was clicking through to win a car, but the 'BMW Competition' is a model not a free-to-enter comp. Yes, Mr Williams, I would like to save 8 grand off an 80 grand car, but can’t afford it after paying the entry fee for the race.
Anyway, most of the club fleet was all waxed & polished & in showroom condition, mostly 'high mileage' latest models, all returning 13.1 miles in 1 hour something, whilst a few of us low mileage trade-ins with a rattling engine & a few dents & scuffs were parked nervously
on the waste ground round the back.
It was a turbo-charged performance from James Henderson, who was the 1st to take the RRR chequered flag. I had met James in the car park earlier, when he revealed that he had his daughter's glittery lip balm on his nipples (fearing rain, I had asked whether he had any vaseline). Despite Simon Howard behind me signalling frantically, he went on to tell me that his other daughter had tried out another glossy lip salve product on him the night before that felt wonderfully silky but looked invisible when he checked himself in the sun visor mirror. Simon
was right to try to flag James down & stop him. Great that James, powerful running machine on the outside, has a soft-to-the-touch interior - & it's now in the report!
2nd RRR was built-for-speed Shane Reading, who had had a good luck kiss put on his bonnet by Rochelle on the starting grid & his engine stayed fully revved all the way round. 3rd was the electric Ian Dale, who had plenty left in the tank after running & winning a 10K in Tenerife a week earlier. American muscle car Brett Spivey roared his way to be 4th RRR finisher, while with a well-earned reputation for reliability Bernie Goodwin came in as the 5th RRR. Penelope neverstop Janet Jobey was the 1st RRR female & 6th RRR. The classic Dave Emanuel had his foot on the gas to earn 7th RRR place. Rochelle Evans might have done a handbrake turn & slewed to a stop past the finish line to celebrate her 2nd female, 8th RRR, 100th club race triumph!
Simon Howard had been training with the F1 runners on training nights & so put in a highly-tuned performance to take 9th RRR position. Next, the always-accelerating John Fay, who quickly moved up the gears to take the 10th RRR spot, ahead of a well-specified & highly-tuned Adrian Brown securing the 11th RRR place.
Up ahead, Bernie Cassidy (15th RRR) had gone into safe mode with his hamstring injury & was running with another runner to try to get him under 2 hours. He still had plenty of torque though, cheerful as ever, chatting to me about Liverpool v City, shouting to spectators did they
have a bottle of Stella for him (running without due care & attention), whilst I was trying to keep both hands on the wheel & concentrate on the road. I was surprised when I moved ahead.
I was even more surprised to see Eamonn Nolan (14th RRR) on the bottom section of the path out of the park. Eamonn had blown a gasket & was limping. Back on the starting grid he had told me that this was only his 2nd club race of the year, but he had been able to run out on his own & get some training in after a hernia op last Christmas. Hope any repairs & advisories get fixed & you're back on the road soon Eamonn.
With lots of tyre squeal, Kevin Hutchings came in at 16th RRR ahead of Adam Bolton, who had already rallied around Leigh cross-country the day before. Think Adam will need a full service after doing these races back to back! Knight-of-the-road Dave Smith came in 18th followed by SUV Jill Heywood who had also run races back to back (she did Leigh as well), raced all distances & has done a triathlon this year already!
"88kg. Can’t be right? Change the units."
"How much is that in stones and pounds?"
"0.86 is 12lb."
"Umm. How many pounds in a stone?"
"I’m nearly 14st!"
"Something's wrong? The machine isn’t calibrated properly."
"I’ll go on the one in the men’s changing room."
"Yes, OK, put your shorts back on quick!"
Looking at the whippet-thin RRR vests going past the door to the beer garden of the Cock & Magpie, not everybody has put on the proverbial 'stone over lockdown'.
Bernadette approves of the pub refurb & I admit it’s been tastefully done, in dark wood with the stone floor. She is also admiring of the cutesy, cottagey (we regress when talking houses) on the walk up to the reservoir.
Since the Rochdale 10K I had done a few more gym classes but nothing like preparing for a competitive race, running out from the clubhouse on a Monday & Thursday in the days of old. So I was more apprehensive than usual, although after doing the hill in Leverhulme Park on Bolton parkrun since its return - nicknamed 'Cruella De Hill' - I was more OK about being able to get up from the lane to the reservoir. I didn’t bother checking my best time on this event, knowing I would be nowhere near it, & was sanguine about starting towards the back of the field.
Good to see Jason Keast on the comeback road from his hip op. Bernie Cassidy was upbeat about running despite already limping with a recurring hamstring problem. Gary Marshall & John Fay were walking purposely shoulder-to-shoulder - as in a lot of things, runners in form or with similar times tend to accrete to each other.
So my new nemesis Kevin Hutchings & I yo-yo’d past each other along the path, until I thought I had him where I wanted him - behind me. I then tracked Trish Murdin, thinking that she must be labouring for me to be so close. I edged past her before the end of the 1st lap & there I was ahead of these 2, finding a bit of form.
