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Race Reports 2011



It's official - BRC is back on the international race circuit ( not just Wales either... )

Here's Dawn's big experience in the Big Apple....

Ok you may wanna get a brew before reading this.... Here is my mega report as promised Ed :-)

The trip got off to a great start when we landed to blue skies & 16 degrees with the same forecasted for the weekend!
We spent 2 days on our feet sightseeing including a couple of hours at the expo, my hips were aching from
all the walking (ooops) so I then made sure I rested on the Fri & Sat afternoon preparing for the big race ahead.
Went to bed at 8pm on the Saturday night and woke Sunday morning to a 4:45am alarm leaving the hotel at 5:30am in the dark with approx 75 or so other runners in our hotel and walked for 20 mins to catch one of the ~900
coaches, the streets were closed off as we headed out to Staten Island arriving at 7:30am, sooo just the 3hrs to wait then till my 10:40 kick-off!! Thank god the sun was up and it was warm. Whilst sitting on a bit of straw and a plastic bag (I know how to this in style) people watching I saw Sarah & Claire from Mow Cop club, I was dead chuffed to see them and spent the rest of the wait with them, Sarah was in the same wave as me which was an added bonus. We dropped our bags off with an hour to go, and made our way to the corral, as the time drew nearer I stripped off to reveal my BRC club vest with my name & union flag ironed on (woo hoo :-) the odd thing is (and those who race with me will know) I was calm and quiet jumping around, nothing and that worried me but I think I was all excited out and just keen to get on with it or just so nervous I didn't know what to do with myself!
Then a loud sound went off and we were off.... well we nudged forward one step, then we started slowly walking towards the start banner just before the huge ramp up the Verazzano bridge which took us to Brooklyn, I gave Sarah a hug and we wished each other good luck, then we were off, under the start banner and I started my garmin and started running up the huge 1 mile ramp up the first bridge (equivalent to the bypass in Biddulph) then all of a sudden we all came to a stop, couldn't believe it but there was nothing I could do, there were literally 100s and 100s of people surrounding me and there was just nowhere to go and I felt a lot like that throughout the race, which at times I felt frustrated and at other times I just went with the flow, after all I was there to experience the whole occasion. So the first mile was something ridiculous like 13 mins, I decided not to panic and make the time up throughout the race, so after a tough start approx 3 miles of hills, I finally started to get into my stride around mile 4 and really started enjoying myself, I ran at the outside edge of the field to stay out of trouble and use the crowds to motivate me and boy did they do that, I was told many many times how awesome I was, shouted and screamed at like I was family and one guy shouted "you got it nailed Dawn" I was grinning like an idiot half the time and enjoyed high 5's with the crowd. I kept my head up and did a lot of sightseeing, it was brilliant seeing the Manhattan skyline whilst running across a bridge and then seeing the Empire State Building ... wow! Around mile 9 I was interviewed by an Australian guy who ran beside me whilst he asked me loads of questions pointing a video camera at me, that was great fun.

I climbed over 5 bridges and ran through 5 boroughs, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx & Manhattan. The views of the Manhattan skyline were absolutely fantastic, it was very emotional and had the odd sob here and there just being over whelmed by the whole event. The 2million spectators and various street bands really made my day and the crowd shouted and cheered me on me on like they knew me and I loved it every minute of it! I didn't get bored at anytime, I was singing along tot  he bands, so you're getting the gist now that I had a lot of fun whilst keeping an eye on the time.

I was never out of breath (unbelievable) but as mile 18 approached my quads starting locking up and I worried that this maybe "the wall", I stopped and stretched but it made no difference, I had been hydrating well at every mile, alternating between Gatorade and water, had 2 gels so didn't know why, but I started slowing down, however at that point I knew that I had banked about 3 mins if I was to get sub 4:30 so didn't worry too much, but the soreness prevailed so there was only one thing I could do and that was to ignore it, knowing it was only lactic acid and nothing more sinister I pushed on, at mile 20 and another gel, I told myself well done and gave a
little whoop for getting that far and only 6 miles to go, the crowds were bloody amazing, anyone would think that I was in it to win ha-ha their encouragement gave me motivation to push harder and I got my second wind at about mile 23 (and my last gel), we were in Central Park at this point, suddenly finding that I can achieve sub 4:30 if I put my foot down, and so the best 3 miles of the race began and I felt mentally great, my quads were just as bad but now it was a matter of mind over matter and told myself "pain is temporary" over and over when I got to mile 24 the crowds were roaring! whatever it was, it helped me to surge and found myself able to push and taking over a lot of people (that felt great!) and suddenly there it was 800 yards to go..... I looked down at my watch and knew it was going to be close and the found energy from somewhere to put in a sprint finish, and there it was the finish line in sight up a flippin hill but that wasn't  gonna stop me and as I approached the finish, one last push and I was through remembering to look up and wave my arms before stopping my watch absolutely delighted to achieve my target! then the reality hit me and I had a very temporary sob which turned into a big grin whilst a medal was put round my neck, an apple thrust in my hand whilst someone else put one of those silver blankets around me, kept moving to get the bag with my stuff in it and ushered out of central park, all the time surrounded by 100s of people. I can only describe is as like at the end of a concert where all you can do is go with the crowd, but I didn't care it was good to keep moving but my legs at this point had decided enough was enough and tightened up really bad and I was struggling to walk properly but I wasn't alone.

Met up with Karl where he gave me my mobile and thats where I saw all the text messages and couldn't believe that everyone was able to track me and you all knew my progress and time the second I did - amazing technology.

I had such an amazing time, enjoyed the whole experience and can't wait to  do another, I know I didn't push it, my goal was to enjoy, run all the way keeping it steady and try to get sub 4:30 so that's a tick, tick, tick :-)))

Facts : 2 million spectators, 47,434 runners. Time: 4:29:28. Placed 26,034 

The next day we went shopping...treated myself to a lot of goodies, well it  had to be done, I reckon I deserved it :-) and it was good to keep walking to help aid faster recovery...well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! Thanks to all of you for your fantastic support, the cards & pressies, it was brilliant to read the messages before, on the day and after, it just completed the whole experience for me.

Love to all ...

~Dawn xxx


Great report Dawn (very early out of bed there ?- phew !!) - lookin forward to the next one  :-) .... ed


Sara sent in some words for the Congleton Half......

