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Great Denham Parkrun - Saturday 8 December

Chatting with Marcus Cook at the last cross country he told myself and Terry that his dad was back up running after years out with injuries and that they intended to undertake the Great Denham Park Run as a 'first run' back. Mick is great running pal of mine from years past and a good friend of Terry so we decided to surprise him by turning up on Saturday morning and run with him. Mick was one of the early original Flyers and a great runner and if you look at the Club records he still holds 5 including 2 particularly impressive 10K performances of 35.02 (Vet 45) and 35.15 (Vet 50). The Vet 45 record has now stood for 26 years! ....and now he has just added a 6th Club Record to his tally as a Vet 70-74 age group. Interestingly, although we all finished virtually together he has managed to snatch 8 seconds on all of us! Well done Mick it was pleasure and an honour to run with you again and hopefully you will be able to keep it up.

Dave & Terry Stanley

3 Counties XC Race 2: Wellingborough - Sunday 25 November

Another great effort from the Flyers today at the 2nd Three Counties Cross Country at Wellingborough both from quantity with circa 62 runners, individual and team performances. A very different course to Dunstable that possessed its own challenges with the technical nature and ditches.

A merry band of ladies headed over to Wellingborough to tackle the infamous 'ditches ' . Within the ladies team there was a lot of nervous chatter about said ditches, with a few hovering on the fence as to whether they could/would manage to tackle them. With a bit of reassurance about how this was the most fun you could have on a Sunday morning, they duly turned up to face their demons. Well, I (Debs) have to say that judging by the looks of determination by many of the ladies as they approached the ditch, they were well and try up to the task! We cheered every Flyer through with shouts and whoops and there were lots of smiles and laughs along the way. Mae sky's face was a picture as she saw the ditch for the first time, but she got stuck in and waded through admirably! I was so pleased to see so many ladies commit and make the not inconsiderable journey to this fixture- so a huge thank you to each and every one who ran! Kerry Large had another fine run to lead the AFF women's team home in 136th place, followed by a strong run by Jess Anstee on her 3cxc debut today. Dayle Walker had a cracking run to be 4th scorer There was an amazing run by Jo Aatkar to come in 3rd scorer for the ladies-an excellent return to xc for the ever present jo! Dayle Walker has a cracking run to be 4th scorer. Following very closely behind we had Lisa Wells off the back of her shiny new half marathon pb, with sophs b right behind. Great running by Sophie windmill, Kate cornelius, Michelle Morris, Zoe didlick, Christine Sharman and a fantastic sprint finish by the lovely Becs Fleckney. Brilliant running also by our Pat Godfrey, who conquered the ditch in fine style and finished strongly. Another great team performance and cameraderie. Ladies team overall position 5th. Onwards and upwards to the next fixture!

For the men, it was rough, tumble and team tactics at the front with Tim Harris getting blocked, elbowed by the 2nd Rugby runner which Tim managed to overcome for a magnificent 2nd, trying to get back to the first placed 1st Rugby runner. We welcomed back Pete Benedicter from back pain and cold for a fine and valuable 7th. Ian Halpin continued his great start to the season with a fine 9th. Joe Strange whilst being outside the top 10 with 200 metres to go, was always confident that his 50 second 400 metre speed would see him through and he duly obliged. We welcomed Stephen Green for his Three Counties debut and he had a great start in 14th. I was next in 19th closely followed by Steven Upton and Phil Holland with fab runs in 22nd and 24th Equally as pleasing was the great back up with Lee Murphy, Terry Stanley and John Decesare to name a few not far behind. The end result was that the men were 1st team again and further cemented their lead as closest rivals North Herts finished 3rd.

The combined effort of the men and ladies scored another great 2nd place overall which keeps our hand in there for the season as we stay in 2nd. We welcomed a number of other runners who made their Three Counties debut for the season - Josh Dyball, Jo Morris, Niki Stevenson, Emily Brown, Kate Cornelius, Martin Lees, Jessica Anstee, Richard Gale and Andy Bierton. Plus we welcomed Will Willmott for his overall club cross country debut.

