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Roadhogg runners

Jackie Valerie

Mark Chamberlain Mike Munday

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Leicester Running Shop LRRL Summer League: Swithland 6

For many years, my memories of Swithland were of bright sunshine and soaring temperatures. Then we had three years of rain (ranging from refreshing drizzle to knicker-soaking downpour). For 2012 we were back to days of yore and sun cream was the order of the day. The race has now settled into its new format. Although the roads are pretty much the same, the changed start means the challenge is completely different. Previously, the final mile was on a slight downslope and you were always struggling to maintain the high pace all the way to the line. Now, much of the final mile is up hill and is a real effort when you’re tired.

After struggling for numbers at Hinckley, we had no less than 10 Hogettes including debutants Rachel and Lucy. Jackie set the ball rolling with an excellent 16th place and was ably backed up by Charlotte (26th) and Bec (27th), both making their first starts of the season. Needing only one to complete the team, we got three instead; Ruth (50th), Rachel (51st) and Barbara (52nd). If this wasn’t enough, Clare (59th) and Trudy (65th) also followed rapidly (A and B teams in the top 65!). Lucy (109th) was delighted to break the hour and Alison (130th) was probably just pleased to negotiate the heat safely!  

Nick produced a quality performance to finish 14th and was followed by Miguel (28th) who had popped over from Norwich to add some potency to the ranks. Mark R (40th) continued his steady rise up the rankings. Peter (68th), Neil (78th), Ceri (82nd) and Sam J (89th) all packed well and Dale (101st) just missed out on giving us an all top 100 counting eight. Colin B (120th), who struggled a bit in the heat, was followed by Lee (126th). John H (142nd) showed Dave L (150th) and Roger (152nd) a clean pair of heals before Martin (158th) led in Dave B (163rd) and an out of sorts Tom (168th). Next up were Keith (190th), Rob T (195th) and Baz (206th) with Sam R (236th) a bit further back. We finished with the V75 category; Colin (255th), making his first start of the season, finishing in front of Barry (261st).  

Leicester Running Shop LRRL Summer League: Hinckley Half Marathon

The Hinckley Half returned to the League after a 2 year absence; with its biggest ever field. Twenty Roadhoggs took to the start but this included only 4 ladies, so we couldn’t afford to get careless and lose one on the way. Un-seasonal weather in the build up meant that the water park had been living up to its name and the lake had expanded into the car park, but fortunately by race day things had dried out just enough to get everyone in (and eventually) out. Conditions on the day were pleasant, if a little warm for running flat out.

 Nick was close to his best, breaking 1.20 and finishing 12th LRRL runner (15th over all). Mark R has been knocking out some great times in training and was able to deliver when it counted, hitting the League top 50 (37th) and setting a 1.25 PB. There was a bit of a gap behind these two as Peter (66th) picked up an injury after a couple of miles and had to really dig in to get round (of course he still managed a time most of us would only dream of!). Colin B (94th) showed Dale (98th) the way home and Sam J (101st) took a chunk off his PB. With Dave L safely, if a little sedately, in in 127th we needed one more for the eight. John Hallissey (140th), returning to the club after a sabbatical on the sofa (and the arrival of young Henry), was the man to oblige but we also had Dave Bullivant (151st), looking strong on his debut, as back up. Keith (164th) is starting to get his mojo back and it’s great to see him enjoying his running again. It was good to see Paul (181st) again and he finished just in front of Lee (187th), who was exploring new territory in his first ever long run (who needs training when you’ve got youth on your side?). John (204th) was pacing Trudy and Mark J (212th) warmed up for his first Marathon with a PB, leaving Rich (240th) to complete our finishers (Adam having pulled up lame, early on). 

What of our quartet of hardy Hoggettes? Jackie (28th) did her captains bit, as ever, whilst Trudy (54th) and Clare (65th) both showed great form and succeeded in lowering their PBs. Alison (121st), not usually a great lover of Half Marathons, finished ahead of schedule and even had a smile on her face!

