Apart from the London Marathon (which has been reported elsewhere) the main event in Biddulph Running Club's diary this autumn has been the Congleton Half Marathon (2nd October).
This event, now in its 38th year, was hosted by the club's very good neighbour Congleton Harriers. The race is described as a "fast scenic rural course" and it attracted six Biddulph Running Club members this time.
The sunny but cool conditions suited most runners and many friends, relatives and spectators turned out to cheer the runners on their way along the length of the well-marshalled route.
The Biddulph runners had a good morning and came across the line in the following times; Mark Parker 1:50:33, Ruth Shepherd-Cole 01:58:11, Karen Murphy 01:58:32, Karen Macintosh 02:11:55, Rachel Platt 02:13:32 and Karen Wynn 02:15:35.
September saw running club members taking on a variety of races in and around the area. Darren Mottram ran the Stockport Hatters Half Marathon (4th September) and the Warrington Half Marathon (25th September) finishing in good times of 01:39:11 and 01:31:31 respectively.
Katie and James Trace ran the very hilly off-road Derwentwater Trail Challenge 15k (3rd September) and came across the line in 01:34:33 and 02:00:13. That same weekend Joanne Bailey completed the South Cheshire 20 mile race in 03:51:58 as part of her London marathon training.
Mother and daughter Karen Murphy and Ruth Shepherd-Cole ran the Cheshire Half Marathon at Capesthorne Hall (September 11th) finishing close together in 02:03:03 and 2:02:52 respectively.
Mark Parker and Mark Payne ventured into Derbyshire the same weekend (September 11th) for the Big Dipper Half Marathon. This challenging road race started in Dronfield and included parts of the Peak National Park. The 13.1 mile course included a gruelling 510m of ascent with a cheeky sting in the tail just before the end!
Their finish times were Parker 02:06:40 and Payne 02:23:52.
Biddulph Running Club meets at Biddulph Leisure Centre on a Tuesday and Thursday evening at 6.30 for a 6.45 start. The winter training routes are now being followed and these include the paths and streets in and around Biddulph. Occasionally there is an off-road head-torch option using the Biddulph Valley Way.
Last weekend (2nd October) was the 42nd running of the London Marathon sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). This most iconic 26.2 mile long (fairly flat) race starts at Blackheath in Greenwich and takes in many sights of London including The Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, the Thames Embankment, Westminster and The Mall before finishing in front of Buckingham Palace.
Biddulph had two members representing the Club this time; Joanne Bailey and the club chair Tracy Shufflebottom.
Joanne Bailey said she felt her "dreams had come true" when she was lucky enough to get a ballot place for the April 2020 event. She started her training straight away and this culminated in her running the Wrexham 20 mile race in March 2020. The Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns though meant the 2020 marathon got cancelled and she was back to square one. She kept her fitness going by running various half marathons and by tackling the very challenging Coniston Trail Marathon in 2021. After another set-back when April 2022's London Marathon was also cancelled she upped her training once again and finally made it to the start line last Sunday.
Club chair Tracy Shufflebottom had a very lucky and unexpected ballot draw for this year; she was returning to running following an injury and didn't expect to get a place. She kick started her training in June with a 100 mile cycle ride then she followed a strict plan to increase her distance steadily. She joined Joanne and other club members on some of the longer runs as Tracy says "to help the miles go by!" Tracy is a London Marathon veteran having run the course five times before over a time span of 15 years! Tracy says "It's the best party on course, the crowds and the sights are amazing".
Despite the train strike causing last minute stress the Biddulph pair had an exciting and unforgettable London Marathon weekend. Sharp eyes will have spotted the two black and gold Biddulph vests amongst the crowd of 50,000 runners and memories will have been made.
Tracy's London marathon time was 05:11:58 and Joanne's was 05:16:09.
The rest of the running club members are looking forward to hearing about their experiences and seeing their London Marathon 2022 finishers tee shirts and medals.
Biddulph Running Club made its annual trip to Catton Park Derbyshire for the Conti Thunder Run 24 hour trail running race (23rd-24th July). Here thousands of runners take on the 10k technical off road route - running day and night in a team to see how many laps can be completed within 24 hours. Biddulph had a team of seven and four solo runners in the main event with Graham Fisher completing the 10k pre-event race.
