A stampede of runners descends on Sutton Park for the Road Relays, Manchester Marathon maintains its speedy reputation, a lesson in how not to pace in Chicago and the trails and fells are on fire with brilliant running. It’s that weird ‘anything goes season’ that we love.

The National Road Relays presented their usual showcase of English road running talent this weekend as Sutton Park in Birmingham played host to scores of runners fighting for the top spot on each leg and overall.

The women’s race was four stages, each of 4.33k. Aldershot A won in a combined time of  59:03. They fought their way up the ranks as Ruby Woolfe set them off in 16th place, running 14:48. 

Pippa Roessler worked them up to fifth with her 14:51, Louise Small then jumped them up to second in 14:53 and Lily Coward finished the job and clinched the win 14:31. Second was… Aldershot B in 1:00:14 and in third was Lincoln Wellington in 1:00:29

Fastest of all legs were:

1. Nicole Taylor – Tonbridge A 13:56 

2. Hannah Irwin – Cambridge A 14:03 

3. Abbie Donnelly – Lincoln Wellington 14:04 

4. Sophie Wood – Sale Harriers 14:10 

5. Sarah Astin – Belgrave Harriers A 14:12 

In the men’s race (six stage, 5.848k), Aldershot Farnham & District ‘A’  won in a combined time of 1:42:44 after  Josh Grace opened proceedings in 17:09 which placed them eight, Ricky Harvie the worked them up to second place with a 17:17 leg and once Ben Bradley put them into first with his 17:14 they didn’t drop the lead thanks to Adam Clarke running 17:03, Ellis Cross 17:28 and Jack Rowe bringing it home in 16:33

Runners up were  Leeds City AC ‘A’ with a time of 1:43:47 and Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers took third in  1:44:06

Fastest of all legs were:

1. Jack Rowe – Aldershot A 16:33 

2. Emile Cairess – Leeds CityA A 16:46

3= Omar Ahmed – Birchfield A 16:47 

3= Hugo Milner Derby AC 16:47 

5. Daniel Jarvis – Bedford & County A 16:53 (2)

Full results can be found here and here

A lesson in how not to pace a marathon?

For the second time in history two World Marathon Majors are being run on the same weekend, with Chicago Marathon earlier today and Boston tomorrow.

In the windy city Ruth Chepngetcih ran a massive positive split after going off at a blistering pace (1:07:34 vs 1:14:57) but still held on for the win beating a strong US field of Emma Bates and Sara Hall. Meanwhile Shalan Flanagan ran 2:46:39 before jumping on a plane to Boston to continue her mission to run all the majors in Sub three in a few months.

Aly Dixon is one step ahead of Shalane though, running a 2:50:43 to get her six star medal today, while Tom Mills was the top GB athlete in 02:41:39.

Manchester is fast

Closer to home, the Manchester Marathon has a reputation for being a fast course and this year it favoured those new to the distance. In only his second marathon, Matthew Crehan of St. Helens Sutton A.C. pulled off a huge five minute PB winning in 2:18:26 and the only runner to run sub 2:20. Both runners up were debutants over the distance,  James Donald ran 2:20:36 to take second place and Dave Barrat took the final podium position in 2:22:22

Anna Bracegirdle, also bettered her best by a good chunk and took 12 minutes of her 2019 turn on the course, winning the women’s race in 2:40:17. Heather Townsend was second in 2:44:29 and Sorcha Nic Dhomhnaill ran 2:46:22 for third.

Runners gather at the start of Manchester Marathon

The Manchester Half Marathon took place on the same day and it was a local(ish) win for Mollie Williams of Stockport Harriers in a phenomenal debut of 75:46. Breege Connolly (V40) tried hard to catch her but finished in 76:30 and Claire Clancy was a little further back in 78:35.

The men’s race was a spicy one as Ciaran Lewis of Team Thie, also new to the distance, took a swift and clear win in 66:10. That left old-timer (sorry!) leaving Paul Martelletti (67:01)  to hold off Mohammed Salah (67:34)

Navesey back to winning ways

Down south at the  Brighton Half Marathon Paul Navesey made it a hat trick of half-marathon wins for this year, breaking the tape in 68:10. Marcus England took silver in 68:55 and James Turner bronze in 69:29. Bobby Searle ran a six minute PB to win in 82:22 for Brighton Phoenix, holding off Dani Tarleton (83:02) and Emily Proto (84:32)


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The Run Bournemouth  event saw a host of course records, Dom Willmore of Poole AC took victory in a time of 67:30, setting yet a new course record. He was followed by Scott Cousins of Springfield Striders (1:07:41) and Rob McTaggart of Bournemouth AC (1:11:49) who took second and third.

Sophie Delderfield of Vale of Aylesbury AC was the first female home 81:38. Natalie Lawrence of Wight Tri (1:27:01) and Victoria Walls (1:28:09) claimed the remaining female podium spots.

Szymon Chojnacki of AC Bournemouth finished first in the Supersonic 10K in 34:38. He was followed by Dion Garner, Poole Runners (35:11) and Luke Terry (36:43).

The first female to cross the line was Kate Drew of Taunton AC, she finished in a time of 36 minutes and 11 seconds, also setting a new course record. Dawn Hunt (39:33) and Kate Cadbury (39:56) took second and third place respectively.              

Sophie Delderfield. Photo: Georgia Wood

Round up of the rest

At the Royal Parks Half Oscar Bell was home first in 79:14 with Cole Gibbens second in 71:59 and Neil McClements third in 72:33. Karima Harris won the women’s race in 85:39. Runners up were Candice Johnson 85:55 and Rachel Boswell 86:35

Fraser Macdonald Oulds won the gorgeous Coniston 14 in 79:57 for Chorlton Runners. First round the lake for the women was Catherine Williamson of Loftus Whitby AC in 1:32:21.

