Apr 072014

The Abbey Dozen by Lynn Taylor

In the end the rain held off until most of us had crossed the line and the conditions were about as good as they get for marathon running, although perhaps a little warm for those acclimatised to long run training through the winter.

As a test of the Abbey team efficiency we failed at the first logistical hurdle, all of us being in the right place at the right time for a group photo, hence those who are Facebook fans will note there are some missing faces from the group shot.

abbey at mcr2014

Nevertheless we all made it to the start line settled into our respective pens. For a race that is fairly new on the calendar the Manchester Marathon has grown steadily and now attracts 10,000 odd entries. I’m not sure how many actually raced on the day as we’re still waiting for a full list of results to be published.  From the green pen, where I was stationed with Peter, Laurence and Dave, making up the back four, it took almost five minutes from the gun time to crossing the chip timing mats.

The race is advertised as flat and fast and it was pretty flat – the fast I guess depends on your legs and your stamina.  The route takes you from Old Trafford (where some football team is based apparently) out through Sale and Timperley to Altrincham and back to finish just outside the stadium.  For large parts of the route you can see the rest of the field running past in the opposite direction which provides an opportunity to cheer on your fellow club runners or to keep an eye on where the competition is.

The local support is great, lots of spectators offering cheers and various treats to aid you on your way.  At several points there were musical interludes to distract you from the monotony and the pain.  There were plenty of drinks stations which offered water in handy little pouches – the first time I have come across these and I thought they were really good, much better than cups and bottles.  There were timing mats at 10K, 10 mile, half marathon and 20 mile points, although I missed any race clocks along the way if they were there.  I also missed a lot of the mile markers as I’m not used to these being in white rather than yellow and they just didn’t stand out – also I may have been looking down in dropped head mode for much of the race.

In terms of organisation, as always the marshals along the route were great, the baggage store was a bit haphazard with some people waiting ages to collect their bags and others being served immediately, no seating in the changing area (which presented a challenge almost as hard as the race itself!) and, as always, long toilet queues at the start furthering those pre-race nerves.  All in all I would recommend the race for those wanting a good marathon time and not wanting to travel too far from home.

And how did the Abbey team equip themselves. Well some excellent performances from first timers and from some of the more experienced in our midst.  Some people had a good day some people have had better days, but in all it was a great team effort.

Our chip times in finishing order were:

Martin Jones 3:29:11
Mike Smith 3:41:09
Gary Brownbridge 3:43:30
Alison Smith 3:43:45
Jane Hallam 3:47:03
Martin Browne 3:56:18
Amanda McNaboe 3:56:34
Bev Benjamin 3:59:58
Lynn Taylor 4:09:52
Dave Rayson 4:11:46
Laurence Lennon 4:27:10
Peter Persico 5:05:44
 April 7, 2014  Posted by at 5:34 pm race reports Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Nov 132013

Following last night’s AGM, there are some changes to the Club Committee for 2013-14.

Alex Grant stood down after 10 years on the committee first as Club Captain and then in the last two years as President.  Alex has done and continues to do an enormous amount for the club.  As a Race Director, he took over and grew both the Eccup 10 and the Abbey Dash, and as President he succeeded Colin Morath when ill-health prevented Colin continuing in the role.  We are all very grateful for the time and commitment Alex has put into Abbey Runners, but there is no doubt that he is due a break from committee duties!

As a result of Alex’s decision to step down, there has been a bit of change.  First, a big welcome to Greg Wetherhead, who is to be the new Mens’ Captain. Second, Andy Wicks has moved over from Men’s Captain to take over as Communications and Marketing Secretary.  And finally, Martin Browne is the new Club President.

The committee contact pages will be updated shortly to reflect the changes.

 November 13, 2013  Posted by at 2:53 pm news Tagged with:  No Responses »
Mar 282013

Sunday 24th March 2013

Kaz Ozawa


Some of you will enjoy Spring Marathon such as London Marathon and Edinburgh Marathon. Before these races I have already run a marathon in Tokyo.

About “Tokyo Arakawa River Marathon”:

This race is not “Tokyo Marathon”, which is the most famous race in Japan. “Tokyo Arakawa River Marathon” is held at the bank of the Arakawa River in March: full marathon (15,000 people) and 5Km/3Km/kids (2,500 people).

The Arakawa River is one of the principal rivers in Tokyo and the length is 173 Km. The bank is very wide, and it is used as baseball grounds, football fields, golf courses, parks and walking paths as public spaces.

