Category Archives: News

Replacement for Chairman’s Blog (26/04/18)

The National Fell Relays 2022 – news from Simon Duckett

What a great weekend at the National Fell Relays, held this year at Broughton Heights in the Scottish Borders. A team of six – Craig Connor, Rob Arden, Rob Chambers, Simon Duckett, Tom Leather and Richard Watson, ably supported by Ali Grundy – competed.
Fell relay team 2022
This event is always a highlight of the fell racing calendar, giving club runners the opportunity to race shoulder to shoulder (we wish!!) with some of the best fell runners in the Country. The venue was amazing, with incredible scenery and even a bagpiper to make the setting even more epic!
[For a 13min video of the event, including bagpiper, use the following link].
Craig, Rob C and I arrived late on Friday and camped overnight. We awoke the following morning to heavy rain and wind, making us all wonder what the day had in store for us. Luckily, by 10 am, and having met up with Rob A, the weather was clearing and the sun was doing its best to make an appearance. On arrival in the race carpark we joined the 1074 other runners walking up to the start area, nervously chatting and occasionally meeting friends and acquaintances from other clubs.  On arrival at the race field, I went off to register while the team set about setting up the tent and preparing for the day ahead. Tom arrived shortly after all the work putting up the tent and setting base camp up was done – behaviour only befitting the Chairman I guess!
Craig got himself ready for leg 1 while the rest of us chatted with other runners and reviewed the course.  Before long Craig was off. Leg 1 was a fast 8km with some tough climbs and terrain. Craig ran a great race, setting the Tattenhall standard for the day and coming in 68th in 45mins 57secs.  Robs A and C were on leg 2, a longer route of about 11km with 900m of climbing. Both described it as tough with lots of bog. The guys did brilliantly, completing in 69th overall in a time of 1hr 25mins (also 69th fastest for leg 2). This was a great effort and maintained our place in the race.  Next to go were Tom and I doing the navigation leg. We had to run 300m and then were handed the maps. Before we set off I had suggested to Tom (chief navigator) that we ‘go big or go home’ – and he took me at my word with some aggressive route choices. Lots of traversing through knee high heather and rough ground was the order of the day.Tom’s navigational skills were awesome, and he very patiently put up with my older legs while I tried to keep up. We came in 65th overall with a leg time of 1hr 25 mins (58th fastest for leg 3).  We handed over to Richard, who set of like a rocket (luckily his vest remained on for once!). Although a shorter 8km leg, there were some vicious climbs which he took in his stride – apart from at the finish where he took a spectacular face first dive, much to the delight of the onlookers! He blamed his shoes – might have a case there! Even with the fall he brought us in for a final position of 62nd with a time of 45 mins 35 secs (55thindividual fastest for leg 4).
After some warm food and a bit of a debrief we decamped and set off for showers, before a pub dinner and a few drinks. Thanks to Rob A for organising. This was a great team effort from everyone to come 62nd. Each runner left it all on the course, and as a team we were amazingly consistent over all four legs. We’re already looking forward to next year, and feeling hopeful we can get a mixed and ladies team to the event too. If you’re interested, or even slightly curious, about taking part, please come and chat to one of us (or Ali G) – it’s a great day/weekend out!

