National Water Sports Centre 5K and Half

7 striders took part in this Christmas Half and 5k at the National Water Sports Centre in Notts. What a great local venue – would love to have a go at rowing. This run was 4 laps for the Half. It was billed as a great Christmas atmosphere, but would have liked to hear a bit more Christmas music around the course. Great fluorescent Christmas tree medal though. A two mile walk to the start – good job we were really chilled about it as nearly missed the gun.

Helen Widdowson was first Strider lady in 1.41.33 pb, then Vicki Lowe in 1.42.32, Michelle Farlow 1.43,14. All in top 20 ladies. Running together for the first 7 we paced ourselves well. Matt Gayton achieved 1.37.19, and Alison Wilson a fantastic 2.08.44. Dan Moult did the 5 k in a great time of 27.54. [Vik]

Dalby Dollop

A small selection of Stilton Striders and a dog braved a bitterly cold Sunday morning, with a biting wind which was enough to make your eyes water, to stand shivering in the middle of a field in Lycra for the Great Dalby Dollop.
The race started off with a section of undulating lumpy fields, which were not kind to the ankles, as an assortment of cow pats were dodged. Next, some slippy sleeper things for added instability and a few stiles were conquered before an uphill climb with plenty of trainer stealing mud and some rather overly familiar bramble.
After a quick water stop, just after the halfway point, there was a short section of well received downhill tarmac before everyone’s favourite… a damp, ploughed field. More muddy fields were then covered by the runners followed by another uphill trudge through a farm possessing plenty of strong ‘country smells’. Once over that experience, there was a bit more uphill before finally an interesting wave effect field to exhaust runners further as they bobbed up and down before approaching the finish line.
The Dollop was a thoroughly enjoyable, well organised, 4 mile local event involving runners, kids, walkers and plenty of Canicross entrants. A relatively small race by comparison but meaning no giant queue at the toilet beforehand and a more than sufficient supply of good cake and soup at the end. Surprisingly, there were three different finishers medals to choose from with some pretty fancy rosettes for the four-legged participants.
Congratulations to Andy who was the first male to cross the line. Other runners included Helen Metcalfe (and son), Andy Nicholls, Shaun Staff (plus supporters), Dan Giblett (and son), Ben Pickard and Jeff (with Laura supporting) and Sarah Lawrence (no show from the husband as he just doesn’t get running). Natalie Teece was also one of the organisers.
Would definitely recommend.

Sarah Lawrence

Skegness Coasters 10km

Coasters 10km
Coasters 10km

Julie Bass went to Skegness for the Skegness coasters 10km. It was 0 deg at the start and only 2 deg at the end with a bitter wind blowing. The race was run round the Water park and Caravan Park so virtually traffic free. Not a very interesting course but totally flat! I was pleased with my time of 46.00 and 1st V50, and 103rd place out of a field of 660 and 9th lady.

Julie Bass

Derby Runner XC – Prestwold

3 weeks after the 1st race in the series, a last minute change of venue was needed for round 2 due to problems with the landowner at Markfield.
Step in the fabulous John Skev and a more than adequate replacement was found at Prestwold Hall on a chilly but sunny day.
Many Striders with children will be familiar with this venue as it’s the location for the Leicestershire and National primary schools XC championships, so after supporting our offspring over the years, it was good to finally run here.
The course was 2 laps, with mainly wide open mowed grassland but also a couple of ditches to navigate, a steep hill up an embankment and a wade through a big puddle.  With little or no narrow parts causing hold-ups, the speedsters could really motor and show their class.  The rest of us did our best!
Prestwold XC Nov 2017
Prestwold XC Nov 2017
What was most pleasing about today’s race was how many people came, even though it was a less than ideal time, being the day after the popular Seagrave long-distance XC race.  With Katie, Vicki, Lou, John, Alan and Nick all having raced both, and Matt continuing to progress coming back from injury, there were some great performances.  Also great to see Kathy on her first XC outing declaring she “loved it” with a massive smile as she crossed the line.  We weren’t sure we’d have a full men’s team but when Nick turned up (with his very shiny new shoes!) I could have kissed him.  He’s happy that I didn’t!
Placings for the ladies: Katie Hateley 24, Vicki Lowe 52, Lou Houghton 130, Kathy Walsh 165, Celia Bown 171, Sue Pettingill 178, Kaye Mead 183
Placings for the men:  Ian Drage 82, Andy Nicholls 165, Alan Thompson 205, John Houghton 227, Tam Nicol 248, Matt White 291, Steve Dewick 309, Nick Pryke 322

