18-20th October 2019. By Cat J

I hope you’ve got plenty of time to read this week’s edition. It’s full to the brim with fantastic running news!

-When I looked out of the window on Friday evening to see rain pelting down from the sky, I must admit that I didn’t exactly feel like going running. An evening in with a nice cup of tea seemed very tempting… However it was time for the Scary Helmet relays at Darley Park so I thought I’d better just get on with it!

Belper Harriers had 4 teams entered so we all donned our race vests (some opted for Halloween themed fancy dress as well) and headed out into the pouring rain and mud. Our ‘Belper Vampires’ team claimed first prize for fastest mixed open team! Well done to team members Hannah Wibberley, Louise Rowley, Andy Marsden & Wykeham Bosworth! Everyone else definitely proved their worth as well by simply turning up in the awful weather and getting stuck in!

-As usual, Sunday also proved to be a busy day for club members. At theYorkshire Marathon, Dave Heslop finished in 02:55:37 & Dave Horton in 03:18:53. Both achieved PBs & times that most of us can only dream of!

David H had quite a bit to say about the experience…

“Despite several self-declarations that I won’t go chasing PBs any more, the lure of ‘one last try’ is always there for me. The wonderful White Peak Marathon gave me a PB earlier this year, but as a point-to-point with the benefit of an overall drop in altitude over the length of the course, it wasn’t quite what I needed. I’d run the Yorkshire Marathon last year, and ran a decent time, but rather fell apart at the end, so I thought I’d give it another go. It’s flattish (apart from a killer hill for the last km), well organised, and not too far away.

I travelled up with Dave Heslop, who was motivated into doing well by raising funds for Sands, a stillbirth and neonatal death charity. He’s already raised 150% of his target, but I know that he’s be delighted to add to that, as this charity is something very close to his heart. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-heslop3 . Dave has trained well, following a defined and disciplined marathon training schedule involving 5 runs a week. I had not. Dave rested for the last week in preparation, although a slight injury was a worry for him. I rested for the last week because I couldn’t motivate myself to go out for a run. I also spent the Saturday evening at the theatre with my wife and a few of her friends at a rather interesting Burlesque Cabaret, which for me involved a little too much alcohol.

We arrived nice and early, giving time for a leisurely coffee and porridge in a cafe, before a mile jog to the start. The realisation that the kit drop was 500m the other side of the start line was a bit of an irritation as we fought against the flow of runners approaching the start from the other direction. Anyway, kit was deposited, and we dashed to the start pens.

The start was a 1km dash downhill before we winded our way through the cobbled streets of York. The temperature was perfect, but an increasing wind was a concern for both of us, as the course was quite exposed in places. We were soon out in the countryside, passing through pretty villages and waving to kids offering jelly babies, and the famous rainbow-wearing high-fiving vicar. Needless to say, I never caught sight of Dave, whose race plan was to follow the 3h pacer and see how he felt. My race plan was similar, but to follow the 3.30 pacer. I felt comfortable enough to pull away from the 3.30 flag, and before long had the 3.15 pacer in my sights. I spent the majority of the race just like this, until I lost the pacers during a wee stop, and never managed to close the gap. A long out-and-back section in the second half gave Dave the opportunity to give me an encouraging shout-out which gave me a real boost; I really can’t recall whether I responded, as I was pretty much zoned out. Dave keeps telling me that I was looking fresh at that point, but if that’s the case, then it was just for that moment, as I was starting to feel the pace. This was the most exposed part of the course and was also a little monotonous, but a concentration of support half-way along that out-and-back section spurred us on, before we headed back into the prettier part through the villages.

The final km was back up that hill we’d benefitted at the start, although the change in natural tilt of the earth over 3 hrs meant that it had changed from a pleasant slope into Sunny Hill. Dave, who’d finished nearly 25 minutes earlier than me was waiting at the finish, where he told me that he’d smashed his 3h target with 2:55.40, which gives him his London Good for Age entry (GFA) time. A wonderful time that I know he can improve on. I was very happy to get my PB, but it’s getting tantalisingly close to GFA for me too, so the PB chasing must go on.”

Pb chasing never really ends, does it? Absolutely cracking running. Inspirational stuff!

-Also in the mood for a marathon, Darren Singleton ran the 26.2 mile distance in Amsterdam and achieved his first sub 4 hour finish!

“After a disappointing Paris marathon last year, dogged with injuries, I was determined to achieve my sub 4 hour goal this time. Injury free but insufficient training made this a difficult outcome to predict. I arrived at the Olympic Stadium (the start and finish point) in good spirits, determined to enjoy the race regardless. My plan was to stick to 8.30 minute miles for 30km if possible, and for as long as possible after this point. A carnival atmosphere was present at the start, and after setting off I had a brief chat with Virgin Radio DJ Chris Evans, who was also running. Nice chap. The Amsterdam marathon has a flat, beautiful course, with views of canals, architecture and windmills. At the halfway point it was so far, so good, I’d stuck to the correct pace and wasn’t tiring yet. Approaching the 30km mark, the lack of training began to show, and my legs were getting very tired. A few km later and the tiredness started to turn to pain. I felt myself slowing and flashbacks to Paris started to set in. But I was so close to my target I decided to just run through the pain, I was achieving that sub-4 if it meant collapsing trying. At 40km I knew that unless I collapsed mentally or physically, I was going to make it. Eventually the stadium was in sight, and a sprint finish, helped by thousands of loud spectators, and I crossed the line in 3.53.37.”

A sterling effort Darren, sub 3:50 next?

-Georgie Bestwick ran the Thoresby 10 miler which is through the grounds of Thoresby Hall. A beautiful setting and great trail run. Alongside friends, she ran with dogs Milo & Hector in the canicross section. In her own words….Great organisation, lovely course and fab bit of bling (I don’t usually bother about medals but this one spins around!) Sounds great!

-A handful of Harriers travelled up to Calver to do the Dark & White Peak Calver race. Description of the route is below….

Starting in Calver Village, the first km of the run is a steady uphill grind on a wide bridleway (Peak Pasture), it eases off for a while then the ascent of Longstone Edge begins and it’s climbing again until the summit point is reached for the long route at the 3.3km mark.

After the high point, there’s a long 2km descent off Longstone Edge on a mixture of paths and tracks all the way to the delightful Peakland village of Great Longstone.

After navigating through Great Longstone, there’s a 2.5km climb all the way onto Longstone Moor. The route out of the village is on a tarmac lane then left onto a stony bridleway known locally as Cherpit Lane; at the 7.8km point the route switches to a climbing grassy path which is followed all the way to the top of the moor to the high point of the run at 393m (8.8km).

From the summit the run is basically flat (one small rise) then gradually downhill all the way to the finish just outside Calver. Initially the moor is traversed on lovely open runnable terrain on grassy paths before a road is crossed at 10.4km then there’s another 2km of nice field footpath running. Joining a wide bridleway, it really is now downhill all the way to the end essentially 3km of pretty fast trail running down Rough Side and Coombs Dale to the finish point just before the track joins the main road. Complimentary cuppa and cake at the finish!

Nicky Owen finished in 1:29:50 to claim 3rd FV50. Andy Naylor, Clare Cooper, & Julia Buxton also completed the challenging route. Sounds like a great route!

So that rounds up another running filled weekend. Whether you’ve raced or not, it sure is a fab time to be part of this club!