A new year, another lockdown, so it's time for a new virtual winter handicap series
First, hope this finds you & your families healthy.
GOLD STAR if you've kept your running going over the new year into January BUT - If you're feeling like me at the moment then you need a kick up the backside running wise!
Blimey, it's felt flat since New Year - combination of the news, lockdown, the weather, the MUD(!) plus (insert own circumstances)!
It looks as though a return to any kind of running events is someway off and in all likelihood the best chance of 'proper' competition this year is probably going to be on the track. Morpeth Harriers staged a series of safe & well organised events over the late summer and autumn. When I look at the logistics of trying to organise road races, trail races or fell races under the Tier 3 conditions it's not surprising that many events have been cancelled already. I suspect that the 'time trial' format of setting runners off in waves will be here for the foreseeable future.
In the hope that some sort of running events might occur before too long, several people have asked me to sort out some Handicap runs to give a bit of a target and incentive! The Tech Wizard Mr. Mike STEVEN is on board - we are up and running!
We are going to do the next 4 weeks, then a week off then another 4 weeks on - if the restrictions allow and we get the support!
Week 1; Mon 25/1/21 to Sun 31/1/21 - Run 1 Mile (primarily to ease ME back into things)!!
Week 2; Mon 1/2/21 to Sun 7/2/21 - Run 5 Miles
Week 3; Mon 8/2/21 to Sun 14/2/21 - Run 5 Km
Week 4; Mon 15/2/21 to Sun 21/2/21 - Run 10 Km
Week 5 - REST WEEK - should have been review of lockdown restrictions and depending on Tier rules, participation etc Mike and I will decide whether or not to keep the series going!!
You know the score - let us know your times by 5pm Sunday so that we can pull the results together - e mail. What's App or text!! All ages & all abilities welcome!!
We can exercise with another person so it might help to team up with someone to drag you out - doesn't matter if they have 4 paws or two wheels.......need's must!!!
The more the merrier and we look forward to hearing from you........& STICK IN!!
Kevin & Mike
0789 6055 794 / 07903 884 682
Kevin provides the latest update on the club's 5k handicap challenge which will run right through to Christmas
Week 5 and 27 of us still stickin’ in and getting out there despite some pretty grim weather this week!!
Some people have legitimate excuses for being missing – John Butters finished 3rd overall and 1st v40 at the Slayley Trail run today and Paul Banks was 3rd in the same category so I will let those two off and say congratulations!! John described the course as an ‘absolute mud bath’! I was hoping for a picture of him and Paul covered in s----e but it wasn’t to be!!
Special mention to Liam Roche who is back after having cold and he ran 17.55 this week but more significantly he was 3rd leg runner at the North East Cross Country Relay Championships for Morpeth’s u/15 lads B team and they finished 2nd.......behind Morpeth’s A team!
The course was at the Harrier League venue of Thornley Farm and was an approx 3km loop of pasture and ploughed fields. Let’s just say that parents were going to be putting their kid’s kit on a boil wash after this race!!
The winning team got Gold NECAA medals but for some reason Liam and his team mates missed out on Silver’s which seemed a bit tight!
I’m sure you will agree with me that Liam deserved it – so well done from all of us!!
A special mention to club stalwart Archie Jenkin’s and his team of officials and volunteers for getting this event on! There was an awful lot of stuff going on behind the scenes to make it happen but the effort was worth it because the kid’s (well most of them!) thoroughly enjoyed it!!
The senior championships are on Saturday 16th January so let’s hope it can go ahead.
Now, I mentioned ‘legitimate’ excuses for missing this week. What do you think of a runner who picks up TWO prizes last week for winning the handicap and best %age and then misses this week with a litany of the most wishy, washy, airy, fairy, set of excuses I’ve ever heard........you know who you are........!!
Two PB’s this week from Julie Vermaas (again) and Margaret MacDonald who was paced by Lindsey. Well done ladies – both ever present’s and both going very well!!
Sarah Routledge recorded her best time of the series and Laura Shaw, after acting as the hare for Eric’s group last Thursday night when the plan was to ‘screw’ up our handicap’s (mission accomplished Eric!), came back for a second 5k this week and took 26secs off her previous attempt! Again well done ladies!!
Rob Hancox gave up on sections of the Morpeth 10k route and went to the flatlands of Stobhill Grange to record an excellent 18.19, Peter Reed left Gracie the dog in the back of the car improved by 1.59 over last week, closely followed by Ed Kirby who had an excellent run improving by 1.52 – his dad Richard could only improve by 1.32 so rub it in Ed, while you can – but maybe check the results before you get too cocky!!
