On 02 February 2014 In Running News

Three BRATs decided to race in the Eton Dorney 20K run (not row, as Eton Dorney is well known for), to be prepare for the upcoming Reading Half Marathon and Manchester and London Full Marathons.  This was to be an experience that will teach these three musketeers some valuable lessons for these future events, like how to avoid a criminal conviction, why travelling time should be worked out prior to departing for a race and why making the most of toilet stops could prevent a race day disaster!

Lesson Number 1:

Avoid a hard swim set before the race.  Completing one of Debbie Southwood's swim sets the day of a race is best avoided if you want pain free traps (trapezius muscles - ed) during your run, especially when you find you are using your traps in a desperate attempt to get valuable oxygen in to your body.

Lesson Number 2:

Always pay for your fuel once you fill up at a petrol station.  Do not get distracted by the Costa machine and chocolate croissants, because you think carb loading, and the endurance benefits of caffeine are key in a successful run, forgetting you have actually filled up your car.  Paying for your fuel prior to the race also means you can go straight home afterwards and not embarrassingly going back to the petrol station to apologise and pay, looking and feeling very tired.

Lesson Number 3:

Always attempt a poo when the opportunity arises. Otherwise you could find yourself getting caught out and taking a diversion during the run to poo in a rowing club loo – adding 7 minutes and 27 seconds on to your race time.

Lesson Number 4:

Plan your travel. This not only allows you to get to the race course in time to register and warm up (and poo), but also avoid or at least allow time for over turned lorries and heavy traffic.  It also helps if you put the correct post code into your tom-tom in the first instance.

Despite such an awful start to a race that had not yet started there was success for the club.  Karl Welborn managed to finish the race in 1st place fending off second by 2 minutes, and sustaining a pace that was better than he had planned.  Tom Walsh also pulled out an impressive run, narrowly missing out on a podium finish by 4 seconds to finish 4th.  As for the third musketeer, John Ridgway... Well he has taken a liking to the Eton Dorney Rowing Club toilets, except the toilet paper that he was most disappointed with. All in all these lessons have been well and truly learnt, onward and upward to Reading Half and Manchester / London Marathon.

On 28 January 2014 In Running News

A few words on last Saturday's Midlands Championships at Newbold Comyn Leamington. The race started in reasonable conditions but sadly deteriorated towards the end with high winds and torrential rain which saw a few tents disappearing! 

As usual, Eloise, Lauren and Helena finished within a few seconds of each other. Eloise having a good final hill and holding off the challenge till the finish; Helena hearing mud is good for your skin fell at the stream - that could have made a good picture!
Eloise finished 51st, Lauren 53rd Helena 56th and Danni in 83rd brought the team home in 10th out of 27 teams. Other finishers were Tona (93rd),Gill (119th), Beth (144th),Jo (168th),Sarah (183rd),and Lizi (203rd).
Thanks to all who ran. The last league race is at Cheltenham on 8th February.
On 13 January 2014 In Running News

After last week’s exploits in the County Championships we returned to League action for another mudfest, this time in Coventry. And another brilliant day it was with twenty six BRATs on the start line. Jack Gray made light work of the conditions to win the race by 7 seconds ahead of Birchfield’s Weynay Ghebresilasie. Well done Jack! The rest of the team also responded in fine style. Ed Banks returning towards his best was 49th, Dan Robinson with his best ever finish was 51st, Chris Ashford with another valuable run was 59th, Mark Ince running better than ever was 63rd, and in an amazing first season Tom Anderton was 65th, closing the team to give a final score of 288 which is one of our best ever and secured us 6th place on the day. This moved us up two places in the table, and we now lie 8th of the 16 teams.

Tim Carter 93 led the B team home followed by Nick Lewis 96, Mark Lawlor 108, Rene Vergo113, Brendan Fitzgerald 116, Richard Gray 126. Our impressive B team score of 652 was good enough for 5th place on the day and we move up to 4th place overall, a mere 15 points adrift of the team above (Kenilworth). Another good score in the final race could see us overhaul them.

