Make yourself comfortable and settle down to read about a wide variety of events from this weekend.
First, Andy Hindson tells us of his latest adventure tackling the 55 mile Cheviot Goat Ultra which he completed in just under 20 hours.
“It was third time lucky on Saturday 19th March for the Montane Cheviot Goat Winter Ultra race. I’d originally entered it back in 2020, it was then rescheduled for 5th December which was postponed 24 hours before the race because of damage caused by Storm Arwen. Of the original 650 signed up there were only 180 entrants for the March edition, of which around 160 started.”
“It is marketed as Britain’s loneliest ultra, and in the words of Coldbrew, the event organisers: “This route will take you out into one of the last wild places in England. High up in the fells you’ll need to battle your inner self as you cross peat covered hills, descend grassy banks and chug along the mighty border ridge with Scotland on one side and England on the other.”
“As the event is supposed to take place in the first weekend of December the conditions should be super gnarly - cold, wet, snow on tops and only around 8 hours daylight. Instead, we had wall to wall blue skies and sunshine plus 12 hours of daylight. At the race briefing they did ask not to post any pictures on facebook as it would diminish their brand equity!”
“I was at the event with a couple of mates, Andy Arnold and Hannah Bawdon. My training had been patchy for various reason so at 6am, in sub-zero temperatures, and a beautiful sunrise we set off with a plan to take it easy and get round.”
“The Cheviots were absolutely stunning in the early morning light. We reached the first of two Aid Points (20 miles) in 5hrs 45 mins and all was good. The first 60% of the race follows paths, access roads and the flag stones of the Pennine Way from Windy Gyle up to the Cheviot itself, the highest point in the race at 815m. This was defo type 1 fun, whereas the final 40% was type 3 as it was mostly tussocks, bog and heather to negotiate. I did lose my sense of humour a couple of times battling through this. So, it was a case of grinding it out and as ever it always feels good to finish.”
“If anyone is looking for stark desolate beauty in a wilderness setting then the Cheviots are the place for you. The ultra is highly recommended but I think the real Cheviot weather would make the race experience a lot tougher than I had it!”
Cheviot Goat Ultra: https://cheviotgoat.com/
Paul Edrich, just two weeks out from his assault on Manchester marathon, was in action in the Afan Forest Country Park, taking on a challenging trail half marathon. Paul tells the story of this long awaited adventure.
“Hoka Afan Forest Half Marathon has been a long time coming. Originally planned for November 2021, two friends and I were signed up for the event. One was hit by Covid and, akin to the three musketeers, we all deferred to 19th February, the mileage slotted nicely into my training plan for Manchester. February arrived along with Storm Eunice, swiftly followed by an email postponing the event.”
“Attempt number three. 1900 ft of trail running ascent is my idea of a perfect Saturday morning so, still a man down, two of us set off to Wales to get it done! All the rescheduling meant very reduced numbers but we set off, starting with a stony, two mile climb through the forest with the sun blazing through the trees.”
“On we went, dealing with all the ups and downs and facing a 30mph headwind as we headed back down the mountain towards The Wall at mile 11. It arrived as promised, a 1.5 mile steep ascent to the final downhill push. Finishing in 1:59 was mission accomplished. Fantastic route and marshalling and second place in my age category.”
A great morning out, Paul declares that he’s Afan of this one! Maybe don’t give up the day job Paul, but keep up with the fabulous running and good luck in Manchester.
19th March, Hoka Afan Half Marathon, 13.1 miles, trail
1 LLyod Donovan (Unattached) 1.23.23 (1.23.23)
91 Paul Edrich (Cirencester AC) 2.00.03 (1.59.41) – 2nd MV55
Seven members of the club went to Berkeley on Saturday morning where there was a choice of a half marathon or a 20 mile race. Blue sky and sunshine made for great running conditions on the rural roads, although there was a tricky, cold headwind to deal with on some stretches.
In the 20 mile event Chris Miller’s splendid 2:08 finish brought him a well earned 4th place overall and 1st MV40.
Brian Harris ticked off another target from his 2022 list, this time a 20 mile PB. Facing some sustained strong headwinds towards the end, he was relieved to hang on to improve his PB by more than a minute. As a bonus he also broke the longstanding club V60 record for the distance. Next up for Brian is a marathon, most likely Milton Keynes to give, what he refers to as, his ageing knees 6 weeks to fully recover.
