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Race Reports

RRR TRACK 5K - 15th MAY 2024

This was race number 5 of this season's club championship & a brilliant one. It's only the 4th time we've held this unique event, 1st in September 2022 then the 2 events last year. Judging by the turnout & results, it's clear why it's so popular. This latest version was completely sold out, with just 1 non-RRR able to join us. 

So, what is so appealing about this event? As a club, we've increasingly diversified from just road running into a more all-around running club incorporating trail, fell & cross-country races, plus now running on the track. The results are clear - many of our members have dramatically improved their times due to changing up their training & competing at track events. 

 

This 5K track race took place at Radclyffe School, where many of us train on a Tuesday evening with interval sessions suitable for all. The 400m track was recently resurfaced & is grippy, light & bouncy. It's a great place to develop form & technique, ideal for upping the pace & improving run form. 

 

This event appeals to many because all club members encourage & support one another before & during the runs, with chip timing professionally recorded along with a detailed printout afterwards showing lap times & even a YouTube link in the results of each individual's finish & the whole race. All for only £8 - it's a steal. 

 

The faster runners, sub-24 minutes, went first at 7pm, with the next group at 7:35pm. The weather was perfect. Temperatures have risen now that we're in summer. Although it was overcast, it didn't rain until our final finishers had completed their 12.5 laps. That number of laps of a track sounds boring to some. However, you are never more than a few metres away from a clubmate with opportunities to lap or be lapped & receive words of encouragement throughout the whole race. Bonus - you cannot get lost on a 400m track. All you need to do is count. Even then, Graham gives a countdown for each runner's final laps. The atmosphere is simply fantastic.   

 

There were some truly outstanding performances on the evening, with many PBs broken at the 1 mile, 2 mile & 5K distances. Ladies Captain Mandy Richardson said: "There was a good turnout, great performances & it was lovely to see some doing their 1st RRR track race. Well done, everyone." Men's Captain James Henderson commented too: "Always a fantastic opportunity to fully support each other running - cheering from on & off the track - it's like the best school sports day but for adults."

 

Some notable performances & milestones: it was the 1st club event for Lucy Schindler; well done, Lucy. Meanwhile Kevin Hutchings & Dave Watt completed their 50th club runs, while Nicky & Andy Hall both finished their 25th with PBs ahead of their Ugandan adventure. 

Track racing is not just for juniors & elites - our more mature runners continue to inspire. Dave Phillips (MV80) & June Allingan (FV80) both competed with incredible efforts - June just days after running the Leeds Marathon. Bernadette Ball, now a FV70, was exceptional as was Howard Mills (MV70). Club legend Barry Greaves (MV65) recorded his 1st sub-20 minute 5K for a couple of years; yes, you read that right. 

All RRR finishing times: June Allingan (38:45), Dave Leyland (38:06), Samantha Tattersall (33:45), Bernadette Ball (33:32), Gill Bardsley (32:15), Angela Rogowskyj (31:49), Elaine Brown (31:11), Dave Bardsley (31:03), David Phillips (30:45), Howard Mills (29:48), Billie Chamberlain (29:36), Joanne Lawton (29:24), Nicky Hall (29:24), Sharon Dracup (29:04), Diane Johnson (28:37), Karen Price (28:28), Amanda Richardson (27:47), Lee Higginbottom (27:39), Stephen Rogowskyj (26:51), Dave Watt (26:16), Kevin Hutchings (25:14), Gareth McCaffery (24:34), Lucy Schindler (24:33), Gary Smith (24:33), Gail Shaw (24:00), Chris Nicholson (23:46), Kirsty Agnew (23:37), Bernard Cassidy (23:25), Rochelle Evans (22:41), Bryan Lawton (22:17), Dave Peart (21:56), Simon Howard (21:51), Andrew Ingham (21:47), Mark Phelan (21:41), David Emanuel (21:24), Oliver Pozegic (21:07), John Fay (21:06), Lee Earnshaw (20:56), Adrian Brown (20:42), Mark Duncan (20:28), Andy Hall (20:21), Wesley Henshaw (19:57), Barry Greaves (19:33), Chris Tattersall (19:24), Brett Spivey (19:17), Andrew Rogers (18:19), Paul Timms (18:06), Martin Thompson (17:59), James Henderson (17:53), William Wall (17:22) & Rob James (16:00).

 

There were some funny moments, such as the surprise on Jo Lawton's face when Nicky Hall (her ex-running friend) sprinted at the end to pip her on the finish line. You've got to see the video. The photo of Mark Duncan & Kirsty Agnew (see below) deserves some (clean) suggestions for a caption. 

