V S Update - 24 January 2016

Training on 26 January; VSTC calendar; Results from Brass Monkey, Brecon, Stanbury, and Peco juniors; Cautionary tale from Richard Adcock.

Training on Tuesday 26 January

Juniors - restrictions further relaxed / calling senior VS runners to help at 6pm please The session on the rugby pitches is again cancelled.  However, since the beginning of December we've been running sessions on the local footpaths for our "competitive" juniors.  Since Christmas we’ve had 2 groups and on 19 January we had 3 groups.  We're now able to allow a few more to join in, the minimum qualification is to have run 10 parkruns and/or junior parkruns.  (or to have run, in 2015/6, a West Yorks XC race or Peco XC race or Meanwood Trail or Harewood Trail).  We would also welcome a few more V S senior runners to come and help with the session, especially anyone who can keep up with our fastest juniors (sub-21 for parkrun)

Beginners/improvers - We have temporarily merged this group with the junior group and the feedback from all (including those who weren't parents of juniors) has been very positive.  However if any improvers prefer not to run with the juniors, they could run with the intermediates group at 7pm.

Intermediates - 7pm from Leos.  We have had between 6 and 8 in this group since Xmas.

Experienced runners - 7pm from Leos for hill session

Food on Tuesday 2 February (i.e. a week on Tuesday)

Early sessions followed by lasagne at 7:15pm - book at earlyfood@valleystriders.org.uk

Later sessions followed by lasagne at 8:30pm - book at food@valleystriders.org.uk

Book before 10pm  Sunday 31 January, choosing meat or veggie lasagne (pay £3.50 on the night)

V S Triathlon Grand Prix

Mike Furby has sent in the list of events for the VSTGP, which can now be found at www.valleystriders.org.uk/vsdates.htm

Club and Championship Events to enter

Please email teams@valleystriders.org.uk if you want to enter or want more information about the following

·         Yorkshire Vets Cross Country Championships at Doncaster on Saturday 5 March (over-35's only).  This has individual awards and also team awards in age-group categories.  See www.yvaa.org for more details

·         Northern Road Relays (teams of 12 men / 6 women) at Stockport on 2nd April


Brass Monkey (from Matt Hallam)

Men's team win today at Brass Monkey for Valley Striders (first 3 to count). Fantastic runs from John Hobbs and Andy May with me making up the numbers. Unfortunately none of us stayed for the presentation as we didn't know we'd won. Despite all the snow over here it was perfect conditions around York, just a bit on the cold side



Gun Time

Chip time

GP pts


John Hobbs





Andy May





Matthew Hallam





Graham Jones





Samantha Harris





Joe Hanney





Liz Wood





Ruth Warren





Chris Sawyer





Steph Gledhill





Neil Hall





Fan Dance Race, 10 Jan 2016, Brecon Beacons, 24k/1300m ascent (from Ross Bibby)

The "fan dance" is a relatively new series of races held twice a year in the Brecon Beacons (summer and winter editions), emulating the famed march that all SAS/SBS prospective recruits have to complete in-order to pass selection week. This march has existed since the 1950's and can be completed in two ways, firstly "load bearing" carrying 35lb of gear plus food and water, for which to pass special forces selection must be completed in under 4 hours. Secondly you can undertake this as "clean fatigue" (a military term for parachuting without equipment), and you have 2 and a half hours to complete in this way to pass selection. Selection times remain the same whether undertaking this in winter or summer (a bit harsh on the winter recruits if you ask me!).

I chose the "clean fatigue" option, but actually there is no such thing as a clean fatigue in the winter, as kit requirements were extensive including full change of clothes, bivvy bag, 2.5 litres of water, hot drink and many more items that you would not usually carry for a fell race of this distance. The race is run by Avalanche Events, who are all ex-special forces and so everything to do with the race was as authentic as a real test march, and run with military precision. This included being asked questions at various checkpoints to ensure you were in a fit state to continue.

Conditions on the day were pretty harsh, with snow and ice higher up and a cold wind blowing. The route starts at the famed old red phone box by the Storey Arms Centre and follows the path up to the top of Pen-y-Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons. From there you descend "jacobs ladder", then along the old roman road to a turnaround point, equating to approx 7.5 miles, where you then do the reverse route. Despite the conditions I actually found the route pretty easy, following paths and tracks all the way, the only really technical aspect was jacobs ladder, a steep ice/snow waterfall of rocks at the top, but this did not last long enough to cause many problems. It certainly didn't compare to climbing or descending the steep section on Ingleborough, or most other category A fell races. Most of the people I spoke to said it was the hardest/steepest/most difficult race they had ever experienced, I told them they need to try some of our Northern fell races.......

The most interesting aspect of the race for me was ensuring you moved quickly enough to ensure you could get back within two and a half hours to make the selection time. This was quite tough to do, as 24k with 1300m ascent means you do have to go flat out, and coupled with snow and ice added an extra element of difficulty. I managed to make the turnaround point in 1.10 and finished overall in 2.21. This bagged me 3rd place behind two sponsored athletes, so was pretty happy with that.

Clean fatigue results 1. Mark Lamb, Mountain Fuel, 2.08, 3. Ross Bibby, 2.21, (204 finishers)

Stanbury Splash Fell Race, VSFC, 17 Jan 2016 (revised Stoop route- 5m/800ft) (from Ross Bibby)

Deja vu at the Stanbury splash fell race this week with overnight snow and ice ensuring the "stoop" route was used for the second year in a row. This reduces the distance to 5 miles and a little less climbing than the usual 7 mile route, but avoids some of the very nasty icy road sections. That said there were still plenty of deep icy bogs to contend with!

