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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

NORTH WALES RUNNERS WIN PODIUM PLACES IN VIRTUAL WELSH FIVE-MILE RELAY CHAMPIONSHIPS

                             Lesley Goodson in top form again in the Welsh relay challenge

 Welsh Athletics virtual 5-mile road relay challenge

NWRRC members win podium places in Welsh relay challenge

 

Report by Don Hale. Most photos by Steve Jeffery.


Four members of North Wales Road Running Club won age-related podium placings within a high-quality field of national athletes during last weekend’s Welsh Athletics virtual 5-mile relay challenge.

With almost nine-hundred-entrants competing overall, including twenty-six teams of eight runners, the NWRRC team finished 15th overall, with the top four male and female finishers from each club counting towards team scores. 

Due to strict Covid-19 restrictions, social distancing regulations, and recent freezing temperatures, the event was staged as a time-trial over four days, with all athletes having to complete their runs individually, and on their own preferred courses.

This prestigious event attracted some superb performances and some very close finishes between club rivals, with 16 seconds separating Richard Eccles and Troy Kettle; and just two seconds between Stuart Culverhouse and Steve Bozier, with the latter runner being only 22 seconds ahead of Richard Scamans. 

In the Ladies race, Kay Hatton finished 16 seconds ahead of Charlotte-Rose Wilton-Jones, whilst Hannah Griffith and Helen Hannam battled for a 7 second difference. Twenty-three seconds separated M65 veterans Kevin Slattery and Don Hale, and Charlotte later pipped Kevin by just one second.

Jonathan Kettle though, was the first club runner home again in the 5-mile challenge in 19th place following an excellent run in 28 mins 34 secs, and was 4th in his M45 age category. 


           
                                                    Jonathan Kettle - first club runner in relay


The four podium placings however, went to Richard Eccles who finished in 31.06, and 68th overall as 2nd M50 cat; teenager Troy Kettle was hot on the heels of his father Jonathan in 31.22, in 73rd place, and 3rd U20 cat; with Lesley Goodson 2nd W55 cat, 233rd overall in 36.21: and Kevin Slattery 3rd M65 vet, 335th overall in 39.19.



                                                             Troy Kettle and Stuart Culverhouse



    Kevin Slattery claimed a deserved 3rd place in his M65 age category


The team scorers were: Jonathan Kettle, Richard Eccles, Troy Kettle and Stuart Culverhouse were the male scorers; with Lesley Goodson, Kay Hatton, Charlotte-Rose Wilton-Jones and Hannah Griffith, representing the ladies. 

The full club results include: 19th Jonathan Kettle (28.34), 68th Richard Eccles (31.06), 73rd Troy Kettle 31.22), 128th Stuart Culverhouse (33.21), 129th Steve Bozier (33.23), 212th Richard Scamans (35.45), 224th Gethin Wyn Jones (36.07), 233rd Lesley Goodson (36.21), 326th Kay Hatton (39.02) and 7th W55 cat; 334th Charlotte-Rose Wilton-Jones (39.18), 335th Kevin Slattery (39.19), 345th Don Hale (39.42) and 5th M65 cat; 388th Hannah Griffith (41.01), and Helen Hannam 391st (41.08).



                                               Charlotte-Rose Wilton-Jones pictured in warmer times



                                            Kay Hatton had another excellent run in the relay


*Two junior runners who are the daughters of senior club members, competed in other mixed relay events for Colwyn Bay, with Lucy Charlick enjoying her debut in the U11 girls and boys time-trial race over a mile in 8 mins 29 secs to finish 16th; and Mia Morris ran in the U15 girls and boys time-trial race, finishing 30th in 16 mins 12 secs.



                                                        Lucy Charlick made her debut in the junior relay



                                                           Mia Morris with Helen Hannam

*The top-team positions for the 5-mile relay race were awarded to 1st Lliswerry Runners in 4 hrs 2 mins 29 secs, with Chepstow Harriers 2nd in 4.05.45, and Bridgend 3rd in 4.07.52. NWRRC were 15th overall in 4.40.05, and Denbigh Harriers also ran very well as 6th team overall in 4.21.22. The 5-mile individual race was won by Paul Graham from Pontypridd Road Runners in a remarkable time of 24.58, with a close dash to the time-line by his fellow team mates James Peters (26.18) and Sam Gregory (26.24) in 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

* Next weekend will see local runners competing in the Welsh Athletics 1-mile virtual dash, and the North Wales 10-mile virtual challenge. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Welsh Athletics time trials and road relays

                                          Images (above) and (lower page) from the Conwy Parkrun

Welsh Athletics time trials and road relays

Entries remain open until February 11th for junior and senior club runners from North Wales to enter a selection of virtual and varied time trials, and/or road relay events for Welsh Athletics, with the winning seniors able to qualify for an International Home Nations challenge.

