Batten down the hatches as we summarise superb September…
Belvoir Castle Half
You fine Green & Black kin of Grantham Running Club kick us off at Belvoir Castle (foreshadowing a glut of activity here) for the inaugural running of the half marathon and 10K. The race route was changed at the last minute to remain within the castle grounds, resulting in more undulations and trail.
As the race wore on it became warmer and the mix of terrain began taking its toll.
Daniel Wallace (CatherineDanny Wallace) was first home with a time of 2:06:51, followed by wife Catherine Wallace in a time of 2:17:44 and Emma Bannister 2:20:53.
The 12th Wilne 10k road race was held on 3rd September 2023 with eight making the journey to East Derbyshire to run the flat and notoriously quick course.
With bright sunshine and the temperature forecast to be 18°C for the 10am start, it started warm and got hotter.
Piers Pye-Watson and Samuel Jepson led the GRC contingent away from the start-line, with Piers putting in a particularly fine race in the tail end of a Marathon block. Crossing the line in a time of 36:22, Piers praised the high-quality field of runners.
Samuel finished in a time of 37:09, someway off his best.
Next, was the constantly improving Carlene Elizabeth with a new personal best time of 45:01, frustratingly close to her goal of going sub 45. Carlene really enjoying the course but not so much the heat!
Kev Wallace next, also achieving a new PB by well over a minute, in a time of 45:48. Nursing a hamstring niggle before throwing caution to the wind.
Completing the representation were Paul Davis (47:04), Andrew MacAllister (49:26), and Sarah High (53:46).
In the midst of a heatwave on September 10th, eleven headed over to Grimsthorpe Castle to take part in the Grimsthorpe Gallop. As ever a choice of 5K, 10K, 10 mile and half marathon distances make this a popular local event.
The routes consisting of a hilly mix of tarmac roads, woods, grass, a farmyard and an old railway line.
Lining up for the half marathon were Adrian Land, Mark Carter and Warren Stark.
The dry conditions making for a good running surface but energy sapping sunshine blighted runners.
First back was Adrian continuing his impressive GRC beginnings, in an impressive 1:37:44, 2ndoverall.
A returning Mark had targeted 2:05. He aimed to bank some quicker miles early to beat the heat, he crossed the line in 2:06:11. Considering the heat, happy to only just missed his target.
Warren finished in 2:12:33.
The other GRC posse ran the 10K; First back for GRC was ‘Chris Smith in 59:57. Mark Rice followed in 1:05:45.
Clare Smith completed in 1:13:23 then Judi Allsopp and Simon Allsopp finished close together in 1:15:10 and 1:15:27 respectively.
Gillian Cardus and Vicki Geeson ran together, very happy to finish in 1:21:10 and 1:21:14 respectively.
Sunday 10th September, a sweet (and sweaty) sixteen headed up Toon for the Great North Run, the largest half marathon in the world, with 50,000 runners taking on the route through Newcastle, across the iconic Tyne Bridge and heading to the sea front in South Shields.
A ‘me-Mo-rable’ (yeah – Zoë actually used that gag in the race report…) event the final race for Sir Mo Farah. Crowds and runners were treated a Red Arrows pass over and a subsequent display above the finish area.
First home, new to the club, the talented Gavin Potter, ran an excellent 01:23:49.
An eye-catching performance for his first official gambit.
Next home, Robin Atter, prevailed in a tough week prior, bagging a high-five from Newcastle United Manager Eddie Howe over the start line. His time 01:35:22.
Matthew Atter was next back for the club in a time of 01:37:50. A virgin of the race he wasn’t disappointed by the atmosphere and support. Struggling to find his groove early doors, he rallied well – promising to come back at some point for another crack.
Daniel Pearce feeling the heat, was spurred on by the support of the crowds to cross the line in 01:39:15.
Running for Blood Cancer UK, Stefan Latter, left feeling slightly disappointed. Starting well for but forced to dial back after 8 miles to finish safely; his time 01:43:51.
Mark Angeloni managed to finish in a very respectable time of 01:47:41.
Poster boy for the event Cameron Hoggan appeared on the BBC several times, came in at 01:55:45.
First lady, Zoë Wragg, seemingly excels in tough conditions, was elated to break a long-standing target of ‘sub two’ in a new PB of 01:59:41! A diamond performance in the heat.
