Just as the last daffodils of spring faded, the Dunham Massey 5k blossomed and announced the North Cheshire series of five 5k races through Cheshire countryside and a summer of 5k road races. The scenic Dunham Massey 5k, organised by Altrincham AC/Spectrum Striders is also the precursor to our own 4 x 5k Sizzlers. Run in the very picturesque and serene surroundings of the Park, they were for many who'd trained long and hard for Spring marathons and half-marathon, the chance to get those legs moving fast again.
It was great to see Mike Hatch (17.18) back. Take no notice of his 'slow' time and maybe this was the reason for his 'feeling cold' during the race!! M45 Gary Rowlinson (17.22 is also back and produced one of his fastest times for years on this course. The quality of the men's M45 team was further demonstrated by having Gary Willcock (18.23) and Frank Cordingley (18:32) finish in the top fifty. Frank's time was just a few seconds short of his best in the Parkrun Platt Fields 5k's. This age-group could be a formidable force in the BMAF 5k Championships in Horwich on June 20th. Newcomer Matt Wansbone (18.13) is an exciting new prospect who hadn't competed in a 5k for a very long time and this was a massive PB that he'll soon improve. Karl Barber's (18.34) massive progress is well documented! Previous to Dunham his last 5k was in last summer's Sizzler when he clocked a PB of 21.00. He'll also improve further! Tim Brett (19:06), less than two weeks after clocking 3:55 in the Windermere Marathon made a 26 second improvement on the Mayday 5k Mike Wharton's (19:32), though still recovering from the 'trauma' of 'London' still clocked a course PB. It demonstrates his massive progress also. Likewise M55 Jerry Smith (20.05) had an excellent sharpener after his tough London and hard training for it. Next came Michael Wymer ran his second 5k race and a PB of about 2 minutes on the first race that was last year's Bowden 5k in 22.26 M50 Stefan Schumacher (21:04), just two weeks after his second fastest marathon in his home city of Kassel (Germany) came within a few seconds of his best. An exciting sub-21career beckons! (Geoff Beattie's got no chance now!). Jo Street (21:30) was also in top form missing her 2007 course best by just two seconds. M45 Ian Whitham (25.10) also has reason to be pleased, clocking his fastest time despite a career that demands incessant travel. For complete results, log onto http://www.ukresults.net (Written by Fechin Mc Cormick)
Posted 02/01/2012 22:13
Norman Poole pulled it off yet again! As President of the exclusive British Milers club that provides top level competition for the nation's elite athletes, our nationally acclaimed middle-distance coach put on his annual feast of top-class running for the annual BMC Grand Prix at Sportcity on May 29th. He also pulled off near perfect weather! Though the hours beforehand were wet and dreary and the later hours windy, near perfect conditions for the five hours of competition meant that about 90% of the 300 elite middle-distance runners from throughout Britain and Ireland's went home with lifetime bests or season's best performances.
Among the club members, in the 800m, seventeen year old Matt Holmes set the evening off with his best of 2:00.30. Lee Whitley also produced a SB of 1:58.59 and came within a whisker of a PB. Still early evening, Donna Riding was hopeful of coming close to her 800m PB of 2:06.97.She was always in the leading pack and, had she not been the victim of a couple of elbow tussles that knocked her rhythm would have clocked even faster than 2:08.31. Ruth Watson travelled all the way from Peterborough in the hope of clocking a 2:10 performance. She chased the pacemaker on a 63 second schedule and looked as though she might achieve her aim.....until the final 100m when the 'wheels came off' to clock a disappointing 2:15.27.