After a very sleepless night I got up on the morning of Congleton Half to much better weather conditions than expected and very active butterflies in the tummy! After over 2 years of no races and very little running I was looking forward to taking part again but was also very nervous. I knew I could get round but I knew pace would be a problem. I should have known better, but I started off way too fast for my ability and at mile 4 was wondering why I was feeling so whacked! The prospect of another 9 miles was daunting. Still I plodded on thanks to the companionship of a very nice bloke called Paul and we made it to the finish line in a respectable time. The course was far more challenging and undulating than I had expected but it was very well organised and with excellent marshals. Goody bag was not great (no medal or T Shirt!) but my little boy loved the teddy! (If anyone wants a yellow bandana there’s one going spare!) A huge thanks has got to go to Cindy, Niamh, Dawn and Rachel without whom I would never have got back to half marathon strength and fitness! Thanks also to Congleton Harriers for a good race.


Great Report Sara & big WELL DONE! for your come-back race.


Sandra sent a report for her Great Run in the North ......

I did the GNR on Sunday. It was my 5th time (or was it my 6th?), I love it but this year I struggled and here is my tale of learning :-)

If anyone checks my half marathon times  from my Potters Trotters days, they will see over the last 6years I am a 2.17 - 2.31 runner, not fast for alot of people, but absolutely fine for me, but for me to do those times yes I have to run regularly, but more importantly for me I  have to enter races, simply because I need the motivation......I could run regularly each week, but without that end goal i guarantee my times will slip and this year proves it.
This year due to work, yes I know most folk have to work ( I live in Biddulph but work down South most of the week), I haven't been able to get to Tues/Thurs runs, but luckily I have a fabulous friend who when I am home on weekends who gets me out, but this year for the first time ever I have entered no races.
So as always, off I went with a group of mates to do the GNR. Each year we stay at the Premier Inn, Hartlepool and we travel from all around the country as its the only time in 12months we see each other. Race day dawned dry and bright, the atmosphere was fabulous as always and then we were away. I was going fine, checking my split times and I was on course to do around 2.15 and then @ mile 11 I turned to jelly and down I went. Some lovely people helped me up, sat me on a wall, gave me jelly babies I calmed the growing swell of sickness in my stomach and decided I was damned if I wasn't getting my medal. It was 19th half marathon and I have always said I may never be first, I will hopefully never be last, but I will always finish.
So for the last 2miles I very slowly trotted (well more did a drunken walk)to the finish and I smiled for the cameras. My time was 2.47 but I don't care because I finished. Yippeeee
My learning was make sure I stick to the pattern that works for me! I had done up to 9.5mls, which for me was 1mile short of what I would normally do and I hadn't entered any races throughout the year.   No harm done this time, but when you see folk having fits ( I saw 2 ), others lying prostate on the floor unable to move then you realise just how important the prep is........

If you have never done the GNR try and get a place it is an absolutely fabulous race

~ Sandra Hatfield

Big well done on getting up and going again there Sandra.!


This report in from Rachel on the Gawsworth 10k .......

Sunday started well.  It was nice and cool for a start and the gale force winds that had been forecast hadn’t yet materialised.  It was my first time at Gawsworth and I was looking forward to a nice steady run.  My only concern was queuing for the styles.  As it turned out, there were none, seemingly taken out since last year, to everyone’s benefit.   

At 10.30 we were shepherded by the race organisers out of the field and up the lane to the start where we spotted Mrs S who had very kindly taken a short break from her busy day to offer us her encouragement.  And then after the usual race intros we were off!   

I had done a good warm up so set off quite quickly just behind the Shuff and at the first bend was very pleased (and have to say relieved) to see Dawn alive and well following her 13 mile epic from Biddulph.    

That spurred me on and I settled quickly then into a good steady pace.  The route was a really interesting one.  I was running at the back of a pack with a couple of mow cop runners and felt quite happy at that point to stick with them.  The road climbed steadily for about a mile and a half before dropping down to the canal tow path and then followed this until reaching a railway bridge.  After crossing over the railway bridge, there was a really pleasant section through woodland and then back on to the road for a short section before taking a footpath on the right across a  couple of farmers fields back to the start/finish.   

I ended up losing the mow cop runners towards the end.  I was tiring so crossed the fields at a more easy pace.  I also had a bit of cramp in my left leg so stopped momentarily to stretch it out.  This helped me get my breath back and I managed a final spurt and good strong sprint finish in 50.59!  So chuffed about getting under 51mins and a 10K PB. 

All in all a really enjoyable race and great team spirit and support from everyone at BRC.  Highly recommended. 

Cheers ~

 Rach x



Dave Clarke 5k

What a nice event this was - a memorial race for Dave Clarke, a founder member of Trentham RC who sadly passed away about 12 months ago. It was brill to see so many Biddulph vests turn up - 9 in total - many of whom were taking part in their first officially organised race.  At the start line Ken Rushton said a few nice words about Dave C then he got the race underway. With a noticeable descent the contenders seemed to fly off down the field toward the lower rugby pitch, for reasons beyond my understanding I caught young Debbie (a Trentham RC girl and Bournes breakfast runner) just before leaving the field for the  rougher ground.  I soon realised why I'd caught her up  - she was chatting away merrily to Carl - another Trentham RC dude. Well this wasn't a chance to be missed - she normally kicks my butt in races, my teeth were now firmly in grit position. Carl easily passed me back a few minutes later and explained he wasn't gunning it due to a race at weekend. Carl's easy pace is my race pace and I was really pleased to keep up with him down cow lane and all the way to the canal tow path. With a turn of the corner I felt the pace drop (my pace not Carl's).  Why is it change of direction always gets me? It was all I could do not to blow a gasket as the course wound it's way behind the massive Sainsbury's depot. I could hear the marshals shouting "come on Deb - 2nd girl !". As the path climbed back up to and into cow lane Deb pulled alongside - chatting away and giving encouragement. Thanks Deb, but you really shouldn't flog a dead horse. She skipped away down the rough ground and back up through the rugby pitches to once more kick my butt by 9 seconds.  Still, I was chuffed to be 3rd lady home.  Oh Dang!

I believe this may be something of a record as everyone from BRC who entered got themselves a PB!