Great to have Jamie and Sue back in the fray and both quicker than two weeks ago and a run that caught our ‘handicapper eyes’ was Will Clark going sub 18.00.......still harbouring thoughts of Tokyo?! Well done Will!
I have to mention LEE the LOCAL LEGEND on LANCASTER PARK (the 4 L club) which was the text on Lee’s Strava readout following his 18.55 this week – he’s just messaged me to say the ‘previous’ legend has claimed the title back – as number cruncher Mike will confirm I haven’t got a clue about how Strava works being a complete (but quite happy luddite) but Lee you are a legend to all of us!!
Gavin, another excellent run around the County Hall Car park – that’s a first and quite a few laps – BUT it’s potentially a quick route!!
19 people improved on their previous times and 8 were down including ME and I could easily dip into the reservoir of wishy washyness but I wouldn’t get any sympathy off you lot anyway!!
Well having just had a look at these three things jump out;
Prizes to first three in the handicap and top % age Gavin & Julie!
I mentioned last week about the possibility of organising a Christmas Handicap in a similar format to the usual event. Sorry, but it’s not going to happen for various reason’s concerning my own circumstances prior to and over Christmas. I’m also aware of the view that reducing contacts beforehand might mean less chance of spread and increased infection after Christmas – something that would benefit all of us.
I included you all in an e mail about NYD – if you are interested in running please get in touch asap so I have an idea of numbers and can continue planning a COVID secure event.
NEXT WEEK is going to be the final run in this series – so please send me your time by 5pm Sunday 20th – and Mike and I will sort out the results!
Thanks from both of us for your continued support,
Kevin & Mike
Kevin provides the latest update on the club's 5k handicap challenge which will run right through to Christmas
Thanks again to everyone who turned out again this week – Mike and I really appreciate your interest and support!
First, I have to mention the amazing effort by Lorna MacDonald who ran her 5k in 19.21 on Monday and then set off at noon on Wednesday to run 100 miles around Morpeth. She did this in just over 20 hours. I know some of you were out running with her at various times and her mum Margaret was out with her during the early hours and at the finish at 8.20am on Thursday morning. So far she has raised £1350.00 for St. Oswalds Hospice and I know she appreciates the support that you have given her. WELL DONE LORNA! Canny mileage this week!
Welcome to this handicap series for one of the undoubted stars of the Spring shambles....Lucy4Paws! She is somewhat handicapped already, despite having 4 legs and an amazing engine, because she has to wear a harness and drag round excess baggage by the name of Paul Banks!
After missing last week, welcome back Andrew Dippie, Richard Kirby, Sue Smith, Pam Woodcock and Gwenda Cavill who used me as a rolling road block on our trip from Blyth to Seaton Sluice and back before casually pulling onto my shoulder for the last 200m. I don’t actually think she dared go past me...... (Though she could have done so quite easily)!
Peter and Pam ran really well together with a new PB for Peter, and Alex joined us too and improved on his time!
We were very well behaved and ran as 2 x a rule of 2 plus half a rule of 2 but from 03122020 a 6 rule option plus more than rule of 6 if organised or coached is allowed! GOT IT – thought not! See below for clarification!
Guidance update (27 November 2020) - Athletics & Running (englandathletics.org)
Mr & Mrs Vermaas became Double Dippers round Lancaster Park and both achieved new PB’s so congratulation’s. I think I’ve got this next bit right?.........Mr V is generously offering to sponsor a prize for the first finisher who weighs in at over 14 stones! This week, its guess who! Next week it’s guess who etc. all the way to Christmas when Mr V will be able to go on a spree at the boxing day sales with his collection of Amazon vouchers!
Lancaster Park was also the scene of the tragic end of Will Clark's Olympic Dream as his -24 sec target turned into a +5 sec deficit – on such small margins hopes and dreams are shattered. To console Will I did a bit of digging and on the day of the 5000m Olympic Final I discovered Will could run in the soon to be revived Silksworth Slag Heap, Old Pit race’s – it’s not quite Tokyo. I’m sure Gavin and Pam will have memories of this classic event from way back. All the prizes were MEAT as it was sponsored by a local butcher – maybe these days you will get discounted entry if you are veggie?
Mentioning Gavin he had another superb run clocking 19.34 around Stobhill Grange and he took a second off last week’s run and every second counts as Laura pointed out to me last week.