Britain's No.1 junior, eighteen year old Niall Brooks, ran a tactically sound 1500m race to clock a seasons' best of 3:43.22 and qualify for the European Junior championships (He's already qualified for the 800m). In the same 'A' race Nick Samuels had every reason to be delighted to record a PB of 3:44.54 to add to his excellent winter's indoors. In the 'C' 1500m, following a successful and consistent winter James Bailey was also rewarded with a long promised and well-deserved PB of 3:48.02. In the 'G' 1500m another promising youngster Charlie Hulson, the U/17 & U15 Welsh 800m champion, also set a new wonderful benchmark of 3:58.20
The floodlights were on for the 5000m races that topped the long evening. Again, almost everyone in every race recorded a PB and among them Matt Bond, in the form of his life this year, achieved his ambition of dipping under 14.30to clock 14:25.69. Dave Norman, weeks after 2:19.05 in the London Marathon, must be well satisfied to record a SB of 14:32.49. For full results visit http://www.britishmilersclub.com (Written by Fechin Mc Cormick)
Posted 02/01/2012 22:13
The bank holiday Sale '5' had the same winner & runner-up as in 2008. Salford's Andi Jones topped a hectic weekend that involved pace-setting at the BMC Grand Prix to add the £200 top prize to wife Donna's next shopping trip!!! He increasingly pulled away from runner-up Philip Hoole (Rotherham). Club wise, the event was notable for the largest ever turn out of club members with thirty lining up. Our senior men were 3rd team behind winners Trafford AC and our women were the winners.
Mike Ashby (29:19). Surprisingly good considering he's in the final stages of training for an Ironman Triathlon.
Mike Hatch (29:28) "Getting fitter. Trying to get fit for the Welsh Castles relay"
Elton Davies (29:53) "Good! Aiming to get under 30 minutes"
Andy Mooney (29:58) "Pleased to get under 30 minutes" A great PB!
Gary Willcock M45 (30:26) Just thirteen seconds off last year's time
Frank Cordingley M45 (30:53) "Had enough left for a sprint finish" His 3rd race in 4 days & maybe the reason for a minute down on last year!
Carl Barber (31:28) "Very good - my first 5-mile race"
Rob Flannery (31:41) Did 25:04 in 2005 & can repeat this when fit.
Richard Wilson M40 (31:44) "Felt terrible! Running only three times a week"
Rose Blackburn (32:31) "Had a scorcher" Congratulations to Auntie Rose!
Jerry Smith M55 (32:41) "Pleased! Best run for awhile even though a minute off my PB" Still recovering from London.
Carl Cleghorn (32:42) "Tough so soon after the Kassel Marathon. Last two miles ran out of energy" His debut '5'.
Steve Gavin (32:45) Debut '5' He's now almost completed the full set!
Bill Fox M55 (33.07) "Disappointing time - 3 minutes faster last year"
Tim Brett (32:28) "Hard work" His debut '5'. Ran the Windermere Marathon 2 weeks earlier in 3:55".
Terry Lonergan M60 (34:04) Thirty seconds short of last year. Read his blog for full report.
Jan Nicholls L40 (34:40) "Nice race. Preparing for the Welsh Castles relays"
Jo Street (35:07) "Worked hard! Aiming for Welsh Castles relays. A course PB by a massive 80 seconds!
John Battersby M50 (35:14) "All Right! Not brilliant"
Jackie Cordingley L50 (35:40)" Quite happy" In line for her 2nd Grand Prix L50 Championship
Geoff Beattie M55 (36:10) Over a minute slower than last year! He'll be disappointed
Warren Bowden M40 (36:33) Good to have him back in racing mode
Lynda Rowlinson L45 (36:55) "Pleased" On schedule for her 4th successive L45 Grand Prix Championship
Lauren Davies (39:20) "Better by more than a minute on last year"
Don Nichols M70 (40:04) "Very Good" 2nd M70 and an excellent PB
Alan Romangalo (41:19) Oops! Over 2 ½ minutes down on last year
Dianne Hennigan (42:32) Good to have her back on the circuit again!
