Road Runners on Tour 2019

Yet again the Road Runners took on one of the highlights of the running calendar, the BTR Tour of Merseyside, from 30th June to the 6th July. This 52-mile 6-race event, a race format originally devised by the legend who is Ron Hill and applied locally by Alan Rothwell, is no mean feat. For those who haven’t taken up the challenge and want to know more, read on…

Sunday – Southport Half Marathon

A 9 a.m. start saw eager (or perhaps just bleary-eyed) hordes of Tourists arrive at Southport’s Victoria Park to pick up their race numbers from the BTR paddock. As well as the race number, there’s also a handy “Tourist” name to stick on your back, so those taking part in The Tour can identify each other around the course. The Tourists are effectively ‘guests’ at Active Event’s Southport Half Marathon, but at roughly 500 they certainly make up a good size contingent. 

Ready for the start, Southport Half

And so off we go. 52 miles starts here.

Map of the Southport Half Marathon

The Southport Half Marathon is an almost completely flat route. After leaving Victoria Park it passes some bewildered Radio Control car racers (engaged in their own challenge), before heading up the main street. There’s a series of twists and turns through genteel little Hesketh Park; then it’s out through the suburbs before reaching the long wide open spaces of the front and the Marine Lake.

Now, just because it’s flat doesn’t mean it’s easy. Southport weather for the opening stage of The Tour de rigueur is scorching sunshine; delight at a relatively cool morning turned to dismay amongst the runners, with mile after mile battling a headwind along the front. The one mile with the wind behind seemed scant comfort! But nevertheless, with a few last frustrating zig-zags through Victoria Park the finish line is waiting, and there’s a day-and-a-half for Tourists to recharge before the next race.

  • David Ward was the first BTR Roadrunner Male home in 1:36:41
  • Alison Macdonald was the first BTR Roadrunner Lady home in 2:00:31

BTR Roadrunners at Southport

13.1 miles done…

 

Monday – Thurstaston 6-mile multi-terrain

Monday evening saw everyone re-assemble, this time as part of The Tour in its own right, in the beautiful Wirral Country Park at Thursaston.

Ready for the start, Thurstaston

Although ‘only’ 6 miles (or 5.9) this race still isn’t easy. From the visitor centre, the route heads north for a kilometre on an access road; then turns south onto the beach for 2 miles or so. From here its a steady ascent on quiet roads, until the footpath into ‘The Dales’ in Heswall is reached. There’s a ‘challenging’ off-road section including the climb up the ‘Steps of Doom’; and then it’s back down; with a last few miles back along the Wirral Way. [Editor: fast miles? It’s easy, nice and flat that bit…]

Map of the Thurstaston Multi Terrain

Tonight the weather gods were ever in The Tourists’ favour; the temperatures not too warm for a July evening, and even a following breeze along the beach. To make matters even better, the usually capricious beach offered a good few stretches where a firm line could be picked through the shifting sands and pebbles. Still, there was no better sight than Tom Rothwell at his usual marshall’s post atop The Dales, directing runners onto the welcome downhill. One day there will surely be a blue plaque there, marking ‘Tom’s Lookout’… A good few duels seemed to be going on in the closing stages through the field tonight!

The Beach at Thurstaston

Oh, and for those not familiar with The Tour, every race from this one onwards features Hyacinth, selling possibly the best ice cream in Merseyside.

  • Josh John was the first BTR Roadrunner Male home in 0:44:37 (Sorry David Ward – but then, he hadn’t had to run a half marathon the previous day!)
  • Jane Dasgupta was the first BTR Roadrunner Lady home in 0:55:45

Ice cream from Hyacinth

19 miles done…

 

Tuesday – The Ralla 10 miler

The following evening saw the Tourists reconvene at Walton Hall Park in Liverpool. ‘The Ralla‘ is the long closed Liverpool loop line, converted to a cycle way/footpath.

Ready for the start, The Ralla

Mostly flat, this is one of the easiest routes of The Tour to describe: 2.5 miles north – turn and come back; 2.5 miles south – turn and head back for the line. Great fun, as with each turn point you’re almost constantly seeing your fellow Tourists running in the opposite direction. Sounds easy, right…?

Map of The Ralla 10 Miler

Once again the weather was still playing ball, and although warm was certainly not scorching – which is just as well, with most of this route in cuttings or shaded by trees ‘The Ralla Race’ can get distinctly sweaty! Liverpool Council added to the fun this year by not bothering to cut back the folliage, so there were plenty or hurddling opportunities in order to avoid the nettles on this flat route. Did I say flat? Ye gods, the long slow inclines seem more punishing than ascending to The Dales from sea level on Monday! Still, there’s the chance for Tourists to give themselves a big cheer at mile 7 in tonight’s race, because that’s halfway through The Tour! Finally, after one brutal little dip where the embankment slopes there’s the finish line, and the Tourists cross it happy in the knowledge that tomorrow is a rest day.

  • David Ward was the first BTR Roadrunner Male home (I see a trend developing here) in 1:10:52
  • Kellie Smith was the first BTR Roadrunner Lady home in 1:29:19

Looking from the finish line towards 'the dip'

29 Miles done…

 

Wednesday – Rest Day

Wednesday in Tour Week is a rest day, and everyone approaches it in their own way. Some soak in a bath for as long as possible; others go for a few miles run, scared their legs will seize up; some remember there’s 4 days’ worth of laundry, cleaning and work to deal with; others, er, carb load!