 

Thanks to the organising team for a fantastic session, to Graham & Julie from WhatsMyTime & everyone who participated in a tremendous event. Shout out to Luke Lawson-Healey for his brilliant photography & a slow-motion video, all of which can be seen on the RRR Facebook page. 

 

Our next club race is the Manchester 10K, a massive event with thousands of runners. Let's hope the weather is kind and conducive for brilliant performances & superb fun for all. Look out for the race report from John Fay (thanks John).  [Andy Hall]

TRack5K_May2024.jpg

CONISTON 14 - 23rd MARCH 2024

Coniston - the Bluebird returns & so did the white, yellow, & green fun bus as we headed to the Lake District for a 14-mile race only 6 days after our last event at High Legh. This season has already seen some outstanding individual performances, with many personal best times. However, it is the club's reputation & camaraderie that stand out to others. So what did our day out in the country's most beautiful area bring?    

 

There were 40 RRR finishers, maintaining an impressive turnout at this year's races. This was our first time at Coniston as a replacement for Dent, and it worked well; our attendance for the Dentdale Run hadn't reached that level since 2017. 

 

A little about the Coniston 14. It has been a beloved spring event in the village of Coniston since its inception in 1982. Organised by an enthusiastic committee of volunteers from the village, this race holds a special place in the hearts of locals & runners, including RRR. 14 miles is an odd number, marginally longer than a half marathon & on this course it felt even longer due to the undulating profile of the route.
 

The Coniston 14 is not just a race; it’s also Coniston’s largest annual community event. Over £20,000 is raised yearly from the race, benefiting approximately 30 local charities & clubs. It’s a testament to the spirit of giving that defines this remarkable event.

 

Described as one of Britain's most beautiful road races, it's hard to argue with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains & the famous lake to our left throughout. The race begins & ends at John Ruskin School & playing field. When runners were asked during & after the race, everyone commented on how stunning the race route was. Nicky Hall even stopped en route to capture atmospheric images of Coniston Water, sacrificing the chance of another personal best time. However this is not a route for racing. There are literally no flat sections; you either climb or descend. A few commented on how tough it was. But going to race misses the point - it's an event to be enjoyed. 

 

The weather is often a key factor & was somewhat changeable, typical of Cumbria in spring. We had rain, wind, sun & even some hail. Despite a chilly start, the long uphill section at the beginning ensured heart rates spiked, increasing the perceived heat. It was definitely a day for wearing layers.    

 

Our women's club captain, Mandy, agreed: "Another great turnout for the fun bus to Coniston. A tough route made harder by the weather with rain, sleet, sun & wind. Amazing performances again & added kudos to those out longer in those conditions. Happy to complete a first long run of the year for me."

Our men's captain James Henderson also praised our participants: "To quote John Ruskin, the famed son of Coniston, ’there’s no such thing as bad weather, just a different type of good weather’. On a morning that not only gave us the gift of wind & rain we also got hail - throughout this our runners, unsurprisingly, did impressively well; battling the elements we shone again & again - over glorious hill after glorious hill the RRR train kept rolling. Thankfully our loop was quicker than the 23 years it took the Bluebird to return to Coniston - well done to each & every one for getting over the line. The Road Runners have done it again."

 

What a time to visit Coniston, only 2 weeks after the Bluebird returned. This proved a perfect opportunity for club members to head to the Ruskin Museum after the race, followed by a post-race drink & bite to eat. 

 

History lesson: the Bluebird holds a storied place in history, its legacy intertwined with the serene waters of Coniston. Once piloted by Donald Campbell, this iconic hydroplane soared across Coniston Water in pursuit of speed records, 300mph in a boat. Tragically, 57 years ago, Campbell lost his life in a crash during one of these daring attempts. The wreckage of Bluebird lay submerged until 2001, when it was painstakingly recovered by Tyneside engineer Bill Smith, whose dedication led to the craft’s resurrection. After a legal battle, Bluebird has found its rightful home at Coniston’s Ruskin Museum. 

 

Back to the race & there was no team silverware this time. However, Paul Timms & Men's Captain James Henderson took 1st and 2nd place respectively out of 64 in the MV45 category. Maisie Wainwright, who crossed the line with Luke Lawson-Healy, was our 1st-placed female finisher in 1:45:23 & 14th out of 150 in the women's open category. Jarrod Gritt was our 1st finisher & 13th overall with an incredible 1:21:50. It was also great to see Sam Wright run her 1st club race of the season.

