- Oundle 20
- Gloucester 20
- Centurion Grand Prix Race 5
- Bedworth Park 5k
- Milton Keynes Running Festival Half-Marathon
- Stafford Half-Marathon
- Fission 2020 20Km
- Fission 2020 20 Miles
- Wolverhampton Trail Half-Marathon
- Enigma Week at the Knees Day 4
- Red Hot Toddy 10k
- Peatling Challenge – The Thirteen
- Bedworth Park 5k
- Tough Runner Buckinghamshire Duathlon
- Thetford Trails Half-Marathon
- Cambridge Half-Marathon
- Cannock Chase 10 Miles
- Draycote Water 20 Miles
- Draycote Water 10k
- Larmer Tree Races
- Green Man Ultra
- Centurion Grand Prix Race 4
- Bedworth Park 5k
- Warwick Half-Marathon
- Hannington Hike
Oundle 20 – 15 March
|150||Sally Eason||02:44:35||2nd FV55|
|158||Sarah Mcnaney||02:45:32||1st FV60|
|497||Anne Hughes||03:39:18||2nd FV65|
Despite the wet conditions and other prevailing circumstances, 17 Northbrookers turned up for what could be one of the last races for some time. Conditions were wet and the course had little shelter from the rain.
There were fine runs from Terry, Paul, Martin and Tommy who all ran within a couple of minutes of the 2 hour 30 minute mark.
Sarah won a trophy for winning her age category and Anne and I were second in our respective age categories – Sally
Gloucester 20 – 15 March
With news breaking on Friday of the cancellation of the Ashby 20 impending doom loomed, it was soon followed with the news of race after race also being cancelled. It was like watching the lights go out across a nation. What to do next. Messages were pinging back and forth about races that were still open and the ones that were taking entries on the day. The news the Gloucester was still open and no way near its 800 capacity soon filtered through. Do I, don’t I, its just a run after all. Oh well here goes I clicked enter now.
Sunday approached and the first thing I did was check for cancellations, it was still on. 7am arrived and so did a rather sleepy looking Tim. We jumped in my car and headed for Gloucester. Race instructions had said to park in the park and ride, so we headed for that. As we left the motorway the familiar yellow race arrows lead the way to the park and ride. Perfect. We parked and were greeted by yet more yellow arrows one set directing us to race HQ to pick up our numbers and another set to the start line. Race HQ was well organised, numbers, pins, toilets, a stall selling last minute things you might have forgot. We pinned up and headed to the bag drop and the start line in the rain.
Bag drop was at the start finish line along with a refreshment van, gazebos to shelter from the rain and a row of portable toilets. Tim and I then met up with the two other Northbrookers that had made the journey Emma and Jonathan Vardy. There was no time to chat as the race brief began at 9:25 and the instructions were clear. Single file and a strict cut off time of 4 hours…no exceptions. 3…2…1…go.
Gloucester 20 is a 3 lap course. We started lap 1 and the rain poured but this did not deter the marshals, they were fabulous. The course seemed to be a constant stream of marshals from start to finish, each one bringing their own unique cheer to the wet soggy runners. 2 water stations per 6.7-mile lap meant you were never far away from hydration. 2 sets of portable toilets meant that if you took advantage of the ample hydration to you could take advantage of the disadvantage this brings. The course was flat and fast, and the scenery was stunning. The hills were covered in thick rain cloud, but this gave a beautiful backdrop to a well organised picture-perfect race. As the rain got heavier the cheers from the marshals grew louder; these guys really did go above and beyond and were worthy of medals themselves.
Jonathan’s time gave him a massive 18 minute PB and I believe the fastest time a Northbrooker has completed a 20 mile race in this year. Kudos to Jonathan -what a race.
Emma hen recorded a 38 second PB. Well done Emma conditions were tough.
I came in with a 27 minute PB compared to Draycote last year and I am super pleased with that.
Tim had a blinding first half but the conditions were dire and the rain proved tougher than we all imagined and drained us all of every last bit of energy we had.
Well done everyone who ran, marshaled and cheered us on. You made a very, very, VERY wet Gloucester shine – Sara
Centurion Grand Prix 5 Mile, Race 5 – 15 March
Nine of us headed 20 mins up the road for the 5th race in the series, some desperate to get a time on the board fully aware of the congestion chaos that is looming, some to complete the series. Numbers were understandably down but the pace was just as electric.
