Oct 152014

POMA select band of Abbeys (Dominic Nurse, Greg Weatherhead, Martin Shaw and 2nd claimer Matt John) traveled to the Lakes to compete in the Langdale Horseshoe fell race, which is a brutal course over 14 miles and 4500′, taking in some of the high fells including Bowfell, Crinkle Crags and Pike ‘O Blisco.

It started wet and cloudy which didn’t help navigation and made parts of the course very slippery and resulting in a number of nasty injuries. Two runners were airlifted off the fells by Mountain Rescue. But we all got round safely and in reasonable times in a field of nearly 500 runners. No times published yet, but positions I have so far:

  1. Rhys Findlay-Robinson
    11.  Matt John
    29.  Dom Nurse
    138  Greg Weatherhead
    ?    Martin ShawDom  won a V45 prize.
 October 15, 2014  Posted by at 1:53 pm race reports No Responses »
Oct 142014

By Peter Persico

It seems I may be developing a tendency to ramble, but hopefully, anyone reading this will make it to the end. Anyway… having first done this duathlon in 2013 along with Peter Leach and enjoying the experience, there wasn’t really any doubt about me taking part again this year. The duathlon takes place at Oulton Park, which is a motor racing track near Chester.


The standard distance duathlon was set to begin at 1300, and so gave plenty of time for me to get to the track since Chester was also hosting a full marathon and a metric marathon. Chester, it appeared had opted to host a few events on the same day yet again, since last year there was the duathlon, a full marathon, and a tough mudder event all on the same day. Anyway, on arrival, I went to register in the Chequers restaurant and collected my race pack. Transition was located in the pit lane. The marshals controlling entry to transition got a bit vocal about a few of us trying to get in without having our helmets fastened on our heads [a lot of us had them on our heads but unfastened]. So, after fastening them we were allowed access to transition, where we promptly racked our bikes and took off our helmets! The race briefing described the nature of the course and the rules. The first point made was about safety for runners and cyclists on the course, telling runners not to go from the inside of the track where the cyclists would be, and telling cyclists to avoid runners. Then came the talk on drafting. The official stated that this was a “no drafting” event and that it would be keenly enforced and penalties issued for violations. He said that, as well as having BTF ‘draft busters patrolling the track, since this was a race track, they had CCTV to monitor the whole course and would be watching! He then said that they would not accept any excuses, such as, “I got caught up in a peloton and couldn’t break away”. This got a laugh. Whilst he was talking about the ankle timing chip, I suddenly realised that I’d forgotten to put the one given to me on my ankle. I sneaked out of the race briefing to run the short distance to my car to get the chip before returning to the briefing. Luckily, I made it back before the finish, so none of the marshals at the briefing appeared to notice my absence. Of late, I’ve been trying to calm and relax myself before starting rather than psyching myself up. This rather rapidly increased my heart rate, and not in the best way.

The Course

Oulton Park duathlon course

Oulton Park duathlon course

I thought a brief description of the course would be useful at this point, which can be described as undulating. We would have to complete a total of 12 laps each of 2.69 miles or 4.31km. The first run leg consisted of 2 laps of the track making it 5.4 miles, the cycle leg consisted of 9 laps of the track making a total of 24.3 miles, and the final run leg was 1 lap of the track. I’ve put a little map of the track above to help illustrate the course.

After setting off on the flat starting grid, the course takes you round old hall corner and onto the downhill section called the avenue before a sweeping left turn at dentons [at least it is sweeping on the bike]. This leads onto a steady incline up to shell oils corner, which is a 180 degree bend. Next is a short flat section and here you carry straight on rather than round the chicane and then up another short, but sharp, incline [hilltop]. There is then a further flat section followed by a downhill section leading round knickerbrook and onto another incline called clay hill. This one is more of a sting because it is steeper than the previous inclines. After this hill, the course flattens out to go round druids corner and then, at lodge corner, there is a brief downhill section before the incline leading back to the starting grid. Transition was slightly beyond this hill in the pit lane. To finish, you had to head towards transition but turn right and run under the finishing banner. With the course being on a race track, the ground is very smooth, except for the odd pieces of rubber and small stones. Being a motorbike race track, the sweeping descents, sharp inclines, and tight corners appear to be standard issue.

