Club Race

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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Chedworth Roman Trail 10 Miles, report by Al Graham

As I sit here in 23C blazing sunshine, it seem hard to fathom that less than a week ago I was lining up to start the Chedworth Roman Train race with blue fingers and chattering teeth. The wind was biting, and the hills looked formidable, but the race delivered everything it promised - and to be honest I wouldn’t want to race 10 miles over terrain like that in weather like we are experiencing this Easter weekend. The most important thing to mention about the Chedworth race was the star quality of the marshalls. Despite the cold wind, I’m pretty sure that every single one of them cheered on the runners, offering hearty support all the way round the course. And the clarity of instruction was also great to hear - no one was going to go the wrong way on this trail run! Earlier than I expected, at around the 8km mark, we had a river crossing to make - bringing back ‘happy’ memories of Ascott cross country! This meant kilometers 9 and 10 were a bit of a challenge with heavy feet, but we were then rewarded with a further two kilometers of flat terrain (bliss!). I had a strong finish (for me), picking off those runners that I could see ahead of me in the final straight kilometer of road running and I put that squarely down to Ian’s Tuesday night sprint sessions (it might have taken four years of attending those sessions but it’s finally paid off and I knew I could have a fast finish this time!). If you fancy a spring challenge next year then this is a good one to run.

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White Horse Half Marathon, report by Nick Hardwick

White Horse Half, Sun 7th April 2019

Once more into the breach dear friends and we are off on the annual trip to Grove for the White Horse half. A favourite event for local clubs especially so as it’s a club championship and grand prix fixture. The weather, though a few weeks before had been glorious was due to be dull, grey, but dry at least, it did not disappoint. After the long walk from the official carpark to the race HQ, bags checked in and some light pre-race chit chat we headed off for the same long walk back to the start line. We were set off promptly (ie no whistle, claxon or shout of go) Leaving Grove we could see how extensive the new house building was coming along and hope the new residents won’t mind us running past their homes this time next year.

After suffering in previous years for over enthusiastic starts I was very much grateful for the small ERR group I was in and the perfect pacing it provided. Upon leaving the metropolis behind we ran parallel to the railway, crossed over it and headed out for the main loop of the race via the area’s multitude of country lanes.

As I’ve experienced before the first 6 miles seem to fly past as the field shakes itself out and the initial roadrunners group slip into their own pacing. Keeping the motivation going from the start I must thank Simon on two wheels who seemed to appear constantly to encourage the runners on and Ben with his posse who at 10 miles in were a very much a welcome sight.

With the railway bridge coming into sight (the route map alt meter had this as the highest point on the course, which made me chuckle) there’s only the last mile to go, which can feel pretty drawn out after the last 12, but bosh! next minute the green is coming up fast and with it the finish line. A brand new shiny mug with a well appreciated bottle of water included.

Well done to all the sub 1:25 finishers who must have had the lunch on as they had all but gone by the time I came in. Marvellous work to Marina and Toby for blasting their PB’s by at least 10 minutes each plus Robert S, Kate A and Kate W for collecting medals in their age categories, a very well done to you.

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Wokingham Half Marathon Report, by Richard Hume

Wokingham Half Marathon

The fleeting joy that emerged at Wednesday’s club run - further to Roger’s exclamation that I had won a bottle of wine - was immediately stifled by the realisation that I had to write a blog on a race that took part back in February; needless to say, my memory is not what it used to be.

Anyway, I digress before I’ve even started. So let’s talk Wokingham….!

Being the first race since injury, my expectations were as low as my perceived fitness and consequently I was actually quite looking forward to it; treating it as a tester for the later White Horse Half.  Having never run it before I was enticed by the tales from the Eynsham Roadrunner stalwarts about the race being fast and flat. Nobody mentioned the two overpasses and the uphill finish but, as we have already discovered, I am not one to judge on recollection of races or routes.

It was “a glorious day for running” according to the Chairman’s results bulletin. I take his word for this; of course, I can’t remember.  On arrival in said Chairman’s environmentally-sound new car (that’s not relevant but good to know that we minimised our ecological footprint on a longer than usual journey to a club champs racing fixture), I had expected the turnout of Eynsham Roadrunners to be below average due to the lack of pre-race conversation I had encountered in the build up to the race. I even toyed with the idea of playing my joker. That decision was immediately revoked on sight of at least 6 or 7 of Eynsham’s elite limbering up in the field by the race start. Even the men’s captain, having declared himself unfit to run just 24 hours before, bounded in with more enthusiasm than Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout (perhaps one for the older readers). Joker firmly locked up for another day.

 Despite having heard very little about the Wokingham Half Marathon, it soon became clear that this was a popular race with participants numbering into the thousands rather than the hundreds. Having received a Wokingham Half T-Shirt pre-race and a lower race number than all the other ERRs, I momentarily feared I had been mistaken for one of the elite runners in some kind of name mix-up and that I would be ushered to the front row at the start line. Memories of having Mo Farah in my sights in ‘starting pen 1’ of the London Marathon heat fest last year came flooding back.  I digress…

My “name mix-up” theory was quashed by the realisation that this was no Hornton 6 - the megaphone announcements, refreshment tents, baggage drop area and chip timing technology indicated that this was a slightly more well-attended and – dare I say it - professional affair. No V40 and V50 Bob Stoney’s here.