Big Well done folks!

 ~Steve J



Two reports in for the Biddulph Grange leg of the Summer Series

Little note about the run : after poppin a note on facebook i was hopin to drum up a few Biddulph vests for this local race also to give Big Nige a little support through the summer series. Sadly only managed to get myself and Matt on the the start line for the race. After a warm up with Nige and a nice mention from a Congleton Harrier about how good it was to see a few Biddulph vests out we headed  for the start line. As i totally expected it was a bl**dy grueller - 3 really hard laps in warm conditions as well, but in a strange way i really enjoyed it - enough to consider doing the series next year! Am i mad? [ a little perhaps - but in a good way: ed ]. All in all a good race well pleased with my time and even better took a couple of scalps i hadnt beaten before... O Matt did say it was a tough one !! 

Well run Big Nige and Matt.........


Great to see 2 more Biddulph runners on Thursday evening.  Thought the weather was going to let us down, but yet again it was a lovely evening.  The rain during the week made the field areas easier as they were not so hard and rutted as in previous years.  My time was 36.58.


~Big Nige



Buxton 5

A very very wet Buxton 5 on Saturday.  In the morning the weather was so severe I did consider not running.  However as race time approached the weather did get a little better, although still very wet the conditions were good and cool for running.  My time was 38 mins 10.47 secs, which was just under 1 minute faster than last year

Summer Series - Rudyard Lakee

Another beautiful night on race number 6 of the summer series.  Struggling with a knee injury at the moment, I had to miss Berryhill 10k to save myself for this race.  Though we had a lot of rain the course was very dry.  My time was 36.51. which was over a minute quicker than last year and only 30 seconds slower than my PB from 2000.  Felt great during the race as soon as I finished during warming down my knee was sore and painful again.  Which has made me miss today's Cheadle 4 mile road race.  I am now saving myself for the Buxton 5 this coming Saturday.

~ Big Nige


Summer Series - Shutlingsloe

A little late with the above from Thursday evening.  My time was 33.49.  As this is shorter than some of the others in the series you would think easier, but no it has its little hills and tricks to catch you out.  The area is also renowned for biting bugs, which were out in force on Thursday evening.


~Big Nige


Calton Fell Race

My debut last night at this very tough hilly race, made tougher running against a strong head wind.  It was a beautiful night and there was a good village atmosphere with the village hall providing tea, cakes and beer!  My time was 46.38.


~Big Nige


Summer Series - Buxton Hilly

Last night was the 3rd race of the summer series - Buxton Hilly and in parts it lives up to it's name.  Mixed weather with rain, wind and a little sunshine.  For me it was a good night I beat my long standing PB with a time of 36 minutes 31.89 seconds, which was 10 seconds quicker than 2010.


~Big Nige


Summer Series - The Roaches

I took part in the 2nd race of the summer series [ Thurs 9 June ], Roaches Fell Race.  Beautiful summer evening, great conditions.  I was looking forward to run as I always do with the summer series, but I had a slight twinge in my back.  However I always try to put in a good performance and the result of the night was that I broke my long standing PB for this event.  I started steadily going over the roaches, when we hit the uphill stretch of the road I usually feel tired, but last night I felt really good and I pushed on to pass runners who normally beat me, romping on to finish in a time of 49.48 minutes.  This is 3 minutes quicker than last year and 23 seconds quicker than my best prime year of 1999.  I felt that good I could have ran home but Gaynor said let's just go to the Three Horseshoes Pub instead!

It was a brilliant night out and I would encourage Biddulph Runners to get involved with this series as much as possible.


Big Nige


Wincle Trout Run

First time running the Wincle race yesterday.  Luckily the weather was cooler, but it was a tough race and mainly up- hill.  The river Dane was up to my knees nearly!!

My time was 57.50 and I am having trout for tea tonight!

Great day out with the village fete taking place and the scenery up there is beautiful.


~ Big Nige  photo


Llandudno 10k

Two reports now in on the Llandudno 10 ......

Dawn gets a 5 mile PB in a 10mile race!

The day started off nice and steady getting picked up just after 8am by Mr S, Em, Steve & Cindy, although I did feel a bit queasy in the back of the Shuff Truck as we bounced along but managed to get through the journey
(nothing to do with Mr S I must add)! Parked up really easy along the seafront, but as we stepped out of the truck the force of the wind nearly knocked us off our feet and my hair was everywhere
[ Dawn, I can safely say your hair remained in the rough vicinity of your head at all times, Ed ] - can't have that!, gotta
look good for the photos ha ha! There were severe weather warnings, so add that to the coastal breeze as well and it's a double whammy. We had a browse around the Expo and caught up with Rachel, we all then headed back
to the Shuff Truck to eat, and change and fix hair.

Got to the start after a warmup raring to go. We were in the starters pen gps at the ready (Steve sporting Cindy's grey & pink gps...nice), then the announcement came over the system that there was a 15 min delay whilst they
sorted out the course, apparently the metal barriers were being blown over so we were at risk. As the time ticked by we eagerly awaited with extra warm-ups and stretching until another announcement with yet another 15 min
delay, at this point I started shouting out loud in sheer frustration and I didn't care who heard, I think we were all in agreement that this just wasn't on, added to the gusts came rain showers, so now we were cold and
wet, then the announcer told everyone to push back cos only the "good runners" were to be at the front...excuse me? who are we then? hmmm not the best start to a race.