 

In news from Strava...Angela Rogowskyj said, "Phew, phew & phew"; Karen Jones seemed pleased with her coaster, while Bryony Jones was "far too happy to see alpacas during the race". Howard Mills earned 10 mile & 15K personal best times. Kirsty Agnew increased her run streak to 72 days & despite a fall at mile 9 managed to smile all the way. 

Adam Stirling said, "Some race that." Mark Duncan commented, "Slight risk running today, but I’m glad I did. Next stop, Liverpool; I was never in doubt!!" He had a great day with an unofficial half marathon PB (Stockport measured short). Oliver Pozegic continued to improve, finishing just 27 seconds off his Stockport Trail Half PB on a much tougher course. Next up for him is the Manchester Marathon - good luck, Oliver. 

All the RRR finishing times: Angela Rogowskyj (2:54:49), Amanda Welby (2:51:00), Hasna Budsworth (2:50:57), Howard Mills (2:47:29), Elaine Brown (2:42:51), Nicky Hall (2:40:31), Stephen Rogowskyj (2:38:27), Bryony Jones (2:33:30), Karen Jones (2:33:30), Dawn Speed (2:29:50), Diane Johnson (2:27:54), Sam Wright (2:26:27), Amanda Richardson (2:22:53), James Wright (2:20:09), Owen Flage (2:14:39), Gareth McCaffery (2:11:00), Ray Williams (2:09:18), Bernard Cassidy (2:08:54), Andy Hall (2:05:21), Eamonn Nolan (2:04:28), Kirsty Agnew (2:02:30), Gail Shaw (1:59:52), Gary Smith (1:56:32), Neil Brock (1:56:04), Adam Stirling (1:55:50), Simon Howard (1:54:53), Mark Duncan (1:48:31), Dave Peart (1:47:34), David Emanuel (1:45:48), Luke Lawson-Healey (1:45:23), Maisie Wainwright (1:45:23), Oliver Pozegic (1:44:15), Elliot Stone (1:41:15), Bernard Goodwin (1:39:59), Adrian Brown (1:38:09), Wesley Henshaw (1:35:59), Brett Spivey (1:35:52), James Henderson (1:26:31), Paul Timms (1:24:33) & Jarrod Gritt (1:21:50).

 

Thanks to the social committee, especially Natali Brown, for arranging the coach & commandeering the room in the Black Bull pub, an excellent choice. 

 

A personal story & message from your reporter: it was a poignant day for me. I had been feeling low because of a recurring ankle injury. Running is my anti-depressant; my mood drops when I can't perform, I put too much pressure on myself & sometimes miss the most obvious lessons. So I decided to run at a very steady pace to minimise the risk of further damage. A fellow Ironman finisher spotted the ink on my calf & we started a conversation; then there were 3 of us, then 4 & then 5 of us chatting & sharing stories. This kept my thoughts from my pain. Then, around 3 miles from the end of the race, I spotted a man wearing a Prostate Cancer vest. My father passed away from prostate cancer; it will be his birthday in 3 days. My brother currently has prostate cancer & recently had an operation. So this runner attracted my attention. 

"Are you fundraising?" I asked. 

"No, I'm celebrating," he replied. 

"Oh really, celebrating what?"

"It's 12 months today since my operation." 

"And you're running a 14-mile race already?"

I put my arm around him & with a lump in my throat & a heart full of gratitude, I asked him for a favour. My pain instantly disappeared & I clocked my fastest miles of the race, feeling free & fully alive. I waited patiently for David & we embraced at the end, tears of joy streaming down my face. David then recorded a message of hope for my brother Terry. 

Moments like this remind us that humans are incredible & love is all we need. Racing is unimportant, but kindness & hope are forever & can save lives. My brother was so grateful for the 30-second video & I will remain in contact with David, who, for me, was the runner of the day. Don't forget to enjoy the journey; the destination is inevitable. 

 

Our next club race is the 5K timed track event at Radclyffe - my happy place - on 15th May. Before that, however, there's the small matter of the Manchester Marathon on 14th April. It is a huge day for the many club members taking part, not to mention those working at the RRR drinks station. Good luck to all of our runners - maximise your taper. We look forward to seeing you there.   [Andy Hall]

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HIGH LEGH 10K - 17th MARCH 2024

Mission - Gold. 
Our 3rd club race & 2nd 10K of the season saw the white, green & yellow of RRR travel south-west to High Legh on St Patrick's Day. This is the 1st time we've used this event in the calendar & it's easy to see why Runner's World recommends it. 

