Author Archives: Sam

Chairman’s Review – 2018

Andy Inchley, Chairman of LBAC gave a review of the year at the AGM on Wednesday 6 February. We’ve added a rough transcript for you to enjoy. Please note that this is not a complete record of all LBAC’s achievements in 2018 as there were so many!

Cross Country

We punch way above our weight by regularly finishing mid-table in the CCCL and this is something I need to remember. Every year I have frustrations that I know we can win prizes if we can get close to our best team out at each fixture, and we have proved this recently, but as soon as we lose a few runners we don’t quite have the strength to challenge. read more

Personal Bests in Purple Vests

Wolverton 5 Mile Club Championships

(Willen Lake Milton Keynes)

by Nick Clay


Personal bests in purple vests were in abundance during the Clubs 5 mile road race championships around Willen Lake. Held on a perfect morning for running, comments all-around of where’s the wind and out on the course expecting to turn and be hit by a headwind but nothing to write home about for once! The conditions and a fast flat course made for great running and a good days work by the 15 club members out on the day.


Not quite in the class of the Burgin siblings from Bedford and County that took the honors in their respective gender race. But a fantastic 3rd place, and the first female purple and goldd vest and personal best by Jo Sharples (30.56). Do we still give 2nd and 3rd club places? if so then (watch less) Laura Brine and Ruth Mitchell (PB) took those places in the championship.

The Men were led home by Chris George who self-confessed in a purple vest before the rest that a personal best in his second 5 mile test was inevitable, (28.24 Tick) 2nd and 3rd were taken impressively by Stuart Read (PB) and James Bell. (PB)


But the best of the rest personal bests in purple vests were those of Alison Bell, Mandy Clay and Susan Johnson, showing that the Tuesday night’s beginners and improvers group running is paying off. Having smashed couch to 5 km some time ago they are now venturing into longer distance events and smashing previous times taking minutes not seconds of their last runs of this distance… Running with Mandy on this occasion it was nice to start nearer the back and hear all the chat and excitement before the race reminding me that running is and should be fun.


For beginners joining us over the next couple of months we will get to 5 km by the summer and improvers already training on Tuesdays;  the Wolverton 5 mile is a fantastic step up event with its normally wind assisted (somewhere) flat course, it is an event to add to your race calendar as you improve next year.

Well done everyone great effort all round. #PurpleAndGold

Not so Dirty, Dirt Half

Dirt Half Challenge 2018

by Neil Green


I’d been meaning to do a half marathon again for a while, I ran one in Milton Keynes about a decade ago (1:59:something) but since getting back into running a couple of years ago I have rarely run further than 5 miles. In fact with the warm up and running home afterwards the Monday night ‘Speed’ sessions are often also my longest run of the week.

I’d heard about the Dirt Half from those that ran it in previous years and it appealed for a number of reasons;

  1. Excuse to buy some trail shoes
  2. Motivation to do some longer training runs
  3. Great route – hardly any roads, lots of trails, hills, mud to keep things interesting
  4. So local I can walk there and back and still be home before the kids are out of their PJ’s
  5. I surely must be fitter than I was 10 years ago so a PB is almost guaranteed despite the hills

Perfect, booked a place, bought some trail shoes and…… mainly carried on with the same training runs I always do!  Actually I did manage to fit in a few 10 milers in the weeks leading up to the event which I struggled with but at least gave me the confidence that id be able to do the distance.

I arrived at Cedars on race day pleased that the weather was fairly warm. With those in the know saying that the course was pretty much mud free and dry, I decided to ditch my new trail shoes in favour of my normal road shoes (little bit disappointed!).

I started near the back of a pack of almost 1000 runners which wasn’t ideal and meant the loop around the playing field was spent speeding up to overtake people and try and get in a better position for the long stretch down the canal. Looking across the field it was good to see a group of purple and gold way ahead at the sharp end of the race.

The stretch to the Three Locks passed quickly and without incident, just before mile 6 we left the canal and headed up the first (and only significant hill), a 1.5 mile grind up through Great Brickhill and into Rushmere. I slowed down a lot but felt that I was still making good progress. The next few miles were great, proper trails through the woods with short ups and down, and hardly any mud. The route the followed the Greensand Ridge Walkway and joined back up with the canal at The Globe. By this time though my pace was gone and I seemingly only had one speed in my legs (slow) However the support from spectators was fantastic and I did find myself attempting to speed up when people were shouting for LBAC.

As I came past the final drink station at The Globe someone shouted that there was just 5K left. I was acutely aware that this was now unchartered territory for me in terms of distance, but how hard can a flat 5k be?

Turns out it was harder than expected! I got slower and slower and the people passing me looked like they were sprinting in comparison. However I was comfortably ahead of my time from the MK half 10 years ago and enjoyed the last loop around Tiddenfoot Quarry before arriving at the finish in 1:53:03.

For LBAC it was a good day. It turns out that the Purple and Gold I had seen amongst the front pack during the loop of Cedars managed to run good races with 3 top tens. 1st in was Peter Mackrell in 1:18:54 (4th overall) followed by Andy Inchley (6th overall) and Chris George (7th 0verall). Adam Haylock outsprinted Mike Furness to 21st and 22nd places respectively which comfortably gave LBAC the Team prize. Laura Brine was first lady home for the club in 1:36:36 with all 4 of the ladies finishing easily in the top 20. The full list of LBAC finishers is below.

In summary, Great route, well organised, well supported by spectators and marshals and would recommend it to anyone looking to do a local long distance trail run.


