- Carsington Water Half-Marathon
- Bedworth Park 5k
- Leicestershire Half-Marathon
- LDWA Roundhay 50 Mile
- National Cross-Country Championships
- Hoka One One Winter Trail Half-Marathon
- Northumberland Coastal Marathon
- Dukeries 10.8 Miles
- Knype Pool 5 Mile
- Love in the Air Valentines Trail 7.5Km
- Bedworth Park 5k
- Ilmington 10k, Tempo Winter Series Race 5
- Naseby 1645
- Newcastle Valentines 10k
- Railway Ultra
- Worcester 23 Mile Ring Run
- Dorney Lake Winter Half-Marathon
- Birmingham & District Invitation Cross-Country League Race 4
- Midland Women’s Cross-Country League Race 4
- Enigma Quadzilla 4 Marathons in 4 Days
- Leicester 5k Winter Series Race 4
- Big Polar Bear Challenge
- Centurion Grand Prix Race 3
- Murcia Half-Marathon and 10k
- Watford Half-Marathon
- Stourbridge Trail 10 Miles
- Mayhill Massacre
- The Cake Trail Marathon
Carsington Water Half-Marathon – 23 February
Bedworth Park 5k – 23 February
19 Northbrookers headed to Bedworth for the Sunday 5K, 16 of us were incorporating the 5k into a long run training plan. The weather was wet and cold and timing to get there with little standing around was the key. Numbers were buoyed by our presence and we soon set about making the Northbrook presence known right through the field. Chris and Craig battled at the front, Tom and Terry, Martin and Spencer, right through the field, pockets of Northbrookers either running together or working with each other. A great performance by all for the middle of a long run.
Afterwards we all headed off in our different directions, different distances and terrains required. Well done all – Spencer
Leicestershire Half-Marathon – 23 February
Took the trip up to Prestwold Hall with Natasha, tried to hang with her and lasted about 2 miles. Most of the route was round a race track and very exposed to the elements. No PB today, but more miles in the marathon training legs.
LDWA Roundhay 50 Mile, Leeds – 22 February
National Cross-Country Championships – 22 February
Senior Men, 8 miles
6 to count – 71st
9 to count – 38th
Senior women, 5.5Miles – 63rd
The day of the Nationals approached and mother Nature had prepared a treat for us. 24 Northbrookers and 2 supporters headed North to Nottingham, from where pictures were coming of not just puddles, but lakes to go through. Car parking had been hastily rearranged due to fear of cars sinking into the ground, but there was no way they were cancelling this event.
We set up base on the top of the hill (driest place we could find) and we all slowly filtered to meet up, 12 women and 12 men. Eealier age groups had softened the ground up nicely for the women who lined up first, nerves and tears as the 911 starting field toed the line. The charge was like that of the light brigade. With lakes on the starting hill knee deep and the hill to summit, to get the space it was a frantic sprint. The women ran a small lap, a medium lap and an extra long lap, and as we waited at the first mud bath they ungracefully tore straight through it, raising the stinking black mud (or at least we hoped it was just mud) off the bottom, before a further stream wash before attacking the gloopy mud back up the hill. Our women were holding their own, but not many smiles as concentration was needed for every foot placement and to ensure that spikes came back out with them.
Conditions suited Elle and Lottie who made mincemeat of the underfoot ground conditions, looking like they loved every step. Gemma was leading them all, beaming. Have we lured Gemma to the dark side of cross-country? Then they found the “hurdles”, felled logs strategically placed to make your already tired legs scream at you as you hurdled them. Last lap and the splendour of the film set that is “Wayne Manor” was lost on the kicker of the greasy, slippery hill. But they still came. The finish straight was deceptive, it looked like a sweeping downhill, places were made up, then with 100 mtrs to go, a shoe sucking stretch of thick sinking mud stopped most dead in their tracks. The women had done well, covered in stinking mud, soaked from the water, but they were smiling all the same. There’s perhaps something not quite right about our women as they all loved it, the team finishing a very well placed 63rd on the day.
