Ilkeston Running Club

Members Race Reports

1st Keyworth Scouts Turkey Trot | Melissa Denman | 13/12/2015

This was the second year that I have ran the Turkey trot half marathon for Ilkeston running club and once again there was a fantastic turnout (I believe we had 15 runners for IRC).This is a huge local event – over 900 runners and entries sell out within a day!

Gun time is 10.30am and you have to be there pretty early as parking is a bit of a walk away from the start (or there are regular shuttle buses if you don't fancy the extra mile!). Its always cold at this time of year but the start is based at school which is plenty big enough to keep everyone warm. There's even tea and coffee available with the cost of a small donation to the scout group.

This year there seemed to be more people dressed up in festive attire than I remember last year which was good as I did not feel out of place in my elf outfit complete with stripy socks with bells on. There were quite a few santa clauses (even one slightly disturbingly hairy backed Mrs Claus!!), numerous elves and a single captain America.

After keeping warm in the school hall for as long as possible we were ushered out to the start line. Everyone packs together in the road and I could see a group of Santas warming up in the cul-de-sac opposite. 10.30am and we were set off.

A note about this course: it is not a PB course as it is quite undulating. The start is downhill and everyone bolts off but as expected a few corners and you begin to climb uphill. The course profile remains similar throughout the 13 miles. WARNING: there is a long uphill effort up to mile 7 which really takes it out of you but dig in and enjoy the following downhill mile.

Despite the cold grey weather there was plenty of support out on the course. The younger spectators enjoying cheering on the santas and elves! Plus the sheer number of competitors means that you are hardly ever alone in this half marathon so its pretty easy to remain motivated.

4 miles into the course I began to seriously regret wearing socks with bells on! However it let me keep track of my cadence albeit probably annoying those around me.

As my watch bleeped 20km I knew I was near the end. This year I was prepared for the long 500m hill up to the finish. But its all worth it for the turkey trot drinks coaster which you receive at the finish line (handed to you by no other than Santa Claus himself!). 

In conclusion if you don't mind hills and fancy doing an enjoyable festive 13.1 miles then I strongly recommend the 1st Keyworth Scouts Turkey Trot.

Heritage Grand Prix 10k | Ian Hunter | 03/07/2014

Heritage Grand Prix 10k

I’ve had this one down as a PB run in my summer schedule, however having run at the Watersports centre on many occasions I know full well that it is usually windy and that you have to be lucky to get a still day and even though it is flat and fast a PB is unlikely unless the wind is calm.

Well what do you know it was a windy day so being realistic I knew a PB was unlikely even though I’m sure I’m in PB shape. On the plus side to keep the race interesting the race was also the Nottinghamshire County Championship race and even though I’m clearly not anywhere near the best 10k runner in Nottinghamshire following my bronze medal in the 10 mile race I know that you have to be in it to win it and for some reason some people don’t enter the county champs…….

After the initial rush I found myself in about 11th place, 1st mile completed in about 5.30, nicely ahead of schedule but not overdoing it, then we turned to the top of the lake and back down the other side, this was where the wind hit us, it was pretty Ian Hunterstrong, I’d agreed with a chap I ran with recently at the Wollaton park that we should take example from cycling and take it in turns to shelter each other from the wind. But to my surprise there was a group of about 6 of us who took it in turns for about the next mile or so. Mile 2 was obviously slower but a pretty good 5.52, slower than goal pace but I was still up overall, mile 3 was the slowest mile at 6.01. Moving away from the lake and away from the wind the group had split up slightly and I found myself in the top ten.

Now it was time to take advantage of the lack of wind and try and break away from those behind me and to try and catch the few runners ahead, there was a runner ahead of me who I really wanted to beat, he beat me into 2nd in last Saturdays Colwick ParkRun and also beat me into 2nd in the first ever Forest Rec ParkRun and I had never beaten him before as far as I know. This was a great inspiration to me and I knew that if I could catch up to him that I could stick with him for a while and hopefully bag a good time.

Now back to the lake for about half a mile of wind behind us before we turned back round into the wind for the last mile or so. Mile 4-5 was 5.39 which looked promising as I still felt pretty good. As we approached the top of the lake I had put a bit of distance between me and my previous rival and was now upto 8th place running with another chap from ‘Balanced Performance’ whatever that is. Not too far in the distance were the 4/5/6 place runners and the 6th place runner was gradually getting closer to us. Yet again to my surprise the other runner wanted to take turns sheltering so that we could keep the pace up. Gradually we reeled in the 6th place runner from Long Eaton and he joined us and we became a 3 taking it in turns to shelter behind each other. Miles 5-6 was run in 5.59 which was pretty good into the wind.

