Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Lincolnshire Cross Country League – Match 2, Boston.

The second round of the Lincolnshire Cross Country League was held at the Castledyke Equestrian Centre near Boston, a venue that is notorious amongst local running clubs. On a challenging course that includes grass tracks, woodland paths, plenty of mud and a few water crossings, members were treated to a true Cross Country experience.
Unfortunately due to a clash of dates, many regular team members were racing elsewhere but this encouraged two members to make their Cross Country debuts for the club where they more than stepped up to the mark.
In the ladies race it was Jos Smith finished in a fine 4th place, just missing out on the top three by only one second. Andrea Ward had a good solid run for 25th place but with no other ladies racing no points were scored for the team. 
In the men's race it was Piers Pye-Watson who made a fine start to his Cross Country season racing in the green and black with an excellent 9th place. Peter Bonner in 22nd and Joaquim Jeronimo 24th completed the scoring for the Men's A team and their tally of 55 points was the 3rd best team score of the round. Other finishers were Chris Toon 46th, Paul Davis 53rd, Samuel Jepson-Rivers 61st Nev Chamberlain 64th Paul Jepson 65th and Andrew McAllister 69th.
Attention now turns to Match 3 on the 18 Nov, in the far more familiar surroundings of Belton House.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Rockingham 10

Scott was first Vet in 41:16
On Sunday 4th November, fourteen members of Grantham Running Club took part in the fifth and final Rockingham 10 event.  The race, held at the Rockingham Motor Speedway near Corby, offered 5k (1 lap), 10k (2 laps) and 10 mile (3.5 laps) options, taking in the sights and sounds of the race track and offering a pit lane finish in front of the grandstand stadium.  The event was billed as a very fast course offering PB potential and some end of season glory, which was certainly the case for some GRC runners.
In the 5k event, first home for GRC was Tracy Webb who not only achieved a PB of 27:54 but also took  25th place, was ninth lady and first in her age category. Tracy was followed by Claire Fritz in a time of 30:15 (42nd); Julia Hallam at 31:56 (58th); and Amanda Mumby (32:05) and Louise Kennedy (32:06) who crossed the finish line together. Louise was pleased to have beaten her 2017 Rockingham 5k time by 1:40 minutes.  Vicki Geeson finished with a PB and in a time of 33:12, Wendy Fraser in 34:21, and CJ Walker with a much coveted sub-35 personal best time of 34:25.  Melanie Taylor finished in 36:02 and ‘couch to 5k’ graduate Tracy Doughty was pleased to complete her first race in 36:56.
PB and prize for Tracy
In the 10k event Scott Jones finished first for GRC, first in his age group (V40) and seventh overall in a time of 41:46. Stuart Baty finished in a time of 51:16 (61st), followed by John Nevard in 52:22 (72nd).  Simon Hartley, suffering from an ongoing heel injury, was disappointed to finish in 1:05:40 which was slower than his previous year’s time for the same race.
There were no GRC runners in the 10 mile race. 
The 5k race was won by Lucy Watts of Wellingborough & District AC in 19:49, with Darren Goode the winning man in 20:19. The 10k race winner was John Uff in 34:58, with Natasha Brown (45:44) of Kettering Town Harriers the winning woman. The 10 mile event victor was Kevin Holland of Crawley AC in a time of 56:09, with Sarah Bird of Redway Runners the winning woman in 1:10:29.
This, alas, will be the last Rockingham 10 event, which was held in conjunction with a popular duathlon that took place in the morning before the running races. After 17 years of operation the Rockingham Motor Speedway will see its last motor racing event later this month having been sold to new investors, who look set to use the venue as a storage facility for de-fleet cars.

Shepshed 7

Tony Johnson was the sole Grantham Running Club representative at the Shepshed 7 on Sunday 4th November. Held over the unusual race distance of seven miles, the two-lap course is held on a scenic, traffic free course through the private countryside grounds of Garendon Park.

Tony ran another strong race to finish 31st in a time of 45:14. After the race he commented: “This is one of my favourite races and was the sixteenth time I have completed it since 2001. It is a well organised race which attracts a quality field from clubs predominantly from Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Conditions underfoot were much drier than recent years and the cool overcast conditions were almost perfect with only slight breeze. Some parts of the early sections of the course are quite narrow and with over 500 runners this year it made overtaking something of a challenge.”

The race was won by Simon Birch of Hinckley Running Club in 37:48, with Carolyn Plateau of Blackheath and Bromley Harriers the winning woman in 43:54.

Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash 10K

Ten members of Grantham Running Club took part in the 33rd Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash 10K. The race, which took place on Sunday 4th November and attracted more than 10,000 runners, lacks the sights and sounds of some other city centre races, but the straightforward out and back course along the A65 (with a brief departure through a multiplex cinema car park!) has earned a reputation as being one of the fastest 10K races in the country, regularly attracting some of the best national athletes and many of the best club runners in the country.
First home for GRC was Matthew Kingston-Lee, who went into the race with aspirations of perhaps bettering his three year old 10K PB of 34:08. Alas it was something of a lacklustre day in the office for Matthew. More or less on target at halfway, he faded in the second half of the race, struggling particularly in the final two kilometres when the steady headwind, which marred otherwise perfect conditions, wore him down.
Perhaps not fully recovered from the previous week’s Worksop Half Marathon, Matthew finished in 34:52, which wasn’t even a season’s best, but thanks to having become a year older surprisingly earned him his second highest ever age grade score of 83.34%. As a measure of the quality of the field, his time – which would have won the Rockingham 10K that took place on the same day - saw Matthew finish only 238th, but he did finish a highly respectable fourteenth in his age category.
Next to finish was Ian Williams, one of two GRC runners to also represent the Royal Air Force at the race and making his debut with the club. Ian ran a great race to finish in 37:22, which was nearly a minute quicker than his previous best set in May, and saw him move to #4 for 2018 in the GRC 10K rankings.
Peter Bonner was the next to cross the line. The prolific racer, who over the course of the summer improved his 10 K PB from 41:34 to 40:20, had targeted ‘the Dash’ as the race to finally break 40 minutes. With the plan to run 3:55 kilometres, a determined Peter had a near perfect race (aside from some difficulties with the 40 minute pacer!) to cross the finish line in 39:18, beating his old best by over a minute. Vying for contention to be GRC runner of the day was Dean Riggall who bettered his 2015 PB by 52 seconds, breaking the 40 minute barrier with an excellent 39:42. As another indicator of the quality of the field, this only netted Dean 652nd position in the race!
Andrew Pask, the second GRC runner to be wearing RAF colours through the streets of Leeds, was another member of the ‘decidedly disappointed’ camp. Having enjoyed some great form recently he hoped to at least break 40 minutes and ideally better his 2014 PB of 39:55. His finishing time of 40:11 matched June’s Woodhall Spa 10K time, which was held in far worse conditions. Convinced he can run much quicker, Andrew plans to return for the 2019 race and do himself justice. Paul Rushworth, with his immediate and extended family in tow to cheer him on, put in a fine performance to clock 43:32. This was over a minute faster than his 2018 10K best, coming just a week after finishing the Half Marathon in Worksop, and was his fastest 10K since 2013.
Penny Hodges was the first of two GRC women to finish. She was another to leave a touch discontented by her race.  Pleased enough to break 45 minutes with 44:53, 163rd woman and an excellent 19th in her age category, the time was a frustrating eight seconds shy of earning her a silver age grade certificate, meaning Penny is now on the hunt for another 10K race to find those extra seconds before the year is out.
Warren Stark was very pleased with his time of 47:46 given he was looking for something between 45 and 50 minutes and that time falls very neatly in the middle. Warren was followed by husband and wife duo Richard and Dona Hall. Running and finishing together Richard paced Dona to a time of 01:01:15, which saw her break the 60% age grade barrier for the first time – her score of 61.41% earning her a bronze certificate at the forthcoming club awards night.
The race was won by Adam Craig of Inverclyde in 29:08 with the women’s race won by Irish international athlete Fionnuala Ross of Armagh AC / Shettleston Harriers in 33:30. Local talent Lucien Allision of Lincoln Wellington AC was brilliant third in 29:33. Age UK announced after the race that more than £250,000 was raised for the charity.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

ECCA Saucony English National Relay Championships

Grantham Running Club fielded a senior men’s and women’s team at the Saucony English Cross Country Relays, held again this year at Berry Hill Park in Mansfield on Saturday 3rd November. The event attracts some of the best club runners from around the country to compete on an undulating, wooded course, with conditions milder and dryer than recent years. The crowd support was great, albeit they were mostly cheering on the leaders who, due to their sheer pace and compact nature of the 2.5k circuit, were soon lapping the field.

On the start line for the four leg men’s team was Rob Howbrook. Completing the first 5k leg in a time of 20 minutes 50 seconds, Rob placed the team comfortably mid pack before handing over to Paul Davis. A last minute replacement for the injured Nev Chamberlain, Paul ran a cautious leg, himself regaining fitness after injury.

After Paul’s 23:08 the baton was passed to Piers Pye-Watson, who put in a fantastic two laps to record a time of 18 minutes 14 seconds. Last out was Matthew Williamson, making his first appearance at a national cross country event after being denied last year due to injury. Just missing out on not having to take the mass fourth leg start, Matthew’s 20:37 leg gave the team an overall time of 1:22:50 placing them in a creditable 114th place from 153 teams.

The winners of the men’s relay were Leeds City AC in a time of 1:00:22 with split times of 14:59; 15:17; 15:00; and 15:05.

The senior women’s relay was a three leg race held on a twisting and undulating 3k lap. GRC were represented by Justyna Gill, Magaretta Murray and Caroline Davis. With a thankfully dry course, Justyna was first away putting in a solid lap and handing over to Magaretta in a time of 16:40. Magaretta ran strongly along the wooded trails of the park to complete her leg in 19:13. A clear track ahead of her, Caroline was soon able to get into her stride and managed to elevate the women to 113th overall with a lap time of 13:28.

Caroline commented afterwards, “We knew the quality of the competition here was going to make today extremely challenging. All we wanted was to not finish last and so we are pretty happy with our performance overall.”

The women’s race was won by Tonbridge AC in 29:17, with splits of 9:35; 9:51; and 10:02.