Then it was the men’s turn. 1710 men toed the line and the atmosphere was electric, the ground was being pressed down by our numbers, the shouts of encouragement were deafening, the hairs on your arms were standing up and the roars of anticipation were amazing. Then the gun went off and what can only be described as like a scene from “Braveheart” followed as 1700+ men sprinted through the lakes and up the hill. The pace was phenomenal and no quarter was given, the elbows were out and shoes were being pulled into the ground with every step; you had to go fast to ensure you could find the room to run without being trampled.
The men faced a small, a medium, a long and an extra long lap. After the water bath on the small lap, we were covered with black slime dripping of our shoulders and heads. We were soaked and some had already lost their spikes, but the stream splash at least removed some of the odour. Back up the hill and the pace was not dropping, with lungs on fire, quads screaming to keep pulling the feet out of the mud we descended back for the 2nd lap. The hurdles started to appear and the men were like gazelles. I had to check there was not a hidden trampoline as some were getting significant air as I felt like I was pouring myself over them. Back through the stream and the pace was not slowing.
With the mud bath and then the greasy, slippery hills up to the house, I decided it was time to embrace the pain and go for it. My only colleagues in view were Martin and Tommy. The 3 of us could feed off each other. Tommy kept pushing me and I kept pushing him. Eventually Tommy covered in mud from head to toe could not come back, his legs were giving way. Martin was still doing somersaults and acrobatic splits over the logs as I did my best to try to run through them. Then it was the last lap and more quad and lung bursting hills. Martin was running for his life, and he was dragging me and Tommy who was trying his hardest to stay with us. Over the last of the hurdles then on the last uphill the mud got worse, it took everything you had to keep going forward. Matt and Craig were in sight battling ready for the finish straight. I hit the finish straight and tried to take as many as I could on the sweeping downhill straight into the 100 mtrs of thick mud to finish. Breathing in and trying to float, I tried to do my best Stu impression. It worked, straight across the top and across the finish line.
My legs reminded me they were still in the mud at this point as I collapsed over the barrier wondering what hell I had just visited. The men, everyone of them looked broken and battered, but spirits slowly returned. Stories of heroic battles, of waving the sunburst from high and low emerged, every one having fought to hold places through the whole course. The 6 team counting men finished 71st on the day, the 9 men counting team finished 38th. What a performance.
I have never known conditions to be so bad for the Nationals, and for those of us who turned up we deserved our finish places, in the knowledge that we were out there making the best in the country run hard to beat us.
What an event, what a course, what a race. The best bit? We have the best team spirit ever. The banter, the friendship, the teamwork, everyone of us supporting and carrying each other. All 24 would toe the line again (once the kit has been disinfected and scrubbed clean). As Captains, Cath and I could ask no more from any of them, it is this club and the teams that make our positions easier – Spencer
Hoka One One Winter Trail Half-Marathon, Port Talbot – 22 February
Endurance Northumberland Coastal Marathon – 22 February
Not the most impressive time but conditions were tough with gale force winds (sometimes in my face), rain, hail and diversions due to high tides. Scenery on the Northumberland coast was stunning as ever on the 44.08km route from Alnwick to Bamburgh.
Dukeries Trail 10.8 Miles, Nottingham – 22 February
Knype Pool 5 Mile, Biddulph – 16 February
Whilst everyone else was getting battered by storm Dennis in Ilmington, Naseby and elsewhere, I ventured up near Stoke to find a lovely clear, still day for a 5 mile trail race. No wind, no rain, completely perfect weather for a trail run.
The course itself was nothing special; standard trails rounds a reservoir with a reasonable hill near the middle. I started a little slowly – probably feeling the effects of a couple of pints, and way too much food, at the Awards Night – but came on strong at the end (including overtaking 2 Trentham runners down the hill, which I very much enjoyed).
Slightly disappointed with the finishing time, but had a good day all the same. Not an event I will rush back to, as it’s a bit far to travel for the race distance, but I think very much worth it given the weather.
Love in the Air Valentines Trail 7.5Km, Limuru, Kenya – 16 February
This was a Valentine Trail Run with options for 7.5 KM, 14 KM or 21 KM. I had signed up for the 14KM run but the planned start time of 7am turned into 7.40…so I had to opt for the shorter 7.5 KM run as did a few others. After a group warm up, the 40ish participants were sent round the dam, then up a very big hill onto the flatter part of the route which had a number of sneaky ups throughout. We then headed back down the hill and through the finish line….which turned out not to be the finish line, another loop through it again but…still not the finish (the marshall had wandered off & no sign of finish)!