As we were approaching the finish line you could tell we were all waiting for the moment to lay down a sprint finish, we could also see the runners ahead getting closer to us and it almost possible that we could catch up to 4th or 5th. I’m pretty confident that I can put in a fast sustained burst over a longish distance which would be better for me than a short sprint finish so after hanging back to the back of the group of 3 I was waiting and waiting until the right moment to launch myself Mo Farah style over the last 400m or so. So at a distance that felt right I went for the long run home, I could feel that neither of the other 2 had come with me and so long as I could sustain it to near the finish line I would finish in 6th and maybe even sneak 5th.

As it happened I managed to go the distance and keep a high pace right until the line, this has to be in part to the track sessions and also the progression runs that I always do. I was buzzing as I crossed the line, I had beaten several runners who had beaten me recently and the way I had done it was a real boost. The last 0.22 miles I did in 5.04 pace which was fantastic into the wind after 6 fast miles.

It was then a long wait to find out if I had won anything in the county champs, thankfully the Buda’s were there to keep me company. After what seemed like an age of faffing about it transpired that I had won the bronze medal again.
My time was 36.07 only 7 seconds behind 4th place. I missed my PB by about 20 seconds but I didn’t care about that!
Things I learnt from the race:

Tapering – if it’s an important race make sure you rest beforehand, usually by Thursday night I have run about 40 hard miles, but this week I had only ran 20 easy miles.
Drafting – Don’t be afraid to talk to the runners around you and organise yourselves to help each other out.
Finishes – You can train to give yourself that sustained Mo Farah finish, progressive runs and track work are the way forward

Darrens Dash | Richard Iliffe | 15/06/2014

'Darren's Dash' 15th June 2014

Darrens Dash15/6/14 was my first fell run, I hadn't planned to drive 140 mile for what I thought was an easy introduction to Fell Running on Fathers day, but my reasons for wanting run this race, it wasn't going to stop me!
The race is the brilliantly and very aptly named 'Darren's Dash' - for those not aware Darren Holloway was a close friend of our family and Darren is the reason and inspiration I took up running 16 months ago!

So...I sat off around 9.30 and headed off to Longtown, somewhere past Hereford, to meet up with Rob & Carol Sharatt who discovered the race and also ran it last year, I arrived bang on time, 12:30 at the school house, Rob duly got me a cup of tea, and after a quick look at the surroundings, Reality very quickly set in, I had to run to the top of a very large hill, although I now understand it was part of the Black Mountains!

So at 1:50pm off we went over the stiles (was actually a fence) to meet in the field for our briefing. I am sure to the locals it was all crystal clear, but I only understood, it was a downhill start, THROUGH a river, UP, UP, UP and UP, across, then a long downhill, though some (lots of) mud, and back UP to the finish. I then prayed I wasn't the slowest and that I could follow someone. I must point out though, that Ilkeston Running Club got a great mention from the organisers during the briefing.

So at 2.00pm we duly set off, down the hill, and through the river, all very enjoyable,  We started the ascent through a few fields, and over a style , at this stage I would compare it Cardiac Hill in Shipley Park and felt sort of OK, the first mile 'bleeped' up at 10:27, not too bad considering I was wet through and running uphill (and severe congestion at the style)

At the 11 minute mark, I think that is when the going got tough and my strides got shorter, but I was still 'Running'. I managed to carry on (I actually passed a few people who were now walking) to the next style , where we made a right turn, onto some solid (ish) surface, this only lasted 100 yards then it was back onto the ascent.

It was here that reality slapped me across the face, I looked up! - Bloomin eck (or something similar) is what I said to myself, that looks steep!, I now wasn't running but more like a very slow shuffle , then it was a Walk, and I don't mind admitting it. Up in front I could see a single file of other runners walking, a quick look behind , and others were doing the same - so I didn't feel too bad.

Head down, I started the climb, approaching what  I thought was the summit , the local Mountain Rescue(!!!) took delight in shouting out "well done, 10 more minutes of climbing"  - This is the bit that really hurt and by now it was hard enough to walk, let alone run!  the 2 mile bleep duly sounded, last mile took 19:12 - that is my slowest mile ever!

Darrens Dash 2014At 2.2 mile I reached the top, and actually took a minute to admire the view, take a photo, and to get my breath back, according to the Garmin, the summit was 1,925 feet. So the climb was around 1,500 feet - it felt further.

I set off across the top, at a more normal 8:30 pace, but this slowed again (on purpose) as I took in the views that were breathtaking, at one point Para-Gliders were throwing themselves off the MOUNTAIN, below us.

