (1:29:18), Ian Dale (1:30:24), Brian Moore (1:31:53), David Hall (1:34:11), Andrew Schofield (1:37:18), Stewart Jones (1:38:47), Matt Kershaw (1:39:58), Mark Rigby (1:41:52), Steve Shaw (1:41:59), Valerie Kilburn (1:42:41), Vikki Smith (1:43:41), Gary Smith (1:46:38), Paul Cooke (1:47:18), Howard Dracup (1:47:32), Leonie Glynn (1:48:24), Jason Keast (1:52:48), Helen Radcliffe (1:53:02), Julie Greenwood (1:53:05), Adam Stirling (1:53:15), Tom Giles (1:53:39), Ian Giles (1:54:47), Diane Allingan (1:57:40), Gail Shaw (1:58:11), Simon Howard (2:03:30), Jillian Heywood (2:05:23), Lisa Cummins (2:07:35), Claire Timms (2:09:34), Martina Naismith (2:10:49), Bernadette Ball (2:14:50), Sarah Butler (2:16:10), Lee Higginbottom (2:16:16), Tracey Hall (2:16:39), Charlotte Chadwick (2:16:47), Sharon Dracup (2:22:52), Niparun Nessa (2:23:37), Natalie Yates-Bolton (2:24:07) & June Allingan (2:41:20).
Next stop is Dent, which I'm sure will write its own story. See you there. [Elliot Stone]
To Astley Park for the final race of the 2017-18 season, at arguably the best of all the courses in the league, with all the components of a great cross-country route - lots of mud, a lovely bog, a cold river crossing & a beast of a hill to put a sting in the tail at the end of each lap. Due to an unfortunate motorway incident a couple of our ladies didn’t make the start line. Our only starter was therefore the fantastic Bernadette Ball who finished in 44:56.
The start of the men’s race was very generously delayed by 5 minutes to allow those stuck in traffic to arrive. This unfortunately wasn’t enough for Jason Keast & Neil Brock who subsequently missed the start, but like true heroes they still completed the course.
The race starts on a flat, but muddy field, which then drops into a lovely little bog. After ascending from the bog you reach - with very little pace - what feels like the muddiest little section of the course, which I found took the breath away the most. After cutting across & down into the woodland you have a nicer trail-like path, soft enough for spikes & the development of some good speed. This speed is quickly diminished as you hurdle into a river & must ascend the wet, muddy banking. This again drops back to water, however this time with a small bridge crossing. From here you climb a gentle path which eventually leads out of the woods to the final (killer) part of the lap, the steep ascent to the finish. Although not a very long hill it really burns the legs & requires some strong propulsion from the arms.
During the last lap of the course there was a real race on for 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th. At the beginning of the lap I was neck-&-neck with Michael Mannings of O&R & Craig Jones of Manchester YMCA Harriers, with Joe Hudak of East Cheshire & Tameside AC quite a distance ahead. As we approached the bog I picked up the pace in a bid to open up a gap, but by the time we reached the woodland I was overtaken by both Michael & Craig. On the steady ascent I kept with them both, all 3 of us gaining pace. Joe appeared to be nearing & before too long it was a 4-man battle with positions changing several times. Approaching the final hill & push to the finish line all 4 of us gave all we had to reach to top 1st, it was a real test of character and determination. I knew that the order we reached the top would be the final standings. After coming off 3rd in that battle I pushed as hard as I could to catch Michael & Joe but just missed out, finishing with my legs on fire & nothing else to give. Craig (36:24) fell back a bit on the hill while I finished in 36:17 just behind Michael (36:11) & Joe (36:15) in a tough but enjoyable battle.
Next in for us was Shane Reading (38:58) to complete a great campaign which has seen him claim silver in the male V40 category for the 2nd successive year. Rob Fairbanks (40:14) was our 3rd man to finish & also the only other RRR to complete all 4 races in the series (along with myself & Shane). It is great to see Rob regaining his fitness after injury setbacks that marred last season, I have no doubt this fitness will continue to grow as the season progresses. Michael Fleming (41:03) completed our team for the day & has featured in 3 of our 4 men’s teams during the series.
Other RRR finishers: Jason Keast (1:03:23), Neil Brock
(59:51) - despite their late arrival - Gary Smith (52:32), Paul Wolstenhulme
(49:30), Bryan Lawton (47:31) & Barry Greaves (42:24).
After some very hard-fought battles, the South-East Lancs series ends with me narrowly missing out by 2 points on a podium finish in the senior men’s category & the men’s senior team being pipped for silver by Oldham & Royton by just 3 points. However the team has still walked away with an excellent 3rd place. We narrowly missed out on bronze in the MV40 category, losing out by 2 points to O&R, but Shane Reading showed fantastic form to claim silver in the individual MV40. In the MV50s we had another great success, with our team just edging Manchester YMCA Harriers by a single point for bronze.