Still 29 Miles Done…

 

Thursday – the Raging Red Bull 5 Miler

If this is Thursday, this must be Otterspool.

Courtesy of Merseyside Police, Tourists can use their Sports & Social Facility as base camp for this race. The race route is another easy one to describe; round the field, down past Torro Rosso (F1 fans will know), all the way along the prom past the Britannia pub, play dodgems to avoid the multitude of bollards, turn and come back. (Finishing again with a lap of the field.)

Map of the Raging Red Bull 5 Miler

So, easy. Except that somehow, in an evolution lost in the mists of time (well, lost in the seven years of Tour history), The Tourists have conspired to make this event harder by all running it in fancy dress (well, almost all – not obligatory!). For the BTR Road Runners, this year’s theme was ‘Cops and Robbers’ (appropriate enough, given the venue) and let no one ever say that it is easy to run 5 miles whilst keeping your helmet on and swinging your truncheon… [Editor: stop right there!]

Ow. Ow. Ow. How can legs feel so tired on ‘just’ a 5 mile run?

  • Abir Ali was the first BTR Roadrunner Male home in 0:37:25
  • Alison Macdonald was the first BTR Roadrunner Lady home in 0:43:30

BTR Road Runners Cops and Robbers

34 Miles Done…

 

Friday – Stadt Moers Cross-Country 6 miler

Off to the far east for the next challenge in The Tour (well, the east of Merseyside; well, OK, almost all the way to Whiston). Another largely off-road race to challenge those used solely to road running. Stadt Moers Country Park is a little gem of an oasis in this area, overlooked by many who speed past on the M57 or Chat Moss rail line.

Ready for the start, Stadt Moers, looking up the slope

This course consists of two laps. The race begins with a charge straight up a hill [Editor: it’s a slope]; then over a mile twisting and turning in all directions before joining a firm path. There’s a circuit of a flat bit of parkland before another hill [Editor: still just another slope]; and then charging down to the finish line. Tourists remember, remember: grab some water at the end of the first lap, join the queue for an ice cream at the end of the second…

Map of the Stadt Moers Cross-Country

By this point in The Tour the wear on everyone is normally really starting to tell, which inevitably makes this race seem harder than it should. This year the Weather was hot but not scorching – although the ground beneath the grass has been baked harder than concrete over the past weeks, definitely making this even harder work than expected. And after this race there’s the thought which everyone carries: “I’ve got barely 12 hours to get home, eat, sleep, and get to the start line of the final event…”

  • David Ward was the first BTR Roadrunner Male home in 0:42:15
  • Jane Dasgupta was the first BTR Roadrunner Lady home in 0:52:13

BTR Roadrunners at Stadt Moers

40 miles done…

 

Saturday – The Wirral Coastal 12 Miler

The final challenge of The Tour is the second longest race in the series. This starts from New Brighton (Harrison Drive), and the Tourists run west, all the way along the promenade, past Leasowe Lighthouse and Hoylake RNLI station, then out across the beach to a halfway point where they turn and come back the same way. Sounds easy? Believe me: never is there a race where jelly babies and water have been so important.

Map of the Wirral Coastal Run

This final race starts at 10 a.m., 145 hours after everything began in Southport, and despite a lack of sleep or recovery time all the Tourists head off with cheers. (Or those may have been groans).

Last day, ready for the start

The weather gods again turn to mischief this year; there may not be the usual blazing sunshine that can dehydrate and cause many a case of exhaustion, but there is a vicious headwind. (All. The. Way. To. The. xxxxing. Halfway. Point!) Today is where it pays to not be too tall and find someone you can slipstream…!

Somehow the Tourists thread their way along the course and out across the beach – which after the delight of Thurstaston can best be described as ‘gloopy’, but there is the wonderful sight of BTR Teammate Dave Moore helping to man the water station.

By rights, the wind should be pushing everyone along on the return leg after the battering they received on the outward, but it sure doesn’t feel like that. Still, gradually the mile markers pass by, and the Tourists can tell themselves, “48 done, 49 done, 50…” This year the welcome support of the Race Angels were present in the closing miles, helping those runners struggling. Then it’s just the last mile, with the BTR Finish Line shimmering like a mirage along the promenade… and 52 miles (somehow) completed, a chance for everyone to celebrate a huge accomplishment.

Oh, and the chance to head off to the ‘after party’ – this year at Bierkellar.

Oh, but not before an ice cream from Hyacinth – did I mention there was ice cream?

  • David Ward was the first BTR Roadrunner Male home in 1:25:31
  • Kellie Smith was the first BTR Roadrunner Lady home in 1:48:47

Tour of Merseyside medals

52 Miles done and dusted, the Tour or Merseyside 2019 Complete

 

And Finally…

The Tour is an immense undertaking, not just for all the runners but for all the arranging and organising that goes on. Thanks are due not just to Alan Rothwell for re-booting Ron Hill’s tour format and applying it to Merseyside, but also to the whole BTR crew, for whom this is an exceptionally busy week.

Thanks are also due to the numbers of people supporting and volunteering throughout the week – including, but definitely not limited to, Liz Leay, Dave Moore, Keith Peacock, Ed Beattie, Claire Dolan, and many many more.

And thanks are also due to all the runners (from all clubs and none) who really do dig in – not just into putting the miles in throughout the week, but who get involved in the whole ‘Tour spirit’.

