Monday, 31 December 2018

Nos Galan Races

On New Year's Eve, Grantham Running Club's Gav Meadows and Andrew Pask competed in the prestigious Nos Galan Races in Mountain Ash, South Wales. The event which commemorates the life of legendary runner Guto Nyth BrĂ¢n who died tragically during a race in 1737 draws athletes from across the UK and 10,000 supporters to the streets. Each year excitement builds for the arrival of a beacon which is carried by a famous mystery runner from the world of sport. This year there were three - recently retired former Wales and Lions rugby captain Sam Warburton was joined by former 10,000m world record holder Dave Bedford and Paralympian Rhys Jones. After the children's races, ceremony and fireworks Gav and Andrew in the elite race were eager to get the 19:00 start underway. In a national standard field and on a revised course for 2018, PB hunting Gav was first over the line with a time of 19:02, missing his target but showing a great return to form. Andrew finished the four lap 5k race with a PB time of 19:47, a 13 second improvement on his 2017 time.

Speaking after the race Gav said ‘The new course was nowhere near as fast as I was expecting but I’m still happy enough with the time and I gave it everything out there. I loved the event though and I’m already considering coming back for another go next year’. 

Gav and Andrew then sportingly joined Andrew's sisters and over 1,000 other for the mass race running exactly the same course.

Advance Performance Peterborough 10K

Five members of Grantham Running Club saw 2018 out in style, participating in the Advance Performance Peterborough 10K on New Year's Eve. The multi terrain event took place at the scenic Ferry Meadows area of Nene Park. Largely run on hard surface, the course took in varied landscapes of meadows, lakes and woodland in one of the largest country parks in the region, with a bouncing bridge adding extra New Year's Eve excitement to the course. The December weather was kind, with runners enjoying a crisp and bright morning. 

First home for the club was Stuart Baty, who was pleased to have completed the enjoyable course within 50 minutes, in a time of 00:49:34. First woman home for the club was Tracy Webb, in a commendable time of 00:58:23, which Tracy was delighted to note was her fastest 10k race time to date. Next home was Kate Marshall in 01:01:29, followed by Claire Fritz in 01:05:10 and Julia Hallam in 01:10:25. The GRC runners enjoyed celebrating New Year at this well organised and engaging race in beautiful surroundings, and look forward to racing at Ferry Meadows again in the future. 

The race was won by David Hudson of BRJ Run and Tri in 00:32:22, with Chloe Finlay of Peterborough AC the winning woman in 00:37:40. 

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Gloucester 10

Grantham Running Club’s Ian Williams headed to the town of Quedgeley on Sunday 30th December to take part in the Gloucester 10 mile road race. Ian had picked the race specifically to qualify himself for the Men’s Club Champion category of the Club Championships, which requires four scoring races from a minimum of three specific distances. 

Sadly for Ian and the rest of the competitors taking part the event and its aftermath generated into something of a farce. The first finishers to cross the finish line did so in a world class 46 minutes, only for it to be revealed they had been sent the wrong way by a marshal and had only run around eight miles. Worse was to come as it appears that a ‘visitor’ travelling through the area and not a marshal sent some (perhaps many) of the 400 finishers on an incorrect route that saw them run in excess of ten and a half miles. This included Ian, who crossed the line a very fine tenth in 1:03:33, recording on his GPS unit a distance of 10.57 miles.
When organisers became aware of the issue, a full investigation was launched and subsequently the race was declared ‘ZRD’ on the Power of 10 website, a rarely used distinction when the distance of a race is either unknown or non-standard. It meant that the race wouldn’t count as an official 10 mile PB for Ian, even though he had very impressively bettered his previous 10 mile PB by over 30 seconds, despite running the extra distance.

Unhappy with the how the race organisers had let him down, Ian complained to them. After several emails and in a move that may be unprecedented in the history of road running, the organisers agreed to amend Ian’s finishing time to 1:00:08 – the time the popular sports activity tracking website Strava gave Ian for his ‘Best estimated 10 mile effort.’ Moreover not only did they amend his time, they promoted him from tenth to second in the results! This time and position was then reflected in Ian’s Power of Ten profile and in the results on the Run Britain website.
In great form and improving rapidly, hopefully Ian will soon be able to find a 10 mile race that will most likely see him break 60 minutes with relative ease. Hopefully too this will be (presumably) the first and last instance of a race accepting Strava estimated times as bonafide finishing results. The prospect of revisions being made based on what individual runners’ GPS units measure is one that could potentially throw road racing into chaos!