Steve running for his 5 mile time stormed home in 4th, Mike having had a fall with blood pouring down his leg trying his best to catch him. Craig, broken from the previous days hike and on blisters bigger than his shoes was out to fulfill the series, Matt was clearly suffering from the previous days efforts and Cath brought home 3rd female vet.
A good northbrook turn out and effort with great running right through the field. – Spencer
Bedworth Park 5k – 15 March
Five of us made up a third of the field as it’s noticeable numbers are down on events, three incorporating the 5K into long runs.
Great grouping with Simon leading us home in 3rd place.
Milton Keynes Running Festival Half-Marathon – 15 March
Stafford Half-Marathon – 15 March
Toddled up to Stafford for a late entry to the half. Having done it a couple of years ago I was prepared for the steady up and down as the route passed over railways, canals, rivers and wound its way through the urban landscape.
A cool day for a run but the rain largely held off. The hips complained from about mile 8 but I had a stern word with them and we finished with a five minute PB. Excellent teeshirt for my troubles, a good day at the office.
Fission 2020 20Km – 14 March
Fission 2020 20 Mile – 14 March
Wolverhampton Trail Half-Marathon – 14 March
|11||Matthew Hathrell||1:41:22||3rd SM (18-29)|
|93||Eleanor Townsend||2:0819||1st SF (18-29)|
|174||Anne Hughes||2:36:38||2nd FV60 (60-69)|
The longest race I’ve ever done and, at 14.1 miles, probably the longest ‘half marathon’ I’ll ever do. The route follows the canals from Wolverhampton out to Wombourne, and then comes back along a trail that used to be a railway line, so the whole course is basically flat.
There was still quite a bit of mud – and a fallen tree that, after 12 miles, was quite an effort to hurdle, but I think this is one that even the tarmac tarts would have enjoyed.
Definitely recommend for next year – Matthew
Enigma Week at the Knees Day 4, Milton Keynes – 12 March
Seven and a bit laps of Caldecotte Lake. Fortunately the rain stopped after lap 1. Quite a windy one but happy with a 3:43:54 finish.
Red Hot Toddy 10k, Todmorden – 8 March
|85||Cath Fenn||50:19||3rd FV45|
Away for the weekend visiting friends. At their suggestion I joined them in entering their club 10k. “It has a bit of a hill”. They forgot to mention the 2 laps of the park at the start included twice through a “water feature” too! Very happy with my finishing time, 85th overall, 10th female and 3rd F45. End of race treats included a cup of hot toddy and a bottle of red as prize for 3rd F45.
Thank you Todmorden Harriers, great value for money event and a very friendly welcome.
Peatling Challenge – The Thirteen – 8 March
Sunday was a blustery morning, with light showers, and I decided to go for a ramble around the Leicestershire countryside; 13.45 miles of fields, gates and styles. Despite the race director saying that the storm the night before had made the conditions ‘horrendous’, it was very run-able for the most part. There’s an option to finish after just seven miles, but I wasn’t tempted. The last 2 miles, which retraced the first 2, were definitely the hardest, dropping me outside the 2 hour mark and leaving me incredibly drained at the end. Still a great run, and one that I will look at again next year.
Bedworth Park 5k – 8 March
Tough Runner Duathlon, Wendover Woods – 8 March
A birthday present from Dawn that 6 months ago I didn’t think I could possibly complete. Two tough 5k trail runs on hilly and muddy terrain in Wendover Woods and a wet road bike ride around the local lanes and villages. Running in the wonderful Wendover Woods made all the pain of the hills worth while though. This was a thoroughly enjoyable, memorable event and a big personal achievement. I finished 63rd from 320. Special thank you to Dawn for her fantastic support.
Thetford Trails Half-Marathon – 8 March
My first ever trail half marathon. Training was seriously impaired by plantar fasciitis, but I managed to get round relatively pain-free. Lovely one-lap course through Thetford Forest; occasional tree roots and sharp flints underfoot, and some gusty headwinds to contend with, but overall a really lovely well-marshalled run.
Cambridge Half-Marathon – 8 March
Cannock Chase 10 Miles – 8 March
|162||Debbie Campbell||1:41:06||3rd FV55|
Debbie’s first ever 10-mile race.
