All posts by James Jenkin

Crazy Christmas Canter 2016

Stormin' success
Stormin’ success
Them's rite funny lot, them runners!
Them’s rite funny lot, them runners!

The weather might not have been festive. Indeed it was even warmer than 2015, but then again, neither were the costumes! Barely the only nod to the time of year were a few well positioned jingle bells and the occasional tangle of tinsel! And so it was that Saturday 17 Dec saw 23 Tattenhall Runners take to the lanes of the village on their annual Christmas Handicap Race, a tightly fought 6km starting and ending at the recreation centre. The race saw a couple of Supermen, a Batman, a ‘Man with No Name’ (Clint Eastwood) and Cap’n Jack Sparrow joining a brace of Muppets, William Wallace and a whole host of lessor characters, including a ‘costuming winning’ Lion (not sure which film) and a creatively constructed Storm Trooper (home made) challenge each other to cross the line first. Inevitably, and as anticipated, a Wonder Woman and Frozen ‘Anna’ also made an appearance though the roles were taken by two busty gentlemen of a certain age. The handicapping saw those anticipated to take a little longer head off first with the speediest (Superman) leaving as much as 17 minutes after the first starter. Said Superman was indeed the fastest fisher, though the first to cross the line was Hayley Cooper. In the end it didn’t really matter as villagers and car occupants cheered on the good natured and zany annual outing.

Sandstone & Marathon 2016

A busy day for the Tattenhall Runners. In retrospect perhaps three glasses of champagne, two bottles of beer, sausages, salami and salmon (no pasta to be seen) and bed after midnight were not the best preparation for the Sandstone race but it was a 25th wedding anniversary celebration and you wouldn’t wish to let down the happy couple!

That said, you couldn’t have asked for a nicer October day, with the autumn sun warm on a dewy ground, the frost melting off the car roof and the heater on full blast. OK, you had to drag yourself out of bed rather earlier than you might otherwise have done but what a reward, clear skies and great company! If only one didn’t have to slog it round the Sandstone trail and then try and enjoy the experience!

Over 170 runners launched themselves up Bickerton Hill from Duckington, attacking the full 17 miles with a further 184 joining for the last 10 miles of blood, sweat, tears and increasingly slippery tracks through seemingly endless ‘miles’ of maize. Tumbles, twisted ankles and tantrums (ok not too many tantrums) were the order of the day as the track wound its way ever north to Delamere with the kilometres getting longer the hills steeper and everyone else faster – OK perhaps I was going slower!

A nasty tumble off Raw Head by a leading lady saw 4 or 5 runners stop to help recover the unfortunate woman from the cliff over which she had fallen, forcing her to withdraw. I understand she wasn’t too seriously injured but it was great to see support for a runner in need.

From the Tattenhall perspective we had a great turnout with 18 runners participating in both races and some particularly fine performances from Pete Taylor coming in in 3rd place overall and Rob Chambers and Simon Duckett crossing the line in 13th and 15th places respectively in the A race.  These fast times won the team prize for Tattenhall as well as 3rd place for Peter (does he have any space left on this mantlepiece). In the B Race, Ian Wedge crossed the line in 7th place. The race itself was faultlessly organised, marshalled, signed and supported and congratulations must go to Deeside Orienteering Club for a superb event.

Let us also not forget the two Tattenhallers that ran a further 9 miles in the Chester Marathon. Well done Sharon and Nigel for some great times (results also below). Thank you to the balance of the club who manned a water station a Mile 22 on the Marathon route.

Sandstone A Race
Pos Name Category Time
3rd Peter Taylor MV40 02:03:18
13th Robert Chambers M 02:17:30
15th Simon Duckett MV40 02:17:45
63rd James Jenkin MV50 02:40:28
81st David York MV50 02:47:35
92nd Tim Charmley MV50 02:51:09
101st Neil Matthews MV40 02:53:34
115th Matt Bardell MV40 03:00:23
129th Deborah Stanaway LV40 03:07:42
130th Grace Hart LV40 03:07:55
133rd Melanie Barker LV40 03:08:11
153rd Sharon Basford LV40 03:29:59

B Race
7th Iain Wedge MV40 01:17:00
18th Craig Connor M 01:24:18
76th Lance Boseley MV50 01:44:50
98th Simone Norris L 01:50:07
104th Thomas Williams MV40 01:50:51
155th Gerry Cummins MV40 02:16:35

Chester Marathon

Sharon Eaton – 858 – 3:54:19 -12th FV45
Nigel McEwen – 1772 – 4:49:18 – 7th MV65

Cheshire and North Wales – We’ve got you covered!

