Monday, March 31, 2008

The Pike Race ~ A View from (not quite) the Back

Sorry for the delay in letting you have this. Perhaps it should now be titled "Belated View From The Back". Actually there were 34 behind me - 11.49 % of the field to put it into accountant speak!

These Pike races seem to come round quickly. Even though, as I have explained to the girls, the Pike race is an annual event, I have managed to do two Pike races whilst at the age of 72.

FSS seems to have got over the injury to have achieved a time of 26:22. Well done Ian. Glad that you seem to be getting back on target with your training. I managed 32:27, 49 seconds quicker than my previous run and, bearing in mind the stiff head wind on the way up, I was happy with that.

What I was not happy with was that YJ beat me after having passed him as we hit Lever Park Avenue on the way in. Even after his am. Coope's Dozen I couldn't hang on after he re-passed me. He beat me by 6 seconds. Good run John, I don't know where you get it from! So far as the other Swift, Et(Ugly?) is concerned, his 30:37 after his am. exploits with YJ was terrific. I understand that some rockets work off pure alcohol and look how fast they go! Perhaps this is his secret. (Didn't work this Saturday. Ed)

Thanks to NLN for you support on the hillside, and for taking your camera with you ~ albeit not taking any photos!

JtE(xtremely Ugly)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bring on Duddon

A lovely day out in the Peak District, beautiful blue skies, bright sunshine and a bit of wind to help you along. Well it helped on the bit I did; perhaps I should take up clairvoyancy, as predicted I got timed out at Mam Nick. At a guess I missed the cut-off by about 15 mins, there was no control to dib at the cut-off when I got there. The results show us retirees in alphabetical order, I'm in front of Jackie Lee of Eryi Harriers (v fast lady), probably the only time my name will appear in front of her on a list of results, so feel really honoured!!

Despite the lack of much mileage over the last couple of weeks (cold induced) and being 4-5lbs heavier (cold induced) than when I ran Winter Hill, I managed similar times for both. Probably 2:45 today and 2:48 WH, so not too bad as I thought I'd be about 2:40-2:45. When comparing times of other runners over the two races (Edale cut-off/ WH) most runners appear to be about 5-10mins quicker at Edale. Hence I'd need to be able to do sub 2:40 at Winter Hill to ensure I'd make the cut-off at Edale. Once I can do this, I'll have another go.

What about YJ you ask? I know I've not mentioned him in my report, but he said he'll do a report for the blog as well, so I'll let him tell you about his race at Edale in his own words.

In some ways I feel glad I didn't make it. It makes me feel even more determined to make sure I succeed at Duddon Valley. It's also difficult to explain (and maybe difficult for anyone else to understand?), but I feel that completing Edale would have taken some of the 'gloss' off achieving one of my main aims for the year.

Having had a short race today, means there's no excuse for not doing Liver Hill on Tues night. Hopefully I'll get back before it gets dark this year!


Good luck at Marl Pits, at least you'll have an excuse for not picking up a prize. Just tell us what you need to do to get ready for Duddon and we'll make sure you do it. Don't expect any mercy!


The Reverend Ray

Just back from the White Bear in Adlington where they were offering Allgates "Reverend Ray" at 4.6%.

Sounds a bit stronger than our our Ray!

I went for the Black Sheep ~ although I suppose in his own sweet little way, Mat is a bit of a black sheep.

As we go to press, no news from Edale.

Apolgies for wimping out on Saturday Morning, I only just made it home. Don't know if it was the cumulative effects of two heavy weekends or the Cain's Stout.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

John's Joss

YJ has given me his schedule for 24th May. It's a bit bulky for the blog, but if anyone would like a copy I'll email it to them.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thurs/Fri/Sat 27/28/29th March 2008

Thursday - meet at 6:45 outside Dave Massey's house for the last evening run before the clocks change. Friday - Thatch and Thistle any time after they open, with a promised guest appearance from Hopalong Nic. Saturday - 8:30 bottom barn for who knows what?

Don't foget to ask me for your money-off vouchers at the Thatch.

With regard to Saturday, there is also a splinter group heading for Derbyshire. Will this mean that TF and YJ will drink even less than usual at the Thatch?

Can you stand this much excitement? I could crush a grape!



For those confused by the reference to Dave Massey's house, Thursday night's meet is in the usual place, which is ... outside Dave Massey's house.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

YJ Reports on the Fleet Half Marathon.

What a long way to go for a disappointing run. The Fleet Half Marathon, billed as a warm up for the London Marathon, drew an entry of over two thousand runners for a semi urban-semi rural course, always with a military flavour and a few nuts in fancy dress. Forecast rain eased off just before the start and pre-race comfort was helped by a friend of daughter Sally who had a convenient toilet in her bungalow, level with the starting marker for the 1 hour 40 aspirants.

