30 Dec 2015 – 401 Challenge

For those of you who don’t know, Ben Smith is running 401 consecutive Marathons to raise funds and awareness for anti-bullying charities. Please do have a look at his website, like the Facebook page, buy the T-shirt/long sleeve, send a donation etc.


Invited by Barrow Runners, we Stilton Striders (Rob Beers and Kaye Mead, and later Katie Hateley) joined by Sileby Running Club and Poplar Running Club members to join Ben on Marathon day 121, the Loughborough leg.

The course which is certainly not flat and uses the same course as the `Honesty Marathon`(Please do check out the link for `the Honesty Marathon `as a worthy cause and a great training course)


For someone who doesn’t see themselves as a great runner and must have some fatigue Ben is a truly humble and affable guy, happy to answer any questions, promoting his cause in a positive not pushy way , meets and greets everyone and gives them a token of thanks, and more than happy to have selfies and photos taken with him. He does have a great touring vehicle but no support: so no medics, no physios, no camera crew, it `s pretty much all Ben and the various bits of kindness he gets from local clubs.

Today is very grey overhead, the odd spot of rain in the air and it’s very blustery in fact gale force winds, we start the event at 9:30 with the group running into a massive headwind towards Woodhouse village. Absolutely no onus on pace or anything its one big friendly group, Old Woodhouse leads us to Woodhouse Eaves and the climb up Maplewell Road. The pace was below 10 min mile and a couple had dropped back thinking we`d be closer to 11m/m and I decided to stay with Kaye although we weren’t far behind. I thought the course would have us going towards Swithland but we just kept ascending up Maplewell Road getting higher and higher ascent until we got to Hunts Hill car park.

Team Stilton called it a day at 5 miles, the group were running all kinds of distances but they gave us a good friendly send off and we took photos of them running off towards Newtown Linford. Have to say a massive thank you to Barrow Runners for inviting us and the other clubs to be part of the event, they were very inclusive in making everyone welcome. So 5 miles back going the same way would’ve been boring so went the Rob route, have to say a massive well done to Kaye who ran all the way to the top of Old John in Bradgate Park without stopping, naturally a selfie was took at the summit.

Nice easy run back through Bradgate and Woodhouse Golf course back to the Manor Pub (Which wasn’t open!), very pleased to have represented Striders(in kit!) and made new friends being part of the 401 challenge (Which with today has now topped 2,000 people running with Ben). Special mention to Katie Hateley who joined the Marathon en route and I’m guessing ran the second leg from Barrow?

The Good news for all those who have Marathon training or a plethora of excuses is that Ben is returning to Loughborough in April!(Sadly its Tuesday April 12th) We would love to see more Stilton Striders joining us as it’s totally optional and without pressure how far you run.  [Rob]

26 Dec 2015 – Barrow Boxing Day Handicap

This Xmas cracker has been going since something like 1982 and I’ve done this every year since I’ve been involved with running. Boxing day every year, run a course approximately 6.17 miles on road in which a good 60-70% are doing it in fancy dress and probably the same number are doing it with hangovers.

The idea of the event is that all runners finish together, so really there is no winner of the race so to speak; every runner is given a handicap and sets off at minute intervals according to speed (or pleasure!) thus the slowest runners set off at 10:50 and so on all the way down to 11:30.

Bit of a political niggle here is how the course has been changed over the years due to local councils thus why the current Barrow 6 course is now exactly the same as this. Similarly I was informed Barrow Runners were made to pay for hire per room from the school, given what local running clubs do for the community, sports participation levels, local prestige etc it’s a rather bad trend we are seeing in running and about time it went the other way, don’t you think ?

So as the race begins at 10:50 we are treated to a compendium of costumes Spiderman, Village People, Xmas Tree`s, Bavarians, American Football players, even Jesus! I`m the only Stilton Strider today although John Hudson is wearing neutral colours and Kaye Mead is here supporting, I had taken the safe option handicap wise until I realized I was being supported! Oh Dear means I have to try a bit harder.

So set off with a group of runners I knew very well but within the first hundred metres I kick on, soon catching the next group ahead within the first mile. Due to the nature of the course which by the way I absolutely hate, you always wonder about going off to hard , I thankfully don’t have much trouble with that long hill on the way out of Barrow.

The overtaking of runners is coming thick and fast especially along the 2-3 mile flat stretch, earlier on I had bet John Hudson I`d catch up with his 8 min handicap at mile 4, but reeled him in at 3.88 ! I must’ve been going some as the legs were feeling it a bit a 4.5 miles and slalom-ing past the slower runners at certain points of the course did become a grind at some sections. Made it back in without any runner passing me in 40.11

It is a very laid back and thoroughly well organised event whether you want a bit of fun or wish to whip round at full pelt, darest I say it`s far more enjoyable many times over in my opinion doing it boxing day than a few weeks later as a league race! `If` you can drag yourself to running on Boxing day then this is a very enjoyable option and thoroughly deserves its positive reputation.  [Rob]

19 Dec 2015 – Gaddesby Gallop

This loveable pre-Xmas event returns, sadly a large price increase this year with less in the way of goodies to show for it – however it remains one of the best XC jaunts in Leicestershire and rightly so!