A busy weekend with teams out across the county and north Wales and showing the club’s talents in all disciplines and across all distances.

Saturday saw glowering clouds and persistent rain and a team of three took on 9 miles and 2800 feet of fells in the foothills of the Carneddau at the ‘Gladstone 9’.  A fabulously friendly and select field launched themselves into the stygian gloom relying on a keen nose for direction, questionable skills with a compass, or hanging to the tails of someone who knew where they were going!  The low cloud and bog claimed its fair share of victims which but for some generous redirection, might still be there!  A great run out.  Times were:

  • James Jenkin – hustled to the line by Lisa Grantham and Hayley Evans – 1:36:40 18th
  • Kate Lightfoot – searched out interesting views of the bog – 1:57:02 25th
  • Tim Charmley – tried to blame dodgy achilles but cracked it – 2:07:53 35th
Where is the Marshal?
Where is the Marshal?

Sunday saw less rain but grey skies remained and road teams tackled both the local Tilston 10k and the rather more distant South Cheshire 20.  Speed and Endurance in equal measure (well rather more endurance for the latter actually) with a 8 Tattenhallers taking to the lanes for the speed bit.  Times were:

  • Andy Sudlow – 2nd 38:50
  • Rodney Jones – 13th 45:43
  • Robert Webster – 21st 48:23
  • Lance Boseley – 27th 50:02
  • Kathy Uprichard – 34th 52:16
  • Mike Davies – 36th 52:14
  • Gerry Cummins – 42nd 54:33
  • Emma Latham – 60th 59:00
Tilston 10k Team
Tilston 10k Team

For those in need of a longer challenge, 20 miles around south Cheshire beckoned and two stalwarts headed to Shavington to slog it out.  Times were:

  • Sharon Eaton – Podium finish 2nd in Age cat – Well done.  3:02:43 – 113rd
  • Nigel McEwen – Keep it up Nigel. Great running in the MV 65 Cat – 3:26:21 137th
20 MIlers
Shavington Sloggers

Race the Train 2016 – “Stop Press. Steward’s Enquiry Successful!”

Some say the train had been refitted in Japan, others that superconducting low friction wheels had been added by BMW.  All we know………. is that it won (but only for a bit until a last ditch Steward’s Enquiry revealed timekeeping issues) and then it lost!

Race the TrainTrain

On Saturday 20 Aug, five Tattenhallers hightailed it to wet and windy western Wales to Race the Train as it tackled the round trip from Tywyn to Abergynolwyn Station.  With horizontal rain and a wind which, some said, helped push it uphill faster than entitled, or downhill, or both, the train completed the round trip in what the official website originally stated was 1hr 45 mins.  This was some 2 mins faster than anticipated throwing the carefully cultured plans of some runners into disarray.  With an anticipated time required to beat the train of 1hr 47, expectations of success were high.  With thoughts of Tokyo 2020 and Olympic qualifying times forefront in Tattenhallers’ minds, appeals were quickly launched.  Surely the train went too fast, the wind was too strong, there weren’t enough passengers on it thus making it lighter, quite apart from its novel design characteristics; and so on and so forth.  Legal challenges were submitted and rejected until finally one last  chance remained……  The website time was wrong!  The train arrived at 1hr 48 min and thus the leading Tattenhaller had beaten it by a puff of steam!  And so it was that five weary souls turned east for home, a hug and a warm glass of beer. Tokyo here we come!

