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10th January 2024

Marsh Lane Harriers Community Running Club

By Stephen Robinson
PUBLISHED: 10th January 2024

A message from our Chairman

Hello and a very Happy New Year all,

I hope you all had a fantastic time with your family and friends during the festive period and you're all feeling energised and ready for another brilliant year ahead - I know I am!

What a first couple of weeks back it has been for the club. Whilst I wasn't there to see it first hand with working away, the track session last Wednesday looked amazing! Almost 150 Harriers under the floodlights, each of you putting in the work and starting the year in the best way possible. I doubt there is any club in the world who turns up those sort of numbers. Brilliant work everyone.

On top of that, we've had new years day marathons, half marathons, 10ks, parkruns, trail runs, a return to mid-week club runs, people booking and planning races and talk of crazy challenges already. What a club.

Most of you will have also seen out your first week back at work with some of you returning this week. It will have been a shock to the system for some and a welcome return to routine and structure for others.

However last year ended, whether you achieved your goals or you didn't, try not to worry, don't stress, reflect positively on what you did do, celebrate the small wins and set yourself up for your best year yet. Set new goals, revisit previous and look forward. The club ended on such a high last year and things are only going to get better as we grow and build on past successes. I'm grateful for each of you and I look forward to seeing more and more newcomers joining the club over the coming weeks and months.

If you're reading this and are yet to get involved, our arms are open and we can't wait to welcome you at one of our sessions soon.

Have a great week ahead all.

πŸ€©πŸ“ΈRecent Club HighlightsπŸ“ΈπŸ€©:

Ending 2023 as we mean to go on...

MLH Christmas Eve 5k & 10k
Whilst most of us were logged off work and ready to indulge in copious amounts of mince pies, beer and mulled wine, there was still plenty of miles to clock for several Harriers before we drew the curtains on 2023. On Christmas Eve, we held our annual 5 & 10k runs starting and finishing at the track. It was a brilliant turnout and everyone was in great form, singing along to Christmas songs and having a laugh along the way. The perfect way to kickstart Christmas πŸŽ…πŸΌπŸŽ„
Christmas Day - Just another day of running for the Harriers: As if that wasn't enough running, several dedicated Harriers were up and out on Christmas day to enjoy the Ormskirk Christmas parkrun. Special mention first of all to Mark Madle who celebrated his 250th parkrun birthday! πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ Having only started running in 2017 with the intention of doing a parkrun (singular), it is safe to say Mark is now a parkrun legend! πŸ‘‘ Secondly, a big shoutout to Chris Blackie who hit his 'Vanessa Carlton' (1,000 miles) for the third year running with a very respectable sub 22 minute, top 50 finish.
Continuing with the Christmas day activities, Marie Butterworth didn't let the presents under the tree get in the way of her run streak as she ticked off run #370, whilst Josh was over at Delamere Forest parkrun, warming up with a nice 10k from Cuddington and finishing with a superb 19:27. Meanwhile, Kerri was back home in Derry City for another festive parkrun although rumour has it, she is still tipping water out of her trainers!πŸ‘ŸπŸ’¦ Brian as always, was out along the beachfront for a festive stretch of the legs and last but not least, Terry kicked off day 1 of his 12 days of Christmas running challenge (more on that later) to round off a busy morning of running for the Christmas Day Harriers πŸŽ…πŸΌπŸƒπŸΌ
MLH Boxing Day 10k: Next came the Boxing Day 10k. Another great turnout with a mixed bag of surprisingly fresh faced and a few hungover Harriers. Credit where credit is due though! At least they turned up unlike a certain someone who slightly overdid it until the early hours 🍻🍻 (Cough Cough Mr Chairman!)
The final runs of 2023!
On 27th December, we held the final Wednesday track session of 2023 which was arguably one of, if not the most challenging of the year. Strong winds, heavy rain and hailstone battered the track goers as Vicki cheered words of encouragement behind the whistle and Ste sat in the car with the heating on full blast πŸ˜†β˜”πŸŒ§οΈπŸƒπŸΌ Nonetheless, proof that the Harriers run in any weather and a great advertisement for the club which inspired and resulted in many new members signing up.
In the days to follow, we had the final Friday Hills and Drills and last Saturday track session of the year...
And we had Big numbers at parkrun yet again: Blackie was over in the rather windy Derry City, Charlotte took it nice and easy at Tawd Valley securing a 1st place for her age category πŸ˜†, Mark ventured close to his Essex roots to tick off his 50th parkrun location at Raphael, Romford πŸ‘πŸΌ whilst Ben, Loz and Paddy headed over to Crocky to support Bhav on her 150th parkrun volunteering session! Well done Bhav, such a fantastic achievement and hats off to you for the selfless amount of support you give to the local running community πŸ‘πŸΌ
Next came New Year's Eve which brought a flurry of miles and medals for the Harriers...