Pete Abrahams won the Denmead 10k in 39:03 and Nikki Moxham in 40:12

Three men went under the hour mark at the Tiptree 10, James Bosher was the fastest in 56:56 followed by Tom Cresswell (57:55) and Andrew Joblin (59:56). Heidi Hogan-Steele was a class above the rest in the women’s race, obliterating the rest of the field with a 63:19 finish. Karry Porter (72:36) and Karen Stepleton (75:48) completed the podium.   

Run Silverstone  offered a range of distances, David Brewis was first over the 13.1 option in 72:59 and Penny Braker in 77:50. The 10k results are incomplete but the 5k top spots went to Harry West in 17:14 and Eileen Beach in 18:03. Nottingham Holme Run honours went to Mark Mazenko (17:59, 5k), Sophie Hall (18:58, 5k), James Vandersluis (35:39, 10k), Tessa Williams (44:04, 10k), Mike Blair (73:14, HM) and Katie North (1:30:51, HM)

Andrew Butler was first over the line at the Shrewsbury Half Marathon  in 77:02 and Jan Cook first lady in 87:29

In RunThrough results, top runner at Chase the Moon Hyde Park 10k went to Rebecca Schulleri in 39:52 and Fergal Joyce in 36:44. Over 5k  Ryan Keane won with over a minute clear in a time of 16:17 and Bettina Urlbauer was the only lady to break 20 – winning in 19:05. The Tatton 10k was won by Ryan Whiston  35:35 and Zoe Gmerek in 43:52 and Colchester Zoo Stampede Marathon went to Crispian Bloomfield in 78:30 and Natasha Dunnage in 87:00.

Overseas at the Groningen 4 Mijl which is actually 6.437km, Izzy Fry and Tom Mortimer kicked off their winter season nicely with a third in the ladies race in 20:50 and fifth for Tom 18:15.

Eden Project hosts a busy day of races

Luke Grenfell-Shaw, 27, claimed his victory at this year’s Eden Project Marathon, as runners from far and wide traversed the trails and pounded the pavements under bright autumn sunshine.

Luke, who finished with a time of 2.45.27, was diagnosed with cancer three years ago and is in the midst of a Bristol to Beijing tandem bike expedition to raise money for five charities that support young people living with cancer.

Pippa Ebel, 25, was the fastest woman in the Eden Marathon. Pippa, an unaffiliated runner from London, finished with a time of 3.25.08.

The fastest man in the half-marathon was Marc Smerdon, 30, from Bodmin, who finished with a time of 1.20.41 and added to his extensive Eden medal cabinet with his first victory in the 13.1-mile race. The fastest woman in the half-marathon was Ruby Orchard, 39, from Truro who runs with PB Running Club and finished with a time of 1.26.58, just four seconds short of the course record.

Ruby said: “It was quite a nice run, quite undulating, I quite enjoyed it. A bit of a change really because I’m used to roads. It was very good, well organised and there was good support on the course. It feels great to win, I’m really pleased with my time.”

More than 1,250 participants signed up to take part in this year’s races, which have been highly anticipated following the postponement of last year’s event due to the global pandemic.

A big weekend for the trails and fells

The Bennachie 50K is a relatively new race on the Ultra calendar. It takes in 6 of the peaks which make up the Bennachie Hills and has 5000ft of elevation. In its third running, it was won by Allan Christie in 4:13:35 and Jana Vidis in 5:19:10 

Rory Harris left his competitors for dust, finishing the Round Rotherham 50 more than seventeen minutes ahead of his nearest rival, in 6:48:29. Susan Keens was fifth overall and first female in 08:31:05.

The Langdale Horshoes Fell Race (12.5 miles/4600ft) saw Keswick AC take a 1-2 in the men’s race as Matthew Atkinson finished in 2:15:16 and Culum Tinnon right behind in 2:16:12. Ian Holmes of Bingley Harriers was third in 2:21:35. The race website leaves competitors in no doubt what they are in for, saying, “this race is over a rough, tough course with almost exclusively rocky and slippy ground’. However Tessa Strain of Hunters Bog Trotters was not deterred and took home the ladies’ victory in 2:54:57

Raoul Metcalf presumably knows every inch of Epping Forest after he completed the “ultra at the end of the Central line” Camino Ultra Epping Forest 50K in 3:32:11 to beat Spaniard Jose Rodriguez by two and a half minutes. Shelley Claire took her win in 4:36:24

From Caldbeck to Cartmel the Lakes in a Day 80k sounds like a lovely way to see the area, albeit one with 4000ft of elevation and some cutoff times. The big names were out in force and Nicky Spinks did not disappoint, racing home first in 11:07:42. However, she didn’t manage to beat the course record of 10 hrs 45, held by Katie Kaars Sijpesteijn from 2018.

Heather Hepoenstall was second in 11:58:14 and Anna Rutherford third in 12:07:54. The men’s record pot also rolls over for another year (the record is Ricky Lightfoot’s 8hrs 47). This year’s winner was Ry Webb in 09:08:00, ahead of Damian Hall in 9:43:00 and Daniel Weller in 9:56:00.

The Three Peaks Fell Race (37.4k / 1608ft) is one of the oldest fell races around and after the predictable one year off, it was back for its 67th running.

Garry Greenhow of Ambleside AC came home first in 3:05:22, exactly one minute ahead of Jonathan Fox. Ricky Lightfoot was third in 3:07:17 (and presumably was happy that is CR at the Lakes in a Day still stands!).

Rose Mather ran 3:47:38 to take the top spot in the women’s race, beating Holly Wooten (3:50:05) and Sarah Willhoit (3:50:33).