29 Oct 2016 – Norfolk Coastal Marathon

After its successful debut year which saw John Houghton and Dan Valencia take part, 2016 saw an even greater gaggle of Stilton Striders coming along to give this one a try.

Sadly taken ill Simon Bottrill had to sadly bow out on race morning but we did raise a jar for him after, so we were still 6 strong doing the Full Marathon and two doing the half Marathon.

Thankfully an early night for all was good as we got the coach at 7am to take us to the event start; none of us were taking it as a race really just a good day out and a nice weekend. The Fog was very heavy early on which as I predicted turned into a beautiful sunny day although running into the sun without sunglasses was a sweaty affair.

Heavy traffic and one-man path`s in the early going, one runner actually fell over quite spectacular over a mangleworzle on mile two, It`d be interesting reading his race report! Myself and Michael Atton had drunk a surfeit of the free tea pre-race and were running along dying to stop but the vegetation did seem pretty sparse for stopping. Pretty much we split into two groups, Myself, Michael and Paul Geeson in the front group and Dan Valencia, Katie Hateley and John Houghton in the group behind not that any of us were particularly pushing the pace.

The first 7 miles are a loop before what essentially becomes a pile down the coast along the coastal path, some of which is really nice and long after we take our first few miles on the sand itself. Now for all you who haven’t tried it, it’s fantastic when you run near the sea on the hard stuff but the soft or sinky stuff is a nightmare especially as I found later for me.

We caught up with the tail end of the Half Marathon about mile 14, again if you’re going for a time it’s a bit hard pushing past people in the sand dunes, really a case of wait your opportunities. We find Lou Houghton and Kaye Mead running the half marathon a bit further on, Michael at mile 15 whose `positive split` Marathon plan starting feeling it and was going to drop back actually stayed with us and kept with us until mile 20, some going!

Second lot of beach came and for me probably the nicest bit of the day, really started to feel strong and catch up with Paul who was ahead and went past, next few miles were running nirvana. Unfortunately the path off the beach at mile 22 was that soft sand again and the pace for me along with my endurance started to drop.

Paul pushed on looking strong throughout and even managed a 7:15 in the last mile, the last two miles for myself weren’t my best with a shoelace coming undone then becoming over tight as I ran to the finish. I`d now entered `trundle mode` just happy to get back, lost another couple of minutes at the enforced traffic light crossing, I could see a guy in front in high-viz who just seemed to keep going-would the finish line ever come? It did but it’s one of those where you think your finishing but then come to do a lap of the stadium, its then I hear `Go on Rob`, Katie Hateley behind me coming out of nowhere! Remember how to run again and better up-tempo finish, great performance though from Katie(well worth the following day`s hangover!) with three of us in within four hours.

Great feeling after for us all and lovely enjoyable weekend, happy Birthday John!

The Pros: Enjoyable route, scenic and laid back, nice medal and T-shirt, signposted well, plenty of support on course and friendly marshals

The Cons: Very few unless you count the soft sand!


16 Oct 2016 – Spires and Steeples

I had originally planned to do this stunning point to point event with Simon Proctor, we had originally planned to do the 26.2 mile Lincoln to Sleaford route with Simon raising money for the MIND charity. Unfortunately Simon became injured and I`m sure along with everyone else would like to wish him a speedy recovery and we can have another go at this next year.

So not wanting Simon`s place go to waste my sparring partner John Hudson (running this for the 5th time) stepped up to the plate as part of his Leicester Half Marathon training and I stepped down to the half to accompany him.

For those of you who don’t know this event (And believe me there is far too many Leics club who don’t!) it’s a greatly organised multi-terrain point to point along the Spires and Steeples way, also it`s not really timed so the pressure is off. This is my Sixth Spires; unfortunately it’s not lucky seven as its absolutely dreadful rain this morning with a slight nip in the air also which wood later turn into a head wind. Were transported by luxury coach from Sleaford to Metheringham hoping it drives a little slower as its vile out, luckily after we pick up our numbers the other end the pavilion is open and we don’t have to go out until 5 minutes before the race.

Race starts and it’s a decent amount of runners despite the rain, I set off quite slowly giving myself time to warm up and get used to the cold and rain. After a mile and a half I`m starting to claw people back, I made totally the right choice by putting a stud on today as its not only wet but very muddy , some of the churned up fields must’ve been a nightmare for those in flat road shoes.

