|Records shown 1 - 20 of 1885|
||Eastern Athletics Association Cross Country Championships - Keysoe, Bedfordshire
||EAA have held open cross country championships most years since 1937. Only C&C, Nene Valley and Peterborough AC have ever brought the trophy to Cambridgeshire, could Ely add to that list in 2016? No, is the short answer, not this time. But a valiant team effort did run it pretty close on a cold and windy November Saturday near Bedford, and six happy Ely Runners drove away with silver medals around their necks.
A small field of perhaps 50 U20/ Senior and Vet men, small relative to the more glamourous regional pillars of the season that are the SEAA and ECCA championships in January/ February, but a high quality competition across the board saw runners quickly spread out over a wide and well-marked course (championship standard).
The venue this year was an equestrian centre, and the three lap course at first glance incorporated a great deal more jumps than is usual in cross country. On closer reconnaissance, no actual horse jumps were included, but several grass banks and a knee deep water splash some ten strides in length were part of the fun. Overall, the course was difficult to describe as anything other than flat. The main cross country feature was the surface, which was mostly some sort of mud and bark chipping mixture, heavily rutted in those parts that were horsey favourites. This unrelentingly uneven and soft surface made sapping running; very difficult to settle into any sort of rhythm, and yet rhythm was precisely what the flat terrain and spread out field demanded. Under these circumstances, a couple of 500m drags into headwind became selective. The greater selections were to be made on a headwind drag preceding the dreaded water splash. The cold water made for interesting facial photos (allegedly) and also enabled those who could to push home any advantage gleaned in the wind whilst rivals attempted to re galvanise their racing intentions.
Man of the match goes to Alan Darby, finishing 3rd across the line in 43:11. The rest of the six-man team all performed to their limit to secure the silver medals: 14th Robin Webb 47:59, 16th Gordon Irvine 48:47, 29th Richard Hill, 31st Stephen Howard, 37th Matthew Mason.
The venue was also hosting a dog show concurrently, which provided excellent post-race entertainment and refreshments.
Thanks to Jess and Rose for the support and encouragement.
||Fenland 10 Wisbech
||Windless conditions and an extra hour in bed helped to attract a large field, including 15 Ely Runners, for the Fenland 10, which incorporated the County and EMAC 10 mile Championships. The star ER performer was Chrissie King, who was 1st FV55 and County Champion for her age group, whilst achieving AG 83.8% and a new ER FV55 record by over 8 minutes. Other Ely Runners gained some very good times, aided by the favourable conditions and flat course. However, points for effort had to go to Matthew Mason for running the race 'as a training run' after completing the infamously hilly Beachy Head Marathon the day before, and he was rewarded with the MV45 EMAC silver medal. Peter Harris and John Turner also received EMAC silver medals in their respective age groups, with the latter also improving his MV70 ER record. There were 341 finishers. The race was won by James Bellward in 52:35 and 1st Lady was Phillipa Taylor in 1:04:23.
Ely Runners results (chip times):
25th Lee Tatum 1:02:05, 50th Jason Mann 1:06:17, 78th Peter Royle 1:09:29, 93rd Barry Graves 1:11:45, 101st Chrissie King 1:13:00 (1st FV55, County Champion FV55 & ER FV55 record), 122nd Peter Harris 1:14:26 (2nd MV65 & EMAC MV65 Silver Medal), 124th Andrew Thompson 1:14:55, 127th Ian Blatchford 1:15:31, 140th Matthew Mason 1:17:01 (EMAC MV45 Silver Medal), 167th Lionel Smith 1:19:55, 173rd Justin Smith 1:21:03, 177th Caroline Brown 1:21:19, 219th Pawel Cwierz 1:26:27, 239th John Turner 1:28:56 (EMAC MV70 Silver Medal & ER MV70 record), 257th Gwen Graves 1:32:13.
||Chester Marathon, Cheshire
Chester Marathon is billed as a fast and predominantly flat marathon, a claim which persuaded Peter Harris to run his first marathon for 14 years. He was indeed impressed by its striking location, great organisation, encouraging support from marshals and local communities en route, added touches like closed roads and first names printed large above the race number and most of all a great atmosphere throughout. However, in between the flat bits there were four nasty hills, the worst two being from 20 to 22 miles (long) and 23 to 24 miles (rather steep), which made for a very uncomfortable few miles before the rousing approach to the finish. Peter managed to hang on, through gritted teeth towards the end, to achieve his planned end time, with the unexpected bonus of coming in 1st MV65. His wife reckons this is his last marathon, but Peter is not sure. He rated this as his most painful race ever, but noted that his time guarantees a good-for-age place in the 2018 London Marathon, which really IS a fast, flat marathon.... There were 2,154 finishers.
