On 21 May 2015 In Running News

What a great day of athletics. We were there for two medals, secured one and were close to a second. The first National Masters Road Relay medal in our history. We had realistic aims and everyone was fired up to beat their targets. The result was great performances and great races. I am proud of everyone, thank you team mates. Thank you to our supporters, but we could have done with a few more!

Four short race reports below!  Full results at www.joelee.co.uk

M35 Race.

The youngsters were our team medal hope, and if the emails bouncing back and forward were to be believed then silverware was a certainty. Our tactic was to start and finish strongly, keeping things consistent throughout the race, while other teams front loaded and dropped off at the end.

On form Mark Ince led off with a target time and position of 7th  to attain. Well he delivered 7th, but easily beat my target; and so……race on.

Kevin was given a tough task by me, having to follow a great opening position on the ever fast second leg, but although predictably dropping a few places, we were still ahead of schedule. Super Vet Jon Jennings is on form, he followed the plan pulling back four places. Dan Robinson looked at his target with disdain. I thought too many races, London Marathon legs….?  He smashed it, taking the fastest leg away from Mark by a massive one second and shooting us into fourth. Oh yes, I love a plan coming together, feels like method not luck. Surely only 34 seconds to our perceived destiny would be easily attainable as the others dropped back?

Mark Lawlor gave his best, easily beating my target, but what were the other three teams around us playing at, their expected slow fifth leg did not materialise!

Martin Matthews, very fresh from his brilliant London Marathon dismissed the so called “marathon legs” tag, but ended up with a solitary race against the clock. His determined run was impressive, and the team beat the manager's total target by 18 seconds which would have given us bronze last year. So much for stats. Our competitiveness was obvious in attitude and performance, and we finished in 5th in Britain, our highest ever finish. Well done team.

We will add strength to the squad next year and the following year. If we are prepared to put more emphasis on this race and 5K training, then we will win silverware.

M35-44 A team. 3mile legs x 6  Time 1.37.13, 5th

Mark Ince                15.27

Kevin McMillan       16.53

Jon Jennings            16.20

Dan Robinson         15.36

Mark Lawlor            16.42

Martin Matthews.  16.05

M35 B team.  

Toby Close led off on the fastest and very busy first leg with another 92 athletes.  A good solid run as I expected. This always gives a good B team the opportunity to chase. New boy Stuart Male, a more than welcome asset from Tipton had a real stunner gaining 16 places.  Ed Barlow followed Stuart’s trend gaining a further twelve places and pinching fastest leg from Stuart by 3 seconds. Rene Vergo on his way back from injury showed his quick improvement getting closer to form and taking another 4 places. Derek Hardy had expressed his hope that his endeavours were not required, but they were and I think it was a good time mate. Harry “the kit” Fowler was back, and what a brilliant come back time on another solitary leg, with only the tumbleweed and me to offer support.  Well done team.

M35-44(or any age) B team. 3 mile legs x 6   Time 1.56.43.  37th.

Toby Close       18.05

Stuart Male     17.24

Ed Barlow        17.21

Rene Vergo      17.37

Derek Hardy    25.29

Harry Fowler   20.47

M45 team

Huw Jones in his own words “was raring to go”, and go he promptly did with a stunning time of 17.20 and 13th place. Good to have Andy Kenchington back racing with a good solid time as ever. Jort always keen to beat everybody, but this time fresh from surgery to replace both legs and feet, ran remarkably quickly. Finally, now officially old at was 50 Rob Ryan, who has also been under medical scrutiny, produced another very quick time, holding onto 28th place.

Well done team.

M45-54  team. 3 mile legs x 4   Time 1.15.50.  28th.

Huw Jones                 17.20

Andy Kenchington    18.14

Jort van Mourik        20.28

Rob Ryan                  19.48

M55 team.

And so to the elder statesmen, the true masters of something, if only I could remember. So elderly in fact, they make us race earlier so the debris of trikes and Zimmers, can be cleared, and those lost who forgot to turn at the cone, could be retieved.

This was our second medal hope of the day, but this time an individual. As the tem manager I nabbed first leg with no thought of any democratic decision.