It was going across the top (very uneven underfoot), that I had my first glances into what fell runners see every week, and I now know why Darren loved running in places like this - the scenery, terrain and views were truly breathtaking. I took a few more minutes to have a few quiet thoughts, waved to 'Daz' and picked up the pace to catch the runners up in front.

I caught the runner in front of me, and a further look up, all I could see is what I would describe as a scene from the Lemmings computer game, Runners were actually  disappearing over the edge!! I got to this point and the 4 mile mark bleeped.  The mountain rescue volunteer took great pleasure in pointing me towards the descent, I was going over the edge!

To me it was steep, very steep, but I recalled what the experienced guys (thanks Colin, Alan, Tony, Paul and others) at Ilkeston Running Club keep telling me, and I "let myself go" (sort of anyway). I then had flash backs to some pictures I had seen of  Daz's injuries picked up whilst descending....Yikes, here goes!

I am sure at times my legs may have been out of control, but it felt good to be going down hill (on a very uneven and loose surface) another runner in front moved out of the way (probably in fright), I passed on the offer of water from a station as I couldn't have stopped anyway. I then heard a 'Go Ilkeston Boy' shout from a female marshal, I shouted 'Thank you' back and waved frantically, all I could hear was laughing so I think she heard me ! 

I was now approaching the bottom, and thinking frantically how to tackle a cattle grid at speed, as I wasn't going to stop in time, but at the last minute I saw the open gate at the side, a quick swerve and I was through, and could hear someone bellowing , "well done 300 Metres to go". Back over the river we had run through the start, up a few steep steps, sharp turn right I could see the finish....100 Yards uphill sprint and I had finished!!

A quick dip in the river (with shoes, shorts and vest on) and it was off to make the most of the free Tea and Cake 

My official time was 65:39 (including taking photos at the top), position 42 (from 76) over a distance of 5.66 mile, but for me the time and placing was irrelevant. I just wanted to experience a fell run, and to try and experience what Daz loved doing. Im sure he was probably laughing at me, but boy did i enjoy it and I will be doing more of it!

Finally, special thanks to Rob & Carol for allowing me to join them on what was truly fantastic run.

DazH alias Laidbackfellrunner - you are a legend!

Shipley Park XC | Simon Davis | 28/12/2013

Mud Glorious Mud

I can confidently say I have never seen Shipley Park as muddy as it was on Saturday for this year’s Derbyshire XC Champs.  Due to an injury and late arrival we ended up with a ‘one woman team’ - Rachel Davis, who had a race long battle with 2 runners from Erewash Valley, managing to split them on the gruelling uphill finish to come in 44th.

Our vet men’s team managed to finish 6th overall, lead home by Kev Johnson who had an excellent run to finish 49th. Simon Davis followed in 59th, a shell-shocked looking Ed Buda in 81st and Paul Ewart in 103rd.  Paul thought doing 6+ miles in horrendous mud wasn’t tough enough so ran it in road shoes.

Nottingham Spooky Sprint | James Turton | 26/10/2013

I have run a few 10ks around Holme Pierrepont now, usually during the excellent annual Grand Prix series but there is something different about doing it in the dark.

Parkinson's UK organise a few night runs and this one around Holme Pierrepont is one that I have ran a few times. This year I had a couple of goals for my running - One was to beat my Half Marathon PB of 1:57:57 set at Silverstonre in 2011 and the other was to crack the elusive 50 min 10k barrier.

Having smashed my half marathon PB at the Robin Hood this year I knew that if I could just get going and keep the pace I had a chance at beating my 10k time on what everyone knows is probably the flattest 10k around.

I spent the week leading up to this watching the weather and on Saturday the worst thing possible, wind was forecast. Holme Pierrepont is very exposed and anyone that has run around here before will know that the wind is not kind.

I arrived early, having made some contact with Paula via facebook offering her a lift but she was already on her way. I knew a friend from work running this too so really wanted to meet up before hand for a quick chat before we got started.

spooky Sprint CourseI had a little walk from the car to the start area, passing all the kids that had just ran the fun run, although it was still light they were all dressed up in spooky costumes and proudly showing off their running medals. As I reached the lake the wind hit me, the car park was pretty sheltered but the lake was something else, I tried a little run into the wind - it was like running into a brick wall there was no way I could run fast into this wind.. I made my way around to the start area - the course is two laps and I wanted to work out the finish line route for the sprint finish I had practiced with Andrew and Richard a few times recently!

I started to try and find Paula and Fiona (friend from work) but everyone was dressing in Black which made it very hard. After a few minutes I bumped into Paula and Sharon and we had a Club Photo (I haven't seen this yet!). We noticed the Cheeky Girls were around having photos taken with people - we avoided them..