It didn’t last long. 1st Bryony Jones drifted past me in a pair of Mr Motivator shorts & then I heard Trish say something which sounded like an exhortation for Kevin to go past me, which he duly did, soon followed by Trish herself. Before the finish Trish had it in her to finish ahead of Kevin.
The club turned out 42 runners, over a 3rd of the total field, only bettered this year by our 59 at the Royton Trail. Rob James was the 1st RRR finisher & could have probably outrun the water-skier we saw out on the water, posting 17:16. Rob was followed home by James Henderson (18:17) then Mark Kelly (19:14). Ronnie Quinn, fresh from representing England in a GB Vets 10K race, was 1st MV60 (whisper it softly he’s actually 69!). Rochelle Evans was 1st FV45 (I’m sure Rochelle will tell us her actual age). Darren Ogden, Adam Bolton, Joanne Lawton, Dave Bardsley & Stephen Jones all ran their 1st club race of the season, while John Fay, Trish Murdin & Elaine Whitehead have now completed all 13 club championship races so far for 2020-21.
At the bar I chatted to Neil Brock, who has gone teetotal for running in a series of close-together marathons at London & Manchester. Neil is someone that fine-tunes his training & looks for marginal gains. For myself, after falling behind Trish & Kevin just after exiting the gate to go across the dam, I looked down to my right to see those who had already finished. After daring to check my 2017 time, I found I had finished some 90 seconds slower - about that distance going across the dam wall, down the road & along the lane. I need to fine- tune my training now as well & not just rely on a weekly parkrun.
Back in the beer garden there was just Kevin, Brett Spivey & myself. Kevin admitted that he hadn’t finished the report for the Cheshire Half on 12th September. There was a certain synchronicity in Brett hearing this, because his requested contribution for my report on the Rochdale 10K came to me 2 weeks after Dave had already put it on the website! "It's been busy in work," he said. So, here are Brett’s slightly edited thoughts on the two races: "Rochdale seems a difficult race to get into, undulating with a hill at the start & then at the finish & with it being a midweek race, warm weather. Having not been back to any sort of consistent training yet, I was surprised to feel good after the early hill at Roch Valley Way. I picked up the pace early, which is my achilles heel. Sure enough after rounding yet another street corner in Heywood I was feeling tired & managed to hold on to the 8th female until about 7.5K, when I felt it was time to retreat & 'just use it as a training run'. Having never done the Cowm races I was pleasantly surprised to find a flat, rugged course with great surrounding landscape (the weather was cool & not much wind - perfect). I took it steady for the hill start & managed to clear some runners before the course narrowed. Sticking behind Carl I clung on until the last lap at a good pace, then slowed until the downhill finish. Unfortunately I took the 'racing line' down the footpath where a couple blocked my exit. Nonetheless it was a good race all round with a great pub at the end to enjoy the Whitworth sunset."
All the RRR finishers: Stephen Jones (39:22), Anne Jones (38:33), Dave Bardsley (35:19), June Allingan (35:18), Bernadette Ball (32:19), Kay England (32:16), Joanne Lawton (32:16), Angela Rogowskyj (31:22), Elaine Whitehead (29:46), Amanda Richardson (29:34), Debra Cash (28:18), Bernard Cassidy (27:30), Steve Rogowskyj (0:27:23), Jillian Heywood (0:26:59), Adam Bolton (0:26:40), David Smith (0:26:39), Gail Shaw (25:39), Jason Keast (25:30), Gary Smith (25:11), Kevin Hutchings (24:58), Trish Murdin (24:50), Bryony Jones (24:49), Simon Howard (23:14), Rochelle Evans (23:11), Gary Marshall (22:44), Kirsty Agnew (22:27), Mark Heaney (22:20), Bernard Goodwin (22:02), John Fay (21:39), Ronnie Quinn (21:30), Bryan Lawton (21:25), Mark Phelan (21:14), Darren Ogden (21:08), Elliot Stone (20:36), Brett Spivey (20:12), Carl O'Callaghan (20:05), Neil Brock (19:22), Ian Dale (19:19), Robert Fairbanks (19:17), Mark Kelly (19:14), James Henderson (18:17), & Rob James (17:16).
Now I’m passing the laptop over to Bernadette to check, then onto Dave E. If our Kev still hasn’t done that report for the Cheshire Half then I’ve at least finished ahead of him in the thousand word dash! [Gary Smith]
A car-share journey for today, picking Gail Shaw up early in Royton to get down to the Grade 2* listed Capesthorne Hall for a bright & early start. We arrived in the car park (large field) & soon spotted Paul Timms. More RRRs began to arrive, including newly-engaged Trish Murdin complete with sparkly ring on her finger, questioning whether she should have left it home. Cheshire’s version of Kenny G (don't ask) was providing pre-race tunes on his saxophone in the car park - not something you expect at 8.30am on a Sunday morning.
There were 27 RRR starters, only a couple down on the 1st time
this race (in its current guise) was included in the race calendar in 2019. As
with last year's race, runners were set off at intervals, in pairs, on either
side of the path up to the start line. I set off with Team Jones - Stewart, Karen &
Bryony - whiling away the 1st couple of miles before deciding to try & go at
a pace to get below 2 hours for the 1st time.