1st Ben Fish 2:24:05 (Blackburn Harriers & AC), 40th Katie Jones 2:53:36 (Fife AC, 1st female), 702nd Peter Harris 3:46:50 (1st MV65, ER MV65 record)
||South Cheshire 20, Shavington, Nr Crewe
||Peter Harris made the long journey to Crewe for the South Cheshire 20, a small race with a maximum of 200 entries, in preparation for an October marathon. Whereas there are plenty of 20 mile races prior to spring marathons, this appears to be the only one available in the autumn. The majority of the course is on small rural roads and it is also quite severely undulating, providing a good tough final preparation for the marathon distance. Peter struggled in the first half but recovered to move up steadily through the field in the later stages. In fact, he completed the second half of the race 5 minutes quicker than the first, despite the second half having the bigger hills. He was pleased to finish 1st M65 and chuffed to have beaten the M60 winner too. The facilities included changing and decent showers, the organisation was very efficient and the other runners were very friendly. There were 169 finishers.
1st Jason Cherriman (Leeds City) 1:52:11, 13th Zoe McLennan (Chester Tri Club) 2:13:19 (1st Lady), 79th Peter Harris 2:48:24 (1st M65, ER M65 record)
||Emma Greaves took part in her first Ironman race at Bolton with a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run to be completed within 17 hours. With a lot of training and finances invested in this Ironman plus sponsorship for Different Strokes, Emma really felt the pressure full on for this one.
The event was very well organised with a lot of hype and a carnival style atmosphere. A lot of effort was put in to making the athletes feel they were doing something special. Most of the route was on closed roads so the locals just settled in for the day to cheer on the competitors. The weather was warm with a mild breeze perfect for the swim and cycle, but the sun came out for the run and made the marathon uncomfortably hot.
For the lake swim, 2094 competitors entered the water in a continuous single file, it was like swimming in a washing machine. For the whole 2.4 miles Emma was battling for her own space in a crowd of swimmers, very choppy and overcrowded. Saying that, she felt she had a good swim and finished feeling fresh and ready for the cycle ride.
Swim -1hr 02m
Transition 1 – 10min
Emma knew cycling was her weakest discipline so her main worry was completing the cycle ride by the cut-off time (accumulative time of 10hrs 30). The course was very hilly, the first lap went well and she was feeling confident that the hill training in Suffolk had paid off. On the second lap, as she tired, she found the hills much tougher. It was only the crowds exceptionally enthusiastic encouragement that kept her going on the steep climbs, She admired how they kept up that level of encouragement for so many hours, quite a feat in itself!!
Cycle -8hrs 06m
Transition 2 – 7min
The sun came out at the beginning of the run and Emma suffered in the heat. Part of the course was three and half, 6 mile loops, up and down a hill, she resorted to walking up and running down just to ensure she finished. Emma found it very tough and really struggled to run in the heat.
Run- 4hrs 53m
The whole Ironman was an amazing experience and the organisers made sure that Emma felt like a true Ironman as she ran over the finish line.
Emma was supported by Nigel and Miranda Reynolds, her two kids and her mum as well as her husband Justin who returned from China for the event. She has raised over £700 for Different Strokes, a Stroke Support group that has supported Emma’s mum for over 12 years. For donations https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Emma-Greaves2
Emma Greaves finished in 14hrs37 (122th out of 206 females, 1251st out of 2094 overall)
||North Downs Run (30k), Gravesend, Kent
||The North Downs Run (30K) incorporated the British Masters Athletic Federation 30K Trail Running Championships.
The free T shirt accurately describes this race as unique, iconic, tough, brutal, scenic, hilly, challenging and uplifting. This year, heavy rain overnight and unusually high rainfall throughout June made conditions underfoot muddy and slippery and about as tricky as it could ever be for a race in the middle of summer. The only saving grace was pleasant - but not too warm - weather on the day.
