As the running season draws to a close it seems as if the race calendar has pretty much been getting back to normal. Many of the usual annual races have been going ahead albeit with Covid secure procedures firmly in place - all designed to keep competitors and supporters as safe as possible from risk of infection.
The Knutsford 10k took place on 17th October. Starting and finishing in the grounds of Barclays Technology Centre, the traffic-free race route takes in the beautiful country lanes of Over Peover, Snelson and Peover Heath and is a flat course, encouraging plenty of personal best times. Darren Mottram gained an impressive PB of 38:56. Jack Stewart, Mark Parker, Rebecca Stringer, Helen Clayton and Mark Payne were also there in club colours and achieved the following times respectively; 42:19, 50:41, 53:21, 53:22 and 56:17.
On 7th November a group from Biddulph partook in their yearly trip up to the Lakes for the "Dirty Double" weekend organised by Lakeland Trails. Day one took the runners up and down the gritty trails around Glenridding towards Helvellyn and back through Patterdale. On day two they ran through Patterdale and across to the far side of Ullswater taking in a beautifully scenic and extremely hilly route. They crossed the finish lines on day one in the following times; 10k - Gill Horne 01:12:14, Trish Taylor 01:12:14, 15k - Katie Trace 01:32:09, David Bailey 01:32:09, Jon Horne 01:35:20, James Trace 01:53:18 and Joanne Bailey 01:54:46. Day two results were; 15k - David Bailey 01:40:45, Katie Trace 01:40:45, Graham Fisher 01:54:43, James Trace 02:08:51 and Joanne Bailey 02:19:04. The club chair Tracy Shufflebottom joined the Biddulph group for the weekend in the Lakes and very kindly helped by marshalling the race route. Volunteer marshals are always very highly valued as without them no races would be able to go ahead, so thanks go out to Tracy.
The weekend of 14th November saw more off road fun for Peter Sherratt and Jeremy Brookes when they ran the Mow Cop Runners Roaches Fell Race. Starting at Meerbrook Village Hall the 15 mile out and back route goes up and over the Roaches then across into Cheshire. The turn is at the trig point of Shutlingsloe and the course provides 3700ft of elevation. Sherratt finished in 03:14:12 and Brookes in 04:10:59.
The following weekend 20th November Darren Mottram also ran from Meerbrook Village Hall in the Meerbrook 15k race. Set in the heart of the Staffordshire Moorlands this road race provides a gruelling course with views over the Cheshire Plain and beyond. Mottram achieved a commendable time of 01:06:50.
Conway Half Marathon has always been and will continue to be a club favourite. The views as one wends ones way up the Great Orme are second to none and are well worth the effort. This year (21st November) for a variety of reasons just four club members managed to make it to the incredibly picturesque start line - situated on Conwy Quayside just below the walls of the 700+ year old Conwy Castle. The runners had an enjoyable race in the November sunshine and came home with the following times; Peter Sherratt 01:40:58, Emma Dale 02:07:55, Katie Brookes 02:09:17 and Stephanie Ward 02:10:44.
Christmas was in the air for the Wilmslow Festive 10k held on 28th November with many runners dressing up for the occasion. This fast road race (good for personal best times) starts from the middle of Wilmslow town centre and finishes on Mobberley Road/Sandy Lane. Six Biddulph Vests could be seen at this event and the team crossed the line in; Katie Trace 46:15, David Bailey 46:15, Rebecca Stringer 50:22, Helen Clayton 50:22, James Trace 56:00 and Joanne Bailey 59:17.
With only a couple of races to go before the end of the season it's time to look ahead into 2022. Biddulph Running Club's annual multi-terrain race, the Knype Pool 5 mile Charity Race, will be taking place on Sunday February 27th 2022 - Covid rules allowing. Details, once finalised, will be appearing on the club's website and entries will be opening soon.
The club will also be offering a "New to Running" course in January 2022. This aims to take new runners through a carefully designed programme from zero up to 5k over a period of 6 weeks. The course is led by fully qualified group leaders and involves a walk/run structured training plan with full supervision. Prospective participants can sign up on 9th January 2022 at 10am at Biddulph Leisure Centre and the actual start date is Tuesday 11th January at 6.30pm. Places are limited to 15 though so they will be allocated on a first come first served basis. As always - the club looks forward to welcoming the "NtoR" course runners and any other runners who are thinking of joining the club.