With the faster runners going off 1st I didn’t see anything of most RRRs, only Jill Heywood & Gail Shaw, with a brief glimpse of Carl O'Callaghan at one of the switchback points of the course.
The 1st RRR over the line was Rob James (1:17:49) & our 1st lady was Rochelle Evans (1:46:06), with Neil Brock (1:25:37) finishing 1st in the MV55 category.
I managed to keep my pace going throughout the race & achieved my target of a sub-2 hour half with a personal best of 1:53:39. Other PBs on the day came from Martin Thompson (1:21:19), James Henderson (1:25:08), Adam Stirling (1:36:32), Gary Marshall (1:45:54), Bryony Jones (1:56:04 - by 21 minutes!!!) & Jill Heywood (1:59:08).
Keeping their 100% record of running all the 2020-21 races were John Fay (1:42:22), Trish Murdin (1:50:33) & Elaine Whitehead (2:14:34). Only 4 more to go!
All the other
RRR finishers: Amanda Richardson (2:13:42), David Smith (2:10:41), Karen Jones
(2:04:25), Stewart Jones (2:04:22), Gail Shaw (1:54:03), Bernard Goodwin
(1:42:58), Bryan Lawton (1:39:26), Andrew Schofield (1:37:26), Brett Spivey
(1:35:00), Carl O'Callaghan (1:33:08), Mark Kelly (1:29:08), Shane
Reading (1:28:46), Ian Dale (1:28:37) & Paul Timms (1:23:50). [Kevin Hutchings]
GOLDEN BALL 10 - 22nd AUGUST 2021
A 10 mile race is a strange distance - it's not a 10K & it's not a half marathon. It's a distance that as a club we don't run that often & I don't think there are many 10 mile races that take place in the north west. I guess it is a good distance for someone who is training to do a half marathon; if someone was to ask me my 10 mile PB I wouldn’t have a clue. This was my 3rd ever race over the distance & it was difficult to have a point of reference on what pace to run at & time to aim for, but when I entered I thought that I'd add in a little post-race walk around Lancaster town & make a day of it.
In the build-up to the race, I had not done much research about the course & route. The only thing that I knew was that it ran alongside the River Lune & that on the same day there was a 20-mile race as well. I wondered where the name 'River Lune' originated from - did it have anything to do with the word 'lunar' & the moon? My 2nd thought was that to do a 20-mile race you must be a bit of a lunatic - Mark Kelly (2:22:43) & Andrew Schofield (2:47:19) were the only lunatics from Royton Road Runners who completed that race & did so with phenomenal times under their belt, which will no doubt fill them with confidence for marathons this season.
After a quick search on Google I learned that the origin of the name of the River Lune was completely different from my theory. I pondered what else I knew about Lancaster & came up with 2 things that I definitely knew - that Lancaster has a university & Lancaster Castle was the place where the Pendle Witches were put on trial in 1612.
Speaking of witches...Elaine Whitehead & Debbie Cash (both 1:48:00) had left their broomsticks at home & travelled to the race with me. The journey to Lancaster started with some disruption due to accidents on the motorway. We were lucky enough to be on the road pretty early & were also travelling with Kevin Hutchings (1:30:11), who was acting as my co-pilot in the car & helping me navigate around the road diversions. The accidents on the motorway resulted in some of our runners arriving at Race HQ with very little time to spare to collect their race numbers. Bryan Lawton (1:14:07), Angela Rogowskyj (1:57:29) & Steve Rogowskyj (1:48:36) arrived at the start line just seconds before the race started. Prior to this I learned that Ian Dale (1:10:34) & Jillian Heywood (1:37:36) had also completed an epic journey to get to the race on time, returning from holiday in Spain in the middle of the night to ensure that they could attend the race. As I had a pre-race cup of tea, Ian also gave me 1 or 2 training tips & explained that he races every weekend, which helps him keep his performance levels high.
With the disruption in the build-up to the race I found myself alone at the start line, away from my club mates, but I felt on home turf as many people from local running clubs had also made the journey to Lancaster. The 20-mile & 10-mile runners started at the same time & the race took a pack of 300-plus runners along a disused railway line, which is now a cycle lane/footpath, out in 1 direction towards Lancaster for approximately a mile & a half. The group then turned around & sped along the path in the opposite direction towards a place called Caton. During the race I saw some signage along the route & learned that if you followed the path to its very end it would eventually take you to Morecambe.
As the race route had a turn relatively close to the start, it meant that runners were moving in 2 directions so I was able to see the race leaders fly past me. The overall leader, who was doing the 20 mile race, was escorted by a cyclist & I thought that he had his work cut out even to cycle at the speed that this guy was running at. Rob James put in a magical performance in his 50th club race, finishing in 4th position overall in a time of 1:00:44 - he was the 1st man in an RRR vest that I saw fly past me. The 2nd Royton Road Runner that I saw bombing past was Shane Reading (1:07:34).
