11 Jun 2016 – Baslow Boot Bash

This had `training run` written all over it, some tired legs after last night at Castleton and more so tired eyes after listening to Dan Valencia snore all night!We had pre-entered this 14 or 26 mile walk or run a mere £10 I think it was and Dan never actually paid!

Anyway this morning its Rob Beers (Me), Dan , John Houghton, Greg Pettingill and Simon Bottrill doing the 14 and young Katie Hateley who is going one better than us and doing the 26 miler! I`ll point out I’m wearing second claim colours this morning as a tribute to Barrow Runners Paul Osborne who sadly died last week whilst running the Ramathon half marathon in Derby-Stilton Striders offer sincere condolences to Barrow Runners and Paul`s family.

So a sold out boot bash starting just outside the Cannon Gate at Chatsworth estate, the opening 7 miles have a similarity to doing Grindleford Gallop backwards from the same spot. It’s quite a pull out of the estate which isn’t good as a few of us have funny tummies and the humidity is really bad, the option to walk is taken quite a few times.

We leave Katie at 5 miles where the route splits although the checkpoint a mere 4.1 miles later felt like forever, I know there were all times where we could’ve all just stopped and sat down for an hour. By the second checkpoint we are on more unfamiliar territory and despite the often grand undulation (read hills) we are starting to feel a little more awake and enjoying it more. Miles 10-11 take in some gorgeous scenery through some woodland and offer great views over the peak district, pretty much running Nirvana we were loving it.

Final checkpoint and only two miles to go, a great drop into Baslow over the fields and a nip up back through the town back to the village hall for Pie and Mushy peas courtesy of the entry fee all crossing the line together. We actually finished quite high up the field saying we were messing about and walking, might be one to try with a bit of speed one year as really lovely event and very well organised.

Have to mention Katie who did her first ultra with the `Marathon` clocked at 27.5 miles! Think we have a natural!

24 Apr 2016 – London Marathon 

Congratulations to all our runners at this year’s London Marathon:

  • Abi Arnott – 3:51:09
  • Theresa Coltman – 4:02:05
  • Michelle Farlow – 3:52:35
  • Sarah Lawrence – 4:32:48
  • Vicki Lowe – 3:55:14
  • Lee Quinn – 4:16:33
  • Alison Wilson – 5:03:34

Race report from Theresa is below:


Having already completed one marathon I was very aware of what was required to train for this gruelling event, and the first thing you need to do is find people to train with who are compassionate, inspiring, funny and can talk the hind leg off of a donkey. Well I knew without any hesitation who those people were and they were my fellow club mates Vicki Lowe, Abi Arnott and Michelle Farlow.

With 3 years out of the fold I joined back into the training group with ease, I soon got to know our new recruit Michelle and it was clear from early on that we all brought something different but very special to the group. We put in some hard miles over the weeks in some very cruel conditions and Vicki and myself even managed to finish the tough Stamford 30km in respectable times in arctic weather. In fact it’s the first time I’ve wanted to stay in the changing rooms until the gun went off. Directly after the Stamford I started to develop my usual blistered toes and due to the repetitive training day in day out it became a constant talking point of how my onion feet were. Anyway we all continued through to March to complete the Ashby 20 which gave us a good indication that our training was paying off. Michelle, Abi and myself even did a Paula Radcliffe by running in arm in arm to record the same times, whilst Vicki had turned into roadrunner and finished minutes in front. Over the next few weeks we would all suffer different issues. Michelle had a dodgy ankle, Abi had a cold and Vicki lost a bit of confidence and yes you’ve guessed it my feet got into such a bad way that I had to stop running for 2 weeks and go back to 50 mile rides on my bike. I did feel like the wheels were coming off my marathon preparations and had to miss the last 22 mile training run. Starting your taper 5 weeks out wasn’t ideal but if I was to make the start line it was imperative.

Race day arrived and I am pleased to say that I survived the night sleeping with my roomy Abi, as I am renowned for my loud snoring. We set off on the tube feeling very emotional but confident in the knowledge that we couldn’t have done anymore to be ready. We deposited Michelle at the red start and felt quite emotional to see her walk away, poor Abi and Vicki were then left with me wittering that I couldn’t see the blue start. Having walked well over a mile, there at the top of the hill loomed a blue blimp and I felt very relieved. We hugged, said our farewells and good lucks and parted for the last time. It was extremely cold at the start and once the hooter sounded for the off it was so crowded and slow as runners were stripping off on the move.

Nearly 4 hours later I am pleased to report that we all recorded great times and became one in a million. Abi led us home with 3:51:09, shortly followed by Michelle who took an amazing 15 minutes off her debut in 2015 recording 3:52:35. Veteran marathoner Vicki who completed her 13 marathon recorded a strong time of 3:55:14. Then that leaves little old me the Grandma of the team, I’m pleased to say that I took 2 minutes off my time from 2013 and recorded 4:02:05 but have the pleasure of saying that I recorded the fastest last mile out of the 4 of us. Well I’ve got to make myself look good haven’t I after writing the report he he.

