This is the week that was…. The Dirt Half

This is the week that was... The Dirt Half!


I thought this week's parkrun would be a little quieter due to the Dirt Half, however I was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong.  An impressive 44 of you took part in parkrun’s at nine venues up and down the land. Carrie Tyas and Paul Doyle were in Whitby, while keen parkrun tourist Andy Griggs was at California Park in Berkshire. On holiday in Scotland, Jenny Hogan and Bob Nicol were in Montrose flying the LFR flag. Back home at Rushmere we still had 24 of you taking part, well done to Clare Kleanthous, who bagged herself a new PB of 31:20. It looks like you gave the “Gong of Glory” a decent whack!

The Dirt Half

Our #LFRrocks hashtag really came to life on Saturday as we “took over” The Dirt Half. We had an amazing 41 LFR’s running on Saturday with lots of the LFR family out marshalling and supporting.

On paper, the race seems reasonably straightforward, a half marathon starting at Cedars Upper School, running along the canal, then up and through Rushmere and back. Simple? Possibly. Easy? Definitely Not! The race is so much more challenging than that, as anyone who has run it will tell you. The big debate throughout the week was whether to wear trail or road shoes and even at the end of the race I think many of us were still undecided but more of that later.

Every single runner had some kind of story to tell. From first timers to seasoned runners, those returning from injury or illness and those competing or just being happy completing, there was a real sense of anticipation as the flag dropped at 10am.

Along the canal, The Globe was awash with supporters, turning it into a tunnel of noise and friendly faces. A few miles further on at The Three Locks, more support was waiting on the bridge including chief cheerleader Clare Kleanthous, fresh off her parkrun PB. More support was waiting near the top of the hill into Great Brickhill with JK and granddaughter Elle-Mai dishing out Jelly Babies and encouragement to keep running up that hill. At the same point, Lisa and Jason Charley were also supporting along with their LFR kitted out dogs. Or perhaps Lisa was checking that her patients were behaving themselves?! Julie Sugars, The Greens, Janet Langdon, Mark Kleanthous, Dora Parra, Tracy Cardno and Stephen Moore were also out providing support. I know I speak on behalf of every runner that the support out on course was immense and did not go unnoticed! Thank you!


Onto the results and Team LFR certainly delivered! On an individual level, Mike Clark won his age category in a time of 1hr 39minutes and Rosie Booth came 2nd in her age group and 3rd overall female in a time of 1hr 41 minutes. Well done both!  We then found out we had won the team event! This result was based on the top five runners of either gender from any club that took part. Our team was made up of Ian Bisby (first LFR home), VC Dougie, Paul House, Mike Clark and Kevin Hare. This really put the icing on the cake, what a day!! Unfortunately due to an admin error, Dan Green’s time did not count towards the team time.

As I said at the start, it certainly wasn’t an easy course, especially at the back of the Globe where the choice of footwear would come back to haunt a few. Despite the challenges, many of you still put in PB performances. Watchless winner Tom Webster ran his 1st half. The ever improving Adam Carter got himself a PB of 1:54. I think it’s fair to say Adam has had a brilliant year! Two more PBs were achieved by Mike Ellyard in a time of 1:44 and Ann Hopper with a time of 2:24.

Amazing statistics warning delivered to us from Mike Garner... The average LFR time for the race was 1:59:41 with 25 of the 41 LFR runners getting a sub two hour time. An excellent achievement from everyone, we all should be very proud of our efforts, I know I am!!! Full results can be viewed HERE.


More Racing

On Friday JK completed marathon number 254, supporting the XNRG Druids Ultra. He was the sweeper, removing event signs and tape from the 32 mile, hilly course along the Ridgeway trail, starting at the top of Ivinghoe Beacon and finishing at Watlington. Well done JK and great to see you back doing the long distances again.

Over the weekend around Caldecotte Lake we had runners taking part in yet more Enigma events. Lesley Wes Barnard completed another Marathon in her quest for 100, supported by great friend Emma Davis, who dashed off midway through to marshal at the Dirt Half and then returned to support the last 3 laps... Top work team!

On Sunday, Jim Buttleman, Wayne Walker and Lynda Peacock took the gentler option and completed the TBL 5k. Up in Staffordshire VC Dougie and Dale Smissen took on the Alton Towers Half Marathon, a race through the theme park before it opened. For Dougie this was his second half marathon in two days and allegedly his last for the year? He ran a brilliant 1:36 on both days! For Dale, this was his first official half marathon and he improved his time by a massive 6 minute over the 13.1 mile distance. Brilliant running both and I hope you enjoyed the rides after the race.