The pack begun to settle down at around 3 to 4 miles & due to the humid conditions I had already taken some water from the marshals. At around 5 miles we crossed the bridge over the river where the race photographer was situated & we continued along the path until a section of the race brought us onto a main road. I could see a group of motorcyclists parked at a pub in the distance & as I ran along this road some Harley-Davidsons whizzed past me. The route took us back onto the path & I saw Rochelle Evans - who put in a spellbinding performance with a time of 1:20:34 - turn the corner & accelerate away from me. Shortly after this turn there was another passing-point for runners moving in both directions & I saw many 20-mile runners (who were wearing a white bib) taking their time & pacing themselves for the distance. I settled in for the final 3 miles & was pleased that the route was nice & flat. I had run a relatively consistent pace throughout the race & still had a little left in the tank for a sprint finish at the end.
After the race I got some of the best post-race goodies that I had ever received. Everyone who completed the 10 mile race received a banana, a Wagon Wheel, a kit bag & a medal in a case. Once I got my breath back I checked if the Wagon Wheel was bigger than the medal, as I recently heard a rumour that they were shrinking, before I wolfed it down with a bottle of water. The RRRs who returned before me were sat under a tree. I learned that super-speedy Brett Spivey was the 5th Royton Road Runner to cross the finish line in a time of 1:14:48. Joanne Brown (1:17:54) in her very 1st RRR club race had shown some true running wizardry as the 1st RRR lady to cross the line. As I paced up & down to get some of the lactic acid out of my legs, I watched the remainder of the race from a raised area at the side of the pathway, seeing Trish Murdin finish in a time of 1:26:53. I was then joined by Kevin & we cheered Susan Heaney home (1:40:57) before watching the remaining runners finish their race.
It was a spirited performance from all 16 Royton Road Runners who took part, with Rob James, Shane Reading & Ian Dale all finishing in the top 10, while Joanne Brown & Rochelle Evans were both in the top 20 overall finishers - 4th & 5th respectively in their (very tough) FV45 age group - & Debbie Cash 1st in the FV55 category. Despite the challenges in the build-up to the race I would say it is an enjoyable event. Overall it was very well-organised with a simple route & plenty of water stations, excellent for those wanting to get some mileage in their legs. If we return to this event as a club race in the future I would recommend leaving the house early to avoid traffic & if you are going for a post-race brew/food in Lancaster, bring a towel & make use of the excellent shower facilities at Race HQ! [John Fay]
ROCHDALE 10K - 10th AUGUST 2021
Arrived in good time, coming down the A58 from Bolton into Springfield Park for this race, the latest fixture on the club’s racecard. Plenty of RRRs milling about. Angela Rogowskyj commented on Bernadette’s new hairstyle & I was going to say how nice Angela’s nails looked, but the moment passed & I congratulated husband Steve on his consistently improving form instead.
It's 2 races in a row for meeting Ronnie Quinn & Elliot Stone before the start. Praised Elliot for his fast time at Hopwood - nearly 4 mins faster, but as he told me the 2021 course was some 0.2K shorter, so I won’t be doing any previous time comparisons for this race. I needn’t have worried though, as it hasn't changed; path out of the park, turn left & it’s left all the way through the different route segments, with its fall/rise/plateau/fall/steady rise undulating profile.
Queued for my race number & to pick up the socks which were in a Handleys Bakery crate. B commented that she might have preferred a Chelsea bun, but had to make do with hard cheese when told all the small sizes had gone. Rochdale Harriers will have to get some more sock stock for next time I think.
This was not a chipped race, so a bun fight at the start, Ronnie quickly scooting through from the back. Reminded me that you need to have several speed transitions in you to post a decent time, but with an injured knee I was going to be glad just to finish without breaking down. Saw Gail Shaw some 50m ahead (or was it 100?) & tried to keep her in sight. Was going to give Emma Bower a masterclass in overtaking at 6K but she had more than 1 speed transition in her & went further ahead. It was instead Kevin Hutchings at 7.5K who overtook me & kept ahead of 5 or 6 other runners who also went past me on the run-in.
We had 33 RRR finishers - the lowest since 2010, but then the total field was only 149. Rob James (38:03) was again 1st RRR finisher but only 3 seconds behind came our next runner in the race Martin Thompson (38:06), who just held off Paul Timms (38:07). There is a great photo of the 2 of them shoulder-to-shoulder coming into the finish. Neil Brock (40:36) & Mark Kelly (40:46) were the next RRR finishers, so our 1st 5 club runners were from 5 different age categories!
All the other RRR finishers: Anne Jones (1:18:20), June Allingan (1:18:12), Angela Rogowskyj (1:10:35), Bernadette Ball (1:10:13), Elaine Whitehead (1:05:07), Amanda Richardson (1:02:59), Steve Rogowskyj (1:02:51), Jillian Heywood (56:46), David Smith (56:07), Gary Smith (55:07), Kevin Hutchings (54:27), Gail Shaw (53:36), Trish Murdin (52:30), Rochelle Evans (49:46), Bernard Cassidy (48:23), Dave Peart (46:39), Dave Hall (45:48), Mark Phelan (45:43), Ronnie Quinn (45:37), John Fay (45:35), Brett Spivey (45:08), Andrew Schofield (44:28), Adam Stirling (44:01), Elliot Stone (43:56), Bryan Lawton (43:35), Brett King (42:21), Carl O'Callaghan (41:50) & Ian Dale (41:25).
