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Our England Masters at Chester

In a busy weekend of races over a variety of distances and terrains, the highlight was the Chester Marathon where two of our club members proudly wore their England vests. Liza Darroch and Brian Harris both qualified at events earlier in the year to take part in the England Athletics Masters Marathon Championships event being hosted by the Chester Marathon. Brian earned his place in the V60 competition when he ran 3:20 at Milton Keynes in May and Liza was awarded her spot after her Manchester marathon in April, despite feeling disappointed with her run on the day. Also there in club colours was Gary Wood who is a fan of this particular race.

Each had their own personal goal and some challenges leading up to the day. Liza and Gary both fortunately avoided Covid whilst family members around them suffered. Liza was aiming for sub 5 hours and a podium finish in her FV70 age group, Gary was looking for a 4 hour ish finish and to be nausea free at the end.

Brian has been trying to maintain fitness whilst managing a nasty injury in recent weeks but really wanted to complete the distance in his hard-earned England vest without making things any worse. He tells us a bit in his own words.

“After tearing a muscle quite badly, officially diagnosed as “not great” by the usually optimistic consultant, it was touch and go whether I would even line up for the Chester marathon. But the (one-off) opportunity of a lifetime to run in an England Masters vest was just too great an incentive, so I set off on a beautiful crisp sunny morning with no idea how it would end, but determined to enjoy as much of the experience as I could. Running through the very attractive city centre was a great start, before heading out through suburbs into the countryside and then across the border (“welcome to Wales - the last frontier”).

Stopping for short walking breaks every 3 minutes or so from the start when my bleeping device went off (“jeffing”) I’m sure the England vest puzzled a lot of the runners who passed me, prompting quite a few “are you OK?”’s. However, I persevered with the run/walk routine and fortunately my injury stayed at a low background level, even as the rest of me (missing over 5 weeks of endurance training) got gradually fatigued. But then at about 17 miles onwards I started to move forwards through the field, and finished the last 3 miles non-stop (and not overtaken). I was rather humbled however at mile 22 when I stopped to talk with a fellow England MV65 runner who was progressing rather slowly. Turns out he had torn some ligaments during a parkrun just the day before, and I could hardly see his left leg for all the tape - "but I couldn’t miss running for England could I?”. Quite.”

Liza really enjoyed the traffic free route and the great conditions on the day. She ran a splendid 4:55 and was awarded 2nd place in her age group in the Masters Championship and 3rd LV70 overall. She would recommend Chester to anybody looking for a future Autumn marathon.

Congratulations to Liza and Brian and also to Gary on completing yet another marathon!

2nd October, Chester Marathon, 26.2 miles, road

1 David Bishop (Derby Athletic Club) 2.20.26 (2.20.22)

1223 Brian Harris (Cirencester AC) 4.07.49 (4.07.00

1619 Gary Wood 4.30.37 (4.28.10)

2012 Liza Darroch 4.58.59 (4.55.44) – 3rd LV70

2360 finished

More locally at Cricklade on Sunday, there was a choice of 10K or half marathon distance.

The 10k was the latest in the club Road Race Championship series for this year. The course around Wiltshire country lanes is quite kind until the nasty uphill at the 5 mile mark.

There were great club performances including top ten finishes for Brecht Grieten and Alex Banks. Wendy Nicholls excellent 41.40 earned her 1st LV50 and 2nd lady overall. Tom Morgan enjoyed the race on his way back to fitness. And what a shame that the results lumped everyone over the age of 50 into one category when we have such strong V70 runners like Gordon Jones and Ruth Fulford. Rachel Jones completed the Cirencester line up.

The standings in the club championship will be updated accordingly.

2nd October, Cricklade 10k, 10k, road

1 Jack Pocock (Marshall Milton Keynes AC) 33.29 (33.29)

3 Brecht Grieten (Cirencester AC) 38.28 (38.27)

9 Alex Banks 40.30 (40.29)

13 Wendy Nicholls 41.41 (41.40) - 1st LV50

52 Gordon Jones 52.58 (52.54)

55 Tom Morgan 55.20 (55.17)

78 Ruth Fulford 1.00.16 (1.00.10)

91 Rachel Jones 1.05.19 (1.05.12)

122 finished

Dave Musgrove flew the flag for Cirencester in the half marathon and sums up his morning out.