It was time for the Warm up - A very enthusiastic woman grabbed a microphone and asked us all to make our way to the start area for a warm up.. Being grumpy I didn't want to do this.. I prefer a gentle run to get things going and thought that doing an aerobic class before a race when I'm not used to doing it wasn't a great idea. After an few minutes most of the runners had stopped doing the warm-up and attention turned to the race. I grabbed the GPS signal again and moved up towards the front of the pack.

The race started, it was still pretty light but I turned on my head torch anyway. The people in front were taking up the whole path and running slower than I needed to go.. 7.5mph target pace! I jumped onto the grass and head down with the wind behind me put in a 07:30 mile. Great I thought keep going 30secs in the bag.. We approached the corner of the lake and turned back - BANG into the wind - 1 and 1/2 miles of head wind to go - I was working pretty hard to keep the pace up but every step was like running through treacle. Beep went my watch - 7:53 - Great, I can do this - The course goes off the lake towards the car park - this was slightly sheltered from the wind but I was pretty tired so was unable to pick up the pace. Past the drinks station at 4.5k its starting to get pretty dark now and difficult to see where you are going.. I didn't pick up a drink, this is the first time I have ever ran past a drinks station in a 10k!. I turned the corner and great the wind is behind me again - Can I do another 7:30! Not a chance but did manage to put in a good few 8:00 miles. At 4 miles a zombie past me which gave me someone to chase - There were not that many runners and we were pretty well spaced out. As we started to run back into the wind I was gaining on him. I kept telling myself I'm stronger than him now I can get him.. Sure enough just past the 9k mark the zombie stopped. I ran past finishing off my slowest 8:20 mile. Just the last bit to go now I could see the finish line the wind was behind me, determined not to leave anything left in the tank I let loose the sprint finish - Perhaps a little early but I kept going and going and going - the last 0.2 of a mile was a 7:27 and I crossed the line with a PB of 49:41. Placed in the top 50 with a 41st!

I turned around and jogged back up the course to give Fiona, Sharon and Paula a shout out. The marshal who was about 300mtrs from the finish was pretty quiet so I started shouting words of encouragement and clapping everyone. At one point I even shouted at a runner who was stopping to pick up a drink with 300mtrs to go! Fiona flew past, the hour came and went and still runners will still coming in.. I just saw Paula go past so ran off to join her. We did the final 200m together with an amazing sprint finish Paula finished in around 1:05.

Overall an excellent event and one that I will certainly consider again. Its not often you get to race in the dark.

James Turton : 00:49:34 (PB)

Sharon Harris : 00:54:55

Paula Pigot : 01:05:17

Shipley Park Cross Country 20th October 2013 | Tony Donaldson | 20/10/2013

I’ve always enjoyed running at Shipley Park as the place tends to get very soft and soggy – just what’s required for a cross country race.  This combined with the many twists and turns of the course made it a fun race to do wherever in the field you were.  Ilkeston turned out in moderate numbers – a shame we only had a couple of ladies in Rowan Chamberlain & Catherine Hughes, both of whom ran a strong race.  Perhaps next time we can convince more of our female membership to come out for a run in the mud.

For the men, Kevin Johnson ran strongly considering his earlier night shift – and he ran to & from the park to home on Shipley View.  Likewise Brendan Moore was his usual ‘safe pair of hands’ (or should that be legs) putting in a fine run.  We don’t see him much these days but Steve Chamberlain showed plenty of strength (being on the inexperienced side of 40 probably helps here) and kept in front of Tony Donaldson despite TD’s best efforts to catch him. Following on we had Paul Coe, Alan Bower & Ed Buda who finished within 29 seconds of each other.  It’s good to see Ilkeston running closely together as I think it helps us do better when we know a team mate is nearby.

Catherine Hughes led the remaining four Ilkeston runners home over the strength-sapping and narrow last 500m and Kev Roughton, Peter Wallis and Rowan Chamberlain all held their positions despite vociferous support for the rival club runners around them.  Good effort!

For support we had James Turton who took some great photos at the top of the long grassy climb and provided words of encouragement for weary runners.
The next race is at Chaddesden Park on 10th November.  A fairly flat and quick course.  Personally I think it’s quite difficult as you have to try hard all the way round as there are no big downhills to recover from the effort.  Did I mention the brook crossing?  A good place to pick up a couple of places by charging through this rather than adopting any finesse.

See you there!

Tony Donaldson  

Link to course map

Robin Hood Half Marathon | David Millington | 29/09/2013

Felt 50/50 if I could even finish the race this morning but I strapped up my ankle and pulled on an ankle support, pulled up my compression socks, bandaged up my knee & gave it my best.

Thought I'd do the first 6 at 9min miles... and see where I am then.

