25 Oct 2015 – Leicester Marathon and Half

Great Strider turnout and some excellent running achievements in perfect conditions on Sunday.

Marathon results: men led by Matthew Gayton 3.20:57 PB, Dan Valencia 3.31:52 PB, Simon Bottrill 3.47:25 (after riding 75 miles on bike the day before), John Houghton 3.47:39 and Jon Wilson in his first marathon 4.04:28.  Ladies: Vicki Lowe 3.49.07 (6th female vet and 12th lady) buddied by Helen widdowson 3.49:08 PB. We achieved our respective goals of good for age London time for Vicki and pb for Helen.  Also Sarah Lawrence in her debut marathon 4.49.

Half marathon: led by Jason Barton 1.16.29 (6th SM and 8th overall), Jim Hatherley 1.24.18, Darren Glover 1.28.42, Luke Eggleston 1.32.44 PB, Nicholas Smith 1.39.38, James Ridealgh 1.53.24. Leading the ladies team was Louise Houghton 1.45.10 (15th female vet), Celina Silver 2.00.10, Deborah Wilson 2.02.44, Kaye Mead 2.14.43 and Laura Pickard 2.15.03 PB.  [Vicki]

24 Oct 2015 – Snowdonia Marathon

My third Snowdonia Marathon, sadly without co strider Richard Gray on today`s start line who was ill on the race morning (thankfully now better).

The weather is very heavy rain, similar to that when a few of us did Snowdonia trail Marathon earlier in the year, yep glum and that white low cloud over Snowdon itself. Yet it was good of the organisers to provide disposable rain macs when we picked up our numbers and superb Technical T-shirts from Electric Mountain the day before, they were a big help at the start line.

This is a bucket list Marathon for those who collect them, I’ve yet to hear someone who dislikes the event and the 2700 places are snapped up from January 1st in no time whatsoever, this is a testing and visually sumptuous 26.2 miles and a real credit to North Wales.

10:30 the race starts and naturally despite the bad weather its Striders vest all the way, a slightly downhill first mile towards Nant Peris before four miles up the highest Road in Britain (Pen Y pass), it’s a long slow climb so it’s best to just pick a speed and sit at it-already by mile four quite a few walk.

Over the top of the Pass and drop off the top downhill, I really enjoy this descent and pass lots of people on the way down to Pen Y Gwyrd, from there it’s a long trail descent down into the Gwynant valley.

The plan is going well, run strongly but leave something in the tank for Bwlch Y Groes at 21 miles more on that later, I`m running at good speed as we get into the popular tourist village of Beddgelert at the halfway point. The next few miles out of Beddgelert is the hill that many forget, I can tell that I feel a lot stronger than last year as we head towards Pen Y Groes where there’s a bloke in Fell Kit running a largely road marathon in Inov-8 X-Talon`s!

The miles between 19 and 21 were my `wobble miles`, largely because I find the Betws Garmon area a bit dull on road (Although Llyn Cwellyn and its backdrop are remarkable) so was actually glad when we got into the village of Waunfawr and `That` climb. So 21.5 miles in and you have a climb that perhaps 90% of runners end up walking that goes over the lower slopes of Snowdon, at about 23 miles it goes to trail. All the offroad Fell running has paid dividends as I run from Waunfawr straight over Bwlch Y groes without a problem, very happy about this as felt awful last time I tried.

The trail section was utterly soaked, complete water and mudfest in road shoes, pretty much carnage with runners slipping over constantly (one bloke fell three times in a hundred yards) Although pretty much soaked and muddied up I remained on my feet. For once I was happy to hit tarmac again on the long descent back into Llanberis chasing a young blonde (!) back towards the finish line which she duly crossed and immediately threw up!

Very happy with the day`s performance which I dedicated to my Dad, 25 minutes off my course PB coming in at 3 hours 33 mins not bad with 2036ft of ascent!

Hope some more Stilton Striders will give this a whirl in the coming years it truly is worth doing on so many levels, really is a race you`ll never forget. [Rob]

25 Oct 2015 – Worksop Half Marathon

On a cool but very sunny morning Stuart Gregory made his way to north Nottinghamshire as the only Strider in attendance for the annual Worksop Halloween half marathon and joined 1984 other runners at the start line all hoping for a good performance. After the normal slow march to the official start line Stuart got into his pace very quickly and having learned the lessons of the previous year took the first few miles at a steady pace before extending his legs as mile five approached. There an old saying what doesn’t hurt you won’t kill you and by mile nine having attached him self to the remains of the main group Stuart slowed the pace slightly as the final long hill approached and with the final three miles being mostly down hill a speedy finish was on the cards and this proved to be the case as Stuart pulled away from the Group in the final mile to finish the race in 2hr 15m 59s, 8m 51s faster than the year before. [Stuart]

Race calendar updates

With next year’s LRRL dates getting finalised and lots of Striders planning their 2016 races, we’ve put through a bunch of updates to the Events Diary page – with more races added and (thanks to Simon for this one) a Google Calendar embedded.

