Race Results 2019

14th Apr -Boston Marathon Lincolnshire, Road.  **NEW**

Well, Stuart, who was my guide for the day collected me at around 7.30am. On the way it began to rain, and we thought "oh no!" is this how it was going to be for the race? Fortunately, it eased off. The start was very crowded, but, it soon thinned out as the miles ticked by. The nice thing about the race is that its pretty much flat all the way. The only thing that we battled with was the wind. For the first 10 miles, we were heading right into it, then after then, it varied in stages. I finished in a time of 4:25:25. and more importantly, I managed to raise over £200 for Mid Lincs Citezens Advice, which is a well worthy cause as they provide advice in matters of debt, homelessness, and are more than happy to chat to people that are facing every day life issues.

Thanks to Mark Ellis for hos Report.

14th Apr - Rutland Spring Half Marathon Rutland, mixed terrain.  **NEW**

Rutland has recently begun to host a growing suite of running events including the night time 10k, an autumn half marathon and this, the second Spring Half Marathon. The events are not the cheapest, but they are extremely well orgainised and well resourced.

I had signed up for the race because I liked Michal's medal from last year (it had bluebells on it), and also because I thought that the course was flat. After I signed up other club members let me know my mistake. However, Kim only found out that the course was 'undulating' when I told her on the way there; she was not pleased! I was not feeling particularly positive or confident, not only because of the hills but because as I knew that I had not trained enough; I felt like someone who has not done their homework and is about to face the consequences!

Once we had registered we found the other Town Runners, Michal, Lisa and Gary as well as friend of STR Tracy Parr. The start was very well organised and we set of in waves every two minutes. These were pre-determined according to our predicted finishing times; each of these started at the exact time advertised which made for a lovely calm start to the race. Funnily enough Lisa had been allocated to the slowest start time (perhaps due to an administrative error). You were not allowed to start before your allocated time but fortunately could start later so both she and Gary set off after Kim and myself, who were both after Michal who was in the first speedy wave. Needless to say Lisa and Gary overtook us fairly early on. No one who has run with him will be surprised to hear that he passed a comment about us talking too much as he passed! Mind you, he was probably just jealous that we were only going to be running 13 miles as he and Lisa were going to extend their run to 30 miles as part of their training for an ultra, next month!

We got to the first water station after just 1 mile! We didn't bother with that one, but when we stopped for a drink at the second one (at mile 4) we found that there were bananas, crisps, sweets and gels too! There were about five fueling stations altogether so definitely no complaints in that department! The course was well marshalled and well sign posted so it would be almost impossible to get lost. There was also plenty of beautiful scenery including the reservoir and woodlands full of bluebells, primroses and forget-me-nots. We also saw lots of birds including a great crested grebe, a cormorant, a buzzard and a red kite. I had hoped to see an osprey, but no luck this time!

Despite Gary's comments I was very pleased of Kim's company and conversation which distracted me from the effort my undertrained legs needed to get up those hills! Consequently, the time passed relatively quickly and before we knew it we could hear the tannoy and Knew that we were nearly home. When you ran past the tannoy they actually read out your name and mentioned your club; this made me feel like a champion and gave me the energy for a last minute burst of energy even though my legs had been feeling like jelly for the last couple of miles. Michal was waiting for us at the end of the race which was so lovely and kind of him as he had finished considerably before us. Kim also could have finished a lot sooner if she had not run most of the course with me. Lisa and Gary had already started a 17mile 'cool down' right around the reservoir so we did not see them, although we did spare them a sympathetic thought!

The medal was attractive, this year we got a daffodil. There was also a very nice t-shirt (black with a daffodil) and a free massage if you could be bothered to queue (I couldn't). There were also lots of cakes.

Our times were Michal Nizler 1:45:44, Gary Britnell 1:59:30, Lisa Shona 1:59:30, Kim Ulysses 2:26:47 and Jane Winter 2:30:37.

Thanks to Jane Winter for her Report.

7th April - Grantham Sprint Triathlon Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Myself, Mick Tozer and Paul Davidson arrived early Sunday morning to take part in the Grantham Sprint Triathlon which took place at the Mears Leisure Centre. The Tandem was duly racked in transition when we arrived, and we then went to register and get our timing chips, numbers and the like before we know it, we were waiting pool side to start the swim, then, we were off.