First 6 went well but the following hill took it out of me a bit and knew I'd struggle from there. It wasn't until 8 miles my knee started playing up but just got my head down and kept an ok pace for another mile before completely dropping off.

All things considered though, a combination of my injury's and lack of training I am over the moon with my time as like I said I wasn't entirely confident I'd even finish. Thanx to all those that turned out on the streets in support, was very encouraging. Special thanx to Richard Iliffe Simon, Doug & Alan...Great to see you out supporting us. Big congratulations to all Ilkeston runners, Andrew Bird with fantastic marathon times, super human Michael Earley with his 1:28, Elite runner Edward Buda, Steven Sharpe, Tom Wheatley. Who am I missing? oh yeah a stunning PB for my Sunday running buddy James Turton 1:49 absolutely brilliant well done everyone!!

The Ladybower 50 | David Crilley | 22/09/2013

Ladies and Gents,

The Ladybower 50 is a fairly low key run which circumnavigates the Ladybower and Howden reservoirs in the Peak District. If the 50 is not your cup of tea, there is a 20 and a 35 mile option. I however opted for the 50 as a mate of mine from Heanor Running Club talked me into it. In hind sight not the best of ideas I've had, as I've run some big events this year and really could of done with the rest!

The day started with a 4:30am rise. Neil picked me up and we began our road trip into the Peaks. Once registered at the tent close to the dam wall, we set about sorting our kit out. The route is one 5 mile round trip of Ladybower then 3 15 mile round trips of Ladybower and Howden.

The first 5 miles we ran kit free, got to the checkpoint, picked up our rucksacks and headed out. There were no other checkpoints or water stations for the next 15 miles so the packs were brimming with water as the weather forecast was for a hot one.

Circuit 1 done and 20 miles in. Restock of water and food. The sun was high in the sky and relentlessly beating down. I don't do heat and found this second lap heavy going. You would think that a path around a reservoir would be fairly flat. Not this one! The Eastern side of both reservoirs seems to climb from the bottom to the top. I'm told there's over 1000ft of ascent over the entire 50, but trust me if felt like every lap in that sun! With the second full lap coming to and end and 35 miles dispatched, the sun began to sink behind the hills with only the far Eastern sections still bathing in sun. With the temperature dropping a few degrees I started to feel a little better and got my breath and rhythm back for the final lap.

As we left the checkpoint fully stocked again, I said to Neil "This one is for Eddy". "Eddy" is a 5 year old lad who attends Smalley School. He was diagnosed with bone cancer last year. He has responded well to treatment, but not before it claimed one of the little lads legs. Neil and I ran with a group earlier in the year at the Silverstone Half Marathon and raised £20,000+ for Bone Cancer Research Trust. We decided this Ultra was for him and there was nothing that was going to stop us from finishing.

Digging deep, and full of emotion we crossed the finish line to complete the Ladybower 50 (actually 52 miles) in 10hrs 40mins.

I arrived back home at around 9pm with the sudden realisation that I was due on night shift in an hour! Schoolboy error or what!


Dave C

Nine Edges | Jonathon Pitts | 14/09/2013

Last year Malc Atherton told me about the nine edges, I thought he was being lazy with his diction and intended to say nine hedges. Thinking the run is a steeplechase over numerous hedges and through a few bushes I looked it up and saw the event organised by Edale Mountain Rescue. Starting at Fairholmes at the top end of Ladybower Reservoir, it traverses nine cliff edges; Curbar, Stanage and Froggat to name but a few. It finishes 20.5 miles later after 900m ascent at the Robin Hood Pub near Baslow.

A cold damp start, it was nice to set off and escape from being eaten alive by the thousands of hungry midges intent on removing my oxygen rich blood (perhaps with a hint of alcohol). A tough climb to start with up to Derwent Edge got me warmed up ,so I paused to remove a few layers. By the time I had sorted myself out and started trotting again, I was at the back end of the pack. Andy from Beeston ac ( who is immensely competitive and a far superior runner than myself) was no where to be seen. I converted my trot into a canter and spent the next 7 miles chasing him down. I finally passed him on an "up" bit only to be overtaken on the next "down" bit. This continued for the next 3 or 4 miles until eventually he drifted away behind me and I never saw him again. The route was easy to follow but quite technical in places, particularly over Stanage and Froggat where you had to leap from one boulder to the next and avoid the many walkers out enjoying the late summer sunshine. I pushed on hard and eventually found myself sprinting for the finish, completing the run in 2hr52mins in a very modest 9th place. Overall a great event, complemented by the free beer in the pub at the finish Once again I find myself looking at my battered legs covered with midge bites thinking; will I do this again?.............probably.

Next on the calendar is Ikano 26.2 with lots of Tarmac and concrete, no hills and only a bit of green. Will I do this one again?

