Monday 30 July 2018

The Sneaky Blinder - By Dave Sloan

Back in January 4 of us set off to Birmingham on a crazy adventure to run home using the canal networks, with the support of a few friends at regular intervals. This ended up being a great adventure and an amazing bonding experience for all those involved, of which I am proud to be part of. The number of club members that came together on the Saturday to get us to the finishing line and the support that was given was phenomenal. 
As some people may be aware, only two of us actually made it to the end, Stuart Maley-Jones and Philip Spencer-Gray. Bren had to drop out at 40 miles as he hadn't done any preparation and was hoping to 'wing it' and I had to pull out at around 96 miles due to knee problems.

This decision to pull out didn't sit well with me. I've only ever done it once previously at the A100 in 2015, which I went back and completed the following year. But, how do you go back and do a race that isn't a race? You would either have to get all of those people to support you again, or go and do it alone.....

So, after 6 months of having this in the back of my mind and a last minute opportunity popping up in my calendar to squeeze it in, I decided I was going to go it alone and get this think ticked off the list. Only problem was, I was signed up to a 24hr solo run only 5 days before!!

I honestly didn't plan to have any support at all throughout the whole run, but just through mentioning to Phil that I was going to have another try, the weekend before, I quickly found what my friends were willing to do in order to keep me safe and help me reach my goals. Within a couple of Days, Phil and his wife Anna had arranged for Phil to pace me through the night from Market Drayton, and Carl Murray had agreed to get me home from Arley Hall. I just needed to tell Claire (whom I hadn't even told I was doing this yet) what was happening, this was the Wednesday evening before a Friday morning start!!! 
I won't say it went well, but she knows me well enough to not be too shocked, and the knowledge that I had a small support crew gave her peace of mind. I was good to go....

From Birmingham New St to Market Drayton is 50 miles and I was aware that I would be running this section alone, with no support, on the hottest day of the year. It didn't really phase me if i'm honest, although when I almost concussed myself going under the first bridge I had to take a moment (I reckon there are over 150 bridges on this course, so I needed to start paying attention). I had food and water and plans to refill at certain points along the way, so I wasn't too bothered about this, I put my earphones in, checked my pace tables and worked my way through the check points. 

Things went really well for the first couple of sections, but I made the vital error of leaving CP2 without filling all of my water bottles assuming that there would be somewhere to fill locally, I was wrong. 
As I got to 25 miles and the hottest part of the day I reached the Shropshire Union Canal, which I would be spending the next 10 or so hours on and I had run out of water. 34C outdoors, 6 miles from the next CP and with very little tree cover, I was in trouble!!
I decided to jog/walk as much as possible whilst managing my sweat and cramp and luckily after 4 miles reached a pub where I was able to have a quick pint of lager and top up my water supplies. It probably took me another hour of walking,eating and drinking to recover enough to get running again, I was very lucky!

Time was getting on and it had started to get dark as I was approaching Market Drayton when a strange sight hit me. at first it was like an auricle, a white light hanging in the distance, slowly drifting towards me. Then I saw the tiny shorts, bright white legs and two Asda bags attached to the bottom of it and realised it was Phil, coming to meet me with our food and water supplies for the night, cheers mate.
A quick change of socks & t-shirt, and it was onto the night leg. 

The night section was tough going under-foot, rutted dried muddy sections as if 3-4 blokes kicked up a load of mud 6-months ago and it dried in the same position. In all honesty, it's that remote out there it is probably the case! There was very little running through the night as we quickly realised that it wasn't worth the potential ankle damage or wear & tare on my legs in general, this was about me getting to the finish line, not how quickly it could be done. By 2am we reached Nantwich, meaning that I had been on the canal for 38 miles and that it was getting close to that time in the evening where we would need to start thinking about sleeping if we were going to try and get an hours rest before the sun came up. 
I'm not sure what Phil was expecting, but I don't think it was curling up on a canal embankment after a quick dog-shit check! 
Considering how the weather had been the previous day, I thought the conditions would be fine. It turns out there was a biting wind whistling down the canal which woke me up a little before 3am feeling like I would never be warm again, tip for future rough-sleeps, find a bridge or hedge! 
Even though I only managed 10-15 mins sleep, it did the job enough that after a quick feed we were able to walk until the sun came up and be ready to get running again.

The one thing that I will take away from this excursion, over all else, is that a good pacer and a strict strategy will get you there much quicker and more efficiently that either running alone or running off feel, particularly when you are tired. 
For around 4 hours of the morning we stuck to a 2min Run / 2min Walk strategy which got us from nearly an hour behind schedule to over 10mins ahead by Arley Hall, top tip!!