Then we were off! and I settled into my stride and was rather pleased with my pace, it was an odd course we passed the Expo 3 times so at least we gotto see Em & Cindy shouting encouragement each time, which was wonderful and
a welcome sight (and sound!). I was actually enjoying it, despite the wind tunnels that whipped up and literally pushed you around and at one point nearly off my feet. At approx mile 4 or 5 , I saw Steve & Kev and high
fived as we passed each other, then I saw Rachel and we shouted encouragement over to each other as she went past on the slight downhill whilst I was trying to get to the top of the hill. At mile 5 I was well chuffed with a PB knocking 45 seconds off my Alsager time, so my 5 mile split was 42:43! at this point I grinned thinking OK I have some time
banked, perhaps I can get under 1:30 but no-one can predict just how strong that wind was, at mile 8 I threw my dummy out... turning right onto West Shore the wind was so strong, I was leaning into it and practically jogging
on the spot and sideways (yes sideways), it was ridiculous and thought my time was out the window, I was really annoyed. Then we turned right again and up a long stretch of road, which hurt the legs at this point in the
game, then suddenly as we peaked the hill the wind was behind us and it was downhill ..OMG I was in heaven and went for it, I even shouted a whoop I was so happy, then it was a right turn onto the promenade and I could see and
hear the finish, god that was a long way, I was already in full sprint mode and had to calm it down so I could finish strong, then as I got nearer I could hear the announcer shouting out the time on the clock, then I saw
Kev, Steve, Rach, Cindy & Em shouting encouragement and I managed to put in another spurt in and finished in 1:28:32! So chuffed at getting under my target time of 1:30 and a 5 mile PB to boot!.
Fish and Chips in Conwy finished the day off a treat, all in all despite
the odd race start, it was a great day out, with great company :-)


now another from Steve ...... ( yawn )

For some reason there had been a great demand for me to write some more lines about the Llandudno 10. Well, let's be honest - just one person sort of suggested it after having too much of ye old janx spirit.  I think Dawn has pretty much captured the overall race in her report so I'll just add some fluffy filler. 

It's difficult writing these reports - yes it really is!  The process reminds me a lot of those dreary Monday mornings at First School when the teacher slapped an oversize exercise book (The News Book) on the desk in front of you and demanded that you write intimate details of your doings for the weekend just gone.  If you did well you got a Gold Star, if, like me, your work wasn't up to scratch then a ruler across the knuckles and a bash around the head was all the reward you got for your efforts.  But in those days one weekend pretty much repeated the previous one and inevitably comprised racing yer bike around the block,  swimming at Boslem Baths (now sadly demolished) and way too much TV: Tiswas with Chris Tarrant pulling kids' ears off,  Dickie Davies  (dark haired geyser with a grey streak ), and afternoon wrestling where a 25 stone bloke called Big Daddy (real name Shirley Valentine or similar) took on bad men Mick McManus and Rollerball Rocco in a tag team special. Before you could say "One-errrr ....Two-errrr.... Three-errrr.... OUT! BIG Daddy WINS!"  it was Sunday evening and time for a bath (whether you needed it or not) then settle down with another exciting adventure with Black Beauty.  Black Beauty was a horse. And it was black. Basically the English version of Champion the Wonder Horse but ours was in colour, at least it would have been if we'd had a colour TV.  And we didn't. So it wasn't. Or do I just have B&W memories? The aforementioned horse was ridden by a rather attractive wench called 'Vicky' and together they solved crimes and misdemeanours in the Victorian English countryside.  As I recall, in those halcyon days, The Adventures of BB was just brilliant, it even had a very whistle-able theme tune ( which I wont attempt right now).  I used to write this same drivel every week and still have the scars to prove it. 

which brings me un-neatly back to the race.......

This year's race was the best Llandudno 10 ever - at least since the last one - which was in 2005.

Making our way to the start Kev spotted Nell McAndrew - well this is the kind of semi-high profile event someone of her renown would attend. I only caught a fleeting glimpse through the crowd of a slim blonde girl bouncing  daintily away down the prom. Convincing enough for me though and I told Kev of the 38 minute 10k Nell had done the week before.  When the announcer said there would be a 15 minute delay it was already blowing a gale and cold, intermittent squalls of rain lashed at Dawn's hair.  The runners had been gathering at the start for the best part of 10 minutes - it wasn't the most pleasant place to stand around in a lycra vest and shorts: I sat down. In a kind of Budda pose. I'd been on me feet long enough (about 5 minutes).   A lad next to me also sat down  - I was sure we'd start a trend and everyone would sit down then sing along to a 1990's James  hit. That didn't happen. Shame, would have been fun. 

About 25 minutes late the race was underway, there could have been a gun starting it, I didn't hear anything. Perhaps the wind took the sound away. Erm, did we mention it was windy?  Kev got off to a flyer and I couldn't live with his pace. Just had to let him go and hoped he either fade or I picked up.   Shortly after seeing Rachel and high fiving Dawn (blimey they were running well! )  I spied Kev, still up front, catching and passing our old Trentham nemesis Ken  red shorts  Bloor.  A bit like an owd steam train Ken appeared to be seriously slowing to take on board some much needed water from the drinks station.  This gave me a little more incentive to push along  - and it was slightly downhill at the time.  With a bit of luck and probably a following wind I caught both Ken and Kev and we all diced it out for the rest of the race.   Kev and me tried on and off to  use Ken as a shelter from the wind  but he was having none of it and zig-zagged wildly to shake us off.  It worked - we just picked on someone else or ran in line with a parked van or a tree - anything to give us a break.  I was still dicing with Ken B in the last quarter mile but his determination was the greater and he put on an impressive sprint for the line. I was just too knackered to try and hoped the chip timing system would once again be favourable. Three cheers for chip timing! Kev arrived a few seconds later with a big smile on his face alongside a slim, tanned blonde girl. Well why wouldn't he have?   The real reason for  Kev's big smile was that he'd ran the last two miles with "Nell McAndrew" - chatting and even congratulating her on her impressive Manchester 10k Race.  I was gutted not to have recognised her having seen and passed said girl at 8 miles but pleased and slightly amazed to have pipped such a good athlete.  She must have had a bad race.  Poor Kev, he should have gone to spec savers. 

~ Steve

PS: for those who don't think the wind affects finish time - see the report by race winner Simon Jones  



Chatsworth 10k -

Christine sent in her review of the day and race....

Our web site gave me the idea - the link to the Chatsworth 10k tempted me to have a look- it sounded nice enough to tempt me back to my first run since the London Marathon. A beautiful place, a nice distance. It should make for a nice Sunday outing, I thought. Once home after the event, I researched past reviews and was pleased to find that it was not just me who had found it really difficult - very hilly and very challenging. The first 5k seemed all uphill. Pretty steep downhill sections in the second half of the race were welcome, but an uphill finish was excruciating. My chip time was 54:42. I was 23rd out of 117 in my category and 464th out of 1064 finishers.

~ Christine

....more on Chatsworth from Big Nige

First time running the above race today.  Really enjoyed the course, weather was fine, if a bit windy and my time was 46.20 .  The event was well organised and I would run it again but try and book on the camp site and make a weekend of it.