A crisp autumnal morning greeted nearly 300 runners who set off from the new Back Lane start area into the quiet country lanes of Congleton to run the 37th Congleton Half Marathon last Sunday (3rd October). The event, with its scenic undulating rural route, is an old favourite with Biddulph Running Club and this year it attracted seven club members. Some members of the club (including Katie Trace, Katie Brookes and the club chair Tracy Shufflebottom) turned out to volunteer as marshals and more went along to cheer the runners on at various points along the route.
The Biddulph runners had an exciting and enjoyable race and finished in the following times; Rebecca Stringer 01:56:03, Emma Dale 01:58:03, Kate Jones 02:01:28, Karen Murphy 02:12:03, Ruth Shepherd-Cole 02:12:04, James Trace 02:13:24 and Ian Fothergill 02:43:37.
Last Sunday was, of course, the London Marathon and David Bailey could be spotted in his black and gold Biddulph vest amid the throng of runners seen on BBC's TV footage on the day. The route took him past all the usual iconic sights including Greenwich Park, The Royal Artillery Barracks, The Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, Canary Wharf, The London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament towards Buckingham Palace before his final run up the Mall and into the finish. Dave had a great run and crossed the line in an amazing 04: 31:19. He said it had been a "fantastic experience, the crowds were brilliant, well worth doing but so hard towards the end". Dave will be back in London next year supporting his wife Joanne who will be running the 2022 London Marathon.
Also last Sunday (3rd October) Darren Mottram ran the MBNA Chester Marathon. Starting at Chester Racecourse the route takes in Chester's notable landmarks then heads out into the Cheshire and North Wales countryside before returning along the River Dee and back into the city. Darren achieved a very fast time of 03:17:46.
The previous weekend (25th/26th September) saw Biddulph runners taking on a variety of challenges. Hannah Findlay, one of the clubs newest runners, ran her first 10k race at the Great Manchester 10k run. She finished this in 01:16:19. Well done Hannah! Alongside the 10k was the Great Manchester Half Marathon. Darren Mottram and Katie Trace took part in this and came through the finish in 01:34:06 and 01:50:59 respectively Simon Hodgkiss travelled all the way to Norfolk to run the Norfolk Coastal Trail Marathon; a stunning 26 plus mile route (in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) that follows the coastal trail from Holme to Morston. Simon crossed the line in 04:18:31.
The same weekend (26th September) Karen Murphy, Stephanie Ward and Kevin Burndred ran the Potters Arf. Starting outside the Potteries Centre it takes runners 13.1 miles through the streets in and around Hanley. As usual this race was very well supported with local residents standing outside their houses lining the streets to cheer the runners/walkers on their way. The Biddulph team achieved the following times; Burndred 02:09:27, Ward 02:09:28 and Murphy 02:12:27.
In the preceding weeks Mark Parker ran the Stafford Half (19th September) in 01:52:29, the Sandbach 10k (1st August) in 49:06 and the Southport Seaside 10k (5th September) in 47:40 improving his personal best times as he went. On the 7th August Simon Hodgkiss took on the Peak Skyline 50k, an arduous off-road ultra-marathon race through the beautiful but challenging areas of the Peak District National Park. He managed a remarkable time of 06:24:19. During the weekend of 18/19th September Julie Bradshaw took part in the Equinox 24 hour race completing 10 laps totalling an incredible 100k!!! Amazing lady!
On their way back from Scotland on the 18th September James and Katie Trace stopped off in the Lake District to run the Cartmel Trail Challenge. This is an 18k hilly off road event which starts and finishes at Cartmel racecourse. Katie and James finished in 01:57:50 and 02:35:32 respectively.
Biddulph Running Club meets for training runs on a Tuesday and Thursday evening at 6.30 for a 6.45 start. New members are always welcome. Future events include a "New to Running" course which is scheduled for the New Year and the club's annual charity race - the Knype 5 - which will take place in February 2022.
Two teams of runners made their way to the Catton Park Estate in Walton-on-Trent on the Staffordshire Derbyshire border last weekend (24-25th July) for Conti Thunder Run 24 hr. This is a 24 hour event in which teams, pairs, or solo runners run as many 10k laps as they can over the day/night from midday Saturday to midday Sunday.