We kicked things off on day one of the Liverbird Double where Jack and Harry, or better known as 'Jarry' raced across the finish line with a perfectly paced 1:26:58 Half Marathon to earn Harry a new PB. Annabel, also running the Half Marathon, came away with a huge 3 minute PB and a silver medal for 2nd place female to cap off an incredible year of runningπŸ‘πŸΌ Vicki Burke smiled all the way through a highly enjoyable Liverbird 5k whilst Dan Stokes competed in the 10k, earning himself a new 5k PB in the process πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ₯‡ Last but not least came Josh, Tony and Kieran Owens who each completed the full Marathon. Tony enjoyed the race despite 'dragging' Kieran round as did Josh who despite the windy conditions along the Mersey coastal road, managed a superb 3:08, 8th place finish to round off a phenomenal year of running πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ₯‡
Whilst the Liverbird races were taking place, on the other side of the Mersey, Claire took part in the Winter Trail 5k which was her very first and last (she says) trail event. Thinking she would snap her ankle at any minute, Claire described the experience as 'disgusting' and like 'running through Glastonbury on day 4!' πŸ˜† Well done Claire, when is the next one!? πŸ˜‰
MLH NYE 10 Miler: Back at base, several members of the club met up at the track for a leisurely NYE 10 mile run through Litherland, Lunt and Crosby before arriving back for a final group photo of the year and some chocolate treatsπŸƒπŸΌπŸ“ΈπŸ« Special mention to Liam who finished 2023 off with an amazing 1,500 miles, our Committee Runner of the year Kim, who achieved an impressive 1,600 miles for the year and our 2023 female Runner's Runner of the year Mel, who despite suffering with a really bad chest and with a little help from Daz, was able to surpass 1,000 miles for the year πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ
Starting the year as we mean to go on! As we said goodbye to 2023 and hello to 2024, New Year's Day brought with it some shiny new medals...
On the second and final day of the Liverbird Double, we had Ste Green running his second ever official race to pick up a second medal for his collection - well done Ste. Vicki was alongside him to put in a great shift despite fun and games with a couple of dogs! Dan Stokes got his 3rd fastest 10k and Jack Butterworth, our 2023 Committee Runner of the year brought home the first gold medal of 2024 after coming in 1st place for the 5k with a superb time of 18:49 πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ₯‡ Well done all!
Ormskirk and Southport parkrun crew: Whilst Jack and the team were busy at the Liverbird double, we had great numbers over in Ormskirk and Southport parkrun events. Well done to all, particularly Adam Simpkin who finished his 89th parkrun with a 4th place finish in what was a packed and tricky course. Something tells me 2024 is going to be a huge year for the club when it comes to parkrun. As such, if you're interested in getting involved, you can register and find your FREE local parkrun events here: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/
Open training session: On 2nd January, Andy Barton led and hosted an open training session at the track to welcome and support those looking to discuss and develop a training plan for the months and year ahead. The session was well attended and there was a real sense of optimism and excitement about the new MLH Coaching plans that were announced earlier in the week.
HUGE turnout for the first track session of the year: On Wednesday 3rd, we held our first track session of 2024, hosting almost 150 people in what was perhaps one of our biggest attendances to date! If you haven't yet experienced a club track session, get yourself to Chaffers running track on Rimrose Valley every Wednesday (6pm) and Saturday (9am), we cater for all abilities and ages and you can run at your own pace. Everyone is welcome.
12 Days of Christmas for Terry: As mentioned earlier, Terry Fearns set himself the challenge to run 1 mile increasing by a further 1 mile every day for 12 days between 25th December 2023 and 5th January 2024. Even though his armpits are now stinging, nipples bleeding, legs aching, feet covered in blisters, toenails hanging off and so many other parts of his body (that I'm unable to mention on here) now agonisingly sore, Terry said he loved it and came through victorious to complete the challenge last Friday 5th January. Clocking up an impressive 78 miles in 12 days, including 50 miles in the first 5 days of 2024, this placed Terry at the top of the club leaderboard for the most miles completed last week. This is also the most he has ever ran in a single week, which shows what you are capable of if you put your mind to it and test your limits. Well done mate. I reckon you can do a full month next time πŸ‘€ πŸ’―πŸ‘ŒπŸ’ͺπŸƒ
Tatton 10k for Ross: Next came the Tatton Park 10k for Ross last Saturday in what was a cold and misty morning. Ross ran a superb 40:52 to pick up his first medal of the year and earned himself Local Legend status for Tatton. Well done mate! πŸ₯‡
And whilst Ross was navigating his way through the fog, Paddy Reilly made a great start to the year with an 8th place finish at the Halewood 5k with an impressive 17:37 πŸ‘πŸΌ Great work Pad!
On the parkrun front, last Saturday we had Adam Simpkin who ran a superb 17.38 at Ormskirk despite having a horrendous hangover, Vicki ran her first ever parkrun at Ormskirk alongside Charlotte and Josh joined in to run his fastest race since 2022 with a time of 18:25. On more local shores, Mark, Helen, Loz and Beth had a lovely morning at the first Crosby parkrun of the year. Excellent work all!
Last but by no means least, Club runs returned with a bang! Sunday Service was well attended for 10/11 mile runs whilst Mike Cassidy led a lighter paced group for a lovely 7 miles. Monday Club was back with 32 attendees and some sweet treats thanks to Jae and Logan offloading their Christmas treats onto us. Both Tuesday Breaky and Tuesday Evening Clubs were back yesterday with an inaugural Alternative 5k Tuesday Breaky Club led by Kirsty and Marie to cater for those looking to run at a lighter pace and shorter distance. Well done all, let's continue the momentum at tonight's track session πŸƒπŸΌπŸ’ͺ🏼