I didn’t realise, but we are now 10 races into the season (with the carry-over from last year). John Fay, Trish Murdin & Elaine Whitehead have run them all, so well done to the 3 of you.
Dave Peart went too fast over a speed bump towards the end of the race, stumbled & scraped his undercarriage - skinned knees & elbows. I am surprised he didn’t have swarms of flies descend on his wounds, as the finish is not far from the lake & it’s a bit swampy in that bit of the park - I suspect most of us were bitten. Dave was a brave soldier, but don’t pick those scabs!
OK, time for the RRR (Race Report Relay) handover. I invited Amanda Richardson & Mark Kelly to comment this time.
From Mandy: "Not the best race prep, as I did a long run with Claire (Timms) & Judith (Bradley) the day before - 12 miles - then realised I was entered in the race from last year! Ran around a minute faster than 2019 but slower than lately. Usually just ahead of Steve (Rogowskyj) but had to work hard to keep him in sight. Still quite enjoyed it, but lesson learned - don’t do a long run the day before!"
Funny you should say that Mandy, as here’s Mark’s reply to my request for a contribution: "A crucial part of race preparation is about setting your training to the right level in the lead-up. I use TrainingPeaks to plan my year out in rough, putting all the races in (moving them when pandemics say so) & working out what training I will do in the build-up. I refine the training plan 4 weeks ahead, ensuring I taper down (do less) in the last week. In fitness terms, you won't lose as much fitness in a week as you decrease 'fatigue' and improve 'form' which ultimately make you faster. My blog post from last year gives more about how I work out what I do. An essential training consideration is what type of training; I often hear people say they do hill training to make themselves faster, which is partially true. On hill races yes, flat races no. Always do your training on the elevation & terrain you are racing on. You may have done a marathon before & will know that your last 'long' run will be about 22 miles about 3 weeks before the race & you then taper down. This is because it takes around 3 weeks for any adaptation to take place in your muscles. The Rochdale 10K was one of my best races to date. However, I did think as I exited the park, 'Oops, I have gone off too fast!' but as it turned out, I got the pacing even at around 4 min/km. It's an undulating course, so I have been training around Tandle Hills for the last couple of months, which made it easier. I am also doing my long runs on the canal as it is flat...like Manchester for those doing the marathon in October! Turning into the park at the end, I was trying to catch a guy in a purple Lakes race t-shirt; on the uphill, he started to struggle, 'one lump too many'. Finally I caught him on the downhill, he just blew up & courteously waved me on. The finish is the best bit of the race, unless you are Mr Peart & his speed bump awareness issue. It's a fast finish where I like to fly!"
Thanks to Mandy & Mark (nearly typed 'Mork and Mindy') for their input. Next up is Golden Ball 10 miler in Lancaster. [Gary Smith]
The deluge hadn’t started yet when we stopped by the first RRR car to chat to Bernie Cassidy. I commented on his matching green shorts with yellow piping & he related that they had been presented to him by the club to replace the ones (caught on photo) that allowed his "spuds to
hang out". Running, the one sport where the male shorts have thankfully become less brief!
Unseen, Ronnie Quinn had made his way quickly & silently over to us to politely inquire about Bernie's hamstring injury. Ronnie can detect a rival's injury from 4 car-lengths away! Later, with 150 metres to go & on the shoulder of another runner, Ronnie put his finger to his lips motioning me to stop cheering him. I continued to watch him up the road as he went past - quickly & silently.
Ronnie was brought to the race by Elliot Stone. Any polite inquiry as to Elliot's training or current fitness seems to always bring the same muted response. However he seems to be running as well as ever, finishing here in 38:14 compared to 40:28 in 2019.
We own this race as a club & once again Rob James (2nd Senior Male in 31:43) was the fastest RRR, 4th overall & one of the winning men's team alongside Martin Thompson (wearing a blue instead of his trademark white cap, 1st MV35 in 33:39 in his 1st club race of the season), James Henderson (1st MV45, 34:36) & Neil Brock (1st MV55, 36:05). Ladies Captain Janet Jobey (39:09) was 1st in her FV45 category & 2nd female overall. Other age category winners were Mark Heaney (1st MV60, 40:08), timber wolf Ronnie Quinn (1st MV65 in 40:33) & June Allingan (1st FV75, 1:07:28). Congratulations also to Susan Heaney, who ran her 50th RRR club race & finished in an impressive 50:24. Though obviously in discomfort, Bernie still finished in 44:46, just beaten by Dave Peart (43:56) who had a strapped left knee. Must have a similar injury to myself I mused - but he still ran!
Back to the pre race meet & greet. The final RRR I saw before walking off the car park was vice-chairman Dave Emanuel, looking maybe slightly pensive. Probably unknown to a lot of us Dave - another who hides his running light under a bushel - has been struggling with an achilles injury since before lockdown & rather than have another one just from a spectator's perspective I am passing the race report baton over to him...