The Duathlon

Setting off from the starting grid

Setting off from the starting grid

We all congregated on the starting grid but, unlike motorbikes, we were all huddled together. Then, the starting horn sounded and off we set. As usual, I set off a bit quicker than I would be running. I always joke that this is so that I can get into some ‘clean air’ to use some motor racing jargon, but in general it is because I still find getting the correct pace at the start a challenge. However, I soon managed to settle into what I hoped to be a decent and sustainable pace. The sun was shining and I exchanged a few social words with another runner before embarking on the second rise in the track. The first run was generally not that eventful, except for me having vague flashbacks when getting to the hills, but I knew that I was going to put in a quicker time than last year. When I came into transition after the second lap, I managed to find my bike with little difficulty. I quickly changed into my cycling shoes, again having chosen to use the mountain bike clips and shoes like I had in the triathlon 2 weeks ago so that I could run with my bike. I’ve yet to try and have them already clipped to my pedals like some do in these events. I then made my way out of transition in a decent time, and again quicker than the previous year; all was going well!

On the cycle leg

On the cycle leg

Overall, the cycle leg was not quite as glorious as I had hoped. Having told a certain someone that the cycle leg was 9 laps, this person described it as “soul destroying”. We were responsible for counting our own laps and the race booklet suggested we adopt a strategy for counting laps [but didn’t suggest any actual strategies]. Despite knowing this from last year, the only strategy I had was to keep repeating the lap number I was on until I crossed the line for the next lap. Nearing completion of one particular lap, there was a marshal at lodge corner just before the brief downhill and then uphill to the starting grid. The marshal was shouting for cyclists to be careful because there had been an accident at the bottom. As I carried on, I saw a female cyclist holding something to the side of her face whilst being seen by health personnel. The fan of motor racing part of me wished that the marshal had been waving a yellow flag as well. Unfortunately, whilst thinking about this, I lost track of my lap number. I found concentrating on my lap number and arithmetic challenging whilst also trying to focus on the track, so I ended up slowing down until I had it figured out. This did not last, and after a few more laps, I began wondering if I’d got it right. My watch showed total distance so far, so I had to subtract the first run leg, and then try and calculate how many laps the remaining distance indicated. Engaging in more complicated arithmetic, I again slowed down. In the end, these incidents as well as my neglect of cycling more recently, affected my total bike time, which annoyingly wasn’t a significant improvement on the previous year. There’s always something! There were also a few occasions when I unintentionally ended up as part of a peloton or pack of cyclists. This only happened at the top of certain hills when slower cyclists in front were caught by quicker cyclists coming up from behind, with both groups briefly slowing at the top of the hills. These moments did have me worriedly looking around wondering if we’d be penalised. Happily, I managed to complete the required number of laps, and did not get any penalties. All that remained was the final run.

I remember struggling last year on the final run leg, especially on all of the hills. This time, I was determined to make a better effort. I also saw a few people in front of me, some a fair distance away, and decided that I would aim to catch them. Through all the other training I do, I’ve found that transitioning doesn’t have the impact it once did on my legs. As a result, I was confident I could achieve this modest aim. Happily, I began gaining on those in front of me, and in the end, managed to overtake a few people, some of whom had stopped to stretch various leg muscles. My final run leg time was nearly 3 minutes quicker than the previous year. One of the photos below show the final hill, and the look on my face in the other photo below shows me at the top of that hill before the final run to the finish.

Final run leg - bottom of a hill

Final run leg – bottom of a hill

Final run leg top of the last hill

Final run leg top of the last hill

Many people put their hands up in the air on finishing any type of event, and some even smile. It’s similar to the Daley Thompson method where he finished a decathlon having beaten his opponents, but made it seem like he had done so without even breaking a sweat. I haven’t managed to get to the stage where I can follow this first part of his method yet it appears, as the photo below of me coming up to the finish line seems to indicate. Still, at least I didn’t look like I was going to collapse, so it still makes a good finishing photo. I did follow the other part of his method, which was to walk away nonchalantly whilst enjoying a few Jaffa Cakes, some water, and then some non-alcoholic Erdinger [there were a few joking complaints about it being non-alcoholic]!