 

Results

Final overall results for The Tour are shown below – sorry folks, it’s gun time that counts in this one, not chip time! A special mention absolutely must go to Dave Ward who has absolutely excelled this week, being first in his age category overall.

First Name Surname Gun Time Overall Position
DAVID WARD 06:28:55 43
ABIR ALI 06:52:42 74
ROY MORRIS 07:08:53 105
GREG ROBERTS 07:17:47 119
DAVE BERRY 07:21:44 130
NEIL MILLAR 07:24:05 133
IAN RAYMOND 07:24:47 135
PETER GALLIENNE 07:37:33 152
ANDREW GREEN 07:42:40 160
COLIN RATCLIFFE 07:49:56 171
JANE DASGUPTA 08:00:33 190
SARAH ROGAN 08:01:15 191
KELLIE SMITH 08:05:11 197
TICKI CLARK 08:07:33 203
FIONA DUCKERS 08:11:24 211
HELEN PARTON 08:18:35 220
AUDREY STOCKER 08:29:05 236
JOHN EVANS 08:29:06 237
IAN BODY 08:29:12 238
REMO MORGANI 08:31:27 243
SANDRA FREEMAN 08:50:19 266
SARA MORRIS 08:52:24 269
NICHOLAS MARTIN 09:10:20 290
DAVE FREEMAN 09:12:26 293
MARY LACEY 09:15:14 296
JEANETTE ATTWOOD 09:22:22 306
ERICA DILLON 10:23:27 363

(I’ve lifted this straight from TDL – let me know of any errors and I’ll try to correct them)

Dave Ward powering to the line in Southport

 

And Finally (take 2)…

The eagle-eyed amongst the Road Runners will notice one name missing from the above list. The Tour is hard, and unfortunately one of our own was not able to take part in the last race. Wendy Marie Jones, when you are recovered, your club will run the last 12 miles with you, so that you can say you did indeed complete ‘The Tour’.

 

Ian Raymond, 15/07/19

Port Sunlight Race Report

Welcome to the Village…

There was a big splash of orange on Sunday 16th June, with a large contingent of the Road Runners supporting or taking part in the BTR Port Sunlight 5k or 10k, and with some completing both races! (Not to mention those also involved in the kids’ 1k…)

BTR team gathering

About the Event

The Port Sunlight Races take place wholly within the confines of Port Sunlight village. Although this makes for a number of twists and turns, it also means no other road closures, a great race for spectators, and the village residents turn out in force to watch!

For those who don’t know, Port Sunlight is one of the ‘model villages’ founded by those few Victorian industrialists who were of a more philanthropic and kindly towards their workers – in this case, Lord Lever of Sunlight Soap fame. And certainly the environment feels more like a country village – houses stepped back from the road along tree-lined avenues, twisting paths beneath the trees – and with not too much in the way of hills, a great place for a race! Unilever continue their association with the village, and are one of the main sponsors of the BTR race.

Map of the course

But I digress; let’s get back to the running. The 5k forms one lap of the village, the 10k two laps. After a week of Summery British weather (yep, it had been cold, wet [very] and windy), race day conditions dawned almost perfect, and the race start near the Lady Lever Art Gallery took on the appearance and atmosphere of a village fete. Here a huge thanks from BTR team mates to James Roberts who – not running – arrived early and set up and manned a club tent throughout. Thanks also to Liz Leay, ably helping out and managing the finishing funnel, and Dave Moore, helping out on lead bike duties.

The 5k race started at 10am, the 10k at 11am, with the kids’ race about half 12. The sun chose to emerge just at the start of each of the main races, suddenly elevating the temperature, but let’s not complain…

Jimmy and the gang at base camp

For those who need to know a bit more about the course, after a wide corner at the start there’s a long flat run down to the south end of the village, with only a few ‘wiggles’ before a slight rise up near to the Port Sunlight factory. Then with a few more ‘wiggles’ its a long straight out and back, passing 2k – dead flat, ideal for a great pace and cheering on others going in the opposite direction. Another few turns and a long flat straight takes you back to the heart of the village and past hordes of spectators at 3k. Then it’s up and down the small rise at the north end of the village to 4k. A last few ‘wiggles’, then it’s downhill, through a shaded wooded area (very welcome on a sunny [or wet] race day!), one last corner past the village school… And there’s the finish line. (Unless you’re doing the 10k. In which case, grab some water and go for another lap. Go on, get a shift on!)

Results

Great performances by the Road Runners across all races.

Abs with flying feet

Top three club finishers in the 5k were David Bridge (18:45), Dave Ward, (19:30) and Josh John (20:37), with Sarah Rogan and Jane Dasgupta on a tie for the first BTR lady home (24:56), with Lyndsay Beal rounding up the top 3 (27:38), and Abigail Berry gaining a 5k pb of 30:43.

Top three club finishers in the 10k were Dave Ward (43:32), Abir Ali (44:58) and Jonty Goodchild (47:13). Sarah Cronin was the first lady home for the club (50:52), followed by Sam Owen (51:12) and Jane Dasgupta (52:24, this time tying with Helen Parton).

Special mention for Tom, for completing both the 10k and 1k.