In the build-up to the event I had watched with envy on Strava as RRR trio Janet Jobey, Trish Murdin & Kirsty Agnew completed each section of the Tour of Tameside - race 1 a 10K trail run, race 2 a challenging 6 mile run called 'Hell on the Fell' & race 3 the Hero Half Marathon. As Elaine & I arrived for this race I was surprised to see how fresh & relaxed all 3 ladies looked heading into the final race of the series to complete the Tour.
This was the 1st race that I attended since 'freedom day', so it was a race without any social distancing measures in place. It was nice to be able to gather outside Hyde Town Hall & mingle with clubmates once again. The races that I had recently attended all used a 'rolling start', so it was good to revert back to a traditional race start, where runners had to jockey for position with their rivals to get close to where they believed they should be on the start line.
The race began with a tightly-condensed pack heading uphill away from
Hyde Town Hall out of Market Street. The pack began to spread out as
the group of 519 runners travelled along Stockport Road towards Gee
Cross. There was another climb after a sharp hairpin turn onto Mottram Old Road, which continued for another mile & led
onto a rural road. As I was running & trying to regulate my breathing
I became aware of runners settling into a rhythm & a steady pace. I
could see RRR jerseys in the
distance - I could make out Carl O’Callaghan (who finished in 48:43), completing
his 75th club championship run, closely followed by Elliot Stone (50:07), Bryan Lawton (51:16) & Andrew Schofield (50:12),
all heading off into the distance.
At the peak of the hill I turned into a Hattersley housing estate, which
apparently is famous for being the area where boxer Ricky Hatton was
born. As I recovered from the 3-ish mile climb, I ran downhill & passed the water station. I recalled
the stories that Simon Howard (56:34) told me about the stint he spent
working in the neighbourhood when he was training to be a teacher &
for some reason this inspired me to run a little bit faster. The heavens
opened as I left the housing estate with
a sharp uphill climb before a left turn for a nice long downhill
stretch on Mottrom Road. This led us to an area of Tameside that I’d
never heard of, called Godley. At the 6-mile mark the route took a left
turn & there was a final gradual climb along a
street which plateaued. I then found myself being directed by race
marshals across a roundabout & within a minute or so I found myself
on a long downhill stretch. I could see Hyde Town Hall & the finish
line & could hear spectators cheering in the
As I approached the finish I became aware of 2 runners in the
black vests of Chorlton Harriers passing me. I tried to stay with them
as they went past but my legs didn’t have it in them. As I got closer to
the finish line I could hear people cheering for
Mark Phelan (51:30), who
was hot on my heels, & the remarkable Janet Jobey. Janet was in close proximity & I am sure on fresh legs she would have
left Mark & I for
After finishing the race, Mark & I got our breath back briefly
walking around the market area, then we watched the our RRR teammates cross the line. These included
Anne Jones (1:26:17), Elaine Whitehead (1:13:03), Kevin Hutchings (1:01:04) & Ray Williams (58:29). I got home & interrogated Strava & the results on the Tour of Tameside website, where I discovered that there were sterling performances
Bernard Cassidy (53:21), Dave Peart (53:15), Brett Spivey (51:54) & Mark Kelly (46:28).
It was a good day at the office for RRR with the unstoppable Ronnie Quinn (52:36) 1st in the Vet 65 category. Janet Jobey was 1st FV45 while Rochelle Evans (54:38) was the 2nd FV45 to cross the finish line. As well as this Gail Shaw (58:55) was 3rd in her FV55 age category. The 1st finisher for the club was Robert Fairbanks, who was 3rd in the V40 Category & finished 12th overall in 42:43. Shane Reading was the 2nd RRR to cross the finish line in 45:53, whilst Neil Brock (46:03) was 3rd RRR & 1st in his MV55 age category. In total 24 RRRs completed the race with some very respectable results & although I’ve not had the chance to catch up with everyone, I am sure they are pleased with what they achieved. The stars of the show & the highest accolades must however go to the Tour of Tameside finishers Janet Jobey (51:38), Kirsty Agnew (55:52) & Trish Murdin (59:12).
Well done to everyone who took part. Hopefully at this Olympic time
of year we will all be inspired to run faster, higher (up fells if
that’s your thing!) & stronger. [John Fay]
THE ROYTON TRAIL - 14th JULY 2021
I was standing there prevaricating behind Jenny O'Callaghan (volunteer coordinator, sitting at the 'Covid desk' at the cricket club entrance), before finally deciding that I couldn't run, having damaged my left knee & knowing that, despite the up-&-down nature of the tough course, to get any sort of time you need to be running it at something as close to a sprint as you can. A lack of training was also a concern. As it was, the race was already fully marshaled & I was sent to the chicken sheds, where Natali Brown arrived at the 1st fork in the road. So I moved down a bit to where founder member Ray Shaw was in his 'usual' position, just before Andy Andems set the race off.