For junior athletes, the schedule includes time trials for U11 boys and girls over a mile distance, an U13 boys and girls 2km time trial, plus an U15 boys and girls 3km time trial.

And for the seniors, there is a great opportunity to take part in a virtual Welsh championship road relay competition during the same period. 

The challenges must to be completed as individuals on a course of their choosing close to home and remain subject to Covid-19 restrictions and run between 12-15th February.

Clubs must enter mixed teams, including four men and four women, and can enter as many runners as they wish, with the top four male and female athletes scoring points as the fastest finishers.

The road relay squad can also include teams with a mix of junior, senior and masters’ athletes, subject to a minimum age requirement of 15. 

The final scoring will also be a qualifier for a virtual international match against Scotland, England Northern Ireland for the senior section.

The Home Nations virtual match is scheduled between 19-22nd March. And entries are only open to fully paid-up members of a club affiliated to Welsh Athletics, who are currently members of the WA. *See below for entry details:

https://data.opentrack.run/en-gb/x/2021/GBR/wa-rr-21/?fbclid=IwAR0c5uYb5tv5a8Z3LoQL25RJJBwSDAX4tpF4E6KArY5CC75-Vgya2UfYW8s



North Wales 10-miles virtual championship

 

Entries are also open until February 12th, for the North Wales virtual 10-mile championship road race event, which must be completed by solo runners on the weekend of February 20/21st.

Age groups for male and female runners include U20, V35, V40, V50, V55, V60, V65, AND V7O plus. The minimum age to be included is 17.

Runners may choose their own course, but it must be within the boundaries of the North Wales Regional Athletics Council area. Exceptions to this rule in the case of “lockdown” conditions, will be decided on an individual basis and on written application.

The finish must be within one mile of the start. N.B. Downhill courses are not permitted.

Entrants must be currently members of the Welsh Athletics registration scheme. 

This applies to both athletes that are members of affiliated Welsh Clubs and those that qualify for championships and are members of Clubs based outside Wales e.g. England. Athletes not meeting these conditions are automatically ineligible.

Runners should complete the course individually, or if running with others, must always observe social distancing. *See below for entry details:

https://data.opentrack.run/engb/x/2021/GBR/nw10m21/?fbclid=IwAR2skohOSwFveSQyv62VTji1qFrm2GGmvONzVznkgG9LhVDnFxH9jkxT6vk

 

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

North Wales runner wins gold in Welsh Championships

North Wales runner wins gold in Welsh Championships

Two NWRRC athletes braved freezing temperatures last weekend to compete in the Welsh Athletics Virtual Winter 10k challenge, with one runner claiming gold in his age category, whilst the other just missed out on a bronze award by 22 seconds.



                                                                                       Don Hale

Club veteran Don Hale finished as a surprise M65 category winner, and was 57th overall in 51 mins 5 seconds, claiming his age cat prize for the second time in four years, although the previous win was run as a live event.

Helen Hannam unfortunately faced disappointment in her F45 age category when pipped to the bronze medal position by the finest of margins after holding a podium place for a couple of days. Helen ran extremely well though and finished in 65th place overall in 52.09.


            
                                                                      Helen Hannam


All the runs had to be completed as individuals and were subject to strict Covid-19 restrictions, and completed on a favourite home patch. 

The Welsh championship event attracted 142 entrants and some impressive finishing times, and former NWRCC athlete Gemma Moore, now representing Eryri Harriers, finished as the 2nd female runner overall, and won her F35 age category in 41.54 in 20th place.

Gemma, however - and just like Helen – also finished 22 seconds behind her nearest rival, Chloe Powell from Newport Harriers, who claimed the 1st SW cat title in 41.32.

The overall male winners included: 1st Daniel James, who was also the 1st M40 winner, from R4All in 34.51. Matthew Jacklin of Aberdare Valley AAC finished 2nd and was the 1st M45 cat in 35.37, with Matthew Hurford from Les Croupiers the 2nd M45 cat, and was 3rd overall in 36.42.



                                  Former NWRRC runner Gemma Moore now with Eryri Harriers

 

Welsh Athletics time trials and road relays

 

Entries remain open until February 11th for junior and senior club runners from North Wales to enter a selection of virtual and varied time trials, and/or road relay events for Welsh Athletics, with the winning seniors able to qualify for an International Home Nations challenge.

For junior athletes, the schedule includes time trials for U11 boys and girls over a mile distance, an U13 boys and girls 2km time trial, plus an U15 boys and girls 3km time trial.

And for the seniors, there is a great opportunity to take part in a virtual Welsh championship road relay competition during the same period. 