Gender Position Name Time
4 Pete Mackrell 1:18:54
6 Andy Inchley 1:24:03
7 Chris George 1:24:21
20 Adam Haylock 1:28:38
21 Michael Furness 1:28:41
40 Warren Rose 1:33:17
4 Laura Brine 1:36:36
77 Nick Clay 1:38:55
9 Ruth Mitchell 1:40:37
14 Amy Farnfield 1:44:07
15 Coralie Anderson 1:44:58
221 Neil Green 1:52:03


CCCL 18/19 – Round 2 – Teardrop Lakes

Chiltern Cross Country League 18/19

Fixture 2 – Teardrop Lakes


An unusually dry Autumn in the run up to the LBAC’s home fixture of the campaign meant that there was none of the usual boggy or slippy conditions on the course at Teardrop Lakes.


Warm, bright sunshine greeted those setting up the course early in the morning (huge thanks to all those involved!) and when the Juniors arrived it was looking like a lovely day for running.

Thanks also to those who gave up their time to marshal the races, standing out there for the entire day but still giving big cheers to all those in Purple and Gold.


As always, the U11s set us on our way and charged round their course followed by the U13s. Some of our boys teams are lacking numbers this season, but that can’t be said for the U13s with a team of 5. Oscar Butlin led them home in 15th position with Tytus Grygier, Sid Mead, Archie Wright and Ash Carter all finishing within a minute of each other to score some points for the club and finish in 8th on the day.

Further up the age groups, the strong U15 girls team finished in 8th with Imogen Chesterton completing the course in an impressive 9th place in the division. Zara Brooks, Amelia Butlin, Julia Bell and Alicia Down all ran well and showed what good teamwork can do.

One of the performances of the day however went to Amy Killick who finished in 7th place in the Division in the tough U20/U17 race. Dana Carter backed her up with an excellent run of her own.



On to the seniors and having had a morning of warm Autumn sunshine, the wind picked up and it suddenly changed with torrential downpours lashing down as the ladies made their way around the course.


With the scoring team up to 6, we were happy to see a healthy 9 ladies out there in Purple and Gold. Andrea Meek has found a new love in Cross Country running and seems to be looking forward to the next one before she’s even finished the next, which is great to see. Andrea had a great run to follow on from her first at Oxford and will be looking to improve again at Fixture 3. Alison Bell and Kas Gardner ran solidly too to take points off other teams. Sarah Keane will have been pleased with her run and to get into the scoring team which it was a welcome return for Jane Sauer who finished 5th for the LBAC ladies. With 5 of our runners in the top 100 and 3 in the top 50, there is definitely a lot of positivity about our Ladies team for the rest of the season Amy Inchley, Ruth Mitchell and Amy Farnfield made up the rest of the scoring team. Jo Sharples finished off an excellent month of running to finish in 14th place.


The men were glad to see the rain stop to a bit of drizzle for their race, but had mostly all hidden away under the gazebo for shelter so there was a lack of a warm up for many of them!

With a few of our faster runners having moved on from the club, the lead was down to the same two who battled it out at Oxford in Fixture One; Pete Mackrell and Rob Elmore. Now, over the last 5 years we have had 6 different winners of a Chiltern League Cross Country match, none of which were Pete Mackrell! Today was his day however, and he pipped Rob by 1 place and 10 seconds to finish in 32nd.

Stuart Read and Andy Inchley had their own battle with Billy Mead returning from the Navy hot on their heels. Chris George and Stuart Blofeld were also close to each other and James Bell not far behind to complete an excellent month for the October Performance of the Month winner. Tom Kimber and Sam Dear were the final two scorers, but with 4 runners all coming in within 5 places just outside of the scoring to show some great bunching and teamwork that will have taken quite a few points off some other rivals in the league.


Overall the club finished 7th on the day to maintain our place in 8th, but with 3 fixtures to come there is definitely everything to play for.

Stand out team performances go to the Senior men who finished in a respectable 4th, mainly thanks to the fantastic veteran men’s team who finished in 2nd on the day to bring them up to 6th overall.


The next fixture is on Saturday 1st December at Luton. Info to come, but we will be missing quite a few seniors who are in Lanzarote, so anybody who can turn out for the club could well be a vital scorer on the day!

Well done everybody at Teardrop Lakes, and special thanks to Richard Inchley and his team as always for putting on an excellent event in front of the national athletic community. See you at the next one!

3 in 3hr Challenge – The Final Part

Snowdonia Marathon

by Stuart Blofeld


So as I write this it was over 12 months since I started training for the 3in3marathonchallenge. This challenge finished on 27 October as I completed the Snowdonia marathon.

Attempting to run a sub 3 hour marathon at Snowdonia was always going to be a very tall order. Was it even feasible that I should dream about such an audacious goal? Well probably not but that’s what dreams are for isn’t it…  To motivate you to keep pushing and reaching for the impossible. This was my 8th consecutive Snowdonia marathon. My fastest time to date was 3:16 set in 2016 and my slowest was last year in 3:50. So I was looking for a 50 minute improvement!! Hhhhmmmm……..

The predicted weather this year was somewhat daunting. I wasn’t so much concerned with near zero temps being forecast (it turned out to be much warmer than that), but the strong northerly wind was looking like being a real problem. I analysed the course profile and thought that we would be mostly protected from the worst of it until the final climb at 22 miles. However the wind turned out to be a factor much earlier on than that.  read more

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