RACE REPORTS

OLDHAM'S TOUGHEST 10K - 9th JUNE 2019

Alexandra Park was in bloom & appearing like a well-looked-after public park should look when we arrived for the race. The outside toilets in the boathouse had possibly been opened for the event, as we correctly supposed that there might not be any portable loos at the Lion’s Den. They were reasonably clean. On the wooden jetty a heron ignored us as we crept around the lake to get a closer look at it. I remembered that the last time I walked around the lake was when I first came to Oldham some 30 years ago. Oldham Athletic were in the semis, the Rougheds were in the final & the basketball team were also doing well. I remember thinking that ‘this town is on the up’. Oh well...


"Gary!"

"What?"

"Stop with the nostalgia, get on with the report."

"What report?"


Oh yes, the report. Well 55 RRR members had entered Oldham’s Toughest 10K. I remember doing this race in 2014...


"You’re reminiscing again."

"I was just going to go on to say that the 2014 times for this race for the runners I’ve checked - even allowing for the age increase - were faster going the other way round – anti-clockwise."


Moreover, there are 2 club runners who can rightly wallow in nostalgia: Bernard Cassidy (47:00, 1st MV60) was running his 150th club race & Elliot Stone (46:43) his 100th. Congratulations & well done to both these long-time members. Blackpool was Elliot’s "most memorable" race to date, being only 2 weeks ago. June Allingan (1:14:17, 1st FV70) also had reason to celebrate as it was her birthday - obvious really as we’re in the month of June - & she still had breath left to blow birthday bubbles in the boathouse afterwards. Congratulations & happy birthday June!


After lashing it down all Saturday, the bad weather had broken & running conditions were just about perfect - dry, not too warm with no wind. This of course didn’t matter for the speed-kings, as Rob James (35:22) came in as the race winner then dashed off for the Knowl Hill Fell Race later that morning, with Jarrod Gritt (35:38) finishing runner-up just 16 secs later. Then there was a parade of RRRs, many of whom took the honours in their age category. We took both the team prizes, with Shane Reading (39:44, 1st V45) joining Rob & Jarrod for the men whilst Rochelle Evans (49:37, 1st FV40), Jill Heywood (58:23) & Sue Heaney (1:00:35, 1st FV55) claimed victory for the women.


I only saw Damian Mercer (51:03 in his 25th club race), who went past me on Alt Lane, but ahead there are now some real battles going on between our club runners. Dave Ellis (42:27) finished just 1 second ahead of Dave Peart (42:28, 1st MV50) on chip timing, while only 5 seconds split Paul Ashton (42:33), Carl O’Callaghan (42:37) & George Booth (42:38, 1st MU20) & there were only 2 seconds between John Fay (50:49) & Mark Foran (50:51). Incidentally, Mark Foran, Mark Phelan (50:02) & myself stood in exactly the same clockwise positions at the start as we had done at Blackpool, so my new running maxim still holds.


Some 'first time in the report' mentions for Owen Flage (41:55), Michael Pickering (45:13) & Martina Naismith (1:02:52) who all ran their 1st club race of the season. Also for Martin Thompson (41:21, 1st MV35), Robert Kellett (47:29), Elaine Whitehead (1:06:30) & Karen Stuttard (1:09:58).


Nice to see Mark Heaney (53:35) not on assignment for Sports Illustrated for this race & back running. Same goes for Lee Higginbottom (54:05) & Steve Goddard (54:19), the latter running without his right calf support for the 1st time & both coming back into it. Well done also to Anne Jones (1:11:51), back in an RRR vest & back on the comeback trail. Hubby Stephen Jones (1:14:41) was desperately trying to protect his knees & bravely toughed it out to the finish.


It must have been warm at the finish because RRR Chairman Bryan Lawton (44:46) gave permission to Andy Schofield (47:43) to remove his vest. Bryan had to get straight off to 'open the shop' & this time he wasn’t running up Huddersfield Road after the ‘Toughest’ 10K!


As both of us examied the medal, Mike Keating (1:03:40) remarked that it was the same colour as his new bathroom. So I’m picturing Mike in the bath, holding his champagne flute, the suds hiding his modesty, with gold taps & ‘gold’ toilet seat - before he assured me that his bathroom is the same grey as the front of the medal, not the ribbon.


Bernadette (1:05:57) complained that she didn’t get a goodie bag with banana. Jill told her that there were only 50 put out. Hell hath no fury like a lady runner deprived of their post-race banana! However, it all turned to smiles when Bernadette collected her prize for coming 1st in her V65 age category.


All the other RRR finishers: Angela Rogowskyj (1:19:02), Stephen Rogowskyj (1:04:08), Amanda Richardson (1:03:16), Dave Watt (1:02:42), Dave Bardsley (1:01:30), Gary Marshall (57:05), Chris Nicholson (55:32), David Phillips (55:19), Steven Shaw (54:58), Mark Kelly (54:31), Mark Rigby (53:19), Gary Smith (52:30), Adam Farrell (48:54), Nicholas Mallon (48:33), Jason Keast (47:56), Robert Nixon (47:30), Alex Critcher (47:21), Dave Hall (45:01), Brett Spivey (44:34), Ian Dale (43:37) & Robert Fairbanks (39:38).


Next up is the Colshaw Hall 10K on 23rd June.  [Gary Smith]

BLACKPOOL PROMENADE 10 MILER - 25th MAY 2019

"What have Tunisia, Egypt, my ex-mother-in-law’s & Blackpool all got in common?"

"Another Facebook thread you’ve been wasting time on?"

"They are all places that people visit once & never want to go back to."


"And that’s the only occasion today that Vikki will be behind me today," I observed on seeing Vikki Smith’s number envelope behind mine on the registration table.


The start of this race is from the pretty bleak Middle Walkway. After looping the main drag once you head out north, but turn around & come back without seeming to leave the town proper, following the concrete walkways & tarmac paths that make up the ‘promenade’ route. Scenic? Not really.


Everybody is off the coach - well done to Martina Naismith for showing such organisational flair in arranging this - & we’re milling around in groups. Going clockwise were Jason Keast talking to Bernadette & Mark Foran, then Mark Phelan & myself. Apart from Bernadette we arranged ourselves in the exact same order around the table in Weatherspoons – new running maxim.


Gareth McCaffrey has signed up to do the New York Marathon, his 1st, so was starting to think about that. Mark Foran asks if my fresh trim was aerodynamically styled to reduce drag resistance?


"Whatever it takes Mark." (showing some mental toughness here I thought)


Paul Cooke & I agreed to literally 'run together' as we thought our 10-mile times must be fairly close, but all that overtime at work on his feet paid off for Paul, as he went ahead early & stayed there for the whole race. My race plan was affected however, by Helen Radcliffe trying to push me over the seawall at the start. Mark Heaney’s photo clearly shows this!


Pass my readers Bernadette, because I am going to scrutinise Dave E’s spreadsheet & name check mostly those that I haven’t previously mentioned (in a frivolous manner) in previous reports...


