Monday, 31 March 2014

Thursday Training

Back by (almost) popular demand for a one month trial are the club training runs from the Gin Pit.
The sessions are intended to be available to all, so pace is....easy to moderate, remember we don't leave anyone behind, we are a nice club!
If the sessions prove popular we can carry on as long as we like. If not we can knock them on the head.
There is a proposal that the first Thursday in each month sees us stopping behind for a pint in the Miners Club (showers are available). All those in favour say aye!
Because we live in a democracy you may run wherever you like, as long as you like, as far as you like but below are some suggestions to get us started.
The trail runs would see us all running the same route for just over a mile which should give us the opportunity to warm up together (and swap gossip).
I live in Swinton. What does he know about running around here you say? I agree. If you have a really good run that you want to share with the world, let us know!
Trail Runs:
Gin Pit Short Trail Run: 2.557 miles  (
Gin Pit Medium Trail Run: 5.28 miles (
Gin Pit 10K Trail Run: 6.2 miles (
Gin Pit longer Trail Run: 7.78 miles (
Gin Pit longer plus a bit Trail Run: 8.38 miles (
Road Runs:
Road Run, Short Round the block: 3.91 miles (
Road Run, Medium: 5.88 miles (Tyldesley, Atherton, Tyldesley & back) (
Road Run, Boothstown Short: 6.9 miles (
Road Run, Boothstown Long: 9.54 miles (

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Gin Pit Marathon

Finally everything has been tided away for this year’s Gin Pit marathon event, the monies balanced and I'm pleased to announce that the Gin Pit Marathon has raised £1,390.79 for my chosen charity, the Brathay Trust. For those of you who don’t know what they do, the Brathay Trust is a little known charity that does some great work with disadvantaged youths, improving their social skills, inspiring them to succeed in society and reach their potential. This is done by running courses from their hall near Ambleside in the Lake District. They also work with young offenders, steering them away from drugs and crime and reducing their reoffending rates. Brathay also run Low Bank Ground and Hinning House in the Lake District which are two outdoor centres owned by Wigan Council where many children from local schools go, helping with their education and outdoor skills.
 The Gin Pit Half Marathon has raised £572.63 for A&T Road Runners.
Once again thank you to everyone who helped, I couldn’t have done it without you all and well done to all the runners.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Gin Pit Marathon 2014 by Malc Collins

What a tiring 2 weeks! For me the Gin Pit marathon started when entries opened back in September but over the last 14 days it has been very intense. In the 2 week build up to the race I’ve been very busy with the final preparations, sorting out trophies, medals, collecting and distributing water, organising the fantastic team of volunteers and preparing all the timing and check point sheets. Not to forget the added complication of last minute drop outs and late entries to attend to.
If this is not enough the final few days leading up to the event is when I have to get the course marked and the signs put up. This year rain showers seriously hampered my efforts but what has become a family ritual, my Dad drove me round parts of the course on the day before the race to help me put up the final signs. Thanks Dad!

Firstly I want to thank all the volunteers that have kindly given up their time over the weekend to help with the race, especially as the weather has not been the best, imparticularly on the Saturday afternoon when we suffered a few nasty heavy rain and hail showers.

I want to thank the following people:-
My wife Yuk-Lam for lots of help in the build up to the event and over the weekend. My children; Abbey, for helping out in the kitchen especially on the Saturday and Lucas for entertaining everyone and not being a nuisance. Michaela for helping out at registration. Yuk-Lam’s sisters Han May, Yuk Wah and Yuen Wah for helping in the kitchen on the Sunday.
Jackie and Paul for getting all the water from Costco. And it was “A LOT” of water, 735 bottles!
Steve and my Dad for time keeping the marathon each day and Anita for time keeping the half down at Marsland Green Bridge on the canal.
The team of volunteers at the check points braving the cold wind and the showers, Craig Bradbury, Jonathan Hall, Emma Higgins, David Sloan, Claire Matchwick, Suzanne Gregory, Dave Crow, Gemma Lycycia, Neil Phillips, Phil Taylor, Chris and Lin Whittaker, Paul Collins, Dave Capner and Lynn Boylin.
Christine Farnworth and Clare Unsworth for marshalling in Mosley Common.
Cath Hodgetts, Louise Hampton and Colin Rigby for helping out at the finish.
Photographers; Terry Gardiner and Phil Taylor for capturing some lovely images of the event.
If I’ve forgotten anyone, thank you,  sorry and tell me off when you see me and I’ll add you to the above list.