Detailed times below:

5k Times

First Name Surname Category Chip Time Chip Position
David Bridge M40+ 00:18:45 9
Dave Ward M55+ 00:19:30 20
Josh John MOPEN 00:20:38 32
Abir Ali M40+ 00:21:54 58
Ian Raymond M45+ 00:22:29 67
Anthony Percival MOPEN 00:24:56 118
Sarah Rogan F40+ 00:24:56 119
Jane Dasgupta F50+ 00:24:56 120
Neil Millar M45+ 00:27:09 186
Greg Roberts M40+ 00:27:10 188
Remo Morgani M55+ 00:27:37 205
Lyndsay Beal F40+ 00:27:38 206
David Berry M55+ 00:30:42 329
Abigail Berry FOPEN 00:30:43 331
Erica Dillon F40+ 00:33:47 453

10k Times

First Name Surname Category Chip Time Chip Position
Dave* Ward M55+ 00:43:32 71
Abir* Ali M40+ 00:44:58 109
Jonty Goodchild M45+ 00:47:13 187
Mark Stocker M40+ 00:47:45 208
Sean Devlin MOPEN 00:48:08 222
Neil* Millar M45+ 00:48:14 227
Greg* Roberts M40+ 00:49:13 273
Sarah Cronin F45+ 00:50:52 335
John Cronin M50+ 00:50:52 337
Sam Owen FOPEN 00:51:12 348
Anthony* Percival MOPEN 00:51:08 345
Jane* Dasgupta F50+ 00:52:24 392
Helen Parton F55+ 00:52:24 393
Ticki Hardie F45+ 00:53:16 432
Tom Stocker MOPEN 00:54:41 499
Sarah* Rogan F40+ 00:53:58 466
Remo* Morgani M55+ 00:55:29 534
Lyndsay* Beal F40+ 00:56:31 571
Diane Goldston F55+ 00:58:23 649
Erica* Dillon F40+ 01:05:52 913
Abigail* Berry FOPEN 01:10:28 1025
David* Berry M55+ 01:10:29 1026

Those marked with a star did both races!

3k down, only 7k to do!

Well done everyone, and especially those ‘doing the double’.

By Ian Raymond, 17/06/19

Spring 10k Race Report

BTR Road Runners at the Spring 10k

Sunday 5th May: Luckily this was a 10 a.m. start (phew, considering many of BTR had been to Rocky Horror at the Liverpool Empire the night before)! The day started off wet and cold. We all met by ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ (one of Liverpool’s cathedrals for those not in the know) with over 4,000 other keen runners who didn’t want to have a lie in on a Sunday morning either.

BTR Road Runners at the Spring 10k – not sure why Dave looks upset!

The Spring 10k is organised by Matthew Davies of Mersey Races. Previously a route within Sefton Park, it’s now changed. The Spring 10k route took us up Hope Street, down Princess Avenue and into Sefton Park. Then it was around the park, before turning back into Princess Ave, and back along to the finish line where we got our well-earned t-shirts, tins of tuna (!) and very heavy solid gold medals. [Editor: Well, it certainly looks like solid gold…] The race route was busy the whole way around, and it didn’t ease off in this popular event. You couldn’t help but notice the many people running to raise money for charities.

A busy race!

There were a couple of team BTR PBs achieved on this day: for Lyndsay, Kirsten, Khal (knocking off 50 seconds), and Abi (knocking off 5 minutes from previous 10k). [Editor: Wow!] A big thank you goes out to Dave Berry for pacing Abi & Khal for their PBs.

Dave Berry, champion pacer

BTR Race Results

  • 1st Dave Bridge (41:34)
  • 2nd Neil Cameron (42:00)
  • 3rd Neil Kelly (48:59)
  • 4th Abir Ali (48:52)
  • 5th Kirsten Blood (52:46)
  • 6th Dave Ward (51:29)
  • 7th Anthony Percival (51:55)
  • 8th Sandra Freeman (54:27)
  • 9th Jane Dasgupta (54:27) [Editor: was that a photo finish?]
  • 10th Lyndsay Beal (57:22)
  • 11th Khaleda Yasmeen (1:04:08)
  • 12th Abi Berry (1:05:10)
  • 13th Dave Berry (1:05:10) [Editor: another photo finish!]

All times shown above are chip times

Footnote

Apparently… someone called Rachel wasn’t too happy about us running around the city and it all coming to a standstill when she had work to go to. [Editor: if you’re on social media you can’t have missed this. If you did, well…] Her 20 minute journey took more than 75 minutes because ‘Dave from Skem’ was limbering up with his sweatband on Rodney Street, rather than running along the prom watching the boats!

Her video went viral in the running community – though she has since apologised if she offended anyone. She is also going to open a race… and I hope everyone in it is called Dave. And from Skem!

Report by Abigail Berry

May the 4th be with you

Church Stretton, Shropshire

This event is run by ‘How hard can it be events’, a Shropshire-based running events company. The event consists of a 13.5 mile course, with 2,400 ft of ascent in the beautiful South Shropshire Hills. 183 runners signed up for the Half Marathon and 50 for the Full Marathon (which is two circuits of the course).

BTR Road Runners were well represented, with twelve trail enthusiasts completing the half. Amongst them, the Hunt family were out in force too. And the force was certainly with them! Dawn Hunt (who is in a league of her own) completed the full marathon, which was promptly followed by a second marathon on the next day (appropriately named ‘The Revenge of the Fifth’). Ollie completed 19 miles on day 1 and smashed the half on day 2, while Martin completed the full marathon on 5 May too. A huge well done to the Hunts from all at BTR Road Runners!