I had run this race four times from 2004 to 2007 before coming to the UK. I like this race, because the venue is the nearest to my house, and there are 15 food stations, which serve banana, raisin, “onigiri” (rice ball), “an-pan” (bread containing sweet bean paste), and sherbet (ice snack, only at the point of 35Km). Also the race is still popular though Tokyo Marathon has been held since February 2007. Of course I want to run Tokyo Marathon again, but now it is very difficult because the entry rate is more than ten times.

How was the race? :

My club members participated in other races, so I was alone. On the day it was cloudy, the temperature was from 8 (9:00 am) to 11 degree C (12:00 pm), and there was almost no wind. This means a good condition for runners. The start time was 9:00 am, and I arrived at the venue at 8:10 am. There were already full of people. After I queued for toilet, changed clothes and checked my bag, I had only five minutes to start.

During running, I saw over 20 long bridges, heard loud cheers “Ganbare! (Go for it!)”, and took at each food/water station. I found a strange man. He whooped to us many times, “Don’t hurry up! Exhausted soon!” from 10 Km to 20 Km point. At last he speeded up, overtook me and repeated to shout, “I’m going! I’m a man!”

My target was 3:30 and I set 5 minutes per Km (8 minutes per mile) as my pace. I kept up this pace by 30 Km, but after that it went wrong.


My time was 3:49:34. It was 18 minutes slower than Edinburgh Marathon 2010. In Edinburgh I had energy enough to put out a last spurt, but this year I faltered out at the finish. I must say that a gap of three years was too long. But I feel happy that I have been getting away from fear of calf muscle pain, which means “psychological trauma”. I had suffered from it for two years in the UK.

I am like a countryman. I am still a bit hesitated about a lot of people. The population density of Tokyo is higher than that of London. Also the scenery is different. I have seen the background scenes in the Abbey Fb and HP. Even in winter the color of the UK (Yorkshire) is still “green”, while that of Tokyo is “pale yellow/brown” in winter.

This month is warmer than normal, and cherry blossom trees have bloomed seven to ten days earlier than usual. After the marathon I saw “Hanami”, cheery blossom viewing party at the park near the venue (Please see my post of Abbey Fb 26th March). While I was just remembering that yellow daffodil is March flower in the UK.

 March 28, 2013  Posted by at 11:37 am race reports 2 Responses »
Feb 192013

Sunday 10th February 2013

liversedge half

Jason Praill

What on earth was I doing running a half marathon?! It was snowing and in conventional terms I hadn’t actually entered the race…

I’d heard two of my work colleagues talking about Liversedge and their training. It seemed that they revered this event because any mention of the race itself seemed to be accompanied with the puffing out of cheeks and the general nervous look of men thinking they’d bitten off more than they could chew. It’s not an easy race, it is quite hilly and February is not known for its fair weather. But this is a good race and could easily be seen as a race to target in itself, or as a stamina test as part of your spring marathon training.

When one of my workmates got injured they offered me their place. I’ve been off the boil for a couple of years and certainly hadn’t been doing any training for this distance. But despite the talk of a tough course and elevated expectation I relented and accepted the challenge. The reason do it – I’m new to Leeds and new to Abbey Runners, and thought that there’s no better way to be part your club than by turning out at a road race.

The course is quite scenic – apparently! At around the 12 mile marker there was a bench looking out over the hillside, but on race day what you would see in the distance was a mystery. The sleety snow at the start had turned to a mist of drizzle by the end which felt even colder. I had a peaked cap on but during the warm up my head was freezing so I found some plastic to line the inside of my hat. Even Duncan Clark wore a long sleeved top!!

If you run this next year, you’ll probably run your fastest starting mile of any half marathon! It drops early on to really get your legs turning, keep a steady pace on the following ascent and you’ll soon be well up on your schedule. Mine was 8 minute miles and was almost two minutes up after a mile. I set my target 8 minutes for the next mile and beat it, and again and again. Each mile undulates mostly with a bit of descent to balance the climbs. There was a water station at 4 miles which offered a choice of cups or bottles. It’s one of the things that shows that this is a well run race. I’ve never had a choice before, bottles are nice if you want to receive water like in a big marathon, but I just had a small cup.