My plan today was just to enjoy it and see how I go; having not ran this distance for a while at any real pace. The road sections are somewhat different today; there really was heavy flooding in parts in the small villages. The last time I did this event was two years ago and a comeback race after a long injury-also my first ever race in a Stilton Striders vest! I didn’t feel so great that day and struggled but this time was still running very strong at the place I ran out of steam last time. The last few miles are the worst, it’s a long grassy embankment back to Sleaford that seems to go on forever, if you do the Marathon version it probably does go on forever! I`m back in very good time and apparently 4th place, not bad for a training run, certainly a XC today rather than a trail or multi-terrain.

John ran well also and fingers crossed for Leics Half this coming weekend!

Anyone who has seen the S/S FB site or webpage will notice a ponytailed runner from two years ago, I’m pretty proud of this. However was over the moon with S/S flags at the finish line which bear my image prominently in a Striders shirt! Everyone who finished had to run past them! Made me laugh anyway.

The Pros: Friendly, laid back, very well organised, the route is very nice with a bit of everything, largely flat, not really timed, well signed and marshalled, lots of Ducks when you get back to Sleaford, the Rob Beers flag,

The Cons: If it rains heavy it’s a different event effort wise, very meagre at feed stations and goodie bag after such generosity in previous years, the slog along the embankment at the end which neither myself or John ever like.

1 Oct 2016 – Heart of England Marathon

I did the initial event in 2015 doing the 15 mile version (Which in actuality was nearer 18), thoroughly enjoying and decided to step up to the full for this Warwickshire off-road run.

Set in the quaint town of Henley in Arden in Warwickshire it’s all very Shakespearian in appearance around here, not really surprising given Stratford upon Avon isn’t too far away. It’s looking very bleak today, ok it’s raining and as soon as the actual race started it started absolutely bucketing it down throughout.

It’s a very laid back event starting a bit like Charnwood Marathon at a local school, today is about putting a few miles in and enjoying rather than going at a pace or for a time. I`m despite the weather having a gentle cruise through the countryside, despite the Forest title (A tree is planted for every Marathon entrant) it’s more a mixture of everything than being Sherwood forest so to speak, the actual forest running is very minimal.

The route splits at 10 miles and thankfully I stay with someone with excellent GPS, despite the weather I somehow get stung by a wasp that’s strayed down my vest! Totally a mix of things as we head through Alcester one minute and then ploughing through muddy fields in moon boots the next and please don’t think Warwickshire is flat, this had an awful lot of ascent throughout.

No wonder I was tired at the end, having done 20 miles in less than 3 hours I wondered why I was still running over an hour later, the final distance clocked in at 28.5 miles! Came in at 4:30, not helped by actually getting a little lost in a housing estate in the last mile! Still great training and enjoyed the route immensely especially as I didn’t have to look for the very small pink arrows which weren’t exactly noticeable or regular.

The Pro’s: Laid back no onus on finishing time, very nice part of the midlands and easy on the eye, great food stops (inc Bacon Butties and veggie burgers), superb food after (3 courses!), under £20.00 entry and hasn’t got overly popular and spoilt as yet, warm spacious and plentiful facilities before and after, No-one from local clubs doing this! No race numbers – either get your card stamped or shout out your number at check point

The Cons: Be prepared to do more than advertised distance! The signs are very small and irregular not good unless you know where you’re going, marshals only at check points.


16 Oct 2016 – Stilton Stumble 

In horrid rain just over 300 took on the Stilton Stumble 10k with Jason Barton putting in a dominate display to win for the 2nd time in 3 years clocking 35min 25 secs.  Next in was Luke Eggleston in 4th place in another personal best 38.04, next in as 3rd place veteran Darren Glover in 7th in 38.54 , then Ben Pickard in a pb of 44.01, Wayne Hackett in 44.48, first lady for the club Greeba Heard in a pb 47.19, then David Hall 51.14, Kathy Walsh in her first race for the club a pb in 52.45, Vanessa Walker 55.24, Laura Pickard 55.38, Alexandra Fairhurst a pb in 60.35.

The sole Strider taking on the 24k race was Nick Pryke who finished 46th in 2hr 6min 33. [Darren]

9 Oct 2016 – Great Dalby Dollop

4 miles cross country across farm land, a few hills, some mud, cake, tea, BBQ and s choice of medals (either tractor or cow – tractor seemed to be the favourite!).  Another great turn out from the Striders, with 17 seniors and a couple of their offspring, including the first non- dog powered male and female. Lovely morning at this low key local event.