By the time we had arrived at Arley Hall my feet were extremely sore, I have no doubts that this was due to doing Thunder Run the previous weekend, but Anna was awaiting us with food and hot coffee, what more could you wish for?!

Soon after us, Carl arrived on foot. He had run the 20 miles to meet me in order to run back and complete around 40 miles, the longest run he had ever done!! 

There was an emotional goodbye and thanks for the amazing commitment that Anna & Phil had given on their weekend, before Carl and I set off for the last 18 miles of the journey.

It was soon apparent that I wasn't going to be able to run much of the last sections, I tried a few times, but the pains in my feet were bad enough to stop me walking, never mind running. My biggest gratitude to Carl is for his patience, not once did he try to rush me. He knew exactly what I needed, made sure I was fed, hydrated and safe and just stuck with me all the way, keeping me talking to take my mind off the task in hand. The Glazebrook trail section and the walk up the East Lancs were the toughest sections, but as we got to Lowton Fire Station, crossing the road into the Flash I finally felt that I had made it home. 

The rain was on and off for this final section, but it just made it more interesting. As the final downpour of the day hit us, we took cover under the catering stand at the Flash and got ourselves some celebratory hotdogs, it was both of our first proper meals that day and my first since the previous day's breakfast (it was 16:30 by this point). We reached the canal and parted ways, Carl presenting me with a T-Shirt that Phil had had made for me (It's not a real event if you don't get a t-shirt, apparently), cheers mate. Carl was awesome and had put up with me for nearly 7hrs!!! 
Claire was there to walk me in for the last mile or so, and there is where it gets a little fuzzy.... I was relieved, proud, could finally wear my Peaky Blinder medal, but more than anything else, tired.
I managed to read some of the amazing social media posts from you guys and reply to a couple of texts before passing out on the rug in the lounge, still covered in sweat, dust and whatever else you care to imagine, where I remained until 8am the following morning, a good 15hrs, much needed!

This was a great experience, and proved to me what an amazing support system we have at our club and what we are willing to do for each other. It makes me proud to be a part of it and I see this achievement as one of the clubs' as well as my own. 109.5miles unsupported (half-solo) in a little under 30 hrs. I've got to be happy with that.

So what's next?

Ultra/Trail Championships Scoring Changes Proposal

After going through the results from the Ultra/Trail races that people have taken part in over the first 7 months of this year, I have noticed there has been a large number of runners who have completed over Half Marathon and in quite a few cased over the requirement for an Ultra Marathon within a team setting in the recent Spring/Summer relay events.

It is because of this, much like last year with the 6hr timed events, that I am proposing that these relay events are counted within the Ultra Championships this year, including those events that have already taken place.

In order to make this fair for those running the longer distances alone, I am proposing that the results will be based on the teams overall position within their category (Mixed team of 8, for example) and then having a multiplier whereby the individual forfeits 5% of their score per additional member of their team, so in the previous example, in a team of 8 they would forfeit 35% of their score as there are seven additional runners in the team.

This will only be able to be scored for races where individual lap counters are in place (time does not matter, only position) and each team member's name is given in the results. The total distance and elevation gain by the individual will count, regardless of those covered by the rest of the team. 

For example, if 3 members of a team run 3, 4 & 5 laps individually at Thunder Run, each will score the points for the individual run, but have the same multiplier for finishing position (as they are on the same team).

It goes without saying, but anybody who is found to be swapping timing chips in order to gain extra unofficial laps will be disqualified from the championships in that year. If somebody does run in your name for legitimate reasons, then let me know and I can discount the distance from the results.

I hope this makes sense and seems fair. As I said at the start of last year, this is a new championships to the club and a work in progress. My aim is to make it as fair and inclusive as possible for everybody who wants to take part.

None of this effects the existing championship rules and hopefully the web page will be back up on the club site at some point today with a copy of these rules for reference if required, but I can always email them to anybody who wants a copy.

If you have any concerns, please get in touch with me. I will leave this open for consultation for 2 weeks from today. Then, once the committee is happy that their are no concerns or issues unanswered I will issue a rule addendum onto the blog & website.

Many Thanks,

Dave Sloan.

Monday 23 July 2018

Gill Pimblott Challenge

Back in November 2002, Shaun and some friends helped organise a fundraising event for Gill Pimblott, shortly before Gill died, to allow her one final holiday with her son, Jake.
After she past away in April 2003, they decided to continue the race every year with all profits being donated to charity in memory of Gill.
16th August 50k run, starting at 9am from Howe Bridge ANYONE IS WELCOME TO JOIN AND FINISH AT ANY POINT.  17th August 100k on the exercise bike at Howe Bridge  18th August Malcs 50k trail race

Monday 16 July 2018

Who's in?

