Category Archives: Latest News

Charles Darwin Day 2018

Delightful account from fellow Plum Plodder Andrea Holmes on her experience at a recent 2018 event. I think we all have our thoughts on lap based runs, some good some not so good but you have to agree the medal looks certainly worth it.

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Race: Charles Darwin Day, Part of “How hard can it be events”

Held in February Shrewsbury Sports Village, Sundorne Road, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 4RA

Course is chip timed on a purpose built cycle track and is limited to 150 runners that can choose to run 10K, Half or a full marathon.

Website: http://codrc.co.uk/the-charles-darwin-day/

 

Next event is February 9th 2019

 

An early start saw three plum ladies heading north to Shrewsbury to take part in The Charles Darwin Day Half and Marathon. Once there we were joined by Andy Coward and the snow! (No connection to weather based anomalies and Andy Coward have been confirmed during the editing of this report)

Registration took place outside by the track before we all hurried back inside to grab some warmth for a few more minutes it was a chilly winter day in February.

Race briefing over and we were off, running laps of a banana shaped circuit! We were told to keep an eye on the track and to run the shortest side at all times otherwise it was possible to run more miles than you needed to! It really was a tale of two halves.

As you turned at one end of the circuit the track followed a very gentle downward route to cross the timing line and continue into the next lap whereas the other end turned into a bitterly cold wind and a gentle but continuous incline – (now when we say “incline” it is in the loosest sense of the word as it probably wouldn’t have even qualified as a slight slope!!) It wasn’t noticeable at first but with every lap it felt a little more like an ascent!

The snow turned to sleet, then to rain before the sky turned blue and the sun broke through.

Everyone’s spirits lifted and laps were ticked off. Jackie and myself kept each other company for a while before having a little swap, with Andy joining myself and then moving on to join Jackie.

Running also was Plum colleague; Lynsey Hall. Lynsey politely turned down company while running, as she was in “her zone”. So, we loudly chanted “Cup of tea, Prosecco, hot tub” as we crossed paths treats we knew Lynsey was looking forward to later!

The winter sun was not to last and as quickly as it had arrived it disappeared to be replaced with the most piercing and painful hailstones. It was now a case of now just finishing!! Never have I dedicated laps to so many people just to keep going.

Fellow Plum Sue Woods you were one of them!!

On my last lap I ran alongside a lady doing her first Half. As we ran up the “incline” she commented about how much it felt like running uphill and it shouldn’t have done because she came from Cumbria where there were real hills, If nothing else it make me feel better.

Unfortunately, the weather hadn’t finished with us yet and Lynsey and Andy had to contend with a horrendous downpour as they continued their laps.

Crossing the line and receiving the Darwin medal made it all worthwhile but would we enter a lap style Half/Marathon again…………………think the jury may still be out on that one!!

 

Andrea Holmes

Pershore Plum Plodder

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2017 10K donations update

As part of funds raised fron our Pershore Plum 10K in 2017 we were recently pleased to donate £500 to the Pershore Youth Centre.

Handing the cheque to the youth centre were plum members; Helen Carlisle and Tom Marshall. Both fantastic ambassadors of our running club and perfect examples of our clubs community spirit when it comes to helping others.

Help us raise more funds towards worthy local charities by joining our 2018 10K. Earlybird is open from 1st March, follow the event by searching @pershoreplumevents on facebook.

#uptheplums

#pershore10k

#itsjust2parkruns

2017 Bournemouth Marathon – Anny James

We set out for Bournemouth with great excitement, it was going to be a fun, family weekend with a bit of running thrown in. Mistake number one, we thought it was going to be an ‘easy’ marathon and I was going to drive home Sunday night, who were we kidding? No marathon is easy.

Will and Anya ran at lunchtime on Saturday, their start and finish was near the pier and the atmosphere was buzzing. We should have seen the warning signs, Will ran 2K and Anya 1.5K but both came back saying it was really tough and they’d got stitch, I put this down to the rather large breakfast they ate but as I was to find out, it’s hard work running along Bournemouth Promenade.

