“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”.
The source might be somewhat questionable, but I found no greater quote to summarise what was, historically speaking, a defining and tumultuous month in the year, recent times and even perhaps our lives.
However, in our own microclimate – one shaded green and black – the running was yet again quintessentially spirited and triumphant. So, let’s celebrate it with the gusto it deserves.
One of the largest half marathons in the world, the Great North Run is one of the jewels in the sporting calendar.
With last minute doubts overcome – Indeed, question marks hung over all events that weekend following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Fourteen members of Grantham Running Club joined some 60,000 on the original course through Gateshead, Tyneside to end in South Shields having started in Newcastle.
First home, Sam Dodwell beat his previous weeks outing (the Big Half in London), to finish in a time of 01:33:57.
First lady, Holly Durham, paced her 01:37:56 with studious precision with an eye on her Autumn Marathon.
The next two back were Robin Atter (01:38:09) and Rachel Hamilton (James Hamilton) (01:47:23.) Rachel happy to have raised money for charity in memory of her Father.
Zoë Wragg’s summer continues to bear fruit, with her finishing time of 02:03:04. Spurred on by the lifesaving work of her charity, it was a ridiculous 20-minute PB previosuly set in 2020.
Esther Fraser-Betts (02:10:19) and John Nevard (02:10:24) both used this race as a pace setter for their upcoming London marathons.
Martin Carter (02:14:21), Emma Hopkinson (02:15:55) and Laura Pigott (Laura Elizabeth) (02:18:15) chuffed with their times and tactics.
Emma Duncan (02:10:36) was initially shocked and then rightfully ecstatic to get a new PB by a scarcely believable 39 minutes (yep thirty-nine minutes!) despite finding the course profile a tricky one. Clearly inspired and powered by the memory of her late Grandfather and for Marie Curie.
Running her only her second half marathon and clocking 02:19:09, was Holly Wragg. A confidence boosting 9-minute PB on the undulating course in direct antithesis of her previous flat half at Boston.
Wife and husband Judi Allsopp and Simon Allsopp ran together, finishing in 02:57:24 and 02:57:25 respectively.
On the same day, a little closer to home the Autumn version of the Caythorpe Dash saw Paul Jepson (Paul Lenton) as sole GRC entrant in the 10k, he finished in 55:09.
The Equinox24 is staged just a stone’s throw away, in the grounds of Belvoir Castle. The 24-hour event takes place amongst the beautiful estate with a mixed terrain loop of 10k.
The explosion of 24 hour events and so called ‘backyard Ultras’ has a simple to understand, repeatable formula – Competitors have 24 hours to run, walk or crawl as many laps as possible, as part of a team, solo or in pairs.
Stand-alone day and night-time 10k races are also run concurrently over the same course.
Starting at noon on Saturday the daytime 10k and 24 hour race runners all set off on a long drag uphill of nearby Woolsthorpe. A short rapid descent is checked by the (in)famous section called ‘That Hill’. A return to the campsite and a finish/start/checkpoint welcomes runners in… and back out again.
In the day 10k, the first GRC runner Gav Meadows ran an impressive 45:06, to see him place an ‘agonising’ 4th place.
Next Paul Davis clocked 51:44, improving on his time and position by quite a way, from a return-from-injury-2021 showing.
Sylv Hull (56:03) and Zoë Wragg (56:36) ran the daytime 10k in proximity, more than content given precipitous nature of the course. Finishing 10th and 12th was their highest positions ever in a race.
The night 10k kicked off at 2000hrs, making head torches a necessity.
First home for GRC, Sam Dodwell’s stock continues to rise, his 44:10 earning him a place on the podium for second. Rightfully delighted with his pacing and endurance throughout.
Russell Maksymiw’s injury woes appear to be firmly ‘past tense’, a 47:23 an emphatic demonstration, he was elated to place 5th overall.
First to complete ‘the double’ Paul Davis came over the line in 55:58.
Sylv Hull (56:20) and Zoë Wragg (58:34) again more than pleased. As 7th and 11th female respectively, it bested their highest finish in a race since… well… err eight hours previous!
GRC newcomers and recent graduates of the club’s Beginning To Run scheme; Debbs Jones (01:03:55) and Emma Clackson (01:12:40), were more than thrilled times in a baptism of fire – tough conditions on a tough course.
Catherine Wallace (CatherineDanny Wallace), on her journey back to fitness clocked 1:12:43.
The club fielded one small team; ‘Nathan’s Runners and Walkers’ ran in memory of a much-missed club member, it also serves as homage to an event he dearly loved.
Martin Carter was ‘first out’ and ran four consistent laps.
Sarah High provided four consistent and consistently quick laps.
Penny Hodges showed her class with a swift lap but unfortunately had to pull up injured during her second lap.