The team of seven were James Trace, Rebecca Stringer, Neil Williams, Ian Carter, Kevin Shufflebottom, Dawn McGovern and Mark Payne. They managed 20 laps between them and finished 74th out of 129 teams. Karen Murphy, Katie Trace, Karen Macintosh and Julie Bradshaw gave it their all and individually managed an amazing 10, 10, 9 and 7 laps each respectively taking 13th, 15th, 25th and 42nd places out of a field of 77 female finishers. As always the weekend was very enjoyable with Camp Biddulph providing food, refreshments, encouragement and support to all runners courtesy of the club chair Tracy Shufflebottom and club members Trish Taylor and Jack Stewart.
Earlier in July (10th) Darren Mottram ran the Cheadle 4, a short but challenging race around the local roads of Cheadle, and he completed this is in a very fast 25:41. The same day Katie Trace, Helen Clayton, Rebecca Stringer, James Trace, Joanne Bailey and Ian Fothergill took on the Wilmslow Summer 10k. Starting in Wilmslow town centre and finishing on Mobberley Road this flat route always allows fast times and PBs. The team did well and achieved the following:- Trace K. 48:37, Clayton 49:00, Stringer 49:00, Trace J. 55:48, Bailey 59:54 and Fothergill 1:17:14.
Some club members have been out trying races that are less well known to the club. In July (12th) Simon Hodgkiss did the Mobberley Round the Runway 5 race. This very interesting route takes runners around the quiet lanes and footpaths surrounding Manchester Airport runway 2 and includes the Bollin Tunnel. Simon picked up a fast time of 33:34!
Steve Jones ran the Helena Tipping Wrexham 10k on July 24th. The fast flat route ensured Steve's impressive time of 44:21.
Karen Murphy and Mark Payne went celebrity spotting at the Media City 10k (28th July). Not only did they come home with times of 54:13 and 55:37 respectively but they also had a meet up and a chat with the very well-known and much loved star Maureen Lipman!
Trentham Running Club's Dave Clark 5 race is always a favourite one for Biddulph Running Club. This year however Darren Mottram was the only member running it. The lovely multi-terrain route is a mix of footpaths, canal towpath, pavements and grassy fields and the sun nearly always shines for the evening! Darren represented the club in great style finishing with an incredible time of 20:31 putting him 18th out of 113 runners!
Karen Murphy and Karen Macintosh ran Sandbach Striders Running Club's annual 10k race on August 21st. The race had a new race HQ at Sandbach Rugby Club and a new route which headed out towards Bradwall. The two Karens had a good morning out in the sunshine, pushing themselves in the sweltering heat to bring home times of 52:17 and 57:41 respectively.
The club meets for social runs every Tuesday and Thursday evening at Biddulph Leisure centre from 6.30pm.
The "New to Running" Course is the next event on the club calendar and is open to anyone over 18 who wants to give running a go. This well supervised course takes would-be runners very gently and steadily from couch to 5k in a 6 week period. Experienced running leaders will be taking the course and there will be other club members on hand to help. Registration is on Sunday 4th September from 10.30 to 12.30. Another two opportunities will be 5.30 to 6.30 on Tuesday 6th and Thursday 8th September just before the club run. The actual start date is Tuesday September 13th. For details see www.biddulphrunningclub.co.uk.
Biddulph Running Club is 40 years old this year and club chair Tracy Shufflebottom was keen to commemorate the occasion by putting on a club event that would include all members and would also celebrate the sport of running. The committee put their heads together and came up with the idea for a team relay-style run which, when all participants laps were added together, would add up to a fitting total of 40 miles per team.
Katie Trace organised three teams with multiple pairs of runners who ran in relay until the total number of miles was reached. Katie Brookes and family valiantly kept a tally of the mounting total.
The one mile route started from the Visitor Centre in Biddulph Grange Country Park and went through the woods to the lake. After one lap of the lake runners returned to the Visitor Centre and tagged their running partner who then set off on their lap. It was a very sociable evening; the lake looked a picture in the evening sun with families of geese looking on with some interest! The proprietors of the Hideaway cafe at the Visitor centre kindly opened up for the runners, their families and friends so coffee, drinks and cakes were on the menu for the duration.
The evening began with a speech from Tracy Shufflebottom in which she provided some insight into the club's history. It began forty years ago when a few friends got together and started a jogging club. It very quickly grew and then became an affiliated running club. Tracy continued "since then the club has enjoyed a strong connection to the town of Biddulph and has maintained its reputation of being small and friendly supporting and growing the sport of running for health fitness and friendship".
