Natalie Teece travelled to Norfolk to compete in the Norfolk Coastal Trail Marathon. This hardy event is an off road marathon along the Norfolk coast where Natalie finished impressively as 2nd lady, 13th overall in 3hrs 40 mins 54 seconds. She said afterwards that it was one of the hardest races she’d ran.
A small group of Striders travelled to Nottinghamshire for the Worksop half marathon, an undulating race that goes through clumber park. First back for the Stilton Striders was Stuart Shaw in 1.30.05, then Dan Giblett recording a new personal best of 1.45.58 just 2 weeks after running Leicester marathon. Greeba Heard finished in 1.49.36, while Tam and Steph Nicol recorded an excellent 2.20.58.
Another group travelled to harby for the inaugural belvoir clockback 10k trail race. First back for the sStriders in 8th place was Alan Thompson in 40.41, then Richard Gray in 46.15, Jon Wilson 47.21, Michael Cooke 47.26, Louise Houghton 51.26, Deb Wilson 59.10, Kaye Mead 63.17, Susan pettingill 63.31, Rebecca Forester 68.08 .
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’.
Jon and Deb Wilson travelled to york for the Plusnet york marathon. Jon finished in an excellent 3hrs 35 min 10 secs to record a new personal best for the distance, Deb finished in 4.54.21 despite struggling with a calf problem from around mile 14.
2 striders travelled to Elvaston country park for the Goldengate Gallop a flat 5 mile part trail part road race, Julie Bass finished an excellent 2nd lady in 37.54 then Lynda Harris in 41.15.
Emma Hope completed her first half marathon the Tissington Trail Half in 2.05.07.
Another group of Striders travelled to Beacon Hill near Woodhouse Eaves for the Beacon Hill trail half marathon, a tough 2 lap trail race around the edge of beacon hill country park. 1st back for the striders in 11th place was Luke Eggleston in 1.34.50. Next in 27th was Ian Drage in 1.40.39, then Greeba Heard 1.56.21, Sarah Lawrence 2.16.00, Matt Chalmers and Rachel Heggs got round in a fantastic 3.03.4 .
With the Equinox 24 event falling on the same weekend, it was a small group of Striders who made the short journey to Nottingham for the annual Robin Hood event. The sun decided to shine, so conditions were warm by late September standards, and we were grateful for the frequent water stations around the course.
A special mention goes to Greeba Heard, who completed her first full marathon and in doing so raised an amazing total of over £2,700 for the Breast Cancer Now charity – well done Greeba!
The races attracted over 7,000 participants in total, with a phased starting system along the Victoria Embankment. All times reported are chip times, with Striders times as follows:
Full Marathon – Greeba Heard 4.03.08
Half Marathon – Luke Eggleston 1.26.16 (75th place overall), Natalie Teece 1.28.31 (117th overall, and 4th F35), Alan Thompson 1.31.00 (half marathon PB), David Hall 1.53.46, Ross Jackson 2.01.34.
Helen Widdowson also completed the half marathon although I think the result was reported under the name of the lady whose place you took, so sorry I couldn’t find the official result but I remember you saying it was around 1.47 at the finish so well done Helen!
Renee Wright (1.9K swim – friend of Kirsty Black), Sean Elkington (76K bike) and Andy Nicholls (20K run) took part in this triathlon as the only relay team.
Creditable times of 0:31, 2:04 and 1:28 were posted to give us 3rd position overall. Sean’s cycle was only 2 minutes slower than the winner – a qualifier for this year’s Kona Ironman world championships.
Stilton striders travelled to Countesthorpe for the final race of the Leicestershire Road Running League- the longest race in the series.
This is a tough course with gradual climbs and downhill.
662 Leicestershire runners joined the start line. A great run from Ian Drage leading the Striders in 1.06.54 closely followed by Alan Thompson in 1.07.45. Natalie Teece led the ladies team in a strong 1.08.32.
Matt Gayton 1.10.23
Vicki Lowe 1.17.09
Julie Bass 1.17.33
Michelle Farlow 1.19.34
Greeba Heard 1.20.14
Sharon Eshelby 1.22.44
Helen Plant 1.25.04
Ross Jackson 1.26.31
Ray Walker 1.30.16
Vanessa Walker 1.34..27
Emma Hope 1.35.03
Ceilia Bown 1.40.54
Final league standings and individual positions will be announced shortly from the league.
A group of Stilton Striders travelled to Rutland for the Rutland half and full marathon. In the half marathon with 550 in the field, and first back for the Striders, winning the ladies race and finishing a brilliant 11th overall, was Natalie Teece in 1hr 29 min. Next back in 24th place was Stuart Shaw in 1.36.14, and Lynda Harris 2.09. A couple took on the full marathon with Helen Metcalfe and Celia Brown completing it in 5hrs 44 mins .
A few striders participated in the Calke Abbey 10k. Debs Wilson was first back in 56.50, then Kaye Mead in 1.02.29. Rachel Holland and Jon Wilson finished with great times of 1.02.52
Dan Valencia ran a brilliant Worcester half marathon finishing in 1.42.58.
The Quadrathon is a series of four full or half marathons around the Malin Head peninsula in Donegal, Ireland. This year it was held from 17-20 August 2017. Although the weather was predictably Irish (everything in one day) we managed to avoid the worst of the summer storms.
Shane Sharkey, Ben and Laura Pickard and Clive and Jenny Kent had a mini-holiday, staying in a lovely house in Culdaff only a few minutes from the beach and right in the middle of the loop that the marathon runners were going the draw around the peninsula. Each day there was a different start/finish, with the half marathon starting at the 13.1 mile point and running the latter half of that day’s marathon.
Malin Head is the northernmost point in Ireland, and it feels like the Extreme North, exposed and wild. The scenery was breathtaking, especially when running along the coast road or reaching the top of yet another hill and seeing the purple moors, golden beaches or deep blue-grey Atlantic ocean spread out before us like a patchwork quilt. The real strength of this race series was the people though, the support and camaraderie that lifted us up and carried us along to the end of each day feeling stronger than ever – some great characters and lovely people that we look forward to seeing again (it seems to be a small world). We all had off-days, where the size of the challenge became overwhelming, but came through that and finished strongly. While it wasn’t about the times for most of us but about covering 104 miles over four days (or 52 miles, for Laura and me), Clive came 21st out of 92 finishers in the Warrior challenge and raised £700 for the MS Society in the process.