While I was swimming, I just kept thinking, "don't blast it and run out of air!" Which I managed then it was in to transition 1, or just T1 for short. Putting my helmet on first as you are not allowed to touch the bike without a helmet, then, a jog with the bike to the mount line, then off we went. It was a two lap course which had a couple of small but steep hills in it around 10 miles in total. Then into T2, the tandem was racked and the helmet taken off, tether in hand, then we were off on the 5k Run. Mick Tozer was guiding in the swim and the bike and Paul Davidson was guiding on the run.

A fantastic day all round, Amanda Bishop and the team made sure that we had a pool lane to ourselves and, they were all very encouraging and accommodating, we really couldn't of asked for more! Here's the splits for each discipline:

Swim (400m) - 20:03, T1 - 3:55, Bike (16.5k) - 41:06, T2 - 1:13, Run (5k) - 27:25.

Thanks to Mark Ellis for his Report.

7th Apr - Lincoln 10k Lincolnshire, road.

I am afraid that this is going to be a grumpy report, so if you would like to read something more cheerful move on, nothing to see here!

I hadn't planned to sign up for this again after last year as it was expensive and crowded. However, my sister in law and son both said that they wanted to run it with me so I signed up after all. I was a bit worried that they would both struggle though, as neither of them trained much. I was therefore surprised when my husband took me on one side the week before the race to warn me not to be disheartened if they both beat me due to them both being considerably younger combined with my own recent injury. I reassured him that I would not be upset and anyway, I was confident that there was no way that my son would beat me as he had only been out for one 5k training run a week before the event whereas I am a member of England Athletics and a Sleaford Town Runner to boot!

The start of the race was annoying. There was a bit of a warm up routine that about 20% of the runners actually joined in with (my sister in law and son were clearly embarrassed by my own enthusiastic participation). However, once they got us nicely warmed up they then kept us standing around for five minutes while they talked to us so that we were no longer warm. Then they kept us waiting as there were still a lot of people who were one the wrong side of the barriers and it was hard for them to join us as we were so tightly packed in. Since this was a chip timed event, the people who had not made the same effort to arrive in plenty of time would not actually have been disadvantaged if we had just started and it would actually have made it easier for them to get on the right side of the barrier.

Finally, we started. After a few minutes there was a massive bottleneck where we had to wait for two or three minutes to get going again. Some runners were quite angry and swearing, most were just a bit peeved. I started the race at a steady speed that I knew that I would be able to keep up for 10k. At 2k my son passed me. 'Ah' I thought, 'Rooky error, not pacing himself'. However, I found the race tough going and gradually slowed down so I never did catch up with him. At 8k my sister in law passed me with a cheery smile and soon disappeared over the horizon along with the 1 hour 5minute pacer who had no business to be ahead of me.

Being a bit further back than last year the race was less crowded and the weather was certainly better than last year's heat wave. However, the real highlight for me this year was Meg who placed herself strategically around the course and was able to cheer STRunners on at several key points; what a tonic to see and hear her enthusiastic encouragement; thank you Meg.

The end of the race could not come soon enough for me and I was pleased to see that my sister in law had waited for me just past the finish line. We then had a very slow long walk to get our goody bag and all important medal. This really was irritating and led to us being very cold. To be fair there were space blankets on offer but at the point that they were offering them we did not know how long they were going to keep us waiting (and they always seem a bit overdramatic for a 10k anyway). After Meg, the second highlight of the morning for me was going back to my brothers to eat post-race hot cross buns.

Sleaford Town Runners taking part were John Lawlor: 43:16, Fred Smith: 44:22, Katie Huxtable: 59:20, Phil McDonald: 59:45, Jane Winter: 1:7:29 and Stan Thornton: 1:11:00 Especially for those of us starting near the back you could take two or three minutes off those times to take account of the bottle neck. I bet Mo Farrah never had to put with anything like that.

Thanks to Jane Winter for her Report.

31st Mar - Grantham Cup Belton, 10k, trail.

Six (seven? eight?) Sleaford Town Runners and a dog turned up for this event which was held as part of the Belton Horse trials. The race is organised by Grantham Running Club who also run the weekly parkruns at Belton and the popular Summer Solstice 10k so we knew that it would be well organised.