Leicester Running Shop LRRL Winter League: Kibworth 6

The Kibworth 6 may soon lose its crown as the toughest LRRL race to the Hermitage 10K (I’ll leave you to judge that one) but it is undoubtedly one of the hardest in the county. The Roadhogg family were out in force to assist 6 Race Directors Dave S and Colin S, so we had the luxury of fielding 26 runners in our own race. Most notable among these was a young lad called Nathan, who only took up running in January. What he lacked in experience was more than made up by pedigree; being the son of Neil Adams, who wore a Roadhogg vest with distinction in the early noughties before succumbing to injury. Running the course is quite simple; abandon all thoughts of time, engage low gear and just enjoy the scenery! Everyone remembers Saddington and Gumley Hills but for many, it’s the extra ones that you forget that prove to be the killer.

Despite perfect conditions, the size of the field was a little disappointing; several clashes and the loss of an hour’s sleep to the clock change probably contributed. Nonetheless there was still some quality at the sharp end, so Nick’s top 10 finish (9th) was a great result. Next up we had two men in the form of their lives; Miguel (30th), showing no ill effects of his holiday in South America, and Mark R (34th). Ceri was making his annual PB attempt in the Lincoln 10K, so these two were followed by Nathan (65th) and Adam (66th), who both impressed by breaking 40 minutes. In terms of potential, Nathan’s debut effort speaks for itself but for Adam to drop only 16 seconds from his Barrow time shows how far he has come. Rob M (76th) loves these hills and with young Harry along to support him, he was able to hold off the challenge of Jerry (83rd). Triathlon man Simon (93rd), was having his first outing of the year and looked in good shape (having biked to the race) and Sam J also made the top 100 (99th).

For once, Colin B (101st) managed to put a little daylight between himself and Dale (104th). Hoggs were still coming thick and fast: Lee (110th), Tom (127th), Martin (133rd), Steve W (137th) and Dave (138th), with Steve capping his excellent run with another PB. Following this quintet we had Rob T (164th), Sam (196th), Ham (203rd) and Keith (206th) to complete the line-up (Barry having decided to sacrifice his enjoyment of those hills to the greater good and marshal instead).

Jackie (30th) was backed up by her stalwart crew and the ranks were swelled by the return of Barbara. Ruth managed 47th, Trudy (maintaining her improved form) 52nd and Barbara 55th. Clare finished 64th and Alison was some way behind in 118th.

Leicester Running Shop LRRL Winter League: Markfield 10K

A beautiful spring day; just perfect for tackling such a classic course. From a personal point of view it turned out to be an eventful morning. I arrived with major doubts about whether my injured right foot, which I’d been resting for 10 days, would stand up to the rigours of a league race. On the way from car park to school I inadvertently trod on a piece of wood and got a rusty nail stuck in my left (good) foot (and cut my hand trying to remove it). Of course, as various sympathetic team mates were quick to point out, at least I was now balanced!*

The Markfield course tends to lure one into a fast start with its early downhill sweep. Of course reality arrives swiftly and the short climb up to Thornton rears up like a wall. Short sharp inclines are the feature of this race but thankfully there’s a long spell in the middle where you can establish some rhythm.

Nick was first home (14th) followed by Mark R who broke both his recent PB and the top 50 (45th). Ceri (93rd) was the first veteran and Adam (102nd) almost matched his time from Market Bosworth. Rob M (112th), Neil (113th) and Peter (115th) were separated by just a handful of seconds. Colin B (139th) and Dale (140th) raced like twins again and then we had a couple youngsters setting PB’s. Dan (155th) hasn’t done a 10K since this race a year ago, so perhaps it wasn’t a surprise that he sliced a huge chunk (6 minutes) off his, but Lee’s more modest improvement (41 seconds,158th) was nonetheless impressive coming in the space of just a few weeks (and on a harder course). John D (170th) put in another consistent run but Steve W (195th) hit the heights with a PB.