Thirteen more BRATs finishers gave the Club a massive presence in the results; Eliot Ward 133, Thanos Tsolakis 141,James Kay 150, Nathan Warren 151, Mike Ellis 162, Martin Ludford 164, Toby Close 171, Jort Van Mourik 185, Tom Walsh 194, Selvin Mills 200, Michael Gilbride 213, Rhys Pippard 221 and Ben Beaumont 225. Sadly Phil Fishwick had to pull out in the second half of the race. There were 247 finishers. Overall a great team effort and some brilliant results on the day. Well done all.

Full results and team positions are on the League website. Footage of the race can be found here.

Thanks to Richard Carney and Rob Andrews for sorting out the discs and results, also to Nick Price for photography of the race. Thanks also to Michael and Julia for the team photo at the end of the race, sorry not quite everyone is in, we’ll try again next time!

The next and final league race is at Cheltenham on 8th February.

On 12 January 2014 In Running News

A short report on the third league race in Droitwich.The race was held at the Droitwich High School; the day turned out sunny and dry but the flat course was at least muddy!

Helena led the team home in 41st place, Lauren was 43rd and Jen Dale back from back injury (sorry about that!) taking 45th place, 4 BRAT girls finishing within 30 seconds of each other, with Eloise (50th) making up that quartet.

Other BRAT girls included Tona (61st), Danni (78th), Gill (88th), Vic (93rd), Becky (94th), Claire (97th), new girl Charlotte (131st), Beth (142nd), Jo (150th), Sarah (184th), and Bea (231st). Another good turn out!

The team finished 11th out of 36 clubs.

The final league race will be at Cheltenham on February 8th.This is a more interesting course which includes a water jump ! A big well done to all, see you soon.
Geoff Mann, Team Manager
On 07 January 2014 In Running News

After the club's great success at the county championships last weekend, the senior men's and women's teams are back in action in the league on Saturday.

The men are at Coventry and the ladies are at Droitwich. Please confirm your attendance with Martin or Geoff if you have not done so already.

The plan for afterwards (thanks to Nick for organising) is:

19:00 - Old Contemptables

20:00 - Old Joint Stock

20:45 - Briar Rose (for a cheap couple!)

21:45 - Brew Dog

22:30 - Island Bar

On 04 January 2014 In Running News

Victories for Anne Kenchington (U17) and Jack Gray (pictured) at the Warwickshire Cross Country Championships were the highlights of a great day for the club, where the senior men's and women's teams gained team gold and silver respectively. The Championships were held in extremely muddy and challenging conditions at Halesowen on Saturday 4th January 2014.

Juniors (Team Manager Chris Gollings)

Anne Kenchington was the standout junior with first place in the U17 women’s race. Many congratulations to Anne!

Nine very brave and tough juniors competed in what was a real Cross Country Course (wet, muddy and hilly) with all running longer distances than they do in the west midlands young athletes league. Daisy Mai Clements ran nearly double her standard distance and finished 20th with her fellow U13 girl Grace Harris finishing 37th.

The boys had both an U13 team and an U15 team. The U13 team finished 7th, with Tom Kenchington starring in 9th place along with Daniel Rose in 22nd and Jackson Clements in 30th. In the U15 boys, the team finished 6th with Nicholas Papaioannou finishing a very creditable 20th, Jacob Gollings in 35th and Mathew Coulson in 38th.

Well done to all our young athletes, they are a credit to our club.

Senior Women (Team Manager Geoff Mann)

16 BRAT girls turned up to savour the winter delights of cross country! The course was extremely muddy and I could tell by the happy faces that the girls had enjoyed their race!

The senior women's team which included Lauren, Helena, Eloise, Becky, Daisy, Tanya, Vic, Danielle, Jo, Beth, and Sarah finished an excellent 2nd place.
The masters ladies team came in a close 4th place, just missing out on a bronze medal. The masters team was lead home by Tona with Margaret, Gill, Caroline and Bea providing team back up. A big well done to all who ran in very difficult conditions.
This week we move on to the league race at Droitwich. Thanks all.

Senior Men (Team Manager Martin Ludford)

Held jointly with the Worcestershire Champs, there were 168 Warwickshire finishers in the joint Seniors / Masters race with results being split into the two categories for scoring purposes.