The course incorporated some breath-taking scenery as well as some breath-taking hills! There was an interesting mix of parkland, open countryside and woodland and lots of nature to distract us from the hard work of running up the aforementioned hills (I use the term running very loosely in this case). The weather was bright but very chilly.

One of the advantages of being one of the slowest runners in a group is that there are plenty of team mates to cheer you in at the end which was a lovely end to the race. To top it all there was a very acceptable medal, crisps, sweets and a bottle of beer at the end!

The STR members who took part were Fred Smith: 50:26, Michal Nizler: 52:00, Simon Campbell: 53:52, Mark Armstrong:1:02:9, Kim Ulysses (and Darcy): 1:03:42, Meg Smith: 1:07:09, Nikki Armstrong, 1:14:50, Jane Winter 1:15:58. Sadly Barbara's injury prevented her from running on this occasion but cheered us on very enthusiastically.

Thanks to Jane Winter for her Report.

30th Mar - Boston Parkrun Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Mike Folland: 33:14.

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Result.

30th Mar - Peterborough Parkrun Cambridgeshire, Multi-Terrain. 

Found myself in Peterborough on a Saturday morning, so decided to do the Peterborough Parkrun at Ferry Meadows. 675 runners took part on a nice and sunny day, finished in a time of 29:27.

Thanks to Alistair Whitaker for his Report.

30th Mar - Rutland Water Parkrun Leicestershire, Oakham, Tarmac paths. 

Well, it was fantastic conditions for Rutland Park run this morning! A fantastic spring day! We arrived around 8.30, and people were starting to turn up. Paul Davidson was guiding me, and a lady called Toni Brigs was guiding Nettie. We could tell from the outset that it was going to be a crowded start. Once the briefing had finished we were off! Right away it was very difficult to find overtaking opportunities, we would get through one pack of runners, then, almost straight away another pack would be on us. I clicked heals with one or two people, but, despite this, I finished in a time of 23:52 which wasn't bad considering how crowded it actually was.

I would certainly recommend this park run for any visually impaired runner wanting to try park run for the first time. The course is nice and flat, tarmac all the way and its an out and back course!

Thanks to Mark Ellis for his Report.

24th Mar - East Hull Harriers 20 mile Hull, East Yorkshire, Road.

On Sunday 24th March I made the trip over the Humber to the East Hull Harriers Club for their annual 20 mile race. It was a warm day, but a little breezy but nice to be out in shorts and vest after all the cold winter miles. The race runs from the Club House over largely rural roads, and tracks to the north east of Hull, the event was well marshalled and there was plenty of support.

I've never run a 20 mile race before and had set a target of under 3 hours, ultimately being slightly surprised to finish in 2:42:30. The goody bag included a microfiber towel, and there was a large home made buffet at the finish.

Thanks to Simon Lunn for his Report.

23rd Mar - Lincoln Parkrun Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Jane Winter: about 30 minutes but no official time as lost finishers token!

16th Mar - Lincoln Parkrun Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Kim Ulysses: 28:04.

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Results.

10th Mar - Retford Half Marathon Nottinghamashire, Road.

After anticipating wet and windy conditions for the Retford HM it was a pleasant surprise that the weather was less bad than predicted although the course was very wet in some places. The race was organised by Retford Athletic and Running Club. The course was mainly on closed roads starting and finishing at a College on the outskirts of the town centre. With a field of 1300 the race was well attended an well organised.

It was good to see fellow STR runners Fred and Meg Smith at the start. Despite my best intentions to run a steady Marathon pace race just under 1:50, I ended up knocking 2 minutes off my PB. Never thought I could go under 1:40. Final results for STR, Fred Smith 1:38:27, Simon Lunn 1:39:55 & Meg Smith 2:07:55.

Thanks to Simon Lunn for his Report.

9th Mar - Belton Parkrun Grantham, Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Kim Ulysses: 26:50.

9th Mar - Boston Parkrun Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Mike Folland: 33:57.

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Results.

2nd Mar - Belvoir Challenge Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire 15 & 26 miles, Multi-Terrain.

When I first heard about the Belvoir Challenge 26-mile trail race, I had in my mind glowering grey skies, horizontal rain, biting cold, unconquerable slopes that reduced people to a tearful crawl, and a general sense of something that no one in their right mind would sign up for unless they were made of steel and grit. Which I am certainly not!

