Sunday, 24 November 2019

Doncaster 10K

On Sunday 24th November four members of Grantham Running Club made the journey up the A1 to ‘Donny’ for the third running of the Doncaster 10K. 

Voted the best 10K in Yorkshire by the Running Awards for the past two years, the race starts at the racecourse taking runners through the town centre on fully closed roads before heading back past the start to a hairpin turn, leaving a downhill straight to the finish back in the racecourse.
Before the race commenced there was a minute’s silence for local runner Ken Chapman, who sadly passed away just a few days prior to the event he was due to take part in.

First home for GRC was Sam Dodwell. As a runner affected by October's Leeds Abbey Dash being declared short a couple of days after the Doncaster race, he was probably one of the few not overly lamenting the loss of an official personal best as he managed to match his 43:15 clocking back in Leeds on the streets of Doncaster. Perhaps his only disappointment is that his original declared finish time of 43:14 was rounded up to 43:15 thanks to the rules regarding road races that are timed to tenths and hundredths of a second. Nevertheless his time was a 38 second improvement on his previous ‘legitimate’ 10K best at the Summer Solstice.

Next to finish was Stewart Pick who ran well to finish in 44:28, a seventeen second improvement on his previous best over 10K, also set at the 2019 Summer Solstice. Stewart was closely followed by Kevin Kettle in 45:09, only 25 seconds shy of his best 10K time this year set at Lincoln, with Nicola Cottam completing the GRC quartet in 52:20 after a busy few weeks of racing with a marathon and a ten mile race under her belt. 

Befitting of the location of the race, all finishers received a horse racing themed medal as well as a pork pie for their efforts.

The race was won by Nick Martin of Caistor RC in 31:27 and the first female Jenny Blizard of Rotheram Harriers and AC in 36:07. There were 2514 finishers.

Run Silverstone

On Sunday 24th November four members of Grantham Running Club joined thousands of runners on the hallowed tarmac of Silverstone racetrack to take part in Run Silverstone – an event that saw running races held over one mile, 5K, 10K and half marathon in addition to wheelchair races held over the same distances except the mile.

The event was a great opportunity to run in a fantastic venue and the course made the most of the available running surface and wasn't limited to repetitive loops of the circuit. Even the pit lane was included and the track itself was noted to be one of the best surfaces that any of the runners had raced on (even if the circuit was deceptively hilly). One of the many positive aspects of the course twisting around on itself was that runners often had a great view of the participants streaming around the track which added to the atmosphere. The twisted, convoluted nature of the course however may have contributed to many measuring the course as slightly long on their GPS devices.

The 10K and Half Marathon races went off together before diverting off around different parts of the track. Louise Kennedy, competing in the 10K, was nursing a few painful niggles so opted for a slower pace which allowed her to take in the sights and sounds of the venue, clocking a finishing time of 1:23:56.

Tony Johnson, who had entered the half marathon at the last minute, came home 85th overall in 1:28:28 and commented that he really enjoyed the race.

Wayne Baxter was next in a time of 1:59:10 which he was pleased with as he returns to fitness. As a self-confessed MotoGP geek, Wayne found racing at the home of the British round of the series especially appealing.

Sylv Hull was last back for GRC in a time of 2:05:21, a near four minute half marathon PB which was definitely made easier by the colder weather and favourable surface.

All agreed that the race was very well organised, with fantastic support around the track (a steel band being a particular highlight) and a brilliant medal.  Photographers were plentiful which most runners would agree could be regarded as a mixed blessing.  All the runners with rewarded with numerous goodies at the finish line which were a slight challenge to carry as no bag was provided, presumably in a commendable bid to reduce plastic waste.

Mallory Park Winter Races - November

The inaugural Mallory Park Winter Series attracted a number of Grantham Running Club’s athletes keen to set fast times on the smooth tarmac at this iconic racetrack. With three distances on offer this event was aimed at  beginners and experienced participants alike. With the courses of 1 mile, 5k and 10k officially measured and certified with UK Athletics the runners were there not only to set PB’s but to climb as high up the National rankings as possible.