The challenges must to be completed as individuals on a course of their choosing close to home and remain subject to Covid-19 restrictions and run between 12-15th February.

Clubs must enter mixed teams, including four men and four women, and can enter as many runners as they wish, with the top four male and female athletes scoring points as the fastest finishers.

The road relay squad can also include teams with a mix of junior, senior and masters’ athletes, subject to a minimum age requirement of 15. 

The final scoring will also be a qualifier for a virtual international match against Scotland, England Northern Ireland for the senior section.

The Home Nations virtual match is scheduled between 19-22nd March. And entries are only open to fully paid-up members of a club affiliated to Welsh Athletics, who are currently members of the WA. *See below for entry details:

https://data.opentrack.run/en-gb/x/2021/GBR/wa-rr-21/?fbclid=IwAR0c5uYb5tv5a8Z3LoQL25RJJBwSDAX4tpF4E6KArY5CC75-Vgya2UfYW8s

 

North Wales 10-miles virtual championships

 

Entries are also open until February 12th, for the North Wales virtual 10-mile championship road race event, which must be completed by solo runners on the weekend of February 20/21st.

Age groups for male and female runners include U20, V35, V40, V50, V55, V60, V65, AND V7O plus. The minimum age to be included is 17.

Runners may choose their own course, but it must be within the boundaries of the North Wales Regional Athletics Council area. Exceptions to this rule in the case of “lockdown” conditions, will be decided on an individual basis and on written application.

The finish must be within one mile of the start. N.B. Downhill courses are not permitted.

Entrants must be currently members of the Welsh Athletics registration scheme. 

This applies to both athletes that are members of affiliated Welsh Clubs and those that qualify for championships and are members of Clubs based outside Wales e.g. England. Athletes not meeting these conditions are automatically ineligible.

Runners should complete the course individually, or if running with others, must always observe social distancing. *See below for entry details:

https://data.opentrack.run/engb/x/2021/GBR/nw10m21/?fbclid=IwAR2skohOSwFveSQyv62VTji1qFrm2GGmvONzVznkgG9LhVDnFxH9jkxT6vk

 

 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

NORTH WALES RUNNERS COMPLETE SPANISH 10K CHALLENGE

                                          Jonathan Kettle - fastest 10k time for North Wales team

North Wales runners complete Spanish 10k challenge

Despite the bitter cold winter weather over the past two weekends some 39 athletes from North Wales Road Runners and the Spanish athletic club Fondistes Penedes, from near Barcelona, brought a welcome bit of sunshine and light relief into a second friendship virtual challenge.

Staged over a week-long period, due first to snow and ice in Llandudno, and then strong winds in Spain, some thirteen teams of three runners finally completed the 10k road event last Sunday, with each athlete guided by strict Covid-19 restrictions, and having to complete their runs individually.

The teams included a mixture of male and female runners from each club with the results based on the fastest finishing times, and the best age percentage performances. The Welsh squad entered 22 athletes with the Spanish club represented by 17 runners.

This was the second competitive challenge between the two organisations and was set-up by NWRRC chairman Kevin Slattery and Fondistes official Joan Luque. The first match last autumn was a similar 5k event, and this latest run produced equally exciting and close finishing times.

When the results were finally confirmed on Sunday, Kevin said: ‘What a week. As if we didn't have enough to deal with, with all the Covid restrictions, we then had to cope with everything the weather threw at us. However, all entrants in the finalised teams from last week managed to turn in a time, so well done all!’



The fastest male runner overall was the Spanish runner Gabriel Herrera (*pictured above) who recorded a very fast time of just 35 mins 35 secs. The top NWRRC runner was Jonathan Kettle who steamed home just 17 seconds adrift in 35 mins 52 secs.
 

And perhaps, not surprisingly, both men were also part of the winning team, Team 1, which also included popular veteran Mike Hayton, also from NWRRC.



                                  NWRRC veteran Mike Hayton who was part of the winning team

The quickest female runner was Mari Olaya from Spain, who ran 41 mins 15 secs, with Sarah Ferguson-Hudson the fastest Welsh runner in 48 mins 1 second. Mari also recorded the highest female Spanish age performance percentage of 76.33%, and Kay Hatton the best Welsh percentage of 76.66%.

The overall winners were Team 1, who recorded a total time of 2 hrs 16 mins and 26 seconds, with Team 3 in second spot in 2.17.55, and third was Team 4, in 2.18.13.

Team 7 with Stuart Culverhouse, Kay Hatton and Cele Lopez claimed the highest age percentage performance result with 72.71%, with Team 1 in second place with 69.90%, and Team 5, third, with 67.89%.



