Dec 102012

Yesterday was the last West Yorkshire XC of the season at Thornes Park in Wakefield. Not quite as boggy, muddy and slippy as last year, but there was a strong breeze in places which made things difficult!

In the U13 boys race, Ben Nurse had another good run to finish 29th.

In the Senior Ladies race, Rachel Mackie was first home in 54th place, followed by Sharon Woodruff in 69th, Helen Nurse in 83rd and Liz Willis in 87th, meaning the team finished 12th out of the 13complete teams.

In the Senior Men’s race, Matt Hallam had another really good run to finish 31st, with Richard Foster in 124th, Jim Whittaker in 169th and John Ward in 174th. Unfortunately we were a couple of runners short of a full team.

In the overall standings, unfortunately, we didn’t count in either of the overall team league tables, as we couldn’t field a complete team in all four races. Next year, we need to aim to do this – it is important that we compete in this league as well as the PECO in order promote the club and attract new runners.

Better news was that we counted as a club overall in the John Smith Challenge Trophy (which goes on the number of runners you have out, irrespective of complete teams etc). We finished 7th out of 18 teams in this, but again looking at the results, we could quite easily have been up towards the top of this table with full teams and a few more runners.

In the individual standings runners must had completed at least 3 of the 4 races, and so the following people were ranked: Shanna Saubert was 32nd in the SL cat, Rachel Mackie was 6= in the FV35, Helen Nurse 7th and Liz Willis 8th both in the FV45, Ben Nurse was 32nd (out of 67!) in the U13 boys, Matt Hallam was 9th overall and  Richard Foster was 34th in SM, Jim Whittaker 21st in the MV45, John Ward 4th in the MV60.

Well done and thanks to everyone who ran this year. Let’s see if we can do better again next year!

Richard Foster

 December 10, 2012  Posted by at 4:37 pm news, race reports No Responses »
Dec 092012

There was a post on Facebook by Andy Wicks on the Saturday evening before the race [01/12/12] asking if anyone was going to this run and wanted to meet at the club to travel there together. I’d seen this race advertised on the Abbey weekly emails and had been mulling over whether or not to enter some time ago, but hadn’t actually done so in the end. However, after seeing this post and after a brief exchange of comments with Andy, I agreed to enter on the day despite having run the Pain Barrier 10k race earlier that day. Why would I do such a thing, I don’t know, but others are free to speculate at their leisure.
The race was a new one and was described as multi-terrain, starting and finishing at the South Leeds stadium, and running through Middleton park; there would be 2 laps of the course. Four of us met at Adel War Memorial Association car park to travel to the race: Andy Wicks, Liz Willis, Andy May, and myself [Peter Persico in case you’re not sure]. Upon registering, we were given t-shirts, but decided not to wear them for the run because they were made of cotton despite being encouraged to by those handing them out. No, I’m not anti-cotton in general, but as most runners are aware, they do not make good running tops. Whilst registering, we also encountered Stella who had turned up for the race.
After some warm up drills we lined up at the start and then we were off. The course didn’t appear to be really multi-terrain and could be run in regular footwear, but it did include some interesting and at times quite lengthy inclines, with one long decline [run twice]. Coming back in towards the stadium, I saw Andy and Liz heading back out on their second lap. I wasn’t running as fast as I would have liked mainly because I had done the pain barrier 10k run the previous day, but was still aiming for a decent time [and not getting beaten by anyone in a heavy costume]. During the 2nd lap, roughly at about the 7km mark, I began to feel a bit of a strain in my thighs, but carried on still determined to get as good a time as I could considering my previous day’s activity. I was so glad to see the stadium heading towards the finish that I managed a surge of speed for the final 400m or so, finishing just in front of Stella. I late found out that they had spelt my name wrong on the race results, despite me trying to write as neatly as possible on the race entry form].
After crossing the line, we, the Abbey runners in attendance had a bit of a chat along with Andy May who had managed to win the race. I’d managed to get a mince pie but I’m not sure the other Abbey runners got one. A short time later, we headed back to Andy’s car (Andy Wicks) to get changed before heading back to the stadium for the prize presentations. Andy Wicks managed to capture a few pictures that should be put on the website, including some of those that won prizes. Unfortunately Stella wasn’t about when the one featuring him, myself, and Liz was taken. Andy May received a rather nice trophy, and I think was initially was uncertain as to whether it needed to be returned next year. However, since it said 2012 on it, I think the conclusion drawn was that it was most likely for keeps. So, if anyone fancies a crack at this race next year and to try and win it, you may get to keep a nice trophy. In any case, I did think it was a nice course, and definitely one that should be considered by more people. All of us who went definitely appeared to enjoy the run, and having a few of us at this race made it all the more fun. Hopefully, there will be better technical t-shirts for next year, and I guess one of the reason we [or at least I] do these things is because of the t-shirts. There were also some interesting costumes worn by other runners, which added to the overall fun.

