Friday, 13 July 2018

Newstead Abbey Dash,

The Newstead Abbey Dash is a 5k race organised on a Friday evening by local club, Redhill Road Runners. Eschewing the modern trend for complexity, glamour and bling, they provide a simple race along a traffic-free road through a scenic country park. The race has been sold-out for before the night for the last couple of years.

The course is simple, downhill for a kilometre along the drive until you pass the point where the finish will be, continue up the driveway for another two kilometres, then do a 180 degree turn and run back to the finish. Kilometres are marked.

Although billed as "overall downhill" and "gently sloping" in various reviews, there are some notable inclines, though the benefit of the course is that you go down more than you go up.

This year the race was chip-timed and results were available on-line by the time runners awoke on the Saturday morning.

In 2017 the event was marked by very heavy rain, which left the course difficult to run due to low light under the trees and pot-holed roads. 2018 instead had high temperatures and a moderate breeze, though fortunately the wind was blowing downhill not uphill.

Only one member of Grantham Running Club made the trip to the Abbey for the event. Peter Bonner completed the race in a chip time of 18:58 (WMA 73.05%), which is a personal best for the distance. He was 39th of the 218 finishers.
Speaking afterwards, Peter said "I'm thrilled with the time. I'd entered the race again after running last year because I hoped it could be fast, but had forgotten the amount of uphill. Ultimately, I pulled it off with a sprint finish on the final downhill part, and managed to hold it together for the final uphill to the finish. The organisation worked well and I enjoyed the race, so thank you to the organisers."

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Notfast 10K

The annual Notfast open 10k took place on Sunday 8th July attracting an impressive 29 runners from the green and black army out of the full 224 participants. With the mercury hitting 25 degrees for the 10am start, and the course offering very little shade it was always going to be a tough event. A welcoming sight for all runners were the three water stations and the additional sponge station along the way to keep the runners hydrated.

Starting from Newark Rugby club, the runners turned right towards Kelham bridge. Having crossed the bridge, the next right turn started a loop towards south Muskham and onto the open A616 up to the now notorious Debdale Hill. With the energy sapped out of them by the incline, the runners then faced a very welcoming downhill section to complete the loop. Crossing back over Kelham Bridge there was now the mile long run in back to Newark Rugby Club and the short finishing straight to cross the line.

1st male home for GRC in 7th position was the ever-consistent Joe Clarke in a time of 39:34, followed by Matthew Atter in 10th position in 40:05, and Ben Hodgkin in 16th position with a time of 41:15.

1st Female was Holly Durham in 22nd position with a time of 43:04, followed by Caroline Davis in 89th position with 53:00, and Nichola Webster in 117th with 57:20.

Special mention goes to Matthew Atter and Holly Durham for picking up 2nd place prizes in the male v35+ and female v35+ categories respectively. Also, a very dominant performance in the team categories with GRC taking 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the men’s event, and 1st and 3rd in the women’s event.

Special thanks go to Notfast Running Club and all the volunteers for staging a great, friendly event, and to all the first aiders whose assistance was paramount in ensuring the health and safety of all the runners throughout the day.

Other results
Richard Payne (41:32), Matt Kidd (41:36), Joaquim Jeronimo (42:25), Nick Rossington (43:17), Russell Love (44:00), Stefan Latter (44:43), Ian McBain (44:45), Kevin Kettle (46:38), Stuart Reader (49:24), Stuart Baty (51:59), Thomas Napier (52:53), Julie Gilbert (58:38), Rosalind Sadler (58:39), Tracey Smith (1:02:22), Nicola Fahy (1:05:01), Samantha Clark (1:05:11), Joanne Cropper (1:07:58), Rachel Pattison (1:08:13), Lucinda Gamble (1:09:50), Margaretta Murray (1:12:49), Claire Fritz (1:13:40), Louise Kennedy (1:15:12), Chloe Amos (1:19:36).

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Hebridean Half Marathon Series - Barrathon

For the second of his Hebridean half marathon series Grantham Running Club’s Nev Chamberlain travelled to the Isle of Barra having been lucky enough to secure a much sought after place in the Barrathon. With the island being drenched in sunshine and the hilly nature of the course it was difficult to find a steady pace. However, Nev was pleased with how his race went and his finishing time of 1:53:25. He said afterwards ‘with the heat and the final event of the series on Harris being the following Saturday I was happy to improve slightly on my time from last year without putting my place on the start line of that race in jeopardy.’

Friday, 6 July 2018

Whissendine 6

After the cold harsh spells in winter and the recent heat wave it is fair to say that the runners of Grantham Running Club have got used to running in extremes of temperature during 2018. The Whissendine 6 on Friday 6th July was no exception as a small group of runners took on the rolling hills on the Leicestershire/Rutland border.