                                              Spanish athlete Mari Olaya ran the fastest female time

 

*The final individual and team results included: 

Times and percentages:

 

1st place: Team 1: Jonathan Kettle (Wales) 35.56/76.80%, Mike Hayton (Wales) 64.55/56.57%, and Gabriel Herrera (Spain) 35.35/76.33%. Overall 2.16.26/69.90%.

2nd place: Team 3: Jon Doe (Wales) 42.15/69.84%, Dave Spofforth (Wales) 42.48/64.48%, Eva Sauleda (Spain) 52.52/69.12%. Overall 2.17.55/67.81%.

3rd place: Team 4: Vicky Taylor (Wales) 57.21/57.67%, Iban Perez (Spain) 37.54/72.00%, Thilo Schilebener (Spain): 42.58/73.82%. Overall 2.18.13/67.83%.

4th place: Team 10: Helen Hannam (Wales) 52.09/62.77%, Alejandro Martin (Spain) 45.15/64.22%, Mari Olaya (Spain) 41.15/75.71%. Overall 2.18.39/67.57%.

5th place: Team 7: Stuart Culverhouse (Wales) 42.55/70.96%, Kay Hatton (Wales) 49.36/77.66%, Cele Lopez (Spain) 46.58/71.71%. Overall 2.19.29/72.71%.

6th place: Team 5: Richard Scamans (Wales) 45.37/66.76%, Ben Hudson (Wales) 45.37/64.69%, Carmen Exposito (Spain) 51.13/72.21%. Overall 2.22.27/67.89%.

7th place: Team 12: Tony Price-Jones (Wales) 49.18/56.37%, Txiqui Olivella (Spain) 44.46/66.95%, Raimon Palai (Spain) 48.28/68.28%. Overall 2.22.32/63.87%.

8th place: Team 2: Ian Slattery (Wales) 39.42/69.10%, Jaume Bertran (Spain) 44.54/75.01%, Pilar Gallego 59.05/57.27%. Overall 2.23.41/67.13%.

9th place: Team 8: Don Hale (Wales) 51.05/71.07%, Sarah Ferguson-Hudson (Wales) 48.01/66.89%, Alex Pacheco (Spain) 45.18/64.15%. Overall 2.24.24/67.35%.

10th place: Team 6: Gethin Wyn-Jones (Wales) 47.33/57.69%, Charlie Owen (Wales) 57.09/58.41%, Santi Hervas (Spain) 39.58/73.83%. Overall 2.24.40/63.31%.

11th place: Team 11: Tony Gibson (Wales) 51.06/67.09%, Steve Roberts (Wales) 45.25/71.02%, Manuel Galvez (Spain) 48.38/67.12%. Overall 2.25.09/67.12%.

12th place: Team 13: Jim Michael (Wales) 44.54/59.85%, Kevin Slattery (Wales) 46.23/75.97%, Joan Luque (Spain) 54.27/60.25%. Overall 2.25.44/65.36%.

13th place: Team 9: Kevin Higgins (Wales) 52.51/62.62%, Hannah Griffith (Wales) 52.04/64.28& Lluis Balague (Spain) 49.48/60.66%. Overall 2.34.43/62.52%.



Sarah Ferguson Hudson (above) ran the fastest Welsh team time, and (below) Kay Hatton who claimed the highest Welsh age performance percentage.



*Category winners were awarded prizes, but with only one prize allowed for each winner, some other athletes were therefore promoted: These included Iban Perez (37.54), third fastest time; Carmen Exposito, third highest female performance, and Kevin Slattery, third highest male age percentage performance.



NWRRC chairman, veteran runner, and joint event organiser Kevin Slattery (pictured below) claimed the third best age performance percentage.


Iban Perez (above) ran the third fastest time, and (below) Carmen Exposito, who claimed the third best age performance percentage.


Richard completed 10k run every day during January



North Wales runner Richard Scamans hit the road with a vengeance during January by completing thirty-one 10k runs in 31 days to help boost his fitness motivation, and he even ran in an international club challenge against Spanish rivalry.

Richard, who owns a Llandudno guest house, has perhaps had more time during lockdown to regain his fitness, and opted for a notable challenge following the festive break. 

He explained: I was really pleased at deciding to do it and completing it. I went from 20 kms in November and December, to 310 kms (193 miles) in January.’

He added: ‘People kept asking me if I felt like not going out when the weather has been so bad, but there was no decision to make other than my commitment made on January 1st to run every day throughout the month.

‘If I had had to make the decision on a daily basis I would probably have capitulated, and just done what I did in November.’

Richard, a member of NWRRC, later took part in the club challenge against the Spanish athletic club Fondistes Penedes at the weekend, and hopes to take part in a further series of virtual challenges in the next few months. He ran each 10k between 44-48 minutes, but later confirmed: ‘I am ready for a rest now, at least for a few days.’