So I'm not quite sure how I managed to end up on the entry list! Luckily, I wasn't the only one up for the challenge, as Gary had signed up for the same race as me, and Angie, Alex and Jayne had signed up for the 15-mile option, with Jane managing to get a last-minute place too. At least we would all be cold and miserable together! I watched the weather forecast in the days leading up to the race and could see strong winds predicted. My heart sank a little further.

Arriving at Harby, where the race began, I was cold and apprehensive, and wondered how I was going to get through the race based on all I'd heard. But there was no turning back now. And finding my fellow STRs gathered at the start was a welcome distraction from the nerves.

Setting off, my spirits were lifted almost immediately - you can't beat the feeling of running amongst a crowd of crazies who have the same passion, laughing at some of the outfits (one man was dressed as an American footballer - or was he just very prone to accidents?) and wondering how anyone could have contemplated shorts and vests in this cold. So when I felt Gary tug at my elbow and pull me sharply sideways, I wondered if the jolly japes had started already, only to look down and see I had been narrowly saved from running straight into a bollard at just the right height to scupper any chances of making even a mile or walking for another week! My relief that I hadn't actually run into it, tumbled head over heels and been trampled by the crowds was enough to set me laughing slightly hysterically, and with that began one of the most enjoyable runs I think I have done.

The sun came out and I started to warm up - we had a very long stop waiting to climb over a stile and so there was chance to have a change of clothes and a general reorganisation of bag and baggage. The wait was quite frustrating, and happened at more than one point, but for me, one things I love about trail running is the obstacles and learning to go with the flow.

The route was characterised by a variety of terrain - grass and tracks, footpaths, stiles and bridges- some of which took us around the Belvoir Estate and through very lovely villages, and was really well marked.

There were four checkpoints, each with amply laden tables of sandwiches and cakes, water and squash. As this was a training run and we were experimenting with fuelling, we didn't end up face first in the feasts provided, but instead I tried out jelly babies and liquorice all-sorts (no, too heavy) and biltong (light on the stomach but who wants a beefy after taste for the next six miles?). Gary was chuffed with his little squashed bread, peanut butter and marmite sandwich swirls, which made an appearance at every opportunity - I know, too tempting!

The Belvoir Challenge is pretty hilly (just under 2000 ft of elevation, although not classed as a fell race) and it was well worth getting along to the STR hill-training sessions in preparation (thanks for those, Gary!). There was no other option than to chase Gary to the top of each and arrive smiling - I have my pride! And because there were so many hills, there was plenty of time for quiet contemplation - okay, near-breathlessness when I couldn't formulate a thought, let alone speak! Unfortunately, Gary didn't suffer in the same way, so I had to endure him greeting every sheep we saw with, 'Hello, Dolly!' - and there were a lot of sheep!

I came back into Harby with sore and tired feet, but otherwise elated at how well the run had gone, and it was a lovely surprise to run into the hall to cheers from Jayne, Jane, Angie and Alex. Soup, puddings and drinks were provided - just the job when all I'd had for the last five hours were a few sweets and a couple of strips of dried meat!

This run would have been gruelling in the rain, mud and cold, and I have huge respect for anyone who has done it in those conditions, but it was a joy in the conditions we had, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves trail running. I certainly want to do it again.

As for our results, Gary came 57th out of 182 men and I came 22nd out of 133 women - very encouraging considering we were not racing but using it as an opportunity to experiment with fuelling and pacing, and taking into account toilet stops and a photo break. In fact, we had an altogether leisurely approach - anyone would think we were on holiday!

Just one mystery remains - Garmin recorded Gary as running further than me and higher, and taking less time, even though I went over the finish line first, didn't cut any corners, and even ran back and forward to the toilet to add on some distance. But this just adds to my love of trail running; some things can't be measured - the fact that there is so much to enjoy beyond putting one foot in front of the other, the comedy moments, the camaraderie, the unpredictability, and the wonderful sense of achievement for simply having conquered our little corner of the world.

Thanks to Lisa Shona for her Report.

2nd March - Belton Parkrun Grantham, Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Kim Ulysses: 26:43 & Lisa Harmon: 43:14.