47 RRRs turned out on a May Bank Holiday, more than we have had for all the other races over 10K this year. As a club we pretty much dominated this event, which had just under 200 runners on the day.


1st though, a necessary mention of the race winner Rob James (55:39) & runner-up Jarrod Gritt (57:03). Rob is a '3-day eventer' as he then won the Saddleworth Fell Race on Sunday & finished 2nd at the Huddersfield 10K on Monday. Rob & Jarrod are similar build but whether they have the same running style I’ll never know, as they finish their races so far ahead of me. Congratulations to both. They should donate their bodies to running science.


"Do you think I should donate my body to science, B?"

"I don’t know - they might already have a draught excluder."


I have mentioned Ian Dale (1st MV55, 1:07:51) previously, but he won his age group here & seems to be running better with age (being very aware of course that he is in the same category as me). Elliot Stone (1:14:10) also had a great run - well done Elliot. Meanwhile our American RRR cousins (well they have very American-sounding names) Brad Howard (1:12:06 in his 1st club race of 2019) & Brett Spivey (1:13:20) finished close together. Mark Phelan (1:18:11) is now well into his stride in his 1st year with the club, an ever-present on training nights & running impressively (I'm running out of running adjectives already).


I asked Adam Stirling (1:15:48) if it was his 1st season with the club & was surprised to be told that he is 3 years in, but being a young dad just uses parkrun to train (another buggy-pusher no doubt) & doesn’t get to club training nights. He did sterling work & would have been pleased to finish just behind Elliot. Elliot your’re now up to 2 mentions!


Well done to Adam Boulton (1:26:37 in his 1st race in RRRs colours). Adam remembered his sunglasses, but did this redhead remember his Factor 30? Then Mark Kelly (1:28:09) also in shades & on-trend (maybe) calf-length socks. I've not mentioned Lisa Cummins (1:28:34) since the English Half Marathon last season - she finished just behind Mark. Next was Kevin Hutchings (1:29:53), shades again (forecast must have been for sun), baseball cap & maybe less on-trend just-below-the-knee socks.


I've not mentioned Chris Nicholson (1:32:31) recently, here in his customary bandana. Good to see him doing one of the longer races.


On with the 1st mentions for Trish Murdin (1:33:02) & then Susan Heaney (1:33:40) in black & white cap, who was rightfully pleased to be back after a long-term injury & put in a great sprint finish. Emma Bower (1:33:49) in a white cap pounded the last 50 metres followed by Tracey Hall (1:38:04) in shades & stylish patterned leggings. Dave Watt (1:40:07) was followed by Nikki Forster (1:40:16) in shades & RRR buff worn as a headband, followed by Bernadette Ball (1:44:13) feeling some pain.


"Yet you tell people that you are 'pain-free' when I’m not there?"


Bernadette rightly complained that there were no age category prizes for the ladies at FV65/FV70 & that the organisers were therefore sexist. I have to agree - how much for just 2 more bottles of Lambrini for the laydeeez?


Debbie Cash (1:45:23) had dropped back, followed by Dave Bardsley (1:49:39) running his longest distance to date - well done Dave! Then June Allingan (1:51:38), followed by Bernie Allen (1:55:28 - the club is up to four Bernies now) & then Angela Rogowskyj (2:00:26) powering home in a shocking pink cap.


All the other RRR finishers: Amanda Richardson (1:34:45), Karen Jones (1:31:18), Gail Shaw (1:30:47), Jillian Heywood (1:30:28), Steve Goddard (1:29:56), Helen Radcliffe (1:24:43), Gareth McCaffery (1:24:10), Gary Smith (1:22:31), Paul Cooke (1:22:02), John Fay (1:21:48), Steven Shaw (1:20:17), Rochelle Evans (1:18:52), Valerie Kilburn (1st FV50, 1:18:29), Vikki Smith (1:17:55), Mark Foran (1:17:47), Jason Keast (1:17:45), Robert Nixon (1st MV60, 1:15:55), Garry Bower (1:13:32), Andy Schofield (1:11:39), Janet Jobey (3rd female, 1st FV45, 1:11:00), Dave Peart (1st MV50, 1:05:03) & Shane Reading (1st MV45, 1:02:17).


"Have I forgotten anything?"

"Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to be beside the sea….tiddley-om-pom-pom."


Oh yes - a big thanks to the pom-pom girls (Jill Hickson, Martina Naismith, Sharon Dracup & Diane Johnson) who provided such great encouragement to all the runners. "Massive tanker" shouted Jill, pointing as I came in with the tide. I’m sure it was a ferry Jill?


Next club race is the Oldham 10K on 9th June.  [Gary Smith]

WINDERMERE MARATHON - 19th MAY 2019

Back again for "the most scenic UK marathon"! This was the 13th time the race has taken place since it began in 2007 & my 11th attempt. Over those years I've managed to persuade numerous RRRs to join me, but none have yet run it more than once; I'm quite hopeful that my two companions this year, Simon Howard & Neil Brock, might be tempted back after a glorious day in the Lakes.


Of the 3 of us, I was the only one really here to 'race'. Simon had managed just 2 weeks proper training, after an injury-plagued few months which had forced him to pull out of the Manchester Marathon, so he was simply using the event as part of his preparation for bigger challenges to come - Endure 24 in June & the Lakeland 50 (July) in particular. For Neil, who had kept his appearance here 'under the radar', this was really just a training run in his build-up to the Chicago Marathon in October. His 'tapering' (which wasn't tapering at all) had included the tough 14-mile Pendle Cloughs Fell Race the previous weekend (with over 4,000 feet of climb), lots of work-related travelling during the week & a 20-minute parkrun in a narrow RRR Cup defeat to Andy Chadwick a day earlier.


Conditions before the race were perfect - cool & overcast, with a bit of dampness in the air. It stayed like that for the 1st hour or so, but soon started to warm up. Then continued to get hotter. There's not a lot of shelter on the road around the lake & with the sun reflecting back off the tarmac I think we all ended up a bit burnt - there had certainly been nothing in the forecast to indicate a need for suncream. The heat apparently didn't affect the quicker runners, especially Rob Corney (2:29:55) & Mary Hammond (3:02:56) who both set new course records, Mary doing so in her 1st ever marathon. For the rest of us though...Neil finished looking very comfortable in 3:43:31 (7th MV50), Simon said he "found the wall" but still beat his target as he crossed the line in 5:24:06 & I came home in 3:25:28. That's one of my slower times for the event,  but the wheels didn't come off as spectacularly as they did last year. Whilst I just missed out on a MV55 prize (they award trophies to the top 2 finishers in each age category - I was 3rd), I take some consolation from the fact that I was 48 when I won the 2nd MV45 award in 2012 & 52 when finishing 2nd MV50 in 2016. So there's still plenty of time to add another to the collection!


