It now seems a long time back when we started the season at this venue and absolutely dominated the opposition to take our first steps towards a compelling men’s team victory in the Series. We were well down on such a performance this year, being 5th in the men’s race and 6th in the women’s. However, this marks a significant step up from last season when we barely scraped a male foursome and had no female team.. This time, we had two men’s teams as well as a women’s. Just a pity we were missing a number of our top performers though there is time to claw our way up the table with four fixtures to go, beginning at Croft on November 12th.

Under fine autumn skies, with a light breeze, the women’s team was led home, over this demanding, but always interesting course, by Amy Smith (10th out of 72) who has been trying to coach her old dad into a bit of form over the summer. She was superbly backed by Kerry, fresh from a fantastic low 1..46 clocking in the Cardiff Half, in 19th and 2nd V35. Like the returning Becky, making her comeback after illness to register an impressive 42nd, she wasn’t an admirer of the course. But neither looks too unhappy in the photos already on Facebook, do they (unlike some of the men!) ?

But the tough course, with getting on for 1000 ft of climb in the 6 + miles,nicely softened by Welsh rain, suited our first two men down (or should it be up?) to the ground: the new streamlined Matt had a great run in 3rd out of 118 while Mike Link, who has been training in wellies and flip-flops and by running up and down ladders, showed his legendary hill strength by finishing 17th and 3rd V45, just getting his nose in front of speedy young Ross crossing the line in a very fine 19th and 1st U20. Sadly these three had to wait for Steve to close the team in 46th and 2nd V65.

Just behind was new signing Jake Underhill who medalled impressively in the summer County Track Champs, but found his searing pace compromised on the wet, hilly terrain. The same was probably true of another debutant, ex 400m hurdler, Ben Skinner in 62nd. Ben has his sights set on a marathon next and I’m sure we’ll see him and Jake moving up the field as the season progresses. Kev’s race (69th) was, he complained, “ruined by duff pre-race information. I was told it was pretty flat so I brought my speed legs which proved totally unsuitable after a fiery start.” But didn’t he notice all the hills above the campsite? “Of course, bloomin’ did,” he said, “but I thought they were just scenery. When it comes down to it, I suppose I haven’t adjusted from all me summer track work. Whatever the scenery, track circuits are lovely and flat, mostly, except for the steeplechase barriers.”

It was great to have Neil Lewis back on the comeback trail, finishing 112th. He is trying to return to racing shape and what dedication……he finished his first shift on the farm at 9.0 a.m. and was then back on duty at 2.0 p.m. after the race. That is triathlon in the true sense of the word! Not far behind was a third new recruit, Dave Cameron in 115th. Dave is making a return to running, no doubt inspired by his son Ross’ brilliant progress and wife, Karen’s encouragement. Neil and Dave are another two I tip to be moving up the field soon. Keep the training going, boys. The next course (Croft Nov 12th) is pancake flat. According to Kev.



Brecon 10 Peaks 2017

Posted: October 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

Read Naomi Prosser’s account of her amazing 36 miles over the Beacons!

The Brecon 10 Peaks is a 50-mile race visiting the 10 highest peaks in the Brecon Beacons. I did the short course which substitutes three of the peaks with three smaller ones to make a 36-mile course. The weather on the day was OK, it was generally pretty good although sometimes windy and wet, but the visibility was good which makes navigating the mountains much easier. This was my second time of completing the race and having recced the course within the last few weeks I was pretty confident of where I was going and hardly had to look at my map, saving some time. I also had a top supporter in my mum who met me at all the checkpoints to cheer me on.


Apart from the first six or so miles I ran the majority of the race alone, sometimes passing people on the descent and being passed on the ascent. Although I had been walking all the uphill sections I had the intention of running the last inclines once I got close to the finish, but by then I could do no better than walk up even the smallest. Even so I managed to gain on the lady ahead, taking one final energy gel before I was noticed and we set off racing down the mountain. I managed to move up to third but lost that again once we reached a muddy section where I struggled with traction, catching up again once we hit some tarmac to joint 3rd at the bottom of the descent. One final push for the final half mile and I managed to hold onto 3rd place and finish in a little over 9hrs39. Fifty minutes faster than my previous time.


It was the most exhausting race I had ever done but 24 hours later that was forgotten and I was already planning for next year. Now to try and beat my time or do the 50 miles?


Couriers Comment: Fab running Naomi 😀 

2017 Midlands Cross Country Relays

Posted: September 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

Calling all RED XC runners!!!

The 2017 Midlands XC Relays are again to be held at Aldersley Stadium Wolverhampton on Saturday 21st October 2017 at 2pm

Race distances and number of legs below:

        Senior Men & masters 4 X 6k Legs (two laps of 3k)

        Senior Women & Masters 3 X 6k Legs (two laps of 3k)

As with the Road Relays Russell James is co-ordinating entries so please let him know as soon as possible so that he can finalise teams.

