Club Race

ERR Virtual Parkrun Report by Graham Bridges

The virtual parkrun has become almost as much of a ritual as the real one used to be for some of us, although unfortunately I don't think I will be able to claim any of them in my quest to reach the elusive 250 runs.

The most memorable of the 5 virtuals that I've done was for the wrong reasons, and serves as a good lesson in trying to be too clever, something I should have learned years ago. Basically, it was a cool, windy morning, and I thought my best chance of a wind-assisted fast time, away from anyone else, was to head for South Leigh, and keep heading west. The trouble with that, as I soon realised, was that 5k west from South Leigh would pretty much take me into Witney, and would mean a long trudge back home into the wind. I gave up on the idea about 2 miles in, and the time was already looking pretty lousy, tailwind or otherwise. As it was, my run back was still 3 miles, and long enough for some people to think that it was my actual parkrun effort. It was only marginally slower, in any case.

Anyway, lessons learned, and all that, and enough of my tales of woe. Here are some numbers on the first 5 weeks of the ERR Virtual Parkrun.

Total number of runs recorded: 222

Most number of runs in a given week: 52 (weeks 3 and 4)

Number of different people registering a run: 69

Top 5 Age Graded Scores Women:

1st Kate Allred 87.42

2nd Kate Williamson 82.84

3rd Liz McAllister 75.81

4th Sheila Gascoigne 71.65

5th Jacky Pinnock 69.35

Top 5 Age Graded Scores Men:

1st Mark Tyrrell 78.48

2nd Dafydd Warburton 74.97

3rd Benedict Pollard 73.03

4th Graham Bridges 71.43

5th Matt Thomas 70.66

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Banbury 15 Report by Nick Sheard

The ‘Eynsham 13’ were among a field of 250 runners for the ‘Banbury 15’ 2020, run over a 15-mile course in challenging and wet conditions. The near 250 starters were not observing any social distancing at all as they huddled together against the driving wind and rain and set out from Spiceball on a loop course that takes in the villages of Little and Great Bourton, Cropedy, Appletree (the road amassed with water-soaked potholes) and returning via the villages to the finish at Spiceball. Some natural physical distancing did occur as the field started to string out and the miles ticked by, although Eynsham maintained small subsets of club runners grouping fairly close together throughout.

Kate Allred capped a stellar performance with a second place finish in the ladies race in 101 minutes, with Mark Tyrell first Eynsham male and twelfth overall in 94 minutes. Peter Green, Richard Hume and Benedict Pollard also flew round the course in fast times. New Club Chairman Simon proved that he is a runner as well as a Walker by pipping yours truly to the finish line, with Toby Goss also securing a sub 2-hour finish. Alastair Graham, Stan Johnston, Anna Mackin and Jane Garton all finished with very creditable times and smiles on their faces. Special mention must go to Colin Hancox, who persevered to the finish line despite picking up an injury en route. At the front of the field there was a close finish with the race founder’s son just holding off last year’s winner James Bolton (Woodstock Harriers) to take the win by 22 seconds. The ladies team prize went to Cherwell. Headington won the male team prize.

The ‘Banbury 15’ has taken place every year since 1994, apart from two cancellations owing to the weather. The threat of neither Covid-19 nor the continuing rain was enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the Eynsham 13 who took part in the 25th running of this spring event. Let’s hope we are back next year and any ban has been well and truly buried by then….

Take care, stay safe, and stay well!

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Buckingham Parkrun Report by Mark Tyrrell

59:59 slowest 3rd place parkrun ever!!

After a few years of inconsistency due to injuries 2020 has been planned for sensible training and planned races, with 2 maybe 3 big Ironman and half Ironman races planned injury is something I wanted to steer clear of!

So eynsham rr decided to do a fast parkrun January, I decided to pick one, and one weekend and see where my fitness is. Buckingham was chosen and the date was set in the diary so whatever the weather and whatever the conditions I was racing that day!! The day came and after lots of rain, flooding had cancelled most park runs in Oxfordshire but thankfully Buckingham was still on. We parked and ran to the start to do a warm up and check the route.

We were notified by the organisers that the course had been changed due to flooding, and this meant an out and back including 3 laps around a small path in the park, So off we went, the 2 in front who I knew were in a different league to me, so I let them go and settled into a steady pace, we hit the first loop of the course all was fine, 2nd Lap was very busy, 3rd lap was spent mostly running on the muddy grass as the path was pretty much blocked, we peeled off to run back to the finish and I looked at my watch thinking surely that’s not going to be the full distance, and it wasnt I crossed the line in 16:12, 4.554km, well that’s a parkrun pb I will never beat!! but knowing parkrun distances are very random thought it would just stand! So we warmed down with a local runner who took us round the usual course to find no flooding and no ice so wondered why they changed the course!! Drove home happy with how I ran and optimistic that my fitness was returning, I logged in to parkrun results to find they had mis-calculated the course and decided to give the whole field 59:59 to make it fair!! Although my average parkrun time took a dive I did get a bottle of wine!! My next planned race was Newbury racecourse 10k (welcome storm ciara) and then Wokingham half, so whoever is doing that be warned I think we have snow on the way!! 

