Sunday, 26 September 2021

Robin Hood Half Marathon


On Sunday 26th September  seven members of Grantham Running Club made the journey to Nottingham to take part in the 40th anniversary event of the Robin Hood Half Marathon. The sun shone on almost 5,000  runners, all taking their place at the start line on Victoria Embankment.

The global pandemic put a pause to the race in 2020; it was a return from testing times but together Nottingham came alive. The city lit up with thousands of runners and supporters. Cheers flooded the course and finish line making for a great atmosphere. The course took in Nottingham city centre, Nottingham castle and Wollaton Park with a start and finish on the Victoria Embankment making for a memorable weekend.

First Home for GRC was Robin Atter finishing in 01:33:32, a new PB for Robin by 6 minutes. Next home was Robert Howbrook finishing in 01:43:19. Richard Litchfield came home next at 01:48:57. Stuart Reader finished with a time of 01:49:59. John Nevard 02:06:49. Esther Fraser-betts finished with a time of  02:07:27 a PB by almost 7 minutes, and Mark Edwards finished with 02:17:02.


Sunday, 19 September 2021

Rutland Half Marathon

7th place and 1:28:28 on debut!

 Grantham College Student Alex Curtis made a stunning race debut in the Multi-Terrain Rutland Half Marathon last Sunday. Following his first ever timed run which was the Belton parkrun the previous weekend Alex was able to put together a race plan that catapulted him into the top 5% of half marathoners in 2021 on a pretty tough Course. 

Since moving to college in Grantham the Werrington runner has been training with Grantham Running Club and is confident that a flat road race later this month will see a further improvement. Without a firm foundation to work out a race strategy Alex started at a conservative 4:18 per kilometre after the initial jostling for position at the stat of the run and was able to accelerate in the final hilly 5k to bring his average splits down to 4:12/k to finish in 7th place in 1:28:28.

Friskney Half Marathon


Grantham Running Club’s Andrew Pask and Caroline Davis made the trip to the Lincolnshire Fens for the Friskney Half Marathon. Both runners were targeting a fast time on this pancake flat course that was blessed with fairly light winds on the day. In a noticeably small field both runners set off in confident fashion.

Andrew kicked off with a good group at the front of the field for the first couple of miles before dropping to 4th place. In a then lonely race for the next 10 miles he slowly chipped away at the lead that 3rd place had over him.  Jumping into 3rd place with a mile to go, he was frustrated to be sent the wrong way by the final marshal in Friskney village. Recovering onto the actual course after a loss of some valuable time he finished still in 3rd place with a time of 1:30:20, his highest ever finish position for a road race.

Caroline used her years of race experience to start conservatively having raced over the longer distance of 20miles the previous weekend. With stamina never an issue, she worked through the field in the later miles only to also be sent the wrong way by the same ‘said marshal’. Recovering from the mishap quickly having lost little, she raced to the finish with a time of 1:51:04 and in 15th position. Also, Caroline’s highest ever race finish.  

Cransley Hospice Half Marathon

Gav's Strava

 Gav said "I think I managed to find a little bit but some is definitely still missing! Hopefully I’ll find the rest in Eyam in a fortnight! Could’ve been a lot worse all considered.

Very decent little road race raising money for a great cause and also including a 10K. Fairly lumpy with a big out and back section on the half marathon so not for the faint hearted! 2 short but slightly annoying off road sections (1 shortly after the start and 1 at the finish line) but beggars can’t be choosers at a cheap and cheerful event. Unfortunately, as it stands, this is the last time it will be held due to financial viability issues (unless a club steps in and rescues it)."

Thurlby 10k

Peter and Paul

 22     PETER BONNER 467         MV45 Grantham Running Club 43:12

56     PAUL JEPSON 480             MV65 Grantham Running Club 52:04


 On the 21st September, Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire provided the stunning backdrop to Equinox24, a 24-hour running event which makes a welcome return after cancellation in 2020.  The race takes place around the beautiful grounds of the estate on a mixed terrain loop of 10k and played host to nearly 2,000 runners over the weekend.

Competitors have 24 hours to cover as many laps as possible, as part of a team, solo or in pairs.  For those of a more sensible disposition there are also the stand-alone day and night-time 10k races over the same course.