I think Gavin was desperate to get his time recorded because he sent me the same email 3 times – or maybe it was just a senior moment shall we say!
Some nice touches this week in that Laura’s run was down as ‘Run with Dad’ and Stephen Johnstone had been out and cycled 35 miles with his dad before he did his 5k – and he ran quicker than last week by a couple of seconds! It’s nice to be able to share your running with people that matter in your life (but on occasions probably better if you’re not married to them when it comes down to %age stuff.......)?!
34 ran this week and 24 of you quicker than last so well done if that's you. Biggest improvers: Gary Mason, Jamie Johnson, Pam Woodcock, Sue Smith & Arjan Piet!
Biggest slider’s Margaret Macdonald (but did run over 40 miles this week including a nightshift with Lorna so good on you Margaret), Jane Kirby (been fell running the day before her 5k) and someone called Kevin Bray who has no excuse whatsoever!
John Butters another absolutely superb run clocking 16.37!!
Lee Bennett 18.10, Jamie 18.12, Ed H and Lindsey Quinn 18.40 (Lindsey had run her longest ever run 17 miles supporting her sister Lorna through the night so another brilliant effort), Rob Hancox 19.03, Gwenda & Pam, all great run’s and high %age scores
I have to mention Richard Glennie. I haven’t met Richard but he was on a bit of a downer when he sent his time in last week so when I messaged him back I suggested he try and hook up with someone of similar pace to run with. Well, this week I don’t think he did that, but he did run 9 secs quicker than last so things are going in the right direction! He messaged me yesterday with his time and said ‘at least I’ve arrested the decline’ and then ‘it definitely feels cup half full at present’!
Do you know what – I think we all get like that sometimes and often running at the club with a group gives you that little bit of a lift that you need! Hopefully soon?
Everyone taking part in this is out there doing it in very strange times and that’s what this is all about!
Anyway Richard – maybe the results will lift your spirits a bit and let’s all of us stick in!!
It’s a real shame that there are no proper races in the offing at the moment especially as so many of you are running so well.
An alternative might be to focus on something as a personal challenge and you might find some inspiration from this article written by Richard Kirby about the McWilliams Rounds that he, Paul Banks and Lucy4Paws completed in November. Here it is.
It contains suggestions and ideas for those of you who might be tempted but have never tried any sort of ‘off road / trail / multi terrain / hill running’ – it’s a great read!
Finally, to the results. Five of you plus a pooch over 80% plus another 3 of you knocking on the door - that is brilliant! Star Runner this week – has to be Lorna – well deserved!!
Thanks again to Mike for the computer wizardry and to all of you for making the effort.
Have a good run this week and look forward to hearing from you!
Kevin & Mike
**NEWSFLASH – Handicap runner heading for Olympics!**
Will Clark, teaching assistant & ex member of Epsom & Ewell Harriers in Surrey has found his form transformed since he moved north and joined Morpeth Harriers. He puts this transformation down to being regularly ‘hollered’ by Coach Gordon every Monday & Thursday night and the support of an ‘exceptionally talented group of athletes’..........???
Since signing up for the ‘Lockdown’ Handicap’s at Morpeth, Will has improved his 5k time by 24sec week on week!
He proudly pointed out to me that all he has to do is keep this going and he will be on the plane to Tokyo next summer... Sadly I had to point out to Will that I think there are a few people taking part in this series who are ahead of him in the queue – that doesn’t include me!
I need to be off the cake, off the drink and begin living the life of a monk if I am going to have any chance of competing with some of you lot!
Thanks to the 32 of you who took part this week – great turnout again.
Welcome to Rob Hancox and Gavin Bayne who have both made their mark in their first run of the series. More of that later!
Commiserations to Claire Calverley who has picked up a calf injury which I know can be troublesome to sort so best wishes for a speedy recovery Claire.
Missing after their epic journey around the L..o..n..g Mc Williams Round in the Cheviots on Saturday gone (43 miles plus goodness knows how much climbing) are Richard Kirby and Paul Banks – couldn’t manage 5k yesterday. Honestly!
To the best of my knowledge we had 4 PB’s this week so congratulations to Pieter Vermaas, Stephanie Purvis, Peter Reed and yet again Lindsey Quinn who after reading Ed Hillier’s comments about Stobhill Grange decided to head up there and managed to take yet another 25secs off her best!
I also have to mention Peter’s effort in a bit more detail.