Seagrave Wolds Challenge

2017 was the 13th consecutive Challenge, with a 16 mile route similar to the first event,  taking in the villages of Wymeswold, Rempston, Prestwold, Burton-on-the-Wolds, Walton-on-the-Wolds. There were 490 runners and 97 walkers at the start line.

49 211 Alan Thompson 02:08:08
66 529 Paul Geeson 02:11:57
87 621 Katie Hateley 02:16:26
152 316 Richard Gray 02:33:21
153 214 John Houghton 02:33:22
156 57 Dan Valencia 02:33:43
184 668 Vicki Lowe 02:42:21
190 384 Abigail Arnott 02:42:47
305 481 Brian Walkling 03:06:38
315 216 Louise Houghton 03:08:38
326 88 Rebecca Forrester 03:10:15
327 129 Daniel Howley 03:10:17
352 263 Nick Pryke 03:23:02
368 219 Jacqui Riley 03:27:00
369 381 Sarah Lawrence 03:27:01
421 421 Janet Hudson 03:41:49
422 422 John Hudson 03:41:50
490 379 David Hall 04:40:56

Julie finishes as 5th lady overall in the Robin Hood Trail 10km!


Julie 5th overall
Julie finishes 5th overall lady!

I went to Sherwood Pines on Saturday to run the Robin Hood Trail 10km. After the morning rain, it turned out cool, but sunny for the race, which I believe is 2 laps of the Parkrun Course.
Not too muddy for a novice trail runner like myself, I was pleased with my time of 46.48. Finishing 44th overall, 5th lady and winning the 2nd vet 40 trophy.
[Julie Bass]

Well done Julie! Fab result!

Whoop! Trophy!
Whoop! Trophy!

Robin Hood Adventure Duathlon

It was raining when my alarm went off at 05:30 on Saturday morning. A good 3 hours before I would need to leave for the 3.1 mile race at Park-Run (that was for Shane). However, that was not to be. I hauled ass out of bed, down stairs to grab my kit and in to the garage to collect my old faithful mountain bike, for Saturday 4th November 2017 meant just one thing. Robin Hood Adventure Duathlon!

For those who are unfamiliar with the duathlon format, it’s like a long run but the middle bit is done on a bike. In this case, it’s a 5k gravel run, 16k trail bike and then another 3.4k gravel run. The “transition” from run to bike to run is done in a penned off area where you have a small personal space in which to leave drinks, shoes, helmet and bike etc. The race is chip timed and encourages some fast action.

This duathlon from OSB Events is hosted at Sherwood Pines which is now flatter than ever as the 350 competitors each brought at least 1/3rd tonne of it home with them. Muddy? Much? Hmmmm….

So, with bike racked on my car, I set off for Sherwood Pines stopping only to pick up Andy Nicholls and his bike (which he apologised for being a bit dirty on my car – how we laugh now!!!).

If you have not been to Sherwood Pines, it’s about 50 minutes from Melton just north of Nottingham. It’s the far side of Centre Parcs. There are numerous walks, bike routes, cycle parks and play parks and even a Go Ape scattered throughout the largest forest open to the public in the East Mids. Parking is £6 for the day but 1 and 2 hours are £2 and £4. See for more info on that! Parking is Pay and Display from 8am and you can’t pay up front so don’t stray far until 8 but pay on exit will arrive soon.

