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Rosie Elmore tribute & 37th Essar Four Villages Half Marathon – by Dot Kesterton

This week, Dot sent me this piece, which as ever, features more of her incredible running achievement, but also sad news about the loss of Rosie Elmore, one of Sheffield’s most popular pillars of the running community and inspiration to all who met her.  While I never had the pleasure, I hear nothing but praise and admiration for a woman who took life by the scruff of the neck.

My thoughts are with her family – who I know will be fiercely proud of her legacy.

 

37th Essar Four Villages Half Marathon

19th January 2020

Race Report

Unsurprisingly there are four villages in the half marathon route, Helsby, Dunham on the Hill, Mouldsworth and Manley. Essar, which I kept looking out for is actually the sponsor, not a pretty village in Cheshire. Essar boasts that it is a key player in the nations fuel and power supply, ‘to keep things moving’.

Keeping moving was extremely important yesterday at my first race of the year. First it was absolutely freezing on that side of the country. Second, the toilet queue was at a standstill, the company which had promised additional portaloos having failed to keep us moving. Thankfully as I shivered and waited my turn the lovely Ben Heller and Fufi took care of the baggage drop leaving me to admire my goosepimples.

A cursory warm up around the sports centre car park trying to avoid the men weeing in the bushes and at 10:30, huddled like penguins in a crowd of more than 2000 hopefuls we were away. Billed as the Challenge Awards ‘Best half marathon in the north’, Essar served as the England qualifying race for the championships in Fleet in March and the Northern Masters 2020 Championship half marathon. By Sheffield standards it’s not too hilly, just 485’ ascent though much of that towards the end of the race when the body is trying to conquer the brain by saying ‘enough’.

The route is along quiet country lanes and describes a shamrock, each leaf being the road into and from each of the four villages. I had made a pact with myself not to do my usual trick of going off as if chasing Eilish McColgan and try and maintain a steady 8 minute mileing until mile 11 when I would put in a push to the finish if I could. It worked well. My breathing stayed just the comfortable side of rasping and my legs, frozen from the ankle down still, found their stride and stuck with it. I used the runners around me to help keep that pace until I saw the 11 mile marker and then tentatively pushed the pace, not knowing if there was another hill to sap me until the welcome final village and finish gantry. The plan worked. An average 7:50mmp gave me enough at the end to record 7:15 in mile 12 and 7:28 in the run to the finish which was just as well as I noted I won my category in 1:43:39 chip, just 1 second ahead of the second place in age. That result gave me a 2020 England vest for Fleet, the NMAC F65 half marathon title and a nice bottle of champagne to ease the stiff muscles.

 

I ran in memory of my friend Rosie Elmore who died peacefully on the morning of the race of lung cancer. Rosie, mother of Helen Elmore, Dark Peak, was a regular at Hallam Parkrun and ran a half marathon last year. I believe the womens age category at Percy Pud was raised to 75 in her honour, a fitting tribute to a fine older athlete.

The winner was Mohammad Abu-Rezeq, unattached in 1:06:14. First female was Eleanor Whyman-Davis, unattached in 1:14:31. Sheffield’s Paul Fauset of Dark Peak stormed it with a new lifetime PB in 1:12:48 giving him 12th placing, second M45 and a place in the England Championships in March. Eight Striders ran, with Hal Roberts leading the group in 1:19:30 and Helen Burgess first F in 1:36:07. There were 2023 runners of whom 663 were women.

Dot Kesterton

20th January 2020.

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‘The Basics’ – Gloves

 

‘The Basics’ – a regular look at the simple elements which make running gear useful to the runner. Explanations for those who don’t yet know, along with some facts to cut through the marketing nonsense out there, of which there is plenty!

Part one was Midsoles

Part two was Outsoles

Part three was Hydration

 

This time it’s Gloves.

They cover your hands.  Durrr.

Multicoloured Knitted Finger Puppet Gloves (2-9 Years) from Sainsbury’s Tu range (not for running).

 

But there are a lot of conditions to consider.