Biddulph entered a team of seven; Kate Heathcock, James Trace, Katie Trace, Jon Horne, Rebecca Stringer, Helen Clayton and Julie Bradshaw, and a pairs team; Karen Macintosh and Graham Fisher.
In spite of some Covid restrictions still being in place the event swung along seamlessly conveying its usual festival atmosphere with hundreds of campers taking delight in the stunning scenery, the event attractions and the pleasant weather.
Biddulph's team of six managed to run 22 laps between them which put them 47th out of 147 teams. The pairs team ran an amazing 15 laps between them putting them 5th out of 25 pairs. Well done all!
The team was supported and managed superbly by Katie Trace along with supporters which included the club's chair Tracy Shufflebottom and club members Ian Carter and Mark Payne cheering them all on their way.
The club plans to enter a team for 2022.
As the lock down begins to ease there has been a resurgence of some of the usual annual races. This weekend Mark Parker ran the Sandbach 10k. Mark also ran the Wilmslow summer 10k on July 11th in which he gained his PB for the distance; 49:18.
More Biddulph vests could be seen at the Wilmslow 10k with club members achieving the following times; Laurence Edwards 47:12, Sandra Edwards 47:44, Kerry-Ann Swift 51:28, Rachel Platt 1:05:57 and Karen Wynn 1:05:58.
David Bailey, Katie Trace, Penny Graham and Joanne Bailey ran the Wizard 5 mile race at Alderley Edge on 20th July and finished in the following times respectively, 40:12, 41:09, 42:24 and 53:19.
Sisters Helen Clayton and Rebecca Stringer ran the Colshaw Hall 10k together on July 20th in a time of 53:21.
Biddulph Running Club meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6.30-6.45 at Biddulph Leisure Centre. New members are always welcome. Later in the year there will be a New-to-Running course in which participants will be coached to run up to 5k over a period of 6 weeks. Please email the club or just turn up on a club night for any information.
Several members of Biddulph Running Club headed off to the Lake District at the beginning of June (6-7th June) to take part in one of the first races of the year that has actually been able to go ahead properly - the Coniston Marathon. The runners had been training hard all winter for this race which for some was to be their first ever marathon.
In true club spirit the seasoned marathon runners helped the ones that were new to this distance by organising training runs and passing on advice and tips on how best to approach this event.
On the day seven club members lined up for their Covid-safe staggered start and set off on what was to be a tough run over some very rough stony terrain. They soon congregated into pre-arranged groups based on running pace and gave each other much needed support for the duration of the race. The first group to cross the line for Biddulph included Penny Graham, David Bailey, Katie Trace and Jon Horne. Group two consisted of James Trace, Joanne Bailey and Gill Horne.
Kevin and Tracy Shufflebottom (who marshalled the event on the day) were there at the end to see the runners cross the finish line. Katie Brookes and Rowena Jukes had stationed themselves at Tarn Hows to cheer the groups on at about mile ten. Seeing familiar faces was very much appreciated and they lifted the teams' spirits as they ran past or, in some cases, stopped for a rest and a chat!
All the Biddulph runners enjoyed their day and most of them have already entered next year's Coniston marathon or half marathon and it's looking like it will be an even bigger turn out for the club next time.
With the easing of rules controlling the latest lockdown, Biddulph Running Club has slowly started to return to a bit of normality. Still following government guidelines and strictly adhering to the protocol advised by England Athletics the club is now offering its usual group runs on a Tuesday and Thursday evening.
Club members (new and old) have gradually been returning to the club and many are now enjoying the club summer routes which include a bit of off-road running in and around the fields and footpaths of Biddulph, Biddulph Park and beyond.
Looking ahead to the rest of the summer - the race calendar is starting to fill up and members have been planning for the months ahead putting their entries in to try and make up for last year's dearth of events.
During lockdown, however, members have had to find other ways to keep their motivation going and several race organisers have encouraged runners to participate in virtual runs - with medals and tee shirts available as an additional temptation.
In January and February Dawn McGovern completed the virtual Kidsgrove 10k (having to contend with icy conditions) and the Alsager 5mile race. She was delighted to knock 4 minutes off her previous time and is now looking forward to doing the proper route again next year. Karen Wynn also did the virtual Alsager 5 and completed this in a good time of 49:40. Karen's running has been improving steadily and this year she has set herself a goal - to run 1000 miles in 2021. Good luck Karen!
