On 12 June 2014 In Running News

The club have been allocated 15 free places for winning the Great Birmingham Run club challenge at last year's event and the draw has been made. The following lucky people will have a free entry into this year's race:

David McNeil, Simon White, Julie Brown, Richard Thompson, Rachel Garwood, Stewart Grainger, Jas Hans, Jonny Costello, Thanos Tsolakis, Bobby Badesha, Paul Clarke, Barry Walker, Matt Bennett, Caroline Green, Abayomi Adedimeji

Winners will be contacted via email by the race organisers to confirm their place and enter.

On 30 May 2014 In Running News
The Spring bank holiday weekend saw me and Rhys Pippard attempting our first 100 mile ultra-marathon. The Valleys 100 was the Long Distance Walkers Association's annual 100 mile challenge, where long distance walkers and runners test themselves to their limits. 

This year's event, held in the South Wales Mountains, promised to be tough with over 15,000ft of ascent across arduous terrain. Torrential rain both preceding and throughout the event resulted in abysmal conditions and the event's lowest completion rate in its 41 year history. Rhys was forced to retire with hypothermia at mile 55 after 18 hours. I retired with exhaustion at mile 71 after 25 hours. 

DNFs are not often shouted about. Yet I am more proud of these 25 hours than anything I have done before. Never before have I reached a state of physical exhaustion so complete that I could no longer carry on. The conditions on those mountains took me to my limits, and I retired satisfied that I had given everything. As Helene Diamantides* once said, 'You don't do an event like this if you already know that you can finish'.

We have both learned a great deal from the experience and look forward to our next 100 mile event in flatter and hopefully drier terrain in October.
by Cass Chisholm
On 21 May 2014 In Running News

What a struggle to get teams to the start, but eventually we managed to fill the three teams. Thanks to Paul and Owen for the last minute stand in. M35 and 45 swapped members almost daily as I questioned whether we should be entering when it appeared to be such hard work.

On a beautiful sunny day in Sutton there was no need for the protection of a gazebo as we set up under a shady tree. We also had the added benefit of a generous donation of ginger bread men sustenance, all decorated with BRAT kit (well sort of if you wear pink shorts and are quite flat. Some had medals, which were definitely the most popular, so good to see everyone imagining their victory)!

M35 Team:15th overall.

On form Mark Ince (pictured) made his mark from “Go” as he settled in the leading pack, moving ahead in the top three and holding onto a tremendous run giving him 6th fastest old person in the race. What next year? Handing onto Kevin, who having been held up, just turned up in time for Mark’s tag. No warm up is never the best preparation unless you only need adrenalin to race and Kevin was disappointed with his run. Things were not going to the plan of a few weeks earlier, as Adam committed to the team as ever,  struggled with the lurgie and probably should not have raced on health grounds! Robin stopped the rot and gained a couple of places handing onto new relay boy Simon, who ran a quicker time than he had expected or at least predicted, but we still shouted at him as Bournville managed to overhaul us just before the line. Despite that he gained three places. Finally Jort swapping from the M45 as we juggled to finish the teams ran a good leg. He was unhappy but this race runs nearer to a 5K time than 3 mile.  


M35-44: Six legs x 3 mile 15th 1.45.58

Mark Ince                               15.24   (3rd)   6th fastest overall.

Kevin McMillan                     17.27  (-10)

Adam Balderson Higgins    18.11  (-6)

Robin Biles                              16.45  (+2)

Simon White                          20.02  (+3)

Jort van Mourik                    18.09  (-1)

M45 Team: 38th overall.

Pete had been in several leg positions and two teams, but found himself leading off which has its pressure. We had to recruit the kit boy to help the team, as stalwart “H” made his come-back racing before he had any running training in his legs !   Paul clocked a decent time while looking rather distressed when I saw him. “It’s supposed to hurt” his retort, respect to Paul. Finally Owen concerned about his lack of fitness gained 28 places. Bloody hell!   He must have been weaving all over the road avoiding the traffic. No need for a rear view mirror Owen, well done.