Your hands don’t want to be cold.

So gloves ought to keep the cold out.

But hands get warm.  Hands give off moisture/humidity.

Cold gloves meet warmth/humidity and you get condensation.

Condensation inside gloves = wet hands.

 

Wet anything = cold.

 

So waterproof gloves (unless disgustingly expensive) trap more moisture.  Useful in keeping rain out, but annoyingly good at trapping sweat within.

Thick waterproof gloves do exist, but guess what….. they cost!

There are thin waterproof gloves.  But they’re not always very warm when exposed to extreme weather.

So –

Thinner, breathable gloves which wick sweat can help to keep your skin dry and allow the moisture to evaporate from the surface of the gloves.

Thin breathable gloves are fine for runs with an exit strategy, shelter, low altitude, where conditions aren’t likely to change, or when you’re only planning to be out for a short time (up to 60mins).

Inov-8’s ‘Race Glove’ (now replaced by their ‘Train Elite Glove’), is one of my long time favourites for everyday use.

 

But they’re no barrier against extreme cold and the wind just blasts through them.  Rain too – will immediately penetrate the gloves and replace any warmth with cold water.

There are options with a clever amount of wind-proofing on the back of the hands, to increase the resistance to cold from wind chill, but there’s still only a matter of time before rain will spoil your day.

Something like the Powerstretch glove from Montane seems proven as a cold weather comfort.  It’s a little more insulative, with a thicker/heavier material to wick the sweat, while blocking more of the cold air.  They will trap the heat produced by your hands, but still vent enough humidity to keep you from becoming damp from exercising alone.  In continued cold, where there’s no rain and you avoid placing your hands on anything already wet (or wiping your nose too often), you’ll remain cosy.

Thicker, warmer and able to wick more moisture without losing heat – the Montane Powerstretch gloves are pretty useful throughout the winter months.

 

So let’s talk WINTER.

Rain and wind together, in extreme cold – a killer!

When faced with anything more than a slight chill in the early hours, or after dark, it pays to go prepared and carry a system of gloves…  That breathable pair of gloves isn’t going to block the ‘Beast from the East’ winds which come from time to time, or the deluge of rain we encounter for weeks on end!  By this point, you’ll need some outerwear for your hands…

For some who don’t mind the bulk, there are chunky insulated gloves which can claim to remain ‘warm when wet’ and these feature a filling of hollow fibre, whether it be natural down/feathers from birds, or synthetic equivalent in the form of ‘Pertex’, a very lightweight and easily compacted material which fills back to its full size when left to expand.  it traps warmth and forms a thicker barrier between the outside air and the hands hiding within.  Montane’s Prism Gloves are one such example, which I’ve previously likened to wearing ‘sleeping bags with fingers’.  Very effective for their asking price.

For those already attached to/convinced by their everyday gloves, but looking for a solution to bad winter weather, the answer is ‘Shell Mitts’, or ‘Outer Shells’.

Inov-8, Raidlight and Montane produce such mitts.  They provide the basis for a system of layering, just like with clothing in general.

RaidLight’s Stretchlight overmitts – wind & waterproof. Super thin & lightweight for easy storage.

 

Whether you choose the thin breathable, or the thermal glove as your ‘base’, you can rest assured that with a pair of Shell Mitts ready in your pocket/belt/pack, all you need do is slide on the mitts at the first sign of rain, wind, extreme cold or change in pace (don’t forget that the effect of your glove will only be positive if you’re generating heat and creating the warmth you want trapped/stored).

Common mistake:

Taking choice of gloves, but having to remove one pair in order to swap for another.  The time spent exposed to harsh conditions can reduce your fingers to frozen popsickles in seconds.  Especially if suffering from poor circulation (like myself) or Reynaud’s Disease.

The thing to do is carry the spare layer, but add and remove it at will, according to how you feel or the circumstances as they arise.  Never risk getting your base layer wet through carelessness, but rather – stay alert and manage the use of the shell mitts in the same way you might use a waterproof jacket.