PB for Flash
The first race was the one mile with conditions perfect for fast running with no wind to speak of, the only issue was that such an early start left the surface of the blacktop a bit greasy which would ultimately cost the runners around 10 seconds. First home for GRC and in second place was Samuel Jepson-Rivers in 5:27 accelerating through the field in the final 600m to not only knock 16 seconds off his previous best but to earn his first every UKA ranking as a male senior. Next home was Rob Howbrook in 3rd position also with a PB in 5:31 an improvement of 5 seconds on his July race at Lincoln and good enough not only to rank him 9th in his age group in 2019 but an amazing 18 on the all-time list. In fifth place Peter Bonner’s 5:37 was just shy of his best but he was also entered in the 5k race starting twenty minutes later. In 10th position and lady’s runner up Catherine Payne was also a few seconds outside of her best time set earlier in the season but still retains her ranking of number seven. The final GRC runner was Robert McArdle also setting a fairly soft PB as he had only ever run the distance once before  but his mark of 6:29 was good enough to rank him well inside the top 50 for his age group. Overall 80% of the registered athletes taking part recorded Personal Bests which shows the advantage of not having to dodge pot holes and the undulations left by utility service repairs.

PB for Paul
As you would expect there was now a lot of pressure of the 5k field to perform given the previous
times and they certainly took up the challenge. First home for the Green and Black army was Joaquim Jeronimo with a hard won PB of 17:35 to claim the final podium place. The next pair of GRC runners were Penny Hodges with her best 5k time for 5½ years in 21:40 alongside pacer Peter Bonner. In arguably his best ever race Paul Jepson knocked over 80 seconds off his Season’s Best to set a new PB of 23:11 and earn his highest ever ranking with UKA. The next runner home was Naomi Jepson-Rivers slicing a full 30 seconds of her previous PB to go sub 24:00 by 3 seconds. First timer Martin Carter clocked 25:18. Tracy Webb’s time of 28:05 was her fastest ever on an official course and she was closely followed by Kate Marshall setting a 12 second PB to finish in 28:10. The final GRC runner Vicky Willan was making her debut at the distance but was delighted to clock 28:47 beating the sub 30:00 target she had set for herself based on the many parkruns she had completed.
PB for Kate

With over 75% of the 5k runners setting PB’s the pressure was on for those patiently waiting for the 10k to start and ready to grasp the challenge was GRC’s Jason Walker. In only his second ever 10k race he had to confidence to move up to second position in the first kilometre sticking to his race plan and although he was eventually caught and passed by more experienced runners in the final straight he was able to hold onto fourth place and smash his previous best by over 90 seconds to finish in 42:27. Next home and returning from injury was Robert Braker who was pleased to be able to push it all the way to finish in 52:06. The final GRC finisher was Simon Hartley setting a Season’s best as he knocked 30 seconds off his Silverstone time from September. Julie Braker also continued a pleasing comeback from serious injury but did not record a time for a decent run due to a mix up in race signage.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

