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Road Races
Chicago Marathon, Sunday October 7th 2018 Print

As a big fan of the 90’s-00’s hit TV show ER I was keen to visit the city of Chicago.  Having run New York and Boston already I had some idea of what US city marathons had to offer, but I was not expecting the beautiful, cultural and scenic experience that Chicago offered.  The central area with it’s Theate District, Art Museum and ‘Cloud’ (although it looks more like a big jelly bean) was very clean and dramatic and well worth a visit.  The night before the race, my brother text me to tell me to disregard my Garmin as the skyscrapers would interfere with the signal.  This advice was invaluable because it meant that I had to go by ‘old-school pacing’ and listen to my inner metronome - it proved successful because my 5K splits were no more than 9 seconds out!  As Mo Farrah was running there was a terrific buzz in the city for the UK runners.  On the morning of the race I went to eat breakfast at the hotel restaurant and met 3 runners from my home town of Dunblane in Scotland, so I tagged along with them to the start.  As with other US marathons the support was superb and I would heartily recommend it to anyone considering a trip stateside.  My time was 3:49:35 - one second faster than New York 5 years ago!  Sadly, there was no sign of Dr Ross (George Clooney).


Full results can be found here .

Tamworth 10k Sunday 7th October 2018 Print

Jenny and I took part in the Tamworth 10k having both done it two years ago. Conditions were really good and the event was very well-organised. It was the same course, a 2 lap route around the canal and castle grounds making it very scenic. It was quite flat too with just a couple of slight inclines. There were some amazing athletes out in force and the first two female finishers both ran sub 39 minutes! Jenny and I were both pleased with our times, Jenny took minutes off her previous 10k run at Balsall Common and did 50.24. I was also pleased to be fifth lady with a new 10k PB of 42.10. The Tuesday sessions are certainly working for us!


Bournville Leafy 10K, Sunday 28th September 2018 Print
Strong Sparkhill Harriers Performance in 2018 Bournville Leafy 10K
It's the end of September, the nights draw in, chestnuts lie o'er the ground, Strictly's back... So it must be time for the annual Leafy 10K put on by our running neighbours Bournville Harriers.
Many of you will be familiar with this event, which was held last Sunday 30 September, based at Rowheath Pavillion.  The course is a multi-terrain two-lapper through the leafy lanes of Bournville.  It is very well organised with lots of support and encouraging marshaling round the course.  Also, the goody bag was amazing with lots of chocolate and other foodie goodies to go with the medal.
The cakes on sale for charity after the event are probably the best of the year (narrowly pipping the NICE 10K in Cannon Hill Park) and this year there was the added bonus of warm samosas available too.  I don't know about Andy, but I don't think I'll be trying the two-samosas-&-chocolate-gateau post-race refueling strategy again in a hurry!
As for the race itself. the running conditions were perfect for the 273 competitors.
Five Sparkhill Harriers ran, finishing as follows:
 Simon Hodges 
 1st   M45 
 23 Andy Wadsworth  
 1st   M55
 27 Dave Pearson 44.02 
 2nd M55
 34 Martin Smallbone  
 45.07 7th  M45
 46 Rob Mills
 46.09 1st  M60
Sparkhill Harriers came second out of 13 complete teams in the men's competition.
It was particularly good to see Dave and Martin running so well after their recent injury problems.  Bring on the cross country!

Balsall Common 10k, Sunday 23rd September 2018 Print

Jenny and I took part in the Balsall Common 10k for the lily-mae charity. I hadn't done this run before but saw it advertised and decided to give it a go. It was two 5k laps with some tricky hills to get up but very well organized and supported. It was nice to see the very posh houses on the way round too. We both did well and I was very pleased to win a shield for first lady in a time of 43.40 and Jenny did 53 minutes. Andy Manning was there too so we were pleased to see him. The run is hoping to be part of the road race league so will probably grow in popularity in the future. Definitely one to look out for.
Vicki, Jenny and Andy M.


 Vicki Bone
 55 Andy Manning 
 Jenny Price

266 runners completed the race.

Full results can be found here .

Midland Counties Combined Autumn Relays, Sutton Park, Saturday 22nd September 2018 Print

ImageWe had a great turn out with 3 complete men's teams and 1 ladies plus Manisha running in a team of 1. That's 23 Sparkhill athletes - well done.

All that commitment could have been undone as Craig noticed a technical issue on the morning of the race meant we did not have the veterans teams registered. Thankfully Craig was able to sort it all out with the organizers at the 11th hour. He can be a smooth talker when he wants.

A special welcome to the fold long time junior Izabella Thompson who ran for the senior ladies for the first time and had a very good race.

Please note the running order for some teams was switched because of problems with parking at the venue. Thus the official results and those shown here (the actual order run) may differ.

And for those who love the figures, you will see that the men's masters A managed to gain 1 place on each and every leg. Quirky.

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