For the duration of the 2020 pandemic Biddulph Running Club has been supporting its members in whatever way it could while at the same time strictly adhering to the ever-changing Government guidelines. Throughout the summer one or two club members came up with clever ways of keeping the runners motivated while they were unable to run in their usual club groups.
The first of these was devised by Katie Trace quite early on during the first lockdown when runners were allowed to meet up with only one other runner. She planned routes around the fields and tracks of Biddulph, Biddulph Moor and Mow Cop and created a relay-style event every weekend. One runner would set off and run a couple of miles to meet up with another runner. After a short socially distanced meet, the second runner set off to meet up with the third and so on. The routes and the relay legs were mixed up each week so that runners could, from a safe distance, feel as if they were socialising with other club members.
During May Simon Hodgkiss encouraged members to lace up their trainers and get in some miles by organising a Round the World running event. During the month forty participants logged their miles and Simon totted them up to provide a group total. Each evening he sent out a report of where in the world this had got them plus a very entertaining narrative of things that had happened (fictional of course) along the way. The route set off east and ran through eight countries. It crossed the North Sea and the Black Sea before its final destination - the Flame Towers in the city of Baku (capital of Azerbaijan). Participants ran a total of 2641 miles (4251 km) with Penny Graham logging the most miles - 186 miles (299.26km). She received a bottle of wine as her prize.
In June Katie Trace and Simon Hodgkiss set up a Lockdown Bingo Challenge in which runners completed a series of 25 running tasks; some serious and some wacky. The wackier ones included running with a sausage roll, running with a pot plant, running backwards up a hill and running in a silly home-made hat to mention just a few. The challenge was won by Emma King but everyone had a great time and a good laugh along the way!
Conti Thunder Run is a 24 hour team event that takes place every July. As it was cancelled for 2020 Katie Trace invented a replacement. She sorted runners into three teams of six and they went out to complete as many miles as possible within 12 hours. An additional way of scoring extra miles involved extra challenges along the way. These included counting post boxes, running to trig points and redoing some of the Bingo challenges. The three teams ran a combined total of 461 miles. They climbed over 20,000ft elevation and counted 241 post boxes between them. Team BeSt KaKa JoJa won the competition by gaining the most miles. Team Graham and the Girls won extra miles by presenting the funniest team photograph (see picture).
Club members have been getting together during the week and at weekends to run in privately arranged groups of two or six depending on the government restrictions at the time while strictly adhering to the social distancing rule. They have been exploring the local area and beyond including the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District when travel allowed.
The chair-person Tracy Shufflebottom and the club secretary Katie Brookes managed to open the club for a few weeks between lockdowns by setting up a Covid-safe environment and employing the Track-and-Trace system. Unfortunately due to the most recent lockdown the club is currently unable to offer the usual club nights.
With most 2020 races being cancelled some club members resorted to running the virtual races that replaced them. Rebecca Stringer and her sister Helen Clayton ran the virtual London Marathon while Penny Graham and Simon Hodgkiss did the 50 mile Virtual Operation Bletchley Codebreaker Run. Friends and new runners Kirsty Stevens and Amanda Shenton took on a variety of virtual races together and these included "Race at your Pace 50 miles in a month" and a 10k "Run for Heroes". Rachel Platt (a key NHS worker) ran the Alderley Edge 10k and the NHS Race the Distance while Ian Fothergill managed quite a few of the NSRRA virtual races coming 3rd overall in his age category. Simon Hodgkiss ran a virtual 130km run to Everest base camp and accompanied his daughter Isobel on the Tatton 10k.
Other club members set themselves personal goals. Mark Payne and Dawn McGovern, despite incurring injuries during the year and often having to run alone, achieved their own 2020 targets with Mark managing over 550 miles and Dawn 450 miles. Dawn and Mark who are two of the clubs newer runners also managed to race the Alsager 5 before lockdown. Dawn admits it was her "own personal triumph".
Many more club members have attained self-set goals and all with the added complication of social distancing guidelines. Well done Biddulph Running Club!
The committee would like to stress that despite the current Covid measures Biddulph Running Club is still here and new members are always welcome. Help and support to members continues throughout the pandemic in whatever way the current guidelines allow.
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a deep impact on the lives of people across the whole world. Here the lockdown measures deployed by the British Government in March brought most normal day-to-day activities of the British public to a halt.