Coming up to the finish

Coming up to the finish

The atmosphere at the end of these multi-sport events is still great. I ended up speaking with a few other people, commenting on various aspects of the course and the experience. Always a friendly atmosphere!

 October 14, 2014  Posted by at 7:57 am race reports No Responses »
Oct 132014

parkrunAbbey Runners has decided to target a local Parkrun 5k on the second Saturday of every month, rotating around the three main Parkruns in Leeds and then targeting a different one every 4th month.  The aim is to get more Abbey Runners together at these fun, free races.  It is good speed training and also  encourages people that are new to racing to have a go at a 5k!

Duncan Clark came in second in 18:55

Pos Name Time
2 Duncan CLARK 18:55:00
30 John WARD 22:29:00
39 James BALKWILL 23:39:00
102 Kieren BALKWILL 29:31:00


The Abbies at Temple Newsam parkrun. Plus some pig escapees who were apparently there for porkrun.




 October 13, 2014  Posted by at 2:20 pm race reports No Responses »
Oct 062014
Congleton Half Marathon, Cheshire 2014a

Congleton Half Marathon, Cheshire 2014a

By Sharon Williams

Following the last minute cancellation of the Hilly Huddersfield Half, Alison Skillicorn and I headed over to leafy Congleton, Cheshire to run this hilly, but surprisingly fast road half marathon. The ‘sting in the tail’ hill coming about a mile from the finish.

Alison was 7th woman overall, 2nd female 35 and I won my age group. We both got PBs, age group prizes, goody bags and technical T-shirts. No wonder Cheshire is one of the most affluent counties in the North!

Congleton Half Marathon, Cheshire 2014

501 runners finished

All results can be found on: www.ukresults.net

 October 6, 2014  Posted by at 2:25 pm race reports No Responses »
Oct 062014


A dozen Abbeys turned out for this unusually timed 3pm 10k race yesterday! The route varied slightly from previous years but still took in the familiar hills for the first couple of miles.

Congratulations to everyone and especially to Megan Begley for a very commendable time on her first race outing on behalf of the club.  A notable mention to Sharon Woodruff who used this as a training run and is clearly on the road back to recovery from a long term injury!

Well done also to our faster 4 (All vets!): Kate, Ian, James and John.  Ian was mentioned in an email yesterday by another competitor who Ian had helped and encouraged on the way round!  Well done Ian: very Abbey–spirited I thought!


Full Results available here




KatieTaylorHorstforth10K2014 LawrenceLennon Horsforth10K 2014

 October 6, 2014  Posted by at 9:16 am race reports No Responses »
Oct 062014


Weather conditions proved ideal for running as almost 5,000 participants set out for the MBNA Chester Marathon on Sunday, October 5.

Garry Brownbridge chalked up another marathon PB in 03:42:41.  There were some hairy moments for those of us tracking (stalking?) him where he dropped off the radar but this turned out to be a system glitch rather than anything more sinister

Four Abbeys ran the Metric Marathon with Duncan Clark WINNING!!!!!!!  Many congratulations to Duncan and well done also to Jane, Lynn and Martin for setting metric marathon PBs!!


Full Results Chester Marathon

Full results Chester Metric Marathon


Early bird entries for the 2015 MBNA Chester Marathon, MBNA Metric Marathon and Chester Half Marathon will open next Monday 13 October. To enter or for further information, go to www.chestermarathon.co.uk.DuncanChesterMarathon

 October 6, 2014  Posted by at 8:55 am race reports No Responses »
Oct 032014

By Peter Persico


I’d always intended to complete a triathlon this year. That’s why I’d started swimming again, and even learnt front crawl. However, due to various reasons, none of which I can completely remember, I hadn’t actually got round to entering a triathlon. So, whilst I still had a few options, I decided to enter this particular triathlon. I bought a wetsuit and a new tri-suit, and entered. I have a bit of a tendency to do ridiculous things, and this, perhaps, is another example of this tendency. I say this because I chose to enter an open-water triathlon, despite having not properly been swimming in open water. If you’re going to do something, [generally] pick the more extreme option to wipe away those fears. However, I knew that there would be plenty of novice participants, so felt a bit better about my entry. I chose to enter the sprint distance rather than the super-sprint distance because the super-sprint sounded a little too simple.