Brian Bradshaw M45 (44:30) "Three minutes off last year's time"
Full results on www.race-results.co.uk (Written By Fechin Mc Cormick)
Posted 02/01/2012 22:13
The weather was terrible. There was no meat in the bolognese sauce. A strange man in a yellow cardigan didn't seem to be able to take "no" for an answer. But amidst all the adversity, the senior women produced a series of fantastic performances to win Group B of the European Champion Clubs' Cup and gain promotion to the elite Group A for 2011 - the winning of the UKWL permitting.
Having endured a torrid journey to Slovakia in 2009, hopes were not high for a smooth trip to Switzerland, but a combination of Swiss efficiency and a direct flight meant that those fears were unfounded, and the team arrived at the hotel via Basel airport in time for dinner. The fact that the meal consisted of a pungent Caesar salad and a plate of spaghetti coloured with a simple tomato sauce dampened spirits a little, but not too much. A lothario from the male Irish team took no time in trying to work his magic, but was sent on his way (he would be back, though), while Kath Endacott's demands for dessert fell on deaf ears. Many of the team headed straight to local eateries to forage for more food, before an early night in preparation for the main event.
The weather on the day of competition was predictably bad, with howling winds and horizontal rain being interspersed with some relatively benign conditions. The match got off to a slow start, but from the first event the Sale athletes gave their all. Momentum built as the match progressed, until eventually the team succeeded in winning a competition that had eluded them the year before. In the end, the margin of victory was a comfortable 16 points from the Dutch team Rotterdam. Here's how the team got on: -
100m: Chief cheerleader Katherine Endacott recorded the first victory of the day for the team on the track, running very close to her recent pb with a great time of 11.56s. She nearly matched that at the end of the meeting in trying to catch me to throw me in the waterjump, but narrowly failed.
200m: Shaunna Thompson, having marvelled at the Swiss countryside on the bus to Bern, repeated Kath's success in the longer sprint, achieving a World Junior Championships qualifying mark in the process (23.76).
400m: The youngest member of the team, Tyra Watson, gave a very good account of herself, taking 5th place in a season's best 58.59s. In the absence of a party in the evening, Tyra made her own fun, by finding a magnet and thrilling to the sight of it sticking to metal surfaces when thrown.
800m: Making her club debut, Nicola Maddick recovered from her disappointment of having to eat salad to front run to victory in the 800m (2:11.18s).
1500m: Jenna Hill, feeling under the weather and in no fit state to challenge her best times, ran a very sensible race to claim a podium spot and one of the all-important pink scarves.
3000m: Rachel Deegan also found the going tough, but battled hard to finish a credible 4th with 10:22.20.
5000m: Shocked to see a 5000m on the timetable just 15 minutes before it was due to start, we didn't have anyone to do it. Linda Benin, the hammer thrower, looked like she might have been open to persuasion, but sadly it was too late. Luckily this didn't affect the overall outcome.
3000m Steeplechase: Lateefah Burton had never ran a steeplechase further than 2000m before, but she stuck to her task and completed the race, claiming what could have been a vital point.
100mH: Andrea Vinet ran a superb season's best (and her best time for a couple of years) to take the victory in 13.95 and then went on to be a contentious choice as the guardian of the large Toblerone that was given to us for coming first. She performed her job in an equitable fashion, although it did take her some time to reveal that she'd brought the chocolate on board the plane.
400mH: Holly Belch had to run the 400 hurdles at the start of the day when the wind was at its worst, and her time therefore suffered accordingly. Nevertheless, she came home in a useful 5th place.
High Jump: Adele Lassu won comfortably in 1m70 in slippery conditions, but was then faced with an hour and a half in doping control. She was also the keenest to get her hands on one of the complimentary Swiss knives.
Pole Vault: Abigail Haywood was disappointed to only clear her opening height of 3m60, but that was still enough for second place. There still seems to be plenty more to come for the rest of the season.
Long Jump: Abigail Irozuru suffered from problems with her run up as a result of the high winds, and was frustrated to be down in 4th going into the final round. She responded brilliantly to take 2nd place with 6m09, but was unfortunately only 2cm from taking the win. Let's hope her injury problems are banished forever.