 

History: the race was initially run in 2008 & has gained in popularity, with the number of entrants growing from 200 to 650. A little about High Legh (pronounced 'Hi Lee' - more about him later) - it is a small village between Knutsford & Warrington in Cheshire East, south-west of Manchester. It is mainly agricultural & its proximity to Manchester & the area now known as 'Gold Trafford' has made it a desirable residential area. The event is known locally as the Robert Moffat Memorial Race to commemorate their most famous character, a Scottish gardener turned Congregationalist missionary who relocated to southern Africa with his wife in 1816 after joining the London Missionary Society.

 

Race on! Weather can be changeable this time of year. However nature was kind to us again as it was close to ideal conditions, except for a brief shower at the start. The temperature was a balmy 13c with no noticeable wind. 

 

What is the High Legh 10K Robert Moffat Memorial Race route like? It's mainly flat - some would say undulating; in Cheshire they call it hilly. We'd call it pan flat, though. It runs around some stunning homes & then into country lanes & paths. It would be considered a fast PB course if it wasn't for the unpopular mud section at 8K. Many bemoaned this 100-metre section as a real energy drain on the legs & felt it ruined their chances. John 'O'Fay', one of many cursing the slippery section, was seconds away from a PB. Lee Earnshaw said before the race, yet again, "This isn't a PB course for me." Or was it? Ady Brown commented, "Few seconds lost on the 100m or so of mud." Even Rob James, who achieved his 3rd fastest 10K of 33:30 in finishing 2nd overall, said, "Very close to a PB, but then the course went through a muddy field, so the PB was off. A very strong effort though, and I'm currently in great form." He sure is. 

 

Another huge turnout (we were the second-best represented club at the event, with 43 RRRs completing the race out of 516 finishers) with memorable moments - it was a special day for a few. Angela Rogowskyj even ran in shorts for the first time this year, flaunting her pins to the locals. It was the 1st race in the MV80 category for Dave Phillips, who looked at least 10 years younger as he won his category in an impressive 1:04:10. Ronnie Quinn, however, was not amused when asked about his chances in that category; how rude, Ronnie is a spritely 70-something. Another 1st for Andrew Ingham, who had his debut sports massage pre-race; he looked stiff as a board, to begin with, yet his smile suggested he somewhat enjoyed the experience at the hands of Samantha. Yours truly stepped up for Press Officer duties with a brief slot on Mix FM Cheshire. I was 'nominated' (thanks, guys) to be interviewed alongside 2 other runners from Lymm & Spectrum. The things I do for our club... 

 

RRR Ladies Captain Mandy Richardson returned positively from injury & commented, "It's always good to do a totally new race & the club turned out in force for this one. With a lovely countryside course, slightly undulating & a warm day, the club put in some amazing performances. Happy to go under an hour after injury, so onwards & upwards." 

 

Rochelle Evans was our 1st female finisher, Shane Reading came 3rd out of 87 in the M50 category & David Emanuel was 3rd out of 36 in the M60s. It was also great to welcome Karen Jones back to a club event. She seems to enjoy running in posh Cheshire, as her last championship race was the Colshaw Hall 10K in 2021.   

 

Strava unearthed some PBs - well done to Karen Price, for a 10K & 5K PB in the same race, finished in exactly 1 hour; Billie Chamberlain (a 10K & 2 mile PB); Howard Mills (10K & 5K PB); Mark Phelan (10K "finally under 45 minutes") & Bryony Rogers. Lee Earnshaw did actually achieve his 10K PB!

All the RRR finishing times: Bernadette Ball (1:20:05), Hasna Budsworth (1:14:02), Angela Rogowskyj (1:07:15), Dave Bardsley (1:06:18), Elaine Brown (1:04:58), Nicky Hall (1:04:48), Jenny O'Callaghan (1:04:36), Ronnie Quinn (1:03:57), David Phillips (1:03:23), Claire Timms (1:03:02), Karen Jones (1:03:02), Billie Chamberlain (1:02:38), Howard Mills (1:02:07), Bryony Jones (1:01:36), Sharon Dracup (1:00:35), Karen Price (1:00:03), Amanda Richardson (58:51), Stephen Rogowskyj (57:54), James Wright (56:58), Andrew Naismith (53:31), Ray Williams (51:19), Bryony Rogers (50:48), Richard Dowd (50:38), Gary Smith (50:32), Kirsty Agnew (50:13), Bernard Cassidy (49:54), Adam Stirling (48:30), Eamonn Nolan (47:42), Rochelle Evans (47:23), Bryan Lawton (46:55), Andy Hall (45:23), Mark Phelan (44:57), David Emanuel (44:54), Andrew Ingham (44:45), John Fay (43:32), Lee Earnshaw (43:08), Neil Brock (42:47), Dave Peart (42:34), Adrian Brown (41:42), Andrew Rogers (41:09), Wesley Henshaw (41:06), Shane Reading (36:35) & Rob James (33:30).