Big Nige

Hawkshead 15k Trail Race

Rachel's take on the Hawkshead 'Trail Race' ......

When I entered the Hawkshead 15k, I was drawn in by the idea of running a ‘trail’ race in the beautiful surroundings of the Lake District.  I love the Lake District and thought it would be a good goal for me to train for.   I wasn’t under any illusion that it would be a walk in the park, I had had the low down from Dawn, Steve, Kev and Trace.  Only Cindy seemed to have a good word about it.  Oh god what had I done! Fortunately, the weekend started well. The family had joined me, and we had a lovely day Friday, walking around Rydal and Ambleside, followed by a relaxing and enjoyable evening of food and drink in our hotel at Grasmere.  Race day also started well, full English (yum), followed by a stroll around the Grizedale forest before registering at the showground in Hawkshead.  My niece Olivia joined loads of other little'uns in the fun run at 12pm – completing without stopping once or falling over - no mean feat for a 3 ½ year old! but then shortly after the heavens opened, and from then on really, it was a bit of a wash out on the weather front. Race wise – I took Steve’s advice and went out hard to get a good start, perhaps a bit too hard – mile 1 completed in 7.50 – but then I hit the first serious incline and that soon put pay to that. 

I reached the first summit in about 20mins.  It was tough but I managed to keep going and really enjoyed the next section through the forest and past a couple of tarns before running down to Far Sawrey (the half way point).  After taking on water, and a bit of Kendal Mint Cake, I set off again up the next hill towards Windermere.  Thankfully, this didn’t seem half as bad as the previous climbs and it seemed as though I was soon on my way back down a very slippy section of pathway to Lake Windermere.  A welcome sight.

I would describe the next section along the banks of Windermere as undulating and much easier under foot.  It was drier, protected by trees and so at mile 7 I was back to 9 minute mile pace and doing not so bad time wise either.  I knew what was coming though, I had downloaded the course profile, and so took on more water and Kendal Mint cake before embarking the start of the “Coffin Trail”. 

Aptly named really, as only a few strides later, I felt like I could have done with one.  I was beaten, there was no way I could run it.  Too steep and too slippy but I wasn’t the only one, nobody was running it, some were barely walking it, so I power walked up the steepest section and when I could, tried to run/walk to the summit.   

Thankfully, I also knew it was all downhill once I had reached the summit, and with only a mile to go, I gave it all I could, to get back down to Hawkshead village and the finish.  The run in from the far end of the showground was very deceptive. It seemed like the longest, wettest, heaviest run-in ever but I eventually got round the finish post in 1:43:35, completely exhausted and with very wobbly legs. 

All good fun though.  Tough as it was, and it was VERY, I really enjoyed it. 

 ~ Rach

Good one Rach - it's a tuffy to be sure



Market Drayton 10k

Grab yerself a coffee - Steve sent in a report....

Many an ode to ‘The Muller’ has been written but with its sad demise we needed to embrace and nurture her successor – the imaginatively named ’Market Drayton 10k’.   Market Drayton RC heroically stepped up where others feared to tread and, together with help and assistance from the likes of John Schofield and the parish council, put on a well organised enjoyable affair attracting nearly 1000 runners.

Bleary eyed I squinted at the clock – it was around 7.30am – roughly about the same time as Kev fired up the ‘Shuff Truck to carry  a sleepy Tracy, Dawn, Amy and Sean (pit crew) to the race and find a car park space I could only dream of.  Anyways – I tumbled out of bed, stumbled in the kitchen and poured myself a cup of ambition …. Oh Dolly, you’re a wordsmith and no mistake!  Kev and Co must’ve already been there when we picked up Kerry and started out.  I did hear later that Kev arrived at the event so early the organisers thought he was the help.  

We arrived at the Grove School and duly parked up without a problem  The Shuff Truck had got the premier spot but it was only 50yds closer to the start line than we were and Kev was by now ready for his evening meal.  The weather was turning into a fine spring day with plenty of blue sky and Muller Light Yoghurty clouds– a little too warm and windy maybe for my liking but I’m just being picky.   The school field was taken over by a bouncy castle, a beer tent…. erm.... there were other tents,  I didn't pay them any due - but  they looked white and very Muller Rice.  Registration desk was in the school foyer – it took just a minute for Kerry and myself to get the number and chip but it got seriously overwhelmed a few minutes later when the majority of the runners turned up. Phew.   Amy looked cool and relaxed (or perhaps just sleepy), Dawn was a bit excited, full of Vitality and  wearing herself out. Bless. Tracy and Kev were, as always, calm but ready to rumble. George and Gillian turned up but we couldn’t see Pat B (where were you?). 

The use of the foyer was apparently an emergency decision after a large marquee - which was to be used for the registering purpose - got blown over and destroyed the night before. I did say it was a tad windy.  Number safely pinned on it was just a matter of the chip on the shoe. These weren’t the disc or ribbon chips you sometimes get but more like a large dog tag shape with a few holes for the plastic twist fixing. After I’d made sure the thing was good and secure Tracy delighted in telling me it was the wrong way up – “how dya know?” I asked. “The envelope it came in had a picture on it – and the bar code on yours is facing upwards so it won’t be able to read it …”. For a second there she had me going ( I’d chucked the envelope without looking) until I realised that this wasn’t Sainsburys and no-one would be crawling around on the start line under 2000 happy feet with a barcode reader listening for a 'beep' sound.  I feared any more messing with the fixing would lead to disaster – the chip stayed put.   The organisers this year had taken note of the mass start problem which occurred last year – where, from the gun, 1000 runners tried to exit a large field through a small farm gate hole.  This time the race did a circuit of the field so that 1000 runners would try to get through the same farm gate – only this time they would be there a minute or so later.  No, it did work better – at least for some.  With the race underway I felt much better than last year and was hoping for PB – even though the course had been changed a bit I couldn’t think it would be all that much different terrain wise. 