I would also like to thank Maria from Stansfield Sports Injury Clinic and her team of physiotherapists who were on hand both days with advice and their massage skills to help the runners complete the two day challenge and start their recovery. If you would like to get in touch with them again please follow the link below:-

We also had Robin from Team Nutrition down at the Gin Pit on the Saturday imparting his wealth of knowledge regarding sports hydration, recovery drinks and products. They were offering free samples of their drinks. If you are interested in any of Robin’s products please follow the link below:-

It was the fourth year of the event but even though I’m getting more used to arranging it, it still keeps getting more demanding year on year. This year there has been more entrants and finishers. More arrows sprayed on the course and more signs put up, all taking extra time and energy. The reward for me is not only completing the event myself but knowing I’m giving other runners the opportunity to take on the challenge of running 2 marathons in 2 days which is a rare opportunity. The other important thing about this race is the money raised for charity. I’m pleased to announce this year we have raised £1390.79 for the Brathay Trust, a little known charity that does some great work with disadvantaged youths, improving their social skills to help them fit into society and reach their potential. They also work with young offenders, steering them away from drugs and crime and reducing their reoffending rates. Brathay also run Low Bank Ground and Hinning House in the Lake District which are two outdoor centres owned by Wigan Council where many children from local schools go, helping with their education and outdoor skills.

This fairly unique challenge again drew runners from then length and breadth of the country including; Cornwall, London, the Midlands, Wales and Scotland as well as a good number from the local area. The event attracts endurance runners including Ironmen, 100 marathon club runners, ultra runners and competitors from Brathay’s 10 marathons in 10 days challenge.

Now down to the race itself. The weather wasn’t too bad but it was a cold weekend with a westerly wind both days which gave a tough head wind for the whole 11 mile section of the course along the canal. There were also some seriously muddy sections to the course due to the wet weather over the past week making the course more difficult. We had 46 finishers on day 1 and 41 on day 2 with an impressive 30 of them completing both days. On the first day we had the first 2 runners Peter Cusick and Philip Eccleston dip under the 3 hour mark, very impressive times considering the conditions. On day 2 we had Joe Duckworth first home in 3 hours 4 minutes 19 seconds followed by Philip Eccleston and Peter Cusick. After checking the times the 2 day Challenge winner was Philip Eccleston for the second year running. Caroline Hemming of Spectrum Striders won the Ladies race both days and scooped the double trophy for an impressive third successive year!

As for me the race was all about finishing the 2 days and evaluating how my fitness was improving after only 4 weeks of consistent training. Over the past 4 weeks I’ve run 3 marathons and not managed to get under 4 hours yet and I was determined to improve my times. I took the first day fairly conservatively but at a pace that would bring me home inside the 4 hour barrier. I was very pleased to feel strong over the last 2 miles and finished in 3 hours 57 minutes 12 seconds. On day 2, I was pleased to not be aching from day 1 and planned a slightly faster pace. I ground out the 11 miles canal section into the head wind then pushed on to the finish with 3 hours 49 minutes 40 seconds. Another pleasing performance and I was even happier to be able to go out the next day and run 5 miles collecting some of my signs without aching.

I may not be back to my usual form but I’m pleased to see improvements and hopefully I’ll get back there in time for my Edinburgh marathon and half marathon challenge at the end of May.

2014 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon - Sunday 6th April

2014 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon - Sunday 6th April

I attended the final briefing on Wednesday evening and the arrangements are exactly the same as last year. The only difference is that we get a 2014 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon jacket, which we can keep!

I urgently need a couple of volunteers to help me to set up the drinks station (need to be there about 06:00 am) – please let me know asap (e) (m) 07508 213207 if you are able to do the early shift; I will be staying until the end but other 06:00 am starters can leave early if they wish

I need everyone else at the drinks station between 11am - 4pm

I know not everyone can do those hours so just come and do the hours you can. If you haven't registered as a volunteer but fancy coming watching, helping or supporting - just turn up!

