22 Mar

Reading Half Marathon

Frank Colman reports on a great VR turn out at the Reading Half on the 19th March:

“Brilliant day yesterday at Reading Half Marathon for Berkshire Vegan Runners! The atmosphere was vibrant throughout despite a chilly and blustery start. The crowds of supporters at various parts of the route were amazing, backed up by thumping disco music, live bands and a sensational drumming band under the bridge in the town. There were lots of “Go Vegan” and “Come on Vegan Runners” shouts. The Olympic style stadium finish at the Madejski rounded off a truly great and well-organised event. We had a pre-race meet up, a post-race meet up and a vegan burger meet up with local Reading vegans at the Oracle. Highly recommended for next year!”

Berkshire Vegan Runners Results:

Suzanne Hooker 01:46:13
Simon Scott 02:12:36
Samantha Taylor 02:27:00
Philip Mace 01:40:43
Olga Maliszewska 01:53:47
Nicholas Holland 02:01:06
Mark Laidlaw 01:36:16
Lydia Williams 01:50:09
Lucy Samways 01:51:27
Joe Battimelli 01:46:51
Frank Colman 01:50:33

Other Vegan Runners Results:
Name Chip Time
Rebecca Mitton 02:22:37
Mike McBeth 01:33:44
Laura Hailey 02:39:01
Jacqueline Stott 01:52:05
Holly McCain 02:00:12
Gina Penman Dearing ?

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16 Mar

Irwell Valley 20 Trail Race report

Irwell Valley 20 Mile Trail Race, Prestwich, Manchester

March 5th, 2017, saw Crazy Legs Events’ inaugural running of the Irwell Valley 20 Trail Race. 266 entrants showed up on the day and braved the elements, an impressive 251 lasting the full 20 miles. Luckily for us, all the gathered VRUK members saw it through to the finish.

One thing Manchester is known for is its weather, in particular weather of the damp, soggy variety. For a week solid prior to the event it rained. It also rained a bit the week before that. As a lead up to a trail race, these were not really ideal conditions. The day of the race began differently, however, and we were treated to a bright and dry early morning, but which also had unfortunate side effect of giving us the coldest day of the month by far, topping out at a frighteningly chilly 6°C.

We made our way to the start area in Drinkwater Park and assembled for a group photo and chat. It was around this time that it began to rain. After something like a 20 minute delay race management were ready to get things under way. Off we went, through Philips Park with a sharp climb to a rather bouncy pedestrian bridge spanning the M60, and on to what is familiar turf for a few of the Manchester Vegan Runners: the Outwood Trail. Outwood is a great trail, offering the choice of a hard surface with a narrow clear path for the runner or cyclist, or something a little more soft under foot off to the side, but understandably a little too soft at this time of year.

It was at the end of the main Outwood stretch that the only real problem with the race arose. Checking the Strava Flyby, it seems that some time after the lead runner passed a course marker, some cheeky scallywag reversed the direction of the arrow to then point runners off on a tour of Radcliffe’s ASDA, rather than a sharp left turn back towards the main Outwood trail, over the bridge and on to one of the short road sections of the race. They, or some other toerag, had also dragged fallen trees across the trail on this short section (so at least that misdirected group missed out on a short hurdle course). It’s also worth noting there were also issues with the last group of runners continuing down the main Outwood straight, missing out the twisting/turning section altogether. The course definitely needed more or better positioned marshals around the Radcliffe loop, but it is a new event and it’s sure to be corrected when the race is back next year, hopefully with more runners in attendance.

The upshot of these events was something of a surprise to both Dan and myself as we were now running directly side-by-side for the first time in the race, a quarter of a mile back he’d already pulled out a lead of around a minute prior to his diversion. Dan took it very well, exchanged pleasantries, said it couldn’t be helped and kicked on – the perfect way to handle something out of your hands in a race like this, not letting it plague the mind and potentially ruin a race, but accepting it and shrugging it off – well played, Dan. Other runners were noticeably and audibly less impressed with the situation.