In close order was Emma Duncan, completed her third GNR all told – a time of 02:01:43, gave her a new PB of over 3 minutes. The support along the last mile a memory she won’t forget.
Running for the Lincs and Notts air ambulance in memory of her Father was Rachel Hamilton who also completed her third GNR in 02:05:32.
The next four back for the club were Esther Fraser-Betts (02:09:25), Mark Edwards (02:23:02), Sarah Whatton (02:58:42) and Jerzy Szkoda (03:12:38).
Next across the line were sisters Holly Durham and Penny Hodges who completed in 03:32:31 and 03:32:35. They both ran/walked the course in fancy dress with their father for the British Heart Foundation.
The weekend of the 16th and 17th September saw Equinox24-hour running event return to the grounds of Belvoir Castle. The beautiful grounds of the estate play host to a mixed terrain loop of 10k.
Competitors have 24 hours to cover as many laps as possible, as part of a team, solo or in pairs. Stand-alone day and night-time 10k races over the same course.
The main event kicked off at noon with a mass start of both the daytime 10k and 24-hour race runners all setting off amidst cheers and chaos.
Described as undulating the route keeps runners tested throughout and especially as night falls…
‘That Hill’, the notorious climb where legs and lungs burn atop the summit, searing its way into many a GRC nightmare.
Acquitting himself remarkably well, relative newcomer James Mcmullen joined the club with the Beginners programme. Apprehensive that he wouldn’t manage 3 laps, excelling himself to manage an incredible 4 loops.
Next out, Robin Atter, no stranger to endurance events, making his Equinox24 debut. He completed 3 consistent laps.
He then passed the baton to Equinox24 veteran Jason Walker who ran 4 impressively consistently timed laps, despite feeling underprepared compared with previous years.
Next, Peter Jennings, completed speedy 4 laps for the team and carried the club flag for the traditional team finish at the end.
Team captain Sam Dodwell was pleased to complete 3 circuits nursing a niggle.
Sam handed over to Penny Hodges who despite an injury scare on her last lap, completed 3 laps.
Russell Maksymiw who stormed around on his first outing, posting the fastest lap for the team. He notched up 3 laps despite feeling unwell later. The final runner for the team was experienced Equinoxer Paul Davis who also notched up 3 laps for the team.
The GRC A-Team managed an amazing 27 laps which put them in an overall position of 12th out of 614 teams and 7th out of 56 of Large Teams.
Leading by example, team captain, Zoë Wragg enjoyed her first Equinox 24-hour experience and was pleased to complete her 3 laps averaging an hour.
Vicki Ball followed next and found herself enjoying the laps more each time.
Holly Wragg followed Vicki and loved her first time doing the event. Her favourite lap was at night, her face on cresting “That Hill” is very strong contender for race photo of the year!
Another first timer was Alison Clark. Feeling underprepared she was pleased to complete 3 laps. She loved the night run most, enjoying the tranquillity.
Wayne Baxter was also taking part in his first Equinox24 and loved the whole event. 3 orbits of the brutal course restored some running mojo.
GRC newcomer Andrew Goddard decided to opt for maximum effort and smashed out 3 amazing laps in this his first club outing, He loved the atmosphere and meeting lots of club members for the first time.
Rosalind Sadler really enjoyed the event pleased to run 2 laps for the team.
𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝗥𝘂𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗪𝗮𝗹𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀
In the small team category were Nathan’s Runners and Walkers. The team was formed 6 years ago in memory of club member and promising young runner Nathan Walker, who sadly passed away in 2016.
A returning, Dale Towning set off at a solid pace. He went on to run round the course five times, including back-to-back night laps. Dale again thoroughly enjoyed his time at Equinox and will be back next year.
Next, the formidable Sarah High. She also posted an impressive 5 laps for the team, including a nighttime double and the fastest time for the team.
Sarah handed over to Sylv Hull. The night runs were a particular highlight, including reaching the top of That Hill at sunrise.
Next, team captain Martin Carter, an Equinox24 veteran of both teams and solo runs. Loving every minute, Martin ran three laps with a smile on his face.
Last up for the team was Belinda Baker who had stepped in at the last minute to fill in for an injured CJ Walker-Lees. With no time to prepare, Belinda put aside her fears and took to it like a duck to water. Belinda completed 3 laps.
If running a 24-hour team event wasn’t insane enough, there was those that took on the challenge of the solo event.
