About us

Sandbach Striders was born back in 2003. Since the early days, membership has grown with a firm ethos of the club being not just about running but social activities as well. The club is affiliated to UK AAA and has its own qualified coaches. Many other special events take place on various nights too.

The club meets on Wednesdays at 18:30 and Sundays at 09:00 at Elworth Cricket Club.

Whilst many members compete in races from 5k to Marathons, the emphasis remains purely on keeping people motivated and having fun. Why not scan through our race reports to see what we’ve been up to? Having read them, you’re sure to see why Sandbach Striders has developed the motto of being

"No Ordinary Running Club!"

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Race Report: Sunrise to Sunset 27/12/2011

I found out about this race, not through the usual channels of Runners World or Fetcheveryone, but at mile 18 or so of the Crewe Déjà vu track marathon when I got chatting to Denzil the race organiser.

The race HQ wasn't on fire, it was a brazier to keep the marshalls warm.
Denzil organises a series of small, friendly and informal races which are as much of a
social occasion as a race. The idea behind the sunrise to sunset challenge is that runners run as far as they can (or want) between the hours of sunrise (08:20) and sunset (16:01), the winner being the runner who records the furthest distance. The race follows a 0.84 mile route around quiet country lanes and tracks in Lightmoor near Telford.

In the days immediately prior to the race I found it difficult to resist the lure of the Christmas foodstuffs and the booze, so I wasn't wholly confident about putting in a good performance come the morning of December 27th. It was a struggle to get myself out of bed at 6am and into the car for the journey down the M6. The satnav seemed to know where we were heading which was fortunate as my woozy head provided no help whatsoever. As I turned off the penultimate road and started heading up a small track I had a flashback to the race instructions - "Don't drive up the lane towards the race HQ as you may get stuck". Thankfully the weather was a lot more clement than it had been the previous year when a combination of heavy snow,ice and narrow hilly lanes had caused the race start to have been delayed. 

In typical style I'd cut it extremely fine and by the time I'd dumped the car down the road and sprinted up the hill to the race HQ I only had a few minutes to attach my number and collect the 31 elastic bands that would serve as my lap counter (31 and a bit laps equalling 26.2 miles). I'd just about managed to squeeze the bands on over my gloves when the air horn went and we were off. I even managed to miss posing on the official start line photograph, which if we've ever met you will know just how distressing that is.

Each lap started with a downhill section away from the race HQ where the marshalls and their lap counting bucket were located, before bending round to a steepish climb which was runable for the first 25 or so laps but then became a welcome walk break. Each lap was 0.84 miles on quiet country road lanes, navigation certainly wasn't an issue nor was traffic. As each runner passed the start line they had to deposit one of the elastic bands into a bucket thus signifying that they had completed one lap. This was a vital step as anyone who has ever run a lap race will tell you, it is impossible to count them in your head after about the first 2 or 3. Even the best GPS watches on the market aren't 100% accurate - I've ran AIMS measured road marathons which my Garmin has reported a total distance of anything between 25 and 28 miles.

Downhill and across the start line. Again.
The water stops were very well stocked with a bewildering array of drinks, gels, protein bars, sweets, biscuits and other assorted treats. I've never had a Quality Street during a race before, but I have to say it made a very welcome change to my usual tipple of manky carb gel.

I recognised a couple of other runners from previous events and so whiled away a few laps chatting about races and catching up on 2012 running plans. The laps started to pass quite quickly and it never seemed very long inbetween the welcome downhill stretch past the start line. Matt the marshall was very supportive and gave everyone a big shout out as they passed by.

After a few hours I started to notice runners passing me in the opposite direction, this was because anyone who wished to stop at the marathon distance had to loop back after their final lap to make up the missing 385 yards. My strategy for the day was to run a steadily paced marathon and then just hang on and see how much more I could clock up. After 31 laps I passed through the start line and thus started collecting elastic bands again to signify each additional lap that I completed. It was no exaggeration to say that the eventual winner and new course record holder Charlie Sharpe had collected almost an arm full by the time he finished.

At first I thought I'd aim for 30 miles but as that passed by I started to think that maybe 40 was a realistic aim. I only had a few days left of actually being 40 so the target, somehow, seemed appropriate.

My knees had definitely decided that they'd had enough at around 40 miles, but I was starting to panic that maybe I'd undercut my target distance. The Garmin was only reading 38 miles. I knew it was reading a little short because it took a while to find a signal at the start of the race, but how short exactly? I was gripped with a fear that if I stopped and found myself having run only 39 miles how disappointed I would later be, so I dragged myself round for a couple more laps just to be on the safe side.

Pleasingly it turned out that I'd hit 42 miles in total and, in terms of total distance at least, I'd finished in second place overall. Although it has to be said this was (literally) miles behind the winner Charlie who covered over 51 miles. This despite never seeming to lift himself out of cruise mode.

Strongbow. Better than any post-race protein shake. By far.

At the finish I was presented with a very nice looking medal and a fantastic embossed pint glass by Denzil who also had one last surprise up his sleeve. At the Crewe Déjà vu Jason had managed to acquire sufficient Carlsberg for each runner's goody bag - which it has to be said went down an absolute storm. Denzil popped back and filled my pint glass with a cold can of Strongbow cider. I've never been a huge cider drinker but after 42 miles it tasted absolutely FANTASTIC. Denzil, Claire and I posed for a final photo with our cider recreating the same photo we'd posed for 2 months earlier trackside in Crewe.

I was busy helping myself to a final handful of chocolate biscuits (for the physiological necessity of replacing lost salts of course) when Denzil's wife ushered me up to their kitchen/race HQ. On offer there were jacket potatoes with beans or bolognese and a large mug of warm coffee. I commented how a couple of weeks earlier I'd run a large road marathon with a €60 entry fee and we weren't even offered a glass of water at the finish line! This hospitality was very well received and indicative of the informal and welcoming nature of this event. 

There's another 31 laps on offer in June with the promise of a proper cider induced knees-up afterwards - it's definitely going on my race calendar for 2012.

For more information visit the Church of Denzil website.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Michael - You ran really well!! I've put a link up for you from the Church's website ;) See you in June for a few more laps ;)