With a spectacular view over the lake, in the grounds of Brathay Hall, I haven't yet come across a better marathon finish. It was a beautiful spot to wait to cheer Simon home, although I must admit I spent a lot of that time flat on my back, gulping down water, whilst Neil (made of sterner stuff) was happily rehydrating with a couple of pints from the beer tent. I'll definitely be back next year - if you fancy joining in the fun, early bird entries open on 1st September!  [David Emanuel]             

IAN CASEY MEMORIAL COWM 5K - 9th MAY 2019

25th January 2009. It’s now more than 10 years since Ian Casey tragically died whilst taking part in the Gloucester Marathon. For those RRRs who knew Ian, our club will never feel quite the same without him.


This is the 11th time a race has been held in Ian’s honour & it was fanastic to see a new record field of 179, including Ian’s son Jason (pictured right, in red). As you would expect we were the best-represented club, with our 68 finishers equalling the number we had at the Dewsbury 10K in February – plus a splendid 16 graduating from the latest Royton Run Together group, with times suggesting that they could soon be competing in RRR colours – but we were run pretty close by 66 very enthusiastic members of Ramsbottom Running Club.


Given those numbers, it perhaps isn’t that surprising that all of the 18 finishers who broke the 20-minute barrier were representing either RRR or Ramsbottom. 13 of those were from Royton, including 6 who had completed Sunday’s race over the same course. The 1st 3 across the line were all RRRs, with Shane Reading (17:59) once again the 1st V45 finisher in 3rd place, but the order ahead of him was different as Rob James (16:40) knocked 8 seconds off his Sunday time to gain immediate revenge over Jarrod Gritt (16:50), who definitely prefers racing in the morning. However, since Jarrod was 14 seconds ahead in the previous race, I guess he could claim a narrow victory ‘on aggregate’ – if such a thing existed.


It was fantastic to welcome 5 new recruits, all completing their 1st club race in fine style - Joanne Lawton (35:29), Tim Dickinson (28:46), Adam Stopford (28:10), Trish Murdin (26:30) & Andrea Dickinson (1st FV35 in 24:08). In addition there were a number of existing members returning to race in club colours for the 1st time this year - Stephen Jones (31:58), Mark Kelly (24:30), Dean Burgess (24:28 in his 1st club race since 2017), Dave Hall (21:18), Darren Ogden (20:16), Paul Ashton (19:44) & Martin Thompson (18:57). Mark Kelly was completing his 25th RRR race after a bit of a break – this was only his 2nd since 2012 – but he seems determined to make up for lost time & I’m sure that his times will soon be coming down pretty rapidly.

I spent most of the race unsuccessfully trying to keep up with some of our age category winners - David Ellis (1st V40, 19:39), Ian Dale (1st V55, 19:38) & Dave Peart (1st V50, 19:11) - as well as the speedy Carl O'Callaghan (19:31) & Bernie Goodwin (19:51). Whilst I wasn’t closing the gap on any of them I felt confident I could maintain my position - until we hit the descent towards the finish, when Matt Kershaw (19:44) came flying past at such a pace that he also managed to overtake Bernie & Paul Ashton on the home straight. I assume that this finishing kick was responsible for his ridiculously mud-splattered vest (see left). I can’t claim that this won’t ever happen with our stylish new club vests, but at least the dirt won’t show up quite so much…


Other RRRs triumphing in their age category were Janet Jobey (1st FV45 & 2nd female overall in 20:42), June Allingan (1st FV75, 32:57) & Dave Phillips (1st MV75, 40:13). Dave pulled up with a muscle injury on the 1st lap of the reservoir but still continued on to finish the race, giving June a rare victory in the battle of the V75s.


Here’s a fascinating statistic (well I thought so, anyway): of the 38 RRRs who ran in both of the 2 races in a week at Cowm, 17 went quicker on the Thursday evening than they had on the previous Sunday morning. Pride of place goes to Dave Watt (24:55), Bernie Allen (26:13) & Emma Bower (26:15), who improved their times by 54, 49 & 43 seconds respectively over the space of just 4 days. Maybe they’re just not ‘morning people’?


All the other RRR finishers: Angela Rogowskyj (34:17), Anne Jones (33:29), Stephen Rogowskyj (32:50), Dave Bardsley (30:38), Sharon Dracup (30:03), Sue Farrell (29:23), Judith Bradley (29:10), Natali Brown (29:07), Nikki Forster (28:36), Neil Bradley (27:45), Jillian Heywood (27:38), Gail Shaw (27:09), Stephen Goddard (26:26), Simon Howard (25:35), Kevin Hutchings (25:23), Liane Gilligan (25:22), Gary Marshall (25:17), Lee Higginbottom (25:14), Paul Cooke (24:40), Martin Jones (24:37), , Tim Walsh (24:18), Tracy Johnson (23:50), Steven Shaw (23:31), Neil Farrell (23:20), John Fay (23:08), Gareth McCaffery (23:01), Elliot Stone (22:48), Robert Nixon (22:46 despite a heavy fall), Rochelle Evans (22:44), Mark Heaney (22:41), Mark Foran (22:19), Jason Keast (21:56), Bernard Cassidy (21:46), Adam Farrell (21:34), Adam Stirling (21:23), Andrew Chadwick (21:19), Nicholas Mallon (20:50), Bryan Lawton (20:49), Garry Bower (20:48) & Neil Brock (19:57). Well run all!


Next club race is the Blackpool Promenade 10 Miler on the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May. There are still places available on the RRR coach to this event – book now to avoid disappointment!  [David Emanuel]

JOHN PURDY MEMORIAL SPRINGHILL HOSPICE COWM 5K - 5th MAY 2019

This race has not fitted in with our training schedule. We’re still finishing the Easter eggs & Bernadette’s birthday cake.


"Plus that half-price egg from Sweet Deals you gave me for my birthday."

"That was a Celebration egg, & it didn’t stop you wolfing it down!"


Pinning my number on at the back of the pub, the guy inputting the registration slips held up Dave Peart’s for my inspection.

"Look at that!" he said crossly. I couldn’t see anything wrong with it.

"How am I supposed to know what that stands for?" He pointed to the letters ‘RRR’ Dave had written next to 'Club Affiliated To'.

I gawped at him in astonishment. How come at this venue, of all places, 1 of the registration guys didn’t know what RRR stood for?


On to the race & most of us have been here before. Peg it as fast as you can, up the hill & round twice, while trying to overtake/keep up with as many people as possible. This account will mostly be just that - a roll call of people who either stayed out in front or overtook me.


Ronnie Quinn (21:22 for 1st MV65) had heard that Rob Nixon (22:14) was getting back to form & so had got out of his bath chair for his first club race of the season. They were the 1st to chug past me, running parallel to each other. Rob is certainly returning to form, but Ronnie’s was an astonishing run, coming from the back of the field to get ahead of a cluster of RRRs all finishing on or around 21:30 - Andrew Chadwick (21:29), Bernard Cassidy (21:30) & Jason Keast (21:30). It’s a pity no one got a photo of these guys going all out to get to the finish in front.


