Adidas Thunder Run 2015

A couple of reviews from last weekend’s Thuinder Run……

Thunder Run Extravaganza

It was the day before the unknown, and we were heading towards our destination, replacing rainy Manchester for rainy Derbyshire. Thoughts of ‘why are we doing this?’ had been circulating since the planning meeting. A meeting which main results consisted of the true nature of Chris’ hole in the head being revealed and Jason being told he resembled an epileptic chihuahua. The odds were stacked against us.

Despite all this, the team of 5 (James, Jason, Chris, Lloyd and myself, as the token female) were excited to be taking on a new running challenge. The Thunder Run being a 24 hour race, consisting of 10k loops. The main aim of the game, is to run as many laps as possible in the designated time. Teams vary in size and combos. The course is basically a cross country course, equipped with the usual delights of a few hills and some woodlands.
Upon arrival at the gates to Catton Park, which is similar to what I imagine those of heaven being like, we not only found James but we also found a man to direct us in.Territory had been well and truly claimed in the form of mass acres of land being taped off in the anticipation of a the appearance of faraway running tribes. After some borderline panic we found an extremely good spot to set up camp, not too far from the start and finish area. The swift actions of putting the tents up, getting stuff out of car and temporally removing car, allowed some time for a pre-race glass of South African Shiraz.
Saturday morning, and the party really got started with the arrival of Chris and Lloyd. Off we strutted to the pre-race briefing, all full of the joys.It was at this point that Captain Jason, was summoned to the start area. The rest of us tottled off to find a good spot to take some photos of the start. Whilst waiting patiently for the starting gun, an old estates man of the Thunder Run, enlightened us about the course, in a nutshell – ‘most’ of the tree routes are painted in luminous paint for the night time shifts. The gun went, Jason ran past somewhere in the midst of the crowd, spider man sprayed us with his spider web and the chihuahua managed to teleport itself threw the railings and was standing on the course.
On Jason’s return he was quizzed about the nature of the beast. His instant reaction of ‘that was really difficult’ was later replaced by ‘it’s not as bad as I thought’. Those still to run decided to cling on in desperation to the latter. The sun decided to make an appearance as I began my first lap. Most would have seen this as a good omen. I made friends with a man who took his top off. But found the course enjoyable anyway. Due to the nature of our tactics, which differed to every other team (!) Chris, our secret nighttime weapon, ended up doing most of his runs in the dark. And he did it very well. Unlike me who managed to run off the course a few times and land awkwardly in a small ditch. Special shout out to James, who in true team spirit, shared his superior head torch.
Sunday is greeted with many a groan, in want of a better term, we’d all pretty much ‘had it’. But solidered on regardless. An executive decision was made that the last lap should be walked. So that’s what happened, with some photography opportunities and accidentally getting in the way of other runners thrown in. James and Chris’s smiley faces greeted myself and Jason as we completed the last 400m together, as a team, minus Lloyd who’d had to dash off to Argos to buy replacement toothbrush heads, obviously.
All in all, the Thunder Run 2015 was challenging but like nothing any of us had every done. We managed a respectable 22nd out of 113, in the mixed 5 category.  I now dream of the 8K marker and the general consensus is that we’ll be back next year. As will you Dear Reader, after reading this inspiring report.
Emma Tolond

The Thunder Run: A lot can happen in 24 hours

The concept of the unparalleled Thunder Run is simple. Mark out one 10K lap of the Staffordshire countryside and challenge people to do as many of these laps as they can in 24 hours. You can do it on your own if you like, in a pair, small or larger team. You can do 1 lap, more than 20 laps or just sit and watch. You can walk a lap or run it as fast as you can, it’s up to you.

Over the years the Thunder Run has built up cult status amongst the running community. Jason had secured us our valued place as a mixed team of 3-5 runners; Jason, Lloyd, Emma, Chris and me. We really had no idea what to expect. The day arrived sooner than we expected and we set out about somelast minute prep, lap negotiation and a little training.
Jason, Emma and me arrived at the site to heavy rain and a scene resembling

Glastonbury 1997. Other clubs from across the UK had got there early and cordoned off large areas and we struggled to find a place until we came across a perfect spot quite near the start line and close to some toilets. We went to sleep with heavy rain around us and some trepidation.