Chairman’s Summer Update

Summer is here!  And what a brilliant summer’s evening we had on Friday June 17 for the Tough Team Race.  It was our first time hosting it since Covid first appeared and so many runners were delighted to be back!  We had the largest ever turnout with over 200 runners challenged on our wonderful trails as well as fed and watered during and after the race.
This was truly a team effort to put on and I must pass on the thanks and praise of so many runners who I spoke with on the evening. I don’t think many would realise just what a small group of volunteers worked so hard to put this on, and your efforts made me feel very proud to be part of the club!  So please can I say thankyou to all of you who took part in whatever role, before and during the night.  Especial thanks to Emma for overall coordination and planning efforts, Kate, Mark and Rebecca for organising the kitchen, Christine and family on the cakes, and Rob C for planning the marshalling and signage.
This year our brilliant club have now planned and hosted 3 highly successful races – as well as our training runs twice a week, and many different individual exploits in cross-country, road, fell, triathlon, duathlon… I think it’s time to celebrate and relax!
With that in mind, here are some highlights of the next couple of months. All are welcome to all of these. I look forward to seeing many of you at as many of them as I can!:
– Friday 29th July: Sumer social at the Bear and Ragged Staff (Tattenhall).
See email and Facebook post from Sharon: price includes antipasto, pizza, drink and dessert.
After an unusual year without many of the standard races, this social will take the place of our awards ceremony for this year.  I’m looking forward to spending time with you all and laughing/celebrating our running achievements (or otherwise!) of the last twelve months.
Please contact Sharon ASAP to reserve your place.
– Tuesday 5th July: introduction to the fells – A run for all abilities. Look out for more details from our run leaders soon. Put it in your diary and be ready to travel just over the border into North Wales together for some different terrain, great fun and super views (hopefully).
– 15th-17th July: weekend social in the Lake District. It is still possible to join in either for a full weekend or for a day, with a range of ages and abilities booked in, and activities planned from cycling to running to eating, there is something for everyone!  Please email myself or Sharon if you would like to join in.
– Wednesday 20th July: the Green Green Grass of Home race, on Moel Famau – a local evening race in the club fell champs this year, short, fun, friendly and usually sunny with a pub at the finish!
– Thursday 4th August: Treasure Hunt!  All runners and friends welcome for a friendly evening running challenge with pub-rendevous afterwards – more info to come nearer the time.
– Sunday 20th August: Rhydycroesau Fell Run (near Oswestry) – another short local race in the club fell champs.
Please do contact me if you have any queries about these events, or any suggestions for what you would like us to plan as a club.
With best wishes to you all for the summer ahead,
Tom (Chair)

Christmas Handicap

handicap 3

The Christmas Handicap took place as usual this year but with some adjustments to ensure that it was “Covid safe”.  18 brave souls battled the foul weather to embarrass themselves running the traditional 6km route round the village in fancy dress; as ever, some very questionable!  Well done to the speediest man Craig Connor and the speediest lady George Ross.  Best fancy dress prize went to Andrew Ainsworth (below).

handicap 1

Tattenhall Runners – Still Running!

During these strange times one of the things that we’re thankfully all still allowed to do is exercise (albeit in limited numbers and in a ‘COVID secure environment’) and Tattenhall Runners have come up with a great way to keep members motivated by organising their own fell championships as a substitute for other races.  Each month a few volunteers have devised bespoke routes around the local hills to be raced at any point during that month.  The competition started in October and, at time of writing, runners have another few days to complete January’s route which, being over 20km in length and including 600m of ascent, is one of the toughest yet.

It’s been variably, wet, cold, muddy, icy and snowy but it’s kept us entertained, having fun and out training.

Hopefully we’ll be able to resume club meetings soon but, in the meantime, keep running and keep safe.


Autumn Schedule Commences Tuesday Sept 15

Just a quick update to advise you that a new winter training framework and leader rota have been created (thank you very much Grace for putting it together) which are available to download (as pdf files) using the following links:  Winter Training 2020-21 – Framework, and   Winter Training 2020/21 – Leader Rota.
As ever the schedule is just a guide for Leaders and is designed to ‘ring the changes both regarding location but also the type of running undertaken.  Leaders can of course adapt and refine the guide as appropriate but should avoid locational conflicts as far as possible!
We plan to continue to provide formal runs for up to 12 runners per group when the leader holds an EA qualification and a reduced group size of 6, when the leader has yet to complete the appropriate course.
We are not able to meet up in the Recreation Club before running, though the loos are available to those with fobs.  I attach a map below which indicates three spots in the adjacent carpark where Groups should meet before running  If they are not available, use your initiative!  This should allow runners to loiter in their cars if the weather requires it, before the Leader appears!  If the Leader on a particular day wants to meet somewhere else, they should post intentions on Facebook.
Tuesday runs will start at 1915 prompt from the designated point on the map (see below).
Thursday runs will start around 1830/1845 as posted by the Leaders on the Tattenhall Runners Facebook group.
Given that we are limiting group sizes to a maximum of 12 to comply with the requirements for a ‘covid-secure environment’, B and C Groups should still manage their groups via Facebook.  If it looks like there are going to be more than 12 runners wanting to run on a certain evening, the Leaders should consider whether to create two smaller groups, if leadership support is possible.  Given that Thursday start times are more flexible, all Thursday groups (A, B and C) should be posted on Facebook.
Please remember we are still subject to both social distancing rules and appropriate anti-covid mitigations.  Jen Chambers will remind you all of the requirements shortly and reissue the plan.
All the above should be considered as a base from which we can move forward.  The plan will change but hopefully we can enjoy (as far as dark road running can be said to be enjoyable) a safe autumn and winter training schedule.
Running Group Meeting Points

