Summer running, had me a blast

Summer running, had me a blast

Hathersage Hurtle – 21 May 2022

By Jamie Stamp

This is a great super friendly relaxed race. 20 miles with 2800ft ascent in the glorious Peak District. It’s a challenging course but has great cake stops on the route to help get you round! I’d definitely recommend and all the money raised goes to the local school.

Coombe Hill Fell Run – 7 June 2022

By Andy Heale

The Coombe Hill Fell Race is billed as the toughest fell run in Buckinghamshire, (okay so there aren’t any others listed on the Fell Runners Website in Bucks…!) on a typical cold damp Bank Holiday Sunday a small group of LFRs (Jim Buttleman, Martin Oborue, Wayne Walker, myself and I’m going to include my daughter Emily) headed out to the wilds of Wendover to see what it was all about.

When I looked up what the difference was between a fell run and a trail run it said fell runs are typically self-navigation (GPS strictly forbidden) and often do not follow a path. They are graded according to distance and difficulty (which is mainly about distance climbed).

Coombe Hill is classed as BS – B meaning middling difficulty, while S means short. Fortunately for me, Coombe Hill is not self-navigation, with plenty of marshals from Tring Running Club who were absolutely brilliant, including Michelle’s brother Brian.

Having arrived ridiculously early, paid the £5 entry fee (which included a free pint afterwards), registered my car for free parking and signed some forms saying I accepted all responsibility and had read some Ts&Cs (no idea where they were), sat back in the car and waited for the 11am start time, only to realise I had to find the start line. I got some hurried directions and headed up, with some other late stragglers.

I just love the grass roots nature of these events, with the pre-race briefing taking place on the start line, which was on a bridge over a busy dual carriageway with the guy shouting over the noise of the wind and traffic.

I heard “blah blah blah, zoom, head up…steep…car park…steep…mud…no trails shoes better off on roller skates…zoom, zoom, climb to top…careful blah blah blah…” Then we were off!  I had not even started my watch.

The course takes you around the pretty area of Coombe Hill, with a total climb of 220 metres. The first section was a gentle climb and followed a narrow path with little chance of getting past anyone. But soon it opened up as we headed through the woods, the path disappeared, and we ran randomly through the mud and woods. We came to a steep – and I mean very steep – descent which was basically just mud.

This was what the “roller skate” comment in the race briefing referred to, and I gingerly made my way down, whilst others overtook me. A few people hit the mud along this point, including Jim, but I managed to stay upright and gather an extra few pounds of mud to my shoes.

I looked at my watch, this was only a 4.3-mile race (or 7 km) and at about 3 miles I thought, “not too far to go, surely we can’t have done all the hills”. I was right, we hadn’t.

After a sharp turn with a cheery “all the way to the top” from the marshal I headed up after the others, a route which had no consideration for the contour lines. After about 100 yards or so, I fell into a walk, as with everyone else and then more of a scramble to the top where the monument stood in the mist.

The memorial apparently is one of the first and largest examples of a war memorial erected to honour the named individual men. Prior to this war memorials were built to celebrate victories, remembering the dead was a secondary consideration. This was built in 1904 in memory of 148 men from Buckinghamshire who died in the second Boer war. Anyway, I digress.

It was then an ‘easy’ run down the hill to the finish line, being cheered home by the marshals and runners who had already finished. There were 126 runners, the winner coming home in an amazing 28 minutes 19 Seconds, Jim lead the LFR gang in with 36m 41s, I made it in 40m 40s, Martin in 41m 23s, Emily in 42m 36s (picking up a prize) and Wayne at 46m 59s.

I would certainly recommend this race to anyone. It’s so laid back, good value and only a half hour drive away at a very civilised time of day.


St. Albans Half - 12th June 2022

By Emily McClelland

Having gone to school in St Albans, St Albans half has been on my race bucket list for sometime. It always falls in June and is known to be hot, it also has a reputation for hills, oh and ice lollies!  The event is run by Active Training World so you know you’re in for a well supported and marshalled race. On the day five LFR ladies turned up to take on the course; Selena Bremmer, Sally Dickinson, Alice Fauvel and Cherie Cunningham.

This race was only two weeks after my RideLondon 100-mile bike ride, and therefore I had no time in mind and was just looking forward to running the distance without any self added pressure. For Selena it was her first half marathon. I really enjoyed the route; yes it has hills, but it’s rolling, nicely undulating but does not consist of any nasty steep shockers (it’s definitely less hilly than Berko half in March).

It was a warm day but I decided not to carry water and instead made good use of the well placed water stations on route. I was pleased with my running throughout the course and finished with some nice negative split pacing. Selena ran the first 9 miles with me but then dropped back (it won’t be long and she’ll be sticking on!). In the final mile you run up Bluehouse Hill around a hairpin at the top and come part way down to turn off into the park. On the way down you pass the other runners, which is where I saw Sally and then Selena hot on her heels. Cherie’s fiancé Stuart Hall was on this corner cheering us in, with Cherie not far behind. Alice came in not long after having run a strong race considering she’s been suffering with shin splints, I’m not sure her shins thanked her for the run but I know the rest of her was very pleased to have completed it.

Well done to all the ladies!!!


Bedford 10K – 26 June 2022

By Chloe Collins

A quartet of Leighton Fun Runners made it over to Bedford for the Blues Foundation Bedford 10k on 26 June.

The sun was shining and 300 or so entrants turned out to participate in the race.