Taking advantage of a great event on the doorstep, more than 20 runners from Grantham Running Club took part in the event, with a team as well as solo runners.

The main event kicked off at noon in very warm conditions on the Saturday with the daytime 10k and 24 hour race runners all setting off to loud cheers as they ran through the camp before setting out on the main course. 

5 GRC runners took park in the 10k day race.  Paul Davis was first back in 34th position out of the field of 170.  He followed this with second helpings later by running in the night-time 10k which he actually completed even faster with a time of 57:24 and came in 26th.  The other GRC runner who was went for a night-time adventure was Yvonne Buckley who enjoyed the headtorch experience and put in a time of 1:14 and 92nd place and also came away with the glow in the dark medal.

Tommy Napier was next back in the day 10k with a time of 1:00:44, a remarkable feat as he had been working his way back to fitness following a bout of Covid which had affected his training and ruled him out of other events earlier in the year.  This put him in 40th place.

Crosisng the line together were Tracey Webb and Tracey Gell in a time of 1:11:57, in 85th position respectively.  They were followed by Fraser Marshall who had been pragmatic about his time following injury struggles which had scuppered his fitness but left him in a respectable 96th position and a time of 1:16:32.

Rounding off the daytime runners was Samantha French who enjoyed her lap to complete in 1:18:31 and 107th place.

GRC also fielded a small team of 5 for the event.  CJ Walker-Lees captained Nathan’s Runners and Walkers, named in memory of CJ’s son who had been a great fan of Equinox24 and a much-loved member of GRC.

Equinox first-timer Dale Towning took the first lap for the team in hot conditions.  Coming home in under an hour he was pleased with his time.  He went on to complete a very creditable 5 laps on tired legs.

Second to go out was Sarah High who set the bar high with a fast lap.  She also achieved the fastest GRC time (out of both the men and women) on ‘That Hill’, the notoriously brutal climb at 4 miles that reduces most runners to jelly.  She continued to run strongly throughout the event and completed 4 fast laps.

Sylv Hull went out next and was very happy to get a PB on the course and completed a further 3 consistent laps.

Fourth to go was team captain CJ who ran two determined laps, but after struggling with some on-going niggles she opted to err on the side of caution and retire, keeping in mind the upcoming London Marathon for which she has been training for months.

Last out was Penny Hodges who has spent the last few months recovering from a nasty calf tear, only to put in a storming time to give the team its fastest lap of the weekend.  She completed 4 laps, including the final lap on Sunday in the pouring rain.  She was joined by her team-mates at the finish and proudly carried the GRC flag across the line.

The team ran through the day and night and completed 19 laps, putting them in 30th place out of 82 in the small teams category.

Solo runners are a special kind of crazy and GRC had its fair share joining in the madness with 11 runners out to test/punish themselves. 

Jason Walker managed a spectacular 12 laps with the help of a miracle sports massage after 8 laps.  Martin Carter completed 10 “painful” laps, as did Nicola Ruston (whose husband Richard also completed 8 laps) and Nicola Cottam.

Also completing 8 circuits of the course were Rosalind Sadler, Kate Marshall (who vowed to return to get that elusive 10 lap PB) and Nicola Hornby.

Julie Gilbert, Rachael Pattison and Kev Kettle ran 7, 6 and 4 laps respectively.  

Equinox24 is renowned for its welcoming, supportive and friendly atmosphere and is a great experience for runners and supporters alike.  A particular feature is that many runners opt for fancy dress which certainly cheer up what can be physically and mentally tough proceedings.  Spotted out on the course were Mr Blobby, a sumo wrestler and various other outfits.  GRC certainly rose to the challenge and exhausted runners might have been forgiven for thinking they were having a holy epiphany at the sight of a gaggle of nuns and a bishop running round the hills of Belvoir at 3 in the morning. 

The event was exhilarating, rewarding, exhausting and incredibly feelgood, with competitors running an amazing total of 6,919 laps, covering 42,966 miles.  It’s fantastic to welcome it back and the free event photography provided everyone with amazing memories to take away.


Porto Half Marathon


While travelling through Portugal Grantham Running Club's Nev Chamberlain ran the Porto Half Marathon. Held on the historic Riverside, the course offers runners a mainly flat route which includes two crossings of the iconic Ponte Luiz l bridge.