Long Mynd Tops Challenge

On the 28 th June 2020 four intrepid Tattenhallers [Rob Arden, Simon Duckett, Tom leather and Alli Grundy] took on the Long Mynd Tops round. The challenge was devised by the Mercia running club in memory of one of their members, Gill Harris.

Mynd 1
The challenge takes in 22 principal named tops in the National Trust open access area on the Mynd – a couple of the summits are just outside of the open access, a few tricky to distinguish and one just a finger post! The challenge has the essence and pays homage to “the Bob Graham” a Lakeland Classic. This, the Shropshire mini equivalent, starts and finishes in the square in Church Stretton.

Mynd 2


The map loving members of the team, Rob Arden and Tom Leather poured over all the possible routes beforehand. Rob Arden and Alli Grundy actually reccied the middle section to work out the best lines from one summit to the next and Simon Duckett led the charge like a train knocking off all summits with ease even though the largest of the climbs were concentrated in the last third of the round.

The best estimate in terms of distance and ascent is around 20 miles with 5300ft. The team completed the round in 4 hours 18 minutes and unofficially it looks like that is the best ever time for a woman, by 6 minutes  – congratulations Alli!

Tattenhall Runners make a clean sweep at the Sandstone Ridge

For those who regularly walk on the mid Cheshire Sandstone Ridge, they will have noticed the surge in visitor numbers since lockdown began to ease. Unfortunately this has also come with a very noticeable increase in littering. Tattenhall Runners, whose members regularly run all around the Peckforton to Bickerton hills throughout the year, decided to do something about this. litter pickers(1)

On Sunday morning ten members of the running club, along with some very keen children, organised themselves into two litter picking teams. One team picked litter from the Peckforton and Burwardsley hills, the other from Bickerton Hill. We filled several bin bags with the usual rubbish, including drinks bottles and food wrappers, beer bottles and cans, plus the usual dog-waste bags.  We also recovered parts of ‘disposable’ barbeques!

We hope that the effort put in by Tattenhall Running Club has helped return this stunning landscape to a little bit more like it was before lockdown.

My Running Adventure by Hayley Cooper

I have been training for the last 6 months for a 100 mile ultramarathon which was due to take place at the end of May, but has now of course been cancelled. Rather than let all my hard work go to waste, I have decided to challenge myself in a slightly different, but much safer, way and run my very own Backyard Ultra. A 100 mile race is very well supported, with race marshalls, medics, checkpoints, food and drink. In training, you don’t run anywhere near that distance, so there is a real “facing the unknown” element on race day – can you actually run that far? How will your body react? Reactions can be extreme – hallucinations, vomiting – it’s all part of the fun, but it wouldn’t be sensible for me to attempt this on my own with no proper race support.

So I recently came across a fairly new kind of race called the Backyard Ultra, invented by Lazarus Lake (of Barkley Marathons fame) where runners set off on the hour to run a 4.167 mile loop. They can be as quick or slow as they like, using any remaining time of that hour to rest, eat, drink and stretch – but they must be back at the start line ready to set off again when the clock strikes the next hour, and the next, and the next…. The race is won when only one runner finishes the loop – with elite runners, this can be after 50 or even 60 hours! I didn’t expect to last that long, but I’ve been training for long distance running so I could have a good try at getting at least 50 miles. I planned out my food and rest strategy and listened to as many running podcasts on the subject as I could to get advice and ideas. It’s such a different way of completing a distance, I actually couldn’t wait to start!