M45-54  team.  Four legs x 3mile

Pete Brown                      21.30  ()

Harry “H” Fowler           21.44  (+2)

Paul Robertshaw            20.07  (+7)

Owen Doherty                18.41  (+28!)

M55 Team  8th overall.

The only team to get to the line with the original line up, although there were only three required, which was a good job.

I led off, avoiding the pre-race stares suggesting I should move further back with other people who wobbled a bit and still owned Austin Maxi’s with plastic covers on the velour seats. Not sure of my speed despite my young coach’s assurance, I was pleased to kick off the hill and drop a couple of close rivals. Pleased with my race in 3rd  place and finishing in 4th overall missing out on a medal yet again. Martin “on form” Ludford did not disappoint with a good time, despite trying to weave along the road to keep rivals behind him (Manager’s instructions). New boy to BRAT but not to relays Ed, who is rumoured to be even older than Martin (or even H !), I think ran a great time to bring us home in a creditable 8th place.


M55-64  team: Three legs x 3mile

Richard Gray              17.07  (3rd)  4th fastest overall

Martin Ludford         18.58  (-14)

Ed Hartley                   20.05  (-9)

Thanks all athletes and supporters. Next year we will recruit baby face “Dan Robinson”, but are we really interested in fulfilling our potential and  achieving in this event?

Richard Gray.

On 06 May 2014 In Running News

National 12 stage Road Relay Championship

HIGHEST PLACE IN OUR HISTORY: 23rd and 3rd team in West Midlands, just caught in last 100 yds to lose out on 2nd to Coventry Godiva!  Is that exciting for us or depressing for athletics? (I will go with the former)

Results www.race-results.co.uk

On a pleasant English spring day we turned up to race, beat other teams and be BRATs. Mission accomplished, although I took a small sail instead of a big one,..first mistake of the day. The team may not have been full strength, but it was solid throughout the 12 stages with and everyone very much up for the challenge. We even had the luxury of Jort, our very keen reserve throughout the entire race(and possibly willing someone not to turn up). Great to see Jack back to his first race for some time after injury, and taking on the fast first leg. Also Paul made the journey back from London.

Of we went with Jack on the first long leg of 5.1miles, slightly unsure of his competitiveness without a race under the belt, but fear not, 11th place did very nicely. Just the incentive Mark Lawlor ordered(although he didn’t tell me that)… Up with faster teams it was a case of hanging on to whoever passed and dragging out a good time. Well guess what he did, just that resulting in easily our fastest short 2.7mile leg. Next was London socialite Paul Thompson. No problem as he stormed round in our fastest long leg gaining seven places into 12th. Martin Matthews on an uncharacteristic short leg and recovering from a nasty lurgi, gave it all as is guaranteed, and although very disappointed I think he ran really well keeping us in the top twenty. Tim Carter with London looming was positive as always but the faster teams pushed us back to 25th.  Hiding in the middle was me. Gave it all and pleased but dropped another place. Fortunately Mark Ince picked up the mantle and although still finishing 26th closed the gap on teams ahead. Good to see Rene back and fit. Good job I did not leave him as reserve or an explanation would have been required as he ran well and finished ?..... yes 26th, but we were gaining honest.  Expecting a lot from our last two long legs, particularly as Dan had yet another new pair of shoes. Good to see well turned out BRATs and he wins the prize for “colour coding on the day”.

The chance of that glory place was up for grabs and Robin suitably delivered with second fastest short leg of the day and,…..yes 25th.

Now Ed is more used to the company of first leg, but this time he was going to have to grind out that time, which he promptly did. Although Dan pipped had him by just 4 seconds, Ed took us to 22nd. Hoorah!

Finally Adam had to dig deep and keep us in our highest position ever. He kept us ahead of Coventry all the way round, entering the final 100m just ahead, but IM training was not of much use here and the valiant effort could not resist the nasty young person in red and yellow. Hold on though,…that was only one place and we were 23rd. Yes 23rd club in Britain. Yep, very well done team, I was chuffed with everyone’s keenness, determination and achievement. It has to be added though, that if I had not stopped to help a little old lady across the road, Adam would not have beaten me by one second (b******?...probably his granny)

Thanks to all athletes and supporters.

