Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Snowdonia 2008

Preparation starts at 6.30 opposite Foxholes on Thursday 1st November, followed by a further outing from the Bottom Barn, starting at 8.30 on Saturday 3rd.

Snowdonia 2007

Part way through the fourth rep up Foxholes with Norman’s squad on Thursday evening I wondered if this was good preparation for the Snowdonia Marathon. Nearing the top of Pen-y-Pass, part way through the fourth mile in the race, my doubts began to firm up, and later, towards the end of the fourth hour, they had well and truly crystallised. Something had gone seriously wrong; but what?

Although conditions were not brilliant for the first half of the race, things fined up later and we had a following wind for quite a long part of the back straight; so I can’t really blame the weather. Ok, I was a pound heavier and just a day short of one year older than last year, but my miles were up slightly and I had been feeling good. No excuses, it just didn’t happen on the day, and I ran a disappointing 4-18. Twenty-one minutes slower than last year and my second slowest marathon ever. John also seemed disappointed with his 4-08 and second over 65 (out of 12 in that category it has to be said).

Before the race I was thinking that I might give it a miss in 2008, but I can’t bow out on a low, so I’ll be aiming for another sub 4 hour and doing a bit more preparation.

Other Horwich results were a bit mixed, John Foulds ran 3-39 dead, Tony Varley did 3-57 (well run Tone), Alex McVey finished in 4-52, whilst Albert DNF’d; no detail of what went wrong at the time of going to press.

Later, I had a quick pint at the evening ‘do’ and was amused to see that two enormous bouncers had been hired. Seemed a bit unnecessary to have a couple of guys, who must have weighed almost as much as the entire collection of runners put together, to police a gathering that had as much fight in them as a pack of stick insects on a bad day. Perhaps they’d heard about runners hitting the wall and didn’t want the premises damaged.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Wham, Bam, Thank-You, Clam

Scientists from Bangor University have discovered the world's oldest living animal; a 405 year old clam which they dredged up just off the coast of Iceland (nothing to do with the 405 year old fish fingers found in the Iceland car park). Unfortunately it did not survive the journey to the surface so was declared DOA.

Now, I kid you not, on the basis of this, Help the Aged have given the University a £40k grant to further research into longevity! So, coming to a retirement home near you, the Bangor University Longevity Research Team ~ they'll study how the older residents have managed to last for so long, then kill them.

As they say, you couldn't make it up!

Being in that area when the news broke, I had assumed that it was the Welsh Bangor, but perhaps it was the Irish one.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lakeland Classics Trophy Explained

Duddon Valley:

The following runners counted for the Horwich team:

Dave Milliken 174.29
Brendan Bolland 191.29
Dave Massey 198.42

The total time for these three runners is 564mins18secs

Calculation for points scored is as follows
1) Convert total time into seconds and divide by 3 to get an average time 33858/3 = 11286

2) Convert winning time into seconds = 9755 (Ian Holmes 162.35)

3) This meant that for their average time Horwich were 1531 seconds slower than the winning time (11286-9755=1531)

4) This is then expressed as a percentage of the winning time in the race to get the number of points so
1531/9755x100= 15.69 rounded up is 16% slower.
winning individual got 100pts, so 16% less = 84pts.

(The winning team average time worked out as 5% slower than winning individual, so thats why they got 95pts and not 100 as you would expect.)

For the team event (and like X-C leagues) it's not required that it's the same runners counting for the team, but would make it diffucult who to decide to give the prizes to at the end of the series. The counters for Horwich in the other races were as follows:

Ennerdale no team
Wasdale Brendan Bolland, Ricky Graham, Ian Charters 60pts
Borrowdale Huw Price, Richard Baker, Albert Sunter 54pts
3 Shires Brian Walton, Rob Green, Albert Sunter 73pts
Langdale Huw Price, Peter Walkington, Ian Charters 69pts

For the team event (like the individuals) it's a minimum of 2 superlongs out of three races, and it's the best points scored. So for Horwich the races that counted for total points were Duddon (84), Wasdale (60) and 3 Shires (73), giving a total of 217.

Is it getting any clearer?


Thanks for that Julie, and every credit for working it out yourself, we'll make an accountant of you yet! By the way, how did Salford do?

Julie went on to explain that by taking more than double the winner's time it would be possible to get not just "nil points" but negative points. Apparently my Duddon and Borrowdale efforts would have accumulated me the magnificent total of minus 20!