My earlier Blog refers (link below)

The postcode for the water station is Stretford, M32 9BD. This is a 5min walk from Stretford tram stop.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Gin Pit Half - Race Report

29 Astley and Tyldesley members made the line up on Sunday 23rd march for the 3rd race of the club champs calendar. The race is run alongside a two day marathon event hosted and very well organised and incorporated by Malcolm Collins and undoubtedly Mrs Collins also.
Registration was very well organized, and the room was filled with lively pre race bods making a great atmosphere that spilled out onto the sunny car park.
As the race is a low key a very brief brief and a shout of "Go" started the 50 runners off on their way along the very muddy trial route. The filled puddles following the previous nights downpour held no surprise and continued along for about 2 mile before hitting the main road down at Astley.
As the route continued out through to Mosley Common, the mud free road was soon to end as you entered back into the woods and along trail paths towards Worsley. Still the rain holds off and the sun just peeping through the breaks in the trees, made for a further nice couple of miles in the bag, next came an unexpected climb of steep steps (26 in total) don't think they were included last year! (Blasted water works). The route continued along on the 1 mile stretch that is used on the Saturday morning park run course with picturesque views of golf courses and woodland the nice, flat and well surfaced paths make for easy running. The welcome of the water station, situated at almost 8 miles as you turned onto the canal also came with an unfortunate head wind! This head wind stayed for the final 5 miles and somewhat added resistance to the run. As the route continued along the beautiful canal side that was filled with all types of boats, Sunday morning dog walkers and ducks going about their business (Easy life). The canal footpath soon turned into the canal mud path. The sticky mud/clay type surface and head wind made for a rather challenging final 3 miles home to the finish.
Medals to all finishers were presented upon finishing at Marsland Green bridge. A short jog/cool down back to the Gin Pit (or a lift from a friend if you were very lucky) for hot drinks, cakes and pasties, along with an option of a massage from Malcs specialised team.
First A&T bod to finish in 1:23:24 and always makes running look so effortless was Tim Campbell - Brilliant running Tim, and for that you also get our Runner of the Day prize so we will see you soon to hand it over.
Leading the lovely ladies home was Josie Maley who complete in 1:42:40 - well done Josie.
Thanks once again to everyone involved in the organisation of the event and of course to the A&T’ers who completed the full marathon (or 2).
Next club champs race is the Radcliffe 10k (CLGP) on 27th April – hope to see you all there.
Captain Wiggins (Barbs & Emma xx)

Wednesday Sessions

Back on the trails! - Gin Pit 6.30pm prompt
Wednesday 2nd April 
2 x GP 2 mile loop
(½ mile jog / ½ mile steady / ½ mile 5k pace & ½ mile ‘eyeballs out’)
Wednesday 9th April
6 x 3 minutes (90 seconds recovery reducing by 15 seconds after each one)
8 x 1 minute (30 seconds recovery)
Wednesday 16th April
4 x 1400m (2 ½ minutes recovery)
Wednesday 23rd April
6 x GP hills (hard up / hard down)
2 x ½ mile (1 minute 15 seconds standing recovery)
1 x 1 mile
Wednesday 30th April
15 x GP hills (hard up / steady down)

Marathon Mania

Monday, 24 March 2014

A&T Parkrunners!

A&T Parkrunners update!!

Well done to all our Parkrunners who have been out and about at Penny Flash and Worsley Woods over the past two weeks:

Carole Baines 22.09
Ian Hamilton 24.01
Louise Simpson 24.10
Paul Basnett 25.00
Mike Geoghegan 23.24
Christine Farnworth 27.08
Tracy Waterfall Chadwick 29.24 (PB)

Paul Cross 22.04
Matt Corlett 23.33 (PB)
Ian Hamilton 24.24
Paul Basnett 25.24
Clare Unsworth 28.57 (PB)

Everyone's best park run time is recorded on the current standings published today (Thanks Terry). Well done to everyone who achieved a new Parkrun PB over the past two weeks.We've got a full month now until the next club champs race at Radcliffe so it would be great to see more A&T parkrunners out there. Remember if you go further afield than Penny Flash, Worsley Woods or Bolton please let me know so I can update the standings.
Happy Park running 

2014 Road Champs

The latest standings in the 2014 A&T Road Champs after the Gin Pit Half Marathon can be accessed by clicking here

Any issues please contact Barb or Emma

Wilmslow Half Marathon by Gary Stevens

Yesterday I travelled along with 5000 others to Wilmslow, to compete in this ever popular Half Marathon.  I entered this race 18 months ago initially for 2013, but due to injury the organiser kindly offered to defer my number for this year. 
As i came off the M56 towards Wilmslow the roads were very busy with bumper to bumper traffic for miles.  We were forced to park on a pub car park and pay a fiver. (at least Dick Turpin wore a mask!)
The conditions were pretty good although still a bit windy.  What I liked about the start was the predicted time markers i/e 1.15, 1.30, 1.45, 2 hours etc etc.  You always get a few who spoil it and go in the wrong section but on the whole it worked well.
The course itself was through country roads and mainly flat, with a few bumps here and there.  It has PB potential, and is very well supported by the locals, with plenty of water stations along the way. 
My aim was to try and run 6.30’s for as long as possibly knowing I would fade in the final few miles.  I went through mile 10 at 65.04 but then as predicted started to fade in the final 3 miles.  Mile 13 was one of the hardest and felt one of the longest ever,  but I managed to cross the line in 1.26.42 (199th) which was a PB.  
After 2 long races in a week I am forcing myself to take a few days off before starting 10k training.
Damien Munroe also competed and clocked 1.36.16 which I believe was a PB.