I fell into conversation with Ray, still turning out to volunteer for The Royton Trail. With a few others back in 2003, Ray decided that not enough was being done by Oldham & Royton Harriers off the athletics track for the road runners & he approached Royton Cricket Club, of which he was also a member, to use them as a base for the new club. Ray told me that he had to stop running because his knees started troubling him in his late 60s (gulp). OK, so I have some time left.
Ray was very proud of how, from a handful - I think Bernard Goodwin was also a founder member - the club has flourished. I would concur. This is due in no small part to the dedication & professionalism of our committee. Many of us became lockdown rule experts only when the chance of going abroad returned, a clap of hands then to the committee for keeping the membership up-to-date with the Covid regs, for putting in guidance for the return of training nights & for making the return of our own trail race possible. The race was full & I saw RRR returnees go past, ex-RRRs running without a club, ex-RRRs who had joined other clubs - Saddleworth and Eden Runners - plus large contingents from Marple, Middleton, Rochdale & Prestwich. Oldham & Royton Harriers had just 3!
Tandle Hill Tavern no longer opens during the week, so Royton Cricket Club as our club base became the obvious alternative. Well done to Warren Siddall, who padded-up & strode to the crease to understudy Bryan as the Race Director, then stepped in at the last minute to ride the lead bike on this occasion.
Gerrard Wood was as lush as the Elk Mill roundabout & kerbside verges, with thick tree cover & no breeze; it was going to be hot, airless & energy-sapping. The winner Lawrence Fairclough of Rossendale, however, scorched his way to 1st place in 36:30, followed by ex-RRR club member Ian McBride. We had 59 club participants - the biggest turnout since last year's pre-pandemic Dewsbury 10K - but that includes Dave Emanuel, who recorded a chip time as a tail-end sweeper?
Paul Timms, 11th finisher & 3/25 MV40, was the 1st RRR home - an achievement to add to his recent qualification for the Ironman Supersapiens World Championship in Hawaii - swim/bike/ run plus Hula dancing? Shane Reading (3/20 MV45) was our 2nd finisher, while Ian Dale - running his 100th club race - was 3rd & 1st MV55. So the club's first 3 runners represented 3 different age categories, proof positive of the benefit of running in a club! Female Captain Janet Jobey was the 1st RRR female finisher & 1st FV45. She was joined by Rochelle Evans, Vikki Smith & Tracy Johnson to take the women’s team prize. Mark Heaney doesn’t like to go much above 10K but is a killer at this distance, with a 1st place in the MV60 category.
All the RRR finishers: Alison Cresswell (1:30:07), Anne Jones (1:30:06), June Allingan (1:24:32), Angela Rogowskyj (1:18:43), Sharon Leach (1:18:14), Lindsay Gregory (1:17:27), Karen Rush (1:17:26), Kay England (1:17:25), Bernadette Ball (1:16:58), Amanda Welby (1:15:35), Sally Crewe (1:14:21), Sarah Fitton (1:14:05), Liz Phillips (1:12:58), Judith Bradley (1:11:27), Elaine Whitehead (1:10:40), Jillian Heywood (1:09:01), Stephen Rogowskyj (1:07:25), James Wright (1:07:24), Amanda Richardson (1:07:17), Lisa Southward (1:07:11), Debbie Cash (1:06:18), David Smith (1:03:39), Susan Heaney (1:03:30), Chris Nicholson (1:03:07), David Phillips (1:00:32), Paul Cooke (59:29), Andy Chadwick (59:00), Ray Williams (58:45), Liane Gilligan (58:32), Gareth McCaffery (58:09), Trish Murdin (57:35), Tracy Johnson (57:18), Simon Howard (56:49), Bryony Jones (56:23), Victoria Smith (56:06), Gary Marshall (55:26), Rochelle Evans (55:06), Adrian Brown (54:18), Bernard Goodwin (53:37), Mark Phelan (53:28), Mark Foran (53:22), Ronnie Quinn (53:17), Bernard Cassidy (52:46), Adam Stirling (51:26), Mark Heaney (50:31), Michael Harrison (50:28), Eamonn Nolan (50:15), Andrew Schofield (50:11), John Fay (49:54), Janet Jobey (49:10), Elliot Stone (47:58), Neil Brock (46:55), Brett King (46:41), Carl O'Callaghan (46:38), Mark Kelly (46:31), Ian Dale (46:00), Shane Reading (45:41) & Paul Timms (42:17).
Congratulations to those running for the 1st time in an RRR vest - Adrian Brown, Bryony Jones, Amanda Welby, Brett King, Lisa Southward & Sarah Fitton (who ran this race in 2019 as a base group runner before joining the club).
contacted the 1st timers for some feedback:
'The volunteers were amazing (thank you).'
'Very well organised especially with the start & finish.'
'Really well prepared. Start of the race was tough especially the hills (sic) in Tandle Hill but overall I really enjoyed it.'
'I really enjoyed it, looking forward to more races.'
'I ran with a lady called Sally [welcome back Sally Crewe], she had a baby a few years ago [Hello Charlotte - smiley emoji] & was the most amazing supporter all the way round.'