23rd Feb - Belton Parkrun Grantham, Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Jack Huxtable: 19:22, Kim Ulysses: 26:59 & Katie Huxtable: 29:27.

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Results.

23rd Feb - Melton Mowbary Parkrun Leicestershire, Multi-Terrain.

Myself, Paul Davidson and Mick Tozer arrived in Melton to have a bash at the parkrun. My first impressions were that everyone were very welcoming and friendly. I decided it would be sensible to arrive early so me and my guide Paul to have a little warm up and get ourselves familiar with the course and its layout. I discovered that there were a few small obstacles to be aware of. After about 150 meters from the start line there was a wooden bridge, that was fairly narrow which also had a couple of corners to negotiate so, we thought that the best way to tackle this, was to actually link arms rather than use the guiding tether. After this, there was a short underpass, followed by a roundabout I'm told - we went round clockwise then a left turn and up a fairly long hill.

After this little warm up then it was back to the start line for the briefing. The run Director for the day was Theresa Coltman who had a lovely personality, very engaging in her delivery despite having a poorly shoulder - Theresa, I really hope that gets better soon! There was a Birthday that was mentioned - it was a chap called David Hall who had actually gone to his marshalling point towards the end of the first lap. Although he wasn't with us we all sang Happy Birthday with gusto and so loudly he must of heard us. There was much applause and cheering at the end which just had to be done! Theresa also gave out a mention to the tourists - ourselves of course, from Belton and Boston and also to a chap from Newcastle. So, after a few little do's and don'ts that were mentioned, we were chaperoned off to the start line!

Paul Davidson was guiding me - we found that the best thing was to start very near the front of the pack, really to avoid being caught up in the fray as there was the very narrow bridge to negotiate. We managed this without any real difficulties, linking arms as we crossed, then, it was under the underpass, and a left turn, and up the hill for the first time! This certainly was a good old climb. Once we'd reached the top, then it was a right turn and slightly down hill for a while. There was a little narrow gate way that we had to go through, then a series of small left and right turns and a very small bridge, and then in towards the end of the lap with no other hazards really except for a few undulations and tree roots that put me out my stride a bit. Birthday boy David was there marshalling, so, we just couldn't resist shouting out happy birthday to him as we ran passed! Then it was onto the next lap and the finish. I finished in a time of 25 minutes and 12 seconds, which wasn't a bad time considering the nature of the course.

Conclusion. The park run was very well organised, The atmosphere was very welcoming, and Theresa the Run director and all the marshals were fantastic A few things to consider from the prospective of a blind or visually impaired runner and their guide. There is the narrow bridge to think about soon after the start, I'd say that as long as both the guide and visually impaired runner are aware of this, then, this really shouldn't be a problem, then, we have the underpass, the long hill. There are a couple very short left and right turns and another little bridge. Again, make sure that the visually impaired runner and their guide are aware of these before the start.

I would suggest that it'd be a great idea for a blind or visually impaired runner and their guide to do a quick warm up and a bit of a recce of the course before the start. But, overall if you bare these things in mind, its a great course to do, and many thanks again for making myself, Paul Davidson and Mick Tozer feel very welcome!

Thanks to Mark Ellis for his Report.

23rd Feb - Rising Star Parkrun Newcastle, Multi-Terrain.

Jane Winter: 48:34.

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Result.

17th Feb - Stamford 30k Lincolnshire, Road.  

My 4th time at this well attended event and I have to say the hills are still there! This is a road race which takes you through some very pretty villages surrounding Stamford. Having missed the last couple of years there have been a few changes to the event. One of which being the addition of a medal - about time - this race definitely deserves a medal. You also get a nice technical T-shirt - this years colour of choice being shocking pink. The other major change was the addition of Portaloos - previous events had used the school facilities - loos, changing rooms etc. Have to say I preferred the latter.

This is a well organised event which sells out - it's a bit like marmite - you will either love it or hate it - I haven't quite made up my mind! No PB for me this year - neither was it my slowest - 3:19 happy with that.

Thanks to Jayne MacArthur for her Report.

16th Feb - Belton House Parkrun Grantham, Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.  

463 participants - beautiful spring like morning, Jack Huxtable 19:56, Jayne MacArthur 27:27 & Katie Huxtable 29:56. The course record was broken 14:54 WOW.