From now on the rain would get heavier and heavier as we made our way back up the twisting trail, back down Outwood and steeply down to the Clifton cut back, with all its mud and mush. Next up was a loop of Clifton Marina and 4 miles along the Irwell, with a duck under the M60 this time. I think this is the point where Dan suggested the rain could be classed as “p***ing down” in his facebook post, and that was no exaggeration, it really did get quite relentless. No surprise that this also coincided with the section that provided the biggest tests. Prior to this the going had been mostly solid underfoot, but here the runners were presented with a few more tricky technical sections with a runaway tumble towards the river, an undulating tree root laden trail, gloopy mud, plenty of twists and turns and a single track of seemingly never-ending puddles besides the Pilkington’s tile factory. This particular section is one of those where you cannot pass and are therefore limited to only go as fast as the person in front, with the added potential pitfall that running too close can give you too little time to judge the next step as the terrain varies from step to step with slippery sides and puddles of varying, unknown depths. And some, I can personally vouch for, were quite deep and icy cold! Thrilling stuff! Well, bracing at the very least, and maybe just what was needed to help reduce the swelling on any injured purple toes anyone might have had.

So back over the Irwell we went, on through Waterdale Meadow and under the 13 arches through Philips Park and back down to Drinkwater Park. A little undulating, but good firm ground under foot and a chance for the rain to better wash away some of the previously acquired mud in more open surroundings. Next came probably the least interesting part of the race, another trip over the river for a view of HMP Forest Bank, some winding paths and out onto the road again. There was a bright side, however, as here we were greeted by the race team’s most enthusiastic and genuinely supportive marshal who also managed to snap quite a few photos of us and posted them freely to facebook.

 

Once the short road section was out of the way, a quick cut back into the park and the finish line would be only an easy, steady climb away… of course, we’re only 12.5 miles in at this point, it’s now time for a 2nd lap of Clifton Marina, Pilkington’s and around again we went. This is where the mental battle became tougher, having to run the same trails we tore through an hour or so ago wasn’t going to be easy. Couple this with the incessant rainfall and temperatures that seemingly gave up bothering to rise any further at around 10am, and it’s understandable why a few called it quits at this point. None of VRUK, though, we all stuck at it.

So the second time around. Where there had been mud previously there was now slop. Where there had been a thrilling roller coaster down to the river, 266 pairs of shoes had created more of a mudslide. And best of all, what once had been a tricky to negotiate series of puddles with muddy, slippery sides, now presented as a series of long, unavoidable canals of the most bitterly cold ice water with only one sensible route to take- directly down the middle and through them. Now this write up isn’t meant to be a blog of my personal race, more an overview of an event at which VRUK members represented strongly, but a few things happened in my race towards the end that I’d like to share. Feel free to skip this bit and go to the tl;dr and results! I particularly remember feeling less refreshed and more broken having waded through that trough for a second time. It wasn’t giddy fun this time around. As with any race consisting of lapped sections, it’s inevitable that the faster runners will catch up to those running slower at some point. What I found one of the best series of moments in the race occurred here, it was the genuine support and good-natured banter offered by those working hard through their first lap and their desire to make way and let the faster runners through as quickly as possible – massively impressive. These runners had been on their feet just as long as everyone else, but had another 10 miles to go until they’d receive their well-earned medals, spending maybe 4 hours or more out in those terrible conditions… and they were more concerned with not wanting to slow someone else down by a few seconds than running their own race. Remarkable.

Make no mistakes, this 2nd lap was tough stuff. I don’t think I’ve personally had to dig that deep just to try to maintain a pace before. Now, in my case, this could have had more to do with the lack of fuelling, as my belt was still stuffed with untouched dates and gels. Quite why it never occurred to me to ingest some of them during the last 8 miles I can only put down to the horrendous weather issues and the constant demands of the terrain, but the nett result was that, with 4 miles to go, I’d begun pacing the wrong side of 7:30 miles and had horribly cramped calves and a very tight rear thigh muscle in my right leg. At around the 18 mile point someone passed me for the first time since very early in the race, “it’s not long to go now” he said as he eased on by. Not too long after a Bury AC runner came past and also uttered something positive which I can no longer recall. Pleasant words, but it wasn’t doing my mind much good. But a fellow Vegan came to my rescue. On the last long straight a young woman began shouting “GO ON VEGAN! I’M VEGAN, TOO!” and other highly supportive cries as I lapped her. This was immensely helpful, kicked the doubt from my mind and helped me find something I didn’t think was there. I went from over 8 minute miles to pushing 7s again and under in spots, and before I knew it I was over the line in a time I never thought I’d manage. As I stood around at the end, medal in one hand, juice in the other, the young lady passed the finish line to begin her 7.5 mile 2nd lap and again offered loads of positive, encouraging words. I don’t know what I shouted back, whether it was at all audible or just random grunts and noises, but what I wanted to say then and now is “thank you!”.

