White Star Running hosted the Larmer Tree races this weekend, comprising of 5 different length races ranging from 8 miles to the marathon. The Rushmore Estate invited WSR to create these races around the grounds set on the Wiltshire Downs. The tough hills meant that the scenery was breath taking.
Louise Stokes took part in the half marathon on the Saturday, and recorded a time of 4:12:40 in a field of 343 finishers.
The ‘Burger Boys’ travelled to Tollards Royal, near Salisbury to take part in the 20 miler or marathon on Sunday 10th March.
The marathon got under way first, and it wasn’t long before the runners hit the first section of off road and the dreaded mud! The course is made up of about 80% off road in total. There were two notable climbs in the race, the first at 10 miles and the second at 23 miles. Both of which brought runners to their knees! But don’t let that fool you, there was a total of just under 4000 feet of elevation, making it one of the toughest on the racing circuit.
First Trotter was Roger Hayes in a time of 3:34:22 this was quick enough for first place. Also making the podium was Allen Taylor who was third in a time of 3:42:59. Other Trotter times were: Christian Robinson 4:31:59 (54), Derek Skinner 4:35:20 (61) and Steve Barker 4:45:32 (76). There were 313 finishers.
Roger commented on the conditions, stating that in over 500 races that he’s completed in, he’s never experienced such strong winds. “They literally blew you off your feet’ he said.
In the 20 miler, Stan Hayes ran a superb race finishing in 3rd place in a time of 2:44:32. This was even more remarkable as the recently turned eighteen year old was taking part in only his fourth ever race. Nigel Barnett was the only other Trotter taking part and he crossed the finish line in 3:28:20 (53). There were 313 finishers.
White Star Running have a reputation of extending their races beyond their advertised distance. And in true fashion the Larmer Tree 20 miler was in fact 21 miles and the marathon was 27 miles!
On a busy Sunday, Axe Valley Runners organised the 32nd running of the Grizzly “Trails of the Unexpected”. Over the past 31 years, there have been over 80,000 completed runs, and £394,000 race proceeds have been donated to different charities!!
This race isn’t for the faint hearted, with over 3,000 feet of elevation over the 20 mile route. There were two stretches of pebble beach’s, totalling over a mile, two energy sapping bogs, where the runners encountered water and mud!! If this wasn’t bad enough, the wet and tired athletes had to climb the infamous “Stairways to Heaven”, a steep path up the side of a cliff!
Axe Valley Runners made the race an environment friendly race, with biodegradable marking tape, plastic cups instead of water bottles, no packaging for technical ‘T’ shirts and the goody bag was made of recycled material.
The start and finish line was at the Seaton Esplanade.
First Trotter home was Garry Smart in a blinding time of 2:39.10 and 24th overall. Making a solid return from injury was Geoff Davey who clocked 2:46.58 and 53rd. Paul Sharples continues to show his mettle over long distances bundling over the line in 3:35.58 and 477th. Other Totter positions and times: Jason Trevenen (596, 3:46:35), Kate Williamson (735, 3:57:33), Neil Pallant (789, 4:01:13), Sue Brown (1122, 4:27:10), Dave McMorrow (1311, 4:46:52). There were 1589 finishers.
The Cub run was also run over 9 miles. Two Trotters, Jim and Emma Donovan ran well together. Jim clocked a time of 1:58:37 to finish in 292nd place and Emma finished just behind in 294th spot in 1:58:43. There were 590 finishers.
After crossing the finish line, the runners were offered the chance to be hosed down by the Seaton firefighters!!
On Friday 8th March, Richard Keatley and his wife Sara, alongside Smokes, travelled to Kent to take part in a 100 mile endurance event!! The race started on Saturday morning with an 8:00 am start time. The race consisted of 27 laps which were 3.71 miles long. The weather conditions were predicted to be fine, two days before the race, but three weather fronts consisting of torrential rain, hail and wind battered the runners. Gusts up to 86 mph were recorded making conditions brutish. 45% of the original 100 miler field pulled out!
Richard dug deep, ticking off one lap at a time, drawing on some terrible personal tragedies that he and his new wife had endured during 2018. Due to the gale force winds battering the sea wall, the route was changed at the 24 lap mark. This change of course helped with the monotony that was setting in. At that point, Richard had 12 miles left to run!
Richard completed the 100 miles in 29 hours 41 minutes, well within the cut-off point. He has become only the third Trotter to complete this distance!!Richard finished completely exhausted, not surprisingly, and also very emotional. Richard would like to thank his back up team for their continued support during the race, with lots of hot teas on the go!!
The next challenge for our gallant Trotter is 10 marathons in ten days!! But before that, Richard is going to take a well-earned rest!! I’m not sure why!!
Graeme Baker took part in The Vitality Big Half Marathon. This is a community running event to encourage Londoners especially, to come together to run from all back grounds.
The race started at Tower Bridge and finished at Cutty Sark, passing through the boroughs of Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Greenwich.
Weather conditions on the morning of the race were wet, windy and cold.
Graeme ran superbly well, on a challenging course, to win the M75 - 79 age category in a great time of 2:04:53. This gave Graeme an overall position of 7705th out of over 15,000 entries.
Also on Sunday, five Trotters took part in the Barcelona Marathon. They flew out from Bristol on Wednesday 6th March and took in the sights that the city had to offer.
The Barcelona Marathon is one of the most popular races in Europe. The course took the runners through the city passing many notable landmarks. These included in order: Camp Nou, Gran Via De Les Cortes, Casa Milas, Sagrada Familia, Parc De Ciutedella, The Arc De Triomphe before heading back to the start finish line a short distance from La Rambla.
This year’s course has been modified slightly, making a more balanced and linear marathon, with fewer corners and wide avenues. The positive gradient has also been reduced by 20%.
The course has very few hills or inclines, perfect for personal bests or for first timers.
Lance Mason finished in a fantastic time of 3:12:53 to finish in 1249th place. Kim Nichols was the clubs leading lady, finishing in a time of 4:17:24. Sally Ingledew clocked a time of 4:25:39 and a few places back was Sue Tremlett running her second quickest marathon in 4:27:41. Ruth Johnson also ran very well to record a time of 4:59:08. A superb team effort in sunny and warm conditions.
The Dorney Lake Marathon was also held on Sunday at Eton College, Windsor. Organised by Runningmiles, the flat marathon course consisted of 10 out and back laps of the driveway through the nature reserve at Dorney Park. The park is a venue for world class rowing.
Graydon Widdicombe took on the challenge in very windy conditions. There were times where the spray off the lake swept over the runners. Graydon finished in 16th position, clocking a very respectable time of 3:52:41. There were 49 entrants.