The account herein is my take on the triathlon. For an alternative insider perspective, readers can also approach Amanda Rhodes regarding her experience of this triathlon. If anyone would like an outsider perspective, they can consider speaking with Martin Jones who got caught up in some of the cycle and run excitement whilst out on his long run.


Once parked up on one of the designated grassy areas at Harewood House, I made my way down into the entertainment village as it had been called. Registration was simple enough, as was putting things into transition. We were all given specific wave times. First off were the relay teams, and then the waves seemed based on distance and age group. Whilst in transition, I looked over my shoulder and saw both of the Brownlee brothers getting into their wetsuits with a cameraman by each as well as other associated people. Since they looked to be getting their ‘game face’ on, I decided not to say anything or inadvertently stumble into their photo. There were also lots of people around and lots of stalls selling various items, including food. Happily, the weather was pleasant, and I was generally enjoying the experience. A few worrying thoughts crept in about the swim, which wasn’t helped when I noticed an ambulance tearing away having collected someone who was brought out of the lake, but overall, I’d say I was looking forward to giving this triathlon a go.


Exiting the lake and going into T1

Exiting the lake and going into T1

The swim was 750m in the Harewood House lake. I made my way down to the starting area at the last minute to listen to the race briefing. The start would be a little way out in the lake rather than at the lakeside. Looking out, it seemed quite a distance to swim before turning around and coming back to exit off to our right. Whilst walking into the lake, I could feel sharp rocks underfoot, and then the floor became slushy. As I was wading out, I pulled my hands out of the water and noted that they were very dirty and had seaweed-type nature stuff on my fingers. Still having an occasional breathing issue with front crawl and not really having embarked on proper open-water swimming in such colourful water, I decided at this point that I was not putting my face fully in the water front-crawl-style. It may seem a bit weak and I still have that thought myself, but when it came down to it, I was a bit worried about getting some of that water in my mouth, coming up spluttering, and trying to carry on whilst convincing the people in kayaks that I could keep going. I would later try and convince a few people that I had swallowed some nasty bacteria that had sapped me of my vitamin C and left me with scurvy; no one believed me though. The lake remained shallow for quite a few metres of the swim, and my feet were often catching the bottom of the lake. However, as we got closer to the turn-around point, the lake got deeper, which was helpful. Overall, I managed to keep swimming, didn’t really swallow any nasty water, and wasn’t last out of the lake, which made me feel slightly better about not trying front crawl. Then again, I’ve heard it said that there is always one area in which you are not as competent; this would appear to be mine at present, with obvious areas in which to improve.

Coming into transition from the lake, I was attempting to take off the wetsuit as I ran. I’d watched a few triathlons on the television and Internet to see that this helped speed things up, so thought I’d give this a try. I was actually surprised at how well I managed! Once I’d got out of my wetsuit and put it aside, I immediately drank some coca cola that was in one of my water bottles. This was a bit of information I’d picked up a while back to help deal with anything swallowed during the swim, and would also provide a bit of sugar. Then, I put on my helmet, cycling shoes, and race belt, before heading out of transition. I’ve yet to try having my cycling shoes already clipped to my pedals as the professionals do, and didn’t think trying it out for the first time in an actual triathlon and on a hill start was the best idea; I guess I can still be a little sensible, but it is something I would like to attempt. Instead, I’d changed the pedals so that I could use my mountain bike cleats as they would allow me to run a little with the bike.