Aside from the new starters there were reams of season best placings - Vickie Humber, Patricia Godfrey, Dave Sedgley, Rebecca Fleckney (who by her own admission was the first time she had abstained from alcohol the night before leading to a 100 place improvement), Mae Sky (runninh round closely guarding her phone and money), Robert Cook, new mummy Michelle Morris already knocking off 109 places from race 1, Samantha Walters who took a break from the norm and loved the ditches, Denise Browning, Zoey Didlick, Andrew Ralphs, Christine Sharman, Katie Ruditis, David Coker, Joe Walters with another best ever finish, Jon Jonathan Walker, Paul Court, Dayle Walker, Dean Shanley, new slimline Paul Owen, Tank Hardwick, Stanley Greening, Sophia B, Kerry Large, Colin Woods, Dan Karaiskou, Simon Read, Terry Stanley, John Decesare, Lee Murphy and Steve Upton. Andrew James Macintyre, Jeremy De La Dean, Ross Henson and Philip Mead all made the top 100 for the first time this season and Roger Ball got his best ever finish.

Thank you to all for your continued support to myself and Debs and contributing to another great day. Hope you enjoyed the varied course. Thank you to Debs and Alexander, Charlene, Richard Gale's lady, John Murphy, Andrew Macintyre's lady, Dave Stanley, Siobhan Lees, Shelly Harris and Finley for their support out on the course and photos albeit too much fascination with dodgy stream crossings! ??. Thanks to Becs for sorting out the number issues, and Phil Bierton and Jane Cook for results. Apologies if i have missed anyone - same rules as before, discretely advise and i will use the edit button. Great team effort.

Debs and Mark

Hatfield 5M - Sunday 25 November

Billed as "fast as me when somebody shouts ‘Who wants to hold the kitty’ on a night out" and as flat as a gymnast I was hoping for a 5 mile PB. I was the sole flyer wheresas St Albans Striders had 100+. The last time I saw that much yellow I was brushing my teeth. As for the race quite congested at the start as it appeared people lined up in reverse finishing order. The course was quite narrow in places but with a few elbows and the odd trip I found myself some space and settled into a nice rhythm. Runners around me kept me honest and I was pleased to clock a PB.

Phil Horan - 31:12(PB)

Wendover Woods 50M Ultra - Saturday 17 November

The Wendover Woods 50 (WW50) was the final race in the Centurion Running Grand Slam of Ultras in 2018. If you know Wendover at all, you'll know there are a few lumpy bits and we were set to run 5 10 mile loops to complete this ultra - the toughest 50 miler Centurion has. Hundreds of sheepish looking people gathered in a damp and misty field on Saturday morning, faint glimmers of panic and the odd smile (they'd probably completed it before). I'd planned to run this fairly steady, manage my effort and hopefully finish in under 9 hours. The first lap was good, a steady 93mins; I cannot tell you how brutal the hills were! But overall, I cantered through with a very positive mindset, feeling positive and eager(ish) to crack on. Next lap went fine until about mile 18 when something went wrong with my left hip flexor. I have no idea what happened but pain set in and caused me to stop. I hobbled on and got the second lap finished, grabbed my poles and set off again. Lap 3 was painful. I kept managing my pace and when I got to the half way point CP, I had a good shout and scream. I convinced myself there that come hell or high water, I was getting this done, even if I had to bloody crawl. On a plodded now realising that my 9 hours would be unreachable. I finished lap 3, grabbed some supplies and cracked on. Lap 4 was weird, I seemed to improve and there were parts where I found myself making better progress. A hot coffee helped at mile 35 and I was soon closing in on my last lap. I started lap 5 with a very focused mind ensuring I would say goodbye to each tree root, rock, uphill slog and anything else that caught my eye. During this lap, the sun disappeared and the headtorch came out; in a weird way, this focused me even more. It also got cold, very cold which meant I had to keep a pace up. Finally, blissfully I arrived at the end and was welcomed by the superb Centurion staff and if I'm honest, a colossal weight lifted from my body. I didn't expect this race to turn out like this, but it taught me some valuable lessons and it is one I will remember for many years. A big thanks to all the staff, support and of course the wife for putting up with my moans and groans during the year. In 2019 I'll be attempting the Dragon's Back and then taking a break due to the arrival of offspring, after that, I think it's about time I got back into some shorter, quicker stuff.....

Scott Huntley -10:07:06

Chiltern XC League (2) - Teardrop Lakes - Saturday 10 November

Another great day for the Flyers at the 2nd Chiltern League at Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes. This was a league where pre-season there was their uncertainty about Flyers take up or whether this was just for quicker runners. However the club and its runners has really embraced it and we had an excellent turnout of 23 runners plus supporters for a fixture that incorporated the UK Athletics Cross Challenge with some big time athletes and Olympians like Jess Judd.

Aside from the great turnout, it was a superb result for the club with the Men finishing 1st team in Div 2 of the league, the ladies finishing 4th and overall we were 2nd team, albeit if you remove juniors we were 1st team. Well done all.