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Black Horse at Limbrick

Becca from TrustInns tells me that the Black Horse is expected to re-open "in a couple of weeks time". Watch this space for a report from your very own Mitchelin Guide/Man (delete as appropriate).

...or perhaps we should do a team recce to compare it with the Thatch and Thistle for the Winter Solstice do.

All suggestions gratefully received.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lakeland Classics Trophy

Congratulations to the Flying Scotsman on completing all the six Lakeland Classics to place 52nd in the FRA Trophy and on leading Horwich into 7th place in the team results. But can anybody explain how the team scoring works? And how did we finish a team if the only other counter was Brendan, who only did 2 races? And why have they (as so many now seem to do) ignored my finishes at Duddon and Borrowdale?

Not sure, but the Tooth Fairy seems to be emerging as the nearest we have to an intellectual in the group, perhaps you could take on the task of explaining how it all works.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Use for Nic O

I don't mean that we have no use for Nic, what I mean is that the website that the Galloping Major recommends for measuring runs ~ http://www.walkjogrun.co.uk/ ~ will be of no use for her as she professes never to know where she has been. So if she doesn't know where she has been, she can hardly measure it, can she?

I've looked at the site, but as with so many things nowadays, I could make neither head nor tail of it. Anthony tells me it's very good, so let's have a second opinion off someone with grey (or even nay (John?)) hair.


PS ~ I've just had another look, and if you read the instructions...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Disappointing News

Perhaps this needs to come under the title of 'I don't believe it' as news of Mr Shuttleworth's early demise courtesy of a Yorkshire Dales Bog are sadly unfounded. Apologies to those for whom this is 'old news'.

I attended a 'ta ta' do on Saturday evening for one of my Salford team-mates Tricia Sloan (is this a joke pseudonym? Ed). Tricia's off to Cambodia for 2 years to manage a hospital for VSO, so it leaves me to fly the flag for Salford Ladies on the fells. So imagine my surprise when amongst this group of Tricia's family, friends and work colleagues Neil appears, very much alive and coughing (and spitting? Ed).

The evening did leave me and Ruth (also Salford) pondering the facts that 1) runners can't dance and 2) we still attract 'unusual' people to talk to. Ed, if you called him a 'lazy bugger' as you passed him floundering in the bog, then he heard you! (Guilty as charged. Ed).


Julie, Is it OK if I sign all my Ed-iting (as above) then everyone knows who wrote what? I'll tackle the "runners can't dance issue" at some later date. Ed.

Saturday Runs

I will be at the Joss Naylor dinner on the 20th October and on the 27th October I will be at the wedding of my niece (daughter of Mat Sh
ticklegs). I intend to be running on the 3rd November.

Yesterday's road run will be one I won't forget in a hurry. Although only 15 miles or so for me, I had certainly had enough by the time I finished at the Lower Barn. It seemed to be far more tiring than longer runs off road such as Darwen Tower or Coope's Dozen. I think it's the relentless pace and the hard surface in road running that is so wearying.

Ed's additional run from home to the Lower Barn and back was impressive enough but John the Younger's effort, starting at Horwich and joining us at the barn after running over the Pike, and then running back from the barn area, to his car in Horwich, via The Millstone was mind blowing.

On top of all this the Swifts raced from The Black Dog at Belmont to Hordern Stoops and by the time they had finished, they had left me, a forlorn figure, half a mile back. However, they did wait for me at the top! Nicole and Julie were very sensible in leaving the pack at Scout Road and heading back to the barn via the fell. (The Tooth Fairy probably knows the route they took but Nic O claims not to have a clue "it was misty" she said. Ed).

All of this was in preparation for the Swifts' participation in the Snowdonia Marathon. I am sure that all of the Saturday gang wish them a good run. I know that there will be a race within a race so to speak and so to both of them I say "Go for it!".

John the Elder.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturdays in October

The Swift Bros will be at the Bottom Barn at 8.30 on the 20th for a spell on the fells.

On the 27th John the Elder will be at his niece's (Staffers' daughter's) wedding and the Swift Bros will be in Snowdonia ~ so it's up to the ladies to fly the flag on the local fells for the WFDBWGUA Gang. Please feel free to use the blog for announcing your plans; there might be someone out there that reads this!



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thursday 11th & Saturday 13th October
Just a reminder that Thursday is back to a 6.30 start, with the hope of half an hour of fell before it goes completely dark.
Saturday is looking like a road run (Snowdonia looms) starting as usual from the Bottom Barn at 8.30 ~ but they will be hilly roads. Anyone driving there may like to bring more than one (two?) pairs of shoes to suit the terrain which they choose; unless of course you've already made up your mind.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Great Whernside

Although my run was not of any significance, it would have been nice if Norman's Yorkshire correspondent had at least noticed me! ~ See the RMI blog.