Mens and ladies team competitions are open to all runners who are England Athletics (EA) registered. If any non-registered member wishes to register in order to take part in this and other EA events then please contact Clive immediately so that you can be signed up and available to run. The EA registration fee due for  2017/18 is £14 and is extra to your already paid up club membership fee.

Any queries etc then please contact Russell direct either in person or via email on russelljam1234@gmail.com


Midlands Road Relays 23.09.17

Posted: August 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

If anyone is interested in running in the Road Relays at Sutton Park on 23 September 2017 then please check out details either on the Couriers Facebook site or click on the link below and contact Russell James as soon as possible so that he can finalise teams.

Mens and ladies team competitions are open to all runners who are England Athletics (EA) registered. If any non-registered member wishes to register in order to take part in this and other EA events then please contact Clive immediately so that you can be signed up and available to run. The EA registration fee due for  2017/18 is £14 and is extra to your already paid up club membership fee.

Any queries etc then please contact Russell direct either in person or via email on russelljam1234@gmail.com

Check out also the Midland Counties website for full information and course maps.

🏃‍♀️🏃GO REDS🏃‍♀️🏃

Report on races at Abbey Dore 12/7/17 and Shobdon 26/7/17


After the disaster at High Vinnals in the rain when we couldn’t muster a full team, Couriers were out in some force for the last two matches with Matt James back in superb form winning both events in imperious style. What a shame he missed the first 2 fixtures as a 5th league title was there for the taking with him easily defeating the eventual champion, Sam Mayglothling in these final two races! On the team front, we pulled ourselves up to 7th, a TW (Team Worst) down from what was a disappointing 4th last year. Time to get back to winning ways! On which note, it’s great to welcome Barry Reynolds to the Club, a class athlete who will be a valuable addition to the team.

Behind Matt, Mike Link was 22nd in both fixtures, a bit down on his brilliant run at Vinnals but still crucial for the team. At Shobdon he lost 2nd Courier spot to the returning Richie Richards who picked up where he left off with a fine16th and 1st V50 on the night. Dave Williams was untroubled winning the overall V55 category with continued consistent performances here in 30th and 27th. It was great to have Ross back for the last race and the youngster ran strongly for 30th and 1st junior man. Also returning in style for Shobdon was Chris Cleary finishing fast after a leisurely start in 43rd.

After a gruelling mountain marathon in sweltering conditions in June, former track man, Nigel Reade stepped down in distance for these two races and, despite not being fully recovered, showed his competitive mettle in 52nd and 51st. Both times he went out hard only to be overhauled by Herington (55th and 53rd)towards the end and then in the last half mile flying mercilessly past the poor old boy.  “Well, I can’t be beaten by an old codger like that, can I?” He explained. “I mean, he’s the sort of guy who uses his winter fuel allowance to buy new kit. But why would you need a red Nike snood at Shobdon? It’s not on, is it?”

In the latter race there was a strong Couriers female contingent with Amy Smith 63rd ahead of  Sheryl, 72nd, who had placed 65th at Abbey Dore. Of course Sheryl is a speedster much happier on the road than the country but who still dominated her category here decisively winning the Series V45 division despite, dare I say it, being towards the top end of her age group. She had a couple of good battles with the tough Dave Green  (71st and 64th) just edging it over the Series 2-1. At Shobdon our other new powerful road running recruit Jim Smith held on well for 60th after a speedy start.

In this race we managed to field 3 full teams of 4 men and 2 women and it was heartening to see such a strong women’s squad in both fixtures. Making their debuts on the demanding Abbey Dore course where there were 140 finishers Kerry Wathen 105th and Becky Eversham 112th both ran very impressively with clearly more to come as they gain experience off road. At Shobdon in a huge field of 178, Kerry improved dramatically to a fine 92nd while Becky’s 149th saw her still clear of many able runners. Fiona Murdy, the ultra woman now a regular at Nikki and Lisa’s Monday track sessions to work on her speed, was 136th at Abbey Dore but higher up the field in 157th at Shobdon. It was good to see Izzie Seal in the latter race battling strongly to 139th again with a large chunk of the field behind her. Making her debut at Shobdon we also welcomed Kelly Murray who had a promising run in 153rd on this tough circuit. The winter league starts in October with races on Sunday mornings. Let’s keep the red wine flowing!