I have personally found it a real buzz kill to feel freezing cold fingers despite pleasant conditions during some frosty runs where the sky was clear and the running perfect under foot.  Similarly, while challenged by extremes in weather and I’m wrapped up in base, mid, shell layers to keep warm and relatively dry, my hands would suffer due to the waterlogged gloves, freezing in the high winds.

Surprisingly, with the addition of the Shell Mitts, I’m concerned about getting too warm!  Even at minus 10 degrees wind chill on Kinder Scout (Derbyshire’s tallest peak), I’m bobbing along quite happily, opting to avoid overdressing because I feel so comfy with my breathable layers and toasty digits under just two thin layers of glove.

The secret – not losing the warmth already generated.  Your gloves won’t make you warm.  But they can, if you allow them to, insulate against the elements which would otherwise remove the heat all too quickly.  Plus, while on, they still allow the wicking to continue, but the large amount of air between inner and shell, allows dispersal of moisture, so the cold/wind can’t then cause any wet surfaces to become shockingly cold before heat can build.

For best results:

Find a ‘fair weather pair’ of thin gloves for Autumn/Spring, which cover you against sudden (perceived) changes in temperature before/after a warmer midday stretch.  It’s all too common for our bodies to feel vulnerable to these seasonal variations, since our defences haven’t had time to adapt.

Obtain that comfier, warmer pair of gloves for when its really cold all day, or when you can anticipate nasty conditions along the way (say, on a 10 mile hilly trail run between November –  March).  That way you’ll spend a majority of your time feeling safe and sound during the winter gloom.

Have that pair of Shell Mitts at your disposal for when you’re heading out into what already looks pretty grim.  Perhaps a night run.  Long winter trail.  Exploring, or ‘breaking trail’ down paths you’ve never before taken.  Anything at extreme altitudes, like Mountains (610m in height is the UK definition for a ‘Mounatin’). When you’re heading out for a considerable length of time, where to become wet would be to become susceptible to hypothermia.  If there may not be shelter or exit for the time it would take to lose core temperature (particularly when moving slowly through fatigue).  Carry Shell Mitts.

Then simply apply and remove the mitts as you go, maintaining warm, dry hands and a happy disposition while enjoying the scenery.  Whatever the weather.

Happy running!

 

 

 

 

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Gritstone Fixtures: Round Ten – Grin N Bear It Fell Race

The main points:

Grin n Bear It 2019:

  • The 10th and final race of the 2019 Gritstone Series.
  • The race will start and finish at Langsett Barn, Langsett, Stocksbridge, S36 4GY.
  • Race date: Sunday 27th October 2019, 10am (registration open from 8:30am). Entry is £10 in advance, £12 on the day.
  • Entry fee includes hot meal and drinks at the end of the race.
  • The route: 27km with 890m of ascent
  • Please note that the route is different since 2017 due to issues with land access.
  • Please bring full kit as required by FRA rules.  A decision will be made on the day regarding what must be carried.  ‘Best practice is to carry FRA Mandatory Minimum Kit, but specific requirements are at the Race Organiser’s discretion’.  Note: FRA Mandatory Minimum Kit (for Long A, Medium A and Long B races) comprises: waterproof whole body cover (with taped seams and integrated attached hood) + hat + gloves + map + compass + whistle + emergency food
  • All competitors should be aware and adhere to the FRA rules which are available on the FRA websitehttp://www.fellrunner.org.uk/   These will also be available at the race.
  • If you retire from the race at any point after you have registered you must inform the nearest checkpoint marshal or race organiser.
  • All profits from the race go to Woodhead Mountain Rescue.

The ‘flava’:

This is it, final race of the 2019 series and the longest one to boot.  Organised by Woodhead Mountain Rescue and befitting their experience in the outdoors.

Among the highlights of this race are a tough rocky climb early on from Langsett to the summit of Cut Gate, where it’s a quick descent to Slippery Stones before once again climbing all the way to the top of the Derwent Watershed at Swains Head.  There’s a stretch where you’ll get muddy if you’re not careful and some well positioned tape is a lifeline across an open boggy area.  By the time you pick your way through the remains of the course, across ruins and stiles here and there, you’ll find yourself back where you started, some half marathon (and change) later.