Saturday night, I was woken by our neighbour leaving his hotel room. I sat up with a start, he must be leaving for the half marathon, our alarm hasn’t gone off ……. it was only 4am! I had very little sleep after that but it wasn’t long before our alarm went off. Julian was starting at 8am, it was very early and despite getting as much as possible prepared the night before, an hour of mayhem and madness “where’s my …….. socks, shorts, shoes, number, swimming costume, gels, hairbrush?”, even the walk to the bus was stressful, do we follow other runners who seemed to be going in the opposite direction to where my directions were telling me to go? Turns out we were OK and they thought the start was by the finish when in fact it was a 20min bus ride away. By the time we’d dropped the kids off with Mum and got on the bus I was ready for another sleep.

It was still a good walk to the start after the bus dropped us off, it was in quite a residential area and I felt for the locals being woken by the load music and all these crazy runners. I said goodbye to Julian and wished him luck for his first half as he went into his start pen and I didn’t see him again as he got swallowed up by the big field. Julian had a good race until his knee started hurting but completed his first half marathon well.

The wait for my start went quick, I met up with Dad and Fast Mandy and we handed our bags onto the trucks that were to take them to the finish. As we walked to the start, I checked my watch and found I’d already walked 4 miles.

The start of the race was really nice, meandering through streets, the residents had come out of their houses to cheer us on. There were a few out and backs and it was great to be able to cheer on Mandy (who was living up to her name) and high-5 Dad as we passed each other. Mistake number two, I was going quicker than I planned but I felt really comfortable and was enjoying myself so ignored it. Everything was going well until we dropped onto the promenade, here the support stopped, there were lots of people around but they were not taking a blind bit of notice of the runners, it seemed so quiet. The crowd and support didn’t lift until we reached Bournemouth pier but it was short lived as we started to head back up the promenade to the deathly silence of Boscombe pier. It was around this time that I started to hear unhappy rumblings of the runners around me. I heard “This is horrendous” more than once. I passed Mandy and this was the last time I saw her, as despite the ‘horrendousness’, she stormed round in an awesome time.

Around this time I made Mistake Three, I’d planned to rely on my salt sachets and not use gels, but they kept offering them. I took one, resisted the temptation and threw it away but I was starting to feel quite bad and when I got offered another I took it – was this the reason for my toilet break later on? This was quite possibly the only effect it had on me because I certainly didn’t feel energised by it. Around Bournemouth Pier I was ready to stop, my feet and ankles hurt and I just wanted to walk into the sea, cool them down and do a Reginald Perin, I didn’t want to be a runner anymore. And then a most horrible experience – we had to cross the finish line alongside the speedy runners who were finishing, I was most definately ready to quit. But at the most timely moment I saw Mum, Will and Anya “Come on Mum, only 9 miles to go” said Anya, and Mum said “You can do it, you’re doing well”. (She later said I looked dreadful and far worse than Dad when he passed that point!). This was my turning point and they gave me so much more than that blooming gel and I pushed on up the hill. Perhaps it was mistake Four but I believed I had to run up it to prove that the flaming course was not going to beat me.

I felt dreadful but the second part of the course was much better supported, the difficulty here though was that we were sharing the promenade with those wanting to enjoy Bournemouth beach in the sunshine; walkers, cyclists, mobility scooters and dogs. I’d had a nagging feeling in my tummy since the promenade, I didn’t really want to break my [slow] rhythm but at mile 20 the portaloo lured me in. I sat down and cried, I don’t know if I wanted to stop but I just felt very sorry for myself, all I could do was remind myself that it was only 10k to go and I was going to finish. I’m glad I stopped, I felt much more comfortable and with the added support I kept plodding up the promenade towards Poole. Here people were outside their beach huts offering water, crisps, jelly babies, it was great and really helped those negative thoughts as people were going down regularly – there were runners crying out in pain, sat on benches, medics running around. You’ve all heard Dad’s story, I didn’t see him but this was where cramp halted him too.