Tattenhall times this year were:

Robert Chambers – 1:46:25
Martin Durrant – 2:05:57
Sharon Eaton – 2:27:08
Robert Webster 2:31:19
Laura Ashford – 2:38:12

London Marathon Results

Yesterday saw the running of the 36th London Marathon and 7 Tattenhall Runners were amongst the almost 38,000 who took to the streets.

Iain Wedge crossed the finishing line in a sub-3 hour 02:56:08, an excellent time and some 2 minutes faster than your correspondent did in 2001! The next 5 Tattenhallers all succeeded in completing sub 4-hour marathons with Phil Abram in 03:38:36; Neil Matthews in 03:41:00; Sharon Eaton in 03:53:00; Angela Lipson in 03:56:32 and Debs Stanaway in 03:57:25. Gerry Cummins, a recent and highly enthusiastic member of the club achieved a very creditable 05:34:01. Oh and Tim Peake did it in 03:35:21, but he isn’t a member of the club, yet!  Everyone will have personal stories to tell and we look forward to hearing of the pain and the triumphs in coming posts.

Very well done to all runners and take a well deserved break – at least ’till Club training on Tuesday!

Denbigh 10k – The Hilly One

The Sun shone
The sun shone

This week, Tattenhall took themselves, amongst other venues, to tackle the unknown, the uncertain, the foreboding frontier factor; namely the Denbigh 10k. A surprise event in this year’s club road championship, 8 adventurous runners, passports in hand, crossed to the vale of Clwyd to challenge the course and hopefully, win points to support their championship ambitions.

An early arrival at the course allowed plenty of time for an extensive warm up and it wasn’t long before the team were looking for a way out of the maze of local streets into which they had dived to prepare for the race. Successfully returning to the course Tattenhallers gainfully lined up with other contestants. Ready for the off, they were politely advised they were were all facing the wrong way! Oh well. Runners were positioned to the correct side of the start line and were soon launched into the hilly lanes of Denbigh; and hilly they certainly were. However, it was a good day for the club with Rob Arden crossing the finishing line in third place overall in a time of 40min 43sec and Alli Grundy winning first place in the women’s race in a time of 42min 25sec, both highly commendable performances.

With a brace of podium finishes and a smattering of likely age category winners, it was decided to remain for the prize giving and so the team remained in the chilly breeze awaiting the momentous occasion. A huge pile of Maltesers had been spotted while registering and the prospect of returning to Tattenhall munching on the proceeds of victory were enticing. And so we waited. The crowd gradually drifted away but finally the results were in. Much to Rob’s disappointment, however, there was to be no moment of glory, no minute of fame, no deafening applause from the crowd and no third prize; no cash, no technical running attire and definitely no chocolates! Not to be denied, Alli received her rightful award to the cheers of the remainder of the team, a foretaste perhaps of great things to come from Tattenhall’s very own World Championship athlete…… but that’s another story.

The sun shone and all was well.

To the victor the spoils
To the victor the spoils



Llantysilo Mountain Fell Race

Caution Runners
Caution Runners
Tattenhall Runners hosted the Llantysilo Mountain Fell Race on Saturday 26 Mar. The race, just outside Llangollen, formed one of the North Wales Fell Championships races this year.

At 10k in length and with over 2100 feet of ascent it is a challenging event irrespective of the weather! However, it is not as though we were lulled into a false sense of security after a gloriously sunny Good Friday. Oh no, the forecast was not the best, in fact with heavy rain and gales across the north of Wales, the omens were not looking favourable for a dry day. And so it proved. 97 runners signed up and the weather stayed largely dry for the registration but it wasn’t long before gale force winds and horizontal driving rain were lashing at bare legs and faces, threatening to blow runners off the exposed Llantysilio ridge. A few chose to take the opportunity to add waterproof layers but for the majority ‘no stopping’ was the order of the day and these hardy souls braved the elements clad in fair weather running attire only!

"Come on Rob you're last!"
“Come on Rob you’re last!”

Unfortunately, with the large number of people needed to support and marshall the race, no Tattenhaller took part. Notwithstanding, it was a great event and the new course proved a winner with runners. The race was won by Jon Bowie of Mercia Fell Runners in a time of 53min 53 sec, setting the record for this new course. The first lady home was Mel Price, also of Mercia Fell Runners in a time of 59min 46sec similarly setting the record for future years.

