Provisional Spring/Summer Fixture List

Here is the provisional fixture list for the 2017 Spring / Summer Championship. There is a huge variety of challenging races you are encouraged to take part in.  (Bollington 10k is yet to declare.)
See you at Cloud 9.  Don’t forget full body cover as per FRA safety requirements.  And hard cash for all those Congleton cakes.
Cloud 9 Hill Race, Congleton
Sunday 5 March
Sold out
Wilmslow Half Marathon
Sunday 19 March
Radcliffe 10k MT
Sunday 9 April
Salford 10k Road Race
Friday 14 April
Yarrow River Blue Bell 10k Trail
Sunday  7  May
5000m Time Trial Sportcity
Thursday 18 May
Wincle Trout 9k Fell Race
Saturday 3 June
Sold out
Round the Resers 5 Mile MT
Wednesday 14 June
Evening Race
Tour of Tameside, X Trail, 10k
Thursday 15 June
Evening Race
Tour of Tameside, Hell on the Fell, 6 miles
Friday 16 June
Evening Race
Tour of Tameside, Hero Half Marathon
Saturday 17 June
Tour of Tameside, Dr Ron Hyde 7 mile
Sunday 18 June
Freckleton Half Marathon
Sunday 18 June
Rochdale 10k Road Race
Tuesday 4 July
Evening Race
Royton 5.5 Mile MT
Wednesday 12  July
Evening Race
Black Knight Charge
Wednesday 19 July
Evening Race
1 Mile Time Trial Sportcity
Thursday 20 July
Millbrook Monster
Wednesday 26 July
Evening Race
Meerbrook 15k
Saturday  29 July
Saddleworth 6 Mile Road Race
Wednesday 9 August
Evening Race
Bollington 10k
Stockport Hatters’ Half Marathon
Sunday 3  September
YMCA Harriers 5 Mile MT
Sunday 10 September
12 Minute Test Sportcity
Thursday 14 September

Andy’s Marathon Year

Belle Vue Marathon Legend, Andy Wood, treats marathons like some of us approach running for the bus.  Here is his take on his marathon 2016:
January: New Year’s Day, good start to the year, a mentally testing four-times out-and-back course on windy Liverpool front.
February: Lovely undulating trail marathon at a chilly Bolton Abbey.
April: Joined by fellow Belle Vue Racers for Manchester Marathon, sub-4 hour and 9 seconds quicker than last year’s ‘short course’.  Shortly followed by a nice 3-lap course in the grounds of Temple Newsam.
May: Out and back on the Tissington trail in a rainy Matlock.
June.Warm day for a very hilly 2-lap course in the shadows of the M62 in Huddersfield.
July: 6 laps around Gin Pit and Leigh, persuaded myself if I got around 5 laps I could walk the last, then talked myself into it only being 4 and a bit miles, so I might as well run the last lap – runners’ psychology !  Followed by a flat one, out and back on the Leeds/Liverpool Canal.  Finishing with the toughest of the year, in fact the toughest I’ve ever done: 20 miles of pleasant undulating trails around Snowdon, followed by a very slow – at times on all fours – climb to the misty summit, sliding six and a half hours later into Llanberis for numerous cups of tea!
August: Probably my favourite of the year, a very scenic trail marathon a round Hoad Hill in Ulverston. Also joined the remarkable Ben Smith and others on the 401 Challenge for a social marathon from Bramhall to Macclesfield and back, with various stops for butties and chips!
September: Back to the Leeds/Liverpool Canal for a flat one.
October: Overtaken on the racecourse by flying Belle Vue Racer Vic Walsh, then enjoyed the conditions and the help of a pacer to record  a rare sub-4 at Chester.  Later in the month was joined by Annie, Leah, Lisa and Patrick for old favourite, Snowdon Marathon. Cramp withstanding, all ran well and finished – pain is only temporary, pride is forever.
November: Time for a bit of recovery.
December: Training started for 2017.  AW