For the ladies, established Chilternites Kerry Large, Lisa Wells, Hattie King and Sophie Windmill were joined by newbies Jessica Anstee, Sophs Bee, Katie Ruditis, Jo Morris and Rebecca Fleckney. For the men first match attendees Tim Harris, Ian Halpin, Lee Murphy and myself were joined by Stephen Green in his debut race for the club, Chris Littlejohn and Ryan Short for their xc debuts for the club, Colin Woods for his xc debut ever, David Ackerley, Ashley Larman, Philip Mead, Richard Gale, Ben Stoneman and Martin Godin. Unfortunately Martin got a hamstring injury into the race but still went straight out to support the team. All runners looked natural fits in a friendly league.

On the supporting team all runners were grateful for the excellent support they received. As men and women are separate races, men and ladies can support each other but all were very grateful to those who came up just to provide support and take photos of runners not necessarily looking their finest. Special thanks to Chairman Paul Owen, Paul Farmer and his family, Abi Wells-Day, Dave Stanley who was also a course marshall, Richard Gale's lady, Tara Quinn, John Murphy for their on-course support which definitely helped. Thanks to Becs for all her assistance on helping runners progress their UKA registrations. Apologies if i have missed anyone off.

Cross country moves back onto the Three Counties on the 25th November at Wellingborough before being back to the Chiltern on the 1st Dec at Stopsley Common, Luton. It is not too late to join either of these leagues so if you fancy it or are unsure either speak to myself or Hattie for Chiltern, myself or Deborah for Three Counties or any of the runners that have taken part to get their feedback.

Mark Waine

3 Counties XC Race 1: Dunstable - Sunday 4 November

Whilst we still await full results, the scoring guru Mr Bierton has already calculated team and Flyer's individual positions so we proceed with the write up. Hope the enormous feeling of well being, team camaraderie and cake made it feel all worthwhile.

From a team perspective, the men matched last years first match and were 1st team. Both Ampthill and North Herts had a few missing runners and our strength in depth saw us through today. We know North Herts will come back stronger and even though it was a phenomenal performance today we will need to improve further into match 2 and look forward to welcoming some runners back to strengthen further.

For today another great performance from the ever youthful Tim Harris took him to 3rd with the line coming too quick as he was closing down on both 2nd and 1st. Joe Strange preferred the reverse way round the course as he ran continuously for 9th and broke the heartbreak hill downhill record in the process. Ian Halpin continued his fine run of form in 11th. Phil Holland steeped in running history, even through reduced training retains his quality with 19th: Steve Upton showed that new fatherhood needn't slow you down with a great 24th. David Ackerley had a very confident boosting run in 29th and the scoring team was made up with Lee Murphy, who came to Ampthill to challenge himself further and seek to make the scoring team which he did with a fine 32nd.

The ladies performed really well in 3rd place. This was 2 places better than match 1 last year and this was assisted by Kerry Large who had a great run in a rare venture to the Three Counties, Amy Witheridge Farr welcomed back from a long cross-country sabbatical and both were joined by more established Three County-ites, Hattie King back from a holiday and a ladies night out and Lisa Wells who is having a great year. The above fed into a combined team position of 2nd place up from the 3rd place at Match 1 last year which sets us up well for the season.

Whilst only 12 runners can score (8 men and 4 ladies), the Flyers team is so much more than this with everyone a valued member either knocking opposition down a place or lifting the team with their participation and enthusiasm. We welcomed a number of 3CXC cross country debutantes today - Vickie Humber, who I think the running term before the race was somewhere between apprehensive and cacking herself, with the excellent company of Heather Crellin-Lane (pre-fuelled up), faced the challenge head on and both performed fantastically. The tough course couldn't stop debutante Mae Sky smiling. Debbie Newell after her excellent half last week lost her cross-country virginity. Samantha Walters continued her excellent form with another great run.

Andrew Ralphs who I remember at the end of last year graduating from my work's C25K programme conquered his biggest challenge. Kim Nash got some value for money in by getting in her first club race about 24 hours after joining the club. Paul Court had an excellent run in 240th. Dean Shanley showed the dogged determination he shows in training, Andrew James MacIntyre seemed to enjoy it too much. Gavin Nicholson kept us his goal of trying not to be more than 7 days away from his next race and Colin Woods never managed a cross country at his old club Springfield Striders even though they were in 3 cross country leagues so he must enjoy the Flyers company to join us on a Sunday. For the majority of Flyers it was their first time at Dunstable but Christine Sharman, Terry McHugh, Katie Ruditis, Joe Walters, Caroline Gilby, Lisa Wells, Martin Godin, Philip Mead, Warwick Browning, James Handley, Marcus Cook, John Decesare, David Ackerley, Ian Halpin and Joe Strange all had their best positions on the course.