Thanks to Jayne MacArthur for the results.

16th Feb - Newark Parkrun Nottinghamshire, Multi-Terrain.

Kim Ulysses: 29:51.

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Result.

10th Feb - Lincolnshire Runner Cross Country Series Race 4.

Sunday the 10th Feb saw the last in the Lincolnshire Runner cross country series, STR were hoping for a great turn out for the last race but there seemed to be a few excuses coming out of the woodwork:

1. Kim had no bobble on her hat so was not going to venture out
2. Andy Barlex had the sniffles and said he was too far away to make the effort
3. Mark Armstrong was having his birthday and did not want to share it with his running buddies
4. Nikki was not allowed out as Mark did not want to be lonely on his birthday
5. Mark Ellis had a proper excuse and was attending a radio interview
6. Barbara had gone for the cross country classic excuse of a bad back, I think she was actually worried about the depth of some of the puddles.

So that just left Polly, Lisa, Jane and me. Luckily Phil McDonald had shown an interest in joining the club so I messaged him on Saturday night and told him he was in the team, all he had to do was turn up and give me £15, which he agreed to and he was added to the club straight away.

So with less than 12 hours as a club member Phil was lining up on the start line in his first competitive cross country race ever, in road trainers and a borrowed STR top, asking if he would be okay in road shoes. Then in my most truthful voice said 'yes of course you will, there are only a couple of puddles and all the paths are really good under foot'. Then luckily before Phil could hear me giggling the gun went off and they were running, well splashing actually. The 3 laps were made up of a muddy track that was almost a big muddy puddle all the way round. After the first lap going past the cheering crowds I could hear Jane and Lisa giggling at the soaking wet, mud covered runners, while taking loads of pictures, I think they were actually shouting encouragement, but I was not sure. By the end of the 3 laps I was exhausted but managed to keep a couple of Striders behind me and finished in 26th place in a time of 38:31, Phil came in, looking a bit dishevelled and shaking his head saying he really did not like Cross Country and would be sticking to road running in the future, in 48th place in a very respectable 48:11 for his first Cross Country race.

Next up was the women's race, Polly was looking serious and was hungry for a win, Lisa was looking semi serious and was wondering how she could keep her feet fairy dry and then Jane had a big smile on her face wishing she had her wellies on so she could have a good splash in the puddles. Once they were off, they all went straight for the puddles to have a good old splash about like kids, Polly was floating over the puddles and took the lead straight away, Lisa was sticking to the edges as much as she could to avoid getting too wet, although she succumbed eventually and just had a good old splash about with all the other girls and once Jane had gone through a couple of puddles she was loving every minute of it. By the end, Polly came in first place in 24:06, over a minute and a half in front of the second placed lady. Then in 12th place, looking fresh as a Daisy, was Lisa in a great time of 28:10 followed closely by Jane, who seemed to be enjoying the puddles a bit too much, in 33rd place in a time of 35:49.

This was another great turn out by the STR ladies who came equal 6th overall out of 14 teams, easily showing up the STR men's team who came 17th out of 18 teams. This was a great result for STR's return to the Cross Country league and hopefully will be built on in next years race series. Out of all the runners from STR there were only 3 that completed 3 events and qualified for the end of season results:

Polly won the Senior Women's competition with her 2 wins and a second place. Lisa came 5th in the Vets Women's competition and I came 21st in the Vets Men's competition.

A great effort by all involved and a big thank you to all that supported the club and entered the races, see you at the end of the year for the the next cross country series.

Thanks to Gary Britnell for his Report.

9th Feb - Boston Parkrun Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Mike Folland: 35:09.

9th Feb - Lincoln Parkrun Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Jane Winter: 29:09.

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Results.

3rd February - 33rd Charnwood Hills Race (the only fell race in Leicestershire) Multi-terrain

Organised by the Bowline Climbing Club. 

You know that feeling when you see a race and you know you were just meant to run it? And you can't get it out of your head even though you resolved to enter fewer races and stay local? So you'll get how I felt when I saw the 33rd Charnwood Hills Race - 14 miles of trail through Bradgate Park and Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire, some killer hills, only an hour away and not expensive. It was like a divine confluence of woman and race.