Finally, I’d like to thank Andy Wicks for providing transport to the race and for his little encouragement to get me to come along.

 December 9, 2012  Posted by at 4:42 pm race reports 1 Response »
Dec 052012
Pain Barrier - swamp

My socks are damp!

I know, the title doesn’t make this sound very appealing, but stick with me on this one. The pain barrier described itself as as 10k mud run where participants would face hills and ravines, extreme mud and woodland trails, and ponds and water obstacles. I entered this event shortly after completing a Spartan race in August 2012, without much thought, and had even less idea about exactly what this would be like or involve. However, the race information on the website did identify 4 specific ‘challenges': the pool of punishment, the horrific hills, the swamp of suffering, and the dips of despair. Again, these may not inspire confidence or a willingness to participate, but still.

I arrived at the car park in plenty of time, a full hour before the scheduled start, and picked up my run pack. There was a cold air that morning, so I stayed in my car once I’d got ready to stay warm. The organisers had pointed out prior to this event to bear in mind that it will be “December in the north” and to dress accordingly. When it was getting close to the start time, I made my way to the starting area along with all the other participants. People were stretching and warming up, music was playing, and the organisers were getting everyone cheering. Then, after a short countdown, we were off running across a field, slightly downhill, before entering some woodland.

There were several points during the run where we encountered cold and muddy water. When I say cold, I do mean cold because there was ice on the ground, and once my feet were wet and cold, they remained this way to the end. The final water experience was deep enough to come up to my chest. Layers of clothing were of little benefit. There were some hills that you could run up or take at a slightly slower pace, but there were also several ravines that you had to scramble up, and at times we were sliding down whilst trying to go up. I was wearing gloves due to the cold and decided to take one of them off and put it in my pocket to help me get a grip on the ground. I later lost this glove in the swamp of suffering, which annoyed me; it also made me think that next time maybe I would not bother with gloves even if my hands were cold. Going down the hills was equally treacherous and most of us ended up sliding down these and crashing into each other.

The entire run took me 1 hour and 22 minutes. I did get stuck behind people at some points, which slowed me down; trying to pass people was not always possible due to the terrain, at least for me. After the run, we were given a goodie bag, which included a nice technical t-shirt, and we were also given a medal. I may not have convinced people to do these type of events, but I was glad I’d done it, and the camaraderie you get in these events is so much more than I’ve noticed in regular runs and races. This, for me, makes them enjoyable and wanting to do more. The organisation was also very good, which is always helpful in ensuring a good experience. Before anyone says no to ever doing any type of event like this themselves, I think they should give them more consideration, specifically regarding how they may help your general running and fitness, as well as help your mental game. Also, what’s the worst that could happen? If any of you feel you have missed out and want to do something like this, worry not, there are more planned! If anyone is interested, I have posted some pictures up on Twitter that show just how much fun I had during the run.

 December 5, 2012  Posted by at 8:21 pm race reports Tagged with:  4 Responses »