We woke to blue skies and sunshine! Chris and Lloyd arrived later and we had a look around. The start line was fringed by runner’s merchandise outlets, food stalls and a traditional red British Bus converted into a bar. The relay changeover looked straightforward with a sheltered pen where the next runner waits to be handed over to. There was a briefing of sorts, then the whole site gathered to witness in huge anticipation the very start of this 24 hour race.

Jason kicked off with lap 1, knocked out 46 minutes, but came back with tales of horror. We would need spikes. The mud would get worse. The hills are long and hard. It twists and turns. Lloyd next, who is no fan of XC, but he ran soundly and we cheered him on as he got up that last steep hill. Jason again, then Lloyd, then on to Emma, with another strong run. The ground seemed to be drying out now, we were ahead of time and feeling good about ourselves.

!My first lap was pure running joy, like a rollercoaster. An anxious wait, then on to the course, a long climb up, then tumbled down and around the twisty forest trails. At some point I was spat out into the campsite itself and ran past tents holding well intentioned, but comfortable spectators. Then back into the forest, up something called the Conti run, a marked out steep Strava segment, then along a high ridge with clear views of Staffordshire. From 8K it is downhill, through the campsite, a steep, but short hill and back.

Emma again, then me, then Chris, who loved the course, then Jason, then Lloyd, then Jason and then …… Lloyd. He came back looking like death, prodigiously ate all the snacks he could, then retired to bed with just the occasional sounds of cramp induced yelps (and later on snores), to be heard from his pod. It was getting dark now and things were starting to get serious. On to me for my first night lap. I’d never run in the pitch black before, but basically it was like a rollercoaster in the dark. In other words a whole lot of fun. But my second night run was no fun at all, in fact it was a bit of a slog. I was starting to get tired. Whilst I slept it was Chris, then Jason, then Lloyd and then Emma. Everyone was struggling now and my morning lap was just a question of getting round with no chance of another. I arrived back expecting Emma, but her leg was injured from a slip on her night run, so Chris had been moved forward despite running nearly all night. We’d all done 5 laps with Jason doing 6.

We decided a final lap would be walked by Jason and Emma. The rest of us waited near the end of the lap and we all walked it in together, which I’d like to say we did arm in arm, but the others ran on at the end leaving me limping behind, no longer capable of running! A lot had happened in 24 hours, but we’d made it, run 270K, averaged 50ish minutes per 10K and came 22nd out of 113 teams.

There’s a famous quote that if you want to win something run 100m, but if you want to experience something run a marathon. To this I’d add if you want to experience a little more do the Thunder Run. There’s room within the concept for everyone to experience it their way. Whether it be the crazy solo runners, the club runners trying to do the best for the team, the running hobbyists happy to enjoy a few laps or the spectators cheering on their team whilst enjoying a BBQ and a few beers. We hope you’ll join us and do it in your way next year!

James Hinde
Some photos here
Full results here

Trinity Perruzza-Powell comes 3rd in ESSA 100m

Trinity came 3rd in the junior girls 100m at the English Schools AA Champs at Gateshead. This is a great results for her in her first year competing and she achieved a personal best of 12:46 sec.

In 1500m, Emily Hughes and Alice Stiles competed in the Greater Manchester Team and gave great performances, narrowly missing out on getting to the finals.

Massive well done to all the athletes that took part.

Some photos here

WONDER WEEKEND FOR JUNIORS AT GM CHAMPIONSHIPS

Manchester Harriers juniors enjoyed a fantastic weekend at the Greater Manchester Championships at Longford Park on the weekend of 23rd May.

Many of the athletes secured personal best performances with five athletes winning medals.

Girls

Under 13s

Georgia Fazakerley had a great run, finishing 4th in the 1200m in a new PB of 4.05.78. Katie Moss also ran a good PB in the 800m finishing in 2.45.11.

Under 15s

Alice Stiles was the start performer in the under 15s, winning the 1500m title in 4.55 and securing the silver medal in the 800m in a new PB of 2.19.08. She also finished 2nd in the high jump with a height of 1m 40cm.

Eleanor Kenny ran brilliantly in the 1500m in her first club race of the season claiming the silver medal in a new PB of 4.58.51. Grace de Campos won the bronze medal in the 800 metres in a PB of 2.23.09 as well as running a PB in the 1500m the following day breaking 5 minutes for the first time.