Ever the opportunists the Stilton Crew mobbed the Melton Times cameraman for a bit of extra marketing! Five Stilton Striders today, a bit envious of the numbers Wreake and Roadhoggs always put out at this one, going to give a cheeky mention to the ladies of Melton Running Club giving this a go!

11:00 marks the race start, for those who know it tis a fast downhill one followed by a few uphill fields in which you can’t wait for the stiles to come as you’ve set off like a scorched cat and blowing a bit. Those who have done this and remember the Dew pond, well it’s still wet I can tell you and it’s still a bit stinky. I don’t seem to be doing that bad when my lung recuperation kick in and surprisingly not too far away from Roadhoggs impressive Nick Cobley and Barrow`s Alex Toll which may mean I’ve gone off too fast or perhaps not when I’m still within reach at three miles. Although those two kick on greatly out of my reach my main goal is fending off a former coaching partner and impressive runner Nick Hando of Wymeswold which I successfully do, although my falling face first in the stream wasn’t the most dignified part of the race I can tell you.

The last field with all its bumps and ups and downs never feels good to me, some fly across it looking like Usain Bolt certainly feels better on the watching side.

Special mention to Poplar Runners who had many going round en masse in gentle style hurling mud at each other and rubbing it on each other, hilarious!

Overall results; Rob Beers (40:33, 17th place), Mike Brighty-impressive finish from Mike who had done Melton Parkrun before the race! (48:58, 56th place), Lou Houghton (54:28, 81st place), Steve Dewick (55:03, 82nd place) and debutant in a Strider vest Kaye Mead (1:08:23, 124th).  [Rob]

13 Dec 2015 – Keyworth Turkey Trot HM

As Christmas comes into sight, so does the annual Turkey Trot half marathon.  With a number of Striders entering the fast to sell out event a few months ago, illness and injuries meant many places were being transferred to willing and able participants.

In the end, seven Striders made their way to the start line and produced some great runs over the hilly 13.1 miles of South Notts.  Matt Gayton was first home (1.32.21 PB), shortly followed by Jenni Wisher (1.37.31 PB), Wayne Hackett (1.42.39), Jon Wilson (1.45.40 PB), Lou Houghton (1.47.39), Debs Wilson (2.04.59) and Stuart Gregory (2.24.20).

16 Dec 2015 – Derby Midweek Races

In the first race of the night, Stuart Gregory was the only Stilton Striders to take part in the mile and finished 8th Senior Male and 52nd overall in a time of 8.25.  In the second and final race of the evening, Stuart produced a steadily paced run after a good result in the mile to complete the 5k course in 30.15.  [Stuart]

6 Dec 2015 – Derby Runner XC, Bradgate Park

The third race in the Derby Runner XC league, again although a slightly different route more a one lap course than the one small/one big lap it did last time. A huge crowd on hand again and they changed it round with the car parking so that Newton Linford wasn’t gridlocked like last year, we actually got a very decent parking space at the Old John car park so didn’t have to get the club tent out(!).

A mere three grizzled Stilton Striders represented the veined cheese today, Rob Beers, Greg Pettingill (Who knows every contour of the area) and Steve Dewick. I missed the juniors race whilst doing a warm up (up Old John!) with Greg only to come back and somehow develop cramp in both calves ten mins before the race started, no idea why they locked up could hardly move at the time, not ideal race prep.

Anyway we lined up elbows at the ready heading from the Old John gates heading towards Newton Linford before jutting left, Greg had got ahead in the opening elbow flaying contest and believe me it’s not fun trying to make headway in that to try and keep with him. Seem to be running well but put far too much into trying to catch Greg quickly rather than over a mile and this was detrimental to my race given the undulation of the race. So I shift past Greg only for him to go past me half a mile later and remain just in front of me throughout the rest of the race.

The ladies go off ten mins after us and we see them on the horizon, it’s a nice touch, I know it doesn’t happen at all the Derby Runner races but its nice shouting them in at the end. Legs don’t feel so great today maybe suffering from Fridays Stilton Bash! The pull up from Newton Linford to the war memorial has many grown men reduced to a walk; Dave Mann does a fiendish job with these courses. Take nothing off the Gregmeister, he is a wily fox with this area and looks very strong in the last mile (Although he said he wasn’t) and comes home first strider. I follow Greg home 19 seconds later (tell me a year ago I’d be 19 seconds behind Lord Pettingill on his own estate and I’d have laughed), very tough but enjoyable.

Overall Greg Pettingill (109th) Rob Beers (117th) and Steve Dewick (332nd), no Ladies team from Stilton! Next Derby Runner is January at Allstree Park, Derby, and no idea of the course if it’s a good one or not? I’m sure they make these as far from Melton as possible!  [Rob]


5 Dec 2015 – No walk in the park 5k

Stuart Gregory was the only Strider to make is way to the final race in the series on a very cloudy and windy Chesterfield day. As the race got underway Stuart manage to keep with the main group of runners before settling into a steady pace on the second of four laps, as Stuart entered the final few laps it was clear that any time under 30 minutes would be a hard ask, he crossed the finish line to recorded one of his worst 5km times of the year in 30:25.

PRESENTATION as this was the final race in the series the annual presentation followed around 30 minutes after the race. Stuart had completed the required number of races to qualify for the main series and finished the season as 20th senior male. [Stuart]

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]