Gin Pit 5 Volunteers Required

It's approaching that time of the year where your club needs a couple of hours of your time to help with our annual Gin Pit 5, which is on Sunday 14th October 10am start.

There are a number of roles that need filling, some of which you are free to race.

If anyone can help please email or contact a committee member via email or facebook.

10 course marshals - Joan Cooke, Andrew Cass
3 x Car Park (can race) -
2 x Course set and clean up (can race)  -Mike Carter, Brendan Loughrey
3 x Registration (can race) - Gary Steven, Louise Simpson
3 x Time Keepers -
1x Water Station -Paul Roberts
1 x presentation -
1 x race starter -
2 or 3 x handing out t-shirts - Emma and Annabel Stevens

Friday 13 July 2018

Ironman Volunteers - Final Call!

Ironman - Sunday 15th July

As per my previous post the cycle route has been cut from 112 miles to 95 miles so we expect the elites to arrive from 11am onwards.  The busy period is likely to be between 1pm and 7pm, with the last finishers around 10pm.

So far we have 30 volunteers, ideally we need around 50.

Some people have indicated they need to leave early to watch the football so we'd like as many 'none football fans' so stay as long as possible.

If you didn't already know .......

The clubs feed station for Ironman UK will be on Ravenswood Drive, Bolton (BL1 5AJ).
It's approx 400 mtrs down the road (towards Bolton) from last year's position (the Lane).

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Road Championships - RACE 12

As previously mentioned - RACE 12 has now been removed from the road championships due to the date that has only just been announced.

This means that you must now complete 7 out of 11 races or 6 out of 11 races to qualify for the prizes at the end of the season.



Tuesday 10 July 2018

Ironman Update

Ironman Update

We've just heard that the bike course has been changed from 112 miles to 95 miles due to the recent fires around Rivington.  The swim is also subject to inspection but is likely to go ahead as normal.

We'll blog something later in the week on how this will affect our water station, as it's likely the runners will be out earlier on the course.

Sunday 8 July 2018

Park Run Photos

Thank you to Joanne Gibson who took over 600 pictures at yesterday’s Park Run takeover.  If you would like to view them just click on the link below.

Friday 6 July 2018

Captain's Arm Band

The time has come for me to relinquish the Captains armband. 

I’ve decided it’s time for me to hand over the reigns as Road Captain to another member of the club.  I think it would be healthy for the club to introduce a new person(s) to this role who can come in with fresh ideas and new races.  I'd like to think I’ve given it my full efforts and enthusiasm for the last three years and I’ve had great support from the committee and  members.

I have spoken to the committee and they have accepted my decision to advertise this position now.

If you feel you have the commitment and would like to fulfil this role then please volunteer or speak to me about the role.  

Captains Role :- Selecting Road Championship races, advertising said races, updating results, placing people in leagues, liaising with CLGP committee (email only) and attending A&T meetings (3 or 4 a year). 

It is my intention to assist the new person in the transition period up to the AGM in 2019 and be available to assist whenever required. 



Wednesday 4 July 2018

A&T Track Olympics - Monday 9th July

As we come to the end of the first block of summer speed-work on the track, next Monday will see the return of the A&T Track Olympics.
This is an opportunity to test your ability over traditional Olympic distance events on the track and to use as a measure of performance at the mid-point of the road/track season.

The distances we will be covering are 1500m, 800m, 400m & 200m.

To get the most out of the session I would suggest picking one that you really want to have a go at then maybe a second as a ‘B’ race, but all distances are open to everybody, some may want to pace a friend going for a 1500/800 pb as a warm-up for a big 400m pb of their own, or others may just want to have a hard training session and race all 4 distances at race-pace. The choice is yours.

This will be self-timed and no prizes or points will be at stake.

I hope to see a few new faces at track next Monday to give it a go or just give some support to those competing.

Timings are:
18:30 - Briefing
18:35 -1500m
18:45 - 800m
19:00 - 400m
19:15 - 200m

If people can let me know which distances they plan to ‘Race’ then I can look at if I need to arrange multiple races of any distances (those just using for warm-ups/pacing etc don’t worry about letting me know, just slot in).

Any questions, let me know


Tuesday 3 July 2018

Bull Hill fell race cancelled 
Bull Hill fell race next week has been cancelled due to live firing by the army on the route. It is possible that Radcliffe will reschedule the race, but nothing is confirmed yet. The Run the Moors champs is looking at alternatives later in the year, with Golf Ball on 22nd Aug being a strong possibility, but nothing is yet firmed up. I'll confirm when I know.