Coming to a halt at the end of the race offered us all the opportunity to realise just how unbelievably cold it was and how standing around in wet running gear in a car park is a pretty daft thing to do. It was ridiculously cold. Normally we’d all wait around and meet up and chat, but this day was tough and nobody was blamed for wanting to get home asap. There were defrosting trips to cars, “2 more minutes then we’ll go back outside”, and wet, soggy clothes exchanged for cold, soon to be soggy clothes. Some of us did get together for more ill-advised rainy chatting in the car park, but cramped legs and ever-colder body temperatures soon put an end to that nonsense. No matter how cold we all were, there were marshals stood still out on the course for over 4 hours – that must have been tough, too!

tl;dr: Irwell Valley 20: character building.

Here’s the results from the members present. Everyone did amazingly well. We might not have all achieved the times we would have liked or aimed for before the event, but given the conditions and toughness of the race, the fact we all came home safely and made it around is the real achievement. VRUK finished 2nd place in the Male team competition (first 3 club members home per club) and Stella’s soon-to-be 2nd claim Warrington ladies came first. Great Vegan representation in the results!

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26 Jan

Vegan Runner Ishmael Burdeau Takes on Britain’s Most Brutal Race

For those of you who don’t know it, the Spine Race is known as Britain’s most brutal race.  The race travels the 420Km length of the Pennine Way from Edale in the Peak District through the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park before finishing over the Scottish border in Kirk Yeltholm.  

Vegan Runner Ishmael Burdeau took on the 2017 Spine Race and tells his story first hand.

 

It’s now four days since I crossed the finish line in Kirk Yetholm to complete the 268 mile Montane Spine Race in 149 hours. I’d spent much of the previous year preparing for the race – gradually increasing my training, buying and testing equipment and, most of all, pondering whether or not I’d make it to the end.

Although only a few years old, the Spine Race has earned the reputation of being “Britain’s Most Brutal Race”. Typically fewer than half the participants make it to the end within the seven-day cutoff, victims of fatigue, injury, hypothermia and even frostbite. I knew it would be about a lot more than just fitness – enormous resilience, good planning and luck would play a bigger part than just training.

I have become a plant-based athlete gradually over the past two years. For many years I competed seriously as a cyclist, completing events such as the London-to-Istanbul Transcontinental Race in 2014 and 2015 as well as road races and 24 hour time trials. In years past I had also raced many marathons. Over the course of these many years I had, I thought, worked out a suitable diet for myself.

However after gradually moving to a whole foods, plant-based diet a few years ago I found many positive effects. I was sleeping better and had more energy. I had fewer ups and downs. Most importantly, the minor injuries which had caused me so many problems as a marathon runner went away. I found I could easily train about 80 miles per week for weeks in succession without even a minor ache or pain, whereas when I had followed a more conventional diet I could only manage 50 miles per week. Plus I was 15 years older.

Back to the Spine Race. Day One saw fairly deep snow on the hills above Edale, which, when combined with heavy rain and strong winds, made the miles to Hebden Bridge really hard going, with deep streams to ford and trails made slippery with ice and snow. Nutrition-wise, I was very fortunate in that I had excellent support in the form of my partner Georgina and our Ford Transit camper. So I had little to worry about with respect to getting the right food en route and also at the beginning and end of each day.