Outside of the debutantes, a number of runners had their best ever Three Counties finish which was no mean feat with a much larger field of circa 480. Joe Walters was one of these and even more impressive was his circa 100 place improvement from previous at Dunstable. Lisa Wells was another reaping the rewards of hard work. Roger Ball, Ashley Larman and Marcus Cook were others who achieved their best finish inside the top 100.

As above, a number of runners blooded themselves today at cross country or brought themselves back after some time. As the course profile shows it was a tough one and there could have been considerably easier introductions. That didn't deter reams of Flyers who demonstrated great attitudes, resilience and love for free food. It was a great team effort from everybody today and i am sure that company and support throughout the team made individual's experience more manageable and significantly more enjoyable. This was another successful Flyers day. The next 3 Counties is in 3 weeks at Wellingborough. Whilst there are some inclines, these will seem like the proverbial piece after today. In advance of this there is a Chiltern League in MK next Saturday afternoon. If you run you likely score so please advise if you can run.

Well done all today. Thank you all for your participation today. Also special thanks to the unsung hero helpers such as Phil Bierton and Jane Cook recording and scoring and Rebecca Fleckney for sorting out numbers and registrations. Thanks to the supporters out on the course like Charlene Halpin and Mrs Macintyre and to our colleagues at Dunstable for hosting. Continue to embrace cross country and each other as we continue to grow as a team.

Mark Waine

Sundon Saunter Marshals Walk - Sunday 28 October

As I'll be involved with the event on the 18th, last week I jogged & walked around the 27 mile route of the Sundon Saunter - starting from Barton at 8.00am. It was a fine but cool morning - becoming warm & sunny during a glorious afternoon in Woburn Park. Despite some rain overnight the going underfoot was firm. I hope it's as good for all those doing the main event. The first 5 miles to Sundon has most of the hills - so it was over two hours before I reached what will be the first checkpoint at 7.3 miles. After that progress was a little quicker with some long running stretches in places.

Dave Sedgely 8:25

Maverick Dark Series, Sussex 15K - Saturday 27 October

Having enjoyed the Wimpole Night Run in February '18, I decided to try out the 15k 'long' route at this chip timed race, held around the grounds of the Cowdray Estate in West Sussex. There were c. 300 runners in total, with three distance choices: 6, 9, and 15K. With such a small field, before long everyone was strung out, and once I turned off the shared trail onto the long course route, I was running pretty much on my own with nothing but light reflective arrows, glowsticks hanging from the trees and my own chest torch to show the way along forest trails and across fields. There were only 4 marshals along the whole course and there were tree roots, gullies and ditches galore. Things got very interesting when it turned out that the route arrows had been sabotaged and the leading runners found themselves running round in a huge circle. Having found myself running with no arrows for some time I turned back, ended up regrouping with them and together we found our way out, to come across a Maverick rep hastily re-laying the arrows where they were supposed to be. I think the guy who was anticipated to win the race didn't, and did 24k rather than 15! This race managed to be both brilliant - like when we were running across fields on a totally clear night with fireworks from a display lighting up the sky behind us - and sometimes just a bit too Blair Witch Project! Definitely not for the fainthearted or anyone with any responsibility for risk assessments!

Helen Satterthwaite - 2:09:18

Amsterdam Marathon - Sunday 21 October

Having not run a marathon since May, I came into this one seriously under prepared as in I hadn’t done any training except a 15 and 17 mile SMC xc. I have continued to run every day (currently over 3 years) and early October was helped with 14 other village runners joining me every day that month. Not the best plans but having 101 marathons in the bag did mean I have some experience, so I simply resolved to start slowly and try to break 4 hours for the first time in a while. Eight of us met up in Luton airport on the Friday, which started messy (plane delayed for an hour and we were early anyway)and got worse in Amsterdam airport which we didn’t leave until the early hours. Saturday was spent recuperating and the second time in Amsterdam when I have gone to bed earlier than I do at home. Race morning was dry, clear and pleasant with an international field, chirping away in a multitude of languages. I set off with a mate who had been peer (possibly beer) pressured into entering just 3 weeks before, with less training than me and no marathons under his belt. He is a good half runner and I spent the first ten miles trying to slow him down, reaching the half way point at just under 1:59. The course was flat, winding out of the main city onto a wide canal at this point, which meant we could see the faster runners on the other side around 6-7 miles ahead, but that was fine. My pal said if he felt this good at 20 he was going to really pick the pace up and go for it. I chuckled and said lets see how you feel then. Having started slowly I was feeling ok, so I did say lets pick the pace up a little at halfway and we did. The next six miles seem to go by quickly and at 20 I was waiting for the ‘lets go’ shout, but it never came. He was holding on well, but within a short time, we went from me being a few feet behind him to being too far in front. By 23, he looked wrecked and oddly it made me feel stronger, so I kept talking nonsense at him (which I’m good at) to make the mile go quicker and at least try to maintain our pace. It worked, as while he would later say he would have stopped if he was on his own, the two of us just pushed through. I achieved a first in 102 marathons as a result. A negative split!! The second half was around 8 mins quicker than the first and I have just never done that, so in reality he did me a favour by making me concentrate on keeping it easy in the first half.