The Hunts after another epic achievement!

For the rest of us mere mortals, it was an early start, meeting at Dave Ward’s house just after 7am. Dave had registered but after his magnificent London Marathon achievement the previous weekend, wisely decided to rest. Nonetheless he came out to greet us, along with an enthusiastic Oscar who was off for a walk.

Two cars (thanks, Roy and Sandra) and two hours later, we parked up at the school in Church Stretton – the windy roads had taken their toll on Sarah and she was promptly sick. Not the best start for a race or for the poor caretaker! It was a 10 min walk to register at Carding Mill Valley at the foot of the Long Mynd – a National Trust location. After the obligatory toilet stop (real loos with loo paper and sinks!), it was back to the cars to kit up. Don’t be deceived by the sunshine on the photos – it was bloody freezing! [Editor: Language!] At about just two degrees, most of us wore quite a few layers, with some opting for hats and gloves too.

Yes, it is flippin’ cold!

Back to the start, armed with our disposal cups (this was an eco-friendly race!), we got there just as the race was starting. Poor Sarah and Audrey were literally the last to start as they had to pay a last-minute visit to the bushes (can’t think why)!

With John and Roy leading the BTR field, we set off mostly together – but it wasn’t long before we all found our pace and natural running partners. Carding Mill valley is an absolutely stunning location for the race – it was a steady climb up the first mile through to Townbrook Valley – mostly single track so you had to go at the pace set by the rest of the field.

At the first pit stop (2.5 miles) we were greeted with the best assortment of goodies – real food for athletes: a variety of sweets, frazzles, onion rings, tomatoes (didn’t touch them!) but best of all Jaffa Cakes. Sandra and I enjoyed re-enacting the ‘Whole Moon, Half Moon, Total Eclipse’ advert several times! With John and Roy already well ahead, it was at this point that Jane caught up with Dave Berry. Ian and Lyndsay broke away and ran together, leaving Sarah, Sandra, Audrey, James and me to bring up the rear at a more leisurely pace.

Stop clowning about with jaffa cakes and get back to the running!

We shared the landscape with various families out enjoying walking, a few DofE groups and a couple of mountain bikers. The many new-born lambs were a reminder that it was still Spring, so perhaps we shouldn’t have been too disappointed by the temperature. But despite the cold and sometimes biting wind, the sun did shine, enabling us to enjoy clear and far reaching views across the Shropshire hills.

The route was well marked and covered a variety of terrain – grassy slopes, footpaths, rocky sections though streams, country roads through farms, passing through the village of Minton, a campsite (Sarah insisting that we come back to camp – NOT!) and even a glider school on top of the Mynd. Eventually, the route brought us back to the first trig point, where we refuelled on Jaffa cakes, before we were tortured by a last cheeky little ascent, trying not to look at the downward path we’d climbed at the start.

Team BTR Road Runners conquer the Long Mynd!

This last stage was followed by a very steep descent to the finish line. We were rewarded with a decent Star Wars medal but no t-shirt.

Wrapped up warm, team BTR enjoyed a shared picnic, with a special mention to Jane (and her hens!) for the egg butties and to Ian and Alison for the delicious home-made bakewell tart. We were back on home turf for 5pm, before a fast turnaround for many who were off to see the Rocky Horror Show at the Liverpool Empire. But that’s a whole other story…!

Results:

May the 4th be with you Half Marathon

  1. John Evans – position 48, 2:37:35.2
  2. Roy Morris – position 49, 2:37:39.0
  3. Jane Dasgupta – position 75, 2:56:23.0
  4. Dave Berry – position 76, 2:56:29.9
  5. Lyndsay Beal – position 109, 3:13:23.3
  6. Ian Bodey – position 110, 3:13:28.4
  7. Fiona Duckers – position 132, 3:29:05.9
  8. Sandra Freeman – position 133, 3:29:11.0
  9. Audrey Stocker – position 134, 3:29:13.2
  10. Sarah Rogan – position 135 , 3:29:22.7
  11. James Roberts – position 136, 3:29:24.9

May the 4th be with you Full Marathon

  1. Dawn Hunt – position 24, 6:34:48.1
  2. Ollie Hunt – 19 miles, 5:05:49.1

Revenge of the Fifth Race Results

  1. Martin Hunt – position 19 , 6:42:34.9
  2. Dawn Hunt – position 20, 6:52:45.8
  3. Ollie Hunt (half) – position 45, 2:52:33.2

By Fiona Duckers

BTR Road Runners take on Nessie

More than just your average race…

A number of the “Orange Army” ventured north of the border in September, to take on the challenge of running the “Loch Ness Marathon“. Did I say north of the border? Better make that 243 miles north of the border!

The challenging event (well, it would be, it is a marathon) is a point-to-point, with buses taking runners to the start point, somewhere between Fort Augustus and Foyers; everyone then running ‘home’ to Inverness.

The Road Runners find Nessie! (Oh, almost...)

This is an event which receives glowing reviews, and certainly reports from the Road Runners spoke of a fantastic event. Sadly, nobody managed to capture evidence of Nessie (no, I’m not counting that big fake one!). Bad luck everyone, that mean’s you’ve got to go back and do it all again!

First man across the line for the BTR Road Runners was David Ward, with a time of 3:50:55; first lady across the line for the BTR Road Runners was Dawn Hunt, with a time of 4:11:35. Well done everyone who took part!