Those with strength endurance might gain from this course, where the pure speed freaks will have their work cut out, due to the overall length and extended periods of ascent.  It’ll be interesting to see if any unexpected results come in as a result.

Read about Team Accelerate’s Caroline French and her experience of the race back in 2018.

The race is well marked and has 6 Check Points – marshalled by Woodhead MRT. The race terrain is a mix of rocky paths and open exposed peat fell – The first section is a climb out of Langsett up to Mickleden and Cut Gate where the route then leads onto open fell tops – this is an exposed section running across well worn peat pathway/lines. After the decent from Swains Head CP the final section has a few short climbs then gives a fast home run across grassy moorland and woodland tracks.

Entry form: https://grinnbearit.org/entry-form/

Full Gritstone Series information and results can be found at https://www.gritstoneseries.co.uk/

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Gritstone Fixtures: Round Eight – Curbar Commotion

 

  • The race will start and finish at Curbar Primary School, Calver Bridge, S32 3XA
  • Saturday 5th October 2019, £7 entry fee (£6 pre entry) minimum age 18/maximum number of runners 350
  • 10am start – registration from 8.30am
  • Category BM, 9.8 miles/415 metres ascent
  • Runners must arrive on the start line by 9.45am so we can complete a briefing, headcount and kit checks as appropriate
  • For any reason you decide to not take part after you have registered please inform organisers ASAP
  • Limited car parking will be available at various sites in the area
  • Toilets will be available and belongings can be left at registration
  • Please bring full kit as required by FRA rules.  A decision will be made on the day regarding what must be carried.  ‘Best practice is to carry FRA Mandatory Minimum Kit, but specific requirements are at the Race Organiser’s discretion’.  Note: FRA Mandatory Minimum Kit (for Long A, Medium A and Long B races) comprises: waterproof whole body cover (with taped seams and integrated attached hood) + hat + gloves + map + compass + whistle + emergency food
  • All competitors should be aware and adhere to the FRA rules which are available on the FRA website  http://www.fellrunner.org.uk/   These will also be available at the race.
  • The race is suitable for novices but some fell running experience is recommended
  • The weather forecast for the race will be displayed on the day
  • A map of the route will be displayed on the day
  • A copy of the safety check list will be displayed on the day
  • A hypothermia leaflet will be displayed on the day
  • The race will be well marked and marshalled; one marshal will sweep the route behind the last runner
  • Drinks and cakes will be provided at the end of the race
  • Prizes will be available for first male/first female, first vets +40, first vets +50, first vets +60. +70 and first locals (i.e. residents of Calver, Curbar & Froggatt)
  • All monies raised go to Curbar Primary School

Around a good while, but more recently added to the Gritstone Series as one of the ‘long’ events and boy has it become popular!  Perhaps because of the access or the relatively easy 9.8 miles (as opposed to the even longer stuff later in October).  Back again this weekend (Sat) and likely to be wetter than an Otter’s pocket!

Course Information

The race starts and finishes at Curbar Primary School, S32 3XA. It is 9.8 miles long and covers a variety of tracks and paths through Curbar, Frogatt and Baslow. Marshalls will be in place around the course and will be well marked. There are two road crossings to be aware of, one at the beginning of the race on Bar Road and another over Clodhall Lane. After the Bar Road crossing you will cover a section of The Green, Curbar. All will be marshalled however please be extremely cautious as the roads are not closed. You will also negotiate a number of gates and stiles in the race. Please do not cross walls or fences and be respectful of the surroundings. You may encounter cattle and horses on the route, again please be extremely cautious if this situation arises.  The route is the same as recent years.

 

 

Entry on the day is £7 but pre entry is available at a reduced price of £6.  Please note that only forms and money received before 30th September 2019 will be accepted. All payments must be clearly marked with runners details.

