January can be a dark, dank and miserable month if you let it, but we won’t let it will we?
Runners across the country knuckle down for the post Festive Season, marathon blocks begin in earnest and the mad ones pull one spikes and trails shoes as the Cross-Country season is in full throttle. So, that’s where we’ll start:
The Lincolnshire Cross Country Championships are held at Biscathorpe, near Louth.
The course is ‘a brute’. It is infamous for numerous river crossings where runners can end up in water up to their waists and shoes simply; don’t stay on your feet!
First up was the men’s 10k race. First for GRC was Peter Bonner in an admirable 45:10, the deep-water crossings seeming to pose no barrier. The evergreen Rob Howbrook was next in 47:06, followed soon after by Richard Payne who found the course tough but rewarding.
Chairman Andrew Pask was next in 48:52 and though he questioned his sanity he enjoyed his run. Shortly after was Robin Atter in 50:04, Peter Jennings in 51:47, then Paul Davis (55:02), Paul Jepson (Paul Lenton) (56:55), Andrew MacAllister (57:52), Craig G Drury (58:03) and Richard Urqhart (61:01).
The mem’s team effort netted them 5th place in the Veterans category.
Next up were the ladies who ran 5.7k. First back was Holly Durham who despite initial apprehension about the course, stormed round in 28:18.
Holly’s sister Penny Hodges also flew round in 32:03.
Next was Caroline Davies in 33:07. Closely following, Captain Sarah High ran a determined round to cross the line in 33:26.
Michelle Parczuk put in a great run to finish in 34:07, followed by Paula Pick Ebbins in a fantastic 39:11.
Over the same weekend, our globetrotting nomad Nev Chamberlain ran the Adana Half Marathon in Turkey. The flat half saw Nev run 02:03:06. Knowing Nev he’d much rather have been running at Biscathorpe – a firm favorite of his!
Stunning Sherwood and Frozen Folksworth…
Later in the month but still in keeping with the off-road theme, a quintet made the trip to Sherwood Pines for the New Year 5k/10k trail race.
All five of our runners had chosen the longer 10k option which involved two laps around the beautiful trails and footpaths.
An overnight frost and early temperatures of -3C made the challenging terrain at least firm underfoot.
From a GRC perspective, first home for the club was Simon Allsopp in a fabulous 52:55, followed by Joni Goodband despite still recovering from injury ran a very respectable 60:00 dead, later commenting that she was pleased with her performance.
Judi Allsopp was next home in 01:08:38 and finally running together were husband and wife duo Yvonne Buckley and Brendon Buckley in 1:16:25 – GRC’s youngest rocker Brendan, delighted to be first in his age category.
Not to be outdone on a busy weekend end for the club, that Sunday saw a salient seven make the short trip down to the A1 for the challenging Folksworth 15.
A lapped course with three noticeable hills on both laps, it serves as a test of conditioning and mental ability to maintain an appropriate pace.
As alluded to earlier the weekend had dawned fresh and frosty, the underfoot conditions remained somewhat treacherous, with only half of the first downhill having been gritted and several of the shady areas keeping ice and frost throughout both laps.
From the start the runners spread out according to their expected pace, with Dean Riggall (02:00:15) overcoming a somewhat late start and battling a long-standing niggle still managing to move past several clubmates. Warren Stark – 02:10:49 – (also late to start) got ahead of the others until Craig Drury and Caroline Davis caught him on the final hill, but the downhill final half mile allowed him to regain his lead.
Craig finishing just ahead of Caroline in 02:11:30. Caroline with 02:11:32
Robin Atter (01:50:33) was grateful to find himself in a group with several runners who he didn’t previously know, working together to keep pace up the hills and encourage each other to the finish.
Sarah High (02:13:41) was happy to use the morning as a break from a hectic work schedule, finishing three and half minutes faster than when she last ran the event in 2020.
Sarah and Caroline demonstrated their class by achieving podium positions in their age categories, with Sarah second and Caroline third.
Peter Bonner hit his straps early and took the confidence of the last months major successes forward to finish first for GRC. Clocking 01:42:17 pleased with his training block at this stage.
In the closing throes of January, a deadly duo travelled to Derbyshire to run the Bolsover 10k (rescheduled from last December due to icy conditions).
A bright cold but clear day 495 runners starting out on the undulating course with a fast, downhill finish.
First to the finish for GRC was Paul Jepson with a time of 50:19, followed by Richard Urquhart who crossed the line in 52:23.
A well organised race with the lesser spotted long-sleeved t-shirt as a memento. Both channeling their inner ‘Arnie’ saying they’d be back.
The first winner of 2023 Member of the Month is somewhat of a silent assassin; she gets her head down, trains hard and races harder!
Her love of running sparked in her youth, thanks in no part to the loving influence and guidance of her late father.
Not afraid of ‘vom inducing’ efforts, never shirking from lonely training miles and certainly not backing down from the challenge of cross country she’s been running solidly for some time now and never really garnered the praise or respect she richly deserves.
Let’s right that wrong!
January Member of the Month
Her performance at the brutal Lincs XC Champs at Biscathorpe more than highlighted her tenacity and high work ethic.
It more than kept the Ladies Vet Team at the forefront of the teams competing and with help from the aforementioned sisterly pair of Holly and Penny, it earned a Gold County Badge for January’s Member of the Month Rachel Hamilton
(Her time for posterity, a fantastic 28:35.)