There have been articles in the press describing some of the ingenious methods people have adopted to be able to carry on exercising while heeding the social distancing rules. Running a full marathon in a back garden was one of the more unusual efforts. Most of us however have found less extreme ways to stay active whilst keeping our social distance and these have included running earlier in the morning, running later at night or finding less populated parts of the local area in which to run.
Biddulph Running Club has had no option but to follow the rules laid down by both the British Government and England Athletics. The committee decided very early on in the pandemic to suspend all club activities for the foreseeable future. The club though has been keeping in touch with its members and has been offering help and support as they continue their training on their own or with a friend (while maintaining the 2 metres separation rule).
While some people find running alone is no problem, others struggle to maintain enough enthusiasm to continue training when they are unable to run socially together in a group. With this in mind the committee came up with a great idea to keep peoples motivation alive and to engender more social interaction (one of the most important elements of being in a running club) at a time when some club members (particularly key workers, people on furlough and parents home-tutoring) were feeling increasingly stressed.
Simon Hodgkiss took this on and put a lot of thought into the situation. He devised a Bingo type card setting out 25 challenges to be completed in any order (only one allowed a day) over a period of a few weeks.
He said he wanted to "come up with ways to keep us all in contact with each other" and that the Bingo Challenge "gives the members a reason to keep running. The pictures and video clips are seen and commented on by everyone almost as if you were there at the time".
It certainly did all that!
The challenges ranged from the normal (a 10k or a 5 mile run) to the ridiculous (running 3 miles with a sausage roll or running uphill backwards) and club members have been having fun completing them - whilst always remaining well within the Government guidelines of social distancing. At the point of writing this is currently set to a strict maximum of 6 runners per socially distanced group.
Some of the people of Biddulph have spotted members attempting their lockdown Bingo challenges and have expressed interest, support and plenty of amusement!! They were very keen to see the pictorial evidence of completed challenges!
The photographs show Biddulph Running Club members in the process of completing some of the more unusual challenges.
A sizeable group of Biddulph runners braved the stormy weather at the end of February (Saturday 22nd) and travelled up to the North East to take part in the Endurancelife Northumberland Coastal Trail set of races. The conditions on the day were cruel to say the least with horizontal sleet carried in winds of up to 50mph stinging the faces of oncoming runners. The terrain was interesting and included rock-climbing, jumping across slippery stepping stones and wading through a river. The team found it hard work but all managed to finish what they had set out to do and all decided they had enjoyed the experience (once they had warmed up after the race!).
Seven members of the group ran the full marathon (which this time turned out to be over 28 miles) and they finished in; Jon Horne 05:50:40, Kate Heathcock 05:50:42, Katie Trace 05:50:43, Karen Mackintosh 05:53:41, Graham Fisher 05:59:54, Karen Murphy 06:17:35 and Andrew Hollies 06:17:36. James Trace and Gill Horne dropped down from the half marathon to the 10k race - both due to recent injury and finished in . . . . . a long time!!
The following weekend (March 1st) Congleton Harriers staged their ever popular off road race - the Cloud 9 - a tough hilly nine mile route from Congleton up to the top of Bosley Cloud and back. The weather was kind to the runners this year and for those off road runners that enjoy a bit of mud - the going was perfect! Three Biddulph runners turned out for this - cheered on by other club members along the route. They finished in the following times; Peter Sherratt 01:20:35, Jeremy Brookes 01:35:02 and Emma King 01:42:41.
Joanne and David Bailey took on the Wrexham 20 mile race on March 8th. Starting on the Queensway Stadium Track the fast fairly flat route followed two identical 10 mile laps of the roads and country lanes around Wrexham finishing back at the Stadium. David Bailey finished this in 2:45:44 and Joanne in 3:23:09.
Three Biddulph runners, Martin Gibson, Steve Jones and Carol Bird (2nd claim) got together and ran the Knighton 20 mile race as a relay team (Sunday March 8th). The undulating 3 lap course was the perfect opportunity for a relay race and the three did the club proud finishing in an excellent time of 02:20:45 which saw them take third place overall and first place for a mixed team!
Also on Sunday 8th March Karen Wynn returned to her home turf to complete the Chester 10k. This was a city based race and took runners out towards Mollington and then back through the heart of Chester City Centre past the Victorian Town Hall and the Medieval Cathedral with the finish on Eastgate Street. Karen crossed the line in 01:06:49.