With such a large entry inevitably the first mile plus the crawl to the start line was slow but thereafter the town centre route was good for running. The next six miles ticked by in 7.22, 7.19, 7.16, 7.28, 7.30, and 7.19. However the first seeds of concern were sown at the three mile feeding station when the niggling thigh strain that has been a recurrent problem on Saturday mornings manifested itself. Easing the pace to a survival level from the seventh mile on saw a frustrating procession of civilian runners and Ghurkas begin to stream past as the race began to wend its way through the Hampshire countryside.

The final miles were clocked at 7.42, 8.22, 8.33, 7.57, 8.19 and 8.33, giving a total time of 1.46.55. So it was a race of two halves (sorry if it sounds like a soccer game) the first half encouraging in that the pace was potentially there for a good time, yet a last six miles of discomfort and frustration.

Other times from the Swift team were son Eden in 1hr 57min, Sally three minutes better than last year in 2hr 10min and Milton's other grandfather in 2hr 25min.


John, Apologies for this late posting of your article. For some reason BT Yahoo! had assigned it to my spam folder, and I only found it when I was clearing it out. Any ideas as to why it should be so classified would be gratefully received.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Rome Marathon

Sorry for the delay with this; prompted by my travelling companions I started work on a comprehensive report covering the whole weekend, but realised that was probably not what you might be interested in so that will be finished in due course with the Derby contingent as the intended readers.

Cut to the chase ~ I had thought that with a bit of luck, 4 hours might be possible, but at the end of the day luck doesn't play a big part in marathon running. With an average weekly mileage since Christmas of less than 35, a sub 4 was never on.

Rome is a wonderful city and the race started within yards of the Coloseum, crossed the Tiber four times, passed by the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the Vatican City and finished back at the Coloseum. Most of it was on cobbles (or to be more correct, sets) but they were smoother than UK sets and not a serious problem. Part of the course was on a dual carriageway which detracted a little from the wonderful character of the event, but it wasn't for long.

Rog and Dave, my travelling companions both ran 3:08, I ran 4:08. My second half was marginally faster than the first and I was placed 6,320th at the half way point and and 5,157th (out of about 10,500 finishers) at the finish. Boy, was it good just sailing past all those folk in second half.

My complete report will include my views on Italian food, Italian women, disconsolate Scotsmen, and the price of Guinness in Rome, Rog's views on Italian green-keeping, Dave's views on playdough, the team shirts, Italian retro running (don't mention the war) and the meaning of life and the universe and extracts Macaulay's "Horatius" including "Oh Tiber! father Tiber! To whom the Romans pray, A Roman's life, a Roman's arms, Take thou in charge this day..."

The marathon motto was "Corro ergo sum" which Rog insisted means "I watch Coronation Street, therefore I am" ~ Dave and I weren't convinced.

And we never did get to meet Harry ~ you know, that guy the Ities are always talking about, 'Arry the Turkey.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fiendsdale 7.5m/2500ft

Well I'm afraid to report that all good things have to come to an end. I failed miserably on this race, way off my target time of 1hr59:59 by a whopping 7 mins at least.

This was the first time for this race for me. For those of you who've done it before a new route was introduced in 2006. I hadn't had a chance to recce it, so maintaining some visual contact with the runners in front was going to be helpful. It was soon apparent that either my legs had lost some vital connection to my brain or the 5/6 who are normally in front of me hadn't bothered to turn up. A big gap opened, and just kept getting bigger. Going as slowly as I was, I bet the lead group were safely tucked up in their cars when then blizzard hit as I passed the 4th CP heading towards Fiendsdale Head. A bit of route choice between 6 & 7, saw me going a different way to everyone else. I managed to hit the trig point at Paddy's Pole spot on (phew!) but didn't stay long enough to get it's number though! A bit more down and up before the run in from Parlick summit to the finish at Fell Foot, way behind schedule.

My slow run, a detour to avoid a closed road and the football traffic meant I was unable to get to Rivington in time to cheer you all on as intended. So apologies for this, hope you all managed a better run than me today.


Jules, Not to worry. If conditions were anything like we experienced on Saturday morning's round it's no wonder your time was slow. Have you done the "winner + %age calculation"? That might tell a happier story.


NLN now has direct access to the blog so if any posts are seen as being defamatory, or in any other way offensive, it wasn't me (honest).

A Dozen Coopes (It doesn't bear thinking about!)

Following on from Pauline's report (she finished like a nice piece of cod ~ lightly battered, ask her about it) YJ and I finished this clockwise round with a short sprint to finish just inside 5 hours in 4:59. We were going to claim it as a first winter round until we realised that being just after the equinox, it was proably the earliest spring round. It was, as Pauline indicated, a bracing morning and no doubt did us all a power of good.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Dozen Coope's - for some!