“I gave my sore calf a few days off after dropping out of the Cotswold Way run a couple of weeks ago. It was feeling ok so I thought I'd give the Cricklade half a go on Sunday. The race goes directly past my front door so I figured it would be easy to take a break if my leg was giving me trouble. Anyway, it was ok - managed to get round in just under 1hr 24 and finished in fourth place, which indicates that the race failed to attract an international field this year. Nice to see other Ciren folk doing the 10k at the end. Calf is annoyingly seized up now, so I guess I'll take another rest, but it was fun while it lasted.”

Well done Dave and we all hope to see you back fighting fit soon.

2nd October, Cricklade Half Marathon, 13.1 miles, road

1 Michael Gilbert (Royal Wooton Bassett Hounds Running Club) 1.15.42 (1.15.42)

4 David Musgrove (Cirencester AC) 1.23.46 (1.23.46)

120 finished

In a somewhat larger half marathon event, Nea Sneddon-Jenkins and Howard Ewan took to the streets of Cardiff.

Nea continued her excellent run of form with yet another PB. Howard enjoyed the unexpected sunshine and ran well within himself in a social run with friends.

2nd October, Cardiff Half Marathon, 13.1 miles, road

1 Geoffrey Koech (Unattached) 1.00.01 (1.00.01)

594 Nea Sneddon-Jenkins (Cirencester AC) 1.33.43 (1.33.27)

701 Howard Ewan 2.28.24 (2.11.24)

12,783 finished

James Thomas made a very last-minute decision to take part in the Upcote Trail Race after a friend told him about it just the night before. What a great decision! James took first place and thoroughly enjoyed the event, describing it as really scenic, really friendly and great preparation for the fast-approaching cross country season.

Barbara Thomas also completed this challenging race.

2nd October, Upcote Trail Run, 5 mile, trail

1 James Thomas (Cirencester AC) 32.22 (32.21)

135 Barbara Thomas 1.01.11 (1.00.56)

160 finished

The club was well represented at the Brinkworth Bash on Sunday. This race is described as being good for those new to off road running as the undulating course is made up of a variety of surfaces.

Luke Campbell finished 2nd overall, Corinne Clark was 3rd SL and Nicola Denning and Carole Rayner took 1st and 2nd places respectively in the FV50 category.

2nd October, Brinkworth Bash 10k, 10k, road

1 Martin Hurst (Corsham Running Club) 35.57

2 Luke Campbell (Cirencester AC) 37.53

41 Corinne Clark 46.07 – 3rd SL

55 Nicola Denning 48.30 – 1st FV50

58 Carole Rayner 49.06 – 2nd FV 50

133 finished

In parkrun news, Tom Purnell finished 2nd at Lydiard, Kate Sackett was 1st lady at Stonehouse. Rachel Barrow enjoyed the ups and downs at the Skipton event on a holiday parkrun. There was a good turnout at Cirencester and really good to see Kirsty Bassett there, a recent graduate of Nick’s Couch25k course.

There were three generations in action at Mallards Pike as James and Liz Thomas enjoyed a new event and Sylvester was pushed around the course in his buggy by Louise as she gets back to running.

1st October, parkrun, 5k trail

Lydiard parkrun

1 Harry Woods (Unattached)

2 Tom Purnell (Cirencester AC)

266 finished

Stonehouse parkrun

1 Matt Hudd (Unattached) 17.59

11 Kate Sackett (Cirencester AC) 23.35 – 1st Female

59 finished

Chippenham parkrun

1 Paul Gardiner (Unattached) 17.53

134 James Hunton (Cirencester AC) 31.00

216 finished

Skipton parkrun

1 Chris Ovenden (Unattached) 17.21

62 Rachel Barrow (Cirencester AC) 27.58

135 finished

Cirencester parkrun

1 Alastair Guinee (Unattached) 20.23

17 Paul Timms (Cirencester AC) 23.32

50 Brendan McCarthy 28.03

54 Jocelyn Randall 28.16

63 Samantha Timms 30.13

98 Kirsty Bassett 38.46

107 finished

Tetbury Goods Shed parkrun

1 Jonathan Jamieson (Unattached) 18.53

29 Alan Mcadam (Cirencester AC) 27.06

36 Rachel Mcadam 28.01

116 finished

Mallards Pike parkrun

1 Steven Harris (Unattached) 17.18

2 James Thomas (Cirencester AC) 18.12

29 Elizabeth Thomas 30.39

43 Louise Abbott 45.30

49 finished

News stories and accompanying photos always welcome. Do send to Rachel on

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