As ever, we warmly welcome new members, so come along and join us, and see what road trips we’re embarking on in 2019!

 

Road Runners on Tour

Road Runners take on the 2018 Tour of Merseyside

The “Orange Army” was out in force from the 1st to the 7th July, taking part in the 52 mile “Tour of Merseyside“.

For the uninitiated; the Tour – a running challenge originally devised by the legend that is Ron Hill, and refreshed by BTR Liverpool in 2013 – consists of 6 different races across the course of a week, adding up to a total of 52 miles. It is a physical chllenge as runners try to balance pace against the need to ‘keep something in the tank’, nutrition and recovery needs, but is also so much more with a cammeraderie amongst both runners and volunteers as the week progresses.

And the Road Runners weren’t just running, there was absolutely fantastic support throughout the week by the Stockers, Dave “High 5” Moore, and others on volunteering and support duties.

The invaluable volunteers!

Day 1 – The Southport Half Marathon, 13.1 miles

The first leg of the Tour is always the Southport Half Marathon, where the ‘Tourists’ are guest runners. A nice flat route, but in 27 degrees temperature with blue skies and (almost) no wind, PB territory was never that likely, but there were some great performances going on, as the Road Runners made their way around the Sefton coastal resort in times ranging from 1:36 to 2:49.

Start of the Southport Half

It’ll be OK, everyone said, evening races will be cooler they said…

Day 2 – Thurstaston Multi-Terrain, 5.9 miles

The second stage is always where the Tour really comes alive, with the 300-400 nutters (sorry, runners) using a challenging route that includes 2 miles on a stone-and-sand beach, before climbing off road up through the Heswall Dales, then back down for a fast straight run along the Wirral Way to the finish (fast for anyone with energy still left in their legs).

At least there was *some* breeze that night! Great performances by everyone, with times ranging from 0:47 to 1:15. 

Day 3 – “The Ralla”, 10 miles

The third stage is an interesting one, making use of an old railway line converted into a Sustrans cycleway – nice and mostly even, with gentle gradients. 2.5 miles north, turn and back; 2.5 miles south, turn and back. Sounds easy, breaking it up like that, doesn’t it? One highlight of the race is always passing all the other runners and cheering each other on; another highlight can be some ‘local elements’ – most of who this year must have been indoors watching (COME ON ENGLAND) football.

Hot and challenging in the heat, everyone dug deep, team times ranging from 1:13 to 1:54. Well, they all knew the following day was a rest day!

Day 4 – The Raging Red Bull* 5 miler

(*An actual large stone bull painted red and looking angry, not to be confused with a certain drinks brand)

Refreshed from a day’s rest (or not) from running, the Tourists reassembled at Otterspool Prom on Thursday. A fast and flat 5 miler up and down the promenade (flat apart from that nasty nasty little rise back up towards the finish!), this race has been adopted by many of the tourists as a fancy dress race; I’m not too sure if Ron Hill had that sort of thing in mind…

With the heat, most runners had gone more for a fairly minimal costume than in previous years, although some lareg pink flamingoes were spotted melting. BTR Road Runners adopted a Hawaian theme, and said aloha (sorry) to times ranging from 0:34 to 0:57.

Day 5 – Stadt Moers Cross Country, 6 miles

The penultimate race takes the form of 2 * 3-mile laps of Stadt Moers Country Park near Whiston, a hidden little gem that makes for some challenging running with sections of hills, twists and uneven terrain. But this year there was a steady breeze which – together with the soooo nice stretches under the shade of trees at the far end of the course saw times ranging from 0:42 to 01:09.

Not much time to linger after this one, as everyone needed to get home, fed, washed (at least I’m assuming they did), slept, and up in time to get to the final race…

Day 6 – The North Wirral Coast, 12 miles

10am Saturday, after a few hours sleep, and the Tourists reassemble on the prom at Harrison Drive.

Although technically a straight ‘out and back’, the route is enlivened by sight of the Welsh Hills on the way out (not that anyone has the energy to really appreciate them), running for about half a mile across a clean sandy beach to reach the halfway water station (emerging like an oasis from the heat haze), then ticking off the last few miles carefully on the return leg (48… 49… 50… 51…)

And then, somehow the finish line is there, with the most welcome race medal ever. 52 racing miles in one week –  something for first timers to keep repeating to themselves. Another incredibly hot day, 25 degrees upwards, made hotter still by the concrete promenade reflecting back the sunshine – it’s quite possible the ice cream van by the finish (sorry, I never mentioned before, we did have ice cream support at every race!) was as welcome as the medal. More great performances by all the Road Runners, ranging from 1:29 to 2:28.

The medal

And finally…

After the race, everyone decamped to Camp & Furnace for the race presentation and watching a certain match (COME ON ENGLAND) on the big screen. Special mention to Road Runner Gaz Roberts as the first team member home, in a race position of 36th and overall time of 6:24 for 52 miles, having been hotly pursued by John Evans for most of the week (who had been hotly pursued by Dave Ward and Dave Berry). Road Runner Helen Parton was the first team female home in an overall time of 08:11, very closely followed by Sarah Rogan in 08:21.

But with a final word from me – unlike other races, the tour isn’t about individuals, it isn’t even about the different clubs. The event rises above cliquery and is about “all of us”. (But obviously BTR Road Runners were the best club present!)

