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Stockport Harriers’ Race Series Update

- 23rd Jun 2014
Stockport Harriers’ Race Series Update

With three races over the last week it’s been a busy start to the summer for many runners.

#9 Compstall 10k

There were a few bleary eyes around Compstall around 9:00am last Sunday morning. Certainly the locals weren't ready for the keenness of some runners who had arrived before registration had opened!

Although described as a 'fun run', clearly people in these parts hadn't heard of the seriousness of the Stockport Harriers Race Series. One runner was heard to comment "we don't do fun…this is competitive!"

Absolutely, but after many of the runners had already made a few wrong turns, they finally found the Compstall Cricket Club tucked away in the hills. The early start was compounded by many staying up to watch England's opening game in the World Cup and the light drizzle that fell gave the scene a misty appearance.

A total of 57 runners signed up of the race, no doubt holidays, Father's Day and a few to many beers watching the football contributed to a lower figure than might have otherwise been expected. Nevertheless, over 25 Stockport Harriers turned up to support a good cause.

It was an eerie start with very little traffic, but those cars that did drive past observed a bunch of runners standing outside the now closed George Hotel probably all thinking we were mad! With little fanfare the race started at 10:00am sharp and the likes of James Corden, Stephen Crook and Phil Burns decided to act as pacemakers for the other runners.
After a short downhill start into Brabyns Park, the first mile was mainly uphill to Marple Canal and that separated the runners fairly quickly. Although there was some light rain, it was still very humid and the pace quickened in the second mile as runners came down the canal, over the viaduct and into Romiley. The third mile went through Chadkirk and down some steep steps with many glad that the route wasn't in reverse. As we neared mile four the pathway became very narrow and muddy for a few minutes but then back onto firm ground and a never ending hill into Rose Hill.

It was at this point that all my hill training with Dave Mellor paid off and I was able to overtake a couple of runners…but where were those pacemakers?
As we entered into the residential area it became clear why it was named Seven Stiles and we ran through all seven and back down to the canal and into Brabyns for the last leg home. Luckily it was almost all downhill so runners could get their breath back and increase their speed. Upon turning out of the park, a bunch of finishers cheered each runner on around the bend and down the last 100m to the finish line.

Then it was back to the Cricket Club House for a well deserved cup of tea and bacon butty to await the results and share running experiences. Everyone seemed to enjoy the race with a good mix of trail, track, canal, and road surfaces in picturesque surroundings. It's certainly a lovely part of the world and people seemed keen to do it again next year.

Congratulations go to James Corden who not only collected another 100 championship points but also won the race, and also Sam Thomas who was the first lady home and running brilliantly after her layoff. Both collected a well deserved bottle of fizz from race organiser Dave Bailey…brother of the famous Harrier… Jill Billington + 1.
Thanks Jill for all your help.

Full results were as follows:
100 points - James Corden (36:02)
99 - Stephen Crook (37:15)
98 - Phil Burns (37:59)
97 - Paul Plummer (42:14)
96 - Dave Mellor (43:11)
95 - Tony Park (44:10)
94 - Tony Ward (44:48)
93 - Andy Melvin (45:16)
92 - Sam Thomas (45:42)
91 - Jill Tavini (46:30)
90 - John Richards (47:22)
89 - Ade Thomas (47:37)
88 - Nigel Harrison (47:51)
87 - Amy Barter (47:54)
86 - Louise Harrison (50:24)
85 - Helen Todd (50:27)
84 - Fiona Cooke (51:33)
83 - Kath Ward (52:07)
82 - Helen Fraser (52:43)

It was also good to see Brian Holland, Andy Fowler and Rob Cator at the race as well as John Hughes, who didn't race himself, but cheered home his two daughters Alice and Emily who were also wearing Stockport Harriers vests. Well done everyone.

Finally to Nicola Pickford…well done on a great effort…we know you want a yellow vest really!

Now…a word with those pacemakers!

#10 ‘Round The Resers’ - OOH WHAT A NIGHT!

No, it wasn't anything to do with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons…it was the 10th event in our inaugural Race Series staged in the Longdendale Valley and it was only one season…a scorching summer showdown!

One by one, finely tuned yellow vested athletes arrived at Valehouse Reservoir for the 20th running of the 'Round the Resers' trail race on a hot and humid evening. It was clear that there was going to be a big Stockport turnout as I was doing my warmup, with scores of Wasps winging their way up and down opening stretch in a bid to find their running rhythm…or perhaps just avoid the midges.

Either way, by 7:30 we were ready to start our two-lap challenge and without any fanfare we were off and the first mile took us along a narrow road and down across the reservoir and onto a track. It was fairly bunched with lots of runners trying to jockey for position until the first hill which soon had many of the soaking singlets separated. After a gut bursting stretch to reach the top, the route evened out and finally took us downhill to the back of the lake and a relatively flat mile back to the finish line where we started out second lap.
If the hill was a killer the first time, then trying the ascent again after 3.5 miles pushed our lactose laden legs to the limit. Luckily the last mile allowed many to get their breath back and it was a 'sprint' (I'm taking licence here…) to the finish line.

