While some took a well-earned break over the Christmas and New Year Period others took it as an opportunity to ramp up the training with some groups arranging almost a session every day to keep on top of their fitness. Despite the festive season there were still opportunities to pull on the vest and burn off the excesses of the yuletide period. So, lets do this in proper advent calendar fashion and go through who did what and when in date order.
Paul Dean was out on Boxing Day morning, less than 24 hours after pushing his turkey around the plate he was taking part in the annual Devil’s Chair Dawdle or Dash over the Stiperstones in Shropshire. The event is one of the best attended fell races in the county and this year’s renewal saw over 200 hopefuls tackling the severe underfoot conditions along the rocky ridge to the Devil’s Chair. Although he stated it was more dawdle than a dash Paul completed the technical course in 33.48 to place a respectable 82nd place.
Twenty four hours later it was the turn of our marathon duo who took part in the Sunrise to Sunset Challenge at the Shrewsbury Bike Loop where runners set out to either record a recognised distance from 5k up to the full marathon distance, or just keep going until they’ve had enough, the most laps recorded on the day was a massive 76 in a total time of 7.36.52. This made the exploits of Dave Joynson and Gill Mitchell look like a sprint as they stopped at the recognised 26.2 miles, Dave winning the marathon race in 3.23.53 and Gill placing 14th in 5.45.52.
A large contingent travelled north into deepest Staffordshire for the Wheaton Aston 10k, a race around country roads, but being country roads a lot of them were under water, and those that weren’t were particularly muddy. Dan Turner brought to club home in 4th place in 33.41, Ashley Atkinson was 19th in 36.58, Derrick Milligan placed 22nd in 37.46, just getting the better of Tony Cheema who was a place behind in 37.51 but did enough to claim the 1st V50 prize, Brian Wright was 32nd in 38.54. Holly Baddeley was 1st lady and 34th overall in a huge PB of 39.16, Sabrina Thomas was 1st F45 and 48th in 40.33, Dave Norman placed 62nd in 41.49, Simon Calrow bagged the 1st M60 in 76th place in 43.53, Darren Edwards was 131st in 48.19, Craig Buggins was 180th in 50.55 and Mark Perry finished in 51.39 to take 191st position.
On the 29th a couple of club athletes competed in the Sheffield Indoor open meeting. La’Taunya Samuels placed third in her heat of the 60m in 8.11 seconds and in a mixed race over 200m, placed 6th in a season indoor best of 26.53 seconds. And Kyle Astley-Weah placed 6th in 7.59 seconds in round one of the 60m and followed that up in round 2 with a personal best of 7.52 seconds. In his 200m he boasted a third place and indoor personal best of 24.36 seconds, faster than his outdoor 200m.
And there was more action as we moved from 2023 into 2024 with the Dudley Kingswinford New Year Day Handicap where runners were set off in reverse order based on their declared 5k time with the slower ones off in a first wave to working towards the fastest off in the last wave with plenty of targets to chase. The aim was to cover the 4.1 mile loop. not necessarily as quickly as possible, but to get closest to your handicap mark of your expected finish time. Ben Foster paced things to perfection to be only 1 second shy of his mark finishing in 22.23 and pocketed a tidy cash sum, Rob Meredith won the race with a time of 22.02 but missed out by just 6 seconds, Lorna Hulme finished in 25.20, missing out by 20 seconds, Stu Whitehouse was 21 seconds off his mark with 29.14 and Dave Norman was 35 seconds adrift in 27.18.