Happy boss, Richard

On 29 April 2014 In Running News

Last Sunday morning (27/04/2014) at 9 am a sizeable contingent of BRATs set off to complete the Shakespeare (Half-) Marathon.

The conditions were near perfect (cool & damp but not wet) for distance running, if it hadn't been for the strong wind. This wind, atypically blowing from the east, meant that the very exposed final 5 miles after "the hill" on the locally quite muddy Greenway were harder than usual. Nevertheless, some very good performances were recorded.

In the Half Marathon (1995 finishers), Jort van Mourik (pictured) was first BRAT home in 24th position in 84:24 (7-min PB!) closely followed by Toby Close (43, 86:46), Huw Jones (90, 90:37), James Gooch (197, 96:05), Milorad Milojevic (225, 97:24), Jonathan Dodds (228, 97:29), Charles Bamford (241, 97:59), Stacey Bamford (369, 1:42:38), Ben Chan (422, 1:44:19, PB!), Robert Dowse (436, 1:44:40, SB!), John Ramsden (444, 1:44:57), Leanne Parry (608, 1:48:41), James Comiskey (819, 1:54:11), Paul Morey (1352, 2:08:38), Richard Leslie (1362, 2:08:50), and Romaney Southwood (1677, 2:20:39).

In the Marathon (732 finishers), Adam Western was first BRAT home in 26th position in 3:03:21, followed by Tony Davies (72, 3:17:33), Nathan Warren (117, 3:25:45), Louise Beasley (354, 3:57:40), Simon Ellison (550, 4:26:37, PB!), and Paul Cole (591, 4:32:10). Well done to all finishers!

Results can be found here.

On 14 April 2014 In Running News

After the huge success of the men's 12 stage team, who came 23rd at the National Road Relays, we now turn our attention to the Masters Road Relays. BRAT could have a very strong team at this if we have good turnout. Please see Richard's appeal below and respond if you would like to race in this great event.

Anyone 35 and older: We need YOU”

I need an urgent reply from all, please pass it on.

Masters National Road Relay Championships.  Sutton Park, Saturday pm, 17 May.

This race is the most difficult to plan and needs an urgent reply because I can only enter names in the relevant age group squad, and entries close 19 April.

I only need a possible and probable because once I have an idea I can decide on age group entries. Don’t forget to reply with your age to save me looking it up and thinking you are at least 10 years older than you are (because you look it, except me)

Age categories:  35-44; 45-54; 55-64; really old; assisted ramble; trikes; long black estate(in memory).

Richard Gray - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On 14 April 2014 In Running News

There were many wonderful performances at the London Marathon on the 13th April 2014, but none more so than those from the many BRATs who took part.  Their story (or stories) will appear here shortly! 

79 Robinson, Daniel 02:34:31
81 Carter, Tim 02:34:47
297 Ince, Mark 02:43:27
395 Welborne, Karl 02:45:49
617 Lewis, Nick 02:50:52
833 Curran, Michael 02:54:31
1079 Barlow, Ed 02:57:40
1512 McMillan, Kevin 03:01:26
2011 Lee, Eloise 03:07:21
2885 McNeil, David 03:14:40
3512 Doherty, Owen 03:19:59
3810 Birch, Nigel 03:22:20
4392 Bullingham, Carl 03:26:26
4680 Quested, Eleanor 03:28:05
6912 Seagrave, Nick 03:40:48
8139 McFadden, Roger 03:46:19
8614 Chisholm, Cass 03:48:22
8646 Wallis, Sarah 03:48:30
9225 Green, Katie 03:50:58
26864 Ellison, Simon 05:06:58
  Van Rooyen, Jeanne-mari  
On 20 March 2014 In Running News

Hello BRAT mates,

Full results at www.race-results.co.uk  Check the team below when visiting the site.

What a lovely day for a stroll round Sutton Park, but that ridiculous idea was soon put to bed. Although we were down on strength we had a decent team that was a very safe qualifier, so let’s enjoy the day and see who we could beat.