Such were the conditions that most runners just seemed happy to complete the circuit and quite a few forgot to collect their mugs at the end for finishing in the Top 150. As I stood at the finishing line congratulating all the Harriers runners as they came home…I asked one did she enjoy the race? Unfortunately her response cannot be shared on a public internet forum but needless to say she blamed her partner!

Most however, found the event a cracking run on a lovely summers evening and the feeling is that we will include it in the Race Series again next year. Of the 290 participants that took part, a whopping 48 were from Stockport, by far the biggest contingent, and 27 of those were competing for points.
We were taking over the joint!

There was nothing left but to take a group photo, manage a quick change and head back to the Tintwistle Liberal Club for a well deserved liquid refreshment and homemade butty to await the official results. (This is where Frankie Valli comes in…)

In a fabulous night of running, Stockport were first in the ladies category thanks to the efforts of Ruth Sinclair (32:52), Faye Waterhouse (33:11) and Jayne Lawton (33:32) while the mens team took third place thanks to Pete Rogers (29:37), Matt Townley (29:58) and Phil Burns (30:20).

Individual category honours were also collected by Pete Rogers (who was also the first Harrier home), Ruth Sinclair, Jayne Lawton, Leslie Sinclair and Claire MacNeill. In addition, Max Thickett and Simon Hilton amongst others registered PB's.

All together a terrific turn out and well done to everyone who participated and made it such a fun evening.

In terms of the Summer Series, it was good to see Mike Dixon and Simon Hilton pick up their first points of the season.

#11 Milltown Carnival 7k - HOT! HOT! HOT!

While a fantastic turnout of 48 runners participated in the midweek race around the Reservoir in Tintwistle, only three hardy souls made it to the Milltown Carnival 7k race on Sunday morning.

And while the 5m race on Wednesday evening was run under very humid conditions with very few supporters…there were thousands attending the Oldham Carnival at the height of the midday sun yesterday.

Three runs in a week, the Tony Ward Duathalon, the Freckleton Half Marathon, and a lovely summers day were all potential reasons why so few turned up for our 11th Race Series event, but nevertheless the show must go on.

So it was that Kerrie Wooddoyle, David Howell and myself met up before the race to register and collect our race numbers. The start was well laid out with barriers and official timekeeping with a clock counting down until race time for the 7k test. As you would expect, there were good turnouts from Salford Harriers, Royton Road Runners, Oldham & Royton Harriers and Saddleworth.

After a light warm-up all three of us decided to stay in the shade of the pavilion until we were under starters orders. It was good to catch up with Andi Jones before the race and confirm details about the Gravy 6 in a few weeks time. Andi was also racing, and while not participating in the Race Series wished us luck.The first mile and a half was very flat through the lovely Alexandra Park with long downhill parts and I was starting to enjoy it. Well almost! But the descent was going on too long and even though my first mile was undertaken in record time…I knew what goes down must eventually go up!

And so it transpired that, after leaving the path/road we entered a trail/track for the next mile or so and while the first hill was not a killer it certainly hurt in the heat. At about 3 miles we left the park and joined the long, long, long and winding Abbey Hills Road which was also all uphill.

It was at this point that Dave Howell and I were running neck and neck but he eventually took me on the hill for the second time...Kerrie was quite a few hundred yards ahead of us.
Then as the road finally stopped climbing and we re-entered Alexandra Park, I had no chance of catching Kerrie who was a good minute ahead but decided to practice my sprint finish and just managed to outpace David in the final straight.

All in all, in such hot conditions we were all pretty pleased with our times, but a huge congratulations must go to Kerrie who was the first lady home in a time of 30:15. Andi Jones won the race in a time of 22:13 and it was great to see Andi and Kerrie collect winners prizes and make it a 'double' for Stockport Harriers.

This was a brilliantly organised race with excellent, but non-intrusive, marshalling, a great atmosphere, challenging short course and very good prizes. With the beginning and end downhill it allowed for some decent times and the setting in Alexandra Park was perfect.

In terms of Race Series points, with only three runners there’s not a lot to share but here you go:

100 points - Kerrie Wooddoyle (30:15)
99 points - Tony Park (31:10)
98 points - David Howell (31:12)

Once again, it shows how strategic the Race Series can be in picking your races to collect maximum points.

Our leader boards now look like this:

Men
1. Phil Burns (687)
2. Karl Tavini (677)
3. Tony Park (646)

Women
1. Jill Tavini (636)
2. Claire MacNeill (519)
3. Amy Barter (406)

There is still a long way to go and runners will be pleased to know that we have a break from mid-week running this week but back in action on Saturday for the Whaley Waltz which is a favourite for many.

Registration is on the day at the Bowling Club opposite The Cock Pub on the main road through the village.

Have a great week and see you at Whaley Bridge.