There were some cracking photos taken by Paul Taylor - who also put up a video of the course, that, despite being speeded up, seemed to go on for a long, long time - & club member Neil Bradley, including a superb one by Neil of a group of us on the pavilion steps, which can all be found on the RRR Facebook page. Maybe we should have a photocall for all the current membership to assemble some time here for a formal 2021-22 photo? Proof that the club continues the legacy of Ray & those other founder members back in 2003! [Gary Smith]
Bernadette and I saw a chap in full Edwardian
gear on a penny farthing going along Blackburn Road on our way from Bolton to Heaton
Park for the inaugural club championship race of 2021. Sales of these bikes have gone up over
the lockdown. It made me nostalgic for past club runs when I had actually done
some training in preparation. I was hoping my legs would remember the good ol'
"How much training have you done?"
"I’ve been running virtually. I've done virtually nothing."
"If you haven’t done any training then where’s your motivation?"
A free entry courtesy of Steve Goddard of course! Went to pick up Steve’s number & sensed his frustration. He was back to running well at the start of the year, but was now having problems with his IT band. B wasn’t running as the 'IT girl' has the same problem. Hope you recover soon Steve.
Came over the brow of the hill & had to ask Dave Watt’s first name - it's been a while since I’ve seen everyone. He is coming back after a 2-year hiatus, so best of luck on the long road back to where you were before Dave.
So most of the gang were here, fist-bumping, elbow-tapping, head-nodding. The ones I spoke to had all kept their training going. Mark Phelan was a solitary runner before he joined the club & was seemingly going quicker with every race up to lockdown. He was able to return to his solitary running, sometimes joining up with others including John Fay - who has not only kept his running going, joined an EA coaching programme with (you’ve got a) Nurv running insoles to monitor cadence & stride pattern but also started a running blog. Probably types faster than me as well! Mark unfortunately ran past the finish & had to double-back twice after June Allingan put him right.
Ronnie Quinn, Adam Stirling & Mandy Richardson have been on the same coaching programme, while Ronnie is also in preparation to represent England in the V65 category at the English Athletics National Championships in September. Now working from home, Janet Jobey has also been doing solo runs to break up her day & Club Chairman Bryan Lawton will no doubt be back to his routine of running & cycling back & forth to his home from home - the shop! Meanwhile Jason Keast is back on it after his hip operation last February. He has already been rehabilitating himself by jogging around Chadderton Park & was just 'tip-tapping' around this race, chaperoned by Chris Eavers. Both were to post a faster time than me!
I chatted to Lee Higginbottom in our wave & got nostalgic with him - 4 years ago he was running 5K in 20 minutes. He said he seems to hit injury trouble when he runs faster. I next saw him sitting on the ground with the ambulance car about to assist after going over on his ankle & suffering serious ligament damage. Bad luck Lee - hope the recovery goes well (6-8 weeks, yikes).
It was good to see Bernie Cassidy, who has had corneal grafts & was going back to have the stitches out - after he'd run in a race! He finished 1st MV60. Probably still running to work & up Buckstones Road every Sunday. Jill Heywood & Ian Dale have gone back to their '1 organised run per week' routine & had completed the Birmingham Half Marathon the Sunday before.
From the waves there was a rolling start & I was soon engulfed by a tsunami of runners going ahead of me, including a very determined Gail Shaw - with elbows tucked in, very quick & compact running steps, she was soon past. Gail is a Trainng Group Leader & intersperses her running with yoga, pilates & other gym stuff. Trish Murdin followed her. With the staggered start I only saw these 2 RRRs before I staggered over the finish.
The club had 31 finishers. Time to unmask some great performances, including Rob James (4th overall, 1st SM & 1st RRR in 35:50), Neil Brock (1st MV55, 40:47) Janet Jobey (1st FV45 & 1st female RRR, 45:34) & Jill Heywood (1st FV50, 55:33). Recent new recruit Kirsty Agnew ran her 1st race in RRR colours, posting 49:17 & finishing 2nd FV35.
All the other RRR finishers: June Allingan (1:27:10), Jill Hickson (1:04:58), Dave Watt (1:03:04), Elaine Whitehead (1:02:11), Amanda Richardson (1:01:24), David Smith (57:19), Chris Eavers (57:14), Jason Keast (57:13), Gail Shaw (52:31), Trish Murdin (52:09), Gary Marshall (50:51), Ronnie Quinn (49:03), Rochelle Evans (48:47), Bernard Goodwin (48:44), Bernard Cassidy (47:04), Andy Schofield (46:45), Mark Phelan (46:42), Bryan Lawton (45:42), John Fay (45:35), Elliot Stone (43:57), Adam Stirling (43:45), Carl O'Callaghan (42:46), Ian Dale (41:43), Shane Reading (40:27), James Henderson (39:06) & Robert Fairbanks (38:58).
So how do I get myself back to some sort of running fitness?
"From this photo you took B, I don't know whether I’m flat-footed or a heel striker?"
"You need to show some balls."
"I mean show the ground the balls of your feet first. And grow a pair."
"Excuse me?" (hearing ain’t what it used to be either)
"Buy a pair - a new pair of running shoes."
Next one is Colshaw Hall 10K on 20th June. [Gary Smith]
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