Tracy took on the role of chair-person in 2020 and has guided the club through all the difficulties brought about by Covid lockdowns back to what is hopefully near-normality. Past chairmen have included Phil Dowd, Alan Roberts, John Lovatt and Kevin Shufflebottom, most of whom are still very much in touch with the club.
At the end of the evening the total of 40 miles per team was easily reached and a good time was had by all.
It's always good to be able to report that Biddulph Running Club members have been out supporting some of the more local races.
The Potters 'Arf (half marathon) took place last weekend (12th June) and attracted a good turnout from the club.
The race followed its usual route from the city centre through Fenton, Longton, Bentilee, Bucknall and Milton before its iconic ascent up Heartbreak Hill. As always the atmosphere was buzzing with homeowners and businesses lining the streets to cheer on those that had entered the race. The Biddulph runners had a great race and finished in; Darren Mottram 01:38:11, Kerry-Ann Swift 01:58:06, Ruth Shepherd-Cole 02:13:29, Claire Shufflebotham 02:18:12, Rachel Platt 02:18:12, Karen Wynn 02:19:42, Ann Pedersen 02:28:34 and Jeff Roberts 02:30:43.
Another half marathon close to home was the Buxton Half (29th May).
The start was from Buxton's Opera House. Six club members, Simon Hodgkiss, Katie Trace, Jeremy Brookes, Karen Murphy, Karen Macintosh and James Trace took this on and spent the morning enjoying some stunning Peak District views before crossing the finish line within the beautiful Pavilion Gardens. The team finished in 01:32:20 (PB), 01:46:41, 02:02:50, 02:04:14, 02:15:24 and 02:27:32 respectively.
There were several events to choose from during the weekend of the 21st/22nd May.
Mark Payne and club chair Tracy Shufflebottom took part in the Great Manchester Run, one of the largest running events in Europe.
Mark chose the half marathon distance and finished in 02:10:29 while Tracy opted for the 10k finishing in 01:01:41. Phil Postles also chose the 10k distance on the same day, but travelled to Nottingham for his race, finishing in 01:00:09.
Keswick's Mountain Festival was held the same weekend.
The festival is an annual event and aims to provide visitors to the lakes with an opportunity to try something new or for enthusiasts to take on their next challenge. The running routes take participants through some beautiful parts of the lakes and the area is a firm favourite with many club members. Simon Hodgkiss challenged himself with the Skiddaw Vertical run - a new event which has almost 1000 metres of ascent over 9km taking runners from the market square up to the summit of nearby Skiddaw. He tackled this superbly and achieved an amazing time of 01:07:28. Jeremy Brookes and Kerry-Ann Swift took on the 25k race and finished in 03:19:13 and 03:25:00 respectively.
Another group travelled up to the Lakes last weekend (12th June) for the Lakeland Trails marathon weekend in Coniston.
Again the routes are always spectacular with the views from the top of the hills being well worth the climbs. Jon Horne, Joanne Bailey, Mark Payne, James Trace, Dawn McGovern, Gill Horne and Hannah Findlay all ran the Half Marathon Trail Challenge. The team came home in the following times respectively; 02:11:21, 02:30:14, 02:30:51, 02:39:05, 02:47:44, 03:15:47 and 03:15:47. For Hannah Findlay it was her first half marathon. She had chosen a tough track for her first try at the distance but she completed it with absolutely no problem. Well done Hannah!
Five club members had opted for the full marathon - a gruelling 26 plus miles with 3000ft of ascent over technically challenging terrain. Karen Murphy and Andrew Hollies finished this in a very respectable time of 05:40:10 with Katie Trace and David Bailey achieving 05:48:01 in spite of stopping for an ice cream just before the finish! Karen Macintosh crossed the line in 06:16:07.
Members have many more races to choose from in the weeks to come and there will be much fun to be had, many stories to be told and countless records to be broken. Good luck all!
Summer is nearly here and the race season has well and truly started. Biddulph Running Club members have been out and about at various races over the last few weeks and have brought home great results including some personal bests.
There has been quite a choice of road races this spring and club members have been training hard all winter using the clubs evening training runs to supplement their own training plans.
March 20th brought the Wilmslow half marathon and 10k races. The courses are renowned for producing fast times and participants are taken along some beautiful traffic-free country lanes in and around the town. Rebecca Stringer represented Biddulph in the half marathon and came home with a fabulous personal best (01:47:22). Steve Jones, Helen Clayton and Mark Payne had entered the 10k race achieved times of 42:57, 52:32 and 56:09 respectively. Mark Payne also gained his 10k personal best time that day.