Mark Parker achieved a personal best time when he did the virtual Manchester City Blue Run around the Biddulph area. He earned himself a medal and a tee shirt and the proceeds of the race went to a very good cause - their community project to support mental wellbeing in people aged 14 - 25.
To celebrate Katie Trace's birthday, husband James secretly entered them both into a virtual Day of the Dead race as she was celebrating her day Mexican style. They both ran a 10k route and can be seen (pictured) proudly sporting their designer Day of the Dead medals!
Tracy Shufflebottom completed her virtual Lakeland Trails race early this year and so started the season with a brand new tee shirt! Competitors were able to choose their preferred distance - 250k or 152k and they had six weeks in which to complete it. The organisers kept participants connected by uploading their progress to a map showing all the usual Lake District routes so they could see each other's progression day by day.
Tracy, along with several other Biddulph Running Club members will be travelling to the lakes next week to take part in Coniston Marathon. For some this will be their first ever marathon and for others their first off road marathon. The new marathon runners have benefitted greatly from the experience of other club members who for the last few months have been organising training runs and have provided help and support throughout.
Biddulph Running Club is always happy to welcome new members. Hannah Findlay decided to join the club during lockdown having completed a couch to 5k online course on her own. Her running has gone from strength to strength and she recently completed a 10 mile (very muddy) off road run!
Hannah has written about her experience of joining Biddulph Running Club and is keen to encourage others to take the same step. The club is open to all and Hannah promises "I will be there with you at the back every Tuesday as will many others. It doesn't matter if you run, jog, walk or skip to get back - it's all about getting out there and socialising again".
Biddulph Running Club hopes to offer its "New-to-Running" course this September. For details please contact the club
In normal times Biddulph Running Club holds its annual Christmas Party and Awards Ceremony around the first weekend in January. This year things are very different. The party cannot possibly take place due to the pandemic and there have been very few races that went ahead so the Club Championship awards (based on points collected in a range of races during the year) has been cancelled for 2020.
There is one award however that still applies and this is the Chair-Persons award. Biddulph Running Club's chair-lady Tracy Shufflebottom put a lot of thought into who deserved this award. Tracy felt that the award should go to the person who has made the most improvement over the year. This year has been very difficult for everyone and it has been hard to keep the motivation going especially when you are new to the sport and suddenly find yourself having to run alone a lot of the time.
Tracy had this to say.
"2020 began with much promise as each year does but despite the challenges I am immensely proud of the achievements of all members of Biddulph Running Club both running and the efforts of the committee in keeping us together even virtually.
I look forward, like everyone else, to the day when we can gather and train together in unlimited numbers. But until then we will continue to celebrate being part of something good.
This year's Chairman's award has, as always, rewarded a club member whose story chronicles someone who has shone in the journey of running but who is not always the first past the post.
While we cannot award the championship trophies for the races on the list, I can delight in giving the chair's award to Mark Payne."
Mark Payne joined Biddulph Running Club's "New to Running" course in 2019 and has gone from strength to strength. Like others he had made plans for 2020 to enter races and to improve his distance and times. He ran his first 5 mile race at Alsager at the beginning of the year but the subsequent lockdowns soon put a finish to his racing.
Undeterred he joined in some of the challenges arranged by the club including the Lockdown Bingo Challenge and also completed several virtual races. He has added trail running to his list of achievements and even though he sustained an injury that kept him out of running for a good couple of months, he returned even stronger and managed to realise his target running over 550 miles in 2020.
Two special "recognition" Chair-Persons awards were given out this year and these went to Katie Trace and Simon Hodgkiss. Katie and Simon both gave up a lot of their time and put a lot of effort into arranging challenges for club members to take on during lockdown. They included "Race around the World", "Lockdown Bingo", "Thunder Run 12hr Team Challenge" and various on and off-road pairs and team group runs (socially distanced and when allowed) both locally and in the Peak district and Derbyshire Dales.
Well done Mark Payne, Katie Trace and Simon Hodgkiss.
Watch the chair-person's speech here note - this is a large video and may take some time to load.
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