πŸŽ‚πŸ₯³πŸŽˆBirthday WishesπŸŽ‚πŸ₯³πŸŽˆ

Wishing a big happy birthday to Clare Jackson and also Lauren Williams who turned 30 on Monday. We hope you both had a lovely day ladies, all the best from everyone at the club! πŸ₯³πŸŽ‚πŸ˜Š

🌟🌟🌟Exciting Update 🌟🌟🌟

MLH Coaching: At Marsh Lane Harriers we believe coaching should be available to all members regardless of ability. As such, in what is years in the making and after several months of planning, we are proud to launch our new MLH Coaching plans, offering various plans designed to help you progress and achieve your goals. It’s the club’s ethos that we all help each other improve while enjoying the process among friends. Whether you are a complete newcomer nervous to get in touch or a seasoned long distance runner, we have qualified coaches available to help you progress. There are three tiers available and the following plans are available at all levels, for all runners:
MLH Yoga for Runners:
New for 2024, the club is equally proud to launch a specialised yoga class tailored for runners that brings crucial benefits to all training plans. Running, with its repetitive motion, can lead to tight muscles and imbalances throughout the body. Stretching becomes imperative as it aids in improving flexibility, lengthening muscles, and reducing the risk of injuries common among runners.

The MLH yoga for runners class targets these specific areas by incorporating poses that focus on opening up tight hips, hamstrings, calves, and strengthening the core. Regular stretching through yoga aids in enhancing the range of motion, correcting imbalances, and improving overall performance. Yoga also promotes relaxation and reducing the physical and mental stress that comes with rigorous cardio training. In addition yoga’s emphasis on breath control complements running by enhancing lung capacity and endurance. By dedicating time to a yoga class designed specifically for runners, individuals can maintain a balanced body, prevent injuries, and optimize their running performance, fostering both physical and mental wellness.