It all went off a bit quick up the hill, but trusting in my tactics, they nearly all eventually dropped back as I moved through with Mike Hager. Unfortunately I was unable to prevent a small gap opening, and despite closing fast at the finish, left me trailing by 6 secs in second. Andy Sargent bore the brunt of the quicker teams' 2nd leg onslaught, but did well and we were still up in 13th. Finally Martin Ludford, and despite a bit of illness, his carers had given him the green light and his medication obviously helped him have a stormer moving us into 10th slot.

So a Silver medal for me and the club’s first Masters National medal.  Well done team.

M55-64  team.  3 mile legs x 3.   Time  55.58.  10th.

Richard Gray       17.09

Andy Sargent      20.06

Martin Ludford   18.45

Richard Gray

On 18 May 2015 In Running News

Continuing the great success of the men's 12 stage team at last month's national road relays, B.R.A.T's veteran men pitted themselves against the country's finest at the National Masters Road Relays last Saturday.

Leading by example, team manager Richard Gray produced the performance of the day, finishing a close second on leg 1 in the M55 race. The best team result was from our team in the marquee event, the M35 6-stage relay (team pictured) in which we came fifth, agonisingly close to a first ever national medal for the club.

Richard's report will appear here shortly!

Results: http://www.joelee.co.uk/resindex.html

On 28 April 2015 In Running News

There were some outstanding performances by B.R.A.T. runners at the London Marathon on Sunday. The most notable club performance in the capital came from Martin Matthews. Six years after last breaking 2:30 he snuck under the barrier and ran 2:29 for the iconic distance. Martin was delighted with his performance and rightly so. He led home a strong contingent of B.R.A.T. runners, several of whom ran personal bests. Some of those setting new PBs included Kevin McMillan, Ed Barlow and Nick Lewis.

Some of our athletes gained entry via qualifying times and some through gaining a club place. Priority for these is given to athletes who regularly compete or volunteer for the club and next year's allocation will be made in December.

Full results for the club can be found here.

On 15 April 2015 In Running News

For grown-ups only.

Not to be read if born after 16 May 1980. Contains ageist remarks. Radio 2 listeners will be banished to their own sound proofed gazebo.

BMAF National Road Relay Champs, Sat 16 May, start 12.15 or 2.00pm depending on team age category. The early start is for M55+ so we have time for toilet stops and to get our Trikes a & Zimmers round the course.

I decide which age categories we enter based on the response (the power of control). It is likely we will enter two teams for M35-45 (6 legsx3m); one or two for M45-55 (4 legs x3m); one team for M55-65 (3 legsx3m); M65 (3 legsx3m) possible but unlikely. You can run for a younger team, and I often use this to enter a strong team for any category that has a chance of a good result, unless you insist on running your age category for an individual result which is fine.

I will let you know what chances of a good placing we have when I have seen the response. I do have a list of those already confirmed as unavailable, but please reply again if you are available.

Therefore you can respond definite, probable, possible for me to decide on the number of teams. You would not have to commit until nearer the event.

Richard Gray.   07973 502531

On 15 April 2015 In Running News

B.R.A.T's Tim Carter set himself a new challenge at the start of this year: to win a marathon. After chasing a time at London last year Tim fancied a change so his new goal was to win the race in his new home town. The course is a challenging one, hilly and exposed in most parts, and the day of the race saw very windy conditions. Hardly ideal marathon weather. Undeterred, Tim set out in the lead and had a large gap at 20 miles, which he passed in around 2 hours flat. The windy conditions, along with a sore hamstring, slowed Tim down in the last 10k but he hung on to win by the narrowest of margins.

Well done Tim - you can be forgiven for missing the 12 stage (but only because you won!). Pictured above is Tim receiving his winner's medal alongside Dan Robinson who used the event as a training run for the London Marathon next week and finished third after running the first 16 miles with Tim.

Results can be found here.

On 13 April 2015 In Running News

What a result !

National 12 Stage Road Relay Championship

23rd overall in the country, equalling our best previous position last year;  1st Birmingham club; 2nd West Midland; 6th in Midlands (counting Bristol and Bedford).