Presentation was mixed and relaxed: Ed sporting a very smart haircut and new red sweatband (ex Olivia Newton John purchased on ebay for the older readers); Dan with a choice of new shoes (making sure he was up to date with the Spring colours; Tom warming up with a spare pair of different tread pattern shoes in hand. (Now that is preparation, ready for an F1 pit stop half way round with wet weather shoes should conditions worsen);  Robin & Family debating whether he runs with the ultimate fashion accessory + buggy; Jort with a three generation picnic going on under their own tree; and then disaster struck: Adam had forgotten his sunglasses ! 

A meeting was called. Should he risk running, should we change the legs to allow the sun’s trajectory to move 5 degrees 10 minutes, should he run always facing east ?

Then in the nick of time rescue appeared on the horizon as replacement shades were generously donated (wishing to remain anonymous).  Tension grew as Adam cautiously…nervously…. (in slow motion)….lifted them to his face, and well, wow !......All was well, the iron man looked like an Iron Man (I think that’s what he told me)

Moving on and off we go.  The course was changed and the course shortened. Don’t know why, we have coped for 30+ years. All legs were reduced by 0.3miles.

Long = 5.1m and short 2.7m in order LSLSLSLSSSS

Ed saw us off in an excellent 14th, and Mark in a choice but always pressured quality second leg maintained our position with a good time. Tom with massive plastered up blister chose slicks, but ended up with an obvious limp with said blister and we dropped to 17th. Another good short from Kevin only 8 seconds behind Mark maintained our position, handing onto the Dan on form who flew and took us back into 14th. That was our number and nobody else was having it !  David, on his way back to fitness, ran a decent time, whatever he says, handing onto Chris. Now Chris cannot sprint, but he might say: It doesn’t really matter, I will have already beaten you”; and yes a very good time only 2s behind Dan and 20s behind Ed gaining one place. Then it was my turn, expecting a full squad turnout for my send off, but they were all scoffing Eloise’s cakes. Despite subsequent send-off deflation and heavy legs from Saturday’s exploits, I was rather pleased, except I lost one place to some Stoke youngster who should show more respect. Man on fire Martin Ludford made his A team debut (please correct me if I am wrong), and was solid keeping our 14th place. Robin, obviously still on a Family high, set about his task and delivered (unfortunate choice of words) the second fastest short leg of the day. Adam “Iron Man” looking cool, despite his longer distance ambitions delivered(not again) a quick 2.7m.  Guess what, yes we were still in 14th.  Glory or bust was handed to Mark, who said he wouldn’t, but did, flew round in easily the quickest short leg . Finishing position, yes you’ve guessed it, 14th.   Well done team mates. 

Now the B team was severely depleted to the grand total of three……NOT OUR PROUDEST MOMENT BRATS.

Martin Cleaver led off, standing in even more last minute than Martin Ludford and recovering from a particularly nasty lurgi, and to be honest a good time. Pete followed on, overtaking two with a time well above his prediction (Aim higher Pete, because you can). 3rd and final leg was in the hands of excitable Jort, holding back on the three generation picnic, who gained another three places. Well done team mates.

So well done and thank you everyone.  LOOK OUT FOR NATIONAL MAIL, followed by NATIONAL MASTERS MAIL.

Richard Gray

14  Birmingham Running Athletics & 'A'  3:56:16

        Edward Banks     (14) 26:55
        Mark Lawlor      (14) 15:09
        Tom Anderton     (17) 29:58
        Kevin McMillan   (17) 15:17
        Daniel Robinson  (14) 27:13
        David McNeil     (15) 16:10
        C Ashford        (13) 27:15
        Richard Gray     (14) 15:51
        Martin Ludford   (14) 17:06
        Robin Biles      (14) 15:03
        Adam B Higgins   (14) 16:00
        Mark Ince        (14) 14:19

Birmingham Running Athletics & 'B'

        Martin Cleaver   (52) 34:43
        Peter Brown      (50) 19:00
        Jort van Mourik  (47) 31:38