As ever, if you have a favourite race that isn’t listed and you would like to get a few fellow Striders along, let us know and we’ll add it to the listings.

21 Oct 2015 – Derby Midweek Races

Stuart Gregory attended the Derby Midweek Race Series and took part in both races on the night:

1 mile – Stuart completed the race, finishing as 4th Senior Male in a time of 8.20.

5k – After a short break, Stuart then took part in the 5k race, completing the event in 29.43 – 2 min 46 sec faster than the month previous.  [Stuart]

Run England Group Leader of the Year!

If you’ve had reason to be anywhere near the council offices on Parkside around 6.30pm on a Monday over the last couple of years, you may well have wondered what is going on to attract so many people.  In fact, this is the meeting point for one of the most successful beginners running groups in the country.

Sponsored by Run England, organised and led by Rob Beers, and supported by many individuals from Stilton Striders (Ian, Simon, Jon and Jay all deserve a mention) these sessions are free for all, no commitment necessary and provide the warmest of welcomes to everyone regardless of prior running experience.

With a record attendance at the start of January this year (85 brand new runners signed up in one evening), the group has continued to go from strength to strength.  With regular 10 week ‘Couch to 5k’ coached courses (the next one starts in January), and a friendly group of like minded runners to keep everyone motivated all year round, this has proved a winning formula.  Many of the runners have gone on to compete in races over roads and trails, and covering all distances from 5k up to the marathon, and ever a 50k ultra marathon!

Rob himself can usually be found dishing out encouragement, advice and gently cajoling people to help reach their goals – even running with people in their debut races to help them along.  It was therefore no surprise to many to hear that he was nominated as “Run England Group Leader of the Year” at the recent England Athletics regional awards for the East Midlands.  Whilst unable to attend the awards ceremony where he was named the winner, he couldn’t get away that easily as everyone knew where he would be on a Monday evening…  The trophy was duly awarded to him this Monday by Dave Lodwick (EA Regional Council member) and Kim Angell (Leicestershire Beginner Running Activator) in front of his usual group of runners!  Congratulations, Rob.

For more details on the Monday evening runs, or support in beginning running, please check Facebook.com/MeltonRunningClub, or via www.stiltonstriders.co.uk

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17 Oct 2015 – Wirksworth Undulator

The Wirksworth Undulator AKA: `The Stuart Learmouth memorial race` is an annual 8.5 mile Fell race put on by Wirksworth R.C now in its fourth year. Having done this twice before I know what to expect, with a mere £5.00 entry and massive kudos to Simon to get us here in a mere hour!

Today we are Six Stiltons (Myself [Rob Beers], Simon Bottrill, John Houghton, Dan Valencia, Katie Hateley and Steve Dewick. Worth pointing out that this is the only fell race I’ve ever seen a Leicestershire Club runner win (a Barrow runner) yet today we are the only Leicestershire club to have any entrants on the start line!

Starting from Wirksworth quarry, it’s a bit of a jam from the off on the narrow path to the top of the quarry, those really going for it will be on the front row. The course is like its title, undulating, `lots of ups and too little downs` was one Strider`s comment, although cliché I found it `all Run-able`, I know not all the team did.

The first few miles over many fields with various ups and downs, before hitting the trig point and just over half mile on tinder trail before my favourite climb which gives an astonishing view over Carsington Water. A real steep descent the other side where many end up on their backsides before nearly a mile of road which isn’t good if you’ve heavy duty Fell shoes on. The next turning offroad is probably when many really start to struggle going from tarmac back to struggling uphill offroad for another two miles. My plan of challenging a Tideswell R.C runner and trying to catch as many Beeston R.C Runners (also out in force) has paid off well, although my descent through the quarry to the finish was pretty bad.

Back in a very good time I think and 1st Strider, A very shiny face Dan Valencia is next Strider home followed by a more calm looking Simon. Katie doing her first fell race isn’t far behind, an ecstatic John comes in to a rendition of Happy Birthday and then Steve Dewick complete the Striders team.

I think Katie summed it up best about these events `everyone’s just so friendly and laid back`, John `best one yet, loved it! `, totally excellent event and a great day all round.  [Rob]