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Cotswold Way Relay 25th June 2011

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CLC Striders had a great run in their first ever Cotswold Way Relay on Saturday 25thJune. We had two mixed teams out, CLC Striders Green team came 5thout of 35 teams in the category (total time 14:17:47), while our black team was 25th .(total time 17:12:26). There were some fantastic individual performances including top 10 finishes for Smeath, Chris D and Glyn and first woman for Liza on leg 8. See below for full results, and also for tales of mud, hills and more hills from several of the legs.

Green Team

**Runner Time Position (women)

1 SMEATH Dave 01:29:01 6

2 WILKIE Jo 01:54:26 39 (6)

3 BAGNALL Glynn 01:05:30 9

4 GOODWIN Charles 01:34:20 14

5 DEE Simon 01:51:30 62

6 DRISKELL Chris 01:06:14 4

7 SMITH Nikki 01:10:25 46 (13)

8 BARRY Liza 01:33:52 11 (1)

9 BRADSHAW Billy 01:11:38 13

10 STRAW Jess 01:20:51 38 (8)

Black Team

Runner Time Position (women)

1 ADDINALL Dawn 02:02:00 51 (13)

2 HARSENT Jill 02:12:00 63 (15)

3 MULLINS Amelia 01:19:34 42 (15)

4 HOWES Jon 01:43:08 20

5 KERRY Ben 01:48:49 55

6 KELLET Naomi 01:22:02 31 (7)

7 CHRISTIAN Nicola 01:17:44 58 (19)

8 VINES Rachel 01:55:22 52 (13)

9 No Runner 01:57:00 71

10 QUIRIGETTHI Carla 01:34:47 62 (19) </p>

Stage 1 – Chipping Campden to Stanway House

Dave Smeath

It was not even 7 am when the runners for the lead off leg of the 2011 Cotswold Way Relay gathered around the start at the Church of St James in the picturesque village of Chipping Campden. The weather was cloudy and breezy (though lightning bolts might have been expected given the number of runners using the bushes in the church graveyard for their ‘morning prayers’!) Dave Smeath (for the green team) and Dawn Addinall (for the black team) were flying the flag for the Striders.

The race started promptly and the field headed off down the High Street, the first of 103 miles to be covered by the teams during the day. Friend of the Striders, Dave Roper of Cheltenham Harriers immediately stamped his class on the the rest of the field, with Smeath settling into 4th place at the head of a group of three who would spend the first 5 miles of the stage together climbing towards Broadway Tower. Heavy overnight rain had left several deep puddles to avoid as well as some stretches of sticky mud. Early efforts by Smeath to put the other 2 runners from Chepstow Harriers and Great Western Runners under pressure were foiled by a complete inability to work out the gate opening mechanisms. As the group reached Broadway Tower, Smeath was beginning to flag.

A fast steep descent into Broadway was followed soon after by an equally steep (but considerably slower) ascent out the other side. Having gradually dropped back but with very little chance of being caught from anyone behind, Smeath negotiated the remaining few miles with few alarms, though was lucky to guess correctly which way to go on a couple of occasions, eventually finishing in a creditable 6th place in 1.29 for the 12 miles.

Dawn came home in 60th place in 2.10. She ran most of the way with daughter (and former Strider) Michela, who having held mum up earlier in the race, then had the temerity to out sprint her at the finish!

A great experience to race in such beautiful countryside, and tips for next year, are to do a recce of the stage before hand and get some practice in opening those gates!


**Stage 2 - Stanway House to Cleeve

Jo Wilkie

Despite intentions to start steady in respect of what everyone was telling me was the toughest leg, I was bouyed by the occasion and set off hard surging to get through gates as they were opened and trying to make the most of the down hills, so by Winchcombe (half way) I was already feeling it in my legs. A brief water stop and some support from Liza and Chris lifted me and I actually remained strong, passing people on the up hill all the way to Belas Napp, then also on more familiar ground. Having rounded Postlip I was on the final stretch, which actually felt like an eternity, and I finally finished in 1hr54 which I was happy with and had enjoyed the whole experience.

Stage 3 Cleeve Common to Seven Springs

Amelia Mullins

After dropping Jo and Jill at the start of leg 2 in a sheltered spot, it was a bit of a shock to arrive at Cleeve Hill golf club to find it blowing a hoolie! As the runners filed off, mainly ahead of me and a few behind me, uphill towards the trig point, it was fairly firm underfoot but with the wind still against us. Soon enough we began to drop down, with less wind but more mud to contend with (should I have worn studs, or even spikes?!). Further on, after a half mile section along a road (so not spikes then!), the path joined a fairly level track - time to make the most of the relatively flat ground and pick up a few places. The steep downhill past Dowdeswell Reservoir, dodging the worst of the nettles and brambles, gave way to an equally steep uphill through Lineover Woods, where a brisk walk was preferable to attempting to run! A brief respite was most welcome, before climbing the even steeper Wistley Hill, which I heard only the lead runner actually ran up. Then the relief of knowing the end was in sight, with a nice finish alongside a cornfield to Seven Springs - I finished in 1:19:34, very pleased with my run which was enjoyable despite the wind, mud and hills!

Glynn Bagnall

Two weeks before The Cotswold Way Relay my daughter Kara (psychologist) asked if she could practice her technique, by asking me a series of questions. She assured me that no analysis would be involved…..!? “ The test is with regard to?” I asked. “Just a memory loss dementia test Dad!” On completion of the test Kara advised me to recce my leg and i did just that, 10 days before the actual race. I got lost twice and it was worthwhile preparation.

