- Gloucester 20
- Notts 20
- Stafford Half-Marathon
- Milton Keynes 20
- Oundle 20
- Fission 20:20
- Draycote Half-Marathon
- Fradley 10k
- Larmer Race Weekend
- Draycote Water 10k
- Haworth Hobble
- The Belvoir Challenge 2019
- Berkhamsted Half-Marathon
- Newport Half-Marathon
- Centurion Grand Prix 5 Mile
- Warwick Half-Marathon
- Carding Mill Canter
- Welcome Ultra
A very well marshalled course, consisting of 3 laps of mostly countryside, with the odd industrial estate at the start of each lap. Pleasant conditions and not too many hills helped me to a 20 mile PB (although it would have been 5 seconds quicker had they managed to correctly set up my timing chip, meaning I only had gun time to go on…) I guess that’s the price you pay for entering late!
Would still consider going back next year, so wasn’t all bad.
It was the first time this 20-miler was taking place and you could tell that the organisers had overlooked a few things. After queuing in the full car park for 20 minutes we eventually found somewhere then we needed to find registration, no signs or marshalls in sight. We managed to get to the start line just in time, but I suspect there were a few who weren’t as lucky.
We set off and found ourselves dodging puddles and looking for mile markers which were never to be seen. The first 10 miles had more climbs than anticipated which took it out of my legs, and I soon realised I’d set off too fast and was caught by Katherine at around 15 miles who powered on. I managed to hold on for a sub 3:00 time but know I need to getting better at pacing for future races.
I don’t think I’ll be returning next year as it seems there are better options out there for pre-marathon 20 milers – David
Really really slow. I ran 10k without stopping for the first time post injury (Kenilworth Half) only this week – on a treadmill. To some that doesn’t count. But, I was 6 minutes faster than my disastrous 2 half-marathon runs in 2018 (which were my slowest ever ever). Getting there.
My recovery/rehab/whatever is based on Jeffing. It’s what I always used to do when coming back from a break or injury. Walk intervals with my normal pace running otherwise. No slow running. 5min kms until I need to walk.
So for Stafford I ran until 30 mins, walked 2min at 30mins as I had to take off my top, was stinking hot, got the sleeves in a tangle, 2 min at 40mins (up a mountain) and thereafter 1min every 10ish mins.
Walking around 12 mins in total puts an extra 6 mins on my time so the aim is to slowly reduce the walking.
Jeffing all the way.
In its second year this is now definitely one for the race calendar – sold out with 430 entries (there were just 200 in 2018). Just an hours’ drive along the A14 into rural Northants, the course follows a scenic route through the gently undulating, wide, quiet country lanes in and around the pretty Norhamptonshire villages of Fotheringay, Nassington, Yarwell and King’s Cliffe.
After the long 2-mile hill at 9 miles the race the course loops South along the line of the Willow Brook and is mostly downhill from there. Saturday’s winds had calmed but were still strong at mile 11’s hill top, however we managed to escape the hail showers that were hitting most of the Midlands.
All five of us were pleased with our times as we keep a careful eye on next month’s London Marathon – Kevin
|209||Tony Hughes||3:01:05||3rd MV60|
|Anne Hughes||2:09:52||1st FV60|
Larmer 20 Mile – 10 March
Larmer Marathon – 10 March
|8||Damien Dear||03:55:04||1st M25|
Larmer Tree 10 Mile – 9 March
Larmer Tree Half-Marathon – 9 March
|10||Tommy Dempsey||01:53:39||1st MV40|
|12||Craig Slyde||01:54:21||2nd MV 40|
|170||Claudie Combelas||02:40:14||3rd FV55|
Dark Larmer 8 Mile – 9 March
|4||Martin McHugh||01:02:33||3rd MV45|
A crazy idea was floated about 4 months to go en-masse to one of Mark’s favourite events. It took off and Northbrook and friends and family descended on an unsuspecting caravan park in Dorset. Friday night was hectic due to us arriving in dribs and drabs, then the drinking/socialising started.
The bar staff were kept busy as we tried to make them walk as far as we all planned to run, and the end of the night was a bit blurry for some of us. Saturday morning was too soon in arriving as we headed in various directions, most to Larmer Gardens and some to the local parkrun. The 10-miler started first and despite me feeling queasy on the start line this was a good run. It was 99% trail, terribly undermeasured (more like 11 mile on the day) but wow. Mark’s stories of the courses were spot on. The hills climbed into the sky and dropped you like a stone to the bottoms of the valleys. The “love” station topped up the beer for most, for some it was a chance to throw up the previous
nights over indulgence (sorry guys).