As I was covering about 45 miles per day, there was no need for the gels, drinks and bars which form such a big part of many athletes diets. Instead it was homemade vegetable soup, chai tea, pitta bread, nuts and avocados. Typically I’d finish off the day with a wholefood meal, such as rice or quinoa, tempeh and vegetables. After four or even five hours sleep (amounts of sleep unheard of in this event – most runners tried to get by with only two or three, with variable effects), I was refreshed and ready to go again after a breakfast of porridge with quinoa or granola and coconut milk. Of course I did also have some treats – lots of dark chocolate and even a veggie burger and chips at the end of day two.

Sadly our van wasn’t fully up to the job, and Georgina had to end her support for me about 200 miles into the race while she took time out to take the van to a garage in Haltwhistle to repair a broken exhaust and failed starter motor. This meant I’d have to complete the final two days of the event unsupported – a fairly standard but daunting task for runners on a so-called “standard” diet, but somewhat more difficult for a vegan one. I knew from previous experience in the Transcontinental that competitors who are resourceful, resilient and stay healthy are the ones who make it to the finish. In this case, resourcefulness meant getting by on what was available and making intelligent food choices.

Fortunately staff at checkpoints were supportive and interested, and I managed to get a good Quorn curry and a few nice soups over the final stretch. The other big factor in my favour was that I had been banking sleep during the race, never having fewer than four hours of sleep, and often as many as five hours per night. Based on my Transcontinental experiences, I knew that after several days without sleep or with very little sleep my pace would slow dramatically and my morale and decision-making abilities would hit rock bottom. I have no doubt now that lack of sleep was a big factor in the downfall of many runners, who limped sadly though the final few days or dropped out altogether.

On days five and six I was still moving well, and suffering only from a number of blisters on my consistently very wet and cold feet. The final morning over the Cheviots was clear, sunny and cold, which did a lot to make up for the many days of rain, drizzle, fog and gloom of the rest of the week. I eventually crossed the finish line in 33rd place out of only 58 finishers with a time of 149:32:54.

 

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12 Jan

North East members spread vegan magic with Veganuary parkrun takeover

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North East Vegan Runners added a dash of green to the first parkrun weekend of 2017 by staging a Veganuary takeover.

Members donned club colours to volunteer as race marshals, host a vegan feed station at the finish line, and chat to runners about veganism and running at the Rising Sun Country Park parkrun in North Tyneside.

Plant-based cafe Pulp Fiction in Whitley Bay donated fresh smoothie bowls, juices and cake bites, and club members also took along their own offerings to create a colourful and tasty vegan spread.

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Local contact and Vegan Runners chair Kerri Turner supplied information leaflets, and  t-shirts from the Talk to Me I’m Vegan  campaign to help get the message out.

The t-shirts are available to others who wish to use them for events to promote the campaign.

Kerri has also managed to secure free Vegan Runners stall places at several vegan festivals organised Farplace Animal Rescue, which is a good opportunity to promote the club to potential new members.

Anyone who is available to man one of the stalls  at a festival in their area can get in touch with Kerri at chairpersonveganrunners.org.uk or contact her via Facbeook.

Festival organisers are also looking for anyone willing to distribute leaflets to promote the events, and volunteer to help at the festivals. Volunteers will get free entry to the festivals in return.

Anyone interested can contact Kerri.

Festival dates for 2017

Saturday 28th January 2017 – WEST YORKSHIRE VEGAN FESTIVAL – Dewsbury Town Hall

Saturday 4th February 2017 – GREATER LONDON VEGAN FESTIVAL – Camden Centre, London

Sunday 12th February 2017 – NORTH EAST VEGAN FESTIVAL – Stadium of Light Sunderland

Sunday 5th March 2017 – SOUTH WEST VEGAN FESTIVAL – Motion Bristol

Saturday 25th March 2017 – OXFORD VEGAN FESTIVAL – Kassam Stadium Oxford

Sunday 9th April 2017 – SCOTTISH VEGAN FESTIVAL – Corn Exchange Edinburgh

Sunday 16th April 2017 – AMSTERDAM VEGAN FESTIVAL – Radion Amsterdam

Saturday 13th May 2017 – IRISH VEGAN FESTIVAL – New Waterfront Belfast

Saturday 10thJune 2017 – GREATER LONDON VEGAN FESTIVAL – Camden Centre London

Saturday 24th June 2017 – SOUTH EAST VEGAN FESTIVAL – Pyramid Centre Portsmouth

Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July 2017 – CUMBRIA VEGAN FESTIVAL – Rheged Penrith

Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd July 2017 – WELSH VEGAN FESTIVAL – Tramshed Cardiff

Sunday 3rd September 2017 – NORTH EAST VEGAN FESTIVAL – Gateshead International Stadium (confirming details soon)

Saturday 14th October 2017 – IRISH VEGAN FESTIVAL – New Waterfront Belfast

Sunday 22nd October 2017 – SCOTTISH VEGAN FESTIVAL – Corn Exchange Edinburgh

Sunday 12th or Sunday 19th November 2017 – NORTH EAST VEGAN FESTIVAL – Stadium of Light Sunderland

Sunday 26th November 2017 – BRIGHTON VEGAN FESTIVAL – The Grand Hotel Brighton

 

By Ross Robertson

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24 Nov

Vegan Runners claim podium place in one of the UK’s toughest marathons

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Bob Neill, who claimed third place

Vegan Runners Newcastle claimed third place and fielded an impressive turn-out in one of the country’s most brutal trail runs.

Eight members of the Newcastle branch braved temperatures as low as -11 on the inaugural Wooler Train Run – dubbed “The Beauty and The Beast” – in The Cheviots.

Vegan Runner Bob Neill finished third place in the marathon event – a 28.5-mile route taking in 6,063ft of elevation – with a time of 04:29:34.

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Adam Malloy

The race took place in the desolate mountain range which straggles the border between Northumberland and Scotland.

The route saw runners climbing The Cheviot – the highest summit in the range – as well as a number of other steep ascents, including Yeavering Bell, a peak which is home to wild mountain goats.

 

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Steffen Haugk

The extreme temperatures saw runners’ hair and jackets freeze, with competitors tackling frozen bogs and thick ice.

The club’s Adam Malloy, James Bailand, Steffen Haugk, Chris Bryson and Mark Trewick also took part in the marathon event.

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Rosie Frater and Ross Robertson

Vegan Runners Rosie Frater and Ross Robertson completed the half marathon course, a 14-mile route taking in 2,434ft of elevation.

By Ross Robertson

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Chris Bryson, Bob Neill and Mark Trewick

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06 Oct

North East Vegan Runners join top cross-country league

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(from left) David Kennedy, Abi Suter, James Palmer, Chris Bryson and Kerri Turner

North East Vegan Runners have swapped road racing and trails for quagmires and grassbanks after joining a top cross-country league.

Vegan Runners Newcastle pulled off a coup when branch contact Kerri Turner managed to gain the club entry into the North East Harriers League.

The cross-country tournament began on Saturday, and fixtures will take place throughout the autumn and winter months.

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Kerri Turner in action at Wrekenton

The series of six-mile cross-country events take place at notable venues around the North East, including the famous Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.

A total of 18 Vegan Runners are signed up to the league, split between men’s and women’s teams.

The first fixture took place at Wrekenton in rural Gateshead, which organisers claim is the easiest venue of the series – and some tough, muddy races await the runners as the winter weather arrives.

The next fixture takes place on Sunday at Druridge Bay in Northumberland.

The teams are currently sitting in the middle ranks of the league, but are hoping to climb higher as the season continues.

 

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James Palmer on the run

The team members in full:

Kerri Turner
Holly White
Rosie Frater
Colleen Walker
Ross Robertson
Kevin Dempsey
Elaine Banks
Ray Flanagan
Neil Ford
David Kennedy
Abigail Elizabeth Suter
Chris Bryson
Jade Forester
Ian Minto
Sharon Westgarth
Shirley Mallen
Philip Irwin
Chris Dempsey

By Ross Robertson

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21 Sep

The BIG Stockport 10k – Vegan Runners Takeover

Usually you’ll be there, eagle-eyed, checking the shirts, looking for those distinctive colours. Was that a Vega…? No. Oh, what about …? When you finally spot a wild Vegan Runner at a race it can be quite a big moment, especially if you’re not lucky enough to be in one of the areas with a really active local group.