The assembled might of the 2018 Tourists

Updated 09/07/18

Wendys London Marathon Blog

London Marathon 2018, by Wendy

Intro

I’m a little apprehensive writing this as Jim is so good at this kind of thing – but I promised I’d do this when he withdrew his club place this year. So where to start… How about this (to the tune of Hot Chocolate’s “It started with a kiss”)…? [Editor: here’s the link if anyone needs a refresher.]

It started with a pick,
In the back row of Rigby’s
How could I predict
My name would be chosen
Little Tom he did so good
I was happy beyond belief
I made a promise to make you all proud
I made a promise to take training seriously
But then…it was only December
And I had to wait till April 22nd…

Ok, bored with that, you guys get the gist! From the 3rd December, when my name was drawn, it all started. Those of you who were there know how much it meant to me! With promises from everyone about helping with training etc, I knew this was gonna be epic and I couldn’t wait; however poor Neil must have thought: “OH NO NOT AGAIN!”

So it begins…

I got Christmas done and dusted – and then the real training started. First of all I took on the challenge of run everyday in January (which was REALLY tough), but I think it made me stronger for the weeks ahead of me. Then came my first significant long run on Friday 23rd February of 16 miles for which Jim joined me and Kat jumped on for a few miles, while Alan following the whole route on his bike, giving advice, carrying drinks, etc.

I think it was at this stage I noticed my times were getting better for Parkrun etc (achieving a pb of 24:45). Dave W soon jumped on board (after getting me an impressive pb at the Mad Dog 10k of 52:53) and announces he’s going to pace me for the BTR half Mara to a sub 2hr which I’ve never quite achieved. I’ll get back to this a little later…!

My next big run was a 17 miler on 10th March with Gemma. We ran to Parkrun with Fiona, then continued via New Brighton back to Leasowe. It was Gemma’s longest run to date and she did amazing. 17th March another long run done with Gemma; once again we went along the Wirral Way – this time 9 miles out and back, completing an impressive 18 miles. (Poor Gemma wasn’t well this day but she struggled on and did 12 difficult miles – she’s doing amazing!)

The BTR Liverpool Half Marathon

The next big milestone was BTR Half Marathon, me going for it big time with Dave W and Dave M on the start line (Fiona also joining). Dave M was pacing 1:55 so I thought there was no way I could stay with him – but see the pics – we smashed it! Loved it, finishing it with BTR teammies in an impressive 1:52:59… to say I was ecstatic would be an understatement!

Big thanks here to both Daves. This gave me such confidence in my pace and endurance, I knew at this stage I could get a time I’d be proud of in London.

The training continues

Easter was soon upon us. On Good Friday, I embarked on a 20 mile run to my brothers in Saughall, Chester. My cousin Jo set off an hour before and was hoping we wouldn’t catch her! Again, my teamies were fab; Dave W started off with me from Moreton with Dave M cheering us on; then it was onto Hoylake to meet Jane D, Beckie and Gina. We headed to the Wirral Way, where we were greeted by Laura (and a fab food and drink station), with a quick hello to Andrea too. We left Dave W in Heswall and headed up to the Hinderton Arms, where we said goodbye to Beckie and hello to Kat, Jen, Jacq and Maria for another fuel stop. Jane D and I then headed to up Two Mills… what a mistake, sorry Jane!! Who knew there was no footpath? With a cut leg and cut pants we finally got through to Two Mills, where hubby was waiting with more water. Then just that last final push to Saughall (although we never did catch Jo, who was chuffed after being chased like something off Benny Hill for 21 miles).

Finally, the next few weeks were “taper down” time. Still enjoying club runs, but definitely dropping the mileage. By now major excitement was setting in for everyone to see – I swear the week prior to London I couldn’t stop smiling!

After a great send off from the club on Tuesday, it was off to London!

The day dawns

Friday 20th arrived and we travel down to London, first class no less (thanks Jo). The hotel is fine, although I’m fuming a little; we have NO bath. The Expo was brill though, really enjoyable. A little sightseeing around London… dinner with Mum and Aunt… then off for an early night.

Up bright and breezy on Sunday and off to Greenwich. I leave Jo at the red start and make my way to the blue start to try and find Gemma. Not as easy as you might think… but I did find Hayley, fab to see a familiar face. At this stage the heat at this stage was already starting to worry me, but with my bag safely on board the wagons we head to our pens; still no sign of Gemma. We are in the same pen but both so dinky we can’t see each other! I made a quick phone call to hubby, who’s at home watching on tv…

So… OFF WE GO! I get to approx 2 miles when I hear that cute little Irish twang behind me shouting my name – yes, Gemma had (somehow) found me amongst 40,000+ runners! We stayed together for approx 10 miles and then left each other, our pace being at different rates.

Tower Bridge was my next awesome sight where I was stuck behind an orange octopus (which I think some of you saw on tv). [Editor: Yes we did – below!]

Frantically looking out for my Mum, I finally laid eyes on her at the end of the bridge, which gave me a massive boost. Onwards I kept going; by this point the heat was really starting to take its toll. I know I stopped at every water station (every mile), and if I didn’t drink the water I certainly doused myself with it; which is why I was completely drenched through!

Miles 15-20 go by in a blur. I was struggling but still smiling. It was so hot,hot, hot! I can’t explain how uncomfortable I was, but once I saw those 20+ mile markers I gave myself a good talking too, teling myself I could do this – it’s all in your head girl – “I can do this!”. At 22 miles I saw my lovely friend Jen and her hubby Neil, who watered and sun-creamed me up. I think I knew at this stage my time was going to be disappointing but in hindsight, with so many people on the sidelines being attended to by medics, I’m relieved I was sensible and slowed down to finish safely.