This is not about how flexible you are or about who can push the poses furthest. This is about finding what your body needs and stretching and holding poses to help you improve and to recover. We are all different and will all do the poses slightly differently but we can all achieve results.

Taking place weekly - The first session starts tomorrow, Thursday 11th January with Two 45 minute sessions back-to-back (1st session @ 6:30pm and 2nd session @ 7:30pm).
Where: Alive Fitness Dance Studio – Coronation Road, Crosby, L23 3BJ.
Cost: £5 per session, £3 for MLH £10 per month members and No charge for ‘MLH Coaching Ultimate’ members.
How to Book: Book your place via Spond: https://group.spond.com/JWDZK
Limited Availability: 16 places per class - first come, first served.

πŸ‘‹Meet the MLH: Charlotte BartonπŸ‘‹

Continuing with our 'Meet the MLH' series, this week I sat down with our lovely Charlotte Barton...

Hi Charlotte πŸ‘‹πŸΌ For those who may not know you, could you please tell us a little about yourself?

Hey Steve, Sure...I am Charlotte, I’m 42 and married to Andy (but you all knew that anyway!) and we have a gorgeous border collie called Riker. I’m a teacher (geography, life skills and careers) at a school for pupils with social and mental health issues. I also teach a bit of yoga

Thanks Charlotte! We have so many Geography teachers within the club don't we! πŸ˜† Ok, so first question - How long have you been running and where did it all start?

I have been running for 3 years. I was reluctant to start, I had lost a lot of weight in lockdown (about 4 1/2 stone) doing exercise classes, spinning and walking when Andy suggested running. I did everything to avoid it but he bought me some new trainers and gave them to me Christmas Eve 2020 and told me just to run to the gate and back (5k) and, as I had run out of excuses, I did and actually enjoyed myself!

Brilliant! I thought you had been running a lot longer than that to be honest! You're like a seasoned pro! When was it then that you joined the MLH?

My first MLH run was March 2021 but we weren’t allowed to meet up so I did intervals on my own from Hightown to Formby. My first run with MLH members was when John and Powelly were doing their 4x4x7 challenge. I was worried about joining as I thought I would be too slow to be in a run club but when I got to more and more sessions everyone made me feel really welcome and I loved the atmosphere and the people.

That's so true. I was nervous before joining as well but I laugh when I think back as there was nothing to be worried about at all - it is such a great, inclusive and welcoming club. Have you always been into fitness then?

Yes and no, I have struggled with my weight since I was a child and I either seem to be working out all the time and really healthy or overweight and sedentary. I did my PT qualifications in my early 30s as I was really into the gym and yoga at the time and am now using that to help the MLH members. My twin (the other Rachel Stevens) was diagnosed with cancer for the 2nd time at the beginning of lockdown and I knew that I wanted to be as healthy as I could as if this is something that could happen to me too, I wanted to be ready to fight it. I’m Hoping that this will keep me fit and healthy forever now. Here's a photo of me and my twin sister as well as a before and after picture!
Wow, what a great story and what a journey you've had. You look brilliant! All my love to your sister as well, I hope she is doing well. Speaking of wanting to keep fit and healthy through running, you've had your fair share of injuries but always seem to bounce back stronger and with a smile on your face. How do you cope and what advice would you give to anyone feeling down whilst injured? Asking for a friend! πŸ˜‰

I have struggled with a recurring hip injury, it is frustrating and I have sulked a lot! I think my advice is to keep in the MLH community even if you can’t run, don’t push it away because you can’t join in; remain inspired by the people around you and do what you can. If you can walk a bit or stretch a bit, any exercise is good for mental health and will make people feel better.

Great advice - Thanks Charlotte. So, over the last three years, what would you say has been your best running achievement and your favourite event?

I think my best running achievements are (sorry couldn’t decide) being 10th female in the Tour of Merseyside in 2023. It was amazing as I wasn’t even sure I would be able to finish the tour - never mind get into the top 10. My other is winning Nathan’s 10ks that Lenny organises in memory of his son, it was lovely to receive a medal but so nice that it means so much to Lenny.
My favourite event is the MLH Tatton Christmas 10k. It is always so much fun as I usually run it slow with someone to talk too and the year in the snow was amazing!