Draycote Water 20 Miles – 8 March
Not the race I had planned today, held marathon pace for 10 miles, but couldn’t hold on as the pain in my hip grew. Almost pulled out at 15 but stuck to it and dragged myself round a slow last 5 – Thomas
Draycote Water 10k – 8 March
Larmer Tree Races, Dorset – 7 & 8 March
Larmer Marathon – 8 March
|14||Natasha White||4:09:24||2nd female, 1st F30|
Larmer 20 Mile – 8 March
Larmer Half-Marathon – 7 March
|26||Tom Miller||1:57:19||3rd MV50|
|99||Claudie Combelas||2:19:02||3rd FV50|
Larmer 10 Mile – 7 March
Twenty-one Northbrookers headed south with an equally sized support crew of friends and family for our 2nd year on the Larmer weekend. The weather had been torrential on the run up to the weekend and the fields of floods on the way down caused a ripple of excitement by what we were about to face. But first we had to get Friday night over and done with. Drinking (and food) started at 2:30 as we raced to the pub, where we all started to arrive as the day progressed. By the time the last of the Friday arrivals showed up it was 8 o’clock in the evening and the drinks were beginning to have an effect. Some disappeared off earlier than others, while some partied hard for most of the night.
Saturday morning saw an excited wonder woman (International Women’s day) greet our merry band as we split off two ways, a group nursing hangovers to Parkrun and a nervous yet excited group heading for the 10 miler. All of the Larmer races have at least two significant hills on them, and these are horrific; you can’t prepare for them you just have to embrace them and walk them. The 10 mile had the joy of being dry underfoot and free from the rain, but they did meet the clouds on the first hill. Stories of slipping people coming back out of the clouds towards you soon filtered back to us. But the 10 milers were not put off, Rich leading them home to be greeted by the Parkrunners, the rest following, with our pack of 4 supporting each other through the hardships of their first brutal trail races.
Then it was the turn of the half-marathoners. Tom was his usual self, appearing with 3 minutes to go and needing the help of the girls to finish getting him dressed and pinned up. Craig was still nursing a hangover and looking worse every time we saw him. Paul looked too bouncy and excited. The half had the better weather with no clouds or mist but still the brutal hills to attack. On form Paul led them home with support through the field for our half runners. The Saturday celebrations went well into the night, with Northbrook leaving their stamp in the bar.
Larmer 10 Mile – SPENCER DAVIES
Sunday loomed after torrential rain overnight. As the nervous groups for the full-marathon and the 20 miler descended on the gardens. News of massflooding on the marathon route and numerous trees filled us with dread, and a half hour delay gave time for the nerves to start again. The marathon started and the first 5 miles was shin deep in thick stinking mud; each step seemed like a fight with the earth trying to suck you back in. Then came the descent into the village before what felt like a horrendous climb back to the top, where we dropped back down and rejoined the 20 milers. I’d settled into my own space, my usual grumblings of hating the distance, etc, made sure no-one stayed with me for long. Then the next big hill, this time death was waiting on the windswept side cursing us and inviting us to join him on his side. I was tempted as I past the wind and the rain started. The motionless sheep in the field may have been touched by death, but I was keeping a distance between it and me.
Larmer Half-Marathon – SPENCER DAVIES
Then came my nightmare, the endless woods, sharp uphills, and more mud alternating with rocky trail paths. It was a pleasure to finally see a friendly face in Sara. We chatted for a while till she informed of the deer that tried to run someone over in front of her. This marathon was out to kill me, as I carried on scared and eyes hunting the undergrowth for any stampeding deer. Apparently Craig and Natasha (about 3 miles ahead) had a run in with a deer as well. No deer action for me though, just endless woods. Then mile 18 appeared. This was not on the plan, over a mile climb on a track wide enough for one, with killer brambles (yes at this point everything was trying to kill me). This called for emergency plan 1, my only salt tablet. The golden rule of never trying anything new on race day had gone out of the window. It stopped the onset of cramp but the taste of salt
would not go away. Then the welcome appearance of death again, this time ushering me to the feed station; death you were not getting me as there was beer, schnapps, tailwind, every type of cordial and then food. I had it all, ravenous and desperate for anything to keep me going.
