For many of the good people of Newark, Saturday was a smashing opportunity to get the old mower out and give the grass its first cut, sit back with a beer and feel satisfied with this great effort.

Jill McIntyre thought that getting out into the fresh air was a good plan too, so she went to the Borders, and I don’t mean Claypole. Lets hear her own account of how she got out of Mowing Duty….

“Saturday saw me in Innerleithen, Scotland for the second in the series of the Notorious Night Races,..The Mighty Deerstalker. Resplendent in pink tartan socks, a kilt. McIntyre tartan tie with Clan badge and the obligatory deerstalker hat. I set off from Tranquair House (oldest occupied house in Scotland) to climb up and down 2 mountains with a total ascent of 3,340 feet, 4 river crossings, cargo nets and sheer drops in the dark.
Immense fun, amazing cameraderie and again not a PB race. This 9 miler took me more than 3 hours as I stopped to help a fellow runner whose headtorch had failed and I became her light !” ( Jill you are indeed a Light to us all..Ed )

Verdict ?..needs help from Gok Wan..I mean pink socks and a deerstalker ?

John Miller, back running again after a disastrous injury last July during the night stage of the 24 hour Thunder Run went to Derby for the Kilomathon..this is over 26 k rather than 26 miles so is a novel but nonetheless challenging distance. Starting in Derby the course loops clockwise to take in Littleover, Findern, Barrow-upon-Trent, Stenson, Sinfin and finishes at the stadium at Allenton. John enjoyed good organisation and finished in 2 hours 56 minutes after a final section round the Rolls-Royce factories, so if you need any bits for your Jumbo Jet,…John’s your man.

Back to the Classic Distance of the Half-Marathon, Grantham and the cleverly titled Newtons Fraction would be the place to be. Seven Notfasts enjoyed a beautiful morning weather-wise, the course that deserves the description of ‘Challenging’, lulls runners into a false sense of comfort with a lovely canal side section. This cannot last, and when competitors are dished up the hilly second half, culminating with the terrible, leg-lashing climb up Casthorpe Hill, having already ascended Woolsthorpe Hill, any interest in the scenery has long drained away, along with any last trace of blood sugar . Pleasure at this point is the thought of finishing at the Meres Sports Centre with a final victory lap of the red running track and a chance to give that final ‘kick’ to the finishing arch. This is how the Valliant Septet fared:

David Baker 1hr 47mins 43 secs

Suzanne Birkett 2.15 19….1 min better than last year

George Combes 3.10.04….95 th HALF-MARATHON !!!!

Martin Dickenson 1.55.09

Andy Pritchett 1.47.37….Personal Best..(+ Sofa and Beer in the afternoon )

Caroline Upton 1.52.07

Paul Zemontas 1.59.15…new record ,…this is Pauls 43rd ‘comeback’ race

Some fine runs on a fine morning. Special ‘Hats Off’ for George Combes

Meanwhile, back in the Twilight Zone of running, or Ledbury as its known locally, we see the episode called “Bullock in the Mist”
Mike starts running at 6 am, repeat 6am, along with 180 others the plan is to run, if possible for 12 hours round a course that is fearsome in the reading, let alone in the running.

All off road 10k laps, each 1000 metres up…and 1000 meteres down…zig-zagging through dense forest with dense brambles and hidden tree roots that, quote from Mike ..”would have daunted the Viet Cong”. The only flat section was 400 metres of mud. Mike also mention Wolves leaping out of the undergrowth,..this ,dear reader, we can put down to the delerium that takes over those who push themselves to the limit..but if he says that he saw Wolves then he did indeed see Wolves.
Mike had a Fab Run…the hardest event he has ever taken on, the first 2 miles of each lap was 100% uphill and with some sections that were un-runnable.
5 laps, 5hours 40 minutes later and having covered 50 kilometres, Mikes muscles are screaming, Mike pulls off the course…in his own words he rather quaintly describes that he “Was spent like a flaccid balloon hanging in a cobwebbed ballroom long after Christmas has finished”..probably still seeing those Wolves as well no doubt.
Hero ?, Nutcase?, Athlete?, you decide…but we’ll agree he certainly could only be a Notfast !

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