Just 6 Ely Runner diehards (fewer than normal), made it to the start. Kieren Drane and Ross Payne kept up a running battle in the top 20 throughout the race, but Kieren pulled away in the later stages, just beating the first lady to 12th place, which was 2 places better than his first attempt in 2010. Ross, experiencing the event for the first time, had an excellent race to finish 16th and was probably one of the youngest running, although certainly not the youngest, as the overall winner was (surprisingly) a junior man. Stephen Howard, a North Downs regular, did well to finish in the top 50 and 5th M50 - but will be disappointed that two of them were less than 45 seconds in front of him! Matthew Mason was already injured before the race and after a good start, it got a lot worse, so he had to settle for getting round without further damage.
John Turner rather likes this race and has competed almost every year for longer than anyone can remember. It was therefore fitting that he drew on his experience to win the BMAF Gold Medal for the M70 age group. The other ER senior citizen, Peter Harris, just managed to sneak past another tiring M65 at 29K to bag the BMAF M65 Bronze Medal.
All in all, it was a good day for Ely Runners - several other runners expressed surprise that flat fen runners were actually there at all.....
There were 538 finishers (including 5 over 5 hours)
1st Alex Money 1:59:40 (Orpington RR), 12th Kieren Drane 2:18:33, 13th Amy Clements 2:18:33(Kent AC, 1st Lady), 16th Ross Payne 2:20:30, 48th Stephen Howard 2:32:49, 208th Peter Harris 3:05:02 (BMAF M65BronzeMedal), 306th Matthew Mason 3:23:16, 390th John Turner 3:42:02 (BMAF M70GoldMedal)
||Breckland 10K, Croxton, Norfolk.
||Breckland is a pleasant low key event on quiet roads surrounded by forest. It is a fast course and although the first 2K is mostly uphill, the final 2K is invitingly downhill. Conditions this year were fairly warm with some headwind in the exposed section of the race around 6K. Gordon Irvine contended for 3rd place throughout but finished 8 seconds behind in a creditable 4th. Peter Harris was relieved to be back into the groove after injury, improving his ER MV65 10K record by 28 seconds and securing 1st MV65. Stuart Aldridge was pleased with his best 10K for at least 10 years and his first for Ely Runners, soon after a promising first 5K at Impington the previous Thursday. Paul Needham made a very welcome return after a very long layoff and only just missed out on sub 50 minutes. There were 300 finishers.
1st Robert Chenery 34:01, 4th Gordon Irvine 35:58, 7th Alice Heather-Hayes 38:04 (1st lady), 72nd Peter Harris 45:29 (1stMV65, ER MV65 record), 89th Stuart Aldridge 47:16 (first ER 10K, PB), 132nd Paul Needham 50:17
||Bere Pen 10k, Tamar Peninsula, Devon
||Ross Payne was in the Cornwall/Devon area for the bank holiday weekend so thought he would fly the ER colours whilst there. The Bere Pen 10k was described as a scenic "3 down, 3 up" road run around the Tamar Peninsular (area of outstanding natural beauty) - they certainly were not wrong!
The route starts in the village and winds its way down to Weir Quay, falling some 360ft in a little over 2 miles, has a short flat section along the quay, followed by the up approx. 430ft of climbing over the final 2.5 miles
The downhill section was steep enough that Ross felt as if he were applying the breaks for long periods which made it easy for the runners to cover the ground in good time. The flat section along the quay provided just time to use the welcome water station before the hard work begins. The uphill return included some of the steepest hills Ross has ever ran... (Thank goodness for JT's WBH sessions in the weeks leading up to this!) The race was very well organised & had a very local feel to it - there only seemed to be club runners from 3 or 4 local clubs, the lone black ER vest really was somewhat a foreigner! Nevertheless Ross felt very welcome. All finishers received a medal and goody bag, which contained 5 pots of Devon's Ambrosia rice puddings & custards! The race only cost £8 to enter... Cambridge races take note!