I would highly recommend Amsterdam marathon (and half on the same day). Its a vibrant city, with far more than just the huge red light district (which we ran through on Saturday afternoon when it was packed with tourists as there are lots of pubs and clubs there). We took a recuperating canal tour on the Monday, although we couldn't get into the Van Gogh museum as tickets need to be bought in advance. We did wander into the Rijksmuseum but it was so big, we wandered out and went to a bar! As for the nightlife, well what goes on tour stays on tour. Unless you look at Youtube, as one of the crew put up a sanitised version of the crew’s photos.

Paul Owen 3:51:43

Ironman World Championship, Kona, Hawaii - Saturday 13 October

This race was a life times dream for me and the ultimate goal for a Triathlete and the hardest race to qualify for with only 1% of triathletes ever succeeding in doing so. The qualifying process is wining your age group in any one of 40 Ironman races worldwide. There are approximately 400 athletes in each age group. I came 1st in Ironman Wales (the toughest course in the world).

I had a good chance of doing quite well in Hawaii however a new born son born 8 weeks before the race and a problem with my calf hampered the final part of 8 months of training and work commitments made training very different as my schedule had 20hrs per week of swim, bike, run sessions. Thanks to British Airways we had arrived 2 days late in Hawaii and lost luggage. I had missed the parade of nations with all the GB team. And had little time to settle, acclimatise and prepare for the race.

The race consisted of a 2.4 mile swim (without a wet suit) in the sea. 112 mile bike followed by a Marathon all back to back without stopping and without any outside assistance. This was all done in 100 degrees heat and 100% humidity and just to make it even harder the notorious winds was thrown in to the mix.

I love these challenges and using the mind as well as the body to overcome whatever is put in your path. The bigger the effort the bigger the rewards and satisfaction of completing them. I really enjoyed racing with the world's best athletes on such an iconic course in such a beautiful location.

I had a drama free race apart from having an IV line in the medical centre at the finish as I had lost 11lb in weight through loss of fluids due to dehydration. My dream was fulfilled and have the medal, tee shirt and wonderful memories to take to my grave. I am also happy and proud that my wife and new born son witness the occasion.

I must take this opportunity to thank Debs my wife for all her love and support throughout my training and journey and for putting up with my mood swings when things got frustrating and difficult, Debs deserves a medal of her own for her efforts in keeping me on track. I will now turn my focus on my running as my running has always been compromised with training for triathlons and I have not been able to devote enough time to running. I have unfinished business in running and now have the opportunity to achieve some goals.

Sorry for boring you all with this long report. Hopefully I will see more of you mighty Flyers in the near future.

Martin Beare - 10:49:07 (32nd M55-59 in the world)

Stowe Cross Country - Sunday 7 October

This was the 43rd running of the UK Fire Service X/C Championships at Stowe Park that included invited guests. For such a prestige event held at a historic location it was a shame that numbers were so small. The organiser, Eddie Gutteridge is an old friend of mine and has kept this event going over the years despite falling numbers and it was a pleasure that our Club were able to support with 4 runners despite our own 10K Championships taking place that morning. It was tough and was run over the recent County and National courses. 3 hills that had to be negotiated six times for the women (3.6 miles) and nine times for the men (5.28 miles). A stunning medal was the reward for our efforts and the race entry cost of £14 included a hot meal afterwards in the school canteen of Stowe School. This isn't any canteen with huge paintings of historic pictures including Queen Victoria hanging around the room and a ceiling that wouldn't be out of place next to the Vatican in Rome!

This is a great 'warm up' event for our own X/C season and hopefully we will be able to support in greater numbers next year.

Dave Stanley

Last Updated: Saturday, 08 December 2018 12:51