I hadn’t even reached the dam by then & could only watch on as John Fay (23:01) overtook Rochelle Evans (23:05) further up front, both putting in fast measured runs. Just ahead of me after the 1st circuit, I thought Mark Rigby (23:06) was flagging until he started to pull further ahead. Steven Shaw (23:08) had already nonchalantly gone past me (yet another sexagenarian*). My torment wasn’t over as Gareth McCaffrey (23:35) went past on the dam wall. I 'overtook' Shane Reading (17:43, 1st M45) with Xander in the buggy at the boathouse, thinking that he hadn’t run, but of course some guys are so quick around this course that he had already finished & run back up the hill to meet Rochelle coming in!


A final RRR went past me - another young dad & buggy-pusher Damian Mercer (23:37), coming back after taking a year off. I’ve got to thank Damian for encouraging me to sprint to the finish line for a time of 23:38 in my 50th club race. Bernadette, please find me a baby in a stroller to train with. It’s the future!


Other age category winners in addition to Shane were Robert Fairbanks (18:37, 1st MV40), Janet Jobey (21:02, 1st FV45 & 2nd female), Ronnie Quinn, Dave Philips (24:50, 1st MV75), Liane Gilligan (22:50, 1st FV35), Bernadette Ball (30:37, 1st FV65) & June Allingan (32:50, 1st FV75). Rob Fairbanks & Sophie Wood were scanning the results print-out back in the pub. "You’ll find me on Page 3, 3/4 of the way down, where I always am, never a category winner." I said, but I don’t think they were scoping my time.


"See Bernadette, the upside of having a birthday is that you’re the youngest if you go up a category!"


I spoke to other runners who are coming back after some disruption to their training: Bernard Cassidy (you’d never have thought it), Steven Goddard (25:42), Dave Ellis (19:34) - who stayed with Dave Peart (19:14) until the latter 'hit the afterburners' to finish just in front - & Sharon Dracup (28:48) who is running really well. Paul Cooke (24:12) was working the next day (on the Bank Holiday) & we agreed that despite doing the gym work & spin sessions, you still need to do the pack runs on training nights to put in a faster race time, which of course is not easy if you’re busy in work all week, every week.


"I always do my planks correctly in the gym, don’t I Bernadette?"

"Yes, I’ve always said you’re a right planker."


Welcome to those doing an RRR club race for the 1st time: Tim Walsh (24:02), who was just behind me, & Karen Jones (26:45) who is in training for her first marathon. It was also nice to take a picture of June with her granddaughter Megan, who were running together for the 1st time. With Sue (28:42), Neil (22:59 in his 50th club race) & Adam Farrell (21:51), in addition to Garry (21:04) & Emma Bower (26:58), we are a club that spans all generations & has winners in all age categories! We are RRR! Somebody tell that guy in the Cock & Magpie.


All the other RRR finishers: Elaine Whitehead (30:11), Natali Brown (29:14), Amanda Richardson (28:02), Tracey Hall (27:36), Bernie Allen (27:02), Gail Shaw (26:38), Debra Cash (26:25), Kevin Hutchings (25:50), Dave Watt (25:49), Gary Marshall (24:11), Phil Austin (24:04), Mark Foran (22:08), Adam Stirling (21:11), Alex Critcher (21:08), Nicholas Mallon (21:07), Bryan Lawton (20:52), Elliot Stone (20:27), Matt Kershaw (19:58), Rob James (16:48) & Jarrod Gritt (16:34).


"Thank you for buying the new club vest for me B."

"You won’t make the mistake of wearing this one back to front!"


Next race was (by the time you’ve read this & probably before I’ve finished it) the Ian Casey Memorial 5K on 9th May.  [Gary Smith]


* 'sexagenarian' - a person who is between 60 & 69 years old, in case you were worried. [Ed]

RED ROSE ULTRA (OLDHAM WAY) - 20th APRIL 2019

So, an early start - 4:30am alarm for breakfast. I knew from the forecast the sun would be out in just a few hours in time for the 7:00am start time. Upon arrival at Castleshaw Centre I was greeted by some familiar & friendly faces - Paul Anderson, Fiona Floss, Jason Keast, Jon Crooks & Neil Brock, to name a few. As this would be my longest race to date I was - as expected - incredibly nervous, not only from all the calls that I was going to win, but with some thinking I could even break the course record.


Warm up done, bag loaded, sunglasses & cap on (maybe a sight not known to regular runners of the OWU), I made my way to the start line. At bang on 7am we all departed, 1st crossing the 2 reservoirs & up our first hill. Had I set off too quickly? A gap had already appeared, despite thinking I was going easy. The weather was pretty good for most of the 1st half of the race, not too hot & relatively well-shaded. From Castleshaw we headed over to Crompton Moor with a couple of little climbs into Dunwood, across the tops of Shaw into Royton, through Tandle Hill & then following part of The Royton Trail route to Chadderton Park. From here we ran behind the park onto the canal to Farnsworth.


It was this bit that worried me the most, slightly downhill, good weather, only 16K in & feeling fresh as a daisy. I needed to ensure I didn’t get carried away with my pace. I held back, knowing what the 2nd half had in store.


We left the canal at Failsworth to jog through the lovely Brookfield Park (I don’t know why there isn’t a parkrun here, there is plenty of space for one!), then along toward Daisy Nook & through there, eventually reaching Abbey Hills Road. This is where the real climbing starts - 1st up to Hartshead Pike, then up to Dovestones, meeting the Dovestone Diamond route & around the reservoir anti-clockwise to Binn Green car park. Here I had my cheerleading squad of Mick & his 2 little ones at the Aid Station manned by Anne-Marie Lord. The friendly faces were a huge relief. I was running low on both water & Mountain Fuel on the tops around Dovestones, so a top-up was definitely needed. In fact one of the best moments of the race was on the tops at Dovestones where there is a little stream - here I just took 30 seconds to refresh myself, wash my hands & face & tip water on my head.


Back to Binn Green. It was very hot now, 29 degrees. Not an inch of shade since leaving Daisy Nook! Looking up at the monument at Pots & Pans I could sense how difficult this last 12K was going to be. I ascended to Pots & Pans with great difficulty, my quads at the top started to cramp despite regular consumption of electrolytes, almost an entire pack of salt tablets & regular handfuls of salted peanuts! I took a minute, stretched the quads & had 2 more salt tablets. Not feeling too bad now, I tackled the flat section & the descent, knowing I only had one hill left, Boat Lane, normally easily runnable. My cheerleading squad was back to greet me at the Diggle Hotel & walked the first bit of Boat Lane with me. A quick high-five from Elliot gave me encouragement. After walking most of Boat Lane & jogging the flatter bits I knew I wasn't going to break Charlie Sharpe’s course record of 6:04:00. All I had left now was the final descent of around 4K. This hurt, but I told myself to keep going, telling myself that 2nd place was just behind me. Approaching the finish back in Castleshaw I was cheered on by a small crowd, including my nan & granddad plus Mick & the kids. I had won in 6:16:10. Brilliant, now to see Linda Isherwood for a post-race massage! My time is the 2nd fastest ever on the course, my saving grace is that Wane Law described the year Charlie Sharpe set the record as "the perfect conditions". Maybe I’ll attempt it again & hope it isn’t so ridiculously hot.