The most important reason for me writing this report is to say a massive thank you to the club for believing in me and awarding me the privilege of the club place. I hope I did the club proud flying the Stilton flag. One message I have to close with is, “with any journey who you travel with can be more important than the destination”. Thanks girls I’m so proud of what we achieved. Theresa x

19 Mar 2016 – Charnwood Marathon

It’s the twentieth Charnwood Marathon and my personal favourite race in Leicestershire, this Charnwood stunner at a mere £10.00 entry for the 16.4 mile or 27 mile version with every penny going to charity!

Sadly with Ashby 20 and the Stathern Duathlon amongst the many events happening this weekend this great event does suffer somewhat and for me at least its a better course than the ultra-popular Charnwood Hills race in local vicinity.

Today its Rob Beers, Greg Pettingill, John Hudson (in Barrow colours) doing the shorter route, Rich Gray doing the 27 and Sue Pettingill walking the 15 miler. The challenge begins at Rawlins College Quorn before heading out of the village on a slow uphill towards Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eaves before turning up Upper Broombriggs. Today was meant to be very much a training run but Greg went flying off at the start and I felt honoured to join him and sort of kept it up although I did hang back a bit at sections of the course. From Upper Broombriggs it’s the long climb up Beacon Hill followed by a long descent off the top down Deans Lane before cutting round the Beacon plantation. From there the course goes up Windmill hill, back into Woodhouse Eaves and into that (Bloody) golf course, I always wonder going through here about flying golf balls and which way they will come!

Up Cardiac Hill before the slight incline into Bradgate Park and looming ahead the climb up Old John which I might be in a minority but strangely enjoy. An orienteer over Bradgate Park towards Swithland gates before entering Swithland woods which somehow I found easier to navigate in eight inches of snow doing this event a few years ago than in early spring. Into Swithland village and I hope the fatigue in my legs is enough to keep my away from my nearest rival some 30 seconds back. Turning left at the Telephone box and getting the right path (Something race leader Wreake Runner Bruno Nikoloff surprisingly got wrong!) towards old Woodhouse. It now became a re-trace of the route we took outwards and I up the speed on the way back to Quorn although the last road before the high street seemed to go on forever. I spot John Hudson whose race was curtailed due to injury early on and tells me I’m currently in fourth place! Turning the corner I enter Rawlings college but this is the hardest navigation bit on the course and I can’t remember which way I came in! Anyway I make it in and yes very happy with fourth place for a quick training run!

I can’t say enough good about this event I really can’t , the only downsides slightly being the races it clashes with over the weekend and if you don’t know the area the first time can be very hard to read the map.  [Rob]

16m results: Rob Beers (4th, 2:09:58), Greg Pettingill (9th, 2:16:46), Sue Pettingill (73rd, 4:52:19)

27m results: Rich Gray (51st, 5:20:56)

27 Feb 2016 – Belvoir Challenge

A week of mostly pleasant weather sees a lot of the course a lot drier than the week previous when we reccied part of it and was very boggy. Fixture pile up sees this year’s challenge which usually gets a huge Striders contingent battle against the National XC championships at Donington Park and Stilton’s own race the `Stilton 7` on the Sunday.

As usual a sold out Belvoir Challenge, it’s around 3 degrees and it seems I’m the only person running in a vest. This year the start is from the Village hall field which I’m not sure is an improvement but the pre-race music is the best I’ve heard at any race.

The opening 10k sees the traditional climb out of the Vale of Belvoir, this year we head through Goadby Marwood and to the first checkpoint at Scalford. Aware of the friendly rivalry with Greg Pettingill keeping with him throughout is in my thoughts as not wearing a watch also, whilst it may be drier underfoot this year the undulation is certainly more I think this year.

The route follows towards Waltham and Bescaby then to the halfway stage at Croxton Kerrial, surprisingly this is the last I see of Greg who had a few issues on the day and I’m sure will be back pushing me next time. The legs actually felt slower by 15 miles but I just sat at it on the way to Harston, a child who at 18 miles at Woolsthorpe by Belvoir tells me I’ve only six miles to go, I wish!

It’s a long slog up to Belvoir, I’m not sure if I’m running or just moving my arms but the sight of Stathern woods ahead I feel a little better after a few dark miles. Upon entering Stathern woods I take a cheeky 50 yard walk, I am tired, I actually felt delirious at the Wood Lane check point; although unlike last year the whole Stathern woods section did go a lot quicker despite the feeling I’ve been passed by every man and his dog. The last few miles do not feel pretty at all I’m just intent on finishing and pretty sure a slower start and a GPS watch would have made my overall time a lot better. The legs are shot with sharp pain into my hamstring at every uphill, without a doubt a very undulating course this year, not dry underfoot but certainly still a fair share of mud (those mud divots at the rear of Bescaby were killer), come in to a superb Stilton welcome at the finish and I believe a new Striders course record! Big well done to all who ran, a lot of Striders people running this event for the first time (including a Marathon debut!) very nice day out. For all.