Unusually numbers were distributed on the day on a first-come-first-served basis, it worked well and registration was completed swiftly and smoothly.

Matt and Chloe participated in the warm up, part way through deciding that the coach was most definitely trying to see how many silly moves he could get the crowd to do. Then, promptly at 9:30am, we were off!

The course was flat and took us around some of Bedford’s beauty spots, along the embankment and around Priory county park. The waterside run benefitted from a delightful cool breeze which was most welcome on the bright sunny day.

Matt finished in an impressive 41min 06secs – 16th overall and 4th in his category. Julie was next in 57m 11s.

Chloe, despite missing the progress markers along the route and navigating some of the dodgy signposts, achieved a PB of 1h 01m 27s.

Marina completed her first 10k race with an amazing PB of 1h 06m 02s. Well done all!

It would be great to see more Fun Runners next year – this is definitely one for achieving some PBs!


Race to the Tower – 25/26 June 2022

By Anne Graeff

The last weekend in June saw me take on my first ever double marathon – a very hilly marathon in the Cotswolds on Saturday 25 June, followed by another on Sunday 26 June. My sister and I started out at 8am on a lovely, sunny morning, and it wasn't long before we were climbing the first hill and experiencing the first of many wonderful views across the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

That first hill was just a taster of what was to come, and there were very few flat sections at all on Saturday, just lots of steep uphills and downhills. The amazing scenery and picturesque villages, alongside good company and well stocked pit stops, helped the miles go by fairly quickly though and as the day one finish line approached the legs felt pretty good.

Once at 'basecamp' we were allocated our tents for the night, collected our bags, then sought out the showers. I must say I was very impressed by the heat and power of the temporary showers available in a field, and it was very welcome. Next stop after the shower was food, before sorting out sleeping arrangements for the night, clothing for the next day, getting more food etc. Despite a mild night, neither of us slept well and we were up again just after 5am. It was a bit chilly, but a dry morning and after some breakfast, packing up our stuff and dropping it off for transport to the finish, we were ready to go by 6.30am. That's the earliest I've ever started a race event (not so for my sister, but she's done all sorts of crazy stuff!)

Day two followed a similarly hilly pattern to day one and although my legs felt pretty good when we started out they started to feel the strain of the miles and the hills as the morning went on. Nevertheless, we carried on and followed a similar pattern to Saturday – walking when we wanted/needed to, stopping to enjoy the scenery and take photos, and generally enjoying the journey.

The event finished at Broadway Tower and despite Wes having warned me that you can't see the tower until you near the top, it really did seem to take forever for it to appear. It's a mile or so uphill, which the legs really didn't need by that point! Finally, the finish flags came in to view and we crossed the line smiling. We'd made it! I'm not sure if I'll ever do an event like this again, but really pleased I managed to complete it. It was a very tough undertaking!

Newport Pagnell 5k – 2 July 2022

By Nolan Johnson

Saturday 2 July saw the Newport Pagnell 5km race, which is part of their carnival weekend. There are three 5km runs over the weekend. On Saturday, the 'serious' 5km kicks off at 12pm, with the family run starting 10 minutes later with children, dogs, families running. I chose the 'serious' 5km, and as you can see from my race picture, I took it very seriously!

But on a serious note, it's the best 5km race I've ever run, with me managing to get my second fastest time ever. The support was relentless, even through the brief spells running through the residential areas.

The race was chip timed with free race photos and there was an event shirt at a very reasonable £8.

The finish line was in a field which was packed with food and drink outlets including beer tents. I was the sole LFR there, and it would be great to see a takeover attempt last year, especially as such a great race is only a few miles away! See you there!

Asics 10K – 10 July 2022

By Thom Smith

I had a good result in the Asics 10K in London today and managed to PB by about a minute with a finishing time of 39:37.

Next races for me are Standard Chartered 5K and then back onto half marathon prep, leading up to the London Big Half in September.

The above is nothing really compared to all the mad ultras and things people are doing. That is a hard nope from me!!

Ludlow 10K - 10 July 2022

By Tom Webster

What do you do if you get the grandparents to babysit on a Saturday evening? In times past we would have hotfooted it to a nearby pub, and straight to the beer garden on an evening as glorious as that on 10 July but instead Liz and I headed to the start line of the Ludlow 10K in Shropshire.

The promo pictures for the event are all lit up in glorious sunshine and the weather was exactly as advertised, with warm ups taking place in shadows around the town's castle before a 7.15pm start time.

With most normal people choosing to spend their Saturday evening enjoying a cold drink or a BBQ or similar, it was little surprise that the entry field was a roll call of local, rural running clubs. Some with charmingly understated names - the Shropshire Shufflers - and others with a moniker to live up to, like the Oswestry Olympians. We were, unsurprisingly, the only LFR members in attendance, but our shirts were recognised by a fellow tourist from Milton Keynes!

The course itself is a two lapper, which is scenic if largely unremarkable for the large part, although running on closed roads always feels a bit thrilling. The route goes gently up and down a little through town, looping around until you cross the bridge over the Severn river.

At this point it all changes and you head up a section known as the 'Latic Ladder'. Tight, off road and up some irregular steps, it is certainly a challenge with many resorting to walking but the reward of the views from the top makes it all worthwhile. The route down is as precarious and steep as the ascent and you are then treated to one final kick up past the castle before the finish.

We managed to make it around together for the large part and headed straight for a celebratory beer and a burger. It's a course that offers something a little different and is in stunning surroundings, but don't go expecting a PB!