However before all of this; post race theory with Andy in the RobinHood......when he decides to finish!

Darren Holloway Memorial aka The Buttermere Horseshoe | Jonathan Pitts | 28/06/2013

Darren Holloway Memorial aka The Buttermere Horseshoe

Saturday morning and I am greeted by a sobering thought as I look around me. I am surrounded by the numerous peaks and ridges that have to be tackled in this morning’s fast approaching race. The Buttermere Horseshoe is hosted, organised, and marshalled by Cumberland Fell Runners. It has not been run since 1992, but after the sudden death of Darren last year it has been resurrected and honourably named in his memory.

The race is 34k in distance with an overall height gain of 2800m. In old money that is 22 mile with a 9000ft climb. A bit of a beast!

Although I am a Fell running novice, neither the distance nor the climb concerns me. What is troubling me is the fact that I didn’t want to run further or higher than I needed to, so I roped in a gullible fool in the shape of Beeston ac’s Andy Hunter, a top runner with fell running experience, familiar with parts of the route and most importantly, good at pre and post race theory.

We made our way to the village hall for registration and kit inspection. Once there, I was humbled by what seemed like a hero’s welcome; hugs from Amanda and Carole and the usual firm handshake and a pat on the back from Rob followed by words of encouragement like “rather you than me”

After a few touching words from Neil, Daz’s cousin to remind us why we were there, I tightened my laces, pulled my straps firmly on my back pack and trotted off like a spring lamb full of energy. My plan was to take it very steady. This is what I did, unlike the rest of the field that sped off into the distance. After a gentle couple of km [sorry no miles on this one due to map reading] we emerged from the woods. Ahead of me, disappearing skywards were a long line of runners, bent forward with hands on knees speed walking up the first climb to checkpoint 1, Whiteside standing at 700m. The clouds were whisping hurriedly over the peak, indicating a different climate at the top.

There was only one pace to the top and it didn’t feel much slower than running, you had to move at the speed of the person in front and behind. Towards the top my phone bizarrely started to ring, I immediately thought of Andy who was behind me and out of sight. Earlier we had been laughing at the state of his Inov fell shoes. They looked like they had done ten rounds with a pit bull, then with his feet placed in them his toes poked out the sides. I was convinced they would disintegrate and he would not finish. He was fondly attached to them and insisted there were lots of miles left in them. I stepped to the side, stopped and turned around to see him emerge through the clouds; his shoes intact and still attached to his feet. I took the call and booked a boiler service for Tuesday.

We dibbed at the CP and started to run along the ridge. To our right there was the 500m drop of Gasgale Crags. Awesome sight. Underfoot it was very slippy, the rocks and boulders were greasy and moved as you stepped on them. Care was needed. A female runner, directly in front of us went down hard. Her chest took the full impact on the rocks and her head took a knock giving a nasty cut under her eye. Although badly winded she insisted she was ok. Already the marshals from the next cp were on there way. They saw everything so we left.

From Hopegill Head [770m] a sharp descent of 250m across the heather onto the path that immediately climbs to Grassmoor [850m] Then from Grassmoor another big descent followed by a huge climb to Whiteless Pike. If you haven’t got the picture yet, these are some serious ‘ups and downs.’ On the approach to Whiteless I was flagging, Andy was ahead. I dibbed and then I saw him disappear over the edge; he clearly had decided to quit and commit suicide rather than walk back down the mountain. I trotted over expecting to see him at the bottom of a ravine; instead I was met with a stunning drop of 450m peppered with runners bounding down over the heather to the stream far below, and yes, up the other side. This scene was viewed from below at the cp and it was said we looked like sheep throwing themselves off the mountain. At the check point; Amanda and family were there flanked by Rob and Carole. Their support was top stuff and I got second wind…………until the climb started in earnest again. I was a third of the way round.
Time to dig in.

From here it was a long trek to the next cp; I was struggling to keep up with Andy. He is very good on the down bits, he attacks them fiercely. In the blink of an eye he can put some serious distance between us. I decided to let him go and navigate myself. Runners were scattered all over the moss bogs and the going was extremely tough. I put my trust in my compass and kept a close eye on my map. The miles [yes miles!] slowly rolled by and the check points dibbed.

Suddenly I went down in a heap in a soft bog, I couldn’t think why. I picked myself up and carried on. The same thing happened again minutes later. The reality of tired legs was beginning to hit home. I roused myself and for a few minutes I felt stronger. Until in front the horrific sight of Hay Stacks appeared. If it was to be any steeper I would have needed a climbing rope.