 

Thanks to our (un)official photographer, Mark Duncan, who wisely chose to rest his recent injury but still supported the club. 

 

High Legh was a replacement for the Trafford 10K, which was originally included in the club race calendar but sold out faster than predicted. Well done to Elliot Stone (41:56), Gail Shaw (48:54), Andy Chadwick (57:32), Jill Hickson (1:01:50) & Hasna Budsworth (1:06:25), who represented the club at Trafford & whose times count towards club championship points. 

 

Only 3 races into the season the club, our incredible athletes & our legendary camaraderie continue to receive accolades. Let's continue to inspire one another regardless of ability, age, or experience & fly the white, yellow & green for Royton. Next stop - all aboard the happy bus to Coniston for the 14-miler on Saturday, described as 'probably the most beautiful road race in Britain'.  [Andy Hall]

HighLegh10K_Mar2024.jpg

STOCKPORT TRAIL HALF MARATHON - 25th FEBRUARY 2024

We kicked off the year with a bang in January & our 2nd club race this month marked a spectacular return to Stockport - or more specifically Marple, the posh part - for an early-season half marathon.

It was another Stockport takeover, and our jolly green, white & yellow army left other local clubs in awe. Overheard comments ranged from "I needed sunglasses, there are so many of you lot" to "You're never more than a few feet away from a Royton Road Runner" courtesy of Lee Earnshaw, who had us giggling & smashed his half marathon PB. More about the results later.

After our triumph at the Daffodil 10K, the burning question was: could our club & individuals recreate the collective success from that fantastic start to the season, boasting numerous PBs & clinching the team prize? Well the short answer is a resounding yes & we even managed to surpass the brilliant achievements of last month. An amazing 47 RRRs completed this
race, the most we've had in a half marathon since 57 at the Wrexham Village Bakery Half in 2018, with not far off a clean sweep of the team & individual prizes.

So what's the Stockport Trail Half Marathon route like? It's trail, captain, but not as we know it. The terrain is trail & towpath, a relatively flat panhandle. Conditions underfoot were good, mostly solid, so grippy road shoes were the preference for most. Had it rained, it may have been a different story.

Many hadn't run this race previously, so it was a relatively unknown course & conditions. A chilly start, frost overnight & frozen cars, led some to don dryrobes (ask Amanda Welby what they're really called). The portaloos at registration were so frozen they wouldn't flush, a real challenge for those needing a number 1 or, worse, number 2. Karen Rush & Kay England looked ill at the aroma.

More team prizes! Based on the performance of our first 3 finishers, we proudly claimed prizes for both the ladies & men. A big shoutout to Janet Jobey, Kirsty Agnew & Rochelle Evans, plus major respect to Rob James (our race winner!), Jarrod Gritt (securing 3rd overall) & James Henderson (a captain's performance in 6th place overall).

A massive round of applause too for our newcomers, noteworthy results & those reaching milestones. Wesley Henshaw & Gavin Welsh both completed their 1st RRR club race, while Karen Rush & Samantha Tattersall ran their 10th, Kay England her 25th & Rochelle Evans reached an impressive 125. There were age category awards for James Henderson (1st MV45), Shane Reading (1st MV50), Bernard Goodwin (1st MV55), Barry Greaves (1st MV65), David Emanuel (1st MV60) & Janet Jobey (1st FV50 & our 1st female finisher). Gail Shaw was 2nd FV55 despite using this race as part of an 18-mile training run!

There were many outstanding results - here are some PBs spotted in the RRR Strava group: Nicky Hall & super-proud husband Andy Hall, Gavin Welsh, Lee Earnshaw (another 1/2 marathon best by about 3 minutes), Oliver Pozegic, Mark Baxendale (a sensibly run race), Anthony Rogers (GB Ultras Ambassador, if you haven't heard), Mark 'another PB' Duncan (a massive 12-minute half marathon improvement) & Jarrod Gritt. Interestingly, Gail Shaw, Janet Jobey & Kevin Hutchings all commented, "Happy with that."