Peter, who is 70 in January is an out and out fell runner (if you ever visit The Sill visitor centre on Hadrian’s Wall, Peter is the guy on the interactive display talking about Fell Running) and over a long career including 500 plus races, a marathon on every continent, and various epic challenges including 2 x Everest Marathons, the only 5k’s he has ever run have been 25 Parkruns mainly on his favourite course at Whinlatter near Keswick. Yes, you’ve guessed, it is the hilliest Parkrun in the country! So, on Saturday at Druridge he got a new PB and maybe we will see him on the track next summer................?? Yeah, fat chance of that!!
As for Mr & Mrs Vermaas, well Mrs V was apparently a ‘sore loser’ after Mr V won last week’s handicap! However I did have to remind Mr V that he was well and truly thrashed by Mrs V in the %age effort stakes, which, once you reach a certain age is what really matters!
My meagre effort this week was on the ‘traditional’ route at Lancaster Park, where, as I was warming up, I met Mr and Mrs Bennett unloading new kitchen units from a van. We had a chat and it transpired (and they should know as its about 400m from their front door) that if you start at Curlew Hill / Pinewood Drive junction and run anti clockwise for two laps to finish at the post box you only have to do the ‘dip’ TWICE!!
As I have mentioned Stobhill has been popular, Loansdene too, and Jill Bennett told me lots of runners had been going past her front door! Neil Mcanany decided to thrash himself up and down the Fulbeck dip (?!), Margaret went to Hepscott, Laura ran at Ashington, Eric at Great Park, Alex at Blyth Parkrun route and Druridge for Liam and Peter – opposite ends of the age range there!
Haven’t heard from Adam in Regents Park so far this week but for creative thinking we go to Gavin Bayne for his Tranwell route and Frances Naylor who started west of Mitford and ran back towards the rugby club. She said it was a bit dicey dodging the traffic but boy it was worth it as she took 3.47 off last week’s time!
Frances along with Ed Kirby and Gary Mason are the people who ‘bust’ mine & Mike’s handicap system this week! Without these 3 delinquents we would have had 29 of you finishing inside 2min 35secs which isn’t bad is it especially as of the 33 starters this week, 24 have improved on your time from last week so good effort! If that’s not you don’t get down about it – you’re out there running which is the main thing! See if you can buddy up with someone of similar pace or get someone to pace you on a bike – it all helps!
Mention in despatches for some exceptional runs. Gavin Bayne – incredible 85.02 %age effort from Gavin who was 65 back in June. John Butters was quickest again with an absolutely outstanding 16.45, Rob Hancox blasting round Lancaster Park (the proper way or the Bennetts way?!) for an 82.96 %age, and Lee Bennett’s 80.14% on the 2 dip route all while fitting a new kitchen – is there no end to the man’s talents!
Lindsey (what does a girl have to do to break the 80% barrier?), Tim, Liam & Neil all pushing the 80% mark, and a lot of people in the 70%’s so some really good runs across all age groups!
Now – for those that haven’t heard, Lorna MacDonald is raising money for St. Oswald’s Hospice and is going to set off on Wednesday at 4pm to try and run 100 miles around by doing laps around Morpeth. She hopes to complete inside 24 hours which will be some challenge!
I’m sure we all wish her the very best of luck and kind weather!
Her just giving page is here; https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/LornaMac13 if you wish to sponsor her!
Prizes for first 3 in the handicap, Frances, Arjan & Peter, plus top %age male, Gavin and female, Lindsey. Lots of candidates for * runner this week but we have decided that Sarah Routledge gets the prize. She’s on the up and she has never missed lockdown handicap run – well done Sarah!
Got another week of the current restrictions but then things might ease a little – keep an eye on the Harriers website and facebook page for updates once we get guidance from UK Athletics if things change. In the meantime stay safe and thanks for your interest and support.
Kevin & Mike
The first weekly update on the Christmas handicap challenge - for more details see previous post
Blimey, 33 of you ran a 5km this week so thanks for your interest and support!
Also - BIG thanks to Mike for crunching the numbers and sorting your handicap out for this week, which is detailed on the chart below!
What it means is that the time next to your name is the start you have over the racing machine that is John Butters - HE'S CHASING YOU DOWN!
Mike and I have been like a couple of Racing Post Tipsters, studying the form of a group of Thoroughbred racers.......??!!