 

Ends.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

NORTH WALES RUNNERS CLAIM AGE CATEGORY WINS

                                                                       Stuart Culverhouse

Two North Wales runners claim age category wins

North Wales Road Runners claimed several age-related podium places in last weekend’s Kidsgrove virtual 10k and 5k races, which attracted over 500 athletes, despite an extended spell of icy weather and extensive Covid-19 restrictions.

Stuart Culverhouse and Kevin Slattery both won their individual age categories in the 10k challenge, with Stuart having a fine run to finish 7th overall and 1st M45 cat winner in 42 mins 43 secs, and Kevin completing a fantastic performance to win his M65 cat in 17th place overall in 45.21. In addition, charity fundraiser Llinos Davies from GOG Triathlon finished in 163rd place overall and was the 7th F60 runner in 68.19. The overall race was won by Scott Zikmanis from Newcastle (Staffs), 1st M40 cat runner in 36.25.


      

                        Kevin Slattery

 

Exciting family finishes in 5k race

 

It was an exciting finish, and an extraordinary family battle for some talented runners in the Kidsgrove virtual 5k race, with Nic Brook from Eryri Harriers claiming overall race victory from rival Jonathan Kettle of NWRRC by just 4 seconds. 

Nic ran home in 17 mins 32 secs, with Jonathan recording 17.36. The runners also finished as 1st and 2nd in their respective M45 age category.

Nic’s partner Gemma Moore, a former NWRCC runner was the 1st female athlete and 1st M35 cat winner in 5th place overall in 19.53, whilst Jonathan’s son Troy Kettle, finished 6th overall, and was also the 2nd senior man, just 4 seconds adrift in 19.57.

Tony Price-Jones was 21st in 22.47, with Charlotte-Rose Wilton-Jones 52nd overall and 28th female in 26.17. Helen Hannam was 56th overall and 31st female in 27.13, and she was just 3 seconds ahead of her training partner Mia Morris, from Colwyn Bay in 27.16. And Natasha Kettle made a welcome return to running in a semi-competitive outing and finished 175th in 36.06. NWRRC also won the team prize with Jonathan and Troy Kettle with Tony Price-Jones.

*Other local runners included: Janine Butterworth from Criw Colwyn, who finished in 24th place and was 2nd female runner in 23.06. Rachel Cook from GOG Triathlon, who was 26th and 1st F-Sen in 23.26, and her club colleagues Hayley Price-Jones finished in 53rd spot in 26.25, and Miklos Bird 79th in 29.29. Sharon Hughes from Conwy Parkrun was 161st in 34.41.



                                                                        Jonathan Kettle


           Tony Price-Jones

Steve wins Hereford Couriers virtual 10k

 

North Wales athlete Steve Bozier was finally confirmed this week as the overall winner of the Hereford Couriers virtual 10k race, held the previous weekend, and again delayed due to bad weather.

Steve put in a great performance to claim the top prize in this challenge, which attracted 74 quality competitors. His time of 41 mins 20 secs also won 1st place in his MV40 age category, and was just 22 seconds ahead of the 2nd placed runner and 1st lady, Joanna Eddy.



                                                         Steve Bozier won the Hereford virtual 10k



 

 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

SPANISH RUNNERS WEAR NORTH WALES VESTS


Spanish runners claim North Wales vests during club challenge

They say the camera never lies, and at first glance it would appear that several members of North Wales Road Running Club have abandoned the current freezing temperatures to enjoy some welcome Spanish sunshine…but rest assured Covid restrictions have NOT been ignored, and the photographs simply relates to members of the Fondistes Running Club, near Barcelona, who proudly wear the vests of their rivals after claiming prizes from the recent International relay challenge.



Pictured (above and below), members of the Fondistes Running club in Spain.




Members of the Spanish athletic club should have come to Wales last summer for a friendship exchange, but plans were suddenly curtailed due to the worldwide pandemic.
 

NWRRC club chairman Kevin Slattery therefore organised a 5k inter-club relay at the end of last year, with mixed gender and ability teams representing both clubs.

The event proved a huge success with forty athletes taking part, so a further 10k challenge has since been proposed for the weekend of 23/24 January. 

In North Wales, it was originally intended to run this as a club race following the usual pier to pier course from Llandudno to Colwyn Bay, but due to further lockdown restrictions, it is likely the event will just involve members running as individuals on a safe route of their own choice.

It is expected to involve a similar combined virtual relay challenge format over the longer distance with mixed teams of both Welsh and Spanish runners, and including some interesting age performance percentages, in addition to the finishing times.