Our Men's Captain, James Henderson, was buzzing about a 4th consecutive win for our men's team. He beamed, "The canal section was one hell of a grind today - the terrain underfoot changed & miles 6 through to 10 were not ideal for road runners. What RRR showed today is that of the 47 club members that accepted the challenge, 47 passed with full marks. The success of every club runner today was not just turning up but turning up & carrying on. Club strength pulled us through. Keep on keeping on."

 

All the RRR finishing times: Samantha Tattersall (2:58:18), Angela Rogowskyj (2:40:26), Kay England (2:38:41), Amanda Welby (2:37:31), Nicky Hall (2:26:56), Karen Rush (2:24:18), Stephen Rogowskyj (2:20:29), Dawn Speed (2:19:33), Diane Johnson (2:14:14), Gareth McCaffery (2:11:59), Richard Dowd (2:02:48), Kevin Hutchings (1:58:05), Gavin Welsh (1:55:20), Gail Shaw (1:54:16), Gary Smith (1:51:38), Rochelle Evans (1:50:52), Kirsty Agnew (1:50:50), Simon Howard (1:50:12), Bernard Cassidy (1:47:30), Neil Brock (1:46:35), Andrew Ingham (1:46:21), Andy Hall (1:44:28), Mark Phelan (1:40:50), Janet Jobey (1:40:48), David Emanuel (1:40:32), Lee Earnshaw (1:40:32), Oliver Pozegic (1:38:46), Carl O'Callaghan (1:38:23), Mark Baxendale (1:37:50), Anthony Rogers (1:37:07), John Fay (1:36:51), Barry Greaves (1:36:23), Dave Peart (1:35:52), Andrew Rogers (1:34:30), Elliot Stone (1:34:12), Bernard Goodwin (1:34:09), Adrian Brown (1:32:59), James Moulton (1:32:56), Chris Tattersall (1:32:37), Mark Duncan (1:29:32), Wesley Henshaw (1:27:58), Luke Lawson-Healey (1:27:49), Shane Reading (1:24:02), Paul Timms (1:21:02), James Henderson (1:20:50), Jarrod Gritt (1:14:25) & Rob James (1:13:52).

There are so many to thank for this race. The organisers, Crazy Legs, for a warm welcome, even when cleaning frozen poo. The volunteer marshals, especially super-smiley Hasna. Also a personal thanks to John Fay for lending me his jacket as I shivered at the end of the race.

Next up we head back down south, Cheshire, to the High Legh 10K as recommended in Runner’s World;
reportedly a quick route. Will you be wearing club colours? Will the green, white & yellow army be dominant again? I can't wait until 17th March to find out.

Come on Royton!  [Andy Hall] 

StockportTrailHM.jpg

SOUTH EAST LANCS CROSS-COUNTRY LEAGUE RACE 4/4 - 17th FEBRUARY 2024

It was déjà vu to see the same RRRs that had run our previous cross-country race at Marl Pits in January. Anthony Rogers, Andy Hall, Lee Earnshaw & myself were joined in the men's race at Heaton Park for this one by Bryan Lawton, Simon Howard, Mark Heaney & Kevin Hutchings. Plus Brett Spivey rocked up at the last minute, so maintaining his reputation for (almost) missing the pre-race photo call.

I only know Lee as someone who always seems buoyant & talks to/encourages everyone in his path, but he was rattled by the mosquito bites on the legs. Anyone who has done parkrun here with the start by the lake will know about the mozzies, something else along with the daffs & snowdrops coming out earlier each year. Lee was gnat amused...

Simon didn’t look any the worse for wear, looking forward to completing this race to add to his mega-streak of at least 5K every day. He was planning a recce for the Saddleworth Ten Res's the following day as well!

Kirsty Agnew was the sole RRR female taking part - Ladies Captain Mandy Richardson would have competed if not injured but still came to support both teams. Thanks Mandy & well done on being so enthusiastic & pro-active in encouraging everyone to turn out for everything with your posts on the club’s Facebook page.

I had wondered if Mark Heaney would show up, as he is a Heaton Park regular, so it was good to chat to him. He’s coming back from a couple of injuries & he expected to run slower, but as always was cheerfully stoic.