Amazing day! Approximately 8,500 runners.  9am start was a bit too early for my liking but certainly worth it.  The route meandered through the city centre, through many beautiful parks and then finally along the waterfront.  Nice t-shirt at the end too. Orange and long sleeved! :) 

Friday, 21 March 2014

2014 Triathlon Section League

The latest standings in the A&T Triathlon Section after the first couple of events are available by clicking here.

This will be regularly updated throughout the 2014 season so please refer back. The link can also be found on the right hand menu of the blog under Triathlon Section and also on our website in the Tri/Duathlon & Cycling Section.

Remember to send me your results if you compete in a triathlon, duathlon or other multi-sport events. Email

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Gin Pit Half Marathon by Malc Collins

The Gin Pit Half Marathon is this Sunday, 23rd March 2014. The start time for the race is 10:15am.
Remember you need to register at the Gin Pit welfare club to receive your race number so please be at the welfare club in plenty of time. The welfare club will be open from 9am.
There are no marshals out on the course it will be marked with yellow signs and arrows.
There will be a water station at 7.85 miles in Monton on the canal and another at the finish, these points will be marshalled.
There are medals for all finishers. There are no other prizes.
Please be aware the finish is at Marsland Green Bridge on the canal which is 1.5 miles from the start at the Gin Pit if you run/walk back through the Gin Pit trails and further by road.
For more information about the event, including maps and directions, please follow this link:-

Monday, 17 March 2014

Oulton Park Duathlon - March 2014

Sunday saw the christening of the A&T tri suits at Oulton Park Sprint Duathlon with 5 A&ters taking part in this World Qualifying event. Both Lewis and Linda were hoping to qualify which means they can  represent GB at age group level at the World Duathlon Champs in Spain.

I've never done an official duathlon before (Run/Bike/Run) and managed to get myself into a complete state of stress and nerves the night before worrying about it.  I texted Linda at 8pm on Sat night stressing about inner tubes and how I was going to count my laps and received the reply that she was totally chilled and looking forward to it and Chris had had several pints watching the rugby and had fallen asleep! Team Whittaker race preparation - I am moving in with them before next event!

I arrived at Oulton Park and met up with Anthony Hart, Chris, Linda and Lewis (and stolwart supporters Jane and Emma). It was windy. Very very windy and cold. We attached what seemed like 10 different number transfers (thanks for putting mine on upside down Lin!) and after more stressing from me about what layers to wear we pretty much all decided on base layer and tri suit.

The race was 1 lap /5 laps/ 1 lap. The race marshall at the briefing stated that as this event was a World Qualifier the standard was going to be very high and very quick - eek!

It was a mass start and the run looked great seeing a long chain of runners spreading along the race track. I was about 2 miles into the run when bikes started to appear as the front runners had reached transition and started the bike leg. Fantastic to hear Lew giving me a shout as he flew past on his first loop right up there with the leaders.  

At around the same time as Lewis passed me I realised that I was ridiculously hot and then lost 2mins in transition trying to get my base layer off from under my tri suit without breaking the 'no toplessness in transition rule'.

Onto the bike leg. Cycling on the race track was awesome!! It was smooth, wide, undulating, fast as hell in some bits and horrible head wind on inclines in other bits but was a brilliant and unique cycling experience. It was so good to not have to think about traffic, pot holes, overtaking. We all passed each other at several points and was great hearing the shouts of encouragement from Jane, Emma, Jonny and Karen from the sidelines.  I should add that the wind was horrible though - really tough going.

I was just completing my 4th lap on bike when I saw Lewis turn in from his 2nd run to reach the finish line - I could hear A&T support at the finish line shouting for him and loved hearing them give me a shout as I cycled by (with a lot of my race still to go!)