It wasn’t. Instead of going straight into the town from the start the course took a Fruit Corner to the right and eventually doubled back to do a rough figure of ‘8’.   It seemed to take ages to get to the ‘1 mile’ post, I was alongside Kev and he commented we were going well – to which I looked at the watch and saw 7.45 – which I wasn’t best pleased with.  How could that happen?  – I felt OK and was pushing it for all my worth – should have been at least 7 mins flat - despite the gate hole.  (Dawn told us later her Garmin said 1.2m at the 1 mile post although the distance was correct in the end). Oh well, no PB today then.  I was pleased however that I managed to stay alongside Kev all the way around – having watched him last year pull gently away between 7 and 8k.  On the final road section  I wasn’t sure whether we would enter the field and go directly toward the finish or would they make us do another circuit before crossing the line?

It was another circuit.  Dang! those grassy fields don’t half sap the energy after being on road. I was planning on just sticking with Kev now to the finish but he had other ideas - I could tell he was picking it up all the way around the field.  With about 60m to go Kev put on a sprint (the rat) – naturally I had to go with him – I didna get all dressed up fer nothin. I think he got his foot on the finishing mat first but only by a stride.   Anyway up I just love chip timing systems. Sorry bout that Kev.  Goody bag included a drink, t-shirt, mars bar, sweat band and half a dozen yogurts a rattlin in their crate. They wont forget Muller.....

A big Well Done! to all BRC finishers – especially Dawn with a PB, Gillian on her 1st ever race and Pat B who got 1st place in the L65 category.  Big Thanks to Market Drayton RC & co for stepping into the breach and doing a great job. 

  Amoré   ~Steve



Clayton 10k

Made my debut in this race on Wednesday 4th May.  My time was 46.18, which I was reasonably happy with, felt ok until the last 1 mile when my legs started to feel a bit tired.  Quite a tough 2 lap course, not too scenic but a good mid week run and pretty challenging. 

~ Big Nige



You wait for one race report and two come along together - here's Big Nige on the killer mile .....

Great to see the photos and read Rachel's report of Thursday evening.  Cannot believe how relaxed, as if it was a walk in the park for Rachel. I was pleased with my result (10.43) as it is my 2nd fastest time since 1999, when my time was 10 mins 1 sec.  Thursday evening was also a first for me as I did the race TWICE - yes I have typed it correctly!!!  My nephew's and former football team mates (Mow Cop Athletic FC) were running in the 2nd open race and I joined them to offer encouragement as a number of them were doing it for the first time. I almost went a third time to become a folk legend of Mow Cop - but Gaynor said ,"Can't you smell the beer yet? and "Lets go the pub", [ yes we were waiting for you in 'Spoons Nige - where were you?, ed] so I was easily persuaded to give it a miss!

Big Nige H


Our first ever report for the Mow-Cop Killer Mile from the 3rd placed lady Rachel Hollins ...... (photos too!)

The 2011 Mow Cop Killer Mile was my first attempt at the infamous mile long hill climb and boy was it a brutal challenge but nonetheless a fantastic experience.   

The conditions were pretty perfect as Tracy S, Big Nige and myself gathered at the start.  Everyone was in good spirits and there was real sense of camaraderie amongst our fellow runners and a good bit of banter exchanged.   I had no real idea of what lay ahead, especially the reality of running the 1 in 4 incline at the top of station bank, so I decided I was just going to go for it and try and keep going to the finish line.  With this in mind, I got a pretty good start and as we started to climb I got into a rhythm and was determined to stick with Big Nige and to put in a respectable time. 

As the full extent of the gruelling hill  came into view, my only thought, was to keep going but at the ½ mile mark, I was feeling short of breath and I wished I could just stop there!  Of course, that wasn’t an option and so I told myself to dig deep and thankfully I soon had the brow of the hill in my sights and thought ‘not long now, just keep going’.  As I approached the Cheshire View the support from the crowds of people watching was fantastic and I was spurred on again seeing Dawn A to my right, waving and shouting encouragement.   

The final section to the top of station bank is amazingly steep.  I felt as though it was almost vertical at times, just able to take the tiniest of steps and so was ever so relieved to eventually reach the summit and the relatively level section at the top of the bank and gain my breath back slightly before reaching the Finish Line. 

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t have a sprint in me but I did manage to muster a bit of something to run across the line in a respectable fashion and with a smile on my face.   I did it in an exhausting 11 minutes 10 secs and was the 3rd female in our race to cross the line.   There may have only been a few of us ladies mad enough to attempt it, but somehow I managed to do it justice and pull a half decent performance out of the bag.  Still smiling now!


Great result for your first 'Killer M', Rachel.  I'm aching just reading about it ...



London Marathon - 17th April 2011

Julie Harris sent in some more musings on the London Marathon..............

So the big day had arrived!  The 18 week training plan had been completed, we had registered at the Expo, negotiated our way across London and even had a reasonable nights sleep.  At the advice of Nigel I arrived at Greenwich by boat and walked the mile or so to the blue start with a fellow runner from my hotel.   

The organisation was fantastic.  Once at the start we could sit and relax and watch the big screens.  Realisation of what was ahead didn’t really dawn on me until after the gun had gone meaning the elite men were underway and we started to walk forwards!  I had crossed the start line within 5 minutes of the elite men, which was a pleasant surprise as I expected it to take at least 15 minutes to get to the start.  Someone shouted out my name just as I crossed the start line.  I thought that someone next to me was also called Julie but I then remembered that I had my name on my running vest.  This made me smile and I was off.   

The support was incredible.  People shouted my name and offered encouragement all the way and the numerous bands gave us all an extra spring in our step.   

It was a very hot day and humid amongst all the runners.  Taking this into account I made sure I took on extra water and sports drinks.  I didn’t feel great for any of the race, I am not sure why but my pace was on target.  I had a huge boost at mile 10 when I saw Steve (my husband) and Nigel.  Nigel was definitely the more vocal of the two!  This carried me on for a while.  By the time I got to Tower Bridge I was beginning to feel rough and was pleased with the breeze blowing off the Thames.  I didn’t really enjoy the race after that and couldn’t wait for it to end.  My usual tough mental attitude had disappeared.  I saw Steve again at mile 14 and all I said to him was that “it was hell!”  The miles seemed to get longer and longer.  Despite this my pace was okay until mile 19, when somewhere along Canary Wharf I felt a sharp pain in my left knee.  I stopped and stretched out my leg. I was amazed that I got my leg onto a raised flowerbed!  As soon as I put my leg down I knew something had happened as it felt worse.  I had to walk/run for the next seven miles.  They were the longest seven miles of my life.  I could just about keep running on the flat but the slight inclines and descents were agony.  It was very frustrating not being able to catch up on the downhill sections.  I knew I looked in a bad way and the crowd were very encouraging.  The last few miles are a bit of a blur apart from when I saw Dawn, Tracy, Emily and Rachel at mile 25.  It was lovely to see them and I knew I was getting close to the end.  As I approached mile 26 I couldn’t remember if I was approaching mile 25 or 26.  I was extremely relieved when it was mile 26.  Seeing Buckingham Palace was wonderful.  I turned right into the Mall and saw the finish line.  I knew I was there.  I managed to run uphill to the finish line and that was it  - I had done it in 4 hours 47 minutes. 