1st Jack Lawson 36:02, 6th Ross Payne 39:25, 21st Sara Collman 45:50 (1st lady)
||Thames Path 100, Richmond to Oxford.
||Three Ely Runners (Craig Holgate, David Gillespie and Mark Bell) were amongst the group of around 300 runners who took part in this year's TP100; a 100 mile ultra race along the River Thames from Richmond to Oxford. At the front of the pack Craig had his 2012 course record in mind, whilst further back in the field David and Mark (both attempting their first 100 miler) had their sights on the less ambitious goals of either "sub-24 hours" or simply "completing the race within the 28 hour cut-off".
The week leading up to the race had the typical April dosage of heavy and sometimes persistent rain, hail storms, and the occasional threat of snow; so it was nice to wake on Saturday morning to bright blue skies. The weather (mostly) remained good for the duration of the event, mostly dry, a little wind and only 4 short, sharp downpours/hail storms. Though the clear skies allowed the night temperatures to drop to just above zero, and brought a fair amount of fog/mist off the river.
Mark and David set off together for the first 20 minutes before differing strategies came to play and Mark took his first walk break. Mark's strategy was - run first minute of each mile whilst eating something, run the remainder of the mile; every 5 miles take a longer walk break and eat something more substantial. The other runners around Mark seemed to be moving at a similar pace and a pass/get passed/pass scheme was established as the miles were ticked off. The other runners were friendly and soon several started to share Mark's strategy and synchronised their run/walk breaks. The first 50 miles quickly passed in this way.
Up at the front of the race, with Craig, all went well for the first 91 miles, the pacing and the eating all went to plan. His legs felt great and he tried to get as many miles on clock in daylight as possible knowing that he would lose time when it darkness arrived. Just north of Abingdon (at about mile 92) Craig made a navigational mistake by going the wrong way. He then compounded the error by thinking he could get back on the route. This got him lost and disorientated in the local gravel pits. (What an idiot!!) Fortunately, a combination of mobile tracking and a few phone calls got him back on track; after wasting a good half hour, getting cold and a losing the desire to push hard to the finish. By the time he got to the finish he saw the funny side of it all (to Abbie's surprise and great relief).
Further back, Mark was feeling the cold of the night and finding it harder to stay warm as his pace dropped off. The aid stations with their hot soup and tea were very welcome, but Mark was conscious not to spend too much time there. Things had gone OK for the first 70 or so miles, then a pain developed deep within his right hip which made running uncomfortable. Luckily for Mark he had built up enough buffer through the day to mean that sub-24 was still a realistic option - even at the reduced pace. Several hours later... The rising sun and gradual return of the warmth was very welcome and pretty sunrise on the river was not lost...
In the final miles, the worst part was not knowing where the actual finish was. Mark had read all the race info - including the location of the aid stations and finish, but by this stage was unable to recall which side of Oxford it was on. With his GPS reading 101 miles there was nothing that looked like the finish in sight. Then a gentleman in the Centurion t-shirt, jogging in the opposite direction, pointed out that the end was just over two small bridges and then half a mile on the left. And he was right. The finish. Get in!
There were 207 finishers.
1st Craig holgate 14:09:54, 2nd Samantha Amend 16:00:09 (1st female), 107th Mark Bell 23:14:02, 201st David Gillespie 27:39:08
||Boston Marathon (UK), Boston, Lincolnshire.
||Sunday 17th April saw the inaugural running of the Boston Marathon (UK) (with the brackets being all important so as to not to get confused with its much bigger American cousin, held the next day). No qualifying times or airfares were needed, just the ability to get yourself up the A16 to Boston College. With zero fanfare or countdown and just a single klaxon call, the race started promptly at 9.00. The course quickly leaves the market square with the Cathedral backdrop and is out onto single lanes and open fields within a mile or two. The race comprises both half and full marathon distances that share part of the same course, although separate start areas meant that the two sets of runners didn’t seem to overlap that much. The route essentially loops north for the first half along quiet lanes that are very occasionally muddy (but more ‘Mud on Road’ than full-on trail) before a small stretch at mile 12 where the course doubles back on itself. At this point in the race; Ely Runner Peter Royle could see the lead vehicle and the two front runners, looking very swift. Peter took the opportunity to count the number of runners coming back in an attempt to gauge his position, but the course splits so that strategy was not possible after he got to just three - leaving him guessing that he was in the top 20, or thereabouts.