By Harewood House just coming off a hill

By Harewood House just coming off a hill

Once out of transition, we had to push our bikes up a grassy hill for about 200m to the mount line. We had also been told that the bike section had an uphill start and so we should pre-select an easy gear in order to get going. The hill was noticeable once on the bike, and it was part of subsequent laps, adding to the hill leading up to this hill. There were plenty of people milling around various parts of the course, including on these hills, so I had to make it look good. There was also another hill coming off the Otley Road and back into the Harewood Estate that provoked a few responses from various riders. There were some good flat parts to the course and some sweeping descents with sharp turns as well. Having previously fallen off my bike trying to manoeuvre around corners, I am pleased to report I never once came off the bike. I did see one cyclist in front of me misjudge a turning and go wobbling onto the grassy verge at one point, which made me feel better that I was managing, but I tried not to get too overconfident lest that bite me later on. I didn’t like cycling over the metal sheets that covered the cattle grills because at speed I worried they would do something nasty to my tyres; however, this never came to pass. I also became aware of the motorbike marshals hanging around me at various points on the bike course; happily, I did not pick up any penalties, but didn’t like being a focus of attention. At the dismount line, which was slightly off part of the first hill, we then had to run with our bikes back into transition. I was glad to get off the bike at this stage, and ready for the last part of the challenge – the run. This was mainly because I am reluctant to take drinks whilst cycling in case I have an accident. So, after a quick drink of water, racking my bike, removing my helmet, and change of shoes, I was off.


A short distance into the run

A short distance into the run

I’d made a little error in bringing my road shoes rather than my trail shoes to the triathlon, despite being fully aware that the run would take place on such a surface. Still, I thought, how hard could it be using my road shoes, even if they were flats with just 3mm soles? As it turns out, there were a few more uncomfortable moments on the run, but I managed to stay on my feet and not fall over. There was a cameraman shortly after starting the run section who took the photo above. As I was approaching the cameraman, I realised that I had forgotten to swivel my race number to the front, and remember being surprised this hadn’t been commented upon as I left transition because I’d once forgotten to do this at a duathlon and had a marshal shouting at me as I ran off. I quickly rectified this issue just in case and to help with photo identification. After only a short distance the route split depending on whether you were running the sprint distance or the super-sprint distance. The sprint distance run section had a few cheeky hills included at various points. On one particular hill there was a sign on a tree that said, “Dig in, this is Yorkshire”. I actually found this quite an amusing sign despite the burning undercurrent in my legs and lungs, but this was not true of everyone who read it, and I did hear a few choice words from people who were walking by this point up through the trees. Despite finding the sign amusing, I did not find the hills amusing, especially that particularly long hill, and they certainly tested my calves. I’d like to say that I’d taken in the atmosphere and environment to help me enjoy the run, but that would be a lie because as the run progressed, I was focusing more on keeping going than on how nice the view may have been that day. I believe there may even have been some animals around on parts of the course as well and other people walking, but I was only vaguely aware of such obstacles.


Coming up to the finish and about ready to finish as well

Coming up to the finish and about ready to finish as well

To finish, we had to run uphill with Harewood House in front of us, and then turn to come back downhill so that as we crossed the line, the House was behind us for our finishing photo/video. Seeing the finish was a welcome sight, despite having to go up another hill to get there, and the look on my face as I approach the finish is not what many people would associate with ‘happy’. When I knew the finish was approaching, I gave a little kick to finish faster and stronger, which is perhaps more apparent in photo than happiness. After crossing the line, I was handed a bag that contained various items, including the all-important t-shirt, water, and energy drink. I don’t remember much of what I did afterwards except for stagger around for a short while before deciding a drink and some food were a good idea. The BBQ-sauce pulled pork sandwich I bought was a little pricey, but well worth it I believe, and I could have eaten several such sandwiches.

All in all, I think it was a successful first triathlon with a few areas on which to work for next time, and, perhaps more importantly, I did enjoy the experience.

 October 3, 2014  Posted by at 1:21 pm race reports No Responses »
Sep 302014

By John Ward

Heather Sellars took part in her last triathlon, and first ITU world Cup race of the season.
Taking place in Alanya Turkey, in hot conditions, she was competing against 60 athletes from all over the world.
A great result, coming in 11th, on a course that did not suit her strength, with a very flat bike circuit.
A few seconds improvement will see her in the big money.
We hope to see Heather in the Abbey Runners colours in this seasons Peco XCs.

2014 Alanya

 September 30, 2014  Posted by at 2:09 pm race reports No Responses »
Sep 302014

Karen Garvican and John Ward made an early start to the XC season, with many congratulations to Karen for getting on the podium at the Yorkshire Vets Cross Country Championships:



There seems to be an issue with the published men’s results (currently) all showing a time of 99.99 for John’s category…


 September 30, 2014  Posted by at 12:45 pm race reports No Responses »