Then I saw that you could only run it if you got through a ballot. No problem! I put the date for the ballot in my diary, added the run to my events app, and started looking forward to it - how could I not get in when I was so clearly destined to be there? And in my excitement, I mentioned it to Gary Britnell, out of breath and not thinking straight at the top of a hill during a hill training session. He showed a respectable degree of polite interest, before we turned to run back downhill. Clearly, he did not feel that same connection with this race as I did!

You can imagine my surprise, then, at the news that Gary had entered the ballot. Even better, I thought; not only do I get to run the race, but I get to have some company too. Because why would we not both get through? The alternative was too sad to contemplate! But contemplate it I did, when Gary got through and I didn't. Was he gracious about it? Of course! Was he sorry for me? How could anyone doubt it! Did he offer me chocolate as some kind of compensation? I can't remember - possibly - but I was inconsolable.

But remember, this was my race. So, undeterred, I tried to wheedle my way onto the waiting list, then tried to find a transfer, and finally emailed the organisers and frankly begged. To no avail. But when you want something enough, you will do anything. So I asked if I could run along with everyone else but without a number. I was there to support a friend, I said. It was public land, they said; they couldn't stop me. Yes! I was in! And because Gary cannot bear to be beaten by a girl, it was good news for him too - now he was going to have the added push of me pursuing him up and down those hills (although everyone knows that I am no real threat - rather, it's the result of a very vivid imagination!)

The day of the race was perfect - why wouldn't it be when so far everything had gone right? The sun was shining, there was no wind and the ground was hard and easy to run on. The route covered public parkland and woods, and so we had the company of dog walkers, parents out with kids on bikes, and families out for their post-brunch stroll. There were two killer hills which reduced me to a walk (at the top of the first there were crowds cheering us on with cow bells and even a set of bongos), as well as some really long slopes - which these hill-starved Lincolnshire runners chewed up like juggernauts! And nothing could beat the views of Leicester in the distance, with its industrial chimneys, with the bright, snow-covered parkland falling away from the top of the hills. And all the way round there were supporters holding out bags of jelly babies and smiling as if they knew us.

I say us - Gary sped off ahead of me and I didn't see him again until the end. So, I can't say whether he stuck to the route or not- all I know is that he was .05 of a mile short of my distance (cutting corners again), went 200 feet higher (did he climb a tree? Leap up and punch the air with every mile completed?!), and was a good deal muddier! Congratulations are definitely due for Gary's official time of 2:02:24, quicker than hoped, and a place of 122 amongst the men, some of whom looked so gnarled and grizzly it was as if they'd been running trails since birth! My unofficial time was 2:06:44, which I was very happy with.

Coffee and cake were provided free after the race for runners with a number, and although I didn't qualify and Gary's number was in the car, he somehow charmed the nice lady not to charge us. Perhaps it was the big bobble hat that made her relent!

Because the race started and finished in a school hall, we managed to find a nice spot by a radiator to empty the contents of our bags all over the floor and generally faff about getting changed and moving clothes and valuables from one compartment of the bags to another. This is normal post-run behaviour, right? Which is how I lost my car key. Why wasn't it in my hat where I put it? Out came all the contents of the bag again. It had to be there, just like I had to run this race! And the thought that I'd dropped it in the hall somewhere between the coffee hatch and the nice warm radiator didn't bear thinking about, especially as it wasn't just us who had created their own personal jumble sale on the floor!

While I was trying not to panic, Gary set off in search of my key. He returned triumphant, having again used his charm to persuade a different nice lady, who had found it, that it was mine and that yes, that is a Mazda key even though it didn't say Mazda anywhere. I think you'll agree that the double dose of charm more than made up for taking my place in the race!

Although I knew I would love this race, I had no idea that it would be such an amazing run, and I loved every minute of it and want to go back to do it all again. It was everything I could ask of a trail race. Hopefully next year I'll get through the ballot, but if not, it doesn't matter - it means that some other lucky soul will get to have a go!

Thanks to Lisa Shona for her Report.

26th Jan - Belton Parkrun Grantham, Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Fred Smith: 22:40, Jane Winter: 28:30, Meg Smith: 28:35, Kim Ulysses: 28:48 & Jo Calver: 31:53

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Result.

26th Jan - Waterway 30 Nottinghamshire, Multi-Terrain.