I must admit I didn’t feel anything when I crossed the line.  It wasn’t until a kind lady put the medal around my neck and said well done that I felt any emotion.  It was utter relief that I had finished.  I was disappointed with my time but I couldn’t have run any quicker with the knee injury.  At the moment I have no desire to run another marathon but who knows?

~ Julie

Thanks for the report Julie ... well done on finishing with the dodgy knee.


Christine must have liked the London Marathon so much she stayed over for a week .........

The excitement began upon hearing that I had been lucky enough to win the club place for the 2011 London Marathon. Having turned 50 in August, it just seemed the right time to attempt this magnificent event. Julie and Cindy had also got places in the open ballot, and I knew that Sarah had carried her place over from last year and Chris Thomas was also running it under Congleton colours, so it was great to have some camaraderie. Cindy came up with the training plan that seemed to suit us both - club runs on Tuesday and Thursday would be incorporated. Long runs on Sunday, speed work on occasion - didn't seem too bad at the time. So our 18 week training plan began. This took us all through the winter and spring. The intervals soon became days to dread, but certainly made the other runs much easier.
And then came the weekend itself. Fantastic support was offered by club members, especially the girls with whom I travelled down by train. After a bit of a scare at the Excel Centre when I couldn't find my photo ID (passport hiding at the bottom of my bag), I collected my number, said goodbye to my super training partner, Cindy, and found my way to the apartment where I was staying in with my family.
The day itself dawned. Nigel pointed me in the right direction and I set off to Blackheath, joining the throngs of thousands. It was a beautiful day. Everything was very well organised with even the queues for the loos nothing like what I had seen before at the Great North Run.
And then it was 9.45am - the race began! The first 10 miles were great - I had a super time looking around, enjoying the atmosphere, soaking up the experience and feeling pretty strong. Saw family and friends at the 10 mile mark and stopped to give all a hug. Great stuff! Tiredness didn't really start until I passed over Tower Bridge...the dual carriageway you run along enables you to see the elite runners returning on the other side of the road. The 22 mile marker was clearly visible on the return route, but at this time, I was only on about 13 miles!
At 19 miles on Canary Wharf, I had a great cheer from family and friends again - the rest of the crowd joined in as shouts of "Come on Christine!" enlivened my legs temporarily! Alan Belford, one of the founding members of Biddulph Running Club, had told me to clap when I got to 20 miles - the beginning of unknown territory! Never run more than that before. It was every bit as hard as I thought it was going to be. The next few miles went by really slowly. The crowd sensed the exhaustion and cheered us on, willing us on.
Just when I needed it most I heard another cheer from a group of girls from school - "Ms Andrew!!!!"  That was great and then dear Tracy, Emily, Dawn, Rachel and Steve appeared, again giving me that will to continue.
When the "800 metres to go" marker appeared, I wasn't sure whether to be pleased or not - 800 metres is still a long way to go when you are on your last legs!
I couldn't quite believe it when I could actually stop running at the finish. My legs seized up straight away. I felt quite overcome with emotion. Sobs were only just below the surface, bubbling up.
And now, I have worn the t-shirt for a week. I am thrilled with how the whole thing went. Still not quite sure whether I want to do it again. Not finished poring over the results! Thanks to everyone for all the encouragement and fantastic support. Over £1000 raised for Oxfam as well!


thanks for the report Christine - a big well done! from everyone at BRC



Hey Hey Hey ... Dawn sent in this report for the Wilmslow Half Marathon

Perfect weather, perfect conditions, fantastic support crew and a PB what more could I ask!?!

The day started with an early start, support team Tracy & Em picked me up bright and early at 8am ensuring we got a good spec on the carpark (field) with what we thought was a quick escape, how wrong we were, good job the weather was so nice, we sat on the grass beside the cars with Kerry, Christine, Cindy & Steve whilst everyone queued up to leave at the end.

A nice easy relaxed start to the day wandering around at the Rugby Club, caught up with Kerry & Steve and strolled towards the start, but all of sudden the race was about to start, we slightly miscalculated the time and I ended up sprinting 200m or so to the start line just before the off (that was my warm up!) – good news was I slipped myself into the 1.40 finishers section, didn’t get any strange looks so stayed there… then the gun went and we were off, there were that many people who ran past me (of course they did, they were doing 1.40 pace!) but I did wonder what minute mileage I was doing, good job I had my GPS on, I was doing a nice respectable 8.50/mile for the first 3 miles or so, I was feeling good and strong and didn’t get put off by the speed demons, I kept to the far left of the road and did my own thing.  
Half way and still felt good, time had crept up a little but still feeling strong, then the lack of actually putting in the distance training started to feel in my legs, they felt heavy, I started losing concentration and could feel myself slowing down, struggling at miles 9 to 11 so gave myself a stern talking too (not out loud I hasten to add) and picked myself up at mile 12, when I could see the finish and heard Em shouting my name, I managed a bit of sprint that didn’t really last but as the clock came into view I made another attempt and managed to squeeze past 2 people right on the finish line, once through started wobbling all over the place, and even had a bit of chin wobble, I always do… I think it’s just the fact that I got through it with a whopping 3 mins off my previous time, either that or I’m just an emotional wreck!

I’d like to say Thank you to my fab support crew who really made my day :-)

~ Dawn

Great Report Dawn - thanks - all we need now is a rep from the other PB'er!


Knype Pool Race Report by Steve ...