As we speak Ed and John still completing a reverse round. Ian and I accompanied them for the first half but bailed out on the summit of Winter Hill, in a brutal wind on the tops. Tired legs after the Caldervale 10m yesterday took their toll, but Ian looking forward to a second outing today at the Winter Hill FR.

Good luck everyone - I'll be the one with the camera!

Stop Press!

No Lakes trip this morning ~ too windy.

Alternative ~ Coope's Dozen from Top Barn 8.00 a.m. start. Finish by 1.00?


Friday, March 14, 2008

What Will You Do Without Me?

You all probably know that I'm off ro(a)ming this weekend, so I won't be updating the blog until Monday evening. I'm sure that this won't be a problem, there was life before blogs, and you can still post comments.

But ... when I'm in Corfu for two weeks, mid May, it would be good if it could still be maintained.

So who is there out there who would like to have greatness thrust upon them? Can we have a volunteer please? I'll just need to let you have my password and we'll have to test that you can log on from other email addresses.

If more than one applicant proceeds past the paper sift there will be a further selection process, which may require the submision of draft posts.

And yes, I have heard of internet caf├ęs, but I wouldn't know what was going on in the real world, and I'm sure that you'd weary of hearing that I'd run, laid in the sun, eaten, laid in the sun some more and then (surprise, surprise) gone for a drink every day, wouldn't you?

Don't all speak at once.


Monday, March 10, 2008

All Breakages Must be Paid For

Thank you all for the gorgeous flowers.

Brief update. Went to Fracture Clinic on Thursday where the doctor recommended I ditch the crutches and weight bear. By Friday my foot was very sore and swollen so we decided to go back to A and E and get them back. Protocol, or as Littlejohn would say 'Elf and safety, decree that I have to be remeasured for them so need an assessment. Of course as luck would have it the waiting room was full. Anyway half an hour later I got to see the Triage nurse who was totally sympathetic and let me have some more crutches without seeing a doctor. I got the impression they were not impressed with the Orthopedic lot who "are a law unto themselves." Very confused about whether I should or shouldn't weight bear. Any ideas??

Thought about you all on Saturday thinking where you would be at various times in the morning. Really missing running. On a good note, the horses have been washed and brushed and ridden and I have even started to clean their tack. If you fancy running this direction I offer a good mid run tea or coffee.

Hope to see you all sooner rather than later.

Nic'O (or should I say Hoppy?)

I know what a triage nurse does, but is the word a mnemonic?

Grindleford Gallop (21m and roughly 2500ft)

(Another report from the Cake Monster)

It was an early set off for this one. The local landowner had reneged on parking in his field at the last minute, so spaces near to the registration/start and more importantly the finish were going to go quick. 21m was enough for one day, particularly as the weather forecast was looking a bit grim, 7C, heavy showers and 18mph winds.

The route from Grindleford goes anticlockwise and south via Eyam, Gt Longstone, Bakewell (about halfway), and then north through Chatsworth Park, Baslow and Curbar & Froggatt Edge. It was pleasing to note that my translation of the written instructions onto the OS map duplicated the route map on display. The tricky bit, mine was spread over 3 sheets of A4 paper. Swapping them over and keeping them in my plastic bag was going to be interesting, especially if it was going to be as windy as promised. Sheet one had the start and finish bits on it.

It was a bit of a squash at first getting everyone through all the stiles/gates/gaps. One bloke getting very exercised about queue jumpers within the first mile. I think a fair proportion of people in the race were road-runners and have yet to learn off-road racing etiquette!

It was a nice, scenic, runnable route (except the very steep bits I had to walk) and a good choice of cakes at the two food CP. I thought it'd all be gone when I got there. We had to cross Bakewell Golf Course at one point, announcing our presence to the Golfers by bashing a big bell. Bet they were having a field day in the club-house keeping a tally of the strikes, probably one point for a walker, two points for a runner, bonus points for a ricochet!

In the 4hrs 15mins I was out (my most miles yet) I only felt a couple of spots of rain, it was a bit blowy on the hills and not nearly as muddy as I was expecting. It could of been a lot worse. The post race nosh was soup & bread - not nearly as good as High Cup Nick but made up for by a (another!) large piece of cake.

Unfortunately my race stats are a bit sparse this week as I've yet to see sight of a full set of results. For information purposes last years' winning time was 2hr 34mins and the slowest 5hr 33mins. Based on last years' results I'd estimated about 5hrs for me - think my calculator needs some new batteries!


Is this distance an off-road record for a Salford Harrier?