I waited for the 2nd-placed finisher before leaving for lunch - he was precisely an hour & 10 minutes behind me - not right behind as I kept telling myself for the final few kilometres.


So what about the other RRRs? Jon Crooks finished in a fine 6th place in 8:04:18, although having seen his Strava he didn’t have much luck. He was in 2nd place through to halfway, where he choked on an ice pop. Happy to settle for 3rd, he was overtaken with about 8K to go, but then overshot near the end at Marsden Moor, having to run back through some tough terrain adding some distance & costing him 2 places. I hope he still enjoyed the race despite his misfortune. Jason Keast & Neil Brock appear from the results to have run together, finishing 17th & 18th in identical times of 9:55:57.


I cannot describe how hot it was going up to Dovestones & Pots & Pans. I really have to thank Mick & Allen for their support, it really helped keep me going. I had a layer of salt on me at the end despite the masses I took on during the race. A massive well done to Jon, Jason, Neil & every other runner that competed.  [Jarrod Gritt]

GREATER MANCHESTER MARATHON - 7th APRIL 2019

"You could have gone there, it’s free parking on a Sunday."

"There's a space."

"Hun the station is just there."  [pointing]


When we're not running, some of us are very sensitive about having to walk to a destination!


We walked around the corner to see a sizeable number of RRRs already milling between the trestle tables, just in time to fall in for Mary's briefing. Mary has had her hair done. She's gone fairer with blond highlights but left her fringe alone.


"Will you stop going on about female RRR's hair!"


OK. Mary needed to disseminate some essential information. "Don't leave your backpack with your sandwiches unattended otherwise they'll have to be made safe by the bomb squad" & "Collapsing runners should be firmly encouraged to continue", or something like that. Briefing over we could resume the main task of the day, which was to gather into little groups to chat about our upcoming holidays & why we might possibly do the marathon next year.


There were enough yellow jackets for everyone & we became Les Jeunes Vestes, not to overthrow the government but to load the tables with water & gels before the first runners arrived. It didn't seem long before the quickest came clip-clopping through. These front-runners think that if they even make eye-contact with you, never mind exchange a few friendly words, then they’ll lose momentum & show a weakness to the guys next to them. I suppose when you've forked out around £250 for orange Nike Zoom Vapours & been training since before Christmas, on a fast course where you want to run quicker than last year, then exchanging pleasantries with the volunteers does not come high on your list of priorities.


With more Biffa bins than previously & the genius idea someone had of putting a target board at the back of them to encourage jump shots & throwing accuracy, there were less bottles sent skittering across the road. With the concern over single-use plastic I'm not sure about the provision of plastic bottles at these events & most of the water in them was thrown away. A cattle trough maybe, sponges, carry your own containers? Anyway, well done to all the RRRs, several of whom were running for charity. All seemed to go according to plan, although Neil Brock had to pull up with a hamstring injury. There was an array of different costumes - foam heads, bridal wear & people being pushed, all enjoying themselves or just toughing it out. Special mention to the guy in the rhino outfit doing baby steps but still going after 23 miles! The runners kept coming past, but many had lost interest later on in keeping their energy levels up with gels & were just keeping going through the pain. Come to think, gels don’t seem to have any effect on me.


"Telling you to unload the dishwasher doesn’t have any effect on you either."


All the RRR finishers: Phil Austin (4:15:40), Garry Bower (4:20:09), Neil Brock (3:54:34), Ian Dale (3:26:45), Rob Fairbanks (3:11:12), Bernie Goodwin (3:20:15), Jill Heywood (4:27:35), Janet Jobey (3:25:17), Sam Kent-Brown (4:55:33), Val Kilburn (3:50:31), Nick Mallon (3:50:54), Gary Marshall (4:52:12), Carl O'Callaghan (3:15:58), Dave Peart (2:50:38), Helen Radcliffe (3:57:47), Vikki Smith (3:44:24) & James Wright (5:30:42).


"We should do the marathon next year."

"Didn’t we say that last year?"

"And the year before that."


Finally well done to Mary, organiser extraordinaire for pulling it all together for another year.  [Gary Smith]

WILMSLOW HALF MARATHON - 24th MARCH 2019

Twas the night before the race...


"Remote?"

"I can be a little distant at times it’s true."

"Just give it to me, now!"

"Pardon, I thought you wanted to watch telly? Anyway, you know the rule, not before a race."


So 42 mad March RRR hares came down to Wilmslow to hare around a course capable of rewarding your entry fee with a PB. This is a big event, with 2,800 entrants. It's only the 2nd time that Wilmslow has been in the RRR Club Championship - by coincidence, with the same number of finishers (42) as the previous time in 2014 (thanks to Dave ‘Statto’ Emanuel for this factoid).


I always feel like the amateur I am when I see runners doing warm-up runs before any race, never mind a half marathon, & so it was on seeing Dave Peart (1:22:34 for 3rd MV50, the best RRR category position) & Andy Schofield (1:38:45) jogging on the other side of the road on the way in. Judging from their times it certainly pays off. The weather was cool but dry, just about perfect for the flat course - so flat that the organisers advised against setting off too fast! Of course, it wasn’t that flat, but sufficiently so for those that felt they had a PB in them to go for it.


With such a large field, many of whom probably only notionally set off from the correct timing pens, our club runners set off in small friendship groups & ran I think unsighted of other RRRs. So the more technical of us would have run against their watch, whilst others were encouraged to go faster to keep up by their running companions & others like me just hoped to hang on to whoever was in front of me. It also meant that there were considerable differences between the gun & chip times that fed through to the final positions.


Jason Keast (back on it in 1:46:20) said his goodbyes just after the start & I was left to fend for myself. I came up to Emma Bower (2:03:54) with Phil Austin (2:03:55), I think dedicating this race to his marathon training, then Dave Watt (2:11:13) & Gareth McCaffrey (1:54:17). Soon John Fay (1:48:53) came past me & I thought I must try to keep with him for as long as possible, which I did until the 9th mile. Obvious I know, but it really does help to try & stay with a faster runner. Gentleman John then went ahead & I observed that he passed the runners ahead giving them plenty of room, instead of trying to barge past like a bloke did to me earlier. He may of course have been trying to avoid the kids wanting to glad-hand you as you went past. Bernadette (2:16:55 – knee problem) told me that she high-fived willingly because they were more likely to have been made to wash their hands, this being Wilmslow!


The race unwound & after John had gone past I came up to Helen Radcliffe (1:51:01). We stayed together for the 10th/11th mile. Helen chose not to have a photo finish with me & went ahead to go neck-a-neck with John, both pushing each other to the end & thus both getting a PB.