I trod slowly up with the sound of Julie Andrews singing ‘lonely goat’ in my head. This torturous tune had been with me a while as it was Andy’s alarm call that woke us this morning. I began to think about Daz. What a trouper, a seriously good runner to achieve all he did living where we live. You can be a good runner but this stuff really does sort the men from the boys.   

I tagged onto a young couple, Chris and Catherine from Keswick Runners. Chris was struggling terribly with cramp and I thought he would not see it to the finish. Catherine was switched on, she had done her homework. We contoured round the high bits and cut corners where we could.   

Two more peaks, High Stile and Melbreak and the distant finish of Loweswater was getting ever closer. My only criticism of this race is the last 100m takes you past the Kirkstile Inn ,where the temptation to stop, lie down have a pint and go to sleep will be too difficult to resist. True to form the smiling face of Rob was there, pint in hand to encourage me to the finish. I passed him, but not before taking the top off his Loweswater Gold. Nectar! [I later found out the brew was intended for Long Eaton Phil—sorry mate]
I finished in a time of 6hr 20mins; the winner completed the task in just over 4hr. My watch said 36k, I must have made some serious navigation errors The last 5miles were extremely slow, following the contours took us the long way round over very difficult terrain. What the heck, time and position is irrelevant, what is relevant is 100 or so runners went out to pay tribute to Daz- a husband, a dad, and a runner immortalised in a race named after him.

None of this would have happened if it was not for the fantastic organisation by CFR. I understand it is on the calendar for next year. I look at my bruised and battered legs peppered with midge bites and think will I do it again …….Probably.
What next?
Post race theory in the Kirkstile with Andy

Darren Holloway Memorial Race 2013 | Carol and Rob | 28/06/2013

Last October Darren sadly died while racing in his beloved fells doing the Ian Hodgson Relay race.  As a measure of the respect that his fellow fell runners held him in the inaugural Darren Holloway Memorial race was held on 28th June 2013.

Cumberland fell runners found a challenging race that had not been run for several years called the Buttermere Horseshoe.  With the enthusiastic support of the Pennine fell runners this was suggested as a fitting tribute to Darren and was renamed in his honour.  The race was not for the fainthearted being 21.2 miles long and comprising of 9,100ft of climbing.   Navigation skills were a requirement to run the race.

Initially the organisers were only anticipating about 50 runners but entries flooded in and over a 100 runners were at the start line.

Darren HollowayPennine were well supported but despite not being specialist fell runners there were several local runners who wanted to support the event.  Ilkeston’s Jonathan Pitts was keen to run and arrived with his friend Andrew Hunter from Beeston Running Club.  Long Eaton runners Bill Sheppard and Dicky Wilkinson also entered and a special mention for Phil Walters from Long Eaton who requested that he be allowed to run in an Ilkeston vest for the event.

The start of the race was at the village hall at a small village called Loweswater.  After a few words from Neil, Darren’s cousin, Amanda, Darren’s wife, started the race.

The first section of race was downhill and on tarmac but that did not last very long before the serious part of the race started. The runners headed over the fells and the spectators headed across to the 4th checkpoint at Newlands Pass where it was possible to see the runners descending from Whiteless Pike and then starting the next section up the steep climb of Buttermere Moss towards Dale Head and then the Honister Pass.  This was the only other assessable part of the course for spectators and was approximately half way.  After that there were no roads close to the course and the runners had no option to drop out – the course had to be completed.

The race continued via checkpoints at Innominate Tarn, High Stile and Melbreak before the final descent into Loweswater.  As the runners entered Loweswater the sight of the village pub greeted them but sadly for them the race continued uphill for a further 200 yards past the pub back to the village hall.  The race was won by a local runner Simon Booth from Borrowdale in 4.02.27 and the first lady was Jasmin Parris in 4.36.38.

Dicky Wilkinson – 5.37.59
Andrew Hunter –6.04.46
Jonathan Pitts- 6.20.29
Phil Walters – 7.17.35
Bill Sheppard – 7.55.16

Amanda presented specially designed trophies to the first male and female runners. 

Whilst the consensus was that the race was tough it was a race that Darren would have enjoyed and it seems very fitting that this race will now carry his name and hopefully continue for many years.

Darren's Dash | Carol Sharratt | 16/06/2013

We decided as Darren's memorial race in the Lakes on June 29th was too hardcore for lightweight fell runners like ourselves(total respect to Jonathan Pitts and Phil Walters from Long Eaton who are going to run this representing Ilkeston Running Club) we would try and do another race in Darren's memory.  The Parwich Panoramic 5 is a definite (sorry folks it does clash with a club race but I am sure there will be plenty of club support ). Parwich was the last occaision we saw Darren and we still owe him a drink!

