January has been unusually quiet on the race front for us but for one member it’s all go as Paula Downing continues on her “quest for the vest” – This being exclusive/earned membership to the 100 Marathon Club for which you must meet strict criteria by not only completing 100 regulated marathons but also by following their procedures & requirements.
#95 Cold Christmas 50k (14th January)
A demanding scenic 50km (31 mile) race from Cold Christmas, Hertfordshire to High Easter, Essex, organised by Springfield Striders Running Club. Approved by the Trail Running Association, this route is 95% off-road with narrative instructions (supplied at registration) using footpaths, bridleways, tracks and minor roads. Due to the nature of the course, participants were required to carry certain supplies/equipment and register with marshals at 3 manned checkpoints.
Of the 73 successful finishers, Paula managed to secure, once again, 1st lady position, 14th overall in a fabulous time of 5h 37m 16s.
The winner was James Bosher (Grange Farm & Dunmow Runners) in 4h 08m 55s.
#96 Peddars Way Ultra Marathon (27th January)
The Peddars Way is 46 miles (74km) long and follows the route of a Roman road which runs from the Suffolk border to the North Norfolk Coast. It starts at Knettishall Heath in Suffolk (4 miles East of Thetford) and it links with the Norfolk Coast Path at Holme-next-the-Sea. Combined with the Norfolk Coast Path, it forms the Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path National Trail, one of 15 National Trails in England & Wales.
Another off-road course requiring participants to navigate their own way checking in at set points along the way and also carry mandatory kit such as waterproof clothing, hat & gloves, food & fluid etc. Paula thrives on these type of challenges, despite being tough going, she thoroughly enjoyed it.
Of the 110 finishers, Paula completed this epic race in 23rd place in an amazing time of 8h 24m 05s.
The winner was Steve Claxton (Poole Runners) who set a new CR (course record) in 6h 19m 27s.
Also setting a female CR, the 1st lady back was Susan Matthews (Ryston Runners) in 6h 59m 46s (5th overall).
We don’t have any pictures from these 2 races but here’s one from one of Paula’s earlier marathons!
Waterway 30 (27th January)
Organised by Hobo Pace, a 31 mile circular route along the banks of the River Trent & towpaths of the Chesterfield Canal.
From South Wheatley (near Retford) for 3 miles through challenging field edges and track before meeting the Chesterfield Canal towpath. On more runnable ground at Drakeholes continuing on to West Stockwith to immediately pick up the River Trent for Gainsborough. The Trent Valley Way is a real challenge, muddy underfoot but a sense of freedom and solitude. From Gainsborough back down the river bank on a few inclines and declines to the finish at South Wheatley Village Hall.
For Roger Blake, this should have been his debut “ultra” marathon (greater than a 26.2 mile standard marathon). However, for the first time in 10 years Roger pulled out of the race recording a dnf (did not finish). The brutal cold winds combined with rain got the better of him. Ready to call it a day at 15 miles, Roger decided to go on but struggled to walk yet alone run to the next checkpoint at 19 miles (Gainsborough). It was then obvious to all that his race was over.
Naturally disappointed but Roger will return to racing in the near future.
New Year’s Day 10k (1st January 2018)
Cleethorpes Athletics Club have been hosts to the traditional New Year’s Day 10k on the town’s promenade for many many years.
For some, New Year’s Day is spent recovering from a night on the town, for others the traditional roast dinner with family. But it was another day at the races for four dedicated Mablethorpe RC runners. They were of the 567 that braved the wintry conditions on this out & back 10k seafront course. Not only a frosty morning but bitterly cold winds to contend with.
Kev Harrison came in strong within the first 100 finishers, 99th in 42m 47s.
Wayne Kew next back. Despite an ongoing injury he was 118th in 43m 58s.
Sharon Margarson in her sixth year at the event finished 356th in 54m 27s.
Elaine Wilson also back for the sixth year in a row, she was 431st in 59m 37s.
The winner was James Straw (Lincoln Wellington AC) who made it around the course in only 31m 09s.
The 1st Female was Sophie Cowper (Rotherham Harriers) in an impressive time of 35m 32s. (12th overall).