 

British Masters virtual 10k success for NWRCC runners

 

Two North Wales Road runners competed in the British Masters virtual 10k championships over the festive period, and both claimed podium positions as Welsh club runners, when the final finishing places were eventually confirmed this week.

The race, which included an original field of 604 master entrants, and some 438 finishers, had to be extended into the New Year due to extreme weather conditions nationwide, and later also noted 149 top athletes representing British Masters (BMAF) area clubs.

The event also raised nearly £500 for Teenage Cancer Trust, with a further 25% expected to be added to this sum due to Gift Aid donations.



                                                                                      Steve Bozier


Steve Bozier and Don Hale ran for NWRRC, and as members of Welsh Athletics, with Steve enjoying a fantastic run in 41 mins 20 secs. He was 145thoverall and was 31st in his M40 age category, but was the 2nd Welsh finisher in his cat, and recorded an excellent 68.6% age performance percentage. He was also the 7th Welsh club runner overall.

Don also had a good run and finished in 51.51 for 342nd place overall. He was 11th in his M65 age category, but was the 1st Welsh club finisher in this section, and like his colleague Steve, he also recorded a high-performance percentage of 68.3%, and was the 17th Welsh club finisher overall.


              
                                                                              Don Hale


*Former NWRRC runner Gemma Moore, who was representing Welsh Masters Athletics (WMAL), finished as the 3rd W35 runner in 40.41. She was 131st overall, and was the 7th WMAL runner, but she was also the 1st female Welsh athlete in her age category.



                                                                                 Gemma Moore

 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Two NWRRC runners in Welsh record books


 Martin Green - a new Welsh marathon record holder

 Two NWRRC runners in Welsh record books

 North Wales Road Runners have celebrated the welcome end-of-year news that two club runners have achieved notable records for Welsh Masters Athletics in 2020, despite a very problematic year due to Covid-19 problems.


Martin Green proved his high-calibre yet again, this time winning a prestigious Welsh marathon record, with a new PB time of 2 hrs 28 mins 11 secs as the MV45 champion. He ran this superb time during the Running Grand Prix at the Bedford Autodrome but seems determined to try to improve on this time whenever we return to live racing again.

And veteran runner Don Hale says he was both fortunate and rather surprised to claim 3rd place overall in the Welsh Masters record books for his placing in the MV65 age category over 60 metres. 

He set a record for his performance last January at the Welsh indoor meeting at Connah’s Quay, where he won gold in 1stplace, running 11.32 secs over this distance. His end of season live ranking eventually put him in 3rd place overall. 

Don said: ‘It was very surprising, as I had never run 60 metres before, or indoors, and it was more than 50-years since I first competed as a sprinter. I am too stiff nowadays to run from blocks, so I had a standing start, and obviously still need to practice and improve.’

 

Martin Green. Welsh Masters marathon record 2020.

https://f53d928e-e5ca-4c1c-ac04-52138bbce34b.filesusr.com/ugd/8963ea_15ba0ed7a8ab493ca31234e3ebc20a65.pdf



Don Hale claimed a surprise Welsh record in a 60 metre sprint race


 Don Hale. Welsh Masters, 2020 end of season performances. Men’s rankings 60 metres indoor.

https://f53d928e-e5ca-4c1c-ac04-52138bbce34b.filesusr.com/ugd/8963ea_f74259f485344bfbb3bbdfd1c96837b6.pdf



                                       Llyr ApGeraint-Roberts won the Hull 10k virtual race 


Surprise present for Llyr in 10k Hull victory

 

Llyr ApGeraint-Roberts enjoyed a festive surprise when he won the East Hull Harriers virtual 10k run last week. Recording his fastest time for about two-years over this distance, Llyr won the event and claimed the 1st M45 cat win in 36 mins 18 secs, and was just 4 seconds ahead of the 2nd placed runner, and a talented pack from the host club team.


 

                                      Steve Bozier


Festive run & British Masters virtual 10k race

 

Steve Bozier had a good run in the Hereford Couriers 10k virtual Christmas dash and recorded 41.20. He said it was not the time he wanted, but confirmed: ‘Considering a 4lbs weight gain after all the gluttony and excess alcohol, this was to be expected.’ 

He then used his time from the Hereford race to set a marker in the British Masters 10k virtual challenge event. Steve had hoped to have another attempt at this extended quality competition - due to adverse weather conditions - but unfortunately, he hurt his back. 

Veteran Don Hale also ran in the British Masters 10k and registered his second-best time of the year over a challenging 10k course, and was pleased with his time of 51.51, which was an improvement by more than 3 minutes from the previous week.


Friday, December 25, 2020

Ghost and Mystery stories - WHEN CHARLIE LOST HIS MIND - By Don Hale

When Charlie' lost' his mind - By Don Hale 

IT was on the number 6 bus back from Eccles, near Manchester, on a bitterly cold, wet day, one November, that my friend Charlie first mentioned something about his amazing mind-reading claims. 


