parkrun Geekery!

parkrun, fun, statistics and a challenge.

Surely there isn’t something that combines all 4 of these things effortlessly?

Well, there is! Running Challenges have created an add-on to Firefox and Chrome web browsers to allow you to play around and have a little fun with your parkrun statistics.

It’s not all just a boring list of numbers, but instead, some nice colourful badges to collect for completing certain challenges. More information on how to get this on your browser can be found at and really it’s up to you how involved you get. read more

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

Podium Finish in the Sun

By Chris Large

The club’s annual overseas trip is to Club La Santa, one of the world’s leading sports resorts which is on the north of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. There are loads of activities available on the site and there is of course The International Running Challenge which is a set of four races at the end of November.

Club La Santa is a Danish-run resort which provides a training base for amateurs and some elite teams alike. In fact the Belgium Olympic Team visit regularly and the U20 GB Ladies Wheelchair Basketball team also recently stayed, while we’ve been out here in the past with Johnny Brownlee and Angelique Kerber. This year the Danish ´help for heroes´ army/air force veterans were here. There really are a huge range of sports to fit into your stay including all the racquet sports, wind surfing and crazy golf(!) to name but a few in addition to the three Olympic size swimming pools.

The main focus for our group each year is the International Running Challenge which was started in the 1989 by the late Vince Reagan who became a good friend of many of the regular attendees. The races are over four days, 10km road, 13km up and down a volcanic ridge (trail), 5km on a sandy beach and then 21km road/trail mix to finish. It is possible to pick just a few races (many people do this) or to book for the full Challenge which is 75€ plus a chip deposit of 20€. This year there was also a free 30th Anniversary 3km night run. There were fireworks, disco tunes, glow sticks and lights. It was a really nice way to start the holiday and a good warm up. I was very pleased to have met Jim and Morven from one of the Scottish clubs who kindly lent me a head torch which was essential. It really is a great ´running family´ with clubs being supportive of each other, as we of course expect within the running community.

As for the Challenge itself, I had quite a slow 10km as I had not done enough training. I had a better 13km ridge run. The 5km beach race is always very tough for me, though this year the sand was firm so I didn’t struggle as much as previously. There is the option to stay on at Puerto del Carmen (race location) for a few extra hours after the beach run and get a later bus back so that you can browse the shops or grab a well-earned ice-cream.

The Half Marathon is tough after three days of racing but the support was excellent. This year Richard did not run the Challenge due to injury but was out on the course giving excellent support with Uncle Pete Watkins and Jason Hartwell (a friend from MKAC) provided additional water for us. There are also water/Coke stops and plenty of fresh fruit and water and Coke at the end. My time was 01:38:39 for the Half, though the course was a little short of 21K. Well done to our leading men’s team (Pete Mackrell, Rob Elmore, Andy Inchley and Ben Corfield) who took the second place overall for the Challenge by closing a gap of 3:28 on the final day to pip Tullamore Harriers by just 19 seconds after over 9 hours of combined running!

We also had a ladies team of Coralie Anderson, Amy Inchley and Leah Hartwell (from MKAC) who finished as the 6th team overall with Coralie in particular running well in her first challenge trip.

I love the time after the races for recovery and there is a great spa with hot and cold contrast water therapy which is proven to reduce the level of waste products in muscles after exercise. There are physios and sports therapists on-site who are willing to chat and give advice at the spa. Treatments are at an extra cost but excellent and all facilities are modern and clean.

Each year I thoroughly enjoy the bike ride up to Famara for lunch and this year I did a front crawl group swimming lesson too. Famara is a favourite trip for our crew with excellent paella (and many other Spanish dishes) served in a beautiful setting next to the beach.

I love coming out to the island at this time of year. It is so nice to get some sun and outdoor exercise when England is cold. I have learned that there are two main obstacles for me: firstly to overcome the psychological barrier of not being good at something but just trying and not bothering what others think. Secondly to maintain good overall fitness to ensure that it is possible to take part as much as possible.

This year we had a group of just under 20 people, with 10 doing races in the challenge and it is such a popular event that we need to book early in the new year, so if you would like more information about it then please ask me or any of the others who have attended over the years – next year it shouldn’t clash with the CCCL either!

Hopefully see you next year!

It’s a holiday first and the races second, but if you’re interested in the results, you can find them here: 30th International Challenge Results

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


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