2 00:28:02 079 Stuart Shaw

5 00:30:03 095 Natalie Teece

6 00:30:50 068 Clive Kent

8 00:31:45 047 Christie Jones

9 00:31:47 084 Richard Gray

11 00:32:28 106 Michael Cooke

12 00:33:34 069 Matt White

18 00:36:02 070 Simon Bottrill

19 00:36:03 078 Jon Wilson

20 00:36:23 099 Ben Pickard

22 00:37:17 045 Luke Nichols

23 00:37:18 044 Andy Nichols

25 00:38:25 051 Tony Allen

32 00:46:00 077 Deborah Wilson

33 00:46:00 071 Celia Bown

52 00:51:03 067 Jenny Kent

53 00:51:04 098 Laura Pickard

57 00:55:13 062 Oliver Howley

58 00:55:13 061 Daniel Howley

16 Oct 2016 – Trail Run Series- Bakewell

The Dark and White Trail Running Events are all based in and around the Peak District National Park, each event having a choice of long and short courses. The events are advertised as being sociable and relaxed events which are suitable for most ages and abilities. Round 2 was in Bakewell on 16 October. But there are a few things that you should know if you are contemplating one of these events.First, if you are invited to one of these events by your nice club mate, make sure you are told of the start time when you agree to take part. 5.30am on a Sunday morning is early to get up on a Sunday, it’s very early and very dark. There could be a local road race on the same day, and you might be driving around the course for that race at 6.30am, with Clive usefully pointing out that we could be still in bed, or enjoying a nice cooked breakfast.

If you are lured by the idea of popping into the town after the race to “get a few tarts”, this a reference to pastries with almonds and marzipan, and nothing else you might have been expecting. And if you see a Bakewell tea shop table defaced with Striders Graffiti, Matt claims that he was asked to add to the “art installation” by the owner, honest.

Finally, despite Paul’s proud claims to “have the biggest one”, there are some things to watch out for in his people carrier. The self-opening window caused Clive more problems (not sure he was having a great day), and Paul’s Sat Nav has a special setting – “route following the narrowest and steepest roads, with large numbers of oncoming vehicles”.

The race was great. It proved to be very sociable, Clive made some friends as we entered the car park with his Royal Wave, and Sarah’s best running buddy is now the webmaster of Bicester Running Club. Plenty of mud, hills and rain in our faces. The fast boy’s race up the front was narrowly won by Mike/Chris (apparently Mike and Chris are the same person), but run of the day was from Sarah, who was first lady on the Shorter Course.


Trail Run Series – Round 2 – Bakewell (Short Course)

5th Place (FIRST LADY): Sarah Procter: 32:59:00

Trail Run Series – Round 2 – Bakewell (Long Course)

23rd Place: Michael Atton: 1:21:53

24th Place: Paul Geeson: 1:22:01

33rd Place: Clive Kent: 1:23:53

72nd Place: Matt White: 1:37:21

1 Oct 2016 – Eaton Stampede

Described as tough at the start, then getting tougher with a tough finish! The Eaton Stampede cross country 10k, as close as you’ll get to a fell race locally without driving to the Peak District, once again a brilliant club turn out on this fantastic race, well done everyone!

Jim Hatherley 10k 42.15    

Stuart Shaw 10k 42.30    

Paul Geeson 10k 46.35    

Dan Valencia 10k 47.45    

Simon Bottrill 10k 48.15    

Katie Hateley 10k 49.30    

John Houghton 10k 49.45    

Christie Jones 10k 51.15    

Mathew White 10k 53.45    

Jon Wilson 10k 53.50    

Nicholas Smith 10k 56.00    

Lou Houghton 10k 56.45    

Daniel Howley 10k 57.30    

Nick Pryke 10k 57.45    

Rebecca Forrester 10k 57.45    

John Hudson 10k 61.30    

Celina Silver 10k 65.30    

Kaye Mead 10k 67.30    

Deborah Wilson 10k 67.30    

Richard Gray 10k 75.00    

Conrad Gray 10k (U12) 75.00    

Janet Hudson 10k 79.30    

8 Oct 2016 – Curbar Commotion

“What’s all this commotion about !? 10 miles 450 metres of ascent, fell and moor, gritstone and peat, flapjack and two pints of Chatsworth Gold. Curbar Commotion 2016, we b*****y love the peaks”
John Houghton – 2016

Truly an epic day for John Houghton, Lou Houghton, Stuart Shaw, Clive Kent, Simon Bottrill and Katie Hateley, inspired by the fells over the village of Curbar, a small, but busy hamlet sat on the river Derwent in the Peak District. A snip at £6 on the day, the race was well organised with plenty of marshalls, a spirited Master of Ceremonies and tea or coffee on tap, if required.