Snowdonia Marathon

Sunday 30th October 2016
“Keep running, get cramp and carry on.”
Cramp (noun) – Sudden, involuntary, spasmodic contraction of a muscle or group of muscles, especially of the extremities, sometimes with severe pain.
That’s only the tip of the Snowdonia iceberg so to speak but what a race!
Five intrepid Belle Vue Racers headed out to the beautiful Snowdonia Marathon: Annie Hirsch, who was running her fourth Snowdonia event, Leah Evans, who hadn’t run for three weeks after falling over spectacularly on the last long run, Patrick O’Brien, Andy (The Marathon Machine) Wood and Lisa Donnelly. Ben Marsh – a regular at Frank’s Tuesday session – joined us too. 


Nearly 2200 runners arrived at the start line, more than any other year. This was probably due to the unseasonably warm and very kind weather. Thank you Wales! A famous rugby player (Shane Wlliams, anyone?) started the race and ran it too.
Turns out, the run is REALLY hilly. Who would’ve thought?! But with the hills you get amazing scenery, full on support from friends – Thanks Tina! Hearing your voice through the clouds at Pen-y-Pass was a real boost! Thanks also to Maeve and Nick who surprised us all at the top of Waunfawr – family (lovely to have Leah’s mum and dad on cheering duty), other friendly runners and just generally lovely locals, community groups and marshals.
We all ticked the hilly miles off, for some a bit more comfortably than others. Leah struggled with tiredness from about Mile 10 but through sheer willpower and stretching cramping muscles (and she’d bought the hoodie) she carried on. The Waunfawr ‘hill’ at mile 22 was a killer for us all. There was nothing to do but walk it, get horrendous cramp at the top and carry on. Turns out even the really, really fast runners got cramp too! The final descent into Llanberis was a quad killer but a welcome sight to behold.
It was one of the most organised races I’ve ever attended. Great HQ, easy baggage drop off/pickup, well stocked water, isotonic and gel stations all the way around and a good t-shirt. The only thing I would say that it’s a shame there’s no bling – but with an experience and scenery like that, you’re never going to forget it.
Annie was the first Belle Vue Racer to cross the line. Not far behind was Andy then Lisa, with Patrick and Leah not long after.
Llongyfarchiadau everyone!  LD

MACCL Race 1: Wythenshawe Park

And so Cross Country season once again descended on the Belle Vue Racers. On a seasonally warm October day in Wythenshawe Park, the first fixture of the Manchester Area Cross Country League was met by a great turnout of nine members of the women’s section and eight of the men. There were five members making their Cross Country Belle Vue debuts – Maeve, Claire, Janet, Farouk and James.  
With extremely good conditions underfoot and the runners more concerned with the heat than mud, there were some great results across the board. Phoebe was first in for the women with an excellent time of 39.21. She was closely followed by Annie, whose time of 41.23 was good enough for 3rd in her age category. Yana finished third of the Belle Vue ladies in 42.50. A special mention should also go to Lisa whose fourth place in a time of 45.29 was all the more respectable given her seven mile run to the start line.
For the men, Vic led the team in with a time of 41.28, Meng warmed up for the next day’s Manchester Half Marathon in a brisk time of 43.21 and Andrew made up the first three in a time of 46.45.  A special mention should go to all those Belle Vue Racers who endured some slips and spils around the course. James Malone in particular did fantastically to recover from a turned ankle which had stopped him around half way to complete the course.  NT

Gin Pit 5 2016

Nine keen Belle Vue Racers (eleven including support team Barry and Lynda) descended bright-eyed in glorious sunshine on Astley and Tyldesley Miners Welfare Club to collect numbers and gather themselves for the start of the 2016 edition of the Gin Pit 5 mile race, in and around the adjacent woodland trails.  For a mix of veterans (“This is my eighth Gin Pit!”) and first-timers (“How many loops?”), the race set off up the long but subtle incline for the first of four runs at it at a decent lick.  After the field thinned a little once into the woodland, the course twisted and turned through the trees, providing plenty of challenge and just enough mud underfoot to keep you on your toes.