Stafford Half went ahead last weekend (Sunday 15th March) and Darren Mottram was Biddulph's representative at this one. He had a good fast run and finished the 13.1 miles in 01:26:30.
Most races arranged for the near future have now been cancelled due to the threat of Coronavirus but Biddulph Running Club members will be back to competing as soon as the risk diminishes.
Biddulph Running Club hosted its own annual event last Sunday (February 16th) - the Knype Pool 5 Mile Multi-terrain Charity Race and Fun Run.
Most members took on marshalling duties for the morning but there were a few Biddulph vests out on the course flying the flag for the rest of the club.
The organisers, Graham Fisher and Dawn Addison Moss, had been keeping their eye on Storm Dennis in the days leading up to the race and a check of the route on the Saturday looked promising with minimal damage from Storm Ciara the previous week. Fisher made a good call allowing the event to go ahead. The weather provided perfect running conditions while nicely preserving the challenging terrain that all trail runners crave - plenty of wet mud!
The route followed the usual track around the reservoir, up through the woods, back down the fields returning to the finish at race headquarters in the lower car park.
Most participants crossed the finish line covered in mud and with smiling faces and the organisers were pleased to hear plenty of positive feedback from satisfied customers some of whom had managed to obtain transfers on the day due to other races in the region having been cancelled.
Thirty seven fun-runners also enjoyed the 1 mile circuit of the lower lake that took place before the main event. Each participant received a commemorative medal. The fun run was won by Michael Wood from Macclesfield Harriers in a time of 06:24.
Timing was provided by Andrew Vickerman Event Timing and the Biddulph runners crossed the line in; Darren Mottram 36:07, Chris Lane 43:15, Jeremy Brookes 44:51, Gary McQueen 48:52, Calum Kidd 48:53, Emma Dale 50:12, John Lovatt 1:03:59, Amy Towers 01:06:23.
The race was won by Simon Bailey in 29:06 with first lady Kate Davies crossing the line in 35:13.
A cake stall was set up and manned by Debra Fothergill. This proved to be very popular - raising over £100 for charity.
The Knype Pool 5 mile race is an annual event and raises money for the Biddulph Mayor's chosen charities. This year's mayor Jim Davies has chosen the following charities; Citizens Advice, Biddulph in Bloom, The Food Banks and Zone Youth Community Centre. The final total has not yet been calculated but a cheque will be presented to the town Mayor in due course.
The race was sponsored by Hollinshead Coaches, Sainsburys, Judie Tingle Photography, Biddulph Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic, Running Bear, Biddulph Town Council, Staffordshire County Council, Basefit and Poveys Oatcakes. Biddulph Running Club is very grateful for their help without which the race would be unlikely to be able to proceed.
The race is scheduled to go ahead again next year so put it in your diaries for 2021!
Twenty two Biddulph runners were on the start line of the VeloRunner-Envisage Alsager 5 mile road race last Sunday (February 2nd).
For four of these it was their first ever race - having recently completed the club's New to Running course in 2019 and then subsequently joining the club for 2020. Donning the eye-catching gold and black of Biddulph Running Club's colours they lined up with the other club members ready to give it their all./p>
The race followed the usual route - starting from Alsager Leisure Centre, through some pleasant local avenues to the High Street where they ran a mile or so through the town itself. Cutting back into the residential area runners took in another one mile loop around the Leisure Centre until they found themselves on the final few hundred yards that took them across the finish line.
The team was well supported by friends and family who had turned out to cheer them on their way. This included a group who had run from Biddulph to Alsager that morning to give the team some enthusiastic encouragement and help. Some of these ran the return leg Back to Biddulph also!
Biddulph brought back some very respectable times and quite a few personal bests as follows; Darren Mottram 31:58, Steve Jones 33:53, Michelle Boon 34:42, David Bailey 35:46 (pb), Laurence Edwards 36:30 (pb), Helen Jones 36:53 (pb), Robert Minton 37:05, Rowena Jukes 38:18 (pb), Sandra Edwards 39:35, Helen Clayton 40:16, Rebecca Stringer 40:17, Emma Dale 41:03 (pb), Katie Brookes 41:32 (pb), Ruth Shepherd-Cole 43:25, Rachel Platt 43:53 (pb), Joanne Bailey 46:10, Karen Wynn 49:17, Ian Fothergill 51:37, Dawn McGovern 53:27, Mark Payne 53:28, Amanda Shenton 1:01:52 and Kirsty Stevens 01:05:14.