There was none of that on Sunday September 18th – a warm, sunny morning in Stockport, Cheshire, a few miles south-east of Manchester. On this day it was difficult to go anywhere without seeing a group of VRs.

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It began as an idea to find a race the Manchester group could turn out in numbers for. After a little searching and checking, a local race with a date that worked for a number of the group was found – a 10k so as to be suitable for most abilities and with a cheeky £10 entry fee if registering teams of 5 at once. Could the group fill 2 teams, or perhaps 3? As the teams filled, more were created, then more and others outside the group began to show an interest (let’s not ignore the fact that the race fell on the same weekend as the Manchester Vegan Beer Festival). This was no longer just a local gathering, VRs signed up from London, Hertfordshire, all over the North East, Leeds, Huddersfield, Merseyside… the list goes on.

There was quite a bit of organising and planning required to keep things on track and some members joined other local groups and spread the news. In the run up to the event, Jonna, Manchester group local contact, managed the teams. This became particularly hectic during the closing days as people had to pull out due to injury etc., but these were quickly replaced by yet more eager Vegans wanting to share the day with their club mates. Another task Jonna set herself was to secure a sponsor in the form of Unicorn, a local co-operative grocery, who offered a generous supply of fruit (organic, of course, as they offer nothing else!). And let’s not forget that banner flag, designed by Jason and to be heroically carried throughout the morning by Tom!

By race day we had 14 teams of 5 and a number runners registering solo, all ready to don their black and green shirts (some for the very first time) to run the streets of Stockport, promote a healthy Vegan lifestyle and do our club proud.

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Meeting on Mersey Square, opposite the Plaza, our numbers rose steadily, hugs became more frequent and smiles grew larger. Thanks to a borrowed shirt from here, and a pair of shorts from there, one of those intending only to cheer and spectate had a last minute change of mind and took a place – who could blame anyone for wanting to jump in and be a part of this BIG day – the vibe was immensely positive and compelling.

Mersey Sq.

With just over half an hour to the start of the race, around 60 Vegan Runners descended into the Bear Pit. Fortunately, being around 200 years too late to witness the kinds of activities that gave this area its name, instead it was the first club photo opportunity. With the photos snapped, a particularly memorable moment took place as Verna stood, faced the terraced crowd and said a few heartfelt words regarding the occasion and the history of the club, followed by a round of applause for Jonna and everyone else involved with making the day possible. It was OK to get a little misty-eyed at this point.

With little time left for anything resembling a meaningful warm-up, the gathered runners headed off past the theatre and up the hill to the start area – a hill they would each soon get to re-tread around 9.9km later. Outer layers were shed, toilet queues began looking unsurprisingly lengthy, bags got dropped, and the nerves began to kick in as the start time neared.

600 entrants – over 1 in 10 being Vegan Runners – queued at the start. After a short delay the race began, with the hosts commenting on all the Vegan Runners whizzing by mere seconds later!

The course itself wasn’t bad at all, although it did have its fair share of climbs, twists and turns coupled with occasional changes to the terrain. Not everyone enjoys a route that doubles back on itself down the same track but, just after the half way point, running beside the River Mersey in both directions offered a great opportunity to see, wave, high-five, cheer and encourage each other while the race was in progress. Wonderful stuff!

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As people completed their runs they joined the growing group near the finish line. Another chance to chat, cheer home the remaining members, sample the post-race fruit and stretch out some sore limbs.

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After the prize-giving, another photo opportunity presented itself before the group began to disband. Some had trains to catch, others had an appointment at The Allotment with the talented Matthew Nutter, local chef and runner, as he opened his doors to a lucky few dozen or so VRs for a post-run breakfast. It was said a hardcore few even made it back to the Beer Festival.