Triple Jump: Clare Linskill had similar problems in the Triple Jump, but also produced a season's best (12m46) to take 3rd.
Shot: Alison Rodger launched a practice throw out to 16m50+ and her hopes were high for a Commonwealth Games qualifier. The tension set in with so much at stake, so she had to be satisfied with a more modest 15m87, which was still enough for the win.
Discus: Alison had earlier started the day with a go at the discus, an event that she doesn't train for. In contrast to the shot, her practice throws all ended in the netting, which made her 40m76 for third place all the more impressive.
Javelin: Laura Whittingham is in fantastic form having thrown three pbs at the previous week's Loughborough international. She was over 52m again this time (52m01) which gave her victory by an astonishing 11 metres.
Hammer: New member and Kevin Madden-coached Linda Benin, a French International athlete who will soon be competing for Ghana at the African and then Commonwealth Games, picked up the team's first win of the day (57m22) in a competition that took place in very poor conditions outside of the main stadium.
4x100m: Rebekah Wilson, who had earlier won a guest 100m race in an excellent windy 11.82s, joined Andrea Vinet, Katherine Endacott and Shaunna Thompson to secure victory over the Dutch team by half a second (46.40s).
4x400m: The highlight of the day for most was the final event. Holly Belch got the team off to a very solid start and passed on to Nicola Maddick, who moved into second place. With 40m to go, it suddenly occurred to all watching that we didn't have a 3rd leg athlete ready to receive the baton. Nicola, by now panicking, was relieved to see Tyra Watson, who had been struggling to remove her tights, sprinting to the change-over zone with absolutely no time to spare, still wearing her leggings. That the change-over was legal was a miracle. Jess Taylor, who had earlier ran a windy pb (12.2) in winning another guest 100m, anchored the team with a very impressive 56s leg to hold off the challenge of the Swiss team and keep hold of second place in the race.
After the competition, there was a much anticipated banquet, held at a swanky hotel in Bern city centre. Those with more sophisticated palates appreciated the food (if not the extortionate drinks prices), while others preferred to sneak out to the local fast food restaurant for a snack between courses. Here, the team were presented with their prize for taking the win - an attractive engraved plate and matching goblets, which was duly pocketed along with the Swiss Army knives and packets of muesli that had earlier been given to every team. Gifts were a significant theme of the weekend, with podium finishers receiving a much sought-after goody bag that included, amongst other things, a large packet of pasta, a t-shirt, a scarf and, oddly, a pair of socks.
With the formal proceedings over, a party was the order of the day, but was, sadly, not forthcoming, as Bern on a Sunday night was not, it appeared, the party capital of Europe. Despite the encouragement of the excitable Irishman and some equally keen Swiss military personnel (who, bless them, had a midnight curfew) who wanted a dance, bizarrely, the following Tuesday, most of the team headed back to the hotel for a chat and a well-earned sleep. A 9am start the next day meant that, even accounting for the inevitable half-hour delay, we arrived back in Manchester by just after lunchtime, tired, emotional, satisfied, and 23 bags of meusli better off. (Written by Dean Hardman)
Posted 02/01/2012 22:13
The weekend of June 12/13 was the opportunity for our youngsters to strut their stuff in the various County Schools Championships. Congratulations to five harriers in the Cheshire Schools, two of whom became Schools champions and the others the silver medallists.