I started early on Friday 15th May to make the most of daylight hours and I was really excited. I picked an out and back route down Birds Lane which is quiet and flat, and I planned to update my friends and family during the day with how I was getting on. As an added incentive, I was raising money for NHS Charities which supports NHS workers and their families – so important right now of course. It was went really well on the day, the weather was prefect – cool and quite still, and I just had a great time. A friend ran a few loops with me, and so many friends came out to clap and her as I ran past each hour. My parents even drive over from Whitchurch to cheer me!  My husband Steve crewed me, shovelling food down my neck and pushing me out the door with a filled drinks bottle on the hour. As time went on, I lost my appetite, and my ability to make decisions, so he had to be quite firm with me. I eventually called it a day after 12 loops and 50 miles.  It seemed like a good place to stop!

I’m recovering well, and hoping to do another in July – the worldwide virtual Quarantine Backyard Ultra. And I’ve raised a whopping £780 which I’m so pleased with.

The One Hour Distance Challenge

This was Tattenhall Runner’s version of a team dance off. Team Latham versus Team Duckett, 19 entrants in each team, carefully allocated by Jen Chambers. Every runner in each team had to post the distance they managed to run in one hour exactly and no more! There was one week to post their best effort. The winning team had the furthest cumulative distance. This challenge really got those competitive juices going, especially since lockdown has led to the cancellation of all races. We have also been missing the banter that flows before and after races, and several club members made the most of this opportunity!

ducket v latham

The challenge was set and all the runners really went for it. Team Latham, with the support of their inspirational leader got on with the job and posted runs early in the challenge, taking an early lead. Luckily Team Duckett had Simon’s inspirational (nagging) facebook posts to jolly them along. The challenge went down to the wire with it really not clearly which team was going to take the bragging rights at the end of the week with every metre making a difference.

The final result: Team Latham posted a cumulative distance of 227.75km, average distance per runner 12km, Team Duckett 230.9km, average distance per runner 12.2 Km. Therefore Team Duckett were the victorious team. Again it was great to see how much effort everyone put in with some incredible runs. Charlie Weaver must be mentioned running 15.49km in the hour as well as Kate Lightfoot who also went the extra mile going out and bettering her initial effort by more than 2km which made a real difference.

Again it was great to see how many Tattenhall runners got involved and it was great to really have a competitive team event.


Virtual John O’Groats to Lands End Challenge

lands endMay 2020 saw the continuation of COVID 19 lockdown, including a ban on group sports. In order to keep the club spirit alive and kicking running together virtually became more important than ever. Emma Latham came up with the great idea of seeing if the club could run the equivalent of John O’Groats to Lands End in seven days – this direction was chosen as apparently it’s all downhill! The distance required is 1607km in 7 days, and to complete it we needed to cover 230km between club members each day. 

The challenge began on Friday the 15th of May. Day one started with a bang – Hayley Cooper who was due to be running an ultra marathon which had been cancelled due to Lockdown took on the challenge with a vengeance, running over 80km. When all the other runs were added we managed 274km in the first 24h, well ahead of schedule. Day two came and it was clear the club had embraced the challenge with another huge chunk taken out of the required distance with a further 388km run in just 24hrs. We were smashing it. Lots of Tattenhall runners were pitching in, we continued to be ahead of schedule and although we had initially planned to complete the distance in seven days we reached the Lands End by Tuesday evening. But no one stopped running and we still had two days to go, so we decided to virtually run home to Cheshire and Tattenhall. This meant a further 500km in two days. Everyone continued to put in runs, and the extra 500km was completed with Jen Chambers doing the last kilometre during the weekly Tattenhall Zoom virtual drinks getting off the sofa putting the G&T down and doing a quick run round the block.

Overall we had 60 Tattenhall runners post runs, including some of the new generation. Two runners managed to run over 100km in the seven days, and three runners posted runs every day of the challenge – Grace Hart, Melanie Barker and Simon Duckett. It was great to be involved and see how engaged the whole club was across all groups – a real club effort.