On 14 June 2013 In Running News

The much talked about BITS run sessions have been growing steadily in popularity.  We have been attracting not only new BITS members but have even tempted across some of our Central and Northern BRAT club friends. The BITS signature run session is one of the most feared yet much loved by all (including Sid the dog!!!)..... We call it the ‘Stairway to Heaven’.  Starting out at the top of The Lickey Hills Country Park you are briefly treated to stunning panoramic views of Birmingham, but you soon drop down into the thick woodland paths leading towards Cofton Park.  After that it all gets a little bit crazier. The main set is simple and basically consists of a 600m loop.   The stats are as follows...

• Start/Finish point = Wooden bench at top of the climb.

• Total lap length = 600m

• Total elevation = 56 metres (all 56 metres are climbed in last 150 metres of the loop!!!!)

• Number of steps = Too many!!!  100ish???

• Fastest single lap (bench to bench) = 3:03 (See Strava Segment – Stairway to Heaven).  Not expecting this to stay KOM for long.

• Session duration = 30 minutes or as many laps as possible.

We invite everyone to come and sample this session, share in the pain and reap the rewards

On 02 June 2013 In Running News

Cass Chisholm and Rhys Pippard, covered in Body Glide and factor 50 sunblock respectively, ran the Northamptonshire Shires and Spires 35mile ultramarathon. A beautiful back drop, warm dry conditions and feed stations with great cake (which reportedly contained a secret ingredient especially for ultra runners) meant that both runners pb'd at the distance finishing in 6 hours 11. Rhys also pb'd in the sheer volume of food he managed to consume during a race. All in all a great day out. 

On 26 May 2013 In Running News

BRAT's very own Kevin McMillan placed 2nd in the 145 mile Grand Union Canal Race this weekend, recording a very impressive time of 30 hours and 13 minutes.

The race starts in Birmingham's Gas Street Basin and follows the canal all the way to Little Venice in London. Everyone at the club is very proud of Kevin's achievement.

Kevin was unable to comment at the time of writing due to sofa and cold beer related commitments, but a full report and photos will follow soon.

Well done sir!

On 25 May 2013 In Running News

Eloise Lee represented Warwickshire in the UK Inter-County Fell Running Championships at the Settle Hills in Yorkshire on Sunday 19th May. Eloise was 22nd over a challenging 7 mile course that included 1750ft of ascent. It was Eloise's first proper fell race and she can't wait to do more!

On 25 May 2013 In Running News

Last Saturday a happy band of BRATs raced in The National Masters Road Relay Champs.   We rang and rode across to Sutton park with our blue badges, enjoying a weather window of at least 13 degrees and no hail or snow. The extremely large BRAT flag flew proudly on the finishing straight next to the Zimmer frame mobility park. There was a momentary sense of unease, or perhaps distress as the absence of team rugs dawned on the M45 team, nevertheless at least everybody had remembered why they were there.


Two teams were entered: M35-45 and M45-55, although some mutton was dressed as lamb in both teams. We were not going to be able to emulate last years fantastic result of 6th and 8th  in the country respectively, and M45 was unfortunately cannibalised to fill the relatively stronger M35 team. Our aim to be in the mix for the majority of the race was proven successful. Our competition were in no doubt we meant business, as we stripped off our fingerless gloves and cardies to reveal Damart compression clothing.  Yep…old and proud.



Martin Matthews led the M35 away around the 3 mile Sutton course finishing 10th in a great time. Rene Vergo, who is still on the way back from recovery, followed Martin on the difficult second leg and was much much faster than he had predicted. Robin was positive and hoping for a fast time, but tired at the end and was disappointed, and yet gained six places !  I ran a Jekyll and Hyde race, where fortunately Dr Jekyll stormed the second half to dig out a decent time. Mark Lawlor straight from the night shift and IM training may have either fallen to sleep half way round or dragged lead weights behind him, but that’s not the BRAT spirit we have come to expect. He ran a great time considering his zero speed work and sprinted the home straight more like an 800 finish gaining four places. Mark Hirsch having entered another decade of years remembered to run the right way round finishing with a good time, fortunately for me stopping to chat about the weather to old ladies cost him more than four seconds. Richard Thompson ran well on one of the lonelier legs keeping ahead of a strong Bournville team until half way, but still gained two places. Rob Shipp standing in at very short notice finished off our 16th place with a good time.


M35 were 3rd in West Midlands behind Tipton and Bournville, and 4thMidlands team adding Rugby to the WM teams.



Martin “mutton” Ludford  dispelled any rumours of bring over the hill by literally storming over the hill to his fastest time for many years, embarrassing the manger’s team selection into the bargain. Derek Hardy having just completed a 1/2IM, did not look pleased as I voiced words of encouragement at the top of the hill: “Lengthen your stride on this downhill”..!  I think a bike was in Derek’s thoughts at that point. David Sansom standing in at almost zero notice ran a great time gaining three places. Paul Robertshaw finished of the team which was unfortunately two short. We thought of telling Paul to simply run through the finish and make the six legs, but with his various ailments of cold symptoms, bad ear, one leg and three feet it may have been a bad choice.


Well done all. Hopefully next year will see us back to 2012 turn out and possibly an M55 team.


My home help has just turned up to tuck me in, so must go.

Richard Gray.



Martin Matthews        16.06m  10th

Rene Vergo               17.32m  -10

Robin Biles               16.45m  +6

Richard Gray            17.19m  +0

Mark Lawlor              16.39m  +4

Mark Hirsch              17.23m  -2

Richard Thompson  18.29m  +2

Rob Shipp                19.37m  -3



Martin Ludford       19.17m

Derek Hardy          24.15m -10

David Sansom      22.10m  +3

Paul Robertshaw  19.56m  +




On 20 May 2013 In Running News

Congratulations to the BRAT Masters who participated in the British Masters Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park on Saturday 18th May 2013. There were some great performances on the day. Full results can be downloaded here: http://www.joelee.co.uk/2013/vets13race2.pdf

On 20 May 2013 In Running News

BRAT's very own ultra-running machine Kevin McMillan will take on the 145 mile Grand Union Canal Race this weekend.

Kevin is no stranger to the event having completed the route before. He will be starting at Gas Street Basin on Saturday morning and attempting to run the length of the Grand Union before ending up in London. Kevin is in good shape having recently come 2nd in the Malvern Hills 52 mile ultra only two weeks after the London Marathon.

He will be supported by BRAT's other ultra monster Martin Matthews as well as his boys George and Tom, pictured here running with dad.

Good luck Kevin!

On 29 April 2013 In Running News

BRAT marathon running machine, Cass Chisholm continued her recent streak of marathon efforts with an impressive 03:37, clocked in the Madrid marathon on Sunday 28th April. Cass, who has now run 6 marathons in 30 days, said, "Venga venga animo! It was quite a tough route but very good for sightseeing! 3:37 for marathon #44, and 6th marathon in 30 days - ouch!"