15 mile results – Clive Kent (65th, 2:17:27) Katie Hateley (97th, 2:26:37) Brian Walkling (170th, 2:46:50) John Houghton (182nd, 2:49:30) Lou Houghton (257th, 3:07:14) Kaye Mead (283rd, 3:12:29) Jenny Kent (366th, 3:36:46) Susan Pettingill (370th, 3:37:19) .

26.2 mile results – Rob Beers (40th, 3:56:02) Dan Valencia (69th, 4:15:44) Simon Bottrill (78th, 4:23:08) Richard Gray (119th, 4:51:05) Greg Pettingill (150th, 5:09:51) Helen Metcalfe (202nd, 6:26:25).


18 Nov 2015 – Newark Festival of Running

It doesn’t feel good to have to give a negative review given the effort when people put on running events,   I have since found out the usually very good `How hard can it be events` put this on under their name for someone else.So the initial festival of running, I’d signed up for the Marathon distance but both 10k and Half Marathon were also there. Things didn’t start good in the week or so preceding knowing the course was a double loop how actually monotonous the course was I didn’t find out until the day.  The strangest thing of all was that at 5k we weren’t allowed to run due to an issue with the council, thus had a 200 metre strip every runner had to walk or face being disqualified! Yeah Running in a Marathon, who’d have thought it!

Race day and its very cold with the wind chill really crippling, very icy down near the River Trent where race HQ is and sadly no real cover from the elements, that I actually ran in my Striders jacket the first 7.5 miles tells you how much the cold bit in. The first of two sold out days of the Festival of running begins with the 10k setting off 15 mins late and the half/full 10 mins late, really very glad to get underway however the path markings start with a mix up just after the first mile. Just starting to warm up and then we get to the 5k section where we have to walk, was it some major junction or busy street? Not at all, something on par with perhaps Elmhurst Avenue or Oxford Drive, oh well I walked it, better carry on.

Once out of Newark centre we head around a few more offroad bits, the organisers has told everyone that Road Shoes would be fine, I’ve gone for trail shoes but to be honest given the course it would’ve easily been run better in X-Talons, some old boy has racing flats on! The Nature reserve is the best bit of the course, however a good dozen of the field have gone wrong somewhere due to poor signage, and it’s not great with you coming back on yourself a little too much. The offroad sections were ok but the course wasn’t great with many repeats and would have been better called the River Trent Marathon as we were along the towpaths almost constantly, got attacked by a Dog also-certainly not my day!

Head back towards Newark and 10.5 miles again were at that place and forced to walk 200m, so do I have to do this twice more running a Marathon? Absolutely preposterous!

I decide by this time forget the expense I’ve had enough, I call time at Half Marathon and had to signal like Maximus in Gladiator to say I’d finished the race/gone over the line with another minute spent writing down my time. I`m then given a rather awesome medal (which the company always do) and that’s it no word of thanks, no hot drink, no goodie bag which given the entry cost would’ve been nice. Y`know some things were out of the organisers hands and some were not a pretty awful event for many reasons, my worst experience ever of a running event.

So an easy 1:41 for my Half Marathon (Clocked at 1:42 due to organiser faffing) , 3rd place in the half Marathon, if I’d had carried on would easily have been a Marathon PB and on an offroad course was running well, and chatting away so gutted on one level but very happy about current form.  [Rob]

31 Oct 2015 – Norfolk Coastal Marathon

Louise, John & myself [Dan] entered the inaugural Norfolk Coastal half & marathons respectively. The event was organised by positive steps in partnership with Norfolk County Council. The course ran between Weybourne & Sea Palling. The event fell on John’s birthday, so the day was set up perfectly, & the weather was fair. As we arrived in the village hall we were greeted by the organiser ‘Kevin’.“I take it you’ve downloaded your maps” Kevin probed sternly. When the hilarity ceased & the realisation that we might need to navigate set in, it became obvious that the standard retort “We’re Striders we don’t do Nav” wouldn’t wash with Kevin. We awkwardly shuffled over to the maps on the wall and took photos of the course.

Kevin sounded the klaxon & we set off.
The path took us right along the cliff edge, which was suffering from serious erosion, so much so that the path simply disappeared in some places adding to the allure of the challenge. As we scurried down a path between some dunes a rather rotund child turned to his mother & queried “what’s this running all about?” It wasn’t long before we had an answer. We ran down onto the beach and in a scene reminiscent from the film chariots of fire, we pegged it along the surf line! We felt like running couldn’t get much better! There is a lot of beach running on this race, which we loved however if it’s not your thing be advised. After missing an (acorn), and completing an extra mile we still managed to come in at 4hrs:20 ish.

Meanwhile Louise had “chosen” to set off with the walkers. After it dawned on them Lou & some others quickened the pace & completed the half with a highly respectable time of 1hr :50 after being reprimanded by Kevin for not tearing a page out of the book at the end of the beach (evidence of completion). After the race it transpired that Lou had run upwards of 13 miles after a navigational error but still managed to be 1st lady!

A great event & would definitely, do it again next year. [Dan]

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]