We had been playing football against St Joseph's School at Monton - and won 3-2, - thanks to our centre forward Brian (Sniffer) Harris scoring a last minute penalty. The home side accused their goalkeeper of 'sleeping,' and of being 'nobbled,' as Sniffer struck home the winner.  Certainly the lad appeared to freeze, and made little or no effort to save the shot. 

Charlie Cressbrook played on the left wing for our school team. On the journey home, as we celebrated a sweet victory with a packet of salt and vinegar crisps, some toffee cigarettes and a can of pop, he tried to tell the boys' about a dangerous trick he claimed to have mastered. 

Charlie was a bit of a 'swank,' always boasting about something or other. If someone mentioned getting a new bike, a holiday, or buying a new pop record, Charlie had always been there and done it! 

The son of a wealthy stockbroker, the 14 year-old had everything. He claimed to be able to read most people's minds and with some, he said he could even get inside them! He said he had developed this trick after meeting a distant Aunt in Romania, where she lived as a gypsy. 

On the 30-minute bus ride, the teammates finally challenged him to demonstrate this technique after he claimed the credit for confusing the St Joseph's 'keeper. 

"I got into his head alright," explained Charlie. "He was worrying about which way to dive, until I gave him something else to think about. It was just enough to confuse him for a second or two." 

There was no arguing with his logic but the lads were not convinced. "Go on, prove it then," said Paul Grogan, pointing towards a rather dour looking man in a fawn raincoat who was sat on the lower deck; on one of those awkward inward-facing seats. 

"That man in the raincoat," suggested Charlie. 

"Yes, what's on his mind?" asked Paul. 

Charlie now had a captive audience. He placed his fingers on his temples and closed his eyes for a moment. In later years, he told me this was not completely necessary but said it looked more dramatic, and now regularly formed part of his performance. "He's thinking about what to say to his wife. He's been unfaithful. He's imagining kissing Julie, his girlfriend." 

Paul was open mouthed, and then added: "Oh yes, sure," he said. "What's his wife called then? he demanded. 

"Yes if you're so clever give us HER name," added Stephen Dixon, a small and always infuriating child. 

"Mavis," said Charlie in a quite matter of fact manner. 

Our stop was close and we were all pushing and shoving in readiness to disembark. The man was still seated in the same position staring into space.  "Ask him then," said a voice. 

"It's all rubbish," said another. 

Eventually Paul Grogan stood directly in front of the man and asked him: "Is your wife called Mavis?" 

He looked surprised and glared at this boy and the rest of us gathered around carrying our football boots and covered in mud. "Well, yes she is but. ... ?" 

"And your girlfriend. What's she called?" continued Paul.  The man now looked totally confused. 

"What the heck is going on?" he demanded to know. 

"Just answer the question," insisted Paul, trying to put on a fake German accent from an old war movie we had all watched the night before. "We know all about you. Or, at least my friend does," he said, nodding towards Charlie. "It’s Julie isn't it?" added Paul. 

"That's none of your business either, and I'll thank you to keep out of mine!" he roared, folding his arms in defiance. 

"Hey are you lot getting off today, or what?" inquired the impatient conductor, who had tried to clip the ear of young Dixon for annoyingly pressing the bell three times in quick succession. 

"Come on then," shouted Paul and we all followed him like sheep. As we jumped off and onto the pavement we all shouted and jeered at the raincoat man, some even banged their hands on the side of the bus as it gathered speed. We could see the puzzled man still waving his fist at us in anger - and wondering how we knew about his secret romance. 

It was many years later before I met up with Charlie again to talk about old times. It was a long time after we left University. Quite by chance, I had had a couple of hours to kill waiting for my train back to London, when I came across Charlie sat on a bar stool in lounge of the Midland Hotel in Manchester. He was on his own and looked very tired and despondent. 

"Charlie, how are you?" I asked. He turned and glanced at me. He looked completely vacant and didn't seem to recognise me at first. His eyes were red and blood-shot. "It's Tommy, Tommy Davies," I explained. "You remember me don’t you from grammar school?" 

"Tommy, yes of course. I'm sorry I was on a bender last night. Not come round yet," he explained. "How are you then Tommy?" he asked. 

"Fine, oh yes, I've not seen you for what, about 6-7 years?" I exclaimed. 

We caught up on the gossip. He finally told me that he'd spent time in a sanatorium. His drinking had got worse and after leaving Manchester University with a 2: 1 in Physics and Science, he had suffered a complete mental breakdown. 

