In this edition we profile a current club member (Greeba Heard), her incredible progress and motivation, then highlight members’ charitable fundraising efforts and revamp the London Marathon eligibility criteria for the club’s place(s) plus introduce our new race “the Bison Bash” as well as a round up of the many events over the last month or so.
Please see this month’s newsletter below:
There was a great Strider turnout with 24 Stilton Striders at the Leicester marathon.
Marathon results: Stuart Shaw 3:04:17 PB, Matt Gayton 3:11:44, Luke Eggleston 3:18:12 PB, Richard Gray 3:54:01, Andy Nicholls 3:58:18, Sarah Lawrence 4:26:54.
Half Marathon results: Jason Barton 1:19:04, Darren Glover 1:25:00, Mark Stoneley 1:30:58, Natalie Teece 1:31:29, Shane Sharkey 1:40:11, John Houghton 1:41:13, Vicki Lowe 1:45:30 Greeba Heard 1:45:58, Liz Goodbourn 1:46:04 PB, Louise Houghton 1:52:00, Helen Plant 1:54:56, John Hudson 1:56:35, Colin Miles 1:57:36, Lynda Harris 1:59:44, Vanessa Walker 2:02:05, Ray Walker 2:03:50, Helen Metcalfe 2:04:46, Alexandra Fairhurst 2:35:35.
Having waited up on New Year’s Eve to enter this race – the day had finally come for myself and Helen Widdowson to pickup our numbers and Technical T-shirts from Electric Mountain. It had been a long 6 hour journey the but the organisers were really friendly and answered all the questions we had about parking etc.
The next day we arrive nice and early so we could park close to the start/ finish line, the nerves were kicking in and we did feel somewhat intimidated by the number of runners who were sporting 100 Marathon club and Ironman shirts.At the start of the race the weather was misty but not at all cold. As we hit the first hill Helen is looking strong but we regroup on the decent, this happens on the second hill as well. After that it seems a long way till the final assent and I feel very aware of trying to conserve as much energy as possible.
Rob had advised us to try and run up the last hill at 21.5 miles and we both do apart from a few steps walking – but nearly everyone else was walking and as we neared mile 23 I started to feel strong, Helen had a green moment at this point but as we started the very slippery decent to the finish we realised we could do it under our target, this spurred us on and we pushed through to Llanberis and the very welcoming crowds at the finish line.
We had actually done it coming in at 4hrs 23seconds, pretty much as planned, from start to finish the support and the volunteers were amazing & the scenery is beautiful, will I do this again?…. I expect so. (Abi)
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!
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.
Latest newsletter is below, including a call for volunteers, details of our Autumn/Winter club run plans, a special run to mark World Mental Health Day, LRRL awards, forthcoming cross country season, Christmas dinner date and more…
I`ll leave the mysteries and glitz for the gossip columns and focus on the big race itself, that we had what 20 Stilton Striders at this event racing the 10k, Half Marathon and full marathon (ok it’s an ultra) in Wild Wales is absolutely fantastic.
What isn’t so fantastic is again we would be doing the event in heavy rain as half an hour before the event the heavens open, at least it’s a tad warmer than last year when the weather caused some rather massive anxiety and self confidence issues. Our big group of runners are pretty well kitted out, really not sure if some of them know what they are facing but hey ho they are smiling! The half and full start together leading out the village before a very sharp climb on Snowdon’s lower slopes that has far too many people walking in the first mile, its heavy traffic and good agility is needed in case of death by bum bag or backpack. Making good progress as pass Mike Bryan and Jim Hatherley early on, enjoy the first four miles of just grinding up the endless hill, there`s the masochist in me. Long fell like downhill brings us out near the Snowdon ranger before over a mile of tarmac on the way to Rhyd-Du and the turnoff to Beddgelert forest. Before I know it I’m looking at signs for 8 and 11 miles, have to say I was thinking of the team out there doing the half how they were finding it, when Luke would get back etc.
Make it to Beddgelert village wondering how far Stuart Shaw is in front as haven’t seen him since 5-6 miles thinking the mud and terrain near Llyn Dinas may have slowed him down only to find they had trailed the surface like Beacon Hill! Mud still to come though as we crossed the road to the far side of Llyn Gwynant and quite a merry adventure it is round there. Simon Bottrill I found out later somehow picked a wrong turn somewhere and ended up thigh deep in the lake losing 20 mins running time in the process, not good as it was tiring enough at this bit. 17 miles in and the course was changed, the long slog upto Pen Y Pass took another route although it was a damn lot steeper, some people preferred it, personally I didn’t. 20 miles and you’re at Pen Y Pass the highest road in the UK, some people may have said this year’s course was shorter than the 29.3 miles of last year but unless they’ve shaved the mountain down somewhat from here on it was exactly the same as last year’s course.
Instead of plumping for last year’s heroics in a vest I admit I was tired and went for a base layer, an energy gel and a protein bar as I started climbing the very hard going Pyg track up Wyddfa, a fresh looking Jim Hatherley passes me at 21 miles. Even the Half Marathoners had a hard climb going up the Snowdon Ranger path but the Pyg is the hardest route: full of scrambles, hand holds and parts of the route are very exposed to the elements, as well as the feeling it’s never ending. Pretty sure about 30 people must have passed me on the way to the summit, my pace was slow if persistent and it took a good mile downhill to get going again after the top, quads were burning on the descent after all the elevation.
Finally start descending a bit better and sadly the road back into Llanberis again doesn’t happen as we are sent through woodland trails around the back, taking my waterproof off cost me a good minute I can tell you. Past Dolbadarn Castle and I can smell the finish even starting to laugh as one runner goes the wrong way and heads towards Electric Mountain! Over the line to a great applause from the crowd and and the Striders faithful, a bit quicker than last year also.
Nothing on photo can tell you what this race is like, if you ran the full, the half or the 10k you deserve massive respect; it is a very tough race or perhaps event. You really have to have been ¾ up a Welsh mountainside exposed to the elements with badly aching legs and fading energy to imagine what this is like. I have massive respect for everyone who did this weekend’s races, everyone in my eyes achieved, although there were some stunning results also.
See you next year? [Rob]