It was a beautifully clear and sunny day allowing Peter to partly use the changing direction of his shadow to determine his position on the course as much as the mile markers, along with quaint old road signs pointing off to the left and ‘To the Sea’ indicating this was the homeward leg. Whilst the open fields of The Wash don’t naturally lend themselves to huge crowd support there were plenty of friendly marshals and the water stations appeared every few miles it seemed. Boston (UK) is billing itself as ‘the flattest marathon in the world’ and Peter didn’t recall a single incline or indeed any gradient. The wide open views allowed runners to keep sight of other runners all of the way.
Time-wise, Peter was looking for somewhere around 3.10, but came home in 3.17:47 (and 18th place overall) having had a very comfortable (possibly too comfortable) run. Boston (UK) is definitely a low-key race though it had chip timing (provided by FULL ON SPORT), was very well–organised and it seems keen on punching above its weight with lofty ambition.
Peter received a post-race email from the Race Director canvassing opinion on dates for the running of next year’s race (Easter Monday anyone?) as they are keen for it to coincide with the biggie in Boston, USA. Global hook-ups aside, he would certainly recommend Boston (UK) as a fast and enjoyable local race. There were 145 finishers.
1st Benjamin Harris 2:40:06, 4th Fiona Davies 2:54:36 (1st lady), 18th Peter Royle 3:17:47
||South Downs Way 50, Worthing, Sussex
||On Sunday 9th April, Ely Runner David Mould set off on his first Centurion event. David joined 378 others on the start line of The South Downs Way 50. The course is run along the South Downs Way, with 85% being on trail - this meant that the heavy overnight rain, prior to the race, made the course very damp and muddy.
Until Southease (at 33 miles) David had a dream race, though the climb to Firle Beacon after Southease was a struggle. However after Alfriston he got back into the groove to finish strongly. David's time of 9:38 was a 17 minute PB for a 50 mile course (his previous PB was at the Poppyline 50-miler which starts and finishes in Cromer, Norfolk and is somewhat flatter than the 6,000 feet of climbing during the SDW50).
David will definitely be back at other Centurion events.
1st Neil Kirby 6:35:21, xxx Jess Gray 7:40:22 (1st lady), 139th David Mould 9:38:21
||Wymondham 20m, Norfolk.
||In it's 22nd year, this is a medium sized open race used by many as a training or fine tuning event for London, others taking on the unique challenge of a 20m road race. Parking is dotted around town in public car parks, none too far from the ex serviceman's club HQ. The HQ itself not far from the start line at the historic Market Cross, scene of a comprehensive and authoritative pre race briefing. Weather was sunny and mild at the 10am start, temperatures rising to mid teens later, with a moderate breeze noticeable on the exposed parts of the course.
After the start, runners weave through closed roads in town then lanes for 2 miles out onto an 8 mile rolling rural loop which is completed twice (no road closures on the loop). Road surface is good with varying scenery to amuse, from woodland to farmland and villages. There are a few falling undulations, one of which drags up for approximately 1.5 miles from Doepham to Morley via Wicklewood. There is a steep niggle of a hill around the 19 mile mark. There are plenty of aid stations (4 per lap) serving water, jelly babies and jaffa cakes. Marshals were effective, friendly, informative and supportive as you would expect from this runners club.
ER Alan Darby took the race to popular local triathlete Joe Skipper and they worked well together to distance the pack by 4 mins until close to the end, when Joe forced a small gap prior to the final hill, 'fearing strength would out', and held on for the win. Ciaran 'renaissance' Murray continued his sterling spring with another confident and powerful distance run, leaving him pondering what to target next. Zoe ran her trademark controlled race, finishing strongly to force clear water between herself and the chasing pack of ladies. Richard and Laura both took on 20 mile racing for the first time, Richard hit his pre-race target with 10 seconds to spare, and Laura exceeded hers by 19 mins!
Entry included a purple technical t shirt.