Anyway, we have looked at times, Plantar Fasciitis, Upset Tummies, some TWERP (ME)!, who couldn't work his new watch and tried to weigh up the merit of Loansdene, Lanky Park, Stobhill and Blyth Parkrun v Druridge Bay Parkrun routes!
Lindsey Mac's ran a brilliant new 5km PB of 19.03 taking 48 sec's (!) off her previous best and she is this week's ⭐ runner - well deserved Lindsey and a prize will appear on your doorstep soon!
SO - Run a 5km by 5pm Sunday and send me your time - Mike and I will sort the results and send them out next Monday!
These will include Prize for;
Fastest Male & Female
Best % age effort Male & Female
This week is the first Handicap of 7 taking us up to Christmas - to be ranked in the overall series you must run 5 of the 7 weeks (if you run more than 5 your best 5 performances will count in the series).
Please give me details of any new PB's, any stories or other challenges you might have taken on running wise (Paul Banks and Richard Kirby did the 30 mile McWilliams Round in the Cheviot Hills last week 👌 & then Paul ran his 5k the next day)!!
Remember - you can buddy up like Gwenda and Pam at Druridge and Alex and me at Blyth - whatever suits you!
Spread the word - all welcome!!
Look forward to hearing from you and have a good run!
1 John Butters 00:00
2 Liam Roche 01:06
3 Ed Hillier 01:37
4 Lyndsey MacDonald 01:49
5 Adam Coulson 01:59
6 Lee Bennett 02:03
7 Paul Banks 02:45
8 Will Clark 02:45
9 Tim Miley 02:59
10 Eric Adams 03:13
11 Richard Glennie 03:14
12 Claire Calverley 03:41
13 Stephanie Purvis 04:29
14 Stephen Johnstone 04:30
15 Julie Vermaas 04:46
16 Mike Steven 05:04
17 Richard Kirby 05:22
18 Kevin Bray 05:41
19 Gwenda Cavill 05:41
20 Andrew Dippie 05:53
21 Ed Kirby 06:26
22 Alex Logan 06:28
23 Jane Kirby 07:22
24 Gary Mason 07:49
25 Pieter Verrmaas 07:57
26 Sarah Routledge 08:14
27 Laura Shaw 08:59
28 Arjan Piet 09:01
29 Pam Woodcock 09:26
30 Louise Burt 09:31
31 Sarah Mills 10:13
32 Frances Naylor 12:49
33 Margaret McDonald 13:01
A plan to brighten those dark lockdown nights in the run up to Christmas
Well I guess it was the news all of us were expecting but didn't really want to hear. Another lockdown is upon us - and with it the consequences for our sport and club.
Anyway, it has prompted me to organise a 5km Handicap Series for club members that will take place over the 7 weeks up to Christmas.
The idea behind this is to give you something to aim at when there isn't much else on the horizon - I know from some of the comments that I received back in the spring that it was appreciated and gave people a target and something that motivated them .
It can be what YOU want it to be - a weekly target to try and improve with some friendly competition against club mates or just a bit of a run out to keep you motivated week by week.
It's for all abilities and ages!
Last time it was very much people running on their own but the new lockdown rules mean you can exercise with one person from outside your household. So find a running buddy and do it together!
I have enlisted the help of Mike Steven - Computer Wizard so I don't have to stress my tiny brain too much working out times and handicaps so thanks to Mike for stepping up to help out!
The series commenced on MONDAY 2/11/20. (Week 1)
Run a measured 5km by SUNDAY 8/11/20 and submit your time to me by e mail, or whats app, or text along with your name and date of birth. This run will be used to calculate your handicap for the next week.
From week 2-7 again run a measured 5km and submit your time to me. This will be handicapped and you will be competing against others who have signed up for the series.
Week 2 - Monday 9/11 - Sun 15/11
Week 3 - Monday 16/11 - Sun 22/11
Week 4 - Monday 21/11 - Sun 29/11
Week 5 - Monday 30/11 - Sun 6/12
Week 6 - Monday 7/12 - Sun 13 /12
Week 7 - Monday 14/12 - Sun 20/12
Mike & I will compile results on a weekly basis which we will circulate. There will be prizes for the handicap winner, fastest male & female, and percentage effort male & female, plus 'performance of the week'!
There will also be overall series prizes and if it is possible I will try and sort out a Christmas Handicap for week 7 when we may be able to have some kind of socially distanced run up at Lancaster Park and a 'sanitised & masked up' presentation post-run...who knows?!
Any questions - then just get in touch and I look forward to hearing from you!