The half-marathon started an hour later and soon the finishers were coming into sight. Our cheer squad was huge; children, fellow runners, families, friends all ran each of us to the line
to huge cheers. This was great.
Then it was the turn of the dark larmer. This was a nighttime 8-mile run and the girls were nervous but had packed suitable? refreshment. Martin disappeared into the gloom, Danny chasing him. As for me, I could not wait for the beer top up at half way. After the first climb you looked back and
the trail of headlamps chasing was awe inspiring, even if the flocks of sheep seemed to be attracted to my quickly dying headtorch. Then the “love” station arrived; brownies, beer and schnapps. I explained that Martin would not have stopped and got his share as well. Be rude not to.
As I left the station it was obvious my headtorch was brighter if I turned it off. Time to find a fellow runner who was a similar speed. There were two of them with what looked like burning stars on their heads. They kept me and the trail lit right to the end. A short rain storm while we sheltered and then we saw the girls crossing the line, plenty of refreshment on KP’s back still visible. The Saturday night beers were well earned and enjoyed by all who knew their running for the weekend was done.
Sunday saw Sean and the other marathon runners step up. Gale force winds in the jet stream at the top of the climbs, trees downed, power lines down, diversions in place plus hail and rain made sure our sunbursts were putting a shift in. Damien led them home dragging Sean with him. Craig’s calves finally gave out after nearly 4000ft of climbing over the weekend. The powerhouses that are Mark and Claudie churned it out. Then the two wonder women, running their first marathon, with a suitably large support team were seen doing the conga as they approached the finish line.
All finished, all OK and a total of 25 medals for Northbrook over the weekend. With some stunning times for the terrain and even podium age group placings – Spencer
32 miles and lots of climbing amid the Pennines.
|7||Mike Wheeler||31:21||1st MV45|
|12||Anita Howe||32:15||2nd female, 1st FV45|
|38||Cath Fenn||37:19||3rd FV45|
Sixteen Northbrookers and two supporters and families headed to Chelmsley Wood for the 5th race in the Centurion Grand Prix series. The weather was cold and rain was due, good conditions and all ran hard.
Mike led us home, he was gunning for first in his age group and achieved it. It was good to see Anita running but she forgot to turn into the finish tunnel so it was a close race for her. The rest of us kept the sunburst appearing as we all finished just as the rain set in.
Another great event, even if my legs did not want to play ball this time – Spencer
Three of us decided to have a go at something different. The Carding Mill Canter is a fell race at the Long Mynd – it’s a beautiful area of the country with some very steep climbs and drops. We knew it was classified as hard and short but we were still willing to have a go at this new venture.
We panicked over the expected kit check but we were safe in the end. The wind was picking up and we were counted into the pen. This was suddenly very real. A quick check to make sure that everything was strapped on and tight, with our two women supporters encouraging us, a quick safety briefing and it was out to the start.
The first part was deceptively flat and I decided I was going to not even try to keep Damien and Craig in sight. The ford crossing softened the shoes up, then what looked like a cliff face appeared. The first mile had 750+ft of climb. Craig almost fell off the hill as he stepped aside to let someone storm past him. For me this was walking with calves ready to explode and we were still in the first mile!!! Meanwhile the girls were watching the stream of ants climb into the sky above them.
Once we summited the top the wind hit us, driving the rain into our faces. It stung and the strength of the wind made getting your breath very hard. My plan was get to the downhill as soon as possible – it surely had to be easier. It was not, the wind was the only thing holding me upright, my quads were burning and I was praying the wind would keep me upright because I knew my legs would not.
At the half-way point they counted us through again. This was the base of the valley again and back across the river, no wind and surely it had to not be as bad as the first half. Stupid expectations as what followed was 3 climbs with handholds cut into the grass, 3 of them to take us back to the top of the world again. It felt like I was standing in the jet stream. The wind was blowing us sideways when it was possible to run and was deafening to stand in. Now I knew why they insisted on the kit. Then the terrain started to go downhill, gentle at first heading more to the vertical. Quad pain replaced the calf pain, the deafening roar disappeared to a calm quietness with a marshall congratulating us as we crossed the river again. I knew this path now, but the legs were not with me anymore. One more grimace, enjoy the pain, back across the river and the finish was there. I was counted through, Craig was the only one standing there, everyone else was sheltering in the café half a mile away.
This was totally different from anything any of us had done before. It was an eye opener. But, I’d do it again at the drop of a hat – maybe let the legs work first – Spencer
32 miles and 4400 ft of elevation on the Welcome Way trail in Yorkshire. The course starts in Otley and passes through stunning moorland landscapes, alongside rivers and reservoirs, across farmland, through woodland and taking in the Woolpack pub of Emmerdale fame.