As I turned to head back to Bournemouth I could see the pier, it was a speck in the distance and that couple of miles went on forever. Passing the runners still going towards Poole I’d hoped to see Dad, I tried not to worry and Julian was a welcome sight about 1K from home. I wanted to stop for a hug but I knew I was unlikely to get going again, on I plodded, head down. William joined me and ran along side me and there was Mum and Anya and eventually the finish line.

This was probably one of the most gruelling races I have done, I was helped away from the line to the medal and water area. I had nothing left in me, I was desperate for a cup of tea but my money was in my bag and I couldn’t walk to the baggage area. I tried to sit on the grass but couldn’t get down to the ground, I eventually found a space on a bench, sat there blankley wondering if I’d ever move again. Finally I found Mum and the kids, she told me the news of Dad and I sat down and cried, I don’t know if it was pain, relief that I’d finished, upset that Dad hadn’t finished, or relief that he was OK. Whatever it was, it released whatever had tied my legs up and I was able to start moving and functioning as a person again.

To be quite frank Bournemouth marathon was hell on earth, I didn’t respect that it was a marathon and made school-boy errors. I hadn’t appreciated how looking after the kids, and supporting Julian in his half would impact on my marathon. It’s not a complaint, I wanted all that in my weekend because I’m a Mum and a partner, but I set my expectations too high for the marathon alongside this. Overcoming the negative mental impact when you realise you’re not going to meet your goals but still have half the course to run is tough. I felt quite disappointed but it was a marathon PB by over 30 mins. In a few days – or perhaps years – we will smile and look back on that Bournemouth weekend as an experience that taught us all a lot.

Anyone for Tennis?

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Pershore Plum members recently made a visit to the Pershore Tennis Club to personally hand over a donation raised in our 2017 Pershore Plum Plodder 10K of £500.

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Pershore Tennis Club regularly host training with a down syndrome group and the money raised is towards these valuable sessions.

Every year our running club donate across local  Pershore groups and charities money raised in our annual 10K. For more information on 2018’s 10K visit our events page.

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Plum running club member awarded at the City of Worcester Sports Awards September 2017

Worcestershire sporting best were honoured at the City of Worcester Sports Awards September 2017 and presented by long-time supporter Steve Cram CBE.

The 14th annual accolades, delivered in partnership by Freedom Leisure and Sport Worcester and supported by Worcester City Council, took place at the University of Worcester Arena.

Sixteen categories were hotly contested with winners announced and presented by Olympian, world champion and television athletics commentator Steve Cram.

BBC Midlands Today sports presenter and former Worcester News reporter Dan Pallett hosted the event.

In the sixteen categories included Disability Sports Person of the Year and we are proud to say the winner was our Pershore Plum Plodder, Lee C Greatbatch

Lee has limited sight, but this does not stop him when running. Yes he needs a guide runner but at sub 24 min 5K’s and sub 1hr 50min 10K’s he needs a quick one!

He has completed over 51 park runs, 10k races and a half-marathon and is always ready to put himself into the next event.

From all at the Plums well done Lee greatly deserved achievement.

Pershore Plum running club has recently enrolled members into running workshops run by English Athletics on Sight awareness and guide running further assist Lee and other blind runners wishing to run with our club or events contact us for more information

8 marathons, 1 ultra-marathon (62 miles) in 52 weeks. No not an Elite runner just a hardworking Plum Plodder.

Full time working mum, runs 8 marathons, 1 ultra-marathon (62 miles) in 52 weeks, including all 6 of the Abbott World Major Marathons in less than a year, I may be the only woman in Great Britain to do so, to get the crown jewels of all medals, the Six Star!

Age is only a state of mind!

In the summer of 2015 I celebrated a big birthday, it was then that I decided to prove that age was just a state of mind and if I set myself challenges, it would either confirm my theory or break me.  So, the challenge began to try to prove this theory, I decided to set myself running based challenge to complete every month, after all I had been able to run (albeit slowly) in my younger days. Age is a state of mind, right?