Jon Bowie - Winner of 2016 Llantysilo Mountain Fell Race
Jon Bowie – Winner of 2016 Llantysilo Mountain Fell Race

Camaraderie and Cakes

Which way to the start?
Which way to the start?

“It isn’t the fastest runner that makes a race or indeed the slowest. It isn’t the number of
participants or the quality of the competition. It isn’t the weather, the course or the
supporters. It is: an experience shared; a pain overcome; a target achieved; a sense of

Did I just say that? What sentimental tosh! Of course it’s the weather, the runners; the
marshals and car park attendants; the smiles and encouragement; the supporters, the camaraderie and not forgetting, the cakes!

And so it was that Tattenhall hosted the fifth race in the annual Borders League series. The races, each of just under 10km, pit individual against individual and club against club where final club positions are achieved by ranking the first four (women) or seven (men) finishers. It takes considerable planning to set up and marshal a race safely and congratulations and thanks should go to Jen and Rob Chambers for all the effort they put into to ensuring the event was a very great success.

Sunday’s race took 273 runners starting from the Flacca and heading out towards Harthill before climbing to Burwardsley Post Office and returning.

Tattenhall’s women excelled once again with notable finishers including Alice Robinson taking 4th place overall and 2nd in the SF category in 39 min 38sec enabling her to take the lead in the women’s competition overall. George Ross came in 6th place in the women’s race and 1st in the FV35 category and Alli Grundy took 11th place overall and 2nd place in the FV40 category. Tattenhall’s leading man was Rob Arden who crossed the line in 44th position overall in a time of 37min 36 sec.

All in all it was a great race in glorious spring sunshine. The marshalling was first rate, the
smiles and support highly necessary and vocal, and the cakes… well, let a picture tell the story!

Fab Fondant Fancies!
Fab Fondant Fancies!

Baschurch Cross-country. Where is everyone?

They said it would be warm and sunny!
They said it would be warm and sunny!

Tattenhall attacked a new cross-country course at Baschurch on Sat 16 Jan, in the latest of the North Wales Cross Country League races which saw over 220 men and women slip and slide their way around the 5 mile course. Once again mud was the order of the day, though on this occasion water wings and, with a flock of sheep in the finishing tunnel at the end of the ladies race, some shepherding skills, would have been advised.

Tattenhall Runners again remitted themselves well with Alice Robinson taking 7th place and Alli Grundy, 9th place. Simone Norris had a great finish, overtaking 5 others in the final few yards to cross the line in 40th place; Jen Chambers completed the team in 75th. Together the ladies were placed 3rd in the team competition.

Attempting to save the team from relegation, Pete Taylor was first male Tattenhaller to cross the line in a very impressive 16th place overall and taking 2nd MV40 position. Fellow Tattenhaller Ali McNay took 3rd MV40 place in 18th place overall. Simon Ellis took 1st place in the MV50 category and James Jenkin took 3rd place in the MV55 category. Mike Whiteside was 3rd in the MV65 age group. Like the ladies, the men’s team were placed 3rd overall and the maturity of the team assured them of 2nd place in the Masters table! An excellent, if muddy, result!

‘Ultra Duo’ make it!

Relaxing after the effort!
Relaxing after the effort!
After a hard year’s racing, only one challenge remained. The feet had been climbed and the miles put behind them; the legs were rested; the kit tested, fuelling was complete and hydration optimised. Finally the date arrived and Nick Holmes and James Jenkin took to the starting line with another 61 intrepid souls. This was not a mad lurch for the finish but a measured, carefully calculated judgement of man vs mountain; of effort vs energy; the culmination of toil, sweat and planning. Finally the gun was fired and all racers put their individual strategies into operation.

Thankfully, less than 14min later it concluded in the garden of the Golden Lion at Llangynhafal. The 2016 Jubilee Plunge, all 2.2 miles of it, all of it downhill, was over!

Nick and James completed the race within half a second of each other. James taking the honours in a time of 13min 21 sec in 16th place and Nick crossing the line close behind in 17th place.