Online entry is available via payment to Curbar Primary PTA Sort code 40-09-30 Account number 21061186 and emailing the entry form to the curbarcommotion@yahoo.com

Or you can fill in the entry form below and send a cheque to Curbar Primary School at:

Curbar Primary School

Calver Bridge

Calver

Hope Valley

S32 3XA

 

Please find the application from by following this link: fell race entry form 2019 Data compliant

The race is part of the ‘Gritstone Series’, details of which can be found at: www.gritstoneseries.co.uk

If anyone has any queries please contact the event organiser, Helen Walton, on 07968561519 or email thecurbarcommotion@yahoo.com 

Updates regarding the race can be found on our Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/The-Curbar-Commotion-Fell-Race-665058120255420/

 

Please find information about parking for the event at this link (clearer image) and see below: large parking map

 

 

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Dig Deep!

Dig Deep. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. What is doesn’t say though is “yeeeees! I did it!”

I’ve not had what you’d call an ideal build up, what with spraining my right ankle in March and then a stress fracture in the left ankle early June. I’m not going to lie, I was a little anxious. July onwards I’d resisted the urge to wrap myself in cotton wool AND bubble wrap and got out on the hills training. Sometimes, the mental battle was every bit as hard as the physical one. Those inner voices of “you’re not fit enough” and “what if you fall?”…they’re sneaky little buggers I can tell you.

Training sessions and long runs ticking off as the weeks go by, some tough some a breeze. You know how it is. Then literally 3 weeks before race day (getting goose bumps as I write this) I realised I’m going to make the start line! Having missed out on a couple of big events through injury, a major milestone.

Saturday morning: race day. A 6am alarm call. Eek. Nerves and excitement in one crazy cocktail. “Come on girl. You’ve got this”.

On arrival at Whirlow and race HQ (and yes, on time. Another hurdle for me!), I was literally buzzing. Proud as punch to be there with the other crazy, awesome bunch. Lots of smiley faces, sharing words of encouragement. Before I knew it, it was race briefing and then we were off!

As we set off I had a moment if gratitude: that I’d made it, it was a beautiful, beautiful day and that I was blinking well doing it!

Race day was a stunning, misty sunny morning and as we headed out over towards Houndkirk it was truly was amazing.

As we reached Stanage I was feeling dead relaxed and pacing steadily. Running my own race and enjoying being a part of it. I felt great. Up new road, down to Yorkshire bridge and the first fab checkpoint, filled with goodies. Up parkin clough and still feeling awesome. Couldn’t resist a selfie at the trig! On the way back down to Hope started chatting to the lovely Sarah and as it happens we ended up running a lot of the race together from there.

The route was just fab and the miles ticked by so easily. The 2nd checkpoint landed and I was still feeling fab. Snacks and water topped up and straight out the door. Up Bradwell edge, down into Shatton, over to Hathersage along the river. Beautiful.

There’s a cheeky climb out of Hathersage. Sarah and I chatted the while way up ( I know, me talking a lot!!), chatting about how her other half was getting on. Some guy called Jonathan doing the 60. Soon we were scrambling up through ferns and back into Carl Walk. A perfect photo spot apparently!

Oh my god. I was on Houndkirk. How did that happen. Waves of goose bumps and a little emotional moment. “I’m really going to do it”. Slapping myself metaphorically round the face I cracked on. Down limb valley then up the final climb.

Approaching the finish line, I think this is my proudest running moment to date. It’s a big run. I wasn’t where I wanted to be training wise but I had faced it head on, braved the what if and turned up. I set off with the highest positive attitude to give it my all and enjoy it. No matter what the race, that’s all we can do.

Massive achievement and actually I did pretty well. 5th female and 18th overall of 116 runners. 5 hrs 56 ish. Super pleased.

Have to say a huge thanks to Stu Debs and Colin( and the accelerate team in general!) or their words of support and encouragement. Scott Running and the lovely Chris Dunn, a huge thanks to you too for supporting the race. Finally, all you crazy hardy fools who ran that day, you rock!

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