My challenges included some amazing adventures like doing back to back Disney half and full marathon (Goofy challenge) in Florida, coastal trail runs on both the Gower and Dorset coast, reaching the milestone of completing 50 park runs and running a couple of Ultra marathons.  These challenges started me thinking about what next. What could I do in 2016 to maintain the momentum, craziness or insanity!  I’d heard about the marathon series called “Abbott World Major Marathons” consisting of 6 of the most renowned marathons in the world: London, Berlin, Chicago, New York, Tokyo and Boston.  Mostly aimed at the elite athletes, due to the massive prize money awarded for winning the series. It’s open to all, providing you are lucky enough to get an oversubscribed place in those ballots!  You also get a massive Six Star medal, after all that why we do it, for the bling and t-shirt! Then imagine the experience of doing all 6, that massive Six Star medal, as less than 1,733 people in the whole world have earned the title of “Six Star Finisher” to date, 59 of them Brits (as provided by Abbott). Only 14 people worldwide have completed them in under a 1 year and I may be the only British woman to do them all in less than a year!

I am a mum, work full time, a Beaver Scout Leader and the Membership Secretary for our local running club Pershore Plum Plodders (PPP).  So, my training time for these marathons was limited, squeezed in between sleeps, ironing, homework, cleaning, membership renewals, writing plans, eating and Scout camps!

With my 2015 challenges nearing completion, I had survived (much to my surprise, perhaps age really is a state of mind) and still in one piece I started to think about what 2016 would hold.  I entered the London Marathon ballot with a 6% chance of getting in, but for the 5th year running I was rejected.  As part of the PPP club we get allocated a single place in the London ballot with better odds of a 7% chance, but would have to wait until December when we did the draw.  Whilst waiting I decided to try my luck by entering the Chicago marathon with a 33% chance of getting in and the Berlin marathon with 50% odds.  It was my partners big birthday in the November and he wanted to celebrate in New York.  So, I also entered the New York marathon with a 5% chance of getting in, well it had to be done and he didn’t mind!

The emails started to arrive, I was successful in the Berlin marathon ballot for September 2016, yes, result!  Then another email from Chicago to say I was successful in their ballot for the October 2016 marathon.  And then in December our club held its London marathon ballot and guess what, I won that place too!  My plans for 2016 had a definite marathon focus, with my dream likely to come true, to run all 6 marathons coming true, with places in 3 out of the 6 World Major Marathons.  The suspense to find out if I had been successful in New York was so great in March 16, I called the credit card company to see if the money had been debited, it had, I had a place for the New York marathon too. The probability of getting ballot places for 4 of the Abbott world major marathons were incredible, perhaps I should do the lottery?!  I wanted to do all 6, if I was going to train for a marathon, I might just as well do them all, just keep the training going, I might as well be perpetually tired, with blisters but I knew it would be worth it!

They say that fate and luck play a part, I then received a windfall payment, so after much deliberation I decided to go with a sport tour company and conclude the final 2 marathons in Tokyo in February 17 and Boston in April 17, all 6 world major marathon to be completed in 51 weeks.

My journey follows:

London, April 16 (39,167 finishers) – I love London, the organisation, people, so many ordinary people doing such an amazing thing raising millions for charity, it actually holds a Guinness World Record as the largest annual fundraising event in the world! I had palpitations at the start, memories came flooding back from 1988, the last time I ran London, and it was incredible, finishing in The Mall so memorable.  I didn’t even mind being overtaken by Big Ben and a Rhino! 5 hours 16 mins, 1st of the 6 done.

Berlin, Sep 16 (41,283 finishers) – A very flat World Record course (well for some), it was a lovely sunny day, clear blue sky, a great day for sightseeing, oh wait I was supposed to be running!  Not a Rhino in sight, but lots of history as we wound our way through East and West sides of the crowed lines streets, finishing by running through the Brandenburg Gates. 5 hours 42 mins, it was hot!! 2nd of the 6 done.