The Senior men’s team had the perfect day, Jack Gray won the race outright to become the individual County Champion for 2014, while he, Dan Robinson 11, Ed Banks 12, and Chris Ashford 13 won the senior men’s team title for BRAT for the first time ever in the Club’s history, also ending a 5 year winning streak by Coventry Godiva. Well done lads. A brilliant achievement!!

BRAT were the only club to finish a senior B team i.e. Nick Lewis 20, Eliot Ward 22, James Kay 26, and Nathan Warren 28 - with Dave Smithers 32, Martin Cleaver 38 and James Gooch 40 snapping at their heels.

In the Master’s category the BRAT A team (Mark Ince 7, Paddy Allaway 11, Mark Lawlor 15, and Thanos Tsolakis 21) were edged out of the medals by the narrowest possible margin. They finished on the same points total as Royal Sutton Coldfield but were pushed into 4th place as Sutton’s last counter finished 1 place ahead of BRAT’s final scorer. It just shows how every place literally does count. The BRAT B team in the Masters race (Mike Ellis 28, Martin Ludford 29, Andy Kenchington 36, and Steve Thompson 50) finished 2nd out of six B teams and would have beaten several Clubs’ A teams. Michael Gilbride 74 and Rob Shipp 87 were not far behind. Well done to all, great running in very arduous conditions.

Thanks to all the supporters around the course, to Ben Beaumont for help with the tent and to Richard Carney for helping with the numbers.

Photos courtesy of Eloise Lee, who also stayed to take photos of the men's race. Results are on the Warwickshire County AA website.

On 16 December 2013 In Running News

Jack Gray broke a long standing club record yesterday at the Telford 10k.

The previous record dated back to the pre-BRAT era in 1990 (before Jack was born) and Jack took a huge 27 seconds off it, running 30:03. This was enough for 10th in a very high quality field. Though Jack was agonisingly close to breaking the 30 minute barrier, this was a very impressive performance in Jack's first road race for a long time after an injury lay-off.

No doubt Jack's next goal will be to change the 3 to a 2 and get under half an hour.

Well done Jack!

Full results here. Full club records and rankings can be found in the 'members' section of the site.

On 09 December 2013 In Running News

Martin Ludford, Men's Cross Country Team Manager

A rather depleted BRAT contingent made the trip down the M1 to the attractive setting of Abington Park in Northampton and were rewarded with 4 laps of beautiful parkland racing on a perfect afternoon for cross country running. Our lowest turnout for some years saw 17 BRATs start the race. Thankfully those who did make the trip ran their socks off and were able to achieve respectable results for the A and B teams, so not too much damage was done.

Jack Gray had another fine race to finish 6th, Chris Ashford bettered his Leamington position to finish 47th, while Dan Robinson still unwell from Ethiopia battled to finish 60th to help the team. The A team was completed by the ever improving Nick Lewis 101st , Raggy Gray 105th joining son Jack in the scoring six for an historic double, and Thanos Tsolakis counting for the A team for the first time. Well done to all. The A team score was 435 which gave us 12th place on the day, and although we slipped to 10th place overall we are still in a position to climb the table with good results in the remaining 2 races.

The B team places were taken by Dave Smithers 124, Andy Kenchington 132, Rene Vergo 138, Martin Ludford 162, Ciaran Williams 168 and new boy Toby Close 176. The B team score was 900 which gave us 6th place on the day and actually moved us up to 5th place overall. Jort van Mourik 185, Steve Thompson 202, and the late starting Rob Ryan 225 were the other BRAT finishers.

Again well done to all, and thanks to Richard Carney, for assisting the League officials with the finish, also to Martin Cleaver and James Kay for taking care of the club discs and paperwork at the finish after both were forced to drop out of the race in the early laps.

Full results are available on the League website www.birminghamccleague.co.uk

League Position (A teams) after 2 races


  1. Loughborough University 210
  2. Tipton Harriers 358
  3. Birmingham University 390
  4. Coventry Godiva Harriers 411
  5. Birchfield Harriers 418
  6. City of Stoke AC 452
  7. Cheltenham & County Harriers 527
  8. Kenilworth Runners 670
  9. Rugby & Northampton 782
  10. BRAT 803
  11. Halesowen 894
  12. Staffs Moorlands 937
  13. Severn AC 1031
  14. Telford AC 1142
  15. Warwick University 1166
  16. Wolverhampton & Bilston 1226