Danielle Bentley, a representative at last year's British School's International Championships became the senior county champion as did Rafia Aslam who became the inter-girls triple jump champion. Rafia has just joined Sale and has her first club competition next weekend at the National Young Athletes League at Sportcity.The three silver medallists were Hannah Carlin (100m), Heidi Williams (200m) and Lydia Randles (75m Hurdles). Heidi has previously won two Cheshire 800m titles; Hannah was second in the Cheshire Clubs a few weeks earlier and Lydia is a multi-eventer aiming for the English Schools Championships. These inter & juniors have also been selected for Cheshire in an 8-sided county match called The Mason Trophy. Youngsters in the Greater Manchester Schools will be posted as soon as they become known. (Written by Fechin Mc Cormick)
Posted 02/01/2012 22:13
A formidable battalion of club soldiers took on the Welsh Castles Relay on the weekend of 12/13 June. They battles mountains and vales to finish 6th open team and 7th overall (a vets team finished 4th). This was a place improvement on last year and over an hour faster!
Among the highpoints of another memorable weekend athletically and socially, the team had two impressive stage winners. Simon Mills became King of the Mountains over his tough mountain leg and Paul Green also won his mountain stage over the Brecon Beacons. Not long after his 2:19 London Marathon and a week after he qualified (again!) for the European Uphill Mountain race in Slovenia (July) at Latrigg in the Lake District. (He earlier also finished fourth at the inter-county Fell Championships in Wales), Gaz Raven finished a classy second over his tough 13-mile mountain stage. So good were our mountaineers that, add their accumulative times of all six mountain stages, and they finished a tremendous third to Serpentine AC and Thames Hare & Hounds
Other impressive performances were Steffan North in his 12.8 long stage that was won last year by Matt Bond. He led most of the way only to be pipped to the post.
There are also reports of excellent runs by the 'girls' especially Jo Street and Jenny Flanagan.
A full report, photos and video on the weekend will appear soon so watch this space (Fechin Mc Cormick)
Posted 02/01/2012 22:13
The North Cheshire bandwagon of 5 x 5k road races through Cheshire countryside rolled into Bowden village for its third race of the series on Thursday June 10th. If Dunham Massey's significant memory was the picturesque Park & deer and the Hollins Green 5k the record few club entries, the notable element of the Bowden 5k was that every club member recorded either a PB or SB and had the opportunity to celebrate with a celebratory beer in the picturesque village pub afterwards.
MV45 Gary Rowlinson (16:46) was again at the helm of club finishers. Not only did he record an even faster time than the previous two races but dipped under seventeen minutes for the first time in a Bowden 5k. Well done, Gary! MV45 Gary Willcock's (18.00) also recorded his fastest for the series by almost twenty seconds. Third finisher, Carl Barber (18:13) maintained his PB setting trend! He's now improved an enviable three minutes over twelve months. Though still regaining his form, MV55 Bill Fox (19:31) was almost a minute faster than in the club's Mayday 5k. Knowing him, he'll want to be faster! It mightn't have been Mike Wharton (19.35) fastest of the series but it was still a course PB. Justifiably ecstatic was MV50 Stefan Schumacher (20.53) who'd yearned for a long time to dip under twenty-one minutes again. Not quite as fast as in last year's race, he did it in style.....and got even faster two days later in the Platt Fields Parkrun when he came close to also breaking the 20-minute barrier with 20.03. Well done! Steffan. Lauren Davies (22:47) was also delighted to record her latest PB demonstrating progress she's waited long to see. Jenny Clink (22:50), equally as committed, was over a minute faster than in her Mayday 5k. It's just Jenny's second time to dip under twenty-three minutes in this series, the last time being 2008. MV70 Don Nichols ran a very youthful 24.09 that was also a PB. Finally, Ian Whitham (24:32) continued to chip at his times to clock a season's best. He's now only thirty seconds off last year's best at the Bowden 5k. For the full results log onto http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2010/bowdon.pdf (Written by Fechin Mc Cormick)
Posted 02/01/2012 22:13
Well done to club stalwart
Catherine Jones for winning this month's Ronhill Challenge,
featured in Athletics Weekly magazine. Every month Atheltics
Weekly welcomes nominations for unsung heros who work hard
behind the scenes at their athletics club. Last month
Paul Barrett nominated Catherine in recognition of her behind the
scenes work at Sale Harriers, including at our recent Club
Centenary celebrations and with our participation at the Welsh
Posted 02/01/2012 22:13
"Age shall not weary them" was certainly applicable for club veterans who participated in the BMAF 5k Championships in Horwich on June 20th. With superb individual performances, our O/70 team retained the BMAF National title from last year and the O/60 team were bronze medallists.