Dave L (207th) limped in just in front of Rob T (211th) with Keith finishing well in 242nd. Richard turned out for his first race of the year and, considering his limited training opportunities, was pleased to make a significant improvement on his time of a year before. That left Barry (303rd) to complete the line-up. Hoggettes continued to be an endangered species.

Captain Jackie had the faithful trio of Trudy, Clare and Alison plus Ruth back to health after recovering from her skiing injury. Jackie (33rd) had a great run, matching her time on the easier Market Bosworth course. Understandably, Ruth (57th) was a bit more tentative but Trudy (62nd) recorded her best 10K time since 2008. Behind this trio, Clare managed 77th and Alison 156th.

*Clearly they could only be referring to my feet; not my mental state!

Leicester Running Shop LRRL Winter League: Ashby 5

Perfect weather, pity about the lack of scenery! The Ashby 5 will never win any beauty contests and the traffic humps, chicanes and assorted other obstacles mean you can never relax. Nonetheless, we had plenty of good performances. We were missing a whole top eight‟s worth of runners but in true Roadhogg style, there were plenty of others ready to step up. We welcomed Barbara and Kylie in their first runs for the club and Paul for his first of the season.

It was a big field, considering it was Ashby and the third race of the season. In this context, Nick did really well to get 20th and (on chip time) shave a second off his PB. There was a bit of a wait for our next two but Adam (112th) and Sam J (131st in a new PB time) both ran really well. They were soon joined by Colin (138th) and Tom (141st), who beat Dale (142nd) by a short head. Lee (165th) was back on form, pulling out a PB, and Dave (169th) completed the scoring eight (never a good sign for the team!). Roger (178th) had to produce a PB to stay in front of the fast improving John D (182nd). Peter (194th) finished just in front of Paul (196th) who demonstrated what good shape he‟s in by running back to Coalville after the race.

Rob T (244th) showed he‟s starting to regain form and Keith (259th) had a stormer, showing that the last race was just a blip. Sam R (270th) and Ham (278th) finished in front of John S (279th) who was preparing for a midweek Marathon by chaperoning Trudy through the badlands of downtown Ashby. Once again, Jackie (35th) led from the front with another excellent PB and Trudy (75th) made full use of her pace-maker to record her best time since 2008. Fi (79th) was also recapturing old form, shaving a couple of seconds off her PB. Clare (91st) recorded the biggest improvement, taking 6 minutes off the 5-mile time she set at Huncote. Kylie (102nd) and Barbara (109th) both looked the part on their debuts and Alison (161st) had to contend with a return of the sciatica that laid waste to her 2011.

Leicester Running Shop LRRL Winter League: Market Bosworth 10K  

Problems with Caterpillar meant the Desford 10K became the Market Bosworth 10K. Kim had fond memories of running with Ady Blyth and coming second on this course (sometime in the last century!) but for everyone else, it was a new experience. It turned out to be very scenic and fair course and proved popular with the athletes. However, with League fields around the 500 mark, a lot of the traditional venues can no longer cope. Traffic and parking problems gave the officials a bit of a headache, leading to a delayed start, and safety concerns at the finish. We were a few down on the magnificent turnout at Barrow but we were able to welcome Neil, Mark and Jackie for their first races of the new season. 

It was a dull cold day but by no means a bad one for racing. Jackie (44th) showed she was in fine fettle by shaving a few seconds off her PB. Clare (76th), despite managing an even faster run than Barrow, lost out to Sara (75th) who went even better. Trudy (81st) and Fi (83rd) also showed good early season form. Alison (154th) struggled to get the legs to obey orders.