Between mile 5 and 6 there’s a sign showing a hill with 14% gradient – don’t worry, this one is in your favour! At 7 miles there’s the climb up Thornhills Beck Lane. It’s very steep for maybe half a mile I guess, it was ‘enjoyable’. There are some nice lanes afterwards to get some breath back. I answered back with a “I hope not” to a kind but mathematically challenged supporter just before 8 miles who informed me that I was nearly at half way. My comment was obviously a sign of things to come.  I wish that I had a gel for a boost because mile 9 is a little sod! A long drag of a climb, horrible! I dropped back into a small group and we worked together to the top. That effort had lowered my reserves even further. It’s undulating all the way home from here. If you are feeling good on the day you’ll get past this final test, if not, then that bench at 12 miles will be appealing!

The race finishes where it starts and there was someone on the PA announcing my name and saying that I “looked in control”, in control of what I don’t know! So in summary, it’s a really tough challenge but is a well run local race with bigger race features such as chip timing. A long sleeved T-shirt and excellent cake afterwards capped a very well run race. It’s obviously popular amongst runners – this race can fill up by Christmas so enter and treat yourself to an early present in December.

Six Abbey Runners completed the course, I think there could be more next year.

Duncan Clark  1:27 3rd M50

Andy Wicks 1:37.50 PB

Me 1:46.22

David Nahal 1:48.42

Liz Willis 1:54.34

Garry Brownbridge 1:59.45

Bruce Hetherington 2:32.50

 February 19, 2013  Posted by at 4:19 pm race reports 2 Responses »
Jan 152013

Kielder Marathon, 7th October 2012

Martin Jones

steep incline

When I entered Kielder Marathon back in March 2012 there was one question that seemed to be floating around the running forums – how hard are those hills? The answers were always the same, ‘mostly short and steep’, ‘a few big ones’, ‘adds 25 minutes to your PB’ even the official course guide doesn’t mention THAT beast of a hill at 21 miles.

I found out the hard way. I had trained specifically with this race in mind for the previous 4 months. I had run up and down hills, steep long hills, regularly as part of a hill training regime.  I had run fast half marathons as training runs, my taper had gone well and I felt the fittest I had ever been. I thought I was prepared.

I holed up in “Le Premier Inn” in Carlisle the night before. I was on my own for this one thinking that remote location, adverse weather and two young children might be a recipe for disaster (I couldn’t have been more wrong – very family friendly and sunny conditions). Setting off at 7am from Carlisle having to scrape off thick frost from my car and the fog was a little ominous although the forecast was for plenty of sun and 8C – perfect conditions. The drive across the A69 from Cumbria to the event car parks in Falstone, Northumberland was spectacular with amazing views.

There were some delays in getting all the athletes and families onto the buses to take them the 5 miles to the start and as a result the race start was delayed by 15 minutes. When we eventually arrived at Leaplish Water Park the organisation was outstanding. With the long wait, bumpy 5 mile journey and just above freezing temperatures, every over hydrated runner was now walking like they had just graduated from the Ministry of Silly Walks whilst trying to locate the toilets. Satisfyingly there were more toilets on display than at Glastonbury and this set the trend for the day – Steve Cram and his team know how to organise a marathon. The atmosphere was unlike any race I’d entered before. There were 2 radio DJ’s doing a light hearted radio commentary at the Start/Finish for all to hear. They were bantering with runners, making jokes and creating a good humoured atmosphere. Even the legendary Tony the Fridge was running hoping for a sub 5 hour time. Steve Cram was calmly walking around with his team ensuring that all the athletes were going to be able to make the start in time. Baggage drop was efficient and gels and drinks were freely available. As a side note this marathon was only £40 to enter, very good value for money compared to the entry fees to some of the ‘bigger’ marathons and the goodie bag at the end is fantastic.

If Carlsberg did race starts this would have been one of them.  Just under 1200 of us made our way to probably the most laid back start ever. No pushing past or movement really, pick anywhere to stand and without any real ceremony at 10:30am the klaxon was sounded and we were off. The first mile or so is an uphill loop on tarmac out of the park and back around to the Start/Finish section before heading out onto trail for the rest of the race.

With the painful benefit of hindsight this was, in footballing clichés a ‘game of two halves’.  I flew round the first half powering up the hills, happy that my hill training was paying off.  The hills were hard in places, some longer and steeper than others but perfectly doable. I was even getting giddy at the idea of a 3h 35m finish time – yeah right!

The whole race is marshalled and marked professionally. There are mile markers, quarter mile markers and even kilometre markers every 5K. There are more drink stations than you could possibly need and the marshals were genuinely willing every athlete past with their encouragement. At one of my lower points, running with head down and face grimacing a marshal crouched down to look me in the eyes and said “Come on keep going, you can do it!” There is even support from the yachts that where moored in the middle of Kielder water pipping their horns in support and shouting enthusiastically as all runners go past.