North Midlands Cross Country League – Rd 2 – Corby

After an encouraging opening race at Markeaton Park in October, eighteen members of Grantham Running Club headed to West Glebe Park in Corby on Saturday 9th November to take part in the second round of the 2019/20 North Midlands Cross Country League.
As a result of the near unprecedented volume of rain in recent weeks the course was particularly muddy and made for what, some would consider to be, a proper cross-country race. The preceding junior races had further churned up some of the particularly muddy sections and it gave both the women and men a challenging and technical course for their races which began with the women setting off on their approximately 6km race shortly before two pm.
Sarah Chynoweth was the first of seven GRC ladies to finish in her first North Midlands XC fixture, coming home an excellent 23rd with a time of 23:28. This comfortably earned her the distinction of the highest finishing position ever by a GRC woman in this league. She didn’t have too long to wait before Michelle Parczuk backed up her superb run at the English National Relays a week prior with another really impressive performance finishing  86th and first Veteran finisher for the club. Fellow Veteran, 2018 joint club Cross Country Runner of the Year, Caroline Davis finished next in a fine 94th. Women’s Team Captain Sarah High followed in 134th, with Slyv Hull 150th, Kate Marshall 163rd and Diana McDonald 172nd.
The Senior Women’s team improved significantly on their round one performance, scoring some 180 points fewer to finish twenty second on the day with 371 points, just fifteen points more than nineteenth placed Harborough. They currently stand nineteenth in the overall League standings with the potential to climb several places if a full team can be fielded in the next two races. The Vets team finished eleventh on the day with 314 points that sees them also lie eleventh in the overall standings with the potential to climb into the top ten by the season finale.
The men’s race kicked off thirty minutes after the women’s on an approximately 10km long course, with a number of the eleven GRC runners making last minute changes to their footwear in the hope of gaining valuable positions for the team.
Jonny Palmer matched the achievements of his partner Sarah on his North Midlands XC debut, smashing the previous highest finishing GRC position in the very competitive league by crossing the finish line in a brilliant eighteenth position with a time of 33:04. Over three minutes behind in 78th place was Chris Limmer who found the going tough through the more technical wooded sections and lost a few places as a result. He was followed closely in 84th by a resurgent Grant Davies with Joaquim Jeronimo finishing just outside the top 100 in 103rd. Matthew Williamson ran a confidence boosting race to follow in 109th despite making the error of sprinting for the finish line at the end of the second lap, unaware there was still another 3km lap to run! Gav Meadows, 132nd, finished the race one second quicker than his previous best on the course.
Peter Bonner in 155th was the first GRC Veteran to finish, followed by fellow Vet Scott Jones in 187th, who will have surely found the terrain and climate in Northamptonshire tough going after enjoying an extended holiday in Lanzarote and having spent the summer racing exclusively on the track. Club mate Jack Dodwell chased Scott all the way and certainly won the award for most spectacular finish with his dive for the line but was all smiles with 194th. Finally, the ever reliable Veteran runner Chris Toon crossed the line in 228th ahead of fellow Vet Daniel Howson, who with 240th place completed the GRC Vets team.
In the all important team standings the Senior Men had a brilliant day to finish eleventh out of twenty three teams. With the official results appearing to show a cumulative score of 392 for the top five GRC men to finish for the club rather than the 421 for which they have been credited, they may ultimately move ahead of the Universities of Leicester and Nottingham Trent into a superb ninth position. Even with their current score they claimed some significant scalps, including the illustrious Lincoln Wellington AC. In the overall standings this strong performance saw them climb one spot to fourteenth in the overall league standings. The Vets team saw a much improved performance – fifteenth place and 570 points saw them close the gap to local rivals Grantham AC. 

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Long Sutton 10K

Wendy and Simon Smith

Eight members of Grantham Running Club headed to the South Holland district of Lincolnshire to take part in the Long Sutton 10K on Sunday 17th November 2019. As with many other fenland road races the organisers, Sublime Racing, promote the event as a fast, flat, PB friendly course, with the caveat that the weather conditions, namely the absence of wind, need to be kind. Fortunately for the 497 who completed the race weather gods were relatively generous and some quick times were duly witnessed as a result.

First home for GRC and a week after running 45:01 at the Essex Remembrance 10K Run in Saffron Walden, Chris Armstrong bettered that 2019 best by just shy of half a minute with a 44:34 clocking. He was followed by recent club recruit Kate Yates who, in just her second race outing for the club, ran a very fine 46:50 in her first recorded performance over 10K. This time is likely to see her finish in the top five GRC women for the distance in 2019. 

Behind Kate, Emma Weighill comfortably ran a season’s best 59:29, her second quickest ever 10K and only 28 seconds off her PB set at Woodhall Spa in 2018. Ronnie Wilkinson, who joined the club in June, recorded her first known race performance, finishing just outside the hour in 1:00:02. An impressive performance from Lisa Williams, another who has recently joined GRC, saw her break her 10K PB, set at West Pinchbeck in September, by nearly four minutes, coming home in 1:01:00.
Paula Ebbins completed her fifth 10K of 2019 in 1:06:06, bettering her time set at the Long Sutton Spring 10K in March by eleven seconds. Finally, husband and wife duo Wendy and Simon Smith crossed the finish line together in 1:06:08 which earned Wendy a new 10K PB by over ninety seconds.
The race was won by Ian Bailey of Sleaford Striders in 33:15 with Juliet Potter of Charnwood AC the winning woman in 35:36.