Thought it was about time I contributed to the race reports effort, (and it's been a bit of an effort)

It’s going to be a fine day.  That’s what I thought when peeking through the curtains at 7.30 on the morning of our Knype 5m charity race.  It was still a fine day as I checked the club webmail for any last minute enquiries.  There were no enquiries – everyone must be happy on this fine day. However my bank account has been frozen (again) due to malicious activity. I was a bit surprised by this since I don’t have an account with the Alliance and Leicester and I also don’t know the guy from Nigeria who wants to know that account number I don’t have.  Oh well, I’ll pass on some details - the day is just so fine.  It must have been the toast.  I was really enjoying the second slice (with marmalade) when type 41 rain made an appearance. Type 41 rain is that sort which is marginally too heavy not to use the car wipers but just a tad too light to use them – even for those clever variable speed intermittent rain sensing jobs.  Douglas Adams would be happy with that rain. I wasn’t unhappy either  but I don’t think Mr A was a runner as he’d know that type 41 is of that particular weight which will comfortably cool you down while pounding the toughest climb but it won’t actually make your running vest wet.  Could be perfect race conditions.  It was still type 41 as I arrived at the pool car park and race start area.  The car park entrance was blockaded to the proletariat by police cones. Being a member of the race organising committee I had a few words in the shell-like of the car park bouncer, the good man doffed his cap,  removed a couple of bollards and directed me to my reserve space – specially coned off by more police bollards.  The bouncer made a gap in those bollards too and saw me reverse skilfully up to the deceptively low boundary fence. Thanks Mike. Oh the advantages of Office.  One or two runners had turned up to register – it was still only 9.45. We anticipated most would arrive with an hour to 45mins before gun. I took a walk up to the visitor centre car park partly to stay warm (type 41 rain is only good if you are moving) but mainly just for a nose to see how many were arriving. It was looking good, previous years’ numbers have been mauled by sub-zero and snow conditions. Amy and Shaun had just pulled on and then, joined by Rachel, we all made our way down the hill to gazebo headquarters and the start area. Amy seemed a bit worried about the course. She’ll be fine.  The race marshals were all getting kitted out in their quite dapper hi-viz bibs.  Registration and the soup kitchen were getting up to full steam, all things were working quietly well. Was that Mark Dalkins I just saw? This race has attracted some class runners. Then someone threw a bucket of water over everyone who wasn’t in a gazebo.Then another then another.  Loads of rain – and not the type anyone likes. The wind whipped up and everyone was freezing. The luck we don’t get. Bryan Dale trudged past me and said ‘you must’ve  killed a robin Steve’ …. Runners are hard though. I saw all them who hadn’t made it to a gazebo just standing in the torrents waiting for the start. Luckily my former sport of choice was swimming so I dived in the car and waited for a break.  Through a foggy windscreen I saw Rachel run out of the car park for a ‘warm up’. Hmm, should I do a warm up? I don’t think so. With a few minutes to go I left the warmth of the car and joined the drowned crowd.   It was still p*****g down and I was soon soaked - so at least I could look the competition in the face.  Miraculously, with only 2 minutes before gun the rain stopped and there was glimmer of sun – even a hint of warmth.  What’s this? Has Lady Luck visited our race?  Lady Luck had indeed blessed the race – at least until Lodge Barn Road when she scampered off to avoid a hail storm.  “ I can’t believe this” said former chairman and marshal par excellence, Alan, as I passed by – at least it sounded like Alan – I couldn’t make him out through the hail (but his hi-viz marshal bib was proper viz).  My battle with Kev soon ended as the schoolboy error of a flapping lace caused me to take a pit-stop. “I’ll catch yer up in a bit Kev”,  I heard meself say. Who am I kiddin? – this isn’t a training run and Kev’s looking a bit perky.  The pit-stop was useless. The lace was knotted and my hands were so cold I couldn’t sort it.  The best I could do was  a makeshift fix with a knot a yachtsman would just sneer at. Off road specialist Big Nige (Rambo) passed me when I was grappling with the with the damn lace.  I managed to catch him up and could just see Kev up ahead along the path. Kev was still in sight until we hit the Serp on the return leg.  Couldn’t close the gap tho – in fact I think it was widening.  The lace came undone again but I didn’t bother having another pit-stop.   I was reasonably pleased to crawl across the line in 38.15 considering the conditions. Hopefully it’ll give a bit of scope for a PB next year. As I thought would happen, the race was won by Mark Dalkins of Telford AC followed in by last year’s winner, Jack Ross of Staff Moorlands AC.  It took someone of Dalkins’ class to break the SMAC stranglehold - SMAC also won in 2009.   In the lady’s category Trentham’s Jo Donnelly - 2009’s winner - came in 2nd behind Amanda Davies also of Telford AC – who I later found out was Mr. Dalkins’ sister. You just can’t beat genetics. I also believe Mr. D lives only a couple of miles away - a local winner indeed (or that's what Craig B told me). Jason Burgess (another  SMAC in the face) and Kath Lampugh (Buxton) took the prizes for 3rd.  With 113 finishers it was easily the best turn out since BRC restarted this event two years ago.  I reckon there would have been 20 or 30 more if the weather had been a little kinder.  Well done to all BRC members who took part – this race wasn’t really for the feint hearted.  Great work by all race officials too. The hot soup at the finish was also much appreciated. Apparantly £788 was raised for the mayor’s charities.  Has anyone’s shoes dried out yet?



8k Orienteering, Apedale Country Park


Only two BRC members turned out for this frustratingly enjoyable orienteering race. Here's Emily Shuff's take on it all.....


After only doing a few orienteering competitions with school, I thought "why not?", so I entered Apedale 8k Orienteering Race. Although, I did find out I wasn't doing it alone. Steve had also entered the race. It turned out to be a chilly and depressing morning, but i wasn't going to let that put me off. I would have been entering in a team, but I couldn't persuade my fellow runners: Dawn and Niamh to to enter it with me, so I did the course on my own. However, the atmosphere when we arrived was superb. Once we got our map and race number, we set off. Finding the posts was relatively easy but I have to admit, there was only one post that really ticked me off because I had taken a wrong turn. I found it eventually and then proceeded to the finish line. Soup and tea were waiting for us when we finished. Had a fantastic time, enjoyed every minute of it and will definitely do it again next year. :)



Thanks Em for the report.