The weather is beautiful and the runners gathered behind the start near to the school where the race funds go towards sports facilities so that future generations can find their own feet on the road of sport and confidence. A surprising move of the crowd mean that the race has started. Runners begin to surge, gradually finding their pace before the first left into the short ascent of tarmac, where they can warm up their climbing legs. Then a queue for the stile, which serves as a gateway for the trails over the fells.

A steady climb takes the runners onto a trail through some trees. It’s a choice to run near, or slightly further behind runners ahead in order to spot rocks, slippery roots, or shoe squelching mud bowls. These mud bowls aren’t deep enough to suck shoes today, but they take more effort to move through as the feet slip just enough to steal a small amount of forward momentum.

A slight right takes the course up a steep climb. The trail gets slightly tougher as runners pick through small rocks, lifting their knees to hop up small grassy steps and over rocks, all the while scanning the trail for the next obstacle. Turn right past the marshalls; we are happy to receive a bit of respite after this short sharp section with an craggy undulating flat. Decisions; do we stretch out on this easier bit or conserve ourselves for the summit ascent about 900 metres ahead? So different strategies occur as the fell-runners tit-for-tat each other on different sections. Some show their prowess on the climbs, while others launch past you on slight ramps down.
Once over the summit, it’s a flying descent of 1.5 miles. Feet fly and runners criss-cross the trails as they pick their preferred racing line through, round, or over the main feature of these fells; gritstone. It’s lovely stuff, grippy, yet forgiving with it’s weathered rounded corners. There are a few loose fist-sized rocks to tippy-toe, but these sit nicely in the middle of eroded paths and are easy to run beside.

Another up, then a good mile of descent. The springy gates test trail etiquette. How far should a runner be behind you that you don’t need to hold the springy trap-gate open for them?
False summit? Another climb! 0.8 miles really gets the heart ticking. But at this point the racers know the end is not far, so we can choose to keep the effort high before the steep descent to the finish where the marshalls pen our numbers down for the results.

What does the conscientous runner need at the end of a good race? Cake – good cake and tea or coffee. And it’s here where we share our tales of the fell.
A slight change in course from previous years took the final mileage up to 9.7(ish) miles. In some conditions, that sounds like a daunting prospect, but with eyes on the obstacles of the fell ahead, it felt much less; more like a jaunt down the lane. The miles fly by like the gritstone under the soles of the Stilton Striders.

Results: Stuart Shaw – 35th 1:14:57, Clive Kent – 87th 1:25:00, Katie Hateley – 98th 1:26:18, John Houghton – 111th 1:28:54, Simon Bottrill – 129th 1:32:03, Lou Houghton – 184th 1:45:03

2 Oct 2016 – Kielder Water Marathon 

Jenny and Clive made the trip to beautiful Northumberland for the seventh Kielder marathon. It’s the highlight of a full weekend of running and cycling events and there were excellent logistical arrangements in place, including park and ride buses, good cafes and lots of toilets.

The day started with scraping ice off the car and a short 20 min drive to the car park, then a 10 min bus ride and plenty of time for a cuppa and kit faffing before leaving our drop bag at the finish. The race started at Leaplish at 10.30 (15 mins late) and took us through the woods and in a loop back through the start/finish area and out onto the clockwise lakeside path. The school kids were out to form a fun line of high-fives. We felt like heroes (just for one day).

The scenery was quite something and once we warmed up, the conditions were perfect; a light breeze and some clouds preventing it from getting too hot. The first half of the course was undulating with some short, steep climbs and descents.Clive started midway in the pack while Jenny started further back in the field with friends Chris and Andy from saints and sinners RC. Clive’s ‘holding back’ strategy took a hit at mile 2 with a ridiculous 6:49 min/mile pace. At halfway he was doing a little too well with a sub 1:40 time, which he realised may bite back later.

Jenny’s ‘keep running’ and ‘walk the steep bits’ method meant that there was always time in hand for a spot of photography and she felt strong at halfway.

After halfway, we were counting down the miles to the dam, which was the only flat mile of the course about two-thirds of the way round. It got tougher therein and we were grateful for the cheery marshals and encouraging spectators every mile or so to keep it going. The finish straight was perhaps the longest 400m ever but the cheering crowd was a very welcome sight.