Emily Hughes had a superb weekend running big PBs in both the 800m, running 2.23.33 when finishing 4th, and the 1500m when 5th. Beth Smyth also ran PBs in both events running 2.23.74 in the 800 metres.

Under 17s

Beth Barlow had a good weekend retaining her 800m and 1500m titles. This was a great performance given that Beth is returning from injury and is not yet fully fit. Her performances bode well for the rest of the season.

Boys

Under 15s

In the boys, Connor Fazakerley was the star performer running PBs in the under 15s  800m and the 1500m. After finishing 4th in the 800m in 2.20.78, Connor ran superbly in the 1500m claiming the silver medal in the 1500m in a big PB of 4.36.76.

Under 17s

In the under 17s 1500m, Matty Fox ran a seasons best 4.36.64 in coming 6th with Ben Skertchly running a PB of 4.38.96 in the same race. Matty followed up the following day with a PB of 2.12.80 in a fast 800m when finishing 5th.

A great weekend for the club and this group of athletes who have again performed superbly.

gm champ2  gm champs1

INTER COUNTIES HONOURS FOR MANCHESTER HARRIERS

Manchester Harriers has again been successful in providing a strong contingent of athletes who have been picked to represent Greater Manchester at the Inter Counties Championships in Birmingham in March.

Similar to last year nine junior athletes have been selected being:

Boys

Under 15s  Ben Skertchly   Connor Fazakerley

Under 17s   Sam Tarry     Donnacha Maguire

Girls

Under 13s     Grace de Campos   Alice Stiles  Georgia Fazakerley

Under 15s     Beth Barlow   Emily Hughes

Congratulations to them all and good luck in Birmingham.

In addition, Ed Fazakerley and Emma Tolond have also been selected for the senior squads. Particular congratulations to Emma who is the first Manchester Harriers lady to make the Inter Counties squad for a number of years.

BRONZE FOR THE UNDER 13 GIRLS AT THE NATIONALS

Manchester Harriers Under 13 girls team brought the curtain down on a magnificent season by winning the bronze medal at the National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Fields in London on Saturday 21st February.

The bronze medal followed their previous wins in the North of England Championships in February and the County Championships in January.

The team of Alice Stiles, Grace de Campos, Beth Smyth and Georgia Fazakerley coped brilliantly in what were extremely difficult, muddy conditions on the traditionally tough London course.

Alice Stiles ran magnificently to finish 8th overall which represents the best individual finish by a Harriers athlete in the National Championships for a number of years. She was ably support by Grace de Campos (46th), Beth Smyth (52nd) and Georgia Fazakerley (73th) in a field of over 430 runners. The team were third behind a strong City of Norwich team and Herne Hill Harriers but were the only northern team placed in the top ten.

The girls success follows on from the 2nd place that the 2014 under 13s team achieved in the Nationals demonstrating the strong crop of runners who have developed under the guidance of coach Carl Summers.

Stiles, De Campos and Fazakerley are due to represent Greater Manchester in the Inter Counties Championships in Birmingham in March.

VICTORY FOR THE UNDER 13 GIRLS AT THE NORTHERN CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS

Manchester Harriers Under 13 girls secured a stunning team victory at the North of England Cross Country Championships at Pontefract on Saturday.

The team consisting of Alice Stiles, Grace de Campos, Beth Smyth and Georgia Fazakerley coped brilliantly with the tough windy conditions to secure a comfortable victory ahead of Sale Harriers who were second with Liverpool Harriers third. All four girls finished in the top twenty individually with Alice 6th, Beth 11th, Grace 15th and Georgia 16th. The result represents Manchester Harriers first victory in the Northern Championships at any age group since the mid 1980s.

The under 13 girls have had an unforgettable season so far, with the victory in the Northern Championships adding to their recent success in the Greater Manchester Championships together with 2nd place in the North West Road Relays and 3rd place in the Northern Cross Country Relays. In addition Alice, Grace and Georgia have all been picked to represent Greater Manchester in the Inter Counties Championships in March.

The girls have a tremendous work ethic and a wonderful team spirit which is a credit to themselves and their coach Carl Summers.

Let’s hope that they can continue this form for the rest of the season.