On a bright sunny and breezy day, on Saturday we once again made our mark on The National Road Relay Champs in Sutton Park. First good news was the official course distance was announced as +0.19 miles longer than the usual. We had settled on +0.16 after The Midland, so our pace just increased. Long 5.57m, short 3.10m.

After a hectic 72 hours of 5 team changes, with excuses ranging from a cut little finger, to a leg actually dropping off (lame excuse), we presented ourselves on the start line. Study weary but obviously not leg weary, Jack Gray led off and stormed round in the always dauntingly fast National 1st leg leading pack into a brilliant 7th place. On form Jon Jennings, probably uttered words describing his pure joy at such a challenge posed by very quick 20 something year olds, as he ran our fastest short leg 15sec quicker than his Midland time, but still losing 11 places! (Medal for bravery against odds).

Ed Banks our quickest leg at The Midland was under further attack, and despite taking 10 sec off his Midland time dropped another 5 places. I knew what I was in for, and although happy with the run was ambushed by one either side off the line followed by a further four, although I did win my sprint against a young whippersnapper.

Mark Ince had a stormer beating his Midland by 21 seconds, slowing our seemingly free-fall experience to one place in 30th.

This is where our strength in depth turned the tide. Young Ben Hall after The Midland now knew what to expect, racing 20 sec quicker and clawing a much needed place. Why change a trend, so Dan Robinson although disappointed with being 32 sec quicker, gained another place!

Welcome to new boy Stuart Male who delivered a good solid run only slipping one place. Nathan Warren stepping into a long leg ran brilliantly, retaliating in style overtaking Birchfield and putting BRAT into 25th. Tom Walsh although losing a couple of places, again showed a second time round produces results in a brilliant 30 sec quicker. Martin demonstrated our strength on the last long leg banishing Coventry and two others, opening up a big comfort gap for last leg. Kevin MacMillan stepping into the breach at the very last minute driving up from the Malvern only had the clock and lapped teams to beat, and indeed did just that with a solid last leg.

Thanks to all the team, reserves, supporters and Midland team resulting in an exciting and successful day.

Richard Gray

On 30 March 2015 In Running News

Last Saturday marked the weekend of the Midland Road Relays 2015, this year despite a number of injuries and illness we still managed to get one team out and finish 13thof 52 teams!

After a few changes of the course, and setting up the tent in blustery conditions Jen Dale (pictured) took us out with a storming run of 19:37. This set us up well in 19th place, and was followed by Becky Hair in a time of 20:02 – with a sprint finish! The course was certainly hillier than first anticipated, but with great team support in the final straight it was really motivating! Sam Rose brought us up another few places in a time of 20:53, and Ellie Bishop gave a cracking run in 21:05. Marie Voice and Eloise Lee bought us home in great times of 20:06 & 20:41, overtaking another few ladies to bring us up to 13th place.

It was a brilliant day, despite the weather, and it was great to get one team out! Hopefully next year we can get some more people on board and get our well deserved top 10 finish! Now, onto the National Relays in April where we should get a team out!

On 09 March 2015 In Running News


The CAU Inter Counties Cross Country Championships is the last race on the domestic cross country calendar and is the unofficial UK Championship. On the back of their performances at the Warwickshire county championships in January, a few of our athletes were selected to run for the county.

In the women's race, Beccy Tipping, who has had a great cross country season for the club, earned the blue and green Warwickshire vest and helped the women's team to 6th overall. A great end to a very successful season.

B.R.A.T. also provided three of the nine athletes in the senior men's team; Jack Gray finished 34th to cap a strong season in which he won the county champs and finished second overall in the Birmingham League standings. Ed Banks was sixth and last counter for the Warwickshire team, finishing 129th. The most impressive feat of all though, was Dan Robinson making his return to racing after missing the second part of the season due to injury. What he lacked in fitness he made up for in determination, and worked his way through the field in a sensibly judged race.

Photos of both races can be found here.

And so the curtain closes on a great season of cross country for the club. Time to put your spikes away and replace them with your racing flats; the Midland 6/12 Stage in on the 28th and we are hoping for a result to match the fantastic season we've had on the mud!