It was still raining hard when we arrived for registration but spirits were high. The goodie bag was well stocked and the long sleeved technical T looked good to change in to at the end. We had some numbered stickers for our helmets and bikes and a race number. Race belts are recommended for multi-sport events but not critical as long as it’s visible on the front for running and the back for cycling. Once labeled up, we gathered our “transition” gear and headed down to rack up our bikes. As you can imagine, with 350 bikes in a pen, it’s important to know were your space is but being numbers 10 and 14 – we had an easy spot to find. The pen has an entrance at one corner and an exit at the far corner so theoretically, it’s the same distance for all when running through.

Nearing 8:15am, the rain slowed to a dreary dribble and we joined the rest of the 40+ males (and one female for equality purposes??) and listened to the race briefing. This was given by the race organiser who had just returned from a lap on the bike. He said it was muddy. He said some parts were more river than trail. He said we should be careful. All 3 of these were dramatic understatements. At 08:30 on the nose, 149 old men and a lady charged off for the 5k run around the wide gravel paths of the Sherwood Pines parkrun. This was nice. A bit rainy but wide paths and a solid terrain. A nice chat with Andy for the first 3-4k to let the other runners know that we were chilled and the race was on.  The subtle hills were nice for catching the cyclists who weren’t such good runners but the top guys disappeared in to the distance. I was happy with my time of 21:21 just about 30 seconds behind Andy.

Next was the first bit of strategy. Andy opted to ride his bike in trail shoes so could just put his helmet on and go (got to have helmet on before you touch your bike) where as I opted to change in to cycle shoes that could attach to the bike. Andy’s option was faster in transition and gave him better stability and was able to get off the bike more easily but my option gave me better efficiency and power at the cost of looking like an idiot if I got in trouble. All in all, Andy was out of first transition a full minute ahead of me. Anyone who knows me knows what was going through my head.

So, bike then. It was definitely a mountain bike day. The CycloCross guys had a bit of a nightmare. It was muddy. VERY muddy. Bike slipping all over the shop muddy. After about 1k, the cycle route dived in to the trees where the terrain varied from 1m wide muddy paths that turned and undulated with regular frequency to much narrower, much muddier, much twistier paths that were quite tough. I think this is described as “technical”. I describe it as bloody hard. Within another kilometre I had become friends with a tree that I somehow ended up hugging tight so the guy behind me had enough room. Remember I said that I ran the risk of looking like an idiot? Well, I don’t like to disappoint. Still, quick check that my bike was OK (it was) and off again. Another couple of km’s later I saw Andy and caught up on some particularly tight sections.  It was this point that I saw my first CycloCross guy. Andy and I were twisting our way through the trees. There didn’t seem to be a path. It was more like someone had used a 30cm ruler to scrape a route through the forest trying to turn around every tree possible. I was just holding my nerve when I heard “On your right” and some foolish fool of a fool on a CX bike tried (successfully) to squeeze past me despite my yells of “There is no room mate!”. There was no room. I still do not know how he managed it or how I didn’t hit a tree. At this point, I think Andy took the wise decision to pull over and let the foolish fool past.  A few other riders, myself included, also went past. I had 3 behind me at this point and my way of dealing with this was to add speed. I was getting more confident so hands off the brakes and let the adrenalin flood through. 

That is when I saw the dip. 

I may have sworn a bit. I may also have soiled my cycle shorts (I wouldn’t know through the mud). It was a short 1m drop with an instant 1m climb up the other side. Fine at a steady pace but at my über confident “lets win this” pace it was not. My face and the tree opposite had a nice coming together. My bike hit the tree square on and I ended up a couple of meters from the trail. Somehow, I was not too scratched. Also my bike was still OK so back on and off we went again. I would like to say that this time I set off a little more carefully. Again, anyone who knows me, knows what happened next. Yup – I lost a good 20 seconds in that crash so I added a bit more speed. The rest of the race was quite uneventful. Mud, puddles, trees, mud, climbs, mud, twists and turns, mud with a bit of mud on the side finished the lap and on to the second lap of 2. I knew what was coming this time so knew where to slow down. Unfortunately, my brakes had some grit in them so they had pretty much stopped working. This time, I positioned myself better for the dip and jumped back on to the trail rather than in to a tree. After just over 1h20, I had completed 2 laps and with cheers from a crowd that had gathered at the end of the lap, I turned back towards race village and on to the final run leg. 