Sunday, March 09, 2008

I suppose you think that's funny!
(Emailed to me by JtE)
Saturday 15th March '08

Whilst the Swift Bros are travelling to their respective weekend venues, JtE will be setting off from the usual place at the usual time. Will the usual people be there to keep him company?


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Saturday 8th March

8.30 Bottom Barn.

Thursday 6th

New time 6.45, same old place.

Equinox Evening ~ Friday 28th March 2008

How does this date sound for our quarterly gathering? Thatch & Thistle?

Druid robes optional.

(I know that's eight days after the equinox, but I thought folk may have plans for Easter)


Monday, March 03, 2008


Enjoyable, but disappointing (can't remember the last time a race wasn't).

As ever, the fields were waterlogged, the climb was hard, the saddle was windy and very cold, and just a bit too rocky underfoot to take full advantage of the gradual descent, the final climb was hard, the fell descent rough and the run in waterlogged.

I passed t'Yorkshireman going down to the saddle, he caught me up on top of Parlick, then I managed to run away from him on the final descent. My time of 62 something was way outside my sub 60 target ~ hence "disappointing".

Horwich got 1st (Darren Kay) and second (James Kevan) and probably some vets prizes (Dave Massey, Graham Schofield, Kev Gaskell and Paul Murray) and probably the team prize. Suzanne Budgett and Rachel Metcalf were also out and seemed to be going well but no results yet.

Lunched on a fine beefburger in the Green Man at Inglewhite rather than the pie and peas on offer in the village hall.


PS ~ Just realised that the blog now seems to have just reached its second birthday. First entry was Bleasdale 2006 ~ similar story!

Noon Stone Fell Race

A worrying trend appears to be occurring in fell races - instigation of cut-off times where there hasn't been one previously, especially in the not so long, partially flagged races such as this one. A quick check of the Todmorden website on Friday night revealed the true horror.

The usual race tactic of 'start at back and pick 'em off one by one' was out the window. Although I wasn't last the year before (got 4, 5 if you include the one who went via Todmorden!), I had no idea what time it took me to get to the 'guillotine' point. So two races then, or in supermarket jargon a 'BOGOF'.

Ably wind assisted I avoided the 'chop' by 12 mins, relieved to make it to the unmarked part of the course. Unmarked being a bit of a misnomer, as 200 and odd pairs of feet had made their mark on Turley Holes and Higher House Moor by the time I got there. I then settled down to enjoy the second race, starting with the wind full in your face and a long trudge across peat bogs and then on to the little climb at the end before the steep grassy descent!

Winning time was 1hr10mins35secs John Brown (Salford Harriers - I know, 2!! Salford Harriers in one fell race) me 1hr59mins44secs, a little sprint at the end got me in under the 2hrs. There were also a couple of rmi-ers in attendance, Geraldine picking up the 1st LV50 prize
Noon Stone Results 2008 . Post-race grub this week was a Chip Buttie, (or Chip Barm, depending on where you live) although not included in the price of race it was good value and well deserved I thought!


Stressed Out?

Ed, Sorry about Saturday, was hoping to do Bleasdale as late as Saturday am. How was your run? I am feeling the green devil of envy for everyone who can still run. Anyway thought I would update you all.

Well I am not so much a proper runner now as an ex runner. Can't believe this is the third time unlucky for a marathon attempt. Being advised to rest my increasingly painful foot and desparate to maintain my fitness I proceeded to do my 45 mile target on the mountain bike. Saturday saw me tackling gale force winds by the Pigeon Tower in an epic Rivington challenge and battling fierce head winds on Sunday. By the time I dismounted I couldn't even walk. So it was off to casualty and 2 x-rays later a stress fracture was confirmed.

No weight bearing and crutches for 6 weeks, and definately no running or cycling. (The doctor didn't say I couldn't horse ride but not sure how to get on and off with the crutches.)

Good news is I get 6 weeks off work. Everything takes longer though. It took me 40 mins to hop down to the gate and collect the paper. I've not started mucking out yet. Leading the little ponies to the field was challenging enough. They took an instant dislike to the crutches and did a runner as I was trying to: 1. open the gate, 2. balance on one leg, 3. keep hold of the rope. Luckily they are suckers for food and were enticed back with carrots!

Loads of apologies to NLN for our marathon. I am so gutted. And don't forget me on Saturday mornings because I will definately miss you all.

On a different note young Andrew and I had a ridiculous argument about a Bugatti, (as you do with 16 year olds.) In the end he said I was too emotionally involved with him. I suggested that this was normal for a parent and didn't he feel emotionally involved with me. Yes, he conceded, but he didn't let it interfere with his life!! Ah well!!


Nic, Sorry to hear of your injury; these things always seem to happen just when you feel you're going well. You said that David might have been planning to do Bleasdale, how about sending him out on Saturday mornings to keep us updated, and get well soon!