I have done Heaton Park so many times now that I know what to expect. It is a hard track, especially if you are not race fit, carrying an injury or have not properly rested. The RRR men all clustered together at the start line behind a similar number of Bolton’s Burnden Road Runners, some of whom I have a nodding acquaintance with from Bolton parkrun & their local races.

The last race of this series always has a smaller field. At my pace, if the next guy is ahead of you by more than 50 metres then you are not going to see much of them as they will be over the rise, round the corner or in the woods & out of sight before you get there. So it was, with just me & 2 other runners trying to keep up with & get ahead of each other in our own race-within-a-race. Our trio became just the 2 of us for the final turn up the hill. Most of the way up, until the final 30 metres, I had just thought about staying on the shoulder of Andy the Lostock AC runner who I had been in lockstep with for the last 2K, but I do like to put in a final flourish if only to reassure myself that I had really made an effort to get into the red zone & not just coasted the whole race. So I sprinted for the line, spurred on by the sound of the other RRRs finishers shouting encouragement. It was a good buzz to get ahead of my race rival, but what struck me was how well he took me coming past him, being quick to congratulate me as we both acknowledged that we had helped push each other on. I also enjoyed the congratulations & fist bumps from my RRR teammates. 

 

I thought about Mandy & my own Bernadette (who is desperate to get back running again) who had shouted encouragement to all the RRR men as we rounded the tree at the top of the hill & Barry Greaves who had given encouragement further back on the course. Reflecting on this I thought about the race I did the previous Sunday, the Windy Hill Fell Race from The Ram’s Head on Oldham’s Ripponden Road. For the 1st time in 10 years of fell & trail running, as I remember, I stumbled & fell heavily with 3K to go. At least 2 runners ahead of me stopped on hearing my yelp & came back to help me up – so blowing up their own times - while others behind me also slowed down to ask if I was OK. I also thought about the Shaun Armstrong Memorial RRR Cup,  renamed after Shaun, & the competitive but friendly rivalry between club runners, noting the astonishing times posted in the matches which took place at Oldham parkrun earlier in the day.

Even though I don’t always enjoy my running, the last 2 weekends have reminded me of the strong feeling of fraternity & the bonds of friendship & mental well-being to be found in being a member of the running community & of a running club. The 2023-24 cross-country season is now over, but good luck to everyone who will be trying to avoid injuries & overcome setbacks to meet & exceed their own running challenges this year - from the couch to 50K and more!

I woke up on Sunday with my legs stiff and sore – from all those mozzie bites!  [Gary Smith] 

HeatonParkXC_Feb2024.jpg

STOCKPORT DAFFODIL 10K - 29th JANUARY 2024

Hope, rebirth & new beginnings. The daffodil is the perfect name for the first club race of 2024. 

 

67 RRR members rocked up to Stockport for this season opener, which is now in its 3rd year & has already become a firm favourite with many from the club. Hence, it was voted back to the club calendar. We awoke from the training hibernation of winter, unsure how we would perform. For some, it was their 1st race; others hit milestones, some were returning to racing & a very healthy number of new members joined our 'blossoming' club. 

 

What's the Stockport Daffodil 10K route like? Mainly on the road, a small section of light trail before you head on to the A555 airport link road makes it somewhat unique as far as races go. So road shoes are the best option. It's relatively quick for those of us used to the Pennines, but there are a few nasty hills - especially at the very end. Carl O'Callaghan & Lee Earnshaw remarked about the long, steep drag from 5K to 7K. In fact, I can't repeat what they said, but it was colourful. Annalee Wilson also commented, "Time to get my arse back into training. Those hills felt brutal!" 

 

We welcomed new members for their 1st club race - William Wall, Mathew Reeves, James Moulton, Andrew Naismith, Karen Price & Billie Chamberlain, welcome aboard. We are delighted that you chose us & to see you wearing club colours. Also, welcome back to returning club members & those who haven't run with us for a while - Matt Kershaw (first race since 2019), 'our' Lee Higginbottom (2022), Jenny O'Callaghan (2020) surprised herself & Dave Leyland (2015). 

 

On to noteworthy performances. Well, this would be an epic book rather than a blog if I mentioned all the fantastic times recorded, so I apologise for missing those who achieved a 10K or course PB. In fact, David Emanuel - Deputy Chair & Communications Officer, who ran his best race for many a year and was 4th in the MV60 category - said that our 67 finishers are the most in a club race since the first Covid lockdown, the highest since 83 at the Dewsbury 10K in February 2020.