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Among those earning new 10k PBs were Alex Hinchcliffe and Bob Neill, finishing 2nd and 4th overall, setting up an easy win for the Soy Division VR team, with 5 Vegan Runners finishing in the first 20 places. Alex is more often found high in the hills around Sheffield, Bob is more at home in the vast wilds of the North East, running more substantial distances such as the Ultra Marathon he recently placed first in. For them both come travel and take part in an event that’s not really their prefered running format is something we’re all thankful for, and their placings really helped with the message. But, having said that, their efforts were equally matched on the day by all those Vegan Runners stepping up to the 10k distance, pushing for PBs and even taking part in their first ever events wearing the shirt. All commendable stuff!

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There are far too many stories to tell: PBs earned, friendships made, hangovers burned off. One thing is for sure, everyone did the club proud. It seems clear that, with the club being inherently different to regular running clubs and with all the difficulties that presents, yet expanding rapidly and gaining more and more attention, the local groups will play a vital going forwards. This kind of event brings us together just like our weekly training runs but on a grander scale and with a more accessible and inclusive format, bringing in members from further afield, maybe the kinds of people who cannot attend the training runs or have none in their areas. Yes, it was probably a record turnout for Vegan Runners at an event – but this record will be smashed soon enough, and again and again – it’s only natural as the club grows stronger in numbers by the week. What’s sure is the buzz generated by an event like Sunday’s will only seek to strengthen us as a club and bring us closer to the day the local groups take their place alongside their neighbouring local running clubs in their own right. Until then, more like this!

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It wouldn’t be right to end this without mentioning Sam Barton, Community Sport Officer at Life Leisure, the event’s organisers. Always available for advice regarding the teams, bag drop etc., and ensuring that *all* goodie bags handed out contained vegan-friendly snack bars, Sam made us not only feel welcome, but a valued part of the event. From all of us at Vegan Runners, thank you!

Report by Kevin Dempsey

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14 Sep

Newcastle Vegan Runners chase Mo Farah in Great North Run

North East Vegan Runners were out in force as the world’s biggest half marathon returned to their doorstep.

More than 20 club members took part in the 2016 Great North Run as the Newcastle VR group were joined by Vegan Runners from Scotland, Lancashire, Yorkshire and elsewhere in the country on the famous 13.1mile route to South Shields.

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From left: Elaine Banks, Ray Flanagan, Chris Bryson, Abi Suter, Kerri Turner, Rosie Frater, Ross Robertson and Bob Neill

Family, friends and other members also travelled to cheer on the VRUK crew as they followed champion Mo Farah’s footsteps to the coast.

The half marathon wasn’t a big enough challenge for VR Newcastle member Bob Neill, who “warmed up” by running the three miles from his home to the start line at a pace of 7.27mins per mile.

Bob, who came first the Clennell Trail Run Ultramarathon just last month, went on to complete the GNR course in one hour and 25 minutes.

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From left: Ian Minto, Rosie Frater, Chris Bryson, Zak Illingworth, Elaine Banks, Colleen Walker, Kerri Turner, Richard Twine and Ross Robertson

Newcastle contact Kerri Turner and member Rosie Frater organised meet-ups at both the start and the end of the race to make Great North Run day also a great social event for members.

A good piece of photo-bombing at the start line saw Vegan Runners vests featuring prominently on TV coverage.

After a rehydration session in the New Crown Hotel at the finish, the runners headed back to Newcastle for vegan pizza.

However, a fire alarm at Zizzi saw Team Vegan refuelling on curry at vegan-friendly Indian restaurant Ury on the Quayside instead.

By Ross Robertson

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From left: Bob Neill, Elaine Banks, Kerri Turner, Ross Robertson, Richard Twine, Ian Minto, Colleen Walker, Abi Suter and Rosie Frater

 

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12 Sep

Vegan power at the New Forest Marathon and Half

There was a big Vegan Runners presence at Sunday’s New Forest Marathon and Half Marathon. With some great results. The first lady across the line (pictured) was Vegan Runner Charlotte Collyer in 3hrs 15.

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And the second man across the line was Vegan Runner Dane Poore in 2hrs 53. Well done to you both and to all who ran! Vegan Power!

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Pictured (Beth Hudson, Half Marathon 2:15, Andy Killworth, Marathon 3:37 and Pamela Denison Half Marathon 2:24)

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