Chicago, Oct 16 (40,609 finishers) – Keep an eye out for Batman and all the other great films shot here on this is a notoriously flat course (although the road surface could do with some attention). Another beautiful sunny day with stunning architecture as we weaved through the network of canals. 5 hours 32 mins, 3rd of the 6 done.

New York, Nov 16 (51,264 finishers) – The largest marathon in the world, starting on Staten Island with Sinatra’s “New York, New York” send-off, running through all 5 NY boroughs to Manhattan, with most amazing crowd support ever, it was needed on this hilly, undulating course, with a tough climb as you enter the finish at Central Park (I was even looking for Elf and The Avengers). Another lovely clear sunny day, the view from the bridge was so special, the rainbow over Manhattan being created by the small Fireboat spraying water was breath taking and awe inspiring. 5 hours 32 mins, 4th of the 6 done.

Tokyo, Feb 17 (33,947 finishers) – What a culture shock after a 13-hour flight, so clean, orderly and quiet, so safe with no litter anywhere.  I love Tokyo, with its temples, amazing gardens, language, blossom trees and incredible food.  The marathon course was being piloted for the 2020 Olympics with the last 20 miles running on the opposite side of the road to the other runners coming towards you, it was like watching a race unfold on TV, took my mind off running.  The only run I have ever done where you don’t drop any litter or cups at all, you take them to a litter collector, the aid stations have tomatoes, chocolate rolls and fruit, as normal it was a warm sunny day! 5 hours 25 mins, 5th of the 6 done.

Boston Apr 17 (26,411 finishers) – The world’s oldest (121 years old), iconic and prestigious marathon made more poignant by the bombings in 2013.  Due to the “good for age” entry criteria it was an “athlete’s” race, with only 1000 “non-qualifying runners” at the back running for charity or international runners, not a Rhino costume in sight.  I felt very humble to be running Boston, steeped in history with so many fine athletes ahead of me and then there was me, but this was my last one, the final marathon of the series, I felt so emotional.  With Boston, you get bussed to a small village and run back into Boston through the tree lined roads with beautiful New England style houses, past a crystal blue lake into the city.  It’s famous for the “scream tunnel” by the girls from Wellesley College and Heartbreak Hill at mile 20!   It was another hot sunny day, average temperate of 27 degree’s, hot baby!

The crowds were amazing handing out ice lollies, ice, and cold tissues, this marathon was all about making it to the finish line to get that amazing medal. With 200 meters to go, I got a lump in my throat, the wave of emotion as I was almost finished and I started to cry, I’d done!  I had run all the 6 World Major Marathons in 51 weeks.  I crossed the finish line and the wave of both euphoria and emotion was immense, I had done it.  I got both medals at the finish line, the iconic Boston marathon medal and my amazing Six Star medal, this was a very special day for me. 5 hours 46 mins (it was hot!)

I am now one of the few people in the whole world (1,733 prior to Boston of which 59 reside in Great Britain) who have achieved running all 6 World Major Marathons, with only 14 people worldwide who done all 6 in under a year, with probably only 1 woman in GB! I am both grateful and humbled to be part of such an exclusive group.

I have learnt so much about myself on this incredible journey, visited some unbelievable cities, met so many inspirational people who are living life to the full, embracing every day, people who are overcoming chronic illnesses that will not be defeated.  I am a different person to when I stated this journey, I don’t regard myself as an athlete, I’m just a working mum with an amazing supportive family, friends and Plums support.  I believe that age is just a state of mind, and that anything is possible.  If you believe you can achieve amazing things, you will, the hardest part is believing in yourself in the first place!

The best marathon, is a tricky question to answer they are all so unique and special in different ways, if I had to choose it would be Boston for the amazing support, defiance, scenery and other inspirational runners…

“There will be days when you don’t think you can run a marathon, let me tell you can and there will be a lifetime of knowing you have”.