The O/70 team were depleted two days before the race by the withdrawal of their leading runner, Brian 'Elbows' Gane due to a very special family occasion. The problem was solved by 'young' Derek Nicholls, the new boy on the squad this year. In fantastic form and another magnificent PB, Derek moved from fourth counter in the last race to take on the leading role and bring the team home as national champions.
This performance demonstrated the decision of team manager Don George, to operate a 'youth' policy for the O/70 section!! Keith Briggs ran his usual consistent race to follow as second counter, showing a real battling spirit. The third runner to complete the course was Ted Howarth, who has returned to the club after a few years absence, running as well as ever.
Mike Howe came in as fourth counter running well below his normal high standard due to a persistent hamstring problem. With the team packing so well, it was no surprise they once again finished as national champions with Derek missing out on an individual medal by just one place.
Surprise bronze medallists were out O/40 team. Kevin Mc Kay, our former Olympian and Britain's No.1 middle distance runner from the 80/90's was back in rare competitive mode and showed his athletic flair of former days by clocking 17:16; Frank Cordingley ran a year's best of 18:14; Gary Willcock had expected faster but still produced a good time of 18.33 and Jim Lambe ran a 'stormer', recording 20:35 as he prepares for the Helsinki marathon later in the year. It was enough!
Following a lot of confusion, our O/60 team of Mike Dunne, Terry Lonergan and Fechin Mc Cormick were awarded bronze medals, but several days later it became known it was our MV40 team should have been awarded them instead.
Well done to Jackie Cordingley who was our only female competitor and vindicated her ability by finishing 'national' fifth in her age-category.
(For full results, log onto www'race-results.co.uk)
Posted 02/01/2012 22:13
Sandwiched between Germany surprise defeat and England's disappointing performance against Algeria in the World Cup, Altrincham AC's North Cheshire Grand Prix returned to scenic Dunham Massey Park for the fourth of its series. Those that benchmark their progress, this return to Dunham Massey can be a reality check that improvement comes incrementally in small rather than in leaps and bounds. Five of our nine participants had given their best five days earlier in the tough Welsh Castles Relays when long mountain stages and revelry inevitably deadened legs.
Mike Kilmartin (16.37) is well into his 'second coming' finally displaying the ability of his early years before abandoning the sport. He broke M45 Gary Rowlinson's record of first club finisher but Gary won't be disappointed, clocking seventeen seconds faster than in the first Dunham Massey and his fastest ever for the course. It was Paul Capey's debut and his 17.38 is one of his best times for 5k. Carl Barber's (17.38) run of PB's finally ended but then he'd run the Welsh Castles Relays. Mike Wharton (19:40) was also a victim of tired legs but performed better. Over twelve months ago, MV50 John Battersby (20:11) had considered his running career ended but, discarding surgery, has chipped away on a comeback and now within sight of his 2007/8 best in this series. In-form Rose Blackburn (20:17) was a minute faster than two years ago but the question is she fast enough to keep her competitive sister at bay when she returns from pregnancy! Just three seconds has separated Jo Street's (21:27) performances making her our most consistent performer, particularly pleasing so soon after her superb contribution in the Welsh Castles Relays. Similarly, Jenny Flanagan (23:06) also made a superb contribution and suffered tired legs and would certainly have produced another sub-23 minute performance.
The tour of North Cheshire ends at the Lymn 5k on June 26. Then the club's magnificent Manchester 4 x 5k Sizzlers explore on to the scene
(written by Fechin Mc Cormick).
Posted 02/01/2012 22:13