September into October has been a fantastic month for the Striders. This newsletter features news about the Winter running, races, club kit, structured sessions, XC League, Marathon places, Xmas dinner, Club Standards, and the Striders takeover of parkrun. There’s all this and more!
Equinox 24 is a 24 hour race with options of 10k, large teams, small teams, pairs and solo. It all started on Friday when a few excited Stiders were ready at the gates to put up camp near the entry/exit point of the main field. Tent poles creaked under tension and tarpaulin flapped in the breeze of a greyish day. The Eleventh Duke of Rutland must have been impressed with the small temporary town being erected on his huge tracts of land.
A good few of the Striders ensemble headed over to the Chequers Inn, a homely pub with good grub for a bit of pre-event sustenance and to ensure the ales hadn’t gone stale since the last outrun visit out this way. No-one from the Striders crew (as far as I’m aware) did the beer run, but there’s an option to drink a beer and run round the field on the Friday due to the many types of refreshment available throughout the weekend.
Saturday kicked off with hearty breakfasts and remaining team members arriving before the 12 o’ clock parking inside the field cut-off. Sarah Lawrence negotiated with the marshalls to arrange the camper-van to park near to the mother-camp. The array of camping equipment was proudly displayed and teas were brewed. Now to the running orders! Who would be running first? The first runners may end up doing more laps if the orders remained on Sunday. But should positions count, a tweak in order could make a difference to attain one more lap.
And they’re off! 12 o’ clock Saturday is the start of the 24 hour race. Timing chips were affixed, with teams and 10ks setting off at a ferocious pace while soloists took the long game plan, although not as slow as might be expected! For the soloists we had: Matt Gayton, Richard Gray, Ben Pickard, Brian Walkling, Shane Sharkey, Amanda Pearson, Laura Pickard, Dan Moult, and Marie Gray. For the teams we had Simon Bottrill, Clive Kent, Katie Hateley, Greg Pettingill, Jon Wilson, John Houghton, Dan Valencia, Michael Atton, Paul Geeson, Christie Jones, Sharon Eshelby, Jenny Kent, Vannessa Walker, Liz Parkinson, Sue Pettingill, Debs Wilson, Emma Palmer, Sarah Lawrence, Kaye Mead, Nick Pryke, Rachael Heggs, Katie Edwards, Emma Hope, Julie Bass, Dan Howley, Tam Nicol, Mark Ashmore, Tom Peacock, Ray Walker, Matt Taylor, Dan Giblett.
The course took runners out of the field, past the mother camp and onto a tarmaced road for a few hundred yards. Then right onto the first rough ground up to the top of a field. Then to traverse interweaving tracks at the top and then onto a muddy rutty track back to the road. Puddles were the main route decision maker here… to enter the puddles and make the trainers wet could be quicker, or use the verge where there was little room to overtake? So then back along the road and eventually people on their out-laps are met coming the other way before turning right over a bridge and past a picturesque lake. A slight hill up and this isn’t ‘THAT HILL’, but it’s a tester before a noticable kick up in the gradient and this is now ‘NOT THAT HILL’. Eventually runners arrive at the top where a drink may be had before decending down a quick off-road, off-camber trails. Luckily, it’s relatively dry this year and people can get away with road shoes although some prefer deeper tread on their shoes. The track winds down and then levels out and then the infamous ‘THAT HILL’ appears. There’s always some determined runners who nail ‘THAT HILL’ and run up it, but the majority take a slightly more balanced approach. For myself, I ran to the ‘THAT HILL’ sign and then power walked. I figured the upcoming down hill would give opportunity to make up time if I still had the energy left. Once ‘THAT HILL’ is summited the trail takes runners back out onto the road, which is now going down. For the soloists, this could tell on the quads later. In fact, the quads, the calves, the glutes and any other muscle that runners didn’t know they used! Then back to the field, past mother camp, and all the supporters lining the route around the field. This is where it really hurts for the teams. It seems to go on forever, especially the last drag up to the blow-up transition area. *SNAP!* Snap bands are passed on for the next team members and pizza can be grabbed. Soloists may think about refueling or just put one foot in front of the other and head out again!
There was so much positiveness going on that it’s hard to describe it all. But things that stick out for myself are things like the colours of the bunting on re-entry of the field, cheering team members, last ditch efforts to get an extra lap in, fire pit, tired non-sensical talking (myself), huge efforts of all teams and solists, too much cake, tea from Yorkshire, and John’s ‘tent’.
On the 6 October 2017 a group of striders attended the Leicestershire Road Running League presentation and it was a great night celebrating all our achievements in the 2017 summer and winter road running league. A number of trophies were received on the night including individual summer awards for Natalie Teece, Julie Bass and myself (Vicki Lowe).
The team achievements have been down to all who have competed as a team effort. Every point has counted towards our position. This is a competitive league and we should all be very proud. We look forward to running in our higher divisions in 2018 with promotions for vets ladies, mens and ladies teams. Trophies will be awarded for top 6 ladies counters, top 8 men’s counters, and 3 vet lady counters at our Striders presentation night later in the year.
I entered the Brecon Beacons 10 Peaks race one week before the start date as I was feeling quite hesitant about taking part. But as usual once the race starts all of the apprehensive butterflies disappear until the next race.
The 10 Peaks (actually more than 10!) is a self-navigating race over 56 miles and takes in 15000ft of ascent over some of the most beautiful scenery of Wales. Plenty of scope for innuendo bingo with Fan Y Big and other peak names. The green rolling hills of Brecon made the miles fly by as well as the various other runners I chatted to on the way. There was always a warm welcome from the many friendly marshals at each of the 5 check points. The weather added to the challenge of the day with rain, mud, strong winds oh and rain. The final descent to the finish line was a sheer mud slide. People at the finish line watched with smiles as head torches in the distance appeared and disappeared in close succession as runners made or I should say slid their way down the muddy descent!
My main objective on the Start Line was to complete the race and so when I found out that the bar was still open and that I was 1st lady with a time of 16:47:55 I was completely overwhelmed!
I would definitely be considering The Lakes 10 Peaks for 2018.
This months’ newsletter features some information on Autumn and Winter running. Whether this be headtorch running or road running, there should be something there to motivate the tying up of running shoes! Don’t forget the hi-vi too.
There’s also a little more news about the fantastic LRRL acheivements, run-leader opportunities, race reports, Cross-Country, and more!
Thank you to everyone who attended this week’s AGM. As emailed to the mailing list following the AGM, the club’s committee and associated roles are as follows for the year ahead:
Shane Sharkey – Chairman
Andy Nicholls – Club Secretary
Theresa Coltman – Treasurer
Darren Glover – Men’s Captain
Vicki Lowe – Ladies’ Captain
Simon Bottrill – Run Co-ordinator
Di Underwood – Juniors Head Coach/Safeguarding Officer
Other Committee Members
Key Club Roles (not already mentioned)
Mark Stoneley – Coach
Matt Chalmers – Social Media
Clive Kent/Mark Ashmore – Website
Michael Cooke – Melton Sports – Club Kit
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of the roles that people perform within the club – there are many many more who do very important things to support the progression of the club, but it would be impossible to name them all individually, so to everyone else I would like to issue a blanket thank-you for all your hard work.