Next to finish was Rachel Barrow, using the day as a last long training run before Brighton marathon in three weeks. She ran with Rob Tuttle who, despite not having a marathon in his diary, has accompanied her on many a long run during her training and only signed up for this race to support her. Rachel repaid Rob’s kindness by abandoning him at the 15 mile mark when the going got tough and pushing on to finish in 3:08. Rob finished 8 minutes later and Rachel considers herself very fortunate that he is (a) still speaking to her and (b) gave her a lift home from Berkeley. His 3:16 finish was very impressive given that he hasn’t had the opportunity to put in quite the number of long runs he would have liked to in order to prepare.
Tom Morgan finished looking strong and smiling as he prepares to take on the 62km Fox Ultra in just two weeks time. It’s an event that Tom knows well, having run it last year and been inspired to start running when he walked it 4 years ago. Good luck Tom.
The race was the second of the year in the Club Road Race Championship series. Points scored added to those earned at Bourton 10k leave Rob and Tom currently joint leaders of the men’s competition and Rachel top lady. Details of the rest of the series can be found in the members section of the website. Next up is the 5 mile race at Highworth in April.
More commonly seen running ultra distances, Martin Croucher went for the half marathon and reports,
“I had taken the strange decision (for me!) to have a go at running a half marathon again and put some speed back into my legs. My training had been going well, now incorporating one weekly speedier session of up to 6 miles. The two races started at the same time so, once we had caught up with the tail end of the 20 milers, it was nice to be catching and passing people for the rest of the race. The course was pretty much as flat as it comes apart from a slight incline at 3 miles, but the wind for a while when we turned a corner was not welcome. I was glad I wasn’t running the 20 mile race and encountering that twice.”
“In the end I finished just over the 1:30 mark but was very pleasantly surprised at how the race went by running to how I felt and not worrying about the overall time. The cakes at the end, which I munched whilst waiting for the 20 mile gang to finish, made it a worthwhile trip.”
Also completing the half marathon and 3rd in her FV50 age group was Jos Randall. Taking a break from her usual volunteer herding role at Cirencester parkrun, Jos said she would have liked to finish inside 2 hours but was still rightly pleased with her run given that she had not trained for it quite as much as she would have liked.
19th March, Fission 20, 20 miles, road
1 Nicholas Coyle (Stroud & Distirct AC) 1.51.27
4 Chris Miller (Cirencester AC) 2.08.09
24 Brian Harris 2.27.36 – 2nd MV60 – MV60 20 Mile Club Record
111 Rachel Barrow 3.08.06
124 Rob Tuttle 3.16.05
133 Tom Morgan 3.22.33
19th March, Fission Half Marathon, 13.1 miles, road
1 Rob Gren (CLC Striders) 1.11.41
24 Martin Croucher (Cirencester AC) 1.30.32
79 Jocelyn Randall 2.00.43 – 3rd FV50
On the parkrun circuit this week Brecht Grieten and Neil Morrissey had top 10 finishes at Cirencester. Sam and Paul Timms were in Dorset at the Bridport event.
Jo Roberts, rarely seen in parkrun news, ran under hot South African sun at the Rondenbosch event with Table Mountain as the stunning backdrop. Not a bad Saturday morning and Jo was 4th lady.
19th March, parkrun, 5k trail
1 Chris Reade (Unattached) 13.56
115 James Hunton (Cirencester AC) 28.25
Rondebosch Common parkrun
1 Gerrit Viljoen (Unattached) 17.39
57 Joanna Roberts (Cirencester AC) 25.22
1 Tom Fell (Unattached) 19.44
2 Brecht Grieten (Cirencester AC) 20.09
8 Neil Morrissey 21.33
41 Brendan McCarthy 27.53
49 Pamela Wheeler 30.37
Tetbury Goods Shed parkrun
1 Jake Stephens (Unattached) 16.51
14 Nea Sneddon-Jenkins (Cirencester AC) 21.34 – 2nd Female
33 Alan Mcadam 24.21
49 Rachel Mcadam 25.48
St Mary’s parkrun
1 Matthew Adams (Unattached) 17.52
20 Paul Timms (Cirencester AC) 23.20
62 Samantha Timms 29.24