The Stafford half marathon took place that same day (20th March). Peter Sherratt and Mark Parker had signed up for this one. The race, which incorporated two steady climbs en route, started and finished in Stafford town centre. Peter Sherratt finished in 01:38:20 and Mark Parker in 02:00:35.
New club member Russell Ellis chose Manchester marathon (April 3rd) for his first outing of a Biddulph vest. He finished the race in 03:58:53. Darren Mottram represented Biddulph at the Uttoxeter Half (May 1st) and Market Drayton 10k (May 8th) races. He crossed the lines in very fast times of 01:30:12 and 39:33 respectively.
Mark Parker, Karen Murphy, Ruth Shepherd-Cole, Rachel Platt and Claire Shufflebotham chose the Alderley Edge by-pass 10k for their morning outing on May 1st. The road was closed for this race which has become a firm fixture in the club calendar. They had an enjoyable run and finished close together in 50:22 (PB), 52:13, 57:26, 57:27 and 57:50 respectively.
The off-road trail-running aficionados hadn't been forgotten this spring and there have been a lot of venues for them to choose from also.
Closest to home has been our very good neighbours, Congleton Harriers, own Cloud 9 Hill race on 6th March. Taking runners from Congleton along the Biddulph Valley Way and up to the stunning summit of Bosley Cloud, this race always attracts interest from the Biddulph trail crowd. This year there were seven runners and a group of supporters at this event and it was a lovely morning out. The club runners finished in the following times; Katie Trace 01:24:29, David Bailey 01:26:50, Jeremy Brookes 01:37:51, Karen Murphy 01:40:44, Penny Graham 01:40:44, James Trace 01:47:53 and Karen Macintosh 01:48:01.
Cannock Chase half marathon, a challenging 13 mile route around the hills and tracks of the Chase, took place on one of the first warm days of the season (March 26th). Four brave Biddulph souls made it to the finish. All enjoyed the beautiful setting and all found the race tough and technical. Katie Trace finished in 02:10:35 with David Bailey, James Trace and Joanne Bailey not far behind in 02:32:48, 02:53:21 and 03:10:03 respectively.
Julie Bradshaw travelled all the way down to Devon on April 24th for the Bodmin Beacon Beast marathon. This challenging multi-terrain adventure was run on a figure of eight loop incorporating some spectacular scenery and Julie finished this in an amazing 5:04:32.
On the 4th May David and Joanne Bailey ran the Quarry Bank Trail race (39:02 and 49:24) while Simon Hodgkiss, Katie Trace and Jeremy Bookes opted for the Rainow 5 fell run (43:13, 47:17 and 52:31 respectively). Both of these races fulfil the criteria for the Biddulph trail runners enjoyment; mud, rough tracks and plenty of hills!
A few members travelled up to the lakes for the first of the Lakeland Trails series of events; the Hawkshead and Staveley trail runs. As usual the routes didn't disappoint and the spectacular views were well worth the hard climbs! Karen Mackintosh and Gill Horne chose the 10k at Hawkshead (April 9th) while Katie and James Trace opted for the 16k run. Their race times were 01:24:00, 01:36:56, 01:42:38 and 02:28:08. The Staveley runners (7th May) were David Bailey, Karen Macintosh, Joanne Bailey and Gill Horne. They finished the 18k trail challenge in 01:53:59, 02:14:53, 02:19:31 and 02:40:29 respectively.
Club members are now making up for the lull in events over Covid lockdowns and there will be many more results to come over the summer months - good luck to all!
Biddulph Running Club continues to meet on a Tuesday and Thursday evening at Biddulph Leisure Centre for training runs. Multi-terrain routes are usually scheduled at this time of year and there is often a shorter route offered when required. New members are always welcome and the club's contact details may be found from the club website www.biddulphrunningclub.co.uk
In contrast to the violent storms of the last couple of weeks the sun shone down on Biddulph Running Club's annual event - the Knype Pool 5 mile multi-terrain charity race and 1 mile fun run - which took place last Sunday.
With over 200 entries for the main race and around 25 signing up for the fun run the race village at the entrance to the country park was buzzing with excitement.
The fun runners set off first completing a one mile lap of the bottom reservoir. All participants received a commemorative medal from the town mayor (Sylvia Rushton) and all crossed the line with a smile on their face.