Fellow members of the Neil Shuttleworth Appreciation Society will be amused that having passed Neil rolling about in a peat bog half way down the descent, it wasn't until I was coming off the M65 on the way home that it occured to me that I should have checked whether he made it to the finish. Perhaps he's still up there.

Also (see following report) shame on the Tooth Fairy, if it had been two ladies in front of me who had gone astray, I would have called them back.

Autumn Leaves Fell Race (8.5m/1700ft) Saturday 6th October

Picture the scene, approx 2 miles into race, approaching Race Marshall at NW corner of Black Moss Reservoir. Marshall gives very clear instructions to 'turn right at the end of the reservoir and follow the flags'. 100yrds in front are 2 male runners, said runners carry straight on, and don't turn right. What would you do

(a) Call them back, or
(b) Let them carry on

Full marks to anyone who answered (b)

The reasons why this is the correct answer are

1) It was a lovely day for exploring the South Pennines
2) They blatantly ignored the instructions of a Race Marshall
3) They were big, huge, enormous red flags, a blind bat could have spotted them
4) We were all given a map at registration with the route marked on it

5) Being a dentist, I like to inflict pain

A lovely race, but not one for the purists as there are lots of those stone-slab things to run on, and a long flight of steep steps to negotiate which were the wrong height/depth for my little legs to do 2 at a time, they'd be lethal when wet. Loads of free cakes at the end.



Sunday, October 07, 2007

Double 'O' 6?

It was with great anticipation that I set off Sunday 23rd to join my partner for the Dark and White Peak District score orienteering event. The aim – to visit as many checkpoints in 3 hours as we could, including returning to the start. The day was perfect, cool and sunny, and we reached the car park in Hayfield in good time.

The first problem emerged when the competitors realised the tourist information toilets, situated tantalisingly in the car park, had been fiendishly locked!! This meant a lengthy queue at the first rocky outcrop on the route we had taken. (Relieved (!) to hear that it's not just me that has a problem with finding the 'facilities' - Ed).

However, the competitors soon split up and the time flew by. Number 15 posed a problem as the electronic punch had been nicked. (Another ploy by unfriendly natives??) A quick phone photo of me holding the dibber at the “National Trust sign 5m east of gate” seemed to suffice.

I kept getting distracted by the staggeringly lovely views. If you like bleak moor land surrounded by peaks, this is the place to be. Luckily my partner had the map reading under control and we didn't get lost.

We arrived at the finish 11 miles later, having collected about 9 controls each with different values depending on how difficult they were to collect. The finish was very civilised with free hot drinks and biscuits as our dibbers were downloaded into the computer and we were given our total score.

Convinced we had won our age category we happily returned home to check the results. Unfortunately we finished 6th out of 6 so not quite as good as we thought. However we didn’t have the lowest score of the day and we had had a very enjoyable time so I would thoroughly recommend it as a fine way to do a run.

Nick O and JL

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Saturday 6th October

On Saturday, I will be running from the Lower Barn at 8.30. (The Younger) John will start from the Duncan Street area prior to this time, meeting me at the Barn at 8.30.

John (the Elder).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Saturday 6th October
I'm racing but I understand that the Johns will be meeting at the bottom barn at 8.30 for a bit (or a lot?) of the usual. Might be worth checking, unless one of them wants to confirm by way of a comment.
Thursday 4th October
We agreed to meet at 6.15 in the usual place, in the expectation that we would go off-road for a while before it goes dark. Also agreed to revert to 6.30 thereafter.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A (slow) Voyage of Discovery

My life has been, and continues to be, a never-ending voyage of discovery. Who would have thought that at approxinately 9 o'clock on Sunday morning (about 3 1/2 miles into the Swinton Half Marathon) that I would discover that they have soft toilet paper in the Swinton Fire Station. 'nuff said!
But although the time was dismal (don't ask, just really dismal), the race was not not an absolute disaster. The result catapulted me into 14th position in the club road championship; who'd have thought? By the way, Horwich won the team prize with three in the top five.
On the same day, the younger John ran more than a minute a mile faster than me in the Macc Half. Unfortunately, he did not retain his over 65 title, as one Ken Burgess ran 1-27. Just who are these people who do times like that? Haven't they heard of growing old gracefully?