However looking at the fell race calendar there was a race called Darren's Dash - this was about 10k and involved a mere 1500ft of climbing, far more manageable.  Initially we thought the race was probably named after another Darren but in fact there is an area of rocks called Black Darren, hence the name.
We headed down to Longtown in Herefordshire on Sunday 15th June - the race started at 2pm so it did not involve a ridiculously early start.

The race was a fairly local event to raise money for the primary school and also mountain rescue.  We probably had come furthest to do the race but we were made very welcome.

For details of the course View Course has a good description of the event.  Had it been a better day the view from the top of Offa's dyke would have been stunning. 1500ft up the side of Offa's dyke, run along the top for a couple of miles  then down again but with a sharp little hill to the finish.

Note for Dave Litchfield and Dora - there were a few Cani X competitors.
Tough race but we would do it again - nice t-shirt and great selection of cakes after the event.

The Wall Ultra Run | David Crilley | 22/06/2013

Thought I'd put a few lines together for the club. Also added a few pics that I had the time to take whilst on route.

Saturday 23rd June 2013, saw me return to The Wall. A 69 mile run from Carlisle Castle to Gateshead. There are 3 categories, Expert, where you are expected to complete the course in 24hrs, Challenger, where you run it over 2 days and Relay.

I was entered in Expert. I had returned to The Wall as last year saw me attempt it with Dave Litchfield. At 50 miles my calf gave up, and Dave went on to complete the course in 20hrs. The benchmark had been set and I was determined to complete it this year.

Winter training had gone well, with a couple of 40 milers and a few marathons under my belt. No aches or pains and my calf showed no signs of previous injuries. Having said that, I'd been having regular visits to my sports massage lady to keep my muscles in good shape and a return visit to my physio showed that I was progressing well.

So there I was stood at the start line with a slight bit of trepidation, hoping that things would be different this time round. My plan was to run the course in 10 mile splits and to walk the hills. This had worked well in the two 40 milers I had done. I was also using a heart rate monitor to gauge my effort and try to avoid hitting the wall whilst running The Wall.

We set off at 7am and the 1st 10 miles passed by uneventfully. The next 10 was where the big hills made their presence felt. Getting into a rhythm was difficult and the weather was not helping. The 3rd 10 miles heading towards the halfway point at Vindolanda (where the challengers spend the night) was pretty much the same, hills and more hills with going, heavy at times. 

Once at Vindolanda I had some hot soup and bread, stuffed my pockets with Haribo sweets and set off again. The mother of all hills hits you when you leave Vindolanda. No-one runs it! It's that steep! The picture at the bottom does not do it justice!

At the top, quick photograph, catch the breath and off again. At this point I was thinking of finishing somewhere between 17-18 hours. A few miles later I hit the groove. I was running well, no aches, no pain, crossing the ground as smooth as you like. The only thing getting in my way now was the checkpoints, where you are forced to stop and check in with your timing chip. 

At the checkpoints I was drinking very strong sweet coffee and by god was it having an effect. Miles 40 and 50 flew by. It wasn't until around 55 miles that I hit a low point. I started walking, tried to get my head straight but just felt low. It's times like these when you can lose your head and I was determined not to. I head been telling myself all day, if it happens, you know how to deal with it. A huge handful of sweets, pieces of chocolate, a banana and Foo Fighters blasting on the iPod was all it took to get me back on track. I now knew I was not only going to finish, but I was going to finish strong.

The 2nd from last checkpoint was 13 miles from the finish. I was determined to give it my all and by my calculations, I was on course for a 15:15. Could I squeeze a 2hr half out of my legs and make it in under 15hrs.

I left the checkpoint, knowing that I needed to stop again at the last checkpoint, refuel and take on fluids (you're not allowed out of the checkpoint without a minimum of 1ltr fluid), so I ran with the intention of making up time knowing that I was going to lose it. Pulling up at the last checkpoint I felt great. Filled my bottles, gulped down a very strong coffee and set off. 

At 66 miles I arrived at the outskirts of Gateshead. The light was starting to fade and try as I might I could not sustain the pace I needed. It was going to be touch and go. Some bugger had even thrown a couple of cheeky little hills in towards then end, just what I didn't need! The course drops down onto the side of the Tyne and as you run in under the bridges you're met with cheers from not just the crowds gathered to see the runners, but from the hundreds of people out enjoying their Saturday night on the town. It was amazing, emotional and euphoric. It was like running a big city marathon, but without the barriers. As I ran I dodged left and right to avoid the crowds, past beer gardens to cheers and shouts of encouragement. As I reached the Millennium Bridge, I sprinted over it, to the finish on the other side and I don't mind admitting that I shed a tear or two. 

I had beaten The Wall, but not the 15hrs. 69.91 miles in 15:04:46.