He said his mind-swapping party trick was becoming an obsession. It was taking over his life. I reminded him of the football match at Eccles some years before and he grinned. He waved me away and dismissed that trivial incident. "That was nothing," he said. "I've near perfected it now - when I'm sober! Not only can I read a mind, but I can also get inside them too. Not everyone - but there's plenty of people that I can," he added boastfully. 

He continued to explain that he'd swapped minds and notes with lecturers at University during his final year. He claimed to have utterly confused them when speaking. He made one master - that he agreed he had disliked intensely - kept repeating the word 'bananas,' and then made him bark like a dog, much to the amusement of everybody.  

Worryingly, Charlie also said he could actually see the audience through HIS eyes. He explained that he could only hold this extraordinary mind-switch for about 15 seconds - but that it had been enough to totally confuse the man. 

The only problem he had was apparently with foreigners. Charlie had a hatred of languages and always said they made him feel confused. He said he now doing some other experimental work .

Charlie admitted that he had also tried the trick with cats and dogs and even a parrot! This became quite frightening! He looked concerned when he told me about one incident with a cat. He suddenly appeared most unwell and began to shake violently. 

"I tried to make the cat speak," he said tearfully. "It was difficult, the cat was violently resisting. I began to choke and eventually the cat died. I was lucky to get back." 

Charlie said the concentration needed for a transfer like that was tremendous and had left him feeling drained. He claimed to have done the same with several older women but thought children more susceptible. 

I left him after an hour or so and never saw him alive again. The next time I heard his name mentioned was at a school reunion in Lancashire with about eight of our former classmates. I think it was Bryan Dean who suggested  'poor Charlie,' and then a few others nodded in acceptance. I lived in north London by then and his comments had little or no meaning for me. 

"Charlie, what's this about Charlie? Our mind reading friend," I asked innocently. 

"You've not heard then?" interrupted Jack McCardle. "Charlie's dead! About six weeks ago." 

I sat down with a bump. "I met him in Manchester a few months back," I explained.  "He told me about some health problems and concerns over his incredible mind transference act." 

"The poor chap was going barmy," said Paul Grogan, our former soccer captain. "Kept going on about this switch technique he had mastered. I believe he was involved in some bizarre government project or something," he added. 

As another young man added his own comments, I struggled to recall his name. "He said he was able to take-over most minds. Knew what they were thinking and could even change their minds. He said he was getting more and more agitated by all these experiments though, and was drinking again!" 

Thompson, Harry Thompson, I remembered as he concluded. Bryan pulled out a newspaper cutting and placed it on the table. It was dated March 4th, 1963. 'Diplomat falls under train,' it was headed. 

The report mentioned a Russian diplomat, who had apparently fainted and fallen under the wheels of a London Underground train. No reason was given for this unfortunate accident. As I read through the story, towards the last paragraphs, which were underlined, it added curiously: 'Another man, later identified as Mr Charles Cressbrook, a University researcher, was also found unconscious within about 20-yards of the incident on the same platform. Police however, are not treating the incident as suspicious, or believe the two are in any way related. ' 



Bryan pulled out a second cutting. This was dated about two weeks later. 'Mystery rail man dies in clinic.' It said: 'Mr Charles Cressbrook, formerly of Manchester, never fully regained consciousness after being found on a London underground station, close to where a top diplomat had fallen to his death. The Foreign Office too had denied any connection and said it was a pure coincidence.' 

There was however, a quote from one of the doctors involved: 'Tests indicated his brain pattern on arrival at hospital was minimal. It was almost as if he had lost his mind! And eventually, it just ceased to function altogether. ' 

I held my head in my hands. This unexpected news put a damper on the evening. We tried to put on a brave face and drank a toast to Charlie. As the others chatted on, I couldn't help recall some of the earlier comments about a government project, a Soviet expert, and his sudden demise. We were then in the very midst of the Cold War. 

Could it have been some bizarre espionage plot that had gone horribly wrong? Surely not! For several days afterwards I kept turning the conversations over in my head. I wondered if he had mind-swapped with the diplomat and had confused this man into fainting and then been unable to transfer back. 

Bryan had given me the cuttings. As I studied them again, I noticed a small paragraph in the first story claiming the Russian too had an interest in mind reading. I remembered also about Charlie's hatred of languages and telling me that he became confused with them. 

Although intelligent, Charlie had always claimed languages gave him a mental block.  I thought that perhaps this time, he had finally met his match; and despite the orders from his government masters, Charlie had at first, probably not realised the challenging nationality, or similar knowledge of his target! 

 

Special archive feature

Steve plans Orme ultra-marathon to help fund search for missing fishermen

                                          *Steve Bozier (photo by Mark Edwards). Steve plans Orme ultra-marathon to help fund search for mis...

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