After all the usual pre-race nervous banter we were under starters orders and we were off. I started quite relaxed and wasn’t put off by the fact there was quite a lot of barging and colliding at the beginning of the race. After all, this was just a tester for the White Horse Half. I think it was this uncharacteristic lack of pressure that I put on myself that resulted in me feeling much better than expected mid-race. And never wishing to capitalise on the sufferings of fellow runners, I must confess to being spurred on by a few of the aforementioned ERR elites within my sights. A very rare occurrence after 7 or 8 miles. I pushed on….

By mile 10 my lack of training started to punish me, but I was desperate to hold on as I was on PB pace. Then it was just a case of mind over matter and for once the mind won out. I crossed the line with a very unexpected PB, which made it all the more rewarding. However, I soon realised that it’s all relative; as I was punching the air with delight, one of the Eynsham A listers was throwing his number away in disgust at his performance, having done virtually the same time as me.

I wasn’t the only one to have a good day. Even better results for Kate Allred and Katherine Bates who both won age category club records and PBs for Tom Baker and Colin Hancox.  A great race, a great group of people and a great turnout. I should have played the joker after all……

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Banbury 15 Report, by Alison Craggs

Thank you for the Chardonnay, which I very much enjoyed.  I also enjoyed running the Banbury 15.  It was my first time at this event and I’d definitely run it again and encourage others to do so.  Here are my reasons why:

·         Joker – even if you are not the best runner in the club you can score well in the league with this race, especially if everyone else is at the Jolly Boys and Giggly Girls. 

·         Value for money – it only costs £1 a mile to enter.

·         Quick and easy to get to with parking right next to the start/finish line and race HQ which is the Spiceball Park leisure centre.

·         The leisure centre has plenty of lockers for your bags and loads of toilets, so no need to queue before the race.

·         It’s a fairly fast out and back course so even if you have never run it before you know what to expect, at least on the way back.  It’s described as having some “sizeable hills”, but when you have done Wytham woods and Botley hills it’s practically flat.

·         There is a small field of runners so you are never boxed in.  It’s ideal if you are training for a Spring half marathon or marathon or just want to try a different distance.

·         After party – as you finish the race they call out your name, there’s music playing, the sun was shining, and there are vintage vans offering drinks and food for you to enjoy.

I hope to see the race in the league again next year and see you there!

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Horspath Cross Country Report, by Graham Bridges

Back in the day (4 words in and already sounding like a Creasey), the Horspath Cross Country used to include the full glory of Shotover Hill. You'd leap over/into a muddy ditch, trudge up the hill, then stagger down it at breakneck speed, trying not to trip over the steps and tree roots, then wade through a mile or so of mud before doing it all again. This year, partly because of the dry weather, partly because of something else (health and safety?), Horspath XC seemed positively benign, though not without a few cheeky climbs.When we arrived, there was already a healthy crowd outside our (well, Witney's second) tent, including our 2 juniors, Charlie and Chloe, who announced that she had overtaken loads on the run-in because her legs are built for sprinting. Maybe she could make some sort of motivational speech before the men's race in future. As more of the team arrived, there seemed to be quite a few who claimed to be recovering from injuries, or from Christmas in some cases (who shall remain nameless). Possibly as a result of this, the order of the men's team was a bit of a random affair. The likes of Tom, Dafydd and Mark T took a strangely long time to overtake me, and I went by such notables as Dave and Pete, which is a rare privilege these days. Making the A team used to be a badge of honour for me. These days it's maybe not such a healthy sign, and the ERR men finished 7th in Division 1 on the day.
We then watched the ladies race, which appeared to be dominated by the bright young things of Newbury and Abingdon. Indeed the winner was so far ahead she seemed to be in a different race - maybe that's why she didn't show in the final results. Not too far behind was Hannah, in sadly her last appearance in an Eynsham vest for a while, who finished 12th, just ahead of Liz. A few places further back was Laura, who continued her excellent recent form, and just pipped Kate on the line. This meant we had 4 ladies, including 3 veterans, inside the first 22 finishers, so possibly in contention for a team medal.The main thing to take away from the day was the number of ERRs who took part (37 in total, plus Karen who marshalled), and the number of those who stayed behind for tea/coffee and cakes. It seemed that everyone enjoyed the experience, hopefully including the running part, so let's hope for a similar turn-out at Adderbury.

Roll of Honour:

Bronze LV35: Liz McAllister

Silver LV45: Kate Allred

Silver LV55: Katherine Bates

Gold Veteran Ladies team: (Liz McAllister, Laura Leach, Kate Allred)


Bronze Senior Men's team: (Mark Baker, Tom Baker, Mark Tyrrell, Nick Leach)

Silver MV40: Dan Lewis

Bronze Veteran Men's team (Dan Lewis, Dafydd Warburton, Graham Bridges, Dave Ferrier)

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