No, have no fear. I haven’t forgotten Kev, Kev, the man of nature. It’s just that he only fits into a paragraph this size. After uncharacteristically missing the Vinnals fixture, he was back in marauding action at Abbey Dore (95th) and having, in contrast to all around him, enjoyed the double water splash, became incensed to find himself impeded by a herd of cattle which, with the resident bull safe in Merv’s stall, back at the farm, evidently mistook the rampaging Kev for a male of the species and became exasperatingly frisky. “It’s no joke running amongst that lot” he complained “ blowing out at you, bellowing and backing on to you and what have you. They cost me half a dozen places, blast ’em.”  But things turned out much better at Shobdon (104th). Having taken time during the Offa’s Dyke 15 to round up a family of swans, the word had spread to Shobdon and the resident cob was waiting for our boy, the berry on his bill engorged, wings flexed and phlegm up ready to hiss. And of course Kev runs right by him and takes a stinging whack on the back of the leg from the flashing wing. “I only wanted to stroke his lovely neck,” he reflected, “but here’s the beauty of the thing : that whack he gave me has cured my achilles completely. My advice would be, chuck out the foam roller and get a swan. They’ve got lovely necks.”

So, another summer series over, all the races bar Vinnals run in fine conditions. We are so lucky in Herefordshire, not only to have great courses superbly designed by members of participating clubs but to have an organiser as dedicated and efficient as the incomparable Mike Blenkinsop. Thanks to him and of course to Clive and Tracy who worked so hard on the finish line without catching a glimpse of cattle or swans. Get those injuries sorted you two!


A REPORT ON THE FIRST TWO SUMMER OFF-ROAD LEAGUE RACES at Westhope 14/6/17 and High Vinnals 28/6/17.

Plenty of light blue, plenty of dark blue, funny shades of green and khaki, even a splash of fluorescent yellow (sorely needed in the woods at Vinnals) but hardly a streak of red. Really, the sunsets this summer are a huge disappointment.

But rather than adopt dear old Pete Seeger’s elegiac tone, I propose saluting those discerning Couriers who availed themselves of the rare delight of racing in the wonderful fields, orchards, hills and woods of Herefordshire on courses which draw athletes from many miles around (141 at Westhope, 158 at Vinnals.)

Dave Williams, 1st V55 in 20th and 28th respectively, Mike Link, 27th and a stonking 12th at Vinnals, Tracy, racing for the first time in almost a year and finding herself well adrift of her normal placing in 98th and 118th and Kipper, 1st V65 in 42nd and 65th (ouch!) may not be fresh out of the youth squad, but they know a good race when they see one and fully endorse the mighty Kev’s (76th at Westhope) dictum that, if nothing else, these outings provide conditioning par excellence. Poor Kev was too shocked by the pasting he took at Sheryl’s (54th) hands in the first fixture to join us at Vinnals and complained, besides, that his Offa’s Dyke 15 had failed to clear the achilles injury he has been carrying. Besides these old stagers, it was great to have three Courier debs in these two fixtures: Jim Smith had a fine run at Westhope, on a course beautifully prepared by Clive and his team for Couriers, outsprinting Sheryl for 53rd (“If only I’d done that”, said Kev) while David Green was just behind in an impressive 57th. Fiona Murdy, almost certainly the only Courier who has ever conquered the classic Comrades Marathon (53+ miles) in South Africa, appropriately chose the tough Vinnals circuit for her league baptism in 152nd. At Westhope, our depleted resources had the boost of an appearance from Chris Cleary, who turned out for a brave 48th after a hard race the night before.

Well done to all who raced and thanks to organisers, notably Clive and Mike Blenkinsop for making these events so enjoyable.

Onward to Merv’s farm in beautiful Abbey Dore. for fixture 3, 12/7/17. “It’s not flat,” Clive says. But will it be Pete Seeger again or Simply Red?

Steve Herington

1st Male                    CHARLIE JONES Cheltenham Harriers
2nd Male                  DAN KING WVR
3rd male                   PETER WOODWARD Forest of Dean A.C.

1st Female                ALICE TAYLOR Spirit of Monmouth
2nd Female              EMMA ROBERTSON Worcester A.C.
3rd female               ROXANNE JONES Hereford Couriers

M vet 40                   MARK JONES  Cheltenham Harriers
M vet 45                   LEYTON FLEET Forest of Dean A.C.
M vet 50                   RUSS JAMES Hereford Couriers
M vet 55                   GLYN SANSOM San Domenico
M vet 60                   TONY CHAMPKEN WVR
M vet 65                   SANDY ROSS Ludlow Runners
M vet 70                   BRIAN SYMONDS WVR

Male under 20        ROSS CAMERON   Hereford Couriers
Male under 17        SCOTT JONES  Croft Ambrey A.C.
Male under15         ALEC HARPER Croft Ambrey A.C.

F vet 35                    JOANNA EDDY U/A
F vet 40                    STEPH MAIN Croft Ambrey A.C.
F vet 45                    SHERRYL HALL Forest of Dean A.C.
F vet 50                    SUE DAVIES Croft Ambrey A.C.
F vet 55                    LYNNE PARK Forest of Dean A.C.

Female under 15    SHANA STEWARDSON  Bridgnorth A.C.

Male TEAM                   CHELTENHAM HARRIERS
Female TEAM               WVR

Wheelchair female      JULIE LAWRENSON   Hereford Ghost Runners
Wheelchair male         ELIOT EVANS   U/A