Dale Towning’s trajectory is on the up as he stormed round to score a huge course best. Grit on show, he also ran a double lap that helped boost the finishing result.
Captain CJ Walker applied her usual steel and tenacity to complete two laps, but sadly also had to pull up injured.
Largely irrelevantly, the team ran 15 laps between them, placing 58/91 teams.
Solo runner Jason Walker’s simple aim was to do as much as he could – not exactly in manual to tackle this type of affair after coming back from injury, he showed balls to finish 9 laps – 90km all told.
The same weekend as Equinox, 1,200 runners ran the inaugural Lincoln City Half Marathon, organised by Curly’s Athletes. A great success with people in turning out in droves to support those taking part.
The race had fallen victim to a double cancellation/postponement in 2020 and 2021.
Robin Atter’s half marathon flavoured September saw him home in 1:42:12 followed by Tracy Webb in 2:24:21.
To the Steel City where a trio ran the Jane Tomlinson Run for All Sheffield 10k.
A race of two halves. The first 5k coloured by long uphill sections away from the City, the second half, mercifully, downhill the majority of the way home.
Clive George was first home in a superb time of 46:53. His first 5k an aggressive 22.32, impressive with the up-hill nature.
Next home, Julia Hallam’s 1:07:03 was hampered by running in the GRC Grand Prix series the previous day.
Brendon Buckley’s 01:09:01, a seasons’ best time by over 2 minutes.
Toward month end, four members travelled to Nottingham to take on the Robin Hood half marathon. A returning fixture, Nearly 4,000 runners Started on the Victoria Embankment, to take in the more picturesque side of Nottingham.
The silent assassin, Piers Pye-Watson was first back in an impressive 1:23:34.
Next home, completing his third half marathon in 3 weeks Robin Atter’s 1:33:58 was by far his best of the three efforts, closely followed by Matthew Atter in 1:34:24.
Cameron Hoggan completed in a time of 1:58:17 as his own marathon preparation gears toward race day.
The Tissington Trail Half Marathon is quaintly held both Saturday and Sunday, famous for beautiful countryside and a downhill profile, it’s a popular offering. A presence on both days over the weekend, Ten from GRC were bussed up to the start line in Parsley Hay ready to run back down.
Unsurprisingly the times can’t count ‘officially’, but not every race is about crucifying yourself for a PB.
First home for GRC, Sam Dodwell (01:35:00) completed yet another stellar month of racing.
Dale Towning was delighted to gain an “unofficial” PB of 01:42:38.
Sylv Hull (01:56:58) Zoe Wragg (01:58:00) and Alison Clark (02:04:07) joining the “unofficial” PB club.
Coming in, in a respectable time of 02.24.10, was Yvonne Buckley.
Next was the Sunday race and first home was Kevin Kettle in a great time of 01:38:25.
Nicola Cottam was next in for the club in 01:56:09.
Kate Marshall crossed the line in a time of 02:12:13. Kate enjoyed the trail route despite not feeling on top form on the day.
The final GRC runner was Tracy Webb who finished in 02:16:29.
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted some omissions, so, let’s right that wrong.
However, let me set the scene first; Given the run of injuries and fitness woes that come with a somewhat staccato training regime, it’s a real nod to his veracity of patience and discipline.
Combine this with a deep routed competitive nature and you’ll start to paint the picture of this quietly talented runner.
Hitting Lincoln Half Marathon with deliberate and measured tactics, he was able to execute a superbly paced race throughout with only the uphill sections the obvious and excusable differential.
When I reached out for a comment after, his typical uncongratulatory self, replied: “felt super today” – as if it was an element of luck that turned out a 3 minute and 6 second PB.
It was little about luck and more to do with the aforementioned grit and hard work he has put in the last few months.
He must’ve been more than delighted in clocking 1:23:33.
I’ve described him before as ageless – I want to correct that and say; he is getting better with age!
September’s runner up is Dean Riggall.
September Member of the Month
The mind is an endlessly fascinating thing.
Often, it can be your worst enemy, fiercest critic (or is that just me?), but it can be focused and honed to overcome immense physical challenges.
Running at Equinox24 is a feat. Running Solo is well… something to be admired and lauded over.
I’ve briefly mentioned the technical nature of the terrain and in the classically understated way it’s described as ‘undulating’. Imagine running it for twenty-four intense hours!
This particular runner demonstrated that he possesses a veritable fortress-like steel trap mind.
His indomitable will, bloody-minded approach evident to all (shockingly few in reality) who bore witness to his 15 laps. (150 kilometers or circa 92 miles.)
I once read that according to Runner’s World, someone who runs over 20 miles a week was considered an enthusiast. Imagine running nearly four times that in 24 hours!
It really is a staggering effort!
I think doubly impressive that he is, and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying, in his early sixties.
The winner of September Member of the Month, unanimously, Andrew MacAllister!