1st Joe Skipper 1:54:23, 2nd Alan Darby 1:55:12, 15th Danielle Nimmock 2:12:43 (1st lady), 38th Ciaran Murray 2:25:52, 40th Zoe Shackleton 2:26:44 (3rd lady), 51st Richard Hill 2:29:50, 189th Laura Leach 3:11:01
||Turing Trail Relay, Ely, Cambs.
||11m, 8m, 12m
||Formerly a semi-open relay race with teams from many clubs, in more recent years this race has morphed into an annual invitation match between Ely Runners and local Hash House Harriers, St. Radegund. The agreed rules of engagement being to field evenly balanced teams of three, rather than all-out ability grouping. This produces a friendly spirit and surprisingly close racing, with all teams finishing within 50 mins of each other.
Stage 1 is 11 scenic miles from the cathedral Gallery to Waterbeach via the West bank of the Cam.
Stage 2 is 8 miles from Waterbeach on into Cambridge to cross the Cam at the Green Dragon in Chesterton, returning via muddy Fen Ditton then retracing the tow path to Waterbeach.
Stage 3 is 12 miles from Waterbeach along the East side of the cam, via the legendary 'Chalk Pit' to return in Ely, ascend Cherry Hill and lap the cathedral to finish.
These paths are at their best in the early spring when the race traditionally takes place, on the third Sunday in March. Vegetation is low, and midges not yet awake. This year sunny, pleasantly cool and only moderate northerly breeze. Little rain preceding made going firm(ish) under foot.
Low-key and self timed, entries are also welcome from individuals, though the pewter cup is for the fastest team of three. Two runners took the solo challenge, with Ely's Craig Holgate unhitching even the fastest team at some point during stage two to stretch out the fastest time over distance on the day by 10 mins.
The racing was self timed this year, and as if to emphasise the informality, St. Ragegund entered using encrypted code names, with their only solo competitor, Jesus, actually competing on three different teams. They did however provide a buffet lunch at the Price Albert afterwards, so can be excused the informality.
Team Club Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Total Time hh:mm Pos
59* ER Craig Holgate Craig Holgate Craig Holgate 03:52
62* St. Rad Yorkshire Whippet Groin Strain John H 04:04 1
63* St. Rad Joe B Norbert B Fence Fecker 04:08 2
64* St. Rad Jesus (1) John L Ed C 04:15 3
66* St. Rad Bimbles Xiaolin W Satan 04:21 4
69* ER Samantha Collins-Shirley Graham Chapman Richard Hill 04:22 5
68* ER Jose Perez Ben Morris Ben Morris 04:30 6
71* ER Kirstie Blencowe Peter Wood Kieren Drane 04:30 7
65* St. Rad Gareth R Ale Mary Jesus (3) 04:52 8
67* St. Rad Kristy Jesus (2) Alun L 04:52 8
||Steyning Stinger, Steyning, Sussex
||Ely Runners Miranda Reynolds and Emma Greaves took part in the Steyning Stinger Marathon on Sunday 6th March 2016
The Steyning Stinger is a cross-country hilly marathon through the South Downs between Worthing and Shoreham-by-Sea, consisting of four ‘Stinger’ hills.
The weather on the day was sunny and crisp with a chilly breeze . The scenery was stunning, the terrain was mainly trail and exceptionally muddy. The marshalling and organisation of the race was very relaxed and friendly. Added bonus of free photo downloads and free post-race English breakfast. Miranda and Emma found it a challenging but very enjoyable race.
Miranda and Emma completed the marathon in 5 hours 9min. 19th/20th female out of 41 and 128th/129th out of 192 overall.
1st John Pepper 3:02:28, 9th Edwina Sutton 3:40:19 (1st Lady), 128th Emma Greaves 5:09:47, 129th Miranda Reynolds 5:09:47
||Cambridge Boundary Run, Cambridge
||Marathon & H.Mar
||Students are not generally renowned for the types of local-political and logistical organisation required to simultaneously put on a half marathon and full marathon in an urban environment. But Cambridge students are no ordinary students, and putting on such an event on the first Sunday in March is exactly what they have achieved for a number of years.
Now benefiting from the use of the new West's sports centre, what was slightly lacking at the HQ in signage and marshals was compensated for by ample free parking and high quality changing facilities. The races started unceremoniously but on time, and runners and supporters were off onto the main attraction: the course.
Organisers strongly recommend runners carry a map and written directions provided, as the route picks a careful path around the entire urban area of Cambridge, using footpaths and minor roads wherever possible. However, signage was reasonable, comprising A4 laminated arrows on posts and baking flour arrows on the ground. The quality of the latter deteriorated as repeatedly run over, but one soon came to accept that a scuffed pile of flour meant navigational reassurance.