So who else PB’d & is making me turn a countable noun into a verb? In the order in which I met them at the finish or was told on Facebook there was Garry Bower (1:37:08) & Nick Mallon (1:35:48) standing as meeters & greeters at the end, waiting for Garry’s Emma. In her 25th race for the club Emma improved her time for a half by a full 15 mins! Then Diane Allingan (1:52:44) & Gail Shaw (1:56:54) came in with new best times. On the way back to the car pacemaker Bernie Goodwin (1:41:48) called out that his young protégé Adam Farrell (1:41:51) had gone under his target time of 1:45. Alex Critcher (1:42:32) was first on Facebook to answer my PB roll-call, followed by Gareth McCaffrey & Tracy Johnson (1:51:00), Robert Fairbanks (1:20:59) & Vikki Smith (1:42:50). Congratulations to you all.


If you didn’t get a PB you have to sometimes be sanguine about it & it was nice to chat at the finish to Kevin Heenan (1:56:01), who is coming back to running regularly but feeling it & had run his RRR Cup race a day earlier. Then Amanda Richardson (2:13:40) who had completed the Langsett 10K also on the Saturday ("Hilliest 10K I have ever done") & Susan Heaney (2:07:00) racing for the 1st time after an operation. Finally Rob Nixon (2:25:34), who is carrying a few niggles but is taking it literally 'in his stride'. Well done to you guys as well.


Other points to note were George Booth (1:22:52, finishing 66th of 731 Senior Men) running his first half marathon with the insouciance of youth in a fantastic time & for the 1st time I will have mentioned all the 2nd claimers by reporting Gary Fielding’s time of 1:31:40 in his 1st RRR race since 2017. Welcome back Gary. We’re back to full strength with at least four Gar(r)ys in the club!


All the other RRR finishers: Elaine Whitehead (2:13:03), Mike Keating (2:12:09), Jillian Heywood (2:03:19), Teresa Hollins (1:59:57), Gary Smith (1:50:17), Rochelle Evans (1:49:57), Mark Phelan (1:46:53), Valerie Kilburn (1:42:31), Brett Spivey (1:39:15), Robert Kellett (1:37:33), Matthew Kilburn (1:36:07), Bryan Lawton (1:35:58), Elliot Stone (1:35:20), Ian Dale (1:28:02), Shane Reading (1:20:53) & Jarrod Gritt (1:14:10).


Back home...


"You can have the remote for your 'Line of Duty', I’m giving up on 'American Gods', it’s just too weird."

"What even weirder than you?!"

"Don’t go there..."


Next club race is the John Purdy Springhill Hospice Cowm 5K on Sunday 5th May.  [Gary Smith]

DENTDALE RUN - 9th MARCH 2019

"Did you tell them that I wasn’t running due to my hip flexor?"

"Umm...not exactly."

"I told you not to tell them I was on a spa day!"

"June beat it out of me."

"So what else was said on the coach?"

"Well they all know that what happens on the coach stays on the coach - & goes into the report."


It did get a bit lavatorial, with both Warren 'Sid' Siddall & Garry Bower showing everyone their emergency loo roll, but not any emergency soap & water. So I made a note to self, do not shake their hands before or after the race.


Sid then listed every drinking den & nightclub in 80s & 90s Oldham. The Cat’s Whiskers, Dreamers, Froggies, Bali Hoo, Sheddings, The Candlelight...only when he name-checked The Regent & June said "You’re going back a bit there" was he stopped in his tracks, which allowed us all to get off the coach. Respect to the coach driver who thought he was going into the main car park, then had to back up & reverse into the campsite with 20+ back-seat drivers giving advice.


Off the coach we were joined for the team photo by Bryan Lawton (1:54:26) who was on a weekend getaway with wife Jo & had promised her a romantic meal, specially prepared on the Primus stove. Bryan hasn’t done this race for a few years but ran one of his quickest times.


The forecast had been for snow flurries, after heavy rain the day before which had threatened to cancel the race, but in the event we enjoyed a window of cold but dry weather. Notices were handed out advising that, due to flooding, the course had been changed - but did not mention that it had been lengthened to 14.4 miles from the already demanding distance of 14.2. We still ran through stretches of foot-deep standing water though. A few thought they were OK in just their RRR vest, but most of us had an extra layer underneath. It was cold, with the wind acting like a not-unpleasant cooling fan on your back once you had run through & then out of the village after 7 miles (someone should have used a thicker marker pen & written in bigger letters on the whiteboard that sent the longer race runners to the left & the 7.5K runners to the right, by the way) but then was blowing you to a standstill on the return back to the village.


The number of RRRs taking part this year was down on previous years - 26 is the lowest number since 2010 - with another 8 doing the 7.5 miler. Jarrod Gritt (our 1st finisher in 1:25:46), who is now being chauffeured to the races, came in 5th. Janet Jobey (1:45:26) claimed the prize for 1st lady. Val Kilburn (1:58:18) & Vikki Smith (2:00:07) made up the rest of the victorious RRR ladies team, continuing a winning streak after Carsington. Well done also to the rest of the ladies - Helen Radcliffe (2:08:20), Jillian Heywood (2:26:50), Emma Bower (2:29::22), Sam Kent-Brown (2:35:10) & Debbie Cash (2:40:12) who all toughed it out to the finish.


Great runs were also delivered by our fastest males Dave Peart (1:36:34), Carl O’Callaghan (1:39:43), Neil Brock (1:41:06), Ian Dale (1:43:01) & Bernard Goodwin (1:44:04) who all finished high up the field & in the top 10 in their respective age categories. Mark Foran (2:07:26) ran well in his first RRR race & with his long legs will continue to do so. He was beaten to the finish by Simon Howard (2:07:15), who came past me with about 1K to go & then cheerfully remarked afterwards that he was never going to be caught power-walking up the last hill. He was followed by Helen Radcliffe going past me (2:08:29) with room to spare in the final 500 metres, getting a boost from Val & Vikki shrieking as one, "Watch out Helen, Gary’s behind you!" So now I’m the pantomime villain runner, am I?


Garry Bower (1:56:15), by including DIY on the new house in his cross-training, remarkably ran a PB even though the course was longer. Well done! Meanwhile Jason Keast put his back out, but instead of retiring when we went back through the village he carried on for the full distance (in obvious pain) taking in the scenery to finish in 2:57:02. After going to the walk-in surgery at the George & Dragon he took two Stellas for his back & felt much better.


All the other RRR finishers: Dave Watt (2:24:44), Warren Siddall (2:24:25), Kevin Heenan (2:24:14), Robert Nixon (2:21:36), Stewart Jones (2:03:53) & Elliot Stone (1:51:14).

 

Finally, well done to those who tackled the 7.5-mile route. I know Steven Shaw (1:05:38) is coming back from injury & is being supported by Andy Schofield (57:26). I don’t know why Owen Flage (47:58) & Rob Kellett (56:53) chose the shorter distance this time, but hope to see all 4 of them competing in future club races. The same goes for Jennifer O’Callaghan (1:25:03), Tracey Hall (1:25:03), Claire Timms (1:25:03) & the stalwart June Allingan (1:30:33).


Next up is the Wilmslow Half Marathon on Sunday 24th March - last club race before 'marathon season'.  [Gary Smith]

CARSINGTON WATER HALF MARATHON - 23rd FEBRUARY 2019

In the hotel room...

"Jarrod & Simon Reeve?"