Meng Tang was first BVR man home (35:15), followed closely by first Belle Vue woman, Phoebe Willis (36:18).  Ruth powered home to finish the race that was her first in Belle Vue colours in 2013, to end a morning of excellent running.  Well done also to James, Yana, Kath, Rachel, Andrew and Janet; a fantastic sharpener for next week’s start to the cross country season.

Congleton Half Marathon

So on October 2nd, I left my warm home just before 8am. The clever car told me it was only 4 degrees C, & I wondered where my gloves were from last winter. What a beautiful way to start the Autumn/Winter season, with a startlingly bright drive out to Congleton. Mist lay low over the fields, where pheasants or partridges pecked at the ground.
A very well organised race HQd at Congleton High School. It had warmed up nicely by the 9.30 start. The 3 hardy BVRs set off for their 13.1. Steve Webb finished first doing a sub 1.40, especially impressive as only a week after Macclesfield half, & almost 4 minutes faster. Julia Foy followed, beating last years’ time, & was very pleased with a sub 2 hour run. Ruth Amin 3rd home for the club, pleased with an ‘only slightly slower than Wilmslow’ time, despite the hills & a lack of long distance running in the approach!
To summarise, a well marshalled race, where runners and cyclists owned the country lanes, with the best goody bag I’ve ever seen. Cracking value & a must do for next year. RA

YMCA Blackleach 5 Mile Trail Race

Sunday 11th September 2016
The curtain fell on the long spring / summer season in the tranquil surroundings of Blackleach Country Park. The green oasis nestling in bustling north Salford, was the perfect backdrop to the final race of the BVR championship. Whilst the leaves changing colour to browns and yellows signalled the approach of Autumn, the weather was favourable and the running conditions perfect. The soft September sun paired with a slight cooling breeze and a terrain which was largely dry underfoot. The 5-mile trail course, consisting of 2 laps of flat, steady paths, through woodland and around lakeside, was fast and ideal for quick finishing times. Notwithstanding the styles which could be hurdled at speed or for the less brave (including the author) stepped over at leisure. Runners were also helped by the impressive organisation of the host club Manchester YMCA Harriers, encouraging marshals and a supportive crowd gathered to watch.
At the start line the four assembled BVR runners were in a reflective mood, contemplating the past season: the highs, the lows, the near misses. These thoughts were all put aside however as the race got underway, focusing on maximum effort and one final push toward victory. First to finish was Vic Walsh in a time of 32.13. Next, in a breathtakingly exciting battle to the line was Damien Tolan in 37.56, very closely followed by Phoebe Willis in 38.00. The quartet was completed with BVR men’s cross country captain Patrick O’ Brien, majestically powering over the finishing line in a time of 39.53.
The race at an end, the results in, the season turned and the pages of history written. We now cast our thoughts to the next season: Halloween, bonfire night, Christmas. Running through the leaves, legs caked in cross country mud, shivering on start lines on cold, frosty mornings. The wind, the rain, the sleet and the snow. The pain and the glory. New races to run and new chapters to be written.   VW


Spring / Summer 2016 Champions

Congratulations to our Men’s and Women’s Champions for the Spring / Summer season – Vic Walsh and Ruth Amin – and to our Progress Award Winners – Nick Tynan and Yana Anderton.  In the men’s competition, it was Men’s Captain Patrick O’Brien who got squeezed into second place, with Nick Tynan taking third.   The women’s competition was a little more clear-cut, with Ruth leading from the front all season, with Julia Foy and Women’s Captain Annie Hirsch in second and third.
Thank you to Lisa and Leah for organising an excellent end-of-season awards curry and of course Lynda and Barry for all your hard work over the season.  A fantastic turnout at the Kushoom Koly and lots of positive vibes for the coming Autumn / Winter season.  First races will be Congleton Half Marathon (Sunday 2nd October) and Gin Pit 5 Miler (Sunday 9th October), followed by the first fixture of the Manchester Area XC League at Wythenshawe Park (Saturday 15th October).  AT