Nick led the men in with 21st and a decent time to go with it. Miguel continued his hot streak with another PB (37.39) and a high placing (55th). Mark C (64th) had another of his injury-affected runs but Mark R (78th) is matching Miguel PB for PB. Sam J (114th), running non-stop this time, and Adam (118th) set impressive benchmarks in their first outings over 10K. Neil (124th) got his season off to a solid start and Colin (134th) and Dale (137th) both went well. Tom (154th) was suffering the after effects of a tangle with an errant dog but still had too much in the final mile for Dave (163rd) and Peter (164th). John D (179th) managed to improve from Barrow, turning the tables on Martin (182nd) and Roger (186th). Lee (189th) had a day to forget (not helped by an over-enthusiastic attempt at the famous Chamberlain race prep the night before!). This week it was Hitesh‟s turn to beat David (209th v 217th) with Steve (231st) following them in again but still setting a PB. Ham (264th) was a little disappointed to only match his pace from Barrow but I‟m sure he‟ll kick on from here. Neither Keith (301st) nor Barry (329th) could quite match their previous efforts.

Leicester Running Shop LRRL Winter League: Barrow 6  

A crisp windless morning, perfect for running, attracted a Winter League record field of 580. Roadhoggs made a full contribution by fielding 35 runners (our own WL record). Adam Clarke, John Davies, Hamir Godhania and Sara Benedi made their league debuts. As well as the record attendance, this was a landmark race for the Leicestershire Road Running League for another reason; it was the first WL race to use chip timing. The chosen system uses „active‟ chips (meaning they contain a battery) which have the benefit of giving a very high „read rate‟. In practical terms, this means they will still work even if carried in a pocket (one runner even carried his in his hand). Only one runner forgot to carry his chip (fortunately he wasn‟t a Roadhogg!) and everything worked well. Race times and positions are determined by „gun to chip times‟ but the chip to chip times give runners, particularly those starting towards the rear of the field a more accurate guide to their true performance, so these are the times I will be adopting for calculating pace (minutes per mile) and PBs.

Barrow is usually one of the more competitive races but nonetheless, we had some interest at the sharp end. Nick Beer made his usual strong start and managed to hold on for 9th place. Behind him, Nick Cobley (21st) finally managed to beat the old master; Mike (25th). Behind this trio were a couple of runners making strong statements at the beginning of the 2012 season. 2011‟s „Most Improved Runner‟ Miguel (85th) and Mark Ramsden (91st) both took significant chunks off their previous 6-mile bests. Ceri and Jerry (sounds like a good name for an ice cream business) ran well for 111th and 129th, respectively. Hot on Jerry‟s heels was our first debutant, Adam (136th), announcing himself with an impressive sub-40 run. Colin (141st) and Tom (143rd) both picked up where they left off, last year. Dale (more reliable than a Volkswagen) came in 171st, just in front of Lee (175th) who impressing in his second race, and Rob M (183rd) who had young Harry along to cheer him on.

Dan (202nd), our other „Most Improved of 2011‟, raced with great determination and no little speed (3 minutes off his PB), to put another couple of old stagers (Dave, 203rd and Peter 205th, still recovering from his serious bike crash) on his „kill list‟. Martin (211th) and Roger (213th) came in just in front of John Davies (221st) another making an impression on his first start. Sam (255th, delayed by a touch of the „Paula‟s‟) led in David (258th) and Hitesh (266th). Steve W (279th) was up next, followed by Sam R (294th) in his first League race since 2004, and John S (296th, finding this short stuff a bit too fast for Marathon legs). Ham (301st) comfortably beat his target time, Keith (313th) looked in good nick and Rob T (324th) was happy to be back after injury. Last, but never least, was Barry (384th) 76 years young and still pounding the streets like a good‟un.

Captain Jackie was ill and Bec was injured, so it was left to Ruth to inspire the troops. She didn‟t disappoint; taking 2 minutes off the PB she set on Boxing day and placing 38th. Clare (97th) was also in fine form lowering her PB by almost 4 minutes. Not far behind was debutant Sara (107th) and she was followed by Fi (116th), Trudy (119th) and Alison (183rd).

Other years: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010