Next it was time for the main race. Biddulph's town crier was in attendance and kept everyone entertained as they lined up at the start. Biddulph Running Club's race co-ordinator (Dawn Addison-Moss) welcomed the runners and performed her safety briefing. Then - at a signal from the town mayor - they were off.
Runners followed the usual route around Knypersley Pool and up through the woods then back down the fields with a little detour up towards the visitor centre on the way back to the finish. Everyone seemed to enjoy the race and most had a story to tell about the deep mud in the top fields!
The main winners in the female category were Kate Davies (Staffordshire Moorlands) in 34:09, Diane McVey (Wilmslow) in 34:27 and Sophie Goodfellow (Newcastle) in 35:00. The main winners in the male category were Simon Bailey (Staffordshire Moorlands) in 28:49, Tom Fellbaum in 29:27 and Ben Brereton in 30:11.
Darren Mottram was first back for Biddulph in a time of 37:20. Other Biddulph runners were Russell Ellis 41:42, Kerry-Ann Swift 43:53, Gareth Harries 44:02, Julie Bradshaw 44:58, Calum Kidd 45:03, Jeremy Brookes 45:38, Rowena Jukes 46:29, Gaz McQueen 48:34, Ann Pedersen 54:29, Mark Payne 55:15 and John Lovatt 1:06:07.
The race route was expertly marshalled by volunteers and club members (organised by Karen Macintosh) and a charity cake stall was set up and manned by the Fothergill family. Karen Murphy, Tracy Shufflebottom (Chair) and Hannah Findlay acted as sweepers on the day to make sure everyone got back safely. Timing was carried out by AV timing and Graham Fisher (Race Director) supervised the whole event to make sure everything went without a hitch.
Sponsorship was provided by Sainsburys, Hollinshead Coaches, Peak Riders and Striders, Bryan Dale Photography, Brammers Shoe Shop, Biddulph Town Council and Staffordshire County Council. In addition some of the race winners generously donated their prize money to the charity fund. The club sends heartfelt thanks to them all.
All proceeds will be donated to the Biddulph Mayor's charities which, this year, are Staffordshire Sight Loss Association and the Trussell Trust Food Bank. The final total will be released at a later date and will be presented to the mayor.
All agreed the event was extremely enjoyable and wholly successful. The turnout was spectacular and the perfect weather was a welcome bonus. The event is firmly in the club diary for 2023 and details will follow in due course.
Biddulph Running Club's race season got off to a fine start as eleven members braved the cold to represent the club at the Alsager 5 mile road race on Sunday February 6th - the first race on the club's championship list for 2022. The route followed the usual track from the Leisure Centre along nearby leafy residential roads, up the main street in the centre of Alsager, then back to complete a circuit of the Leisure Centre before a sprint into the finish. The Biddulph team had a good morning and finished the race in the following times; Peter Sherratt 33:56, Kerry Ann Swift 40:07, Emma Dale 42:42, Katie Brookes 42:44, Mark Payne 45:02, Ann Pedersen 48:06, Karen Wynn 49:02, Jeff Roberts 52:29, Ian Fothergill 53:18, Joanne Plant 56:29 and Hannah Findlay 57:38 (PB).
Last Sunday (February 20th) the clubs newest members who had taken part in and finished the "New to Running" course, designed to take runners from couch to 5k in six weeks, completed their 5k celebration run. Five participants with support from several club members ran 5k around the lake at Knypersley Pool. In spite of the damp conditions, all five had an enjoyable morning and all left the run with a certificate and a huge sense of achievement. Well done runners!
The next event on the club calendar is Biddulph's own annual Knype Pool 5 mile multi-terrain charity race and 1 mile fun run on Sunday 27th February 2022. The main race is £8 (affiliated) and £10 (unaffiliated) and is capped at 250 places so enter now! A few remaining places may be taken up last minute with some entries being taken on the day this year. All proceeds will be donated to the Biddulph Mayors charities which this year are Staffordshire Sight Loss Association and the Trussell Trust Food Bank.
The race is sponsored by Sainsburys, Hollinshead Coaches, Peak Riders and Striders, Bryan Dale Photography, Biddulph Town Council Rod Deaville and Staffordshire County Council. Biddulph Running Club is very grateful to these organisations for their generous support.
There will be prizes for the main race winners (1st to 3rd) and for winners of the veteran categories. Medals will be given out to all fun-runners.
For more details go to www.biddulphrunningclub.co.uk. Fun run entries are all taken on the day.
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