Then at mile bloody 25 – OMG – my gorgeous hubby and youngest son were screaming at me from the opposite side of the embankment! The pic they got of me as I saw them is my favourite of the weekend. After a quick cuddle and a kiss, I left them to finish what had to be the longest mile of my life. But then, there it was; Buckingham Palace in all its glory; and of course the The Mall and finish line.

I was happy beyond belief. I’d done it – I’d completed The London Marathon, proudly representing my club in orange! The finish line was amazing. The medal was amazing. Even the apple was amazing! Finding Gemma again was amazing and also seeing Tom was amazing.

Final thoughts

Even though I’m a little disappointed with my time (4:47) it’s a pb, and an excuse to maybe try and better it one day. A friend said to me this week I will have to do it once more so I can leave each of my three sons a medal from The London Marathon – so maybe in a couple of years I’ll be back… (Shhhhh don’t tell Neil! The best spectators banner I saw was ‘If your still married, you haven’t trained hard enough’ LOL it’s so true!)

So once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart BTR Road Runners. I love being a part of such a great club. I love you all and I’ll never forget this experience.

wendy Marie Jones

 

 

Road Runner First Aiders

BTR Road Runners gain vital skills

On Saturday 10th March, several BTR Road Runners attended a first aid course hosted by Paul Rogan of Robert Peel International, gaining important life skills in the process.

Well done all who attended; Jane and Dave Berry, Roy and Sara Morris, James Roberts, Dave Moore and Beckie Waterton.

Attendees report that the course was a great event to take part in (Editor: guys and gals, you look like you’re having way too much fun)!

For more details of first aid training, contact details are:

Paul Rogan
Robert Peel International Ltd
07973 699416
paulrogan@rpeel.co.uk
Robert Peel International

SARA MORRIS

Abs’ Journey to London

My Road to the London Marathon

My name is Abir Ali and I am doing the London Marathon in April for The Lullaby Trust, the UK’s leading charity in aiming to prevent unexpected deaths in infancy and promote infant health. They fund research, support families whose babies have died suddenly and unexpectedly, spread information on infant health, baby care and sudden infant deaths to both health professionals and the general public, and work with professionals to improve investigations when a baby dies.

Abs and Lullaby Trust logo

I have a personal connection to the charity’s work, as I lost my son, Charlie in 2004 after only 3 weeks. In 2012 I decided to raise funds and awareness for the Lullaby Trust by running events – from 10k races to half and full marathons. To date, I have done 150 events and raised nearly £8,000 through Justgiving.  The charity have been a great help recently, with advice that has helped my daughter Esme (who is now 7 months old and my companion at Parkrun).

Last February, I visited the Lullaby Trust offices, in London, to meet some of the 55 strong members also doing the London Marathon. The day involved getting to know a few members of the team and going for a 10k jog in Battersea Park. Before the end of the day we all discussed our experiences, and it transpired that I was the only one in a running club; naturally I told them the benefits of joining one – and they were certainly all amazed by the prospect of a reward of cake at the end of each club run! I told them that running clubs offer coaching, advice, moral support, friendship and can help you reach your training goal. Running clubs (especially BTR Road Runners) cater for everyone from the super-competitive to the recreational jogger.  The team atmosphere can instigate big improvements in your performance, provide enduring memories, experiences – oh, and cake. Did I mention cake before?

It really is an honour and a privilege to be part of such a fantastic running club.

If you would like to donate to my Justgiving page, even just a few quid, every little helps The Lullaby Trust; please follow the link below:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abs-ali1

Abir Ali

 

 

Moel Famau 8k, 28th January 2018

By Sarah Rogan

The Moel Famau 8K is an event put on by Lion Races and I took part in it on Sunday 28th January 2018 along with Alan Rothwell, Fiona Duckers and Andrea Robinson, making sure there was a good orange presence.

The race starts at 10am, quite civilised, in the beautiful setting of Moel Famau. Race numbers are collected on the morning, really easily done, and was lovely to collect our numbers from our very own Liz Leay, volunteer extraordinaire! Chip timing is by way of velcro tag around your ankle; so, feeling slightly like criminals we toddled off to the start (via the toilet, obviously!!!) Toilets at this race are “actual” toilets, which is a very important issue to some of us!!

It was a cold but dry, and surprisingly nice, morning and off we went up the mountain! Trail shoes are definitely a must, it was pretty muddy underfoot in parts. What a climb; unless you were part mountain goat you couldn’t run up the really steep parts, but with encouragement from a very kind stranger and possibly a few swear words I made it to the top. I’d love to say the view was spectacular, however, it was so foggy and windy I couldn’t see a thing and it was all I could do to not get blown away.

Downhill was a little scary: steep mountain + mud + wind = heart-in-your-mouth but I made it down in one piece and the views on the way down were amazing!!! I crossed the line with Fiona, hand in hand!

Nice medal, bottle of water and most importantly the choice of some chocolate goodies at the finish. In true runner fashion I uttered the words “Never again” however we hadn’t even got home before I was uttering the words “Think I’ll do that again, actually”(!) A nice little well organised event, can imagine it not being quite so pleasant in bad weather… but definitely one for next year’s calendar.