Running “off” of the bike is always a wobbly affair. An hour of spinning legs on a bike makes running feel unnatural and slow. It was great to let go of the concentration from the bike leg but with numb toes and legs full of lactic acid, progress was not rapid. The good news is that it’s the same for everyone so a good chance to claw a couple of places back from those that capitalised on my misfortunes. The final run was a shorter version of the first run using much of the same route. Coming back in to the race village in a little over 16mins for the 3.4k and 1h58,50 in total. A respectable 17th in age group (of 35) and 119th overall, Andy about 5 minutes further back. 

A cracking event that anyone can do, lots of muddy fun, but if you want to go fast, you need to be supremely confident on the bike.

[Matt Taylor]


Grimsby 10k and Huncote 5

Alan Thompson travelled to Grimsby for the Grimsby 10k and finished in an excellent 59th position out of over 2300 entrants running a pb of 38 min 33 sec.
A group of Striders travelled to Huncote for the latest Race in the Leicester road running league, Huncote 5. On a fast course and first back for the club was Alan Thompson in 30 min 59 secs clocking an excellent 52nd place. Following Alan was Ian Drage in 32.03, then Natalie Teece 2nd f35 in 33.06,  Andy Nicholls 33.45, Helen Widdowson 35.37, Richard Gray 36.24, Julie Bass 2nd f55 in 36.35, Vicki Lowe 37.17, Michelle Farlow 38.13, Helen Plant 39.57, Abi Arnott 40.15, Ray Walker 41.38, Lynda Harris 42.03, Celia Brown 43.28, Vanessa walker 45.10.

Derby Runner XC – Bagworth Heath

The first race of the Derby Runner XC league 2017/18 season took place at Bagworth Heath, near Markfield.

By a stroke of luck, we managed to field exactly the right numbers to make up a mens’ team (8 men) and a ladies’ team (4 women).
The first lap started with a muddy uphill section that soon slowed everyone down.  It was a recurring feature that there were bottlenecks where you had to stop or just take it easy on single track paths followed by wider sections or the occasional bit of tarmac to go faster and overtake.  By the second lap, the field was more strung out and these welcome breathers were fewer!  On the third lap, some of the runners began to get lapped but all in my experience were very polite and let us go past, sacrificing a bit of time to make way when they really didn’t have to.  Near the end, there was a loop away from the finish, up a hill then back down again then round to the finish.
As the route had to be changed at the last minute, the advertised distance of 6.5 miles was cut down to an expected 5.75 miles.  In actual fact we were meant to do the longer loop twice but only did this on the third lap so it ended up being 5.25 miles.  That was plenty for me!
The only casualty on the day was the club’s tent which nearly blew away during the race and had to be dismantled for us by another club (I think it was Desford – thank you!).
Ladies – Vicki Lowe (44th), Lou Houghton (97th), Sue Pettingill (205th), Kaye Mead (207th) – with 222 finishers.
Men – Nick Brown (63rd), Ian Drage (65th), AlanThompson (75th), Greg Pettingill (140th), Andy Nicholls (166th), John Houghton (215th), Steve Dewick (306th) and Matt White (325th) – with 389 finishers

Shepshed 7

A small group of striders travelled to Shepshed on the 5th November for the annual Shepshed 7 race.  This is a friendly race.  It is a 2 lap course on a scenic route in the private grounds of Garendon Park.

It was great to see Helen Widdowson out racing and coming first home for the Striders in 51.21 and 13th lady out of field of over 200 ladies.  Vicki Lowe followed in 53.42.

Sarah Lawrence 59.31, Lynda Harris 1.03.14.  For the men Matthew Daniel 59.35 and David Hall who suffered a calf sprain on the 1st lap round but managed to finish in 1.03.39.