I can’t report on anyone else but well done to all who ran a parkrun.

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Ascott 10k Report by Adrian Pinnock

Race Report: Ascot-under-Wychwood  Multi-Terrain 10K

The race is set in a picturesque village in the Evenlode Valley, organised by a band of very dedicated people who put on a well organised event to raise money for their local village charities.

As we arrived at the venue the car park marshal indicated to Kate to park anywhere under the oak tree, so it set the tone for a relaxed event.

As we listened to the Race Directors instructions, Mark Creasey commented how typical it was of a quintessential English Village of a bygone age, with the talk drowned out by the sound of a Vintage Biplane engine circling overhead. 

After an horrendous rain soaked Saturday,  when the race organisers nearly called if off, the Sunday morning was a glorious autumnal day with bright blue sky. 

There were 2 race distances (5k and 10K), although the Club Championship was the 10K, due to flooding a late course change for the 5K had been necessary.

We set off along a tarmac section for a short way before crossing a slippery bridge where you were advised to walk before you started the ascent up towards the main A3061 road.  Once running along the top field there were fantastic views of the valley below.  On the way back they even provided in one field a knee deep shoe wash.

The race took me back 35 years or more when running en masse wasn’t the norm as it is today,  like the first race I did from the Newlands Inn in Eynsham in the 1980s and the Great North Run in 1989 with only 9/10,000 participants (now 57,000)!

It is great that people are out there running but this race was more enjoyable as there weren’t the mass of runners so you had space to look around, reflect and take your time (as in my case).

My race number was No 8 (which in Chinese culture is the luckiest number), so although I was unlikely to win any prizes in the race, it was a pleasant surprise to find my name drawn out for the Wine.

So all in all a great race for our car passengers, Becky who was 2nd Lady overall,  Jacky with 1st lady vet 55 and Kate would have won the 65+ category if there had been one.

To all you Eynsham runners who missed out on this scenic and well organised race, put it in your diaries for next year, a great training run for the Cross Country season.

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Woodstock 12 Report by Jacky Pinnock

Woodstock 12 (The Golden Loo Heist)

A lovely sunny September morning as we set off from Eynsham to Woodstock.  Kate had suggested cycling over but although our legs would have been warmed up for the race, the thought of cycling back after 3 laps of the “Hill” might have been too much for the journey back, so we took the easy option by car.  Luckily for us as the original plan was to enter via Bladon Gate, but as we drove past it was taped off with Police Vehicles present, unbeknown to us it was the result of the  “Golden Loo Heist”.

When we arrived a few hardy Eynsham runners were already warming up and getting in those extra miles in preparation for their various Marathon challenges later in the year, Kate and I had a short jog deciding to use the first lap as a warm up rather than set off too fast and then struggle on the next two laps. 

Kate and I chatted our way round the first lap taking in the views and enjoying the lovely surroundings.

On the 2nd lap Kate had dropped back a little and I was feeling good so pushed on and overtook a few runners only to be caught by Simon Taylor (lead bike) and James Bolton finishing his race on the final stretch.  It was quite interesting to see James finishing for a change, he certainly didn’t seem to be feeling the effects of 3 undulating laps but then he probably trains there all the time.

The third lap started well but by the time I reached the Combe Gate Hill I could feel my legs tiring.  I guess it will be more Hill Training at Botley this winter for me.

There was good support from Eynsham spectators around the course and the Woodstock marshals which helped to keep me going.

We were rewarded with an Acorn (now planted in pot) and another fabulous Mythakulon T-Shirt for the collection (thanks Benedict).

It was another successful day for Eynsham Roadrunners with Kate Allred winning the ladies race, Robert Storey was 2nd Male 50 and Kate Williamson and I winning our respective age categories.

All round a very pleasant race.

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Hooky 6 Report by Alison Craggs

All I can remember about this race was the booze.

Ian’s plan had me down for 15 miles that day, but I had entered the Hooky 6, so went for a long warm up and stumbled across the Hook Norton Brewery, before finding my way back to the start line.  It was a two lap course and 6 miles later we ended up back where we started.

The race, which is in the Club Champs and is the reason why I had entered, sells out quickly and unfortunately quite a few people were not able to get a place.  There was a bar at the finish and although Adrian and other Eynsham Road Runners had missed out on getting a place they did not miss out on getting a pint ready for the presentations.