Holly Durham was pleased with her performance overall as she had been injured for half of the year. The longest training run she had completed in the run up to Equinox24 was 16 miles, so she was happy to have got to a crazy 15 laps (approx. 92 miles).
Holly always take time to remember Nathan whilst running at Equinox24 and this year her thoughts were also with Marc Tremain. She loved seeing the team running in his memory on the course and when things got tough it helped to put things into perspective by thinking of Nathan and Marc.
Also running solo was Richard Ruston-Litchfield who completed 8 laps. He is determined to return next year and run 10 laps and get the bronze pin.
Three GRC members took part in the daytime 10K, joining the throng of runners starting at midday. Husband and wife Daniel and Catherine Wallace crossed the line in 53:55 and 1:05:08 respectively. Anna Harding finished in 54:09.
As the sun set, the nighttime 10K, which necessitated the use of headtorches. It was a great night for the club with Joaquim Jeronimo and Carlene Veasey both scoring podium finishes, coming 2nd in the men’s and women’s races. Flash finishing in 38:32, Carlene’s time 49:05.
Kev Wallace next in, loved his night run to a finish time of 48:56.
Finishing next were Matthew Oswin 1:09:05, David Temperton 1:09:06 and Emily Price 1:09:17. Fraser Marshall having endured a long recovery after injury clocked 1:13:42.
The event was universally praised by everyone who attended, the organisation, race village, commentary, medal, food and free event photography made it one to recommend.
While a majority of GRC were running at Equinox, Stefan Latter and Lizzy Soper Was Jacobs opted for the 5k trail run in Caythorpe.
Stefan started out strong using the road section to gain an early advantage, he was pipped to the finish to finished in 2nd place in a time of 21:06, 17 seconds behind the winner.
Lizzy Soper was 5th female to cross the line in a time of 28:17.
Beast of Bryn:
On Sunday 24th September Mark Carter took part in the Beast of Bryn 15-mile trail race that is held in Wales. This race starts and finishes in the village of Bryn and loops in a figure of 8 around 3 of the local hills and covers over 2,300 feet in elevation!
(For the sake of making enemies of all Equinnoxers – “proper” hills! 😉 )
A tough race but the views of the valleys and forests on route; stunning. Constant cloud cover painted the conditions cool and dry but with some muddy stretches from water running off the hills.
After a solid and trouble-free run, he was very happy to come in and with a chip time of 2:44:46.
Robin Hood Half:
The same day saw The 2023 Robin Hood Half Marathon, a windy but relatively mild day. The race takes in a picturesque route along the River Trent, past Nottingham Castle and through Wollaton Park.
Victoria Embankment Recreation Ground marks the finish.
5,000 runners adorned this year’s edition with three in Green and Black.
Starting well, settling into a good pace, Balint Beni faded toward the end.
He crossed the finish line at a time of 01:49:01, having hoped to run sub-1:45:00, it was still a PB.
Ian Burridge’s 2:14:27 adrift of his 01:56 at the pan flat Boston Half. Tracy Webb clocking an competent 2:27:25.
Another stonking month saw some fierce competition as shown above…
Showing off her incredible range this lady, first donned the quiet roads of a Derby suburb at the Wilne 10k, clocking a gritty 50:08 in what was becoming stifling conditions toward the end of the race.
She then went a little bonkers…
Strapping on Ultra shoes; completing an incredible 15 laps at Equinox24.
No stranger to solo events or Ultra’s sure but imagine going over that terrain and up ‘That Hill ‘, with one knee in bits and causing her pain.
Ever determined. Ever awesome.
September’s Runner Up is Caroline Davis.
This month’s winner showcased months of planning, a bloody-minded approach and inner fortitude.
“If the plan does not work, adjust the plan. Not the goal” – attributed to Henry Ford.
But as Forest Gump ‘famously’ once said: “S**t happens”. The s**t came in the guise of the hottest day of the year with recorded temperatures topping 33 degrees… NOT the conditions to attempt your first 100k Ultra.
Following the Thames from Putney Bridge to Henley, the 100k Thames Path Ultra Challenge takes in a variety of landmarks along the way, including the historic Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle. Lovely ordinarily… again NOT when running your first 100k Ultra in punishing heat and sun.
Although she had to adapt her plans and complete the event over a longer time due to weather conditions, she was pleased to have met the challenge head on to clock a time of 21:36:58.
The September Member of The Month is the steel eyed, blonde bombshell Kate Marshall.