The route departs the West Cambridge site over the M11 via the Coton footpath, then meanders cross country to touch Newnham before descending through Grantchester Meadows towards Trumpington. Then onto a pace-steadying couple of miles of busway towards Addenbrookes, diving out into the county to get some mud on the feet again for a mile before the most urban section began through Cherry Hinton. The 'snakey path' by the Brook saw the halfers begin to wind up, and on past Sainsburys to enter Coldhams Common. By this point the half marathoners were now kicking up for the finish on the north of the common, the perimeter paths of which were reasonably soft under foot. Buses are laid on to take finishers back to the start.
Marathoners continued to pick their way through housing and industrial estates of NE Cambridge, reassuring themselves to be on the right track at the landmark of the Abbey before descending onto mud once again and the riverside from Fed Ditton to Baits Bite Lock. Now bearing West and into a moderate breeze, the runners must push on through Milton village in its entirety, over the A10 footbridge and past the Butt Lane tip before another mile of mud along the bridleway South under the A14 and into Kings Hedges. The busway returns, guiding runners safely to the Histon Road which must be crossed with care before a mile or so cross country to Girton. Out along Huntingdon Road until it seems like you are taking the slip road onto some motorway or other, but then left off onto the toughest two miles of the course. Heavy, sticky wet mud descending into outright bog before ascending a monumental 40m to the top of the American Cemetery. From there a welcome descent to Coton and a final mile push home to West's.
The course is not inherently fast due to twists and turns, and the ever changing terrain which denies runners the opportunity to settle into a consistent rhythm or become bored. Not everyone will appreciate having to interact with other road users as though on a training run. There are some marshals at key junctions, less after the half marathon finish, and certainly no traffic management is undertaken by them. There are frequent enthusiastic aid stations offering water, fruit, jelly babies, biscuits and buns.
This event is unique, leaves a good sense of accomplishment, and is a bargain at £12/ £14.
Max Holloway 1:16:20, Anna Cellinska 1:24:11
208th Roddie Shepherd 2:11:08
Tom Fairbrother 2:51:45
46th Richard Hill 3:39:45 (PB), 47th Alan Darby 3:39:46, 75th Peter Royle 3:53:32, 170th Tammy Clarkson 4:43:27
Apologies for any ERS missed, but the results online do not list club so I was only able to extract results for those I recognised.
On a personal note thank you to Alan for making this his Sunday training and slow enough to keep me company, and for putting up with my 'fatigue tourettes'. Thanks to Laura and Louise for numerous road side shouts of encouragement (9?) despite a combined pregnancy total of 45 weeks. Well done Peter on creating the discipline of Ultra Duathlon, cycling in from and back to Ely.
||Tarpley 20, Beytron, Suffolk
||Six Ely Runners set off for the Tarpley 20 on Sunday 28th February. For some, including John Manlow, it was the last planned road race before VLM. John was feeling ok after Folksworth, but he was still short on miles having completed only one 20 miler back in the February half term. The day started quite lovely - cool with a bit of sun - but was slightly spoiled by a rising wind; which seemed to give minimal help on the trip south from Beyton, but was blowing quite hard in the runners faces on the way back. Alan Darby set off quite sensibly in 3rd place then pulled away at the end to take the win, set a new course record of 1:52:56, set a new PB and pick up some cash! Meanwhile, John worked hard most of the way around, dropping the 3 other members of the group he was running with in the last 5 miles to finish 8th and pick up the v45 award. Two Ely Runners in the top ten is a decent show. There were 286 finishers. Afterwards, John was pleased with the fact that he had managed a sub 6 min mile for the final (downhill) mile - a good gauge that you haven't blown up big style - and celebrated with a slice of Victoria sponge and a chocolate cup cake with a mini egg on top. The cake was decent enough...
John presents his result as evidence that more runners should also be training with weights. He achieved his 8th place by running only 30 odd miles a week, but the weight sessions meant that his legs still felt super strong even in the last couple of miles.