There were standout performances from Jarrod Gritt (1st RRR finisher & 5th place overall in his 1st club race since 2022), Shane Reading (20th overall & 2nd MV50), Bernard Goodwin (2nd MV55) & Maisie Wainwright (1st female RRR finisher & 11th female overall).

A quick Strava scan revealed several 10K PBs, including possibly the performance of the day from Mark Duncan in his 25th club race ("10K PB & over 8 mins quicker than last year"). Bryony Rogers said, "3 minutes quicker than last year." while Sarah Tomassi commented, "Stockport Daffodil 10k PB of just over 3 minutes. Happy with that!" & Lee Earnshaw reported "Stockport Daffodil 10K. Fastest 10K since 2009. Absolutely delighted with the run." Oliver Pozegic, John Fay & Anthony Rogers all reported new best 10K times, while Mark Phelan & Simon Howard achieved a course PB & Nicky Hall took a full 6 minutes off her time from last year. I (Andy Hall) also ran a PB for the distance ("Delighted & surprised with such a big 10K PB"). 

All the RRR finishing times: Dave Leyland (1:18:37), Karen Stuttard (1:13:43), Annalea Wilson (1:13:05), Hasna Budsworth (1:11:53), Alison Cresswell (1:10:47), Howard Mills (1:10:12), Andrew Chadwick (1:09:46), Kay England (1:09:14), Karen Rush (1:08:23), Nicky Hall (1:05:42), Angela Rogowskyj (1:05:41), Jenny O'Callaghan (1:05:22), Amanda Welby (1:05:07), Billie Chamberlain (1:04:44), Ronnie Quinn (1:04:27), Joanne Lawton (1:03:29), Karen Price (1:03:03), Elaine Brown (1:03:01), Paul Cooke (1:01:33), Bryony Jones (1:00:51), Dawn Speed (0:59:50), Sharon Dracup (0:59:35), Lee Higginbottom (0:58:25), Claire Timms (0:58:04), Stephen Rogowskyj (0:56:23), James Wright (0:55:10), Amanda Richardson (0:54:31), Andrew Naismith (0:53:49), Ray Williams (0:52:25), Bryony Rogers (0:51:46), Gail Shaw (0:50:25), Richard Dowd (0:50:04), Gary Smith (0:49:46), Kirsty Agnew (0:49:18), Eamonn Nolan (0:48:46), Rochelle Evans (0:47:25), Bryan Lawton (0:47:05), Bernard Cassidy (0:46:49), Simon Howard (0:46:24), Andrew Ingham (0:45:22), Dave Peart (0:45:20), Mark Phelan (0:45:12), Sarah Tomassi (0:45:06), Carl O'Callaghan (0:45:02), Lee Earnshaw (0:44:28), Adam Stirling (0:44:24), Matt Kershaw (0:44:20), Andy Hall (0:44:19), David Emanuel (0:44:14), Neil Brock (0:44:01), James Moulton (0:43:29), John Fay (0:43:10), Oliver Pozegic (0:43:06), Elliot Stone (0:43:02), Anthony Rogers (0:42:44), Maisie Wainwright (0:42:36), Mark Duncan (0:41:56), Brett Spivey (0:41:49), Bernard Goodwin (0:41:43), Adrian Brown (0:41:12), Martin Thompson (0:38:49), Mathew Reeves (0:37:46), Luke Lawson-Healey (0:37:35), William Wall (0:36:48), Shane Reading (0:36:46), James Henderson (0:36:36) & Jarrod Gritt (0:34:18).

Men's Captain James Henderson, who was delighted with not only his performance but for the whole club, said how impressed he was with the turnout & the fantastic performances, including our newer members showing such potential; the future is very bright for the yellow, green & white army from Royton. He said, "17th of 1312. Absolutely fantastic show from RRR - green & yellow everywhere - race season is OPEN." 

Women's Captain Mandy Richardson was equally pleased with her & the club's performance: "Great club run by all, amazing support with everyone passing".  

 

Tom Ogden, lead singer of Stockport band Blossoms, couldn't join us. However, he reportedly said, "I've run the Stockport Daffodil 10K with Your Girlfriend. Like in Real Life, I conquered the East & West parts of the course like King Charlemagne." He didn't say that (for legal reasons), but cool kids will appreciate the references... 

 

This is my first official race report as the RRR Press Officer & I'm delighted to celebrate a fantastic start to the 2024 season. Join me in thanking John Fay, who recommended me, for his service in the role.  [Andy Hall] 

StockportDaffodil10K_2024.jpg

 

 

 

2023 ARCHIVE RACE REPORTS

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