A good turn out of striders arrived at the top of Penistone Country Park just above Haworth, in what for me were the nicest conditions I have experienced there (snow, blue-ish skies and no howling gale for a change!). Despite the overnight snow underfoot conditions were quite good, and without the deep snow drifts we had last year so you could make decent progress on the climb which dominates the first half of the race. Descending was a different matter though with the icy bogs holding you one minute and giving way the next, far harder conditions than the year before when you could let your legs go a little more. Suffice to say a number of cut and bruised legs/knees were on display after the race........

Good performances from the Striders saw a number of PB's and ensured some success in the legendary prize giving/throw out afterwards (a crate of corona for myself, large box of celebrations for Tony), plus enough Soreen malt loaf, chocolates and crisps hurled out to keep everyone happy.

1. Tom Adams, Ilkley, 31.14
Ross Bibby, Valley Striders, 36.59
Helen Berry, Holmfirth, 39.03 (1st F)
37. Tony Mills, Valley Striders, 39.31
Mick Loftus, Valley Striders, 40.35
Ronan Loftus, Valley Striders, 42.33
Mike Furby, Valley Striders, 44.40
Graham Pawley, Valley Striders, 45.44
J Richardson, Valley Striders, 52.56
Dave Jones, Valley Striders, 60.42
(277 finishers)

Peco Race 4 Junior Races

1 mile - school years 4 to 6
    2 Alvie O'Brien
    3 Tally Diamond  (1st girl)
    5 Keira Jones (2nd girl)
   11 Alfie Jones
   25 Josephine Pawley
   32 Imogen Idle
   41 Jessica Baxter
   51 Joshua Birkin
   55 Alec Twigg
   61 finished
2 miles (school years 7 to 12)
   31 Sophie Turner
   48 Jason Twigg

Richard Adcock - Unknown Bug

Not a story for the faint-hearted - you have been warned!   There are some pictures accompanying this story, if you want to see these (if you dare), go to www.valleystriders.org.uk/Richard_Adcock_unknown_bug.htm

Over the years I’ve done a range of events from Parkrun to Marathons, Ultra-marathons, Multi-day races at home and abroad and I’m never happier than wallowing about in mud and drinking from streams but what happened during our local XC race at West Park opened my eyes….

It was a muddy race which I love and during an overtake I slipped, took a tumble and caught some brambles - it was a non-event, tumble, up, continue, losing just a couple of seconds...

At the end of the race there was a bit of blood but it was just a superficial injury:

After the race it stung in the shower but nice and clean and nothing to worry about, or so I thought:

On Tuesday (2 days after the race) a bit of pus had started to form at the bottom of the wound:

By Wednesday this had grown a bit but due to its location the swelling caused me pain walking so I went to the minor injuries clinic in Otley hospital where they dressed it and sent me away with antibiotics and said come back on Friday.

During the next two days my leg hurt when I started to walk but once moving it was ok, the only concern I had during this time was that it had started to hurt in my groin, but when I went back to the clinic on Friday lunchtime to change my dressing I got rather a shock….

Something had been quite happily ignoring the antibiotics and munching away at my leg!

The reaction of the nurse was ‘eurggh…, you need to go to A&E NOW, expect to have intravenous antibiotics and expect to be admitted…do not stop on the way to get an overnight bag…I will draw round the area of swelling for them [A&E] to see how much it spreads in the time it takes to get there….'

I could only think ‘It’s only 15 mins there, how far can it spread in that time???’

When I arrived at Harrogate A&E they wasted no time in rushing me through and I had a succession of visits from nurses, registrars to the consultant, they took swabs, blood tests, X-rayed me to see if it had infected the bone, inserted a cannula and the consultant explained that if the intravenous antibiotics did not take effect overnight they would have to operate on me in morning to stop the spread of necrotic tissue and then I would need a skin graft!!

I've survived the Marathon des Sables and this was after the PECO XC race at West Park - you don’t think this can happen at a local race!

For me the most worrying part of this experience was although the injury was on my shin, my groin area was very painful due to an inflamed lymph gland fighting the infection and all I could think was I am going to lose my leg, but no-body would reassure me this wasn’t going to happen!

The cannula tissued (I think thats the term they used where it breaks the vein and feeds into the surrounding tissue) which hurts like hell, so they stuck another one in, and after an interrupted nights sleep the registrars and consultant came round and confirmed good news, it had started to respond to the antibiotics - it was a great relief to hear that :)

Now it was a question of continuing the antibiotics and monitoring it until they felt it healed enough to let me leave.

The next 4 days consisted of being jabbed, having my blood pressure and heart rate taken (usually 2 minutes after I had managed to fall asleep!), eating or just lying in bed - it was mind numbingly boring.

The cannula tissued again so I had a third one and by the forth day it had improved enough to be released, just in time for Christmas :)

At the time of writing it’s three weeks since it happened, it has almost fully healed and I am back running :)

I do not know what the bug was or exactly where it came from, but the conclusion was it was most likely a bit of infected material (mud, dog pooh, stagnant water) landed on the broken skin and it was just bad luck and washing my leg at the end of the race might not have made any difference as the bug was already in my system.

The NHS generally receive more negative press than praise but they did an awesome job and got a box of Quality Street for their efforts:) .

So take care out there as this can happen to anybody, anywhere, at any time, and it doesn't always happen to someone else.

And if you do cut yourself during a race, use your common sense, clean it up and if it does become infected get yourself to the doctor ASAP as the consequences could be a lot worse than you think…