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Marathon Magic and Much More......

Hands up who entered an October race looking forward to a lovely, cool, fresh morning…………………

Things don’t always go to plan and the unexpectedly hot weather for the time of year added to the race day challenge for lots of club members running all kinds of distance at the weekend. First up, news of four tremendous marathon results.

At Chester were Liza Darroch and Gary Wood, both very familiar with this popular event. This was another appearance in a hard-earned England vest for Liza, running in the Age Group Masters competition with her eye on the prize in her FV75 category. She tells us about her very successful day.

“It was hot, very humid to start but that got better as the temperature rose and a small breeze helped. The route was also more shaded than I had anticipated. You forget just how low the sun is at this time of year and rural Cheshire does a good line in thick, high hedges.

“Can’t say I found it easy but it was probably one of my more relaxed and therefore enjoyed (???) marathons. I was very rigorous about stopping at every water station to drink properly. The clock will still have been ticking and I think, although it may have slowed me down, it was well worth doing. A new regime of using gels for the first time almost certainly paid off.”

“So, all in all I managed to keep going with a few walks especially up the last couple of hills - it’s not a kind course - definitely fools you with lots of gentle downs in the first half and some cruel ups towards the end. Bit disappointed by the time - I had wanted to come in under 5 hours and the 5 hour pacer suddenly appeared in the last mile but I let her go on the last hump and just couldn’t make the line in time. Never mind - got the trophy from UKA and the Gold medal from British Masters so am happy with that.” “Finally Kerry Newell, the UKA and Gloucester AC coach, gave me and Eileen Hieron from Dursley a lift up to Chester. Eileen is 81 and a total inspiration to keep going - she only started running after she was in her 70’s.”

Like so many others, Gary found the heat a real challenge on Sunday and reports “It didn’t go well for me personally. It was very warm, too warm for me. So, my slowest ever marathon but, regardless, I enjoyed the day. It’s a marathon I’ve now run nine times and I would thoroughly recommend it to others, a really well organised, supported and friendly event.”

Many congratulations to Liza on her gold medal. Her 5.01 finish time would have been a bronze medal time in the FV70 age group too and sets a new Club Marathon FV75 record. Gary too should be proud of doing the distance in tough conditions, there appears to have been a very high number of “Did Not Starts”, perhaps lots of people put off by the prospect of a hot October run.

8th October, Chester Marathon, 26.2 miles, road

1 Marshall Smith (Ashford AC) 2.21.32 (2.21.32)

2847 Liza Darroch (Cirencester AC) 5.05.45 (5.01.04) – 1st FV75 – FV75 Marathon Club Record

2860 Gary Wood 5.07.19 (5.03.41)

3391 finished

Brian Harris ran the Dorney Lake marathon on Sunday, an event he’s done before.

He reaped the benefits of a new training plan and was pleased and relieved to lower his PB and the Club MV60 record by almost five minutes to 3.10.19. He was delighted to pass the 20 mile marker in under 2.24 but paid the price over the next 6 miles in the unseasonal heat.

In a slightly worrying turn of events, the organisers appeared to have “lost” his result for an hour or so but thankfully found it by the time he’d driven home!

Well done Brian on another impressive run.

8th October, Dorney Lake Marathon, 26.2 miles, road

1 James Laing (Unattached) 2.35.49 (2.35.46)

16 Brian Harris (Cirencester AC) 3.10.27 (3.10.19) – Club MV60 Marathon Record – 1st MV60

150 finished

Meanwhile Joyce Matthews has the claim to fame of running a marathon where a new world record was set.

Joyce put in her own superb performance to complete the Chicago Marathon in 3.30.05, running two very even halves. Her time is just outside the existing FV45 Club record of 3.28.55 still held by Jill Hadland.

8th October, Chicago Marathon, 26.2 miles, road

1 Kelvin Kiptum (Kenya) 2.00.35

10544 Joyce Matthews (Cirencester AC) 3.30.05

Rupert Chesmore entered the classic “Lakes In a Day” race, a mere, for some ultra runners, 50 miles but an exceedingly tough route. From Caldbeck in the north to Cartmel in the south, it passes over Blencathra and Helvelyn. Rupert puts some of it into words for us.

“Five miles from the start the first river crossing was manned by marshals in dry suits as we used the safety rope in thigh deep water. The steep descent into Threkeld was ruled out as being too dangerous and already 18 had dropped out.”

“Much of the route was off the recognised paths and muddy areas of footprints across the bogs confirmed our navigation, Cloud base at 1000’, 50mph winds and visibility down to 50 yards, the Helvelyn ridge was not the panoramic view we expected.”

“The “easier” second half from Ambleside had an evil twist with the Windermere lakeside path being flooded. At least half a mile was thigh and even crotch deep and in the dark too.”

“Excellent marshals and controls, a really tough event in such conditions and the high number of DNFs reflected it… epic.”