First of the events in the HoBo Pace race calendar. The Waterways is a Nottinghamshire based rural countryside run taking in the water way tow paths of the Cuckoo Way and Trent Valley Way. The route is 90% trail with some minor roads/tracks along Trent valley way to link the Waterways. Depending on the weather this can be very rough underfoot providing a real challenge. The route is fairly flat and can be a tad uninteresting, this is purely my opinion of course. The 4 well placed aid stations are very well stocked with vegan goodies and various drinks - please note this is a cup less event so you will need to bring your own. The route is very well signed with excellent marshalling and organisation. The route is slightly longer at just over 32 miles. Fortunately, the weather was kind to us this year but I can imagine how much more difficult this run would be in bad weather, which, in January is highly likely.

There is a strict cut off off time of 10.5 hours and upon completion you will receive a nice engraved medal and a technical t-shirt together with some nice hot soup and a roll.

Not sure I would do this event again purely because of the uninteresting route and the high possibility of intolerable weather.

Thanks to Jayne MacArthur for her Report.

19th Jan - Belton Parkrun Grantham, Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Jack Huxtable: 19:35, Carl Winwood: 23:58 & Jane Winter: 31:39.

19th Jan - Lincoln Parkrun Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Fred Smith: 22:40 & Meg Smith: 29:13.

12th Jan - Belton Parkrun Grantham, Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Carl Winwood: 24:19, Jayne MacArthur: 28:38, Katie Huxtable: 29:29, Jo Calver: 33:32, Helen Barker: 44:53.

12th Jan - Newark Parkrun Nottinghamshire, Multi-Terrain.

Fred Smith: 23:00 & Meg Smith: 29:33.

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Results.

6th Jan - Lincolnshire Cross Country Championships Multi-Terrain (if by multi you mean mud and water)

Gary had signed all of the STR ladies up for the senior women's race as he thought that the veteran's race would be shorter and he thought that we wanted to run further (?!). However, the lady at the starting line seemed to be under the misapprehension that any veterans who were running with the seniors were doing so because they thought that they would have a chance of qualifying for the finals; this was a bit disconcerting and at that point I began to feel even more worried than I already was, and a bit cross with Gary.

Soon after the race started we got to the first very deep boggy bit. Gary was there with a camera. I saw that Kim was trying to skirt around the outside. However, there was a nice young man there who urged me to go through the middle as that was the shallowest bit. I did. He was wrong. Was Gary involved? I think so. However, having survived mud up to my knees I began to feel a bit better. The worse had happened and it was OK.

The route was designed to go through the deep muddy bog twice and a deep stream six times. Despite dropping further and further behind most of the other runners I actually began to enjoy myself, and the experience of breaking what would be the normal rules of life. I was surprised, however, to see Gary at nearly every stream and bog with a camera as if there was more than one of him! He was clearly hoping for a dramatic fall. I am pleased to say that there wasn't one from any of us.

In the end Sleaford Town Runners acquitted themselves very well as both Polly and Lisa qualified for the championships! Even better our A team (Polly, Lisa and Abi) won first place and our B team Kim, Barbara and (would you believe it) ME were in third place. We all got cloth badges and I stopped feeling cross with Gary for signing us up for the senior ladies as I was very pleased with my badge indeed!

I do not know anybody's finishing times, but those taking part were Gary Britnell, Michal Nizler, Polly Atherton, Lisa Shona, Abi Francesca, Kim Ulysses, Barbara Campbell, Helen Barker and Jane Winter.

Thanks to Jane Winter for her Report.

5th Jan- Belton Parkrun Grantham, Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain.

Jack Huxtable: 19:12, Fred Smith: 22:17, Carl Winwood: 23:20 & Meg Smith: 28:44.

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Result.

1st January - Belton Parkrun Grantham, Lincolnshire, Multi-Terrain. 9.00am Start

Gary Britnell 24:19, Meg Smith 28:47, Jayne MacArthur 28:48, Fred Smith 28:49 & Kim Ulysses 30:21.

1st Jan - Newark Parkrun Nottinghamshire, Multi-Terrain. 10.30 Start

Gary Britnell 24:07, Meg Smith 29:36, Fred Smith 29:37 & Al Whitaker 31:29.

Thanks to Jane Winter for the Results.