This year has been slightly disappointing on the ladies side - numbers have been down & we’ve struggled to make a team in most races. Sophie Wood enjoyed a fine run of form, coming 3rd at Heaton Park, 2nd at Tandle Hill & 1st at both Leigh & Chorley; although the last 2 performances didn't count for RRR we must recognise this achievement & we all wish you success at Salford Harriers. A big well done to those ladies who did compete in one or more races - Bernadette Ball, Chloe Clegg, Rochelle Evans, Susan Heaney, Jillian Heywood, Selina McLean, Martina Naismith & Nefa Nessa.
I hope that next year as a team, both men & women, we can build on this year’s achievements. For those who have never tried cross-country please don’t be scared - yes, it is often cold, wet & muddy, but you will have the full support of the club & despite it all it is a great afternoon out. [Jarrod Gritt]
DEWSBURY 10K - 4th FEBRUARY 2018
It was over the hills to Dewsbury for the 1st race of the 2018 RRR championship. The Yorkshire town hosted the well-organised & well-attended 10K – over 1500 runners entered – that sets the tone for the rest of the season.
The race certainly didn’t disappoint. Lots of RRRs managed to grab personal bests (PBs) even at this early stage of the season, including Bernadette Ball (8th FV60, 61:38), Sharon Dracup (62:58), Jenny O'Callaghan (58:28), Carl O'Callaghan (39:48), Michael Wildbore (37:45) & Michael Fleming (37:43). They were helped by the straightforward route - heading through Batley towards Birstall & back again, the speedy downhill finish provided the platform for some excellent times.
First honours of the season went to Jarrod Gritt (34:50), who finished 33rd in a very strong field. Jarrod began to show his potential last season & has worked hard through the winter months to ensure his progress. By being the first RRR home, he managed to beat Shane Reading (9th V40, 35:34) & last year’s club champion, Rob James (35:42). Both Jarrod and Shane recorded new PBs, emphasising the quality of their runs.
In the women’s race, Janet Jobey (43:49) lived up to her billing as favourite by coming home 1st among the RRR women. This was quite an achievement, coming early in her return from a serious foot injury.
June Allingan (1st FV70, 1:10:58) gained our only prize in any category, proving once again that she is not ready for the quiet life just yet. However there were a number of impressive age category positions in this top-quality field, including Diane Allingan (9th FV55, 51:17), Val Kilburn (8th FV50, 46:34), Ronnie Quinn (6th V65, 45:00), Robert Nixon (5th V60, 43:35) & Chris Lowe (4th V45, 36:25).
Despite the tough competition our men's & women's teams put in commendable performances for 9th & 14th positions respectively.
Big congratulations & a very warm welcome to our ‘first-timers’ Adam Farrell (48:37), Leonie Glyn (48:53) & Sally Crewe (59:37). We’re sure your names will appear in these reports many times in the future.
All the other RRR finishers: Mary Freer (1:10:58), Lee Higginbottom (an injury-plagued 65:01), Tracey Hall (62:04), Sarah Butler (60:37), Martina Naismith (59:43), Elaine Whitehead (57:08), Jillian Heywood (56:26), Amanda Richardson (54:09), Rochelle Evans (54:06), Lisa Cummins (53:23), Gail Shaw (53:19), Jill Hickson (53:04), John Fay (50:59), Tony Kane (50:06), Gary Marshall (49:56), Dave Watt (49:38), Simon Howard (48:45), Chris Nicholson (48:19), Adam Stirling (48:14), David Freer (47:59), Helen Radcliffe (47:56), Gary Smith (47:09), Neil Farrell (46:57), Paul Cooke (46:53), Andy Chadwick (46:44), David Crewe (46:40), Vikki Smith (46:39), Mark Heaney (45:53), Jason Keast (45:14), Garry Bower (45:06), Steve Shaw (44:38), Bryan Lawton (43:58), Stewart Jones (43:56), Matthew Kilburn (43:16), Matt Kershaw (42:32), Bernie Cassidy (42:22), Ian Dale (41:21), David Emanuel (40:44), Elliot Stone (40:32), Dave Peart (39:28), Richard Cummins (38:57), Bernie Goodwin (38:50) & Rob Battye (37:13).
Overall, 62 RRRs completed the race – let’s see if we can keep those numbers up throughout the rest of the season.
The next event is a new one on the calendar, the Village Bakery Wrexham Half Marathon. See you there! [Elliot Stone]
Click here for 2017 race reports archive.
Click here for 2016 race reports archive.
Click here for 2015 race reports archive.
Click here for 2014 race reports archive.
Click here for 2013 race reports archive
Click here for 2012 race reports archive.
Click here for 2011 race reports archive.
Click here for 2010 race reports archive.