"Hmm not really & you’d better stop this."

"You’ve not seen my new trainers? After reading up I have deduced that Carsington is mostly an earth track, so I’ve bought a crossover light trail/road shoe."

"That’ll be a 'rail' shoe then?"

"Or a 'toad' shoe?"

"If you run slowly a 'snail' shoe!"

Titter ye not. "Make space for the other towel?"


Race day, we drove from our hotel without breakfast, as I wasn’t going to pay for just a bit of porridge & a piece of fruit. Every link for this race uses the word 'scenic', so it was a bit distracting to be driving along country roads with a heavy mist on the fields either side, lovely scenery that we couldn’t see!


"I hope you’ll be able to see where you are running?" (more tittering)


There’s always some tension getting to a new event. Finding your way there, parking up (when there are parking charges, the race organisers are always coy about telling you what it costs to park at their event), the toilet queues, etc. so it was great to see the RRR coach (should we have our own liveried transport?) parked up near us & we soon made out the distinctive RRR vest in the vapour. Thanks to Dave Emanuel who found us to hand over our bib numbers just as we were going to set off to look for him, after I thoughtlessly had ignored his "We’ve arrived!" message.


To the race then. Round the reservoir, out into the country park & back again, with a final straight out then back the same way, so that the faster runners were coming past the ones behind them, like the Tatton 10K & the last 2K of Bolton parkrun. Jarrod Gritt & Rob James showed great chutzpah starting in the front line with fellow RRR shocktroops close behind. Bernadette - earwigging as usual – had overheard Jarrod talking to Rob about the course record - 1hr 17mins - so when he came home 1st in 1:16:23 as the new course record holder, there had been some forethought given to the matter! Well done also to Rob (1:19:04), who came in 2nd overall, as well as Shane Reading (4th, 1st MV45 in 1:23:58) & Dave Peart (5th, 1st MV50, 1:24:35) who made up the winning men’s team & both won their respective age categories. It is some achievement to win an age category & so well done also to Dave Emanuel (1st MV55, 1:31:50) who won his. This was his 3rd race in a new age category, proving the adage that as you get older you win more races in your age category.


"There is no such adage!" said Bernadette (with feeling).


Not only but also, as our first 3 women took their team prize - congratulations to Janet Jobey (2nd FV45, 1:37:04), Val Kilburn (1:45:40) & Vikki Smith (1:48:11). So we came, once the mist had cleared we saw & then we conquered!


There was a RRR wagon train running over the dam wall with myself (1:53:35) Rob Nixon (2:04:54), Simon Howard (1:55:16) & Helen Radcliife (1:55:20) all running behind each other, Simon in his 50th club race. Later, at mile 10, just as I was wondering where my nemesis John Fay (1:49:58) was, he hove into view coming in the opposite direction, way ahead! Yet another age category winner was Diane Allingan (1st V60, 1:58:48) ahead of Mark Rigby (2:02:20), running his 10th club race.


This 'undulating' course was a bit marmite, with only a short but quite steepish incline towards the end, but the up & down repetition I think had a gradual greater tiring effect on the legs. I even saw Richard Cummins (1:40:08) & Bernie Goodwin (1:34:07) falter, while at 11 miles I was pretty much done in. But what did others think?


Warren 'Sid' Siddall (1:58:29) liked the course, 'a bit lumpy' (great description), would do it again although he would have liked to have gone sub-1:55. By the way thanks for the encouragement yesterday at Oldham parkrun Warren, marshaling at the start of the woodland path. For Adam Farrell (1:52:47) the race 'had its ups & downs' (clever!) & nice scenery - he's wishing his dad Neil a speedy recovery from making excuses not to run so that he can beat him again!


Gail Shaw (2:05:07) is like me - companionable with a cheerful disposition. No, not just in this respect, but in deciding that it was a tough course. After having a word in high places, telling Dave Emanuel that the event was full & him then getting her in, she wished she’d kept quiet. She went one adjective further than Neil Brock (1:29:09) in describing the course as a 'tough undulating one which never seemed to end' & like me finished slower than her previous half marathons. Gail is now looking forward to 'going back to her regular marathon training & hills now'. When I confronted Neil at parkrun & demanded that he think of something other than 'undulating' he caved & went for 'rollercoaster'.


Amanda 'Mandy' Richardson (2:14:22) loved the course even though, guess what, she found it 'undulating'. Her only previous half marathon was back in February 2018 & flat, but with the encouragement of the cheerleaders she managed to be only 4 minutes slower. She is looking forward to doing more long runs & is a great advert for someone who starts running & then with more confidence goes in for longer & (with her cross-country races) more varied running challenges.


Bernadette (2:27:30) also found it hard but really appreciated the out & back at the end, when the 'big guns' all encouraged her to keep going.


All the other RRR finishers: Angela Rogowskyj (2:57:01), Claire Timms (2:34:07), Sharon Dracup (2:34:06), Elaine Whitehead (2:21:14), Tracey Hall (2:17:14), Dave Watt (2:15:00), Jillian Heywood (2:13:25), Lisa Cummins (2:09:24), Martin Jones (2:08:25), Tracy Johnson (1:56:51), Jason Keast (1:48:07), Elliot Stone (1:38:24), Ian Dale (1:32:32) & Carl O'Callaghan (1:31:32).


The mist lifted & the sun came out so that the RRRs on the coach could enjoy some pub grub & raise a glass to toast Shane Reading, who was presented with a framed list of his 100 consecutive club runs. A great day out in a nice part of the world. Just a shame that the souvenir tee wasn’t included in the entry fee.


Thanks to everyone who contributed with their thoughts on the race. Next up is Dent on Saturday 9th March.


Finally, big thanks to the cheerleaders Jill Hickson, Jenny O’Callaghan & Martina Naismith, who just need to work on their routine & remember their pom-poms next time.  [Gary Smith]

DEWSBURY 10K - 3rd FEBRUARY 2019

The night before the race, Bernadette & I debated how much winter training we were short of & how much Dave Peart looks like Luke Goss (not separated at birth, but close, we agreed). All things come back to running!


After Simon cancelled Thursday’s club training, then parkrun was cancelled with the freezing temperatures & icy conditions, I was coming into this race with the hopeful notion that no final preparation was good preparation. At my age you shouldn’t overdo it is, I’m certain, one of those things in the '10 things you should know about running' article.


"That’s a good inscription for your gravestone - 'He never overdid anything'."

"Well let’s just see how much time that new sports bra, new flip-belt, new Nike Pegasus trainers, new Runderwear & new 'wind defence thermoregulated compression leggings' saves you, shall we?"


Yes, this is the time of year when we can all disport the new gear we got for Christmas because they didn’t know what else to buy us & in the January sales. The warranty for all this 'energy return' and 'graduated compression' never guarantees a new PB though!


In the car, Jason (new Sauconys, bought from a well-regarded local running shoe shop emporium), ever the builder, delicately enquired as to how many moves away Bernadette & I are from our 'retirement bungalow'. Let’s just get on with the report shall we...


