Sunday, 17 March 2019

Oundle 20

Warren completes another long run

Three Grantham Running Club members took part in the second Oundle 20 Mile Race on Sunday 17 March.

One of several of 20 mile races in the area taking place in March, the race is ideal for those who like to get a long distance race under their belts before tackling any one of the upcoming spring marathons. The race follows a scenic course around the gently undulating wide, yet quiet, country lanes in and around the pretty Northamptonshire villages of Fotheringay, Nassington, Yarwell and King’s Cliffe. The first half of the race was into quite a stiff breeze that made the course feel harder than perhaps it would otherwise. Finishers were rewarded with a medal and a long-sleeve technical top. 

PB for Caroline
First to finish for Grantham Running Club was Tony Johnson, who had a really strong run to finish 21st and second in the V50 age category, clocking 2:19:12 - his fastest 20 mile time since 2014. He was followed by Caroline Davis who continues to show good form, taking over five minutes off her previous 20 mile best time, clocking 2:54:56 to finish 146th overall and 51st woman. Warren Stark continued his marathon preparations with another long run under his belt, finishing 208th overall in 3:09:35.

 The race was won by Phil Martin of Peterborough AC in a time of 1:58:14 with Jennifer Ansell of East London Runners the winning woman in 2:20:39. There were 429 finishers.

Asics Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon

Aiming for sub 3 hours at London

Grantham Running Club’s Andrew Pask made the long trip to Hampshire to join over 3,000 runners for the ASICS Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon. Organised by Fleet & Crookham AC since 1982, the event is the original “pre-London” Half Marathon which also includes the Inter Services Championships. 

The race route follows a loop around small commuter town of Fleet and then out into rural roads through surrounding villages before returning to Calthorpe Park for the finish.

Andrew, representing the RAF set-off confidently but struggled to settle into the early pace. Into a headwind from miles 6-9 Andrew was determined to keep his focus. A first look at the watch at mile 11 was met with some relief that the pace was respectable. Eventually crossing the line in 1:28:15, his 4th fastest of 30 attempts at his favourite distance but a minute or more down on where he wanted to be. Next up for Andrew is the London Marathon in April where he hopes to run close to the 3hr mark. 

Elite athletes who have graced this classic race include Steve Jones (former world marathon record holder), Steve Brace, Gary Staines, Bernie Ford, Marian Sutton, Ann Ford and Paula Fudge. The 'Pre-London' title was approved by the founder of the London Marathon, Chris Brasher and has been retained ever since 1982. 

The race was won by the RAF’s James Bellward in 1:07:34 and Lesley Locks of Hart Road Runners with 1:18:29.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Rushcliffe 10K & Running Festival

On Sunday 3rd March six members of Grantham Running Club took park in the second Rushcliffe 10k & Running Festival, which attracted over 1,400 runners. The multi terrain courses made use of roads and paths in and around Rushcliffe Country Park. Like a growing number of events the Running Festival featured numerous distances to choose from – a 10K, a 5K, a 2.5K Fun Run and a Toddler Dash. The organisers though timed the events to make it possible to race both the 10K and the 5K on the same morning to add a challenge for those willing to double up.
First up was the 10K with five GRC runners taking part. Joaquim Jeronimo was delighted to go under 40 minutes for the first time in an official 10K race, clocking 39:43, although his official 10K PB remains at 40:10 with this race being awarded a multi terrain race licence. Stuart Baty (48:04) followed with a 10K season best. Tracy Webb (58:08) was seven seconds quicker than her official PB. She was followed by Claire Fritz (1:08:00) and Simon Hartley (1:11:45).  The race was won by Aston Perrin from Long Eaton RC in 32:09, with Alison Greenwood the winning woman in 37:20.
The 5K race followed at the completion of the 10K which gave three members of GRC a chance to double up and get additional mileage in their legs (and an additional medal for their collection).  They were joined by surprise entrant CJ Walker who wanted to surprise Claire and had kept her entry into the event secret. 
Unfortunately with the arrival of Storm Freya the conditions for running deteriorated rapidly, as did the times, being very wet, windy, and tricky underfoot.  First home was Stuart Baty (26:41), followed by Tracy Webb (0:32:33), CJ Walker (36:58) and Claire Fritz (37:20).  All members of the team were grateful for the support of the other competitors and their team mates once they had finished, especially  ‘Flash’ who paced all the others home for both races despite the poor conditions. The 5K race was won by Christian Watson from Sutton-in-Ashfield Harriers in 17:12 with under 13 runner Ruby Milnes of Mansfield AC the winning female in 21:46.
Despite the conditions it was a very well supported and organised race enjoyed by everyone who took part. The 2020 edition takes place on March 1st.

Retford Half Marathon

Everyone except Holly!