The course teased runners with a quick descent and the route offered legs very little respite from either the ups or the downs. Coupled with temperatures still in the 20s and humidity which was as high as at any point in the summer it meant that it was far from PB conditions. This didn’t stop some fantastic performances though from the green and black army.

Suzanne Britz was first woman home in an official PB of 52:00. On the back of some hard training she was understandably delighted! GRCs other woman finisher once again proved that age is no barrier. Julie Braker struggled in the conditions but still finished first in her age category in 57:01.

There were also a few men running in the race. Chris Limmer had a number of years of experience of running in the Leicestershire Road Running League which raced on courses of similar profile to the Whissendine 6 and was keen to resume a few rivalries with runners from some of the clubs taking part. Setting off just shy of the leading pack he quickly found himself in 6th and within sight of a couple of runners ahead.

Chris held back a little in the middle of the race so as to not let the conditions impact on a strong finish and this worked. He was able to not lose too much ground on those ahead and held onto 6th in 35:42. About 90 seconds off his PB but a good run in the conditions.

Not far behind Chris was a small gaggle of green that spurred each other on through the testing final miles. Rob Howbrook was around a minute off his PB but finished a highly commendable 24th place in 40:38. Just 15 seconds later a smiling Scott Jones finished which was a first-class performance from him (which was apt given he had the race number 1). Scott somehow got a PB as did Peter Bonner who followed in just over 40 seconds later.

Finally finishing for GRC was Robert Braker for whom time was not important after slowing to support his wife Julie through the race. His time of 55:55 is still a very very good time on the day.

All runners highly praised the local Friday race which offered runners a complimentary beer and glass for finishing. There was also a barbecue at the finish for runners and spectators to enjoy in the summer evening sun.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

City of Lincoln 10K

It was a case of polar opposites when more than 20 members of Grantham Running Club endured the searing heat of Lincoln on Sunday, for the re-arranged Run For All City of Lincoln 10k Road Race.

The original date for the event was 18th March, when the Beast from the East blew in - the temperature was -1C , with wind speeds of 24 mph, and snow was on the ground with more forecast.  Fast forward 3½ months and conditions couldn’t be more different. 25C, a light breeze and an intense summer sun greeted some 5000 runners on the start line at the Yarborough Leisure Centre.

The course is laid out around the “uphill” area of Lincoln, and is described as fast and flat, where PB’s are a distinct possibility. The figure-of-8 route offers views of Lincoln Cathedral and the Roman Walls, with the finish line in the very welcome shadow of the Cathedral, with the finishing village within Lincoln Castle Square.

In its 22nd year, the race was very well organised with plenty of marshals, very good parking, although the walk back from the finish felt like a marathon in itself, and an extra water station was added this year, and the “sponge station” at 6.5km was an inspiration.  The large and enthusiastic ribbon of spectators who lined almost the entire route were much appreciated as their calls of encouragement spurred on heat-stricken legs, especially on the final run-in to the picturesque Cathedral Quarter. Live music and the tropical weather lent a carnival-like atmosphere to the whole event.  Most welcome to the overheating runners were the numerous residents who turned their garden hoses toward them for a moment cool respite.

The extreme heat took its toll on many, but several GRC runners still posted notable results.  First home for the club were Richard Payne (00:39:38) and Matthew Atter (00:39:51), both within seconds of personal bests, as was Kevin Kettle (0:45:03) and Julie Braker (00:52:46) continues to excel, again coming first in her age group.

Paul Wenlock (00:54:47) and Anthony Boyle (00:56:37) posted excellent times in their debut runs for the club; Tony, having just completed GRC’s 10 Weeks to 10K programme, noted this was a great event, especially for novices, and would highly recommend it to others as a first 10k race.

The course, organisation and support so impressed, several members of the club have already signed up for next year.

Other GRC finishers: Rob Howbrook (0:42:12), Stuart Baty (0:50:56), Caroline Davis (0:51:55), Robert Braker (0:51:58), Suzanne Britz (0:53:20), Lucy Burgess (0:54:12), Gavin Skinner (0:54:57), John Nevard (01:00:27), Justyna Gill (01:01:05), Emma Weatherall (01:02:11), Brendon Buckle (01:02:48), Tracy Webb (01:05:11), Lucinda Gamble (01:05:31), Mark Jessop (01:07:13),Simon Hartley (01:08:13), Claire Fritz (01:11:48), Louise Kennedy (01:12:13), Steve Kennedy (01:12:13), Julia Hallam (01:12:31), Vicki Geeson (01:15:27).