Eventually the Race Director appeared & sent us up a final, very steep, ascent where the finish line was still being put up. It was the longest 7.5km (10km) I’ve run and at 7,400 ft the altitude made it one of the toughest; however, as ever, great fun & camaraderie with fellow runners. The run was not timed.
My finisher’s medal is alas in quarantine as it had been shipped over from China – Sally Eason
Bedworth Park 5k – 16 February
Ilmington 10k, Tempo Winter Series Race 5 – 16 February
Race 5 Results
|22||Natasha White||00:43:49||1st FV35, 2nd female|
Series Results – 5 Races
|Total time||Cat Pos|
The day after the awards night and a few heads were hanging from the night before. Storm Dennis was still raging, but there was no way that the organisers were going to cancel their season finale. Twelve Northbrookers turned up in various states, excuses were aplenty and with the wind and the rain this was going to be a challenge.
Hill first and this time it meant the wind was in your face all the way up. As you summitted the wind was cross-ways pushing you from one side to the other, taking your breath and making you gasp for every breath you needed. Natasha was clear, leading us and dragging Paul with her. The rest of us were doing our best to catch up. The drop into the village was as fast as normal and then the tour of the village was into the head wind again.
The shelter of the club house was warmly embraced as were the series awards and the hoodies and buffs for the ever presents. Six of us completed every race with Natasha winning the women’s series prize.
For one of us, once was not enough, another lap of the hill down to the village to finish and meet everyone else at the pub, a roaring fire and a welcome beer to celebrate another series finished.
Well done all, keep your eyes peeled for a potential trip out in the summer for a social run on the Ilmington hills – Spencer
Naseby 1645 – 16 February
Jo and I braved storm Dennis and travelled to Naseby to run the Naseby 1645 race. The first 5 miles faired well with the wind behind us, but we were lulled into a false sense of security. As we hit mile 10 the wind and hail were hitting us head on, with hill after hill after hill, the end couldn’t come quick enough.
We both said after a hot cup of tea “what an amazing race”. I would recommend it-Julie
Newcastle Valentines 10k – 16 February
Railway Ultra, Coalport – 15 February
Worcester 23 Mile Ring Run – 9 February
Dorney Lake Winter Half-Marathon – 9 February
|Thomas Mitchell||1:29:24||PB – first ever sub-90|
Midland Women’s Cross-Country League Race 4 at Aldridge Airport – 8 February
Northbrook Women – 5th Overall
Northbrook Women Masters – 3rd Overall
Another great turnout from the women’s team with 16 travelling to Aldridge Airport. Thankfully we had a bright if breezy day. Conditions were soft under feet in places, some good grassy stretches and then a long drag through fairly deep mud on a woodland trail! Some great running over 4 miles and with teamwork we also managed to get the event shelter up despite the gusts of wind.
As we finish the season we have 6 women who have run all 4 events and another 5 who have run 3 events. This is I believe a record for the club. At race 3 we had 28 finishers, definitely a record!
We are very happy to come away from the season with 3rd place medals in the Masters and a strong 5th place team overall. Looking forward to next year already – Cath
Birmingham & District Invitation Cross-Country League Race 4 at Gloucester – 8 February
Men’s ‘A’ Team 6th – 206 points, Overall 6th – 926 points
Mens’ ‘B’ Team 1st – 493 points, Overall 1st – 2019 points
Race 4 and the final league race of the season meant that excitement and anticipation was high. 24 Northbrookers and 1 gallant supporter headed south for the last league push of the season. Plock Court was flat and very firm underfoot, the signs were that this was going to be fast and it did not disappoint. The road runners amongst us revelled in it, those who needed inclines and a bit more mud struggled.
Promotion was an impossible task so all the eyes were pinned on the B team and maintaining our first place. The top 6 were dragged by Stu and pushed by Paul who made sure Matt had to work hard to bring the A team home. Paul dragging the B team with him was followed in by a train of Northbrookers, our men had left everything they had on the flat firm football pitches. They were speechless from effort, winded from pushing and drained from the final sprints to the finish. Every position was fought for, battled with and held off for the team place. The support for everyone from the team was raucous, they were all roared and shouted to the finish. Was it to get out of the cold? No, team spirit. 24 men all within 13 minutes of each other showing what a great team we have in place.