A round of the Grantham Running Club Grand Prix Series for the first time, eight members of Grantham Running Club took part in the Retford Half Marathon on Sunday 10th March.
MKL - sub 1:17 again
Beginning at Retford Oaks Academy, the course took runners northwest out of Retford along the very gently rolling Great North Road through Barnby Moor and towards Torworth before turning left into a narrow country lane at around 5 ½ miles. It was here where unless runners took to the grass verges they faced wet trainers as heavy overnight rain saw the road flooded for a short section. Back onto an A-road for an out and back section at eight miles, at nine miles competitors returned to Barnby Moor before heading south on the Old London Road with a near three mile long uphill drag. Perseverance up the climb was rewarded with a fast, mostly downhill, mile long drop down the A626 back to the finish at the Academy.
The weather conditions were not great during the race: only a few degrees above freezing, with wintry showers and a moderate westerly breeze. However, most were relieved that they weren’t as bad as forecast or as wet as it was before the race (with none of the snow that hit surrounding areas) nor as windy as it was afterwards.
First to finish for GRC was Matthew Kingston-Lee who finished nearly a minute quicker than at February’s Leicestershire Half Marathon, clocking 1:16:56, which earned him sixteenth place overall and second in the V40 age category. Matthew was content with his performance considering he tends to struggle in cold, wet conditions and felt weary for much of the race, a consequence of heavy training for the upcoming Manchester Marathon.
Holly back to full fitness
Ian Williams was delighted with his 1:20:41 that saw him finish 34th. In good form having recently run the second quickest ever parkrun by a GRC runner, Ian knocked five minutes and two seconds off his old half marathon PB set almost two years to the day at Silverstone. Coincidentally Ian hadn’t run
as far as 13.1 miles since he ran at the famous F1 circuit back in March 2017.
Tony Johnson, the only GRC runner taking part who had run the race before, was pleased with his 1:26:42 that earned him seventh in the V50 category. His performance was much improved on his effort at the Stamford 30K and was the first of three races in as many weeks as Tony prepares for the London Marathon in April.
Holly Durham was the first GRC woman to finish, finishing 21st female and running quicker than she expected to, clocking a fine 1:35:55 as her preparations continue for the Manchester Marathon. Holly worked hard during the race to close down and pass 22nd placed Joss Smith, who clocked a very respectable 1:36:28 - an encouraging performance given Joss has not trained that much over the winter.
Sam's impressive debut
Arguably the performance of the day came from Sam Jepson-Rivers who was taking part in his first ever half marathon. Hampered a little in the opening mile by being placed a little too far back from the start line, thereafter Sam ran a fine race with consistent splits to smash his target of 1:45 with a 1:38:46 clocking.
Big PB for John
Sam was followed by Helen Brown (1:45:01) who clocked her fourth 1:45 marathon in five races having run 1:46 at Loughborough in February. John Nevard was the eighth GRC runner to finish. He was delighted to break two hours (1:58:58) having previously run 2:04:54 on his half marathon debut at Gosport last November.
Overall impressions of the race from the GRC contingency present were overwhelmingly positive. The Academy proved a great venue for the race with all amenities close to the start line. It was a fast course along gently undulating roads and featured no major climbs. There was also plenty of enthusiastic support along the course despite the inclement conditions. At £18 the race represented great value for money given that nearly all the roads were closed to traffic and finishers received a technical t-shirt for their efforts.
The race was won by Gareth Sampson of Rotherham Harriers in 1:11:15 with Sian Evans of Steel City Striders the winning woman in 1:22:00. There were exactly 1000 finishers.

CUHH Boundary Run 26.2 miles

Catherine and Robert going through half way in 1:48:55
Three of Grantham Running Club’s endurance runners took part in last weekend’s Cambridge University Hare and Hounds Club’s Boundary Run to sharpen up for the April road marathons and beyond. This 26.2 mile route traverses roads, footpaths and trails, and incorporates some beautiful and not-often-seen areas of the city. It has about a third of the distance a very muddy off road and there are several reasonably sized hills on the course - significant enough to surprise those who are used to the flat terrain of Cambridge. One of the highlights is always racing against the rowing eights along the banks of the Cam. With a record entry of just under a twelve hundred runners taking part with the option of stopping half way all the GRC athletes opted for the full challenge. The strong wind was a bonus again this year in drying some of the muddier fields to just merely sticky.
Nick enjoyed the run
Nick Payne finished in 4:10:06 just inside the top 200 and afterwards said "I do enjoy this run as the course is a good mixture of pavement, field edges, trail and park path - it keeps it interesting!   It did get very congested near the start when the course narrowed which delayed me by a few minutes, but overall was well organised.  the running conditions were decent, with the promised bad weather never materialising. I used the run to get some more time on my feet without pushing myself. I was fairly pleased to better last year's time by around 10 minutes. I avoided the temptation to push myself to get under 4 hours by not looking at my watch at all during the run - I didn't know my time until I finished.: 
Meanwhile the other GRC runners Catherine Payne and Robert McArdle ran as a pair for the first 24 miles treating it as a reasonably hard training run passing through the half way point in 1:48:55 before working their way through the field especially between 21 and 24 miles. At that point Catherine decided to shift up to race pace on a uphill gravel section to move past some fading runners and secure a finish well inside the top ten ladies with a time of 3:44:45 with Robert keeping his pace constant to clock 3:46:49. Both were a few minutes inside their 2018 times.