It was when I arrived at mile 17 that my ever tightening calf’s began to painfully and randomly cramp. They felt like they were going to explode and I could not even envisage slow jogging to the end. Even my Achilles started to feel like it was cramping and god only knows what the pain in one of my quads was about. The mental part of the race had begun so I took on more isotonic drinks and ate some sweets that contained potassium and sodium to try and stave off further cramps. You hit Kielder Dam at mile 18, a metaphor perhaps, and the hill promised shortly after, cruelly doesn’t appear until around 18.7 miles. For the first time ever in a race, half way up I started to walk, all be it a fast walk which felt completely wrong but also necessary. Other runners had started tactical walking and at the sign of the hill flattening out I set off running again. I hit 20 miles but by this stage it was now just a case of finishing at whatever cost. I couldn’t face anymore of those steep incline signs!

The banter and kindness spurred everyone on in those last 10K. There were around 10 of us in a group that were constantly passing each other as we tactically walked some hills, ran others doing just enough to get to the end. Even the smallest incline felt like an extreme effort.

You know you are nearing the end when you see the sign ‘800m to go’ as you enter a forest for the final push. I didn’t though as my head was such a mess by this stage that I read it as ‘Boom to go’ thinking it was some kind of motivational message spending the next 400m trying to fathom what it meant! They even throw in a cheeky hill for good measure but by this stage you can hear the DJ’s over the speaker system and cheering crowds clapping home runners. With 200m to go you leave the dark depths of the forest and pop out into the bright sunlight of the finishing straight with people cheering, everyone high fiving you as you go past. The commentators gee the crowd up, they shout your name out and congratulate you which will long live in the memory. It’s a pretty special finish.

The last 10K had taken me 58 minutes. I was broken, sore but smiling. I had been lured in by the first 13 miles and taught a lesson in those last 9. I felt a bit down that I had resorted to walking but despite the pain I didn’t hate running; in fact I wanted another crack at it. Other runners were also bewildered at the end – everyone was saying the same; thought they could cope with hills in first half and then wiped out in the second.

It was only later when the results came out that I discovered that I was not alone. There were some fit individuals who could run the first and second half evenly, some even negative splitting. Most runners however like me were running the second half 20 to 25 minutes slower than the first. 193 runners either don’t finish or miss the cut offs. It’s a tough run.

The tag line ‘Britain’s most beautiful’ marathon is obviously subjective but it certainly has incredible views throughout and good quality trail all the way around. The sun also helped. The key factors to this marathon though are the warmth and friendliness of the people of Northumberland and the excellent marshalling. I’d thoroughly recommend it.


(M) (1) Ceri Rees 2:39:24

(F) (1) Angela Mudge 2:59:23

(M) (182) Martin Jones  3:48:01

 Finishers: 997

 January 15, 2013  Posted by at 12:43 pm race reports 1 Response »
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 »
Nov 292012

Results in from the cross country on 25/11/12 at Fitzwilliam Park: Abbey ladies came 1st!


Our ladies before the race (apologies if you don’t appear in  the photo, some were still warming up).

A good turn out today, despite the horrible weather and distant location. Welcome to our International runner, Flick, who we will all try to beat next race!


 November 29, 2012  Posted by at 11:02 am news, race reports Tagged with: ,  1 Response »
Nov 282012


Wednesday, 28 November 6.00-8.00pm at Lawnswood School

Representatives of Abbey Runners will be joining some of Yorkshire’s well-known sporting names at the ‘Be Inspired, Get Involved’ launch at 6.00pm at Lawnswood School on the 28th of November.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games created an incredible ‘summer of sport’ that has created fresh enthusiasm for sport to people of all ages and of all abilities.  Now we need to build a lasting legacy, not only nationally, but here in our local communities. It is crucial to seize the moment and channel all this enthusiasm to inspire sporting stars of the future and getting as many people as possible get involved with playing or assisting with local sport and recreational activities.

So come along and meet Abbey Runners in the flesh and find out what joining a running club can do for you.  For more information see:


 November 28, 2012  Posted by at 2:30 pm news Tagged with:  2 Responses »
Nov 202012

Hoping for a good Abbey Runners turn out for the first PecoXC on Sunday…
Abbey ladies will be trying to defend their Premier Championship they have now won for 2 years.

 November 20, 2012  Posted by at 10:01 pm news Tagged with:  4 Responses »