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Waterside 10K

Matt Kidd joined the 'Sub 40 Club' on Sunday 16th December with a fine twelfth place at the Waterside 10K. On an out and back course starting from the Grafham Water Visitor Centre near Huntingdon, Matt took sixteen seconds off his previous 10K best at the 2018 Summer Solstice, clocking 39:53. He became the thirteenth GRC runner to break 40 minutes in 2018.

The race was won by David Hudson of BRJ Huntingdon in 32:53 with Johanna O'Regan of Riverside the winning woman in 37:14. There were 281 finishers.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Keyworth Turkey Trot

Twenty two members of Grantham Running Club completed the 36th Keyworth Turkey Trot, held on Sunday 9th December in near ideal conditions that could barely be more different than twelve months earlier when snow forced the postponement of the 2017 race to February of this year. A year ending finale for many in the field, the Christmas themed race also represented the twentieth and last round of the 2018 Grantham Running Club Grand Prix Series.

Julie mixing with the big boys
Finishing in 1:53:18 Julie Braker ran her third fastest half marathon of 2018, confirming an emphatic victory in the GRC Women’s GP Series. Finishing first in the V70 category she and husband Robert may have to revise their Christmas dinner plans being the recipient of one of the prized turkeys handed out to age group winners. It caps a remarkable year for Julie who looks set to be ranked #2 in the UK for 2018 over the half marathon and 10 miles in the V70 age group. After the race Julie, like many, commented on the tough nature of the course, with some challenging climbs, particularly at just after ten miles and at the finish, when the steady breeze proved to be a troublesome headwind.  

Matthew Kingston-Lee was first home for GRC, finishing eleventh in 1:17:27. Distinctly relieved that it was his last race of the year, results from others in the race ensured that Matthew was crowned GRC Men’s GP Series winner despite the score of 81.57 not being high enough to count as one of his best six scoring races. Having won a turkey back in 2016 and a hamper back in February as first V40, the Kingston-Lee family will be looking for an alternative Christmas dinner as Matthew finished third V40 this time around, 30 seconds behind the winner. 

MKL, close but no turkey this year
Behind Matthew, Tony Johnson ran another great race to finish in 1:27:07, just a week after racing a marathon, securing third in the GP Series. Peter Bonner had another fine race, bettering his February Trot time by over four minutes and clocking his third fastest ever half marathon with 1:29:34. Andrew Pask was a bit disappointed with his 1:30:27; conversely Gav Meadows was fairly pleased with 1:30:58 – just 20 seconds outside his season’s best. Outgoing GP Series Champion Rob Howbrook finished in 1:33:15, which helped secure him runner up spot in the GP Series.
Having enjoyed a great 2018, which has seen him PB over every distance he has run in except for the marathon, Dean Riggall opted to relax and enjoy the year end finale, finishing in 1:35:41. Stuart Reader attacked the race however and was rewarded with a great PB of 1:43:40, two and a half minutes better than his previous best. Rob McArdle ran well to finish just six seconds outside his 2018 best with 1:44:17. He was followed by Helen Brown, first woman home for Grantham Running Club. She was relatively happy with her time of 1:45:35, which was just outside her best for the year, but feels she needs to get out of a ‘1:45 rut’ and move
Big PB for Kate
closer to her best times that were under 1:40.
Craig Drury with 1:48:16, finished with a very similar time to what he ran over the same course in February. Anthony Boyle ran well to finish just a minute outside his PB in 1:55:44. Behind Anthony there was a great run from Aylin Doerpinghaus who, seemingly in her second ever race and first since May 2017, beat her half marathon best over ten minutes, smashing the two hour barrier with 1:57:26. She was followed by Sarah High, who did enough with 2:00:02 to secure her third place in the GRC Women’s GP Series.  

Sinead McDonnell was just nine seconds slower than her February Turkey Trot time, clocking
2:01:28. She was followed by Julie Gilbert (2:03:57) and Penny Hodges (2:03:58), who ran together for the entire race - the former just a couple of minutes outside her PB; the latter running just to get around having come down with a heavy cold not long after racing over 5K on Thursday night. Neil McDonnell, who has only recently joined the club, finished his first race for the club in 2:07:17.
Sylv Hull, her knee being held together with tape, ran well to set a new PB of 2:13:43, half a minute quicker than the one she set on the fast Peterborough course. Tracy Webb did likewise, her 2:15:54 bettering her Peterborough time by fifteen seconds. Kate Marshall, finishing close behind in 2:16:15, made it a trio of personal bests, knocking an impressive six minutes plus off her previous best at Nottingham. 

The race was won by Jimmy Kershaw of Absolute Tri in 1:12:32, with Alice Daniel the winning woman in 1:25:16. There were 905 finishers.