Superb. Great achievements and I couldn't agree more - Lenny's 10ks are always great events not least for such an important cause and the Tatton Christmas 10k is my favourite too. That year in the snow was unbelievable but even this year - the turnout! Wow! 60+ of us. I've never seen anything like it!

Ok, sticking with favourites, what has been your favourite memory since joining the club?

One of my favourite memories (there have been loads!) was the Run for the 96 (97) that was organised at the track. It was such a fun event with all the community and children running the 5k, a large group of girls ran together and we had such a laugh. I always smile when I see those photos.
Look at that πŸ‘†πŸΌ Such a great day that sums up the club! Brilliant.

Ok, moving away from running for a moment, You are a huge advocate of Yoga and have been supporting Andy in developing the new MLH Yoga for runners offering. What I want to know is, how did you get into it and for those like myself who have never done it, what are the benefits (specifically for runners)?

I started practicing yoga when I was at university, I had a DVD that I did repeatedly and tried a few classes but found them a bit slow and boring as someone always seemed to fall asleep! People who like cardio exercise struggle to enjoy yoga at first as you don’t get the same endorphin rush as running and it can feel slow and boring but it is fantastic for strength and balance as well as improving flexibility and stamina while reducing stress and tension. Many studies show that it can help to reduce injury and improve recovery too.

Great. I've always shied away but I'm looking forward to getting involved in the new classes!

Ok, a final few questions!

Who or what motivates you?

I am quite self motivated and know what I want to achieve and do but I am inspired daily by this club. So many people do amazing things and help each other and it really encourages me to keep going.

Couldn't agree more. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure would be watching documentaries and listening to podcasts about serial killers. I also love trash TV like Judge Judy and 90s pop music.

Love it πŸ˜† Any goals this year?

I would love to get a PB at any distance but my main goal is to do at least one race every month and enjoy them regardless of whatever pace I run them.

Great! What is your favourite thing to do outside of running/fitness?

Listening to podcasts, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Cool! Last two...Who has the most running medals - you or Andy?

I am pretty certain it is me!! But I have never counted...he has been running longer but I think I have done more races πŸ‘€

Finally, tell us something we may not know about you?

I paid a large amount of money to meet The New Kids on the Block (boyband from the 80s and 90s for the young people in the group)...As an adult...TWICE!

Haha! NKOTB - Wasn't that Mark Wahlberg's band!? Let's save this for a trackside discussion! Thanks so much for taking part Charlotte, really enjoyed speaking with you as always 😊❀️

If you see Charlotte at the track, at Yoga or at any club runs or events, do say hello and give her a follow on Strava if you're on it.

Upcoming Club Events & Races:

BTR Liverpool Half Marathon: 17th March 2024 + Bongo's Bingo (St Patrick's Day Special): The club expects a huge turnout at the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon on 17th March 2024.

To register, please visit https://www.btrliverpool.com/lhm-and-10m-event - tickets are likely to sell out fast so be quick.

We will meet at the Crowne Plaza before and after the event and a large number of us will also be heading to Bongo's Bingo afterwards for a good old post-race party. It's St Patrick's day as well as being Derby weekend so a great opportunity to enjoy a good few beers together after the race. Hope to see many of you there!

Race for Life 2024:
Several of our female members will be participating in the 2024 Race for Life on 21st July 2024 at Sefton Park. To Register, please visit https://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org.

You can also message Vicki Burke for more information and join the club team via this link: https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/marsh-lane-harriers/join

Next Track Sessions:

Each week, the club has a series of organised group runs for which everyone is welcome to join:

Monday Club – 6:55pm meet for a 7pm start EVERY Monday. Crosby Key Park (Corner of Warren Road / The Serpentine South). Up to 5 miles / 45 minutes. Average pace of 9-9.30 min per mile but you can go at your own desired pace as it is a fixed 2 x 2 mile route with a 1 mile lap of the park to finish. Alternative option is to lap the key park continuously at your own pace for the 45 minute duration.

Tuesday ‘Breaky Club’ – 5:40am meet for a 6am start EVERY Tuesday. Car park behind Waterloo Train Station, 6-7 miles. Usually 1 hour at 7.45-8min per mile pace.