On the day itself, it was relatively cool, and a brisk breeze helped too. During the race i quickly settled happily in 11thplace as we traversed Cleeve Hill. By Agg’s Hill i had made it to 9thand was beginning to overheat, so loved the daredevil descent to Dowdeswell Res. At the much needed water station, Ms G Wood flew past me and on the first brutal ascent to Lineover wood i saw her breeze past 2 more gents. I was even more humbled to realise that she must have got lost.

I ran all the way to the summit of the climb so fatigue and mini-hallucinations were my excuse for briefly losing my way. I was rescued by a fellow runner. Such comraderie and a wonderful team spirit are hallmarks of this great event. Managed to maintain my position to the finish and great to run for the club again, at last.

Back home, Kara was pleased with my run (wants Dad to remain young 4eva), but appeared more interested in whether or not i had remembered the route…….am i to become the subject of a case-study, when in Sept. She begins her Clinical psychology training…mmm!?

Stage 7 Dursley to Wotton-under-Edge

Nikki Smith

The fair Ms’s Christian and Smith parked up courtesy of Mr Sainsbury’s in Dursley and prepared for the stage with several visits to the ‘facilities’.

Once we were warmed up, the briefing was then held opposite The Old Spot Inn and we were off up the first ‘hill’ . This ascent to Stinchcombe Golf Course feels like a vertical uphill climb and the thought crossed our minds (in between the wheezing) that if this was an ‘easier’ stage thank goodness we were not tackling a severe one!! I am sure Garry Hughes who set the course record for this stage this year did keep running but an awful lot of the field took the opportunity for a power walk instead!

It became quickly apparent around the lovely setting of the golf course that Ms Christian was not up for a ‘chatty’ run and despatched Ms Smith on ahead to aim for a quicker time for the Green team, leaving her (and her ears) in peace to enjoy the views!

It is a bit daunting as you skirt the golf course when you look across and see the Tyndale monument across what looks like quite a large valley and realise that is what you will be running past at some point!

The route runs quite sharply downhill once you leave the golf course, which was quite tricky in the wet and slippy conditions. After crossing a few fields and cutting quickly across some small lanes you enter the village of North Nibley where some lovely volunteers had some very welcome refreshments ready.

After that the ascent up past the monument is best forgotten merely to say it involves an awful lot of steps up a very steep wooded hillside– again most people seemed to be walking in this section! (It has been suggested that Ms Christian may now be suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress after this bit!!)

Once the monument climb was conquered the stage has a lovely run in to the end along a wooded track before dropping on to the road into Wotton for about the last half a mile.

Ms Smith finished in about 1hr 10 and Ms Christian 1hr 17 and the support group at the finish from Charles was very much appreciated!!

Stage 8 Wotton-under-Edge to Old Sodbury

Liza Barry

“Stage 8” said the organiser in his pre-race briefing “I don’t know what you did to upset your team captains but they are about to have their revenge”… As the team captain I swore quietly to myself – next to me Rachel wasn’t so reserved! It didn’t take long to find out why – like many of the other stages, it goes straight into a hill, path then road then steps then muddy slippery path then road, and everytime you think you’re at the top it carries on going! Runners spread out quite quickly and by the long (and very fun) descent down the other side there was plenty of space to fly. The route meanders through fields and villages in the valley, then along a road before climbing again to the Somerset monument, where we hit a persistent headwind. Charles was waiting for us at the monument to hold open the gate and shout encouragement (you lied though Charles – I know I didn’t look good!) and Chris at the water station round the corner (where you could have eaten a full meal, so comprehensive was the menu put on by Hogweed Trotters – thanks guys!). Only 4 miles from here to the finish, but a long 4 miles including a steep climb through woods and then a heartbreaking hill just a mile from the end. Still, we Striders are made of stronger stuff than the two men I overtook walking up that last hill, and with a final hurdle of angry horses in the penultimate field to contend with (the organisers were forced to ask us to walk our sprint finish) we were done. Liza was rewarded with a bottle of champagne for 1stwoman, and Rachel was 13th. We survived, and it was even fun!

Leg 10 Carla Quirighetti & Jessica Straw

Carla Q

On the starter’s orders, like a pack of hounds we all galloped off down the lane, which soon went down, down, down. That bit was ok, but having already practised our run before, Jess and I knew what we had coming very soon: the meanest, most terrifying hill in England . Legend has it that runners have died trying to climb that hill. Anyway the huge steep climb soon sorted out the men from the mice…. Once we were finally up high though, the views were fantastic and remained lovely for much of the run. Apparently if you’re running really fast you don’t take in the views much, but I enjoyed them all, so what does that tell you?! Towards the end, you have the whole of Bath stretched out below you and you descend down towards the city. The very last bit running through the streets of Bath to the applause of the crowd at the end was great (I think some shoppers may have believed we had run the whole of the Cotswold Way). Fellow Striders were at the finish line to cheer us on and then we all headed off to the rugby club for drinks and awards. Jessica did the hilly 10 miles in the impressive time of 1hr20, and I did it in 1hr34. We loved the Cotswold Relay and were pleased with how well we did as teams. This year we were all just practising though…next year, we’ll be “In it to win it!”. Thanks to Liza for organising it all…..</p>