An epic indeed and what Rupert failed to mention, but a little bird (……Liza) added, was that from Ambleside at around half way he supported others. As she says, ever the gentleman.

Well done Rupert!

7th October, Lakes In A Day, 50 miles, trail

1 Ellis Bland (Unattached) 8.59.35

244 Rupert Chesmore (Cirencester AC) 21.40.53

250 finished

Back on the roads and more local, there was a choice of half marathon or 10k at Cricklade on Sunday. The 10k was the penultimate race in the club road race competition for this year with just Stroud Half to come.

In the half marathon there were four excellent performances from CAC men.

First home, in 5th place overall, was James Thomas in training for the upcoming Abingdon Marathon. He was closely followed in 6th place by Dave Musgrove, recently over a bout of Covid. Completing the Cirencester line up were Jason Richards and Simon Campbell giving us four in the top twenty five.

In the 10k race Bill Leggate, back racing after working through an injury ran a super 35.14 to place fourth overall and 2nd MV40. Brecht Grieten more than reached his goal for the day which was to beat his time from last year. Kate Jacobs, with so many great results under her belt this year, was 2nd lady and 1st LV40 in 40.24.

James Widdowson confirms this was the hottest he’s ever known this race and was pleased to fight his way round for another consistent finish time. Rachel Barrow, with a distinct lack of races this year, was happy to string four solid miles together before a sneaky walk break in her least favourite running conditions. And there was another solid run from Ruth Fulford in just over the hour, surely a prize winning FV75 time if only all the over fifties hadn’t been lumped into one age group, to round off the CAC line up.

Brian has updated the standings in the club championship. James Widdowson now looks to have an unassailable lead in the mens competition whilst things are much closer for the three leading ladies. Currently Kate Sackett tops the table with Ruth close behind and Jo Musk in third place but just 12 points between them.

8th October, Cricklade Half Marathon, 13.1 miles, road

1 Matthew Lock (Witney Roadrunners) 1.16.15

5 James Thomas (Cirencester AC) 1.23.26 – 3rd Senior Male

6 David Musgrove 1.23.50 – 3rd MV40

11 Jason Richards 1.25.57

23 Simon Campbell 1.30.04

145 finished

8th October, Cricklade 10k, 10k, road

1 Rob Green (CLC Striders) 32.57

4 Bill Leggate (Cirencester AC) 35.14 – 2nd MV40

6 Brecht Grieten 36.48

13 Kate Jacobs 40.24 – 1st LV40

48 James Widdowson 48.39

102 Rachel Barrow 57.37

130 Ruth Fulford 1.03.43

187 finished

Lots of us look for a race on an unfamiliar route whilst on holiday. Alex Banks found an extraordinary one and tells us about it.

“A couple of weeks ago, in mid-September, I took part in the Wild Stubel 70km race, starting in Kanderstag and finishing in Crans Montana, Switzerland.”

“The race was part of the UTMB World Series so was accompanied by a large fanfare and had the largest field I’ve been in for a trail race. It was a stunning route through some lovely Swiss alpine villages and over couple of mountain cols, with the highest point being the Wild Struble refuge. The support and aid stations were fantastic. I’d definitely recommend.”

“As it was in the middle of a 2 week holiday, I was just running to get round and enjoy the route but was happy to finish in a touch over 11hrs.”

Thanks Alex for your words and brilliant photos!

Check out individual parkrun websites for more detail but this wee there were some excellent age graded times for Kate Sackett, Wendy Nicholls, Rachel McAdam, Pam Wheeler and Alan McAdam.

Paul Timms popped into Maidenhead on his way to work for a run. And Martin Croucher has found a new appreciation for parkrunning, but only if there’s a good breakfast to be had afterwards.

7th October, parkrun, 5k trail

Woking parkrun

1 James Parkes (Unattached) 17.41

107 Holly Willis (Cirencester AC) 24.25

410 finished

Maidenhead parkrun

1 Adam Bennett (Unattached) 18.15

40 Paul Timms (Cirencester AC) 24.10

375 finished

Tewkesbury parkrun

1 Thomas Smith (Unattached) 18.38

8 Martin Croucher (Cirencester AC) 21.45

88 finished

Cirencester parkrun

1 Harry Barnes (Unattached) 18.09

11 Wendy Nicholls (Cirencester AC) 21.13 – 1st Lady

87 Pamela Wheeler 28.40

115 Samantha Timms 30.56

129 Lorna Harris 32.15

184 finished

Tetbury Goods Shed parkrun

1 Max Benfield (Unattached) 18.05

35 Alan McAdam (Cirencester AC) 24.18

43 Rachel McAdam 25.13

143 finished

Maryport Prom parkrun

1 Stephen Gascoigne (Unattached) 21.48

4 Kate Sackett (Cirencester AC) 24.06 – 1st Lady

29 finished

As ever please send your results to Martin on and any accompanying words to Rachel at or reach her via the WhatsApp group

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