Old habits die hard & once again RRRs all gathered in the same place on the ground floor of the Sports Centre. No Ronnie this year as he’s overwintering somewhere in the Southern Pacific, but we still had 68 RRRs come out of hibernation on a stone-cold morning that justified the buffs, hats & gloves. Hipster Jason was setting a trend with his Johnny pirate buff & wearing daughter Harriet’s 'Frozen' Disney princess sparkly gloves. His kids took all his running gloves to go to play in the snow & now he’ll only find 'one' of them if it has been picked up & left on a bench somewhere. Good to see Chairman Bryan & Vice-chairman Dave at the same race. I know they wouldn’t have greeted each other with "I thought we agreed that you were opening the shop this morning!"


We don’t pay 3 months in advance (what a pain!) to come to Dewsbury for the scenery, the facilities or the 'unique' tee, but to see if we can smash our best 10K times & this year's race event produced a veritable cornucopia of RRR PBs. So, drum-roll & trumpet fanfare for the following: Jarrod Gritt (first RRR home in 33:47 - down to his racing weight & looking like he should be saddling-up for the 3:30 at York; I’m idly wondering whether all runners could be handicapped based on weight, VO2 max, BMI or anything else that could give me a semblance of an advantage?), Richard Cummins (38:34), Carl O’Callaghan (39:35), Matthew Kilburn (40:58), Alex Critcher (44:02), Andrew Chadwick (44:40), Adam Farrell (47:19), John Fay (47:30 - went past me like he was on a rocket sled), Warren ‘Sid’ Siddall (49:35), Gary Marshall (49:42 - fessed up at Thursday’s training - wasn’t going to say anything as he 'only' PB'd by 20 seconds!), Lisa Cummins (51:39), Liane Gilligan (53:21), Elaine Whitehead (55:11), Kevin Hutchings (55:33), Huyla Whttaker (1:03:41 - "Knocked 1 min off my last one" gets her a place at the PB top-table), Dave Bardsley (57:06), Emma Bower (57:46), Sharon Dracup (59:13) & Sue Farrell (1:00:10). Well done everyone. What’s interesting about this PB roll of honour is the different runner profiles on it - there are people who’ve always run fast, those coming back from injury, those just starting out, those who have been club members for a long time, those not so long, those who’ve taken time out & all the different ages represented as well. It’s a great advert for club & social running. Again, bravo.


Also, bouquets to those running in a club race for the first time: George Booth (a blistering 37:37), Tracy Johnson (49:06), Liane Gilligan, Kevin Hutchings, Debra Cash (55:39) & Natali Brown (1:03:17). Yet more plaudits for Jillian Heywood (completing her 50th club race in 54:06), Dave Crewe (his 25th race in 46:34) & Stephen Rogowskyj (also his 25th race in 1:01:19). A special mention too for reigning RRR Ladies Champion Janet Jobey (41:40), our 1st female finisher, 6th in her age category out of 148 & for Anne Jones (1:06:36), back running after being injured for 2 years. Good luck Anne with the rest of the season. Great stuff!


My own time (48:42) was down on last year, in distance about 1 circuit (400 metres) of Brian Moore’s Kingsway track at my pace, so I can commiserate with fellow club runners who didn’t smash it this time.


"What shall I say about your time Bernadette?"

"Don’t bother mentioning me, 51 seconds out (from a PB), I’m still stuck on 60 minutes."

"It might help if you fell pregnant, certainly hasn’t harmed Rochelle’s running." (As being a new father hasn't affected Shane’s performance - 36:27 in his 99th consecutive race for the club. I don’t think he’ll flake out before his 100th.)

"Whaaaat?"


Er...I’m just off to get Jason to quote for a walk-in shower for a bungalow...


All the other RRR finishers: Neil Bradley (1:09:07), Angela Rogowskyj (1:09:03), Karen Stuttard (1:08:26), Sally Crewe (1:06:42), Judith Bradley (1:06:13), Jenny O'Callaghan (1:03:32), Bernadette Ball (1:00:50), Dave Watt (58:24), Tracey Hall (58:21), Lynda Brookes (57:57), Nikki Forster (56:59), Susan Heaney (56:53), Amanda Richardson (56:43), Gareth Mccaffery (53:50), Lee Higginbottom (53:03), Kevin Heenan (53:02), Gail Shaw (52:49), Chris Nicholson (50:17), Simon Howard (49:28), Paul Cooke (49:27), Mark Heaney (49:17), Mark Rigby (48:27), Helen Radcliffe (48:20), Rochelle Evans (47:00), Vikki Smith (46:45), Jason Keast (46:41), Stewart Jones (46:39), Valerie Kilburn (45:33), Adam Stirling (45:02), Garry Bower (44:48), Bryan Lawton (44:02), Elliot Stone (43:13), Brett Spivey (42:13), Ian Dale (39:50), David Emanuel (39:29), Bernie Goodwin (39:21), Dave Peart (38:58) & Chris Lowe (38:25).


Next up is the Carsington Water half Marathon on Saturday 23rd February. Nice early 9.30am start!  [Gary Smith]


*************************************************************


So, what can be said about the start of this year’s season? Cold? Freezing? On the approach to Dewsbury Sports Centre I noticed a reading of -6°C, that didn’t stop Team RRR from racing in numbers. 68 of us braved the cold for what is possibly the fastest 10K course around. A simple out & back, with a very gentle climb out & a gentle descent back, the course gives the perfect opportunity for a big negative split as well as a shiny new PB.


In the Sports Centre it seemed as though we had taken over most of the ground floor. It was great to see some new faces running for the club as well as a return for some of those who have been out for a while. I think some people thought I was mad donning my shorts & vest, but to be fair I did wear gloves & a buff.


Such is the popularity of this race that not only did it sell out, but they even introduced a penning system at the start. This is a massive bonus as it ensures that runners are in the correct start area & ensures everyone can get off to a good start.


One of the great things for me, with the course being an out & back, was the amount of support I got from RRRs on my return. My apologies for my lack of response to you all, I did hear you, but was just too focused on keeping alive. Upon turning around I could feel my legs gather more speed as I started the descending part of the race. As I passed those cheering me on I gained confidence & with just 2K left, feeling the burn, I managed to push myself to maintain my pace & finish in my best-ever 10K time of 33:47. A big thanks to Anne Jones for the water before the race, whatever was in there clearly made the difference.


I just about managed to stay on my feet to receive my t-shirt, this year long sleeved & significantly less rude than last year. I waited there to see some of my fellow RRRs cross the line - normally I’d stay longer but I could feel myself getting cold & needed to layer up. A massive well done to George Booth, running his 1st club race in RRR colours, who was 3rd RRR to finish in 37:37, knocking just over 2 minutes off his PB. George came in just behind Shane Reading, who ran his 99th consecutive RRR championship race in 36:27 - 1 more to reach his landmark goal of 100 at the Carsington Water Half Marathon. A mention for another big PB of about 2 minutes to Andy Chadwick; I am sure there were many other PBs along the way.  [Jarrod Gritt]

 

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