This is the week that was... The Return of parkrun & So Much More!
On Wednesday of last week we joined up with Bearbrook Running club for a variety of trail run paces starting and finishing at the Three Locks Pub. A huge thanks to JK and Andy Stocks who led two different pace groups out towards Rushmere and beyond. In total between the two clubs there were approximately 40 runners who joined in the trail fun on a very warm summer's evening. The post run drinks were most welcome.
As we headed into the weekend, it was brilliant to see 12 of you at the Marston 5k. Coach Matt led the way with a cracking 19:28 coming in 24th place. Also representing LFR were Mike Garner, Andy Griggs, Graham Cooper, Alice Tame, Julie Etherden, Megan Francis, Debbie Elborn, Sandra Dunsterville. The outstanding performance of the day goes to Paul Thomas who won MV 70 category!
The long awaited return to parkrun came on Saturday and made headline news across the UK. We had runners spread far and wide. In Milton Keynes, Jim Buttleman, Nic Dimmock, David Pym and Andy Griggs all put in great times as did Phil Brogan who completed the 5k down the road at Linford Wood. David and Christine Ayres who’ve done so much to keep the parkrun ethos going through the pandemic raced in Rickmansworth while at Houghton Hall Family Laird got back on their usual Saturday morning family outing. David Parker was in Aylesbury (no doubt accompanied by James?) and in Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire were Mark and Clare Kleanthous. Over at Cassioury, VC Dougie completed his 100th parkrun with new member Nick Graefe with him who ran a PB. But by far the biggest turnout was at Dunstable Downs where Will Langdon led the team home with a new parkrun PB of 20:32. With our First Lady home being Dawn Kennedy at 30:15. Making up the team and proudly wearing the Red, White and Black were Andy Heale, Rosie Booth, Colin Larkins, Paul Doyle, Paul Thomas, Nick O'Connell, James & Sam Booth, Carrie Tyas and Anna Mead. I look forward to reports of more of you getting back to parkrun over the coming weeks.
Away from running, multi sports again got some of you in the racing spirit. On the River Thames at the famous Leander Club in Henley; William Harry, James Basil, Jen and Mike Garner, completed the Club to Pub Swim. A 1600m swim that ends at a pub. Something completely different, sounds great!
On Sunday, Mark and Clare Kleanthous were at the Running GP Bedford Aerodrome where Mark ran the half marathon at Clare the 10k. Also at the same event was Elle Laird who ran 16 miles using it as a training run for VLM.
Lakeland 100 - By JK
Over 2,000 runners from all over the UK met in Coniston on Friday for the 2021 Lakeland 100 / 50 challenges. A number of LFRs did not make the start line due to injuries but we were ably represented by Paul Little running the 100 (105 miles and 23,000 feet of ascent) and Lesley Wes at and Emma Davis returning for another crack at the 50 (50 miles with 10,000 feet of ascent). The event returned ‘live’ after a virtual race in 2020 and Coniston was bursting with runners, marshalls and supporters. For the first time in memory there was not a drop of rain during the Lakeland weekend, while this helped the competitors’ feet, the high temperatures caused a lot of dropouts due to heat related issues.
The event is really tough, the dropout rate for the 100 is usually 50%! A combination of the distance, the relentless climbs, the navigation but for most people it’s the rocky trails, trashing the feet that causes the problems.
After an amazing performance in the conditions, Paul crossed the finishing line after 34 hours and 45 minutes on the go, saying it was by far the hardest thing he has ever done and he will not be doing it again. (Although this last comment seemed to to be under review after sleep, a meal and a beer the next day).
Emma and Wes smashed another LL50, arriving back in Coniston Sunday morning, looking fresh as daisies! They were particularly pleased at the 2021 medal, which had sparkles added.
Conti24 - Thunder Run - By GP
After the cancellation of the Continental 24 Hour Thunder Run in 2020, the eagerly awaited event took place this weekend at Catton Park in Derbyshire.
What is Conti24? Read about it HERE.
This year, LFR entered a mixed team of seven runners made up of myself (Gavin), Steve Ellerton, Chris Stenner, James Smith, Dora Parra, Kevin Hare and Martin Addrison. We were loyally supported by Mrs Addrison and James’ eldest Louis. We also had a solo entrant in the form of human/machine, Matthew Ma!!