The rest of the course I may have known but it’s amazing what you forget. Before the death drop to the bottom of the 2nd last hill the rain, the wind and now hail brought a new perverse pleasure to this race. It stung, and the wind was holding me vertical as I leant into it, the valley was full of water and then the climb appeared. Again only walking this brute but the short spell of horrible weather had cleared for my climb. Just after the summit every type of weather appeared again, the headwind holding me back and rivers running down the road. On the last climb with less than a mile to go the welcome sight of Rich appeared abusing me to get me up to the finish. I was never so grateful to see a friendly face, and the fear of spotting Mark behind me never materialised till I had finished.
Larmer 20 Mile – SPENCER DAVIES
Larmer Marathon – SPENCER DAVIES
Our supporters had braced the weathers and roared us home. For me this was demons banished, and the main problem now was my back, aching from all of the climbing (3,200ft) and tiredness but I had done it. Tracey kept me upright as I turned to see Mark beaming as he powered to the end, then dropped for press ups – no-one likes a show off.
Get the soaked kit off and into something warm and dry and 3 pints in the bar to forget the course helped, Sara and Claudie bringing us all home safe if a little battered.
Another great weekend, with racing, running, socialising and great company. We really are the best running club out there – Spencer
Nine attempted to take on the 10 mile challenge with 378 meters of elevation over 10.8 treacherous miles, a PB course this was not. Rich Cawley came home a fine 87th place, and giggles and laughter were guaranteed as Graham Brannen running with his harem of Tracey Cox, Catherine Shepard and Kelly Parker all finished together on a very tough course.
Following the 10 mile the Half Marathon got under way. Paul Robbins leading the club and coming home in a fine 11th place and 8th in age category shows the strength of the field that was running. A huge shout out to Tom Miller and Claudie Combelas who both came 3rd in their age categories.
The following day some weary legs got themselves moving with five hardy warriors taking on the Marathon Challenge with three fearless runners attacking the 20 mile challenge at the same time. Both courses had additional challenges with over 700 meters of elevation and at least 0.8 miles extra. Claudie, Craig, Caroline and Tim had all run one of the previous days races to ensure tired legs. All eight runners battled against the Grim Reaper and all four seasons of weather, having sun at the start of the run, through to hail at the 3 hour mark. Craig And Natasha came home in an incredible 13th & 14th place with Natasha coming home the 1st in her age category and 2nd female.
A fantastic weekend was had by all and looking forward to the next WSR event – Tim
Green Man Ultra – 7 March
A muddy, hilly 46 mile circular route around Bristol turning into 48 miles after a diversion due to an angry farmer and his lambing sheep!
Centurion Grand Prix 5 Mile, Race 4 – 1 March
Nine Northbrookers headed 20 mins up the road to Chelmsley Wood for the 4th race in the Centurion Grand Prix series. The weather was dry, cold but with water on the course. The field was small showing what impact other local races on the same day can have.
As usual, Craig disappeared after 200 mtrs to lead us home, the train of 4 chasers was working off each
other. The puddles/lakes were cold but firm underneath, 3 times through meant no point in messing around. The feet soon dried off allowing the headwind before the playground to drop the pace.
A great race with fantastic running right through our ranks – Spencer
Bedworth Park 5k – 1 March
Warwick Half-Marathon – 1 March
After the February storms came March and a relatively quiet day for the Warwick Half Marathon. The sun shone, the wind gusted a little but there was no rain. Near perfect conditions for running. There was a small band of Northbrookers signed up, although it was by chance that we met.
Warwick Half is a race that appears to defy gravity, it feels relentlessly uphill with very few downs until the last mile and a half. The course took in bits of the Two Castles and the Kenilworth Half, so some familiar landmarks, but with the added bonus of strong winds when you looked up to admire the scenery. Rob Cox popped up throughout the course on his bike to shout welcome encouragement to the Northbrook contingent.
The descent into Warwick was welcome and provided an opportunity to stretch out and practise all that downhill running we’ve been taught. The finish was in the racecourse by the Grandstand which sounds grander than it proved to be, as it was just two flags on the ground so it was difficult to pick out. However, we were rewarded with a big, shiny medal and half of Hook Norton beer.
Shout out to Robin Aston and Kyle Beddoe who were the first Northbrookers home, with great times on a tough course – Sally
Hannington Hike 14 Mile, Wellingborough – 1 March
A 14 mile off-road loop. Only 13.5 miles into a headwind. Wet, muddy and lots of fun.