The 2nd leg of the run I found tough but then I always do with jelly bike legs so was so happy it was only one lap. I was genuinely convinced I would be last at this race because of the 2 runs and the high standard so I was over the moon to cross the line and know there were still loads of people still behind me (some still cycling!).

Massive hugs all round at the finish. Everyone was chuffed to bits with their performances. I was buzzing for the whole of Sunday just from the whole experience. I have very achey thighs today though!


Lewis -  1:04:22  Overall position 5th Age age cat position 2nd - QUALIFIED

Anthony - 1:19:07 overall position 155 age cat position 17

Linda - 1:20:48 overall ladies position 17 age cat position 6th (AWAITING CONFIRMATION ON QUALIFICATION)

Chris -1:22:22 overall position 166 age cat position 20

Clare - 1:42:15 overall position 267 age cat position 10

Thoughts from the others:

Lin -  ' Slightly slower than last time I did it but putting it down to the wind . Great organised event . Lots of fun with my fellow A and Ters '

Ant - 'Great event. Great company. Happy to go under 1hr 20 at this point'

Chris -  'windy, bloody windy'

Sunday, 16 March 2014

St Annes 10 - by Gary Stevens

I entered the St Annes 10 a few weeks ago as a 'warm up' race for next weeks Wilmslow Half Marathon.  Although my injury is still not 100%, it is slowly improving, so it's time to stop moaning and just get on with it.  I log all my training sessions on Strava, so anyone following me will know i have recently stepped up the intensity to try and gain some race fitness, although nothing gets you race fit like actually doing races.
Today was my first road race since October.  For anyone who hasn't done this one before it's virtually pancake flat but can be prone to strong winds, being on the sea front.  After a week of great weather and pretty calm conditions i was hoping for a calm day, but as i opened the car door at St.Annes i knew it was going to be a tough slog, with around 30mph gusty winds.  

I went through the first few miles feeling pretty good, and at mile 5 i was averaging 6.20s. As we turned at the windmill at Lytham we were greeted by the wind, it was strong, the kind of wind that takes your breath away.  It was pretty relentless all the way back, but as i always say "it's the same for everyone" so you just have to carry on regardless.  I finished the race in 47th place clocking 66 mins 55.  Not one of my fastest but it wasn't a day for fast times.  Mrs S said that even the winner was complaining at his time being slow of 55 mins 35!!!

This is a race i would recommend as a build up race for anyone looking at doing a spring half or even full marathon.  It's great value for money at £8-£10.00, depending how you enter.  It has potential to be a PB course, but you are in the hands of the gods with the weather.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Dates for your diary

The next meeting will be Sunday 27th April at the Gin Pit 8pm start - everyone welcome!

Annual awards night will be Saturday 29th November - keep posted for more details!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

A&T Parkrunners update!

Well done to all A&T Parkrunners who have been out at Penny Flash and Worsley Woods over the last couple of weeks. A big well done to both David Sloan on his PB on 1st March and also Tim Campbell on his 1st position finish at Penny Flash on 8th March - great running boys! Please see below the current table of everyone's current best times for 2014.

Don't forget I'm only checking local Park runs so it you venture further afield drop me a line on facebook.

Tim Campbell18.14Penny Flash08.03.14VNEW PB
David Sloan18.58Penny Flash01.03.14 NEW PB
Shaun Moran19.17Penny Flash01.02.14V
Paul Beardsworth21.05Worsley Woods08.02.1430-34
Paul Cross21.19Worsley Woods01.03.1430-34NEW PB
Scott Priestley21.38Worsley Woods01.02.1425-29
Garry Baines21.56Worsley Woods22.02.14VNEW PB
Steve Eldridge22.30Penny Flash01.02.14V
Christopher Bennett22.37Worsley Woods08.02.1435-39NEW PB
Mike Geoghehan23.33Worsley Woods15.02.14V
Terry Gardiner23.38Penny Flash18.01.14V
Ian Hamilton24.23Penny Flash01.03.14V 
Jason Revill25.38Penny Flash01.01.14V 
Paul Basnett25.42Penny Flash08.03.14V 

Carol Baines21.38Worsley Woods22.02.14V
Suzanne Gregory22.09Penny Flash01.02.1435-39
Louise Simpson24.14Penny Flash11.01.1435-39
Brenda Wane24.34Penny Flash25.01.14V
Barb White26.41Bolton22.02.14V
Bev Tickle29.11Penny Flash01.01.1435-39
Clare Unsworth31.21Penny Flash01.01.1435-39
Kim O'Neill31.22Penny Flash01.01.14V