Kate finished second lady overall and won a box of 3 Hook Norton beers and a beer glass.   She didn’t like beer so promptly gave the beer away to Jackie and Adrian, but kept the beer glass – because having won the race last year she now has a matching set.  Top tip, if you like beer make sure you are near Kate at the presentations.

Jackie was then declared second in her age category and won more beer. 

Jackie and Adrian had kindly given me a lift and on the way home talk was about the Hooky Christmas Canter, which again sells out.  Adrian was telling us that he enjoys that race because as you run round you pop into the church and get mulled wine and mince pies.  Jackie didn’t know of this, as she’d always sprinted past the church to win the race!

I did not win any beer that day, but did complete the 15 miles and won the wine 3 weeks later.

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Hornton 6 Report, by Graham Bridges

Hornton 6, by Graham Bridges

As I told just about anyone who would listen on the day, my preparation for this race was unusual to say the least. I did the Oxford Parkrun in the morning (starting slowly before building up speed towards the end), then went to London for a drinking session with some old friends (started reasonably quickly before slowing right down), before arriving back at Oxford Parkway some time after 5, ready to whisked up to the wilds of the North Oxfordshire border country.

With all this behind me, I wasn’t sure how the famously challenging hills around Hornton would feel. The answer was ‘not too bad’, or no worse than usual, at least. There were a decent number of ERRs there, but with Witney out in force we didn’t quite clean up trophy-wise as we had in recent years. Well done to Robert and Jacky for winning their categories, and to our men’s team of Robert, the Baker boys and, er, me for finishing a notional 2nd men’s team, which was still handy for Grand Prix points.  

The trophy presentations were quick and efficient which, whilst lacking the comic value of last year, did mean we were in the pub in good time for our post-race meal, organised by Tom. About 15 of us, runners and supporters alike, crowded into the Dun Cow for some excellent food, and yes, more drinks. So maybe this regime of race, beer, race, beer has something going for it.

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Thame 10k Report by Toby Goss

On a warm, pleasant Sunday morning on the last day of June, a select group of 8 Roadrunners made our way to the Thame 10k. It was my first time at this race, and by far the biggest field I'd run with before, with well over 800 runners taking part. Apart from a rather over enthusiastic MC, I thought it was well organised, with the start having different sections marked out in five minute intervals (faster runners at the front). The course itself was, as promised by those who'd run it before, mainly flat, with the first few kilometres taking us through the town centre. The conditions were, I thought, very good, not too hot with a gentle breeze providing a bit of relief from all the exertion. Paul and Stan played their jokers, a good move considering the small numbers from Eynsham. I'd been told that Thame was a good course to improve a PB, and so it proved for myself, Stan and Caroline. Mine was an improvement of over a minute, which I was very pleased about. Kate A was the 3rd lady to finish, which was a great effort. Ian K popped up at two points along the course, including at a crucial section half a kilometre from the end, which definitely helped push me to the finish - thanks, Ian! There was a bit of crowding in the finish funnel, but there was a T shirt and refreshments at the end of it. I enjoyed my race, and would definitely run it again in future!

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Chiltern Chase 10k Report, by Kate Welsby

As Kate says, I thought it time we had a run report written in doggerel. Below is my best effort.

“The course is safe, albeit hilly”

Said the website. Had I been silly

To sign up for this race? How would hills affect pace?

As 22 Eynshamites gathered

And we’re off – uphill to start

The Chiltern Way featured in part

Through farmland and beech wood,

More hills, the odd puddle

It enchanted my (hard working) heart

My time? Respectably mid-table

(I ran as fast as was able)

Twas a fun, friendly day

And a Club Championship 10K

Verdict? “Do again” is the label.

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Chalgrove 10k Report, by Ian Hembrow

Chalgrove Festival 10k, Monday 6 May 2019

A cool May Day Bank Holiday saw 16 Eynsham Roadrunners turn out for the tenth anniversary of this popular and scenic, single-lap 10k race. Starting and finishing (literally) in the middle of a busy village festival, congratulations must go to the organisers for their superb arrangements. A few minutes after the last runner had finished, all the fencing and other stuff had been tidied away so it seemed like it had never happened and everyone was free to enjoy the funfair, stalls, food and entertainment.

ERR members scooped two category wins:

  • Robert Storey 1st MV50 (36.45)
  • Jacky Pinnock 1st LV55 (48.49)

Other notable runs were:

  • Kate Allred 2nd LV45 (40.19)
  • Laura Leach 2nd LV35 and PB (41.51)
  • Kate Williamson 2nd LV55 (49.11).

One of our runners took a worrying turn for the worse during the race and so spent some time in an ambulance and at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Happily, all seems to be OK and they live to compete another day…

Thanks to all who helped with lifts and more. This race is a nice, early-summer outing along quiet lanes, with drinks, jelly babies and super-soaker cooling at halfway, plus free tea and cake at the end – highly recommended! Next year’s race is on 4 May 2020 – see

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