Chris and I pitched up early on Friday morning with the first item of kit to be setup being the LFR flag, this quickly added to by numerous tents, tables, awnings, gazebos and so on. By the time we were finished, our spot was not dissimilar to the local Decathlon showroom. I in particular had way too much kit and a family tent for one (I don’t like to slum it)!
The team was treated to an absolute treat of a feast on Friday evening by Chef Smiff and Chef Smiff Jnr who had prepared fresh dough for wood fired pizzas, all freshly prepared in front of us. Hats off to you both, they were amazing and caught the eyes and noses of others as they wandered past our plot. “All the gear and no idea” definitely did not apply here. After some discussion about who would be going first, an earlyish night ensued after a few beers has been consumed!
Much scoffing of breakfast was soon followed by the start of the race at 12pm. Very exciting! All gathered at the start line with me going first. Did I mention the fancy dress theme this year? No? Roman togas! Yep, my first lap was in a roman toga! I got myself to the very front of the pack and led off maintaining 3rd for at least 100m if not more! My aim – to make a mockery of the serious corporate image, there’s no way that they can edit out a Roman toga! Mission accomplished. First lap complete, I handed over to Chris Stenner who blasted off to start his lap.
As the laps started to accumulate, night fell meaning that James was the first to encounter the first night lap. Safe to say, it is a different race at night. Recalling from my own might lap which was at about 1am, the wooded sections were like an obscure video game, the path was there in front of you but you still couldn’t see the tree routes. Oh, and round the next corner was a disco, right in front of you in the middle of the woods complete with dance tunes, lights, sweets and water. Utterly bonkers. If you wanted a rest and a chat with other competitors, you could – not a problem. I pushed on and got myself back to hand over my video game experience to Chris and then off to bed for me in my (Roman) palace.
During the night time laps, it’s important to get as much rest as you can, eat a little if you can and remember to wake up your buddy in readiness for their next stint. James had got this all sussed for us and it worked like a dream, giving you enough time to get up, get a coffee, put on some kit and get to the changeover.
Day break, final lap for me. This one was a real struggle and thanks to a lady who gave me a talking to at km-3, I got round. 4 laps banked, that’s 40km in the space of 24 hours on a super tough course happy with that.
Overall, the team managed an astonishing 26 laps! 26! This got us a final position in our category of 16th place! (out of roughly 140 teams). The winning team notched up an eye-watering 33 laps. I am so proud of us all on this achievement, I don’t think any of us could have imagined getting into the top 20 whatsoever but we did. Well done team! Fantastic efforts from all of us.
Now speaking of efforts….. At the top of this report, I mentioned that we had an LFR solo competitor – Matthew Ma. Well, Matt managed a staggering 14, yes 14, laps! Unbelievable, his ability to just keep on going around and around and around is unfathomable to me. As a team, we were able to support Matt by providing him with gels, walking poles etc. as he came past our camp but really, our input into assisting him was NOTHING compared to what he did. Matt finished 10th overall notching up his 14 laps in 15 hours and 12 minutes before he took a rest. Since coming home and writing this, I can report that Matt has booked himself in for a 10,000-mile service which gets him an oil change, replacement air filter and plugs. This should see him through for another 10,000. He’s also already starting to think about next year. Perhaps a change to the fuel mixture, I hear red diesel is good!
So, to sum up, a totally epic weekend away with like-minded individuals who just like to have a run, challenge themselves and most importantly, have a sense of humour. Conti really is an event for anyone, running, jogging, walking – doesn’t matter, you’ll be in good company on the course. Everyone you pass will say, “well done, keep going” and that gives you the incentive to keep moving. I have setup a FB album on our page which will hopefully be filling up with our pictures as a race report really doesn’t tell you everything but hopefully some photos will. Who’s up for it next year? I certainly will be!
FINALLY.... A big thank you to Barbara Addrison, she is amazing, she literally feeds you at any time you need feeding with a selection of chilli, rice, bacon, egg, snacks, biscuits, drinks. Whatever you need. This alone, makes it all possible. Thank you, Barbara – from all of us.