Starting close to where the Douro River meets the sea, almost 2500 runners set off at 8am in a relatively cool temperature. Mindful of trying to keep some sort of social distance, Nev started way back down the field, although his lack of running any distance over the past few months meant that he was also concerned about getting drawn into setting off at an unrealistic pace.

The first two miles were run at a very conservative rate and then he settled down and the remainder of the miles were all ticked off at a comfortable place. The only worry came at around 8 miles when his legs suddenly felt like jelly for a minute or so as he had no energy gels with him he thought it would be game over before long. However managing to keep thinking positive he got to the finish and in fact the twelfth mile was his second fastest of the race.

Crossing the line in a gun time of 2.06:52, Nev was slightly disappointed but this was because of starting near the back of the field. His chip time of 2.01:32 was more where he had hoped to be.

His finishing position of 1933 out of a field of 2461 reflected the quality of the entry as did his 87th place from 123 in his M60 class. 

The race was won by Luis Saraiva in 1.03:11 and first female home was Solange Jesus in a time of 1.15:43 

Meia Maratona do Porto Hyundai 2021

Half Marathon Hyundai 2021


Nationality: United Kingdom


Gender: M

Rank: M60




PositionRank. Pos.Official timeLiquid timeRhythm

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Chiltern Wonderland 50


On Saturday 18th September Chris Limmer took part in the Chiltern Wonderland 50mile race. Starting in the village of Goring on Thames in Oxfordshire the route comprised of a circular route taking in the hills and trails of the Chilterns with sections on the Chiltern way but also the Ridgeway and the many trails that linked the two. Chris and the other 211 starters were greeted with a misty and cool start ahead of the race start but the forecast was for it get warmer as the day progressed.

Chris’ race began just after 8 with a majority of the other competitors all wanting to make the most of the cooler conditions and the first 10mile passed with Chris and the other runners all in a positive mood as the route ran along the Thames Path before climbing into the Chiltons. Which greeted them with the spectacular trails and largely isolated scenery that inspired the organisers to name it the Chilton Wonderland 50

Another hour or so later and with the temperature increasing Chris arrived at the second check point with nearly 18 miles done and with the legs starting to warm to the task of carrying him successfully to the end of the course. The next couple of sections met the pre-race expectations of being the most challenging of the entire course. Longer sections in the warm sunshine, some technical climbs and descents made it hard going. Indeed, there was no light relief around the half way point. Having just descended into the small village of Turville (the village best known for being Dibley from the sitcom) there was the steepest hill of the entire course. A couple of miles later and with his water bottles emptied Chris arrived at the 3rd checkpoint at Ibstone after nearly 4 and half hours and 26  miles of running in real need of refuelling. With a generous handful or two of fruits and nuts and plenty of water Chris was able to resume his onward progress. At this point he had climbed from 71st at CP1 to 46th and was overtaking others but didn’t appear to be losing any positions.

Though the warm weather still made conditions a challenge for the runners, when there was shade and conditions allowed, Chris was able to run well and make up ground on other runners. Another 3hrs and 15miles had passed when Chris arrived at the final check point. Fully refuelled and with his bottles refilled Chris pushed on, knowing that with a bit of luck and by summoning reserves of both mental and physical strength he could finish under 9hrs. He had around an hour and 40mins to do the last 9 or so miles but the lack of shade again and narrow trails littered with tree foots threatened to jeopardise his attempt at the sub 9 hour time.

With about 2 miles or so to go and back on the Chiltern way that led back to Goring Chris pushed on. Finishing the last of the contents of his water bottles, pumping his arms, lifting the legs and surging on the fast downhill section. With about half a mile to go he knew it would be very close and a finally lung busting run through the village got him back to the village hall just before 9 hours and in 23rd place. Although Chris’ official time was 9:00:33 this was due to him stopping a metre or so short of the official timing scanner, Chris was delighted to have performed so well and to have given everything that he could on the testing course. The race was won in 7hrs 20 by one of the pre race favourites Jordan Skelly who won by just under 2minutes over the second place Julien Cazorla. The womens race was won also by one of the pre race favourites Karen Hacker in 8:26:35 having taken the lead soon after the Ibstone CP from 50mile debutant and vet 50 runner Philomel Bennett, whom still ran a fantastic 9:16. In the end 184 runners completed the course under the 13hour cut off.