The four new members did the club proud. One of these, Kirsty Stevens said that it was due to the support and encouragement she received when she first joined the club that she found herself entering the Alsager 5. She said "My nerves started to get the better of me, but I need not have worried. I had my team mates around when I needed them and made it over the finish line."
Another new team member Mark Payne said he had entered the Alsager 5 with a degree of trepidation and as a new runner no small amount of "I'm not good enough to be here!" However he went on to say "I couldn't have been more wrong. The support from every single club member was nothing short of brilliant and the encouragement from the roadside was also fantastic."
Well done Biddulph!
In addition to Alsager - Darren Mottram had already started his racing season early with the Kidsgrove 10k and the Four Villages Half Marathon (Helsby). He ran these races in 40:36 and 01:28:52 respectively gaining a personal best time with his half marathon distance. Steve Evans and Sophia Bird joined him for the half marathon at Helsby finishing in 01:40:45 and 01:43:56 respectively.
The next race in the calendar is Biddulph Running Club's own race the Knype Pool 5 mile Multi Terrain Charity Race and 1 mile fun run. This will be held on Sunday 16th February at Knypersley Reservoir and all proceeds will go to the Mayor's charities.
Biddulph Running Club meets on a Tuesday and Thursday evening at 6.30pm (for 6.45pm) at Biddulph Leisure Centre. New members are always welcome. Please visit us on a club night or see our details on the club website biddulphrunningclub.co.uk
January brought Biddulph Running Club's Annual General Meeting - a chance for members to join, leave or change jobs within the committee. This time, after 5 years serving as chairman, Kevin Shufflebottom decided that it was time to stand down and to let someone else put their energies into the role. The club is very grateful to Kevin for all his support and hard work and all are sorry to see him go.
Tracy Shufflebottom was proposed, seconded and duly selected for this position. This was a historic moment for Biddulph being the first time a lady has been chosen to be chairperson!
Tracy said "as a club member for 15 years now and having experienced several of the roles within the committee I am looking forward to the coming year with a great team and the drive to keep our club doing what it does best, offering something for everyone, having fun and keeping fit."
Tracy is an experienced runner having competed in all distances from 5k to full marathon - running on the road and over rough trail/fell running terrain - both in this country and abroad. She certainly knows a lot about the sport and is always willing to help others achieve their goals. The club wishes her well with her new responsibilities.
Biddulph Running Club held its annual presentation event last Saturday Jan 11 at Knypersley Cricket Club in Tunstall Road. The occasion offered members the chance to leave their running clobber in the cupboard in exchange for their best party gear and for them to let their hair down for the evening's festivities - ready to welcome in another year of successful running!
After a pie and peas supper the club chairman, Kevin Shufflebottom, gave his speech in which he thanked the current club committee for all their hard work over the past year. He went on to highlight some of the runners' greatest achievements from 2019. He mentioned the club's presence at the Northumberland Coastal Trail Marathon/Half Marathon, the London Marathon the Transylvanian 30/50k races, the Lakeland Trail Series, Thunder Run, The Manchester Marathon and Half Marathon, the Potters ‘Arf and many more.
He singled out the following members for special recognition; Kim Carter for achieving a remarkably good result at her first ever half-marathon (Manchester Half), Peter Sherratt for yet another brilliant effort at the Gritstone Grind (35 tough miles off road) and Simon Hodgkiss for his amazing performance at several Ultra-marathons throughout the year.
However it was Elizabeth Sherratt who topped the list - receiving the Chairman's special award for showing the greatest personal improvement in her running over the last 12 months. In 2019 she produced several personal bests at 10k races and has now proved she can perform very well in the half-marathon distance also. Well done Liz!
The Club Championship awards which reflect age graded achievements at selected races throughout the year were presented to the following; Men - 1st Darren Mottram, 2nd David Bailey, and 3rd Laurence Edwards and Ladies - 1st Sandra Edwards, 2nd Rebecca Stringer and 3rd Joanne Bailey.
After the presentation of the awards members and their guests partied and danced to their hearts content.
The next big event on Biddulph Running Club's calendar is the club's own Knype 5 Charity race - a five mile multi-terrain race and one mile fun run (entries on the day for the fun run) in aid of the Biddulph Mayors charities. The race takes place at Knypersley Pool on Sunday 16th February at 11am (fun run at 10.15am). Further details and online entry forms can be found on the club's homepage
For older news items click here