Clive finished in 3.51.47, 115th, also a pb, which was a massive improvement on his 2010 Rutland Marathon time of 6:04, or his Marathon split time of 4:15 on the Great Railway Ultra in 2015.

Jenny finished in 5.51.54, 598th, improving on her time at the 2010 Rutland water marathon by 15 mins.

17/18 Sep 2016 – Equinox24 

Last weekend saw the 4th annual Equinox24 race – a 24 hour event held over a hilly off road 10k course in the grounds of Belvoir Castle. Starting at midday on Saturday runners compete either in teams, pairs or solo – all looking to get as many laps in as possible before midday Sunday. Around 250 teams and a similar number of solo runners meant around 500 runners out on course at all times of day and night, lit only by their headtorches through the hours of darkness.

With six teams, five solo runners and one 10k entrant from Stilton Striders and friends and family from MRC and Melton Mowbray parkrun, there was a great spirit in camp all weekend. Many runners clocked up their furthest distance ever, some also whilst pushing for their fastest 10k, or just enjoying a weekend camping with friends. Everyone pushed the boat out and baked enormous scones, lemon cake, apple, rum and raisin cake, flapjacks, brownies, cheesecakes and Marie brought a huge chocolate cake to celebrate her birthday. With the kettle on almost permanently, a couple of gazebos and some bunting, you just need to imagine the GBBO (Bake Off) with a bit of running on the side and you’re more or less there.

The course led runners around tracks and across undulating fields, then past cheering marshals and up “Not That Hill”, a 2-3k gradual climb to the water stop half-way. In the hours of darkness, glo-sticks lit the course and the marshals handed out jelly babies to keep everyone going. With spectacular views across the Vale of Belvoir, there was a challenging off-camber descent to the beginning of “That Hill”. Strategies varied to ascend this short-sharp, much maligned bank of fear and loathing. Only, it wasn’t as bad as all that! Once over this, it was a smoother descent back to and down the road, over the bubbling river to the lake. The mists on the lake at dawn set a spectacular scene with quacking ducks, swan and the sound of rubber on tarmac. John Houghton was one notable casualty of “Houghty’s Muddy Corner”, which took runners into the circuit of the camping field. The course went right past the Strider/MRC Basecamp, with cheering and Elaine’s chocolate distribution going down well with the solos on course. Then eventually to the final straight, where slap-bands were handed to the next runner in teams, or soloist could sign-off and recalibrate before doing #onemorelap.

Stilton Striders A team pushed the pace from the beginning and after 22 hours were neck and neck with the second placed team. There was still time for the lead to change hands at least twice in the last three laps before the Striders emerged victorious for the second time in four years! A wonderful result for the team and the club, which led to enthusiastic celebrations in front of the double-decker bar bus and high morale as we cheered in the final (last but by no means least) solo runner – an awesome guy who did the whole thing in hiking boots whilst carrying a heavy bergen!Once again a highlight of the running calendar and next year’s event (23/24 September 2017) is sure to sell out in record time again.  [Jenny]

Solo runners:

Ben Pickard and Richard Gray 83rd/84th with 110k each,

Shane Sharkey and Dan Moult 174th and 185th with 70k each, and

Marie Gray 208th with 50k.


Stilton Striders A (Matt Atterbury, Jason Barton, Mike Bryan, Luke Eggleston, Matt Gayton, Jim Hatherley, Stuart Shaw, Natalie Teece) 1st with 340k,

Wolfpac (Mick Atton, Simon Bottrill, Katie Hateley, John Houghton, Clive Kent, Greg Pettingill, Dan Valencia, Jon Wilson, managed by Matt Chalmers) 8th with 290k,

Stilton Striders zzz (Mike Brighty, Wayne Hackett, Iain Howe, Ian Mason, Andy Nicholls, Sarah Procter, Brian Walkling) 42nd with 260k,

The Hateful Eight (Joe Cliff, Alex Dulewicz, Clare Marlow, Kate Morris, Tom Peacock, Calum Walker, Seb Walker, Ray Walker) 55th with 250k,

MRC Wonder Women (Elaine Bottrill, Sarah Lawrence, Jenny Kent, Kaye Mead, Sue Pettingill, Jacqui Riley, Debs Wilson) and MRC Wonder Women Too (Celia Bown, Nicky Durrance, Liz Parkinson, Laura Peacock, Laura Pickard, May Øvstegaard, Vanessa Walker) 210k each for 127th/128th.

Matt White 41st.