Alternative Tuesday 'Breaky Club' - 5:40am meet for a 6am start EVERY Tuesday. Car park behind Waterloo Train Station, 5k. 9.30min per mile pace.

Tuesday Evening Club
– 6:25pm meet for a 6:30pm start EVERY Tuesday. Crosby Leisure Centre, 4 miles at a slow and chatty pace. Usually 40 mins at 9 min per mile pace.

Wednesday Track Session – 6:00pm start EVERY Wednesday. MLH Running track, Chaffers. A mix of speed and interval sessions which changes weekly. Catered for all abilities.

Friday Hills & Drills – 05:55am meet for a 6:00am start EVERY Friday. 65-minute session including 3 x 2 drills and 8 x 8 10 second hill sprint with a 2:30 recovery walk.

Saturday Track Session - 9:00am start EVERY Saturday. MLH Running track, Chaffers. A repeat of the prior Wednesday session. Catered for all abilities.

Sunday Service: Sunday Service is a run which usually takes place every Sunday morning from the track catering for all paces as we now have two groups running 8.30-9.30 min per mile pace and another group at 10-10.30 pace. Due to training for various events, the Sunday run can vary in terms of mileage and location may flex between the track, The Alex on Marsh Lane or Crosby Leisure Centre. To stay on informed about Sunday plans, the MLH WhatsApp group is the best source of information as well as Spond.

πŸ€—Community SupportπŸ€—:

Running the Railways with Alex Rigby - MLH Campaign page LIVE: We continue to support Alex Rigby's challenge of running through all of Merseyrail's 36 Northern Line Stations on 10th February 2024. Alex is raising money for Centre 56 (https://centre56.org.uk/) and to help support his cause, we have set up a fundraising page linked directly to Alex's main page. If you would like to support Alex on his challenge, please contact Vickie Burke to register your interest. To donate, you can do so via this link: https://centre56.enthuse.com/pf/marshlaneharriers πŸ™ You can also follow Alex on Instagram via @alexrigby91 where you can learn more about the fantastic challenge he has set himself and how you can support.

⚠️Important Reminders⚠️:

Reminder - Liam Clark's Charity Fundraiser - LAST FEW TICKETS: As part of his London Marathon 2024 fundraising efforts, here's another reminder that Liam Clark will be hosting a charity night in aid of Asthma & Lung UK. The event will take place next year on Saturday 24th February at Ten Streets Wines, Dublin Street, Liverpool from 6pm. MLH resident DJ Anna Eager will be there along with a singer, lots of raffle prizes, spot the balls and much more. Tickets are £5 and are now available to be purchased from Liam. Get in touch with him directly if you would like to purchase a ticket.
AJ Bell Great North Run 2024: Ballot Now Open! The ballot for the 2024 AJ Bell Great North Run ballot is now open. Arguably the greatest half marathon in the country, plenty of Harriers have already signed up so if you want to get involved, enter the ballot via this link: https://www.greatrun.org/events/great-north-run/ - You've got to be in it to win it!

Coming Soon:

Coach's Corner: Over the coming weeks, a series of blog posts will be made available on a weekly/fortnightly basis to support members of the club and provide insight into various running related topics such as:

  • Why do we do speed sessions
  • Why is stretching important for runners
  • Why easy runs should feel easy
  • How to fuel before and during long runs
More information will follow in the coming weeks but we are really excited about this and hope it provides useful insight across the club.

Closing Messages:

Well, that's enough for this week but before I go, here's a little advice...Please don't go spending all your Christmas money at once! I know there's always an urge to go out and buy new running trainers but trust me, after this week's antics within the club, if you're not careful you'll end up with a pair of these...πŸ˜‰πŸ˜†
Jokes aside, we've had a great start to the year so let's keep up the momentum and make this the best year yet for the club. Enjoy the rest of your week and if you are sick or injured like me, don't be a stranger, stay connected to the club but importantly, don't worry, you'll be back on your feet in no time x

All the best once again and here's to a happy, healthy and successful 2024 for each of us.
Want to join our club? Do so here: https://marshlaneharriers.co.uk/join-us/
Website: https://marshlaneharriers.co.uk/
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