One last hurrah due for the Nationals and we can now look forward to the tarmac – Spencer
Enigma Quadzilla 4 Marathons in 4 Days, 6 – 9 February
Day 1 – Quicker than planned
Day 2 – Tired legs already
Day 3 – Lots of aches so slowed to be good for the final day tomorrow
Day 4 – A very windy & wet run today. Glad that I took my time yesterday.
photo: DUNCAN GORDON
Just managed to get a shot of Tony at the finish – Duncan
Leicester 5k Winter Series Race 4 – 6 February
|10||Martin McHugh||20:39||1st MV45|
|23||Chris Archer||26:56||1st MV55|
1st male team
The dream team were reunited for the last fling at the Leicester 5k Winter Series. The weather was cold and dry with very little wind, perfect for running. The Parks Department had also been out to grit the paths. As usual the start was fast and a group split off, Martin head down was running for his life. I tried to stick but his Teflon was applied well, but he did not disappear, and after mile 1 I was able to start reeling him back but I ran out of course.
What a way to finish the series, the best time for all 3 of us and the men’s team prize again. Five bottles of wine secured for our good ladies waiting back in Coventry, with Martin and Chris winning their age groups.
Was this also the first competitive outing for the Northbrook socks? Spencer
Big Polar Bear Challenge, Ryton Pools – 4 February
On a cold Tuesday in February one intrepid soul went into the blustery wilderness of Ryton Pools to run a distance unknown. The Big Bear Events were running their Polar Bear Challenge. A 3.3 mile lap and 6 hours to clock up as many miles as they can.
First obstacle was school drop off, making me 18 minutes behind the start time when I began. Secondly, a wiggley 2 -year old in a buggy. It was a great event for me to see exactly how long I could stay running. With toilets and refreshments available on every lap it was very reassuring that a cuppa was never too far away (cupless race I brought my own very large mug). On finishing my 6th lap I retired with a ring of a bell and 19.8 miles under my belt (feet), my
furthest distance to date.
I collected my medal, a cider and a homemade flapjack and still made the school run in plenty of time. Happy to be waving the Northbrook sunburst.
Centurion Grand Prix 5 Mile, Race 3 – 2 February
Seven Northbrookers headed to Chelmsley Wood for the 3rd race in the Centurion 5 mile Grand Prix series. The numbers were down for some reason and with 4 of us having the previous day’s Massacre in our legs the aim was to get round first and if a time came with it then it would be a bonus.
The weather was unseasonably warm, perfect for a good run. The start was hectic as always and it soon settled out as space was found, Stu leading the way for us with Craig following. Mike, Matt and I ended up in a battle as I was being pulled along by the competition.
A great run and one of the better times round centurion for me in a while – Spencer
Murcia Half-Marathon and 10k, Spain – 2 February
It was February, the sun was shining and it was over 20 degrees! The rain never made it to the plane on our little racing trip to Spain! However, many of the locals turned up as if we were racing in the UK (gloves were spotted).
It was a brilliant event in Murcia and the goody bag that went with it and after the race was like the generation game. A long sleeved top, a short sleeved top, a hat, a bag, sweets, beer, pop, water, fruit…the list goes on and all for 20 euros.
Sarah ran well in the 10k and was really happy with her time and Sean did the same in the half-marathon. A marker from Murcia and a highly recommended event – Sarah and Sean
Watford Half-Marathon – 2 February
I would recommend the course if you want some hill training!
Stourbridge Trail 10 Miles – 2 February
Mayhill Massacre 9 Mile – 1 February
|5||Natasha White||1:20:06||2nd female|
Eight Northbrookers and just as many supporters headed down to Mayhill on a windy and cold morning. The weather was bright but the wind had a nip. With the first 2 miles of this being uphill we soon welcomed the breeze to cool us down. This is a great route which incorporates a lot of climbs and some very deep shoe sucking mud/clay, but it brought smiles at every corner. It did look like the sign imps had been out as the front end were constantly caught standing or lost as the signs were “missing”. It ended up with some extra mileage and climbing but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
A great event, worth returning for next year – Spencer
The Cake Trail Marathon, Shropshire – 1 February