1st Alan Darby 1:52:56 (pb), 8th John Manlow 2:05:16 (first v45), 57th Ciaran Murray 2:28:06, 78th Miranda Reynolds 2:35:28, 82nd Louise Bonner 2:36:27, 267th Emma Greaves 3:30:37.
||Bramley 20m road race, Bramley, Hampshire
||For the second successive year Ely Runner Stephen Howard travelled down to Bramley in Hampshire for this pre-London race. It is a 2-lap course; though there is a 10 mile 1-lap option for those not training for a spring marathon. This year it was a cold dry day and the northerly wind meant that the first half of each lap was very cold indeed. Fortunately the second half of each lap was mostly with the wind and consequently warmer and easier.
Like most, Stephen treated the race as marathon preparation, going through halfway in just under 69 mins. He slowed slightly into the cold wind of the second lap but picked up well to finish in a respectable time. Despite being 2:30 slower than last year he finished in exactly the same position.
Once again this was a well organised event. It's a bit far away but thoroughly recommended for those willing to travel.
There were 758 finishers. The winner Jonny Hay of Aldershot Farnham & District AC set a new course record of 1:42:43 almost 10 mins clear of the field. First lady Bryony Proctor was from the same club and finished 8th overall in 2:00:33.
Official results (chip times):
1st Jonny Hay 1:42:43, 8th Bryony Proctor 2:00:33, 104th Stephen Howard 2:18:37 (10th MV50)
||2015-2016 Frostbite League Race #5, Bourne - Juniors
||Ely Juniors had plenty of younger, keen, talented runners pluckily pitching themselves against older, bigger competitors and being rewarded with another sound result, in 10th place. They are still 13th overall, but there are 2 clubs only one point above them, so a similar sound result next time might just let them steal 11th position. There were 186 finishers.
25th James Thew 11:19 (Scoring Team), 67th Jacob Bell 12:29 (Scoring Team), 73rd Sam Evans 12:40 (Scoring Team), 80th Dana Fraser 12:59 (Scoring Team), 83rd Adam Smeeton 13:02 (Scoring Team), 94th Jeremy White 13:20, 147th Jack Crane 14:48, 160th Libby Bell 15:55
||2015-2016 Frostbite League Race #5, Bourne - Seniors
||With a number of regulars unavailable for this race, Ely Runners only just managed to rustle up a skeleton team of 10. Robin Webb was a useful 34th but it was ominous that no one else threatened to get near the top 100. With 7 out of 10 scorers aged over 55 (some a long way over), it was clear that Ely was not going to be that competitive against other clubs that had on average 26 runners out on the day. Those Ely Runners present put on a brave face and ran valiantly, but inevitably came last of 16 teams. However, all is not lost. Ely are 13th overall and there is still one more chance to end the Frostbite season on a higher note and regain some pride, the final race being on March 13th at Hinchingbrooke Park. There were 406 finishers.
34th Robin Webb 31:53 (Scoring Team - M), 132nd Mark Bell 37:15 (Scoring Team - M), 149th Peter Harris 38:03 (Scoring team - M), 165th Barry Graves 38:47 (Scoring Team - M), 166th Rob Haggart 38:50 (Scoring Team - M), 246th Sam Collins-Shirley 42:28 (Scoring Team - F), 328th Gwen Graves 48:37 (Scoring Team - F), 337th John Turner 49:29 (Scoring Team - M), 339th Roddie Shepherd 49:42 (Scoring Team - M), 398th Anita Lewis 61:17 (Scoring Team - F)
||Thames Trot 50, (Oxford to Henley)
||On Saturday 6th Feb ER Craig Holgate ran the Thames Trot 50 mile race for the 5th time. The event should be pleasant, following the route along the Thames Path footpath from Oxford to Henley. However, as the race is in early February it is rarely pleasant and this year was no exception. The weather wasn't quite as bad as BBC had predicted but it was still very windy with gusts of up to 45mph. the rain mostly held off, but the course was still very muddy which meant the running was tough - especially so since there was a head wind for the first 30 miles. Craig fell over 3 times during the race. The first time was within the first half mile (which was a bit embarrassing) but luckily it was just past the race photographer. In addition to the first place position Craig has a nice collection of bruises and cuts - but overall got through it without too much damage (if not a bit drained).
1st Craig Holgate 5:49:19, 7th Susie Chester 7:01:44 (first female)